As an alumni of the SLAIS Co-op program, Morgan Truax’s Co-op experiences have helped lead her to her current position as the Clinical Librarian and Manager of Library Services for BC Mental Health and Addiction Services. Looking back on her time as a student, Traux found that SLAIS Co-op helped to enhance her academic skills and combine her theoretical training with hands on experience. It also gave her a greater insight into future course selection: “I have a clearer understanding of what will be important for me to learn in the academic environment, and what can be learned on the job,” Truax said while still a student in the program.
For her first Co-op work term, Truax worked at the BC Health Society in Riverview Hospital. “This work experience has absolutely cemented my desire to work in the health care field. I knew I would enjoy it, but now I know I can excel at it and I have the confidence to pursue this particular branch of librarianship,” says Truax.
Outside her academic studies, Truax gained many valuable soft and hard skills from her first co-op work term. She improved and enhanced her interpersonal skills, “particularly in working with specific communities such as mental health professionals, researchers, and the mentally ill.” Moreover, she learned “how to use particular computer programs, create search strategies for a very narrow and specific topic and user group, and perform multiple search requests simultaneously.”
These experiences taught Truax how to assist a wide variety of library users. “Essentially, I’ve learned to do all the little tasks that are far too particular and job-site specific to be covered in class, which has been invaluable,” says Truax. One of Truax’s favourite experiences include being able to create her first research strategy and see the academic theory in her studies come together with real world practicality. According to Truax, “There is a certain compromise between what’s theoretically ideal and what’s realistically feasible and I really enjoyed finding that balance.”
For students considering the SLAIS co-op program, Truax encourages you to apply as the practical experience will really allow you to learn about yourself and allow you to find out what work you’re suited for. The confidence and skills that Truax has gained really puts her at an advantage and has given her the skills she needs to succeed inside and outside the classroom.