Experiential Learning Series: Bob McInnes

Although Bob’s grad school experience involves a project rather than an internship it still is a great example of the kind of experiential learning that happens in the LIS program. Thank you for sharing Bob!

Speaking of special grad school experiences, I had one that I was able to drag out over three different academic terms, beginning in the spring of 2011 and extending it through the summer term and fall terms of that year.
In the spring of 2011, I took a class called “Special Libraries” under the instruction of Dr. Richard Moniz. Of course, we had a number of different assignments to complete; but the big one at the end was to develop of a full-scale special library, complete with plans for funding, staffing, equipping, supplying and publicizing the whole thing. I really got into this and developed a plan for the establishment of The Cabot-Repton Library of Elizabethan History, Life
and Culture. I located this fictitious library in Tilbury, England—the site of a famous episode of the Elizabethan Age. As I alluded to earlier, I had to provide for funding for this institution, and in this case, I introduced two wealthy benefactors who were both interested in Elizabethan history—Dr. John Cabot and Mr. James Repton (both fictitious). My final written report provided for anything I could think of that a new library would need: a building (an existing
building, renovated to the necessary specifications), an architectural firm (Library Architects, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio—an real architectural firm), a construction contractor (Mansell Construction Co. of London), a staff, furnishings, equipment, computer hardware and software, publicity, and much more. It was a lot of fun developing this plan and I am quite proud of the finished product…but that’s not all.

In the summer of 2011, I took Dr. Hersberger’s course in “Fund-raising and Grant- writing for Libraries.” In that course we had a number of assignments, including a big end-of- term assignment that required a full-scale plan for fundraising for some sort of library-related project. In this case, I decided to take the library I had “established” in the spring and use it as a
venue for a fund-raising campaign. By now, I decided that Messrs. Cabot and Repton had both contributed enough (£48 million between the two of them) and that they needed additional funding for programming. In this case, I thought of a visiting scholars program of experts in Elizabethan history who would come in for a lyceum series. These experts would address different aspects of the history of the age, and these programs would be filmed and televised on the BBC. All that was needed was the funding. I had to do a great deal of research to find the most likely philanthropic sources for this kind of project. In the end, I developed an extensive list of donors (with accurate contact information) to contribute to the program. But that’s not all…

In the fall of 2011, I took Dr. Chow’s “Library Administration and Management” class. As you can probably guess, this course required a number of different assignments, but the big end-of-term assignment was one that included a managerial plan for a library. By now, I think you can figure out the rest. I drew upon my earlier work with The Cabot-Repton and developed a managerial plan for a way-cool library. Good Queen Bess would be proud.

If you know of anyone in the olde countrie who is interested in starting a library about Elizabethan history, please refer them to me.


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