How You Too Can Transition from a Librarian to a Doctoral Student

My first (and hopefully not last) guest post for Hack Library School!


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Abigail Phillips.

I often get, quite naturally, the question, “So, what made you decide to get your PhD?” I always feel a bit sheepish when I offer my response, “Well, I’ve always known I would.” I should have an intelligent and eloquent explanation for such a major, life-altering decision. But I don’t. However, what I do have is a somewhat intelligent and kinda eloquent explanation for my decision to leave my job as a public librarian and become a doctoral student in Information Studies.

After working in public library for six years, two as a library assistant and four as a professional librarian, I left the practitioner world behind last fall to join the PhD program in Information Studies at Florida State University (FSU). I have yet to regret this decision. My experiences in researching, writing, and teaching over the past year…

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5 thoughts on “How You Too Can Transition from a Librarian to a Doctoral Student

  1. I enjoyed reading your post on Doctoral study, it was very informative. I’m actually looking to study my Master’s in the USA (I looked into FSU but ruled it out due to their lack of funding opportunities for international students – and it’s funny because I thought to myself only a couple of days ago that if I really enjoyed studying abroad and doing research in Information Science, there’s always the option to do a PhD later in life, and then I read your post (I’ve never read one before directed at people considering a PhD), and I don’t believe in signs or anything but I thought that was good timing! Anyway, that’s way way into the future but I just wanted to let you know that I found what you wrote very helpful and in a way, reassuring, that you can give up practice and go into research later in life if you want. So thank you!

    • I’m very glad that you found my post helpful! What other schools are you looking at for your MLIS? Unfortunately, my school is having some funding issues (like most universities). What are your research interests in the information science field? I would definitely encourage you to keep thinking about a PhD. Especially in our field, there are a lot of students who join a doctoral program after working for some time as a librarian.

      • My top choice has always been Rutgers, then followed by either Indiana University of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. What’s exciting for me is at this point, I have no particular research interests because I don’t know exactly which field I want to specialise in, so I’m hoping the MLIS is going to show me what my interests are. So far, I’ve only worked in an academic library, so I’m looking forward to learning more about other sectors. One of the many bonuses of wanting to do the American qualification is that your Master’s is much broader than ours – over here a Librarianship degree is entirely seperate to an Archiving degree, so if you were somewhat interested in that field, you’d have to choose to separate yourself right from the offset.

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