[Series] Hack ALA: Our ALA ’11 Recommended Sessions

06/06/2011 § 20 Comments

Editors Note: Welcome to Hack ALA Week! We’ve been planning this for quite some time now, and although we’re titling this a “Week” you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll continue writing about ALA generally beyond this week. As the preeminent professional organization in our profession, whose mandates and bylaws permeate our classrooms as well as our future workplaces, the American Library Association deserves a critical eye as much as any other part of professional librarianship. Our goal herein is to examine this organization from the students’ perspective, weighing pros and cons and assessing the value of membership for the library school student. There are myriad opinions on ALA and we encourage readers to explore them all, and hope that our subsequent posts on the topic offer an insight to how the organization works, and particularly this week, on how to survive ALAs Annual Conference. Enjoy and as always, we welcome you to think critically about, challenge and respond to our writings.

ALA Annual is lauded as “The Worlds Largest and Most Dynamic Library Conference and Exhibition,” and arguably it can be seen as a rite of passage for new LIS professionals. There is no easy way to say this – the conference is a gigundo-crazy-overwhelming-ridicoulo-book/people/knowledge fest. I’m pretty sure even the seasoned ALAer veteran is still like a kid in a candy shop when the conference kicks off. That said, I, your friendly neighborhood HackLibSchool blogger, took to the web and through some major investigative efforts (made supremely easy by ALA Connect’s Conference Scheduler) have compiled a list of the sessions and yes, even some informal meetups that LIS students might find interesting. Below is a short list; I deliberately avoided any career/interest sessions as I’d encourage you to investigate those options on your own. Check out the New ALA Members tag for a good overview of some other sessions to consider.

« Read the rest of this entry »

HackLibSchool: First Class

03/06/2011 § Leave a comment

Where are they now?

[And, yes, this is a deliberate ploy to grab some SEO from X-Men. Ain't nothing wrong with a little marketing genius, right? ;) ]

Micah Vandegrift is working as a part-time Project Manager on a Scholarly Communications Task Force at his alma mater, Florida State University. Micah is researching and writing a report on issues surrounding open access publishing, copyright concerns, and will be instrumental in implementing a Institutional Repository at FSU. He plans to continue his education by teaching himself some programming languages this summer (thanks Lifehacker!), and actually start reading books… for fun. Micah also volunteers his computer knowledge at Leon County Public Libraries. He often wears tank tops and flip flops these days.

Heidi Kittleson is working as the library director of Muir Library in Winnebago, Minnesota. She’s busy launching summer reading programs for children, teens and adults at the moment, but when September rolls around, she’ll be weeding the collection in preparation for an expansion of the library. Heidi is also excited to teach classes about a new service offered by the library – ebooks!!!! Heidi plans to continue her education through attending seminars and conferences virtually and in the region. She’s still training to become a bike-bookmobile-librarian… « Read the rest of this entry »

The Transparent Library School

23/05/2011 § 3 Comments

Summertime! After a few weeks of sparse updates, the HackLibSchool team is kicking it back into gear. We first wanted to take the time to thank our readers for all the great conversations we have had over the past several months. It is encouraging that our writings have inspired discussions here and elsewhere, and we hope to continue to provoke thought and engagement around the topic of training for librarianship. 

transparent grape

by-nc-nd -- luzhouzjy on FLickr

In the spirit of our original proposition to hack (breakdown, disrupt, challenge) library school, and in response to Michael Stephens’ recent article in Library Journal titled “The Transparent Library School,” we have decided to spend the next few weeks writing specifically about the educational programs in which we are students. We see this as a necessary progression of this blog as a resource for students considering this educational track, offering them the chance to have an insiders point of view on a variety of different programs, and also as a means to open up the dialog on the value of the Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and the programs that grant the degree.

Expect to read some basic overviews of the schools we represent, some recommended courses, perhaps a insight into the bureaucracy and/or politics of the program, and of course expect constructive criticism. Part of our goal for this blog is not only to encourage fellow students, but also to challenge our administrators and professors (who have been largely and surprisingly absent from our dialog since the beginning) for the purpose of keeping LIS education at the cutting edge of the information economy. Especially as a majority of the HackLibSchool Editors are very recent graduates, we have opinions, ideas and suggestions that should be heard. Hack Your Program, Open MLIS, Inside Library School, The Transparent Library School, whatever you want to call it – we are here to offer our point of view. Please feel free to offer yours as well, and here’s to another great semester of thought-provoking discussions.

Best of Semester One

25/04/2011 § 1 Comment


Since we are all still students, or very VERY early career LIS pros, this time of year is especially full of things to do. That said, you’ll see new content slow down here, for at least the next week or two. We’ll be planning the summer semester’s worth of writing, recruiting new Editors/contributors, and generally resting after an amazing kick-off semester this Spring.

To keep you busy we’ve compiled some reading lists you can return to over the next few weeks and get caught up on. Think of it as HackLibSchool 101.

Our Top 10 Posts (by hits):

Top Post per Editor:

Best Comment Conversations:

Catch Up on Our Series’:

Experiencing LIS – Posts about getting experience and/or what the experience of Library School is like.

LIS Blogs to Follow – Self explanatory.

To-Read Tuesday – Our (and your) picks for things to read, that we’re reading, or would like to read someday!

Declassified – Comparing curriculum and courses between two schools

TMI – (Two Minute Insights). Shortcasts where we post one question to a leader in the field and they have two minutes to respond.

Most Tweeted Article:

You’re Invited to #libchat

Weirdest Search Terms That Led Someone to Our Blog:

  • “Fun things to mod or hack”
  • “how to hack in to a university library computer”
  • “katie long island library science masters -crook”
  • “middle aged white man needs to change careers”
  • “everything was better back when everything was worse cartoon”
  • “hack librayr school”
  • “what is a library”

Recommended by Your Humble Editors:



Barbakoff, Audrey , and Ferrari, Ahniwa (March 25th, 2011) – Filter This!






To iSchool or not to iSchool?

12/04/2011 § 5 Comments

Micah - Geoff Johnson approached me about posting this survey here, and I thought it reflected many of the types of conversations we’ve had over the past few months, and especially related to Nicole’s post about non-traditional LIS work from yesterday. Actually, because of this post, I did a little research and discovered that FSU-SLIS, my school from which I am graduating in two weeks, is an iSchool and I had no idea. What’s in a name? When applied to library school, it’ll be interesting to find out. Feel free to answer in the comments OR by filling out the Survey Monkey linked below. Here’s Geoff:

A couple colleagues and I are working on a project to help understand the differences between traditional Master’s of Library and Information Science graduate schools and iSchools. An important part of our research is an understanding of the perceptions of prospective and current students and recent (or not-so-recent) graduates. If you could assist by completing the following survey and give any additional insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

If any of these questions seem unclear, worry not – we’re just looking for your opinion or your perceptions based on what you already know.

Note: In answering questions about your preferred school to attend, please assume all schools are equally easy for you to attend logistically (i.e. in terms of location, cost, etc.). For example, when question F asks whether you’d prefer to attend highly-ranked schools, don’t let the fact that you live far away from most highly-ranked schools (if you do) affect your answer.

Also, if you’re already in school or you’ve already graduated, please treat questions about such choices as though you had the decision to make again with the benefit of what you know now.

In the near future, you can expect a blog post on our findings.

Answer questions in comments or CLICK THIS SURVEY.

Are you:

  • A prospective Master of Library and Information Science/Master of Library Science/Master of Information Science Student
  • A current student at a school that describes itself as a school of Library Science or Library and Information Science
  • A current student at an iSchool or School of Information
  • An MLIS/MLS/MIS graduate
  • Just interested

If you chose option 1, 2, 3, or 4 above, please indicate where you go to or went to or intend to go to school.

If you were to make the decision again, or if you are currently making the decision,  would you select a traditional LIS program, or a program offered at an iSchool or a School of Information?

  • Traditional LIS
  • iSchool
  • There’s a difference?
  • I would choose a completely different field/program

How different do you think the curricula or course offerings in an “iSchool” or school of information are from a more traditional MLIS/MLS programs?

  • Not at all – same thing.
  • 90% the same – maybe two or three extra classes to make a school an iSchool
  • 50% the same – mostly the same stuff, but enough classes that I could be an “information professional”, not “just” a librarian if I so chose
  • 25% the same – some overlap, but a completely different experience

Please provide 3 words that describe traditional LIS programs:

Please provide 3 words that describe iSchool/information school programs:

Please choose the statement that most closely matches your feelings

  • I would choose a highly-ranked traditional LIS Program
  • I would choose a highly-ranked iSchool/School of Information
  • As long as it’s highly ranked, iSchool/Traditional LIS doesn’t matter
  • I prefer to attend any traditional LIS school – ranking is less important
  • I want to attend an iSchool – ranking is less important

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 741 other followers

%d bloggers like this: