November 2013 Archives

Call Numbers: Why they are Awesome

For those of you who don't know, when one enters the Simmons GSLIS program, there are a number of core classes that they must complete. Besides an introductory course, LIS 401, there is another core course that they suggest we take in our first semester, LIS 415, Information Organization. Within LIS 415, we learn about the processes behind information organizations, which includes topics like classification, descriptive metadata, and resource types. Whenever I'm asked by my non-library friends to describe this class, I summarize it by saying that, essentially, we are learning all the behind the scene processes that make a library function that way it does. Amongst the variety of things that help ensure that a library isn't one massive chaotic mess, librarians use call numbers to make sure that every book has a place on a given shelf. If you have ever gone to a library to find a book, then I am sure that you are acquainted with call numbers. Without them, it would be like trying to find one specific needle in a stack of a million needles.

Fortunately for us, most, if not all libraries, have some form of call number system. Some libraries use Dewey, others use Library of Congress; a few even use their own personal classification system but at the end of the day, they all do the same thing: they help us find the thing that we are looking for. Now until I took LIS 415, I never gave call numbers a second thought. However, after spending a weekend creating Dewey and Library of Congress call numbers for an assignment, I think they deserve a bit more credit.  Seriously, think about it this way: imagine trying to find a book on cooking French cuisine but you do not have any idea where to start. There is no master plan depicting where cookbooks are shelved and the books aren't organized by author. How in the world are you going to find it? Perhaps through the power of patience and careful reading, you would eventually find it; do enough shelf reading and you can find anything. Thankfully, we don't have to resort to such measures. Thankfully, there are classification systems that provide us with maps to our designated destination.

So the next time you are in a library and trying to find a book, take a moment think about how wonderful it is that we have a string of numbers and letters to act as our guide.

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It's Not You, GSLIS, It's Me

I just checked the syllabus for each of my classes to confirm what I have been suspecting but had not bothered to verify. For nearly two years I've known this day would come, and now that it is almost upon me I'm finally aware of its exact date. On December 11, 2013, GSLIS and I will be officially over. Done. Through. Broken up.

In theory, December 11 will be just another Wednesday at work followed by a night class. In reality, it will be my last day spent living with the guilt of cheating on GSLIS with my new (very sexy) job. As I wrote last week, I am ready to separate from GSLIS, but it turns out that our divorce cannot be finalized until December 11. I have no idea how I'll feel when I walk out of class that day, or after the holidays when I find myself spending nights and weekends relaxing without GSLIS constantly pining for my attention. GSLIS is soooo needy, and I've had enough.

Will I miss GSLIS? I don't know. As with any breakup, I'll need to be more removed from the situation before determining my ultimate sentiments. GSLIS and I spent three semesters in a state of undeniable dedication and passion, but lately I've been a bit less committed. I've been phasing myself out by taking blended and online classes, and even started spending 40 hours each week with that sexy new job. In retrospect, I guess I've been ready for this breakup for quite a while now. The split will be amicable and won't surprise anyone, not even GSLIS itself, and I know we will both be better off. I'm ready to move on. It's not you, GSLIS, it's me. There are other people out there for you, I promise. I hope we can still be friends.

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Bring Your Classes to You!

I get a lot of sass from classmates when I talk about my work. Yes, I happen to work at the greatest library on the planet. Yes, my boss is the most incredible mentor and knitter in the continental U.S. Yes, I am rather lucky to be surrounded by a library with unlimited resources. No, you cannot have my job. Still, it has been a year of ogling the wondrous resources at my disposal and I have begun to ask myself: What I am bringing to this incredible community ? Tentatively I have begun to propose small programs and evaluations to my director. And do you know what happened? She was thrilled! Now, I am NOT saying I am God's gift to programming in the library. However, I have begun to use my projects and papers from Simmons as springboards for ideas to bring to my director. Why is that, you might ask?

Simply put, it is because every professor I have ever taken a class with at Simmons has only ever assigned practical assignments to use in the real world of library excellence. They want this education to be marketable when I start look for jobs. I say three cheers for the GSLIS faculty. Huzzah for Rex Krajewski who helped me become familiar with the reference interview and working productively with patrons in LIS 407. Hooray for Naresh Agarwal who enabled everyone in the class to educate each other about the many online additions easily added to a library's website in LIS 488. Three cheers for Melanie Kimball who empowered me to reach out to reluctant teen readers through booktalking in LIS 412. Hip hip for Mary Wilkins Jordan who inspired me to create my own evaluation of my school's bibliographic instruction class. Yay for Vivienne Piroli who taught me the benefits of teaching information literacy as the guide on the side as opposed to the sage on the stage in LIS 408. A round of applause for Danny Joudrey and Kyong Eun Oh for opening my eyes in LIS 415 so when I'm teaching my students how to use the catalog I'm showing them every relevant part of a record. And a standing ovation for Melanie Kimball for reminding me why I came to library school in the first place in LIS 423. I have begun a storytelling program in my library. I have also been asked to tell stories in foreign language classes and Middle Eastern studies classes.

Every single one of these teachers pushed me to apply my knowledge outside the classroom. I did this and failed many times. However, I also succeeded a couple of times too. Success and failure inside and outside the classroom is incredibly important. It's frightening: failing. But I promise it will only get better.

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Where were you 50 years ago?

My answer to this question would be nowhere, my mother was six and my father was thirteen so I was not even a thought fifty years ago. Despite their young ages both my parents remember exactly where they were, and so do the majority of patrons walking into the library today. The mood is really interesting as each patron sees our book display and instantly starts to reflect about where they were and how they felt when President John F. Kennedy was shot.

With all the media buildup to the anniversary of this infamous day I have become somewhat desensitized and didn't give any thought into how I would feel on the actual day. I'm so interested to hear more stories as the day goes on and to reflect on how one event changed our country's history. Working with the public every day as many pros and a few cons, today the pros most certainly outweigh any cons. Today I am so grateful to get to work in an environment where I can learn more about our history through listening to the memories of people in my community.

All Americans know this quote, and those working with the public can certainly relate, so I think it is only fitting to conclude with some of JFK's most famous words, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Have a wonderful weekend and take some time to listen to those around you with lots of interesting life experience to share.

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Study Tips and Tricks to Help Get you Through Finals

As I enter the final weeks of my first semester as a member of GSLIS, I'm somewhat in shock with the realization that it is almost over. Of course, it won't be officially over until I get past the dreaded final weeks of the semester. Basically, in college terms, I'm stuck in the middle of what I affectionately call 'academic crunch time.' To anyone who has ever been a college student, they are probably familiar with this window of time; it tends to usually crop up whenever there are midterms or finals floating around. Now, as a four-year seasoned pro when it comes to dealing with finals and midterms, I've developed a few strategies for handling the stress. Of course, now that I'm in the big leagues that is grad school, I've had to adapt to a few changes, the fact that I'm not within proximity of a my school's library being the biggest of them all.  Now I know that I am not the only one who has to cope with the changes that come with being a grad student, but if others can get through this academic version of Mt. Everest then so can I.

Since I seem to be a fan of creating lists, I thought that the time was ripe for another one. So, for everyone's viewing pleasure, behold my top 4 study habits and tricks.

  1. Relax: the most important and essential trick deserves its spot as number one. Without a doubt, keeping a sane mind during this extremely stressful period is the only way you are going to get through this. Seriously, I've seen people (including myself) go slightly bonkers with stress and worry. But here's the trick, taking a few relaxing breaks every now and then will really make a difference. Whether it's going for a walk, taking a an hour long gym break, or simply watching an episode or two of Breaking Bad will give your over-worked mind a chance to cool down.
  2. Give yourself goals: having something to keep you trucking forward is always handy, especially if you have to write a ten plus page paper. I know it sounds kind of silly but having a reward system in place will supply you with the impetus to get to the bottom of page fourteen.
  3. Take it one day at a time: yea it is somewhat related to point number one but I feel that this is an essential tidbit of information that one should always keep in mind. Yes, it might seem like you are facing the impossible and that time is slipping away but acting like every tomorrow is doomsday is really only going to make things worse. The trick here is to do what ever you need to do to help you get through the day. If scheduling different stretches of time to focus on specific assignments is your things, then do it! Every little bit helps.
  4. Find some white noise for studying: if you are like me and love to multitask, then having something playing in the background might actually do more good then harm. At least for me, I find having something playing in the background really helps me maintain some form of balance. In other words, it keeps me grounded and stops me from getting too engrossed. Yes, I know that it sounds crazy, trying to not get too engrossed into an essay but sometimes, that's the last thing you want. Getting to the point where you are on the verge of breaking down into tears because you can't seem to stop writing the same sentence is never a good place to be. Having some white noise in the background will (hopefully) keep you level headed, allowing your mind to wander for just a few indulgent moments.

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When Can I Start Making Money? A Look at the 2013 Salary Survey

Recently in one of my classes, we did an exercise that was probably the most memorable of all my classes' exercises: we went through the annual salary survey for librarians. In the October 15th edition of the "Library Journal," the salary survey highlights many different statistics from all areas of the field of libraries.  It includes important information about the "status of 2012 graduates," where the annual salary for women in the northeast in this profession is $44,083.  It also breaks down average salaries by school - Simmons is $43,285; starting salaries, salaries by job type, and salaries by gender and race.  

This information was incredibly relevant and interesting to me as an upcoming graduate (May 2014).  Despite the fact that most people have mentioned that "you didn't get into this career to make money," a small part of me is screaming, "but I DID!  I would love to make money!  I have student loans to pay!" and then I look around at my classmates and wonder to myself, "am I the only person who had to take out student loans to pay for my education?! Why is everyone else so calm?!?" I am not expecting to be a millionaire at all in my lifetime, but I would certainly like to keep out of bankruptcy.  Luckily for me, the Salary Survey breaks the average salary down by type of job, and for a Records Manager, the salary was a bit more optimistic - with the average being $47,208; I can definitely work with that.

Another huge positive that came out of this exercise is getting general job advice.  Despite occurring in my Database Management class, the Professor - Professor Leach, who is amazing, I highly recommend taking his classes - gave some excellent advice.  The average student in the northeast with a Simmons GSLIS degree spends four months looking for a job before becoming employed; therefore, it makes sense to start applying for jobs 3 months before graduation (or so).  Additionally, it is always helpful (when applying for full time jobs) to say you have a degree if given a choice between "have degree" and "don't have degree," then, make sure to add on the application that you will be finishing up the degree in [insert date].  

Another helpful piece of advice learned from this exercise is to remain calm and broaden, not narrow, your search when the going gets rough.  I have time and time again, when searching for jobs, become frustrated or given up completely when sending out resume after resume with no response.  It's helpful to know that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, or at the very least, that I won't be struggling alone (misery loves company, right?).  So to all the people who are graduating this semester, or in the near future - good luck, and definitely take a peek at the salary survey...it's well worth your time.  

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/10/placements-and-salaries/2013-survey/explore-all-the-data-2013#

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Get Me Outta Here!

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and frankly it cannot get here soon enough. September and October seemed to fly by, but November has been dragging along. I think the combination of starting a job, looking forward to the holidays, and knowing that I am only three assignments away from never having to do schoolwork ever again has me in a bit of a rut. In short, I'm ready to graduate.

When I started at GSLIS, I was a full-fledged student. I wasn't working or interning, so I really threw myself into my studies. These days, I spend far less time doing schoolwork, yet I find myself more and more perturbed by it. Like, why won't my research paper just write itself? Yes, I am complaining, and no, I do not expect any sympathy. Just need to vent a little.

I came into this program with a full head of steam, and now I'm running on fumes. This is not particularly unique or surprising, as I imagine that most GSLIS students experience similar highs and lows in their time here. What is surprising, however, is how ready I am to get outta here. That sounds a bit harsh, but it is the ultimate testament to the GSLIS program - it has completely prepared me to leave it behind.

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Study Break

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I believe Jack Prelutsky speaks for all of us with this poem. I leave it to you on this Saturday of endless study.

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you
away in the sink,
if only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework!
You're giving me fits.

I'd rather take baths
with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion
alone in the dark,
eat spinach and liver,
pet ten porcupines,
than tackle the homework
my teacher assigns.

Homework! Oh, homework!
You're last on my list,
I simply can't see
why you even exist,
if you disappeared
it would tickle me pink.
Homework! Oh, homework!
I hate you! You stink!

Prelutsky, Jack, and James Stevenson. The New Kid on the Block :Poems. 1st ed. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1984. Print.

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All About Going Abroad

Having the chance to study abroad is something that I think many students want to strive towards when they begin their career as college students. While a number of my close friends did indeed get to experience the wonders of studying in a foreign country, I unfortunately did not. With the idea that my opportunity to go abroad had finally passed, you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that GSLIS offered its students a number of study abroad options. Yes you are reading this correctly; you can study abroad in graduate school! Who knew?

For those of you who are curious, GSLIS will be offering two study abroad options this summer, one in Seoul, South Korea, and the other in Paris, France. For two whole weeks, groups of students will have the chance to take LIS classes, experiences the wonders of another culture, and get to explore locations they have only dreamed of! Just to clarify, for each trip, two different course options will be offered. As for the classes themselves, there will be a total of five, two in one week, three in the other. For the remainder of the two weeks, and once the afternoons classes are over, one has the freedom to travel around their respective city either alone, or with a group of other students. As someone who thought they had missed the boat on going abroad, I am super excited to hear that GSLIS is offering their students this opportunity, especially because this summer, GSLIS is going to Paris. Paris, the city of light, delicious food, and a number of beautiful gardens, museums, and other historic and national landmarks. Also, Julia Child spent a considerable amount of time there, and as someone who is downright obsessed with Julia Child, this is clearly the trip for me. Oh, and did I mention that one of the classes going to France will be LIS 470: Visual Communications? For those who don't know, this particular course will study various forms of visual communication and how it relates within the world of LIS and libraries. Topics that will be covered include visual literacy, rare books, prints and printmaking, typography, photography, posters, ephemera, propaganda, digital images, exhibit construction, and other topics driven by student interest. I'm getting excited just typing about it!

However do not start thinking that these are the only options for studying abroad. As a member of the Colleges of the Fenway, Simmons students are able to take advantage of a variety of available study abroad options. If you're interested in seeing a list of all currently available options, please check out the link posted below. Just seeing all the potential options is enough to make one's mouth water with excitement. An additional source that is worth checking out is Simmons' study abroad office, also below:

http://cof.studioabroad.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ListAll 

http://www.simmons.edu/offices/provost/study-abroad/ 

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The Mid-Semester Blues


There is something about this time of year when everyone's creative juices seem to be flowing - except for mine.  It's right after Halloween, recovering from making costumes (my husband and I were the 11
th Doctor [Who] and the TARDIS, respectively!), but it's too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts (although that hasn't stopped me...).  I'm finding it harder to get out of bed in the morning without a pumpkin spice latte to wake me up; what's the point of doing laundry, yet ANOTHER load of dishes?  

I'm even lacking the motivation to start writing the papers that are inevitably due; normally, writing papers comes fairly easily for me, but this time around it was like pulling teeth.   Actually... I might prefer getting teeth pulled.  

With the mid-semester slump, it's hard to find the energy to keep going, to take the train an hour to campus each day, but luckily family, holiday cheer, and amazing food is right around the corner.  Soft snowfalls, happy holiday music, gifts, crafts, and parties will be here before I know it.  My database project will come together, my code will work, my presentations will happen, and time will pass eventually (hopefully?!).  

How do you guys pass the time when you're in a mid-semester slump?  Do you have any tips or tricks for motivating yourself when you're in the middle of a semester?  

 

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Guess what? It worked!

I am writing to share some good news. As the end of my degree program nears, I have started looking at jobs that require the MLIS.  I have been fortunate to have worked in a public library and volunteered in a prison library while going to school, giving me lots of valuable paraprofessional experience.  Having spent all this time and money, however, I felt it was time to look at moving on to an entry-level professional position.

If you spend any time on the blogs or on LinkedIn, you don't believe it is possible to take that degree and get a job, but guess what?  The whole "go to school, get a professional degree and join the profession" plan works!

As one of my last classes here at GSLIS, I am taking Literature for the Humanities.  In this advanced reference class, my professor has been nothing but encouraging, so after one of his pep talks, I started looking at the advertisements for reference librarians.  Most want the degree in hand, but I am so close, I figured the worst they could say was "no thanks." I decided to apply for an evening Reference Librarian position at a local university.  This was exciting because the word "Librarian" was in the title - not Library Assistant or Associate or Clerk. This was the real deal.

Before applying, I carefully reviewed in my mind all the bits of resume advice and interviewing tips I have received from the dedicated faculty I have had here.  I reworked the resume, studied the university's website, contacted my references, wrote a really good cover letter, and crossed my fingers. Then the call came for the interview! Woohoo - Step 1!  I was thrilled to learn how many of the library team had Simmons MLIS degrees.  Instant connection! The librarian who interviewed me got her degree from GSLIS just five years ago and now she is in charge of Information Literacy Instruction.   Then I received the request for references.  Woohoo - Step 2!  And then the call came to offer me the position! (Do I sound just a little excited?)

I had my first day of training this past week, and learned about my new job at the reference desk.  I will simultaneously be doing reference in-person, and through chat, email, and phone. While this is only an evening position, I am still very excited to be part of the university's reference team, and am hopeful for future opportunities as they are building a brand new library that will open next summer.  Meanwhile, I am enjoying my new space, learning about their cool 3D printer, and having the chance to participate in collection development.   Most importantly, I have the chance to help so many students both in-person and through long-distance learning technologies. The rest of the library team was warm and friendly and made me feel welcome.

This week I fly solo, and I am nervous but ready!  Thank you to all the amazing GSLIS faculty and peers because in all honesty, I could not have done this without you.

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INALJ

A GSLIS graduate and former GSLIS Admissions blogger, James Fox, emailed me last week asking if I had used INALJ.com in my job search. Looking at the URL, at first I thought the site would display in another language, then assumed it contained a typo, and finally decided that it was one of those shortened URLs that you sometimes see in Tweets. Having come to that conclusion, I pasted it into my browser and hoped for the best. As it turns out, INALJ is an acronym for "I Need A Library Job," and the site is pretty cool. It compiles job postings from across the United States and Canada (and even some internationally!), success stories of folks who have found library jobs, and links to general library-related blogs and articles. It serves as a virtual community for both employed and unemployed librarians - everybody wins!

It is somewhat surprising that at some (very low) point in my job search I did not, in the midst of a frustrated stream of consciousness moment, type "i need a library job" into Google and discover this site. If that were the case, I would have found the INALJ community in my time of need, and perhaps taken some solace in not being alone in my quest for employment. Plus, it aggregates job opportunities by state, province, or country so you can really get a feel for what's out there. Whether you're actively looking for a job, thinking about getting a job, or applying to GSLIS, INALJ is a great resource for checking out the job scene.

A challenging aspect of finding a library job is knowing where to look, and INALJ seems to have that pretty well covered. It goes without saying that INALJ is not meant as a panacea for all job woes and does not guarantee employment, but the community was established to help the process go a bit more smoothly. I am not affiliated with INALJ, but the site made me realize that someday I might be able to help GSLIS students gain employment. After all, I was an employment-seeking GSLIS student just two months ago!

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Savor Your Time at GSLIS

savor simmons.jpg

Are we there yet? I keep asking myself this question. When I started at GSLIS, I thought I would be at a great advantage over the full-time students. Here they were rushing through a very full and complex curriculum, while I would be plodding along, taking stock of my interests as I went. This, fundamentally is true. However, with both sides of the coin it seems I shall mix metaphors and say that the grass looks greener on their side! I want so much to be DONE.  I have learned a great deal here and I'm enjoying my classes. But I've finished almost four semesters and the thought of three more is weighing me down.

So, what's the remedy here? Who can I turn to? In this case I turn to everyone and anyone who's worked full-time and gone to graduate school at the same time. Most of the teachers at the high school I work at completely feel my pain. We sit over lunch and ask ourselves, "When does life get easier?"

When we have kids? Nope, I think not.

When we get promoted or fired? Again, I think either option shakes our lives to the core.

 When we move for a new job? Core-shaker if ever there was one.

Why are we such creatures of habit? What is it about the human condition that reaches for a cozy corner with blankets and a good book or a sunny sky over a picnic with a good book? Notice, all my happy spots include blankets and good books. Who's job includes blankets and good books? I can only think of one work scenario where good books and blankets are featured and that's the job I'm working towards. That's where I'm going. I will get there. In an instant gratification society, I am held back by my urge to finish, to move on to the next big thing. Instead, I must remember to smell the roses, enjoy where I am now and most of all remember to open my eyes and ears and soak in all that GSLIS goodness while it lasts.

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Bad Grade? No Big Deal

I've mentioned once or twice that advising and personal connections with professors was severely lacking from my undergraduate experience.  Now in my third semester at GSLIS I'm still amazed by the dedication professors exhibit to each student. My professors not only want me to succeed at GSLIS, they are truly invested in making sure I come out of my time at Simmons with skills to thrive professionally.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a literature review as part of a large assignment for my evaluation class.  After we turned in our assignments, my professor, Mary Wilkins Jordan, explained to the class that things had not gone well and most of us would need to revise or entirely rewrite. She kindly told the class not to stress about grades, the goal is to learn how to write literature reviews and she offered to help us create literature reviews worth reading. 

With that heads up, I was not at all surprised to see that my literature review came back with a horrendous grade and I knew I needed to rewrite. I met with Mary this past week and was surprised to realize we had met for nearly forty-five minutes! No professor has ever devoted that kind of time to helping me before. During our conversation, we realized that part of my issue was that I had not defined my topic well and I needed to refocus. I basically realized that I needed to start my project from scratch in order for the assignment to be meaningful. At no point during our discussion did we talk about the grade I had received; we agreed I would start from scratch and then moved forward with brainstorming.

Why am I telling you about a truly terrible grade? Because it doesn't matter! My ultimate goal for the project I am working on is to create an evaluation that I can actually implement in my library. For this reason, the grade is meaningless because the project will not be done until it is revised and polished. In fact, I am grateful for the grade because it gave me the opportunity to pause and refocus through a great conversation with my professor. All that said, I will still be happy when I've resubmitted the assignment and my grade has (hopefully!) improved.

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Confessions of a New Employee

I started my new job last week, and have already encountered a handful of situations where I thought "I learned about this in one of my classes." It has been encouraging to have that baseline knowledge, yet strange to be learning how to apply it in real life with real sources and real implications. I haven't done anything of consequence yet - just some snooping around in a few databases and reading some internal instructional documents - but I feel like I've already learned a lot. GSLIS has given me a general knowledge foundation, and now my job will teach me the specifics.

Starting a new job is always a challenge, whether it be adjusting to a new schedule, sitting through HR information sessions, interacting with new coworkers, learning new systems, having questions but not knowing who to ask, feeling anxious about all there is to learn, or figuring out appropriate arrival and departure times (I'm still a bit flummoxed by that one). Who knows how long it will be until I hit my stride and become the fully functional research analyst that I am (hopefully) destined to be, but for now it's quite clear that I have a lot to learn. This learning period will likely be somewhat frustrating, as I want to know everything now, so I need to focus on managing my expectations. I have high expectations for myself, but I can't allow those to interfere with learning the basics of this job. I'm hoping that after a few weeks of learning and practice I will have the basics down and can let my expectations run wild.

One of those expectations is for how awesomely decorated my cubicle will be. If that's not something to look forward to, I don't know what is!

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Three Reasons Study Groups are Awesome

Study groups are something that I used to avoid when I was an undergraduate student. Back then, I found them to be disorganized and extremely one-sided, with one person usually doing all the work. However, I've had a recent revelation regarding study groups: they are AWESOME. Perhaps its because I am now a mature graduate student or something, but the study group dynamic that I was used to seems to be a thing of the past. Indeed, I have found that having a study group is one of the wisest decisions I've made since starting at Simmons. As much as I would like to think that I am one of those students who can do it all on their own, I am not. With assignments that really challenge you to use everything you've learned in class and then some, its nice to have a group of people who are equally as confused as you are. It seems to create a nice sense of solidarity, if you catch my drift. So, to showcase how awesome and necessary study groups are, I've come up with three logical reasons to share with you.

1. They allow you a chance to vocalize your ideas regarding the assignment: I'm one of those people who likes having others around to bounce ideas off of, especially if I am unsure about what its being asked of me. Being in a study group setting, you get the chance to ask openly ask questions and get to hear other student's interpretations of the assignment. Playing off of what others have to say, I usually find myself gaining new insights regarding the assignment which ultimately leads to clearing up any problem areas.

2. It's a great chance to get to know your classmates: You never know who is going to show up at your study group event, but you can bet they are there for the same reasons you are. Who knew that shared confusion could be such a great ice breaker?

3. You get to eat baked goods!: Bear with me on this one. In my experiences thus far, every time I've had a study group event, one or more people usually bring some kind of snacks. I think this is something that is slowly becoming a tradition since it continues to happen. However, there is something calming about munching on homemade cake or cookies; it starts the study session off on a positive note and seems to encourage some friendly conversation.

So there you have it, three reasons why study groups are awesome. If you haven't tried setting one up, I suggest asking a few classmates; chances are they will probably appreciate the opportunity to work on assignments with other students. I know that I sure did.

Students | leave a comment


Rivalries

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This whole week has had me thinking about competition, about the deep-seeded rivalry that forms for no reason other than loyalty and pride. I mean, let's face it, why do we get so worked up? Most students aren't from Boston who go to school here, so why are there so many heated exchanges at the bar? I think back on the golden years of SNL with Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon as the diehard Sox fans.

So this week and last we saw governors placing food bank bets, the St. Louis Symphony and the BSO brassing off, and other such competitions in defense of their beloved teams. Back to Jimmy Fallon: No, you aaaah! No, you aaaaah!! Nomaaaah Garciapaaaaraaa!!!

So, my question is this: if competition is healthy, and rivalry is about demonstrating loyalty and devotion then where's the rivalry in libraries? Who are the Sharks and the Jets in the ALA? Is it YALSA versus AASL? That would be a fun librarian-off to watch. Ok, it would be a fun competition to watch for me and other librarians who work with young adults. I hear all the time from professors in the know that within divisions of the ALA there are disagreements on a myriad of issues. Catalogers disagree on what schema to use classifying metadata. Librarians disagree on the future of the print book. School librarians disagree on the role of the librarian as a teacher in school. So, I ask again: where's the competition and where can I buy tickets?

Libraries | leave a comment


World Series Champs!

In case you've been living under a rock for the last few days: THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!

One of the best things about living in Boston is the sports culture. People here are passionate about sports, and our teams are among the best (the best if you ask me!). Of all the Boston teams the Red Sox are my favorite, in fact, during the 2007 playoffs I camped out overnight outside of Fenway Park in order to get tickets!  Needless to say, when the Sox won on Wednesday evening I was beyond thrilled. With everything the city has gone through this year it felt really wonderful to see everyone come together to celebrate a big win.

In honor of my favorite sports event of the year here are some fun facts and historical tidbits about the Red Sox and historic Fenway Park:

  • The first World Series took place in 1903 in Boston at a long gone ballpark on Huntington Avenue, today part of (my alma mater) Northeastern University's campus.
  • Opened in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball Stadium still in use.
  • The Red Sox did not win the World Series between 1918 and 2004... 86 years!
  • Red Sox fans are very superstitious and believe the team went so long without a World Series win due to the untimely sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919. This superstition is often referred to as "The Curse of the Bambino" and dozens of articles and books have been written analyzing this phenomenon.
  • Fenway Park is small (by modern sport facilities standards) with only 37,493 seats. It is among seven major league stadiums with less than 40,000 seats.
  • Counting this current series, Fenway Park has hosted the World Series eleven times.
  • At the start of the season, odds of the Red Sox winning the World Series were 28-1 due to last year's disastrous season. They went from worst to first over the course of this season.
  • The last time the Red Sox played the Cardinals in the World Series was in 2004 and the Sox came out on top as well.

There you have it, eight fun facts about baseball, one for each of the Red Sox eight World Series Wins! Probably more than you ever wanted to know about baseball, but if you're thinking about moving to Boston prepare to be immersed in local sports culture.

Located just minutes away from Fenway Park, Simmons students have easy access to both the ball field and the restaurants and sports bars in the surrounding area. I plan to take advantage this weekend by celebrating and watching the parade with lots of Boston fans.

Boston Strong! Go Sox!

Boston | leave a comment