Event Recap – Flappers & Fitzgerald: Party with Gatsby!

 Some of you may remember the Harry Potter Holiday Feast that I shared last year. This year we did another literary-themed event —  Flappers & Fitzgerald: Party with Gatsby! It was billed as an evening of dancing and appetizers, complete with mocktail bars.
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The big attraction for the night was learning to Charleston and hearing a live band. A member of the faculty taught the dance lesson.

Dance Lesson

We also found a band called The Recessionals who came and played for us. It was so much fun seeing the students dance to the live music!

Student Dancing

I set up a Photo Booth for students with prop printed on card-stock and attached to wooden skewers. I purchased the prop images from this Etsy seller.

Photobooth Props

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Mocktail and Dinner menu.

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Food tables.

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Table decorations

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I fell in love with the butterfly balls seen in the latest Gatsby movie, so one of my co-workers and I set about making them. They were a true labor of love, but I am so thrilled with how they turned out!

Butterfly Balls

 

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And a final pictures – my coworkers and I. Without them this event never would’ve happened!

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Over on AISL blog today…

Today I am sharing some tips and tricks for planning a bookish event over on the AISL blog.

I had the privilege of putting on a Harry Potter Holiday Feast in December 2015 — It was so much fun to pull together and the students had a blast. Before I share a few tips and tricks I figured out along the way, I thought I would give you an overview of the event.

set up

We transformed a space on campus into the Great Hall using House crests, gold chargers leftover from prom, and wizard hats with the House shields on them! For activities, we set up a Mirror of Erised photobooth, a Floo Flame fireplace photo-op, and a wand duel. Food was provided by the Dining Hall with some additional desserts from Flourish and Blotts.

Gryffindor house

Without further ado, here are some things to think about before putting on a bookish event:

To see the tips and tricks, head over to the AISL blog!

My Unexpected Hiatus

Where'd You Go

 

I know that I have stepped away from this blog before, when I had finals, when I was applying for jobs. Always with a good excuse. But this time my hiatus was a little different. Now that I am working in a library, I find it harder to talk about books outside of work.

Part of my job is approving books for the library to buy. Sounds like the ultimate for a bibliophile, no? Spending other people’s money on books! But it’s harder than it looks. There are criteria to keep  in mind: does it serve the curriculum? Will students actually read it? Do we have a lot of other titles like it?

All of this has made me a bit world-weary of discussing books. That’s not so say that I haven’t been reading. I have read some really great ones lately, but it’s been harder to put into words why I like them simply because I spend all day justifying why the library should or should not buy books.


That being said, I hope to have some reviews up in the coming days. 

Library School Day in the Life 2013: Tuesday – Friday

I am documenting my life for Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life. For other great bloggers who are participating, check here.

After I posted last Monday, I realized that midterms was absolutely the wrong time to try to blog every day! As much as I love sharing pieces of my life — especially for something as cool as the Hack Library School “Day in the Life” — it’s just too much pressure during a stressful time at work. Rather than adding even more to my plate with daily posts, I thought I would post what my days looked like as a whole. Without further ado…

Tuesday: 

Tuesdays are “school days” for me — I scheduled all my courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester so that I would have more time for my internships. My first course of the day, Cataloging, is at the absurd 8am hour. If I didn’t love the class so much I might be inclined to resent the sleep invasion.

The course covers the fundamentals of cataloging books and other printed materials. Of course this is much more difficult than it sounds. Have you ever seen a MARC cataloging record?

Sample MARC record

Not as simple, right?

After my cataloging class, I rushed to the library to get in some last-minute studying for a midterm. Management for Information Professionals is a required course for my masters but it’s also one of the least “library science” related. A lot of what we’re learning is basic management theory (administrative model, scientific model, etc) rather than putting all of it in a library setting. The midterm went well…I think.

Wednesday:

I spend Wednesday mornings interning at Duke University Press. For more about my job there check out my previous “day in the life” post here. I love working at DUP because I get to work with many editorial assistants. Since each editor’s list is so different, I sometimes feel like I have three different jobs! The tasks are never the same so the learning curve can be a little steep — at least it’s never boring!

Later in the day I head over to my internship at the public library. Wednesdays are usually programming nights so I either help out with the events or cover the desk while someone else works them. This Wednesday there weren’t any programs, so I got to answer reference questions and help people find books. I never thought I would end up in a public library but this internship has shown me how much fun it can be. For more on why I love working at a public library check out this post.

Thursday

Much like Tuesday, I start my day in Cataloging. With the weight of the midterm no longer hanging over our heads we work on serials. Just when we thought we’d gotten our footing, these pulled the rug right out from underneath us! Serials are cataloged in a very different way from books, especially because we are learning to catalog them using a different (older) set of rules. Though I took furious notes during class, I’m fairly sure the material will take a few more days to sink in.

My afternoon class is an introduction to databases. I’ll be honest — I signed up for this class because it fit into my schedule well. I had never considered doing a library job that required me to learn the inner workings of a database, nor had I ever thought I would understand the structure if I tried! Color me surprised. This is by far my favorite class. Perhaps it’s because I get to use a different part of my brain or maybe because it’s set up more like an undergraduate class — who knows the reason, I just know that it rocks my socks! I can’t imagine doing a library job without understanding databases; they now seem so integral.

Friday

Another day, another shift at Duke University Press. Fridays are a change of pace at the press because I usually get to work on manuscript descriptions. This means that I get to read the manuscript (or at least the introduction and first chapter) and write a one-page description of the author’s argument and main points. Sometimes I feel completely out of my depth but more often than not one of my Kenyon courses touched on the topic at hand — see, a liberal arts education IS useful! To be honest, without the range of courses I took at Kenyon I would be up a creek. One week I could be working on a political book about a former president, the next week it might be about Afghanistan during the turn of the century!

Liberal Arts

After working at the Press, I head off to the library for another closing shift. I usually spend an hour working on readers advisory lists or programming before hopping on the desk to answer patron questions. Since the library closes at 6pm on Fridays there’s usually a flurry of activity in the DVD section; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Do you guys have any comedies?” You’re asking the wrong librarian, this girl prefers documentaries or period pieces!

So there’s my typical week in a nutshell. I hope it maybe convinced you that library science isn’t all shelving books and shushing anymore!

Library School Day in the Life 2013: Monday

This week I will be documenting my life for Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life. For other great bloggers who are participating, check here.

A big hello to anyone who found me from the Hack Library School wiki! My name is Alexandra and I am a first year student at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Library and Information Science. I’m a little ashamed to admit that nearing the middle of my second semester I am no closer to figuring out what area of librarianship I am most interested in. I am pulled in opposing directions: on one hand I love working with teens in the public library for my internship, on the other hand I always thought that I would work in a government library in Washington, D.C. Only time will tell where I end up but until then here’s my “day in the life.”

Monday morning. Most of the world considers it the most dreaded morning but for me it means a few more hours to catch up on reading and homework. Because I work part-time at Duke University Press and intern at a local public library at night, I have a little free time on Mondays. Usually I use the time to do the all too essential household chores but because it is midterms at SILS I’m knee-deep in notes and textbooks. A lot of the courses at SILS don’t have midterms, only midterm assignments, but Library Management has a written midterm. It’s been a really long time since I’ve taken a midterm exam. Like a really long time. As an English major at Kenyon College most of my midterms consisted of writing a paper, same for the courses for my history minor.

After hitting the books for a few hours, it’s time to head to work. Though publishing isn’t directly related to library science, the internship was posted on the SILS list-serv and I immediately jumped on it! Duke University Press is only about eight miles from my apartment but because I have to go past Duke University it usually takes more than thirty minutes. I use my car time to listen to a book on CD; my current book is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

Once I finally arrive at DUP it’s time to go through the daily grind. This can mean anything from logging recently submitted manuscripts into the database, to writing one-page descriptions of books going before the board. The work can get a little tedious at times — there are only so many ways to make sending a FedEx package interesting — but I learn a lot of things that could be considered transferable skills.

After several hours of editorial work, I dash out the door and head to grab some dinner. Monday nights are reserved for a few hours of fellowship with friends but there’s always a few hours of homework to do before classes on Tuesday.

Check back on Tuesday for another Library School Day in the Life!

Why I love interning at a public library

Public Library

Because in one night I get to:

  • Help with IRS paperwork
  • Find The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Weed the old books in the YA room
  • Mark things as missing in Polaris
  • Brainstorm a YA room display
  • Help people find divorce forms online
  • Schedule rooms for group study
  • Troubleshoot a printer
  • And then go show a film for family movie night

Yep, my internship is pretty awesome.

MSLS Semester 1 Roundup

Well, it’s done folks. I’ve completed my first semester of graduate school! I thought it would be interesting to share what I’ve learned in my classes this semester and showcase a few of the projects I worked on:

INLS 461: Information Tools

This class covered Powerpoint, Document Markup, HTML, Basic CSS, Microsoft Access, and Omeka — wow that’s a lot in one semester. I learned how to: make an e-book, build a website, embed style sheets, make a database, and create an online exhibition. Most of the projects I worked on are pretty boring to look at but I can share one of them: my Omeka exhibition. Before I give you the link there’s a word of warning, a lot of the projects start to get really boring really quickly without an adequate sense of humor. To keep things interesting, we often choose to do off-the-wall project topics. Mine? An Exhibition of Harry Potter Ships.

INLS 501: Information Resources and Services

Though SILS  likes to make up crazy names for classes, this was essentially a reference course. Most of the projects centered around learning how to interact with users and ask the right reference questions, for example one project called “Street Reference” entailed setting up a reference service at a strange place. Though some groups chose to go to the Zombie Convention my group went to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market . The questions we got there ranged from “How did the Jerusalem artichoke get its name?” to a question about the movements of Muslim merchants in the early 1100s. The experience was an excellent lesson in keeping things upbeat even when you get crazy questions! For another assignment the class was asked to answer questions through social networks such as Yahoo Answers and Quora. These questions were great training in a completely different way – I was forced to adapt to the question answering style of each service.

INLS 513: Resource Selection and Evaluation

Another class with a crazy name! This one really means collection development. We learned about buying from distributors such as Ingram, the ebook challenges facing libraries, and a boatload of other issues I had never considered. The projects for this class were definitely some of the hardest I had this semester but they were also really fun! Our first project involved evaluating a community and assessing its needs, then building a collection to address them. My group selected a list of reference resources for the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Our goal was to select resources that would help those who had just moved to Israel adjust to the drastically different situation. The last project was an assessment of two different libraries’ collection development policies – I chose two private schools in vastly different places. It was fun to see what they held and what their selection priorities were.

INLS 530: YA Literature and Related Materials

Unsurprisingly, this was my favorite class. It dovetailed nicely with my position as Teen Services intern at the local public library. The projects for this class were so much fun! I made a book trailer and website for Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, anytime you get to read Libba Bray for a course is a good thing in my book. For our final projects we were given broad topics (ex. Leaving home, Family, Sexuality, Coming of Age), asked to present to the class on what they meant for teens, and then were asked to create an online resource that teens could use to learn about the issue. My group received the broad topic of “coping.” In the past groups have done things like depression and eating disorders but my group decided to pick a mental disorder that emerges during the teenage years and has a huge stigma surrounding it: bipolar disorder. This project was so close to my heart and I often felt put through the ringer while working on it; it was a true labor of love but I’m so happy with how it turned out — check it out here.