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

Peggy Hogan-Rao

Peggy Hogan-Rao

Hi, I’m Peggy! I’m fairly new to the Boston area, and so far I love it here. I started the Simmons LIS program in fall 2018, and moved to Boston a few weeks before classes started. Originally from the mountains of upstate NY, coming to Boston is a big change for me – getting used to the city life in Boston. I completed my undergrad degree in Media & Communication and English Writing at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, a few hours west of my hometown in Eastern New York. My dream job for after I finish the Simmons MLIS degree is to be a certified school library media specialist in a city school district, and also a bestselling children’s author. You can find me most weekends exploring a new church or a cool independent bookshop in the Boston area. My hobbies include collecting more books than I can read, cuddling with cute dogs, visiting beautiful beaches, traveling the world, and volunteering in the community.



Entries by Peggy Hogan-Rao

  • Skills learned from SLT

      I am so close to being done with my studies at Simmons. When I look back at my courses at Simmons, I feel like all I want to say is thank you. I have one step into the door of working professional and one foot still in the door of graduate student. As I am slowly creeping into the role of a library teacher, I am using the skills that the Simmons School Library Teacher program has equipped me with to be a library assistant in an elementary school library.     In my LIS 406 course Management of School Libraries, I learned valuable skills in outreach to the community. When you work in a school library, it is good to partner with local bookshops for book orders, but most importantly the local public library. In the school where I work now, we are working very closely with the public library’s children’s librarian to give children access to information resources.     LIS 461 the Curriculum and Instructional Strategies for the SLT (School Library Teacher) gave an overview of…

  • New School Year and New Job

       Hello, and welcome back to a new school year at SLIS. I have now been in this library science program for three years. I was originally planning to graduate with both my Masters of Library and Information Science this January with my certification to be a K-12 Library Media Teacher. As with lot of other things going on right now, that is not possible. I miss being on campus for classes, and so do the professors. My professor for my LIS 410 course on Library Services for Diverse Users did a live Zoom class with us last week, and we may have a couple more this semester. The “live” class sessions make it feel a little more like it is in-person.    As of early September, I have moved to a new apartment and started a new job. With public schools, there are some pros and cons right now for new teachers. The big downside is I could not find a placement for student teaching this fall. I came to this decision with lots of support…

  • Summer Job – Something New

    Today I filled out my paperwork for a new job, which is so exciting! I will be a personal shopper at Stop & Shop, working in the Peapod home delivery department. Although the semester is coming to the end, I’m excited to have a new beginning. I am not taking summer classes, so a job will give me something to do this summer. Except for a few forms to be signed for practicum, I am all done with the semester! I got my last grade back for my online technology class a couple days ago, and I had my final meeting with my supervisors for practicum yesterday. It feels so weird thinking about how the semester is over now, after working so hard. Thinking about those students at the elementary school in Waltham, I am so sad that I missed out on a whole month in school with the kids. I am happy that I still saw the Kindergarten students I got to teach my 4-lesson unit with on Google Meets, but it isn’t the…

  • Being Positive

    It is the last two weeks of the semester, and I must admit I’m getting excited for it to be over. One thing I’ve learned for sure this semester is that student teaching is a lot of work. If I am struggling doing two lessons in one week, I’ll certainly be up for a challenge when I have 20+ classes in one week for grades K-5. Because I’m graduating in the fall, I have had to figure out how to record my lessons and teach virtually. But I have had tremendous help from my supervising librarian and practicum supervisor in decoding virtual teaching! Trying to think on the positive side of these difficult times, my LIS 460 technology course has taught me a lot about digital tools to use for teaching, which comes in handy when I need to record videos. Technology is so important in times when schools are closed. When recording videos of an activity such as how to use a database, I will be using a screencast program such as Screen-Cast-O-Matic or…

  • Still in Boston

    It’s been over two weeks now since everything changed, starting with St. Patrick’s Day being cancelled. A lot of my friends went back home to their families during this hard time, but I am still in Boston. My parents keep asking when I will go visit them, but considering I am from Upstate NY, where there are a lot of cases, it is a bit scary to travel there. The hardest part is knowing that there are COVID-19 cases in my hometown in the Albany area. This is real, and so close to home now. I am not completely bored in Boston, as we are in the home stretch of the semester. When I get all of my work done for student teaching, I hope I can find a way to see my family. Today, I had a video call with my online technology class. It was my first time connecting with these classmates over Zoom – so nice to see their faces! The video call was a tutorial on how to prepare for doing…

  • Everything Changed

    I almost cried on Monday the 9th when I found out that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled. My week did not get better from there. Of course, I watch the news and saw that a Corona virus was proving to be deadly in cruise ships, China, and Italy. I had student teaching last week. Tuesday was a normal day in the library, checking out books and doing read alouds with the K-2 grades. Wednesday was also pretty normal. There were no updates from the school and I went about my day as usual. Thursday came along and everything changed. I wore latex gloves when handling books, which definitely felt weird. I spent my day disinfecting books, laptops, tables, and everything in the library. Kids could not sit on the cushions for the reading nook. For a few minutes in the morning, the librarian was afraid the principal would tell her it was too dangerous to check out books. At the end of the school day on Thursday, one of the other teachers told…

  • Pancakes and Friends

      Students starting at Simmons might be completely new to the city of Boston. Although I graduate in December, it was only last fall that I started feeling like Boston is a place where I have friends. You can live in a city for months and not feel loved by those around you. I started going line dancing with friends at Loretta’s Last Call way back in September. It is Boston’s only country bar in Fenway, next to Fenway Park and House of Blues. (Check out my blog post about Loretta’s here).      This week is the start of Lent, a time when Christians reflect on how to prepare for Easter. Whether you go to church or not, pancakes are fun. I studied abroad in Ireland a few years back, and a favorite tradition I picked up from my time abroad is Pancake Tuesday (also called Shrove Tuesday). The day before Lent in the UK and Ireland everyone eats pancakes. I love this tradition, and I introduced it to my line dancing friends. A…

  • School Library Teacher Life

    So far, my student teaching experience is showing me that in order to work in a school, you really need to love what you do. The passion and dedication to this profession that I see in each of the teachers is incredible. I’ve also found that each day I learn something new from the kids. I tried teaching a lesson on kindness and a kindergarten student reminded me that it is good to have confidence in yourself. When I have trouble balancing doing chores in my house, and a fifth grader reminds me how important it is for everyone to help clean, that really resonates. Another example of these amazing children is that a group of fifth grade students have a book club, which participates in fundraising. Before they start reading a new book, they do a service project to raise money for children living in a homeless shelter, who don’t have books. Most recently, these kids were able to purchase 60 books to be delivered! How amazing is that? In case your wondering, the…

  • Week 2

    Last week, I started student teaching at an elementary school in Waltham. I have never worked an 8-5 job before, so the first week was quite a shock. Getting used to the routine of being at school at a certain time and working with different grade levels is a lot to adjust to in the first week. In the first couple weeks, I mostly shadowed the librarian to get to know the students and other teachers in the school. By watching the librarian, I learn about what books the kids like to check out and how to engage the students in a read aloud. The hard part about committing so much time to practicum (student teaching) is balancing the one other class. SLT students at Simmons only take one other class with practicum, and it is usually an elective. This semester, my one other class is the required LIS 460: Technology and the School Library Teacher. I was so tired on Friday night after my first week that I didn’t get to any studying that…

  • A Day in the Life of a School Library Teacher Student

    It’s the first week of classes, and yet all I want to do is stay under my blankets near the furnace. The average temperature in Boston right now is in the single digits, with the high being 15 F. This is Boston in January, I guess. As much as I want to stay under my blankets, I need to clean off my desk and sort through all my reading. For a library school student, you may be surprised to hear I am reading a guide on student teaching (also called Practicum Experience) requirements, CAP Guidelines as assigned by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Evaluation for Educators regulations as set by DESE, Waltham Public Schools’ Kindergarten Curriculum for Information Literacy, and a syllabus for my online SLT Tech class. I am almost done with my school library concentration and well on my way to becoming a certified school librarian. My placement is at a school in the far north part of Waltham, so a bit of a trek. Getting out to Waltham…

  • End of Semester

    Unlike my classmates in LIS 483, I submitted my final paper almost a week after the last class. If I have learned anything this semester, it is that we are all human – trying to make a difference in this field of library science. This semester hasn’t been easy, but I made it through with the help of two amazing professors. Amy Pattee has been with SLIS for fifteen years now, helping prepare Simmons students to go out into the world after graduation. One time I was at my local Boston Public Library branch seeking help from the children’s librarian (who also manages the teen/YA collection), and I showed her my Moodle course page for LIS 483: Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults (taught by Pattee). It was so fun seeing the librarian’s reaction to what I am studying. The fun part is that about ten years ago, this librarian in the Brighton area of Boston also had Pattee as her LIS 483 professor at Simmons. This is just one example of how the…

  • Week 12 — Almost the End of Another Semester!

    It’s Week 12, which means there are only a few more weeks left of this busy semester. Although I do need to start planning for my elementary practicum, the semester is still manageable. I only have 2 big papers and one project left until I’m done with the fall semester! At this point, it can be a struggle to not take a nap once a day or every few days. I also need to remind myself that leaving the confines of my desk is important! Almost every day last week, I felt like I was trapping myself in my room with two big papers due and a wedding to prepare for. After feeling down on Monday and being hard on myself for doing nothing, one of my friends reminded me that I need to take time for myself. After all, we are “human beings” and not “human doings.” Some ways that I am taking time for myself is writing poetry for fun and making time to read for pleasure. Reading different YA and children’s books…

  • End of the Semester is Coming!

     It’s getting to the end of the semester, which for means lots of school visits for someone in the School Library Teacher program like me. I started off my week at Watertown High School early on Monday morning. Even with leaving my house a little after 7:00, I didn’t get to the high school library until almost 7:45. Surprisingly, the library was quite crowded! I spent a few hours taking notes on how teens were using the library for an assignement for my YA Library Collections class. It was interesting to see that no students were checking out books, but rather making use of the technology resources in the library. Some of the technology that I observed students using were Vinyl sticker printers, 3-D printers, poster printers, copiers, Chrome Books, and Chrome Book chargers.  My Tuesday was not spent at a school, but I did make a quick visit to the public library in my neighborhood’s town square. I visited the children’s librarian there, who helped me to find some more nonfiction picture books in…

  • Librarians are Resources!

    My assignment for yesterday was to bring a picture book of my choice that was published within the last five years, along with 6 assigned picture books, to my Writing for Children class. To prepare for class, I went to my local branch of the Boston Public Library. The children’s librarian there is very helpful for students of all ages. She is a Simmons grad and loves working at the library with the youngest patrons. This is just one example of how everywhere I go in the Boston Public Library – whichever branch I visit – I find a Simmons grad. Hoping to utilize the expertise of the librarian, I told her that I needed an exemplary picture book written in the last five years. I was hoping for a book that could teach me about a picture book’s narrative structure.  The children’s librarian searched for notable picture books from 2018, and suggested A Perfect Day by Lane Smith: a hilarious book inspired by animals visiting the author and illustrator’s backyard. Knowing I had a…

  • Classes and Events at SLIS

    It’s that time in the semester when all you do is study, eat to take a break from studying, and try to get in some sleep.      As a library student in the SLT school library program, I need to start preparing for next semester. Next semester, I will be doing my first of two practicums, which consists of 150 hours of student teaching in an elementary and then high school library. I have the placement school picked out, and in a few weeks the paperwork will begin. With my classmates figuring out their course preferences for Spring 2020 registration that happens in a few weeks, it is nice for me not to have to worry about what courses I will be taking. Those in the School Library Teacher concentration at SLIS plan out their course outline in their first semester, and will stand by that course outline as they make their way through the program.    The first course I am taking this spring will be a Writing for Children class in the…

  • Book Bound in Boston

    Perks of living in Boston and being a library school student: meeting famous children’s/YA authors. Just a couple weeks ago, my Writing for Children professor ended class early so a couple students can go meet Rainbow Rowell at Brookline Booksmith. Rowell is the author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Carry On! About a week ago, Brown Girl Dreaming author Jacqueline Woodson was at Harvard Book Store, and then last Saturday, they hosted R.J. Palacio. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, R.J. Palacio is the mastermind behind the Wonder books, and is known for her character Augie Pullman. Before I was able to meet R.J., I had the privilege of meeting six authors at an amazing awards ceremony and reception for the Horn Book hosted at our very own Simmons University. My Writing for Children professor had strongly encouraged us to attend last Friday, and I’m am so glad she did! While I met so many amazing authors, I unfortunately wasn’t able to meet Angie Thomas, the famous woman behind The Hate U Give. Although…

  • Connections and Libraries

    With a big paper due this week, I knew I was going to need a few study breaks. On Tuesday night, I went back to Loretta’s for a good workout of fast-paced line dancing. Wednesday was a busy day for me with meeting with a professor for my paper due this week, class, and then a conference called Connect Boston. The first conference of its kind, Connect Boston has a goal of connecting Catholic young adults to like-minded professionals around the Boston area. The event started with opening keynote speeches from the founder of Young Catholic Professionals and the CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). After these two opening talks, there were breakout sessions for networking with Catholic professionals in similar fields. As a school library student, of course I went to the education panel. As I expected, I was the only library student in a room full of teachers. The three panelists in my breakout session were a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, the headmaster of St. Benedict Classical Academy…

  • Lots of Reading

       I was very busy this past weekend getting readings done, and my first written assignment for my YA Library Collections class was due on Wednesday. The assignment was to read a Young Adult book. Figuring out what is Young Adult is the hard part. I went to talk to my local children’s librarian at the neighborhood branch of the Boston Public Library, and she showed me her recommendations for good YA books in the collection. Sitting down with the pile of books, it was hard to choose just one. Instead, I chose to read one for the assignment and bring two other books home to read later. Spending all weekend reading Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina was quite fun, especially when you can lounge in the library’s comfy chair. But after reading that, I realized I have another task to do.     When I was in the library this weekend, I saw a teen hanging out in the adult section and the teen section. I asked her to show…

  • Moving on to Fall

     This week was fairly uneventful, as all I did was read teen books and sneeze a lot. I really enjoy this program in SLIS! All my assigned readings are really fun, and I never thought homework in grad school would be fun. The only hard part about being slammed with so much homework is I woke up on Monday with the sniffles. The sniffles are really no fun, especially when a sore throat follows a day or two later. Lots of naps this week with the sniffles, but by next week I should be back to Loretta’s for line dancing.   For my Young Adult class, I am evaluating trends in publishing. It is so interesting, and makes my course seem so relevant to the profession I will be going into in about a year. The critical texts we read correspond with the assigned young adult books we read, which is really nice.  In my other class, I have a lot of textbook readings about story structure. I’ve always loved writing, so I don’t mind…

  • A Break for Some Fun!

      This week, I tried to have some fun.  I was assigned three books to read this week for my YA Library Collections class I spent most of my week studying and reading! The books are: Judy Blume’s Forever; Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly; and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I gave myself a goal on Monday. If I could finish all of the readings for my Writing For Children class, and get halfway done with Looking For Alaska, then I would do something fun on Tuesday night. Howdy, cowgirl! Out I went to a country bar.    Walking from Simmons to Fenway, I had never realized how “hopping” the area is. Before heading to Fenway on a Tuesday night, I checked to make sure there was no Red Sox game. The crowds out in Fenway Park can get crazy on game night. With no game, I was good to go line dancing. Growing up listening to country music, I was really excited to learn that there is a country bar in Boston. With…

  • Tidbits of the Week/end

    This has been quite the busy week! I started off my week with grocery shopping, and will finish the week with my LIS-483 “Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults” class.  Grocery shopping may seem a very mundane chore, but I love finding new ethnic food shops around Boston. Boston is a city that welcomes people from all different cultures. In Allston, there are Asian food shops and even a market with a few different Asian restaurants called Food Connection. I am not your typical Asian, and most definitely not your typical American. My father is from India, and I was excited to find a huge Indian grocery store in Somerville, a suburb of Boston, so I did another round of grocery shopping Monday evening.  Friday evening, I went to Kiki’s Market in Brighton. Kiki’s Market has specialty Irish foods, such as Irish brands of cookies and chocolates. After visiting Ireland only a few months ago, it was nice to see name brands I recognize, and my favorite Irish tea at a discounted price.  Most…

  • Getting Ready For Fall 2019

    Wow! It is hard to believe there is only one more week until classes start! It’ll be nice to get back into study mode after having a month break. The last few things I need to do before classes start are buy my textbooks for class, buy some notebooks, and get ahead on readings due the first couple weeks.  In the School Library Teacher Program (SLTP), students are able to take two electives. I have always loved writing for fun, and one of the reasons I chose Simmons was due to their exceptional Children’s Literature department. (not to mention their very reputable School Library Teacher Program within the Library and Information Science department). My one fun elective for this fall semester is Writing for Children I. Some of my other SLTP friends are taking electives such as Storytelling and Medieval Manuscripts.   My one required class for the fall is Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults, where I will learn about how to create and manage a library collection for teens. I am excited…

  • Summer Life

    It’s hard to believe that July is almost over! I’ve kept busy this summer with studying, even though I am not taking any summer classes. I took the reading MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills subtest in June, and I have the writing exam next week. The MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills is an exam SLT students need to pass before they can do their last two semesters of practicum experiences (student teaching). Luckily, I saved my eighth grade grammar textbook and brought it out to Boston! Princeton Review has been very helpful in my studying. I also listen to a podcast called Grammar Girl to review the basic grammar rules. When I am not studying, I’ve been applying to part time jobs in the fall. I’ve applied to a few at Boston Public Library, one at Cambridge Public Library, and a couple of library assistant positions in local school districts. With six library job applications submitted, it is waiting time. Waiting to hear back is definitely the hard part, but at least I can catch…

  • Reading and Volunteering

    It has been about two weeks since classes ended for the semester, and I celebrated with friends last Thursday in a bit of an unusual way: by giving out food to the homeless.  Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen is a group organized through St. Clement’s Church, located on Boylston Street in the Back Bay area of Boston. A couple of SLIS friends and I met at six a.m. in front of the church, and we prepared to go out into the streets. Carrying bags of bananas, granola bars, sandwiches, socks, and water bottles, the group of us enjoyed conversations with the people we encountered while handing out whatever they needed from the items we had on hand. I hope to volunteer with Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen on a weekly basis this summer. Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen is just one way to get involved in volunteering when I am not swamped with studying.  After my friends and I volunteered in Back Bay, we went out to dinner in the Prudential Center. The Prudential Center…

  • I Can’t Believe How Many Books I’ve Read!

    Reflecting on the end of the semester, I keep thinking ‘I can’t believe how many books I have read!’ I created my goodreads.com account in December or November, after hearing about a local high school librarian who used it to track books she read. I thought it would be good to set a goal in January, around the time of the new year. This was before I enrolled in LIS 481: Library Collections and Materials for Children. I thought to myself ‘I’ll create a goal of 50 books. It’ll be super hard to read 50 books by the end of 2019.’ Well, our final reading journal assignment in LIS 481 was due a few days ago. I checked my Goodreads account, and I have read 31 books so far. Wowza, that’s a lot! Want to know the secret? In Library Collections and Materials for Children (a required course for anyone in the School Library Teacher Concentration or Children’s Literature Dual Degree) we are required to read 27 books throughout the semester. Children’s literature qualifies as…

  • Meeting Connections and Chatting with Friends

       It’s early April, and you want to hang out with fellow book lovers. The obvious thing is to go to MSLA (Massachusetts School Library Association) on a rainy Sunday. MSLA is a chance for classmates you see in your classes to interact with school library teachers who are your professors, as well as other school librarians in the field. The day started off with an opening keynote on diversity, an issue very big among our community at Simmons and in public schools around the state. Many sessions were offered. I chose the talk on new AASL (American Association of School Librarians) standards, since I am working on creating lessons that align with those standards in my 461 Curriculum and Instructional Strategies class.    The instructor of the session on AASL was the former Simmons SLT program manager, from about ten years ago. Half the school librarians in the session were alums of the Simmons SLT program. Throughout the guided exercises at the AASL Standards session, I was able to get good ideas for my future…

  • Student Leadership

      It’s finally Friday! This week was a busy one, starting off on Sunday using Google Docs to be a part of a LISSA (Library and Information Science Student Association) officers meeting. Tuesday was a student leaders meeting, for all officers of the eleven library science student groups. After I got out of the student leaders meeting, I checked my phone to find five emails from my other SCIRRT (student chapter of International Relations Round Table) officers regarding an event we are planning. Wednesday was the most fun of all the meetings, since I got to attend a faculty meeting as a student faculty representative. From there, the week got easier.    How did my week get so busy? Well, back in December, a fellow student posted on the SLIS current students Facebook group asking if anyone was interested in being a student faculty representative. I had no idea as part of this position I would be accepting a role as a LISSA officer, or what I would be doing in this role. But my…