Where Are They Now? SIS Graduates in the Workforce

SIS students have gone on to have a diverse and exciting array of careers, and this new series will showcase some of them. For our first entry in the series, Beyond the Shelf is pleased to welcome Liz Nash (a 2017 grad and our former MISSA president!) to talk about her post-graduation experiences.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself: What’s your educational background, and why did you want to take the MISt degree? What area did you focus on during the program (library, archives, HCI, KM)?

I did my undergraduate degree at Western in English Language & Literature and French Language & Translation (it’s quite a mouthful!). I really loved my time at Western, but I knew that I wanted to branch out and get my Master’s degree. I was attracted to the MISt program because it’s like a buffet – a little bit of everything is offered! I liked that I wasn’t forced into a particular stream, so I ended up doing libraries and KM.

 

Where are you working now? What attracted you to the position, and is it where you thought you would end up when you started the program?

I’m currently working as a librarian at Statistics Canada. I had a glimpse of being a federal librarian last year, when I did an FSWEP term at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED). I love that every day I get to do something different. It’s also really upped my trivia game, since I’m learning a lot of interesting facts!

When I started the program, I had no idea where I would end up. I was very fortunate to discover the FSWEP program, which gave me an opportunity to experience a dream job that I never even knew existed.

 

Take me through a regular day at work – what do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

My regular day involves a lot of research! I primarily research for government employees, but we do get reference questions from the public. Questions range from historical census inquiries to in-depth research on a variety of topics… so a bit of everything!

About twice a week I work on the reference desk, where I do everything from checking in books to performing reference interviews. I’m also on our division’s Social Committee, which is a lot of fun.

 

How did you get involved while you were a student, whether with student associations or work experience?

In my first year at McGill, I was the VP Internal for MISSA. I shadowed the President, ran events, and communicated news with students. In terms of work experience, I worked for McGill Athletics as part of the Hype Team. I finally fulfilled my life goal of throwing t-shirts into audiences!

In my second year, I was the President of MISSA and the Chair of the Info-Nexus Committee. I also worked part-time in Ottawa for ISED to gain more library experience. It was definitely a balancing act! I’m glad I got so involved, since it helped me network with students, professors, and other information professionals in Montreal and Ottawa.

 

Do you have any advice for current students or recent graduates?

When you’re in your second year, start looking for jobs around January. The hiring process can take a while, so it’s better to get started early. I’d also recommend checking out the Partnership Job Board, which lists Canadian library jobs.

One last piece of advice: Don’t panic! You can do it 🙂

 

Many thanks to Liz for sharing her experiences and advice!

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