Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Spring Is Here!

Spring is here!  The birds are chirping, flowers are starting to bloom, and most importantly, it is not cold outside!  There is still (still!) a pile of snow in my yard that refuses to melt, but I think it is on its way out.  With the weather getting warmer, it makes me think about how close the end of the semester is.  We're in Week 12!  Where has all the time gone?  It feels like we just started! 

I think a part of the reason why this semester has flown by so fast is because I've been so busy.   I usually try and take time to relax, and lift my head out of my books, but I haven't been doing that lately as my schedule has been getting more intense.  The busier I am, and the more stressed I am, the faster time seems to go (even though it really isn't moving quicker).  I really should work harder on scheduling time for relaxation--at the beginning of each semester I start out strong and schedule time for studying and relaxing, but towards the end of the semester, I'm not as good about that scheduled relaxation time.  I'm thinking of making a mid-year resolution to have dedicated time each weekend to get out and do something fun--that way if I can't build relaxation time into the week because I'm busy, then at least I'll have that.  The end of the semester is always a busy time, and I still have two big assignments due--one individual and the big group Committee project.  As much as I've enjoyed this class and all of the projects and assignments because they are so interesting and relevant, I've never liked the last few weeks of any semester (in high school, college, or grad school) because of all of the stress that comes with it.  

As this semester draws to a close, I'm starting to think about the semesters ahead.  Since my last post, Fall 2019 Registration has happened!  When I last spoke about registration, I had selected a class for Summer 2019 Registration that I was hoping to get in to (LIS 404: Principles of Management), and I was able to get a seat in the class!  For Fall 2019 Registration, I hadn't selected a class at the time.  There was a wealth of possibilities to choose from!  I ultimately ended up choosing LIS 421: Social Informatics.  Both classes are online classes and I'm really happy that I was able to register for all them both.   I still want to take an in-person class sometime!  However, with the way my job is right now, I think online classes are the way to go--but I'm keeping my eyes open for a Saturday class or a blended class at the Boston campus!

Classes | Online | SLIS


Participation

I'll start with good news.  I was able to register for all the classes I wanted!  Yay!  I also signed up for two summer courses: LIS 407, Info Sources & Services (my final required course), and LIS 439, Preservation Management.  I might switch out 439 for LIS 404, Principles of Management, but it was full and I had to sign up for the waitlist.  I don't know if I'll end up getting in, but I won't go wrong with either course.  I'm not too worried about it.

                Now, onto this week's topic.  One of my main questions heading into this semester was how the participation part of my classes would work, since both of them are online.  The answer is: discussion forums.  Each class has forums for instructor announcements and general help questions, but how many other forums there are, and how often to post to them, can vary.  For my technology class, we have one main board in which we discuss current technology trends and articles.  I don't usually keep up with technology news, and this has been a great way to get me to do that.  I've learned a lot by reading the posted articles and following the discussions.  And long as we submit the required number of posts by the end of the semester, we can check in and post whenever we want.

That's not the case for my info organization class, where weekly participation is required.  The class is broken down into modules and there are multiple forums for each module, involving discussions about the readings, small assignments, reflections, and questions or comments.  We are required to make a certain number of posts per module.  The discussions here have lots of responses, and it can be difficult to keep up.  I find that I need to check in every other day or so in order to not get behind, otherwise it gets too overwhelming.

There are a lot of things I like about the forums.  I find it much easier to write about my opinions than voice them, which is why I hesitate to participate in traditional classes.  But in the forums, I can present a fully formed, thoughtfully written opinion, which makes me participate more often.  It makes means the quality of discussion is a little better than in a traditional class.  Also, because I never get to actually see my fellow classmates, reading the forums helps me feel like I'm part of a group.  I especially love that if I have a question, I can post it and get several responses (or someone to commiserate with me!).  I've written and read more than one post about not fully understanding an assignment or topic, and it's nice to get reassurance that I'm not the only one struggling at times.  So overall, while the forums are different than a face to face class, I find they are still an effective learning tool.  It just takes a little time to adjust to the differences.

Online | SLIS | Workload | classes


Meeting Connections and Chatting with Friends

   It's early April, and you want to hang out with fellow book lovers. The obvious thing is to go to MSLA (Massachusetts School Library Association) on a rainy Sunday. MSLA is a chance for classmates you see in your classes to interact with school library teachers who are your professors, as well as other school librarians in the field. The day started off with an opening keynote on diversity, an issue very big among our community at Simmons and in public schools around the state. Many sessions were offered. I chose the talk on new AASL (American Association of School Librarians) standards, since I am working on creating lessons that align with those standards in my 461 Curriculum and Instructional Strategies class. 

  The instructor of the session on AASL was the former Simmons SLT program manager, from about ten years ago. Half the school librarians in the session were alums of the Simmons SLT program. Throughout the guided exercises at the AASL Standards session, I was able to get good ideas for my future school library, also given the opportunity to network with my fellow librarians.

   During the lunch break, I worked on my interview assignment -- to interview a library teacher who works in a suburb of Boston. This was the best time for my subject, and she was able to introduce me to other librarians in her district. I was able to learn that this library teacher presented at MSLA in 2018 on how she recruits library volunteers, making herself a leader in her field. The time I spent at this conference assured me that Simmons is able to connect me with alums who are currently working in the field through the courses and networking with MSLA. Simmons MLIS is developed with graduating with a job in mind, and I know after attending this conference that there are plenty of Simmons alumni in the Boston area who want to help me be a good school librarian.

MSLA Logo.jpg

Resources | SLIS | Students | classes | conferences


It's Not Easy Being Green

My senioritis went out the window this week as my schedule really started heating up. I'm currently involved in two group projects: one for my online Metadata class and the other for a conference presentation! Way back in January, Eric Poulin, SLIS West program director and instructor for my User Instruction class, asked me if I'd be interested in presenting at one of the state library conferences with some other students. I said yes, of course, and nothing much happened until last week. Our proposal had been accepted for the Massachusetts Library Association conference to be held on May 21, but then Eric found out (unbeknownst to him) that we were also on the schedule for the Connecticut Library Association conference on April 29! Eek! So now I feel like I'm drowning in virtual group meetings and deadlines and everything is coming up so quickly.

Fortunately, I just taught the last class for my internship this morning so at least that part of my work load is winding down. All told, I taught 8 sessions of EN12 classes (with the same pre-determined lesson plan) and 2 one-shots that I got to plan myself. I found out that I really enjoy teaching (as I suspected) but that the prepping can be time-consuming and stressful. It does get easier the more you do it though. I was never so nervous again as I was for my first time and today I was barely nervous at all! I did a TON of prep for this class though, feeling like I had to compensate for my inexperience and...greenness. During my first one-shot I felt like my inexperience was really showing and so I worked hard to improve that for the second time around, with some success. I have no doubt that experienced instructional librarians can get the same results with much less prep time and stress. You have to work a little extra when you are green.

The next few weeks are going to be intense. On top of all the schoolwork my family is getting ready for a move! We bought a house here in Norwalk and our move-in date is mid-May. Our apartment is going to be listed, so that means keeping the place clean and tidy and starting to pack. I feel exhausted just thinking about it, but I sure am excited for all these big things coming up.

Presentations | Real World | SLIS West | Workload | classes | conferences


Registration Time!

Registration for the Fall 2019 semester starts this week, and I know which classes I want to take.  One of the many great things about the LIS program at Simmons is that we are required to fill out a form with all the classes we plan to take.  It's not a binding contract, but it forces you to think about what classes you want to take and when, because not all classes are offered every semester.  I am a planner by nature, and I loved scheduling out my potential classes.   I had to re-do my schedule when I switched from archives to the Design Your Own program, and it was a bit of a project.  The archives program was relatively simple to plan out because eight of the twelve courses in the program were required.  The difficulty was not what classes to take, but when to take them.  The DYO, however, has only three required choices, and there are a lot more classes to choose from.

This is where the Two Year Schedule came in handy.  It lists all the courses, when they will be offered, and whether they are in-person or online.  To make things easier for myself, I input all the possible classes into an Excel worksheet.  It took a while to set up but it was worth it because it enabled me to filter by semester and focus on the classes with limited offerings to make sure I don't miss my chance to take them.  Since the Intro to Programming and Social Informatics courses are only offered in the Fall, and I want to take them as early as possible, I need to take them this Fall.  Those will be my classes for the semester.  Easy peasy, right?   Well, I also think that taking Digital Stewardship would fit best with other classes I want to take later.  This means I'd have to take three classes instead of two.  I checked out the course syllabi archive (which is an invaluable Simmons resource!) to get a basic feel for what the class structures will be like, and I'm fairly confident I can handle these three classes.  I'm a little nervous about it, but I can always drop one class if it's too much.  I think it's worth it to try.

Of course, this is all still a plan in my head, because registration isn't until the 10th.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have any issues signing up for these courses.  It wouldn't be the end of the world if I couldn't get into a class, because I have backup classes I could take.  But I would prefer not to mess with my schedule.  I'll feel much better when registration is over and I can focus on being excited about my classes!

Classes | Resources | SLIS | Students


Jobline for the Win

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have decided that I had too much free time as a full time student and part time employee. Looking towards the summer and itching for some real world library experience, I was trawling through the weekly Simmons Jobline posts for something that might fit. A few things caught my eye, but I knew my resume could use a revamp.

Luckily for me, Maria's post in December about meeting with Amy Ryan (former President of the Boston Public Library) for resume help gave me with the motivation I needed to meet with her myself. I was still somewhat intimidated, but went in with high hopes. Together we tore my resume to shreds, then let a new and improved one rise from the ashes! Amy was simultaneously so approachable and knowledgeable! I left feeling armed with a rad resume.

Apparently the Watertown Free Public Library felt the same! I submitted an application for part time circulation work (as advertised on the Jobline) as soon as I'd made the edits Amy suggested, and was called for an interview a few days later. It was great to visit a library so packed with Simmons alum-librarians. I did my version of a touchdown dance waiting for the T when they called to extend the job offer!

Completing the onboarding for the WFPL job, I thoroughly enjoyed the training videos featuring people with thick Boston accents. As someone who has only had 'real' employment in New Jersey, it was a "We're not in Kansas anymore" moment for sure!

I should be starting the circ job in a few weeks, and can't wait to put what I'm learning in my classes into practice! I somehow also managed to snag a nannying job watching some super great kids, so this is the story of how I went from one job to three in the span of a week. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes!

 

Getting a Job | Real World | SLIS


Senioritis

If you haven't been able to tell from some of my posts, I've been battling an extreme case of senioritis this semester. Now that the sun is out and the birds are singing it has become even harder for me to get down to work. I'm sitting outside right now watching my kids play and I just can't think of anything more interesting to write about. You see, there's a very small part of me that wants nothing more whatsoever to do with libraries, databases, websites, research, emails, and due dates from the moment I turn in my last assignment of the semester. This really is the final countdown for me, and I am so beyond excited to be almost DONE.

Then there's the question, that I've been getting a lot lately, of what I plan to do after I graduate. What I really want to say to people is: "Do I have to do anything after I graduate!? How about just enjoy my accomplishment and not having any more homework?" It's fine, I know what people mean. This reference and instruction internship may have the distinct possibility of turning into a part-time job, and I've been telling people for a while that I might look for part-time work after I graduate. In many ways, working part-time at the Fairfield University library is EXACTLY what I want to do with my degree and I can't think of a better opportunity or situation.

At the same time, I am in the enviable position of not necessarily needing to work to support my family. My husband and I have always felt that the best way for me to support my family is to be at home with the kids while they're young. But if I went back to "just" being a stay-at-home mom (for now), doesn't that mean that all the time, money, and work I put into my degree would be wasted? Well, that's for me to decide. When I applied to Simmons, I had no other long-term goal in mind beyond realizing my dream of going back to school and earning a Master's degree. I will have accomplished that, so maybe it's enough.

Anyway, there are a lot of big life decisions ahead for our family and many factors to consider. Beyond a doubt, 2019 is shaping up to be a momentous year with lots of transitions and changes. I don't know exactly what the next chapter holds, but I do know that I will always feel proud and grateful for all the learning and growth I've experienced during my time at Simmons.

Getting a Job | Librarians | Real World | SLIS


We're In the Home Stretch!

There are exactly five weeks left until the end of my class, and exactly four weeks left until my final group project is due.  Not to mention all the other activities, readings, and lectures to be completed.  We are in the home stretch!  The final few weeks of a semester are always overwhelmingly stressful with assignments and projects, and I don't know about you, but my school-work-life-sleep balance is very much out of whack right now.  Last year around this time I posted some tips for dealing with stress, and I thought they might be useful to repost, so if you want to check them out, click here!

My class this semester, LIS 451: Academic Libraries, is so fascinating, and has challenged me in so many different ways.  Our semester-long group project (which is due in four weeks), really is a culmination of everything we have learned throughout this class.  This project is Committee Group Project, where we all sign up for a committee, and each committee has a task, and we submit a written report, a presentation, and we all take turns being chair during the meetings and submit a chair report.  One of the reasons why this project is so important and relevant is because committees are how work gets done in academic libraries.  I'm on the Space Planning Committee and our task is to assess and review the first floor space of a library and make recommendations for improvement.  This project really gives us a chance to use the skills we have learned this semester, and some that we are going to learn in the remaining weeks of the semester.  

One of the reasons I am enjoying this class so much is because I work in an academic library and I can see what I'm learning in class come to life when I'm at work.  Admittedly, there are some things that I've learned in class that I haven't used at work, such as grant-writing, but I know I can definitely use them in the future, regardless of what type of library I get a job in after graduation.  But there have been other assignments and discussions, such as our Three Minute Teaching Assignment or our Outreach to Audiences discussions, where I can see parallels to what I do at work with what I have learned in class.  It's really exciting to put what I have learned into practice, and use the skills that I am learning in this class and what I have learned in my previous classes at SLIS in my everyday life.

SLIS | classes


April Showers, Bring Last Half of Semester Jitters (and Good News!)

March was a complete blur for me. As cliche as it sounds, I can't believe it's already April! March was a crazy month since it started off with Spring Break and I had some major assignments due. To start off though just a quick, little humble brag about how I was able to go over to Scotland to visit a friend there for spring break in the beginning of March. It was an amazing trip full of hiking, pubs, and castles! Oh, and lots of Highland cows (photos for evidence because it's too cute not to share), which are just as adorable in person! My brain always seems to get a little fried mid semester and being able to take a week to decompression is such a blessing as a student.

Speaking of having your brain fried, this may not come as a shock to many, but grad school is hard, and in my personal opinion graduate level online courses are even harder. So coming back from break was a little rocky at first! Don't get me wrong I love my courses and LIS439 - Preservation Management has been my favorite class so far but sometimes you just need a second to catch your breath! It hasn't helped either that this has been my first real winter and seasonal depression is totally a thing I did not take into consideration. I mentioned in an earlier blog post how with online classes, I really still wanted to make sure I didn't turn in to a hermit and not just sit in bed and do all my work there, but it is really hard to pull yourself out of a funk when you haven't seen the sun in so long.

Luckily for me it is now April and (knock on wood!), Spring is around the corner. I am quickly learning Spring just means a lot of rain for New England, but I will take it over snow any day. With Spring also comes the end of the semester, aka, crunch time. My internship at MassArt has been really fun lately since in addition to creating a finding aid I am now helping my supervisor with an exhibition on studio life throughout the years. We found some really amazing photographs from the late 19th century and it has been really fun helping her set up the display cases and writing the labels for the images and resources.

A final thing that I have been working on this past few weeks has been my application to study abroad in South Korea! That's right everybody, you're girl is going to Seoul! Simmons is offering LIS 445 - Metadata as the SLIS Summer Travel Course, and it was the perfect opportunity since I wanted to take a summer course anyway and LIS 445 was a class I wanted to take eventually! As part of the course we will be in South Korea for two weeks in the end of July/beginning of August. I am beyond excited about this opportunity and am so excited to not only take a course in something I am extremely interested in the field, but also learning about some of the different international perspectives of the field. I also, of course, have plans with this trip to pack a nearly empty suitcase to fill with enough K-beauty products that would put Sephora to shame!

 

Classes | International | Internships | Relaxing | SLIS


Changing Direction

Let's take a trip down memory lane to when I was applying to college for the first time.  I had several conversations with my dad that went like this:

             DAD:    You should major in computer science! 

            ME:      Ugh, no!  I'm artsy, not techy!

My dad is a computer engineer (happily retired now, although still the go-to computer troubleshooter for everyone in our large extended family), and he wanted me to major in something useful that could get me a job after graduation.  I, on the other hand, wanted to major in something that I enjoyed, like history and writing.  I majored in art history and ended up working at an accounting firm, which was not what I was expecting, but I have no regrets.

I'm bringing this up because I had a full-circle moment last week.  I decided to switch out of the archives concentration and into a design your own concentration focusing on...drumroll please...computers.  Specifically, my focus is going to be on digitalization, digital libraries, and programming.  I'm excited about it, and surprised, too.  The technology course was the one I was most worried about heading into this semester.  But programming is not as scary as I thought it would be.  In fact, it's actually quite straightforward and logical, as long as you follow the rules.  All the code has to be entered in a particular order, and if you forget a single comma or add an extra space somewhere, it will not work.  That is very frustrating and can take a long time to troubleshoot.  I've had a few assignments that I spent unnecessary hours on because I made silly mistakes.  But it's gotten easier with each assignment and will hopefully continue to get easier the more I practice. 

The most important thing is that I love it, and I want to learn more.  Libraries are integrating new technology all the time, and someone needs to keep up with, teach, and develop that technology.  I want to be that someone!  So last week I spoke to my potential new advisor and he answered all of my questions and gave me good advice.  I've made a tentative plan of classes I want to take, including metadata, digital stewardship, digital libraries, and social informatics.  I'm looking forward to learning everything that I can, and I can't wait to see where this is going to take me in the future.

Learning | SLIS | Students | Technology | classes | skills


Mind Over Metadata

Okay, okay I've been dying to use that phrase for a while, and now I finally have a blog post worthy of it! My metadata class has really been picking up speed and intensity. It seems like every week is a new standard to learn. So far we've done Dublin Core, XML (more of a markup language than a metadata standard), Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), and design-your-own metadata schema. And we're just over halfway through the semester! I figured I would learn a lot about metadata in this class: what it is, what it does, how to use it, how to create it, etc. What I did not figure was how much coding and actual metadata creation we'd be doing. It's a lot. Do not take this class if you do not enjoy coding!

Fortunately, I do enjoy coding. It is something I never thought about before library school and now feel pretty comfortable with. For those of you who either want to do lots of coding or want to avoid doing lots of coding, here are all the classes I've taken that required it:

LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals (sorry, you have to take this one!)

LIS 440: Archives Access & Use

LIS 458: Database Management

LIS 445: Metadata

 As you can see, there are lots of opportunities to pick up some coding/tech skills in library school if you so desire. Or you could avoid most of these if you don't...desire. At one point I actually did fancy myself getting into web development. But now that my internship is nudging me in the direction of reference & instruction, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever use any of it in a professional capacity. Ah well. Such is life for the student who doesn't have a specific career plan and wants to try a little bit of everything. That's why we have learning on the job and professional development (and internships!).

SLIS | classes | skills


Stress

Remember when I wrote about being a bit bored on spring break?  I knew that would come back to haunt me.  It's been super busy lately and I could use some of that free time!  It's been crazy at work and the past few weeks have been exhausting.  All I want to do when I get home is sit on my sofa and relax, and I can't right now.  But what I can do is be a little more flexible about my study schedule to make sure I don't get too overwhelmed. 

Up to this point I've been getting most of my work done during the week.  The main reason for this is because I hate procrastinating, but the other reason is because I need my down time.  I can't work for hours or days in a row with no break.  I know some people can do this, but I am not one of them.  I get too stressed out and my brain turns to mush.  It's really important for me to spend most of my weekends doing things other than schoolwork.  It refreshes my mind and gives me more focus for the new week. 

But things are so crazy now that I need to adjust this schedule.  I've cut down my daily studying time a bit and am doing more on the weekends.  This gives me the time to study and to wind down after a stressful day at work.  It's pretty easy to get burned out, and I don't want that.  So while I don't love the idea of giving up some of my weekend time, I know that being flexible about things like study time and break time will make things easier for me in the long run.  With the end of the semester coming up, this is especially important, because I have a lot to get done.  I'm sure I'll change my schedule again at some point to make sure I get everything done.  But knowing I can adapt to deal with the stress is empowering.  It makes me a better student, and a happier one. 

Classes | SLIS | Students | Workload


Book Talk Beats Bed

Sometimes, as a student with a mishmash of jobs and an objectively messed up sleep schedule, it can be hard to find the motivation to go to SLIS events, even if they are right up your alley! This Tuesday was one of those days where I just needed a nap. I was ready to trek to the bus, journey home, and wrap myself in covers. But, at the invitation of my friend Lee, I powered through and ended up at Professor Jeannette Bastian's talk on her new book: Decolonizing the Caribbean Record: An Archives Reader. 

I'm so glad I went! In undergrad I took a slew of courses on colonization in Latin America and Caribbean women writers that changed my entire outlook on life. This event, put on by the Student Chapter of ALA International Relations Round Table (SCIRRT), brought me right back to those amazing classes!

Professor Bastian's background as the Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands from 1987 to 1998 means that not only is she an expert on the subject, but the collection is near and dear to her heart. Decolonizing the Caribbean Record is a collection "forty essays by archivists and academics within and outside of the Caribbean region that address challenges of collecting, representing, and preserving the records and cultural expressions of former colonial societies, exploring the contribution of these records to nation-building."

As Prof. Bastian told us, this book was inspired by work she completed in 2014 as a part of a UNESCO-funded team for designing a library and information science curriculum for the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, and was meant to serve as a text for the program. The UNESCO team, and by extension this collection, sought to create material that "was sensitive to the cultural heritage of the Caribbean as well as to the archival concerns of a small former colonial islands in tropical climates."

Our book discussion included the 'owning' of memory, and who can lay claim to records, as well as oral traditions and how recorded history (or lack thereof) shapes self image. In a similar vein, we briefly discussed Professor Bastian's 2003 book Owning Memory, How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History. I really enjoyed her expansion of the traditional definition of an archival material, asserting that Caribbean carnivals are an archival record in themselves! We also talked about the difficulties and rewards of editing a book, including organizing and bringing together all of the essays, seeking out contributors, and following through on deadlines set for said contributors.

Professor Bastian joked that her 800 page collection was quite a 'door stopper,' but said it's more of an occasional reader that something to binge: you pick it up, read an essay, then put it down for a few months. Maybe I'll write a follow up blog post in a few years when I make my way through this exciting and rich (but somewhat daunting) text! 

Events | Presentations | SLIS | reading


Library Instruction: What I've Learned

Last week I had my final "big" teaching day at the internship: a packed morning with three classes in a row. I've now taught the same lesson to eight unique sections belonging to four unique faculty members. While I in no way consider myself an expert, I do feel qualified at this point to talk about some of the big things I've learned through this experience.

1. It's okay to be nervous.

Experiencing nerves does not mean that you are doing something wrong or are not up to the task ahead. I've heard from several experienced instructors that they still routinely get nervous. For me, my nerves generally fade away once the class is underway and I get into the "flow" of the lesson, but they can still show up again at seemingly random moments.

2. Every class is different.

Even though I had the same lesson material for eight classes, each one turned out a little different. I asked different questions, said different things, and spent more or less time on certain parts of the lesson. Also, the students and faculty members bring their own personalities and moods into the classroom, giving each section a unique character (some more conducive to learning than others). 😉 You never know what kind of class you're going to get, which is why good instructors learn how to "read" a room and adapt to the situation. I think this is a skill that just comes with experience. It is nerve-wracking, but it keeps things interesting!

3. Teaching is a physical act.

I was somewhat unprepared for how physically taxing teaching would be. It turns out that I like to be on my feet a lot when I'm teaching, and I like to walk around. Wear comfortable shoes. I can't emphasize this enough. I also found that I needed lots of water and chapstick. All that talking makes your mouth dry. I actually had a sore throat after my first day because I was unaccustomed to talking so much. Take care of your body, and give yourself a mini-break if needed.

4. It's probably not you.

There is a lot that instructors can do to make lessons relevant, interesting, and engaging and to manage classroom dynamics. But you can't do everything for everybody and students have a part to play in their own learning. Don't take it too personally if you get students who are bored, tired, distracted, or just not feeling well. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. It's probably not you.

So there you have it! Some of my big "take-aways" from my first experience teaching. How am I feeling about teaching now that I've gotten a real taste of it? I'd say that I have more confidence in my teaching abilities, more realistic expectations for the classroom experience, and more knowledge of my own limitations. Teaching was enjoyable, but I also found it physically and emotionally draining. At this point in my life, I'm definitely not ready to make a full-time career out of it. But I'd like to keep practicing and learning from those more experienced.

Internships | SLIS | Students | classes | skills


It's That Time Again!

It's the most wonderful time of the semester...registration!  Not only is it registration time for Summer 2019, in just a few short weeks it will be Fall 2019 registration, so it's time to think about that as well.

Here's my dilemma, and if you've read some of my past posts, you know a little bit about this.  When I came to Simmons, I started in the Archives Management program, and I created my course planning roadmap under the impression that I was going to continue in Archives Management.  I also decided to take my first class, LIS 407: Information Sources and Services online, whilst fully planning to take the majority of the rest of my classes on the ground in Boston.  Then, I got a job not in Boston and realized that I may not actually want to continue on the archives track, so I've been taking classes one at a time online, hoping that there will be an in-person class that will mesh well with my work schedule and that I will figure out if I want to do archives or not.  Anyways, so far I've taken LIS 407: Information Sources and Services, LIS 415: Information Organization, LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals, and I'm currently in LIS 451: Academic Libraries. 

Last time during registration, I dithered back and forth between taking an archives class and ultimately decided to not do it, but I also didn't take the plunge and actually switch concentrations, and instead I decided to wait and see while taking an elective.   I'm now pretty confident in the decision that I need to switch to the Design Your Own concentration.  I like the idea of being on the archives track, I really do, but after doing a lot of informational interviewing, talking with librarians, doing research, and having almost a year under my belt of working in an academic library, I'm not sure if working in an archive is going to be right for me.  So, my goal now is to officially switch concentrations (which also means switching advisors) within the near future.  I know there's a Change of Advisor/Change of Program form involved, but do I need to do anything else?  I want to get all the information about the process on how to change concentrations and advisors and I want to be sure I'm doing everything properly. 

So what does this mean for Summer and Fall 2019 registration?  The good news is that for Summer 2019, there aren't as many classes to choose from.   A lot of the classes that are being offered don't seem to match the criteria that I need, such as they are being held at times when I am at work, or they are very concentration-specific.  However, I have made my selection!  For Summer 2019, I am hoping to be in LIS 404: Principles of Management.  I think this class will be really helpful for me in my future career.  For Fall 2019 registration, there are so many options but I have a bit longer narrow down my possibilities and decide.  I'm really hoping that this time there will either be a blended class or an in-person class that will fit my schedule and my course-planning needs.  I've been making a new tentative course planning roadmap based on the projected two-year course schedule that SLIS puts out, but once I officially switch advisors and switch concentrations I think it will be a bit more concrete.  However, I think I've been doing a pretty good job so far! 

If you want to learn more about the courses at SLIS, click here!

Classes | SLIS | classes


Group Project Musings

There's some weight off my shoulders this week because I finished my first group project.  It wasn't just my first group project at Simmons, it was my first graduate level group project ever!  I was pretty nervous about it.  Since I'm taking the class online, I had no idea how we'd choose partners or topics or how we'd actually work together.  But everything went surprisingly smoothly.  The project was for my tech class, and we had to create a tutorial on a new app or program.  Choosing groups ended up being easy because we chose by topic and proceeded from there.  I chose to work on the Raspberry Pi, which is an inexpensive little computer that you can use to learn coding and other programming skills (if you want to check it out, you can go to the website www.raspberrypi.org  It is really fun!).

Our first assignment as a group was to fill out a Team Contract.  This was extremely helpful because it forced us to think about all the logistics of group work:  how we'd communicate, the best times we'd be available, acceptable response time to emails, etc.  All those little details were important because talking to each other via email or Skype is not the same as talking face to face.  It's not better or worse, it's just different, and it took a bit of time to get used to.  One thing I learned is that when you're collaborating online, there's a lot of wait time.  You're waiting for other people to respond and post their work, and they're waiting for you to do the same.   A few days or a week can go by very quickly, and you need to be proactive about checking in in order to make all the deadlines. 

Another important thing I learned is that being able to share documents online makes everything much easier.  We used Google Drive so we could share our work and see what everyone else was doing.  That was a huge help, and honestly the process would have been very confusing if we had to juggle multiple documents for each person.  We kept our main project in Google Slides and we could add and edit easily.  Overall, my group managed to figure out what worked best for us, and we didn't have any problems setting goals for ourselves or doing our work.  We even finished up early!

Now that I've finished this project, I can focus on my next one, which is due at the end of the semester.  I already feel better prepared for it.  Hopefully it will go as smoothly as this one did.

Students | classes | skills


Student Leadership

  It's finally Friday! This week was a busy one, starting off on Sunday using Google Docs to be a part of a LISSA (Library and Information Science Student Association) officers meeting. Tuesday was a student leaders meeting, for all officers of the eleven library science student groups. After I got out of the student leaders meeting, I checked my phone to find five emails from my other SCIRRT (student chapter of International Relations Round Table) officers regarding an event we are planning. Wednesday was the most fun of all the meetings, since I got to attend a faculty meeting as a student faculty representative. From there, the week got easier.

   How did my week get so busy? Well, back in December, a fellow student posted on the SLIS current students Facebook group asking if anyone was interested in being a student faculty representative. I had no idea as part of this position I would be accepting a role as a LISSA officer, or what I would be doing in this role. But my logic was "why not," it'll be fun...?" and that's how that happened.

   Rewind to October, I was sitting in the SLIS lounge in the Palace Road building waiting for my 6 pm class to start, and I heard some other students talking about international-type events. I kept hollering across the room, as I liked some of their ideas. Then, the current co-chair of the club told me how all the officers are new to the leadership team. Soon I found out that this was the club for international librarianship (SCIRRT), and I was hooked. I went home that night telling my dad I was now the new co-chair of the club. After two months of my first semester of the program, I was in a leadership position. At Simmons SLIS, it is easy to be a leader and getting involved helps students professionally and for making new friends.

 Check out all of the student groups at SLIS here.

Leadership | SLIS | Students


Hello Peggy!

We are adding another new blogger. 

Everyone welcome Margaret "Peggy" Hogan-Rao to the team. Here is a Peggy's Bio:

Hi, I'm Peggy! I'm fairly new to the Boston area, so far I love it here. I started the Simmons LIS program in fall 2018, and moved to Boston a few weeks before classes started. Originally from the mountains of upstate NY, coming to Boston is a big change for me - getting used to the city life in Boston. I completed my undergrad degree in Media & Communication and English Writing at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY, few hours west of my hometown in Eastern New York. My dream job for after I finish the Simmons MLIS degree is to be a certified school library media specialist in a city school district, and a bestselling children's author. You can find me most weekends exploring a new church or a cool independent bookshop in the Boston area. My hobbies include collecting more books than I can read, cuddling with cute dogs, visiting beautiful beaches, traveling the world, and volunteering in the community.

Peggy will be a regular blogger, look for her first post soon!

People | SLIS


Breaktime

Last week was Spring break.  I didn't go anywhere, because I still have a full-time job, but I was able to relax.  Instead of coming home every day and doing schoolwork, I got to come home and read, or knit, or catch up on my tv.  I still worked a bit on a group project, but I didn't have to spend nearly as much time on that as I would my usual work.  While it was really refreshing to have a break, I have to admit that I got a bit antsy after a few days.  I've been so used to my study schedule that I feel a bit lost without it.  A week was great, but I'm ready to get back into school mode.

I have a lot to think about for the second half of the semester.  I have a group project for my tech class that's due next week, and then two projects due at the end of the semester: a group project for my info organization class and an individual project for my tech class.  I have to create my own website for my tech class, and I'm a bit apprehensive about it.  Even though I've learned the basic building blocks of web design, I haven't yet done anything as complicated as creating my own website from the ground up.  I'll have to think about layout and content, as well as images and colors.  It's going to be time consuming, and I plan on starting as early as possible.  My group project is about cataloging a collection of rock and roll posters from the San Francisco area in the 1960's and 1970's.  I'm a huge classic rock fan, and I'm excited to work on that topic for class.

I also have to think about classes for the Fall semester.  I'm currently on the archives track, but I've been thinking a lot lately about switching to the Design Your Own curriculum.  I really enjoy my tech class and think it would be interesting to focus on that area.  Simmons has several classes that focus on digital libraries and digital records management, and it would be fantastic to combine these with some programming and tech classes.  So this week I'm going to email my current advisor to ask if she can recommend someone that I can talk to about possibly changing tracks.  I want to get all the info so that I can make the right decision for me.  Luckily, I still have some time before registration starts.  Both archives and tech are exciting and integral to the future of libraries, so I'll be happy with whatever track I choose.   I just have to make the decision.

SLIS | Students | classes


Developing and Managing Collection Development and Management

I, Katie Carlson, am a 'microwave thinker.' This idea was introduced to me by a professor at Mount Holyoke, and indicates that given a moment, I can always supply an idea. Put simply, my brain moves fast. (Sometimes too fast - especially when the goal is quality over quantity.) Microwave thinkers are placed in opposition to 'slow cooker thinkers.' These are people who need time to let their ideas marinate, especially before they feel comfortable sharing them with a group. A round table discussion can be torture for these 'slow cookers,' especially when the room is populated with 'microwaves.' While I originally responded negatively to being a 'microwave' -- thinking of unevenly heated food with weird textures -- my professor stressed that one brand of thinking is not better or worse than the other! We landed on the idea that in any educational setting, it's important to plan activities and allow for opportunities that work well for both 'slow cookers' and 'microwaves.'  

 

 

The reason I bring up this 'thinker' dichotomy is that my online class in Collection Development and Management (LIS 453) is forcing me to step away from the 'microwave' and make my way to the 'slow cooker.' Class being taught asynchronously means that I am presented with a few hours of content and have the whole week to consume it. While Wednesdays are my hunker-down and get it done day, the work almost always spills into other days of the week. I never would have guessed it, but I'm slow cooking! I jot down notes during lectures, and highlight my readings, but I'm thinking about patron demographics while I cook dinner, and list checking while I wash my hair! Of course I've always been a ponderer, but putting all of my comments into forums (with an end of week due date) has meant the content I'm sharing is more fleshed out!

Another welcome addition to my online learning experiment is hearing from everyone! In an online class, nobody takes a seat in the last row and avoids sharing their opinions. My favorite thing about education is the collaborative thinking aspect, so I'm grateful to be able to hear from my 'slow cooker' classmates, and learn a thing or twenty from them, too!

 

Learning | SLIS | skills