Freshly Minted: Camille Ginnever
October 9, 2018
MLIS Candidate, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
Which information studies program are you attending?
The Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS) program at the University of Western Ontario.
What are your current classes like? Which is your favorite so far, and why?
I am taking two courses that are relatable to public libraries, and one focused in the tech sector.
- Young Adult Materials, a materials course focused on popular teen novels;
- Reader’s Advisory for Public Libraries, a survey course in popular materials for adults, and helpful resources for librarians;
- Information Retrieval, which focuses on the algorithms behind search engines and research databases and how they work to return the resources that librarians recommend to users.
Young Adult Materials is my favourite so far this term, because it’s allowing me to connect back to my heaviest period of library use in my life, and talk about stories and themes in novels, which is absolutely fun.
Is there one aspect of the profession that surprises you that you were not expecting when you started the program? What is it?
The commitment to privacy. Two years ago when I started the program, personal information privacy had not really been on my radar. But thanks to the philosophies of the information profession, protection of privacy is now one of my greatest interests. Today these issues are much hotter and have more attention than they once did, but since the beginning, libraries have taken measures to protect patron privacy. While I was doing data analysis with the Government of Canada, we were also subject to the Privacy Act, protecting Canadians from unwarranted data collection. I am thankful to have been a part of the institutions that value individual information privacy!
What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?
My path to librarianship started when I was only 13.
I volunteered at my local library as a reading buddy, as a summer reading club assistant, and served on my library’s Youth Advisory Board all through my high school years. Then I began work as a page after high school and during my undergraduate degree. From there I worked as an instructional assistant tutoring patrons with e-resources.
I always found myself drawn to the library and working with its patrons in different roles, and when it came time to choose a career path, librarianship seemed the perfect fit for my passions and lifestyle.
If you could work anywhere, and do anything with information, what would your dream job look like?
I know my dream job would have a lot of different aspects, drawing on my diverse background in Math, Computer Science, and LIS.
Talking with people and helping them access information and technology to realize their passions, tinkering with technology and building machines, driving/travelling between different locations or branches and working with many different people and teams are all on my wishlist.
My only concern is where to find a position that incorporates all these things!
If someone were considering going into information studies, what would you advise them about?
Think about the type of career path you want to end up on (type of library, non-traditional library setting, tech job etc.), and investigate each information studies program.
Look at the course offerings to see if what the school offers is in line with what you’re looking for. Does the name of the degree and the philosophy of the program sound like it will lead you in the direction you want to go? What opportunities are there for co-op or practicum placements? What conferences are you encouraged to go to?
When I was applying, a lot of people told me not to worry and that “a degree is a degree,” but now that I am nearing the end of my program, I’m glad I did my research. I have had a lot of professional opportunities throughout my time at UWO, some I would have got elsewhere and some I wouldn’t have, and I am grateful for my choice.
Don’t just consider the schools that are convenient and close-by, but branch out and pursue the school that aligns the most with your dreams.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Even in a world where we are extremely relevant, we are still being asked why we’re relevant. The best way to stay relevant is to be ahead of the curve, ready to advocate, educate, and empower others when the latest trend emerges. Information professionals can provide the best service to their customers, patrons, or users, whatever the case may be, when they are up-to-date, well read, and aware of small changes in the technology that could have big impacts later on.