22/11/2013 § 13 Comments
My library school experience has, I’m sad to say, handed me a bunch of lemons. There are the professors who aren’t as inspiring as I would prefer (sorry), the journal articles that look like they weren’t proofread, the classes that are scheduled at times that are inconvenient for everyone. Including the instructor.
And then there’s the fact that one of the classes I need for my specialization is offered only in the spring, and this spring it is offered at a time when I cannot take it for religious reasons (probably NSFW), which is the biggest lemon of all.
Meanwhile, I’m paying a not-insignificant amount for my education, so let’s talk about how to turn these lemons into lemonade. « Read the rest of this entry »
20/11/2013 § 9 Comments
Why so serious?
For aspiring librarians, attitude is all-important. Many of us eat up our days doing internships and day jobs, writing papers, presenting at conferences, and networking our hearts out on Twitter. This kind of workload makes us run the risk of stress, frustration, disillusionment—even burnout, especially if we work in high-pressure public service jobs, fret over the dicey job market, or struggle with personal issues. How do we stay in love with the career we chose?
First, try not to agonize. The fate of the world does not rest on your shoulders. You need to work hard and do things you may not always enjoy doing, but you need not keel over from exhaustion every night to succeed professionally.
What do I myself do to hack my library school and job? Answer: I do not take myself seriously. I’m a perfectionist, so I take my work very seriously, but I see no reason to stifle my joie de vivre. And so I sip tea from a Shakespearean insults mug while manning the reference desk. Gotta enjoy the little things.
19/11/2013 § 31 Comments
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Fobazi M. Ettarh
Black people are more homophobic.
Racism is over. LGBTQ rights are the new Civil Rights.
Well at least Black people can get married!
My classmates spit these words at me during the discussion of Civil Rights in young adult literature. I had expressed my discomfort at the conflation of the Civil Rights and LGBTQ movement. These words, while familiar, still stung. As usual, I was the only person of color (POC) in the room. Many students and librarians have talked about diversifying the MLIS and field of librarianship. But what about the librarians already in the field?
My journey in getting the MLIS has been difficult. As someone who identifies as a queer person of color (QPOC), the overwhelming white heteronormativity of the program here at Rutgers is disheartening. I have been able to build racial and queer themes into almost every class I’ve taken at Rutgers. From term papers on the information-seeking practices of QPOC youth to creating sites highlighting authors who have QPOC protagonists, to bringing up these intersections in various discussions, I have made sure that voice is heard.
18/11/2013 § 3 Comments
Although I’ve been working on an MLS for a little over two years, I’m still trying to improve my study space. While I plan to work IN a library when I graduate, my default study space is at home. One thing I’ve learned in talking to my library school classmates is that there isn’t necessarily one best study space for every LIS student, or even for every assignment. How do you figure out your best study environment?
Where do you do your most productive studying?
During my first year of library school, I spent more time studying in the library, especially for the classes in cataloging and reference. Since then, I haven’t spent as much time in the library, studying instead in my home office, my cubicle at work, or at the home of one of my classmates. I’ve tried other places too, from coffee shops to parks to different libraries, in an effort to balance the need to focus with a change of scenery. The change of scenery is motivating sometimes, but distracting at other times. I never paid much attention to the music in coffee shops until I tried studying in one. In my neck of the woods, the coffee shop music is too loud for my studying style. I was surprised—and a little disappointed. So, I spend most of my study time at the desk in my home office.
The desk in my home office is a wide one (my sister says it’s perfect for writing The Great American Novel–maybe after I finish library school!), with a lamp near the right corner and lovely painting of colorful flower pots hanging above it. My laptop is flanked by office supplies in a cup, my iPhone, and either a diet soft drink (one of the vices I’m having trouble giving up) or a cup of hot tea. My desktop is rarely as neat as it should be, but I try to start each new semester with a clear desk.
Does music help you find your study zone? (If so, what’s on your playlist?) Do you study with the television or other background noise? Or do you insist on quiet when you’re studying? I usually prefer to have a quiet environment, unless it’s a breezy assignment. When I’m studying at home, sometime I find that a running washing machine and dishwasher help provide a comfortably domestic “white noise” while knocking out some chores at the same time.
Do you study better alone or with others?
Being an introvert (but just barely) on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I’m usually more productive studying alone. Sometimes, having a study buddy has been motivating and helpful, but other times, we’ve ended up chatting about school and other things. One of the best decisions I’ve made in library school, though, was becoming part of a study group during my first semester. The conversation started with one classmate, and the group grew and morphed as we took different classes over the past two years. Our group has small, ranging from 4-6 classmates, which helped keep study sessions manageable and often fun, meeting for dinner before our study sessions. Although only three from our original study group (including me) are still in library school, we still meet for a “study group reunion” lunch when we can, a great way to network by staying in touch in person, encouraging each other, and celebrating graduations and new jobs.
What are your favorite tools of the (study) trade?
I do most of my word processing and spreadsheet work on a laptop at my desk, with my iPhone often nearby. Sometimes the iPhone can be a distraction (in which case I put it in another room), but often it helps. Right now, I have the Pomodoro Technique timer iPhone app running to help me stay on task, and it usually helps a lot. I also use Remember the Milk (the app and the website, which sync with each other) for task management, often creating tabs/lists for specific classes or projects. I love checking things off a to-do list.
For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve had a thing for school supplies, especially pens! I must’ve enjoyed back-to-school school supply shopping from the get-go (who doesn’t love a fresh box of Crayolas?!), and I remember it being a big deal when we were finally allowed to use ink pens in school. So, I always have a cup of colored pens and highlighters, as well as pencils, near my laptop. I do get the irony of having writing utensils next to my laptop, but I also keep Post-its nearby too, for that fleeting idea that needs writing out, rather than typing on a list. My favorite pens? The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point and the Pentel R.S.V.P. are my tops on my list right now. Much like reading a print book instead of an e-book, I still enjoy holding a pen and writing things out by hand sometimes.
What tools do you use for studying? What supplies do you like to keep nearby?
While a fair number of “Study Space” resources online are geared toward children’s spaces, here are some of my favorites that other grad students may find useful too:
Where’s your favorite place to study?
15/11/2013 § 8 Comments
When I applied for my MLS a few years ago, the realities of the working world had me dreaming of a retreat from the outside world in the arms of academia. I pictured days spent in stimulating classes and evenings immersed in my studies, totally plugged into the world of libraries and library science at all times. I would specialize in something fantastic, meet tons of like-minded people, and not have to report to a desk job every day. Student loan debt be damned, I wanted an escape.
Shortly after hitting “send,” life intervened. Between a 500+ mile move, a new job with just enough travel to make night classes impossible, and sheer economic reality, it quickly became apparent that escaping into classes and living off student loans for two years was just not going to happen. Two years and two deferments later, I find myself almost finished with my first semester in the University of Maryland College Park’s online MLS program.
I’m happy with my decision to switch to the online program, but I do sometimes feel that I’m missing out on the intangible benefits of face-to-face learning. My day job has NOTHING to do with libraries, so I don’t get the water cooler chitchat, the special programming posters in the hallway, the classroom tangents that have nothing to do with that day’s planned discussion but are oh-so-valuable. I get online class discussion boards, and nothing more. Not quite the immersive experience I had in mind when I sent in my application, and an easy recipe for low motivation. So to keep myself from feeling totally cut off, I’ve come up with a few strategies to get my library buzz.
14/11/2013 § Leave a Comment
A few weeks ago, we asked fellow HLS readers to join us in providing a small glimpse of what it’s like to be a library student. Round 2 of this year’s Library Student Day in the Life, better known as #HLSDITL, began on Monday, October 27th and went through Friday, November 1st.
We’d like to give a big THANK YOU to all those who participated in this year’s event! You shared your experiences in blog posts, tweets, photos, and video, highlighting all the amazing things you do while attending classes both on campus and virtually: completing internships, volunteering, working, handling family commitments, and having an active library life!
Be sure to check out the Library Student Day in the Life wiki to see how others spent their week. You can also subscribe to our #HLSDITL tweeters list. There was a significant trend of integrating various forms of media into posts this year; check out the posts featuring GIFs (examples here, here, and here) and one on YouTube!
So, was round 2 of #HLSDITL as fun for you as it was for us? Did you learn about some new and interesting library students? Have recommendations on how we can make round 3 better? Let us know in the comments below!
13/11/2013 § 13 Comments
Hello fellow hackers! I’m excited to join the Hack Library School team. For my first post, I thought I’d tackle the subject of online MLIS programs, even though this has been discussed on Hack Library School in the past.
You see, recently on Hiring Librarians some hiring managers have criticized online LIS education, stating that they are wary of hiring graduates who have obtained a MLIS degree online. This even prompted a survey on biases against online library school. Library Journal noticed this and followed up with a discussion of the widespread trend of online programs, concluding that, while becoming more common, they still have a way to go before being accepted by the entire library community. Oh no! Does this mean online LIS students won’t be hired after they graduate? Are we doomed? I don’t think so. It’s clear there are still major misconceptions and confusion about how LIS programs work. Of course, each school is different, but online MLIS degrees are every bit as valid as degrees earned in person.
Image from http://www.myeducation.com
Why opt for online programs in the first place? There are a variety of reasons. Perhaps you work full-time. Or there isn’t a library school nearby and you can’t relocate due to family obligations. I completely get the appeal of traditional programs. In a perfect world, I would have applied to programs that had a dual MLIS/MA in art history, which would have involved moving to another state. But, I’m not able to relocate right now and I didn’t want to delay my degree. There is only one library science program in my state and it’s entirely online. I could have considered other online programs, but I didn’t because of cost – I get tuition assistance as a university employee, but only if I attend an in-state school. Online classes are not for everyone and that’s perfectly okay. However, for others, like myself, they are a necessity.