17/04/2013 § 8 Comments
As it’s National Library Week, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the things that unite us. Library education is meant to launch all of us into successful careers in the information world, and to provide a foundation upon which we can build.
Certainly, we are not rubber-stamped automata with identical skill sets. Our interests and electives can and do vary a great deal from student to student, from librarian to librarian. Still, something I have noticed in conversations with librarians and library students is a lack of common readings. We do not seem to have a central “canon,” as such, and while our field may be constantly influenced by related disciplines, librarianship has a long history of thought that we could all benefit by reading. Rather than make up an “authoritative list” on my own, though, I wanted to bring in as many perspectives as possible. I hope that this post will prompt a conversation, and later perhaps prompt action as curricula are redesigned throughout the country.
Three nominations, to get you started: « Read the rest of this entry »
10/04/2013 § Leave a Comment
With my final semester in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee wrapping up and the graduation ceremony quickly approaching, I wanted to take the opportunity of today’s post to say a farewell to all the fine readers of Hack Library School. It’s been a fun adventure and a great experience. I was honored to be chosen to be among the superb writers at HLS and am excited that we have excellent writers to continue the tradition. I’ve made great friends, and I look forward to being colleagues with all of you. Thank you for all your thoughtful comments on my posts. Writing these posts has been a great experience as it allowed me to think through my beliefs on various topics and develop a clear articulation of them. HLS was a big help to me in my early days in grad school, so I hope my posts have helped and encouraged you as those before me did for me.
I now move into my future career. As of right now, I do not have a job lined up, but it won’t be too long. I hope to get to meet many of you at conferences and symposia and maybe even collaborate on a project in the future.
So long, friends!
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!
02/04/2013 § 28 Comments
With the recent publication of U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the “Best Library and Information Studies” programs, we at Hack Library School thought it might be a good time to revisit our Hack Your Program series. While the U.S. News and World Report rankings are certainly prestigious, we found their methodology a little lacking in usefulness for those who are considering applying to LIS programs. Incoming students, if we’re honest, aren’t all that interested in what programs think of each other. They’d like to know what programs do well, and what they don’t do so well. And that’s where we come in.
Our aim with this post is to start a conversation. Each of us is going to provide (in 140 characters or less, naturally) one thing that we feel our program does well, and one where we think it comes up a bit short. These are just our opinions, based on our experiences, so your mileage may vary. Then we want to hear from you! If you’ve got questions, or want to add your experience, feel free to fire away in the comments.
01/04/2013 § 7 Comments
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Sarah Alexander.
I recently went to the Music Library Association Conference in San Jose, California where I spent five days talking about music and books. And books about music. And organizing the music that is printed in books. While I was there, I spent a lot of time talking to other students in pursuit of music library careers. In light of that experience, I’d like to write about forging a path through library school for the budding music librarian.
What do music librarians do?
Mostly we think of music librarians working in universities and colleges doing reference/liaison/instruction work or making the square pegs of music materials fit into the round holes of MARC records, but there are other options as well. Music librarians work in archives and in public libraries. They work in radio and television shows and in music publishing companies. They also work for professional ensembles, preparing scores and parts for the musicians to play from. Ensemble librarians are required to have a unique skill set. They must know about different editions of the selected works, physically correct mistakes in the parts by the publishers, mark bowings and notes from the conductor and ensure everything is ready for every rehearsal and performance.
29/03/2013 § 5 Comments
There’s a good chance that you’ve had a bad internship or job experience. Maybe it was mundane tasks, unfriendly co-workers, or damaged expectations that did you in. Many MLS/MLIS programs require, or at least strongly recommend, an internship or practicum before graduation. Internships are great ways to taste-test a type of librarianship, network, and get practical experience. The unfortunate reality is that we don’t always know what we’re walking into when we begin an internship. So, how do we survive or prevent a bad internship?
If you’re already going through a bad internship experience or find yourself in one later, you’ll need to know how to surive. Take a deep breath, remind yourself it is an opportunity to learn that will only last a few months, and use the following tips to better your internship experience.
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25/03/2013 § 5 Comments
Do you ever daydream about your future professional life? Do you imagine yourself as a high-powered librarian, answering thoughtful reference questions or maybe cataloging rare and beautiful documents? Initiating programs that bridge the digital divide or solve access and licensing issues? I know I do.
But here’s the thing: although I have big plans and aspirations, I recognize that life as an information professional isn’t always going to be the glamorous montage of my dreams. Example: I started working at the reference desk in an undergraduate library a few months ago and quickly discovered that I would spend much of my time assisting patrons with printing and scanning. Clearing jams, replacing toner and paper, explaining policies, walking patrons through the process…not the most exciting part of patron interactions, but a useful and necessary service. I’m sure there are plenty of ‘printing and scanning’ equivalents in other areas of librarianship, library school, and in all professions, for that matter. So, how do we deal? Can we ‘hack’ the mundane aspects of work and school?