What keeps coming up is the question, "Why?". Why am I taking this program? Didn't I already learn information management in library school? How is it that I am consulting in information management, and yet need to take courses? All excellent questions!
Here, then, are my top 7 reasons for taking this program:
- Information management is a relatively new discipline. When I embarked on my Master of Library Science (MLS) degree twenty years ago, it was not on the radar of any library science program. While many of the skills of librarians are transferable to information management (or IM), we do not necessarily have formal training in this area.
- I am more studied in Knowledge Management. Much of my reading and learning has been in the area of Knowledge Management (or KM). Often times KM embraces IM, or IM embraces KM, depending on the organization. I learned from Deirdre Grimes that they are two separate disciplines that have developed in parallel. As I learn more about IM, I see a lot of overlap between the two. But, there are a lot of differences as well.
- I want to supplement my practical experience. I have practical experience in IM, including many of the projects I work on for clients, but I do not have formal training in this area. Most people working in this area do not. What the program is offering me is a methodical look through each of the areas encompassed by IM, so I can learn about areas I have not yet experienced. I am also broadening my understanding and pulling together ideas that I already know, as well as finding out about practical tools for use in my work.
- Learning from the other participants. We come from a range of organizations and disciplines, and can all learn from one another. It is not just librarians taking this program, but records managers, those in IT and, yes, some consultants. We come from government, non-profits, and businesses. The course, much like an MBA program, is set up so that we all get to discuss our experiences and learn from one another. This technique helps to bring the curriculum to life.
- Timing of the program is flexible. I can jump in and finish up the whole program by the end of June, or I can do the courses as I have time. The whole set is being taught again in the fall, and again both in the spring and fall next year. I am playing it by ear and signing up for the courses as I feel it will best fit in with my client work.
- The instructors. The instructors come from a range of industries, so I get the benefit of hearing from another point of view. These people are expert practitioners in their areas, so they are putting this information to practical use themselves and bringing their extensive experience to the program.
- I am applying what I learn immediately. I have been able to take the assignments and adapt them to work I am already doing, thereby learning directly from the course and giving the immediate benefit to my clients. I wish a lot of what I am learning I already knew when I was library manager.