Three years after graduating from our School’s MLIS program in May 2010, alum Young Lee continues to build upon the information technology and professional networking skills he developed as a student. Today, he works as the Reference and Electronic Services Librarian at the University of La Verne Law Library in Ontario, California.
Young’s job includes reference services, research assistance to faculty and students, instruction in legal research and database usage, and maintaining and developing the law library’s website and social media presence. He found his way to the position through a tip from a contact he made as a volunteer at his local county law library prior to enrolling in our MLIS program.
“Working in an academic library is very fulfilling,” said Young. “I like the environment, and I like working with the public. I’m really fortunate to have found a great job that affords me the time and opportunity to explore various LIS projects.”
Young’s projects include active participation and leadership roles in a variety of professional organizations (see below), as well as serving as a panelist, presenter, organizer, and moderator at a wide range of LIS conferences and events, including the first Unconference sponsored by the California Academic & Research Libraries (CARL).
With a former career as an attorney, Young enrolled in the MLIS program to follow a new career pathway. “I realized the practice of law wasn’t what I wanted to do – I loved the intellectual aspect of it, but the job of a lawyer is 24-7, which was more than I wanted in a career,” he said.
A debilitating car accident prompted Young’s decision to shift gears, and he began volunteering in his local public library. “I helped start up a new book club and met a number of librarians, most of whom were enrolled in or had graduated from SJSU SLIS,” he said.
The experience led to Young’s research of librarianship as a second career, where he learned how diverse the field was, how varied the opportunities were, and how technologically-oriented the discipline could be. “I was hooked!” he said. “I researched my options and chose SJSU SLIS because it was a respected LIS school. I also liked the practical focus of SLIS curriculum, the online aspect, and the fact that it was worldwide, which offered built-in professional networking potential.”
“The online nature of SLIS is one if its greatest strengths,” Young said. “It not only requires students to be savvy and proficient in online technologies and tools, but it also forces students to network. Perhaps because students don’t have face-to-face interaction in our online courses, we reach out even more through social media tools and social networks, which inevitably lead to meet-ups in real life.”
LIBR 298 Special Studies (LIBR 203 Peer Mentorship): “Mentoring my fellow peers through their first SLIS course, LIBR 203, was a great experience. It was my opportunity to give back. I’ve carried these mentoring skills forward in my professional activities, helping to put on webinars and workshops.”
“Get involved and start networking, which is about establishing relationships and learning from others. When applying for a job, just mentioning the name of someone you know in the organization can eliminate some uncertainties about an applicant.”
“With the caveat to always research which conference is attended by their desired professional peer group (particularly specialized LIS disciplines like archivists or special librarians), I believe every LIS student should attend the ALA annual conference at least once (to see the sheer scope and strength of the profession), as well as their state (or regional) library association conference. Also, I highly recommend making a particular effort to attend after-hours social events and receptions; I’ve found them to be the best opportunities to network and learn.”
California Library Association (CLA), Chair of Student Interest Group, American Library Association (ALA), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), California Academic and Research Libraries Association (CARL), Asian Pacific American Libraries Association (APALA), American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL), Beta Phi Mu (BPM), State Bar of California, SLISConnect: “I participate in SLISConnect by doing resume reviews, workshops, some programming, and I attend many of the meet-ups in my area.”