Life After the MLIS

Many graduates of the ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) have exciting stories to share as they venture into new careers as information professionals. From libraries and government agencies to corporate information centers and non-profit organizations, working locally, virtually and abroad, creating programs that benefit communities and enhance the information profession, iSchool alumni are doing it all.

Like alumnus Chris Brown, who is making waves in the public library sector, where Project War Ink, an art exhibit he co-curated through the Contra Costa Public Library, was nominated for a Cultural Institutions Webby, “the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet.” Or alumna Valerie Sweeley, who works as a corporate librarian in Silicon Valley company Applied Materials’ digital library: Sweeney credits her iSchool internship opportunity with allowing her to get a foot in the door in the competitive Silicon Valley job market.

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Alumna Brandy Buenafe worked her way through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is now director in charge of the state’s prison libraries, educating and helping inmates attain basic communication and online skills which are essential for effective re-entry into communities upon their release. Virtual collaboration with the iSchool’s diverse international community led Yolande Wilburn on a library and information science (LIS) adventure, from the makerspaces of the Chicago Public Library to literacy instruction in Dubai: she is currently the community library manager for the newly built Manhattan Beach Public Library in Los Angeles county. Canadian Alison Jantz used her MLIS degree in combination with a Master’s of Divinity to become library director of the Saskatoon Theological Union (STU), overseeing four distinct library collections.

Alumni Patrick Sweeney and Patrick Sullivan were named two of Library Journal’s 2015 Movers and Shakers, “the people shaping the future of libraries.” Sweeney, an administrative librarian for the Sunnyvale Public Library, is also on the board of EveryLibrary, working to increase library funding through political advocacy. Sullivan, an emeritus librarian at San Diego State University, co-chairs the Children in Crisis project, which provides books to unaccompanied children waiting in detention centers for immigration processing or deportation.

And finally, the sky’s the limit for iSchool Special Libraries Association Chapter leaders in Silicon Valley, where alumna Elisa Ewing and recent graduate Cory Laurence hold the president roles.

We invite you to learn more about our outstanding alumni by reading their community profiles and alumni career spotlights, which provide a glimpse into their day-to-day job responsibilities. If you're a graduate of the School of Information at San José State University, please create your alumni career spotlight and share your news!

It’s never too early to be thinking about life after the MLIS. With that in mind, Jill Klees, our school's career counselor, publishes a career newsletter and hosts a career blog—both excellent reads for current iSchool students and alumni.

And our school’s online Career Development resources are free for everyone to use. Check out the job listing sites and employment resources.

SJSU iSchool Alumni work at: Google, Library of Congress, Harvard Law, Credo Reference, USC and many more.