Freshly Minted: Erica Vanden Bosch
November 8, 2016
Master of Information Studies (MIS) Candidate, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa
Which information studies program are you attending?
I am a Master of Information Studies candidate at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Studies.
What are your current classes like? Which is your favorite so far, and why?
I’m currently taking courses on information ethics, marketing and advocacy for information organizations, and preservation of digital information. They are elective courses that explore issues faced by information professionals. After all, it is important to consider the ethical implications of the decisions we make and the systems we use. In terms of advocacy and marketing, we know that information organizations are not always a priority, so it is useful to learn how to demonstrate their value. Then there are the challenges related to how to preserve the exponentially growing amount of digital information. The courses discuss challenges that we can expect to face and show us some approaches to try to address these issues.
One of my favourite courses in the program so far was on information resource management. The course discusses key considerations for managing records during each phase of the information lifecycle. It shows the benefits of integrating strong information management practices into organizational and technological models. I had a basic understanding of information resource management that I had learned from working in information management but I appreciated being able to learn about the theory behind the practice.
Is there one aspect of the profession that surprises you that you were not expecting when you started the program? What is it?
The thing that surprises me the most is the lack of cultural and ethnic diversity in the field. My experience at school, at work, at events and volunteering reinforces the statistics that information professionals are predominantly white. I think it’s important that we take steps to have stronger diversity in the profession to strengthen the information and library community and better respond to the needs of the people we serve.
What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?
I have been curious about a career in information and librarianship since I was in high school. Then my first job in information management showed me the value of the work and the opportunity to use both technical and soft skills. I liked the idea of a job that depends not only on my computer skills and my understanding of information management principles but that also relies on interpersonal, social and communication skills. Plus I love how the field overlaps with so many other areas such as information technology and business management because it makes the work that much more interesting.
If you could work anywhere, and do anything with information, what would your dream job look like?
I have a lot of dream jobs because I think that there are so many interesting and rewarding jobs in information professions. Right now, I have three main interests.
First, I am interested in government records so I would love to work in some sort of government library or information management group.
Second, I would love a job that includes a mix of operational work and project work. I enjoy doing core operational work because I get to use my information management skills but I also enjoy opportunities to participate in projects because I love solving problems and implementing solutions.
Third, I’m very interested in a job that lets me be surrounded by both of Canada’s official languages.
That being said, I have truly enjoyed all of my experiences working in the information and library community because whether it’s research-related or reference services, each day brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.
If someone were considering going to library school, what would you advise them about?
Consider getting involved in the information and library community. Attend events, volunteer, and start becoming familiar with available information services. The students that draw from their experiences outside of the classroom and apply it to the concepts they learn in the classroom are able to create meaningful connections and often have an easier time understanding the material.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Don’t become complacent. Stay curious, be flexible and keep learning.