One of the great aspects of my job as a student worker in a medical academic library are the opportunities to gain some pretty amazing experiences- experiences I wouldn't necessarily get in the MLIS classroom.
One project that I have started working on is for our Digital Resources Library, specifically the Campus Collection. The library has been gifted a large collection of digital photographs of the University's campus - which feels like a citadel overlooking Portland. The Cataloging and Metadata Librarian has been working with a number of individuals on sorting through the images, coming up with naming conventions, and cataloging them for the collection.
I am one of those lucky individuals.
There has been a lot of conversation in some of the library blogs about the future of MLIS programs. Hack Library School just had a great post about the importance of practical experience in the library school curriculum. While my program does have an optional practicum component, it is projects like these where I don't feel like I need one. For example, I haven't taken a cataloging class, and now that I am working on this project, I feel like I don't even need one. The librarian who is supervising this project has been an excellent teacher. She doesn't just explain the bare minimum to complete this project, but includes conversations with me on the bigger picture issues. She is providing an excellent, be it quick, hands-on cataloging education.
Working the circulation desk is rewarding in its own way - you can help people face to face- but seeing an image you cataloged added to a live collection offers such a wonderful sense of self accomplishment (click here to see an example of one).