DC High School Students Visit iSchool to Learn About Library Profession

DC High School Students Visit iSchool to Learn About Library Profession

On May 15, 13 students from Washington, DC’s Ballou High School visited the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, Maryland’s iSchool, and the University of Maryland Libraries to learn how to become a librarian, and to hear about the profession from practicing librarians. This visit was coordinated by Sheri Massey, Lecturer and coordinator of the School Library Media program at the iSchool, and Melissa Jackson, librarian at Ballou High School. The students involved are all volunteers in their school library at Ballou.

The students began their day at the iSchool, meeting with Dr. Massey, as well as Ann Carlson Weeks, associate dean for academic programs, Dayo Kosoko, recruitment coordinator, and Emily Likins, school library media student. During this time, the students learned about academic programs at the iSchool and the academic path to a master’s degree in library science. “When I was in high school, I had no idea how to become a librarian,” says Massey. “Having this type of opportunity as a high school student would have allowed me to start the career I love that much earlier.”

After leaving the iSchool, the students continued on to the University Libraries where they heard a presentation from Carlton Jackson in Hornbake Library’s Non-print Media Services, as well as a tour of the Maryland and Katherine Anne Porter Rooms. They closed their visit to the University of Maryland Libraries in McKeldin Library where they received tours of the Terrapin Learning Commons, Technical Services and the library stacks from librarian Tim Hackman. They also had the opportunity to talk with librarians and learn about their education and work experience prior to becoming librarians.

Even if the students don’t pursue careers as librarians, Massey is hopeful that this was more than a fun day for the students. “Students in under-resourced, urban schools, especially students of color, are often pushed toward particular types of degrees,” she says. “The opportunity to learn about graduate programs and the library science field expands their views of what is possible.”