Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Seoul Much to Say

Now that it is starting to get colder (basically uninhabitable in this poor Floridian's mind), I wanted to take the time and reflect back on warmer summer days. You guessed it, it's finally time for my long-awaited South Korea blog post! Just as a little refresher, I was lucky enough to travel to Seoul, South Korea, this past summer as part of Simmons partnership with Yonsei University. Six other Simmons students and I took the long haul flight to Korea as part of our summer Metadata course taught by Jeff Pomerantz. We were in Seoul for a little over two weeks and we tried to cram as much as we could in those two weeks! From gorging ourselves on all the delicious food, hiking up a mountain every night to our dorm, and dragging my fellow travelers on several skincare focused shopping adventures, this was an unforgettable experience that I will be jumping at the opportunity to talk about for the rest of my life.

I have always been someone interested in traveling so when I was looking at graduate school I was also always on the lookout for a program that allowed opportunities to take students beyond the classroom. I had planned on taking metadata as part of my degree at Simmons, so it was really a no brainer to seize this chance at taking it as part of a travel course. Majority of the class was taught online throughout the summer on moodle (just like any other online course taught at Simmons), then we had two weeks of class at Yonsei University, then finished the course back online. While this was a lot to juggle over the summer since I was also working a full-time internship, knowing that I would be in Seoul soon enough made it all worth it!

After a very long flight over the north pole (not joking you could see the ice outside the airplane window), my classmates and I finally made it Seoul and our adventure could really begin. Our time spent is Seoul was jam-packed with all sorts of cultural site visits and (obviously) library tours, it's a little hard to keep track of it all.  Another Simmons professor Lisa Hussey (shoutout to my Fall 2018 LIS407 class!) joined us as a sort of a cultural guide since she has taken students to Yonsei in previous years. This was fantastic given she knew basically all the neighborhoods and all the best things to do and see in Seoul. Some of the highlights included going to Seoul Tower, spending a day at Bongeunsa Temple, and even going to a Doosan Bears baseball game! Our fellow Korean classmates were also excellent cultural guides taking us on many shopping, sightseeing, and foodie adventures. The best of which I included a picture of below with our "perfect day of eating" fully of tteokbokki and bingsu! I also included some pictures of our other adventures below.

"Perfect Day of Eating"


Gotta love a good, cheesy photo-op

Yonsei University Campus was stunning (even if it was full of treacherous hills)

Classes | Fun | International | SLIS | Summer

End of the Semester is Coming!

 It's getting to the end of the semester, which for means lots of school visits for someone in the School Library Teacher program like me. I started off my week at Watertown High School early on Monday morning. Even with leaving my house a little after 7:00, I didn't get to the high school library until almost 7:45. Surprisingly, the library was quite crowded! I spent a few hours taking notes on how teens were using the library for an assignement for my YA Library Collections class. It was interesting to see that no students were checking out books, but rather making use of the technology resources in the library. Some of the technology that I observed students using were Vinyl sticker printers, 3-D printers, poster printers, copiers, Chrome Books, and Chrome Book chargers.

 My Tuesday was not spent at a school, but I did make a quick visit to the public library in my neighborhood's town square. I visited the children's librarian there, who helped me to find some more nonfiction picture books in preparation for my Wednesday Writing for Children class. I also checked out some middle grade children's books for an annotated bibliography project I have due next week for the same class.

 With the semester coming to a close soon, I need to start getting ready for practicum next semester. A student teaching practicum is the end of program capstone requirement for school library teacher students at Simmons, so I will start an elementary library placement in January. Before I start my practicum, I want to observe my library teacher/mentor working with all different grade levels. On Wednesday I got to observe my mentor working with grades 3 and 5 at an elementary school in Waltham. I got to see students eager to participate in class discussion and students getting excited about reading.

 One really nice thing about doing the practicum in the spring is that it is one less thing to worry about during course registration time. The Program Director, Melanie Kimball, registers all SLT students for their practicum in early December, so all I have to do is register for one course at my assigned registration time. Getting ready for practicum is a lot of work, but I am looking forward to getting experience in a school library.

Classes | SLIS | School Libraries | Students

Registration Time!

Guess what time it is?  Registration! This is Registration Week for SLIS! I have officially registered for the Spring 2020 semester!  Woo!  I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was working on going through the course description list and the two year projected schedule, and I've been trying to think about what I want to get out of the rest of my time in my program here at SLIS.  The whole registration process has always been a bit stressful for me for a few reasons: not every class is taught every semester, and then some classes are only taught in specific locations specific semesters or are only online or only in-person, and then adding in the fact that I'm only taking one class at a time it can feel like if I don't jump on an opportunity to take a class now I will miss my chance.   It was a bit easier when I was taking the core classes (LIS 407, LIS 415, and LIS 488), because those are taught Fall, Spring, and Summer, in both online and in-person formats, but with the electives it's a bit harder.   Nevertheless, I have decided to take LIS 453: Collection Development for the Spring 2020 semester. 

In non-Registration news, last week was the first live session for my class this semester!  Only a few of my classes at SLIS have had live sessions before, and this was optional, so there was only a handful of us were online, but it was still really fun and interesting!  Our topic last week was Types of Settings in Library and Information Science, which was one of the topics that I had been eagerly waiting for all semester.   The professor talked about her time in graduate school, her library and work experience, the different types of libraries that she has worked in, and also asked us about our experiences.  Because there was a smaller group of us, it was more participatory than other live sessions that I've had at Simmons.  Additionally, we also talked about job interviews and hiring within different types of LIS organizations, which was really interesting!  I gained a lot of insight from our discussions!  Also, I really love the option of having a live session even though this is an online class.  It's really nice to be able to talk with your professor and classmates!  Interaction on the forums is great, but having that "class" experience is something that I do miss when I'm taking an online course, and the live sessions are a nice solution.  Our first live session was cancelled, and I'm glad we were able to have this one! 

I hope that everyone stays warm and has a good Registration Week! 

Classes | Online | SLIS

Reality Check!

I couldn't believe it when I logged into my classes this week and saw that it was week 10 of the semester.  By the time this blog is posted, it will be week 11, and there will be less than a month left in the semester.  Yikes!  So of course, I'm focused right now on all the projects I have to complete before then.  I have two papers and a small group project to finish, as well as my ongoing project work for Digital Libraries.  I don't have any projects for my Intro to Programming course, but that's because each week there are several very time-consuming labs to complete.  I'm thankful there's not an extra project on top of that because that would be a little too much to handle.

As usual, I want to try and finish some projects early if I can.  I think this is especially important for this semester because of all the holidays coming up.  This is my first Fall semester, and the first time I've had to think about juggling my work with all my holiday obligations.  I don't want to be thinking about schoolwork while I'm enjoying Thanksgiving or my annual cousin cookie swap.  I think I am in good shape to have a lot of my projects done early, though.  Most of my work for Digital Libraries will be finished before the end of the semester, because everything needs to be done early enough for the Systems committee to incorporate everything into the website. For Social Informatics, I have a short paper due next week, and then a longer one due at the end of the semester.  I want to finish the longer paper early because I also have to do a small group project for that class.  I really don't want to have to juggle both of those at the same time.  Basically, it looks like the next few weekends will be spent mostly on schoolwork!  But it will be worth it to avoid being super stressed at the end of the semester.  And then I can really relax before next semester begins.

Classes | SLIS | Students

Welcome to William!

We have added William to our blogging team. 

A little about William from his bio: 

"Hi everybody, I'm William Crouch. I am from Denton, Texas and moved up to Boston in September 2019 so that I could experience a real winter. I am part of the History and Archives Management Dual Degree program. I chose to attend Simmons because of the opportunity to get a strong education in both History and Library Science at the same time. I completed my undergrad in 2019 at Austin College (Go Roos!), a small school in Sherman, Texas, where I spent most of my time playing for the Roos Tennis Team. In 2018, I had the opportunity to work at Walt Disney World through the Disney College Program and found that I wanted to further my career with Disney. I wanted to use my love for history at Disney and found the Disney Archives which led me to a Library Science program. In my free time, you can find me watching tennis, playing video games, or exploring the many unique sites within the Boston area."

William will be working for us in SLIS Admission during his time in the program, so stay tuned! 

Dual Degree Programs | SLIS | Students

Influencer for a Day?

On Monday, October 28th, I was thrown into the world of large scale social media, as I was put in charge of Simmons University's Instagram story! EEEK! While longtime readers know that I was a blogging queen back in the day, I only have 710 followers on insta, and had NEVER posted an original story -- only shared content I was tagged in. I logged into the Simmons instagram, and suddenly had 6,000+ semi-captive listeners. 

Let me tell you, it was exhausting. While my takeover was largely authentic -- yes, I do sometimes go to the Gardner on my lunch break, but NO I don't always have on a full face of makeup at 8 a.m. -- it took some planning and creativity to brainstorm just how to share my experiences with Simmons' insta-sphere. I will admit that I definitely had a storyboard for my day, mapped out with what I thought would be good video opportunities.

I was pretty proud of my "What's in the bag????" section, where I went through what I have in my backpack on a normal day, and was super excited to experience the Sonic Blossom Exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner by happenstance! That said, my favorite part of the day was answering questions from prospective students, current students, and alums. I was able to plug some of my favorite books, as well as what I love about Boston. Definitely a lot of fun! 

Most of the Simmons story is available under the Highlights section of my personal instagram under "Day in the Life." If anyone is interested and willing to brave many photos of flowers and my significant other, feel free to take a glance @myfairkatiebug!


Fun | SLIS | Students | Technology

Creating a Digital Library

I wanted to write about LIS 462: Digital Libraries, because it is unlike any class I've taken before.  It's not just about studying digital libraries, it's also about creating one.  For our semester-long project, we are creating a digital library highlighting a late 19th century children's scrapbook.  The scrapbook, which was donated to the Boston Children's Museum, contains drawings of different rooms of a house, with lots of color images that were cut and pasted into the book.  There are also a few paper dolls.  It's a darling little scrapbook and I can imagine a little child having a lot of fun putting it together.  

To handle all aspects of the digital library's creation, we have a project manager and several committees.  These committees are responsible for different parts of the library.  For example, the digitization committee scanned, digitized, and posted the scrapbook on our shared class Google Drive.  The systems committee is creating the website and layout, the metadata committee is creating metadata for all the images, and the environmental scan committee looks at similar digital libraries to evaluate what methods and presentation would be best for our library.  I am on the content committee, and we are responsible for writing descriptions of the images, as well as providing background information on the scrapbook.  I'm also on the rights management committee, and it is our job to make sure that we have the rights to publish the material.

Each committee got together at the beginning of the semester to decide what work needed to be done and when.  It's definitely been a very involved process.  Keeping track of deadlines is especially important because they are not on the syllabus like they are for more typical classes.  Also, our professor is letting us do the bulk of the work.  He's there for guidance and instruction, but he's letting us make the decisions.  It's truly a class effort and we have been proceeding nicely.  The only frustrating thing is that I can't actually see how our library is progressing.  I know what work each committee has done because it is all shared on our Google Drive, but the website input hasn't started yet.  It will happen fairly soon, and then we'll be able to get a sense of what our library will look like.  I can't wait to see it and see how all of our efforts will come together. 

Classes | Projects | SLIS | Workload

Happy (almost) Halloween!

Happy (almost) Halloween everyone!  You know, I really think time seems to fly by much faster when you are in school.  During the short breaks between classes, time goes so slowly but now it feels like just yesterday we were starting classes, and now it's almost Halloween. 

So we're starting Week 9 of the Fall 2019 semester this week!  This week we're focusing on Evaluating Information Services, which is a really important topic, and it's really interesting too.  I've been excited for this week since I saw it on the syllabus--the library I work at did a Library Experience Survey last spring, and hearing about it and the methodology behind it has made me really interested in evaluation.  Every library does evaluation and it's really been interesting to learn more about this topic, and I think I'm definitely going to add LIS 403: Evaluating Information Services to the list of classes I want to take before I graduate.

This class has been really interesting so far!  Some of the other topics we've learned about include LIS as a Profession, LIS as a Discipline, History and Evolution of LIS, What is Information?, Human Information Behavior, LIS Interactions with Information, and User Services.  Similar to my other online classes at Simmons, there are online activity forums each week where we get to participate and interact with our classmates, which is really nice!  Our forums are pretty active, which is great because in a lot of online classes the forums are your only real interaction with your classmates.   Also, in most, if not all, of my online classes at Simmons there has been a "Learning Commons" forum on the class home page of Moodle, where members of the class can, but are not required to, ask questions, post things, and interact with one another in a less structured way.   During my time at Simmons, this forum hasn't really been used much, if at all, in most of my online classes, except for this class and my LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals class that I took last year.  It's really nice to see my classmates interacting with each other, asking questions, and helping each other out. 

I hope everyone has a fun Halloween!  

Classes | Libraries | SLIS | skills

Librarians are Resources!

My assignment for yesterday was to bring a picture book of my choice that was published within the last five years, along with 6 assigned picture books, to my Writing for Children class. To prepare for class, I went to my local branch of the Boston Public Library. The children's librarian there is very helpful for students of all ages. She is a Simmons grad and loves working at the library with the youngest patrons. This is just one example of how everywhere I go in the Boston Public Library - whichever branch I visit - I find a Simmons grad. Hoping to utilize the expertise of the librarian, I told her that I needed an exemplary picture book written in the last five years. I was hoping for a book that could teach me about a picture book's narrative structure. 

The children's librarian searched for notable picture books from 2018, and suggested A Perfect Day by Lane Smith: a hilarious book inspired by animals visiting the author and illustrator's backyard. Knowing I had a knowledgeable children's librarian to help me made this assignment feel so much easier. I went home that night to read my seven picture books. In reading the books, I found my notes from LIS 481: Library Collections & Materials super helpful. Looking back at these notes made understanding the context of the words with the illustrations much easier. Because there are some SLIS students who are dually enrolled in the LIS and Children's Literature degrees, many courses pair together or cover similar concepts.

Going into class yesterday, I knew that only one other student in my Writing for Children class was also in the SLIS program. Many of my classmates shared that they had struggled with finding a picture book published within the last 5 years for this class. Reflecting, it seemed like I was the only student who went straight to the children's librarian to ask for help. I did this because a strong knowledge of the collection and reader's advisory (i.e. recommending materials) are necessary skills for a children's librarian. I went into class yesterday with A Perfect Day on my desk, and my writing professor immediately recognized the book as a well-written story for kids. Now that I've spent a few hours reading through my LIS 481 notes and reading picture books, I think maybe it is time for me to write my own draft of a picture book! 


Children's Literature | Classes | Librarians | SLIS | reading

Thinking of Spring

Yes, I know it's only October, but the Spring 2020 course list came out last week and it's all I've been thinking about.  I love looking at the course list each semester.  There are so many interesting classes I could take!  I'm taking two classes in the Spring, and I already know that one of them will be LIS 445: Metadata.  I'm very excited for that class, because metadata is the key to many library services and is the foundation of information retrieval.  I am curious to learn more about how that metadata is created and how it is applied to different objects.  I already have a good foundational understanding of it from LIS 415: Information Organization and LIS 462: Digital Libraries, but I'm looking forward to a whole semester's worth of lectures on the topic.  It should be very interesting.

Choosing my second class is going to be tough.  I could take LIS 450: Public Libraries or LIS 451: Academic Libraries.  Either of those would be interesting because they would give more information about how those particular types of libraries work.  But I don't know what kind of library I'd like to work in yet, and I feel like these classes would be more beneficial if I already knew that.  Still, I'm keeping them on my list.  I'm more likely to take LIS 465: Knowledge Management or LIS 467: Web Development and Information Architecture.  Both of these are tech oriented, with the first covering how knowledge is created and shared (particularly through social media and websites) and the second on how to better organize web-based content for the user.  I think either class would be beneficial, but I think I'm leaning towards LIS 467 a slight edge.  Registration isn't until November 12, and I'm sure I'll be endlessly mulling over my options until then.  I don't think there is a bad choice among any of these classes, and I could take one or more of them in the Fall semester if I wanted.  

One class that I would love to take but can't is LIS 532: Reader's Advisory.  It's a brand-new class, but it's currently on-campus only, and I can't get to campus in the Spring.  I am so interested in Reader's Advisory and taking a semester long class about learning how to find and give book recommendations is my idea of heaven.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be offered again in the Fall, when I could make it work with my schedule. 

Classes | SLIS | Students

Referencing Spook

I recently moved from circulation up to reference at the Watertown Free Public Library where I work! It was interning at the reference desk at my local public library in college that sparked my desire to be a librarian in the first place, so it felt a bit like coming home! It's already been fun to help people that I recognize from working in circ with some of their more in depth questions.  

My first shift on desk (after my training) was Wednesday night, and I was able to help patrons with flyer making, provided information on literacy classes, completed some reader's advisory, and updated some bib records. But my favorite thing by far was getting to design a book display! Whenever I do displays, I make sure to showcase the voices of authors of color and of various gender alignments. Displays are a chance to recommend books -- even to people who don't engage with you at the reference desk -- and a fun challenge!

I wanted to create something spooky, but not overtly Halloween-like, as we are only a few weeks into October.  The sign is a little bit difficult to make out, so above is a copy of what the flyer looks like. 

A few books I compiled for the display and recommend: 

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado (a favorite) 

The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (creepiest book I've ever read -- cw for assault) 

The Cask of Amontillado and other works by Edgar Allan Poe 

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin 

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys 

Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal 

Feel free to pop into the library to come say "Hi!" or to check out some ghoulish or ghastly books from my display!


Books | Fun | Librarians | SLIS | reading

Touring the Library of My Dreams

A few weeks ago, the Panoptican and Special Libraries Association student groups, put on a joint field trip to tour the Museum of Fine Arts's library that is located not too far from campus! As a new officer of Panoptican and especially as an aspiring art librarian, I was very excited to attend but also to meet and chat with other Simmons students with similar interests and goals in the library profession. Getting back into the swing of things at the start of a new semester can be overwhelming but I knew this was an event I did not want to miss! 

While the actual MFA is basically diagonal to campus, the MFA's library is offsite on Mass Ave by the Symphony T stop. While the main purpose of the library is to be a resource for the museum staff, they are also open to the public Monday through Friday from 1-5 pm. However, the stacks are closed and anyone interested will need call slips in order to view any materials, which I thought was actually kind of cool from the standpoint of harking back to the old days. I have never been to a library that is still like this (although fun fact for my archive internship, the collection I was working on did have a lot of call slips from the Harvard libraries that the person had kept with scribbled little research notes dating around 1940-1950). We got a tour of the library's holdings from the head of technical services who was really wonderful about showing us the different aspects that make up the library. We had a large group (see photo below featuring your favorite goofball in the denim jacket) so it took a little while to corral all of us but the MFA's librarian was really sweet and excited to show us around and answer any of our questions. 

We  got to go into their lower-level storage area where they keep a lot of their auction catalogs, which was quite a huge selection. The greatest part of the whole tour though was when the librarian "let us loose" to explore the main stacks and even go up to the second floor of the library which I wanted to do the moment we got there but was too shy to ask about. And it was grand! This event was so perfect for my professional aspirations because I was able to look into one of the my dream libraries for such a large art museum. This segways nicely into some great news I have for this coming year...I got a job as the Collections Assistant at the Harvard Fine Arts Library! I've only been there for a week now but stay posted on that experience for a later blog post where I can get into more of the work I will be doing there. I am so excited for this semester because as cheesy as it sounds, things are finally starting to fall into place and I am living my art library dream. 

Events | Fun | SLIS | Student Groups

Classes and Events at SLIS

It's that time in the semester when all you do is study, eat to take a break from studying, and try to get in some sleep.

     As a library student in the SLT school library program, I need to start preparing for next semester. Next semester, I will be doing my first of two practicums, which consists of 150 hours of student teaching in an elementary and then high school library. I have the placement school picked out, and in a few weeks the paperwork will begin. With my classmates figuring out their course preferences for Spring 2020 registration that happens in a few weeks, it is nice for me not to have to worry about what courses I will be taking. Those in the School Library Teacher concentration at SLIS plan out their course outline in their first semester, and will stand by that course outline as they make their way through the program.

   The first course I am taking this spring will be a Writing for Children class in the Children's Literature department. This will count as one of my two electives. I will get to take the other fun elective in a future semester. My other spring course will be LIS 460: Technology for School Library Teacher students. It is a special technology course taught by a current high school library teacher meant to prepare SLT students for the field.

   Right now, my social life is mostly line dancing at Loretta's Last Call, studying, and reading lots of YA books and articles about how to serve the teen populations in libraries. In my LIS 483 class, I learn so much about how to serve teens in libraries, while in my Writing for Children class, I learn how to write books for them. As we near the end of the semester, it is time to start thinking about the big papers. It is week 7, and my professors are preparing us for the big projects we will be doing in the last half of the semester.

   This week has also consisted of a lot of emails planning for an event at Simmons in two weeks hosted by SCIRRT (Student Chapter of the International Relations Round Table. I am currently the only SCIRRT officer for our SLIS student chapter. This event I have been working on, hosted by SCIRRT, is specifically geared toward SLT students. A Simmons SLIS grad, Maya Bery, (also a former SLIS Admissions blogger), will be coming to give a presentation at Simmons on October 30. She will be giving a presentation titles "Bringing the World to Your Classroom," on how we can make learning more global in the school library. Bery is a successful school library teacher in Carlisle Public Schools, and presented this past April, on this topic at MSLA (Massachusetts School Library Association conference).  Student leadership is a great opportunity for SLIS students who want to get involved in planning events that they think will interest students and will help students build their professional knowledge of the library science field.

  Now it's time to enjoy the windy weather and soak in the beautiful fall colors in Boston.

Classes | Events | Leadership | SLIS | Student Groups

Planning for the Future!

We are now in Week 7 of the Fall 2019 semester!  When I was watching my professor's introductory lecture for this week and she said we were halfway through the semester I almost couldn't believe it!  Then, a couple of days ago, the Spring 2020 course schedule dropped.  My goodness this semester is flying by!

As the Spring 2020 course schedule just dropped, I'm now intensely studying the course schedule, course descriptions, and trying to figure out what my game plan is for next semester (and beyond).  Registration isn't until November, so I have some time to think about what I want to take, and to strategically plan. 

I mentioned in my last post one of the things I was hoping to get out of my current class (LIS 401: Foundations of Library and Information Science), was to sort of get an overview and introduction of what's out there in the LIS world and see what I'm interested in before I dedicated individual classes to topics.  This class has been really interesting, and I've learned a lot about LIS, myself, and what I want to get out of the rest of my time in this program and we're only halfway through!  Even though the class is nowhere near over, I'm already starting to think about some of the topics that I've learned about, and think about the path I'm on.  After this class, I'm going to be halfway through my program.  Before I've gone through the SLIS Course Descriptions List and I've thought that everything sounds interesting and fun, and to a point, it does.  But I don't have unlimited classes, and I have decisions to make.  As I go through this class, reflect on other classes, as well as things that I've learned at work, I've been making notes of topics that I want to learn more about, or that I could see myself taking a whole class on and am cross-referencing that with the Course Descriptions list.   I'm doing this to create a wish list of classes that I would like to round out my time at Simmons with.  I think this is a good start to thinking about my remaining time at Simmons and planning for the future! 

If you would like to learn more about the courses offered at SLIS, click here!

SLIS | classes

Live Session!

I had a live session of my Social Informatics class last week, and I really enjoyed it!  There were three sessions available, each on different days and times, and we were required to choose one.  I chose the evening session that started at 9pm.  This made me a little nervous because I'm usually wrapping my day up at that hour, but I'm pleased to say that I made it through without yawning every two seconds.  The worst thing about the meeting was that I looked horrible on the camera (laptop cameras do not do anyone any favors), but I'll take that over a technical malfunction or brain freeze any day.

We didn't do anything major in the live session.  It was more about allowing us all to talk and interact in real time.  We started out talking about any questions we had about the course or the assignments, and then talked more about how information is transmitted and used.  One of the most important themes of this class is recognizing that there is always someone in charge of disseminating information, and that person influences what the public gets to know.  It's a more complex issue than you'd think, because it involves how people access information, their physical location, and their cultural biases, among other things.  As future LIS professionals, we need to acknowledge that we are the ones in charge of information in libraries.  We therefore have to be aware of how we present that information, and always make sure that everyone has free access to that information.  We also have to think about how to provide that access to everyone, regardless of physical and mental ability.  Taking this class has really opened my eyes to how I get my information, and how I filter that information through my own experiences and biases.  It's incredibly interesting and will be something I think about as I embark on my career in the future.

Overall, I was very pleased with the live session and actually wished it could have been longer.  It was great to see my classmates and my professor and to interact with them.  We have pretty lively conversations in the class forums but being able to see and hear and talk in real time was a real treat.  I wish we could have more live sessions, but I know that they are not easy to schedule.  One of the main perks of an online class is that you can attend class on your own schedule, and live classes defeat that purpose.  But I am happy that we had this one session, and if there were more live sessions available, I would definitely attend!

Online | SLIS | classes

Book Bound in Boston

Perks of living in Boston and being a library school student: meeting famous children's/YA authors. Just a couple weeks ago, my Writing for Children professor ended class early so a couple students can go meet Rainbow Rowell at Brookline Booksmith. Rowell is the author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Carry On! About a week ago, Brown Girl Dreaming author Jacqueline Woodson was at Harvard Book Store, and then last Saturday, they hosted R.J. Palacio. If that name doesn't sound familiar, R.J. Palacio is the mastermind behind the Wonder books, and is known for her character Augie Pullman.

Before I was able to meet R.J., I had the privilege of meeting six authors at an amazing awards ceremony and reception for the Horn Book hosted at our very own Simmons University. My Writing for Children professor had strongly encouraged us to attend last Friday, and I'm am so glad she did! While I met so many amazing authors, I unfortunately wasn't able to meet Angie Thomas, the famous woman behind The Hate U Give. Although I didn't get to meet Thomas, her proxy read out loud a pretty dope acceptance speech. On the positive side, I was able to meet so many amazing people at this awards ceremony. I was privileged to meet an American hero, hear a young girl give an acceptance speech for her dad, and talk to a first generation Iranian-American about our shared experience of having immigrant parents. 

Horn Book Awards.JPGThe American hero is Jo Ann Allen Boyce, a 78-year-old woman who desegregated her high school in Clinton, Tennessee. The young girl was the daughter of Jarrett Krosoczka, author of Hey, Kiddo. Hey, Kiddo is a graphic novel memoir that tells of Jarrett's not very happy childhood, and this book won the 2019 The Boston Globe Horn Book Award honor book for nonfiction. The smile on this girl's face when she was signing her father's books after her acceptance speech was so beautiful - I am willing to bet that someday this girl will be a prolific author. Lastly, Abid Khorram won the Fiction & Poetry Horn Book Honor Award for Darius The Great is Not Okay. When I went to meet Abid after the awards, I shared with him how this book spoke to my personal experiences, as I had gone to visit my family in India when I was 10. Throughout the whole book, I related to the main character Darius. The book is so fun to read! Laughing about long-distance calls to our family abroad with Abid made me feel like I truly connected with this celebrity as a friend and peer - such a magical moment. 

Meeting Abid Khorram.JPGAs if meeting all those celebrities at the Horn Book Awards Friday night was not enough, that Saturday afternoon I went to meet R.J. Palacio at Brookline Booksmith. Brookline Booksmith is an amazing independent bookshop in Brookline. This bookshop has famous authors visiting just about every week. R.J. Palacio gave an enthralling talk about writing, how she gets her ideas, her mission to bring more compassion into the world using books, and how she is open to writing YA. Meeting her after the talk was a wonderful moment. R.J. was so kind. I got the White Bird graphic novel signed for my little cousins and the book Wonder signed for a friend in Galway, Ireland. If my week proves anything, it's that living in Boston - especially going to school at Simmons - there is never a shortage of opportunities to meet famous children's/YA authors. 

RJ Palacio at Brookline Booksmith.JPG

Books | Events | SLIS | YA Literature | reading

I'm Back!

It's been a little while since my last post!  At the beginning of August (literally less than 12 hours after my summer class ended) I was in the hospital getting major surgery.  Unfortunately, the recovery time for this surgery is rather lengthy, and I've been staggering my return dates, but now I'm back in the saddle for school, work, and now blog writing!  Woo-hoo! 

Thus far at Simmons I've taken all of my core classes (LIS 407: Information Sources and Services, LIS 415: Information Organization, and LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals), and two of my electives (LIS 451: Academic Libraries and LIS 404: Principles of Management).   I mentioned back in April that I had registered for LIS 421: Social Informatics for the Fall 2019 semester.  Since then, I ended up switching classes to LIS 401: Foundations of Library and Information Science.  This class was recommended to me when I was talking with someone late last year about switching out of archives, and had the two year projected course schedule that SLIS puts out been a little different, and if I took more than one class at a time, I probably would have taken this class a bit earlier.  If you've read some of my past posts, you know that I've been kind of at a crossroads because I came in to Simmons doing the archives concentration, and then I realized through doing research, informational interviews, and discussions with colleagues that I didn't really think it was the right fit for me, and I've been equivocating over what path to take, and how to structure the rest of my time at Simmons. 

I know that I love academic libraries because I currently work in one, and taking LIS 451 reaffirmed my interest. I know I enjoy reference and instruction because of LIS 407 and LIS 451, and a large part of my job is doing reference work.  I also really enjoyed my time in LIS 415, so I'm interested in information organization.  However, I know there are a lot of things under the LIS umbrella that I don't know about or only know minimal details about, and before I chart my course for the rest of my time at Simmons and dedicate individual classes to areas of interest, I want to see what's out there and what I'm interested in, and this class is providing me with a good introduction and overview.  For example, we're going to have a unit on Evaluating Information Services in a few weeks, and if that's something I'm interested in, Simmons has a class on it--LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services!  We had a unit on the History and Evolution of LIS two weeks ago, and guess what?  Simmons has a class on the History of Libraries (LIS 452) if I want to explore that further!  Additionally, one thing that this class goes over is all the different settings that LIS professionals can work in, and types of jobs I could possibly have when I graduate.  This has been touched on in previous classes that I've had, and I know there are devoted classes to specific areas (such as LIS 451: Academic Libraries), but as I'm really interested in hearing about this as a general topic.  I think choosing to take this class was really good idea for where I'm at in my MSLIS right now, and it will help me figure out my journey for the rest of my time here at Simmons. 

It's great to be back, and I'll keep you updated on how things are going!

If you are interested in learning more about the courses at SLIS, click here!

SLIS | Workload | classes

Connections and Libraries

With a big paper due this week, I knew I was going to need a few study breaks. On Tuesday night, I went back to Loretta's for a good workout of fast-paced line dancing. Wednesday was a busy day for me with meeting with a professor for my paper due this week, class, and then a conference called Connect Boston. The first conference of its kind, Connect Boston has a goal of connecting Catholic young adults to like-minded professionals around the Boston area.

The event started with opening keynote speeches from the founder of Young Catholic Professionals and the CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). After these two opening talks, there were breakout sessions for networking with Catholic professionals in similar fields. As a school library student, of course I went to the education panel. As I expected, I was the only library student in a room full of teachers. The three panelists in my breakout session were a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, the headmaster of St. Benedict Classical Academy in Natick, and the headmaster of St. Sebastian's School in Needham.

After the panelists talked about their education backgrounds and the importance of their Catholic curriculums, I stood up and asked a few pressing questions: Do the two Catholic schools have libraries? If so, what are their collections like?

First, the headmaster from St. Sebastian's School said that as much as he believes the Catholic faith is important, he has also ensured that his school has a large library with a diverse collection. Headmaster Burke stated that he believes in having many different perspectives offered in the library collection. After answering my questions, Headmaster Burke said we need more passionate librarians, and applauded me for my work.

The headmaster of St. Benedict's Classical Academy talked quite a bit about how he has just acquired a new space for his school's campus. In acquiring this new space, he had to choose an architect and make a list of things he wants in the new school building. Thankfully, a library was at the top of this list. One of his prospective architects tried to tell him "You don't need a library in your school," clearly not understanding the purpose of libraries. With that comment, the architect lost his potential gig. Hearing this headmaster refuse to work with this close-minded architect gives me hope that administrators still see the need for school librarians, as there will always be a need for information and technology professionals in schools.

Hearing about collaboration in the library space and the need for modern libraries from the two Catholic headmasters just reminded me that the scholarly articles I read in my school library program classes are relevant to the field. Spending my Wednesday night at Connect Boston was a clear reminder that Simmons is giving me the education I need to feel comfortable making networking connections with both fellow library teachers and school administrators in the Boston area.

Conferences | Events | People | SLIS

Putting Theory into Practice: Tackling Information Literacy for Incarcerated Students

One of the components for my Information Services for Diverse Users class (LIS 410) this semester is a service learning project. I did a lot of community based learning in undergrad, so this was right up my alley! I signed up to work with the Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College (TUPIT), which brights Tufts faculty and students "together with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, corrections staff, educators, and scholars of criminal justice to facilitate creative and collaborative responses to the problems of mass incarceration." Because I have a background in restorative justice and a vested interest in the rights of the incarcerated, getting to combine these passions with my library studies was a dream come true! This past Friday, I was able to meet with my project supervisor to get a better idea of what our goals are for the semester.  

As it turns out, we will be creating an annotated bibliography and miniature lit review on the subject of education and information literacy in prisons, as well as the book to prison pipeline. We are looking to discover what successful collections look like in prisons, as well as how educators would be able to get around limited or no access to technology, especially while teaching information literacy. We will also be seeking out people and organizations who have successfully done this work before, and conducting interviews to identify potential landmines, opportunities for improvement, and successes. Our final for LIS 410 will be to compile an outreach plan that TUPIT can then put into place after our semester is done! 

One of the key parts of mindful service learning at Simmons (and in general) is reflection. Throughout the semester, we have been advised to keep a journal tracking our experiences, documenting our feelings about the process, and relating these to our scholarship. As a stream of consciousness writer and blabbermouth with a lot of thoughts, I love having a space (beside this blog) to break down my feelings! 

On Thursday, October 3rd and Friday, October 4th, TUPIT is hosting a symposium entitled Engaging Justice: Inside/Outside Prison. It is free and open to all, and "aims to engage issues resulting in and resulting from mass incarceration, promote empathetic listening, foster vicis discourse, and center voices of those with deep knowledge of incarceration." I'll be attending with my group members and am so excited to further engage with TUPIT! Overall, lots of exciting things on the horizon -- I'll keep you updated! 


Learning | Projects | SLIS | classes | skills

When to Stop

I had a very busy weekend.  I finished most of my digital libraries project and I am very happy with it.  The only thing I haven't done is write up my annotated bibliography, but that shouldn't take too long.  I also spent a lot of time on an assignment for my programming course, which I was not expecting.  We have a lab and an assignment each week, and they both take time, but nothing like this.  I simply could not get my code to work.  I spent more than two hours just on the first question.  I tried over and over to make it work.  I changed my names, variables, punctuation, formulae, and it still didn't work the way it was supposed to.  It was almost there, but not quite, which was even more frustrating.  I decided to take a break and try next question, but I could not get that to work all the way, either.  So I put the assignment away for the day.  When I picked it up the next day, I still had no luck.  At that point, I decided to simply turn in what I had and not waste any more time on it. 

Normally I like to have everything fully completed before submitting an assignment.  But what I've learned in the past two semesters is that sometimes there is nothing more you can do.  And that's ok.  It was clear that I was NOT going to get the assignment correct, and I was only driving myself crazy overthinking and getting worked up about not being able to find a solution.  I had spent hours on this assignment, which, in the grand scheme of things, would only be worth a teeny tiny part of my overall grade for the semester.  It didn't make sense for me to spend any more time on it, especially when I had another, more important project to complete. 

If this had happened when I was in college the first time around, I would have seen it as a failure.  Now, I see it as part of the learning process.  Sometimes you understand concepts the first time, and sometimes you don't.  But there's a difference between giving up and realizing that you are simply not understanding the concept at the moment.  It's ok to be wrong, as long as you take the time to find out how to do things correctly later on.  I never thought I would be looking forward to finding out the answers to an assignment, but I am.  I need to know what I was doing wrong!  I'm also curious to see if anyone else in class had trouble with this assignment, too.  I'll find out soon, and until then, I'm not going to waste any more time stressing over it. 

SLIS | Technology | classes | skills