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1 Elizabeth Hopkins March 15, 2013 Dominican University GSLIS E-Portfolio Reflective Essay The completion of this e-portfolio

has encouraged me to consider my entire graduate experience at Dominican University. As I have discussed work that was completed as recently as this semester, and some pieces that date back to my very first semester, it is interesting to consider my complete academic journey from start to finish. While every class and every assignment has offered some sort of educational value, I find it helpful to discuss some of my most memorable experiences as I near the completion of my degree. As I reflect back on my entire graduate career at DU, it is somewhat difficult to determine which courses were most significant. It seems as though each graduate class has allowed me to grow in some way within the field of librarianship; however, if I were to pick my most memorable experiences I would narrow those down to LIS 764 User Instruction, LIS 763 Readers' Advisory, and my practicum at the Berwyn Public Library. As I come from an undergraduate background in English Secondary Education, User Instruction was a very nostalgic class for me. After completing my bachelors degree I taught high school English classes as a long-term substitute. While I loved working in education and teaching young adults, I ultimately left the profession to pursue my MLIS. Once I became a student at Dominican, I was delighted to discover that there was great crossover between the education field and the librarianship profession. In my User Instruction class, we were asked to create lesson plans and teach mock instructional sessions to our classmates. I greatly enjoyed utilizing the skills I developed in my undergraduate career to further my understanding of LIS. Prior to taking this class, I did not realize how much instruction is involved in librarianship, nor

2 did I fully comprehend that librarians are often in a traditional classroom environment with patrons. It was exciting to be formally teaching again, and after taking this class I discovered that I wanted User Instruction to be a part of my future career as a librarian. In my Readers Advisory class, I felt as though the entire syllabus was geared towards preparing students for real-world experiences. Our assignments consisted of book reviews, reading maps, book discussions, and library visits. I truly appreciated the fact that our professor was invested in preparing us for our professional lives after graduation. In addition to enjoying the realistic nature of our assignments, I also became greatly enthusiastic about the field of Readers Advisory itself. Prior to taking the class, I thought Readers Advisory work was just something librarians did on occasion while working the desk. I did not understand the depth and demand of this field, nor did I realize that some librarians had made Readers Advisory their career. I quickly became interested in book groups, suggesting read alike titles, and available RA tools and resources. Essentially, this class made me realize that Readers Advisory was something I absolutely wanted to do professionally, and it also provided me with the opportunity to intern at the Berwyn Public Library. Lastly, my practicum at BPL has been one of my most significant experiences as an LIS graduate student. While I was enrolled in Readers Advisory, my professor asked if I was interested in interning in Berwyns RA department. I jumped at the opportunity to gain as much professional experience as possible and registered for a practicum class during my final semester at DU. I have gained a bounty of experience as a Readers Advisory intern at BPL. Here I had the opportunity to work the RA desk, help market a large-scale library program, and also write a collection development proposal. These real-world opportunities have by far been some of my most educational experiences in the graduate program. I greatly enjoyed applying concepts I had

3 studied in class (such as book talking) in an actual library setting. I am most grateful for this opportunity as it has not only expanded my professional experience but has also greatly broadened my knowledge of librarianship. In addition to highlighting my most memorable academic experiences, I find that I must also discuss the artifacts in my portfolio of which I am most proud. Out of all the assignments included in this compilation, my reading map (Goal Three, Outcome 3b) is my favorite by far. As I look back on this assignment, I remember the great amount of time and energy invested in its completion, but I also remember having a great deal of fun making it as well. Since I was able to design a map around a book I loved (John Greens An Abundance of Katherines) I sincerely enjoyed researching the author, writing a book review, and finding read alike suggestions. I became most enthusiastic about reading maps in general, and enjoyed making a second map as part of my internship at the Berwyn Public Library. In addition to my reading map, I am also rather proud of my Community Analysis, which I completed in my Collection Management class (Goal Two, Outcome 2c). Similar to my reading map, as I reflect back on this assignment Im reminded of just how much time was invested to create the finished product. Perhaps it is unsurprising that I find myself most proud of the pieces which took the most time and energy to complete; however, the Community Analysis was also a bit of a personal experience as it revolves around Oak Park Public Library, where I am employed. Since I had a professional connection to the library at hand, I enjoyed researching the community, studying the librarys collection, and identifying a gap in materials. Not only did this assignment expand my knowledge of collection management, but it also provided the opportunity to become more knowledgeable of the collection I work with and the patrons I serve on a daily basis. The dual

4 academic and professional growth that resulted from the Community Analysis assignment made it a valuable and educational experience. As I consider my most memorable classes and assignments from the LIS program, I find myself reviewing the collection of artifacts in my portfolio and what these pieces say about me as a future librarian. It is my hope that my compilation of work reflects my dedication to serving various communities and connecting users to information. The reading map, for example, is designed to provide online Readers Advisory service to John Green fans, while the Male Young Adult Reader website is intended to be an informational resource for librarians working with teens. When I consider this representation of my portfolio, I am reminded of the reasons why I decided to pursue my MLIS. I wanted to work in some sort of service related field that promoted literacy and aspired to improve communities. Looking back on some of my favorite graduate pieces, I am pleased to discover that my work is an accurate reflection of my initial goals as a new GSLIS student. While my knowledge of librarianship has broadened significantly as a result of completing the program, I am proud to say that I still hope to be a librarian who is dedicated to communities and serving as a bridge between users and their informational needs. As the completion of my e-portfolio marks my approaching graduation, I find it appropriate to summarize my graduate experience by discussing my future goals. I am quite certain that I want to work as a librarian in a public library setting. My experiences at the Oak Park Library and the Berwyn Library have affirmed my dedication to working with diverse communities. While I am confident in my decision to remain in public librarianship, I am a bit flexible regarding the type of work I would like to pursue. Based on my experiences as a high school teacher and those of my time as an LIS 722 student, I am confident that I would appreciate the opportunity to work with young adults in a library setting. I find that there is great

5 opportunity for librarians to meet the needs of this specific user group through materials, programming and outreach- I would greatly enjoy incorporating this aspect of librarianship in my career. I have also become most interested in Readers Advisory as a result of LIS 763 and my internship at Berwyn. I am greatly inspired by the enthusiasm patrons demonstrate over a title they loved and I enjoy assisting them as they seek out their next great read. Lastly, I am hoping that I will be able to work with patrons in an instructional setting as a future librarian. Whether it is simply providing one-on-one instruction at the reference desk, or teaching largescale classes and workshops, I am going to strive to continue my profession in education as I approach my librarianship career. While there are certain pressures that come with graduation (such as finding a job), I am eager to utilize my degree in this ever-evolving profession that I love and hope that I have the opportunity to apply some of these skill sets in my future librarianship profession.