HLS and LibraryLab Meetup at ALA!

06/06/2013 § 1 Comment

Are you going to ALA later this month? We’re teaming up with LibraryLab to host a meetup on Sunday, June 30th from 8:00-10:00 at the Green Door. ¬†The meetup is a fun and informal way to hang out with us, network, and make some new friends while having a cocktail! You can add it to your ALA calendar by going to this link.

Also, if you’re in the DC area, remember we’re hosting meetups in June!

Updates from the World of a PhD Student: Finishing Up the Second Year

05/04/2013 § 2 Comments

Hey everyone! I’ve been absent from posting as regularly as I used to, but I wanted to poke my head in and tell you all about how my PhD program is going. Hopefully it will be helpful for those of you considering a PhD yourselves!

I’ve posted a bit about my thought going into the PhD program on HLS (here and here), and at the end of last year I posted some of the things I learned from my PhD (and from the experience of moving to a new town) here. Another year has passed, and I’m currently in the midst of my last semester of coursework. It feels really strange to think that I’ll never be a student in a classroom setting again (save for the occasional seminar), but that I’ll still be a student doing my own independent work under the guidance of faculty. It’s a great transitionary period prior to going out into the workforce, though, and I’m really excited to have more time to devote to my independent projects (namely, my dissertation!)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the timeline of a PhD program, it has a few more steps than a Master’s program does. Most people finish in 4-5 years, but some people take more or less time depending on their research topic, how much they work outside of school, etc. Students in our program typically come in with an MLS. The first thing we do is take our coursework, which is usually about two years. Then we prepare for and take prelims (comprehensive exam). For my program, the prelims include written statements you prepare, from which your committee pulls your questions. Then, you write your responses over the course of one week. After you pass prelims, you advance to candidacy, and start working on your prospectus (the first 2-3 chapters of the dissertation in most cases). You defend your prospectus, then write the rest of your dissertation, defend the dissertation, and do any revisions your committee asks for. If it all goes according to plan, you should end up with a PhD at the end of it!

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Helping Libraries Rebuild After Hurricane Sandy

07/11/2012 § 5 Comments

Like a lot of people, I’ve been devastated to see the impact of Hurricane Sandy and wanted to find ways to help. I’ve donated to a few aid organizations, but once reports started coming in about damaged libraries, I thought that it was an opportunity for folks in LIS to get involved and focus some of our relief efforts. To facilitate that, I’ve put some information up on my blog about libraries that need donations in the hopes that we all can help out our colleagues in need.

Basically what I’ve done is identified libraries that were damaged by the storm by looking at their websites and through the help of this very useful American Libraries article. Then I tracked down their online donation information and compiled a list of a few places that were taking funds. Since we’re usually a pretty generous bunch, I’m hoping to keep track of the amount we raise too! I’m asking people to comment on my blog or on here (or message me if publicly commenting isn’t comfortable) with the amount you donated and where you ended up donating to. If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #sandylibraries to share your donation!

The staff at the libraries are working very hard with limited resources to help community members locate needed supplies, information, and more, and start the recovery process. With winter (and more storms) on the way, it’s vital that libraries are able to meet the needs of patrons as effectively as possible. I know we all love our libraries and we love helping people (otherwise why would we want to be librarians?!), so I’m excited to see the response. If anyone else knows of other ways we can help these libraries, or other libraries that need our help, please share in the comments!

HackLibSchool on Occupy Wall Street: How Do Libraries Fit In?

16/11/2011 § 68 Comments

“I learned that the most important thing about teaching is not what you do in the classroom but what you do outside the classroom. You go outside the classroom yourself, bring your students outside, or have them bring you outside the classroom, because very often they do it first and you say, ‘I can’t hang back. I’m their teacher. I have to be there with them.’ And you learn that the best kind of teaching makes this connection between social action and book learning.” ¬†Howard Zinn

The goal of this post is to start a conversation about LIS students and Occupy Wall Street. Several OWS libraries have popped up in different cities, and LIS students and librarians have heeded the call for reference workers, book donations, and more. In a lot of ways, libraries as a part of activism are related to our discussions of advocacy as professionals. A few HLS folk and others, are going to share our thoughts here, but what we really want is to open up a discussion with readers about how we fit into OWS as students and future info pros. There are info pros who agree and disagree with OWS itself, but all of us have important perspectives to add to the conversation. One caveat: no disrespectful/unkind/abusive/etc. comments. Our readers are generally pretty agreeable folks so this is pretty unlikely to become a problem, but we want to make sure the conversation is productive. With that, here are some thoughts from HLSers–please add your own!

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Subsidized Loans: A Relic of Our Past?

05/08/2011 § 26 Comments

Student Protests at the University of Vienna

The other day, when I found out that graduate student aid had been heavily hit by the budget deal struck by Congress, the only thing I could think to tweet as I shared a link on the topic was “you’ve let students down.” The tweet came somewhat out of fear for my own financial future, but mostly for that of my fellow students. I am fortunate in that I have an assistantship and am pursuing a PhD (which can, potentially, open doors to new funding sources than I could access during my MLS, although I doubt people will be banging down my door and hurling money at me.) However, having just completed that degree, I remember what a struggle it was to track down funding outside of student loans and what a blessing subsidized loans and deferred payments were for me. It made it possible for me to go to school, and I suspect the same is true for many HLS readers. With that in mind, I thought I would devote my post to talking about the changes in student loans, the little bit of sense I can make of it, and how it might impact graduate education.

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