MACL alumna (2005); Teen Services Librarian, Greater Victoria Public Library; former executive member, International Board on Books for Young People — Canada; former committee member, Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Canadian Book Award; former adjunct faculty at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies
The coursework I took during my MACL introduced me to various approaches to children’s literature through its multidisciplinary nature, which broadened my ability to relate to various users of children’s literature in my work as a public librarian. The deep foundation in children’s literature I gained enriched my work in the public library setting tremendously and my studies and work as a practitioner were in constant interaction, as I was able to work full-time while studying part-time. The MACL program also afforded me significant opportunities to create a professional network within the field and establish myself as a librarian on the west coast, even though I had taken my MLIS in another province. I made numerous contacts with fellow students, authors, illustrators, publishers and professors who I would have otherwise not had a chance to meet. This network of children’s literature experts and enthusiasts have helped me design library programming, and connected me to other children’s literature organizations; notably, IBBY Canada.
I gained critical thinking skills while in the MACL program, and expanded my intellect through readings of theory that I had not encountered in my previous two university degrees. My writing improved and my book reviewing ability was honed. During the time I was studying in the MACL program, I also sat on the Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Canadian Book Award Committee for five years. My training through the MACL program made me a better reviewer in this role.
The preparation of my thesis was a truly challenging and rewarding experience, one that I craved intellectually. This was a real chance to work in an interdisciplinary context. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoyed the work. The experience of having an oral exam, or thesis defense, was also a significant experience and gave me the sense of being admitted into academia by the very people I admire the most. It is to this day one of my proudest achievements.
Taking the MACL degree has made me more knowledgeable and skilled in my profession, satisfied intellectual curiosity, afforded me many professional contacts and opportunities, as well as friendships, and expanded my brain!