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What Goes Around, Comes Around: Interviewing Dakota

Started as a student and ended as Staff, Dakota talks MCS

By: Rae Daniel

I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing my co-worker and former UMBC MCS student Dakota Boodhoo. While attending UMBC, Dakota was able to get an internship at a BCPL library through MCS 404, and after graduation he continued in the library career path, where he eventually ended up back at UMBC, not as a student, But as an AOK Library worker! What goes around, comes around. He and I talked about His journey, and the integration of MCS in his daily work life. 

Rae: How did you transition from a major in Media and Communication Studies to a career in a library? What inspired you to make that transition?

Dakota: I was uncertain about my career direction after completing my Media and Communication Studies degree. However, I landed an internship at BCPL Pikesville Branch library and found it to be a rewarding experience. With time, I gained more knowledge and eventually pursued a career in libraries. It wasn't an easy journey, but I take pride in taking an unusual career path.In fact the internship was the one I used for my MCS internship and I found out that I could use this degree in the field to become a digital media library specialist. 

R: Was Media and Communications Studies your first choice of major?

D: Yes, I chose Media and Communication Studies as my major because I've always been fascinated by the power of media to shape our understanding of the world. I'm particularly interested in the role that media plays in shaping public opinion and influencing social change. I have been studying commuincations since I was in middle school my magnet program was Mass Communications. I have never left it and last May received my Master's in Organizational Communications. 

R: In what ways do you see your media and communications background as an asset in your current role, and how have you leveraged those skills to enhance your work?

D: With a background in Media and Communication Studies, I excel at effective communication with others. My skills allow me to make a positive impact on society and convey my ideas clearly. I have to deal with students and community members from all backgrounds. In order to be successful you must communicate well.

R: What kind of jobs did you pursue after graduation, and how did you get started in your career?

D: Internships in libraries and job shadowing led me to my career. I enjoyed working with the people and the type of work they did. I spent many years in the library as a visitor and it was my happy place. Working their has been a blast. Also using my degree everyday has also been pretty great. 

R: What do you think are some of the key skills and qualities needed to be successful in a library, and how do those compare to the skills and qualities needed in media and communications?

D: As someone with experience in media and communication, I believe that effective communication is a vital skill that can make a positive difference in both fields. The ability to articulate ideas clearly, engage with others, and convey information accurately are all transferable skills that are valuable in both environments. However, in a library setting, attention to detail, organization, and a passion for learning and research are also crucial qualities.Especially in academic libraries. 

R: What do you enjoy most about working in a library, and what are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role?

D: This job can be peaceful and fulfilling, but also comes with challenges like dealing with difficult patrons and staying up-to-date with new technologies. Working with the campus community you enjoy getting to know the students and seeing them grow and mature each semester. It's also kind of sad seeing them graduate but you are happy to see them go fulfill their dreams. 

R: What is an underrated genre of books in your opinion?

D: Historical fiction is underrated. It's entertaining, educational, and can be just as gripping as any other genre. It's funny seeing the rise of shows like Bridergton or Queen Charlotte on Netflix they  are helping bring attention to the genre.  

R: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a Media and Communication Studies student, and how have you navigated the field through your college career?

D: MCS was great it prepared me for the real world. Also they expected the best from us and I felt prepared to get my Maste's. Lots of papers and projects but I enjoyed them all. Professor Snyder was the best! I have heard many complain that they just felt like they were just a number at their university in MCS I felt they wanted us to succeed. MCS prepares you for any field it's the best. 

R: How do you think libraries are evolving and changing in the digital age, and what do you see as the role of libraries in the future?

D: Even with the rise of technology, libraries still have an essential role in providing access to information and promoting literacy. In the future, libraries will adapt to meet the needs of a digital society while maintaining their commitment to equitable access. Libraries will be a hub for lifelong learning, fostering a love of reading, critical thinking skills, and supporting the community's educational and cultural needs. In the academic world libraries are a safe place where students can always  come together and study. During the pandemic we missed seeing students together the library always provides a place to do it.  

R: What advice do you have for someone who is interested in pursuing a career in the library field, especially if they come from a different academic background?

D: If you're determined to pursue a career in the library field, especially if you come from a different academic background, it's crucial to start by researching the various roles and responsibilities within the field. Taking courses or workshops to gain knowledge and skills in areas such as information management, literacy and education, and community outreach is highly recommended. In addition, volunteering at a local library can provide invaluable experience and insight into the daily operations of a library. Moreover, networking with professionals in the field can help you gain a better understanding of the industry and potential career opportunities. Remember, libraries play an essential role in society, and your skills and passion can make a significant difference in promoting equitable access to information and literacy. Find out which type of library that interests you they have public, private and academic libraries. Find your specialization, there is someplace for everyone. 


Posted: May 24, 2023, 5:15 PM