In the uncertain times of COVID-19, Sarah Hollins, MMLIS '22, took a chance on herself to switch careers and applied to USC's Master of Management in Library and Information Science degree because of the program's emphasis on business and leadership. Today she works as a virtual references librarian at TutorMe, a Los Angeles based education technology company, and collection assistant at Shine Gallery. Learn more about her experience in the program in this Q&A.
"The knowledge, experience, and skills that I gained throughout my time in the program are obviously invaluable, but the connections and relationships I made with my professors and peers were the most meaningful and impactful aspects of the program for me."
I am most proud of applying for the program at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a brave pivot when the world around us all felt very scary and unsure. I had to get letters of recommendation from people newly adjusting to lockdown and had to pull some strings and call in some favors to get my transcripts when all the offices were closed during those first weeks of lockdown. I really gambled on myself and am so thankful that I did!
My advice would be to pace yourself as the program's accelerated nature can be a bit overwhelming to adjust to. Carving out time for breaks, hobbies and walks or time outside can really help avoid burnout. I would also advise to start networking and chatting with librarians in different areas of the library and information science (LIS) field to see which areas may interest you. The librarians already working in those sectors can give you great insight into what the day-to-day of those jobs look like and if they would be a good fit for you. I would also recommend getting started on your own research projects, research assistant positions, and internships as soon as possible during the program. It can be difficult to have time for those later in the program and will definitely help your resume if you don't have a lot of experience in the LIS field.
This program has already assisted me in pivoting from the childcare industry and entering the LIS field. I am also excited that this program, thanks to its emphasis on business and leadership, will help prepare me to pivot into other information related fields such as tech.
Something that I discovered during the program that surprised me was how much I enjoyed statistics and accounting once I got the hang of them! I was typically someone who struggled in math throughout my school-aged years, so it was a really wonderful surprise for the concepts to click and for me to be able to utilize these in the LIS field. I will definitely apply it professionally in my work as an archivist and librarian and also feel prepared to apply them in possible future research positions and tech-based positions that require data analysis and management.