August 2012 Archives

My Campaign to Save the Dust Bunnies

[caption id="attachment_1521" align="alignleft" width="200"] One of my bunnies, not the dust variety[/caption]

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 free time to my job…the plight of everyone who works at a small public library.  And ALA did publish my Letter to the Editor, defending the MLIS, in their magazine!

I also put out a lot of fires at home…not the hot kind, but a bout with carpenter ants and a rotting back door frame took up quite a bit of time.  And there was my daughter’s big move, and the ensuing debris left behind in the empty nest. The chickens also got into the act as predators were at an all–time high around my place (I live on many wooded acres in the boonies of NH), and this required added security measures at Coop Central. And the vacuum cleaner broke, so I began naming the dust bunnies.

I have big plans for the fall, too, with classes on both campuses, more commuting time, and added work and volunteer responsibilities.  I have a feeling that Database Management and Reference will keep me very busy!   This is good news for the dust bunnies, who can look forward to long and healthy lives.


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A New Semester: Reference

To those of you about to start your Simmons GSLIS careers in two short weeks, welcome! It's going to be a great experience, I promise.  Now, if you've been a diligent student and read the handbook, you'll know that Reference is one of the required core courses that everyone at GSLIS must take.  I really enjoyed reference, in part because my professor gave us a series of assignments with puzzling questions that we then had to find the answer to.  Let me tell you, I knew I had found my calling as a librarian when, after six hours of intense search strategies and different keyword combinations, as well as an extensive perusal of the Simmons' databases (since all the answers were to be found therein), I made the internet yield the correct answers.  It was a moment of pure and sweet triumph, and made me think for the first time "hey, maybe I really can be good at this whole librarian thing!"
So, to get you into the spirit of the new semester and sharpen up your search skills, I present to you A Google A Day, which seems really fun (and really seems like it was created for librarians by librarians, because really, who else gets as excited about effective search strategies as we do?).  You can sign in and unlock questions, or you can simply tackle the question of the day.  Have fun!

Events | 2 comments

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 loved the Corporate Libraries course that I took in the spring, so I contacted the professor to see if I could test the waters in a special library, and he helped me obtain an internship (which is technically an independent study, so I will receive GSLIS credit) at a law library. Instead of scouring library job websites and sending what often amounts to an anonymous résumé and cover letter, I reached out to people whom I already knew, which in these instances was quite effective.

I did several things in order to get the aforementioned opportunities, and the order of operations went something like this: 1. Get over myself and accept the fact that asking for help is ok, 2. Figure out what I am interested in doing, 3. Make connections in those areas of interest, 4. Ask said connections what opportunities are out there, 5. Pounce on said opportunities.

A fantasy of mine is to have jobs fall into my lap. I now recognize that that fantasy can become a reality if I depend more on my ability to network and less on my résumé. I used to think of networking as an annoying way to suck up and make phony connections; now I am starting to realize that it is the real deal.

Internships | Jobs | Libraries | People | 1 comment

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 different reasons.  You probably know better how SHE is feeling (feel free to tell me in the comments section!), but what I am feeling is that this is THE BIG FINAL EXAM of my parenting career.  Is she ready?  Did I remember to teach her everything? If something doesn’t go right for her, could I have done something different to have helped her?

We all make mistakes growing up and pursuing our dreams, no matter how old we are…My poor mother!  I am not sure how she survived my twenties! What I didn’t realize, though, until now is that while she was shaking her head, she was also probably second-guessing herself and wondering if she had taught me all I needed to know.  I hope that as I watch my daughter embark on her own adult life, I remember what it is to be 22 years old.  I hope that if I offer unsolicited advice, she remembers that it comes not only from a place of love, but from a place of second-guessing – like changing your answer a few times during the exam because you just aren’t sure you have it right.  So be patient with your parents…we only want what is best for you.  We are your flight instructors and you are flying solo for the first time – it is kind of like watching ourselves.

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Equal Access: Technology and the Olympic Games

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've spent the last week and a half completely immersed in Olympic sports. I love to watch the live coverage during the day (when I can), and I've loved catching random events like track cycling and water polo. After all, it'll be another four years until some of these will be on television again.

[caption id="attachment_1502" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Track cycling - how cool is this?[/caption]

However, I have to admit that I've been less than pleased with NBC's coverage, as well as their technological decisions. It seems the Olympic Games are not open and available for everyone.

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Shooting for Par, Pigeons, and Career Preparation

Last week I tried two things that I had never done before: golfing and shooting a gun. In both activities, my shots were pretty poor. Frankly, some of them were downright awful. Having never done a sport that focuses exclusively on minutia, golfing and skeet shooting served as total wake up calls. A golf swing has to be one of the most finicky skills in all of sports, and I still can’t figure out why those clay targets are called pigeons – their size more closely likens them to hummingbirds. Alas, despite the particularity of golfing and shooting and the fact that I was certainly not a natural at either one, I enjoyed them both. If I have a future in either activity (golf is the front-runner at this point), I will need to put in many, many hours of practice.

Boy is it frustrating to try something new and enjoy it, only to realize that obtaining any sort of skill in it would require taking it up as a part-time job. (Finally, here comes the library tie-in.) One of the best aspects of GSLIS is that once you get started and realize how much you love libraries, you have the opportunity to get your library fix while taking classes.

The start of the fall semester is certainly not going to help my golf game, but I’d like to think that I’ll have plenty of time for golf once I graduate and land a sweet library job. So, while improving my golf and shotgun shots are future ambitions, for now my best shot is dedicated to making the most of GSLIS. They say that practice makes perfect, and I plan to pack the fall semester with a part-time job and an internship to serve as practice toward perfecting my library interests. Golf can wait.

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AALL Annual Meeting & Conference, 2012

You know what makes the end of a summer semester even more insane and difficult to manage? Attending a professional conference! Even though I knew it was a decision that would perhaps cause friends of mine to question my sanity, I went for it anyway and attended the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual meeting a week and a half ago.

This was not my first professional conference since joining the wonderful world of professional librarianship, but this was my first national conference and mildly nerve-wracking in a number of new ways. At the New England Archivists meeting I attended in the spring, I felt very much at home because, well, I was with archivists. I could more or less assume that the majority of the people at the conference with me had receive/were receiving similar training, viewed the world of information in similar ways, and cared about many of the same issues that I do.

Among law librarians, I was not so comfortable. 

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