I had an educationally rich experience during my practicum this semester at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives. Though my goal before the practicum began was to gain experience in cataloging, I am happy with the decision I made to conduct my practicum with a different ambition at the Rock Hall and thankful for the experiences the practicum has provided me.
Before applying for this practicum, I had been quite interested in gaining experience in cataloging. I had planned on doing so at the Rock Hall library, but as the semester approached, the Rock Hall still did not have a need for such a practicum student (the library’s projected opening has been postponed until after 2011). Since I had been cataloging as a graduate student assistant at the Kent State University Library, I decided to continue pursuing a practicum with the Rock Hall, in the hopes of finding another interesting project to conduct. The Rock Hall’s Library Director, Andy Leach, and I were able to decide on a few small projects for me to work on for the semester.
First, I was to continue the work I had been doing as a volunteer for the Rock Hall Library, which was to develop a list of videos recommended for the library’s future collection. I was also to begin creating a list of biographies and other books about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees. Finally, I set out to help the library research and develop a policy to shape the library’s patrons’ user experience.
The two collection development projects have been an excellent learning experience, especially since I was also taking the Selection and Acquisitions of Library Materials course this semester with Dr. Belinda Boon. The two experiences coincided to provide me with the best experience I could have imagined. You will find a detailed account of this process on my blog at http://rockhalllibrarypracticum.blogspot.com/.
The policy and procedure project also allowed for an interesting experience, as I was able to conduct a wealth of research to shape my recommendations for a brand new library. In addition to reading many peer-reviewed articles and reviewing many libraries’ policies, I conducted a survey that included public, research, academic, and special library professionals. Not only did the survey provide valuable information on how other libraries are run, but it also provided me with the opportunity to communicate and form relationships with library professionals across the country. I am very thankful to Mr. Leach for providing me with contact information for so many helpful people.
All of the research and development for these projects can be found on my blog and wikis. I created a wiki that contains all of my practicum documents (http://lauramaidensrockhallpracticum.wikispaces.com/), another wiki that contains my draft of a recommended policy for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives (http://rockhalllibrarypolicy.wikispaces.com/), and a blog (http://rockhalllibrarypracticum.blogspot.com/) that includes my activities and what I have learned throughout the semester. Although there is an overwhelming amount of information included on these sites, I encourage you to read them to learn more about my amazing experiences.
Now that my practicum is nearly finished, I am completely satisfied with my decision to take this experience rather than look for a cataloging practicum. I was able to learn so much more, and I now also have the option of doing some cataloging volunteer work for the Rock Hall; I may even apply for a cataloging position there in the future. Not only did this practicum provide a valuable experience, but it also allowed me to make important connections in the professional world that will be extremely important as I begin my career. Overall, I am thankful for and excited about the experience I gained during my practicum this semester at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives.
Coming up next: Who knows?! It's time to begin applying for jobs, so wish me luck in this treacherous venture. As always...
Thanks for reading, and have a good one!