Student Snippets

A WINDOW INTO THE DAILY LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF SLIS STUDENTS

Alison Mitchell

I'm partway through the general program at SLIS, and enjoy being back at school in my 40s.  I live in Somerville, MA with my husband and two daughters, where I attempt to balance family, school, work and knitting.  After practicing law and working in state government, I now work in a public library (the best job I've ever had!).


Entries by Alison Mitchell

  • Flexibility
    One thing I like about being an older student is that I have some flexibility. I'm not trying to finish SLIS super fast to get a job or move somewhere else -- my job and family are already here. I...
  • Talk to your advisor!
    SLIS assigns each student an academic advisor at the beginning of the program. As part of 401, students have to meet with their advisors to talk about course plans and get certain paperwork signed. I remember meeting my advisor last...
  • Confession
    Here's a confession. Sometimes I forget I'm in school. This morning, a friend asked me how school was going, and I launched into a story about a conversation I had with my older daughter's teacher. My friend listened politely, then...
  • Family Reading
    As a mom, and as a librarian, I've never underestimated the importance of family reading. We read all the time! But twice recently I experienced the importance of reading out loud to kids. This summer, my husband grabbed a bunch...
  • Was it the Right Move?
    I'm over 40. I have two kids and a husband. Our lives are busy and messy and crazy and good. And last year I made them busier and messier and crazier and better by starting my master's at SLIS. Is...
  • Nope, Not in a Routine Yet
    It's technically the third week of classes at SLIS, and I am definitely not in a routine yet. My kids are only in their first full week of school and gymnastics, so I'm not completely clear about their rhythm, which...
  • Back to School
    It's September, which means it's back-to-school time. And in my family, three of the four of us return to school (my husband continues on as a lawyer, without the seasonal changes of second grade, fourth grade or library school). Last...
  • Vacation Library
    My family is on vacation, somewhere we go every summer, and when we're here, we (of course) frequent the fabulous local public library. My kids love the children's room -- in addition to a great collection and lots of cozy...
  • Future Librarian?
    Last week, my kids came to visit me at work. I think all kids get a huge thrill out of seeing where their parents spend time when they're -- gasp -- not actually with the kids, but I really can't...
  • One School, One Book?
    I recently finished The Martian by Andy Weir for "Somerville Reads"/One City One Book, and it was fabulous. Actually, I'll admit that in the beginning, I thought it was just OK. However, right about the time I thought "I...
  • Outside the Box
    Between working in a public library children's department, getting my master's at SLIS, and hanging around with my kids and their friends, I spend a lot of time talking about, thinking about and witnessing children reading. For eager readers, there...
  • The Funny and the Serious
    Happy Summer! Two links today, one to make you laugh and one to make you think. Laugh: Librarian Problems. My favorite might be "watching patrons try to find things in the collection after shifting," especially the comment "watching the rest...
  • Well, that was fast.
    I just submitted the final assignment for LIS-505, Reader's Advisory. Hurrah! LIS-505 was a two-week class, and by that I mean a full three-credit class jammed into two weeks. We read eight novels from different genres, about 20 articles on...
  • Exploring Options, SLIS Style
    When I enrolled at SLIS, I was sure that I would take all my classes on campus, in person. That was the whole point of going to grad school, right? I wanted to meet my professors, form relationships with my...
  • Link Roundup
    Here's a wrap-up of library- and book-related links people have sent me recently. As I've said before, no one ever did this when I practiced law or worked in state government... TIME's 100 Best Children's Books. I like all kinds...
  • LibraryThing, My New Love
    There's a lot to love about libraries, and there is definitely a lot to love about LibraryThing. Maybe some people knew about this fabulous program before SLIS, but I didn't. When Candy Schwartz assigned a small LibraryThing project in 415...
  • My Vote is Split
    I am a student at SLIS. I have two young children. They take a lot of time and attention. I am their primary caregiver. My first two semesters at SLIS, I intentionally scheduled classes and schoolwork in such a way...
  • Books: 2015, 1st Quarter
    As I've written before, I keep a log of all the books I read. I don't really do anything with the list, though. Occasionally I'll have trouble remembering an author or title and it comes in handy, but it's more...
  • Graduate Student Symposium
    My takeaway from the 2015 Simmons College Graduate Student Symposium: I should go to more events on campus. Logistically, it's easiest for me to come to campus only when I have class, so that's pretty much what I do. Earlier...
  • What We're Reading
    Last week, my husband, Andrew, our daughters Katherine (8) and Sophie (6) and I took a short trip. Between the four of us, we took the following reading material: Seven magazine back issues: The New Yorker (Andrew and me), High-Five...
  • Kids these days.
    Jessamyn West, who lives in Vermont and blogs at www.librarian.net, is really great. Her most recent blog post details two presentations she gave to local parents, one on apps used by teens and one on internet safety. There are so...
  • SLIS: The School of Group Projects
    So far, every class I've taken at SLIS has had a major group project component. The people, topics, work style and product in my group projects have varied widely -- from the fabulous, all-on-the-same-page group I'm part of in 404,...
  • Taking Care of Business
    So, the first half of this semester was a little unusual. I'm just thankful I didn't take any Monday classes, because between snow days and holidays, they have only met once. How crazy is that? By the end of last...
  • Dilemma
    Like many others, I was inspired by this Humans of New York story. It made me think about the impact teachers and principals can have, and, following that logic, public librarians in urban settings. When I applied to library school,...
  • Time Management
    About ten years ago, I had a very high profile job. I carried a Blackberry (when that was a new, cool thing), was on call all the time, and regularly handled work issues at night and on the weekend while...
  • Who Am I Scheduling For: Me or My Kids?
    Well hello, second semester! It's nice to see you. And I think I'm going to enjoy your courses, even though I picked them based on what was offered at a time that still allowed me to pick my kids up...
  • My 2014 Reading in Review
    For most of my adult life, I've had a loose goal of reading 52 books a year (one a week, or roughly four a month). I keep a handwritten list of all the books I read, but I don't always...
  • The Fabulous Book Club
    For the last fifteen years, I've been part of the modestly named Fabulous Book Club. In January 2000, we were a group of mostly single 20-somethings living in Somerville and Cambridge and Jamaica Plain. Over the years, we've somehow turned...
  • Just like they said in class!
    Yesterday, at work, there was a dilemma. It was a fairly sticky issue, and had multiple perspectives and points. (I know, you're rolling your eyes, thinking: what kind of crazy problem could there be in a Children's Department? Just take...
  • The Rainbow Fairies
    I can't believe I am about to say this, but... I don't hate the Rainbow Fairies. The completely formulaic chapter book series centers on two tween girls, Rachel and Kirstie, who become friends with fairies. There are about 150 books...
  • Since I started library school...
    I've noticed that since I started library school, people have been posting an increasing number of library-related things on my Facebook page. People just like libraries, I guess. When I was a lawyer, no one posted legal jokes on my...
  • Librarian Rock Star
    This afternoon, at work, I had the most awesome success. As soon as my shift was over, I called my husband and told him about it. He was only mildly impressed. When I picked up my kids at my mother-in-law's,...
  • Mid-Semester Status Update
    So -- I'm halfway through my first semester at SLIS. For anyone out there looking for a status update, especially anyone considering becoming an older student with kids at home and work on the side, here's my assessment of things...
  • Losing It
    Well, I lost it. I thought I was doing a pretty great job at keeping it all together. School, kids, work, check. House, parents, in-laws, friends with issues, got it. Crazy scheduling? Husband travelling? Bring it on. Until I lost...
  • "Bring Them Back": How a Parody Helped Me Learn More About Disability
    I was going to write about how draining the last week was for me, but then I realized that no one wants to hear about the minutiae of my life, especially when the draining parts don't actually have to do...
  • Real World - The Library
    When I decided to apply to SLIS, I wanted to make sure that I actually liked working in a library. I was about to turn my family's life upside down, leaving fairly calm and flexible freelance work that allowed me...
  • Don't Censor Me
    I've become a little obsessed with the American Library Association's Code of Ethics and Freedom to Read statement. The idea that anyone can access any kind of information at a public library is so egalitarian and so truly democratic, and...
  • Boston, you're my home
    I've lived in Boston my whole life, and sometimes I take the city's cultural attractions and goings-on for granted. (That could be because I have kids, and their idea of culture is the Grossology exhibit at the Science Museum.) Meeting...
  • The Balancing Act Begins!
    Well, my first full week of school is over, and my two biggest accomplishments were getting a student discount (10% at Tags!) and making my kids do my homework. Kidding. Kind of. Going back to school at age 41, with...