Why I miss library school…

April 4, 2011


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!



iCareer Week Email — Share

January 24, 2011
I composed this email to be sent to my classmates a couple of weeks ago. We were having iCareer week — a week where we had events, panels, job fairs, etc. regarding Information Careers (careers in information?). Anyway, sALA (the Student chapter of ALA at UW) did not plan an event. Instead, I pulled together an email full of resources for people to have. I figured I’d post it and let other people find access to these resources if they haven’t already. Here it is:

Greetings iSchoolers!

Because we know you will be busy attending other iCareer Week events, sALA sends you this email to read and react to at your leisure. The following are points of interest from the ALA web site and related information (list servs, wikis, blogs, etc.) that are related to the development of Careers in Librarianship.

Remember, we post any/all scholarships for ALA members to our web site, Facebook and Twitter.

Points of Interest:
ALA web site
  1. Join or renew your membership to ALA — As a student, you can simultaneously join ALA and your state’s chapter for only $35! This deal lasts until August 31, 2011. You can read more about this phenomenal deal here: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/student-member-blog/join-your-chapter-and-ala-one-low-price
  2. Looking for information about your state’s library association? Try this site: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/chapters/state/stateregional.cfm
  3. ALA Student Member Blog — http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/student-member-blog
  4. New Member Round Table Resume Review Service — submit your resume online or meet up one-on-one with someone at a conference — http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/resreview/resumereview.cfm
  5. Free webinars and webcasts — related to a wide variety of issues in librarianship — http://www.ala.org/ala/onlinelearning/reg/index.cfm

Job Lists

  1. ALA JobLIST — http://joblist.ala.org/
  2. Library Journal’s Job Zone — http://www.libraryjournal.com/csp/cms/sites/LJ/Careers/JobZone/index.csp
  3. LISjobs.com — http://www.lisjobs.com/jobseekers/job-ads.asp

List Servs
Want to know what people out in the field are discussing day-to-day? Join a listserv that interests you. Job positions are also often announced on these listservs. Here’s just a sampling of what’s out there — ALA Divisions such as RUSA, YALSA, LITA, ACRL, PLA. The full list is here: http://lists.ala.org/sympa

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact one of the sALA officers.

Thank you,

Your sALA Officers

The Name Game

November 8, 2010

When I began my MLIS education, I took a class that had to do with Information Behavior. The behavior people use when interacting with information or the lackthereof. It could have been a fascinating class had we all not suffered from severe information overload and an instructor lacking skills to instruct. Ask if you want more details.

On the first day, we talked about what to call those people that go into the library. Are they patrons? Are they users? Are they customers? Are they students? What are they? We did not arrive at an answer that day. Now, a year later we were introduced to a new term: civilians. Are they civilians? I still don’t know…

Patrons — this word seems old-fashioned to me. It has good intentions — as patron is defined as someone who is supporting an institution, but that term just doesn’t sound right when it comes out of my mouth.
Users — this sounds like I’m describing someone who uses drugs, but it is the word I use most often because the people who walk into the library or log into the library web site** are indeed USING it.
Customers — well, we aren’t really selling anything at a library, so the word ‘customer’ (someone who buys goods and services) is kind of off-putting.
Students — yes, everyone is a student of life. However, overuse of the term may lead to confusion — and for libraries that have homework help for students (elementary, middle or high school), it could be even more complex.
Civilians — I associate this word with someone who is not in the military. When I looked it up, I found another definition: “anyone regarded by members of a profession, interest group, society, etc., as not belonging; nonprofessional; outsider” from Dictionary.com. I would hope that libraries do not consider the people who USE them to be not belonging or outsiders. That term just seems to describe the opposite of how libraries serve their communities.

**And, what about the people who access the library without going through the doors? They use the web site and download e-books or audio books and IM chat with the librarians. What are they called? I call them users. Should they be called something else?

So, I usually say user to describe someone who is using the library. It seems most appropriate, and if people give me an uncomfortable look (as in — the did you call someone a “user”?! look), I restate it by saying “library-user” to make my point clear. Because I do believe that anyone who enters the library (physically or virtually) is USING it. Some people spend more time actively searching and gathering the information they need. Others are more passive and pick up a book being held for them. It doesn’t matter — the libraries are being used by their communities. 

One more question to think about. I’ll write about this in another post soon. What do we call people who don’t come to the (physical or virtual) library? 

Other terms people mentioned when I asked on Twitter:
community member

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.

Banned/Challenged Books Panel [Part 2: Reflection]

October 10, 2010

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had our Banned/Challenged Books Panel last week. It was a huge success! Almost every seat in the room was full and we had a couple of people present on the online meeting space. We had enough pizza and pop and napkins! But, most importantly, our panelists had a wonderful discussion and expressed their passion and dedication for intellectual freedom in libraries.

I did some reading about moderating panels before this event, and I read about how sometimes there is a strange and uncomfortable and sometimes tense dynamic between the panelists. You can’t really control why or when this happens, but you have to be prepared for it. This kind of made me concerned. I kept thinking that I needed to be ready for anything, so I had lots of questions ready in case discussion was forced.

Fortunately, moderating the panel was unbelievably easy. The panelists fed off of each other, had great conversations — asking each other questions and also asking the audience questions. As the moderator, I encouraged them to talk about their experiences with banned/challenged materials and how important it is to have policies in libraries to protect the users and libraries.

— Some of the main points all of the panelists shared —

  • It’s a challenge to balance your feelings about controversial materials and your duty as a library staff-member. 
  • When a book is challenged (formally or informally) it is necessary to make sure everyone knows the process and procedures.
  • Usually parents or guardians who challenge materials have a specific, personal, emotional reason for doing so. (For example: a mother who grew up in a family of alcoholics may not want her children to read books that have alcoholism as a theme) When this happens, great care needs to be taken to not offend or hurt the person challenging the materials — but to focus, instead, on the challenge itself and the right to read whatever you choose. 

     Here is a link to the recording of the entire panel (it was about 75 minutes). You might have to have a UW NetID to log in, but if not, please enjoy!  Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

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