The Scariest Things We’ve Done In Library School

17/03/2014 § 5 Comments

When I was a freshly-declared English major, just beginning to flex my college reading and writing muscles, one of my professors told me something that has stuck with me ever since: “If you feel like you’re out on the tightrope and it’s swinging, that’s good. That’s where life is.”

As I recall, she meant that specifically in relation to making strong arguments and taking intellectual risks; if you feel like what you’re saying is risky, that’s good because it means you’re really making an argument. But I think we can jump easily from writing guidance to life advice (and my professor did so often). When you step out onto uncertain ground—take a risk, that is—you open to growth and new experiences. If it feels scary, good, you’re doing something important and it’s called living.

I’ve felt like I was “out on the tightrope” many times during library school and, as uncomfortable as it is, I’ve tried to embrace the feeling. Instead of letting fear cripple me, I try to use it as a motivator to find some extra courage within myself and continue on whatever nerve-wracking track I’m currently on.

Sharing the things that scare us, while adding some initial vulnerability, can be motivating and empowering. And so, some fellow hackers and I would like to share the scariest things we’ve done in library school and what we learned from the process.

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Overcoming Instruction Stage Fright

18/02/2013 § 8 Comments

When I was applying to library school I asked some of my college librarians if anything had surprised them about their library work. More than one said their jobs involved more teaching than they anticipated, and I realized that if I was going into academic librarianship I should prepare for instruction to be a part of my job. While the idea of actually standing up in front of a classroom was pretty frightening to me, I saw the user education side of libraries as incredibly important and exciting. Somehow I imagined that when the time came for me to stand in front of a classroom, I would be totally accomplished and knowledgeable, and therefore confident.

via flickrCC

via flickrCC

When I began a student assistant position in reference and instruction this semester, the time to brave the classroom arrived without my previously anticipated sense of preparation and confidence. I was excited and terrified. A part of me believed that I could be quite good, while the other part waited for the fraud police to stop me before I could present my novice self to a class of undergraduates.

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[Series] So What Do You Do? School Library Observation

02/01/2013 § 1 Comment

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 Celia Dillon. I am in my second year in the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Queens, New York. I am working towards my Masters Degree as part of the School Media Specialist program. I also currently teach first grade in Harlem, New York. I am a proud of alum of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I majored in political science.

So what do you do?

This semester I took my first class within the School Media Specialist program and as part of the class I had to observe a school librarian over the course of the semester. I observed a kindergarten through fourth grade librarian at The School at Columbia University, in Harlem, New York. Though I think these observations are standard for most School Media Specialist programs, I wanted to highlight this experience because of how beneficial I felt it was. The librarian I observed was incredibly innovative in implementing new technology in her school library. Watching her changed my view of how school librarians can be leaders and innovators within their schools. This observation also cemented for me what has been echoed by many other library students and bloggers; classes alone cannot provide the experience and knowledge that a MLIS student needs. Because of the nature of information and librarianship, observations, internships and volunteer opportunities are vital!

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