On Choices

Upon entering library school last year, I had few goals. I wanted a degree that would allow me to work as a librarian within a certain geographic region. My first semester was broad coursework, that was labelled as largely applicable to most library settings. It was around mid-semester, when it was time to choose spring classes, that I began to question my goals for the program.

The current program requires 36 credit hours. Most classes provide 3 credit hours. This meant roughly 12 classes. 3 are predetermined. 3 provide some choice. 6 – providing no specializations – are free to choice. The impact of my potential choices was paralyzing. I started planning out when I would take what for the rest of my time at IU. I was frustrated I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to do in. I was beyond terrified that I’d miss something essential and it would cost me down the line.

It was also around this time that I began contemplating a dual degree (something I’m still contemplating), which would pair my library science degree with an information science degree. I felt it would give me more time and allow me a broader skillset.

I chose my spring semester classes. By near miracle, I landed a fantastic internship over the summer that allowed me to expand my work experience to a public library setting. It allowed me to work at a variety of service desks and with a variety of librarians who were beyond helpful with my questions and concerns about the profession. By the end of the summer I knew that if I was given a choice, I’d work in a public library.

Fall semester appeared for a second time, and I’m currently taking classes that I would have never chosen for myself last fall – some information science classes and a materials for youth class. These classes have reminded me that I’ll never get as much experience as I want before graduating. That there are computer programs I’ll walk away from while only barely understanding them. That there are books I will never, ever have the time to read.

It’s been a process. I’ve had to step away many times to remind myself to look at how much I am learning within the program, not how much I’m missing out on. I can create a survey and implement it. I can design and complete code for websites. I can find information within the congressional record or extract information from US Census data.

I chose spring classes a few weeks ago, and while the classes aren’t as technology or information science-based as this semester, they’re still on topics I have little experience with. I’m excited to start them.

-Malissa Renno