Making a plan: Life and Library School

There has been a stunning lack of originality at the SCALA blog lately, so here is my two cents.

My theory on making plans goes something like this; fate laugh’s at plans, have a good idea where you want to go see what happens. I’ve seen it in myself many times; during undergrad I knew I was going to be a music history professor. After that I knew I was going to work in information technology. What am I doing now? Combining some of the things I love with the best people I’ve ever met.

Applying for library school was a very organic process for me. I knew I wanted some direction and a position that was as exciting as it was interesting. Something that would not be boring or esoteric like information technology. I looked for answers from the internet, mentors and others with no luck. I tired changing my life by rejecting the many of the answers society has given us in pursuit of happiness.  My wife mentioned library science one day. The idea sat for a time. We where six months out from moving to where ever her graduate school would be and we already had a lot on our minds. The topic came back up after a few light searches on the internet; this would be right up my alley. Something I could do that covered many of my base skills, benefited the world around me and could quite possibly lead to my happiness. And one was in Eugene’s backyard.

Somewhere, Carol Kuthlthau is smiling.

So far so good. I feel highly dedicated to completing this degree already and confident it will be useful for my life (DOC). With this in mind I have a few ideas to further my education and yours. My thoughts say that if we can make it though the first semester, we can finish this degree. Why not finish this degree with a head start? For fear of planning here are a few ideas on what you can do now.

Setup your online accounts for professionalism and remove embarrassing materials.

Learn how to interview here and here.

I’d like to setup a blog and study one aspect of information science in detail and use it as spring board to publishing. What are your thoughts?

What We Love About Library School and Libraries, Part 2

Here are some more responses about why SLIMsters love library school and libraries.

“Even the most boring classes are made fun because I am making so many new friends.  To learn with them is an inspiration, and anyone who will work with them will have a great time.  And – I have had the most exciting class last weekend.  We learned how to repair books!”

-Tyrene Bada (OR 10)

“Library school has confirmed my faith in my desired profession. Everything seems to be changing, but the ambiguity that we live in feels charged with energy and creativity. Everyone I have interacted with as a student – from classmates and instructors to professionals in the field – has allowed for an amazing exchange of ideas, making me believe that every thing is going to be okay.”

-J. Turner Masland (Blogger extraordinaire of Dewey’s Not Dead, OR 10)

“I love libraries.

When I walk through the aisles of books, I can’t help but think of all the different people who have

touched these books: who have stayed up late reading them in bed, who have learned something new,

who have read them to their children, who have contributed to the history of these books by borrowing

and returning them for others to enjoy.

I think about the child who says just one more chapter before bed. I think about the little boy who

scoffed at getting his own library card until I told him that with the card he can learn about anything he

wanted. “Even garbage trucks?” he asked. As I answered yes, he ran off calling his mom and shouting

excitedly that he was going to get a library card and learn about garbage trucks. I love the possibilities

that present themselves for readers and I love that I get to be a part of that.”

-Amy Relyea (SCALA Treasurer, OR 11)

What We Love About Library School and Libraries, Part 1

Valentine’s Day was Monday and it’s got me in the mood for love…of libraries. I want to make this a week of library love on the blog, so I asked the SCALA board and the current two cohorts what they love about library school and libraries. This is what they had to say:

“The smell of old books, the soft click of a mac book, and work worth waking up for.”

Rachel Arkoosh (SCALA Secretary, OR 11)

I love library school because not only am I learning but it gives me many opportunities to research, network, participate in conferences, practice innovation, be creative, and discover.  I love libraries because they represent the definition of community within education.”

-Kirsten Himes (SCALA Co-Vice President, OR 10)

“Library school has given me a direction in life. Every project I work on, every paper I write, every discussion I participate is guiding me in my career and helping me grow. I want to be a librarian because I love libraries. I love the opportunities the provide to people who might not have a lot of resources. I love the face on children when they find the book they want to read over and over again. Libraries are amazing community resources and I am glad to be a part of that.”

-Rebecca Chernay (SCALA Web Presence & Social Networking Coordinator, OR 10)

Ten Practical Tips for New Library Students

(Many thanks to Monique Lloyd for contributing the following article. The SLIM-OR SCALA Blog welcomes submissions relevant to library and information science. If you would like to submit an article, please attach it to an e-mail and send it to: VintageRedhead22[at]gmail[dot]com. We look forward to your contributions! –Laureen Burger, Web Manager)

by Monique Lloyd (OR-7)

If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities and never give up, you will find a way. ~ Jane Goodall

Here is a list of ten tips I’d like to have had when I began library school.I hope you find some of them useful.Please feel free to add others by using the comment function.

1. Be generous and gracious.

I never lost anything by giving things away. ~ Anonymous

  • If you come across an article on a topic one of your classmates is interested in, email the citation.Do the same with information about scholarships, opportunities for publication or positions in professional organizations, informative blogs, wikis, or book reviews.
  • If you discover a classmate has landed a great job, been given a promotion, awarded a scholarship, or had a paper published, send a congratulatory email.
  • Send handwritten thank you notes from the heart to those who have, in big or small ways, inspired you, encouraged you, and advised you.

2. Network.

The way of the world is meeting people through other people. ~Robert Kerrigan

  • Get business cards printed now with your basic contact information. Keep a half-dozen behind your nametag when you go to a conference and you won’t have to fumble around to find them.
  • Go to as many conferences as you have time and money to attend. Wear something distinctive like a pin, scarf, or tie every day you are there; it will help people remember you.
  • Volunteer.Join roundtables and sections and be an active member.
  • Be bold. Stand up and ask a question or make a comment at a session.
  • Be brave. Go up to someone you admire, offer a brief introduction, compliment or comment on their speech, article, or book, and ask to exchange business cards.

3. Do what works for you.

Know thyself. ~ Socrates

  • Some thrive on stress and others need order and calm.Some like to carefully chunk out small pieces of time to do their assignments while others like to do the research early and then give themselves plenty of time to think before sitting down to write.Some like to work on multiple projects at the same time while others like to concentrate on each individually.Figure out what works for you and then do it.
  • Examine your writing, presentation, and technological skills critically. Highlight your strong areas while working on your weak ones.

4. Life intervenes.

The essence of wise living is anticipating the unanticipated and expecting the unexpected.~Kevin A. Woolsey

  • No matter how well we plan, life happens; someone we love dies, we lose our jobs, we become ill or injured. Sometimes life throws something at us and all we can do is catch it, deal with it, and move on.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Be flexible and adaptable, remain aware of what might go wrong, and try to have backup plans in place.

5. Don’t tell. Show.

What you will do matters.All you need is to do it.~ Judy Grahn

  • Actions count.Go above and beyond what is required or expected.
  • Translate what you know how to do to actual projects.

6. Be professional.

Always dress for your next job.~ Karen Diller

  • The library world is a small one and your reputation is important.Future employers will very likely Google your name to see what they can find out about you. Be careful what you reveal on social networking sites.
  • Be aware of and conform to professional ethical standards. Do your work skillfully and well. Always represent your employer, your fellow workers, and yourself with dignity and respect.

7. Find a mentor.

Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight. ~ Anonymous

  • Take advantage of one of the mentoring programs offered by various professional organizations.
  • A mentor can advise and guide you by doing such things as reviewing resumes and cover letters, and providing advice on interviewing, salary expectations, and how to balance work and home.
  • When you are in a position to do so, give back by becoming a mentor to someone else.

8. Take care of yourself.

When your mother asks “Do you want a piece of advice?” it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.~ Erma Bombeck

  • Remember all those things your mother told you about eating healthy foods on a regular schedule, exercising, washing your hands often, and getting enough rest?  Well, she was right.  And don’t forget

    to get a flu shot.

  • Don’t neglect your emotional and spiritual health.

9. Set aside time to think and reflect.

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. ~ Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun)

  • Thinking and reflecting provides an opportunity to integrate new ideas, commonalties, differences, and interrelations.It can include analyzing assumptions, becoming aware of contextual assumptions by realizing our assumptions are created socially and personally in a specific cultural context, imagining alternative ways of thinking, and questioning universal truth claims using reflective skepticism.
  • Consider keeping a weekly personal journal to capture and further examine your reflections.

10. Be aware of available resources and use them.

There are plenty of opportunities out there.You can’t sit back and wait.~ Ellen Metcalf

  • Begin examining resumes of those who have positions similar to one you hope to obtain and note what skills and experiences they have.Look also at job descriptions for positions you hope to apply for when you have earned your degree and note what skills, experience, and attributesemployers are seeking.Make a list and start working towards them.
  • Pay close attention to the techniques used by presenters you enjoy and strive to emulate them. The most compelling presenters have clearly defined goals, demonstrate mastery of content, proceed seamlessly from point to point, recognize various learning styles, and are original and creative. The very best presenters use humor, tell stories to illustrate points, and are passionate about their topic.
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