2016 iSchool (SLAIS) MLIS Co-op Student of the Year – Honourable Mention

Jennette Chalcraft received an honourable mention for the 2016 iSchool (SLAIS) Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) Co-op Student of the Year Award. Jennette was recognized for her co-op term as the Summer Intern Librarian at BGC Engineering Inc. Her manager, Jana Purmalis, commented that Jennette’s “enthusiastic initiative, inquisitive nature and eagerness to learn new skills” made her “an excellent addition” to the company.

Excellence in the Workplace

As the Summer Intern Librarian, Jennette spent most of her time in library operations, assisting with reference and cataloguing services. Jana Purmalis praised Jennette for her “exceptional research skills and eagerness to diversify her experience,” which ensured Jennette’s ability to run library services smoothly on her own. Jennette also contributed to a large intranet upgrade project during her time at BGC, supporting the larger migration and content redesign by reviewing, refining, and expanding the existing roster of library research guides through research and user consultation.

Jennette was heavily involved in various activities at BGC. She attended engineering lunch-and-learns and an air photo interpretation workshop, and joined the company’s Toastmasters club and book club. These additional experiences allowed her to actively network and provided an opportunity for her to connect with people at all levels and within multiple departments to learn more about the work that they do. This helped Jennette to identify and share how the library can best support them in their respective roles.

Through her co-op position at BGC, Jennette was able to apply a broad range of the theoretical knowledge she has gained at SLAIS about areas such as library management, reference services, copyright, acquisitions and collection management, and information resource description. She also believes the co-op experience will enhance her studies, as she now has “more contextual insight into how theories can be applied in practice, and experience with reconciling and adapting theories to address the realities of the workplace.” In addition, her exposure to the intranet implementation project during her co-op work term has confirmed her interest in taking taxonomy and user experience classes.

Jennette has been highly active in various student clubs at UBC. She has served as the Intellectual Freedom Committee representative and as Treasurer for UBC’s British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) Student Chapter, and led the planning committee for the 2016 Freedom to Read event. She was also the ARMA International representative for UBC’s Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) Student Chapter, and a member of BCLA, the Special Library Association – Western Canada Chapter, the Vancouver Association of Law Librarians, and the ACA. By engaging in the SLAIS and library community this past year, Jennette felt that she was able to build meaningful connections with faculty, staff and fellow students, while also giving back to the UBC community.

This experience has confirmed Jennette’s interest in special libraries post-graduation, and she hopes to work in an environment similar to BGC in the future. She has also been able to gain “insight into the issues and challenges that corporate librarians may have to navigate to be successful and happy in their roles.” On reflection, Jennette believes this co-op experience has helped her to become more confident in her skills and enhanced her ability to consider a range of opportunities in special libraries after graduation.