Freshly Minted: Emma MacMillan
August 14, 2018
MLIS Candidate, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
Which information studies program are you attending?
I am completing a Masters in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.
What are your current classes like? Which is your favorite so far, and why?
I am currently on co-op, but this coming semester I will be taking one course focused on public libraries and one on young adult materials, as well as an introduction to archives administration course, a class on government information, and a class on information ethics, which will delve into topics such as big data and free speech (two interests of mine).
Is there one aspect of the profession that surprises you that you were not expecting when you started the program? What is it?
I was surprised to learn just how innovative many libraries are today. With my co-op at the Canadian Heritage library, I was allowed to take initiative by researching and proposing a plan and budget (that was accepted) for a 3D printer! I find new ideas such as this very exciting and see it as a new way to bring more people into libraries. Things like Maker Spaces, new computer software, and even the loaning of musical instruments make libraries applicable to so many more people and I want very much to help promote and develop these programs.
What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?
I met and spoke with a librarian who had recently begun her career as a teen librarian. The more I learned about her work, and the various programs she was developing, the more convinced I became that this was the career for me. I had previously taught English for a couple years in countries such as France, Russia and Vietnam, and had worked in sales and customer service here in Canada, and librarianship seemed to combine so much of what I had loved about my previous careers.
If you could work anywhere, and do anything with information, what would your dream job look like?
I would be a public librarian, creating programs and developing collections. However, virtually any kind of work that gets people excited about coming into a library would be my dream. Recently I heard of a library that had introduced an outdoor reading room with Wi-Fi facing a disused park (which they had improved) to help create a relaxing atmosphere. I thought this sounded really remarkable for an inner-city library.
If someone were considering going into information studies, what would you advise them about?
I would tell them not to be overwhelmed by your first cataloguing class! It just takes some time and practice and it is not hard at all once you get the hang of it!
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
I want people to understand how to access higher quality information and think critically. In this age of information overload this has become more important than ever and I believe libraries should be among those on the front lines promoting better information practices.