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!

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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.

Banned Books Week Is Here!

As a MSLS student, I am very rightfully enamored with the tradition of Banned Books Week. If you’re not familiar with the project, here’s a little blurb from the official website:

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2012 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 30 through October 6. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported.

Bill Moyers on Banned Books Week from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

So for your viewing pleasure here’s a little video about the importance of banned book week and what it means to censor reading. Enjoy!

Library School: First Week Reflections

As of last night I’ve officially completed my first week as a master’s student and I’m more excited than ever about my chosen career path. Every class seems new and exciting! Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Everyone that I have met has a deep love of J.K. Rowling. During orientation someone mentioned an obscure HP line and everyone understood. I think I’ve found my people.
  2. There are people from all different backgrounds here at SILS. At Kenyon, it was expected that everyone had come from roughly the same academic experience but here that’s really not the case. It’s interesting to see what different people bring to the table!
  3. There are no grades. This one is the biggest shocker to me! As someone who has at times been called an overachiever, it’s going to take some time to learn to live without the ever-present ‘A.’ Here at SILS, classes are H/P/F, meaning high pass, pass and fail.
  4. Technology in the classroom is encouraged. I’m not sure how to deal with professors telling us to bring our laptops to class to tweet or google! The SILS program is about sharing collaboratively so the professors have encouraged us to be active on the web

 

It’s been a great first week but the ease into classes is officially over — homework calls!

 

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