In 2009, the I-LLID fellowship launched its first co-hort of M.L.S. candidates. The fellowship was funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through a partnership between the Indiana State Library and IUPUI’s School of Library and Information Science.
Over the next several months we will be including spot lights on past fellows to highlight their personal and professional accomplishments.
Name: Nichelle M. Hayes
Co-hort: Cohort 3
Current Employer: Indianapolis Public Library
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to apply for the fellowship?
I was an English Lit major during undergrad. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge and love to share that knowledge. I’ve been a genealogy researcher for 20+ years. Kisha Tandy (2nd cohort) told me about the opportunity for the fellowship. I felt like it was a great opportunity and I was honored to be selected.
How did the fellowship help prepare you for your career?
I would not have been able to obtain a MLS without the fellowship. Networking with other Fellows and individuals who were already in the field really helped to give me an amazing background knowledge for librarianship. I continue to network with fellows and other librarians that I met during the fellowship. Marcia Smith-Woodard is such an inspiration. She really guided me during the process. She was a cheerleader, coach and mentor. Her help has been invaluable.
What was your focus while you were working towards your Master’s degree?
Since, I was completely new to the field, my focus was to learn as much as possible about all facets of librarianship. I also wanted to work in the field after graduation.
Describe your career path.
While I was working on my MLS, I worked at an elementary school. I was fortunate enough to be able to begin my career as a Library Media Specialist, where I built a library from the ground up. During that same time I worked (and continue to work ) as the librarian for my church. I am currently an Adult Public Librarian at Central Library in Indianapolis.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing a master’s degree in library science?
Determine your goal and see if the MLS will help you to achieve that. Conduct extensive research on salary and job availability. Determine the best area of the country (or the world) for your area of interest. Look outside of the box of traditional librarianship. There are lots of areas where an MLS can be beneficial.
Outside of your job, what ways do you stay active in the profession?
I am the Librarian for my church. I actively promote literacy to the congregation. I am a member of IBLN and ILF.