Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Alec Chunn

I am a Pacific Northwest native who came to Boston to pursue the love of my life: children’s books. When I’m not on campus, I am either making lattes at Starbucks, volunteering at the local library, or exploring what the city has to offer. I’m usually always also thinking about what I’m going to do when I grow up. I consider myself a writer, a performer, and a critic. But, really, I just like the simple things in life, such as coloring books, puppets, and gnomes.



Entries by Alec Chunn

  • Making Membership Worth It

    I voted in my first ALA election today. So, consider this entry my big “I voted” sticker. I’m actually quite proud of myself. No joke. For once, I didn’t let those thoughts in my head of “I’m not a real librarian” get to me. Because, if you’ve read my previous entries, you’ll know that I am. We all are here at Simmons. Anyways, since I didn’t really know most of the people on the ballots, I had to skim through everyone’s bios to see who I thought were the best candidates for each position. The best part, though, was when I did know someone (go Em Claire!). It kinda got me thinking about the strong likelihood that some of the people I’m in library school with now will someday be on that list. I may someday be on that list. And you never know who’s going to remember you, or whom you’re going to remember. I’m certainly going to take that to heart. This extends beyond the Simmons community. I will probably meet a lot…

  • Sightseeing, Ducky Style

    My parents were in town last week, so I had the pleasure of doing lots of touristy things. Probably the biggest thing I did was go to a Red Sox game (which for a Seattle Mariners fan like me does, in fact, constitute tourism). I also did many smaller things. The best small thing: going on a Duck Tour. (1) Because I happen to really love ducks, and (2) Because our tour guide wore pajamas and pretended to be friends with Christopher Walken. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember that he was awesome. There’s nothing quite like seeing the city you live in from an outsider’s eyes. Sure, walking around and familiarizing yourself with somewhere new is liberating and can be deeply personal. But there’s also something incredible about being a voyeur. At least in terms of tourism. On a tour, you get to listen to someone explain their love for the city–their favorite parts and favorite stories–while you simply keep quiet and watch, asking questions when queries arise. On the Duck…

  • A New Kind of Storytime?

    One of my greatest regrets about leaving home is that I don’t get to see my five-year-old niece, Riley, very often. But, lucky for me, I got the opportunity to video chat with her this week (bless technology!). One of the greatest challenges about video chat, though, is remembering that not everything you do can be seen. And this becomes particularly important when you’re reading picture books. Or so I’ve come to realize. Simmons faculty Megan Lambert teaches a method of reading picture books called the Whole Book Approach. This is basically just a way of interacting with the picture book as an art form. When reading via this approach, children are asked to engage in a dialogue about the text. They move from being passive listeners to active participants in the story. Though I haven’t (yet) been formally trained in this approach, Megan demonstrates it often in her classes. If you’re curious, you can learn more about this method by taking her course at the Eric Carle Museum this summer. Anyways, I tried to…

  • Gateway to Reading

    Welcome back! Here’s hoping your vacations were as pleasant as mine. I was able to return to the Pacific Northwest, and I spent some time in a museum in Oregon that a friend of mine works at. It was interesting to see the ways that libraries and museums differ. I wanted to ask the librarian about her collection, but it was her birthday and she was out. I did get to see the way certain artifacts are stored though! What I really want to talk about happened before my vacation. Just before I left, I had the opportunity to see Marc Brown, creator of the beloved Arthur television series, at the Boston Public Library. The talk he gave was part of BPL’s Lowell Lecture Series. Luckily for me and other kid lit types, this year’s theme happens to be “Gateway to Reading.” Marc Brown is only the second of many more lectures–many of which you might want to check out. (I’d extend my commercial beyond this, but I think you can decide for yourself what…

  • Librarian for a Day (Or Two)

    I may have mentioned before that I volunteer at the Public Library of Brookline on Thursdays. A few weeks ago, I helped a record number of patrons: six. While this probably seems inconsequential to most people, this number is a breakthrough. This means six people thought I might help them; six people thought I looked like a librarian (whatever that means); and six people thought I was qualified. The usual number is zero, sometimes one or two. And, most of the time, I just get asked where the bathroom is. Fact: I am the Teen Room monitor. This means I basically just sit in the room and make sure nothing too disastrous happens. But, since the kids aren’t particularly rowdy on most days, I basically hold an after school study session. And the vast majority of the time, I’m doing my homework along with them. Or writing these blogs. I think perhaps that I sometimes look like I’m terribly busy. But, really, I love being interrupted. Having never worked in a library setting before, this…

  • A Case for Classes at the Carle

    Warning: This is an advertisement. Or perhaps it’s more of an endorsement. One of the coolest things children’s literature students at Simmons can do is attend classes that are held at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Currently, I am enrolled in one such class–Children’s Book Publishing–taught by Vicky Smith. We meet for the last weekend of every month, mostly in the windowless conference room, but the change of setting is refreshing. (And the lack of windows really isn’t that bad.) Taking a class with students who aren’t Boston-based is enlightening because they bring a different perspective. The cultural climate around the area reminds me so much of Bellingham, Washington (where I went to undergrad) so I feel right at home. So many of the students are writers in the dual degree track–at least in the case of this particular Carle class. For a would-be librarian like me, being surrounded by so many aspiring writers is just the coolest. I could shelve their books someday. Isn’t that wild? The class…

  • A Feast of “Air and Stories”

    Because of Maggie’s previous post, I decided to take a chance and go to massmouth‘s Storytelling Festival last Saturday at the Boston Public Library. Well, maybe “chance” is the wrong word. I have long been a fan of the “idea” of storytelling. I decided to fulfill a dream, perhaps?   Since I was a child, I have always feasted on stories. I know that I am not alone in this–certainly not in a program like ours. When many of us think of stories, though, we often think of books. Certainly I do. Yet, the raconteurs of my childhood were my father and my grandfather, who delighted in inventing tales that thrilled and terrified. It wasn’t until I grew older and learned to read on my own that my stories transformed into printed words narrated by a voice in my head (he’s quite good but, unfortunately, you’ll never get to hear him). Now I’m trying audiobooks. But nothing quite replaces the physical presence of a storyteller. Results of a survey released in September of 2013 revealed that…

  • Construction Paper Revelations

    Before the first day of The Picturebook, Professor Megan Lambert sent us an email requesting that we bring the following items to class: a stack of construction paper, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick. If you’re anything like me, these magical three are the things you bring to craft nights because you can’t sew or embroider or knit or [insert equally awesome skill here]. They’re the essentials. They’re the things that make you feel like an artist even when people say you aren’t. Therefore, you can imagine my delight when I realized that the activity planned for class was nothing other than starting the project that would be creating our very own picturebooks. In grad school. Awesome, right? When I found out, I told everyone. As I rejoiced and Instagramed my process over the next few weeks, I realized that the people I was telling were making certain assumptions about the level of difficulty of my program. I can imagine why they would. Picturebooks, normally 32 pages, tend to have simple text and…

  • Big Moves

    So, I moved. I’m still in Allston (darn), but at least I am several steps closer to Brookline. I could wax poetic about how much I love that city (fun fact: I volunteer in the Teen Room at the main branch of the public library) but that would do little for our purposes here. As much as I might like to publicly complain about my laborious moving process (it really wasn’t so bad), I find myself distracted by a much more exciting move than my own: The Horn Book is coming to Simmons. For the children’s literature world, this is huge. HUGE. I’m telling you. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) This move makes a lot of sense considering that the magazine’s founder, Bertha Mahony, graduated from Simmons in 1902. Nowadays, Simmons (specifically its Center for the Study of Children’s Literature) and The Horn Book are both involved in Children’s Book Boston, a new organization dedicated to providing a shared space for the Boston-based kid lit world. Simmons also hosts The Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium…

  • Confessions of a Kid Lit Fanboy

    Let’s talk about fandom. Surely, there is somebody out there whom all of you are dying to meet. Yet, you’re probably also terrified of meeting this person, for fear of being tongue-tied, boring, or just all around beside yourselves (my grandmother, bless her heart, would use the phrase “tickled”). Well, a strange thing happened here at Simmons this semester: by some cosmic twist of fate, I am now taking a class from one of my heroes, Roger Sutton. See, Roger doesn’t know that I idolize him. He doesn’t know that one of my biggest motivations to come to Boston was to someday be his intern (fingers crossed). He doesn’t know that, on the first day of orientation last semester, when I found out he’d be teaching this class, my jaw literally dropped and I had to pick it up off the floor. He doesn’t know that, that same day, I all-too-energetically ran to meet one of the members of his staff at The Horn Book. At least, I hope he doesn’t know these things. And…