A question for librarians

One of my kids is considering various library schools for her graduate degree. The long list includes Syracuse, Rutgers, Simmons, Seattle, (and another one I can’t remember, but if she really cares about it, she’ll remind me what it was.)

The short list is Syracuse and Rutgers.

She is most interested in becoming a YA/childrens librarian, though I’m encouraging her to keep her options open.

So I figured we’d throw it open to youse guys who have already lived through this. Which one of those schools offers the best program? Which one would you encourage your daughter (assuming you had one) to attend? Should any of those schools be stricken from the list because the professors are all trolls? Any hints about getting through library school without going into millions of dollars of debt?

45 Replies to “A question for librarians”

  1. You should really ask child_lit, a fabulous collective of nearly two thousand writers, librarians, connoisseurs, wags, teachers, etc. They’re wonderful for factual information and also for textual analysis — plus, I’m sure they’d thrill at a message from you; as a group, they are huge Speakfans. (Though you wouldn’t have to feel too conspicuous as there are several Big Name Authors who post regularly.)

    Here’s a link to the listserv: http://email.rutgers.edu/archives/child_lit.html

  2. You should really ask child_lit, a fabulous collective of nearly two thousand writers, librarians, connoisseurs, wags, teachers, etc. They’re wonderful for factual information and also for textual analysis — plus, I’m sure they’d thrill at a message from you; as a group, they are huge Speakfans. (Though you wouldn’t have to feel too conspicuous as there are several Big Name Authors who post regularly.)

    Here’s a link to the listserv: http://email.rutgers.edu/archives/child_lit.html

  3. You should really ask child_lit, a fabulous collective of nearly two thousand writers, librarians, connoisseurs, wags, teachers, etc. They’re wonderful for factual information and also for textual analysis — plus, I’m sure they’d thrill at a message from you; as a group, they are huge Speakfans. (Though you wouldn’t have to feel too conspicuous as there are several Big Name Authors who post regularly.)

    Here’s a link to the listserv: http://email.rutgers.edu/archives/child_lit.html

    1. I can second this. Met someone this summer who is enrolled in the UNC program. She’s involved in work study which helps pay her tuition. I can give you her email via your writerlady email if you’re interested.

  4. I have an MLIS and no debt. I considered Rutgers, but it seemed a little more systems-friendly and slightly offputting. That could have just been me, though. I went to Drexel in Phila. I would not advise this to any thinking person, though.

    The “no debt” part came through an assistantship, working in Drexel’s library. I got this by calling the financial aid lady three times a week, twice a day, and asking in a chipper voice if she had any money for me yet. No? Okay, I’ll call back in three hours. This went on from June till August, then I got the position. Squeaky wheel and all that.

    And I learned more working in the library than I did from any of the theory I got in class. I’d recommend some kind of internship/assistantship/practical experience highly.

    Tell her good luck! Being a librarian rocks.

  5. I have an MLIS and no debt. I considered Rutgers, but it seemed a little more systems-friendly and slightly offputting. That could have just been me, though. I went to Drexel in Phila. I would not advise this to any thinking person, though.

    The “no debt” part came through an assistantship, working in Drexel’s library. I got this by calling the financial aid lady three times a week, twice a day, and asking in a chipper voice if she had any money for me yet. No? Okay, I’ll call back in three hours. This went on from June till August, then I got the position. Squeaky wheel and all that.

    And I learned more working in the library than I did from any of the theory I got in class. I’d recommend some kind of internship/assistantship/practical experience highly.

    Tell her good luck! Being a librarian rocks.

  6. I have an MLIS and no debt. I considered Rutgers, but it seemed a little more systems-friendly and slightly offputting. That could have just been me, though. I went to Drexel in Phila. I would not advise this to any thinking person, though.

    The “no debt” part came through an assistantship, working in Drexel’s library. I got this by calling the financial aid lady three times a week, twice a day, and asking in a chipper voice if she had any money for me yet. No? Okay, I’ll call back in three hours. This went on from June till August, then I got the position. Squeaky wheel and all that.

    And I learned more working in the library than I did from any of the theory I got in class. I’d recommend some kind of internship/assistantship/practical experience highly.

    Tell her good luck! Being a librarian rocks.

  7. Writing and Agents

    Hi Laurie. I was going to drop you an email, but I cannot find a contact address for you here. I am probably completely overlooking it. I debated even asking you, but a fellow writer friend said I definitely should. I read (and loved) Speak. Catalyst has been ordered for me and I am eagerly awaiting it. My current manuscript involves subject manner similar to Speak and is for the same age group. I am looking for an agent and so I wanted to ask who your agent is. That’s all. I am not some wierdo stalker who will beg you to “get me published” or something. I know enough about the writing world to know better. My expertise lies in freelancing, however, and I feel an agent is the best choice for my step into fiction. I have a few lists to query, and I would love to query your agent as well, if he/she is accepting new clients.

    That was way longer than I inteded it to be. Sorry. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Heather Truett
    beautyforashes@suscom.net
    http://www.madamerubies.com

  8. Writing and Agents

    Hi Laurie. I was going to drop you an email, but I cannot find a contact address for you here. I am probably completely overlooking it. I debated even asking you, but a fellow writer friend said I definitely should. I read (and loved) Speak. Catalyst has been ordered for me and I am eagerly awaiting it. My current manuscript involves subject manner similar to Speak and is for the same age group. I am looking for an agent and so I wanted to ask who your agent is. That’s all. I am not some wierdo stalker who will beg you to “get me published” or something. I know enough about the writing world to know better. My expertise lies in freelancing, however, and I feel an agent is the best choice for my step into fiction. I have a few lists to query, and I would love to query your agent as well, if he/she is accepting new clients.

    That was way longer than I inteded it to be. Sorry. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Heather Truett
    beautyforashes@suscom.net
    http://www.madamerubies.com

  9. Writing and Agents

    Hi Laurie. I was going to drop you an email, but I cannot find a contact address for you here. I am probably completely overlooking it. I debated even asking you, but a fellow writer friend said I definitely should. I read (and loved) Speak. Catalyst has been ordered for me and I am eagerly awaiting it. My current manuscript involves subject manner similar to Speak and is for the same age group. I am looking for an agent and so I wanted to ask who your agent is. That’s all. I am not some wierdo stalker who will beg you to “get me published” or something. I know enough about the writing world to know better. My expertise lies in freelancing, however, and I feel an agent is the best choice for my step into fiction. I have a few lists to query, and I would love to query your agent as well, if he/she is accepting new clients.

    That was way longer than I inteded it to be. Sorry. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Heather Truett
    beautyforashes@suscom.net
    http://www.madamerubies.com

  10. Depends on where she lives, but she might want to consider the (gasp) state schools — SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, for example. They might not have the academic reputation, but they still have great professors, good people, etc., and once you get out into the field I don’t *think* there’s that credential oneupmanship that you get in other grad programs. (It’s more about networking than what school you went to). Oh, and they are cheaper, too.

    There’s a program in Illinois that seems to have a real children’s & YA focus, I can’t remember which school but Betsy Hearne is affiliated with it.

    “Jenlibrarian” who got her MLS from SUNY Albany, but didn’t look at any other schools…

  11. Depends on where she lives, but she might want to consider the (gasp) state schools — SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, for example. They might not have the academic reputation, but they still have great professors, good people, etc., and once you get out into the field I don’t *think* there’s that credential oneupmanship that you get in other grad programs. (It’s more about networking than what school you went to). Oh, and they are cheaper, too.

    There’s a program in Illinois that seems to have a real children’s & YA focus, I can’t remember which school but Betsy Hearne is affiliated with it.

    “Jenlibrarian” who got her MLS from SUNY Albany, but didn’t look at any other schools…

  12. Depends on where she lives, but she might want to consider the (gasp) state schools — SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, for example. They might not have the academic reputation, but they still have great professors, good people, etc., and once you get out into the field I don’t *think* there’s that credential oneupmanship that you get in other grad programs. (It’s more about networking than what school you went to). Oh, and they are cheaper, too.

    There’s a program in Illinois that seems to have a real children’s & YA focus, I can’t remember which school but Betsy Hearne is affiliated with it.

    “Jenlibrarian” who got her MLS from SUNY Albany, but didn’t look at any other schools…

  13. I can second this. Met someone this summer who is enrolled in the UNC program. She’s involved in work study which helps pay her tuition. I can give you her email via your writerlady email if you’re interested.

  14. I can second this. Met someone this summer who is enrolled in the UNC program. She’s involved in work study which helps pay her tuition. I can give you her email via your writerlady email if you’re interested.

  15. now that I’m awake

    Okay, the info on Betsy Hearne: http://people.lis.uiuc.edu/~hearne/.
    I met her this summer, and was quite impressed when she talked about the number of professors in her program that focus on YA and children’s library services. (Too often in a library school, these areas get only a few professors who then teach every course).

    Library schools (“Schools of Informatics” and “Colleges of Computing Information” and the like) have changed so much even in the past few years, it can be hard to get a sense of what they are like.

    but the end result — definitely worth it!! Good luck!

  16. now that I’m awake

    Okay, the info on Betsy Hearne: http://people.lis.uiuc.edu/~hearne/.
    I met her this summer, and was quite impressed when she talked about the number of professors in her program that focus on YA and children’s library services. (Too often in a library school, these areas get only a few professors who then teach every course).

    Library schools (“Schools of Informatics” and “Colleges of Computing Information” and the like) have changed so much even in the past few years, it can be hard to get a sense of what they are like.

    but the end result — definitely worth it!! Good luck!

  17. now that I’m awake

    Okay, the info on Betsy Hearne: http://people.lis.uiuc.edu/~hearne/.
    I met her this summer, and was quite impressed when she talked about the number of professors in her program that focus on YA and children’s library services. (Too often in a library school, these areas get only a few professors who then teach every course).

    Library schools (“Schools of Informatics” and “Colleges of Computing Information” and the like) have changed so much even in the past few years, it can be hard to get a sense of what they are like.

    but the end result — definitely worth it!! Good luck!

  18. You may have heard from her via email, but is a YA librarian.
    I’ve followed her journal since Nimbus2003, as she always has great lit recommendations–that’s how I found your books (I’m 33).

    I think she went to Simmons–though I can’t confirm it 100% since her userinfo was accidentally wiped out this past week.

    Maybe you/your child can check out her LJ.

  19. You may have heard from her via email, but is a YA librarian.
    I’ve followed her journal since Nimbus2003, as she always has great lit recommendations–that’s how I found your books (I’m 33).

    I think she went to Simmons–though I can’t confirm it 100% since her userinfo was accidentally wiped out this past week.

    Maybe you/your child can check out her LJ.

  20. You may have heard from her via email, but is a YA librarian.
    I’ve followed her journal since Nimbus2003, as she always has great lit recommendations–that’s how I found your books (I’m 33).

    I think she went to Simmons–though I can’t confirm it 100% since her userinfo was accidentally wiped out this past week.

    Maybe you/your child can check out her LJ.

  21. I went to Michigan, so I really can’t comment on Syracuse or Rutgers. I have a friend in the academic libraries track at Simmons. She’s…not too thrilled. Seattle, Rutgers, and Syracuse are all supposed to be good.

    I’d probably encourage someone to consider how many years to spend on the degree (programs range from 1-2 years), how many opportunities there are for internships (I had an excellent one at the local public library), availability of financial aid and the criteria for receiving it, etc. Also make sure she considers whether it’s a part of the country she could stand to live in. 🙂

  22. I went to Michigan, so I really can’t comment on Syracuse or Rutgers. I have a friend in the academic libraries track at Simmons. She’s…not too thrilled. Seattle, Rutgers, and Syracuse are all supposed to be good.

    I’d probably encourage someone to consider how many years to spend on the degree (programs range from 1-2 years), how many opportunities there are for internships (I had an excellent one at the local public library), availability of financial aid and the criteria for receiving it, etc. Also make sure she considers whether it’s a part of the country she could stand to live in. 🙂

  23. I went to Michigan, so I really can’t comment on Syracuse or Rutgers. I have a friend in the academic libraries track at Simmons. She’s…not too thrilled. Seattle, Rutgers, and Syracuse are all supposed to be good.

    I’d probably encourage someone to consider how many years to spend on the degree (programs range from 1-2 years), how many opportunities there are for internships (I had an excellent one at the local public library), availability of financial aid and the criteria for receiving it, etc. Also make sure she considers whether it’s a part of the country she could stand to live in. 🙂

  24. I’m currently at the San Jose State Library program and would have to say that, if she wants to specialize in YA, this is not the program for her.

    However, I have heard wonderful things about the University of Washington in Seattle program. And they had Spencer Shaw, who specialized in story-telling and young adult work. I would have to root for that one.

    But, I might be biased, just to warn you, because I prefer the west coast.

    Good luck to her! I’m excited when women our age are looking to work with kids and in libraries.

  25. I’m currently at the San Jose State Library program and would have to say that, if she wants to specialize in YA, this is not the program for her.

    However, I have heard wonderful things about the University of Washington in Seattle program. And they had Spencer Shaw, who specialized in story-telling and young adult work. I would have to root for that one.

    But, I might be biased, just to warn you, because I prefer the west coast.

    Good luck to her! I’m excited when women our age are looking to work with kids and in libraries.

  26. I’m currently at the San Jose State Library program and would have to say that, if she wants to specialize in YA, this is not the program for her.

    However, I have heard wonderful things about the University of Washington in Seattle program. And they had Spencer Shaw, who specialized in story-telling and young adult work. I would have to root for that one.

    But, I might be biased, just to warn you, because I prefer the west coast.

    Good luck to her! I’m excited when women our age are looking to work with kids and in libraries.

  27. Library School

    Laurie-

    I was happy to read that your daughter is considering library school. I love my job and can imagine doing anything else. Of all the schools on your list I have to say Simmons is my favorite. I didn’t go there but if I could do it again, now that I am more aware of “the industry” and what is available in some places and unavailable in others, if I had to go back and do it all again I would go to Simmons. To be honest, all of the schools on your list are great ones.

    I am happy she is entering the profession. Being a librarian, especially one for kids, is a wonderfully fun, rewarding and fulfilling job. Let us know when she makes a decision.

    Good luck to all of you!
    Susan S. New City, NY

  28. Library School

    Laurie-

    I was happy to read that your daughter is considering library school. I love my job and can imagine doing anything else. Of all the schools on your list I have to say Simmons is my favorite. I didn’t go there but if I could do it again, now that I am more aware of “the industry” and what is available in some places and unavailable in others, if I had to go back and do it all again I would go to Simmons. To be honest, all of the schools on your list are great ones.

    I am happy she is entering the profession. Being a librarian, especially one for kids, is a wonderfully fun, rewarding and fulfilling job. Let us know when she makes a decision.

    Good luck to all of you!
    Susan S. New City, NY

  29. Library School

    Laurie-

    I was happy to read that your daughter is considering library school. I love my job and can imagine doing anything else. Of all the schools on your list I have to say Simmons is my favorite. I didn’t go there but if I could do it again, now that I am more aware of “the industry” and what is available in some places and unavailable in others, if I had to go back and do it all again I would go to Simmons. To be honest, all of the schools on your list are great ones.

    I am happy she is entering the profession. Being a librarian, especially one for kids, is a wonderfully fun, rewarding and fulfilling job. Let us know when she makes a decision.

    Good luck to all of you!
    Susan S. New City, NY

  30. Hi Laurie,

    I’m a random fan who reads your journal and I’m also a YA librarian. I just finished my MLIS at Rutgers, and I thought it was a great school. The program is really flexible (unless you want to be a school librarian). The reputation of the school more comes from the “famous” faculty, but I didn’t really have any of them and thought I got a good education. They just hired a new children’s professor since Kay Vandergrift retired, but I don’t know anything about her. I would say with pretty much any library school though, the education is somewhat important, but the experience is much more so. Rutgers will set you up with field experience in anything you’re interested in (and there are some student jobs in the area).

    I was going to go to Simmons for a Master’s in Children’s Literature, but was unable to do it because they offer classes at weird times. It’s supposed to be a good school, but it’s definitely more expensive than Rutgers, and it may be difficult to work full time around school.

    Keri

  31. Hi Laurie,

    I’m a random fan who reads your journal and I’m also a YA librarian. I just finished my MLIS at Rutgers, and I thought it was a great school. The program is really flexible (unless you want to be a school librarian). The reputation of the school more comes from the “famous” faculty, but I didn’t really have any of them and thought I got a good education. They just hired a new children’s professor since Kay Vandergrift retired, but I don’t know anything about her. I would say with pretty much any library school though, the education is somewhat important, but the experience is much more so. Rutgers will set you up with field experience in anything you’re interested in (and there are some student jobs in the area).

    I was going to go to Simmons for a Master’s in Children’s Literature, but was unable to do it because they offer classes at weird times. It’s supposed to be a good school, but it’s definitely more expensive than Rutgers, and it may be difficult to work full time around school.

    Keri

  32. Hi Laurie,

    I’m a random fan who reads your journal and I’m also a YA librarian. I just finished my MLIS at Rutgers, and I thought it was a great school. The program is really flexible (unless you want to be a school librarian). The reputation of the school more comes from the “famous” faculty, but I didn’t really have any of them and thought I got a good education. They just hired a new children’s professor since Kay Vandergrift retired, but I don’t know anything about her. I would say with pretty much any library school though, the education is somewhat important, but the experience is much more so. Rutgers will set you up with field experience in anything you’re interested in (and there are some student jobs in the area).

    I was going to go to Simmons for a Master’s in Children’s Literature, but was unable to do it because they offer classes at weird times. It’s supposed to be a good school, but it’s definitely more expensive than Rutgers, and it may be difficult to work full time around school.

    Keri

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