March 2013 Archives

2nd Annual GSLIS Graduate Symposium

I am still digesting everything...yesterday I participated in my first conference, Simmons 2nd Annual GSLIS Graduate Symposium.  The day went well all things considered, but it was both an exhilarating and exhausting experience.

I presented on the art panel and chose to talk about how we can use technology to integrate more use of primary source documentation as a means of context in art museums. It was not an idea I thought would create any backlash at all, and perhaps backlash is not the right word. It wasn't hostile, but some of the questions I received after my presentation surprised me.

But that is a good thing, and is the point of a symposium. It is all part of the peer review. When my very first question was pushing back at something I said instead of just a general question for further explanation I immediately felt my pulse quicken and my self-esteem plummet. But I quickly realized that the questioner was not attacking me, she was not even really attacking my work but simply bringing up points that I had not considered. Especially in all the hustle and bustle of preparing a presentation (and your first one to boot) you can perhaps overlook some part of the content that needs to be addressed. I'm sure this happens to even the most experienced researchers at times.

The Q & A was definitely the more rattling portion of the symposium. You can prepare your presentation till you have it memorized it word for word if you want to, but you can only anticipate the questions. Anticipating the questions correctly means you would have probably already answered them in your presentation...

I enjoyed listening to my fellow students (albeit, a lot more after I presented than before) and seeing what interested them. All in all it was a great experience to develop presentation skills in a non-threatening environment with great feedback.

Conferences | GSLIS | leave a comment


I Love GSLIS

5 Reasons I love my Simmons Experience

  1. I love the man passing out copies of Metro at the Copley Square T stop. Every morning I come into Simmons I look forward to his high five and kind comment, "Your smile blows me away! Have a great day!" We need more people around like that every day. 
  2. I love the reference librarians at Beatley. I love their desire and commitment to search for anything I need. Whether I'm talking to them on "chat with a librarian" or at the information desk I know their on a quest on my behalf. 
  3. LISSA. They help me get my ALA membership dues and tickets for the summer conference reimbursed. How lucky are we to have a student group that advocates so powerfully for us and part of their job is to facilitate reimbursements for our professional development? Incredibly lucky!
  4. My professors! My professors who write back to me on the weekends. My professors who encourage me to go to their office because they really want to work on my paper with me.  My professors who make me laugh. My professors who tell me they appreciate my annotated bibliography. They learned something from me.
  5. My peers!  I am so honored that I get to spend time with these intelligent, awesome people. I learn an incredible amount from my classmates who know so much about ...everything. I was talking with a friend of mine about teaching information literacy (fascinating topic). She showed me a website absolutely crucial to any IL class so that they may determine how this website is real or not. Meet the misunderstood tree octopus. With friends like these who needs anemones?

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Boston | GSLIS | People | leave a comment


Restaurant Week

jpgOther than all things library and literary, I am also very passionate about food. I love exploring different restaurants and trying new things, I will eat just about anything. Although I'm absolutely loving library school thus far, I realize I've been spending nearly every waking moment thinking about school and need to spend a bit more time relaxing.

Enter restaurant week. Boston is a fantastic city with lots of fun events throughout the year and one of my favorites is restaurant week. Twice annually, once in March and again in August, this event is a time when many of the most exclusive and expensive restaurants in the city offer a limited three course menu at a fixed price, check out http://www.restaurantweekboston.com for more details!

Many of my friends enjoy food as much as I do and over the past few years we have developed a game around restaurant week to select our destination. We start an email chain where, after pouring over the menu selections online, we each list our top five or ten choices. These then get narrowed down by eliminating places someone has already been and overlapping suggestions. The ultimate goal is to choose a restaurant with a fantastic menu that none of us have already visited.

This year I broke my rule and went to a tried and true favorite, The Capital Grille. My partner in crime was one of my sorority sisters and we had a lovely lunch and a long overdue catch up session. Restaurant week is just one of many examples of the plethora of fun events around Boston for those times when you need a break from all things library.

Events | leave a comment


How Cool Are You?

pin_cat.jpgAt this point in my education (just past the halfway mark), I am bursting with ideas of how to be a game-changing librarian. I am also eager to turn ideas into actions.  After all, being a 21st century librarian is about a lot more than storytime (not that I don't also love storytime!).  In fact, no matter what your interest as a librarian, an opportunity exists for you to make a difference.

If you need a little motivation, check out these cool librarians!

http://flavorwire.com/380345/10-of-the-coolest-librarians-alive/view-all

Libraries | People | Relaxing | leave a comment


Professional Organizations: A Brief Intro, and How They Relate to You

SAA, SLA, MLA, ALA... in the world of the library and all its' properties, it seems like almost every three letter combination stands for a professional organization.  And, unlike the title suggests, you don't have to be a "professional" to join them! 

Many professional organizations are organized to help budding entrants into their fields.  Because this is my first year into the library science world, I've been researching many of these organizations, trying to evaluate if they will be helpful to me pre-graduation, and what resources they offer.  Here's a quick glance at some of them:

ALA, the American Library Association:  the quintessential professional organization for anyone in the library field, ALA costs only $33/year and supplies its' student members with newsletters, updates on the job market, free round tables, and even online classes!  One of the biggest perks of joining ALA is the conference that is held once a year, usually in June, which brings librarians together to talk about the latest and greatest inventions, problems, and advances in the field. 

SAA, the Society of American Archivists:  almost as well known as the American Library Association, the Society of American Archivists is a must-have for any serious archivist.  At $48 for an annual membership, SAA provides a number of benefits, including a subscription to The American Archivist, specialty section and roundtable memberships, and access to the mentoring program.  (While I have not yet tried out the mentoring program for myself, I have heard great things about it.)

MLA is the Medical Library Association, and is one of many smaller organizations that represent more specialized libraries.  The Medical Library Association also has a newsletter and several other benefits - but what sets this organization apart from others is that it takes a (potential) "mild interest" and turns it into a realistic career.  The medical library field is one of the places where librarians are consistently needed, and MLA actually provides its members on the best way to find a career.  It comes in at $50 a year for an annual student membership. 

SLA, the Special Library Association: this organization is a broader umbrella organization than MLA in that it encompasses all different kinds of "special" libraries - including corporate, medical, academic, and many others.  One of the benefits of an SLA membership is that it comes with built-in enrollment into a few different roundtables of the member's choice, based off the member's interests.  For example, I am signed up for the Biological Data roundtable, which discusses the latest trends in storing and accessing the multitudes of data generated by the field of Biology.  It also places a premium on professional development, and regularly reminds its' members of networking or career opportunities.  This membership weighs in at $40 annually. 

I would highly suggest at least checking out, if not joining, one or many of these highly valuable professional organizations.  They are a perfect glimpse into the current working world of librarians in many different fields, and you will find people willing to help you in any aspect of your career. 

Boston | GSLIS | Libraries | Students | leave a comment


Midterm Madness

Last week I had my first ever GSLIS midterm. It was open note, so beforehand I spent a few hours going through my notes and the slides from class to create a four-page cheat sheet of sorts. Compiling everything into one document like that works wonders for reviewing how much I have actually learned, and it was refreshing to have a succinct four-page final product rather than dozens of pages of printed slides that I hadn't looked at since the class in which they were presented. I felt pretty good going into the exam.

I felt pretty good upon leaving the exam, too. My cheat sheet came through for a few nit-picky details and definitions that I would have not so eloquently remembered on my own, and the time that I spent making it was definitely well spent. All things considered, it was pretty painless.

But enough about the midterm - where is the madness? The madness is not directly related to the exam; rather, it's a reflection on how completely crazy it is that this semester is already halfway done. It may be because I am currently only taking two courses (one of which is half-online), but still, this semester is absolutely blowing by.

While that is fantastic, it also means that I need to start thinking about what I am going to do this summer. My internship is slated to end in May (although there is a chance it could continue), and I will still have my part-time job, but I am worried that I won't have enough to do this summer. This will be my last summer as a student (last year I capitalized and I took the summer off from everything), and I'm finding myself eager to spend it doing career-oriented things. The first step will be figuring out exactly what those things are.

Without the midterm exam, I likely would not have realized that the semester is mostly behind me, and I would not have started thinking about my plans for the summer. So thank you, midterm exam, for helping me get my life in order. (Being thankful for an exam...talk about midterm madness!)

Classes | leave a comment


Finding Archiving Principles at PAX

With a computer programmer/gamer boyfriend there was no way I was going to forget that PAX East, one of the country's biggest video game conventions, was this weekend. Not being a gamer myself, I steered clear of making it a four day event complete with the Pokemon pub crawl (gotta drink them all!) like he did. I did, however, tag along Sunday out of curiosity. (And I would have you know that I beat, nay, alienated three men in Ticket to Ride) Upon seeing there was a panel on the preservation of video games, I also dragged the aforesaid three men along. I was greatly amused to listen for two hours to five panelists discuss the job of an archivist without ever saying the term.

The panel was sponsored by The American Classic Arcade Museum (ACAM), a non-profit organization in NH that strives to preserve pre-1980s arcade games. Also present was a researcher trying to track down the original names of some of the early game designers, a professor of game design, and a gentleman that ran a webshow about retro games. Despite their different positions, they were all brought together on the panel to basically discuss one major impediment to preserving the actual games or studying the past of gaming...the lack of records. The researcher told stories of companies who didn't know what games they had produced in the distant past and had to rebuild the history of their company via outside sources like game reviews. One of the ACAM directors told of other companies who didn't even know what games they held the rights to because mergers with other companies had brought in undocumented inventories. And it isn't just the issue of paper records being lost, but it also effects the games themselves. Without the documentation of the coding behind the games, many are lost forever. Or, without the proper migration of data to new formats, the games may work but can no longer be played because the equipment no longer exists.

The professor must have recognized the glazed-over look in the eyes of some audience members because at one point he jumped in and remarked, "I don't think we've done a good of explaining why it is so important to save this stuff." He went on to explain that as a professor he felt it was important for his students to see the legacy the present gaming culture had come from and to learn from the mistakes and triumphs of the past. Although these gentlemen were only concerned about the world of video games, their struggles and reasons regarding preservation are universal. The job of the researcher would be a lot easier if these companies had archivists or records managers. Although some larger companies do, it is still not the norm and it's interesting, yet sad, to see the consequences. It was also interesting to see how many gamers were unwittingly introduced to archival principles during a panel at PAX.

Archives | Boston | Conferences | Events | leave a comment


Book Talking

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Last week was spring break, so I took the week off from blogging. Most of my break was spent catching up on schoolwork and working, but I was able to escape home to Vermont for a couple days of much needed relaxation. One of my favorite parts of my trip home was visiting my local public library and attending a meeting of the "What is on Your Nightstand?" book club.

The premise of this book club is that it is not a book club, at least not in the traditional sense. There is no chosen book for each monthly meeting. Instead, on the second Tuesday of every month, anyone who is free to talk about books is welcome to come to the library and share what they are reading. The librarian running the meeting keeps a list of all the titles discussed and the conversation is always lively and interesting.

Before moving back to Boston to start school in January I was home in Vermont for eight months and had the opportunity to attend almost every monthly meeting during that time. Although there is no set book, there is a core group of women who attend every meeting and we have developed a nice sense of camaraderie. I am the youngest member of the group by a decade or two and I have come to look up to the women in the group as role models. I can only hope to have one day read half the titles discussed in our club.

Regardless of the theme that emerges during the meeting, be it memoirs and biographies, World War II fiction vs. nonfiction, spy stories, or audio books, I always leave feeling invigorated and excited to read more. I love the free form of the meetings,  the fact that all are welcome, and no pressure to have finished a certain book. Although, it has been discussed that just once it might be fun to all read the same book and have a traditional book club discussion. I miss having the monthly book club meetings to look forward to and hope to one day start my own in Boston!

Libraries | People | Reader's Advisory | Students | leave a comment


Apps-olutely none

I know. It's a terrible pun, but here's my question: where are the amazing apps for librarians? Where are the "must-haves"? Where is the list that circulates around blogs by amazingly talented librarians, who stay informed on this topic? So far, I have found nothing.

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I was given an ipad this week at work to integrate into the information literacy course I teach. All hate/jealousy mail may be forwarded to idontcarebecauseijustgotafreeipad@gmail.com.  So, I'm playing around on the ipad this morning and I'm surfing the magazines offered on the app store and American Libraries, the official magazine of the ALA, doesn't show up! I also searched YALSA, and found nothing. NOTHING! What gives, people? I know we all love the incessant naggings of the list-serv emails that crowd our inboxes everyday, but frankly, I'd rather access all the latest library buzz and book trends from an app. Isn't it about time a fantastic app was released by the ALA? I'm going to write them a letter, or an email, whatever form of communication from the past they prefer.

The only app I found that seemed remotely cool was the WorldCat app. If you ever desperately need a hard copy of a book, WorldCat will find it for you, tell you where the closest library that owns it is, and how to get there with GPS. Pretty nifty.

So, if anyone out there, besides my mom, is reading and knows of an excellent app useful to the library community please share your knowledge. I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of this topic. Perhaps this post is way off base. I'd so much rather be wrong on this one than right.

Libraries | Technology | 1 comment


Slow Cooking and Library School

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I have a special relationship with my slow cooker.  It all started when my daughter's community theater involvement required me to be in the car, rather than behind the stove at meal time. I was not very creative back then, and we had a few standby recipes that I could throw in the pot early in the day and then pride myself on serving my family a healthy meal 8 hours later.

Then came library school and my library job.  Working in a public library often means odd hours.  Public libraries are usually open some evenings, and that night shift is often shared by staff on a rotating basis. To add to it, my classes are all a long distance from home on either the main or West campus, so my school days are long days. By 7 or 8 pm, when I get home, I want a good meal - no canned soup or grilled cheese.  I am tired and hungry and want to be greeted to the aroma of simmering spices and a glass of wine. It is nice to dream, but truth is, my husband could cook only two things when I married him so we needed some help to achieve my dream of absentee gourmet.

Enter the slow cooker.  I buy the ingredients, leave the recipe for my husband, and when I get home after five hours of driving and class on Saturdays, my dream has come true.  He even has the wine poured!

So, if you are considering library school (or are already here), go to your local library and borrow some of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks.  I will include the WorldCat link so you can find them at a library near you...no matter where you are! (And they don't use canned cream soups...thank goodness.)

Crock-Pot Soups & Stews Recipes (2009) http://www.worldcat.org/title/crock-pot-the-original-slow-cooker-soups-stews/oclc/704272328&referer=brief_results

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking  (2009) by Stephanie O'Dea http://www.worldcat.org/title/make-it-fast-cook-it-slow-the-big-book-of-everyday-slow-cooking/oclc/503449234&referer=brief_results

Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook (2005) by Beth Hensperger  http://www.worldcat.org/title/not-your-mothers-slow-cooker-cookbook/oclc/56729624&referer=brief_results

Libraries | Relaxing | leave a comment


A Special Track for a Special Librarian

Sensing a trend in my peers’ recent blog posts about different types of libraries and librarians, I will brief you on where I aspire to end up after receiving my degree in December. As Maggie’s, Julie’s, and Emily’s posts each reflect, everyone at GSLIS has his/her own sense of an ideal library job, and I will add a different perspective about what I want to be when I grow up.

In past posts, I have referenced my work in my local public library. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working there, but one thing that I have gleaned from the experience is that public libraries aren’t the best fit for me. I have also made references to my internships at a law library and a corporate information center. Don’t jump to the conclusion that I am a business-minded, money-driven, public service-neglecting shell of a librarian, but those internships have pushed me toward working in the corporate library world.

I came to library school expecting to graduate with a job helping people find and obtain information. Naturally, I assumed that I would do so in a public or academic library, as those are the types of libraries that I know best. When I realized the many different work environments to which a library degree can be applied, the ones that resonated with me the most were non-traditional, or what we in the library biz call “special,” library settings. Having interned in two special libraries, I am totally hooked and would love to try more. News librarianship is very interesting to me, as is doing research for an advertising agency or consulting firm, and I am also super jealous of Julie’s prison gig.

What I eventually came to realize is that special library jobs involve helping people find and obtain information, just not in an environment that is customarily associated with libraries. That idea is captured perfectly in a course that I am taking this semester, Business Information Sources and Services. That class has totally turned me on to corporate librarianship, and, yes, even business in general. I am intrigued by the pace, complexity, and research-oriented nature of corporate/business librarianship. Looking back, it is crazy to think that I applied to GSLIS without even knowing that special librarianship (i.e. what has become my ideal career path) existed. On some level, I envy my peers who are in a track, as they have a solid grasp on the type of librarianship they want to pursue. For me, however, the general track has allowed me to create my own special path toward a career in special libraries.

Libraries | leave a comment


Ladies and Gentlemen...the lovely and talented Nicole Giroux

I have come across many fascinating people during my time in the GSLIS program. The majority of these awesome people turn out to be from the dual degree program. So I can't help but want to get inside their brains. Seriously, what's in the water in the Children's Literature department? Is there an awesome ratio they require upon acceptance? They are sharp, creative and fiercely brilliant. Seriously, don't cross a dual degree student. And with that, I present Miss Nicole Giroux from the dual degree Children's Literature program.

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Q: If you could be a character in any book who would you be?

A: Oh, sure, start with an easy question! This is so torturous to have to choose. I've gotta go with Hermione Granger (do I even need to say what she's from?!). I could certainly use her time turner and magical skills. Besides, she's named after a Shakespearean character and is an intelligent and strong female. What's not to love? Though, I must admit, I totally identify as a Ravenclaw instead of a Gryffindor.

Q: What's been the most exciting part about being in the dual degree program so far?

A: The most exciting part of being in the dual degree program has been being able to approach children's librarianship from two distinct disciplines. It's so wonderful to be able to really dive into children's literature, but it's also great to have the practical side of learning about managing a collection, planning programs, etc. I really feel like I am being so prepared for my future work as a teen librarian. It's also been awesome to meet so many great people! I have good friends in the children's lit and GSLIS programs, and it's nice to be able to connect with others in both fields.

Dual Degree Programs | GSLIS | People | Students | leave a comment


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

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 and the role of programming in prisons, and I came to believe that prison libraries matter.  I started sending emails, making phone calls, and meeting with correctional employees in early June, completed my criminal background check and volunteer training in November, and just a few weeks ago, I walked behind bars and barbed wire, and entered a prison library for the first time.

It is everything I imagined and everything I didn't. It is an amalgam of a law library, high school library, and public library, all rolled into one...but without internet access or windows.  Grown men come in with hall passes and I take attendance like high school, and returned books are checked for contraband and notes, but the inmates' needs are very similar to the patrons at any library - they need information, access to legal materials, help with homework, and recommendations for a good read.  I work with one civilian librarian and the rest of the staff members are inmates.

I spend one full day a week at the prison library (my one day off from the public library), and my family, friends, and coworkers have had mixed reactions to my new calling. Why do I want to do this? Isn't it scary? I believe in the rehabilitative power of libraries.  95% of the inmates will be released at some time, and a good prison librarian has the opportunity to be a positive influence, to make a real difference in the present and future lives of the incarcerated. And no, I am not scared.  Yes, bad things can happen in prison (just like anywhere else), but I am focusing on the good things that can happen there and trying to be a part of that positive force.  Let's just say I am on the Batgirl career path.

Jobs | Libraries | People | leave a comment


Librarians vs. Archivists

There are two camps in the library profession, the librarians and the archivists. Sometimes it feels like they are rival gangs and everyone has to pick sides. This doesn’t seem to be much of a problem because most students enter GSLIS with a clear idea which side they are on. But what about the rest of us? I see so many interesting ways to pursue this profession and I have wavered back and forth about whether to choose courses with an archives focus or take the librarian path. Two roads diverged in a wood one could say.

After much internal struggle, I have chosen to take the librarian track with an emphasis and goal of working in a public library. Given that I had six different college majors, only time will tell if this current path ends up being my ultimate direction. If I end up in a public library I may very well be responsible for maintaining a small archives collection. Especially in rural communities, it is common for the public library to also house a small archive.

This field does not seem to have many role models for individuals coexisting in the worlds of librarians and archivists. However, I have found one excellent example, the current National Archivist David Ferriero. He is the tenth archivist for the United States and the first to have been trained as a librarian, not an archivist. He is also a Simmons GSLIS alum!

I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ferriero last summer when he spoke near my hometown. I am slightly biased towards him because, like me, he is also an alum of Northeastern University. After he spoke, we had the opportunity to ask questions and I asked what advice he had for a student who is just beginning to pursue a career in this field, especially someone who is torn between choosing archives or libraries. His advice: don’t choose. He reminded me that it is important to be in control of my own education and to make my school work for me. That’s what I’m paying for, isn’t it? Since hearing him speak I have tried to do just that. Despite being on the public libraries track I am still planning to take an archiving course or two, even if that is not the norm. GSLIS has all kinds of different students and the most effective are the ones who pursue the courses they want and make the degree work for them.

For more information about David Ferriero and his interesting background check out: http://www.archives.gov/about/archivist/archivist-biography-ferriero.html

Events | leave a comment


Ode to Spring Break

As a graduate student, I feel a little awkward telling people that this week is Spring Break. I mean, Spring Break is soooo college, right? Last year I felt better about discussing my Spring Break plans, as I spent a week in the great outdoors of Arizona and Utah – far, far from the dreary New England winter. This year, however, my Spring Break involves a trip north (but not too far north) to my parents’ house in Portsmouth, NH for a few days. It isn’t going to be any warmer or less snowy in Portsmouth, but a different setting will certainly be welcome. This year will make for a far less exciting Spring Break story, but I am looking forward to it just the same.

I am not generally a restless person, but this year’s winter weather has made me quite edgy. I have been spending an excessive amount of time wasting away in my apartment, and my weekly routine has been feeling even more routine than normal. Enter: Spring Break, exactly the elixir I need. Fortunately, I was able to obtain three days of freedom by taking Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off from my job and internship. Sure, I probably could have asked for the whole week off, and maybe I’ll regret not doing so, but unfortunately my extracurriculars do not observe this week-long collegiate caper.

My plan is to have some good old fashioned “me” time early in the week, then ease back into things come Thursday. So while I won’t exactly be living it up, I’m hoping that this brief reprieve will help refresh my routine. One might say that I am opting for a “mature” use of my Spring Break by not blowing off work entirely and heading to (insert Florida city here), but never fear: my 21-year-old brother will also be home, just in case I start feeling too far out of touch with the true essence of this great college holiday.

Relaxing | Students | leave a comment


Digital Preservation Course

This semester I am taking a class called Digital Preservation. I haven’t had much previous experience with coding and such so this class has really taken me out of my comfort zone yet I can see just how useful it can be in not only the current archives field but in libraries as well. I see more and more advertisements for technology librarians; we no longer live in a print-based world in America.

Having mused over these things I began to wonder about the set-up of Simmons' Archives Program. As a dual degree student I am studying both archives, under the broader Library Science program and History as a separate entity. Some schools, like U.T. Austin also place their archives programs under Library Science or in the case of Drexel, under Information Science. However, some institutions place their archives programs under their History programs, like UMass.

I have never been a part of the UMass program but as I delve deeper into these tech classes I can’t help but wonder how you obtain those technical skills in a history-based program. They seem incredibly important to the profession. I have learned how to migrate files, a must for digital archives, how to code simple webpages (always a useful skill) and other similar things. It may be that those skills are endemic in their archive concentration but it seems a shame to also lose the connection to libraries. Although we spend a lot of our time explaining to our friends and families that there is a difference between libraries and archives it is true that many times archives are situated within libraries so I think it is important to know how a library functions.

At Simmons I am blessed to be getting all three perspectives: Archives, Library and History. Even though a dual degree is not for everyone I still believe that for an archives profession the coupling of Archives and Library is much more practical than Archives and History.

Boston | Classes | Dual Degree Programs | leave a comment


What does your library look like?

I took a week off from blogging because I recently started a new volunteer/intern-ish position at a prison library, and I am still trying to embrace the new work schedule and commute, along with my job in a public library, and two classes. (We won’t mention laundry and housework as I am pretending they don’t really exist…)

In the midst of my frenzy the last couple of weeks, my sister sent me a very fun link:  The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books  http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-best-places-to-be-if-you-love-books

Take the time to go have a look at these amazing photos. The site quotes Mark Twain, “In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”  I could relate to this quote, and I imagine that many of us are here at GSLIS because this is how we feel whenever we walk into bookstores and libraries.

So, enjoy visiting these unique book places…hard to choose a favorite but I think mine might be the theatre turned bookstore. My sister chose the bathtub library.  What’s your favorite?

Next week…A View from the Inside, or How I worked so hard to get into Prison, the library, that is.

Events | 1 comment


Challenge accepted?

So... I've always loved this youtube video. The more time I spend in Beatley, the more I really, REALLY want this to happen here at Simmons. We deserve some musical theater spontaneity in our lives. This is all there is from me today. This blog is a plea, nay, a challenge! Sing in your local library TODAY!

It's probably best to clear all box steps with the librarians first. Just a thought.

Libraries | Students | leave a comment


The Hardship of Librarianship

An eight-year-old girl who comes to the library multiple times per week with her older sister, and sometimes their mother, posed the following to me and a colleague on Thursday night: “Do you work really hard every day? I think being a librarian would be hard.”

I don’t know what prompted her to say that, as my colleague and I were both sitting at the desk doing…well, we weren’t really doing anything. In fact, the girl’s next question was “What game is that?” when she noticed that I was playing Minesweeper. The library is open until 9pm on Thursdays, and nights are generally pretty slow, so I would not say that I was working particularly hard (unless Minesweeper counts as hard work).

Librarianship is not hard like rocket science or physical labor is hard. I would say it is hard like fielding customer service calls or working in retail is hard. No matter what type of library work you do – reference, cataloging, research, archives, and/or whatever else – you never know what you are going to get on a daily basis. The need to be prepared for just about anything is what makes librarianship hard. I don’t think that “librarian” will ever show up on a list of most difficult occupations, but sometimes an innocent question from an eight-year-old can be among the hardest to answer.

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Ready for Outdoor Reading, Part 2

Last week, I brought you my top five reading spots in Boston. This week, check out the next five best reading spots in the area!

 

6. Copley Square

Although busier than the inner courtyard, Copley Square outside of the Mckim Building also provides a nice place to read. There are benches around the green square which has the BPL on one end and Trinity Church on the other. There is also a fountain where one can dangle their feet in while reading on a hot day. However there are always splashing children around, so don't take a book you don't want a few stray drops of water on!

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Study Abroad: Not Just for Undergrads Anymore!

After years of missed opportunities to travel abroad during high school and undergrad, I am so excited to finally say that this summer I will be going to Rome with GSLIS!! For several years Simmons has provided library students the opportunity to study abroad with courses offered in Yonsei, Korea, and this summer the program is expanding by adding an additional trip to Rome, Italy.

Simmons GSLIS is collaborating with St. John's University Division of Library & Information Science in New York and each school will be offering two courses from which students can choose. The program runs from May 23 through June 10 and I will be taking Intellectual Freedom and Censorship (LIS 493) with Professor Laura Saunders. The course will begin with readings and online forums several weeks prior to our departure and conclude with a research paper due after our return to Boston. This way our time in Rome can be spent focusing on discussions in class, and of course, exploring all of the wonderful culture, history, and food the city has to offer.

As the trip gets closer, I will be sure to update with more details. I cannot wait to share my experience of taking library school to Europe! In the meantime, for more information about traveling abroad with GSLIS check out:

http://web.simmons.edu/%7Ebenoit/intl/index.html#rome

Later in the summer, I will also be attending the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago with several of my classmates.  Its only March 1st and already I cannot wait for summer to start so I can get traveling... Stay tuned!!

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