Student Candice Putnam Uses Technology Skills She Learned in the MLIS Program to Serve Canadian Residents

Community Profile

MLIS student Candice Putnam relies on the technology skills she’s gained at San José State University School of Information to develop programs at the public library in Canada where she works. She’s also the recipient of the school’s 2012 Alumni & Friends Scholarship, which Putnam will use to support her final year in the program.

Putnam lives in Alberta, Canada, and started the MLIS program in fall 2010.  She credits the school’s fully online model as critical to her decision to pursue the degree. “If this wasn’t available, I would have had to move to go to school,” she said. “The classroom experience has been very cohesive, and I’ve met other Canadians, too.”

As a Program Coordinator at the Dawe Branch of the Red Deer Public Library, in Red Deer, Alberta, Putnam plans programs for people of all ages. She develops storytimes for preschoolers, runs a girl’s club and afterschool club for preteens, and leads a book club for adults. Currently, Putnam is developing the Teen Summer Reading Club with a Steampunk theme. “Steampunk is the new thing – it’s a genre that’s set in the era of steam-powered technology, but with a modern/futuristic twist.”

In her course work at SJSU, Putnam has taken a range of courses focusing on children and teen services and digital technologies. Putnam lists INFO 240 and 246  (Information Technology Tools and Applications — basic and advanced) as two of her most influential courses.

“INFO 240 with Dr. Linda Main was really cool,” she said. “I got to make my own website, which was a hypothetical website for the library in which I work, targeting the Filipino Community in Red Deer. I was surprised I was able to pull  the website together in one semester.”

Since she holds undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology, Putnam felt working in a library was a good fit for her professional interests. Her first job out of school was to cover for a librarian on medical leave in the adult services department at Red Deer Public Library, where she provided reference and reader’s advisory services to patrons and assisted in the development and promotion of programs and services.

Once that job ended, she picked up specific projects in the library, such as managing the online community Election Forum 2010 for local Red Deer elections. “The IT Department helped me put the website together using Drupal, and I met with candidates to train them how to use the site. Then I managed the volunteers who helped moderate the discussion forms,” Putnam explained. After that, Putnam was asked to transform the library’s Facebook pages and Twitter presence, which involved forming a team and making the two media tools more interesting.

Putnam sees her future in the public library sector. “That’s definitely where I’m headed,” she said. “I’m mostly interested in children and teen services as well as emerging technologies. The two go hand in hand.”