[Series] So What Do You Do? Historical Collection Evaluation

24/01/2013 § 6 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.

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Books patiently awaiting evaluation.

I’m Madeleine Mitchell, and I’m lucky enough to be contributing to HLS during my last semester in library school. I’m earning my MLIS at San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science, a program that’s conducted entirely online. While my experience with the online format has been quite good, I would say that the hands-on nature of my internships has been crucial to my professional preparation and training. I earned my BA in English Literature and an MA in Comparative Literature, so librarianship felt like a pretty natural step to me, and I’m also a writer – mostly short stories, but occasional articles make it past the gates, as do various blog posts and book reviews.

So what do you do?

I’ve done two internships during my time at SLIS, but the one I’m going to focus for this post was at San Jose State University Library in the Educational Resource Department. This internship ended in December but I’ll be continuing on with the project as a volunteer, which is why a lot of this is written in the present tense. The ERC department is meant to contain K -12 curricular materials and California’s state approved textbooks, but due to budget cuts, it’s grown to unofficially include the King Library’s large collection of historical textbooks, and even larger collection of historical children’s materials. These collections have been collecting dust, (literally), for years, mostly because the job of evaluating and re-cataloguing them is huge. Undaunted, my supervisor stepped up to the challenge and put out a call for interns, which is where I come in.

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The Diverse Knowledge of Librarians

20/07/2012 § 18 Comments

In This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, Marilyn Johnson says that she first became interested in writing about librarians while researching a book about obituaries. She noticed that librarians always had the most interesting obituaries she read, ranging from a librarian who sailed the coast of Maine to a librarian who automated the Library of Congress’s map catalog.

This is one of my favorite descriptions of librarians; they know a little bit about everything. Ask a librarian how to fix a leaky faucet and she might be able to tell you what kind of wrench to use. Ask a librarian how to help care for a sick relative and he might share a story about how he had to do the same thing. Librarians are surrounded by books, on every kind of topic from obscure to everyday. (Take a look at @HCcataloging) And they love to read and find out more. So chances are, while librarians are pretty knowledgeable about their own chosen specialties, they are also educated about topics outside (sometimes very far outside) these areas too. « Read the rest of this entry »

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