How to be a Public Library Director in 5 Very Packed Days

I got to spend last week talking about one of my favorite things, public libraries, with one of my favorite professors, Mary Wilkins Jordan. During my time at Simmons (so far) I've taken three intensive courses and I must say I love the format. While learning about the many aspects of library management (budgeting, outreach, programming, evaluation, collection development, and advocacy to name a few) in one week was a bit overwhelming at times, it's also a great way to cover a lot of ground quickly and get to the heart of issues. Many people in graduate school, especially at GSLIS, are also working and do not always have a whole semester to devote to classes like LIS 450 Organization and Management of Public Libraries and the week-long intensive format is a great alternative.

The class was structured in five jam-packed days over the course of one week and we covered a lot of ground in a very short time. This is a subject that I'm incredibly passionate about so it was wonderful to be in class with a group of like-minded individuals. We had students such as myself with limited experience in small public libraries as well as people who've never worked in a library and a couple who have been full-time for years. The range of experience mixed with tons of stories and anecdotes from Mary made for a lively and interesting week of class.

Cramming an entire semester's worth of work into a week wasn't a picnic but Mary sets very clear (and realistic) expectations right up front so it was easy to know what to expect. This was a great class for me as I'm wrapping up my time at Simmons because it reminded me what I love about public libraries, as well as some of the challenges, and inspired me to continue to be involved with my local library as I move on to other opportunities. If you're thinking about GSLIS and are worried about scheduling, I strongly urge you to think about intensive courses as an alternative to traditional weekly courses. And, in case I haven't mentioned this before, if given the opportunity, you cannot go wrong taking a class from Mary Wilkins Jordan. In my many years of schooling it's been rare to come across a professor with as much passion and dedication to her field and I cannot recommend her highly enough.


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