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

Jobs

Entry-level Expectancies

I spent some time with my brother on Sunday afternoon, and we were talking about school, jobs, life, and all that fun stuff. My brother just turned 22 and will graduate college in May. He must be living the life, right? One and a half more semesters of partying, hanging out with friends, partying, sleeping in, and partying. I can assure you that he has the partying part covered, but what is creeping closer and closer to the forefront of his mind is getting a job. Ugh…total buzz kill. The good news is that my brother is way ahead of where I was at this point during my senior year of college. He acknowledged that he isn’t sure what he wants to do, and said he’s having a hard time finding “entry-level” positions. (My response: Do those even exist anymore?) Compare that to when I was 22 and about to graduate college: I was positive that I wanted to go into publishing, and getting a job would be no problem. I could not have been…


Closed Until Further Notice

The government shutdown this week has me reflecting on my work with the National Park Service and what it means to be a public servant. With this partial shutdown has come a great deal of confusion and frustration from the general population and government employees alike. The National Park Service seeks to provide access and interpretation to our nation’s most treasured and unique places, something I think we can agree appeals to members of all political factions. The shutdown came mere days after “Forest Festival Weekend” at my national park, the biggest event in our calendar. This year the event was an absolute success, with perfect weather and visitors from all over the country. It was truly a weekend when I felt proud to be a federal employee and represent my country as I shared my amazing park with so many visitors. On Monday my boss sent an email to our staff expressing how he thought the weekend went: “I wanted to pause for a moment to recognize and thank all of you for providing…


Bookstock 2013 and My New Job

Last weekend marked the fifth annual literary festival in Woodstock, Vermont, whimsically named Bookstock. This event brings together many community groups and businesses including the public library, both of the independent book stores in town, the National Park Service, and private vendors. I’ve been able to participate in this weekend long celebration of the written word through my job with the National Park Service and it is absolutely a highlight of the summer. The event appeals to tourists and locals alike and really offers something for everyone. In addition to a tent of exhibitors there is also a huge used book sale; I was able to get 6 books for $10! Quite a steal! I am so happy to see this event thriving and expanding every year because community events like Bookstock are why I want to work for a small public library. (Interested in learning more? Check out: http://www.bookstockvt.org/) Starting in September I will have a new job that I hope will allow me access to more behind scenes details of similar community events….


Petition to Proceed into the Library World

Most people know what it’s like to have an email inbox that is constantly full of crap. Listservs, gimmicks, promotions, mass emails that may or may not pertain to you but you should probably read anyway just in case…you know. I do my best to keep my inbox as crap-free as possible, which necessitates a fair amount of deleting things based solely on their subject line. Who knows how many emails I delete that I shouldn’t, but I do my best to diligently discard blatant crap emails while still opening anything that is, or might be, relevant. Last week, my usual subject line deletion system was jarred by an email from the GSLIS Student Services Center with the subject: PETITION TO GRADUATE form – 2013-2014. This petition clearly pertains to me as I enter my final semester; thus, the email was granted the esteemed privilege of being opened and read. I expected the petition form to be long-winded and daunting, asking me to list every GSLIS credit that I took with which professor on which…


The Royal Job Watch

A few weeks ago, my friend sent me this link and suggested that I apply. Royal Librarian – the job title gives me goose bumps. Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, meet Sarah Barton, librarian of Cambridge. This is definitely my best shot at becoming royalty, yet I would have absolutely no shot. By the Queen’s standards, I am hardly an “exceptional scholar and bibliophile,” and my only knowledge of British history is that Kate and William were married on April 29, 2011. Plus, my strong affinity for Kate would probably not look great on my résumé. “Other interests: Kate Middleton.” Awkward… Ok, so this job might be a bit out of my league. If nothing else, however, it goes to show that some library jobs are just plain awesome. A library degree plus a strong knowledge of and interest in a specific topic or discipline seems like a one-way ticket to a killer career. Unfortunately, there can only be one Royal Librarian, and I assume that most other “just plain awesome” library jobs are equally…


Learning Outside the Classroom

This summer has been hot, rainy, and is going by fast.  And did I mention busy?  Yeah, it’s been busy.  This summer, as I’ve mentioned in a few previous blog posts, I’m doing a records management internship for Biogen Idec, a biopharmaceutical company located in Kendall Square in Cambridge.  And I can already say, just because I’m not taking official classes this summer does not mean the learning has stopped… I find myself every now and again marveling at how I ended up here.  When I initially applied to library school, I never thought I would have the opportunity to work in a place like Biogen.  It’s one of the aspects that we don’t cover too much on the archives track -archives includes records management, and records management isn’t just for city planning or traditional libraries.  Corporations (especially since the Enron debacle) have been tightening the leash on records management.  And in this case, more regulations just so happens to equal more jobs.  Two of my lovely new co-workers are actually Simmons alumni, which not…


Library Lesson Learned IV

As much as I am looking forward to having the perfect library job, I am not quite so naïve to think that such a thing will fall into my lap, especially on my first attempt. In fact, I would argue that no job is perfect – there is always something that renders even one’s ideal job just short of utopian. For my current part-time public library job, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes is that something. Now, before the ESL police come knocking down my door, let me clarify a few things: 1) I fully understand that ESL is a crucial program for an urban library population, 2) I have seen firsthand how much the ESL students appreciate the classes, 3) I think it is fantastic that many ESL programs (including the one at my library) are taught by volunteers, and 4) As a strong candidate for an Introvert of the Year award, talking/teaching for two consecutive hours is not really my thing. It’s not you, ESL; it’s me. I dread ESL like…


Just a Liberian

I talk about the school library I work for far too much. I think this is mostly because I love my job and its challenges. My students’ unreturned laptops haunt my dreams and their evaluations of my teaching darken my doorstep, though I have no doorstep to speak of in a 4th floor apartment. When asked what they would most like to change about their information literacy class, my 9th graders deemed the professor, me, to be the element that needed changing the most. “You need to just chill. You have to remember you’re not a real teacher, you’re just a liberian.” For further clarification, I am not a citizen of Liberia. Nope, that was just a real punk of a student trying to set my teeth on edge. Just a librarian?! Not even a librarian, a LIBERIAN! It is at this moment that I am choosing to see the up-side of the upcoming summer vacation. My students’ resentment of bibliographic instruction and citation styles is reaching maximum capacity. I am losing my patience. Teachers…


Does Your Job Feed Your Soul?

It is often the topic of many GSLIS classes whether we know it or not, this question of feeding the soul. However, it is frequently discussed because vacancies do not often arise in libraries. Why is that? Why don’t librarians retire? They must have dreams of seeing those places from the books on their shelves. They must long for the hot sticky air outside the airconditioned hum of the library…well, maybe not. STILL, it’s brought up time and again. Any professor worth their salt will discuss life outside of grad school and the job market. They will discuss this, and as a result, come to the conclusion that librarians are generally happy in their jobs, hence the lack of job opportunities. A healthy library will not yield a great many vacancies. And when I say a healthy library, I mean a library that is well-managed and where people feel that their work is valued.  I only bring this up because quite a few job listings have popped up on the GSLIS_info list-serv. And if you’re…


Summer Slowdown

In my last post (which seems like ages ago), I posited that it would take a week or two for me to adjust to the semester being over. In retrospect, I think my estimate was off by, well, about a week or two. I adapted to my newfound classlessness in no time by picking up a few extra hours at the library and altering my internship schedule so I have Fridays off. In short, the real adjustment has been acclimating to three-day weekends, which, as you might expect, has not been all that much of a challenge. The summer of 2013 won’t be quite as liberating as that of 2012 when I wasn’t working or taking classes, but it is not in my best professional or monetary interest to completely check out of the library world for another summer. (And frankly, three-day weekends are pretty liberating.) Plus, an unforeseen perk of my summer schedule is that I have more time to put toward my local Friends of the Library group. I spent the last two…