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

Classes

East meets West – Part III – The Follow-up

I would like to follow up on Chelsea’s two blog posts about some of the differences between the Main Boston campus and West campus in South Hadley. For a general feel, I will start by referring you back to my earlier post, “The Tale of Two Campuses,” but I will try to be more specific in this post. Class Size – Chelsea is right here.  I don’t know the names of half of the people in my Boston class but all my West campus classes have been small, leading to a very bonded group of people. At West, we bake brownies for class and seek out opportunities to work together via discussion boards, email, etc. during the week. The small class size does make a more “family” atmosphere. Demographics –In general, we tend to be older on West campus and in my experience, there are also more men at GSLIS -West.  There are many more career changers on West, and that leads to the bonding over fitting in classwork and group projects around family and…


A Case of the Mondays

Today is Veterans’ Day observed, and GSLIS does not have classes. How will I be spending my morning, you ask? In class. Barring Thanksgiving next week (yay!), the only holidays this semester fall on Mondays. That means there ends up being one less class meeting for Monday classes than for their Tuesday-Friday counterparts. So despite the holiday today, my professor (and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, a few other professors as well) will be holding class. The thing is, I’m not even mad. I’m not dreading going. It just feels like another Monday. Everybody enjoys a day off (and especially a long weekend), but when classes only meet once per week, not having a class is a considerable setback. My professor isn’t having class to spite us, as she is also coming in on what could have been a day off. We have a lot of material to cover, and just finally got caught up after falling behind a few weeks ago. And, frankly, the point of being at GSLIS is taking classes,…


“Library” Cataloging Experience

I thought that cataloging would be my jam. My calling. My future. This assumption, for better or worse, was based on one thing: my iTunes library. Ever since I can remember, I have been militant when it comes to organizing my music. I have carefully constructed playlists by genre (Country, Hip-Hop, Rock, etc.), but I also have some that are not quite so easily categorized, such as “Chill,” “Random,” “Strange,” and “Guitar Hero” (thank you, junior year of college). My basic cataloging method is as follows: For every song in each of my playlists, the “Genre” field in iTunes contains the name of the playlist that the song is in. That way, if a playlist gets accidentally deleted, or I can’t remember whether I put a song in “Strange” or “Chill,” I can easily figure out where it lives. It isn’t sophisticated or foolproof, but it forces me to make deliberate categorizing decisions and gives me peace of mind. One thing that I love about my iTunes library is that many of the choices that…


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As promised, whether you like it or not, here is a retrospective account of my courses from last semester: Mondays, 9am-noon – LIS 415; Reference and Information Services A core class, one that everyone must take. The idea behind the class is that nearly every job that requires an LIS degree involves working with information, so this class teaches how and where to find it. We learned about hundreds (literally, hundreds) of information sources and their function. Homework assignments involved finding the answers to obscure questions without using Google, Wikipedia, or anything else on the free web. (Daunting, but useful.) We also learned the basics of reference and customer service etiquette. This and LIS 415 are probably the most library-ish core courses that you will take. Tuesdays, 9am-noon – LIS 488; Technology for Information Professionals A core class, one that everyone must take. The idea behind the class is that technology has permeated just about every aspect of LIS and, for that matter, the free world. As information professionals, librarians are expected to have a…


Field trips aren’t just for kids!

One thing I love about GSLIS professors is they are always making sure that we aren’t just sitting in a classroom trying to absorb information. They really want us to get real experience and therefore they encourage us to visit libraries, talk with librarians and meet our future colleagues. These are often the best learning experiences! Last weekend my Literature of the Humanities class was held at the Hillyer Art Library at the Smith College Museum of Art. Not only is Smith located in one of the coolest towns in the state (Northampton), but it also has an amazing campus with beautiful buildings and a great library. We met with Barbara Polowy, art librarian at Hillyer. She did an informative library instruction session on how to locate art resources in order to answer art-related reference questions and she even baked us cookies! In addition to this mini-trip, several of the core courses here at GSLIS require students to visit and/or observe all types of libraries. I have been to a lot of the local campuses…


Preaching to the Comforter

Is there anything more ridiculous than giving a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation to your empty bedroom? Having spent 55 minutes doing just that last night, I think I was more uncomfortable talking to an empty room than I will be when doing the actual presentation. Then I got to thinking, why was this my first time educating my down comforter? I can think of five presentations that I gave last semester, and not once did I elect to practice beforehand. How did I pull that off? On my first go-through, my ten-minute presentation took nearly twenty minutes due to stopping to iron out what I wanted to say. There was definitely swearing involved. If I hadn’t practiced, would my real presentation have gone like that? Then I discovered that it is quite easy to get sidetracked when speaking aloud to no one. I watched people out the window. Where is my neighbor going? I spun around in my desk chair. I filed my right thumbnail. I noticed some blemishes on the wall. I spun some more….


The Practicum Binder

If you’ve ever known an SLTP candidate, you’ll know that these two words have a special power over us.  The practicum binder represents the culmination of all the hours of work we put in at our practicum experiences – the rich experiences we have are condensed down into two, massive, three-ring binders filled with papers.  Yet, it’s also really satisfying to see this tangible evidence of all you’ve worked to achieve. The practicum binder serves as the official documentation of the evidence submitted to the state by Simmons when we graduate, since our diplomas become our initial licenses.  This way, if the state ever wants to audit the program, we will have the evidence to support what we said we did during our student teaching hours. The binder is a mammoth undertaking, one that must be completed over the course of the semester, within the 100 hours we are meant to work (most candidates work more, but 100 is the official minimum requirement).   It breaks down into four major components (apart from a summary…


What’s Online?

I am having a great new experience this semester, by taking classes on both campuses.  As you have all heard me whine just a bit about my lengthy commutes, it is no surprise that a recently minted GSLIS student on the Boston campus asked me, “It’s so far for you…have you tried out the online classes?”  The answer is yes, I have now tried online, face-to-face, and blended, and they all have their advantages, but face-to-face is increasingly becoming my favorite. What you get online: Interaction and learning opportunities with faculty who are otherwise too far for you…this could just mean a different campus, but it could also mean a different state or university altogether. Access to classes not offered by Simmons but accepted as part of our Simmons GSLIS degree. Interaction with students you might not otherwise meet. The freedom or burden of managing your own time and schedule – I do think this is both a pro and a con. No commute. What you don’t get online: Morning text messages from your peers…


Archivists in Library School

Last week, I briefly mentioned that I decided I no longer wanted to pursue my Masters in History (at this time!), and I will be focusing solely on my Archives Management concentration. I made this decision due to a number of factors, including cost and time constraints, but also a desire to just get out there and work. The reason that the decision wasn’t easy for me to make is because I truly believe that history as a discipline has a lot to contribute to the way that archivists think about archives. There are a number of articles out there that talk about the intersection of history and LIS departments and the subsequent evolution of archival education in the US. (Joseph M. Turrini published an article titled “From History to Library and Information Science: A Case Study of Archival Education at Wayne State University” in Information & Culture: A Journal of History this summer, which is available through ProjectMUSE.  For our archivists in training, you can find an abbreviated version of his discussion here). Due to…


A Report on My Summer Classes

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for quite some time now–it doesn’t feel at all like over a month has gone by, but that seems to be the case! Last you heard from me, I was finishing up my summer semester. I had just a few weeks to recover from that and am already embarking on semester #4. I don’t believe I ever reported to this blog about my summer classes, so I will take the opportunity to do that now! This past summer I decided to take my final two core courses: LIS 403 (Evaluation of Information Services) and LIS 488 (Technology for Information Professionals). It was, in a word, intense, to complete 6 credit hours-worth of work in 6 weeks. They went by in a blur, but I was able to walk away from them with some useful information and some marketable skills. In Evaluation, we learned some of the basic theory and technique about conducting action research studies in information environments. The final project consisted of developing a research proposal for a…