In a previous post – a preview of Winter Quarter, I mentioned LIS 590 — Directed Fieldwork (DFW). Essentially, it was an “internship” at the King County Library System — Bellevue Regional Library. I received credit for the DFW, learned PRACTICAL information related to libraries and spent time IN a public library instead of a classroom.
My role was researcher. I observed, interviewed and collected data about the adult patrons, services and programs at the library. The final result was a written PEST analysis report and a couple of executive summaries that will be used in the library’s bigger project — as they complete a User Needs Assessment for adult programming at the library.
I plan on writing a couple posts about the details of this project. I learned so much and hope to find a successful way to share it through the blog. Some of the most useful pieces of information I found were ways to frame survey and interview questions and the resources or types of resources to use in order to complete the PEST analysis. (Oh – and I’ll define the PEST analysis right now: Political, Economical, Social and Technological analysis of the external factors that affect a specific population. By gaining or creating a bigger perspective or profile of the specific user population, it is possible to find successful ways to design/impact/reach the population.)
So, here’s a piece of advice I have for students and/or people interested in LIS – if you’ve got the opportunity to do a DFW, volunteering position, internship, apprenticeship, practicum, cooperative education, etc., strongly consider it! If not for the practical experience, for any of these other reasons (and more!)
- You have the freedom to do something NOT offered as a course!
- You could get the “in” when there’s a job-opening.
- Meeting “real” librarians (or information professionals) will give you a new insight into the library as an organization.