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

Archives

Ethics in the Library and the Archives

I’ve been enjoying some very engaging readings and discussion in both of my classes the past few weeks, as our units on ethics happened to coincide. According to my professors, the ethics lesson is always everyone’s favorite, and I soon found out why. Believe it or not, the archives and library professions are veritable minefields of fascinating ethical quandaries! As we discussed these topics in class on Saturday, I realized that library ethics are essentially about protecting and enabling people’s right and freedom of choice. We believe that everyone has the right to choose what to read, what to think, what to do, and what to say. We might not agree with their choice, and other people in the library or the community might not agree with their choice, but it is not our place to restrict or pass judgement on that choice. It is important to remember that we cannot know what use a patron intends for a particular book, or what reaction they may have to any given piece of information. Of course,…


Thinking Like an Archivist

We are more than halfway through the semester and with a few days off for holidays this month, I think I can safely say we are in the home stretch. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Woo! With my archives internship wrapping up, I thought I’d share some of my observations. First of all, this internship required some serious time management. It is built right into the Intro to Archives course (LIS 438) on top of a typical load of coursework, and it’s a lot. I actually advised a classmate the other day not to take it, unless she was serious about archives. Because unless you’ve got all kinds of free time and not many daytime commitments, it will require some major sacrifices beyond the typical course. That being said, I have loved all the course material (not so much the online format) and the work I’ve been doing for my internship. I have finally gotten some hands-on experience in an archive. It really is essential. I’ve heard several times now…


Massachusetts State Archives Field Trip

Another guest blog by current student, Sarah Nafis. Sarah is in her final year of the dual Archives/History (MS/MA) program. Since moving to Boston, she’s exploring the city one restaurant at a time and has learned to embrace the quirks of public transportation. This semester I’m taking Government Archives as one of my electives. The class focuses on government archives at the local, state, and national levels and covers topics such as legal responsibilities, relationship between the different branches of government, accessibility, and challenges facing government archives. In addition to the course readings and discussion, we also have the opportunity to meet with guest speakers and visit a couple of government archives. And field trips are just as much fun in graduate school as they were in elementary school. Our class was fortunate enough to be given a personal tour of the Massachusetts State Archives (located just around the corner from the JFK Library and Museum) by the Executive Director, Michael Comeau. We spent just under 3 hours on site and I probably could have…


Living the Dream

WHOA it’s been a crazy week! So crazy, in fact, I’m going to have to break it down with a numbered list. Here are the important announcements/news items from this week: 1. I started my internship at the Fairfield University archives!                 This internship is a big deal for me. I haven’t worked since I had my son almost five years ago, so I need all the professional experience I can get. Also, I’ve never done any actual archives work before. I have some library experience and some museum experience, and here I am in grad school claiming I want to be an archivist with only a foggy idea of what that actually means. So YAY FOR INTERNSHIPS! Can you tell I’m excited? I’m super excited. This internship is perfect for me. It’s not too far from my home and it’s a small university archives, which frankly is exactly the kind of institution I see myself in some day. 2. I visited an archives for my field study.                 This would be only the second…


On Being Ambassadors

I think I can safely say now that this will be one tough semester, characterized with lots of work outside the home. My first semester I had to drive to class every Saturday but all of the work and the assignments could be completed at home, on my own time. Not so this semester. This week I will go interview a reference librarian. Next week I will be visiting an archival repository as a researcher. And any day now my archives internship will start up, requiring 60 hours of work over the course of the semester. As an avowed introvert and homebody, I do not relish the thought of all the running around I’ll be doing. But I also feel confident that once the stress of setting up appointments and making arrangements is over, I am going to love getting out into the field, talking to archivists and librarians, and getting the hands-on experience. The museum internship I had so many years ago right out of college was such a formative experience for me and…


Hands-On Archival Experience

As an online student, I almost felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw that school would be cancelled in Boston on Thursday due to the imminent snow storm. But then I remembered that means I don’t have to deal with the snow. Or the ice. Especially the ice–with an armful of books, I’m a walking disaster, and it’s a rare moment that I am without an armful of books. Instead, I decided to gear up for internship season–with deadlines looming, I feel as though I am constantly sending emails to professors arranging for references when I’m not reading course material. Now that my Introduction to Archives course has begun, I have also been spending a significant amount of time at my internship location. I currently work at a non-archives job while attending school, so it has felt unbelievably amazing to get my hands on archival materials again. These materials belong to a public library whose archive contains a significant amount of local history materials. I am currently processing the personal papers of one local…


I Chose Simmons SLIS Online

It’s a bit surreal to think that last year around this time, I had just submitted my applications for various library schools around the country. I was still torn between whether I wanted to attend an online or in-person program, but I knew that I wanted a high quality education to enable me to be a contributing and active member of the archival profession. I also wanted to be part of a cohort of students that was thoughtful and engaged in their approach to their education and would take a proactive approach in becoming competent and capable professionals. As you can tell, I chose Simmons. Recent events served to solidify my decision that I made the right choice. Watching Simmons students take an active role in archiving materials created by the Women’s March on Washington only served to cement my decision–this was not a group of individuals pursuing this degree in an apathetic way. These were people who wanted to make a genuine change in the profession, and who I would get to grow with…


Preparing For Next Semester

It feels incredibly strange to not have any classes for the rest of the year–even though I took a year off between undergraduate and graduate school, I still feel a bit lost when I’m not doing some sort of course reading or conducting research. In preparation for next semester, I decided to take a close look at the syllabi for the courses I am taking in the spring. Because I’m in the Archives Management concentration, and I’ve decided to try and focus on the digital aspect of archives, I enrolled in Introduction to Archival Methods and Services, Digital Stewardship, and Metadata. Since the first course includes a sixty hour internship, this means I’ll have a pretty intense semester, to say the least! However, I am excited to work with some of the special collections in my area (Wheeling, WV) which are frequently under utilized and would benefit immensely from a student intern. I’m also exploring some potential projects that I can complete over the summer term–there are excellent local history resources that are rife with…


Life After Graduation

This past Friday something incredible happened: I graduated from Simmons with a Masters in Library and Information Science. Three years, seven semesters (including one summer session), and two internships later, I have emerged from the other side with my shiny degree in hand ready to take on the professional world. Huzzah! And yet, here I am, still blogging for SLIS. Just when I thought my time with SLIS had reached its end, I was asked if I wanted to continue blogging for the program over the course of the summer. Having done so for the past two summers, I was happy to take on the challenge. Submitting posts for the SLIS student experience blog has been apart of my Boston life since moving here in the Fall of 2013. It’s really fun to go back and read old posts and see how far I’ve come since then. But enough reminisces, let’s talk about what I have in store for this summer. This summer I have two major projects to tackle. The first will be completing…


Color Our Collections

Anyone who’s set foot into a bookstore recently has spotted the latest trend in bookselling: the adult coloring book. There’s ocean scenes, fandom pages, and kaleidoscope images. There are funny ones, spiritual ones, and calming ones. Long story short, adults have been given a mass market way to say “it’s acceptable for me to color too!” And, when it comes to trends in the book industry, libraries and archives like to be included. Which brings us to the latest initiative sweeping archives across the nation–“Color Our Collection”. I first ran into the concept when browsing through the Librarian and Archivist tumblr community, when I saw a post about how the Bodleian Libraries (at the University of Oxford) is inviting people to add color to their rare book images. However, they’re not the only ones. A quick google search will pull up results from the Digital Public Library of America, the New York Public Library, and the Stanford Libraries. Even the Smithsonian is participating in the fun! Okay, but real talk: what do they plan on…