In defense of reading

30/04/2012 § 12 Comments

One of the long-standing jokes of librarianship is that we all got into the profession because “we love to read”, the punchline of course being that we’re all too overworked to read for fun.  While I don’t think anyone should enter professional librarianship with the expectation that reading is a requirement of the job (note: it isn’t), I do wish information professionals had more incentive to incorporate a love for recreational reading into our everyday practice.

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On professionalism

26/03/2012 § 13 Comments

A few weeks ago, Rory Litwin posted a bit of a treatise on professionalism in librarianship on the Library Juice Press blog.  He addresses several trends he notices in the deprofessionalization of librarianship, and though the blogosphere was only one point of many, that’s the issue that got the most attention.  Because I just can’t let sleeping dogs lie, I, too, want to chime in on the role of blogs in creating a professional community.

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Why I Learned To Love the Command Line

20/02/2012 § 29 Comments

"Good Code," http://www.xkcd.com/844; if you get it, you're probably a programmer!

I’m sure you’ve all heard a million times by now that libraries are looking for young professionals with technology skills. And I’m sure you’ve all thought to yourself “But of course, I use technology all the time! I’m proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite, I conduct online research like a champ, I would medal in the social media Olympics!” And, of course, you’d be right. Libraries do need professionals that are intimate with and can teach software applications, are comfortable with online research both in databases and free web resources, and can smartly and strategically develop a social media plan. But I’m also increasingly sure that we need to up our game in order to stand out and better serve our patrons. I’m talking about the hard stuff, the stuff we were hoping we’d never have to think about because of our blessed IT departments, the stuff that puts us face-to-face with the command line: y’all, I’m talking about coding.

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To Write Or Not To Write: The Master’s Report

25/01/2012 § 19 Comments

In my program, like many others, graduation is contingent on completing a culminating project.  At the University of Texas, that is called a “Capstone experience.”  The overwhelming majority of students choose an internship or semester-long project with a library, archive, or local business or nonprofit.  At the end of the semester, the student creates a poster detailing their specific project and what they learned/contributed/etc.  The idea is for us to synthesize the 4 or so semesters of learning into one final deliverable.

I love the idea of a capstone project.  The experience gives soon-to-be professionals the opportunity to network, fill out their resumes, get hands-on practical experience (which, ahem, our programs sometimes lack) and create and present a poster to the iSchool community.  There is, though, a second option: A Master’s Report.  A report differs from a thesis in that it is completed in only one semester. A report differs from a capstone project (always referred to as “the capstone”) because instead of an internship, the student writes about a 40 page academic paper on a topic of his or her choosing.

I am a rare student who has chosen to write a report. Why? « Read the rest of this entry »

How to Spend Your Winter Vacation

13/12/2011 § 16 Comments

Did everyone hear that?  That was the sound of one giant sigh of relief.  If your school runs on semesters, you are very likely finished or close to finished with your semester.  Congratulations!  Now is the time we should all relax and spend time with our neglected friends and family.  Right?  If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time winding down after a long semester.  I find it hard to sleep without  deadlines and to-do lists to lull me.  I spend my days wandering around my apartment annoying my dog because I just don’t know what to do with myself.  So, let me help you!  Here is a list of some ideas for how to spend your winter vacation.  Go on, you deserve it.

  • Pick up those hobbies you’ve been putting off.  Sewing, gardening, roller derby skating, whatever.  The world is your oyster! (Until January, at least.)
  • Start on your reading/movie/crafting/video game list.  As a way to procrastinate during the semester, I create a long and detailed list of books to read and movies to watch and projects to complete.  Come the new semester, that list will be down to zero.
  • Take a vacation.  Seriously!  It doesn’t have to be far away or very long, but visit some out of town relatives, see some nearby sights, spend a night in a bed and breakfast.  It’ll feel absolutely luxurious.
  • Do something nice for yourself and loved ones.  I love cooking and hosting dinner parties.  Now that time is on my side, I hope to indulge myself a bit.  Plus, I’m lucky enough to have a partner who picks up a lot of the household slack  during the semester and I’m happy to pay it forward when I can.
  • Volunteer.  It might feel like work, but isn’t! I have wanted to volunteer at my local Humane Society since I moved to Austin, but haven’t been able to fit it in.  What better time to start a good habit?
  • Job search.  You didn’t think I’d be able to get through a whole list of fun things to do without throwing something work-related in, did you?  I know its a bummer, but now is a low-pressure time to get started on a high-stress activity.  Just one application a day will save me a big headache next semester.

What are your favorite ways to celebrate your hard work?

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