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Seoul Much to Say

Now that it is starting to get colder (basically uninhabitable in this poor Floridian's mind), I wanted to take the time and reflect back on warmer summer days. You guessed it, it's finally time for my long-awaited South Korea blog post! Just as a little refresher, I was lucky enough to travel to Seoul, South Korea, this past summer as part of Simmons partnership with Yonsei University. Six other Simmons students and I took the long haul flight to Korea as part of our summer Metadata course taught by Jeff Pomerantz. We were in Seoul for a little over two weeks and we tried to cram as much as we could in those two weeks! From gorging ourselves on all the delicious food, hiking up a mountain every night to our dorm, and dragging my fellow travelers on several skincare focused shopping adventures, this was an unforgettable experience that I will be jumping at the opportunity to talk about for the rest of my life.

I have always been someone interested in traveling so when I was looking at graduate school I was also always on the lookout for a program that allowed opportunities to take students beyond the classroom. I had planned on taking metadata as part of my degree at Simmons, so it was really a no brainer to seize this chance at taking it as part of a travel course. Majority of the class was taught online throughout the summer on moodle (just like any other online course taught at Simmons), then we had two weeks of class at Yonsei University, then finished the course back online. While this was a lot to juggle over the summer since I was also working a full-time internship, knowing that I would be in Seoul soon enough made it all worth it!

After a very long flight over the north pole (not joking you could see the ice outside the airplane window), my classmates and I finally made it Seoul and our adventure could really begin. Our time spent is Seoul was jam-packed with all sorts of cultural site visits and (obviously) library tours, it's a little hard to keep track of it all.  Another Simmons professor Lisa Hussey (shoutout to my Fall 2018 LIS407 class!) joined us as a sort of a cultural guide since she has taken students to Yonsei in previous years. This was fantastic given she knew basically all the neighborhoods and all the best things to do and see in Seoul. Some of the highlights included going to Seoul Tower, spending a day at Bongeunsa Temple, and even going to a Doosan Bears baseball game! Our fellow Korean classmates were also excellent cultural guides taking us on many shopping, sightseeing, and foodie adventures. The best of which I included a picture of below with our "perfect day of eating" fully of tteokbokki and bingsu! I also included some pictures of our other adventures below.

"Perfect Day of Eating"

 

Gotta love a good, cheesy photo-op

Yonsei University Campus was stunning (even if it was full of treacherous hills)

Classes | Fun | International | SLIS | Summer


Influencer for a Day?

On Monday, October 28th, I was thrown into the world of large scale social media, as I was put in charge of Simmons University's Instagram story! EEEK! While longtime readers know that I was a blogging queen back in the day, I only have 710 followers on insta, and had NEVER posted an original story -- only shared content I was tagged in. I logged into the Simmons instagram, and suddenly had 6,000+ semi-captive listeners. 

Let me tell you, it was exhausting. While my takeover was largely authentic -- yes, I do sometimes go to the Gardner on my lunch break, but NO I don't always have on a full face of makeup at 8 a.m. -- it took some planning and creativity to brainstorm just how to share my experiences with Simmons' insta-sphere. I will admit that I definitely had a storyboard for my day, mapped out with what I thought would be good video opportunities.

I was pretty proud of my "What's in the bag????" section, where I went through what I have in my backpack on a normal day, and was super excited to experience the Sonic Blossom Exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner by happenstance! That said, my favorite part of the day was answering questions from prospective students, current students, and alums. I was able to plug some of my favorite books, as well as what I love about Boston. Definitely a lot of fun! 

Most of the Simmons story is available under the Highlights section of my personal instagram under "Day in the Life." If anyone is interested and willing to brave many photos of flowers and my significant other, feel free to take a glance @myfairkatiebug!

 

Fun | SLIS | Students | Technology


Referencing Spook

I recently moved from circulation up to reference at the Watertown Free Public Library where I work! It was interning at the reference desk at my local public library in college that sparked my desire to be a librarian in the first place, so it felt a bit like coming home! It's already been fun to help people that I recognize from working in circ with some of their more in depth questions.  


My first shift on desk (after my training) was Wednesday night, and I was able to help patrons with flyer making, provided information on literacy classes, completed some reader's advisory, and updated some bib records. But my favorite thing by far was getting to design a book display! Whenever I do displays, I make sure to showcase the voices of authors of color and of various gender alignments. Displays are a chance to recommend books -- even to people who don't engage with you at the reference desk -- and a fun challenge!

I wanted to create something spooky, but not overtly Halloween-like, as we are only a few weeks into October.  The sign is a little bit difficult to make out, so above is a copy of what the flyer looks like. 

A few books I compiled for the display and recommend: 

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado (a favorite) 

The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (creepiest book I've ever read -- cw for assault) 

The Cask of Amontillado and other works by Edgar Allan Poe 

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin 

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys 

Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal 

Feel free to pop into the library to come say "Hi!" or to check out some ghoulish or ghastly books from my display!

 

Books | Fun | Librarians | SLIS | reading


Touring the Library of My Dreams

A few weeks ago, the Panoptican and Special Libraries Association student groups, put on a joint field trip to tour the Museum of Fine Arts's library that is located not too far from campus! As a new officer of Panoptican and especially as an aspiring art librarian, I was very excited to attend but also to meet and chat with other Simmons students with similar interests and goals in the library profession. Getting back into the swing of things at the start of a new semester can be overwhelming but I knew this was an event I did not want to miss! 

While the actual MFA is basically diagonal to campus, the MFA's library is offsite on Mass Ave by the Symphony T stop. While the main purpose of the library is to be a resource for the museum staff, they are also open to the public Monday through Friday from 1-5 pm. However, the stacks are closed and anyone interested will need call slips in order to view any materials, which I thought was actually kind of cool from the standpoint of harking back to the old days. I have never been to a library that is still like this (although fun fact for my archive internship, the collection I was working on did have a lot of call slips from the Harvard libraries that the person had kept with scribbled little research notes dating around 1940-1950). We got a tour of the library's holdings from the head of technical services who was really wonderful about showing us the different aspects that make up the library. We had a large group (see photo below featuring your favorite goofball in the denim jacket) so it took a little while to corral all of us but the MFA's librarian was really sweet and excited to show us around and answer any of our questions. 

We  got to go into their lower-level storage area where they keep a lot of their auction catalogs, which was quite a huge selection. The greatest part of the whole tour though was when the librarian "let us loose" to explore the main stacks and even go up to the second floor of the library which I wanted to do the moment we got there but was too shy to ask about. And it was grand! This event was so perfect for my professional aspirations because I was able to look into one of the my dream libraries for such a large art museum. This segways nicely into some great news I have for this coming year...I got a job as the Collections Assistant at the Harvard Fine Arts Library! I've only been there for a week now but stay posted on that experience for a later blog post where I can get into more of the work I will be doing there. I am so excited for this semester because as cheesy as it sounds, things are finally starting to fall into place and I am living my art library dream. 

Events | Fun | SLIS | Student Groups


A Break for Some Fun!

  This week, I tried to have some fun.  I was assigned three books to read this week for my YA Library Collections class I spent most of my week studying and reading! The books are: Judy Blume's Forever; Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly; and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I gave myself a goal on Monday. If I could finish all of the readings for my Writing For Children class, and get halfway done with Looking For Alaska, then I would do something fun on Tuesday night. Howdy, cowgirl! Out I went to a country bar.

   Walking from Simmons to Fenway, I had never realized how "hopping" the area is. Before heading to Fenway on a Tuesday night, I checked to make sure there was no Red Sox game. The crowds out in Fenway Park can get crazy on game night. With no game, I was good to go line dancing. Growing up listening to country music, I was really excited to learn that there is a country bar in Boston. With school and volunteering, I could never find the time to go to Loretta's Last Call, which is down the street from House of Blues. I finally got the courage this week!  

   Every half hour at Loretta's, there is a quick lesson for a new dance, and then you practice to a couple songs. There are free line dancing lessons on Sundays and Tuesdays at 8 pm. The "regulars" (the people who come every week) are very welcoming to new faces. In the midst of a busy week of studying and work, it is good to get a break. You don't have to be a good dancer! You really just have to know which direction everyone is facing when you dance. I tried out some hard line dances, but caught on pretty quickly. For any fan of country music or someone who loves dancing, this is definitely a great break from studying!

Books | Boston | Classes | Fun | SLIS | Students


Tidbits of the Week/end

This has been quite the busy week! I started off my week with grocery shopping, and will finish the week with my LIS-483 "Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults" class.

 Grocery shopping may seem a very mundane chore, but I love finding new ethnic food shops around Boston. Boston is a city that welcomes people from all different cultures. In Allston, there are Asian food shops and even a market with a few different Asian restaurants called Food Connection. I am not your typical Asian, and most definitely not your typical American. My father is from India, and I was excited to find a huge Indian grocery store in Somerville, a suburb of Boston, so I did another round of grocery shopping Monday evening.

 Friday evening, I went to Kiki's Market in Brighton. Kiki's Market has specialty Irish foods, such as Irish brands of cookies and chocolates. After visiting Ireland only a few months ago, it was nice to see name brands I recognize, and my favorite Irish tea at a discounted price.

 Most of my weekend was spent reading ahead for my "Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults" class, but the texts are so well-written that it was fun homework.

 I went to New Students Welcome Day on Tuesday. Representing SCIRRT, I talked to incoming students and told them how library science is a field that we can look at from a global perspective.   I shared my experience, noting that the Simmons community encourages international students and diversity in the classroom.   

 In 2019, I believe creating networking connections abroad with colleagues in our studies is so important. I almost have a date in place for an event that will be insightful to anyone who is interested in how to make an elementary age library class a global experience for young students.

 Stay tuned to hear about upcoming, exciting SCIRRT club events, hopefully they will include collaborating with other club leaders since that is something I really enjoy!

Fun | Students | classes


It's LIT!

The truth is, sometimes I think of myself as a 'bad librarian' for how few books I've read in the past year! It may even be less that I'm not living up to the librarian stereotypes, and more because I feel like I'm missing a piece of myself! In middle and high school (especially over the summer), I would read two or three books a week. College kind of killed my reading bug. I'd find it almost impossible to read for pleasure after 200-some pages of theory, so Netflix it was! I had high hopes that the ease of reading would fly back to me post-graduation, but that was not the case! One book. I read one book! ALL SUMMER! After Karin Slaughter's thrilling but terrifying Pretty Girls (highly recommend), I was overcome with moving to Boston, making my first apartment home, and finding a tribe. Kicking off grad school meant more prescribed reading, three jobs, and more exhaustion. But even though summer is almost over, I decided I'd had enough. I work at a library for goodness sake, so what's stopping me? 

During my break I bounded upstairs and selected Martin Duberman's Stonewall from a beautiful Pride month display. I'm only a chapter or so into the book, but I'm letting the book swallow me in its pages. While working the Children's desk, Natasha Slee and Cynthia Kittler's Planet Fashion: 100 Years of Fashion History caught my eye. It may have started with a children's book, but I'm finally remembering how to read for fun! David Wong's John Dies at the End also grabbed my attention, along with The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I usually only consume fantasy in visual forms, so I'm excited for the new experienceI may have been a little ambitious grabbing three thick books when my Google calendar is so full, but I have hope that I'm tapping into the joy grade school Katie felt while cracking open a book!

Fun | SLIS | Summer | reading


End of Summer Term, Plus Beach Reads!

It's the last week of summer term!  Yay!  I am almost done with all my work.  I submitted my final project for my Info Sources class, but I am still finishing my final paper for my Management class.  It's a grant proposal and I'm struggling with it.  Grant writing is very different from academic writing.  It needs to be very concise and to the point.  I love to write and play around with words and sentence structure and having to pare down my language has been tough.  I'm focusing on brevity but I'm also worried that I'm not explaining myself enough.  I'm sure there's a sweet spot between too little explanation and too much explanation, but I haven't found it yet and I'm frustrated.  It feels very sparse and cold somehow.  Thankfully I have a solid base written out and I just need to make sure that I'm being addressing all the necessary points.  But grant writing is something that I am probably going to be encountering in my library career, so it's good to practice.  We learned in class that grant writing is a team-oriented process and there are several proofreaders for each grant.  Volunteering to be a proofreader will be a great way to get more familiar with grant writing, and I definitely want to do it, especially since grants can have a significant impact on libraries. 

After I submit all my work for this semester, I'm going on vacation!  In a lovely coincidence, my yearly family vacation in Cape Cod starts right after term ends, and I cannot wait.  I spend most of my time reading at the beach, with my toes in the sand, listening to the sound of the waves.  I usually bring a ton of books, and this year I'm bringing  Louis XIV: the power and the glory by Josephine Wilkinson, Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert, On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the fall of Madame X, and The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee.  It's an odd assortment for sure, with books about all-powerful royalty, leper colonies in Hawaii, aspiring rap singers, and scandalous artwork.  But I couldn't resist.  I expect to be highly entertained.  And I deserve a break, because I worked really hard this semester.  I am going to enjoy not having any homework to do until September!

Fun | SLIS | Summer | classes | reading


How a Hungry Floridian Feeds Herself without Publix

Now as someone born and raised in Florida, I have very strong opinions on which supermarket is the best. Publix is the greatest gift that Florida has given to the Southeast and I will always make whoever picks me up from the airport come with a chicken tender pub sub in one hand, and a Publix arnold palmer in the other. 

So as nearly a cult member to the religion that is Publix, moving up to New England and not having access to my pub subs and near endless BOGO deals was honestly quite worrisome. But don't fret fellow Floridians, or any folks who care to read my crazed musings about grocery shopping, I have taken it upon myself to visit the nearest grocery stores to me and let y'all in on all my crazy thoughts and opinions. I'll not go to in depth since this is one of those weird topics that I could talk about for hours, but honestly I feel like this is helpful information for fellow foodies moving to the Boston area from another part of the country. 

Bfresh - 5% student discount on groceries, I REPEAT 5% DISCOUNT ON STUDENT GROCERIES! This is a very small grocery store near the Harvard Ave stop on the B line but they for the most part have everything you need. I personally really love this grocery store because I'm more likely to stick to my list since its so small and I don't get lost looking for the simplest things. This one is my top pick for people in Brighton. 

Trader Joe's - an obvious choice, a classic stable in the grad student's budget for their wide range of frozen foods as well as excellently priced produce. Just don't go on a Sunday, it will be a mob scene. I would say that Trader Joe's almost has a similar following to Publix and I get it, there in house brand products are so tasty and affordable. That being said, sometimes I just need Oreos, not Joe-Joe's. 

Stop & Shop/Star Market - I'm lumping these two places together because they are both so very average. The Star Market near me is possibly my least favorite place to go because it is organized in a way that I just can't figure out. The one near campus is so much better so I guess it just really depends on the location. 

Wegmans - I hate admitting this but Wegmans is great. I had to text one of my old roommates who was from upstate New York because we would always fight over Publix vs. Wegmans yet neither of us had been to the others favorite. The closest Wegmans to me is in Chestnut Hill, so I had to get my cousin to "steal" her boyfriend's car (a minivan, perfect for all the food we were about to buy) and we dragged all the other roommates out on an epic adventure. It was glorious, all the groceries were located on the first floor, and then all the alcohol on the second (they had an AMAZING selection of craft beers, some even from my favorite breweries in Florida!) If you have a car or live in Chestnut Hill, I can't think of a reason why you shouldn't be shopping at Wegmans. 

Whole Foods - I am really only including Whole Foods because it is actually the closest grocery store to my apartment and it is both a blessing and a curse. I will cave into my lazy nature sometimes (especially in the winter) and go there for groceries and every time I am either paying too much for things or they don't have the things I want. I will say though that their hot bar is amazing and while I feel like it is overpriced, sometimes my happiness and need for chicken tenders is greater than my frugalness. 

My research is far from over for this but I had a  way more fun than average exploring and judging grocery stores around Boston. I still want to try out two other places that people keep recommending to me, Market Basket in Sommerville and Russo's in Watertown. I'm especially excited about Russo's since it's a family owned market and I've been told has an amazing selection of all types of produce and such.

 

Fun | Resources | SLIS


Baby's First ALA

A few weeks ago I took part in a librarian rite of passage, and made my way down to Washington D.C. for the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition. 

As a grad student on a tight budget (especially a full time grad student living in Boston), attending conferences can be expensive. That is why I was extra thankful that LISSA offers Professional Development Reimbursement at Simmons! More information on PDR funds can be found here, but essentially LISSA will reimburse students for up to $250 incurred by engaging in LIS-related professional development activities. My $250 went directly towards my ALA experience, including covering a good chunk of the gas I purchased making the 879 mile journey from Boston to Washington, D.C. and back. This ALA trip truly was brought to you by a giant cooler filled with sandwiches, a 15 hour long playlist, PDR funds, and lots of iced coffee! 

As you probably know by now, one of my jobs is working as a SLIS Admission Student Ambassador. This meant I also manned the Simmons booth at ALA with SLIS various faculty and staff. It was great to interact with tons of alums, as well as a few prospective students.

 

Heading into ALA, my co-workers had warned me to pack light, anticipating bringing back boxes and boxes of advanced reader copies (ARCs) from vendors and publishers, but I was still shocked by the smorgasboard of amazing literature to pick from walking the booths of the exhibition hall. I walked away with one or *echem* six bags of books that I can't wait to dive into, as well as a few titles to pre-order. I was able to score books that perfectly fit the interests of each of my family members. A book detailing a conversation between Michelle Obama and Melania Trump played into mine and my mother's love for first ladies. My Game of Thrones fanatic father was gifted a book that provided a look at the historical events that loosely inspired the series. It's sometimes hard to tell, but I think my sporty teenage brother was excited by a book penned by Kobe Bryant that combines magic and athleticism. 

While the ALA conference was my first priority, how could I not take in the beautiful sights of D.C. in my spare moments?  

Of course I was able to explore the mall, dodge electric scooters, and coo over the baby ducklings in the reflecting pool. I also managed to catch up with some old friends!  

Because museums are my happy place,  I had to be sure to check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Here are two of my favorite pieces from the museum! 

 

Lastly, I was able to swing down to the National Archive for another peek at the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that while many of the Smithsonian museums have extended hours in the summer, many of them stay open until midnight on the days surrounding the summer solstice. Luckily for us librarians, the solstice and the ALA overlapped, allowing me to explore the museum of natural history late into the evening. 

My first ALA was definitely one for the books. I'll see all of you in Chicago for ALA 2020! 

Fun | SLIS | Student Groups | Summer | conferences


To All the Bookstores I Ever Loved

Now that summer has officially started, I am finding myself with something I almost never have, extra free time! I am interning full-time this summer so I am still busy throughout the day but it is so nice to be able to leave my work at the office and come home and not have to worry about catching up on my assignments or readings for class. So obviously, my conclusion for how to occupy all this new free time is that I can finally start catching up on all my leisure reading. 

This also means I have to make a trip to my favorite bookstore because you can never have too many books. I live pretty close to Brookline, and Coolidge Corner has always been one of my favorite areas to take a stroll and hang out when the weather is nice. The Trader Joe's is there, a great tea shop, a yoga studio (I keep saying I will take a class at one of these weekends), and best of all Brookline Booksmith, (a used and new bookstore.) I have spent many hours in their basement going through their new additions cart of used books.

 My latest trip over to pick up some summer reading though gave me the idea for this post: I want to find all the best local bookstores in Boston!   I'm a creature of habit and once I find a place I like I just frequent them exclusively but now living in a big city that has a lot of options I need to work on broadening my horizons! 

One of the areas I always seem to hang out is Cambridge since my cousin and I are obsessed with a Mexican restaurant there called Felipe's (they have a rooftop and frozen margs, need I say more). So one day when I had enough free time and before meeting up for dinner, I explored the Cambridge area hunting for good bookstores. That is how I stumbled upon some of the best news. Harvard Book Store has an annual summer sale at their warehouse location! So like any avid reader and deal hunter, I planned my whole weekend around attending their sale and it was magical. They had everything new books, old books, popular reads, they even had a sections for older, more rare books! I had to definitely reel myself in on a feel occasions just because I knew I had to carry everything I bought home and it was a long ride home.  It was certainly a workout hauling all of my new finds home but it was well worth it (I even got a coupon to use at their normal storefront!).

With my haul safely home, it goes without saying that I will be quite busy now with all my new books to read this summer. I still have plans to explore other bookshops around Boston this summer, my next one being More than Words Bookstore which is perfectly located near the Sowa Market.

Fun | SLIS | Summer | reading


SLIS Tavern Night

Our amazing end of the year event for SLIS took place at a Tavern Night hosted at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum! Each one of the actors stayed so perfectly in character that when Paul Revere told me to follow him for the "baby shower," I was frazzled and felt the need to clarify that we were library students here for a tavern night! It quickly became apparent that the "shower" was just a cover for our booze-filled gathering, which was illegal by 1773 standards.

I rubbed elbows with John Hancock and his Aunt Lydia, Dorothy Quincy, Samuel Adams, and several other relevant Bostonians. Each actor was believably living in 1773, and kept throwing various "easter eggs" that were particularly funny if you're well versed in history! I grew up attending Renaissance Fairs, was a "theatre kid" in high school, minored in Art History in college, and have two history-loving parents, so this was quite my cup of tea (pun intended)! As a budding information professional I was ALSO very impressed that the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum's website featured an extensive reference page! We love citing sources!

For the tavern night, I was sat at Dorothy Quincy's table! I might be a bit biased, but I'm convinced she was the best of the lot. I am a firm believer that you get back what you put in, so I was pepperring Dorothy with questions about her family, gown, and political leanings, as well as her relationship with John Hancock! Two fun interactions: I wear a ring from my alma mater Mount Holyoke, and was able to play our founder Mary Lyon, upon Dorothy seeing the date on the ring and exclaiming that I must be planning to FOUND a school in 1837, as it was 64 years in the future. In a much more contemporary vein, I could barely contain my laughter as I tried to explain the TV show "The Bachelorette" to Dorothy Quincy and John Hancock as if it were a series of ads in the local newspaper. Overall the night was not only hilarious, but also an excellent exercise in history, communication, and out of the box thinking.

Dinner was delicious and I definitely enjoyed the "delicate selection of fruits," and the "roasted sweet meat of swine." I snagged a picture of the beautifully displayed "rosemary roasted chicken's legs." Everything felt so fancy! I also can't complain about the open bar, which allowed me to sample "grog," and old fashioned Dark and Stormy drinks!

Other activities for the night included singing tons of 1773-esque songs, as well as learning a line dance of sorts! You can tell we're a fun crowd because everyone grabbed a partner and was up on their feet.

We ended the night with another one of my favorite activities: a word game! The tavern night concludes with a red coat getting extremely drunk. Our task as word conessieurs was to string together phrases to describe just how intoxicated the red coat was.

It truly was a night full of drinking, giggling, and merriment! The tavern night was just what I needed to close out the semester, celebrate being halfway through my SLIS courses, and gear up for summer.

Events | Fun | SLIS | Student Groups


Guest Blog Post - MLA Conference Experience - Professional Development

Hi Everyone! We are lucky enough to have a fabulous guest post from one of our current students in the program -- Kerri MacLaury. Kerri was kind enough to share with us her input on the recent MLA conference she attended. I hope you enjoy this exciting guest post! 

One of the reasons why I chose to attend Simmons University's School of Library and Information Science program was its support of students' professional development. Every fiscal year, each SLIS student, courtesy of the Library and Information Science Student Association, receives $250 which they can put toward various professional development activities. Funds can be used to be reimbursed for professional association dues, workshop or conference fees, and travel and lodging expenses.

This year I considered using my funds to pay for American Library Association, New England Library Association (NELA), and Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) membership dues, but ultimately decided to use the funds to attend the MLA conference. I made that decision because I know that I will remain in Massachusetts at the conclusion of my schooling and wanted to start growing my professional network in Massachusetts now, rather than waiting for graduation. The funds reimbursed me for all but $9 of the student-rate conference fee to attend for all three days. It was a deal that I could not resist!

This year, the MLA Conference was titled "The Greatest Job on Earth" and was held on May 20th-22nd at the Sheraton Conference Center in Framingham, MA. This. Conference. Was. FANTASTIC! I found such value in the workshops offered, that at the conclusion of the conference, I found the members of the MLA's Conference Committee and asked to join it so that I might help with next year's conference.

Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to network with library directors, librarians, and library volunteers from across the state. It exposed me to fantastic readers' advisory, programming and fundraising ideas that I hope to implement in future library positions. And, most importantly, it helped give me concrete actions that I can take to build equity in both programming and staffing at future libraries.

Here are some highlights from my favorite speakers and workshops:

  • Radical Respect in Troubling Times Keynote Session & Communicating Across Differences Workshop - Deborah Plummer, PhD, Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care

    • Focus on being respectful versus being right

    • Admit when you have made an assumption about someone else

    • Treat addressing diversity as a challenge instead of as a threat

    • Normalize conversations about race

    • Recommended resources: Project Ready

  • Fundraising with a Read-a-Thon - Janina Majeran, Reference and YA Librarian, Swampscott Public Library

    • Select date for read-a-thon and map out promotional plan for press releases, social media video post, and flyers

    • Reach out to schools and library book groups to participate

    • Solicit donations from local businesses to provide refreshments during the event for participants

    • Promote the fundraiser to patrons and volunteers, provide them with pledge sheets so they can ask friends to support their read-a-thon reading

    • Select a charity to donate half of the funds to after the fundraiser

    • Thanks participants with gift bags and business supporters with a follow up press release and social media posts

  • Readers' Advisory: Connecting with Patrons Using Themes - Katie Stover, Director of Readers' Services, Kansas City Public Library; Kristi Chadwick, Consultant, Massachusetts Library System; Victoria Caplinger, Director of Book Discovery, Novelist

    • Romance Themes: Secret baby, friends to lovers, marriage of convenience/opposites attract, hating to dating

    • Mystery/Suspense Themes: Bad seeds, unreliable narrator/missing memories, too good to be true

    • Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction Themes: Robots with emotions, alien invasion, band of survivors, evil corporations, pandemic apocalypse

    • Christian Fiction Themes: Sinner redeemed, home again, test of faith, life outside the flock

    • Urban Fiction Themes: Church drama, cheaters, payback

    • Graphic Novel Themes: Origin story, women of steel, no power but still super, sidekick spotlight

    • Recommended Readers' Advisory Resources: NoveList, Book Riot, New York Times Book Reviews, NPR Books, GoodReads, Book Club MeetUps, The Millions, Books in Tumblr

  • Equity Program Design and Delivery - Valerie Wonder, Community Engagement Manager, Seattle Public Library; Josie Watanabe, Student Success Program Manager, Seattle Public Library

    • Look at which demographic groups your library is spending your money on and spend money where the need is the greatest

    • Listen to what different community groups say they need, not what you assume they need

    • Normalize conversations about race

    • Identify your audience and prioritize them based on greatest need

    • Recommended resources: Youth Service Learning model, Social Emotional Learning: Empathy Domain, RACE Forward: Racial Equity Impact Assessment Guide

  • Seeking Stellar Staff, or, There Must Be a Better Way to Hire and Interview the Best People for These Library Positions! - Maxine Bleiweis, Library Innovation Consultant

    • Connect and match people with what they need to be successful

    • Do not hire for the moment, hire for what is coming next

    • Always be in recruitment mode to be prepared for the inevitable loss of staff

    • Use experiential interviews and have interviewees assist with events, great patrons at the door, show you something that they know, serve refreshments, find out what they learned recently, provide them with a real assignment that you are grappling with

    • In the sit-down interview ask what they know about the community, what they love to do outside of work, about past feedback they have received and how it impacted their performance, what's held them back and what they are doing to change

    • Recommended Resources: Helping Business: The Library's Role in Community Economic Development by Maxine Bleiweis, David Rock's SCARF Model

As I mentioned before, I highly recommend attending this conference, particularly if you will be staying in Massachusetts at the conclusion of your studies. Even if you will be moving elsewhere, you can use your professional development funds to attend a similar conference in your destination state. Upon leaving the conference, I had so many wonderful ideas to tuck away for future implementation. I am so excited to become more involved with the Massachusetts Library Association Conference Committee and hope to see you at next year's conference!

 

Events | Fun | Resources | SLIS | Student Groups | conferences


Summer Reading

Summer Reading

Summer is here!  My summer class (LIS 404: Principles of Management) doesn't start up until next week, but the course materials are online, so I've been trying to get head start by looking at the readings and seeing what my assignments are.  I remember how busy last summer was as summer classes at SLIS are shorter than actual semester-long classes (my summer class this time is only seven weeks long).  Even though I'm looking ahead to my summer class, I've been enjoying my last few days of summer break by reading and relaxing. 

I've been reflecting on what I used to do during summer break when I was a child.  One of my favorite activities was the summer reading program at our public library.  I was a voracious reader as a child (I still am--not an uncommon trait for someone in the SLIS program), and I not only did the summer reading program at the library, but also at all of our local bookstores.   One of the reasons why I've been thinking about this is because I've been seeing signs advertising summer reading programs at libraries and at bookstores, and I've come across articles that have librarians and authors sharing summer reading picks (such as this article from Slate that has children's literature authors giving their top summer reading picks for kids).   Seeing these articles and thinking of my childhood and participating in the summer reading program has had me reflecting on my favorite books as a child, and I thought I would share some of my childhood and YA favorites:

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling:

  • These books defined my childhood.  Waiting in line at the bookstore until midnight on the day the books came out, and then devouring the books in earnest was something that I looked forward to.  I read, and reread, and reread these books.  Fun fact: I actually took not one, but two classes when I was in undergrad that had Harry Potter books as required reading material. 

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

  • I first read this book because of a library summer reading program!   I got this book as a free book for doing the summer reading program, and it became a favorite of mine! 

The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, and the Tricksters Series by Tamora Pierce

  • These four series are in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe.  I always really enjoyed these books because they are YA fantasy novels with an emphasis on worldbuilding and with female heroes.  These four series in the Tortall Universe have always had a special place in my heart. 

Bloomability by Sharon Creech

  • I remember picking this book out as a kid because I had read Walk Two Moons (also an excellent book!) by the same author, and this book has stuck with me ever since.  Ironically, this was another summer reading program pick. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

  • When I was a young child, I loved this book.  Food falling from the sky was just seemed so interesting to me.  This children's book is a classic for a reason! 

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

  • One of my elementary school teachers was really into poetry, and this is one of the books she read to us.   This book has remained a favorite ever since. 

Matilda by Roald Dahl

  • I saw the movie before I read the book, and I remember being terrified of Miss Trunchbull, but I connected with Matilda.  I love this book to pieces, and it has always been a favorite of mine.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

  • This book had a huge impact on me as a child, and the first time I went to New York City and I went to the Met, let me tell you, I was beyond disappointed when I found out that some of the places that Claudia and Jamie spent their time at in the museum were no longer there so I couldn't retrace their journey  (I apparently am not the only person who has felt this way--The Met devoted an entire issue of Museum Kids to some of the frequently asked questions they get about the book).  I love that book and I think that's a part of the reason why I love going to museums so much. 

If you are interested in finding a summer reading program (for children, teens, or adults!) and you live in Massachusetts, you can look up your local library and find out more here!

If you live in Boston and are interested in the Boston Public Library's summer reading program, you can find out more here!  They also have some excellent book lists for readers of all ages! 

 

 

 

Books | Fun | Relaxing | Summer


Trying my Hand at Student Leadership

Taking online coureses this semester has been really great in terms of flexibility in my schedule for my part-time job, and for my internship, but it has been not so great for socializing and being involved at campus events. Since I did not have to come to campus as often for class or meetings for group projects, I spent way more time these past few months in my bed then I'd like to admit. So to get out of my comfort zone and really try to challenge myself, I decided to run for a leadership position in Panopticon,(the student art librarianship student organization). Which means you can now call me Madame Secretary! I knew I wanted to get more involved since time is going by so fast and I want to experience as much as a can in grad school before it's over! Panopticon has always been the student group I have been most interested in, and I am so excited to now be a part of their leadership team.

Having a background in art history, it is no surprise that I am interested in all the great activities Panopticon has planned throughout the semester. I remember at the start of fall semester they actually planned a really fun social get-to-know your classmates event called Drink and Draw where we all went to Felipe's for food, drinks, and coloring books. I still have my Bob Ross coloring book page hanging up on my apartment's fridge! The group also plans some more educational trips throughout the semester. For example I just attended their tour of MassArt's library focusing on their collection of Artist books. Not only was it wonderful to interact with the artist books, but also to speak with librarians working in an art focused academic library. Speaking with the MassArt librarians also brought up ARLIS/NA which is the Art Libraries Society of North America and how their New England chapter has a $10 student membership! So not only are student groups great for socializing but also networking!

Other event highlights that Panopticon puts on throughout the year include, student art shows (1 in the fall and 1 in the spring), field trips to local art museums and art libraries, and a graffiti art walk with SLIS professor Ann Graf, which I am hoping will become an bi-annual thing like the art shows because it was a such a fun excursion out exploring the Allston neighbourhood and seeing some cool street art.

 

Fun | Leadership | SLIS | Student Groups | Students


Almost There

I can't believe the last week of the semester is here already!  Where did the time go?  My only remaining assignment is my group project because I managed to finish my tech project early!  I submitted it on Friday, and then I jumped up and down and did a happy dance with my dog 😊.  I am so glad I got it off my plate because I got to actually relax a bit over the weekend.  I had some readings and a small extra credit assignment to do, but nothing majorly time consuming.  My part of the group project is done and I'm just waiting for us to put everything together.  It's due on Friday and probably won't be submitted before then because of all the coordination that needs to happen.  But I don't care when it's submitted, as long as it's on time.  I also need to double check that I've fulfilled all my participation requirements for both classes.  I'm pretty sure I have, but it never hurts to double check.

So what's next?  I have a few weeks off until summer term starts, and I am looking forward to the down time.  I have a number of books that I want to read, some knitting projects that I need to finish, and various things I want to do in my garden (mostly weeding but also some planting of annuals for some pops of color).  I'm going to thoroughly enjoy my break because I know that the summer term will be challenging.  Since it's shorter than a normal semester, the coursework is more concentrated.  I'm a little nervous about that, to be honest, but I really want to take these classes so I just have to deal with it.  I feel like I've balanced school and work pretty well this semester.  Some weeks were more challenging than others, but overall, I managed to stay relatively sane and happy even during the extremely busy season at work.  I'm confident I'll be able to handle summer classes, too.  But until then, I'll be enjoying my time off.

Fun | SLIS | Summer


Searching for the Unknown

We are taught early on how to search for information in a library.  You search by author, title, or subject, and find what you need.  But the reality is, it's not always easy to find exactly what you want unless you have a good idea of what you are looking for.  In LIS 415, Information Organization, we completed an assignment where we searched for the word "grey" as author, keyword, and title.  Predictably, the results were numerous and varied, as "grey" is a fairly common word that can be a name or a color.  That assignment gave me a lot to think about.  I use the library a lot, both for school and for myself.  Most of the time I have an author or title in mind when I'm searching, or at least a subject that can narrow down my search.  But how do I search when I don't know what I want?  And more importantly, do I ever search for the unknown?

All these questions came up because of my trip to the Needham Public Library last week.  They had a "Blind Date with a Book" table set up, and it immediately intrigued me.  The books were wrapped in brown paper, with only the keywords taped to the front.  I browsed the table and chose two books.  It was not an easy decision!

Book 1:  Death--Afterlife--Making Amends--China--Ghosts--1920's

Book 2:  Paranormal abilities--search for truth--academic life--rivalry--magazine    editors--past lives--philosophers--aunts--relationships

It was disorienting to search for books using only those identifiers.  I've spent considerable time so far learning about the complexities of categorizing information, and this simple exhibit forced me take a closer look at what exactly that information provided.  Clearly the keywords gave some idea about the book's content, but not about how everything tied together.  Consider Book 2.  How exactly do past lives, paranormal abilities, and (this one makes me laugh) magazine editors relate to each other?  What is the book actually about?  I had no clue, but I wanted to find out.

I don't know if I will like either of these books, but that's not really the point.  The point is that I was open to checking them out and to getting out of my reading comfort zone.  Reading new books is the perfect way to take a risk.  If I don't like a book, I can return it.  But if I love a book, I can discover a whole new world.  The next time I'm at the library, I'm going to take another chance.  Because sometimes not knowing what you want allows you to find just what you need.

For those who are interested, the mystery books were:

Book 1:  Three Souls by Janie Chang

Book 2:  The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

Books | Fun | reading


HTML-ove Affair?

This week in LIS 488, we learned the basics of HTML. As my last post shows, I was really quaking in my boots for this course! This week went really well, as we worked through a Code Academy tutorial, and coded a simple HTML site about bears!

My (very minimal) experience with HTML stems from a tumblr blog I've been updating since I was 14. I remember the excitement of selecting my first theme, and writing my first little bio. With the help of the Wayback Machine of www.wayback.com, introduced to me by Danielle Pollock, I don't have to just fondly remember my blog in 2011: I can see it! And now, on display, my greatest pride and greatest shame, all rolled into one. 

Check out this screenshot of my blog from November 6th, 2011. My first background was a wicked cool purple and black flannel. I "hated people," and loved tea.

I remember sitting in a newly funded computer lab in 3rd grade, and wondering why I was being forced to complete my report on platypi on this stupid machine when my school library had perfectly good physical books. (Sidenote: It took a whole office effort to track down the title of these books I'd convinced myself were a fever dream.)

Flash forward to middle school. I remember being in awe of my teachers who could operate e-Boards. When I discovered the blogosphere, I was even more impressed with the people who could design web pages with multiple colors, with flashing pictures and bold lettering!  I went through high school, then on to college, and learned to love melding physical and digital research together. Times and tech changed, but my blog was always a constant. When it came time to design and redesign my own blog, I scoured the web for the perfect format to properly showcase my teen angst! As these screen grabs from April 30th, 2014 and May 27th, 2017 indicate, I had a penchant for lace, and talented friends willing to doodle avatars for me!


I think it's funny how I've come full circle! Now I'm learning the very HTML that allowed me to express myself throughout my teen years, and I love it! To me, there's something so calming about reading in a "different language," and the way the code changes color in the ATOM software for HTML writing I've downloaded on my computer. It's been a fun trip down memory lane to see what I wrote, selected, and pseudo-designed at different stages in my life. Now it's even more fun to think about what type of code was written to make my blog look and act the way it did! I think when I'm done this course, my blog circa 2019 might need a face lift! 

Fun | SLIS | Technology | classes | skills


Spring 2019 Kickoff

With the first week of classes coming to a close, I thought I'd give my first impressions of my second SLIS semester so far!

On Tuesday I had my first section of LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals (my final core class). I was extremely nervous about this class, so it's not a coincidence that I saved it for last! I am someone who loves technology and is always excited to learn new things, but after a few too many attempts at troubleshooting, I go into meltdown mode. Danielle put my mind at ease when she started class by having us go around the room, share our tech backgrounds, and rate our feelings about technology on a smiley face scale ranging from love to hate (just like this one).

 

Most of us placed ourselves on the scale at "meh," with various justifications for why. Some rationales for not providing a more positive score were frustration, privacy concerns, and lack of sociability. Danielle stated that the course would take on all of those subjects! We moved to the COCIS tech lab for the second half of class, where we signed up for our first presentation, and then spent an hour learning some simple coding via a tutorial website. I chose to create my own Google doodle. It isn't perfect, but I'm pretty proud of it! It ended up looking like this!

 

On Thursday I had my LIS450: Public Libraries class. I was super excited for this course, as public librarianship is my "jam," and it did not disappoint! I know about one third of the people in the class, but was excited to make some new friends. This is by far the bubbliest group I've encountered.

I was originally placed on the waitlist for LIS 453: Collection Management and Development. The class is only offered online, and is apparently very popular, as I started out 22nd on the waitlist. I was briefly enrolled in LIS 493: Intellectual Freedom - which I was very excited to take with my advisor Laura Saunders - but thought that Collection Development and Management better fit my personal goals of public and reference librarianship. Luckily for me, the registrar's office looked at the long wait list, and enlisted Michael Leach to teach another section of LIS 453. I've only just started exploring the moodle page for our online section, but so far I'm feeling super optimistic. I loved that we had a forum to post introductions (including fun facts and where we're from!). I was worried about lack of human connection, but that doesn't seem like it's going to be a problem! I'm looking forward to the flexibility an online class offers me!

 

 

Fun | SLIS | classes | skills


First Impressions

Over the past week my semester has truly gotten underway and I think it is going to be exactly what I need for my final semester at Simmons. The most exciting thing to happen this week was the first meeting for my internship! I sat down with the senior reference librarian & instruction coordinator at Fairfield University and we hashed out introductions, expectations, and scheduling. For the next few weeks we will be meeting to discuss readings, instruction techniques, and lesson plans. I'll get to observe a few classes, and then, I WILL GET TO TEACH ALL BY MYSELF. Yep, you heard that right (because I was yelling excitedly). These kind people are going to let an inexperienced library school student teach undergraduate freshman English classes. In fact, I'm going to teach about ten classes over the course of the semester! Yay for real life experience! I AM SO EXCITED.

Readings and discussions have begun in my online metadata class and I'm getting pretty good vibes about it. Many of the students are in their final semester at Simmons like me but we've also got folks from all over and in different stages of their life/career/education. Most of us (including me) are taking this class because we've gotten a sense from other classes that metadata is "important." I like how the instructor has organized the online class and I feel like our discussions are going to be lively and informative. She's created lots of different forums to facilitate feedback and interaction.

This semester is like my final testing ground before I head out into the real world with my MSLIS. It's my chance to see how much I actually like teaching. It's my chance to glean just a little bit more technological know-how before I have to decide what skills I can truthfully list on my resume. It's my chance to figure out what area of librarianship I want to aim for. And it's my last chance to call myself a SLIS student. Let's see if I can make the best of it before I completely run out of steam. 😉

Fun | School Libraries | Students | classes