Student Gordana Vitez Puts Coursework to Use on the Job

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Gordana Vitez uses “essentially everything” she’s learning in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program in her job at an academic library in Ontario, Canada. As the library services and systems coordinator for Niagara College’s libraries, she turns class assignments into professional initiatives.  

For instance, for an assignment to create a research guide in INFO 210 Reference and Information Services, Vitez put together a guide to help Niagara College faculty learn about the hybrid teaching model that blends classroom and online instruction.

Although it was created for a class assignment, Vitez was excited about the guide and showed it to a Niagara College faculty member, who shared her enthusiasm for the project.

“And so instead of sitting on it, we implemented the research guide right away, and it’s currently in use,” Vitez said.

Sharing her enthusiasm with her INFO 210 instructor, Dr. Michelle Simmons, Vitez said that directors from multiple divisions of the college were using the guide as a catalyst to launch the hybrid teaching model. Vitez has already started planning a series of additional guides to be developed in tandem with faculty.

Also, when she developed a plan for delivering library instruction to Niagara College students, Vitez drew from the knowledge she gained from other courses, including INFO 287 Information Literacy.

Vitez has a bachelor’s degree with a double major in history and English, and earned a library technician diploma in 1998. She worked for a Canadian library database company before going to work at Niagara College 14 years ago. Vitez was hired as a part-time evening technician, but after about three months, she “lucked into” a full-time job. From there, she’s worked her way up to her current position.

On the advice of her library director that she get a master’s “for positions that might come up in the future,” Vitez started the MLIS program in 2010. She expects to graduate in December 2014. After that, she hopes to take more of an administrative role at the Niagara College libraries.

She had heard about the SJSU information school from a colleague and also at an Ontario Library Association conference. The fully online MLIS program appealed to her because she works full time and has a family.

“In the end, I realized the MLIS program’s content is really quite wonderful,” Vitez said, “so even though it was a pragmatic choice, it was a good choice.”

Career Tip

“Take anything that comes across your path, even if it’s just a part-time job that may not seem very important. Take it, work really hard at it and you’ll be shocked at how far you can go with what you learn. Small jobs can lead to big things.”

Tech Tip

“Keep a really open mind about technology and learn as you go. There are so many good tools on the Web. Just learn as you go and apply it every day.”

Best Conferences

Educause, Association of College and Research Libraries, Evergreen International Conference, Ontario Library Association Superconference

Favorite Blogs/Websites, Information Wants to Be Free, Information Literacy Weblog

Professional Affiliation

Ontario Library Association