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

Lauren Redding

My name is Lauren Redding and I am so excited to be blogging for SLIS Student Snippets. After a longer-than-planned stint with remote classes, I’m psyched to be on campus, at Simmons, and involved with the SLIS programs in person. Even in my final semester, I still feel like I find out about a new and exciting thing Simmons has to offer with every passing week.

I am a MLIS student in the School Library Teacher Concentration. Final semester for SLTs means I am in the thick of my second of two semester-long teaching practicums (a.k.a. student teaching). It’s been engaging and exhilarating to finally be able to apply the skills I’ve been honing and learning in my Simmons classes for the past five semesters.

I grew up in Utah, outside of Salt Lake City and attended undergrad there as well. Ever since I experienced the noted contrast between the warm, fun, social, vibrant library center at the middle school I attended and the studious, quiet, work-focused atmosphere at the high school, I knew a middle school library was where I wanted to be. Every step on my career journey has made me more sure of that path. My English major in undergrad? So fun, but I would rather be up and moving and talking about books than diving into one really deeply for months on end. My undergrad internship with the library at the National Museum of Women in the Arts taught me that archives can be fun but I much prefer working with lots of people over lots of file boxes. (Also, incidentally, taught me that I LOVE living in the city.) After three years as a K-8 school secretary, I knew that schools are where it’s at and that I had the necessary experience with kids and the environment to feel confident taking on the additional challenge of teaching.

After researching school librarian/MLIS programs across the country, I was so happy that Simmons University’s program ended up being the best option for me from a financial and efficiency standpoint. The SLT program is home to many veteran classroom teachers who are pursuing a masters degree as a mid-career shift, but it also has students like me who are beginning the program without previously having a teaching certificate, or with library experience in another realm like public or archives. Plus, attending Simmons meant I got to move to this wonderful city, which was the ultimate perk. I love the energy, the public transit, and how much there is to do in Boston! It’s been a wild ride so far and I’m so excited for the last semester in my journey.



Entries by Lauren Redding

  • Graduation Celebration Reads!

    Happy Graduation Day to those who celebrate!  I’ve had a week of travel and music and packing since I turned in my last final, and I’ve been celebrating my impending graduation (and the new job for fall in Chelsea School District that I am very excited for) in typical librarian fashion, of course, by reading.  Here’s five 50 word recommendations of my celebratory reads, none of which are on the topic of school at all: Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane  McFarlane deals mostly in mid-thirties coming-of-age stories with a romance thrown in there too, and every book I’ve read of hers has been utterly entertaining on every page. Genuinely funny, painfully heartbreaking, and full of well-rounded characters, Mad About You was no exception. Great for fans of dry British humor. When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord Lord writes the type of contemporary YA that sets the standard for the rest. Movie-inspired plot premises become both grounded and heighted in her hands. When You Get The Chance was full of musical theatre references,…

  • Eras Tour (of my MLIS degree)

    Graduation in less than two weeks! I feel like it’s coming tomorrow and at the same time I feel like I have a month’s worth of tasks to finish before the big day. While job hunting and revising finals, I’ve been reflecting on the three different “eras” my MLIS degree unfolded in and what I learned about myself and about my work during each of them. First I took a whole year (summer too!) of all-remote classes as a full-time student (from Utah!). My fall semester mostly entailed almost getting a textbook-shaped tan line on my legs from reading on my deck so much. Moodle was kind enough to automatically adjust deadlines for me from Eastern Time midnight to Mountain Time 10pm with its handy dandy by-the-minute deadline countdown timer. (This feature: so clear about expectations and yet so stress inducing. Do I really need to know there are 5 days, 2 hours, 52 minutes and 12 seconds until my quiz is due?) The following semester all my classes were asynchronous, and I realized I…

  • AWE-some

    Ever since our class discussion about it last semester in Professor Rachel Williams’ LIS 450 “Public Libraries,” I have been thinking a lot about vocational awe. As preparation for the discussion, we read an article by Fobazi Ettarh “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves.” My class had a stimulating discussion about vocational awe and burnout and our own experiences in libraries as well as other former careers and jobs.  Vocational awe is generally defined as the feeling that people can have for their own job, where they refer to it as a “calling” or a “vocation” or that the work that we do is “inherently good and sacred.” Helping professions like teachers, librarians, social workers, and nurses are particularly susceptible to this kind of thinking. We seemed to agree in my class that a little attitude like this, a feeling that the work we do is important and helps people, could be helpful to get out of bed in the morning some days. But the general thought is that a lot of…

  • Useability Testing – A Mid-Project Reflection

    For the past week, I’ve been in the thick of a practicum project based around useability testing for our school library website. The school library teacher practicum requires us to complete two “minor” non-teaching projects, one in the “administrative” side of things and one in the “technology” realm.  Useability testing is “a research and development method that involves end users who provide feedback on the web site design.” In essence, I’ve spent this week sitting next to student volunteers, watching them navigate our website and talk through the decisions they are making and the thoughts that are going through their head. This weekend I’m going to start transcribing, comparing, and analysing my notes and the students’ rates of success on the given tasks.  My mentor librarians and I have so many questions about how the website works in practice: Are the students comfortable using it? Were they taught how to use it effectively? Do they remember being taught how to use it? Have they practiced those skills since? If something in the website is hard…

  • Two Student Teaching Practica

    The grande finale of the School Library Teacher concentration is the two school practicums we complete in our final year of the program. Since our certification is for K-12, school library teachers complete two semesters of student teaching practicums: one in an elementary school and one in a middle or high school. With 150 hour requirements each, I spent about three days a week in each of my schools through the course of the semester. The time passes in a flash with teaching, co-teaching, observing, managing the collection, mini-projects, getting to know the students and teachers, and sitting in on as many technology and administrative decision conversations as possible.   This semester my practicum placement is  Boston Latin School, a 7th-12th grade public exam school right next door to Simmons’ Boston Campus. In a school with over 2400 students, the library is a huge, gorgeous facility with space for over a hundred study hall students in addition to a full classroom. Even with two full-time librarians, there is still lots of work for me to do!…

  • New Blogger: Lauren Redding

    Hi Everyone!  My name is Lauren Redding and I am so excited to be blogging for SLIS Student Snippets. After a longer-than-planned stint with remote classes, I’m psyched to be on campus, at Simmons, and involved with the SLIS programs in person. Even in my final semester, I still feel like I find out about a new and exciting thing Simmons has to offer with every passing week.  I am a MLIS student in the School Library Teacher Concentration. Final semester for SLTs means I am in the thick of my second of two semester-long teaching practicums (a.k.a. student teaching). It’s been engaging and exhilarating to finally be able to apply the skills I’ve been honing and learning in my Simmons classes for the past five semesters.  I grew up in Utah, outside of Salt Lake City and attended undergrad there as well. Ever since I experienced the noted contrast between the warm, fun, social, vibrant library center at the middle school I attended and the studious, quiet, work-focused atmosphere at the high school, I…