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

GSLIS

Ladies and Gentlemen…the lovely and talented Nicole Giroux

I have come across many fascinating people during my time in the GSLIS program. The majority of these awesome people turn out to be from the dual degree program. So I can’t help but want to get inside their brains. Seriously, what’s in the water in the Children’s Literature department? Is there an awesome ratio they require upon acceptance? They are sharp, creative and fiercely brilliant. Seriously, don’t cross a dual degree student. And with that, I present Miss Nicole Giroux from the dual degree Children’s Literature program. Q: If you could be a character in any book who would you be? A: Oh, sure, start with an easy question! This is so torturous to have to choose. I’ve gotta go with Hermione Granger (do I even need to say what she’s from?!). I could certainly use her time turner and magical skills. Besides, she’s named after a Shakespearean character and is an intelligent and strong female. What’s not to love? Though, I must admit, I totally identify as a Ravenclaw instead of a Gryffindor. Q:…


McAllen Public Library Part 1: Building a Community

You may have heard of the McAllen Public Library. It has been mentioned in such places as the L.A. Times and Time. It is the library that won the 2012 ALA Interior Design Award, the library converted from an abandoned Wal-Mart. But while the media may concentrate on this unique layout, the McAllen Library is so much more than building, amazing as it. While this blog post will focus on some of the marvels of the building itself, it is only the first part. Come back next week to learn more about the amazing programs and people involved in this “big-box” library. For a gallery of photographs click here. McAllen, TX is the state’s 20th largest city in terms of population. It is home to 133,742 people but it serves many more. For instance, my family lives in Harlingen, TX – about 40 minutes southeast of McAllen, but we regularly drive to McAllen for its dining and shopping options (and the closest Barnes and Nobles!). McAllen, by nature of its location on the American/Mexico border down by the tip of the state,…


And so it is over

2.5 years at Simmons is officially over for me.  The last project has been submitted, the second practicum binder has been handed in, and I am ready to move on to the next chapter and start my professional life. Last Friday, I went in for a job interview for a maternity leave position, a long-term substitute.  I got the job (hooray for gainful employment!), but more than that, this week has shown me just how thorough my preparation for this role has been.  When the person I am substituting for didn’t come in Tuesday, I didn’t hesitate to jump right in.  Were there bumps? Sure, but that’s to be expected, especially when working with younger students who thrive on routine and consistency.  What counts to me is that I know now, after just three short days of observing and teaching, that my time at Simmons, my coursework in the SLT Program, and my two practica experiences have more than prepared me to step in, take charge, and hopefully take this position, or any future positions,…


Finishing My School Library Teacher Degree

If I am not mistaken, this blog entry represents my penultimate contribution to the Simmons GSLIS admissions blog.  For I, dear reader, am exactly one week away from finishing my library school career after 2.5 years.  I am excited about that, but it’s also bittersweet, but that is not the focus of this post.  This post is about how I finished my high school practicum yesterday.  Yes, 150 hours, a 22-page practicum log, six lesson plans with reflections, 12 artifacts of different types, and a lot of paper later, I am done.  It’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment seeing this giant binder come together with its pretty colored dividers, the cover page, the table of contents.  I’ve taught lessons galore on how to find non-fiction books and generate keywords to run effective searches in the OPAC and in the Gale databases.  I’ve learned to use iPads and researched a dozen apps that have really, really cool implications for students with special needs.  I created a rocking pathfinder for students researching Romney and Obama’s positions on…


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…


East Meets West Part II: The Details

After last week’s post, I got a comment from a prospective GSLIS student, Jodi. She writes, “As a prospective student (probably West), I would love to hear more about the differences between the two, especially from a student’s perspective. Anyone care to summarize that discussion at the Squealing Pig?” Jodi, and all who are curious (this is certainly a frequently asked question!), I will do my best to answer your question. We did talk a lot about some specific differences. I personally have not yet taken classes on both campuses, but I am taking a course in Boston at the main campus next semester. After talking with GSLIS Boston students, it really seems that the biggest difference between the campuses is class size, with the smaller classes at GSLIS West. My classes have never had more than 20 students, and only the core (required) courses were that large. Last Spring, I had a class with only 8 total students. According to the Boston students I spoke with, classes there tend to have at least 20…


East Meets West

I bet many of you have seen this map before. It’s funny! And sort of true. But some of us out in the dragon-filled regions see Boston not so much as the center of the universe, but more as a big scary jungle. That’s why last week, LISSA West sponsored a field trip to the Simmons main campus in Boston. Our goal was to give GSLIS West students the opportunity to visit the Boston campus and become familiar with things like parking and the layout of the library. Our hope was to eliminate fear of the big city and encourage GSLIS West students to take courses at Simmons Boston. There were four of us total and we had a busy afternoon! We started with a tour of Beatley Library led by the wonderful Linda Watkins, Liaison Librarian and Kate McGrath, Dean’s Fellow for GSLIS West. We got to see how things work in the stacks and behind the scenes. We had the opportunity to meet Justin Snow in the archives who let us into the…


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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…


Destination: Library School

Inspired by some of my fellow bloggers entries last week, I thought I would share with all of you how I came to library sciences.  One of the things I love about library school is that the students come from a whole variety of backgrounds.  Some have worked in libraries for years, others, like myself, had never done any kind of formal work in a library before entering. There’s no course pre-requisites, no track you have to have been on since age 8.  You just have to tell us why you want to be here, and chances are, that passion will be enough to get your foot in the door.  And once you’re in school, you can focus on racking up all that valuable internship and volunteer experience that will help you land a job afterwards. So let me start by being honest.  Before I applied to the school library program here at Simmons, I had no idea that such a thing existed. Yes, you read that right: I had no idea my future profession was…


Don’t Fear the Syllabus

One of my biggest issues at the beginning of the semester is that I get myself into a tizzy when the professor goes over the syllabus. I get all worked up about the assignments, even the ones that are due sometime in November. “How am I ever going to have that paper done before Thanksgiving?!” should not be a concern in early September. Thankfully, after the first class I never again need to look at the syllabus as a whole. Instead, it becomes a week-by-week guideline, which just seems so much more manageable. Once the semester gets going, everything more or less falls into place. Readings get read, papers get written, and assignments get done. Sometimes it’s all a blur, and sometimes I decidedly labor over things that are miniscule in the scheme of things. For example, when posting to online class discussion forums I have been known to incorporate parallel structure, consult a thesaurus, and vacillate between using a semicolon or a dash. (Note: the posts are almost never graded on content and never…