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

Amanda Pizzollo

Amanda Pizzollo

My name is Amanda Wise Pizzollo. I go by Manda but really don’t mind when people call me Amanda. The Manda thing started with close friends and just kind of became how I think of myself. My middle name is Wise. How awesome is that? I’m from the South (SC to be precise) and sometimes we drop our middle names and make our maiden names our middle ones after we get married. To be honest with y’all, that’s the main reason I took my husband’s last name when we got married. I can now tell jokes about Wise being my middle name. Also, Pizzollo just sounds really fun. So, I am a feminist, and yes I changed my last name.

I’m a SLIS Wester. I don’t know if anyone else uses that term, but I do all the time. Most folks just say “I go to SLIS West” or “I’m at the west campus.” Regardless of your term for it, I am going to grad school to be a librarian at Simmons and I study primarily at their west campus in South Hadley, MA. It’s lovely. I’m the student office assistant here too. I’m also a public library substitute at a small local library and I’m a metadata intern at Amherst College. I’ve been a Scholarly Communication intern before, and I’m passionate about all the opens- access, data, and education. I’m very talkative, so blogging is a natural choice. Oh, also I was a nurse before going back to grad school.



Entries by Amanda Pizzollo

  • My last blog post: Thoughts on education

    This one’s going to be a bit weird, but you know, so am I. So it’s fitting. There’s some mixed info out there, but most agree that the word education comes from the Latin words educare, meaning to bring up and educere, meaning to bring forth. Others say that that Latin educare means to bring out, lead forth. So I think it’s safe to say that education, etymologically, is about expansion and growth. Not the colonial concept of expansion and exploration- that of imposing your culture on others, but the expansion of our minds and therefore our very selves, whatever makes us a self. I was at Amherst Explorations, an event that celebrates Amherst College student successes of the academic year, when one bright student presenter brought up this etymology and the idea of education as bringing out, leading forth; that concept of shifting & expanding the self. I call him bright not only for the obvious usual meaning adjectively: that he is quite smart; but for another reasons as well.  The Amherst College motto is Terras Irradient, “let them enlighten the lands,” and…

  • Dig Libs & Graduates

    My graduation is approaching and all you devotees to my snippets on this blog (hi Mom!), know that senioritis is really setting in for me. Actually, it has been there all semester pretty much, which is a little crazy since my graduate school experience has only consisted of 5 semesters, counting the summer when I took classes. So 1/5 of my time in grad school has been under the haze of senioritis. Aren’t humans funny little things when it comes to anticipation? Anywho, I thought in this blog post I would use that senioritis focus and combine it with something I love to do- scour digital libraries for interesting ephemara, artificats, letters, pics, etc. So here you are blog followers and compatriots! The wonderful world of graduates as seen through collections in digital libraries around the states. (note: I excluded videos & sounds in collections, but that’s also a fun ride if you enthusiasts want to go exploring. Many of the sites cited below also have such materials available on the interwebs).       …

  • 10 things I didn’t expect to learn by becoming a librarian (but I did)

    1. How to make memes and animated gifs   There’s lots of easy ways to make them. My favorite is using Photoshop. DPLA has a list of resources on how to here https://dp.la/info/get-involved/workshops/#gifs and they run a boss contest every year with some great results like this one:  (https://dp.la/info/gif-it-up/)   2. How to make book earrings http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Book-Earrings  Library fashion is the best fashion, y’all. It’s so much fun, and it’s not all book related. (Though there is a lot of that).    3. What the semantic web is I don’t know that I’d even heard that term before, and in general, I didn’t really get how much of librarianship is about technology and playing well together in the sandbox with every other information provider in the “digital age.” I’m not gonna explain the semantic web here, but it and RDF and linked data and all the good stuff that comes with are super interesting and worth finding out more about if you don’t know about them yet. Oh, on this note, I don’t think I expected to…

  • It’s the Final Countdown

    * 26 days until I finish at SLIS West (our campus has to end a bit earlier than Boston because we use the Mount Holyoke Campus classrooms) * 26 days until my digital libraries class presents at our graduation party, till I celebrate with SLIS West students and alums for our end of the year celebration, and till I get my special SLIS West tote bag signifying I am an alumna 🙂 * 29 days until I finish my SLIS Boston class * 46 days until I walk at commencement in Boston * 44 days until I figure out what to put on the top of my hat for said commencement (ideas welcome) * an unknown number of days until it really feels like spring * 1, 418 days (if I’m calculated correctly) until Amherst College celebrates it’s bicentennial (I’m the Bicentennial Project Metadata Librarian, so this is an important countdown for me) * and, well, I think this should end here- I’m getting a little nervous counting down the days of my life. My…

  • I Am No Charles Schulz

    I’m kind of out of words lately. ACRL last week was super fun and awesome, and I highly recommend taking advantage of conferences as much as you can. It’s great way to know what other folks are doing across the library land and to get motivation and practical advice for your own role and community. But, I am kind of not functioning at high octane levels right now mind-wise. ACRL and the travel to and from while trying to keep up with my 2 classes (which are awesome but the most work intensive courses I’ve had my whole grad school time) and settle into my new position at work has left me a little out of articulation energy and wherewithal. So, here’s a bad comic I made today to illustrate my current feelings about dealing with Dublin Core- a specific metadata schema- for my digital libraries project with class.  PS: don’t mistake this post for me grumbling about being stressed/overwhelmed or even about me not loving Dublin Core. I am a bit overwhelmed with school…

  • Post Spring Break-a-thon

    So long Spring Break, and thanks for all the fish!  Spring Break was fun. You know: non-stop parties, sunbathing, margaritas, that kind of thing. JUST KIDDING! hahaha. buwahhahahahah! (I could go on but will spare you). I’m in grad school and per my situation in life that was not my personal spring break experience. It was nice, though, to have a break from classes so that I could catch up on homework and reading for class (so exciting, right?!) and because I just increased my working hours. Why the increase in hours? Well… I got a professional librarian job! Wohoo! I’m now the Bicentennial Metadata Librarian at Amherst College and thoroughly stoked about it. I get to create metadata and metadata guidelines for digitized collections that are going to be made available in ACDC (rock on! No, actually it stands for Amherst College Digital Repository). I’ll especially be working on digital collections that highlight the history of Amherst College and its alumni and students for the upcoming Bicentennial of the college in 2021. So that’s…

  • Ode To Metadata

    We’ve reached that time in the semester that I refer to as the grind. It’s not overwhelming, it’s not all time-consuming, but it is a grind. Read, write, exercise (cataloging exercises, not the sweatin’ to the oldies kind), repeat. And so, I need a grind break. Therefore, this blog post will be a poem- a bad poem. Ode to metadata We learn all about you,data about data,and then we learn quickly-that that don’t come near to explaining ya’ You’re the label on the can of soup.The title of a book,the stuff we need to know to find thatfor which we look. You help us keep stuff separate;and so, we can lump things together.Because of you, I run a search,and find all the books written about leather. You’re the love notes to ourselves,and to future library fellers.So that we know how to take careof the treasures in our cellars. Without youI would not know who took this pic,or if it’s of a magic wandor just a wayward stick. So here’s to you metadatabecause I never met…

  • Other Librarianing Fun

    Well hello there, blog watchers! It’s been a whirlwind of a time for me the last couple of weeks. I’m thankful to have a few big presentations inside and outside of classroom out of the way so I can catch up on some reading (for class- of course, but also for Discworld- of course). Yesterday was sunny and reached up into the high 40s where I am in MA, so I’m feeling pretty good this fine President’s Day. I thought it would be fun to devote this blog post to some things you may not get a lot of in depth experience with in LIS school, but you will get to experience in the wide world of libarianing (with variation of course depending on your specific position). This post was inspired by my SLIS West buddy Jenney when she told our friend “way to embrace the glue and glitter!” after he shared some recent projects he’d done. Readers’ Advisory – okay, you do get time spent on this in school- especially depending on the classes,…

  • The Interview Process

    I’m in my last semester at SLIS West, and that means it’s time to start applying for professional jobs! Woohoo! Especially because I’m primarily interested in working in an academic library, I’ve got to be applying for things pre-graduation whenever possible. Sometimes the academic library hiring process can take a little while, and I’m hoping to have a professional level job immediately after graduation if not before it. Of course, this all depends on jobs available and all that jazz. I have been lucky enough to get a few interview opportunities for professional jobs this semester, and the hiring/application process for academic librarian jobs is quite different compared to what I experienced as a nurse or as a library student. Sometimes it involves 2 interviews- one with just a search committee, and then if you’re invited back, a longer interview day with more library staff. Sometimes it’s just one interview. Often, for the longer interview day, you’re also required to present on a topic assigned by the search committee. So, yes, I know that having…

  • FRBR is dead, long live FRBR!

    Okay, this post won’t really be about IFLA LRM, the model that will be replacing FRBR LRM/FRBR/FRAD/FRSAD, but I couldn’t resist putting a little nod to it as the title of this week’s blog post. Those who heard news from ALA Midwinter regarding FRBR and the conceptual model IFLA LRM might think it’s funny, and so that title was for you, kids. Though it’s not going to be called FRBR anymore, and it certainly is not FRBR- there’s a lot of similarities with FRBR in the IFLA LRM- so never fear, peasants. There is still a lord in the land of understanding the bibliographic universe. Okay, so for you non-cataloging enthusiasts out there, hello! and back to reality and “normal” English we go… We’re in our second week of classes for the semester. I have one (descriptive cataloging, hence the above little intro) on Wednesdays, and one on Saturdays. Both are on topics that I’m super excited about and that are really applicable to my current job as a metadata intern, so I’m pretty stoked…

  • “SLIS Wester”

    PS (presript in this case rather than post): I like the term SLIS Wester. SLIS Westerner would of course be more technically appropriate if you’re uptight about prescriptive language. I’m not sure if anyone else uses either of these terms- so if you decide to start going around being like “hey, SLIS Westers, let’s go party!” and get only blank stares, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Welp, the winter break is coming to a close. I’ve started my pre-class reading for the course that required it, but mostly this weekend has been about lounging around and working on fun little projects- taking advantage of my last weekend without class or homework for a while. Recently, I had someone ask me about being a SLIS West student compared to being a Simmons Boston student, and I figured- hey! why not make this explanation a blog post too. Now, of course the problem with trying to answer “what is it like to be a SLIS West student?” is that it’s like asking someone “what’s is it…

  • NECode4Lib

    Howdy fellow interwebs browsers! This week I wanted to talk about the NECode4Lib event on 12/5. So, NECode4Lib was a fun and informative informal conference organized by librarians from around New England (with special attention to Johanna Radding, former SLIS West program manager, and Abby Baines, current SLIS West prof, who did a lot of the work!). It was held in the Red Barn at Hampshire which is beautiful, especially with sparkling snow on the ground outside. Talks included a range of topics. For a full list, visit here: https://wiki.code4lib.org/NECode4lib_2016. I think some of the slides will be going up soon too.  Librarians are so great at collaborating and sharing information (duh on that last one I guess). I love that I’m in a profession now where there are often conferences like this one- and ones bigger and smaller than this. It’s such a great way to meet people and learn about what other folks are doing. I especially enjoyed a lightening talk on lightening talks by a couple folks at MIT because they talked about…

  • The Week Before Finals

    ‘Tis the week before finals, and all through the landSLIS students are scurrying to finish up plans.Slides, lesson plans, websites galore!We finish up presentations that we hope the teach will adore. We tidy up projects and put citations in papersAs the weather turns ready for frost and scrapers. So forgive the silent blog, dear fans, as we put on our thinking caps;When really our brains are ready for long winter’s naps. You’ll hear from us again soon, with good tidings and cheer. For after 12/10 will be finished with half of this school year! We’ll take long breaks or graduate, and play and work, work, workTo make use of the break. You’ll see us in society again, and we won’t just lurk.We’ll have lives again – at least for a month. So bear with us, dear fans, as we finish up this crunch!

  • AAOTP (Acronyms All Over the Place)

    I was in healthcare, then I was specifically a nurse working for a state government, and now I’m a librarian. Oh, acronyms & nomenclature. I guess they abound in every profession, but between government, medicine, librarianship, and texting/social media lingo- I feel very acronymical in life. I thought I’d share some good ones for new students to know here:  SLIS: School of Library & Information Science (So, we used to be GSLIS- graduate school of library & information science, and you’ll hear that still being used a lot. We’ve been SLIS, though, ever since I started. Some people say it as S LIS, some as SLIS. We’ll see what happens in the long run I suppose).  LIS: Library & Information Science  AARC: Academic & Administrative Resource Center  (that connection thing online where you can see your classes, register, access Simmons email, and what not).  MHC: Mount Holyoke College (We use this as SLIS West students a lot since our classes are on MHC’s campus) LITS: Library & Technology Services  (Mount Holyoke’s Library- again good for SLIS West students to know). …

  • Out with the Old, in with the New

    In January I left my last nursing job so that I could better pursue a position in the wonderful world of librarianship. When I did so, my partner and I sat down and talked about how to make that decision work economically. He’s in grad school getting his doctorate in science, so he gets paid through that. It’s a pretty fixed amount, and not something that would keep us easily afloat for long without me working as well. Especially since I went to Nurse Practitioner grad school for a year, and I’m still paying off those loans, plus now I’m gathering more debt from LIS school, and we bought a house last year. We’ve both spent years saving up for all of this, but still. So, we sat down and thought of the lowest priorities for spending and how and where to cut corners. We ate a lot of rice and beans until I starting get more jobs, and we cut our cell phone plans. Now- we still had cell phones because we’d paid those…

  • Pleasant Suprises

    Whew! Busy week with a couple penultimate assignments and a presentation in my classes, plus attempts to get back in shape and return to meditating daily. It seems as though my new year resolution phase has kicked in a bit early. Or maybe I’m just excited for cookie season.  So, I thought this week I might share a bit some of my pleasant surprises from my role as a metadata intern. When I started library school, I honestly didn’t really have an intention of becoming an information organizer to the extent of a metadata creator or cataloger. I found I really like my 415 class though (information organization), and suddenly I was considering resource description as a potential career. A piece of me thought I was just getting excited about something new to me, not really finding a new career path. So, I looked in other directions course and internship-wise for a while. Yet, the allure of info org has been too strong my friends — and it has remained a consistent presence for me…

  • Subjects, Categories, & Classifications in LIS

    A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a panel discussion called Contested Subjects: The Politics of Library Classification at Amherst College. The speakers were Emily Drabinski (on whom I have a professional crush), Kelsy Shepherd, Alana Kubmier, and John DeSantis. They were all fantastic panelists, and I would highly recommend viewing the discussion once the recording is available. It’s going to be posted on their Facebook page when it’s ready.  The topic was that the library, particularly the library catalog, is never really a neutral space. The panel started with John DeSantis, a librarian at Dartmouth with an insider’s perspective, talking about the recent “illegal alien” Library of Congress subject heading controversy. For those of you who don’t know, a group of students at Dartmouth started the movement to change the “illegal alien” subject heading. After the initial rejection by the Library of Congress, more people began to weigh in and advocate for a change in terminology. A new proposal with the additional changes was proposed, and some politicians soon became involved, a few even spoke…

  • Introducing — Amanda Pizzollo — A New Blogger for Simmons SLIS

    So, I’m coming up on my 10 year nurse-a-versary. Yup, it’s almost been 10 years since I took my boards and got my first job as a nurse. What? Oh, this is a blog about librarianing you say? I know, I know. I’m getting there. I’ve been getting, there, in fact, since I started training to be a nurse. Well, getting here that is, and by here I mean the library world. I loved nursing, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t what I would have chosen in college if it weren’t for outside pressures and a certain measure of indecisiveness. Don’t worry, I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not. I don’t think. Well, maybeeee… No really. I’m very sure about this whole library thing. But being a nurse is still a big part of my life, and a big part of who I am. As much as I try not to, I somehow end up telling people in library school that I’m also a nurse within about 2 minutes of conversation. It’s just…