Meghan Herman graduated in 2018 from Penn College of Technology with a B.S. degree in Industrial Design. However, being the daughter of a Brodart executive (Gretchen Herman is Brodart’s Vice President of Sales & Product Development), she grew up having a close familiarity with the library industry. It was no great surprise, then, that Meghan decided to pursue her Master of Science in Information and Library Science (MSLS) degree from Clarion University.
Not only is she currently studying diligently to become a librarian, she also works full time in Brodart’s Collection Development department. This is Part 2 of our looks at one person’s MSLS journey. Click HERE for Part 1. Feel free to share your own perspective after reading about Meghan’s experiences.
L2L: Has the pandemic altered your degree program, either in terms of how you’re attending classes and submitting assignments or in terms of the curriculum itself?
MH: Absolutely, there have been many changes that are happening in general for Clarion as well as in my classes. My last semester start time was moved up a week so that our fall break was right before our finals. This changed all the finals to be online only, and everyone that was going home for the fall break had to be moved out of their dorms; finals were taken primarily off-campus. This upcoming semester was shifted back several weeks in order to shorten the time on campus as well as remove our spring break entirely. A lot of individual classes were shifted to online, and the professors did more Zoom classes… having no face-to-face communications at first, and then very limited interactions.
Some of my projects had to be shifted and changed to address the new restrictions. I had several assignments in my Marketing class that dealt with creating programs or social events to bring people into the library or interact in some way. As part of those assignments, we had to specify whether we were taking pandemic restrictions into consideration, and, if so, how those restrictions would impact the outcomes of our proposed programs.
L2L: Can you see any indication through your coursework that the field of librarianship may be evolving due to the pandemic?
MH: One of the main changes I’ve been seeing for libraries and my classes is that there is a larger shift to virtual events and creating an online presence or online activities. I feel like libraries are trying to make things work with the pandemic and bring libraries to the patrons. In doing so, I think being able to work with a variety of digital platforms and create digital content might be something that will be incorporated in future courses.
L2L: Have you chosen a specialty yet?
MH: No, because at this point I am too close to the end of my degree (it went by so fast) and I don’t have enough classes left to really commit to a specialty. I already have next semester’s classes picked out and I’m pretty sure I only have one more class that I can choose as an elective and the other three are requirements, two of which will be for my Capstone.
L2L: That said, are you considering a specific area of focus for your career?
MH: If I look into anything, there are two areas that I have enjoyed so far in my program, which are collection development and YA literature and programs. I like what I do at Brodart a lot, and I love YA literature and the idea of engaging with YA audiences.
L2L: Are you experiencing more crossover between your studies and your day job?
MH: Yes, I had been experiencing more crossover with my last two classes. It will be interesting to see if my next two classes will have crossover or not.
L2L: Can you elaborate? What aspects of your studies have you encountered at work? Also, what have you learned in the classroom that you found applicable to your work life?
MH: With my collection development class, we talked about libraries rebuilding their collections and how they go about doing that as well as weeding collections. This was one of the first things that I learned at Brodart. The things that I learned in the classroom was more background information and smaller nuggets of information that either reinforced information I learned on the job or information that just gave me a better understanding of the library world. I can’t think of anything specific at the moment, though.
L2L: Finally, what’s been your favorite part of your MSLS journey so far?
MH: The thought of graduating!
In the summer of 2019, Meghan decided to pursue her MSLS while starting a new professional job at Brodart. Outside of work and school, Meghan has what she describes as a pretty chill life.