Thirteen iSchool master's students were named 2022-2023 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School’s scholars. MS/LIS student Inbar Michael earned her bachelor's degree in history with a minor in humanities and law from the University of California, Irvine.
Why did you decide to pursue an LIS degree?
I decided to pursue my MS/LIS because I wanted to be able to work as a reference and instruction librarian or a subject specialist with college students, in particular those from marginalized communities, in order to help them with research and connect them to additional resources on campus. I also want to work as an archivist and partake in the documentation of the histories of marginalized community members (especially Jewish BIPOC).
Why did you choose the iSchool at Illinois?
I chose the iSchool at Illinois because I felt that I would be able to get the most pre-professional experience, as well as be exposed to a lot of different opportunities to engage with issues in librarianship. I think that having practical experience before going into the job market is extremely useful, both in becoming informed and also in learning more about what issues I want to develop solutions for. I also really appreciated how communicative everyone was throughout the application process, as it really helped me to feel valued.
What particular LIS topics interest you the most?
Some LIS topics that interest me the most are banned books, diversity and social justice, archives, community outreach, digital humanities, information access, information literacy, and reference and instruction.
What do you do outside of class?
Outside of class, I enjoy reading, writing poetry and crocheting. I also enjoy cooking and baking and hope to have more time to do that throughout the year.
What does being a Spectrum Scholar mean to you?
To me, being a Spectrum Scholar means taking what I learn through the program and giving back to the communities in which I was raised, to bring my knowledge of diversity and inclusion to the library field and uplift my communities.
What career plans or goals do you have?
I would like to continue working in academic libraries or even work in public libraries for some time. My main goal is to have work where I am able to engage with community members, either in documenting their stories or by connecting them with resources that the library provides. While there is a lot of work to be done by the library in terms of DEI, I believe that it can be a tool in aiding and uplifting marginalized communities.