Student Snippets


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

Accessing the Potential of Graduate Students

Yesterday I attended a conference that was jointly hosted by LLNE and ABLL at Northeastern University School of Law. The focus of the conference was "Access to Government Information," but I noticed a second theme throughout the day: strong partnerships.

The LLNE/ABLL spring conference was my first as a graduate student, and my strongest take-away from the day has to be the power of strong partnerships to produce successful results. The conference itself was obviously a collaboration of LLNE and ABLL, but this theme also came up consistently during the day's events.

I think that the most important step in forming a strong and healthy partnership is to recognize one's own limits, and then to identify how the other party's strengths can fill the gap. We heard an example of this strategy from Dan Jackson from the NuLawLab when he described his partnership with game designers and law librarians to build a game for self-representative litigants. Susan Drisko Zago also spoke about aligning law librarians with public librarians to serve rural populations in northern New Hampshire. Beryl Lipton and Pam Wilmot shared how their respective groups, MuckRock and Common Cause, work together to improve access to government information. Helen Lacoutre from BC Law told us about the Federal Depository Program at her library. 

One of the most ambitious partnerships is perhaps Harvard Law's agreement with Ravel Law to make all U.S. case law freely available online (Free the Law). With regard to this relationship, Adam Ziegler spoke about another aspect of strong partnerships: the importance of setting guidelines should either party fail to meet their obligations.

Sarah Glassmeyer, in her spirited keynote address "Hot Messes, Dumpster Fires and the Role of Law Librarians in the 21st Century," described a few successful partnerships as well, such as the mutually beneficial arrangement for Lexis to publish state government information. This model of contracting with a corporate publisher has resulted in better information access for citizens of those states.

After Sarah presented her research and spoke about future efforts to improve access, one suggestion stood out to me in particular. A follow-up question and its subsequent discussion brought up the idea of working through AALL to have one librarian from each state collect information how their state publishes government information. This would likely be a time consuming project, but the results would be valuable for future efforts to synchronize and improve access across the nation.

AALL could certainly be an important partner for a project like this, but I can think of another resource. Simmons SLIS students, until this semester, were required to complete either an internship or a research project. I imagine that even without the credit requirement, many students will choose to pursue research opportunities as part of their graduate program. Researchers should look to grad students as partners; this relationship would provide a unique and meaningful experience for the student. Additionally, these opportunities could inspire future librarians to seek similar partnerships, bridging the gap between students and the professionals who will soon be our peers. 

Encouraging students to attend conferences is a great first step in forging these relationships, because it builds awareness of current developments in the field of librarianship. Prior to this conference, I had not heard of most of these initiatives surrounding access to government information access; today I feel encouraged that these partnerships exist and motivated to become more engaged. I am optimistic about the future of legal librarianship and so grateful for the opportunity to join this conversation.


I Wish the Weather Would Make Up Its Mind

If you live anywhere in the Boston area, your Facebook feed has undoubtedly been filled with posts about the snow this last week. Either you are an incredulous new-comer to the unpredictability of New England springs or you are a hardened Bostonian, saddened by the reality of snow in April. But now, as I look outside, it's pouring down rain. The snow is mostly melted, and I am seeing flowers and buds again. Later this week it's supposed to be sunny and almost 60 degrees...before next weekend's potential for snow again. However you feel about the weather, I think we can all agree that Boston needs to get it together and make up its mind! I could even get behind snow if I knew it was going to be around for a set amount of time and then be done! I just don't like all this's messing up my outfit planning, my reading selections, even my Panera ordering. After all, who wants to eat a salad when it's 20 degrees outside? So, to help you all out (who I'm sure are having the same difficulties as I am), I have compiled three food and book pairings (like food and wine, but better), one for every possible type of seasonal weather. This way, no matter what you wake up to outside your window, you'll be prepared for the two most important parts of the day.

 Warm and Sunny

 On a bright day that actually looks like spring, I would suggest a juicy hamburger (perfect picnic fare) and some fresh fruit (strawberries have been on my mind lately, but feel free to pick your favorite). As for reading materials, I would recommend Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, which tells the beautiful tale of a pivotal summer cross-country road trip.


Blustery and Rainy

 On days like this, nothing will do but soup and hot chocolate. Cuddle up on the couch with a mug of each (bonus points for a fire in the fireplace), and take a trip back to childhood with the classic rainy-day book, The Cat in the Hat. I re-read this for a class recently and was surprised by 1) how long it actually is, and 2) how funny it is, even today! 













Snow...cursed snow!

 I hope, for all our sakes', that you won't have to make use of these suggestions until next December, but it never hurts to be prepared. So, if you wake up to a white world outside one morning, pre-heat the oven and start making some warm cinnamon buns. Even if they are from the Pillsbury can, they make the house smell wonderfully cozy! And while you wait for them to bake, distract yourself from eating all the icing by reading (or re-reading) Lois Lowry's The Giver. Besides being a beautiful piece of literature, it might help you find some small glimmer of thankfulness for the snow outside (better to feel cold than not feel at all, am I right?).



Books | Relaxing

Homework Craze(d)

There's been a little radio silence from me in the past few weeks, but it wasn't intentional. It's just that the semester decided to get ridiculously busy. In the past two weeks, I've learned javascript over the phone, shown my friends how to write javascript for an assignment, written 12 double spaced pages and four single spaced pages, taken a quiz, and all around tried to keep ahead on my homework. It's been a very busy few weeks. However, Friday I was able to start to get ahead on my homework, which was a blessing and a half. April, for whatever reason, seems to be a little less crazy, though there's still a lot to do. For 403, besides the third assignment and the final 25 page paper, I signed up as part of an extra credit Usability team. For 453, I finished my tweets and usage statistics assignment early but still have the final policy to write and put together. 488 still has a paper, the final webpage, some graphics work and a relational database assignment to get started on. 

Oh, and Camp NaNoWriMo has started up again (you remember my November NaNoWriMo post). This year I've halved my goal for camp down to 25,000 words to focus on schoolwork, but I'm definitely hoping to be able to push myself to do more than that. While I chase productivity for the next month and a half, you can follow my camp NaNoWrimo progress here!

Classes | Presentations | SLIS

Beating The Bug

Most of my week was unfortunately consumed by a stomach bug, and I didn't make it back to work until Thursday morning. Is there anything more frustrating than wasting PTO to be sick? I spent many hours on the couch and felt so miserable that I couldn't even get ahead on homework. Instead, I watched/dozed through a lot of Jane Austen movies, including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Becoming Jane, and Mansfield Park. I also got really sick of toast and applesauce.

By Wednesday, when I still wasn't well again, I was starting to freak out because I had presentations in both my classes this week; Wednesday was my individual presentation on a legal research database, and Thursday was a group presentation on reference in special libraries. Luckily I'm not a procrastinator so all my research/design was done, but I knew that there was no way I could make it to campus on Wednesday night.

Google to the Rescue: 
Channeling my inner Rob, I started searching for technological solutions. I quickly found a Chrome plugin called Snagit that would allow me to capture my screen and record a narration. After a few awkward attempts, I successfully recorded a 9 minute video file of my presentation that I could upload to YouTube or share via Google Drive. I sent this to my professors, who actually graciously offered to let me present next week. I don't mind that I spent time making the video, because now I have learned a new tool and I have some practice under my belt for this presentation.


As for my Thursday presentation, I did somehow make it to campus, and I think it went really well. It's always easy to talk about something that interests you, so I hope that it showed in the way that I spoke about law libraries... even if I wanted to crawl under my desk the whole time.


Classes | Presentations | SLIS

Playing the Waiting Game

I have good news and bad news. The (very very) good news is that I am graduating in less than 7 weeks! Done! Finished with school! And while I have absolutely loved my time at Simmons, and in academia in general, I am very ready to begin the next (paper- and homework-free) season of life...which brings me to the bad news. As I am learning, this next season may be aptly titled "The Waiting Game." I've been applying to internships and job positions since late January, and so far, no nibbles. The hardest part is that with the company I'm applying to, I can track my application progress on their website. So while I can see that my application is being considered, I have no way of knowing how long that might last or how serious that consideration is. So, I'm having to re-learn the art of patience that was drilled into me by my kindergarten teacher. This is enough to drive a planner like me crazy, by the way.

 So I've decided that I'm not going to just sit around tapping my foot and obsessively refreshing my email. I am going to make something of my time in limbo. And since I am sure at least one of you might be in a similar boat as me (please tell me I'm not alone in this) I will share with you my fool-proof "Guide to Waiting for the Post-Grad Job."

  How to Pass the Time While Waiting:

  1.      Do your homework.


Yeah, this isn't what I want to be doing either. But we are so close to being done! Don't trip up on the final leg...finish strong! (I apologize for all the sports metaphors there. Not sure where those came from.) Also, if you're thinking good and hard about your studies, your mind will have less time to wander off to "What If" world. Trust me, that's a place you could get lost in for quite some time.

2. Get Active


The weather is finally starting to feel like spring. So get out of the house and away from the computer screen. You know what they say about a watched email inbox.... Take a walk in one of Boston's amazingly beautiful parks, or sign up for a fun workout class. Simmons has a bunch of great options that are free to students. There's everything from Zumba to yoga to Hip Hop. Plus, if you keep moving you'll feel even more confident in that interview outfit which, I promise, you will eventually need to pull out.

3. Eat Something Good.


I know this may sound counter-productive to my last tip, but let me explain. I tend to be a stress snacker. Brownies are my poison of choice, but I'm sure we all have our own unique go-to. And while I know in my head stress eating probably isn't the healthiest, it's very easy to just give in and grab whatever's closest in the cupboard. But instead, take a minute to do a little research and find a new restaurant to try. Boston has a TON of great places to grab a bite. My personal favorite find is Zaftigs, a Jewish deli brunch spot that is to DIE for! If you go, get something that comes with the date butter. Seriously, you'll thank me. Or, if you're feeling particularly motivated, try out a new recipe from home. Either way, you'll be off the couch and engaged with other people, a good way to soak up the culture of Boston and get your mind off the unforeseeable future.

4. A good movie marathon never hurt anybody.


If you think about it, once you get a grown-up job, you'll probably have less time (and energy) for things like late-night movie marathons with the roommates. So get your peeps together and pick a genre (I suggest Disney), or an actor (Johnny Depp has a great variety) to give your binge session some direction. Enjoying a good story and some good laughs with your friends is the best way to remind yourself that life isn't all about the job.

 These are my tips. Wish me luck as I try to follow my own advice, and I wish you the same.

 Bonus Tip:

 Find all the books I included in this post and read them! They really are very entertaining :)

Books | Boston | Jobs | Relaxing | SLIS

Food Advertisements

When you are writing a thesis about food, it is almost inevitable that you are going to encounter some pretty interesting examples of food culture. Thus far in my study of American food culture from the 1950s to the early 1990s, I've encountered fan letters to Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer-Becker the mother-daughter duo behind the Joy of Cooking. Their cookbooks promote a vast array of recipes that utilize ingredients that range from diced vegetables to box Jell-o mixed. By far my favorite thing that I've had to analyze in the name of academia is food advertisements from magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, and Better Homes & Gardens from the 1950s. These advertisements, which are very much products of their time, offer insight into consumer and food trends from the decade. For my paper, I am analyzing these advertisements as a means of understanding how the food and consumer industry promoted the gendering of the kitchen and the position of the home cook.

The following advertisements were found within magazines that are a part of Johnson and Wales Culinary Art Museum's collection.


People | SLIS | Students | Thesis

A feminist wonders...

This post is piggy-backing off of an earlier post I wrote, about feminism, librarianship, and emotional labor. My boyfriend and I have been having a lot of discussions about job satisfaction, career goals, etc. We are both happy with our chosen career paths of librarian and engineer. Our work/life balances are different right now because he works 50+ hour weeks, while I work 37.5 hours and am in class two nights a week. This can be challenging because internally I sometimes feel like the fact that I work fewer hours means that I should pick up more slack with laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. I worry, while at work, about what we will have for dinner and when we can plan to clean the house before having friends over. I also wonder if I am totally failing as a feminist.

Maybe I should clarify: when I say that I feel that I should do more, that doesn't mean that this is my reality. My awesome feminist boyfriend is really great about balancing chores at home. I don't mean that in the way that some people say, I'm so lucky that he offers to help. Even in 2016, in many homes, men are praised for putting in the 50% that they should have done all along, as if we should all be grateful for their progress. No. Rob and I really do work as equals, even if we have different priorities sometimes. My biggest challenge is my own internal voice that says, everything needs to look Pinterest perfect and you need to do it. 

My tendency to self-reflect can be a blessing and a curse. I think that it causes me to consider decisions carefully, but also to doubt myself. I thought about library school for two years before I committed to Simmons; this time allowed me to get work experience, and to decide that I was only going to apply to Simmons. I knew what I wanted. 

I know what I want. This is what I need to remind myself when I am swirling in a storm self-scolding, like the other night at dinner. What started as a conversation with Rob about our jobs and work/life balance really became me talking to my plate about why I chose librarianship and whether I was being influenced by subconscious, bad-feminist thoughts. I have always wanted kids, and I have imagined myself as a working-mom who also manages to be a substantive presence in my future-kids' lives. I have read enough articles to know how hard this will be. In the back of my mind, I have wondered, did I choose librarianship because it's often seen as a good fit for mothers? I have wanted to kick myself for even imagining that my career choice could be subconsciously influenced by these traditional gender roles. 

I think what it all this comes down to is that I need to remember to look up from my plate at the dinner table and remember who I am talking to. Self-reflection is a valuable skill, but it can be easy to get lost in questions that may not even have concrete answers. The truth is that I chose librarianship for many reasons, and the most important one is that it's something I love. Won't it also be important for my kids to see me pursuing a career that makes me happy? To show them that they should be confident, trust their intuition - should find work that makes them proud?

I also need to remind myself that grad school, right now, is part of my job. My work is contributing to my professional development, and I shouldn't see my homework from class as less valuable than the work that Rob brings home with him. I am lucky. I am lucky to have a partner who values my work, who encourages me, who hears my doubts and brings me back to the center. Right now, the best thing that I can do for myself and my future geeky offspring is to see myself and my work as worthy. Oh, and to channel my inner Leslie Knope. 


SLIS | Students

Very Special Libraries

Last week, while most of Simmons was on spring break, I was on campus every day from 9am until about 3pm. I took the week off of work in order to complete a 5-day, 3-credit course with SLIS legend, Jim Matarazzo. Jim has worked in corporate libraries for decades, and he is the original social networker. I'm pretty sure you could ask about any major company and he will tell you the history of their corporate library and name two contacts there. This class was heavily career focused, extremely practical... and wicked fun!

Our assignments for the week included two papers and two (group) presentations. We looked at a set of corporate libraries that had closed and another set that were "successful," then evaluated how corporate libraries can survive and thrive. We also each summarized a chapter from the textbook (which Jim co-authored). 

My favorite day of the week was Tuesday, when we did our site visits. We started at the New England School of Law, whose library has an impressive reference staff and a very cozy study space. We were lucky enough to sit in on a vendor pitch for a new product, and I also got to network with him afterward (thanks to Simmons for all those free business cards!). 

After NESL, we made our way to the Hancock Tower and went to Bain Capital. Our class basically walked into the lobby straight past the library director because we could not tear our eyes away from the incredible view. The research team gave us a very in-depth presentation of their work (I sat with my back to the window so that I would focus). Impressively, there were at least four Simmons SLIS graduates at Bain that we met. 

During the rest of the week, we spoke with other professionals - a librarian who had a career in government libraries, one who had done work in Dubai and Nigeria, and another who took a circuitous route to culinary product market research. We heard about so many options for a career in special libraries; it was reassuring to know that there are many paths to choose from. I feel so fortunate to have a resource like Jim at Simmons as my professor and my advisor! 

Classes | Jobs | SLIS