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

Amie Grosshans

Amie Grosshans

Hi, I’m Amie! I was born and raised here in Massachusetts and have a master’s degree in Art History. As soon as I read about Simmons’s LIS program, I knew that I wanted to be a librarian. It’s a bit of a shock to be back at school again after almost twenty years, but I’m loving every minute of it. I’m finally in my element and so excited for the future. I’m currently in the archives concentration but am open to exploring other areas of librarianship.

When I’m not working or doing schoolwork, I’m usually reading or listening to an audiobook. I also love to knit shawls, sweaters, and socks and am pretty much never without my needles. My handknits make the crazy Boston winters a bit more bearable. Aside from my family, my do Peggy is my biggest supporter and study buddy.



Entries by Amie Grosshans

  • Book Reviews!

    This semester we are required to write three book reviews and post them to our class Google site.  We can read any YA books we want, but one of them has to feature a minority and/or LGBTQ+ character and one has to be a non-fiction or an informational text.  There are two parts to the reviews: the first is a very short blurb, two or three sentences, that explains the gist of the book, and the second is a more thorough review.  I have written one review so far and am working on the second.  Surprisingly, I had a much easier time writing the small blurb than I did the full review.  For me, it was fun to think of how to condense the book down to two or three sentences.  It forced me to think of the overarching theme of the book and what the main character is experiencing.  I knew I only had a limited amount of space to use and that helped me focus on the most important details and themes.  I love playing with words, so I really enjoyed…

  • Compare and Contrast

    I’m still feeling a twinge of disappointment after dropping the database class but overall I’m having a much easier time keeping up with schoolwork, and I’m a lot less stressed.  So, yay!  I’m also really enjoying being able to focus on a single class.  This week’s topic in Collections and Materials for Young Adults was particularly interesting, as we focused on young adult non-fiction adaptations.  We had to read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and its YA adaptation, Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, both of which chronicle the history of racism in the United States.     While I read a lot of YA fiction, I don’t read YA non-fiction at all.  Truthfully, I never gave too much thought to the genre before this week.  I thought most young adults would gravitate towards reading adult non-fiction, because that’s what I did when I was younger, but that’s not the case for everyone.  I happen to love history and biographies, but I know they can be boring, depending on the author and style.  So adapting adult non-fiction for young adults makes a lot of…

  • A Tough Choice

    I made the difficult decision to drop my database class last week.  Since I missed the add/drop grace period, I’ll get a “W” on my transcript, but luckily that won’t affect my GPA.  It will, however, affect my graduation date because it was too late to sign up for a different class.  Instead of graduating in December, I’ll now be graduating in May.  I’m bummed about that because I was so excited to be almost done.  In the grand scheme of things, waiting another five months to graduate is not a big deal, but I still feel disappointed.  However, I know this was the right decision because I was struggling with this class.  I could have pushed through, but ultimately I decided that I don’t have the time or energy to do that right now.  I am stressed enough with all the COVID stuff and this class was just adding more stress to my life.  Even though it stinks, my peace of mind is already better.  Now I only have to focus on one class, and I won’t be extra stressed trying to get everything…

  • Books, Books, and More Books

                The semester is still young, but I’ve already read five books for my Young Adult Literature class!  I definitely panicked when I saw this on the syllabus.  The professor had sent out an email a few weeks before the semester began to let us know that we had to read three books for week 2, but since I signed up for the class late, I didn’t get the news until the first week of class.  Thankfully, the books were quick reads, and I had more notice for the two books I had to read for week 3.   While it requires a lot of reading, this class has been amazing so far.  I signed up for it mainly because I love YA literature, but I also signed up because I wanted to read out of my comfort zone.  I’m used to reading books of my choosing.  I gravitate towards mysteries, fantasies, and other light reads.  This isn’t a bad thing, but I think it’s important as a librarian to be familiar with all types of books.  I wanted to get familiar with books and…

  • Ready to Go!

    Classes started last week.  I’m excited to get back into a normal routine again, especially since the world is still so uncertain.  I might not be able to count on much right now, but I know I can count on my schoolwork and deadlines to give me a bit of normalcy, and I’m grateful for that.  My classes run from Tuesday-Monday and Thursday-Wednesday, and I’ve started to plan out the days I work on each class.  I like to create my own routine and get a little bit of work done every day so that I am not cramming everything in on the due date.   This semester I’m taking LIS 458, Database Management, and LIS 483, Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults.  I had intended to take LIS 532R, Reader’s Advisory, but it ended up being a synchronous online class—meaning each session was at a specific time—and unfortunately, the time didn’t work out with my schedule.  While I’m disappointed about that, I am very happy with the classes that I chose.  I can tell already that Database Management is going to…

  • Final Summer Thoughts

    I finished all my work for Collections Management last week.  I can’t believe the summer semester is over already.  It went by so fast.  I loved this class and would recommend it to all SLIS students, especially those who like hands on activities.  It was a great introduction to book repair and definitely made me curious to learn more.  It will be very nice to have a few weeks off, but I’m looking forward to my classes in the fall.  Since SLIS announced that all of its classes for the fall would be online,  all the in-person classes that I normally would not have been able to take were suddenly available to me.  I had to rethink my classes a bit, and I ended up signing up for a new class, LIS 532R, Reader’s Advisory.  I wanted to take this class as soon as I saw it in the course descriptions, but I wasn’t able to because it was at the Mount Holyoke campus.  But now I get to take it, and I am excited.  …

  • Winding Down

    There are only two weeks left in the summer semester and I can’t believe it.  It’s gone by fast.  This is the first time I’ve taken only one class, and it’s been very nice.  It’s also been a bit weird, since I’m used to juggling two or three classes and having more work to do.  But I’m not complaining!  We’ve finished the last of the hands-on activities and will have lecture classes and a discussion with a conservator the rest of the semester.  Two weeks ago, we had our most difficult assignment: making boxes out of heavy paper and corrugated cardboard.  Boxes are created for items that cannot be put directly on the shelves because they are too delicate or because they are damaged.  Creating a custom box for these items gives them physical support and allows them to be handled by the public (with a little bit of caution, of course).  Otherwise, these items would be unavailable.  The boxes have to fit the item perfectly to make sure the item will not move around…

  • Book Repairs!

    I’ve had a busy and fun two weeks of book repairs.  My tasks included rebacking (replacing the spine of a book) and recasing (re-attaching the text block to the book cover).  Both of these repairs were invasive and required cutting into the book.  That definitely scared me at first.  Taking a knife to a book seemed like sacrilege.  I had to remind myself that cutting into the book would not harm it—in fact, it would save the book.  And it did!  The end result of my repairs was book that was fully functional again, and ready to get back into circulation.  I can see how knowing how to do these minor repairs would be beneficial for librarians, because they could fix a lot of book problems without having to spend money buying a new book.  What amazes me is how much book repair is about precision.  It takes a lot of practice to make straight, even cuts, align pages, and trim accurately.  But once you know how to do this, you can make repairs that…

  • All About Paper

    This summer, I’m taking LIS 447, Collections Maintenance, and I absolutely love it so far.  There are two parts to the class: the lectures, which explore the topic of the week and show how to do the repairs, and the hands-on part, where we get to do the repairs ourselves.  All of us were mailed a big box with the weekly materials before the class started, which included damaged books, different types of papers, newspapers, magazine ads, archival quality tape, and tissue paper.  We also bought a tool kit from the school bookstore, which included a cutting mat, ruler, retractable knife, paint brush, and other necessities.  I created a designated workspace for myself and laid all the tools and folders on a little table.  It’s been working out great, because it keeps all the tools and materials in one place and I don’t have to constantly pack and unpack all the materials.  I would probably lose something that way!  The first week, we repaired small paper tears with tape and glue, and last week we…

  • End of Semester Round Up!

    It’s the last week of class, and all of my work is done except for two small forum posts. I’m relieved to have everything done, but I’m also kind of sad because I really enjoyed my classes this semester. Collections Development was a straight up, pure library science class and I loved it. I looked at a ton of statistics, created budgets, and discovered ways to find information on new books and trends. I also learned how to use Twitter! I now use it regularly to check in with my local libraries and keep up to date with everything book related. Metadata was fascinating because it showed how all types of information can be classified and sorted. I loved creating records with XML (Extensible Markup Language). It’s kind of like a puzzle. I get to fill in the pieces and make sure all the names and categories are in the right order. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and excitement when I create a useful, error-free XML document. I know that might sound weird,…

  • A Great Group Project

    I completed my group project for Metadata and honestly it was one of the most enlightening group projects that I’ve done.  Each group was assigned a different metadata schema.  This is usually how it goes for a group project, but what was different here was that the schemas were for unusual items like Tweets (Tweet Object Records), music (Music Encoding Initiative), cultural heritage objects (MIDAS Heritage), biological records (Darwin Core) and even math (MathML)!  I watched all the presentations and learned a ton about how metadata is used.  I did not know that you could create metadata for a math formula or that metadata for a simple Tweet contains huge amount of information, including the number of followers the person had at that time, the number of likes the tweet got, and how many times it was re-tweeted.  It was so interesting to learn how each schema described its resources.       My group was assigned PBCore, which is used to create metadata for audio and visual resources, like tv episodes or radio shows.  I enjoyed…

  • It’s That Time Again

    Fall registration is this week.  I always love registration time but this year I’m a little stressed out because the Fall semester is my last one at Simmons!  I only have three classes remaining–one summer class and two fall classes–but I’m interested in a lot of classes.  I’m trying to narrow it down and I am not succeeding.  For the summer semester, I’m taking LIS 447, Collections Maintenance.  It was supposed to be an intensive two week in-person class, but it, along with all the other summer courses, was moved online due to coronavirus.  It’s going to be interesting to do it online because it’s traditionally a hands-on class where you work directly with the books.  However, the professor emailed all of us who registered and said that she’s made some changes and is confident it will work online.  I was considering taking LIS 484, Theories of Information Science, to get the Information Science and Technology concentration, but I’ve decided not to do that.  I think I’ve taken a great mix of technology centered classes…

  • Time Flies. And Stands Still.

    It’s been another weird week, but I think I’m getting used to this new normal.  Some days have seemed endless, but others have flown by.  I’ve established a pretty good new routine and set a schedule for my job and my schoolwork.  I don’t usually schedule out my days, but it’s been the most effective way for me to remember everything that I need to do.  Otherwise, it’s too easy to get caught up in all the negatives and uncertainty and get nothing done as a result.  What I didn’t realize in the frenzy of the past three weeks is that there’s less than a month left in the semester!  I have two big projects to finish before then.  The first project that I have to finish is my group project for metadata.  It’s due next week, and we have already gotten a good start on it.  That’s the last big thing for that class, other than a few small assignments which I consider “easier” only because I get to do them myself and don’t…

  • Libraries, Twitter, and Me!

    It’s week two of life during coronavirus, and I’m still struggling to focus on my schoolwork.  I’ve been using my phone calendar to set reminders for things I need to do, because I keep getting distracted.  I’m stuck in an endless cycle of hand washing, freaking out about the news, going to work, doing schoolwork, and stress eating ice cream.  That being said, I haven’t needed any reminders for one particular project for my collections development class: our Twitter assignment.  The initial assignment called for us to tweet pictures of interesting things at the library, like themed displays, or links to events at the library.  Sadly, I had only been tweeting for three days before all the libraries started cancelling events and eventually closed entirely.  But there has still been a lot to tweet about!  Because so many people are stuck at home and need things to do, they are turning to their libraries for help.  Libraries in turn are doing everything they can to help, and this is where Twitter comes in.  Libraries can…

  • Changes Ahead

    To say the last week has been crazy would be an understatement.  Coronavirus has already changed a lot of our lives, and I’m sure by the time this is published, things will have changed even more.  It’s definitely scary.  The good thing is that Simmons has had an amazing response to the coronavirus, sending regular emails detailing exactly what is going on and what will happen.  Simmons is doing a great job of looking after its students and making sure they are properly taken care of, and I am grateful to each and every one of the people who have helped ease us through this transition.  Thank you for all your work! I’m an online student and my classes have resumed as usual following our spring break.  I’m actually happy to have schoolwork because it gives me something to do other than worry about what’s going on with coronavirus, although I admit my focus is not at its best right now.  Unfortunately, the on-campus students are bearing the brunt of the changes, with their in-person…

  • Super Statistics

    Did you know that the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners keeps detailed statistics on every single public library in the state?  Or that the MBLC collects and analyzes all of these statistics and makes them available online in spreadsheet format?  I found this out while I was completing an assignment for Collections Development.  The assignment was to evaluate our library’s collection using standard evaluation methods, like list checking, peer comparison, user surveys, and statistics analysis.  I chose to do a peer evaluation of my library and used the MBLC statistics to compare it to two neighboring libraries.  It was really interesting to see how each library spends money and how their collection makeup differed.  But it was also overwhelming because there are so many statistics.  It bears repeating:  there are so many statistics.  Want to know how many study rooms a library has?  Or the most recent year your library was renovated?  Check out the Main Facilities spreadsheet.  How about total materials expenditures and per capita rate of spending?  Check out the Financial Data spreadsheet. …

  • Making Plans!

    The summer course list was posted last week.  I’ve been waiting for it because I’m trying to plan my final three classes.  I can’t believe I only have three classes left!  It’s exciting and kind of terrifying at the same time.  Last summer I made the mistake of taking two classes and it was an insane amount of work.  I am limiting myself to one class this summer, and it’s just a matter of deciding which class to take.  I am intrigued by LIS 447, Collections Maintenance.  The format is different for this class because it is face to face, and meets all day, three days a week, for two weeks.  This means I can get the class over with and have a nice break before the fall semester.  I am very interested in the subject matter, too.  It’s about repairing and binding books, and other physical or administrative tasks related to collections maintenance.  It would provide valuable hands-on experience and I think I would learn a lot.  The downside is that it is all…

  • Presentation Time, and a Lucky Coincidence

    I finished my first project of the semester this week.  It was a Power Point presentation for Collections Development on a book genre of our choice.  We had to research current trends in our genre, identify helpful resources, and analyze publishing statistics.  We also had to create a two-page handout with a brief overview on the topic.  This allows us to discover and share what is trending in the book world, so that ultimately we can build a library collection that satisfies user needs.  Before I was back in school, I thought 5-7 minutes was a long time for a presentation, but it turns out it is not a lot of time at all.  It goes by fast, especially if you have a list of items that you need to cover.  Whittling down all the information into a narrative that is thorough, concise and makes sense is not easy.  I’ve completed audio presentations for other classes and I’ve never recorded anything within the time limit on the first (or even second or third) try.  It…

  • Mastering Metadata

    One of the most interesting things about metadata is that there is a big difference between reading about metadata and creating metadata. I learned a little about this last year when we covered the topic briefly in LIS 415, but I’m learning a lot more about it now. The readings make metadata creation seem straightforward, but when I try to complete my assignments, I often get stuck. There is so much to think about, and so many categories to cover. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if I’ve covered all the possible information I need to for a particular item.  For example, this week we have to create our own metadata schema to describe three different music albums. We don’t have to describe the albums yet, just come up with all the categories necessary to describe them. The starting point is the album cover and back, which includes information such as the title of the album, the artist and other contributors, and the song titles. There can also be information on the producer(s), the studio…

  • Building Blocks

    One of the things I love about my classes at Simmons is that they build on each other.  It’s exciting when a topic I learned about in one class is referenced or expanded on in a different class.  It’s fascinating to go more in depth on certain topics and to see how they tie together.  Even though this semester is only three weeks old, it has already referenced a lot of what was covered in my previous semesters.   Collections Development has built on many of the subjects covered by Introduction to Management (LIS 404).  This includes types of budgets used by libraries, how those budgets are used, mission statements, and vision statements.  It has also mentioned environmental scanning, which is a topic that came up in Digital Libraries (LIS 462).  Environmental scanning entails keeping track of what similar libraries are doing in order to measure what your library is or is not doing, and what it can do in the future.  It’s a way of staying competitive and relevant in the community.    Metadata has…

  • Library Setup

    I had my first assignment for Collections Development last week and it was very interesting.  Each student chose a different library to focus on for the semester, and the first thing we had to do was visit that library and observe how it was set up.  I visited my library late on a Thursday afternoon.  As I went through each room, I noted what was there and how it was arranged.  I also focused on who was there and what they were doing.  I normally don’t spend a lot of physical time in the library because I request items through the online library catalog and go directly to the circulation desk to pick them up.  I know where everything is in the library, but I never thought about how it was arranged.  Obviously setting up a library is more complicated than simply placing books on shelves.  It must have an order and be easy to navigate.  I never had to think about that before, but I tried to keep that in mind when I browsed…

  • Ready to Go!

    It was nice to have a few weeks off but I’m ready for classes to start again.  2020 is going to be an important year for me.  Not only is it a big birthday year (I’m entering a new decade!), but it’s the year I’ll be graduating.  Since I have a lot to do between now and the end of the year, I started browsing the Simmons Career Education Center website to see if it offered anything to help me through the process.  It turns out that the CEC offers a lot of services to students and alumni.  I was a little overwhelmed by all the options, to be honest, but I found two things that seem especially useful: the resume review service and the career fairs.  I could use some feedback on my resume.  I am not sure it’s as strong as it could be, so I’m going to make an appointment to have someone from Simmons review it. This will be especially important because I’m planning on attending at least one of the…

  • End of Semester Thoughts

    I can’t believe the semester is over already!  I have completed all my assignments except for a group project, but that is 90% done and will be submitted by the time this blog is posted.  I’m happy that I made it through unscathed, and I’m also happy that I won’t ever have to take three classes in one semester again.  It was doable, but definitely required a lot of focus and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had forgotten about an assignment (I never did, but I also constantly checked my syllabi to make sure I was covered!).  I will be glad to get back to only two classes next semester. I think the biggest lesson I learned from my classes this semester was how broad the field of librarianship really is.  The Digital Libraries course expanded my concept of what a library is and showed me how much work goes into setting up a digital library.  It requires a lot of people from different areas to work together to provide something functional and…

  • Thankful

    I was struggling to find a topic for this week’s blog.  I’ve been consumed with finishing year end projects and figuring out how to complete this week’s work in time because of the holiday.  I won’t be able to do any work on Thursday (I’ll be too busy stuffing stuffing and pumpkin cheesecake in my face) and then I’m going away with my mom and sisters on Friday and Saturday, so those days are out, too.  And then I started reminiscing about last Thanksgiving and found my topic. Because last Thanksgiving, I was just starting to get my application together to apply to SLIS.  I had already figured out who to ask for references and was ready to fill out my application.  I was thinking about how excited I was to possibly be starting school again, but I was also so nervous that I wouldn’t be accepted.  Once I “discovered” the idea of becoming a librarian, I couldn’t think about doing anything else, and I would have been devastated if I wasn’t accepted at Simmons. …

  • Bits and Pieces

    I thought I’d give some updates on things I’ve been working on lately! I registered for my spring classes last week.  I had always planned to sign up for Metadata (LIS 445) and I did, but I was uncertain on my second class.  I took an leap and signed up for Info Services for Diverse Users (LIS 410).  This wasn’t on my list of classes I wanted to take, but it struck me as very interesting and worthwhile, and I’m glad I chose it.  I’m excited to learn about all the ways libraries address people with different backgrounds and abilities, and what can be done in the future to make them even more inclusive.  I’m really excited for it. I finished paper #2 for Social Informatics!  I submitted it on Sunday even though it was due on Tuesday.  It ended up coming together faster than I thought but I spent a lot of time editing.  I love the editing process, particularly playing around with wording and making my sentences cleaner and clearer.  I went through…

  • Reality Check!

    I couldn’t believe it when I logged into my classes this week and saw that it was week 10 of the semester.  By the time this blog is posted, it will be week 11, and there will be less than a month left in the semester.  Yikes!  So of course, I’m focused right now on all the projects I have to complete before then.  I have two papers and a small group project to finish, as well as my ongoing project work for Digital Libraries.  I don’t have any projects for my Intro to Programming course, but that’s because each week there are several very time-consuming labs to complete.  I’m thankful there’s not an extra project on top of that because that would be a little too much to handle. As usual, I want to try and finish some projects early if I can.  I think this is especially important for this semester because of all the holidays coming up.  This is my first Fall semester, and the first time I’ve had to think about…

  • Creating a Digital Library

    I wanted to write about LIS 462: Digital Libraries, because it is unlike any class I’ve taken before.  It’s not just about studying digital libraries, it’s also about creating one.  For our semester-long project, we are creating a digital library highlighting a late 19th century children’s scrapbook.  The scrapbook, which was donated to the Boston Children’s Museum, contains drawings of different rooms of a house, with lots of color images that were cut and pasted into the book.  There are also a few paper dolls.  It’s a darling little scrapbook and I can imagine a little child having a lot of fun putting it together.   To handle all aspects of the digital library’s creation, we have a project manager and several committees.  These committees are responsible for different parts of the library.  For example, the digitization committee scanned, digitized, and posted the scrapbook on our shared class Google Drive.  The systems committee is creating the website and layout, the metadata committee is creating metadata for all the images, and the environmental scan committee looks…

  • Thinking of Spring

    Yes, I know it’s only October, but the Spring 2020 course list came out last week and it’s all I’ve been thinking about.  I love looking at the course list each semester.  There are so many interesting classes I could take!  I’m taking two classes in the Spring, and I already know that one of them will be LIS 445: Metadata.  I’m very excited for that class, because metadata is the key to many library services and is the foundation of information retrieval.  I am curious to learn more about how that metadata is created and how it is applied to different objects.  I already have a good foundational understanding of it from LIS 415: Information Organization and LIS 462: Digital Libraries, but I’m looking forward to a whole semester’s worth of lectures on the topic.  It should be very interesting. Choosing my second class is going to be tough.  I could take LIS 450: Public Libraries or LIS 451: Academic Libraries.  Either of those would be interesting because they would give more information about…

  • Live Session!

    I had a live session of my Social Informatics class last week, and I really enjoyed it!  There were three sessions available, each on different days and times, and we were required to choose one.  I chose the evening session that started at 9pm.  This made me a little nervous because I’m usually wrapping my day up at that hour, but I’m pleased to say that I made it through without yawning every two seconds.  The worst thing about the meeting was that I looked horrible on the camera (laptop cameras do not do anyone any favors), but I’ll take that over a technical malfunction or brain freeze any day. We didn’t do anything major in the live session.  It was more about allowing us all to talk and interact in real time.  We started out talking about any questions we had about the course or the assignments, and then talked more about how information is transmitted and used.  One of the most important themes of this class is recognizing that there is always someone…

  • When to Stop

    I had a very busy weekend.  I finished most of my digital libraries project and I am very happy with it.  The only thing I haven’t done is write up my annotated bibliography, but that shouldn’t take too long.  I also spent a lot of time on an assignment for my programming course, which I was not expecting.  We have a lab and an assignment each week, and they both take time, but nothing like this.  I simply could not get my code to work.  I spent more than two hours just on the first question.  I tried over and over to make it work.  I changed my names, variables, punctuation, formulae, and it still didn’t work the way it was supposed to.  It was almost there, but not quite, which was even more frustrating.  I decided to take a break and try next question, but I could not get that to work all the way, either.  So I put the assignment away for the day.  When I picked it up the next day, I…

  • Project Time!

    I can’t believe we’re already into the fourth week of classes!  I’ve gotten into the rhythm of classwork and due dates (thanks in part to my awesome new planner), and I’ve been balancing everything well.  I have two individual projects due in early October and I’ve already started my research for them.  The first is a presentation on a digital library for my Digital Libraries course, and the second is a paper on the influence of technology during a specific time period for my Social Informatics course.  They are both very interesting, but I wanted to focus on my digital libraries project in this blog. One of the first topics we discussed in class is how digital libraries are difficult to define.  Is a digital library literally a collection of digitized objects?  Does it need to be limited to books only?  Does it need to be organized by time, subject, object, or location?  Should it be easy to search through?  My classmates and I get to answer some of these questions by each evaluating a…

  • Intro to Programming

    I wrote a post last year explaining all the different ways that discussion happens in online classes (http://blogs.simmons.edu/slis/student-experience/2019/04/participation.html).  This semester, I have another new format for my Introduction to Programming course (LIS 485), and it relies on mainly on classmate feedback.  Each week, we have to complete a lab and an assignment.  The lab is where we practice our coding skills, and the assignment is where we answer questions and/or perform a coding task related to what we’ve learned in the lab.  It’s very similar to the format of Technology for Information Professionals (LIS 488), except that now we are required to post our work to the forums for our classmates to review.  I was pretty anxious about this at first.  In a normal class, if I mess up, I’m the only one who knows besides the professor.  With this format, there’s no secrecy.  If I struggle or have the wrong answers, everyone will know.  What if my classmates judge me for being wrong?  Thankfully, this has not been the case.  It turns out that…

  • Keeping Track

    My first week of the semester went well.  Usually the first week is a bit lighter than the rest of the semester, with the professors introducing themselves and giving a basic overview of the courses, and the students answering some forum questions to get to know each other and the course topic.  Week two is where the more serious work starts.  I certainly have a lot of work this semester, with several group projects, research papers, and presentations.  I was overwhelmed when I first read my course syllabi.  For my first two semesters, all my classes have followed a similar format, with Day 1 being the first day of class, and Day 7 being the due date for the assignments.  I didn’t write down any deadlines, because I knew that I had to get everything done by the end of the week.  It was pretty simple to manage.  This semester, however, is different.  All my classes have work due on Day 7, but two of my three classes have additional work due before the last…

  • Getting Ready

    Where did the rest of the summer go?  I feel like I just finished my summer classes and now I’m starting my fall classes.  I managed to pack a lot of reading and audiobook listening into the past few weeks (my favorite book was Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert and my favorite audiobook was Circe by Madeline Miller), which is great because I don’t think I’m going to be able to spare much time for recreational reading from now on.  I’m taking three classes this semester and I’m a bit nervous that it will be too much.  The good thing is that I don’t have to take three classes, and if I feel that the workload is overwhelming then I can drop a class.  I’ll see how this week goes.  But I’m very good at setting up a schedule for myself and I feel confident that I can juggle the three classes.  Plus, each class seems very interesting and I really don’t want to miss any of them. The class I’m most excited about…

  • End of Summer Term, Plus Beach Reads!

    It’s the last week of summer term!  Yay!  I am almost done with all my work.  I submitted my final project for my Info Sources class, but I am still finishing my final paper for my Management class.  It’s a grant proposal and I’m struggling with it.  Grant writing is very different from academic writing.  It needs to be very concise and to the point.  I love to write and play around with words and sentence structure and having to pare down my language has been tough.  I’m focusing on brevity but I’m also worried that I’m not explaining myself enough.  I’m sure there’s a sweet spot between too little explanation and too much explanation, but I haven’t found it yet and I’m frustrated.  It feels very sparse and cold somehow.  Thankfully I have a solid base written out and I just need to make sure that I’m being addressing all the necessary points.  But grant writing is something that I am probably going to be encountering in my library career, so it’s good to…

  • Adventures in Reference

    It’s week 5 and I still haven’t gotten the hang of how fast summer courses go by.  Including this week, there are only three weeks left in the semester.  *takes a few deep, calming breaths.*  How did that happen?  Basically, because all I’ve been focusing on is my schoolwork and how to get everything done on time without cramming.  I’ve been keeping a very regular study schedule so that I don’t get behind.  When I get home from work, I eat, then do school work, and on the weekends, I spend a lot of time finishing up projects.  There really is no time to procrastinate or take a break, and the time has gone by in a blur.  But, I am loving both of my classes and have learned a ton already. I’m particularly enjoying LIS 407, Information Sources and Services.  It’s all about reference services–basically, teaching us how to search more efficiently and effectively.  We’ve learned many searching strategies, including how to combine those techniques to broaden or narrow our results, and how to…

  • Back at It

                    Summer break #1 is over.  It was nice to have a few weeks off, even though I was lazy and didn’t do a lot of the things I meant to do.  But I got to relax, which is great because I don’t think I’m going to relax again until the end of summer term.  I’m taking two classes, LIS 407: Information Sources and Services, and LIS 404: Principles of Management.  Each week of a summer course is equivalent to two weeks of a fall or spring course, so there is a lot of work.  I was expecting this, but I was still shocked when I saw the syllabus for each class.  There is a ton of reading.  A TON.  It’s pretty intimidating.  I am going to have to be super organized to fit in all the reading and the assignments each week.  I know I can do it, but I’m probably going to be miserable the whole time.                 Having said this, I managed to make it…

  • End of Semester Reflections

    I can’t believe my first semester is over!  It sounds cliché but I really did learn a lot.  When I first read my course syllabi, I was very intimidated by everything we were going to cover.  I had no idea what most of the topics even were, so it’s really gratifying to be able to identify and understand them now.  While I might not have mastery over all the concepts, I do feel like I have a strong foundation for my remaining classes.  Even better, my brain has started to think like a librarian!  I’ve been paying a lot more attention to how the library catalog is set up, examining the call numbers, and thinking about descriptions and relationships between authors and their works.  There is a whole complex structure of organization and classification that I never paid attention to before.  It’s exciting to be able to “read” and understand some of that code. And speaking of coding, I can’t believe I not only survived but thrived in my tech course.  I would not have…

  • Almost There

    I can’t believe the last week of the semester is here already!  Where did the time go?  My only remaining assignment is my group project because I managed to finish my tech project early!  I submitted it on Friday, and then I jumped up and down and did a happy dance with my dog 😊.  I am so glad I got it off my plate because I got to actually relax a bit over the weekend.  I had some readings and a small extra credit assignment to do, but nothing majorly time consuming.  My part of the group project is done and I’m just waiting for us to put everything together.  It’s due on Friday and probably won’t be submitted before then because of all the coordination that needs to happen.  But I don’t care when it’s submitted, as long as it’s on time.  I also need to double check that I’ve fulfilled all my participation requirements for both classes.  I’m pretty sure I have, but it never hurts to double check. So what’s next? …

  • Crunch Time!

    It’s almost the end of the semester and I can’t believe it.  Where did the time go?  I am really looking forward to having a break, but I still have a lot of work to do before I can relax.  I have two big projects due the last week of classes: a group project for my info organization class, and an individual project for my tech class.      My goal is to complete the tech project early, partly because I want to use the last week to focus on finishing up my group project, and partly because I just plain want to get it done!  Our assignment is to create a personal website for prospective employers.  It’s a really great project because it requires us to use and showcase all the skills we’ve learned in class this semester.  I have learned so much this semester, and I am definitely using everything I’ve learned, and more. Right now, I have the formatting all set up, and I just need to play around with the wording…

  • Participation

    I’ll start with good news.  I was able to register for all the classes I wanted!  Yay!  I also signed up for two summer courses: LIS 407, Info Sources & Services (my final required course), and LIS 439, Preservation Management.  I might switch out 439 for LIS 404, Principles of Management, but it was full and I had to sign up for the waitlist.  I don’t know if I’ll end up getting in, but I won’t go wrong with either course.  I’m not too worried about it.                 Now, onto this week’s topic.  One of my main questions heading into this semester was how the participation part of my classes would work, since both of them are online.  The answer is: discussion forums.  Each class has forums for instructor announcements and general help questions, but how many other forums there are, and how often to post to them, can vary.  For my technology class, we have one main board in which we discuss current technology trends and articles.  I don’t usually keep up with technology…

  • Registration Time!

    Registration for the Fall 2019 semester starts this week, and I know which classes I want to take.  One of the many great things about the LIS program at Simmons is that we are required to fill out a form with all the classes we plan to take.  It’s not a binding contract, but it forces you to think about what classes you want to take and when, because not all classes are offered every semester.  I am a planner by nature, and I loved scheduling out my potential classes.   I had to re-do my schedule when I switched from archives to the Design Your Own program, and it was a bit of a project.  The archives program was relatively simple to plan out because eight of the twelve courses in the program were required.  The difficulty was not what classes to take, but when to take them.  The DYO, however, has only three required choices, and there are a lot more classes to choose from. This is where the Two Year Schedule came in…

  • Changing Direction

    Let’s take a trip down memory lane to when I was applying to college for the first time.  I had several conversations with my dad that went like this:              DAD:    You should major in computer science!              ME:      Ugh, no!  I’m artsy, not techy! My dad is a computer engineer (happily retired now, although still the go-to computer troubleshooter for everyone in our large extended family), and he wanted me to major in something useful that could get me a job after graduation.  I, on the other hand, wanted to major in something that I enjoyed, like history and writing.  I majored in art history and ended up working at an accounting firm, which was not what I was expecting, but I have no regrets. I’m bringing this up because I had a full-circle moment last week.  I decided to switch out of the archives concentration and into a design your own concentration focusing on…drumroll please…computers.  Specifically, my focus is going to be on digitalization, digital libraries, and programming. …

  • Stress

    Remember when I wrote about being a bit bored on spring break?  I knew that would come back to haunt me.  It’s been super busy lately and I could use some of that free time!  It’s been crazy at work and the past few weeks have been exhausting.  All I want to do when I get home is sit on my sofa and relax, and I can’t right now.  But what I can do is be a little more flexible about my study schedule to make sure I don’t get too overwhelmed.  Up to this point I’ve been getting most of my work done during the week.  The main reason for this is because I hate procrastinating, but the other reason is because I need my down time.  I can’t work for hours or days in a row with no break.  I know some people can do this, but I am not one of them.  I get too stressed out and my brain turns to mush.  It’s really important for me to spend most of…

  • Group Project Musings

    There’s some weight off my shoulders this week because I finished my first group project.  It wasn’t just my first group project at Simmons, it was my first graduate level group project ever!  I was pretty nervous about it.  Since I’m taking the class online, I had no idea how we’d choose partners or topics or how we’d actually work together.  But everything went surprisingly smoothly.  The project was for my tech class, and we had to create a tutorial on a new app or program.  Choosing groups ended up being easy because we chose by topic and proceeded from there.  I chose to work on the Raspberry Pi, which is an inexpensive little computer that you can use to learn coding and other programming skills (if you want to check it out, you can go to the website www.raspberrypi.org  It is really fun!). Our first assignment as a group was to fill out a Team Contract.  This was extremely helpful because it forced us to think about all the logistics of group work:  how…

  • Breaktime

    Last week was Spring break.  I didn’t go anywhere, because I still have a full-time job, but I was able to relax.  Instead of coming home every day and doing schoolwork, I got to come home and read, or knit, or catch up on my tv.  I still worked a bit on a group project, but I didn’t have to spend nearly as much time on that as I would my usual work.  While it was really refreshing to have a break, I have to admit that I got a bit antsy after a few days.  I’ve been so used to my study schedule that I feel a bit lost without it.  A week was great, but I’m ready to get back into school mode. I have a lot to think about for the second half of the semester.  I have a group project for my tech class that’s due next week, and then two projects due at the end of the semester: a group project for my info organization class and an individual project…

  • Tongue-Twisting Terminology

    When I tell people that I’m in school to become a librarian, they are immediately curious and ask what my classes are like.  I usually give the same response: “Classes are awesome!  But there’s a lot of…terminology.”  I know ellipses are overused nowadays, but I can’t think of another way to represent the long, slightly awkward pause in which I scrunch up my face, look off into space and try to find the best way to describe my classes.  It’s difficult because my classes are very broad.  Both LIS 415: Information Organization, and LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals are required classes, and they are meant to introduce students to concepts and standards that will be used later on in our classes and careers.  They’re not meant to make us experts in any one area, but to be a starting point on our journey.  So, we go through a lot of topics in a relatively short period of time.  There are different types of information in each class.  For Info Organization, it’s all about the…

  • Searching for the Unknown

    We are taught early on how to search for information in a library.  You search by author, title, or subject, and find what you need.  But the reality is, it’s not always easy to find exactly what you want unless you have a good idea of what you are looking for.  In LIS 415, Information Organization, we completed an assignment where we searched for the word “grey” as author, keyword, and title.  Predictably, the results were numerous and varied, as “grey” is a fairly common word that can be a name or a color.  That assignment gave me a lot to think about.  I use the library a lot, both for school and for myself.  Most of the time I have an author or title in mind when I’m searching, or at least a subject that can narrow down my search.  But how do I search when I don’t know what I want?  And more importantly, do I ever search for the unknown? All these questions came up because of my trip to the Needham…

  • Everything is (Kind of) Organized

    As I enter my fourth week of classes, I’m kind of in shock. I can’t believe I’ve been in school for almost a month!  It feels like it’s been much longer, but not in a bad way.  It’s just that I’ve learned so much already, and it’s still only the beginning of the semester.  I have notebooks and papers strewn on my kitchen table and files and folders on my laptop to keep track of all my assignments and emails, not to mention multiple calendars with all my reminders and due dates. It’s a lot to handle, especially with working full time, and it’s clear that I need some sort of system to keep track of everything. Which brings me to my topic this week: organization.  One of my classes this semester is LIS 415–Information Organization, and it’s already given me a ton to think about.  Information organization may be one of the pillars of library science, but I have never given much thought to how and why things are organized.  I realize now that…

  • A Lightbulb Moment: When You Finally Realize What You Want

    How did I get here?  I’ve asked myself this question a lot the past few weeks.  I’ve spent the last fourteen years as an administrative assistant for an accounting firm.  It’s not what I was planning on doing with my master’s degree in art history, but life doesn’t always take you on a straight path.  I always thought I’d move on and find something else to do, but I didn’t know what I wanted.  So I stayed, got comfortable, and saw myself continuing with the firm for awhile longer.  But then, an unexpected shakeup left the future in doubt.  My plan to stay with the firm when the younger partner took over was no longer feasible.  For the first time in awhile, I had to seriously think about what I wanted for the future.  I started thinking about the things that I love–books, organizing, helping people–and what jobs would fit that criteria.  I thought being a librarian would be perfect, and browsing through Simmons’ website, I knew I was right.  I read the program and…