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DHARMASCHOLAR's Photo DHARMASCHOLAR Posts: 2,323
9/19/14 6:14 A

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Currently in one at SJSU. I think it's really great so far. It's not without its challenges, though. Time management is key, since classes aren't scheduled at certain times, so you have to keep on top of that.
Otherwise, it's not much different from standard classes (to me). Sure discussions are online, but there are still people who "talk" more and some who just interact the minimum requirement. I think because instructors require participation more people interact during class.
I think that I have more access to my instructor when questions arise.
All my readings and the lecture notes (and recordings) are there online for me to access whenever I need them, instead of trying to remember everything that was said in class.
I've noticed that a lot of my profs are very tech-savvy, and that's rubbed off on me, learning new programs and such, which I think will be asset later.
Also, the online program my school uses, Canvas (we switched last semester,) has a nice iPad app, so between that and Dropbox, I can access my course materials and readings from nearly anywhere, without lugging around my laptop everywhere.
I think there is still a bias when it comes to brick and mortar programs vs online programs, but I think it's changing. As more qualified online-only degreed librarians enter the field and show that they are qualified, that bias should subside.

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12/4/13 10:28 A

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Thank you for that thoughtful response. It does put my concerns to rest regarding the online program when I consider that, yes, so much of the position has become familiarity with using technology in the first place. I think that when it comes to online degree programs that accreditation process will become so much more important, and that's the list I am using when comparing options.

Ames, Texas

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
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TRAGICCNET's Photo TRAGICCNET Posts: 87
12/3/13 10:12 P

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I got my MLIS degree in an online program and I really liked it. I also managed to get a job in a related field before graduating. It's worth mentioning that, like everything, there are some good things and bad things about online programs. It's great because it's flexible and extremely convenient. I don't care to count how many times I was watching lectures at 2am in my pjs. But I think that one of the things that you can easily miss out on is networking. When you graduate, you're not necessarily going to graduate with a bunch of recommendations from professors because you may just be a name on a discussion board to them. That said, there are ways to overcome that. Another negative is that the sense that I've gotten from reading blogs and such is that the online degree isn't valued as highly as the traditional degree. There are still folks out there who don't believe you can go through an online program and still get the necessary customer service experience with it. I think that this feeling is something that will eventually fade away as online programs become more prevalent and graduates of those online programs enter the industry.

I thought that one of the advantages to being in an online program was the technology aspect of it all. We truly had to know how to use certain technologies in order to even engage in our classes. Because librarianship has become such a techie field in many ways, this is a big bonus in my book.

There are two things I would advise you of: make sure that the program you're interested in is accredited. Also, look at the program itself. They can vary greatly depending on what kind of work you eventually want to do.

Good luck!

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10/29/13 8:49 A

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Wow, Amanda, I completely understand. For me, if I had it to do over again, I'd wait until my son was in school himself to embark on anything that time-consuming. The intellectual challenge of grad school is a great thing, but if you feel like you have the time, you might want to wait until your baby is older. (Voice of experience, and your mileage may vary!)

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AMANDANCES's Photo AMANDANCES Posts: 2,066
10/29/13 8:28 A

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Thank you for the link! I still haven't decided what I want to do. At this point, moving is out of the question, and with a 2-year-old, I'm not sure how studying and trying to work at the same time would happen. I'm going to look into these programs, but probably won't be doing anything, in terms of signing up, until next summer or fall.

I'm looking at trying to get a part-time job as a shelver, but those jobs here are few and far between. They've actually not hired a new children's librarian for my local branch, and word has it they aren't replacing the one who retired. That's sad because I remember how much Mrs. Bickle, my childhood librarian, helped me out. In any case, I appreciate the advice. I'll let you all know what I end up deciding, but I do appreciate the advice!

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10/26/13 2:00 P

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Hi Amanda,

I just saw this article and thought of your question:
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/10/sch
ools/as-online-degrees-become-more-pre
valent-questions-linger/

Re: children's librarian positions, I don't think they're necessarily any more competitive than other positions. Some of my library school peers got jobs as children's librarians within a year or two of grad. (They both worked as on-call librarians for the interim, which was pretty common among my peers.) I definitely don't think everyone who goes to library school wants to work with children. For instance, I knew I wanted to work in library IT/data management from the beginning - although I did take a children's services class and loved it, and I definitely would have "settled" for reference work because I also enjoy that.

Have you decided to apply for a program?

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10/13/13 9:00 P

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Pursuing a degree in any field is definitely a big investment--financially, psychologically, emotionally, and time-wise. Have you worked in a library before? If not, you might want to see if you can volunteer or job shadow a librarian for a few days. The range of job duties and responsibilities will vary, especially depending on the library, but many people are surprised by what it means to be a librarian or information professional.

I would suggest talking to some children's librarians to see how competitive that specific area is. Your willingness to relocate will factor into competitiveness (i.e. if you can move across the country there will be more opportunities than if you have to stay where you currently live).

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AMANDANCES's Photo AMANDANCES Posts: 2,066
10/13/13 4:08 P

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Thank you everyone -- I GREATLY appreciate the advice and suggestions. It's a big step, financially and psychologically, to go back to school mid-40s, so I have a lot to think about. I decided to actually just see if I could schedule an appointment with HR at our local library system. At the very least I'll find out what they're looking for, and what the career potential is.

I've always had these fantasies of being a children's librarian. Is that pretty much what EVERYBODY wants? So the competition is pretty fierce?

Enjoying every single moment I can with my husband and little boy!


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DUKEFAN86's Photo DUKEFAN86 SparkPoints: (120,502)
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10/12/13 10:40 P

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I'm getting my MLS on-campus at a school that has an online program, and I considered it, but decided to take classes on campus. I've taken two online classes. One was too easy, and one challenged me and had a very interactive professor, so it can be hit or miss within a single program.

My experience with other online students is that the people who are working in the library or information field already, or seek internships or volunteer experience in a library during the program, get the most out of the online degree. In addition, joining ALA and/or your state library association can help with networking missed by not taking classes on campus.

I'm in my 40s, and started my MLS two years ago. Wish I'd started sooner, but better late than never! Go for it!

Just my two cents! Good luck!

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10/9/13 12:46 A

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I am currently finishing my MLIS online through the University of Oklahoma. (I should graduate in December as long as I pass my comps this weekend!) I chose to pursue my MLIS online because I live in a rural area and after carefully considering my options decided to was better to pursue school part-time and continue to work full-time. I also had a couple of friends who had successfully completed their programs online (through different schools), so I felt confident that it was a good choice for me.

Online education is like anything else online--you should do some research and find out about the various online programs. Online classes are definitely different than sitting in a classroom, especially if the classes are asynchronous. I think that an online program also depends on what you put in to it...if you are only minimally engaged, your experience won't be as fulfilling or educational. It is also important to consider your own learning style because online classes can be very different from traditional, on-campus classes.

Reaching out to others who have completed their MLIS and asking about their programs (whether online or on campus) is a great place to start. (Those that I talked to were very honest about the strengths and weaknesses of their programs.) University and departmental websites can be informative, as well. You will want to find out what the entrance/application requirements and deadlines are. I personally also considered the accreditation of both the university and the degree program, as well as the tuition and fees.

The American Library Association has some resources that could be helpful. You might check out www.ala.org/educationcareers/educati
on
. I used their lists of ALA-accredited degree programs to find which programs had distance or online options. Depending on what you want to do, it might not be necessary to have an ALA-accredited degree but many job postings list an ALA-accredited degree as a requirement.

Best wishes!

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10/8/13 10:23 P

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One more response, re: hesitating to get the degree. Honestly, go for it! If you want to work in libraries, whatever you want to do, or if you're already working in a library, having your MLIS will open up way more opportunities for you, and at a higher rate of pay, than are open to you without it.

And I think the long-predicted "age crisis" may at last be upon us - as has been predicted for many years, a lot of libraries are now heavily staffed with people over 50, who will retire one day (and people over 60, who will retire sooner).

Especially if you're able to relocate, and if you bring with you some skills from your previous career that you can translate to library work. I have two good friends who recently did this, one who was previously a full-time parent and the other a research director, and both are now working as librarians. It's super competitive (which is where the ability to relocate comes in) but if you're determined to do library work, your options are better with the MLIS than without it.

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10/8/13 9:50 P

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Hi Amanda,

I don't think there's any right answer to this question. I've worked now with people who got their degrees online and people who got their degrees in person, and I can't equate any of their skills with the type of program they attended, or even the school.

A lot depends on what you want to do and the specific strengths and weaknesses of a particular program. For instance I have landed in a position where I supervise catalogers, but my in-person program had a cataloging teacher who was big into theory, not so much into practice. Fortunately, I'd taken some online library technician courses that went in-depth into cataloging -- prior to getting my MLIS -- so at least I have an idea of what's going on. :)

My best suggestion is to talk to a lot of people, especially people who are in a position to hire MLIS grads, about what they're looking for and what matters to them in the programs of the people they consider for jobs.

Good luck! ~ Jennifer

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LONGLOSTAMES's Photo LONGLOSTAMES SparkPoints: (9,246)
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10/8/13 5:44 P

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I would also love to hear some feedback on this, as it's been one of my hesitations in going for the degree. Does anyone have experience with the online programs of the univeristies that offer both online and traditional classes?

Ames, Texas

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
Marilyn Monroe


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AMANDANCES's Photo AMANDANCES Posts: 2,066
10/8/13 9:00 A

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Hi everyone,

I'm looking at a career-change mid 40's, and what I've really wanted to do is work on my MLS. The only problem for me is that I'm stuck living where I'm living and there are no schools nearby (IUPUI is about 3 hours from me.)

I've been looking at some of those programs that allow you to get your MLS online. Or 99.9% online. For those of you already in the workplace -- are those online degrees trusted? Are thery respected? I've been in an industry that's seen a lot of MBAs applying for work, and the general prejudice seems to be online degrees are inferior to traditional degrees. Have you noticed a similar prejudice in this industry?

Also, if you know of any good online MLS programs that you can recommend, can you mention them? Also, do you have any advice for a would-be student? I have a BFA in creative writing and another BA in English lit but have not yet taken the GRE, which I assume is required to enter a MLS program - ?

Thank you in advance!
-Amanda

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