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.

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Copyright & Fair Use

Today in my Collection Development class (INLS 513) we talked about the ways that copyright law affects libraries. Because copyright law in the US is so challenging to understand, we view several movies to help with our understanding. One student suggested that we check out the following film that uses Disney clips to explain copyright law. It’s adorable and informative — check it out!

Check back later this week for my holiday wish list series!

Book Review: Dust and Shadow

Last week I created a mock-Booklist review for my collection development class. Different from my usual review writing style, this one focuses on the role of the book in trade. Let me know what you think of the new style!

 

Dust and Shadow: An Account of The Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
Faye, Lyndsay (author)

Dec. 2009.  325p.

Simon & Schuster, paperback, $15.00 (978-1416583318)

 

Dr. John H. Watson has kept silent about his role in the most notorious murder investigation of all time. Under the impression that the world would forget Jack the Ripper he opted to keep Sherlock Holmes’ name out of the papers, until now. As the murders in Whitechapel mount it becomes clear that there is more to the Ripper case than the papers ever reported. A whore-turned-detective, an accusation against Holmes and a rogue policeman come together to shed light on this mystery that history deemed unsolved. Set in London’s East End during the fall of 1888, Faye’s plot shows attention to historical detail. Victorian England comes to life under Faye’s thoughtful hand – with no detail from a woman’s dress to the smog filled air going unannounced. She adeptly narrates the case in the familiar voice of Dr. Watson, taking care to pick up realistic voices of East End peasants when necessary. The story swiftly careens from Polly Nichols to Mary Jane Kelly, with all of Holmes’ traditional snide wit intact. Readers of Caleb Carr and Matthew Pearl will love this fast-paced thriller. A fresh addition to the Sherlock Holmes’ canon, Dust and Shadow will please mystery readers and Ripper fans alike.

Get Fired Up About Librarianship

This week in my INLS 513 (Collection Management) class we watched a really inspiring video about the mission of librarians. So much of what librarians do goes on behind the scenes so it’s easy for people to think that books are the only thing we do. The video proves that it is so much more! I’ve embedded the video below but I’ll have to warn you that it is about an hour long. Let me know what you think!

Grand Challenges of Librarianship. R David Lankes vid Biblioteksdagarna 2011 from Svensk Biblioteksförening on Vimeo.

 

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