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

ShanTil Yell

ShanTil Yell

Hi y’all, I’m ShanTil! If you couldn’t tell, I’m a southerner. I moved up here from Texas last summer, and even though it might break my momma’s heart for me to say this, New England has truly become home to me. I’m in my second semester here at SLIS, and decided to go the “Design Your Own” degree route. My plan is to focus in on rare and special collections, but I’m also developing a passion for public libraries—I recently started working at one, and it has been ahhhmazing—and community outreach.

A few more tidbits about me: I love to write, and it’s real exciting for me to be able to contribute my voice to the Simmons community. I have a coffee obsession, cats are my favorite, pearl earrings are my jewelry of choice, living compassionately is the coolest, and in my little windows of free time you can find me meandering through the stacks at the Boston Public Library and checking out new restaurants, and cafés with friends.



Entries by ShanTil Yell

  • A Season’s Change

    I was listening to a podcast by one of my very favorite authors and speakers, Rob Bell, earlier this week. This gem of an episode was entitled “Everyone Is Your Teacher,” and it turned out to be one of those well-timed bits of amazingness that was dropped right into my lap. The day was oddly gloomy, I was on my way to work when I would have much rather been curled up in my pj’s while binge watching The Bold Type. Still, I had a half hour walk and decided to tune in and see if Rob had any words of wisdom and humor for me. (Spoiler alert: he did.) He shared a short vignette about the seasons that we experience in life, and how the various seasons we have teach us different things. He said that part of the power in celebrating any particular season is being honest with ourselves and letting it be what it was after it has run its course. Now, what am I getting at here? A few things…fall is…

  • Reading Deprivation

    I’m flipping the script in today’s post, meaning I plan to tell you about what I haven’t been reading instead of what I have, or rather, why I am not reading at the moment. I’m participating in an experiment this week called “reading deprivation” as a part of this Artist’s Way book I’m working through. If you think that sounds impossible and a bit insane, then I would have to agree with you. Do you know how difficult it is not to read something, or anything at all on a given day? It takes a real concentrated effort, and maybe a blindfold too. The tool is meant to “monitor the inflow and keep it to a minimum,” according to author Julia Cameron, that way you’re able to tune into your inner voice more clearly and hopefully be rewarded with more outflow. And while it’s true that I’ve seen my writing increase, I’ve also gotten petty and annoyed about the whole idea. What about my work emails? My text messages? Those quotable images that I love…

  • A Glimpse of Summer

    I had almost forgotten about the feeling of that sweet exhale summer break brings until now. I don’t know if what I’m doing 100% qualifies as a “break” since I am working a lot and still managing to keep my schedule quite full, but it is nice to be doing all of those things without having to worry about homework and readings for a few months! In terms of work, I’m still filling in as a senior substitute at the Somerville Public Library. I love it for…well, many reasons. 1) SPL is an awesome place and you should come visit us, okay? Okay. 2) We’ve got three branches, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work in various roles at each of them. Plus, I have amazing co-workers who have been so helpful and supportive. A little circulation here, some reference desk there, and my personal favorite–the children’s room. I got to do an impromptu preschool story time a couple of weeks ago and it was only a little scary, but mostly a lot of fun…

  • Some Thoughts on Cars and Parking Permits

    Hello, people of the world! I’d like to pass along some practical advice about what it’s like to bring your out of state car to Massachusetts, because there are a number of things I’ve had to learn the hard way since I did just that a couple of weeks ago. First off, there are a number of cities in the Greater Boston Area that will require you to have a street parking permit if you aren’t lucky enough to land in a place with a driveway or garage. Know that you have been blessed by the parking gods if such fortune falls upon your head. And since the spaces in the lot behind my apartment complex were already filled up, I was in need of such a permit. I made a big, fat assumption that since I was a grad student living here temporarily, I’d still be able to get some kind of permit. Oh, I was wrong. So very wrong. It turns out that when you’re living here and have your vehicle here, you’re…

  • Summer Reading

    It’s time for another book list! Here’s what I’m currently diving into, and one more that I’m planning to pick up from the library ASAP. Needful Things by Stephen King- I haven’t read a good scary book in a while. Well, that’s not true. I did read The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, which thoroughly unsettled me. I would not suggest that one if you are a mother looking to hire childcare anytime soon. The kind of scary I’m talking about is the supernatural horror variety, and King is my go to author for that particular brand. I’m only a few pages in, and once again he’s taken me right into the small-town life and happenings of Castle Rock, Maine. He has this enchanting way of writing characters, dialogue, and setting that transports me inside of the story. It’s fantastic, and it also guarantees that I’m going to be frightened at least a few times. I can’t wait 🙂 Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- Yes, I’m reading this one again. I think it’s going to…

  • Summer Travels

    Greetings from Amarillo, Texas–home of the Big Texan 72 oz. Steak Challenge, truly epic thunderstorms, and according to a 2016 article by The Weather Channel, it’s the windiest city in America. Another fun fact? A-Town’s record wind speed clocked in at 84 mph back in 1949, and I would imagine the tornado passing by the instrumentation less than a mile away may have had something to do with that. Anyway, here I am hanging out with my younger brother, caffeinating with a coconut chai, and smack dab in the middle of my cross-country road trip. It’s hard to fathom that I was at home in Somerville just last Saturday. Since then I’ve been to California to watch one of my dearest friends tie the knot, flown to Texas to spend time with my family, and made a quick trip back to my hometown in Oklahoma to visit my Grams. Y’all. It has been the definition of a whirlwind. I’m zonked from traveling and switching up time zones, and I’m only at the halfway mark. This…

  • The Prettiest Afternoon

    I went on a lovely little outing this past Saturday! I met a friend at Copley Square and we went to treat ourselves at L.A. Burdick’s, an amazing and decadent chocolatier that I highly suggest you try at least once in your life. After we had armed ourselves with drinking chocolate–yep, that’s a real thing–and pastries, we made our way over to the Public Garden and then strolled into the Beacon Hill neighborhood. The city was pulsing with activity, with everyone coming out to sunbathe and play and enjoy the general splendor of the afternoon. It. Was. Delightful.  Once we had finished up there, I was off to pick up a new library book…one of many that are piling up in my room now that the semester is over and I can genuinely read for pleasure…called The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. I recently joined a sci-fi feminist book club, which promises to be awesome on a whole lot of levels, and Le Guin’s book is next up in our queue.  I’ll…

  • End of Semester Thoughts

    I won’t lie, y’all. It was hard for me to think of something to write about for my post today. I’ve actually been having a lot of trouble in that area where inspiration meets diligence lately…which, you might guess, and guess correctly, is not the nicest position to be in here at the end of semester when final papers and projects are due. Still, I’m showing up, and that’s always a good first step! Things are winding down, which is simultaneously a relief and bittersweet. It’s surreal to think I’m almost done with my first year of the program (which flew by crazy fast), meaning I’m almost halfway through (how on earth did that happen?), meaning sooner rather than later I’ll need to consider what I want to do and where I want to apply for jobs and live and start my actual adult life. Because strangely enough, I don’t feel that it’s started that yet. Being in school again makes me feel like I’m in a perpetual state of youth somehow. Anyway, I digress….

  • What I’m Reading Lately

    I haven’t put together a proper book list in quite some time, and I figure this is one of the best places to post such a thing. I’ll tell you a little bit about some of the books I’ve read so far this year…I’m about halfway to my goal of 30, which is exciting…, what I’m in the middle of, and what’s waiting for me! Stalking God by Anjali Kumar- I just finished this one a couple of days ago, so it’s still pretty present with me. I came across Kumar in a TED talk she gave that about made my heart burst, and when I found out that she wrote about her experiences in greater detail in this book, I had to get my hands on it. Kumar’s journey, self-described as unorthodox, is full of ups and downs and fascinating turns as she hunts for big answers about the meaning of life and a spiritual home for her young daughter. I applaud her for her bravery and for sharing her beautiful insights about what…

  • In Case of Free Time

    Due to some marvelous twist of fate, I indeed have some of this coveted free time mentioned in the title, even in the midst of three classes, two part-time jobs, and an internship. Phew. Did I mention that the twist of fate was marvelous? Of course, a fair amount of said free time is spent taking care of important things (i.e. homework & blessed, blessed sleep) along with the everyday banalities of life. But how else to fill in those special gaps of nothingness? Here’s how it looks for me: I still read for pleasure. Honestly, I’ve found it impossible to stop! I tote books around to read on my train or bus commute, and I’ve joined a couple of different book clubs in the area. I was a little shy to jump in at first, but they’ve helped me be motivated to read new things regularly, and I’m also getting to meet some great new people. FYI- the Meetup app is an awesome way to get plugged into groups like this! Speaking of great…

  • My Simmons Journey

    It’s officially spring time, but you wouldn’t guess it if you were to peer outside the window right about now. There are heaps of snow on the ground–remnants of our fourth nor’easter this month–and the sky is grey and overcast. I’m curled up at home and sipping on a mug of spiced tea, and today I’d like to share a little bit about how I got to Simmons in the first place and where I’m tentatively heading next. And by next I mean figuring out what classes I’m taking in the fall semester. Nothing too long-term at this point! I’ll be honest. I applied here on a whim. I was at a juncture in my life where I needed to make some kind of radical change, and I thought to myself, “Why not dig up that childhood dream of yours to be a librarian and see if you can make that happen?” I was giddy at the idea, and then my rational brain chimed in to tell me that while that was cute, I had…

  • Here a Library

    This may not come as a surprise to you, dear readers, but ever since I started at SLIS I have gotten really, really into all things library-related. Who would have thought? I’ve been most enthralled by the idea that there are so many different types of libraries that exist. My own experience with libraries before coming into the program was primarily through public and academic institutions, so it’s exciting to see how much else is out there. I’ll give you a few examples… I was visiting a good friend of mine in North Carolina last week during spring break, and we passed a sign on the highway pointing to the Billy Graham Library. A quick search told me this particular library, a blend of religion and history thematically, was designed to look like a dairy barn mirroring Graham’s upbringing on a farm near Charlotte. We later drove through the University of North Carolina School of Arts campus in Winston-Salem where I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous Semans Library. Yes, this is an academic library,…

  • Experience in an Archive

    In my Introduction to Archival Methods & Services class, we were charged to write an overview of our experience using an archives, and part of that assignment meant coming up with our own research question and doing some digging into the resources we found.  I chose to use the local history room at the Somerville Public Library. I chatted with a fellow librarian about some popular topics people come to research there, and one he mentioned was the Ursuline convent riots that took place in the summer of 1834. This really peaked my interest, and even though I don’t have the space to go into all the details, I’d still like to give a brief run-through of what happened and the impression it left on me.  Riding the wave of an increasingly anti-Catholic feeling in the community, a Protestant mob rallied and destroyed the convent over the course of two nights, everything from furniture, books, and religious items to the surrounding gardens. In their frenzy, they even desecrated the tombs of nuns buried on the…

  • An Exceptional February Day

    Today, I had the supremely cool opportunity to join a group of my classmates on a tour of the Boston Athenæum (courtesy of the Simmons Panopticon chapter–y’all rock!). Also, spring decided to pop its head in early with sunshine and warm temperatures, so I was more than happy to don a peekaboo dress and roam into the city. The Athenæum is one of the country’s oldest libraries, and is filled with floor after floor of amazing pieces of fine art, as well as extensive circulating and special collections. A couple of my favorite bits of the afternoon included viewing part of George Washington’s personal library, and also getting to browse the original card catalog, now very much a relic of times past and tucked away in the building’s basement.  Sitting pretty at 10 ½ Beacon Street…a cousin of Platform 9 ¾ perhaps…the Athenæum is located in one of the most historically rich parts of the city, and is itself a distinguished cultural heritage center. I trust the patron goddess of wisdom was pleased to be…