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

Claire Pask

A Texan by birth, Puerto Rican by blood, and reader by nature, Claire is a former (and current) editor-turned-aspiring librarian. This is her first year at Simmons, where she is pursuing a concentration in cultural heritage with the goal of working in a museum archive or special collections.

Claire spent her undergraduate years at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she graduated with a BA in English and a much-too-long thesis on feminism and the postcolonial flower garden. She’s tried on her fair share of professional hats, from events coordinator and romantic advice columnist to graphic designer and Spanish Fulbright scholar, but she’s finally found her niche at SLIS.

Claire has lived in Scotland, Haiti, Spain, and most recently Washington, DC, and she’s thrilled to call Boston home for the next chapter of her life. When she’s not focused on her SLIS courses, Claire works as an assistant editor in the curatorial department of the Peabody Essex Museum—beyond that, she loves to dance, knit, brush up on her Spanish, and, most importantly, read anything she can get her hands on.

Entries by Claire Pask

A SLIS Boston Student Goes West

This January, I began my spring semester in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where I completed my Preservation Management requirement over the course of two long weekends. Affectionately dubbed “Library Boot Camp” by Professor Donia Conn, the class consisted of six seven-hour days, during which my classmates and I studied old photographs and manuscripts, pored over different binding techniques, and learned more about pests and mold than I ever hoped to know. We (affectionately) handled old leather book casings, examined sheets of vellum from the eighteenth century, smiled at the rosy, painted-on cheeks of old tintype portraits, and held vintage Kodachrome film up to the light to reveal images of smiling families and pin-up girls—all in the name of understanding the makeup of the materials archives and libraries hold so that we may better preserve them. Our classes were held on the Simmons West campus at Mount Holyoke College, where we had the opportunity to visit and study two nearby libraries: the Williston Memorial Library, the college’s academic library, and the Gaylord Memorial Library, a small public…

Inciting Joy at Boston Bookfest

This past weekend, I attended the Boston Book Fest, a day of readings, discussions, and more.While I enjoyed walking through Copley Square to visit the booths of various literary journalsand publishers, my favorite experience of the day was a panel session titled “How to Live:Purpose, Joy, and Dash of Philosophy” with authors Ross Gay, Kieran Setiya, and Ellen Warner,held in Old South Church. Though I attended the session to hear Ross Gay speak about his new book Inciting Joy—I’vegifted Gay’s Book of Delights to many a family member or close friend, and have multipleannotated volumes of his poetry on my bookshelf—I was pleasantly surprised by how much Ienjoyed the other speakers’ presentations, as the titles of their books had not originally piquedmy interest: Life is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way and The Second Half: FortyWomen Reveal Life After Fifty. My notes from the session almost read like a prose poem, though not one of Gay’s caliber:“justice is not separate from self-interest — you always must invite guests — speak well ofpeople…

Overcoming Techphobia

As an American born in the late ‘90s—not a millennial nor a Gen Xer—I guess I’m something of a “digital native.” Sure, I’m comfortable with most social media platforms and can figure out how to navigate any webpage or app with relative ease, but I’ve always been incredibly daunted by anything I saw as beyond the scope of my self-imposed tech barrier. I mean, I studied English literature as an undergraduate student, and my vision of my life as a librarian usually involves my future self in a hand-knitted wool cardigan surrounded by various dusty books and manuscripts—not sitting in an office writing code or thinking of the best ways to integrate new technology into my work. Any skill on the “techie” side of things—like the back end of that website I’m happy to transfer my data onto—seemed beyond my reach, out of my comfort zone. That idea is changing, and my LIS coursework is forcing me to reconsider my vision. Just this past week, I wrote an image into an HTML code and formatted…

First Semester

What’s that saying—peers give the best advice? (There’s not one like that; I just Googled it. It works for this blog post, though.) I’m Claire, a first year SLIS student, and here are a few things I’mcarrying with me as I work through my first semester of the program. Maybe they’ll help you, too. • To quote a Guardian headline that’s stuck with me since I first read it, “everyone is totally just winging it, all the time.” That person next to you in conference studied the exact same readings as you, and eventhough they may sound intimidatingly smart, odds are you’re just as qualified and preparedto speak up as they are. And am I technically “qualified” to write this blog post of academicadvice as a first-year master’s students? No more or less than anyone else. Maybe. • Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. That’s what they’re here for, and you’ll besurprised by how easy they are to speak with—it’s almost like they’re real people! My firstmeeting with my academic advisor? She called…