HackLibSchool at ALA: A Retrospective

13/07/2011 § 7 Comments

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A little late on the jump here, but here is our wrap-up of the American Library Association’s annual conference. Of the HackLibSchool team, Annie, Micah and Lauren attended the conference. Believe it or not, this was actually the first time we all met face to face! Aside from conference business, which you will read below, we had a great time talking LIS, hanging out and generally enjoying the whole experience, which you can see above. I’d highly recommend it.

In true hackery fashion, we thought it best to attack the conference wrap-up post by breaking it down to bite-sized chunks. We have compiled here a short list of session reviews, featuring us and some guests. The entire conference was overwhelmingly gigantic, so this post in no way attempts to be comprehensive. We just wanted to give you a snapshot of what you might expect. Also, to be clear, many of us might agree that time spent out and about was often more productive and useful for getting a sense of the field than sitting in on slideshows and freezing rooms. But! It’s all part of the game.

Make a point to read the ALA wrap-up from The Pumped Librarian and check in on American Libraries Magazines ALA’11 site. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hack Your Program: University of Alabama SLIS

24/05/2011 § 25 Comments

UA School of Library and Information Studies – Tuscaloosa, AL

(Pictured above: Gorgas Library – UA SLIS is located on the 5th floor)

Disclaimer: I attended the on-campus UA SLIS program from January 2009-May 2011 as a full time student. These opinions are mine, with the exception of anonymous sentiments from fellow students that I have gleaned over time. Any criticism I offer is meant to be constructive – I have LOVED my time at UA SLIS, and truly adore my professors and fellow students. As every student views the program differently, I encourage any UA SLISers out there who agree or disagree with my viewpoints to add to the discussion in the comments.

UA SLIS offers the MLIS degree, MFA in Book Arts, and a PhD in Communication and Information Sciences. The MLIS has 3 forms: on-campus, online cohort, and regional cohort (satellite campus + online and Tuscaloosa classes). The online cohort requires a separate application and completely different timeline, and accepts a set number of people each year (typically people working full time, who take 2 classes a semester for 6 semesters).

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Tuscaloosa, and what you can do to help

29/04/2011 § Leave a comment

HLS readers:
I’m posting this on behalf of our lovely editor, Lauren Dodd, who is in Alabama for her MLS. Earlier today she posted an update on her own blog about the devastation there, and the HLS team wanted to share it here. Lauren is OK (yay!) as are the other folks in UA SLIS (double yay!), but they are asking for help to recover. I copied and pasted her original post below for you to read. A big thanks from Lauren and all the HLS folks for reading and for your help!

I wish I were updating this blog under better circumstances. It has truly been a great semester until now.

On Wednesday, April 27, the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was struck by an EF-5 tornado. Much of the city is demolished. The university where I have finished my MLIS, University of Alabama, was spared, but classes and exams have been cancelled, and graduation ceremony postponed until August. As far as I can tell, everyone I know is safe, but I have many friends, as well as SLIS faculty members, who have lost their apartments or houses. The damage is widespread, and there have been many deaths.

Click here for photos of the devastation in Tuscaloosa and pictures and videos of the tornadoes and damage statewide.

Tuscaloosa was not the only city struck that day — statewide, Alabama has lost over 200 lives. President Obama has declared a state of emergency and is sending federal aid. If you would like to help out with the relief efforts, even just a small donation ($10 or so) would be greatly appreciated. Here are SEVERAL easy ways you can help, whether you are in Alabama or far far away. See also Donate to UA SLIS (a fund for UA SLISers who have suffered damage and loss).

A huge THANK YOU in advance for any assistance you can provide.

So You Want to Be a Special Librarian?

11/03/2011 § 20 Comments

When you started library school, did you know exactly what kind of librarian you wanted to be? Or — did you have a general idea, but you were open to other possibilities?

That’s where I was when I started at SLIS. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a librarian, but I also figured out pretty quickly that the traditional library job market is more competitive than ever before.  I began to lean toward academic librarianship, specifically reference work, and as an English major I assumed my subject specialties would be in the humanities.

However, a combination of library school experiences in my second year – a great Special Libraries professor and mentor, student jobs and internships, and an amazing Science Reference class – have convinced me that not only are my reference skills transferable to many other jobs, but that a variety of subjects and nontraditional jobs can hold my interest. I currently have a paid internship in an academic military library, something I didn’t even know was possible when I started library school.

If you’re not really sure what special libraries are, here is a good starter definition – they are essentially libraries or information centers within corporations, private businesses, government agencies, museums, colleges, hospitals, associations and information management consulting firms (and any other institution you can think of – I have a friend who interned at a paranormal library!).

I can’t sum up an entire course worth of information on special librarianship for you, but I did want to let you know that amazing jobs in nontraditional library settings are out there, and give you a broad overview of my favorite resources.

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The Road to ALA ’11: LIS Student Tips and Tricks

09/02/2011 § 26 Comments

{This post is largely derived from these posts on my blog — for more detail on my ALA ’10 experiences, check them out!}

Last year, I attended my first ALA conference as a library school student, and it was an eye-opening experience. Of all the local and national librarian conferences I’ve been to, it is by far the biggest and most overwhelming. Here are some of my tips for staying on a library school student budget, networking, and more:

  • Seek funding to offset your expenses. ALA’s Student to Staff program has already picked its members, but ask around at your library school for other opportunities. Are there any scholarships or grants for travel at your school? Do you know anyone you can split a hotel room with (if not, ask librarians on Twitter)?

Click through for more!!

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