Julie Steenson

I starting blogging in early 2012, and I can't believe I am already halfway through my program at GSLIS! I live in rural NH and enjoy a very long commute to GSLIS West and Boston. I am presently employed as a Library Assistant & Inter-Library Loan Coordinator at my small public library and I volunteer in a prison library. Becoming part of the Simmons GSLIS program was a mid-life career change for me, and one of the best things I ever did. So if you are over 40, married, have kids, dogs, cats, and chickens, and live really far away, I am proof that YOU can do this too!


Entries by Julie Steenson

  • So close, I can taste it...
    This is my last post as a Simmons GSLIS student.  For the last several weeks, I have been saying, "The end is so close, I can taste it," and then I pour a glass of wine and exclaim, "And it...
  • 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...
  • Get WISE
    There has been a lot of blog talk lately about online classes.  I have taken all three types of classes in my two years here at GSLIS - face-to-face, blended and online. My personal favorite is face-to-face although with...
  • The Reference Desk
    My professor in Literature for the Humanities also happens to be a reference librarian at a large university.  He offered each of the students in my class an opportunity to shadow him for a day. I never pass up...
  • Okay Google Now...
    I need to talk about Google.  Most librarians have a love/hate relationship with Google as it is such a useful tool, the ultimate federated search, but also often perceived to be the biggest threat to our job security. With my...
  • How smart is your dog?
    My dog has been my best audience for all the presentations I have had to prepare over the last two years. One of my big surprises when I started graduate school was how often I would be presenting to...
  • I might sound like your mother, but...
    I am old enough to be your mother, so it's okay. I know you are so busy that the thought of giving your time away might seem near impossible.  Like many of you, I have a job, a home,...
  • Teaching in the Library
    I want to talk about librarians as teachers, and I don't mean librarians in schools.  I mean librarians everywhere. I have encountered many academic librarians who talk about teachable moments at the reference desk.  I have had many teachable...
  • Last Semester Blues
    I started the GSLIS program in January 2012, and with the completion of my three courses this semester, I will have finished my degree program.  Woohoo!  Well, mostly woohoo. I think I have the last semester blues.  I know...
  • The Ultimate Group Project: Saving Kingston Part 3
    I am recovering from the summer term and the intensity of two classes.  You may have followed our ground-breaking alternate reality game in my online Management class with Mary Wilkins-Jordan.  (See earlier Kingston posts) As fabulous, dedicated Simmons GSLIS students,...
  • A Blizzard, Zombies and a Book Sale: Kingston Part 2
    I attend a fact-to-face class each Saturday and more often than not, I find myself sharing the latest news from fictitious Kingston.  (In case you missed it, read here about this unique online learning opportunity that is part of...
  • Sage Advice
    I wish I could join my peers in talking about trips to Europe or ALA in Chicago, but alas, my summer is being spent working and taking two classes. The rain has washed away many of my herb plantings, but...
  • Alternate Reality and Library School
    When I started my summer classes, I walked into an alternate reality - literally. I have never been a gamer, but this summer, I am joining my colleagues in LIS 404 Management, LIS 407 Reference, and LIS 450 Management...
  • The Friends of the Library Book Sale
    The majority of my weekend was occupied by the Friends of the Library Book Sale at the library where I work. Most people don't give much thought to library sponsored book sales, other than, "Do I have books to...
  • The Interview
    If you have followed my journey from mom to batgirl, you already know that I have committed myself to an unusual career path - correctional librarianship.  A year ago, I did not see this coming.  After my first semester,...
  • Time to refuel...
    Classes ended on Monday.  Tuesday should have been a day to relax, but then there was that Call for Submissions that I had been thinking about for months, due on Wednesday...so between all the academic pursuits, my public library job,...
  • What's the name of that book...?
    Working in a public library, I often have requests for a book with an unknown title.  These requests come in many varieties.  A few of my favorites are listed below. It has a brown cover, sort of, is about...
  • The Great Library Cat Debate
    Nothing gets people more worked up than their pets. I belong to many forums on library issues, and recently, the issue of a library cat was the hot topic on an ALA LinkedIn Forum.  The title of the discussion was:...
  • How Cool Are You?
    At 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...
  • Slow Cooking and Library School
    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...
  • A View from the Inside - or How I Worked so Hard to Get into 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...
  • 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,...
  • The Digital Divide Meets Everytown, USA
    [caption id="attachment_2049" align="aligncenter" width="282"] From: http://www.digitaldivide.org/category/digital-divide[/caption] Over and over again, you have heard (or read) about my small town in New Hampshire.  We are the proverbial small New England town, complete with General Store and a gazebo on the Town...
  • The Role of Libraries in Emergencies
      In my town in NH, we had only 30 inches of snow last weekend.  We were very fortunate and didn’t even lose power.  We were all surprised by this since we lose power so often, but we are...
  • Cream or Cookie?
    In case you missed it, here is the Library World’s brief moment in the limelight at the Super Bowl! http://youtu.be/rIDaX0eMeIk What I really want to know is who whispers in the library?! Is this still our image? I work in...
  • The Big Picture
      It has been a year since I started the GSLIS program, and it has taken me this long to understand the value of a degree program.  I am not just talking about the “getting a job” piece –...
  • A Change for the Better
      One year ago, I started the GSLIS program worrying about catching up on technology and the laundry, and filled with both anticipation and anxiety about going back to school.  It seems like a long time ago. I am...
  • Restructuring Public Libraries
    I like my blogs to be fun but informative, which usually means avoiding politics. Unfortunately, there is a political situation taking place across the nation that just might influence your decision to go to library school. I live in rural...
  • A Book by Any Other Name
    Yesterday was a busy day at my local library.  A recent phone call from a patron began with, “I can’t believe you have only one copy of this book…”  He wasn’t talking about the copy on our shelves, but...
  • What’s under your tree?
    With all this technology related gift-giving at holiday time, I did something really radical for my family this year…I bought them all books for Christmas. (And if you haven’t seen Katie’s blog last week with the YouTube video, “Books for...
  • Librarian Olympics and Other Fun
    We all know that librarians are awesome at bookish endeavors, but time and again, my professors (and my experience) tell me that the ability to unjam a stapler is an extremely important librarian skill.  This is right up there with...
  • East meets West – Part III – The Follow-up
    I would like to follow up on Chelsea’s two blog posts about some of the differences between the Main Boston campus and West campus in South Hadley. For a general feel, I will start by referring you back to my...
  • The Librarian Toolbox
    Librarians have lots of tools….our fabulous brains, all that stuff we learn at library school, binders of ready reference questions and answers, reference books, databases, and of course, bookmarks on our desktops to all kinds of useful links. I...
  • Who You Gonna Call?
    I apologize for wimping out, but I am swamped with work this week, both school projects and extra hours at my job at my local library.  Please forgive me and enjoy this great view of the New York Public Library...
  • A Hurricane Can be Good for Library Business
    In honor of Hurricane Sandy, my Monday class at Simmons was cancelled so I filled in at work at my local library for a colleague who has a long drive.  All the local NH schools had also cancelled and...
  • Getting Hired
    [caption id="attachment_1680" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo credit: http://www.lyubomir.bukov.com/photo/index.php?showimage=34[/caption] Many students writing and reading this blog are Millennials, actively pursuing a first-time career. Yes, you were born digital and your perspective brings one thing to the field of library science, whereas the...
  • My first rental car and an earthquake...My own series of unfortunate events!
    I don’t have to work or attend class on Tuesdays so it is normally my day to hunker down and get a lot of homework done. Well, I am writing this Tuesday night and have nothing to show for my...
  • A Wonderfully Incurable Disease
    [caption id="attachment_1633" align="alignleft" width="202"] http://tinyurl.com/3yz2u63[/caption] If you haven’t heard of Roy Tennant yet, you will. (No, to my knowledge, he is no relation to David Tennant of Doctor Who fame, although one can’t help but think of how library databases...
  • The Teacher Connection
    Working in a public library (and a small one, at that), I deal with varied patrons with varied needs.  In any given day, we have toddlers arriving for storytime, teens coming in to use the iPads, middle-aged job seekers, homeschooling...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • The Tale of Two Campuses
    I started my Simmons GSLIS career on beautiful West campus, at Mount Holyoke College.  It was a long, two and a half hour drive, but other than a few dicey snowstorms, the commute through the meandering hills of NH and...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Adult Programming at the Library
    When asked to come up with some ideas for the Adult Summer Reading Program, to add to what was already planned, I struggled with how to appeal to a different library population.  In our small town library, the same people...
  • Pay We Must
    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” -Mark Twain Tuition is a small expense on the path to greatness....
  • One of those librarians...
    I had the recent misfortune to encounter one of “those” librarians in a public library.  You know who they are. You have seen them and they are everything we don’t want to be. We are (or want to be) the...
  • The Library's Changing Role in the Community
    I have many career ambitions for my library degree, and to be honest, working in a small, public library is not one of them, but since the opportunity presented itself, here I am.  I suddenly find myself at the circulation...
  • The Juggle
    Reflecting on Katie’s post, regarding time flying in undergrad and grad school, I attended my daughter’s college graduation this past weekend!  If you are a recent undergrad, I am indeed old enough to be your mother…but even if you are...
  • The Birth of My First Semester...
    My first semester with nine credits (all required CORE classes) bore striking resemblance to pregnancy. Being a new student (and an “older” one), not knowing what to expect, reminded me of the excitement and anticipation of being a new mother. ...
  • Nine Credits Later...
    My first semester is over.  Three core courses complete! I have a great sense of accomplishment, mixed with relief (phew!) and just a touch of sadness. (And dread for all the neglected house chores awaiting me…) I can’t believe how...
  • End of Term Projects
      Holy Overdue fines, Batgirl!  I have so much to do this last week of the semester! I could plead an excuse why I don’t have time for a fabulous blog entry this week, but then I thought, why not...
  • All the Things that are Good for You: Broccoli, Shoveling Snow, and Group projects
    [caption id="attachment_1302" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson"][/caption] You probably remember being a kid and being told, “Eat your broccoli…it’s good for you.”  As a parent, I have had said my fair share of “It’s good for you”...

  •               Last week, in talking about career paths for librarians, I reminded everyone that Batgirl was, after all, a librarian.  The day after that post, I headed off to the University Of Rochester...
  • Librarian or Batgirl?
    Library and Information Science – that is the degree program we are pursuing and the name says it all.  The Master’s degree program years ago was just Library Science, but as the world changes, so does the role of...
  • Want Your Own Action Figure?
    All I have to do is look around a typical GSLIS classroom and any librarian stereotypes disappear.  I don’t know anyone who looks like this action figure (although I am guilty of wearing my hair up in a clip on...
  • Time Management?
    In thinking of what to write this week, all I could say is “I am swamped.”  I know we eat and sleep more than med students, but maybe not this week! This is a week where some of the time...
  • Spring Break and the Older Student
    No bikinis for this forty-something….trust me, this is a good thing!  For me, spring break was an opportunity to catch up on housework and have the time to go to NY to visit my adult daughter.  I had told myself...
  • What It Means to be Blended
    [caption id="attachment_1148" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Beautiful GSLIS West Campus at Mount Holyoke"][/caption] Blended and Online classes offer amazing opportunities to learn from practicing professionals who genuinely want to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of library professionals. What...
  • Library of the Future
    Just as we all come from different backgrounds, we all come from different libraries!  I have had the opportunity to experience very modern libraries and simpler, old-fashioned ones.  Just two years ago, I worked in a rural school district that...
  • Why Metadata is like Pizza
    Meta what? That was my reaction when I read the course description for my Information Organization class and first encountered the word METADATA.  The classic definition seems to be “data about data” which is about as useful as …well, nothing. ...
  • Technology and the Newbie
    Deciding to make a mid-life career change from mom/educator to librarian came with many uncertainties.  Was I too old?  Would I be able to catch up on all the technology that I hadn’t used over the last few years?  What...