Spring Semester Opens
Welcome to the Spring 2017 Semester. Welcome to returning students. We hope you had a refreshing break. Welcome to our new students, who we greeted on Saturday, January 23 for Graduate Orientation.
Members of our student groups (SGO, ALA, SAA, SLA, PLG) decided that the end of January would be a good time to connect our students with the local LIS Community by sponsoring a Bowling Mixer on Monday, January 30, held at St. Thomas University’s student center bowling alley. More than 50 people attended, including students, faculty, staff, and LIS professionals from the Twin Cities area. Thank you to the area professional associations who sponsored the event:
- Friends of the Library (St. Catherine University)
- Minnesota Library Association (MLA)
- Special Libraries Association-MN (SLA-MN)
- Twin Cities Archives Round Table (TCART)
Kudos to all the MLIS Student Leaders for their vision and creativity in designing the event.
Kristen Hall, Heather Carroll, David NorrisLeft: MLIS Alum Kristin Hall with MLIS Students Heather Carroll and David Norris.
Below: Some of the attendees at the Roll Into Spring Bowling Mixer for the LIS Community.
January activities also give us a way to connect with the broader LIS community. A few students and faculty members attended ALA Midwinter, held in Atlanta, GA. Faculty members and Associate Dean/Program Director Deb Grealy attended the ALISE (Association of Library & Information Science Education) Conference, also held in Atlanta. This year’s ALISE theme was “Community Engagement and Social Responsibility,” a theme that deeply connects with our values at St. Catherine University. Sessions focused on how can we can develop mutually beneficial collaboration between LIS programs and our communities from local to global.
As we move through the semester, we will carry with us the positive energy generated by our January social gatherings and networking, and by our engagement with our LIS colleagues in Minnesota and beyond.
Deborah Grealy, Associate Dean and Program Director
Deborah Torres, Assistant Program Director
Kate McManus is a National Digital Stewardship Resident for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (via Minnesota Public Radio). You can read her own more detailed description of the 10-month position here. She also tweets at @libkatem and blogs at the AAPB NDSR blog. We reached out to learn more about her journey and find out how things are going
What attracted you to the LIS field, and to archives in particular?
The short story is, I’ve always been interested in libraries, and as an undergrad, I worked in the St. Kate’s library. My former supervisor was very good about getting us familiar with all aspects of librarianship. It didn’t take me long to gravitate towards archives, since I was majoring in History. After I graduated with my B.A. I struggled with finding a job, so decided to go back to library school.
Since then, I’ve really fallen in love with the field of archives. Making history accessible to people is my jam, and trying to learn about digital archives feels like the most prudent path an archivist can take right now, although I’m glad I have traditional archival practices under my belt, too. They inform each other!
What is a typical day as an NDSR resident like for you?
If I’m not at a conference, I usually spend the early morning catching up with the cohort and on emails and other correspondence. Every other week we have a webinar in the afternoon that I attend. And then I get to the MPR work.
The nuts and bolts of my residency are back-end and discreet. I’m going through the catalog and identifying ways to clean up messy metadata. Some stories get pushed to the front end archive (I do that too), but the long term plan is to build a new public facing website over our internal database. I’m also making recommendations for that. I’m mostly looking for trends and helping to build that new website. I’m learning a lot about broadcasting and about the realities of database management! The IT and archives teams at MPR are very robust and communication is forefront. Weekly meetings keep everyone on the same page, and luckily, the archives are built into the broadcast workflows.
What do you like about your job?
I like the flexibility, and that every day is different. As you might expect, MPR is an amazing place to work, full of incredibly kind, intelligent, talented people. But the major benefits of the NDSR program go way beyond working at MPR. I’m part of a cohort that’s spread across the country – we talk almost every day. I have two built in mentors – an NDSR Board member (Nancy McGovern) and a local mentor (Jason Roy). That’s not even counting my program coordinators in Boston, or the Library of Congress folks (that house the American Archive of Public Broadcasting) who are also invested. Despite being the first geographically spread cohort, it’s an incredibly supportive environment.
Being a resident means I spend about 8-10 hours per week on my own professional development. I have to speak at three professional conferences (and actually I took on another opportunity, so that’s four total). It’s giving me a chance to work through my fear of public speaking. I’ll also be leading a webinar in March, again, required by the program. I’m publishing one article already with my cohort. I really cannot say enough about the National Digital Stewardship Residency program.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far, and what are the steps you have taken to get through it?
Finding long term employment. So many postings are temporary contracts, but I’m encouraged, as my contracts have gotten longer and longer. I try and have a “shark” mentality – keep swimming, and sink my teeth into every opportunity that comes my way. You truly never know what’s going to come from just trying, applying, and networking. And if you’re not finding anything, try and make your own opportunities – in a fit of ridiculousness, I made an Omeka site that cataloged all the books that Harry Potter encounters in the novels, and it’s what impressed MPR enough to interview and hire me.
What experiences at St. Kate’s (or otherwise) were most helpful in getting you to where you are today?
In spring 2014, Molly Hazelton taught a topics course titled “Archival Digitization Project Management” – all of her classes have an internship component (which is incredible and gave me exposure so some unique collections), but this one was the first archives class I took. It was a class project where we worked with the Walker Art Center and came up with a digitization workflow for their audio collection. If I had to pick one class that informed my career path, it would be that one. I can draw an almost straight line from that course to several internships and jobs, including this one.
And joining the St. Kate’s SAA chapter, of course.
What advice do you have for current LIS students?
Find your people and push yourself.
Instructors, advisers, mentors, formal or informal. Look for them outside the program. And make friends in your classes! Join a student group – the St. Kate’s SAA chapter was always a great time and I’m still in contact (sometimes almost weekly) with my friends I made. Join the Twin Cities Archives Round Table! It’s $10 – the best deal in town and full of incredible networking opportunities.
There are tons of opportunities to get some good stuff on your resume while you’re a student, and that experience is going to help you moving forward. I was in a position to take summer internships, and I tried to set realistic goals for myself. For instance, in 2014 I actively pursued an out of state internship, and ended up at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. You never know unless you try! But I would also encourage you to only take paid internships, if at all possible. They’re out there!
The hardest lesson is not to compare yourself to anyone around you. Your skills are your own, and you’ll find a position where you are the perfect match.