Next up in the series LIS Classes: Insights From Those in the Know is Karen Feeney.
LIS 644 Digital Libraries
This class was really fun because although it was online there were a lot of discussions through Elluminate. Dr. Bird had students sign up to be discussion leaders and their job was to find to relevant articles on the topic of the class then lead a discussion on Blackboard. Students facilitating discussions really makes the class collaborative and student-centered. Our final project was building an actual digital library using CONTENTdm. I took this class online but the way it was structured it really didn’t feel like an online course. I now understand a lot more about the organization and description standards involved in digital library projects. The big take away from this course for me is the importance of finding context for a collection, making sure copyright infringement is not an issue, and describing the objects in the collection in the best way you can to make sure they are discoverable to people outside the host organization.
LIS 688 Grantwriting/Fundraising
I took this class over the summer and it was a lot of work for a little amount of time! It is a super useful class if you’re interested in fundraising for library or museum projects. I liked the fundraising focus of the class because I learned a lot of things I hadn’t been aware of, such as creating a Friends of the Library group and making sure that you have a good marketing campaign strategy. One of the readings Dr. Hersberger assigned suggested having one person oversee the social media and marketing because they can craft templates of press releases and radio spots to advertise events and programs. It seems like it would be easier for one or two people to cultivate contacts for news and radio spots at least. Learning about the history of philanthropy was quite interesting too. It never really crossed my mind that the very wealthy get requests all the time to fund projects and organizations. The big take away from this course was that in fundraising and grant-writing the importance of “making the case” for your project is essential. Make it so interesting they can’t say no, and be good stewards of the funds. Keep track of the timeline and update your donors on progress. Oh, yeah, it helps to have a deliverable too! Showing how you’re planning to spend the money and what your eventual outcome will be is key.
LIS 618 Materials for Adolescents
If you love reading a lot of young-adult fiction and can read fast, this is the class for you! It’s one of the electives for the Media Specialist track but it’s also a great class for anyone interested in working in Youth Services in a public library. I took this class on campus and it was one of the most rigorous I’ve had. Reading about 35+ YA books plus textbook selections is a challenge when you have other classes and work, let me tell you. I bemoaned the fact that Dr. Gann was making us read Twilight for weeks. But in order to be a good librarian, especially a children’s one, you do really need to read what the students are reading, not just what you like to read. But the books were really good, most of them by award winning authors, and they were relatively easy reads, though many of the books are 300+ pages. You will learn a ton about young-adult books and how to write a good book review. Also, you learn how to give book talks in video format (which is great experience and a good product for your capstone!) and give a presentation on an author. The big take away for me was the understanding of what quality young adult literature is, and how to evaluate and market this literature to get students interested in reading.