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

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What’s Online?

I am having a great new experience this semester, by taking classes on both campuses.  As you have all heard me whine just a bit about my lengthy commutes, it is no surprise that a recently minted GSLIS student on the Boston campus asked me, “It’s so far for you…have you tried out the online classes?”  The answer is yes, I have now tried online, face-to-face, and blended, and they all have their advantages, but face-to-face is increasingly becoming my favorite. What you get online: Interaction and learning opportunities with faculty who are otherwise too far for you…this could just mean a different campus, but it could also mean a different state or university altogether. Access to classes not offered by Simmons but accepted as part of our Simmons GSLIS degree. Interaction with students you might not otherwise meet. The freedom or burden of managing your own time and schedule – I do think this is both a pro and a con. No commute. What you don’t get online: Morning text messages from your peers…


Practicum Experiences

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend a Boston Arts Academy pep rally for the whole school at Fenway Park.  Now, I’ve been to Fenway before, but always surrounded by legions of fans.  Today, however, the park lay entirely empty, save for some groundspeople and a few (slightly confused) tourists, and it was pretty cool.  The reason I got to do this was because I am doing my high school practicum at Boston Arts/Fenway High School, and as a library intern, the librarian wanted me to be introduced to the student body as part of her staff, but it really stood out to me as a hallmark of the experiences we have as practicum students.  Though we are only at our schools for a few short months, and though the time flies by really quickly, the schools and the librarians take great effort to welcome us and make us feel included.  To my mind, this makes the experience that much richer, because it gives you a sense of every aspect of the librarian’s role…


Filling the Big Shoes

Last week, I did some marketing of my town library at the local elementary school Back-to-School night. I was lunching with coworkers a few days later, chatting about the event, and someone remarked, “No one likes the new principal.” Someone else replied, “No one ever likes anyone new, and he has very big shoes to fill.  Mr. Brown was so popular and was here for twenty years!” This struck home when another staff member turned to the guest of honor of our luncheon, our departing daytime librarian who was going off to bigger and better things, and said, “Now, remember, if you don’t like it there, you can always come back!”  This was met with enthusiasm by our little crowd. Ouch. Since I was the one filling the soon-to-be vacant position and moving from nights to this better day job, with more responsibilities, I felt a little bit like my entire library team had just announced my second-best status and expendability.  Thanks, guys, that makes me feel great. Lest you all think I am a…


Library Lesson Learned

The other day at work I was shelving books when a woman asked if I work there. Eager to be helpful and put my developing library wisdom to use, I said yes. She said that her daughter, who was there with her, had just finished The Trumpet of the Swan and was looking for other books by E.B. White. I asked if she had read Stuart Little or Charlotte’s Web, and she said yes. I think my next utterance was something along the lines of “ok…hmm.” The girl then proceeded to give an effusive summary of The Trumpet of the Swan, hoping that I could come up with another book that she might like. I don’t know much about children’s literature, and suggested that she ask the children’s librarian. Needless to say, my first official readers’ advisory opportunity was a total bust. In my reference class last semester we talked about readers’ advisory resources, so I know they are out there. But in that moment, with the girl looking longingly at me as I struggled…


My Campaign to Save the Dust Bunnies

I approached this summer, off from classes, but busy with work and family, as a chance to catch up on many things. I had the best intentions to read the many publications, both professional and recreational, piling up in the living room.  I had planned to maintain my gardens beautifully, and my house would be clean and organized before Labor Day. Well, you know what they say about good intentions… I did get through about half of the publications awaiting my attention. My gardens were beautifully maintained until about mid-July, and then the lack of rain dried up my enthusiasm. I had big plans for the house maintenance issues…I always have big ideas and never enough time or money to implement them. My cookbook shelf is clean and organized…does that count? I did manage a long list of excuses for myself. I didn’t get through all the professional development I had planned because I did explore a different field of librarianship (prison libraries) on my own time.  I also dedicated quite a bit of my…


The Tale of a Reformed Networker

As I mentioned in my last post, this semester brings me the joys of a part-time job and an internship. After months of what amounted to futile job searching, I eventually managed to land not one, but two library-related opportunities. Based on this recent experience, I have come to terms with the fact that networking can go a long way. For years I assumed that my unique (read: incongruous) résumé and undeniable charm (read: propensity for awkwardness) would force the job market to bow down to me in reverence. Incorrect. Rather, I have found that just about every job I have ever held was because of an acquaintance who already had a foot in the door. So finally, after months of wondering why I wasn’t hearing back from library job postings to which I had responded, I set my pride aside and resorted to some good old fashioned networking. In the midst of volunteering at the Somerville Public Library, I applied for a few part-time vacancies and was offered one which starts next week. I…


Flying Solo!

Yes, I am a GSLIS student, but first, I am a Mom, and so the purpose of this post is to give you a parent’s perspective as you head off to grad school. My daughter is heading to the University of Rochester for graduate school, and at the time this is posted, my husband should be safely seated behind the wheel of the Penske truck, and my daughter’s room at home will be empty, and some of my furniture will be missing.  I will have an empty nest, and I am not sure how I feel about that. If you are 25, you probably don’t really care about how I feel about it, and that is okay, except your mom probably feels this way, too, as you make your big decisions to travel cross-country or around the corner to pursue your librarianship dreams. What my daughter and I learned this summer is that we are both stressed about the big changes, both excited about the big changes, and both eager for them to happen… But…


For Me, a Library Job is Better than the Mall

The other day I set foot in a good old-fashioned mall for the first time in several years. It was almost lunchtime on yet another 90-degree day, and the mall was relatively empty save for a handful of folks meandering in and out of the stores. I basked in the air conditioning while strolling past old teenage haunts like American Eagle, Finish Line, and Abercrombie & Fitch (ugh). While standing in the Verizon store waiting for a phone repair, a sign near one of the mall entrances caught my eye: “We are committed to making our malls a greater part of each community they serve.” The first thing my librarian-in-training brain did was to replace the word “malls” with “libraries.” Which then made me think, how similar is a mall to a library? Well, both are free for people to enter and look around, both are spots for congregating or hanging out, both revolve around customer service, and both are mainstays of their communities. People frequent libraries and malls to find a specific book or…


Metadata and Street Art

Metadata and street art.  These are very distinct “things,” if you will, each with their own importance and meaning to those who are familiar with them, yet they exist in worlds that do not often crossover with each other, unless of course, you are an art librarian with a penchant for cataloguing.  Metadata, for the uninitiated (or those who have not yet had the pleasure of taking Information Organization) is data about data.  It doesn’t usually intrude upon our daily lives, but it’s vital in the work of librarians and those dedicated to making information accessible. When you’re looking for that thing that you want to know about on Google and you just can’t come up with what you’re looking for, it’s because you likely haven’t hit upon the right kind of keywords (which are part of metadata) to describe what you’re looking for, and thus make it appear. A friend from college, the wonderfully eloquent Laurenellen McCann, recently discussed this at a TEDxWDC talk entitled “Making Cyberspace for Public Art.”  in the context of trying to…


A Conversation Starter…or Stopper?

Last week I was discussing my library school escapades in two different situations with two very different results. The first interaction was with a seventy-year-old uncle who said “I don’t understand library school, can you explain it to me in one paragraph?” This query presented several challenges, especially since the guy is not a library user. The conversation lasted less than a minute and I could tell that he wasn’t super interested in what I was saying. It was frustrating not only because I did not really know what to say, but also because whatever I said didn’t quite seem to resonate with him. It’s almost like he was trying to pick a fight, but neither of us was willing to throw the first punch. The next interaction was much more engaging and pleasant. It was between myself and three teachers from a prestigious private school in Connecticut. One of the teachers is currently being encouraged by the school library director to pursue a library degree, so he had all kinds of questions. Another worked…