Dr. Carol Barry on SLIS in the 21st Century
The LSU School of Library & Information Science welcomed Dr. Carol Barry as Interim Director in March 2015. We sat down with the new director to update our alumni and friends on the role of the School in the 21st century information age.
Q: What do people need to know about SLIS?
A: The scope and diversity of library and information science in the 21stcentury. Educating librarians is an essential and core mission of the School, but we also educate information professionals to work in literally any environment in which information needs to be gathered, organized and disseminated. And it’s actually hard to think of environments in which information isn’t an essential component. So we educate future information professionals in areas such as Digital Content Management, Knowledge Management, Records and Information Management, Cultural Heritage Resource Management and Archival Studies, as well as School Librarianship, Youth Services and Adult Services Librarianship, Academic Librarianship, and Health Sciences and STEM Librarianship. And we are the only accredited School of Library and Information Science in Louisiana.
Q: What drew you to this field?
A: When I was doing my graduate work in the 1980s, much of the research in the field was centered around ways in which emerging computer technologies could be used to improve ways in which information could be organized and retrieved, which just fascinated me. But I was also drawn to the social aspects of the field; that is, finding ways to provide necessary information and resources to traditionally underserved populations, such as children, individuals living in poverty, and the aging population. So it’s a wonderful mix of getting to play with the technology and improving quality of life through the use of that technology.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job/research?
A: Teaching has been my first love. I think I would enjoy teaching just about anything, but it has been especially rewarding to educate students about this ever expanding field and to make them aware of the many opportunities available to them. And now, as Interim Director, I feel as if I have a chance to educate a much larger audience about who we are and what we do. That’s exciting.
Q: What is the craziest/coolest experience you’ve had while on the job?
A: A team of SLIS faculty were involved in a project with the FBI and we spent several days at their headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. We were there to discuss the creation of an online database of law enforcement materials, but we also got to visit Hogan’s Alley and (this is the coolest part) we went through the “shoot – don’t shoot” training exercises. And who knew the FBI had a gift shop? I’m the only person I know who has an official FBI refrigerator magnet.
Q: What and where are some SLIS alumni?
A: I’m glad you asked this, because the achievements of our alumni really illustrate the broad scope of the field today. SLIS alumni are currently working in the following positions: Senior Web Analyst for the United States Department of the Treasury, Senior Information Technology Architect at the Department of National Defense for the Government of Canada, Chief Library Officer of the New York Public Library, Public Services Librarian for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Digital Archivist at Fidelity Investments, and Project Manager for the American Archive of National Public Radio, just to name a few.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Just that I’m thrilled to be part of the innovative and exciting developments occurring within the School. And to thank you for the opportunity to talk about that.
The LSU School of Library & Information Science prepares individuals for positions of responsibility in the field of library and information service and strives to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. Formed in 2012, CHSE brings together programs and capitalizes on individual strengths to create a dynamic new college that addresses the socially significant issues we face as a state and nation. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.