Master's student Tura Dover served as an intern for the Illinois Library Association (ILA) during its annual conference on October 10-12. Dover worked at the registration desk and said the best part about her experience was "meeting people from different arms of the library system and LIS programs" as well as getting a better understanding of the ILA.
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
One of my first jobs after graduating with my bachelor's degree in psychology from Illinois State University was working part time in the outreach department of my local public library. I really enjoyed learning about the different services that were offered in my community, and the position allowed me to get experience in technical services and circulation. After two years, I applied for a full-time library assistant position in circulation and got it! During that time, I met several people who were earning their MLIS degrees, and I added it to the list of potential post-graduate degrees I was interested in pursuing. After transferring to the technical services department, my new manager sat me down and encouraged me to apply. It was only then that I started to put in the work to research the degree. During my research, I realized versatility of the LIS degree, which was a key component of why I decided to apply.
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
I chose the iSchool because several of my managers had graduated from the MS/LIS program and highly recommended it. I also liked the fact that it was only 45 minutes away, and the program allowed me the flexibility of combining Leep and on-campus classes.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
When I applied for the program, I considered focusing on technical services, as that was the department where I had the most work experience. However, after listening to a few recordings from Student Affairs in which former and current students shared their different career paths, I decided to take courses in a wide range of topics. I enjoyed Yoo-Seong Song's business research/competitive intelligence courses, Melissa Wong's reference and instruction courses, Terry Weech's international librarianship class, and Bob Burger's administration and management class. I found that the courses that challenged me in some way while allowing me to experience the immediate real-world applications were the most fulfilling and exciting.
What do you do outside of class?
I work full time and take two classes each semester, and when time permits, I catch up with friends and family. I enjoy traveling as well and try to incorporate some time for that during school breaks. But mostly I'm eating, listening to podcasts, and catching up on movies I've missed seeing in the theatre. I'm looking forward to volunteering, reading for pleasure, and perhaps learning a new skill in my free time once I graduate in December!
What career plans or goals do you have?
My ideal plan is to find a job that allows me to marry the business research skills I've gained with my interest in travel, while still helping others gain access to information. I'm excited to continue to grow and learn and have considered earning an MBA or MS/IM degree within the next five years.