Master of Library and Information Studies 2009


“There is nothing better than the experience of connecting theory with reality. Discussing situations in your studies is very different than a real-world experience of actually, pragmatically doing it.” Jessica Woolman went into co-op wanting to dabble in as many areas as she could, and her experiences helped her choose what work she found the most satisfying. Her placement as Project Coordinator with the UBC Library Development Office provided her with amazing memories and valuable lessons. Her position involved research into UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections to find and document images that would be transferred onto large canvases as part of the Campus Art Initiative. The day that the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre opened, Jessica got to see Dr. Barber finally achieve his dream of a revolutionary new library space. It was so rewarding for her to see him on one of the happiest days of his life. During her time in her placement, she also had the chance to chat with the University Librarian Peter Wash about the German language. However, what she found most important was meeting the donors who had gifted to the library. She found their passion for the Librarianship profession amazing and inspiring.

There are four crucial lessons that Jessica would pass onto current and future SLAIS Co-op students. The first is that flexibility is a key skill when working in the professional world. The second lesson is the value of being concise— especially when presenting an idea or decision. She suggests, “Present the issue, a solution, and your recommendations in three sentences or less. People can always ask for more details, but they need to have a guide before you present tons of information.” The third lesson is one that any graduate student should know but is occasionally forgotten. It’s important to make your research thorough and to keep accurate references. Jessica discovered the benefit of this whenever she saw the image of a book she had found in UBC’s special collections on a canvas, with the text she had researched and wrote. For Jessica’s fourth and last lesson she says, “Follow procedure and protocol! There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you are ‘trailblazing’ only to find out you unknowingly bypassed a crucial step, or that someone else is also doing it. It won’t endear anyone to your cause.”

After graduating, Jessica was offered her current position. As the Vault Project Coordinator and Web Coordinator with the UBC Library Development Office her duties include managing the digital collection of UBC Library Vault images, including finding additional images to add to the collection. She also maintains the content and design of the UBC Library Development Office’s two websites and and creates content promoting UBC library collections, images, and digital initiatives.

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