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

Libraries

Project Time!

Amie Grosshans

I can’t believe we’re already into the fourth week of classes!  I’ve gotten into the rhythm of classwork and due dates (thanks in part to my awesome new planner), and I’ve been balancing everything well.  I have two individual projects due in early October and I’ve already started my research for them.  The first is a presentation on a digital library for my Digital Libraries course, and the second is a paper on the influence of technology during a specific time period for my Social Informatics course.  They are both very interesting, but I wanted to focus on my digital libraries project in this blog. One of the first topics we discussed in class is how digital libraries are difficult to define.  Is a digital library literally a collection of digitized objects?  Does it need to be limited to books only?  Does it need to be organized by time, subject, object, or location?  Should it be easy to search through?  My classmates and I get to answer some of these questions by each evaluating a…


America’s Test Kitchen Library Site Visit

Katie Carlson

Araceli Hintermeister ’16MA/MS was gracious enough to give us a tour of the America’s Test Kitchen facilities. We were able to follow her through the pantry, onto the various sets, and of course, into the America’s Test Kitchen library. I made sure to fangirl over the beautiful and sleek set kitchens, but was equally as drawn to the photography studio. Araceli shared that the studio puts out thousands of photos a day. They have a plate and bowl collection that I am still having dreams about.  Once in the library, the books were predominantly cookbooks, with a few reference texts thrown in here or there. In a move I’ve never seen before, but greatly enjoyed, the books were organized by cuisine origin, with each area of the world being assigned a color combination, as indicated by tape placed on the book’s spine.   Araceli then brought in fellow information professionals who work at ATK, and we were able to grill them about their intersecting food and information interests. After our tour had concluded, a tall…


Here a Library

ShanTil Yell

This may not come as a surprise to you, dear readers, but ever since I started at SLIS I have gotten really, really into all things library-related. Who would have thought? I’ve been most enthralled by the idea that there are so many different types of libraries that exist. My own experience with libraries before coming into the program was primarily through public and academic institutions, so it’s exciting to see how much else is out there. I’ll give you a few examples… I was visiting a good friend of mine in North Carolina last week during spring break, and we passed a sign on the highway pointing to the Billy Graham Library. A quick search told me this particular library, a blend of religion and history thematically, was designed to look like a dairy barn mirroring Graham’s upbringing on a farm near Charlotte. We later drove through the University of North Carolina School of Arts campus in Winston-Salem where I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous Semans Library. Yes, this is an academic library,…


Leadership in Libraries

Megan Ondricek

Nature is teasing me right now with some shockingly mild and beautiful weather for February, making everyone think that spring is coming. As such, I’ve been thinking about seeds. Not the kind that are already trying to sprout in my backyard, but rather, the kind that germinate in one’s mind to invoke new ideas and ways of thinking. This semester has planted the seeds of some new ideas in my mind – ideas that I never thought I’d have. Our professor for Academic Libraries is currently the Dean of Library Services at her institution, which is academic-speak for “the boss.” As such, she brings the very interesting perspective of library management and library administration – one that I have not gotten much of in my other courses at Simmons. What makes this doubly interesting for me is that my dad, who has spent his entire professional career as an English professor, has also recently found himself in a position of leadership and administration. Both my Academic Libraries professor and my dad have been thrust into…


Ethics in the Library and the Archives

Megan Ondricek

I’ve been enjoying some very engaging readings and discussion in both of my classes the past few weeks, as our units on ethics happened to coincide. According to my professors, the ethics lesson is always everyone’s favorite, and I soon found out why. Believe it or not, the archives and library professions are veritable minefields of fascinating ethical quandaries! As we discussed these topics in class on Saturday, I realized that library ethics are essentially about protecting and enabling people’s right and freedom of choice. We believe that everyone has the right to choose what to read, what to think, what to do, and what to say. We might not agree with their choice, and other people in the library or the community might not agree with their choice, but it is not our place to restrict or pass judgement on that choice. It is important to remember that we cannot know what use a patron intends for a particular book, or what reaction they may have to any given piece of information. Of course,…


Put People First

Megan Ondricek

I was sitting in church this past Sunday listening to a woman tell a story about a piece of advice her older sister had given her which had become a guiding principle in her life. The piece of advice was, “put people first.” This axiom could apply to all areas of life and for me, I’ve been thinking about it in relation to library work. We’ve begun learning about the reference interview in LIS 407 and on Saturday we watched videos of a “bad” reference interaction and a “good” interaction and discussed the behavioral performance guidelines set out by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). RUSA’s guidelines read a lot like the basics of being a kind, considerate, caring person with a few library-specific points thrown in. Stuff like: make eye contact, acknowledge patrons with a friendly greeting, focus complete attention on the patron’s need, and communicate in a “receptive, cordial, and supportive manner.” One of my classmates said that most of the guidelines were common sense, and another said that they were basically…


On Being Ambassadors

Megan Ondricek

I think I can safely say now that this will be one tough semester, characterized with lots of work outside the home. My first semester I had to drive to class every Saturday but all of the work and the assignments could be completed at home, on my own time. Not so this semester. This week I will go interview a reference librarian. Next week I will be visiting an archival repository as a researcher. And any day now my archives internship will start up, requiring 60 hours of work over the course of the semester. As an avowed introvert and homebody, I do not relish the thought of all the running around I’ll be doing. But I also feel confident that once the stress of setting up appointments and making arrangements is over, I am going to love getting out into the field, talking to archivists and librarians, and getting the hands-on experience. The museum internship I had so many years ago right out of college was such a formative experience for me and…


Final Thoughts on LIS 453 (Collections Development and Management)

Megan Ondricek

I know it’s been a little while since I last posted and I’m so grateful the Simmons folks have been patient with my erratic summer blogging. Our final class for LIS 453, collection development, was on Saturday and I’ve been gathering all my thoughts about the class, the format, and the things I’ve learned. First of all, I’m really glad I took a summer class and I’m glad I only took one, as opposed to two like I originally planned. This summer has been so enjoyable, with just the perfect balance of relaxation and work, traveling and sitting at home, homework and pleasure reading. I almost wish it could last forever, but fall is just around the corner and with it, a busy new semester at SLIS West! This class was the first time I had ever taken something with an online component, and I thought the blended format worked really well, especially for summer. To me it seems like the “happy medium” between in-person and online classes. It gave me flexibility to vacation with…


On Catching Up, Belonging, and Library Stats

Megan Ondricek

As I wrote my last post it seemed as if summer was just beginning, and now I am watching the longest day of the year fade away over the endless, undulating lines of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I am in Virginia right now, and I can’t get over how awesome it is that I can be on vacation in the middle of my summer class at Simmons. I love this blended format.    The days are sliding by just as summer days should, and I find my time agreeably divided between homework, leisure reading, and hiking. I’ve made several visits to my old library, the one I’m using for my assignments, and it has been so fun to chat with the librarians again now that I’m in library school. Suddenly I find myself interested in and caring about topics that had never crossed my mind back when I was the library assistant: things such as acquisition policies, weeding strategy, and the future of information literacy education at the university. The director and I had a…


Less is more: Small scale librarianship

Megan Ondricek

One of the great things that I love about attending SLIS West is the lunchtime events. Many of my blog posts will probably contain thoughts and reflections from the latest SLIS West speaker or presentation, especially since I plan to attend ALL OF THEM. Part of my motivation for this is the free lunch provided. Listen: I think I’ve had to bring my own lunch only twice this entire semester. This is a great, great thing. The food that they get for these events is excellent. Also, I am like an eager little sponge that just wants to soak up all the library stuff, and this is an easy and convenient way to do it! So, last Saturday we heard from Andrea Bernard, Library Director at the Tyler Memorial Library in Charlemont, MA and one of 10 I Love My Librarian Award winners in 2016. I just have to quote this section from the story about Andrea’s award: “Andrea Bernard will go out of her way to serve her library patrons. Just ask Stephen Ferguson,…