Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

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Putting Theory into Practice: Tackling Information Literacy for Incarcerated Students

One of the components for my Information Services for Diverse Users class (LIS 410) this semester is a service learning project. I did a lot of community based learning in undergrad, so this was right up my alley! I signed up to work with the Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College (TUPIT), which brights Tufts faculty and students "together with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, corrections staff, educators, and scholars of criminal justice to facilitate creative and collaborative responses to the problems of mass incarceration." Because I have a background in restorative justice and a vested interest in the rights of the incarcerated, getting to combine these passions with my library studies was a dream come true! This past Friday, I was able to meet with my project supervisor to get a better idea of what our goals are for the semester.  

As it turns out, we will be creating an annotated bibliography and miniature lit review on the subject of education and information literacy in prisons, as well as the book to prison pipeline. We are looking to discover what successful collections look like in prisons, as well as how educators would be able to get around limited or no access to technology, especially while teaching information literacy. We will also be seeking out people and organizations who have successfully done this work before, and conducting interviews to identify potential landmines, opportunities for improvement, and successes. Our final for LIS 410 will be to compile an outreach plan that TUPIT can then put into place after our semester is done! 

One of the key parts of mindful service learning at Simmons (and in general) is reflection. Throughout the semester, we have been advised to keep a journal tracking our experiences, documenting our feelings about the process, and relating these to our scholarship. As a stream of consciousness writer and blabbermouth with a lot of thoughts, I love having a space (beside this blog) to break down my feelings! 

On Thursday, October 3rd and Friday, October 4th, TUPIT is hosting a symposium entitled Engaging Justice: Inside/Outside Prison. It is free and open to all, and "aims to engage issues resulting in and resulting from mass incarceration, promote empathetic listening, foster vicis discourse, and center voices of those with deep knowledge of incarceration." I'll be attending with my group members and am so excited to further engage with TUPIT! Overall, lots of exciting things on the horizon -- I'll keep you updated! 

 

Learning | Projects | SLIS | classes | skills


The Dog Days of Summer

It's Week 4 of LIS 404!  Oh, my goodness, this class has been keeping me on my toes!  As I've said before, this class is a lot shorter than a regular semester class, but we're doing the same amount of work, which is a little bit intense!  There's a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time, so each week there's an abundance of readings to be completed, notes to go over, and lectures to watch.  I know that theoretically it is same amount of work as a regular semester class just in an accelerated timeframe, but between this class and my summer class last year, I feel that there is a lot more reading in summer classes than there is during the semester.  However, this could just be because of the timing- maybe I just don't notice the amount of reading as much because it is more spaced out during the regular semester classes?   

These past two weeks have been more 'participation' weeks rather than 'assignment' weeks, with us participating more on the forums and wikis instead of having papers or projects to turn in.  Last week we learned about Organizational Culture, Personality, Decision Making, and Strategic Management.  In one of our forums we took the Jung Typology/Myers Briggs Personality Test and shared our results and a brief summary of our background and it was one of the most interesting and enjoyable assignments that I've had since starting at SLIS.  In online classes sometimes it feels like we don't get to know our classmates except for maybe a brief hello during the first week in the introduction forums, so it was nice to have an opportunity to get to "meet" my classmates and get to know them on a deeper level.   I really  enjoy it when the online classes feel less remote and more personal!  Additionally, I've always been fascinated by the Jung Typology/Myers Briggs Personality Test.  I've taken the test a few times before, and according to my results I'm an INTJ.  If you are interested in taking an online, free version of the test, this is the version that we took for class. 

The remaining half of this class is going to be a lot of hard work, but the material is really interesting and engaging!  Wish me luck!

Classes | Learning | SLIS | Summer


Changing Direction

Let's take a trip down memory lane to when I was applying to college for the first time.  I had several conversations with my dad that went like this:

             DAD:    You should major in computer science! 

            ME:      Ugh, no!  I'm artsy, not techy!

My dad is a computer engineer (happily retired now, although still the go-to computer troubleshooter for everyone in our large extended family), and he wanted me to major in something useful that could get me a job after graduation.  I, on the other hand, wanted to major in something that I enjoyed, like history and writing.  I majored in art history and ended up working at an accounting firm, which was not what I was expecting, but I have no regrets.

I'm bringing this up because I had a full-circle moment last week.  I decided to switch out of the archives concentration and into a design your own concentration focusing on...drumroll please...computers.  Specifically, my focus is going to be on digitalization, digital libraries, and programming.  I'm excited about it, and surprised, too.  The technology course was the one I was most worried about heading into this semester.  But programming is not as scary as I thought it would be.  In fact, it's actually quite straightforward and logical, as long as you follow the rules.  All the code has to be entered in a particular order, and if you forget a single comma or add an extra space somewhere, it will not work.  That is very frustrating and can take a long time to troubleshoot.  I've had a few assignments that I spent unnecessary hours on because I made silly mistakes.  But it's gotten easier with each assignment and will hopefully continue to get easier the more I practice. 

The most important thing is that I love it, and I want to learn more.  Libraries are integrating new technology all the time, and someone needs to keep up with, teach, and develop that technology.  I want to be that someone!  So last week I spoke to my potential new advisor and he answered all of my questions and gave me good advice.  I've made a tentative plan of classes I want to take, including metadata, digital stewardship, digital libraries, and social informatics.  I'm looking forward to learning everything that I can, and I can't wait to see where this is going to take me in the future.

Learning | SLIS | Students | Technology | classes | skills


Developing and Managing Collection Development and Management

I, Katie Carlson, am a 'microwave thinker.' This idea was introduced to me by a professor at Mount Holyoke, and indicates that given a moment, I can always supply an idea. Put simply, my brain moves fast. (Sometimes too fast - especially when the goal is quality over quantity.) Microwave thinkers are placed in opposition to 'slow cooker thinkers.' These are people who need time to let their ideas marinate, especially before they feel comfortable sharing them with a group. A round table discussion can be torture for these 'slow cookers,' especially when the room is populated with 'microwaves.' While I originally responded negatively to being a 'microwave' -- thinking of unevenly heated food with weird textures -- my professor stressed that one brand of thinking is not better or worse than the other! We landed on the idea that in any educational setting, it's important to plan activities and allow for opportunities that work well for both 'slow cookers' and 'microwaves.'  

 

 

The reason I bring up this 'thinker' dichotomy is that my online class in Collection Development and Management (LIS 453) is forcing me to step away from the 'microwave' and make my way to the 'slow cooker.' Class being taught asynchronously means that I am presented with a few hours of content and have the whole week to consume it. While Wednesdays are my hunker-down and get it done day, the work almost always spills into other days of the week. I never would have guessed it, but I'm slow cooking! I jot down notes during lectures, and highlight my readings, but I'm thinking about patron demographics while I cook dinner, and list checking while I wash my hair! Of course I've always been a ponderer, but putting all of my comments into forums (with an end of week due date) has meant the content I'm sharing is more fleshed out!

Another welcome addition to my online learning experiment is hearing from everyone! In an online class, nobody takes a seat in the last row and avoids sharing their opinions. My favorite thing about education is the collaborative thinking aspect, so I'm grateful to be able to hear from my 'slow cooker' classmates, and learn a thing or twenty from them, too!

 

Learning | SLIS | skills