Visiting MLIS Student and Global LIS Professional Sees Value in a Truly Global Perspective
“For me, learning that libraries in other parts of the world have the same focus and goals as you do has been important to help me see the bigger picture and do better work; it has helped to widen my perspective beyond the minutia of everyday tasks, and beyond my own institution.”
Dunedin, New Zealand
Although she’s a student visiting San José State University School of Information from Victoria University of Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand (where she’s earning her MLIS), Bronwyn Clarke shares all the same hallmarks and traits of any School of Information student working on their MLIS. She’s driven, focused and completely committed to the LIS field. “One thing that always keeps me interested in this profession,” says Clarke, “is how it adapts in an ever-changing digital environment.” This never-ending adaptation—the continued need to learn, evolve and grow—drew Clarke to her position at the Otago University Library, to her MLIS studies, and to the iSchool at SJSU.
At the iSchool, Clarke is taking an INFO 287 course that focuses on gamifying information with Dr. Debbie Weissman. In this course, Clarke and her fellow students explore the concept of gamifying information for library use by critically analyzing existing games for their potential value in the LIS field and creating their very own games based around an existing LIS topic. “This is one of the courses offered via the WISE consortium,” says Clarke. “As part of my master’s program, I can take two courses from other schools towards my degree. This one jumped out at me as being interesting and rather different than what courses are offered via my institution.”
The Global Information Professional
For Clarke, being a global information professional largely means having a global awareness of the similarities between all library professionals across the world. “Learning that libraries in other parts of the world have the same focus and goals that you do,” Clarke says, “has been important to help me see the bigger picture and do better work.” These global experiences and interactions with LIS professionals the world over have also helped Clarke to widen her perspective “beyond the minutiae of everyday tasks” and beyond her own institution.
Clarke believes that a global perspective certainly helps in this digital age in which we live. “Keeping up to date with international library trends and innovations most probably helps people to be more successful in their work,” she says. Clarke continues, “Library work has the potential to be very collegial in terms of professional associations, consortiums and the like, so why not take advantage of being a part of a larger library community if it is available to you.” Taking her own advice to heart, Clarke strives to connect with larger communities of LIS professionals at home and abroad.
In her role at the Otago University, Clarke (pictured right) helps university staff, students and members of the public use library resources. “Over the past seven years,” she says, “I have also worked in several specific areas, including: collection work, working closely with extramural students, high-demand collection work like preparing resources, and now I focus on supplying inter-library loans to libraries all over the world.” As she works towards her degree while working full time tirelessly, Clarke is set to graduate with her master’s at the start of 2021.
Clarke’s ideal future is one where she’s working in the information profession in some way. “Libraries,” she says, “have been in a constant state of change the whole time I have been working in one, so I am keeping an open mind as to what the future might hold for library work and libraries as institutions. I absolutely want to have a career that supports and promotes information literacy in some capacity.” With all the LIS skills she’s honing at her home institution and during her time here at SJSU’s School of Information, there’s no doubt that Clarke will find the work she’s seeking.