This past weekend, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a certificate in Special Collections! I am so honored to also receive the iSchool Alumni Association student award. I’ve been working full-time at a public library while completing my degree, and I’ve received the wonderful support of family, coworkers, and friends!
I’ve been fortunate to take a great variety of classes, and had the opportunity to learn from some very knowledgeable professors. I’ve been able to incorporate my interest in family history into many of my studies. In my Genealogy and Library Services course, I learned a lot about professional genealogy and genealogical librarianship from expert genealogist and educator Nicole Wedemeyer Miller. In that course I also wrote two family history research guides, and a compiled genealogy of the Medine family. In my History of the Book course, I researched the history of a 450-year-old Spanish genealogical manuscript. I presented this research at two poster showcases at UIUC, and one graduate student conference at the Newberry Library. In my Bookbinding course, my final book project was a creative book that showcased my family tree. My Digital Preservation course has helped me organize and preserve my thousands of digital files relating to family history. One of my favorite courses (and my last course) was Storytelling, in which I developed my storytelling skills and recorded the story of my Nana in the WAVES!
I’ve also been able to work on some amazing projects outside of the family history realm. I learned the basics of cataloging, and I put those skills to use at a practicum at Starhill Forest Arboretum, working on cataloging their botanical and historical library. I wrote a subject guide, which was immediately used at my library in tandem with an upcoming program. I also developed my knowledge and skills in typography and graphic design, collection development, reference services, and rare books and special collections. I have traveled to the Feria Internacional de Libros in Guadalajara, Mexico for my course in Information Resources for Spanish-speaking Patrons. All in all, it’s been a rewarding and enriching experience!
So, what’s next? I’m going to continue to work at the public library. I’ll be doing more writing for The Family Librarian, so stay tuned for more article posts! In June, I’ll be giving a public presentation about tools for sharing your family history research. I’m also working on submitting my research paper on the Spanish genealogical manuscript for publication in a scholarly journal. In the near future, I’d also like to pursue certification as a genealogist. So, lots of exciting work is in the works!
Thank you so much to those who supported me through this educational journey, including my husband and family, supervisor and coworkers, friends, fellow UIUC library students, professors, advisers, mentors, practicum coordinators, Starhill Arboretum owners, GSLIS and iSchool alumni, and many others! I’m grateful for the encouragement that you’ve given me.
I’m no longer a student, but you’ll still find me learning at the library!