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

Recently in Summer

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


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


Summer Life

It's hard to believe that July is almost over! I've kept busy this summer with studying, even though I am not taking any summer classes. I took the reading MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills subtest in June, and I have the writing exam next week. The MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills is an exam SLT students need to pass before they can do their last two semesters of practicum experiences (student teaching). Luckily, I saved my eighth grade grammar textbook and brought it out to Boston! Princeton Review has been very helpful in my studying. I also listen to a podcast called Grammar Girl to review the basic grammar rules.

When I am not studying, I've been applying to part time jobs in the fall. I've applied to a few at Boston Public Library, one at Cambridge Public Library, and a couple of library assistant positions in local school districts. With six library job applications submitted, it is waiting time. Waiting to hear back is definitely the hard part, but at least I can catch up on fun reading while I am waiting. Speaking of reading, the best part of my summer so far has been visiting Ireland for a couple weeks, which included checking out some libraries!

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I went over to Ireland to volunteer at a Catholic summer camp, and after camp concluded, I visited friends. In undergrad, I studied abroad for a semester in Galway, Ireland, but this was my first time back since studying abroad. When I visited friends in Cork, the library student in me definitely wanted to see the library, and even do a little networking. The first day in Cork, my friend Jack showed me where in the city the library was so that I could go visit the library on my own the next day. It was huge, but not as big as Boston Public Library's main branch!

Getting to go inside the library was quite exciting. When I first walked in, the children's room was on the left. It was really nice chatting with the children's librarian there, and bonding over how we both share a passion for encouraging children's love of reading. In the library collection, there were children's books by authors from the United States, Ireland, and the UK. After exploring the children's room, I was already brainstorming ways to learn about library services in Ireland, as well as how we can make learning more global for students visiting their school library. Showing students children's books written by authors from other countries can help the students learn about different cultures and expand their imaginations. I look forward to the next time I can visit a library in Ireland, but for now I am studying hard for my MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills exam next week!

International | SLIS | School Libraries | Summer


Summer is Flying By!

Things have been crazy!  Summer is just flying by!  There are only seven weeks in my summer class (LIS 404: Principles of Management), and we are in Week 6, and there is so much left to do.  During these last two weeks, we're learning about Change Management, Grant Writing, Fiscal Responsibility, Budgeting, and Evaluation and Coordination of Library Functions!  So many topics, so little time!  There are still several assignments left to complete, readings to be done, and forums to participate in and it is crunch time. 

I've really enjoyed this class, especially because this class has more of a classroom feel to it.  Even though this is an online course, this class utilizes "wikis" on Moodle where we have discussions that are more personal (like the one about the Jung Typology/Myers Briggs personality test that I mentioned in my last post), so we get to know our classmates.  This past week (Week 5), one of our topics was Motivation and Drive, and we had a discussion on what our motivations were for pursuing our MLIS.  I've only taken online classes at Simmons so far, and while there have been discussion forums that allow us to participate and interact with one another, I really haven't gotten to know or learn about any of my classmates very much.  This class feels more personal, and I really appreciate that.  While all of my classes at Simmons have had lively discussion forums, this class feels more like a class, like we're all on this journey of learning about management and getting our MLIS together, and not sitting behind our computers alone. 

This is the second summer course I've taken, and while on one hand, I have really enjoyed having no schoolwork for several weeks between semesters and getting a little break, I really wish the summer classes were a little bit longer.  Summer classes are half the length of a regular semester course, and while I've enjoyed both summer classes that I've taken, and I've learned so many new skills, the rigorous pace can be difficult at times.  Due to their accelerated nature, it feels like so much more work than a regular semester (and it kind of is because you are accomplishing it in half the time).  The fast pace of the summer classes have definitely been a challenge for me both times around, because in addition to balancing my schoolwork, I'm balancing my job, my personal life, family, etc.  Staying on top of everything can be incredibly difficult, and having good time management skills is imperative.  With that being said, I am happy that I decided to take a summer course this year.  This class has challenged me to think in new ways, I've learned so many practical skills that I can take with me on my educational and professional journey, and I have gotten the opportunity to get to know my classmates. 

Wish me luck for the final push!

Classes | SLIS | Summer | Workload


Adventures in Reference

It's week 5 and I still haven't gotten the hang of how fast summer courses go by.  Including this week, there are only three weeks left in the semester.  *takes a few deep, calming breaths.*  How did that happen?  Basically, because all I've been focusing on is my schoolwork and how to get everything done on time without cramming.  I've been keeping a very regular study schedule so that I don't get behind.  When I get home from work, I eat, then do school work, and on the weekends, I spend a lot of time finishing up projects.  There really is no time to procrastinate or take a break, and the time has gone by in a blur.  But, I am loving both of my classes and have learned a ton already.

I'm particularly enjoying LIS 407, Information Sources and Services.  It's all about reference services--basically, teaching us how to search more efficiently and effectively.  We've learned many searching strategies, including how to combine those techniques to broaden or narrow our results, and how to conduct a reference interview to help patrons find what they need.  Our assignments have been to answer a list of questions, which can be anything from "tell me about the origin of this word" to "who was this person" to "how can I find information on this subject."  It seems simple but it's not.  In fact, it took me hours to complete these assignments, and for the most part I was frustrated and not very happy with the sources that I found. 

The main problem is that I'm searching not only for the answer to the question, but for the correct place to search.  There are many different types of sources, including encyclopedias, almanacs, yearbooks, and gazetteers (yes, that's a real word for a geographical index).  It's not as easy as typing "encyclopedia" in the Simmons Library catalog, because there are literally thousands of encyclopedias.  You have to wade through a lot of information and may have to try several search techniques and combinations to end up with a useful result.  Right now, I'm not familiar with all the reference sources that Simmons has, and I have had to search through their database or journal list to just to decide where to start searching.  Also, not all the sources are online, which is frustrating because I have gotten several appropriate search results that have been physical books, which I cannot access.  Luckily, I'm not the only one struggling.  My classmates have all commented on how difficult it's been to search.  We are all, myself included, so used to Googling everything, that it's a real eye opener to use other, more quality search engines.  

The good news is that I am confident that my skills will improve with practice.  Once I am more familiar with the particular reference sources available to me, I will be able to search more quickly, and won't have to waste time on where to start or wading through sources that aren't very helpful.  I actually like the search process, which is surprising to me because I never considered being a reference librarian.  It's like a treasure hunt, and very rewarding when you can help people with their questions.  I'm looking forward to continuing to hone my searching skills.  The learning curve is steep, but I know I'll be able to conquer it eventually.  

Classes | SLIS | Summer | skills


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


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


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


The Summer Semester Has Begun!

The summer semester has begun!  This summer I am taking one class, LIS 404: Principles of Management.  Summer classes at SLIS are shorter in length than normal semester classes, but have the same amount of work.  My class this summer is only seven weeks long.  You may have noticed in Amie's post that she is also taking LIS 404, and we are both in the same online class section, so that's exciting! 

The really good thing about this class is that all of the course content is available, so we truly can move at our own pace.  There are due dates of course, but if I want to see what assignments are coming up, or work ahead, I have the option to do so.  For my summer course last year, there was a lot of "locked" course content, everyone had to move at the same pace.  I understand the logic behind that, but with the shortened time frame and so many things being due each week, I really appreciate being able to know what is coming up and schedule my time accordingly, instead of getting access to each week as it comes, and scheduling it that way.   When the Moodle page for the course first opened up, my original plan for this course was to try and stay a week ahead---that did not happen.  We're in to Week 2 now, and I am not ahead of the game.  I've been scheduling time every day to work on schoolwork, and I'm chugging along.  There's just so much content.  We have a paper, a crisis communications assignment, and two forums this week, along with readings, notes, and lectures.  All of the things we're learning about are incredibly interesting though. This week we're focusing on Organizational Structure and Communication.  I've been really fascinated by the readings this week because I was a Communication Studies major during undergrad and my concentration was in interpersonal and organizational communication, so I've been making connections with the content that I'm learning now with the content that I learned several years ago. 

This course is going to be a lot of hard work, and it is definitely going to keep me busy, but I'm up for the challenge!  

Classes | SLIS | Summer | Workload


Back at It

                Summer break #1 is over.  It was nice to have a few weeks off, even though I was lazy and didn't do a lot of the things I meant to do.  But I got to relax, which is great because I don't think I'm going to relax again until the end of summer term.  I'm taking two classes, LIS 407: Information Sources and Services, and LIS 404: Principles of Management.  Each week of a summer course is equivalent to two weeks of a fall or spring course, so there is a lot of work.  I was expecting this, but I was still shocked when I saw the syllabus for each class.  There is a ton of reading.  A TON.  It's pretty intimidating.  I am going to have to be super organized to fit in all the reading and the assignments each week.  I know I can do it, but I'm probably going to be miserable the whole time.

                Having said this, I managed to make it through my first week unscathed, and only a teeny bit grumpy 😊   Luckily, both classes are extremely interesting and have already given me a lot to think about.  LIS 407 is about how to help others find information, and this week we learned about reference librarians and the reference interview.  The main thing I learned is that there really is an art to helping people find what they are looking for.  You have to ask open-ended questions, closed questions and evaluate the needs of the patrons in a relatively short period of time.  You also have to be a quick thinker.  I am slightly terrified by reference work, because I like to be prepared for everything and couldn't handle being in a situation where I was asked questions I didn't know the answer to all day.  But a part of me also thinks that it would be exciting and a great opportunity to learn about a lot of diverse subjects.  I'm looking forward to learning more in the weeks to come.

                In LIS 404, we looked at classical and modern management theories.  I have very little knowledge of systems of management, and everything was pretty new for me here.  One of our assignments was to find an image of a specific theory, post it to our class board, and then comment on the images.  That was overwhelming.   Most of the images contained a lot of jargon and were very busy and not straightforward.  All the arrows and circles and flourishes left me pretty confused, and I wasn't the only one.  The general consensus among my classmates was that most of the images were ineffective and confusing.  We'll be expanding on a lot of these concepts in the future, and it will be interesting to look back at these images at the end of the semester to see if I understand them any better. 

                I have two papers due at the end of next week, which I'm already a bit stressed about.  I want to finish at least one of them before the week is over, so that I don't have to juggle both this weekend.  Fingers crossed I can manage it!

SLIS | Summer | classes


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


Finding and Landing a Summer Internship

I had been worried about finding another job or internship over the summer months since I knew that I was going to be staying in Boston the whole time and did not want to just laze about until my South Korea trip. To be honest I was applying to almost every viable job that was popping up on Jobline. I was lucky enough to be asked to interview for 3 positions at 3 very different libraries. It was a hectic fews weeks in terms of every job I applied for emailing me at the same time, while I was also dealing with my general classes and internship deadlines, in addition to also preparing for a trip home to run the Star Wars 5k at Disney World! It was a lot to handle, but I somehow made it through with only slight strain on my sleep schedule (it is always those 5am flights that are the cheapest unfortunately).

Which leads to my big news, everyone...I scored my first job in a real library! This is huge for me as someone who going into this program has had no professional library experience. I accepted an offer to work as the Research Services Intern at Fidelity Investments over the summer. This is a 12 week paid internship where I will be working full-time (I have to be there at 8 am eep!) in their library, helping the asset management team with their research requests.

I am both so nervous and so excited about this position. Since going through the program, my mind has really opened up to career options I had not previously considered. If you had asked me before I started the program if I was interested in corporate librarianship, I probably would have responded with "what type of what now???" Luckily, last semester in my LIS407 course we had a whole class devoted to different libraries such as law, medical, and business. Linda Schuller, our liaison librarian at Beatley and instructor for the LIS430 - Business Sources and Services course, visited to instruct on this topic and my interest was peaked! It also turns out that an alumni of the program who I met at one of the admissions office information events had this internship when she was at SLIS (she was amazing to answer all my questions about the internship and let me name drop her during my interview)!

I am so beyond excited to start this internship in June and will certainly follow-up with a future blog post! My advice for anyone going through something similar is to keep an open mind about what type of job or internship you are looking for. Every opportunity is a chance to either practice your interview skills, learn and talk with current professionals and start establishing those networking relationships, and lastly, potentially discovering a whole new side to libraries that you didn't even know you were interested in!

 

Internships | SLIS | Summer | skills


Reading and Volunteering

It has been about two weeks since classes ended for the semester, and I celebrated with friends last Thursday in a bit of an unusual way: by giving out food to the homeless.

 Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen is a group organized through St. Clement's Church, located on Boylston Street in the Back Bay area of Boston. A couple of SLIS friends and I met at six a.m. in front of the church, and we prepared to go out into the streets. Carrying bags of bananas, granola bars, sandwiches, socks, and water bottles, the group of us enjoyed conversations with the people we encountered while handing out whatever they needed from the items we had on hand. I hope to volunteer with Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen on a weekly basis this summer. Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen is just one way to get involved in volunteering when I am not swamped with studying.

 After my friends and I volunteered in Back Bay, we went out to dinner in the Prudential Center. The Prudential Center is a huge mall, and there are many places to eat there, such as Eataly (a high-end Italian market and food court) and the Cheesecake Factory.

 Not having to do much studying until the fall, as I chose not to take summer courses, I am catching up on so much reading. The convenient part about living in Boston is that there are public libraries in every neighborhood, and it is easy to walk to a nearby library. I check out at least four books a week, and am still reading the children's books from LIS 481: Library Collections and Materials for Children syllabus. It's fun to see what teens and children are reading, and how I can get to know the reading interests of the groups I hope to serve as a librarian.

 I recently read this really interesting book about a girl transitioning back to middle school life after two years of leukemia, called Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee. It was a good read, and supports the argument that children should read books with serious topics. Next up on my reading list is the very popular book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Relaxing | Summer | volunteering


Fourth Class: Complete!

Last week was my final week of class!  My fourth semester, and fourth class of grad school is over!  I'm done with LIS 451: Academic Libraries!   I originally thought it was a bit strange having our big final group project due, and then having one final week of class with lectures, readings, and participation after that, but as our final week was about academic library careers and job interviews, as well as future trends in academic libraries, I think it was a nice way to wrap up the class.  In all of my other classes, the final week has been this big stressful build up, and then I turn in my final project, and then that's it, we're done.  While sometimes that's very cathartic, I really appreciated the opportunity to reflect and think ahead in the final week of this class. 

I ended up completing my final week of class on the road because I'm currently on a short summer break for my job!  Yay for intersessions!  As I work in an academic library, I'm following their university's schedule, and they had a three-week break, so I went to Iowa to visit some of my extended family during my time off.  This is one of the nice things about online classes--as long as you have access to Wi-Fi, you can take the class with you wherever you go. 

My next class (LIS 404: Principles of Management) is due to start up in mid-June, and I'm excited for the short break from school.  Even though I loved my class this semester, and I love my job, between work, school, and my personal life, this past semester was a bit stressful.  Getting that school-work-life balance right is a tricky thing, and these short breaks away from school and work really help me unwind a bit. 

During my short break from school, I plan on catching up on my reading.  I always try and do some non-school related reading throughout the semester, but towards the end, I always end up abandoning it in favor of my schoolwork.  Here's what's on my reading list for the break:

  • Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart edited by Krista Halverson

Books | Finals | Online | SLIS | Summer


End of Semester Reflections

I can't believe my first semester is over!  It sounds cliché but I really did learn a lot.  When I first read my course syllabi, I was very intimidated by everything we were going to cover.  I had no idea what most of the topics even were, so it's really gratifying to be able to identify and understand them now.  While I might not have mastery over all the concepts, I do feel like I have a strong foundation for my remaining classes.  Even better, my brain has started to think like a librarian!  I've been paying a lot more attention to how the library catalog is set up, examining the call numbers, and thinking about descriptions and relationships between authors and their works.  There is a whole complex structure of organization and classification that I never paid attention to before.  It's exciting to be able to "read" and understand some of that code.

And speaking of coding, I can't believe I not only survived but thrived in my tech course.  I would not have taken it if it wasn't required, but I loved it and can't wait to learn more about how to apply it to library systems.  I'm also really proud that I managed to balance school with working full time.  Some weeks and assignments were more challenging than others (I'm looking at you, XML lab!), but in the end I managed to get everything done without going insane.  It's definitely been eye opening to go back to school at this point in my life, though.  The first time around, I wasn't very involved, but now I participate in the forums and ask questions if I need to.  I don't have that fear anymore of saying something wrong or looking stupid if I don't understand something.   I realize now that learning is an ongoing process, and it's ok to not understand everything.  I got a lot of support from my fellow students and my professors, and I never felt alone even though I never actually saw any of my classmates. 

As for the future, I'm looking forward to getting a little more involved in events on campus in the summer and fall semesters.  I couldn't go to any of the lectures or networking events this semester because I couldn't take time off work, but now that it's not busy season, I'm free to go to different events, and I'm excited about that.  There are so many opportunities to learn about different areas of librarianship, and I want to learn as much as I can.  Until then, I'm going to relax a bit and enjoy a few weeks off!

Classes | SLIS | Students | Summer


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


The End of Summer

So, I thought that my fall class started next week- I was wrong.  Guess who gets two more weeks of summer?!  That's right, I do!  The students in my class got an email from our professor a few days ago giving us details about the class (LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals), and it said that our start date is September 11, which means that I get more time before school starts!  Now that I have the syllabus and some more details about the class, I can see that this is going to be different than other online classes that I've had.  There are going to be a few "live sessions" where everyone is online and interacting with each other at the same time, which I'm really looking forward to!  While I've gotten to interact with my classmates during online classes before, it's been mostly through forums, and we reply to each other at our leisure.  With the live sessions (I assume) we will actually be able to see one another and participate like an in-person class.  My fall class is going to be an interesting new adventure, and I'll keep you updated throughout the semester.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do much as the summer has been winding down.  As I mentioned last time, I got surgery last week, and while I'm back at work this week, I've been trying to take it easy and heal.  However, because I have been trying to take it easy, I have been making a pretty good dent in my reading list and my Netflix/Hulu/Amazon queue.  Here's what I'm reading/watching:

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: This comedy-drama series can be found on Amazon Prime and was created by the team that made Gilmore Girls.  It's won a ton of awards and is nominated for 14 Emmy Awards. 
  • Sick by Porochista Khakpour: This memoir is about the tremendous difficulty of chronic illness and the long emotional journey of getting and accepting a diagnosis.  
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: I actually read this book last year, but before I got my surgery I was able to see the movie, and I wanted to reread the book.  The book is excellent, as is the movie (in theaters now). 
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: This was recommended to me after I finished Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  It's a historical fiction novel, but it is based on true events. 
  • Brooklyn 99: I was devastated earlier this summer when it was announced that this series had been cancelled, but within about 24 hours it was picked up by NBC for a sixth season.  I've been re-watching the entire series on Hulu. 

I hope that you are enjoying your remaining days of summer break!

Fun | Relaxing | Summer | reading


The Last Week of Summer

And just like that, our last golden week of summer is over. My, how golden it was. The kids and I spent our last full week before school starts enjoying some gorgeous weather and having all kinds of fun and leisure time. I could not have asked for a better summer send-off. We did all the things: nature center, aquarium, IMAX, libraries, parks, and playdates. I have LOVED being able to spend all this quality time with my two kids, unhurried, unburdened, and unscheduled. With my first child about to embark on his public school journey and the second starting preschool, it feels like we're about to lose something that we can never get back.

For all my reluctance to leave behind these lazy summer days, I am actually quite excited for the fall and the new challenges and opportunities it will bring. Remember that exciting news I hinted about in my last post? Well...the exciting news has officially been rescinded. I had been accepted for a reference and instruction internship at a nearby university, but then the librarian in charge of the internship resigned last minute! It was a rather sudden and unforeseen change of events but I trust that it was for the best. Not having the internship simplifies my fall schedule a good deal and there's a decent chance I'll be able to do it next semester.

I'm really pumped for my classes up at SLIS West: User Instruction and Archives Access & Use. I've heard from many reliable sources now that user instruction (i.e. teaching info lit) is essential for working in an academic library and is one of the best classes for real-life job preparation. My other one is a required core class for the archives concentration and will help me further gauge whether I want to stick it out with this archives track or not. It may just depend on what classes are available in the spring. If I see any awesome technology courses being offered at SLIS West or online I may still jump the archives ship. For now, it's full steam ahead and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me.

Summer | classes | skills


From Summer to Fall

It. Is. Over.  My summer class is done.  The class (LIS 415: Information Organization) was interesting, invigorating, and utterly exhausting.   I know I've said this before, but one of the reasons I really enjoyed the class was because even though it was an online class on an accelerated schedule, we had so many opportunities for discussion.   Additionally, the new concepts I learned will be useful to me throughout my career.  I learned so much about why and how we organize information.  The class challenged me to think in new ways, and I am walking away with a valuable set of new skills which I will use in future classes and in my profession.  However, I did struggle with the accelerated timeframe of the class.   What really helped me was setting aside designated hours of each day to work on schoolwork.  Admittedly, that didn't always help, because I underestimated the amount of work in the beginning (it's double the work of the normal semester because it's done in half the time), so there were a lot of late nights.  Even though the class could be stressful at times, I'm really glad I took this class during the summer.  

As my summer class is now over, I have about three weeks before the fall semester starts.  Unfortunately, it will not be all fun and games during the break.  Next week, I'm getting surgery.  Doesn't that sound like a fun summer activity?  I have this big list of everything I put off doing while I was in class, and I'm now trying to get everything done before my surgery date, so it will be smooth sailing and a nice easy recovery and transition into the fall semester. 

I am a bit nervous about my fall class (LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals).  Even though I am a millennial and am pretty technology-savvy, I know nothing about coding and programming.   When I started at Simmons, my plan was to take this particular class in person, so I could get as much help as possible.  However, I am taking this class online.  My work schedule for the fall semester is not flexible, and I know I'll be travelling again during the semester, so I must make my school schedule flexible, and the way to do that is to take an online class.  While I've heard nothing but positive things about this class, and I know this class will be good for me personally and professionally, it doesn't make me any less nervous.  I am always ready and willing to learn new skills though, and I go into each class with an open mind.  I'll be sure to tell you all about my journey throughout the fall semester!

Just around this time last year I was starting my application to Simmons, and after this fall, I'll be done with my core LIS classes.  I took LIS 407 (Information Sources and Services) this spring, I just finished LIS 415 (Information Organization), and I'll be completing LIS 488 (Technology for Information Professionals) in the fall.  I can't believe how quickly time has gone by! 

If you want to learn more about the courses offered at SLIS click here.

SLIS | Summer | classes | skills