Amy Rogers, MMLIS ’20, chose to formalize her education in information management after having worked as an animation production studio archivist. After earning her Master of Management in Library and Information Science at USC, she returned to her role with newfound confidence, creativity and insights. Learn more about what inspired her to pursue an MMLIS and how she is putting her education to work in this alum Q&A.
“USC offered me the opportunity to explore my personal research interests through independent and group activities.”
Prior to enrolling at USC, I had spent time working as an archivist for an animation production studio, organizing, housing and cataloging boxes of original artwork, documents and other valuable artifacts. Not having had a formal education in archival management, I was often guided in my work by intuition, passion and mentorship from others. Eventually I decided to seek an education that would support my role through a fundamental framework of information management techniques and strategies. I also wanted to develop an understanding as to how these activities could have an impact on the integrity, authenticity, accessibility and long-term survival of archival collections and the communities who use them. USC felt like the perfect environment in which to achieve these goals.
It was evident from the very beginning that USC would provide me with the tools, resources, support and challenging curriculum necessary for success in this field. The curriculum demonstrated that USC had a pulse on the requirements of 21st century librarianship, and I understood that this program would enable me to combine traditional values and ethics with current technologies and business strategies. I had never attempted online courses prior to this program; in hindsight, I am grateful that the digital learning platform provided me with the opportunity to embrace new technologies and prepare for the modern remote work landscape. In addition, the communication and personal attention that I received throughout the application process was indicative of the support that I and my cohort would receive throughout the entirety of the program.
USC demonstrated a keen interest in my career aspirations from the start, and throughout the program, USC offered me the opportunity to explore my personal research interests through independent and group activities. I was able to pursue explorations in the field of special collections and archives, delving deep into topics that were of particular interest to me and my future work. These research opportunities helped me to develop my voice when speaking with other professionals in the field. Conversations With Leaders events provided a glimpse into the wide variety of career options and real-life applications of our curriculum. I truly felt that my professors were engaged in students’ individual interests, and class sizes were small and intimate, allowing students to easily contribute and participate in discussions. Access to career services, counseling, professional organizations, and frequent job and internship postings were also instrumental in setting students up for success.
I will carry with me many memorable experiences of my time in the program, most notably the relationships built with my cohort, teammates and faculty as we navigated the curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic. The events of 2020 brought about many crucial conversations in which my fellow students and I discussed how information institutions can have an impact on their communities, from fostering diversity and inclusion; to developing programs to support digital literacy; to ensuring equity of access to information, tools and vital resources that allow individuals to become and remain active participants in society.
This program has helped me to realize that the questions I have had, the challenges I have faced and the joys I have experienced are shared amongst colleagues in the industry. I have a more thorough understanding of the current conversations in the field of archives management, and I have come to realize that I have a voice that is valued and should be shared. Because of this program, I have become a more participatory member of the broader archival community, leveraging my newfound confidence to attend conferences, engage in conversations with others, and offer my perspective.
I have always been able to intuitively organize, categorize and protect things, but I never fully understood before the impact these abilities and actions could have on others. Upon graduation, I knew that I was ready to leverage my skills, education and experience in a way that could bring about significant change. I have resumed work at my previous company and feel as though I have undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two years. I view my work through a new lens, as I now understand the importance of the work I do more than I ever have before. I am inspired to bring innovative, creative and inclusive solutions to the table, and to remain flexible and adaptable in times of change.
I would encourage anyone who is interested in archives and archives management to utilize your time in this program to engage with the community and understand the challenges, issues, and trends that exist in the field. Stay current and connected by engaging with professional organizations and conducting informational interviews. Build relationships with other departments who can benefit from your expertise and who can share theirs with you. Embrace the emerging technology, but with an eye and heart for the time-honored traditions and overarching purpose of the archive. Listen to the community around you, those who create, use, and need the archive, and advocate for them.
Take the time you have in this program to explore these avenues and to discover the relevance of the curriculum topics to the work you do in archives. The values, ethics and principles of librarianship may look different in execution in the archive, but they remain fundamentally vital to the health and well-being of your collection and the people within your community.