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


Library Promotional Considerations

Sarah Barton

New technologies are changing how people use libraries, and libraries must evolve their services and outreach accordingly. Last Wednesday I went to the volunteer kick-off event for the Friends of the Somerville Public Library. The Friends, like many similar organizations representing public libraries across the country, are always looking for new ways to promote their library. So, over the past few days I came up with some fun means of bribery to generate awareness of the library. [Disclaimer: some of these ideas are more feasible than others.] Readers’ Race Library 5k – A road race is not a novel idea (pun intended), but serves as an effective promotional technique. The race starts and ends at the library, and all proceeds benefit the Friends organization. Free books would be available at the finish line, and local businesses could set up booths in the post-race hangout area. Get a Free Library Card Day – Ok, so every day is Get a Free Library Card Day, but maybe emphasizing the FREE aspect might help catch people’s attention. “Random…

Time Management?

Julie Steenson

In thinking of what to write this week, all I could say is “I am swamped.”  I know we eat and sleep more than med students, but maybe not this week! This is a week where some of the time management skills I have preached to my daughter could come in handy. Please forgive the brief entry and enjoy this funny video of why Library School Hurts So Good!  I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it, and hopefully, it will ease some of your stress, too. I really love Library School! Library School: Hurts So Good by: fiver615

An Archives Kid behind the Circ Desk?: Gaining Meaningful Experience at the Social Law Library

Today marks six months that I’ve been a Patron Services Assistant at the Social Law Library.  I have to say, I’m still surprised at the fact that my venture to Boston led me behind the circulation desk of a law library; as an archives concentrator with no prior interest in law or law librarianship, it seems like quite the anomaly!  As unexpected as it is, I’m quite grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had at Social Law. When I was making plans to move to Boston and attend Simmons, I was hesitant at the prospect of working and going to school at the same time.  Many of the graduate school workshops I attended as an undergrad emphasized that, for a graduate student, school is your job, and warned that working during grad school would be too overwhelming.  I’m glad I realized that this advice was usually geared toward students pursuing academic degrees rather than professional ones.  In the library science field, gaining experience in and outside of the classroom is incredibly important.  Not…

The Grand Canyon of Libraries

Sarah Barton

Last week was Spring Break, and instead of crashing crazy parties in Cancun I traveled through northern Arizona and southern Utah. Having never been anywhere in the Southwest, I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, and the red rocks of Sedona. Now that I am at GSLIS, my travels prompt me to think about the libraries that support the places I visit. This may sound silly, but I really do love when I see a library in an unfamiliar town. Or, even if I don’t see the library, it is interesting to check out its website afterward. After spending two days in Springdale, Utah (population 457; a small, touristy town right outside of Zion National Park), I was not surprised to find that its library staff consists of three people and that without a library card, internet access costs $1 for 60 minutes. After two days in Sedona, Arizona (population 10,031; an artsy, touristy, and outdoorsy city), I was not surprised to…

My Vow to Browse

Sarah Barton

When I visit a library with the sole intent of choosing my next book, I tend to become borderline robotic. In fact, last week I embarked on Mission: Obtain this month’s Book Club selection. I looked up the call number online, went to the library, grabbed the book, and left. I was in the library for no more than two minutes. If a million dollars was sitting on the shelf below my book, Justin Bieber was manning the reference desk, or the periodicals were on fire, I didn’t notice. I was on a mission. Must.Get.Book. (Spoken in robot voice). That high-speed library mission got me thinking about the last time I entered a library without a specific book in mind. I decided it was probably sometime in fifth grade. These days I usually know, or at least have an idea of, what I want, and look at nothing else. Must.Get.Book. In a library full of infinite browsing possibilities, my robot-like obstinacy keeps me focused exclusively on what (I think) I want, which can be both…

The Joys of Public Libraries

Maya Bery

For someone who grew up going to the public library on a near weekly basis and then spent two years overseas in a library wilderness, moving to Boston has been nothing short of a heavenly experience. As a Boston resident, I am entitled to borrow books from any of the branches within the Boston Public Library system (extensive in its own right), and I am allowed reciprocal privileges through the Minuteman network as well.  What this means is that I basically have any library between here and New Hampshire at my disposal, through the wonders of the OPAC and interlibrary loan. In addition to the countless hours of personal pleasure the BPL and Minuteman libraries have afforded me, they have also played a central role in my GSLIS academic career. 

Library of the Future

Julie Steenson

Just as we all come from different backgrounds, we all come from different libraries!  I have had the opportunity to experience very modern libraries and simpler, old-fashioned ones.  Just two years ago, I worked in a rural school district that still had a card catalog and stamped the due date on the library book cards, a nostalgic throwback to my childhood! At the other extreme, I recently came across a YouTube video of the Monroe County Public Library, in Bloomington, Indiana, which was awarded the Trailblazer through Technology Award in 2011. In its goal to provide “abundant access” and technological literacy to the community, this library is a model for all of us!

The Processing Plan

Danielle Geller

Open access and fair use and two issues concerning archives and archival materials is an issue that has recurred in my work and research time and again.  Ideally, I believe that information should be freely available for students, researchers, and the average citizen to access and use, but the reality is often much different.  Barriers—whether in terms of economics, time, or organization—rear their ugly heads from all angles. This week, I’ve been working on processing plans for two separate collections (one for a class and one for an internship), and “access” has been at the back of my mind for each project.  Archivists are the gatekeepers, not just in the sense that we are safeguarding materials, but that we are also responsible for guiding people to materials relevant to their need.  In laying out the foundations for a finding aid, our ultimate search tool, how do I ensure that I am doing my job effectively?

Sarah Barton

Last summer I visited the Library of Congress, and the “Jefferson’s Library” exhibit blew me away. A pane of glass separated me from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection – the collection that spurred the advent of the Library of Congress. My inner librarian sang out (albeit quietly) with ecstasy. As presidents go, I have always been partial to Abe Lincoln. He single-handedly made the top hat iconic. But upon seeing Jefferson’s library, I could feel my allegiance shifting. I cursed myself for visiting Honest Abe earlier that morning, and doubly cursed the Tidal Basin for making the Jefferson Memorial inconveniently remote for pedestrians. To atone for my Jefferson snub, I read a book called Jefferson’s Books while intermittently stroking the face of a nickel. Among other things, I learned that Jefferson was a connoisseur of books and information to the extent that he could never, ever have enough. In an 1815 transaction that induced much disdain from Jefferson’s political opponents, the U.S. Government purchased his library of 6,700 books for $23,950.1 Cyrus King lamented that Jefferson’s…

The wonders of LISSA

Maya Bery

One of the many nuggets of useful information I received at new student orientation in July 2010 was the way the LISSA officers kept reminding us of the fact that each GSLIS student receives an allotted amount of money for professional development each year.   As long as you fall within the yearly limit, LISSA will reimburse 75% of the cost of any professional development-related activity.  What really stood out to me however, was the fact that the LISSA officers stressed how few people took advantage of this opportunity each year.  To which I say, GSLIS community, what gives?! The LISSA reimbursement is the ideal tool for the broke graduate student hungry for professional development (which unfortunately costs money).  While I don’t want to comment on the specific rules for reimbursement, I do want to illustrate how the reimbursement has enriched me on a personal level. Last year, as an eager new GSLIS student, I duly signed up for ALA membership, and joined the two associations most relevant to my chosen path: AASL (the American Association…