Student Snippets


Hellooo Summer!!

June - the first real month of summer - has arrived and my summer class at SLIS West is almost two weeks underway. In the time since I last wrote, I have enjoyed about a month of no classes, took a family vacation to my beautiful hometown in southwestern Virginia, celebrated my 29th birthday, hosted my parents and little brother for Memorial Day weekend, and read two books in rapid succession (should've read more). It was a pretty glorious break. Just look at this picture I snapped from the Blue Ridge Parkway overlook down into my valley:


Getting out of Connecticut every so often is good for my soul. I like a lot of things about where I live, but I'm a small-town, mountain-loving girl at heart, and Fairfield County, CT is just a little too urban, a little too crowded, and a little too rushed for my tastes. But I love the opportunities I have here, especially the opportunity to attend Simmons!

Let me tell you about my summer class, LIS 453 Collection Development. There are 11 of us students, and the instructor is the head of collection development at the Cabot Science Library, Harvard. Michael Leach has been a librarian for 30 years, and teaching at Simmons for the last 12 years. I'm pretty sure he knows everything (about libraries). I'm so excited to be learning from him and from the other students in the class, many of whom are near the end of their programs. The class is delivered in a blended format, which seems to me to be the best of both worlds. We meet in person a couple Saturdays a month and "virtually" for the rest of them. It means that I get the benefit of some personal interaction, but I don't have to drive to Massachusetts every Saturday! It's the perfect arrangement for summer.

The assignments in the class are focused on creating a collection development policy for an actual, real-life library, so one of our first tasks was choosing our library. For most students, it's a no-brainer to select the library in which they are currently working. I don't work at a library right now, and the last one I did work at is in Virginia. I could have chosen my local public library which is very close to my house and would have entailed pretty easy information gathering. But I really wanted to use my small academic library in Virginia because I'm familiar with it and the librarians, and it fits more closely the type of institution I hope to build my career in. It's an unconventional choice being so far away, but the instructor said we could make it work! The other reason I wanted to use this library is because I am sort of hoping the work I do will benefit the library in some way. As I said, it's a small academic library and the handful of full-time professionals working there must each take on many roles. There certainly isn't a librarian position dedicated solely to collection development. Maybe their policies could benefit from a set of fresh eyes and some free labor (or maybe I'm overvaluing my capabilities just a tad...?).

Anyway, so that leaves me pestering librarians for data and plotting another trip with my kids to Virginia for an on-site visit (because...homework). I will never not be glad to have another reason for crashing grandma and grandpa's house. It's pretty much what we do with our summers around here.