by Barbara Kenney, Instructional Services and Campus initiatives Librarian
This fall the library has had the opportunity to host a graduate student from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Dan Neal, who holds Master’s Degrees in both Religious Studies and History from Providence College, spends 10-12 hours a week in a Professional Field Experience, the goal of which is to learn all aspects of academic librarianship. In a profession that has seen rapid changes, it is important for students in the program to move beyond the classroom and into the environment they hope to join. When designing Dan’s PFE, we built in opportunities for him to teach, participate in librarians’ meetings, interview staff members, and begin exploring areas of scholarship he might pursue.
above: Dan Neal collaborates with Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian
While a PFE offers terrific opportunities for the student, it also provides a new lens through which the librarians can view ourselves and our work. From Digital Scholarship to Open Access initiatives, our ongoing conversations enable us to explore what gaps may exist between the academic program and the front lines of librarianship. The library staff is actively engaged in the education of a new library professional. His questions and insights help us reflect on what we do and how we do it. Collaboration is the foundation of librarianship today. It helps us improve what we do, and in this case, it helps the student gain a better working understanding of the challenges facing academic libraries today. Thanks, Dan, for joining us this semester!
Photos by: Megan Lessard/Roger Williams University Library