College of DuPage LTA Student Interview #4

By Amanda Musacchio

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with College of DuPage Library and Information Technology students. These interviews were conducted by myself, Amanda Musacchio, Program Chair and Instructor at the College of DuPage. The Library and Information Technology Program includes a 30 credit Library and Information Technology Certificate as well as a 64 credit Associate in Applied Science Library and Information Technology Degree. For more information, please contact me at musacchioa@cod.edu.

This interview features current student, Jean McDonough.

Jean McDonough

1. What would you like to share about yourself?

I am currently a preschool-eighth grade elementary school librarian at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Cary, Illinois. I have also taught middle school art and language arts in public schools, as well as creative writing at universities in Michigan. In addition to my experience as a teacher and school librarian, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry Writing. Because I have so many different interests, librarianship is my perfect calling, encompassing my life-long love of learning.

2. What are you excited about that is happening in Illinois libraries (and beyond)?

I am excited that many libraries are embracing the STEM movement in Illinois. A couple of years ago, I created makerspace kits where students can experiment with robotics and electrical circuits. Students collaborate with these kits in small groups, using their critical thinking skills as well as their knowledge of design principles. My library is not always quiet, but it is creative! I am also interested in the growing realization on the part of school librarians that students must be taught more robust information literacy skills in order to help them effectively evaluate the credibility of information they find online.

3. What is something interesting you have discussed in your classes?

In my Reference and Information Services class, we have been discussing the evolving nature of reference in light of the prevalence of patrons relying on online information for their research. In many ways, reference service has become more important due to the changing nature of patron questions. It has also become more challenging to find accurate facts when there is so much misinformation and fake news available.

4. How do you see yourself contributing to the Illinois Library world in five-plus years?

I hope to become involved in a larger network of school librarians. In the past few years, I have collaborated with the Cary Area Library and Cary Junior High in order to offer a city-wide Battle of the Books after-school program. Collaboration between librarians is important, not only to share resources but also to inspire each other with ideas.

5. What do you like most about the College of DuPage Library and Information Technology Program?

Because I am taking my classes entirely online, I appreciate the flexibility I have to complete assignments. I also enjoy hearing the perspectives of my peers during online discussions; they have so many different educational backgrounds and library experiences. Finally, my instructors are very good about presenting relevant and current content as it relates to the function of libraries in the 21st century.

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