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

Jobs

The Interview

If you have followed my journey from mom to batgirl, you already know that I have committed myself to an unusual career path – correctional librarianship.  A year ago, I did not see this coming.  After my first semester, the possibilities for my library degree seemed endless and in fact, I was a bit worried that I would never narrow down my interests.  Other than motherhood (which was my first calling), I did not expect to experience a vocation, a calling, an overwhelming need to pursue a very specific career.  Then I set foot in a prison library, and my life changed. The problem with a desire to be a prison librarian is that there aren’t that many prisons or opportunities for pre-job experience. The good news about wanting to be a prison librarian is that the skills I acquire in a public library setting are very applicable. On top of that, I am a champion of the benefits all around to volunteering, and my desire to learn everything I could about prison libraries turned…


How to Have a Job after Graduation

As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the things that bugged me the most about my undergraduate experience was the lack of support when they pushed you forth into the world.  When people inevitably ask me what I like the most about Simmons, my answer is always the same: while I love many of the classes and professors, and the students are some of the sweetest and brightest I have ever met, I feel that the support Simmons offers to its students in terms of employment is one of the best things a school can do.  Simmons is great in that you enter this program knowing that you would like to be employed at the end of it – and you get employment support from the moment you enter orientation.  In the Archives Concentration you are automatically enrolled in two internships – one 60-hour, and one 130-hour – that provide you with experience in an actual archive.  These internships often provide invaluable networking experience, and more often than not the repositories ask the…


A View from the Inside – or How I Worked so Hard to Get into Prison

Back in April of last year, I was contemplating all the places where one might find librarians, and all the places we, as librarians, could choose to work.  (Librarian or Batgirl?)  Finding the right library niche is a personal journey.  We can read about different kinds of opportunities, talk to our peers and professors, but I am finding that volunteering is the best path to trying on a new library for size. I work in a public library – a job I got by volunteering there first – and I am learning a lot about small town libraries and how they function in their communities. Recently, I started volunteering in a men’s prison library after a nine month journey to get there.  You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to get into prison…without committing a crime. Early last spring, about the time of the Batgirl blog mentioned above, I started to read everything I could find on prison libraries.  I read articles, books, and blogs.  I watched prison videos. I read articles about recidivism…


Welcome Back!

Happy New Year and welcome back, GSLIS! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday and a relaxing break. I am still in denial that the spring semester is here. Today reality sunk in and I reluctantly opened some emails from professors and GSLIS staff. I know that once I get into the swing of things, it won’t seem so scary…but right now, I am SO not ready! I have some big things to look forward to this semester. First of all, tomorrow I am heading out to Boston with two classmates for our first course on the main campus. This is so exciting for me because I love the city and can’t wait to experience the main campus as a student and not just a visitor. Even more exciting is that I start my new job on Monday the 28th! That’s right, folks, I got the job! I am officially the library assistant for the Health Sciences Library at St.Francis Hospital, and I couldn’t be happier. This is my first official library job and…


Restructuring Public Libraries

I like my blogs to be fun but informative, which usually means avoiding politics. Unfortunately, there is a political situation taking place across the nation that just might influence your decision to go to library school. I live in rural NH, and more often than not, rural libraries are staffed only by paraprofessionals.  Librarians with Master’s degree are not the norm, but that is changing, for good and bad. Why a change is good? In the year I have been at GSLIS, I have learned there is a lot more to being a librarian than one might think when one checks out a book.  Along with a ton of technology skills, there are many things that just make good practice and good library management.  In my experience, paraprofessionals are smart people who use a lot of common sense, but their decisions may or may not be informed by library theory or tried and true methods. Why a change is bad? Recently, in St. Johnsbury, VT, the board of trustees fired the entire Athenaeum library staff…


Library Lesson Learned II

On my way home from the train a few days ago, I ran into a woman who frequents the library where I work. The library stays open until 9 pm two nights per week, and she is almost always there at least one of those nights watching videos and shows on her laptop. I say hi to her and ask how she’s doing, but we never had a conversation and I didn’t know her name. One night, for no apparent reason, she gave me a bag of tasty Szechuan peanuts. Anyway, when I saw her walking home from the train that day, we both recognized each other immediately and had a nice conversation. By virtue of seeing each other at the library, this woman and I had tacitly become friends. That very same evening at work, another frequent patron came up to me while I was shelving books to say that he hadn’t seen me in a while and asked how I was doing. I said that I only work a few nights each week, but yes,…


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,…


The Opposite of Rejection…I hope.

My last post about being rejected for a job I really wanted was sort of sad. Sorry about that. But really, I was depressed about that job. It sounded so cool. But that very day I was called about another job that I had completely forgot I applied for and was asked to come in for an interview. Even though I wasn’t as excited about it, I said that yes, of course I would interview. The job is for a library assistant position at a medical library in Hartford,CT.I have worked in the medical field for three years and people constantly ask me if I want to be a medical librarian and I always say no. I don’t really enjoy my current job all that much and I’ve been dying to get OUT of the field…until I had this interview. When I walked into the hospital I was immediately impressed. The facility is beautiful. There are restaurants and lounge areas and everyone was so friendly! I met with someone from Human Resources who explained their…


Transferability

It often amazes me just how transferable the skills I have gained as a school library teacher in training are to the wider world. It brings a measure of comfort to know that should (heaven forbid) I one day find myself struggling to find a position that I will not have a useless degree.  On the contrary, I will have a very relevant degree (take that, Forbes magazine!). For a start, during my two practicum experiences, I have gained a lot of experience creating things.  What sorts of things? Brochures. Posters. Website design. Video guides. Written guides. Pathfinders. Sure, these are all topically library-related, but the skills I’ve learned and honed include design, layout, how to use different software and presentation tools.  Between my practica and the LIS460 class, I’ve also gained experience using WikiSpaces, Tumblr, Prezi, Screenr, Piktochart, Microsoft Publisher, Audacity, Twitter, WordPress, and more.  I’ve learned how to create materials that are clear and well-written, which some might say is a dying art. And let’s not forget the awesome powers of Google-fu we…


Getting Hired

Many students writing and reading this blog are Millennials, actively pursuing a first-time career. Yes, you were born digital and your perspective brings one thing to the field of library science, whereas the life experiences and digital growth of mid-lifers bring something different. With all the hoopla over the value of the master’s degree, we are all, regardless of age, concerned about the same thing:  Will we get a job? In this economy, every profession seems to share this concern, but a visit to the ALA group of LinkedIn tells us that library graduates across the nation share the same worries about getting a job, getting the experience required for a job, keeping current…and whether gray hair is a detriment or a plus. Graying hair means: Life has been your university.  You are mature.  You have experience triumphing over adversity and meeting challenges. Graying hair does NOT mean: Deadwood, technologically illiterate, or a lack of enthusiasm or innovation. These less desirable attributes belong to tired personalities that have nothing to do with age.  I have…