Starting my MLIS

August 11, 2012

I’ve started working toward a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) at the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS). Well, not exactly at SJSU. Their program is 100% online, which, since we’re living in Kampala, Uganda, is exactly what I need. (I found some programs claim to be 100% online, and their courses may be, but they still require one on-site orientation or visit.)

When people ask me why I’m pursuing an MLIS, I tell them that it will tie together my experience and interest in information technology with my experience and interest in libraries. Sometimes I feel like I am straddling two worlds. In one world, there are real, paper books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and other artifacts. The other world lives on computers and in the proverbial cloud.

It seems many people only want to live in one of these worlds. Some say they love the feel and the smell of their books, and will never give them up for e-readers. (Though they might change their tune if they were living overseas, and had no access to books. I sure did.)  Others say that putting information online makes it available to anyone, anywhere — and saves trees too.

Sometimes I feel like the only one who understands the joy, and the limitations, of both these worlds. I love *things*. I love film photography and old record albums and book covers and my preschool son’s artwork. On the other hand, I love having my photos, books, writing, and music in a weightless, portable, easily searchable format. (Having lived in four countries in the past three years, this is priceless.) Don’t make me choose between the world of physical objects and the world of information; I don’t want to give up either.

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