In May 2019, Angie So, check-in assistant at the William H. Hannon Library, graduated from San Jose State University’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program with Phi Kappa Phi honors.
Angie began working at the William H. Hannon Library during her freshman year at Loyola Marymount University, working all four years of her undergraduate, and taking on various part-time positions in the library after graduation, eventually landing a full-time position on the Acquisitions and Collection Development team. Working in the library provided her with an insight into day-to-day library operations. “Every year, my passion for the library grew,” she says, and so with the encouragement of her colleagues, Angie enrolled in the graduate program at SJSU to begin pursuing a professional career as a librarian.
Angie describes herself as the “physical materials gatekeeper” for the library. She handles all of our incoming shipments (including monographs, series, and media items) and ensures they are checked in appropriately and routed to the correct department for further processing. She supervises a team of three library student workers, serves on the Library Staff and Organizational Development Community Service Subcommittee, and occasionally offers storytime to our youngest readers: children from the LMU Children’s Center. As many of her colleagues and friends know, Angie also has a creative side. She is the artist behind our annual Blind Date with a Book display (pictured) and excels at canvas art, origami, and crafts.
Initially, Angie wanted to focus her graduate work on academic librarianship, but the course “Library Services for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities” dramatically shifted her perspective, opening the door to public library work and, ultimately, children’s librarianship. “Taking that class was like watching Wicked. If you only see The Wizard of Oz, everything seems black and white. But then you watch Wicked and everything goes topsy-turvy.” The class introduced her to the ways in which libraries serve patrons who struggle with poverty, homelessness, oppressive class structures, and institutional racism. It was the class that changed everything for Angie. She went on to take additional courses focused on children’s librarianship, learning about program development, website design and promotional work, and budgeting essentials. “It was fun, but it was a lot of work.” She was even able to spend a few weeks in summer 2018 interning at the San Marino Crowell Public Library as a children’s library intern.
When asked what advice she would give to LMU undergraduates who are considering a graduate degree in LIS, Angie says: “Walk into a library before you start the program. Get work experience in a library first if you can. The technical workings, the behind the scenes: I already knew about these things. I already had hands on experience. That was the research I needed to succeed in my graduate studies.” With her M.L.I.S. work behind her, Angie is exploring opportunities in public libraries, diving deeper into her various roles here at LMU, and continuing to explore her arts & crafty side.
Join us in wishing Angie “Congratulations!” on obtaining her degree. Students who are interested in pursuing graduate work in library science should check out the American Library Association’s website for more information.