Prospective students: We encourage you to read SLIS alumni profiles. They will offer glimpses into interesting career options for the 21st century. The field of library and information science is expanding - particularly with innovations in technology. A graduate degree in library science or information science offers a great complement to your degree. All majors are welcome to apply.
The alumni profile below is from Scott Walter (MLS'98), who is the University Librarian at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He answered questions about his career in an email interview. In particular, notice his involvement with professional associations. These organizations help information professionals keep pace with a dynamic environment through continuing education, committee participation, journals, presentations, placement services, and networking. They are also a good place to develop your research skills and contribute your knowledge to the field.
From Scott Walter, University Librarian, DePaul University:
Key Job Duties:
I provide leadership for strategic planning and policy direction in the areas of library services, collections, information technology, facilities, and human resources. I am responsible for the management of the libraries' fiscal and human resources and for assessment, communications, and advancement activities. I represent the Libraries within the University and as a member of regional and national groups, including the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC), and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA).
Favorite Aspect of Your Job:
Collaborating with colleagues across campus to design and implement programs that ensure that the library and its professional staff remain at the heart of the teaching, learning, research, and service programs of the University.
Tips for Current Students:
For those considering a career in academic libraries, I would recommend developing a broad understanding of the forces shaping teaching, learning, and research in higher education, and of the trends in higher education, in information technology, and in scholarly publishing that will reshape our routine services as well as our strategic initiatives. For all students, I would recommend getting as much work experience as possible during your time at SLIS to improve your chances on the job market and developing an attitude toward your work that is collaborative, forward-looking, and entrepreneurial. There are many who believe that the changes in information technology mean that a librarian's expertise is no longer needed; it's your job to show them why it is needed more than ever.
A Professional Association Project You are Working On:
I recently accepted two new projects for the Association of College & Research Libraries: 1) I am serving as Convenor of the International Perspectives on Academic and Research Libraries Discussion Group, which is dedicated to promoting global perspectives on academic library issues and to highlighting library contributions to the "internationalization" agenda on our campuses (a role often missed in broader studies of international programs); and 2) I am serving as Editor-Designate of College & Research Libraries, the leading journal in academic librarianship with over 70 years of published work, but on the cusp of a new era as we move to a fully open-access model and a digital platform for dissemination of peer-reviewed research in our field.
Photo courtesy of DePaul University Libraries
Posted July 10, 2012