Freshly Minted: Hridi Das
November 7, 2019
MLIS Candidate, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University
Which information studies program are you attending?
I’m currently attending Western’s MLIS program – 4th term
What are your current classes like? Which is your favorite so far, and why?
My favourite class right now would be “Legal Information”. I find the assignments to be enjoyable to do and the professor has a very relaxed vibe and teaching style. A close second favourite would be “Web Design and Architecture” because I’m getting to learn a new language and build a personal website completely from scratch.
Is there one aspect of the profession that surprises you that you were not expecting when you started the program? What is it?
Since I went into this field completely blind, I was surprised by the career possibilities that weren’t just limited to traditional librarianship. I thought data/information analysis was only possible to a certain degree title. Another aspect that mildly surprised me is how gender-skewed the profession is and the lack of diversity. Up until my masters, I’ve never been in the minority in my education in terms of representation in the classroom.
What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?
Desperation if I’m being honest. I finished my Bachelors’ in Honours Psychology and Biology with a specialization in behavioural neuroscience – when people find out this information, I get that question 9 out of 10 times! I thought I would go to either a hard sciences route for post-secondary education or law school but due to a myriad of reasons, I was forced to reconsider my career trajectory. A family friend of my mother’s saw that I was stuck and mentioned the MLIS program and how my skills would be suited in that field as well and encouraged me to apply. And here I am.
If you could work anywhere, and do anything with information, what would your dream job look like?
I would love to be an information specialist for a medical organization or a division of national security such as Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), or Global Affairs Canada. I loved answering in-depth reference questions at my co-op at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) this past summer where I got to learn so much on a variety of topics. I know with my skill set and personality I would not enjoy working in a public library so I’m open to all other possibilities.
If someone were considering going to library school, what would you advise them about?
Be ready to collaborate with others and brace yourself for a constant stream of work. Organization and time management is a must and at times, the program will truly test you. But if you are up to the challenge, it will be very fruitful. You don’t have to be knowledgeable in librarianship to get into the program – having a different background is an advantage and gives you a fresh perspective on what you’ll be learning. Make sure you take opportunities to network and ask questions.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
I think it is more important than ever to think critically about information and where it comes from since there is just so much of it thrown at us. It’s more labour intensive but it’s a skill that will benefit you in all aspects of life.
Another important aspect is to do more for minorities both working in the field and in the populations that we serve. Especially for those who are just starting out – it would be beneficial to have a mentorship system in place so they do not feel alienated or discouraged in the pursuit of doing what fulfills them.