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


Scholarship Appreciation Time

Giuliana Gilbert-Igelsrud

I’m extremely thankful to have a merit scholarship from SLIS. Every semester (when I take at least 9 units) I receive $6,000 from Simmons; that’s $24,000 over four semesters, which is nothing to scoff at. As a scholarship recipient, I have been tasked to write a short thank you letter; I thought I might post it here. The cost of higher education has absolutely skyrocketed in recent years, and the only reason I have been able to afford Simmons (and with relatively low financial stress) is the SLIS Merit Scholarship. Simmons was one of two schools I applied to that offered me any financial aid, and by the time I received my acceptance letter, had become my top choice. I was thrilled to see that my academic efforts had paid off, literally! I cannot overstate how much I value the unique experience I’m having at Simmons. I’m from California, and I went to UC Berkeley for my Bachelor’s degree, so you can imagine how different it has been living here and attending Simmons. I never…

Don’t Let School Get in the Way of Your Education

Giuliana Gilbert-Igelsrud

One of the greatest benefits of library graduate school that nobody tells you about is the breadth of experiences people come from. Some students are straight out of college, others have been working as librarians for years, and many (like me) are in between. I highly recommend just chatting with the people around you; it can sometimes be more useful than readings and prescribed discussion. Just from chatting with classmates, I’ve learned about the many, many different ways to set up children’s storytime, the radically different administrative structures of rural and big city libraries, the pushback against “controversial” projects from supervisors and the public, and much, much more. I often wish there was a space designated specifically for swapping stories, tips, and resources with classmates and colleagues. We grow so much more as a profession when we share information (I mean, that is kind of our whole deal, right?). Give feedback to your professors related to this. In my experience, they will usually respond graciously. If you find certain assignments unhelpful, tell them. If you have a…

GSLIS Tech Lab. AKA GSLIS Awesomeness

Maggie Davidov

You may have glimpsed its capacious depths in a class evaluation. Or maybe you remember it vividly from orientation. Either way, hopefully your travels have taken you once or twice into the Tech Lab at Palace Road. Having been on the job as a Technology Reference Assistant for a few weeks now I feel bound to tell you that the Tech Lab is far more that a room filled with computers for class evaluations. It is staffed by some of the coolest, smartest and funniest people at GSLIS who work hard to make sure our students are informed about the latest trends in Technology. Guys, this is not a required class but it should be. Knowledge and hilarity oozes out of every crevice of these hard drives. Much of my time here is spent posting to the Tech Lab’s Tumblr or watching Lynda tutorials. Did you know that the Tech Lab actually has Google glasses? For serious, they have a LOT of stuff. If you don’t like intelligent, hilarious people then come for the amazing…

Storytelling Semi-Finals this Weekend

Maggie Davidov

This is a shameless plug for a certain storyteller (ME) who is competing in the MassMouth Story Slam Semi Finals this Sunday at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge at 6:30 pm. I’m telling a story from my days in the Peace Corps, so it should be …hilarious. A story slam is every bit the event you are conjuring in your imagination: a forum where people from the audience tell personal stories, within a time limit and people cheer for a well told tale. In this particular story slam there will be no judges. The audience decides! So come out to hear some great stories and support a fellow GSLISer. Storytelling is a big part of our society these days thanks to organizations like MassMouth and the Moth. Librarians should stay involved in an arena they championed so many years ago. Let’s get back in this game and begin telling our stories!

Hidden Value in Boring Courses

Emily Boyd

 I’m about to say something that may shock you. Not all classes in library school are riveting. One in particular is considered by many to be the most boring class they could possibly imagine. This course has only recently been removed from the list of core courses and I’m here to suggest that when you come to GSLIS, you take that boring course. This infamously boring course is LIS 403 Evaluation of Information Services. Perhaps the name is a giveaway for why it might be considered a bit of a snooze. In truth, no it wasn’t my favorite class to sit through, for three hours, in the evenings, on Mondays, but I am now applying so much of what I learned to my current library job. Professor Mary Wilkins Jordan did her best to keep classes lively and interesting, and considering that the subject matter is dry, I’d say she succeeded most of the time. The real value of the class was the semester long assignment to create a research proposal for a theoretical evaluation….

Two Years in the Life

Sarah Barton

On February 1, 2012, I applied to become a contributor to this GSLIS Admissions Blog by writing a post about my first two weeks at GSLIS and cutely calling it “Two Weeks in the Life.” I just realized the post was never published; however, given that backstory I think it’s fitting that this, my very last post, is about two years in the life – my whole GSLIS experience. Ok, here goes: In short, my GSLIS experience has been a success. Thank you, and goodbye. Alright I guess I can do better than that, but feel free to peruse my past posts if you really want all of the gory details. It would be silly for me to try to capture two years of classes, assignments, jobs, internships, volunteering, and life into one post. That post would be obscenely long and essentially defeat the purpose of two years of (mostly) weekly blog posts. You know how people say the journey is more important than the destination? Think of this final post as the destination and…

Confessions of a Book-Loving Librarian

Emily Boyd

I have a confession to make, I wanted to become a librarian because I love books. Shocking, I know. If you are new to the profession this may not seem odd, of course librarians love books. However, one of the first things I learned when entering the library world is that books are far from the main focus. In fact, librarians are actively trying to work against the misconception that working in a library means sitting around and reading all day. Alas, part of me wishes that were the case, but in the short time since I began work in a public library I have spent maybe thirty minutes of work time reading. That said, the larger part of me is glad to have discovered that working in a library involves so much more than helping patrons find books. Although reader’s advisory and chatting with patrons about their latest reads are among my favorite parts of working in a small library, I like the tricky reference questions much more. To be successful in this profession,…

So close, I can taste it…

Julie Steenson

This is my last post as a Simmons GSLIS student.  For the last several weeks, I have been saying, “The end is so close, I can taste it,” and then I pour a glass of wine and exclaim, “And it tastes like Chardonnay!”  But now that my biggest assignments are submitted, with just some revisions and tasks to finish up in the last week, the taste is becoming bittersweet. It is hard to say good-bye. I have debated with myself what profound thoughts to leave behind.  Should I write the usual “letter to my younger self” that seems to plague most blogs these days?  Other than a brain crammed with Library and Information Science, what should I share with those just embarking on this adventure?  Here goes. Prepare to be amazed!  Not by my words but by what you will learn from the faculty and your peers. And more importantly, what you will learn about yourself and what you can do. I started my GSLIS career in a spring semester with three CORE courses, and…

Getting Involved

Maggie Davidov

It’s September and all around us we are inundated with announcements. Don’t forget, tomorrow on the quad, the annual picnic to save the squirrels! Save the date for next Friday’s twister mixer! And then there are the events that you really do want to attend.  All GSLIS students automatically receive LISSA updates, and orientation is a swathe of sign-up sheets that put us on a million list-servs that remind us that there are learning opportunities for GSLIS students and librarians all the time. Weeding out the good events from the bad, rather the ones you’re interested in versus the ones you could not care less about, is a chore. It takes time to slug through the many, many emails you receive in your school inbox, your work inbox, and your personal inbox. Pretty soon, you’re ready to call the whole thing quits and give up on professional development altogether. I wouldn’t say that I have the whole thing figured out, but I do know that I need to participate in the dialogue that’s happening outside…

Database Management

Carolyn Lucas

It feels so odd to be back in the swing of the graduate program.  The transition from working full-time to the calendar of a graduate student…well, let’s just say there are pros and cons (pro: lots more time to refill prescriptions, go to the post office, make dinner, sleep… cons: well, a moth just flew out of my wallet.  Oh yeah…this is why I need a job).  I actually accidentally have been waking up at 5 am, which is odd because even when I was working I didn’t wake up at 5 am.  I guess it’s my brain’s way of protesting at the schedule switches.  But time presses forward, and what I really want to talk about are DATABASES.  Databases are awesome wonderful tools that almost everyone on the planet uses daily.  I was recently talking with a friend of mine, who complained that every job she has worked uses Excel spreadsheets, and why did everyone think they were so useful.  Honestly?  It’s because they’re primitive databases – data storage with lists of attributes and…