Directed Fieldwork: Adult User Study

March 18, 2011

In a previous post – a preview of Winter Quarter, I mentioned LIS 590 β€” Directed Fieldwork (DFW). Essentially, it was an “internship” at the King County Library System — Bellevue Regional Library. I received credit for the DFW, learned PRACTICAL information related to libraries and spent time IN a public library instead of a classroom.

My role was researcher. I observed, interviewed and collected data about the adult patrons, services and programs at the library. The final result was a written PEST analysis report and a couple of executive summaries that will be used in the library’s bigger project — as they complete a User Needs Assessment for adult programming at the library.


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Winter Quarter 2011 Preview & the FUTURE!

January 8, 2011

I just began my final quarter of my library school experience! I’m amazed that this has gone so quickly and I will be heartbroken to leave my friends and classmates when I graduate; however, I have a lot to look forward to.

Before I preview my final classes, here’s why I’m graduating early and I hope to do after school.
(this is your warning to skip to the end if you don’t care)
I’m finishing my degree ahead of schedule because I took more credits than are recommended (to “get my money’s worth” since I am paying out-of-state tuition) and I took a class during the summer. I could stay another quarter, but I have decided to graduate because I feel ready and prepared to enter the profession as a librarian, and I do not want to take out more student loans for credits I don’t really need.

I plan on moving back to the region of the country I love to call home — the Upper Midwest. I would like to find a position at a small or rural library in a smaller community. I grew up in a small town and while I’ve loved my time in Seattle, I think my career path and my lifestyle are leading me back to the rural areas. My interests lie in community collaboration, outreach and partnerships and I think I will get a great understanding of this as I start out in a smaller area.

So, if you know of any small libraries in the Upper Midwest that are hiring, please let me know!

I’m also looking forward to living somewhere where I can have a garden, a cat and a front porch. πŸ™‚

So, for my final quarter of my library school experience, I am taking the following courses:

LIS 521 — Principles of Information Services
— This is essentially a crash course in the resources and strategies and techniques used to answer questions at a reference desk (academic or public).
LIS 596 — Professional Portfolio
— This is a Culminating Experience option at the iSchool — as opposed to writing a thesis — essentially we will create a portfolio using artifacts and reflections from our coursework to market ourselves while looking for jobs. This blog may temporarily become my portfolio if I don’t learn how to use something else in a couple of weeks — you’ve been warned.
LIS 590 — Directed Fieldwork
— I’m doing an “internship” at the King County Library System — Bellevue Library in (where else) Bellevue, Washington. My role is researcher. I do this through observing, communication and collecting data about the adult services and programs. I’ll be collecting this data and writing a report that will be part of the User Needs Assessment that the library is doing over the next several months. If you want more details, please let me know.

Won’t you be my neighbor? — Community and Library

September 27, 2010

The end of Mr. Rogers’ theme song says it perfectly.
“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

A neighbor is someone you want to get to know, right? I mean, I just moved into a new apartment in North Seattle and as I carried my first box into the elevator, a lady entered pushing a stroller. She said, “Ooh! Are you just moving in? I’m Jennifer. I live on the fourth floor!” and I said, “Yes! I’m moving in. We live on the second floor. Is this your son?” She said, “Yes. Hopefully you won’t hear him screaming all night. Well, welcome!”
[I haven’t heard him screaming and I see them out for walks often. It is so nice to have a neighbor.]

The library is a neighbor. To you and the rest of your community.Think about the library you frequent most often. What’s around it? Parks? Schools? Churches? Banks or pizza places? Who visits it? Are there bus stops nearby? What’s the history of the street its on?

Being a neighbor is an honor. I am honored and delighted to live on the same block as the Lake City branch of the Seattle Public Library System. I stop by on my bike ride home from school to pick up my holds. Last year, Andy Bates, the manager of the Lake City branch spoke to one of my classes. He said that he spent a lot of time getting to know the neighborhood of Lake City when he first started working there. The community invited him to meetings and he went because he knew the library would be a better place for the community if they were able to meet the needs of it.

As I start my final year of studying for my MLIS, I look forward to completing a Directed Fieldwork where I am placed in a library setting and given the responsibility and opportunity to learn about the community and neighborhood the library is a part of. The King County Library System completes Community Studies every year to get to know their neighbors. Click here for more information about them. Essentially, they choose a couple of communities (neighborhoods) where KCLS libraries are located and do an intensive study about the area. They interview users and non-users of the library, look at U.S. Census data, the history of the community, the statistics from the library usage and much more. It takes a few months to compile and then write up the report, but once that’s done, the library has a much better understanding of who its neighbors truly are.

“So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day! Since we’re together, we might as well say, could you be mine, would you be mine, won’t you be…my neighbor?”

Meet your neighbors. Maybe they’ll warn you that their child screams at night. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to not hear him. At least you were warned.

The Push: Public Lib vs Academic Lib

March 14, 2010

When I started school, some of the first questions we were asked were: “what are you interested in? what do you want to do? where do you want to work?” My answers were completely generic, “Um. I want to work in a library. I want to work with people. I don’t want to do cataloging.” Now I answer, “I want to enter academic librarianship.” But why?

I enjoyed working at the library on campus at my undergrad, and I am unbelievably grateful for all the experience and opportunities the faculty and staff gave me there. In some ways, I see myself returning to an academic setting and thriving. I now work at the Suzzallo Library in the Monographic Acquisitions Division.

BUT (and here’s where the pushing comes)
The classes I’m most interested in consistently talk about public libraries. I find myself enthused by the idea of working in a public library because my classes are always talking about the situations that arise within them (public libraries). Here’s my conflict: classes specifically for people interested in academic libraries don’t exist (at the iSchool). How am I supposed to learn specific situations for academic libraries if my classes don’t touch on them? I cannot and do not believe that situations are handled similarly in academic and public libraries. I know important distinctions exist!

I know this because, fortunately, I have experience in academic libraries. I feel a push and pull because of my experience and my education. This summer, I hope to find an internship at a public library to gain experience and insight into this outside of my education. I just hope that I will be prepared to work in both types of libraries — even if my formal education pushes me in one specific direction.Β 

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