While most first-year university students were working away in their summer jobs, I spent most of my time in my father’s warehouse building him a website for his new business. I borrowed some books on HTML and web design to start off. Reading through the material, I noticed that many of them had links to online resources categorized according to the subject, where each subject also had a list of subtopics. All the information followed a logical structure, and I was quickly mesmerized by its layout and organization. During my research, I found a sense of satisfaction and excitement in the process of compiling pieces of information, and assembling them together into a cohesive unit. Although I had limited success with website-building, I found myself feeling inspired with the idea of researching, collecting, and compiling information; hence I wrote an instruction manual for my parents for their new all-in-one printer. My affinity for the process further thrived during the next few years of my studies when I completed research projects. I found myself really enjoying finding, organizing, analyzing, and compiling information into sections. It is a process that is beyond fulfilling and thrilling to me.
Because of my passion for information organization, I investigated the field of librarianship, extensively reading librarianship blogs, student experiences, and news articles. The more I read, the more similarities I found in librarianship and my experiences working as a tutor and a customer service representative: they all connect people with the information they need through communication, collaboration, and other technical skills, many of which I have acquired through working with people. I also spoke to students currently in the program to learn more about it. The more we talked, the more interest I had in librarianship and its influence on society. Moreover, I know this career will bring me professional and personal growth as it is a profession that involves continuous learning.
Over the years, librarianship has undergone a noticeable change of image. In the past libraries transformed people through the information from books, but with the advent of the Internet and other forms of technology, information has evolved to incorporate a multitude of media. Technologies have opened up data sharing, making them widely available and easily accessible. However, this phenomenon has partially resulted in a relative drop in library usage, a challenge many libraries face. At the same time, libraries that have adopted online portals can struggle to balance their patrons’ desire to have information in both digital and print format with what their budgets allow – another challenge. Despite these difficulties, I think the explosion of electronic information has both created new opportunities for librarians, and expanded their demand in research and special libraries where patrons would need help sorting through the large amounts of electronic information. Librarians can tackle said challenges by using their expertise to find novel solutions to connect patrons with information from various sources. Librarians can also take advantage of these challenges by further developing and enhancing their skill sets to support new services like data management, as well as remaining flexible in an ever-changing environment.
For the current and future generation of libraries, information can be collected from a spectrum of sources, ranging from online sources to creative makerspaces. This can be a challenge for traditional libraries that focus primarily on books; however, this is also where librarians can see this challenge as an incentive to expand their services to include more community involvement – no longer only repositories for books, librarians can remodel libraries as one-stop centers for community building and inclusion, education and learning, research innovation, and historic preservation. By doing so, librarians not only make libraries viable beyond places for access to free internet and books, but they are also reaffirming the libraries’ roles as essential parts of civic life by becoming indispensable to a new generation of patrons.
I chose to apply to the internationally recognized SLAIS program at UBC for many reasons. One of the reasons is its combination of core librarianship skills and co-op options. This will allow me to apply what I learned in the classroom to the workforce, further solidifying and expanding my knowledge base. Another important reason is the diverse range of courses available to students, which helps them discover the pathway and concentration of librarianship they are most interested in. Moreover, I really like the program’s forward-thinking as reflected by its numerous computing and digital skills courses. Together, this innovative approach to education prepares its students for to be highly competent librarians in a time where their roles are expanding. Finally, the diverse research interests of the faculty is another reason that draws me to this program, as I feel there is enormous opportunity and support to learn about various aspects of the field and succeed in my academic pursuits. I am highly interested in Professor Bullard’s research in information and knowledge organization as it aligns with my personal interests. For these reasons, I believe an education in this program gives me the opportunity to pursue my passion as career and is also a launching pad to endless possibilities of specializations that are possible within this degree.
With a strong background in the health sciences, I aspire to become a medical librarian. I believe UBC’s SLAIS program is the best place to experience a fulfilling education and to help me begin a career as a health sciences librarian or as any other type of librarian. The program’s well-rounded approach to education, outstanding reputation for faculty, various opportunities for experiential learning, and foreseeing focus on information technology can not only expose me to as many different experiences as I can, but it can also prepare me with the skill sets required to succeed in librarianship during its massive transformation. With the numerous resources that SLAIS UBC has to offer, I have no doubt that this program will help me build on the skills and abilities that I already have, and pursue a profession that I am truly passionate about.