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

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Corporate Archive

I work in a corporate archive.  When I took LIS438 (Introduction to Archival Methods and Services) last spring, one of the questions someone asked me was what the main difference is between a corporate archive and a historical archive, besides the obvious fact that the corporate archive only hosts documents pertaining to the institution I work for.  The one I can think of, off the top of my head, is that our legal department gets to determine how documents should come to the archive, and what shape they should be in when they get there.  One of the first things I learned while I was doing my first archival internship at the Worcester Historical Museum was just how much I should appreciate the lovely uniformity of the records that I got every day in the corporate archive – everything organized and arranged just so before they even got to me.   Of course, at the historical archive there was always the excitement of opening a box and having only the vaguest of ideas what might be…


Let’s Talk About Being Poor

Let’s face it: deciding to pursue my graduate degree in Library and Information Science from a private college isn’t the most fiscally responsible decision I’ve ever made.  When I informed my husband – who was at that time starting his own PhD program and netting around 30k/year for around 90 hours of work a week – that I wanted to get my LIS degree, and that we would ultimately be in the hole more or less 50k, it was…not received with great enthusiasm.  Coming from Wisconsin, finances are viewed fairly differently there.  30k is more than enough money for a couple to live fairly comfortably; we rented a GORGEOUS lofted one-bedroom, two bathroom, apartment for $900/month.  Then, stupid Carolyn…we moved into a tiny, 500 square-foot 1-bedroom for $2100/month, plus utilities and parking.  That ranks among the all-time stupidest decisions I have ever made. Ultimately, though, we decided to move into a much more reasonably priced apartment – a 1 bedroom + den for $1650.  Affordable!  That’s a word I haven’t heard in recent memory.  Let’s…


Not Your Typical Reference Librarian – Or How I Found My Career

2014 just started – and I already feel like we’re in the middle of the year!  This time of the year is always so busy, because you’re turning over a new leaf, trying to develop all of these habits – and also attempting to remember to re-vaccinate the dog, to take the car in to be inspected, and so much more.  But the biggest thing that I am excited about for 2014 is that I am now fully employed – in an amazing position that I am so excited about.  I have spoken in this blog before about the traditional library position, and how I just don’t seem to fit that mold.  In several of the classes there is talk about other types of libraries that one could make a career out of, including law libraries and medical libraries.  For me, the records management class consisted primarily of talking about small local-government records management – but all of these subsets really only scratch the surface of the types of jobs that exist.  For me, I…


The Desired End

The long Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful reprieve from classes, although Sunday was a quick snap back to reality when I had to finish a ten page research paper, create a PowerPoint overview of said paper, do an audio voiceover of said PowerPoint and post it to the course webpage, and work on a group project for my other class. Ok, so that description makes it sound a lot worse than it was, and it actually took less time than I expected to get everything done. (Then again, I am an eternal pessimist and figured it would take at least eight hours.) But all told, I am now much closer to graduating, both temporally (nine days!) and academically (two assignments), than I was at this time last week. Wahoo! I think I’ve mentioned this before, but GSLIS is meant to be a means to an end, and I feel that I have absolutely reached my desired end. Courses like Corporate Libraries and Business Information Sources and Services helped point me toward that end. Courses like…


It’s Not You, GSLIS, It’s Me

I just checked the syllabus for each of my classes to confirm what I have been suspecting but had not bothered to verify. For nearly two years I’ve known this day would come, and now that it is almost upon me I’m finally aware of its exact date. On December 11, 2013, GSLIS and I will be officially over. Done. Through. Broken up. In theory, December 11 will be just another Wednesday at work followed by a night class. In reality, it will be my last day spent living with the guilt of cheating on GSLIS with my new (very sexy) job. As I wrote last week, I am ready to separate from GSLIS, but it turns out that our divorce cannot be finalized until December 11. I have no idea how I’ll feel when I walk out of class that day, or after the holidays when I find myself spending nights and weekends relaxing without GSLIS constantly pining for my attention. GSLIS is soooo needy, and I’ve had enough. Will I miss GSLIS? I…


When Can I Start Making Money? A Look at the 2013 Salary Survey

Recently in one of my classes, we did an exercise that was probably the most memorable of all my classes’ exercises: we went through the annual salary survey for librarians. In the October 15th edition of the “Library Journal,” the salary survey highlights many different statistics from all areas of the field of libraries.  It includes important information about the “status of 2012 graduates,” where the annual salary for women in the northeast in this profession is $44,083.  It also breaks down average salaries by school – Simmons is $43,285; starting salaries, salaries by job type, and salaries by gender and race.   This information was incredibly relevant and interesting to me as an upcoming graduate (May 2014).  Despite the fact that most people have mentioned that “you didn’t get into this career to make money,” a small part of me is screaming, “but I DID!  I would love to make money!  I have student loans to pay!” and then I look around at my classmates and wonder to myself, “am I the only person who…


Guess what? It worked!

I am writing to share some good news. As the end of my degree program nears, I have started looking at jobs that require the MLIS.  I have been fortunate to have worked in a public library and volunteered in a prison library while going to school, giving me lots of valuable paraprofessional experience.  Having spent all this time and money, however, I felt it was time to look at moving on to an entry-level professional position. If you spend any time on the blogs or on LinkedIn, you don’t believe it is possible to take that degree and get a job, but guess what?  The whole “go to school, get a professional degree and join the profession” plan works! As one of my last classes here at GSLIS, I am taking Literature for the Humanities.  In this advanced reference class, my professor has been nothing but encouraging, so after one of his pep talks, I started looking at the advertisements for reference librarians.  Most want the degree in hand, but I am so close,…


INALJ

A GSLIS graduate and former GSLIS Admissions blogger, James Fox, emailed me last week asking if I had used INALJ.com in my job search. Looking at the URL, at first I thought the site would display in another language, then assumed it contained a typo, and finally decided that it was one of those shortened URLs that you sometimes see in Tweets. Having come to that conclusion, I pasted it into my browser and hoped for the best. As it turns out, INALJ is an acronym for “I Need A Library Job,” and the site is pretty cool. It compiles job postings from across the United States and Canada (and even some internationally!), success stories of folks who have found library jobs, and links to general library-related blogs and articles. It serves as a virtual community for both employed and unemployed librarians – everybody wins! It is somewhat surprising that at some (very low) point in my job search I did not, in the midst of a frustrated stream of consciousness moment, type “i need…


Confessions of a New Employee

I started my new job last week, and have already encountered a handful of situations where I thought “I learned about this in one of my classes.” It has been encouraging to have that baseline knowledge, yet strange to be learning how to apply it in real life with real sources and real implications. I haven’t done anything of consequence yet – just some snooping around in a few databases and reading some internal instructional documents – but I feel like I’ve already learned a lot. GSLIS has given me a general knowledge foundation, and now my job will teach me the specifics. Starting a new job is always a challenge, whether it be adjusting to a new schedule, sitting through HR information sessions, interacting with new coworkers, learning new systems, having questions but not knowing who to ask, feeling anxious about all there is to learn, or figuring out appropriate arrival and departure times (I’m still a bit flummoxed by that one). Who knows how long it will be until I hit my stride…


Mastering the Master Plan

It happened. I got a job. My master plan – starting my job search in September, taking one class online and one blended night class for maximum schedule flexibility, and continually using this forum to express my job-related anxieties in hopes that someone would sense my urgency and offer me a position – came together last Tuesday when I was offered a job offer doing prospect research at Boston University. I will not be in a traditional library setting, but this is the type of research-oriented, special library/information center position that I have been interested in since I took the Corporate Libraries course in May 2012. I start on the 28th, so I will have about six weeks of overlap until my classes end in mid-December, but the scheduling could not have turned out much better. I gave two weeks notice at my internship and part-time job, which means that this and last week involve finishing up with those while simultaneously reveling in the glory of having mastered my master plan. Thus far, my glorious…