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

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Course Registration Is Upon Us!

In the midst of the last few weeks of the semester is another crucial time: course registration for summer and fall. I’ve decided to take one summer course this year, LIS 488, in order to wrap up the general degree requirements so I can take an elective course in the fall. Since it’s my second semester I have to take LIS 438: Intro to Archival Theory & Practice as well as HIST 597: Historical Methods in order to complete general requirements for my Archives Concentration and my MA degree. That leaves me with one course I can choose to register with what I want. Right now I haven’t decided if I’ll take LIS 446: Art Documentation or LIS 532Q: Museum Studies. That’s always the hard part: what do you choose when there are so many options? While taking a summer course may seem like an easy decision so I could knock out requirements I did not make it lightly. I’ll be working full time this summer and want to avoid getting burned out. The summer…


An Unexpected Archive of the Universe

I hope everyone is having a great Semester so far! Mine has been super busy since I started a new job as a Curatorial Assistant at the Harvard Plate Stacks Collection last fall. The Plate Stacks Collection is stored at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and includes over 550,000 glass plate negatives and spectral images of the stars, which represent the first full image of the visible Universe. 146 women astronomical computers helped to create, store, and analyze this collection over about a century and many of them, such as Henrietta Leavitt and Annie Jump Cannon, have become famous for their groundbreaking discoveries. Before starting the archives program, I would have never imagined working at an archive of this type. However, archives come in an amazing range of shapes and sizes. My field placement involved an archive full of historical medical records, equipment, and human remains. My first archives job includes hundreds of thousands of glass plate negatives representing the entire visible universe. Beyond my work experiences, I have learned of thousands of…


The Simmons Zine Collection

About a month ago, I started a new job working in Beatley Library on campus. I got my very own cubicle, equipped with a computer, a scanner and a label printer, but one corner is dominated by two boxes of uncataloged zines. I came to learn that Simmons houses a sizable collection of zines that have been curated for years, and it was the job of my predecessor to catalog and process them.  Unfamiliar with zines? Here’s the rundown: “zines are a noncommercial, nonprofessional, small-circulation magazines which their creators produce, publish, and distribute themselves” (Duncombe). There is usually a DIY crafting component in the creation of a zine, followed by photocopying, folding, and stapling into pamphlets. Zines are inexpensive and easy to make, which has led them to play an important role in activism. The Simmons librarian, Dawn Stahura, who really kicked off the zine collection wrote (in a zine): “Zines are not only creative they are unique primary sources, a gateway into the lives of the marginalized, the silenced, the overlooked.” A unique cataloging…


Conferences: NEA Spring 2024 Meeting

One of the best (and sometimes, the most intimidating!) parts of grad school is the opportunity to attend and present your work at conferences, held by the numerous academic/professional organizations that support our disciplines. Conferences give you the opportunity to hear about and learn from what academic research and on-the-job procedures and issues are being discussed, debated, reassessed, and worked on in your field, as well as grow your professional network by connecting with information professionals from many different corners of librarianship. I recently got to present at the New England Archivists’ Spring 2024 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, and it was both an incredible learning experience and a great first step into this part of our field. The New England Archivists (NEA) are a organization representing the New England region’s archival community, and their 2024 Spring meeting brought together archivists, students in LIS programs, other informational professionals, and people focusing on other disciplines who work in archives or do related community programming to talk about their work. (Regional LIS organizations are a great way…


How to Survive the Boston Transit System: Tips for Commuter Students

I remember the days of living in a dorm and walking to class. Rolling out of bed, throwing on a sweatshirt and brushing my teeth before taking a casual stroll across campus. Then, later, popping back over to my room to take a nap or grab a snack. Now, as a commuter student, I’m a compulsive Google Maps refresher, with a 20 minute walk and a 30 minute bus ride. It’s tough being a commuter student, and it isn’t helped by the commuting options in Boston being unreliable at best and completely broken at worst. Here are some commuting tips from someone who’s walked, biked, bused, and braved the MBTA to get to Simmons. Always check before you go. The transit systems in Boston are constantly changing, and even if your commute is usually consistent, that can change on any random day. A holiday might mean that the buses are running on a different schedule. A road can suddenly be blocked off for construction. Don’t even get me started on the MBTA. If something’s down,…


Welcome New Student Blogger, Olivia!

Hello! I’m currently in my first year at SLIS, but I’ve been living in the Boston area for almost two years. I am in the Archives concentration, and I am the co-chair of SPECTRA, the LGBTQIA+ Affinity Organization at SLIS. I’m originally from Wisconsin, so by default I love mac and cheese and saying “ope” when I ask to “sneak on by ya there.” Before starting library school, I was a tutor for ESL and new immigrant high schoolers. Today, you can usually find me hunting for a geocache, crocheting, or reading a book.


Welcome New Student Blogger, Amy!

Amy is a year into the program and in the Libraries and Librarianship Concentration. She studies at the SLIS West Campus site and is really interested in how libraries can work to recognize the needs of their communities and show through action how Libraries are for ALL. Something fun about Amy is that with her current work schedule, she has Tuesdays off and spends them with her grandma, running errands, playing games, and enjoying ice cream! 


Welcome New Student Blogger, Aurora!

My name is Aurora and I’m a first year student in the dual LIS – Archives concentration and History degree program here at SLIS. Originally from Oregon, I moved to Boston in 2018 after serving in the U.S. Army as a Motor Transport Operator and paratrooper from 2016 to 2018. I graduated from Wellesley College in 2023 with a BA in Art History with a specific focus on U.S. Art History and building preservation. During undergrad I had a few internships focused on museum collections management and loved the opportunity to connect what I learned in the classroom with my work. I am hoping to continue doing that throughout my career. I believe that Simmons’ program is providing nice groundwork to do so by balancing how to care for archival collections and the research skills to provide the most up to date and accessible information about them. Outside of my studies I love to knit, read historical fiction, and visit museums where I pick their curation apart. I also play and coach Ultimate Frisbee.


Archival Fieldwork for LIS 438

For many Simmons MLIS students, LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Theory & Practice is a natural next step forward after completing their core classes, especially if they’re thinking of going into the Archives concentration. As someone who is currently in the Design Your Own concentration, I wanted to take LIS 438 to see whether the Archives track is for me, and in any case was interested in how archival practices compared to library and special collections. I was somewhat apprehensive of the field experience component of the class, even though I had been enjoying the concepts we’d been studying so far and I like to apply my learning in a hands-on way. I was worried that it would be more time than I was able to commit outside of class, and that I would be out of my depth in an environment where I didn’t know the people or the institution. However, halfway through the semester, field experience is my favorite part of my week. Field experience host sites are assigned with the help of…


Spring Break: a Time to Relax?

Ahhh, spring break. The time when tired grad students are able to take some time off fromschool to decompress and relax. Right? Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for most of us. Although no classes took place this past week (3/4-3/8), that doesn’t mean that we could just put our feet up and relax. With professors assigning hefty projects often due the day before classes start again (3/10), many are forced to put these assignments together in addition to going to work. If students opt to take time off of work and go on vacation (or a staycation) instead, like what myfellow Simmons student and partner and I did, there are additional logistics. Is it possible to finishthese projects before flying out, and can we afford to both not work for the whole week? Well,yes and no. I managed to finish my school projects and end up with products that I’m happywith, but I do feel a degree of guilt over RSVPing “no” to meetings and asking for extended workdeadlines. My partner, on the other hand,…


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