April 2013 Archives

Library Laryngitis

Last week I had a case of acute laryngitis and could not speak any louder than a whisper, if at all. It wasn't a huge deal (aside from being annoying), and actually led to some unintentionally comical and unfortunately stereotypical interactions when I was working at the library. People would come in and speak to me at a normal volume but I would respond in a whisper, thereby prompting them to start whispering. (It is a library, after all.) One woman even apologized after becoming self-conscious that she was speaking too loudly, at which point I assured her that I was the one having volume control issues. Speaking exclusively in a whisper is not particularly conducive to most occupations, but librarian is one of the few where it's not that bad. Being a student, however, is not ideal when laryngitis strikes, as my five-minute final presentation was not particularly pleasant for my poor classmates who strained to listen to my hoarse, raspy voice. Needless to say, I am glad that's over with.

Wait a second...my final presentation is done? Classes are over? April is still upon us, but it's already summer break? I mean, I'm certainly not complaining, but man did this semester absolutely blow by. I can't even blame laryngitis for my inability to articulate how it feels for this semester to be over. I only had two classes, so it's not like I was overburdened with work and am now relieved that it's done. And my job and internship are continuing through the summer (yay!), so it's not like I'm going to be twiddling my thumbs counting down the days until classes start again the fall. I think it's just the sudden change in routine that throws me for a loop, and it will take a week or two of not being on campus to realize that this semester is history. Three semesters down, one to go.

(If you think this laryngitis-ridden ramble of a semester ending post is a bit bizarre, just wait until December when I try to sum up my GSLIS career. Gah.)

GSLIS | Relaxing | leave a comment

End of Semester and the Simmons Community


I run a Tumblr about news that I feel is pertinent to women. A few times I have tagged things #simmons college, like this picture I posted that I snapped at our residential-campus café the other night. Since I have tagged a few things as Simmons or have mentioned it in my posts I have gotten more than one note from high school girls wanting to know more about the Simmons atmosphere.

Unfortunately, I tell them that I am a Grad student and cannot provide much information about what type of classes they will take, what the undergrad events are like or even how roommate selection takes place. However I am always glad to be able to tell them that Simmons College has a diverse, warm and accepting culture. I see it in my limited interaction with the undergrad population, but also of course with the grad students in general and within my program.

Friday night was the end of the year semester party hosted by LISSA, one of the student library association groups. It was awesome! For no cost to me, I got to not only hang out with my friends, have food and beer (or wine) and play trivia but I also learned some things I didn't know about professors thanks to Simmons-themed questions AND won four IMAX tickets. Pretty good for walking a block from the dorms and paying nothing.

Even if it weren't free, it would be worth a fee to hang out with these cool people, students and professors, because both were there. Faculty were even here today on the residential campus for the celebration of May Day. 9 a.m. on a Sunday, his day off, Bob White was walking the res-campus sporting one of his marvelous hats to watch the festivities. I think that says a lot about the school. We are here after-hours, on our days off, whether or not we live on campus, just to be together and have fun!

GSLIS | People | leave a comment

Do Grades Matter?

A+ image.jpgAs I check Moodle like a fanatic, waiting for the final verdict on my grades for this semester, I am reminded of a talk my professor had with my class a month or two ago when  all of my classmates and I thought we were going to fail. We had all just received sub-standard grades for literature reviews. For most of us, this had been the first time we had written a literature review and its vastness was terrifying. Our professor described our journey to this paper's end product like a walk in an unfamiliar wood: every time we turn the corner we should expect to find more woods, an ever deepening void of nothingness. As I said: TERRIFYING!

My professor, who shall remain nameless, indicated that it didn't matter what grades we got. At that point there was a collective sharp intake of breath. Grades don't matter?! What! Of course grades matter. This is what I assume was the general mutterings or internal protestations of the group. Grades matter because we all want to be considered for scholarships, fellowships and yes, perhaps future employers may consider GPA. Sometimes all it takes is something that sets you apart, that makes you different to get you that job that so many other MLS grads are vying for.

Of course now that classes are finished and my final paper in the aforementioned class turned out rather well, I wonder if grades do matter. In the end, after hitting the ceiling over a bad grade half way through the semester, I summoned courage and redoubled my efforts to master the skill set by my professor. I did an excellent job and learned many lovely library things. However, now that I am facing an "A-" instead my regular "A" am I really upset with the outcome? With an "A" I would never have had a heart attack and refocused with the strength of a thousand suns. Though it grieves me to say it, I suppose my professor was right: grades don't matter. The real goal is to learn, to push yourself, to be smarter than you were in the beginning of the class. GOALS! DREAMS! OK, perhaps I am light as a feather now that this semester is over and I have a lovely summer to look forward to. But I still think, no matter how many time I grumbled or cursed, that my professor was right.

Don't shoot for an "A", shoot for new skills and learning. Go forth and be fabulous!

Professor, if you're reading this, you know who you are.

GSLIS | leave a comment

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

It seems like only yesterday I was starting my first day at GSLIS.  This semester has flown by and left me invigorated to learn more.  All four classes I took this semester have reassured me that the GSLIS program is absolutely the right place for me and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

I started this semester with no friends in the program, very little knowledge of the library profession, and no specific academic focus.  Only a few months later, I am finishing my first semester with good grades in all my classes (fingers crossed!), a great group of friends, and a decision to focus on public libraries. When I first started classes in January, I had no idea how much my life was about to change. I leave for Rome in just under a month and could not be more excited.

In addition to taking three classes in the fall and continuing to write for this blog, I have also accepted a leadership position in a student organization. I have been elected to the position of Information Coordinator for the ALA-SC (that is, American Library Association Student Chapter) and look forward to learning more about what this position entails. As excited as I am for the fall semester, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself because this summer promises a lot of wonderful adventures as well.  A few things include:

  • Continuing my European travels in Slovakia after the Rome program ends. I will be visiting a friend I haven't seen since high school!
  • Attending the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago with some of my fabulous classmates.
  • Working at home in Vermont for the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park.
  • Volunteering in my local public library.
  • Catching up on my long list of must reads.     

In other words, I cannot wait to get this summer started! GSLIS has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and embrace this entire experience and I plan to keep doing just that!

GSLIS | Relaxing | leave a comment

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 this thick (patron displays width with fingers), and has an Indian on the front.
    • Answer: The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  • It is blue and was sitting right here on the New Shelf when I saw it about three weeks ago.
    • Answer: Benediction by Kent Haruf
  • I am looking for a book I read as a kid in the 1940s - it had a train and some kids...and they passed messages with the conductor or something...
    • Answer: The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
  • We listened to an audiobook a while ago - it had some weird clock and something to do with eyes...and there might have been gypsies or something like that...
    • Answer: The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

I love these kinds of questions. I heard today about another local library that did a whole display called, "I am looking for a book...It has a red cover..." and the library displayed all their red books!

No, I really do love these questions. I love the challenge, and although you'll laugh, I get an adrenaline rush as soon as someone says, "I am looking for a book, but I can't remember what it is called.."  It is such a cool mystery to solve, and patrons are always so thrilled when you find the answer.

How do you find answers to these kinds of questions?  Yes, there is always the Google search...or a Dogpile.com or even Amazon.com.  But I also recently discovered a great forum on Goodreads.com for those times when you need a little help. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/185-what-s-the-name-of-that-book

In the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, try this one: http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/what%27s-the-name-of-that-book-lost-and-found-for-novels/

And don't forget the collective librarian brain.  I usually get at least one email per week from another librarian who has posted his/her question on the library listserv. 

Have a book from childhood that you just want to read again but can't remember the title or author?  I promise you there is a librarian out there waiting to be asked!

Libraries | People | leave a comment

GSLIS is great, and everything. But let's talk about Community.

There have been a lot of events going on at the main Simmons Campus this week.  On April 15, Boston experienced two bombs that rocked the famous Boston Marathon.  Then, just this past Thursday and Friday, there was a city - district? - wide manhunt for the two suspects. 

I personally live in the Cambridge area, very near MIT.  My husband works at the Whitehead Building, only a block away from where the valiant MIT Police Officer, Sean Collier, lost his life.  I was terrified - my husband was still at work when MIT was put on lockdown - and I felt helpless and confused. 

Of course, eventually the manhunt was relocated to Watertown with a whole other set of terrors.  But you all know the story of what went down recently - I want to talk about all of Boston's reaction to it, and more specifically how Simmons reacted. 

Community is a strong word.  Community, in my mind, evokes thoughts about people holding hands and having a strong bond tied to a location or a shared characteristic - i.e. the "GSLIS Community."  I have a hard time feeling like I "belong" to many communities; they are often cheesy and overly social, just not my cup of tea.  But now, after this terror that has consumed so many different aspects of my world, I honestly and truly feel proud to call myself part of the Boston, and Simmons, Communities. 

Boston's community celebrated the end of the manhunt with national anthems.  Random strangers were hugging, people were unabashedly crying.  The streets were flooded with people toasting the BPD; people all over the world sent our police officers pizza in support of the amazing job they had done.  I have never seen a Community come together in that way - and I doubt I ever will again. 

The Simmons Community reacted in a different way: they were practical, caring, and cautious of the students' needs.  We had an incredibly touching moment of silence between the two events, after the Boston Marathon Bombings, where speakers were given a chance to address the crowds.  I could only stay for a few minutes, but there was barely a dry eye in the whole audience.  And then, after the conclusion of the manhunt, my phone and computer were flooded with messages from friends, teachers, fellow students, and Simmons administrators.  They were all truly caring about my well-being (of course, the feeling was mutual), which is an experience I have never had before from such a large organization as Simmons. 

I know that people who have lived in Boston for their entire lives had no doubt that Boston would survive and prosper in the face of this incredible travesty; however, I have only lived here for two years, and I had my doubts. I know never again to doubt what I now believe to be the greatest city on planet Earth.  Thank you, Boston Community.  And thank you, Simmons.

Boston | GSLIS | leave a comment

Boston Strong

I am neither eloquent nor competent enough to put into words the thoughts, fears, feelings, and emotions that I experienced last week during and in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt. It is unfortunate that sometimes it takes something this tragic and senseless to bring out the best in people, but Boston responded with the heart and spirit of a city that will not let this tragedy define one of its greatest traditions. If anything, the marathon will come back stronger next year. Boston Strong(er).

Boston | Events | leave a comment

Information Overload

The whole world knows what happened in Boston this past week. I don't wish to ruminate on the agonies, rather focus on the lessons. As common with tragedies, there are many. One that I came across, that might seem minor in the scheme of human suffering this week, nevertheless is the one I want to focus on because of its tie-in to library science.

There has been much media coverage over the "social media aspect" of the Boston Marathon Bombing and in the horrific misidentification of the suspects in the New York Post but even before the New York Post coverpage there were thousands of people on Reddit and other websites trying to solve the crime like amateur Sherlock Holmes. I do believe their intentions were good but more and more I saw links to the supposed Twitter of the suspects, their Facebook, statements such as "if this is the same so and so then they worked here" or "if this is the same guy he won this award in the year X".

We've already seen the dangers that come from jumping to such conclusions too rapidly. And it reminded me of lesson from my reference classes at Simmons. Mainly, that the first answer you come across isn't necessarily the right one. You have to be sure of your sources. You have to know how to sift through the useless data. You have to be able to not only find the information but validate it.

People ask all the time, in what they think is a funny way, why one has to go to school to be a librarian or why libraries are still useful in the digital age. This is why. Yes, there is information at our fingertips. There is information overload, in fact. There is more to reference than finding the first answer that pops up in Google. You need to know where to start and also where to stop.

As a law librarian I am reminded of this every day. If I did my job the way the Reddit users approached the Boston Marathon "investigation" I could put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy. I need to be sure the person I am looking up, the article I am seeking by a defendant or an expert witness is really their work and not just another John Smith from L.A. Information may be instant but your judgment cannot be.

Boston | Events | Libraries | People | leave a comment

World Book Night

What a week this has been! I'm overwhelmed with relief, grief, exhaustion, and patriotism. It's been a week. Incidentally, aside from being the week of the Boston Marathon Bombing, this week was also Library Appreciation Week, and this Thursday was also Poem in Your Pocket Day. How I wanted to celebrate these holidays. Yet they slipped through my fingers, and got away from me.

Today, as we breathe a collective sigh and remember what's important in life I'd like to point out another way to celebrate books, Boston and general well being. Next Tuesday evening, as you're walking home from school or work keep an eye out for the ladies and gentlemen giving away free books in celebration of World Book Night. While April 23rd (this Tuesday) is UNESCO's Day of the Book as well as Shakespeare's birthday the people of World Book Night give away books, donated by a varietyWorld Book Night.png of authors, to promote the love of reading. This program is only 2 years old! It's free to sign up to be a distributer of books. I'm going to Brookline Booksmith to pick up my box in a few hours. My job is simple. Give away all of the copies of The Handmaid's Tale in my box in a place that people do not normally associate with books. It's a pretty amazing premise: Give away books! Spread the joy of reading!

Some people don't have books. Nor do some make reading an integral part of their lives. Receiving a book from me at a T stop may not change any of that. However, I believe that this community is ready for a slew of random acts of kindness. We've already been brought together by senseless acts of violence and gunfire. Now it's time for another kind of event to make us even stronger. World Book Night is celebrated all over the world. So wherever you may be, keep an eye out for this particular brand of magic and hope on Tuesday night.

Events | Libraries | People | leave a comment

How to Have a Job after Graduation

As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the things that bugged me the most about my undergraduate experience was the lack of support when they pushed you forth into the world.  When people inevitably ask me what I like the most about Simmons, my answer is always the same: while I love many of the classes and professors, and the students are some of the sweetest and brightest I have ever met, I feel that the support Simmons offers to its students in terms of employment is one of the best things a school can do. 

Simmons is great in that you enter this program knowing that you would like to be employed at the end of it - and you get employment support from the moment you enter orientation.  In the Archives Concentration you are automatically enrolled in two internships - one 60-hour, and one 130-hour - that provide you with experience in an actual archive.  These internships often provide invaluable networking experience, and more often than not the repositories ask the students to stay on for additional hours (either paid or unpaid; it depends on the repository), and even whole projects or getting taken on as a job.  I believe that other tracks within GSLIS are adopting this model and starting to work on providing internships for other students as well. 

In addition to the internships, which as I mentioned provide invaluable experience, Simmons has a model akin to "me casa es su casa" - Simmons' contacts are your contacts.  Professors within GSLIS often pass along emails with job opportunities, internships, networking opportunities, and more.  I have found that these opportunities are often given to professors before they are posted to public forums, allowing these students a leg-up on the competition.  For example, I will be starting a records management internship this summer thanks to an email passed along by a professor.  This job is a fantastic opportunity, and one that I don't know if I would have gotten - or even heard about - without the help of the Simmons network. 

There is one caveat, though - while these opportunities are as much as dropped in your lap, you do have to be willing to go out and do them.  There are so many good tools that Simmons provides, but they are only available for a limited time - so make sure you take advantage of them while you can! 

Jobs | leave a comment

Marathon Monday

Forgive me for writing about sports for a second consecutive week, but the Boston Marathon is kind of a big deal. The Boston Athletic Association claims that in terms of media coverage, the Boston Marathon ranks behind only the Super Bowl as the largest single day sporting event in the world. Yowzer. As I wrote at this time last year, I love watching the marathon, and it is another unique Boston experience.

Simmons is about a mile from Mile 25 of the marathon, where Beacon Street and Commonwealth Ave will be absolutely packed with people cheering for runners as they gut out the last few miles through Brookline and Boston. Today is Patriots' Day, which is only a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine (although for some reason in Maine they move the apostrophe and call it Patriot's Day), so many people either have or take the day off to witness thousands of people running. Watching people run sounds fairly boring, but the emotion and camaraderie are palpable. You have to be there. This is not an event that is "as seen on TV."

Last year I made an effort to make the marathon relevant to GSLIS. This year, I am unabashedly promoting it as another perk of Boston. Even if you're not at GSLIS, and even if you're not in the Boston area, it is something that you should do your best to see in person. Oh, and the Red Sox play an 11 o'clock home game every year on Patriots' Day, if you feel like capitalizing on this and my last post in a single day.

Boston | Events | leave a comment

How Libraries Changed Me

So I came across this wonderful article entitled Five Times a Library Changed Me and began to think about how the library had changed my life, outside of you know, wanting to be a librarian.

I went to a pretty small private school where everyone knew everyone and what you could or could not do. I wasn't good at sports, was too scared to sing or play an instrument in front of people and was too much of a rule-follower to be known as a rebel or class clown. But I found my little niche in books and specifically in the library.

I was the girl who held the record in Mrs. Johnson's first grade reading contest, the girl who received permission to take out the "adult" books (this was a Christian school, that just meant regular adult-level books), the girl who organized everyone's classroom libraries and the girl who was always picked to read devotions (again, it's a Christian school) for the class every morning.

But the greatest thing of all was being the book reviewer for the school library. The thrill of getting a book before it was cataloged, (in an actual card catalog) before anyone else saw it, was one of the greatest things in the world to me. I think I might have lorded it over my classmates' heads though I'm not sure any of them really cared enough to be jealous. It made me feel important, as if I did have something to contribute despite the fact that I would never score a goal on the school's soccer team. I was helping to choose what went into the school library that had a longer lasting effect.

Fifth and sixth grade I was in charge of the classroom library, my own little kingdom. I kept the books in the correct order on the shelf  (mainly alphabetically), kept track of who had what out, and in a class of 50 students, if you didn't turn your book back in I knew where your locker was and I would hunt you down. I spent hours handwriting each new acquisition into a notebook with its call number from a system I had made up myself, not knowing either Library of Congress or Dewey and lovingly stamped each book with a "This belongs to:" stamp and used stickers to place the "call number" on the side. Dedication and organization - those were the two keys there and two great lessons.

How have libraries changed your lives?

Libraries | leave a comment

The Great Library Cat Debate

dewey.jpgNothing 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: "A Grinch in Swansea, MA wants the library's feline resident, Penny, to find a new home. Does your library have a pet?"

The "Grinch" in this case, is making the claim that the cat's "presence violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because people with allergies to animals are being discriminated against if the cat is there when they want to use the library."  Full article: http://www.turnto10.com/story/21809894/swansea-man-says-librarys-cat-violates-ada  The cat has been a resident there for 14 years, and according to townspeople, the man doesn't frequent the library, but that is beside the issue.  The reactions on the LinkedIn forum were enthusiastic to say the least, with librarians on both sides of the debate. 

penny.jpgI quickly got into the fray by asking everyone:  What about Dewey?! How did the famed Iowa library of the most famous library cat, Dewey Readmore Books handle the allergy issue?
I think everyone in the library world and beyond has heard Dewey's story but if not, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8nSg8oxrfA

So, library cat or no?  Library gerbil?  Hermit crab?  And does an animal's presence help or hinder library patrons? What do you think?

Libraries | People | leave a comment

Being Frank About Fenway

Today is opening day at Fenway Park. Granted, the Red Sox have already played six games on the road to start the season, but baseball doesn't really seem official until the boys of summer suit up within the confines of friendly Fenway. I am not a huge Sox fan, and they aren't even supposed to be very good this year, but somehow that doesn't seem to matter. Baseball has started, which means that spring is here and having a few afternoon beers is excusable in the name of watching "tha Sawcks." ("Tha Sawcks" = "the Sox" with a Boston accent.)

Boston sports teams have more or less of a cult following that can be borderline offensive to the uninitiated. For the next six months, many Bostonians will be living and dying with each and every pitch of the remaining 155 regular season games. I can guarantee you that people will come out of the woodwork to be in the Fenway area this afternoon, and I plan to be one of them. I think that "Red Sox Nation" is annoying and overrated, but it seems like a rite of passage to immerse oneself in the mob of the Fenway faithful.

Simmons is very close to Fenway Park. Weather permitting, I walk past it on my way to the train after class. The area has been fairly quiet for the past few weeks, but that is about to change. Regardless of whether you like the Red Sox, baseball, or sports in general, there is something special about Fenway. I don't really care how the Red Sox do this year. In fact, if they are terrible, tickets will probably be cheaper and a layperson like myself might actually be able to afford to set foot inside Fenway a few times. If you're at GSLIS, you should do your best to experience a Red Sox game either in or around Fenway Park. Love them, hate them, or don't care about them at all, tha Sawcks are close enough to Simmons that you should at least spend an afternoon or evening with them. It's an experience that is truly unique to Boston.

Boston | Events | leave a comment

The Mysterious Line


Have you ever driven or walked past a Shake Shack? What is the most distinguishing characteristic of this place of business? Picture it in your mind. See the line. Do you see it? I went there last night to see what all the fuss was about but gave up when I saw, 

l wondering what it is exactly they put in those burgers and fries. What's the x factor? I read in a magazine about the Shake Shack CEO who talked about how the line builds character. How people want to conquer the line. It's a "challenge accepted" concept.

again, a line around the corner outside of the restaurant. Though it is spring, you really wouldn't know that at night. So instead I chose a local burger place and was quite satisfied. But here I am stil

You're probably wondering what this has to do with library school. Nothing. It has nothing to do with library school, unless you get reeeeeally creative. Think about that longing and desire to cross the threshold of the Shake Shack? Think about the holy grail attitude of the shake seekers. Don't we want that attitude in our future patrons? Don't we want that hunger for reading in the people that cross our doors? What does the average library patron look like these days? Are they hungry? Hungry for knowledge? Ravenous for a great story? I don't know.

The last time I remember a line around the corner of any book dealing establishment was on the eve before the release of the last Harry Potter book.  The energy in the crowd was electric. The buzz of "Dumbledore's not dead" or "Snape's not evil" theories bounced around the crowd. The sole focus of this line was book discussion. It was what they were craving.

Harry Potter book releases symbolize what we strive for in libraries, whether we care to admit it on not.  We want a dedicated group of followers, worked up into lather because of books, whether digital or print. We want a Shake Shack. Well, perhaps not burgers in the library. But we want that riotous crowd banging down our door demanding sweet, juicy perfection, salivating at the thought of their information needs being met. 

Libraries | People | leave a comment

Awesome Advising

I have reached the inevitable point in every semester where all I can think about is how excited I am for next semester. In addition to being very excited about my upcoming trip to Rome (less than seven weeks to go!), I am looking ahead to courses for the fall. With class selection right around the corner I turned to my advisor for some advice (go figure) about the best classes to take in the fall. The GSLIS program only consists of twelve classes and with five core courses already spoken for we only get seven electives. This may seem like a large number but considering the fact that those seven courses represent your focus and areas of expertise it is important to choose them carefully. For a student such as myself who is very undecided about my future career path choosing classes becomes an even more delicate task. It is for this reason that I am so thankful to have my fabulous advisor.

My experience with advisors during my undergrad was less than satisfactory as I was often shifted from one advisor to another and rarely given any time or assistance. I am so happy to report that the opposite is true with my experience at GSLIS. Starting with advising day, when each student gets a full 30 minutes to sit down and (very loosely) plan their intended courses, I have been impressed with my advisor.

As course selection draws nearer I sent my advisor a lengthy email detailing the two courses I am certain about taking for the fall and asking for assistance in choosing a third. I really love having an advisor whom I can speak openly with about my desire to move through the program as efficiently as possible as well as concerns about choosing the right electives. I have not even been at GSLIS for a full semester yet and I can say without hesitation that I have had more assistance from the advising department than my full five years of undergrad. Building relationships with professors and faculty is so important and I am happy to report that the faculty seem just as eager to work with students as we are to work with them.

GSLIS | leave a comment

The Art of the Symposium

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a very cool symposium put on by many of GSLIS' student organizations including SCoSAA, LISSA, ALASC, ASIS&T, Panoption, SLA, and UXPA.  This Symposium was the second one GSLIS has ever put on, and provided a really interesting glimpse into many different areas of GSLIS. 

There was a keynote speaker, GSLIS' own Martha Mahard, and four panels of students and past students.  Each panel had a topic, and the panelists gave a presentation on their specific area of study and then answered questions.  Overall, there were a wide variety of topics, from Technology to Ethics, and it was incredibly interesting to see what my fellow students were working on (not to mention impressive... I'm feeling like a bit of a slacker for not having presented!). 

An additional super-cool part of this Symposium was that it was available for both live and future streaming.  As the Facilitator for the Archives Management Cohort Online, it was awesome to be able to present this opportunity to the online students that I work with all over the country, and even internationally.  This also allowed for student presenters to be able to include family and friends, which made for a very integrated experience that I appreciated immensely. 

Another part of the symposium that was unique and very much appreciated was the hashtag #gslissympa13 - a Twitter tag where members attending the symposium, both streaming and live, could silently exchange thoughts, ideas, and appreciation for aspects of the symposium.  This was another way I loved the integration between the streaming viewers and the in-person viewers, and was impressed at the level of social media know-how of the student orgs.

I sincerely hope and believe that all of these new technological integrations between in-person attendees and internet-connected attendees will be the new direction for both future Simmons conferences and the field of LIS in general.  For me personally, flights down to New Orleans for the SAA Conference this summer are looking a little steep, price-wise - I will be very interested to see if they attempt to integrate some of this technology so that I can "attend," even if I can't. 

And way to go, SCoSAA and all the student orgs that put this on - your symposium was a roaring success!  And the literally cherry on top?  Ice cream at the end!   (Although it may be difficult to have a virtual ice cream social... I'm sure we'll figure out something.)

Conferences | Events | GSLIS | Libraries | leave a comment

25-30 of 36

I think I'm a bit overdue for telling you about my courses this semester, so here goes. I am only taking two classes right now, as last May's weeklong class and last semester's independent study got me a bit ahead of the game. I'm pretty sure I have already referenced both of my current classes in some recent posts, but this post will serve as their official coming out party. Wahoo!

Mondays, 9am-noon - LIS 403; Evaluation of Library Services

This is currently a core class, and one that anyone who entered the program before Fall 2013 must take. That means that those of you who will be starting in the fall will not need to take this one...but you're going to hear about it anyway. The idea behind this class is that in order to optimize library services for both patrons and the library itself, librarians must perform evaluations on different library programs and processes. These evaluations can involve surveys, a case study, or action research, among other things, and are often lengthy and involved processes that, when done properly, can help improve a library's operations. I am taking this course in a "blended" format, which means that half the meetings are in person and half are online. This was my first foray into online classes, and I am very glad that I did it. I would recommend that everyone take a class that is at least part online, if only for the experience of having class without actually having to go to class. Not gonna lie, this has not been one of my favorite courses, but hey, at least you newcomers won't need to worry about it!

Wednesdays, 1-4pm - LIS 430; Business Information Sources and Services

As an aspiring corporate librarian, this course is right up my alley. It is essentially Reference 2.0, with a sole focus on business librarianship. (The prerequisite for this, and most other specialized reference-type courses, is LIS 407; Reference and Information Services.) So far I have learned about a boatload of business information sources including databases, government websites, sites on the free Web, books, periodicals, directories, and more. I have also learned about the business world, and this class has truly piqued my interest in the type of work that business/corporate librarians do. The semester-long final project is a report about a company of my choosing, which I am actually excited to be doing. The report will include a company overview, company history, industry overview, executives, financials, news, and more. Not gonna lie, this has been one of my favorite courses. This class is not for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to take classes in your specific area of interest, do it!

Only six more credits until I have the 36 that are necessary to graduate, but for you Fall 2013 entries, you'll need 39. Use those extra three wisely!

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