UW iSchool Update – from a fellow advocate!

March 17, 2011

Did you read my post on Hack Library School about the threats to the UW iSchool during the severe budget cuts at the University of Washington?

I’ll be writing an update soon. In the meantime, please read Lyndsey’s most recent blog post here.


Speaking up! Save the UW iSchool

March 2, 2011

Dear friends,

My school, the iSchool, at the University of Washington has been named a possible consolidation/cut in the latest round of UW budget cuts. I wrote a post about it on the Hack Library School blog. Please read it and act quickly to support the future of IS education at UW.

We’ve created a Facebook group (Save the UW iSchool) and will have several other initiatives going in the next week. We need your help!



How would YOU hack library school?

February 14, 2011

I’m honored to give a little plug for a new collaborative project I’ve been involved with for the past couple of weeks. HACK LIBRARY SCHOOL A space written by, for and about LIS students. So, check it out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Quarter 2010 Review

January 11, 2011

At the end of each quarter I attempt to review the classes I took and give some final thoughts. I’m aware that I’m already into my second week of the next quarter, but here are my thoughts nonetheless. (Oh, and if you’re a potential MLIS student or just starting your studies, please let me know if you have questions about classes to take!)

LIS 522 — Collection Development 
* This class taught me the importance of policy, awareness, and preparation in libraries. I mean it ONLY makes sense to have a Collection (development, deselection, management, etc) Policy if you want to protect the library and its users and inform the staff and the users of the library’s role in the community.
* This class also taught me that guest speakers from the field (vendors, librarians, selectors) are valuable.
LIS 531 — Cataloging, Catalogs, CATA-WHAT?! (that wasn’t the real name)
* Everyone says “you have to take cataloging if you’re going to be a librarian” and while I want to agree, I don’t. There will always be original cataloging, but it is becoming less and less original and more and more automated. Libraries are sharing records and I think this is a GOOD thing — it makes the library more consistent, efficient and user-friendly.
* However, this class was a great way for me to exercise and grow my skills and knowledge of different library catalogs (searching, evaluating, etc). I don’t regret taking it, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. What is necessary is knowing about the theory and strategies of organizing information — most cataloging classes teach a couple strategies, but an overview class if perfectly fine if you never intend to do original cataloging. 
LIS 560 — Instruction Strategies for Info Professionals
* This class taught me that sometimes learning the theory behind strategy and practicality is essential. We were kind of thrown into teaching without much guidance (some but not ‘enough’ as some people would say). It was interesting and invigorating to see different people’s teaching strategies, but I also feel like I’m lacking in the theory behind instruction in information professions. I mean… How do I write a teaching statement?
* Nonetheless, I saw so many (honestly amazing!) practical presentations of relevant topics in instruction of information in this class, I left the class feeling more confident and inspired. Hey! Maybe I can teach a group of small business owners how to use Facebook to market their companies!
LIS 598 — Genre Fiction for Adults — with Nancy Pearl, Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year 2011
* I gushed about this class in a few other posts, so I’ll keep this short.
* If you ever get the opportunity to go to a training, class, webinar, book talk presentation, etc. with Nancy, go! It will be worth your time. Her love for libraries, students, readers and books will inspire you. You’ll be flying out of the room with a long list of books to read and sprinting to the nearest library. I’m not joking!

This was one of the most rewarding quarters of my MLIS experience. If you have any questions or comments, let me know!

Theory vs Practice

October 18, 2010
What happens when you combine 8-12 future librarians with a patio full of pumpkins? You get a conversation about theory and practice in library school curriculum. And this.

The discussion my colleagues and fellow-pumpkin-gutters had yesterday helped me realize one more thing about my MLIS experience. Our curriculum is ‘supposedly’ theoretical-based. It’s what we’re known for. But, we don’t know if that’s the right way to go anymore. Heavy on the theory — with a dash of practice if you have time. 

The faculty and instructors are realizing this, too. Shift happens — during required, core classes. One instructor teaches using strong theory while another provides no readings and puts us in workshops and presentations without any strategy. When we’re in the theory-based class, we complain because we want something more practical. We want to know what life is going to be like in the “real world” of library management or how to actually DO research. But, when we’re in the practice-based classes, we’re told to prepare a workshop to teach small business-owners how to use the library’s resources and we’re perplexed because we have no strategy or theory to act as a foundation for our planning.
So this leads us to a somewhat disappointing conclusion — we’re halfway through our program and we are right in the middle of a shift. We’re going to miss out on important LIS theory and practice, but we have the responsibility to be leaders in this new LIS field. We might not be satisfied with any of our classes, but we should take what we can get. It’s our right and responsibility to ask questions and debate the answers so we’re prepared to lead LIS into the future. 
At least we have each other. And Superman.

Online Discussion Forums

October 6, 2010

I’m new to online discussion forums; however, this quarter, all of my classes require my participation in discussion using the boards every week. I’m used to participating in the classroom, but I haven’t mastered discussing online.

Here’s what I don’t understand. Why do people write so much? You wouldn’t have time to say a 5-paragraph-essay if you were speaking in a discussion in class, so why write that much while in conversation on a discussion board? Really? Then, we all have to go and read everyone’s “essays” to find out what the thread is about before we can respond to it.

1. Read the discussion.
2. State A [singular, one, uno] point in 5-7 sentences at the most.
3. Read the discussion.

If you still have more to say, repeat these steps.
It will make everyone happy — because they will have more time to sleep at night.

Maybe they’ll even have time to bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to share when you’re in the same classroom.

Can anyone give me some insight as to ways of being successful in online classroom discussion forums?

 This is where I studied all afternoon. It was a gorgeous day in Seattle.

Fall Quarter 2010 Preview

September 27, 2010

I was just scanning CNN for the latest news of the day and a headline about the New Fall TV Shows popped up. And since I don’t watch television, I decided to give my “Fall Preview” of my classes! Here they are:

LIS 522 — Collection Development
LIS 531 — Catalogs, Cataloging and Classification — online course
LIS 560 — Instructional and Training Strategies for Information Professionals (my last required class! yes!)
LIS 598 — Genres for Adult Readers — with Nancy Pearl
INFX 502 — Database Concepts for Information Professionals — online course — description

If you’d like a brief description of these classes, try this, or leave me a comment!

— Here are three hopes I have for this quarter —
(although they do not necessarily have anything to do with the classes I am taking)

  • Practice giving booktalks and writing annotations — I’ll do this in the genre class! 
  • Learn how to create ‘things’ in MS Access. I know how to pull the data and organize it, but I don’t know how to create it… and I think that when I’m able to do both, it’ll be helpful on a resume or in an interview — hopefully INFX 502 will help me with this.
  • Find a way into working/volunteering/interning at a public library

There you have it! My “Fall Preview” is complete. No need to surf the channels, I mean course list… I’ve got it all planned out.

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