Keeping Track of Inspiration

29/05/2013 § 3 Comments

The end of my first year of library school has been a welcome reminder to reflect: to remember that, not so long ago, MARC and FRBR were meaningless acronyms, I had never answered a reference question, and I didn’t even know what half of my course titles meant. I’ve been sorting through notes from classes, panel discussions, and workshops in an attempt to mentally index the year and to check in with myself. In doing so, I have remembered some of the moments in which I felt especially excited about what I was doing and learning—e.g. hand-coding my first website, planning instruction sessions, and talking to librarians about the work they love. Honestly, I had forgotten about quite a few of my favorite moments; losing track of inspiration is quite easy amidst the anxiety and self-doubt that can strike throughout the busyness and unknowns of graduate school.  In the face of these worries and doubts, reminding ourselves of what continues to draw us forward on our chosen paths can be incredibly powerful.

Today my library school (and life) ‘hack’ is to keep track of the things that inspire and excite you—things that can then serve as motivation, as a guide when picking classes and developing projects, and even as content for resumes, cover letters, and interviews. I think we learn and work best when we’re excited about what we’re doing. Keeping a finger on the pulse of what poet William Butler Yeats describes as the “rag and bone shop of the heart”—the often disorderly yet foundational deep structure of ourselves—encourages that excitement.

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Getting Through the End-of-Semester Slump

22/04/2013 § 1 Comment

?????????????????????sThe end of another academic year is upon us.  Here at Syracuse, we have a little more than two weeks left in the semester, and, as usual, that means that things are coming together in a perfect storm of final projects, presentations, and other end-of-semester tasks.  I’ve been running around like a crazy person, trying to finish projects, schedule webinars, attend campus events, and see classmates who will soon be graduating or leaving for the summer.

All of this end-of-semester craziness has sent me into a serious slump.  I find myself lacking the motivation to work on projects, putting off routine schoolwork until the last minute, and avoiding anything that requires making a decision.  Recently I’ve had to resist the urge to curl into a ball and cry because of the pressure to just do all the things.

to-doDespite all of my wishful thinking, though, these things aren’t going to disappear.  Projects need to be finished, classes require participation, and I still want to do what I can to become a great librarian, even in the midst of my slump.  So how can we make it to the end of the semester without suffering a nervous breakdown?  Here are some thoughts: « Read the rest of this entry »

[Series] So What Do You Do? Virtual Internship for an International Public Library Organization

15/03/2013 § 3 Comments

This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which  LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jameson Rohrer and I am from Newburgh, Indiana. My undergraduate degree is a B.S. in History and Anthropology from the University of Southern Indiana. I have been working in the library world since I was a senior in high school and I am currently a student at San Jose State’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.  This spring is my last semester in the program, and although I am exceptionally busy with many projects and assignments I am beyond excited that my graduation is nigh. My interest is in public libraries and I currently volunteer with My Info Quest, an SMS text messaging virtual reference service for 27 libraries, in addition to an internship with the Lubuto Library Project.

The Lubuto Library Project is an international organization that is headquartered in Washington D.C., however the majority of the work actually occurs in the country of Zambia. The Lubuto Library Project works with communities and the lubuto-library-logogovernment of Zambia in establishing public libraries in the rural countryside for the at-risk children. (two libraries so far, with a third in the works) In constructing these public libraries, the organization provides historical preservation of culturally relevant materials, promotion of reading and education services to the children, and also provide a space for social services for their families as a gathering place and safe haven that cannot be underestimated.

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The Portfolio, or Ending with a Bang and Not a Whimper

25/02/2013 § 5 Comments

Image courtesy of the Ohio University Libraries

Image courtesy of the Ohio University Libraries

Let’s just say that you’re in your final semester of library school. It’s an exciting time, the end is near, you’re anxious to start the big job hunt, or if you’re lucky enough to have a library job, maybe you’re looking forward to moving up the library ladder. Nothing stands in your way now, except for one thing. The culminating experience – the academic gatekeeper that vets your qualifications and once and for all declares you ready to enter the world of paid (hooray!) librarianship. No pressure.

In the SLIS program at San Jose State University, we have our choice of two possible routes through the culminating experience, which is what our department calls the final, cumulative project of our LIS career. Any SLIS student wishing to graduate may either write a Master’s thesis or complete a portfolio, which is a comprehensive overview of your work in the program. Though I was tempted by the in-depth nature of writing a thesis, I decided early on that it would make more sense for me to do a portfolio because it would explicitly tie my strongest accomplishments together while requiring me to review everything I had learned in my courses, thus helping prepare me for job interviews along the way. It sounded like a no-brainer in my first semester, and it was definitely the right choice for me, but its a lot to bite off – an amazingly-lot to bite off – and it’s best to lay the groundwork early and often.

So, for those of you in the middle of your culminating experience, whether it be a portfolio, a thesis or something else entirely, here is what I’ve learned (so far) about keeping your sanity through the process. And, for those of you have yet to tackle this wily beast, read on for a little advice about how to start preparing for it way, way, way in a advance.

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Library School Resolutions

09/01/2013 § 6 Comments

Happy New Year, hackers!  I hope that everyone had a nice, relaxing holiday break, and that you’re all refreshed and ready for a new semester.  With classes starting next week for me, I thought I would take some time to come up with a few resolutions to guide me through this next year of library school.  So without further ado, here they are:

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