MLIS Student’s Career Objective is to Empower Others

Community Profile

“In terms of the program, what has surprised me quite a bit is how responsive the professors have been and how much they seem invested in how their students succeed. I know there are a lot of students so I can see how it could be difficult for professors to show that they care for each individual, but I got the sense that they all want us to succeed in this field and to grow and gain as much knowledge as we can while we are taking courses with them.”​

Andrew Chae    
Substitute Teacher and MLIS Student 
East Bay, CA

Andrew Chae believes that libraries and schools have a similar goal: to empower others. Chae has worked as a substitute teacher for the past few years, which helped him realize that he would rather be in a different setting than a school. “I enjoy teaching, but after substitute teaching for awhile I realized that I would like to be in an information environment, like a library, where I could help others learn in a different way,” said Chae. He decided that doing the MLIS program at the SJSU School of Information would help him meet the goal of becoming an information professional.

From Open Classes to MLIS Program

Chae began taking courses in the Open Classes program in the spring of 2018. He moved from the Open Classes program into the MLIS program in the fall of 2018. “I knew that I wanted to do the MLIS program eventually, but the Open Classes program was a nice way to get my feet wet and get some credits in the process,” said Chae. He Initially took Electronic Records and Library Services and Tools for the Digital Age. In both of those classes, Chae learned a good amount about two different topics. Over the summer he took Digital Libraries before officially beginning his MLIS classes in the fall. Chae has now completed 19 units and has decided to slow the pace down a bit, as he has recently welcomed a new baby into his family.

Classes That Made a Difference

When asked about the highlights of the MLIS program so far, Chae mentioned two classes that have stuck with him after they were completed. These classes were Library Services and Tools in the Digital Age with Dr. Valenti and Information Retrieval and System Design with Dr. Chen, as both classes helped Chae see a new perspective on a different topic. “I really enjoyed learning about the new technologies and doing cool projects and assignments that allowed students to get used to these things,” said Chae. “It was stuff that I had never thought of before and opened my eyes to that side of the information science field. I hope to build off of them in future courses.”

Moving Into a New Era

Chae’s goals include working in a public or academic library setting. He feels that either one fulfills a different but similar goal. “In either case, they are both helping their respective communities gain access to information and resources that they might not otherwise be able to,” said Chae. “I think that is a really great thing.”

During his classes he found that he is also interested in libraries that focus on all digital presence. “I wouldn’t want to do away with physical books but the environments that librarians will be working in in the future is changing all the time. We can either be bound to traditional ways of thinking or we can build off of new technologies and trends while still preserving the library and information practices that we have had in the past,” said Chae.

Open Courses Program Provides a Foundation

Chae recommends Open Classes as a way for people to get a head start on the program. They can get credits and find topics that interest them before diving into the MLIS degree. “Even people who are not getting an MLIS can benefit from taking some of these courses,” said Chae. “I have been thinking a lot about the community that I live in. For example going to the public library and seeing all of the people of wide variety of backgrounds socioeconomically and seeing how they all have access to the same resources. It is something I have always loved about the library, but even more so now that I am studying in this program.” He looks forward to empowering his community to seek knowledge and information in his future role as a librarian and information professional.