Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

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!

Students


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!!!

Students


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:

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(Almost)

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!

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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.
 

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Baby Romaines!

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 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!

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Students


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 bathroom...it'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.

Events


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 switching...it'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.

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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! 

 

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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?).

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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


SLIS West Career Night at Hampshire College

There will be a panel of librarians who are Hampshire alums who will come back to campus and speak about their career trajectories. The event is on Thursday, March 31 at 5 pm in ASH auditorium on the Hampshire College campus, and it is free and open to the community.  Come hear about diverse paths and where these librarians landed and the sort of work that they do!

Check out the link below for more information: 

http://sites.hampshire.edu/theharold/2016/03/16/down-the-rabbit-hole-hampshire-graduates-as-librarians/

Events | SLIS West


Voting in the (ALA) Presidential Election

I'm not saying that I don't care about the current Nation Presidential Elections. However, I'm an independent registered in Connecticut,  which means I don't get a vote until November 2017. There is one election I can vote in, and it's the ALA elections, and I recommend that every ALA member (even students!) vote. If voter turnout is low, the elections can get really tight.

The ALA website has a lot of great links and information, and I recommend doing your background research on the candidates. Their biographies and positions are all stated clearly on the website, and the three presidential candidates each have websites for people to view. There are three positions to vote for in this election cycle: President, Treasurer, and Councilor-at-Large. You can even do all of your reading when you're voting on the website.  There's even a few Simmons Alumni running to fill some of the 34 vacant Councilor-at-Large positions!

I worked at the Jim Neal table for ALA Midwinter, but I got to learn about and interact with plenty of the ALA members who are highly involved each year. I'm excited to see where the election goes. I know that students are a huge voting group, and I'm sure if we put the same passion we have for the United States Presidential Elections into the ALA elections, we can ensure that our voice gets heard and has a stake in the future of the profession. So go vote! Figure out what you want the ALA of the future to look like.

Conferences


Celebrating St. Patty's Day!

I am a sucker for any holiday that gives me an excuse to dress up! Halloween, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July...all good outfit inspirations. And this week we have another! St. Patty's Day is the perfect excuse to break out that green t-shirt or scarf, or you could go bold and try mixing some hues for a head-to-toe, Kermit the Frog-inspired look. But you don't have to limit the green takeover to your own clothing. Our apartment will certainly be decked out in some four-leaf clovers, courtesy of my roommate's kindergarten-teacher mom. And I plan on doing all my writing with a green pen that day as well.

Moving beyond my own little world, I started thinking about how everyone else might be choosing to celebrate the beloved Irish saint this week. Thanks to the wealth of information that is Google, I was able to find some rather unique ways people out there are celebrating St. Patrick.

Perhaps the most popular tradition originated in Chicago, where they die the river green every year for the week of St. Patty's. Apparently, once the river is colored (with an environmentally-safe vegetable powder) it can take a week or two for the color to dissipate. Now that's commitment.

If grand gestures aren't your celebration style, however, might I suggest you head over to Hot Springs, Arkansas, home of the world's shortest St. Patrick's Day parade. They also hold the world record for the shortest road, measuring in at only 98 feet, and it is down this road that the bagpipers and Irish Elvis impersonators (don't ask) process along.

Moving across the globe to Australia, we come to the historical re-enactment held in Brisbane each year. Celebrating the immigrant history of the continent, Aussies gather dressed as people sent to the island to build a new nation.

While all of these festivities sound like they'd be a blast to see, if your budget looks anything like mine, you may be looking for a way to celebrate a bit closer to home. Here in Boston, you can catch the annual St. Patrick's Day parade that winds through the South End on the Sunday closest to March 17th. Join the over one million people who crowd the streets to join in the fun. Then, check out this site (http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/st-patricks-day-events.html) for all the scoop on keeping the fun going, with lots of info on where you can get cheap tickets to music events, pub discounts, and even dances. And above all, enjoy celebrating in a city known for its Irish pride!

Boston


MBTA Commuter Rail Survival Guide

As a former New Yorker, I am not unfamiliar with taking rail transport to get to the places that I need to go. With my Archives capstone internship in Providence, I've become quite familiar with the MBTA Commuter Rail. Would I say that it's the best rail transport that I've ever taken? No. That title will always be reserved for my beloved Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). I have too many fond childhood memories of the lights flickering off and on while traveling under tunnels to ever consider awarding another train system the top honors. Yet the MBTA Commuter Rail does a perfectly fine job at doing the whole train thing. Most of the time.

Listen, no train is perfect; all commuters can hope for is that their train arrives and departs on time. Yet sometimes, things happen, as they tend ton do. Thus far this semester, I have been stuck on a train for almost three and half hour due to Amtrak complications as well as stuck on a train traveling at reduced speeds, also due to Amtrak complications. Ok, perhaps the problem here isn't the MBTA but another train service. Regardless of whose at fault, let's get one thing clear: being stuck on a train stinks. You know it, I know it; even the writers of Hey Arnold know it. Remember that subway episode?
Silverberg_3-14.jpg

While I have never had the fortune of being stuck on a subway (knock on wood), I have traveled on enough trains throughout my life to know that one should always be prepared in case something, anything, happens. While I am not encouraging something akin to a bug-out-bag, I can attest that it definitely doesn't hurt to have a few of the following items stashed away in your bag.
  1. Phone
  2. MP3 player
  3. Water bottle
  4. Book or magazine
  5. Snacks
  6. Sweatshirt (in case its cold)
  7. A second book (in case you get bored of the first one)
  8. Whatever else you need to keep yourself entertained 

I know that this list is short but, as mentioned, I'm not suggesting creating a bag fit for the end of the world. Even when trains are running at their worst, you will get home. Eventually.

I promise.

Students


(Family) History Hunting

Last week, my grandfather called up my mother, who called up me because I live in Boston. He needed a favor.

For years, my grandfather has been trying to hunt down family records to find out where the family immigrated from in Ireland, and he was able to trace them back to Boston sometime in the early 1870's. Boston has the original records of marriage and ship arrivals in the Massachusetts State Archives, which is on the UMass campus. He was hoping I could find some of the original records concerning the marriage of my great-great-great grandparents, and maybe any records of their arrival.

Of course I said yes. He also said the boring grandfatherly stuff you'd expect him to say like "Don't let it distract you from your schoolwork" but I have no control when it comes to research. I did find an 1871 marriage record, and I do have a copy of it which gave him extra information (and then he pulled me off of it because "you need to focus on your schoolwork"). I told him that if he needed anything else, I would love to go back.

There were several reasons for this of course:

One, it's a gorgeous building. I went on a cloudy day and it looked positively mysterious--see?

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Two, I've never actually used an archive, so I was very excited and kind of nervous. I imagined a large room of dust and old books, even though as an LIS student I know that image is definitely not what archives look like. The process to get a researcher pass was simple, the staff was kind and helpful, and so were the other researchers.

Three, I used a microfiche reader. I read old records on microfilm. I understand many people may not be excited about this, but I love learning new skills, and it was really cool to use 'old' technology to find out about my family's past.

Another amazing fact about the Mass State Archives is that the building also houses the Commonwealth Museum, which is gorgeously done and exemplary for a museum its size. The museum's exhibits are highly interactive, and very informative. (Here's a picture of the 'Arbella' mock-up at the entrance to the museum section of the building).

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I definitely loved checking it out, since it's super easy to get to and I had a wonderful time I know I'll be back (even if Grandpa doesn't need anything new).

Students


Pop-Up Shops! Who Knew?

Who is enjoying their spring break so far? I know I am! As I write this, I am simultaneously finishing up laundry left over from a weekend spent hosting my mom who flew in from Minnesota and packing for a wedding in Tennessee that I leave for tomorrow...no rest for the weary, but I wouldn't trade these frund times for the world! So, in honor of the fun, bubbly, vacation-y mood I'm in, I"m taking a week off of blogging (or thinking) about anything remotely schoarly. Sorry, but I want to talk about donuts instead. 

To be more specific, I want to talk about the maple bacon donut that I had a few days ago from the fun, new pop-up shop next door to my grocery store. This donut was perfection! First of all, it was HUGE, and, as we Americans know, bigger is always better when it comes to sweets. J The frosting was rich and maple-y without being too strong, and the bacon was real fried bacon, not those stale smoked bacon bits you find in cheap salad bars. It was a tear-inducing donut experience.

But let's step back from the donut itself and talk more about this shop. Until, well now, I've never heard of a pop-up shop. But talking to the owner of the shop, this is what I learned. This particular location in the larger strip of stores has been specifically reserved to host a rotating series of temporary businesses on a monthly basis. So, last month there was a bagel shop, this month has donuts, and apparently a candy store is next in line! At first I was confused...why would someone purposefully keep their businesses rotating so much? Wouldn't that cause confusion? But the more I think about it, the more I realize what a great idea it is! By limiting the length of time a particular business' fare will be available they make it a special commodity, drawing in more customers since they know whatever is there will be gone soon, so they can justify more frequent trips. Also, they are making their patrons return again and again to see what new shop has "popped up" since their last visit.

I am loving the variety of options we are getting, and so far all of the businesses have been very tasty! But this makes me wonder...would this model work for non-food businesses? I could see it working for clothing boutiques or something, but it seems like it has to be pleasure fare, rather than necessities. People don't want to plan the purchasing of their paper products or cleaning supplies around a rotating monthly schedule. Hmmm...what are your thoughts? And do you know of any other pop-up locations around the city for me to try?

Well, that's it for me. Back to packing...and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your break! Eat a donut for me.

Students