From Zoo Consulting to Literary Excellence

As an adult and teen librarian for the North Canton Public Library, M.L.I.S. alum Michael Souza ‘21 is working with Canton community members to build a community hub.  

Working in the information sciences field for nearly 25 years, Souza arrived at Kent State University in 2019 shortly after completing consulting work with the San Diego Zoo.

“Living and working in San Diego in a role where my talents, goals and interests were aligned with the organization I worked for was certainly an incredible experience,” Souza said.

During a consulting assignment in Indiana, Souza was at a crossroads in figuring out the next steps of his career. Following his parent's footsteps of working in libraries, he applied to the Circulation Department at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute, Indiana.

“I knew I had found where I was supposed to be. I loved being part of the community hub, working as a team and being part of an organization that was doing passionate work.”

After being accepted to the M.L.I.S. program in the fall of 2019, Souza focused his degree on Information Access & Discovery.

“I desired to continue working in a public library and felt that this broader pathway was the best choice for me,” Souza said.

During his master’s program, Dr. Belinda Boon provided practical and valuable tools for Souza with class experiences.

“Her courses on information sources and reference services provided me with the most valuable tools,” Souza said.

In his current role, Souza balances offering traditional library and community services to the North Canton community.

“Our library recently began offering Passport Service, which has been an overwhelming success that has met a community need and also helped with library funding,” Souza said.

While his current work is primarily adult-focused, Souza continues to keep young adult librarian skills sharp through his monthly film club open to both demographics.

“It’s one of my favorite programs that I get to do,” Souza said. “It’s really been embraced by our patrons and I’m proud of it.”

In today’s library and information science field, professionals new to the field often come from different backgrounds and industries. As an example, Souza encourages those interested in getting their MLIS to look at the numerous career opportunities available.

“There are a range of opportunities and pathways that are available, along with the variety of careers that involve information management in some form,” Souza said. “A lot of my colleagues at the zoo had their MLIS degrees, some having worked in libraries.”

POSTED: Thursday, April 18, 2024 12:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2024 01:33 PM
Blake Serrano