Student Snippets


Guest Blog Series about Study Abroad (Part 1)

We have a special guest blog post this week by current SLIS student, Hanna Soltys.

Hanna Soltys is beginning her second year in SLIS with a focus on archives management. Since moving to Boston, she's learned to like seafood and loves games at Fenway despite being an STL Cards fan. She believes tea, laughter, and a good book can cure any ailment.

From A to Z: Finding a SLIS Study Abroad Program

Guest Blogger: Hanna Soltys

Every start of the semester when learning about other students in the class, it's inevitable. It's the one thing tying a vast majority of us students together:

We all love to travel.

Yet, I was shocked to learn most of my classmates weren't aware they could study abroad as LIS students, even if they weren't interested in the programs Simmons offered. After looking through a couple options at SLIS, I didn't find one that spoke to me, and met with my advisor (Prof. Bastian) to see what my options were (if any). She introduced me to a SLIS Study Abroad rep where I was told to find a program from another ALA-accredited school and petition for credit.

Made a beeline for the ALA site and began clicking through schools to see what programs they offered. A few sounded interesting: one in Prague, one in Paris...yet something was missing to make me draft an email and begin my program inquiry.

And then it happened when I got down to the "W" section with the very last school listed (as of October 2015). It was on this last click that I found a match with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and their "In the UK Archive" program - a 2-week intensive study in Scotland gaining firsthand experience at education and governmental archival institutions.

I immediately contacted the organizers to see what course materials I could receive to help with my petition for credit. A past syllabus, program write-up (from their website), and email correspondence sufficed when I met with Asst. Dean Em Claire Knowles to gain approval. This was extremely beneficial to make sure you don't apply to the program and pay the application fee only to learn the credit won't transfer to Simmons. I also worked with the Simmons Study Abroad Office to see which parts of the application I was still responsible for as an external study abroad applicant, and I will be responsible for submitting my transcripts from the University of Wisconsin.

Finding a program was much easier than I originally thought when I went off the Simmons grid and the process was quite invigorating to see all the types of LIS-based international opportunities. And speaking of going off the Simmons grid, I'll share my Scottish adventures upon my return, including my time with a Whisky Archivist in the famous Scottish Highlands.

Note: The author understands study abroad is a costly endeavor for some and places barriers to participate. This post explores how to begin finding programs and working with Simmons Study Abroad.


Reminiscing on Belonging

Sometimes it takes a while to feel like you belong somewhere and that you're on the right path. Sometimes you search for reasons and moments and days where you can puzzle together hints that you aren't chasing a silver lining that isn't there.

Sometimes it takes a costume contest, two glasses of wine and a lot of fake confidence to find those signs.

I applied to Simmons sight unseen. The first time I saw Simmons I was applying for a job at the writing center and then rushing off to meet my roommate for the first time. The next time I saw it I was at orientation. Simmons, as a campus, had a hard time making an impression on me, and at orientation, since I'm a notorious introvert, making conversation was pretty hard. We talked about the weather and where we were from. Invigorating discussions.

I like to joke that when I saw the short hair and quirky dresses that everyone was wearing, I knew I was in the right place. My old boss, when I told her this, called it "the new library dress code".

I still didn't feel like I belonged though, and I spent a month wandering Boston alone, getting lost and calling up a friend who went to Northeastern to go to events with me.

That is, until Banned Books week. I'm passionate about Banned Books, as is anyone who goes to Library School, and I'm passionate about dressing up, and I'm even more passionate about winning prizes for dressing up.

Friday, October 2nd, 2015, LISSA held a Freedom to Read costume party, with prizes for the best costume. I had one in my closet from the time I almost won a Great Gatsby Costume Contest. Basically, I figured, all I had to do was show up.

It's a seven minute walk from the E line to Simmons and I remember chanting under my breath, "If you want to make a splash you have to jump", which is my advice to myself when I'm doing something new.

Like I said, fake confidence.

At any rate, I was early, and nervously sipping wine, talking to the one or two people from my classes who were also early.

Then the night picked up, and as more people arrived, we were talking about books, and classes, and assignments, and finally, it hit me.

I was in the right place. That night, two of the other party attendees and I made plans to go to the Boston Book Festival together.

They're now my best friends. I can't imagine Boston or Simmons without them.

So #mysimmons moment wasn't when I saw the green cupola. It wasn't sitting at a table talking about the commuter rail.  It wasn't sitting in classes and falling in love with the program.

It involved me in a heavily sequined flapper dress, a group of amazingly wonderful people and...was it three glasses of wine? Because what I love about SLIS isn't what it does, or where it's going. It's the people involved on this wonderful two year ride.

Books | SLIS

Three Fun Places in Boston

For the first time in months, I took some time yesterday to simply walk around Boston and visit a few of my favorite locations within the city. While I probably should have picked a cooler day (yesterday was HOT!), it was still nice to just take some time to enjoy sites that are unique to Boston. If you have not had an opportunity to visit any of the following locations, I strongly suggest you do. They are a part of what makes Boston special and are as notable to city as Central Park is to New York City. 

Beacon Hill: I started my day over in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston. With history extending as far back as the early 1600s, the neighborhood of Beacon Hill predominately features federal-style houses build during the nineteenth century. I love this neighborhood; while walking around its brick sidewalks and narrow streets one can easily forget that there is a modern city just a few streets away. The Charles Street area is where the old neighborhood and the contemporary Boston collide. Storefronts are in the same old style as the houses of Beacon Hill yet offer fare attractive to those looking for a bite to eat or to do some shopping. If you keep walking down Charles Street, you'll eventually come across the Red Line stop, Charles MGH. There is a butcher shop, Savenor's Market, that I always like to poke my head in. If I were a girl with more money and culinary skills, you can bet that I would take advantage of their impressive stock of beef, poultry, and game.

Public Garden: While I was originally going to go over to the Common, I decided at the last minute to walk over the Public Garden instead. For those unfamiliar with the Public Garden, its the place of swan boats and the bench from that scene from the film Good Will Hunting. While I never forget how fun much the Public Garden was during last year's snow-apocalypse -the duck pond had completely frozen over- the Garden is best seen either in the spring or the Summer, when the flowers are in bloom. Personally, I like the Public Gardens more than the Commons. I can't really explain why but I think it has to do with the size of the garden. It is not too big but also not too small. Everything fits perfectly into the space and creates a beautiful and relaxing environment. One of these days I really need to bring a blanket, a book, and picnic lunch to the garden...

Museum of Fine Arts: I finished of my day of walking by ending up at Boston's very own Museum of Fine Arts. THIS is one of those "You have to see this..." spots. Yes, Beacon Hill and the Public Garden are equally important but the MFA houses a one-of-a-kind art collection. Even if you are not the biggest of art lovers, a trip to Boston is not complete with out at least taking an hour or two and touring through the museum's impressive holdings. A number of friends have been telling me about the amazing visiting exhibit, Megacities Asia for months and I figured that it was high time I saw it for myself. Spread across the museum, the exhibit features artwork created by eleven artists representing the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Seoul. The mixed-medium works were amazing and really captured the stories that the artists were trying to tell. I think my favorite was Asim Wagif's Venu, which was a bamboo structure with cotton and jute ropes. There were interactive electronics hiding within some of the bamboo that rewarded the viewers who weren't afraid to gently touch the structure.

So there you have it, three of my favorite locations in Boston. All of these are worth seeing if you haven't already though don't feel compelled to do so all in one day. Even I hadn't planned to do that; the day just worked out that way. Regardless, I strongly suggest taking advantage of the Summer weather and the time off from school to get outside and see what Boston has to offer.

Boston | New England | Relaxing

SLA Conference 2016

I'm home! It's been a week and a half, but I still feel like I'm getting back on my feet after a month of traveling - Puerto Rico (for fun), Ohio (for work), and Philadelphia (for school). Most recently, I was in Philly for the Special Libraries Association 2016 Conference. My boyfriend and I took advantage of the location to also stay with family outside the city, and we got to meet their new (four months old is new, right?) baby!

We drove to Philly on Friday (June 10) night after work and arrived in the suburbs at about 11:30pm. On Saturday we took a bus tour of the city with Rob's cousins and had a nice dinner with them - there was a lot of chilling out because it was so hot and muggy! On Sunday, after lunch, Rob headed home to Boston and I went to the conference downtown. Because of my stipend from SLA New England, I was able to get a rental car, which allowed me to drive in and out of the city each day. 

Wilson_6-24-16.jpg(View from the top of the parking garage!)

My first multi-day conference experience was really interesting, and I think I found a good balance between enjoying myself and also learning quite a bit.

Here are some of the classes I attended: 

  • MASTER CLASS: Best Practices in Data Management and User Engagement
  • The Role of Information Privacy and Ethics in Good Business Practices
    • This talk was very lively, as people definitely have strong opinions about big data and privacy. The panelists also really encouraged dialogue more than hosting a "watch and listen" presentation. I actually spoke up at the end, because I could see the conversation turning to, "young people put everything on the internet and don't care who can see it," and I wanted to point out that actually elderly people are some of the most vulnerable on the internet because they are not as likely to be critical users of the internet. Digital natives and millennials, I argued, deserve more credit than we give them. I'm glad I spoke up, because after my comment I had many people come up to me to continue the conversation.
  • Exhibitor Theater Presentation - Lucidea - Doing More with More: You Can't Shrink Your Way to Success
  • Cuba as an International Business Opportunity
  • The Importance of Soft Skills in Intelligence Gathering and Practice
  • Voter ID Laws: What We Need to Know
  • Preparing Students for Corporate Research Life
  • Ethnographic Research Methods 

I also spent a lot of time in the INFO-EXPO, attended the Legal Division's Sunday night reception and Monday morning breakfast, and went to a Simmons alumni meet-up on Sunday evening.

You might notice that many of the events I attended were hosted by the Competitive Intelligence Division or very relevant to CI work. This was actually a coincidence, but I do think that it was a great way to prepare for my CI class this summer. On Monday morning, I remembered that my professor, Cynthia Correia, was attending the conference, so I emailed her and we ended up grabbing lunch together before she came back to Boston. I was glad to meet my professor in-person, since our summer class is online! While at lunch, we also ended up sitting next to a law librarian from a firm in New York City, and the three of us had a great conversation about CI, law firms, and legal research.

In reflecting on the conference, I think I really made the best of this conference and found a good balance between attending events, making contacts, and letting conversations happen spontaneously. I came home with a stack of business cards and new contacts with whom to follow up. I also let myself take some mental breaks, including a long lunch one day and a walk to see the Liberty Bell, so that I could return to the conference with a fresh mind, ready to engage.

My first conference experience was definitely a success and I am so grateful to SLA New England for their financial support!


Conferences | Events | SLIS

Beach Daze

I went to the beach this week. Word of advice?  Make sure you apply as much sunscreen as humanly possible; and always re-apply it after swimming. My back could make Taylor Swift's lipstick jealous, though I put on sunscreen pretty often.

We went to Revere Beach, which holds the distinction of being the first public beach in the nation, having been established in 1896. The ride out to Revere isn't bad--if you're like me, you catch the C or the D and ride to Government Center, then hop on the Blue Line to Wonderland (which, by the way, is actually closer to the beach than the Revere Beach stop. New England...what can you do?)--and the ride home is pretty relaxing too, if you time it right to avoid Red Sox traffic.

Revere Beach is pretty quality for a non-ocean beach. Depending on where you set up, the sand is pretty clear of debris and rock, the water is full of seaweed but not super murky, the downside is that the water is absolutely freezing, because that's how New England water is until August. There is also a place which sells good "beach pizza" for pretty cheap, and the slices are a quarter of the pizza, though it is cash only. I ended up taking home three huge clam shells and one (empty!) Nautilus shell.

If you're looking for a more typical beach experience, the MBTA does run a service on the weekends called "Capeflyer" which runs from South Station to Hyannis. Hyannis hosts a couple of nice oceanside beaches, a couple of cool looking museums, and is pretty close to the Cape Cod Mall. Hyannis is still a 40 minute drive from some of the more famous beaches, like Coast Guard beach, but I've always loved going on Cape, no matter where I am.

Here's a picture from my Revere Beach day! Remember sunscreen, water, a fun book and some cash and you're good to go for a fun, relaxing day at the beach.


(Seriously, remember the sunscreen)

New England | Relaxing

Farmer's Markets of Summer in Boston

June is one of my favorite months of the year. In the past, it used to signify the official end of the academic year. Since moving to Boston, June has come to mark the beginning of farmer's market season! 

As a lover of all things related to food, farmer's markets are like catnip to me. I absolutely love wandering through markets like SoWa, the Boston Copley Farmers Market, and the Haymarket Square Farmer's Market and talking with the vendors about their produce. The fact that you can buy an amazing amount of fruits and vegetables for just $10 doesn't hurt either. Whether it is your first spring in Boston or not, you definitely should check out a few of these farmers markets while you can. 
This past week I've been nose deep in books that discuss the history of New England cuisine. At the same time, I've been spending my Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Schlesinger Library reading through the letters of Arthur Nichols, as a means of learning about the late nineteenth and early twentieth century foodways of a Beacon Hill family. While I've learned a great so far, I'll admit that most of the foodstuffs and recipes that I've come across are for fare best enjoyed during the fall and winter. Since it is JUNE, reading about pumpkin pie isn't really making stomach grumble like it would if it were October or November. I will definitely try my hand at replicating some late nineteenth and early twentieth century fall recipes at some other point this summer, right now, I want to take advantage of the seasonal produce like currants and rhubarb, foodstuffs that I can only enjoy in May and June.
And speaking of rhubarb, I think I found the perfect recipe for those who want to try their hand at something other than a strawberry rhubarb pie.
These rhubarb bars are very similar to lemon bars which was why I jumped at the opportunity to try baking these. A cream cheese shortbread and topped with a rhubarb curd sounds like the most amazing thing to enjoy on a hot spring day. If this recipe seems like it would be right up your alley, I'd say go for it. The recipe is pretty straight forward and the results are 100% worth it! 
Rhubarb can still be found in a few supermarkets but your safest bet would be finding it at one of the three farmers markets I mentioned above. I went to the Copley farmers market on Tuesday and only paid $4 for a pound and a half of those delicious stalks.
For those interested in checking out the three markets I mentioned above, check out their websites to learn more!

Boston | Relaxing

Summer Semester and SLA

I've had a short break since my spring term, and now I'm getting ready for my online summer class, 'Competitive Intelligence.' In the last few weeks I have been busy with work, but I did fit in a quick vacation to Puerto Rico!


 Enjoying a coconut on the beach


 Zip-lining in the rainforest with kittens

Based on what I've seen of the syllabus, Competitive Intelligence going to be intense. There's a lot of reading, plus we will have weekly virtual meetings on Monday nights. On those evenings, I plan to stay at work late and call in from my office, since I won't make it home for our 6pm start time. 

This week, I'm getting ready for another trip, to the Special Libraries Association's Summer 2016 Conference in Philadelphia! We are lucky enough to have family in the area, so we will stay with them. Our plan (for Rob and me) is to drive down Friday after work; he is driving home Sunday, and I will fly home Tuesday. The conference is only from Sunday to Tuesday, so we get to enjoy our visit with Rob's cousins too. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay and was awarded a stipend for attending the conference from the SLA legal division. The money can be used for travel and hotel expenses, so I'm planning to put it toward my flight and a rental car to get in and out of Philly each day. 

This week, to prepare for the conference, I'm going to check out the list of events and plan which ones I want to attend. The SLA website has a neat tool that lets you plan your schedule so you don't have to carry the whole long list around. I'm also hoping to attend a Simmons event on Sunday night, which a few of our professors are attending. 

I also want to read through the "Tips for First Time Attendees," since this is my first multi-day conference and I know that big events like this can be overwhelming. I will try to take in as much as I can, and write again next week about my experience!

Conferences | Conferences

Wandering Boston Gardens

Since the spring semester ended, I started a new job, Boston got hit by a heat wave, and I've been bouncing back and forth from Boston to CT to handle a few things, like getting an air conditioner and getting my dog vaccinated. However, because it is finally summertime, I've been doing my best to walk around Boston and just get to know more of the city. Recently, I've been wandering aimlessly and stumbling into some of Boston's cultivated green spaces. For example: 


(On the top is the Rose Garden near Simmons, and the bottom is in the financial area near Downtown Crossing)

My undergraduate degree in American Studies focused heavily on the history of the environment and environmentalist movements of New England, so I'm always fascinated by these green spaces. A pretty amazing book that discusses Boston's green spaces in particular is Michael Rawson's Eden on the Charles. Rawson takes a serious look at green spaces like the Boston Common and this economic, socio-cultural and historical influences which shaped it from an area for cows and farm animals to the park we recognize today. He also brings up discussions about class, urbanization, and concepts of 'Nature' which shaped Boston.

As conversation starters go, people are pretty interested in discussing New England's environmental movement. Especially grandparents, friend's grandparents, and history majors.

A couple of other books I'd recommend include Richard Judd's Second Nature and his book Common Lands, Common People, and Jane Holtz Kay's Lost Boston, for great looks at the environment, urban and natural, that once was and why the city looks the way it does now. I also recommend just stepping out on to the street, picking a direction and walking. You're bound to hit something eventually!

Books | Boston | New England | Relaxing

Life After Graduation

This past Friday something incredible happened: I graduated from Simmons with a Masters in Library and Information Science. Three years, seven semesters (including one summer session), and two internships later, I have emerged from the other side with my shiny degree in hand ready to take on the professional world. Huzzah!

And yet, here I am, still blogging for SLIS. Just when I thought my time with SLIS had reached its end, I was asked if I wanted to continue blogging for the program over the course of the summer. Having done so for the past two summers, I was happy to take on the challenge. Submitting posts for the SLIS student experience blog has been apart of my Boston life since moving here in the Fall of 2013. It's really fun to go back and read old posts and see how far I've come since then.
But enough reminisces, let's talk about what I have in store for this summer.
This summer I have two major projects to tackle. The first will be completing my History thesis. That corner will be turned on July 1st and I have to say, it is coming up fast. While my thesis is written in its entirety, I am coming to the end of my first of two the revision phases. 
Here's a tip for those who will be working on their thesis this coming fall: don't be ashamed of taking an extension if you need one. I had to take a few extra weeks due to multiple factors, one of which being a medical emergency. Having a few extra weeks has allowed me to give my thesis the attention it needs to make it great.

The second project for the summer is the completion of a research project for a fellowship through the Nichols House Museum in Beacon Hill. This project will include the creation of an original piece of research that relates to the Nichols House's collection, which is primarily composed of papers from the Nichols family. The museum is the family of the Nichols family who lived in Beacon Hill from 1885 to 1960. There is a lot of history there and I highly recommend stopping by the museum and taking the tour. At this time, I am in the early phases of assessing the collection and narrowing down my project ideas. I can assure you that I will try to include food in it, somehow. 

Apart from these two projects, I will be continuing to work as a reference assistant at MCPHS and will be working a few library related projects there. It seems like my post-SLIS summer is going to be quite a doozy. I can't wait to share my experiences with you!
For those interested in learning more about the Nichols family and the museum, click here!

Archives | Boston | Dual Degree Programs | SLIS | SLIS

Salem In A Day

My semester ended last Tuesday so, on Thursday, my friends and I went out to Salem for the day. It's a fast, cheap trip (14 dollars for a round trip ticket on the commuter rail!) and about thirty or so minutes from South Station to the Salem MBTA station.

We basically just wandered around the central tourist part of Salem, hitting up the Witch Dungeon museum, which was kind of corny but in that nice tourist-y way. They did a reenactment of one of the trials and then lead us on a tour of a replica dungeon, and discussed the history of the jailing of the witches. We then wandered down to the Peabody Museum, which was amazing and rich in both classic and maritime themed art and newer, more modern pieces. If you haven't been, the offer a student discount and it's really affordable to go in.

Of course, spending the whole day in Salem, we had to grab lunch. If you're looking for good food and a nice environment, I would recommend the Gulu-Gulu cafe. We ate there for lunch, and the food was amazing. The menu was limited because it wasn't full tourist season yet, so their winter menu was still out, but what they had was so good. At the end of the day, we went to Melt Ice Cream, which is this homemade ice cream shop on the walk back from Essex street to the MBTA station. Seriously, it's worth the train ride just to go to this shop. We also stopped in a few shops on the main shopping road before heading over to look at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and going home.

I had a blast the last couple of days. My friends have flown off to their respective states for a month or, but, as a New England girl, I'm sticking around Boston for the summer. If every adventure is as fun as Salem was--random sunburn and all--then I am so excited.

New England | Relaxing

Guest Blog Post About Medical Librarianship

We have a special guest blog post this week by current SLIS student Jessie Cass. 

Jesse is currently (Spring 2016) in her last semester at Simmons SLIS. She is finishing up an internship at the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester doing collection development and creating a libguide. She hopes to continue to do similar work in the future, though she would also love to combine her interest in cognitive science with the skills in library and information science gained throughout her time at Simmons. She has always lived in Massachusetts and will be remaining in the Boston area since it has so much to offer! When she is not doing homework she loves walking her dog and reading science fiction novels. You can learn more about her academic career at

Medical Librarianship 

Guest Blogger, Jessie Cass

In the spring of 2016 I completed an independent study which I called "Comparing Medical Librarian Roles: Circuit Riders, Clinical Librarians, and Informationists". I worked with a medical librarian (Catherine Carr) from the Lamar Soutter Library (Umass Medical School, Worcester, MA). She provided me with readings on circuit riders, clinical librarians, and informationists (listed below as "sources consulted throughout the semester").

After doing these readings I identified patterns that I had found in terms of defining the different roles and their similarities and differences. Additionally, when creating this blog post to share those conclusions, I found similar blog posts for readers to look at which also describe being a medical librarian.

 Comparing Medical Librarian Roles

 Circuit Rider: A librarian travels weekly to a set of health science-related institutions to provide library services (especially reference and document retrieval).

Clinical Librarian: A librarian works in a healthcare setting and provides services (especially literature searches, information literacy education, point-of-care support, and critical appraisals supporting clinical decision-making).

Informationist: A librarian embedded in any team (especially clinical, biomedical research, and public health settings).

 Common elements:

  • Domain (health sciences) knowledge
  • Library and Information Science education
  • Provide reference (literature searches / selecting appropriate documents / prepare & deliver materials)
  • Provide instruction (including continuing education and database demonstrations)
  • Support clinical staff and patient care
  • Attend case conferences and/or staff meetings

Additional perspectives on medical librarianship (first-person accounts):

 Sources consulted throughout the semester: 

- Aldrich, A. M., & Schulte, S. J. (2014). Establishing a new clinical informationist role in an academic health sciences center. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 33(2), 136-146.
- Brettle, A., Maden-Jenkins, M., Anderson, L., McNally, R., Pratchett, T., Tancock, J., ... Webb, A.(2011). Evaluating clinical librarian services: A systematic review. Health Information and
  Libraries Journal, 28(1), 3-22. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2010.00925.x
- Davidoff, F., & Florance, V. (2000). The informationist: A new health profession? Annals of Internal Medicine, 132(12), 996-998. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-132-12-200006200-00012
- Feuer, S. (1977). The circuit rider librarian. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 65(3), 349-353.
- Oliver, K. B., & Roderer, N. K. (2006). Working towards the informationist. Health Informatics Journal, 12(1), 41-48. doi:10.1177/1460458206061207
- Pifalo, V. (1994). Circuit librarianship: A twentieth anniversary appraisal. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 13(1), 19-33.
- Rankin, J. A., Grefsheim, S. F., & Canto, C. C. (2008). The emerging informationist specialty: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 96(3), 194-206.          doi:10.3163/1536-5050.96.3.005
- Schacher, L. F. (2001). Clinical librarianship: Its value in medical care. Annals of Internal Medicine, 134(8), 717-720. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-134-8-200104170-00023
- Stumpff, J. C. (2003). Providing medical information to college health center personnel: A circuit librarian service at the University of Illinois. Journal of American College Health, 52(2), 88-91.
- Tan, M. C., & Maggio, L. A. (2013). Expert searcher, teacher, content manager, and patient advocate: An exploratory study of clinical librarian roles. Journal of the Medical Library Association,    101(1), 63-72.
- Wagner, K. C., & Byrd, G. D. (2004). Evaluating the effectiveness of clinical medical librarian programs: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 92(1), 14-33.
- Whitmore, S. C., Grefsheim, S. F., & Rankin, J. A. (2008). Informationist programme in support of biomedical research: A programme description and preliminary findings of an evaluation. Health I I     Information and Libraries Journal, 25, 135-141. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2007.00756.x

Classes | People | Presentations | SLIS | Students

The End

The Fab Four (AKA The Beatles) once sang:

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make
While the lyrics above might not directly correlate to my thoughts and feelings towards reaching the end of graduate school, I just really wanted to kick-off a blog post with something Beatles related. But, let me make some slight word modifications to make the four lines above a bit more topical.
And in the end
The experience you take
Is equal to the work
You make

Okay so it's not as good as the original version but I think it was worth a shot. Even so, I think my alterations work with the situation that's going on here. 

Indeed, my time as a graduate student is dwindling down; about twenty days, I am going to walk across a stage to receive my Master's in Library and Information Science!* Can you believe it 'cause I really, really, REALLY, can't. It seriously feels like just yesterday that I attended SLIS (or GSLIS as it was known then) orientation after accidentally walking towards Kenmore for ten minutes. Yet here I am, weeks away from the inevitable end. And OMG, what an adventure this whole experience has been! 

Although this might sound like a total cliche, a lot can happen in three years. I know that I am not the same person that I was when I first started at SLIS. Through academic courses, job and internship opportunities, SLIS sponsored events, and networking, I have made tremendous strides in my path towards becoming a professional within the field of LIS. While these are things that I knew would occur over the three years that I would a student in SLIS, nothing could have prepared me for just how much they would impact my overall professional development. While I thought that I knew which area of LIS I wanted to focus on (archives), my coursework and experiences have led me down a slightly different path. Although I would still like to work in an archive, I have discovered a fondness for reference work and an interest in special libraries. These are realizations that I would never have had were it not for SLIS resources like the Jobline or emails calling for applications for internships.

Returning to my lyrical opener, I want to emphasize the truth behind the fact that none of my experiences would have ever occurred had I not been encouraged by members of the SLIS faculty to push myself to try new things. Had I not done so, I would never had landed a job as a medical reference librarian and fallen in love with reference work. If there is one thing that I have to impart on incoming students it is this: don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone; you never know what you might learn. The SLIS experience is the one that is tailored to the individual. No one is going to have the same story here and that's primarily due to the path(s) they take between orientation and commencements. But you have to put the effort in. If not, then you are not getting the full SLIS experience.

I have had a blast blogging for the School of Library and Information Science for the past three years. It has been awesome chronicling my time in the program as well as sneaking in references to Kevin Bacon (like this one). I am not sure what is in store for me after graduation but I am confident that SLIS has prepared me for what is next. 

I might be back this summer with a blog post or two but for now, this is Jill Silverberg signing off!

*I will earn my Master's in History this August since I have selected to take a slight extension on my thesis. 


A Weekend in the Big Apple

Last week I posted about the process of packing for and anticipating my upcoming trip to NYC. Well, as promised, this week I will share the highlights of what was one of the best trips EVER!

The adventure began on Friday night when we caught a bus from Boston to Manhattan. Now, if any of you have ever ventured to New York, you will not be surprised when I tell you we hit a massive grid-lock on the freeway (at 11:30pm!) and ended up arriving at our destination an hour and a half later than we were supposed to. But we were so excited it didn't matter!


We woke up Saturday morning and went to stand in line for Rush tickets for some Broadway shows. If you don't know, the Rush policy allows people to purchase suuuuuper cheap tickets (like $35) for shows that day, if they haven't already sold the seats. We ended up getting tickets for both She Loves Me with Zachary Levi (swoon) and Fiddler on the Roof. Both shows were amazing, but I have to give a shout-out to Fiddler in particular. I should admit that I'm biased because this happens to be my favorite show of all time, but I've never gotten to see it live until now, and my expectations were blown out of the water! The cast was incredible, the choreography was inSANE, and the entire concept of the show was so beautifully executed...ok, I could go on and on. I'll just say, if you happen to be in the area in the next few months, GO SEE THE SHOW!!! You won't be sorry. And afterwards, we got to meet the cast at the stage door. It was so cool getting to talk to them for a bit and thank them for the beautiful piece of theater they had given us!

casky_4-29b.jpg        casky_4-29c.jpg

Anyway, the next day my roommate decided she was going to spend the day walking around with her cousins (who we were lucky enough to stay with), and I decided I wanted to go see another show. But as I'm standing in line for tickets to another great show, I suddenly realized that I was hoping it would be full so I would have an excuse to go back and see Fiddler I left the line and went and saw Fiddler that afternoon! Sounds crazy, I know, but it was that good.

Of course, no trip to New York would be complete without crazy amounts of delicious food! We got some of the best New York bagels I've ever had, amazing pasta at a local Italian place in the theater district, and then some Italian bakery treats afterwards.


Needless to say, this was an incredible weekend of food, art, friends, and exploration. I'm so so grateful for the opportunity to go, and I'd encourage each of you to take advantage of Boston's proximity to this wonderful city and check it out at least once while you're here. 


Keeping Busy

Yesterday, my mom finally came up to Boston to visit me, so I did what any normal daughter would do: I dragged her out to dinner with my two best friends and paid the tab. We went to Walhburgers, which, by the way, was amazing. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was low key and perfect for chilling with close friends and family, and the staff was fun and relaxed. The drink selection was pretty good too, though their online menu did not match their in restaurant menu.

That was only part one of my plans for her birthday. I also got her a book on Mark Twain that a friend picked up at ALA Midwinter and highly recommended, and we're going to be going out today or Saturday for a fun, relaxing day at the local malls.

My friends are worried about how I'll manage to get all of my homework done, and despite my amazing time management skills, I understand their worry, because I'm also wondering the same thing. I usually pull through, though. There are eleven days left before my last assignment is due, and there are several assignments due (25 page paper with a partner, a final policy, website finalization, a two page 'white paper', two presentations) in between now and then.

Still, I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and then, after the crazy get-everything-done week, celebrating the end of the semester with my friends by going out to Salem and then going to SLIS prom.

Oh, also, I just found out that I definitely 'won' the election for LISSA Secretary--but there are still plenty of open positions, and if you're new to the program, looking to get involved, or just coming to SLIS, it's easy to get involved!

Have a good last few weeks of school, everyone!


Boston By Foot

One of my goals for 2016 was, as soon as the weather was nice enough, I would walk to work. From my house, it's only 2.7 miles, which takes me about an hour. Normally, if I am taking public transit, I need to leave by 8:15 to ge to work for 9am; walking the same route only adds 15-20 minutes to my commute (which doesn't say much for our transit system).

Amy_Wilson_4-22-16.jpgOne of the top women runners at the Marathon

Attending the Boston Marathon on Monday inspired me to step it up (pun intended). After the marathon, I walked to Simmons to do some homework. Unfortunately, the computer lab was closed, so then I decided to walk home across the Charles (I live in somerville). My 3.5 miles was definitely no marathon, but I felt proud of myself because normally it wouldn't even corss my mind to walk. 

Amy_Wilson2_4-22.jpgView after crossing the Charles

I think it's easy to forget what a small city Boston is when you take public transit, because it can take so long to get around. Geographically, we are really not very large. 

Amy_Wilson3_4-22.jpgObviously I needed ice cream after that walk

This week I have walked to work once, and walked to the train station (skipped the bus part of my commute) a few times. I am still working out the timing; my schedule is weird, because the nights that I have class, I have to come into work half an dhour earlier so tha tI can leave on tmie. I didn't plan very well this week, but next week I will make sure to leave enough time to walk even if it's one of my early start deays. I also want to try out different routes to sew aht is teh prettiest/fastest way.

Last night I was so happy to break out my summer dresses and pack up a bunch of sweaters. I left our electric bed armer on the bed, because the nights are still chilly and there is nothing nice than getting into a cozy bed! I'm sure my flowers would agree - even though it has stayed above freezing, they are not looking so happy in our garden. I can't wait for my boyfriend to come home from his work trip, because he is the farmer in our house. I will keep you updated on their progress...hopefully they can survive until his return on Monday! 

Boston | New England | Relaxing

Planning for the Big Apple

I've now lived on the East Coast for two years, and I have just loved it! Being from the Midwest, I've always been drawn to the history and culture available out here. I've tried so many new foods, learned to deftly navigate public transportation, and taken in quite a few shows, recitals, and art exhibits. But there is one thing I have sworn to do before I move away, and this weekend I'll finally get my chance to do it!

My roommate and I are neck-deep in the final planning stage of our first trip to New York City together! We've both been before, but it's been quite some time since either of us has gone, so we are more than ready to get back to the energy of that wonderful city! I couldn't live with myself if I didn't take advantage of Boston's proximity to NYC while I was out here, so this trip is coming just in time (as I'm finishing up school and heading for home in May!)

Because my roommate has the most wonderful cousins on earth, we will have a free place to crash while we are there. Yay! And because these cousins are New York natives, we will have the best tour guides to the hidden gems the city has to offer. I don't know much about what we're going to be doing/seeing, but I can't wait to see New York through the eyes of a real New Yorker!

One thing I DO know I'll be doing is taking in as many shows as I possibly can. Thanks to the wonderful treat that is Student Rush tickets, I'm hoping to see three shows over the two days we'll be there (without breaking my grad student budget). I am probably most excited about seeing the new revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Danny Burstein! This is my favorite show (an oldie, but a goody), but I've never gotten the chance to see it live. And if the reviews I've been reading are any indication, this is the version to see!

We'll also be going to a place called The Chocolate Room, as it has become a tradition between my roommate and her cousin each time she visits. All I know about this place is that they have the best hot chocolate on the face of the earth...nuf said, I'm sold!

Now that we're just a few days away, I'm really getting antsy to get going! But first I have to pack. Tell me, what does one pack for two days in a city that involve heavy walking, evening theater, and temperatures ranging from 40-(possibly) 70 degrees? I'm not sure of the answer either, but I have two days to figure it out. Lots to do before we head out, so I'm going to end this post here. But be sure to check back in next week when I'll share pics and highlights from what I know is going to be an awesome trip!!!


Sunshine and Seventy-Five

Today, as a friend put it, is the "First Nice Day In Boston". Although my phone is trying to tell me it is partly cloudy, the skies are a clear blue, the 75 degree temperature is perfect, the grass is a lush green and the trees and flowers are in bloom. You can almost forgive mother nature for turning Boston in this two weeks ago:



At any rate, the weather has turned from winter to spring, and it is finally gorgeous enough out to just start walking everywhere again. This is wonderful, especially considering the fact that my commute home takes me through Fenway and Kenmore, and the Boston Red Sox opened last week for the season. As much as I'm a fan, I'm waiting excited for those nice, relaxing commutes in the summer when there are no games and there are a lot less undergraduates. (Do I sound like a grumpy old graduate student yet? I've been working on it.)

While I don't have plans for this weekend--yet!--I'm happy to force my friends to talk walks with me out in the sunshine while I have it. The end of the semester is going to busy and stressful, but if the weather keeps feeling like this, then I think we're all going to make it through just fine. Besides, when you live so close to the gorgeous green spaces in Boston, from the Commons to the gardens at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, there's no good reason to not take a break and take in some sunshine.

Really fast, here's what Simmons looks like today from the tech lab. I think I may have to go for another walk as soon as I finish this up!


Boston | New England

Spring Days/Planning for Fall

I had been putting off writing a post this week because I wasn't sure of what I wanted to say. It was a pretty quiet week - my boyfriend came home from a business trip on Tuesday, and he left again this morning, so we really just squeezed in as much time together as was possible. We went to see a bluegrass band on Tuesday night with some friends, went out to an early breakfast together Wednesday morning at our favorite restaurant, and yesterday (Saturday) we planted our backyard garden.


Baby Romaines!


 I am going to make some hanging signs for these old white chair backs that say "flowers" and "veggies."

In school related news, I registered for my Fall 2016 classes this week (already?!). I also had to plan my financial aid from now until the end of my program because of the way my schedule will work out. I will only take one class in my last semester (fall 2017) which means I won't meet the minimum attendance requirement (part time/two classes) to receive financial aid. As a result, I had to plan to take loans to pay for those classes now. While that is kind of scary (and also lame that I will be paying interest on loans months before I need them), it's cool to be able to see the end and have a total in mind for what my degree will end up costing.

I got into both of my choices for the fall, which are LIS-488 (Technology for Information Professionals), one of the required "core" SLIS classes, and LIS-465 (Knowledge Management). KM is going to be an online class, just like the Competitive Intelligence class that I am in this summer; hopefully by the fall semester I will be used to that format.

This is a long weekend so I am really looking forward to having an extra day outside in the beautiful weather and going to watch my first Boston Marathon tomorrow! Cheers to many more sunny breakfasts on the fire escape of my big blue house!



Ode to Brunch

I have just recently become a regular bruncher (forgive the pretentiousness, but I don't know what else to call it). Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day, but the whole concept of meeting your pals on a weekend for some hearty breakfast food and acceptable morning alcohol (ie mimosas) isn't something I encountered much in the Midwest. But since coming to Boston, my eyes have been opened to the great variety of possibilities that this mid-morning timeslot can hold.

"What's so great about brunch?"

  • The food!!! Pancakes, eggs, hash, bagels, burritos, fruit...and the list goes on. And since you are technically combining two meals into one sitting, feel free to go wild with your ordering. Chocolate milk and coffee? French toast and bacon? SURE!
  • The time slot. I consider myself a morning person, but even I can appreciate the gloriousness that is sleeping in past 8:00am. Brunch is the perfect excuse to sleep in and still feel like you've accomplished something with your day. The breakfast-y food tricks your brain into thinking it's earlier than it is, so you feel like you have more hours in your day!
  • The chatting. I love my friends I've made at Simmons these last two years, but we don't get to see nearly enough of each other, what with our busy work and family lives. So when we all have a free weekend it's so good to catch up over some warm food. My roommates and I have also started a weekend brunch tradition. Our schedules are so varied that it is lovely to have found a time to all sit down together and really hash out what's been going on in each other's' lives.

 "OK, you've convinced me. But where should I go to eat?"

Here are my top three suggestions for affordable and delicious brunch for the student on a budget.

  •  Zaftigs Delicatessen

I believe I've sung this restaurant's praises in a blog post or two already, but it's so good I'm going to do it again! Voted one of the nation's 10 best diners by National Geographic, Zaftigs is probably the best brunch place in Boston. Their sweet breakfasts are particularly spectacular (my favorites are the banana walnut pancakes with date butter or the chocolate French toast with raspberry puree). I also love their eclectic collection of artwork, all featuring their iconic lady in a red dress that adorns their menus. If you go, check out the piece in the women's's hilarious and adorable!  

  • Deluxe Station Diner

This place has been a recent favorite of my roommates and I, partially because it's quite close to our apartment, but mostly because it has great food at AMAZING prices! The pancakes may be the silkiest things I've ever eaten (there's really no other way to describe them), and their mimosas are quite good (according to my roommates who have sampled all three flavors - blueberry, grapefruit, and the classic orange). But the coolest part of this diner has to be its location and décor. Set up in an old train station, the diner still features a working sign that lights up alerting patrons to approaching trains. And the rest of the place is decked out in full steam-punk style, with lots of interesting machines, gears, and sculptures scattered throughout. If you are a fan of the musical Wicked, you will feel like you're in the set, as it's very similar in both style and color scheme. 

  • Masa

Ok, full disclosure time...I've never actually eaten at this place, yet! However, from what I've read online and heard, it is a spectacular hidden gem. The best time to go would be on Saturday or Sunday, when they offer their two course $10 brunch special!!! That's right, for just a Hamilton you can pick a pre-meal "appetizer" (things like fruit, yogurt, granola, etc) and a full meal (lots of Mexican fare, but also offering pancakes for those with a morning sweet tooth), PLUS unlimited coffee and complimentary corn bread! Nuf said.

Now, armed with convincing pro-brunch arguments and a high-quality selection of locations, you have no excuse not to jump on this bandwagon and become a frequent bruncher yourselves! Happy eating! J




People | Relaxing

Events, Elections, and Even More

This week was a little intense. I had completely new material to learn in tech class on Monday, two papers due Tuesday, four hours of volunteering at the career fair on Wednesday, and classes to pick out for my registration time on Friday morning. Between that, I had plans to come home to pick up my professional reimbursement check and plans to make with old friends I hadn't seen in a while.

This semester has been like that a lot...every other week. One week I have free time, I'm relaxed and I feel like I have time to breathe. The next week I'm so stressed out that I'm surprised that I can find time to sleep.

But there's plenty that's exciting going on in SLIS right now. We're about 25 days from the end of the semester, student elections just closed, and there are so many events happening in the next few weeks that it's hard to keep track everything! Just in the last two weeks there were four or five different career focused events. Besides those, there was a game night, laser tag in the library, and, excitingly, the end of year event is a throwback prom!

I've also made about fifty different plans for the summer, from the party for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary and vow renewal to the Dresden Dolls concert in August. With so much awesome stuff happening, it's hard to focus on the fact that there's still three final papers and two final project standing between me and May 10th

Events | Students