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Illuminating path for prospective librarians

By Mary Morris

In early June, the U-M Library hosted a group of prospective librarians participating in the 2012 LAMP Summer Institute. LAMP, which stands for LIS Access Midwest Program, is a regional network of academic libraries and schools of library and information science (LIS) dedicated to promoting careers within the field.

The program encourages promising undergraduates at its member institutions to increase their awareness of the profession, and provides support for subsequent graduate studies in library and information science. LAMP specifically encourages the participation of students from statistically and historically underrepresented populations in LIS.

The annual three-day Summer Institute, hosted each year by a LAMP partner institution, brings students together with prospective mentors from host institutions, helping them establish professional networks and explore career opportunities in library and information science.

This year’s activities included a tour of the Digital Media Commons in the Duderstadt Center as well as a visit to the Computer & Video Game Archive; a behind the scenes “Lifecycle of the Book” tour of the U-M Hatcher, Clark, and Shapiro libraries; and discussions with representatives from the Ann Arbor District Library, the Chelsea District Library, Community High School, and ProQuest as part of a Public & Special Libraries Panel.

A highlight for participants was a librarian speed networking event, in which students moved between tables to chat with veteran U-Mlibrarians. Darlene Nichols, Librarian for Diversity Initiatives & Programs and one of the event organizers, said, “Participants seemed to particularly enjoy information from librarians about their career paths, especially learning how they decided to become librarians.”

Becoming a LAMP scholar is one of the best ways to connect with professionals in the field of library and information science and learn about possible career paths. Students in their junior/senior year of college can apply, and successful candidates participate in Summer Institutes as well as internships at member institutions. Each participant is matched with a mentor who guides the student through the program and beyond. The goal is to attract and support students who might not otherwise consider LIS careers, get them into LIS programs where they can succeed, and then move them into jobs as information professionals.

The 2012 LAMP Summer Institute was sponsored by LAMP, U-M Library, U-M School of Information, ProQuest, Gale Cengage Learning, JSTOR, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information about LAMP, see

Mary Morris is a public information specialist at the University of Michigan Libraries.

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