“I didn’t really know what pathway to choose, and I’m open to anything. I thought [the certificate] would be a great way to add to my resume and focus my electives. I was happy, of course, to find out that I could pursue both goals of mine at the same time.”
MLIS Graduate 2016
Rebecca Goodchild has always been content knowing a medium amount about a lot of different things. “Honestly,” she says, “I’m an information generalist. I love school, I loved going to college, but I never wanted to go deep into one specific subject, like you would for a PHD.” The very act of teaching others and helping them find and absorb the information they required is where she found her heart truly laid. Coupled with a healthy love of books, this realization led her to seek an MLIS at the iSchool after receiving her undergrad degree in psychology. Goodchild admits, “I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that a job as a librarian would be the best fit for me to do those kinds of things. To help people feel encouraged about information in general.”
Today, Goodchild works at the Sacramento City College as an adjunct librarian, a position she obtained after working there at an internship secured through SJSU. “I worked at the Los Rios Community College District for a while as an instructional assistant,” Goodchild recalls, “so I was already familiar with the local colleges. Then, last spring, I took the internship course [INFO 294] at SJSU, which has an outreach to Sacramento City College.” Goodchild interned at the college for a semester, building connections with the librarians and staff. “I really enjoyed it,” she laughs, “and I think they liked me.” After graduating, she applied to the open adjunct pool position for librarians and received work soon after.
Not content just to receive an MLIS from the School of Information upon graduating, Goodchild simultaneously completed her Advanced Certificate in Digital Assets and Services while enrolled at the iSchool. The decision to do this came down to where Goodchild wanted to go in her career and the numerous electives she would need to complete to get there. “I didn’t really know what pathway to choose, and I’m open to anything, so I thought [the certificate] would be a great way to add to my resume and focus my electives. I was happy, of course, to find out that I could pursue both goals at the same time.” This kind of versatility and flexibility is a large part of what drew Goodchild to SJSU for her MLIS. She worked toward her broad scoped MLIS and the more focused advanced certificate, the latter of which instilled in her the skills needed to manage and provide easy user access to complex bodies of content like digital, digitized and Web 2.0 models of user-generated content. Through her professional work, Goodchild has discovered just how vital these skills are in this modern digital age.
During her time in the program, Goodchild found all of her course work illuminating and necessary to her success. Specifically, though, she singles out INFO 220 with Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, which focused on data services in libraries like Social Sciences Data Services (SSDS) and general data management as especially valuable. “We discussed how to use databases and data repositories in-depth,” Goodchild says, but that wasn’t her biggest takeaway from the course. She continues, “Social sciences majors and professionals use statistics and such that the government puts out to do their work or if they need help, and I don’t think this resource is a common knowledge in the world of libraries or, especially, academic librarianship as it should be.” Goodchild feels that learning about resources like this one, utilizing applications like databases and infographics, and knowing how to catalog gave her quantifiable skills to go along with the theories she also studied, both of which she could take out into her professional life.
Intern to Adjunct to Permanent
Inspiring for those on the hunt for a LIS job, Goodchild is proof that the time-honored tradition of moving from intern to a paid position in a company can work out in one’s favor. But, she also suggests utilizing all the resources SJSU, other higher education institutions (career centers, etc), associations like ALA and the vast Internet provide, including Edjoin.org for academic positions. Says Goodchild, “If you take or look at the MLIS and certificate courses, they offer a lot of tips on finding a position.” Heeding the advice of your professors, taking tech classes at a library for certifications and, of course, making friends with a librarian can provide students or recent grads traction in their search, according to Goodchild.
For now, Goodchild is going to remain at Sacramento Community College as an adjunct librarian, hoping to secure a permanent position there when one opens up in the coming months. Regardless, she feels at home in an academic library. Says Goodchild, “I do love academic librarianship and the reference questions that come with the job. I feel the harder and more obscure the question, the more excited I get to help someone answer it.” She continues, “I also enjoy the community college structure a little more than I think I would a standard four-year university. It’s a little more relaxed and there are a lot of opportunities for actual community outreach that might be lacking in universities.” In this way, Goodman suggests, working in a community college library is an interesting medium between public and academic librarianship.