Unexpected Benefits Of An MLIS Degree

iStudent Blog

Published: August 13, 2018 by Priscilla Ameneyro

From backyard projects to beefing up your resume, we’re going to talk about the less conventional benefits of your future degree. I hope this blog post gives you the confidence to transfer the skills you develop in school to your next job application or venture into uncharted territory. At the very least, this article should make you proud of your personal development every day you work towards your MLIS or MARA degree.

Everyday Applications
I’d like you to consider how being an expert in research and data can apply to anything you do. In recent years, I’ve transitioned to a primarily DIY lifestyle. Not because I don’t see value in hiring experts but because I always question the need for one when presented with a problem or project. If I can do it myself, I’ll most likely save money and gain valuable knowledge and experience at the same time.

I’m going to provide one example of how my husband and I faced a challenge and persevered thanks to my newly formed LIS skills. When we first bought our house, the backyard was several hundred square feet of dirt and rocks. We waited over three years before we so much as set foot out there. The main reason was that we thought we needed an expert. We received multiple quotes from landscapers and designers, all of which had a minimum price tag of about $20k. Determined not to spend a small fortune on a patch of grass and a patio, I started to research concrete, trees, topsoil, bark, stones, paints, etc. I managed the data by creating subcategories for each section of the project. We became experts on landscaping our yard, we even knew exactly what type of succulents would thrive in the shaded corner. Three months later we finally had our dream yard (for at least $10k less than hiring an expert) and we enjoy it that much more because we built it together. I recommend the Online Searching class to really hone your Googling skills.

Transferable Skills
Think about the transferable skills this degree provides and how you can position yourself as an ideal candidate for careers that aren’t in libraries or schools. Here are some less conventional jobs I discovered by doing a quick web search that mention LIS degree preferred or required: Taxonomy Functional Consultant, Associate Editor, Digital History Project Manager, Web Developer/Designer and Chief Curator. Even for jobs that don’t mention LIS education, you can surprise them with your superpowers. I also found that some of what I was learning in school could be applied to my previous job, even though I wasn’t working in the field. With an MLIS or MARA degree under your belt, you can bring a unique perspective and set of skills to any role. Check out the latest MLIS Skills at Work report highlighting the skills most in demand by employers, that are relevant across all types of jobs.

Visit Cool Places
Now onto my favorite unexpected benefit: visiting cool places. I’ve toured the California State Archives and I was lucky enough to intern at the Crocker Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. All these experiences were made possible through my schooling. This summer, several SLASC members toured Disney’s Animation Research Library (look out for an upcoming blog post for more details). There’s something magical and inspiring about being surrounded by books and interesting artifacts in a beautiful building.

There have been many other surprises on the journey (including rethinking how I save and store my personal files) and I’d love to hear about what unexpected benefits of being a library science student you’ve found. Leave a comment below to share your personal revelations, travel stories or career accomplishments.