Document Type

Contribution to Book


Library and Information Science


Graduate students in master of library and information science (MLIS) programs face competitive job markets, and while many students work while studying, it is a challenge to gain meaningful and relevant work experience. This chapter discusses the role of advocacy in the graduate student work experience. We argue that self-advocacy, while a practical necessity for many graduate students, is problematic due to its roots in neoliberal ideals of individualism. Drawing on our own recent graduate school experiences, we will explore ways that self-advocacy both helped and harmed us. We will ultimately suggest alternative ways that mentors and student supervisors can reduce the burden of self-advocacy for their students.


Original Citation:

Kerbavaz, K., & Dierking, A. (2022). Beyond Individualism: Self-Advocacy and Mentorship in LIS Graduate Student Employment. In A. Hartsell-Gundy, K. Duckett, & S. Morris (Eds.), Learning in Action: Designing Successful Graduate Student Work Experiences in Academic Libraries (pp. 199–213). Association of College & Research Libraries.