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

Katie Carlson

Katie Carlson

My name is Katie Carlson, and I live in Brighton, with my best friend from undergrad. We lovingly refer to our apartment as the Bachelorette Pad, and spend our evenings cooking elaborate meals and watching 60 Minutes. While my zip code reads Brighton, my heart resides in New Jersey, where I spent the first 18 years of my life.

I attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA for undergrad, and received my degree in English and Art History. Seven sisters all the way!

I stumbled into the field of library science after my childhood best friend suggested I apply for an internship at our hometown’s public library. Never had I ever looked forward to going into work every day — until work was a library. I knew I had to do whatever it took to keep being that happy, so here I am! My aspirations for the future include working as a Reference and Outreach Librarian at a public library and ruling the world.

Talk to me about: Girl Scouts; professional wrestling; crafting; collaging; early 2000s pop punk music; feminist art; and cats.

Fun fact: I have been to 44 of the 50 states and hope to check them all off by the time I hit 30. Wish me luck!



Entries by Katie Carlson

  • Surprise Online School & (Not-So-Final) Farewell

    If being a grad student in my final semester during COVID-19 showed me anything, it is that my friends and future librarian colleagues are amazing and ADAPTABLE. With life suddenly thrown online, I saw recorded modules, voiced-over power points, sing-a-long zoom meetings, virtual coffee dates, Animal Crossing birthday parties, YouTube story hours, interactive book club Moodle sites, WEDDINGS, and so much more! I’ve also witnessed so much patience that warms my heart! From what I’ve seen, everyone has been great about adapting their expectations and making accommodations!  Now for the second part of this little post: I’m done! I’m a whole MASTER in the field of library and information science! These two years have absolutely flown by, but I wouldn’t do anything differently! To make at-home-graduation even more special, my girlfriend made diplomas, organized a photoshoot, and even conducted a ceremony for Adaliz and me!  Grades are in, and as I write this, I have my Zoom-uation Virtual Graduation tomorrow! It might be a little unconventional, but we made it through! Signing off for now…but…

  • How-To Cope During COVID-19: Katie Style

    Learn how to propagate plants from your favorite Student Snippets blogger: me!  Host virtual coffee hours//dance parties with your friends. Gather mailing addresses for everyone you know. Doodle.  Send said doodles to your friends (pineap-PALS) via mail with the Gwen Ifill stamps you’ve purchased from USPS.  Suddenly become someone who enthusiastically participates in chain Facebook//Instagram challenges.  Keep your nails looking IMMACULATE even though only your roommate will see them.  Don’t forget to show your plants//pets//kids on Zoom meetings. We could all use the break!  Make LOTS of buttermilk pancakes. Use chocolate chips. (This is essential.)  Hate-watch Love Is Blind.  Love-watch Full House. Host your own version of chopped with pantry items!  Binge watch all of Tiger King.  Videochat your parents about Tiger King theories.  Play endless games of Yahtzee! (Mail your girlfriend some dice so she can play along!)  Jazzercise.  Do a chemical foot peel.  Feel nothing but regret (and very soft skin).  Break out the watercolors you bought for a costume design class in college.  Force your roommate to craft with you!   Take advantage…

  • ICA: We All Shout Hooray!

    A few weeks ago, I was able to snag a spot to attend the LOVE IS CALLING exhibit at the ICA with Panopticon (Simmons’ resident art libraries interest org) for FREE. It was one of the coolest installations I’ve seen in a while! LOVE IS CALLING is an installation by Yayoi Kusama that premiered in Japan in 2013. Kusama is a 90(!!!!) year old artist who has been active since the 60s. She is most known for her sculptures, massive installations, and blunt red bob. Polka dots are a common thread that run through Kusama’s sculptural work, and for good reason: Kusama was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive neurosis in the 70s, and states that the dots are a visual representation of hallucinations she has experienced since the age of 10. Kusama calls these clusters of polka dots “infinity nests,” while the full room installations are referred to as “infinity rooms.”  LOVE IS CALLING (seen left) is a prime example of one of Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms, which use mirrors to make rooms (and polka dots)…

  • Midwinter Tales

    While I attended the ALA Annual Conference in D.C. this summer, I was busy working the Simmons booth and balancing my girlfriend’s first visit to our nation’s capital, so (while I had an AMAZING time) I didn’t feel as though I had the full conference experience. This time was completely different! I was able to attend panels and discussions that spanned all of my library related interests, while still spending time with friends and family, as well as partaking in some delicious Philly food!  I kicked off the conference by attending “Making Real Change: Moving Beyond the Interpersonal to Create Actual Diverse, Inclusive and Equitable Environments for Both Library Users and Employees.” I was a bit hesitant when the presenters did not appear to be POC, but I was put at ease when the presenters stated that they felt more white people should be putting in the work to combat white supremacy and oppression in LIS, instead of placing the onus on people of color. The section relied largely on discussion in small groups, so…

  • Public Art in Providence

    At the close of last semester, I was able to participate in one of my favorite final projects I’ve ever done! For LIS 446: Art Documentation with Ann Graf we were tasked with cataloging three instances of public art in a location of our choosing. I partnered up with my good pal Willa, and we decided to explore Providence. I took the commuter rail from Boston (how does Willa do it every time we have class?) to Providence on a frigid but sunny day, and we set off to observe and take pictures of the works we had selected.  The first piece we chose was Dear Urban Females (2019) by AGONZA. It is located on the back of the Weybossett Facade if you want to take a look for yourself!  AGONZA is the truly rad woman and artist of color responsible for this piece, which was created as a tribute to strong urban women of all backgrounds. Dear Urban Females is a self-portrait of sorts. AGONZA was born in Providence, but spent her formative years…

  • Influencer for a Day?

    On Monday, October 28th, I was thrown into the world of large scale social media, as I was put in charge of Simmons University’s Instagram story! EEEK! While longtime readers know that I was a blogging queen back in the day, I only have 710 followers on insta, and had NEVER posted an original story — only shared content I was tagged in. I logged into the Simmons instagram, and suddenly had 6,000+ semi-captive listeners.  Let me tell you, it was exhausting. While my takeover was largely authentic — yes, I do sometimes go to the Gardner on my lunch break, but NO I don’t always have on a full face of makeup at 8 a.m. — it took some planning and creativity to brainstorm just how to share my experiences with Simmons’ insta-sphere. I will admit that I definitely had a storyboard for my day, mapped out with what I thought would be good video opportunities. I was pretty proud of my “What’s in the bag????” section, where I went through what I have…

  • Referencing Spook

    I recently moved from circulation up to reference at the Watertown Free Public Library where I work! It was interning at the reference desk at my local public library in college that sparked my desire to be a librarian in the first place, so it felt a bit like coming home! It’s already been fun to help people that I recognize from working in circ with some of their more in depth questions.   My first shift on desk (after my training) was Wednesday night, and I was able to help patrons with flyer making, provided information on literacy classes, completed some reader’s advisory, and updated some bib records. But my favorite thing by far was getting to design a book display! Whenever I do displays, I make sure to showcase the voices of authors of color and of various gender alignments. Displays are a chance to recommend books — even to people who don’t engage with you at the reference desk — and a fun challenge! I wanted to create something spooky, but not overtly…

  • Putting Theory into Practice: Tackling Information Literacy for Incarcerated Students

    One of the components for my Information Services for Diverse Users class (LIS 410) this semester is a service learning project. I did a lot of community based learning in undergrad, so this was right up my alley! I signed up to work with the Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College (TUPIT), which brights Tufts faculty and students “together with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, corrections staff, educators, and scholars of criminal justice to facilitate creative and collaborative responses to the problems of mass incarceration.” Because I have a background in restorative justice and a vested interest in the rights of the incarcerated, getting to combine these passions with my library studies was a dream come true! This past Friday, I was able to meet with my project supervisor to get a better idea of what our goals are for the semester.   As it turns out, we will be creating an annotated bibliography and miniature lit review on the subject of education and information literacy in prisons, as well as the book to prison…

  • Change the Subject: Dartmouth Students Take on the Library of Congress

    What better way to spend Friday the 13th than at school watching a documentary about the weight of — and potential harm associated with — naming as well as the intersections of subject headings and activism? I did just that, settling in for a viewing and panel discussion of “Change the Subject,” which follows “a group of students at Dartmouth College, whose singular effort at confronting anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog took them all the way from Baker-Berry Library to the halls of Congress. ‘Change the Subject’ shows how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight, and how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.” You can check out the trailer for yourself here.  The documentary was fabulous, but the high point was hearing from all of the panelists. Óscar Rubén Cornejo Cásares joined us via Skype. He is a former undocumented student activist who was involved with CoFIRED (Coalition for Immigration Reform and Equality at Dartmouth), and one of the film producers. He is currently…

  • Focus on EBSCO

    On August 13th I was able to participate in a focus group for the new EBSCO mobile app! I really love workshopping, and this felt like that to the extreme. It was awesome to have a say in a product that I will get to reap the benefits from, as well as pass on to patrons, friends, and future researchers alike.  This particular focus group was definitely saturated with library and information science students. I personally knew half of the group members, and recognized most of the others! Involvement in LIS definitely informed our reaction to the EBSCO mobile app. Most people in this section of the focus group entered with an understanding of EBSCO’s products and an interest in user experience (at least enough to sign up for the study). It was great to hear the opinions of other library science students, but I would have also loved more input from people outside the field. Does the average Bostonian conducting research care about how many times a paper has been cited in other academic…

  • It’s LIT!

    The truth is, sometimes I think of myself as a ‘bad librarian’ for how few books I’ve read in the past year! It may even be less that I’m not living up to the librarian stereotypes, and more because I feel like I’m missing a piece of myself! In middle and high school (especially over the summer), I would read two or three books a week. College kind of killed my reading bug. I’d find it almost impossible to read for pleasure after 200-some pages of theory, so Netflix it was! I had high hopes that the ease of reading would fly back to me post-graduation, but that was not the case! One book. I read one book! ALL SUMMER! After Karin Slaughter’s thrilling but terrifying Pretty Girls (highly recommend), I was overcome with moving to Boston, making my first apartment home, and finding a tribe. Kicking off grad school meant more prescribed reading, three jobs, and more exhaustion. But even though summer is almost over, I decided I’d had enough. I work at a…

  • Baby’s First ALA

    A few weeks ago I took part in a librarian rite of passage, and made my way down to Washington D.C. for the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition.  As a grad student on a tight budget (especially a full time grad student living in Boston), attending conferences can be expensive. That is why I was extra thankful that LISSA offers Professional Development Reimbursement at Simmons! More information on PDR funds can be found here, but essentially LISSA will reimburse students for up to $250 incurred by engaging in LIS-related professional development activities. My $250 went directly towards my ALA experience, including covering a good chunk of the gas I purchased making the 879 mile journey from Boston to Washington, D.C. and back. This ALA trip truly was brought to you by a giant cooler filled with sandwiches, a 15 hour long playlist, PDR funds, and lots of iced coffee!  As you probably know by now, one of my jobs is working as a SLIS Admission Student Ambassador. This meant I also manned the Simmons booth…

  • SLIS Tavern Night

    Our amazing end of the year event for SLIS took place at a Tavern Night hosted at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum! Each one of the actors stayed so perfectly in character that when Paul Revere told me to follow him for the “baby shower,” I was frazzled and felt the need to clarify that we were library students here for a tavern night! It quickly became apparent that the “shower” was just a cover for our booze-filled gathering, which was illegal by 1773 standards. I rubbed elbows with John Hancock and his Aunt Lydia, Dorothy Quincy, Samuel Adams, and several other relevant Bostonians. Each actor was believably living in 1773, and kept throwing various “easter eggs” that were particularly funny if you’re well versed in history! I grew up attending Renaissance Fairs, was a “theatre kid” in high school, minored in Art History in college, and have two history-loving parents, so this was quite my cup of tea (pun intended)! As a budding information professional I was ALSO very impressed that the…

  • (Graf)fiti Walk

    Lucky readers, this week you get to hear about (and see) Panopticon’s Graffiti Walk with Ann Graf from two points of view because Maria and I both attended!   When I saw the Graffitti Walk advertised in the weekly LISSA email update, I knew I had to make it a priority. I took LIS 415: Information Organization with Profesor Graf (along with Maria), and was fascinated when Ann told us about her thesis. Ann’s research looks at controlled vocabularies (retrieved from the Getty Research Institute’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus) and the description of art (especially graffiti and street art), so she was the ideal person to lead this walk! Everyone met at Brookline Booksmith (except for me, due to a late start), and meandered down Harvard Ave in search of anything tagged with spray paint. When I eventually met up with the group, we wandered down side alleys and behind businesses in search of street art treasure! I’m surprised (but grateful) that no crotchety manager or chef came out to interrogate us! There were plenty of…

  • Baptism by Twitter Fire

    Somehow I never caught twitter fever. I’ve technically owned a twitter since 2013, but I’ve done very little in terms of operating it. Paging through the archive, I can tell I was stressed about starting college, because the summer of 2014 was by far my most active and angst-filled twitter period! Even so, I only tweeted 50 times. I bring this up because my Collection Development and Management course (LIS 453) had a social media assignment due this week! We had to tweet about promotions, publicity, displays, and other relevant & useful information related to libraries. Some posts had to feature original content in the form of photos, while the rest could be exceptional retweets with commentary. While I like taking photos and think I’m funny (sometimes), brevity has never been my strength. Starting this assignment, more often than not I was hitting (or going over) the 280 character limit. That meant making four or five drafts until the tweets were slimmed down and ready to post. According to this TechCrunch article, twitter’s limit used…

  • Jobline for the Win

    Somewhere along the way, I seem to have decided that I had too much free time as a full time student and part time employee. Looking towards the summer and itching for some real world library experience, I was trawling through the weekly Simmons Jobline posts for something that might fit. A few things caught my eye, but I knew my resume could use a revamp. Luckily for me, Maria’s post in December about meeting with Amy Ryan (former President of the Boston Public Library) for resume help gave me with the motivation I needed to meet with her myself. I was still somewhat intimidated, but went in with high hopes. Together we tore my resume to shreds, then let a new and improved one rise from the ashes! Amy was simultaneously so approachable and knowledgeable! I left feeling armed with a rad resume. Apparently the Watertown Free Public Library felt the same! I submitted an application for part time circulation work (as advertised on the Jobline) as soon as I’d made the edits Amy…

  • Book Talk Beats Bed

    Sometimes, as a student with a mishmash of jobs and an objectively messed up sleep schedule, it can be hard to find the motivation to go to SLIS events, even if they are right up your alley! This Tuesday was one of those days where I just needed a nap. I was ready to trek to the bus, journey home, and wrap myself in covers. But, at the invitation of my friend Lee, I powered through and ended up at Professor Jeannette Bastian’s talk on her new book: Decolonizing the Caribbean Record: An Archives Reader.  I’m so glad I went! In undergrad I took a slew of courses on colonization in Latin America and Caribbean women writers that changed my entire outlook on life. This event, put on by the Student Chapter of ALA International Relations Round Table (SCIRRT), brought me right back to those amazing classes! Professor Bastian’s background as the Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands from 1987 to 1998 means that not only is she an expert on the subject,…

  • Developing and Managing Collection Development and Management

    I, Katie Carlson, am a ‘microwave thinker.’ This idea was introduced to me by a professor at Mount Holyoke, and indicates that given a moment, I can always supply an idea. Put simply, my brain moves fast. (Sometimes too fast – especially when the goal is quality over quantity.) Microwave thinkers are placed in opposition to ‘slow cooker thinkers.’ These are people who need time to let their ideas marinate, especially before they feel comfortable sharing them with a group. A round table discussion can be torture for these ‘slow cookers,’ especially when the room is populated with ‘microwaves.’ While I originally responded negatively to being a ‘microwave’ — thinking of unevenly heated food with weird textures — my professor stressed that one brand of thinking is not better or worse than the other! We landed on the idea that in any educational setting, it’s important to plan activities and allow for opportunities that work well for both ‘slow cookers’ and ‘microwaves.’       The reason I bring up this ‘thinker’ dichotomy is that…

  • HTML-ove Affair?

    This week in LIS 488, we learned the basics of HTML. As my last post shows, I was really quaking in my boots for this course! This week went really well, as we worked through a Code Academy tutorial, and coded a simple HTML site about bears! My (very minimal) experience with HTML stems from a tumblr blog I’ve been updating since I was 14. I remember the excitement of selecting my first theme, and writing my first little bio. With the help of the Wayback Machine of www.wayback.com, introduced to me by Danielle Pollock, I don’t have to just fondly remember my blog in 2011: I can see it! And now, on display, my greatest pride and greatest shame, all rolled into one.  Check out this screenshot of my blog from November 6th, 2011. My first background was a wicked cool purple and black flannel. I “hated people,” and loved tea. I remember sitting in a newly funded computer lab in 3rd grade, and wondering why I was being forced to complete my report…

  • Spring 2019 Kickoff

    With the first week of classes coming to a close, I thought I’d give my first impressions of my second SLIS semester so far! On Tuesday I had my first section of LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals (my final core class). I was extremely nervous about this class, so it’s not a coincidence that I saved it for last! I am someone who loves technology and is always excited to learn new things, but after a few too many attempts at troubleshooting, I go into meltdown mode. Danielle put my mind at ease when she started class by having us go around the room, share our tech backgrounds, and rate our feelings about technology on a smiley face scale ranging from love to hate (just like this one).   Most of us placed ourselves on the scale at “meh,” with various justifications for why. Some rationales for not providing a more positive score were frustration, privacy concerns, and lack of sociability. Danielle stated that the course would take on all of those subjects! We…

  • A Very Merry SLISmas

    A little over a week ago, my roommate Chloe and I embarked upon a true ‘grad students living in Boston’ adventure when we went hunting for a Christmas tree! A douglas fir wasn’t really an option when we lived together in dorms, and we are both originally from suburban areas, so Christmas tree hunting usually requires a car and a series of bungee cords! Where would we even begin? We floated ordering an Uber, renting a car, begging friends and even ordering a tree to be delivered, but settled on the old fashion way: hoofing it. Chloe, my favorite person on earth, was able to locate various places to pick up the tree, mapped how long it would take us to walk to each, and ensuring that they sold tree stands. We budgeted, made sure we had the cash necessary for the purchase, threw on our raincoats, and set off (in the rain, of course).   When we arrived at the lot, we decided that something between Chloe’s height (5’3″) and my height (5’10”) would…

  • The SLIS Buffet

    Hello again! I’m getting ready to register for classes in a few days, and I’m going to explain the way I’m feeling in true English major fashion — via metaphor.  I feel as though I am at a Chinese buffet, overwhelmed by mouth watering scents, and surrounded by delicious food. I’ve already grabbed a tiny bit of scallion pizza, a donut, and a tiny bit of sesame stir fry, and about to go up for round two. But, just as I bounce over to the serving trays, someone walks over and informs me that I can only take NINE MORE BITES of food. As someone who (both in terms of course work and Chinese food) likes to sample a bit of everything, I can’t help but feel a bit distraught. In my advising meeting with Laura Saunders, I arrived armed in true future-librarian fashion) with a color coded Google doc, in which I had ranked by preferred courses per semester. That said, I know I will be taking LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals, to…

  • America’s Test Kitchen Library Site Visit

    Araceli Hintermeister ’16MA/MS was gracious enough to give us a tour of the America’s Test Kitchen facilities. We were able to follow her through the pantry, onto the various sets, and of course, into the America’s Test Kitchen library. I made sure to fangirl over the beautiful and sleek set kitchens, but was equally as drawn to the photography studio. Araceli shared that the studio puts out thousands of photos a day. They have a plate and bowl collection that I am still having dreams about.  Once in the library, the books were predominantly cookbooks, with a few reference texts thrown in here or there. In a move I’ve never seen before, but greatly enjoyed, the books were organized by cuisine origin, with each area of the world being assigned a color combination, as indicated by tape placed on the book’s spine.   Araceli then brought in fellow information professionals who work at ATK, and we were able to grill them about their intersecting food and information interests. After our tour had concluded, a tall…

  • If the Shoe Fits!

    This past Friday, I had the awesome experience of touring both the Reebok archives and America’s Test Kitchen. Check out next week’s blog for ATK! At Reebok I was given a fun looking ID badge that identified me as a guest of Stephanie Schaff, Archive Coordinator, who graduated from Simmons in 2015. She showed us around Reebok’s new digs in the Innovative and Design Building on Drydock Ave. The work area was entirely encased in glass, and we were told that desks are first come, first served. After touring the general building, we entered the actual archive. The space was decked out in white, with sketches displayed across the tables, cases of brightly colored shoes, and a fair amount of moveable stacks. I was very excited to be able to hold the oldest shoe in the collection (forgive me, Stephanie, but I forgot the exact date) which featured spikes that were caked with century old dirt — which is a testament to how well the archive treats its items! I ALSO was able to hold…

  • The Real Numbers for Moving to Boston

    104 days to panic between graduation and move in 5 inquiries sent to potential roommates//landlords 4 rejections (some last minute) 1 perfect fit 10 pages of the world’s longest packing list — organized by room, and including a physical description of purchased objects 294.8 miles between home and home 2.0 1,000,000 anxious thoughts 2 red minivans packed to the brim, seats all folded down 4 hours and 58 minutes << the anticipated drive time 9 hours and 4 minutes << the actual drive time 1 crucial Dunkin’ stop 1 high school friend I duped into riding to Boston with me (thanks Alex!!!) 1 lovely girlfriend of the high school friend I duped into riding to Boston with me >> who also happens to be a Boston local 1 rolled IKEA queen size mattress 3 sets of too small bed sheets, purchased in a confused panic 1 set of sheets that actually FIT the bed 1 amazing past and future roommate, flying in from Kentucky 1 committed and supremely organized mother 2 air mattresses, 1 sleeping…