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

Classes

Spring Break 2K20

The CoronaVirus has certainly thrown everybody for a whirlwind recently. It’s been difficult to keep track of what is and isn’t closed for the time being. Simmons, thankfully, was on spring break from March 9 to March 13 while most students went on vacation. For me, I had the great opportunity to take a week long intensive class at Simmons called “Moving Image Archives”. It ended up being my favorite class of the semester, so far. As stated in one of my previous blogs, I hope to work for the Walt Disney Archives one day and one of the parts of that archive is moving images. They have rare films like promotional ads from Walt that have helped reveal what his last taped appearance was. So taking this class not only helped me gain skills that will be very helpful in my journey as an archivist, but also made me seriously consider becoming a moving image archivist in the future. The first day was normal and we got to handle old home movies and use…


Super Statistics

Did you know that the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners keeps detailed statistics on every single public library in the state?  Or that the MBLC collects and analyzes all of these statistics and makes them available online in spreadsheet format?  I found this out while I was completing an assignment for Collections Development.  The assignment was to evaluate our library’s collection using standard evaluation methods, like list checking, peer comparison, user surveys, and statistics analysis.  I chose to do a peer evaluation of my library and used the MBLC statistics to compare it to two neighboring libraries.  It was really interesting to see how each library spends money and how their collection makeup differed.  But it was also overwhelming because there are so many statistics.  It bears repeating:  there are so many statistics.  Want to know how many study rooms a library has?  Or the most recent year your library was renovated?  Check out the Main Facilities spreadsheet.  How about total materials expenditures and per capita rate of spending?  Check out the Financial Data spreadsheet. …


Adventures on Twitter

Every so often at SLIS we have an assignment that I’m ambivalent about, and that has happened this week with LIS 453: Collection Development and Management’s Social Media Assignment.  In all fairness, I knew this assignment was coming before I even signed up for this class, as bloggers who have taken this class have written about it.  This week the Social Media Assignment was introduced–it is an assignment that will last the rest of the semester.  We have to create a Twitter account and use it to tweet about promotional events, publicity materials, collection displays, and other library-related things.  Lots of libraries and librarians use Twitter as well as publishers and other vendors, so this assignment is a great way to learn more about how they handle promotions and publicity.  However, I’ve never been really keen on the idea of having a personal Twitter account.  Professionally I’ve created publicity materials and items for social media accounts, and academically I’ve done a lot of analysis on social media, but I’ve never had my own personal Twitter…


Making Plans!

The summer course list was posted last week.  I’ve been waiting for it because I’m trying to plan my final three classes.  I can’t believe I only have three classes left!  It’s exciting and kind of terrifying at the same time.  Last summer I made the mistake of taking two classes and it was an insane amount of work.  I am limiting myself to one class this summer, and it’s just a matter of deciding which class to take.  I am intrigued by LIS 447, Collections Maintenance.  The format is different for this class because it is face to face, and meets all day, three days a week, for two weeks.  This means I can get the class over with and have a nice break before the fall semester.  I am very interested in the subject matter, too.  It’s about repairing and binding books, and other physical or administrative tasks related to collections maintenance.  It would provide valuable hands-on experience and I think I would learn a lot.  The downside is that it is all…


Working in an Archive

For LIS 438-Intro to Archival Methods, one of the required aspects is a 60-hour internship with an archive. For the class, Simmons helps you find an archive that will work well for your own situation based on your interests, transportation options, and where you live. I was assigned to work in the City of Boston Archives and Records Management Division with SLIS alum, Marta Crilly. For my internship, I was introduced to all of the other archivists within the office and they were all Simmons alumni which was really cool because it made me see just how big the alumni network is for SLIS. The City of Boston Archives has all the governmental records for the various divisions within the government like the fire department, police, and obviously the mayor’s office. My project for this semester will be going through boxes of photos from Mayor Raymond Flynn’s administration from 1984 to 1993 which had previously had been digitized onto a Flickr account. Over the course of the 60 hours I’ll be working there, I’ll be…


Presentation Time, and a Lucky Coincidence

I finished my first project of the semester this week.  It was a Power Point presentation for Collections Development on a book genre of our choice.  We had to research current trends in our genre, identify helpful resources, and analyze publishing statistics.  We also had to create a two-page handout with a brief overview on the topic.  This allows us to discover and share what is trending in the book world, so that ultimately we can build a library collection that satisfies user needs.  Before I was back in school, I thought 5-7 minutes was a long time for a presentation, but it turns out it is not a lot of time at all.  It goes by fast, especially if you have a list of items that you need to cover.  Whittling down all the information into a narrative that is thorough, concise and makes sense is not easy.  I’ve completed audio presentations for other classes and I’ve never recorded anything within the time limit on the first (or even second or third) try.  It…


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…


Let’s Talk About Books!

This week I have one of the most fun projects that I’ve had since starting at Simmons!  I get to talk about BOOKS!  I know, I know, this is library school, shouldn’t this be a common thing?  Actually, no, this is not a usual assignment. I don’t think I’ve actually had an assignment where I’ve gotten to wax poetic about books, genres, publishing, or anything of that nature since we talked about readers advisory waaaaayy back in my first semester when I was taking LIS 407: Information Sources and Services. This week is my Genre/Topic project for LIS 453: Collection Development and Management.  For this project, I get to talk about a particular topic or book genre and discuss publishing trends, what’s hot and what’s not, popular books, any books that are going to be released as movies and/or TV shows in my genre, etc. Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I’m excited for this project for a variety of reasons.  First, as I mentioned earlier, I GET TO TALK ABOUT BOOKS!  Like many others who…


Mastering Metadata

One of the most interesting things about metadata is that there is a big difference between reading about metadata and creating metadata. I learned a little about this last year when we covered the topic briefly in LIS 415, but I’m learning a lot more about it now. The readings make metadata creation seem straightforward, but when I try to complete my assignments, I often get stuck. There is so much to think about, and so many categories to cover. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if I’ve covered all the possible information I need to for a particular item.  For example, this week we have to create our own metadata schema to describe three different music albums. We don’t have to describe the albums yet, just come up with all the categories necessary to describe them. The starting point is the album cover and back, which includes information such as the title of the album, the artist and other contributors, and the song titles. There can also be information on the producer(s), the studio…


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…