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!

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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.

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!

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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