I suppose that I should be happy that I didn’t get sick until last night after I was officially done with school. However, I have a nasty sore throat that kept me home today – and, I’m not happy at all. ARGH!!
It is official – I am done with this semester! Overall, I’m not sure how to categorize this semester. It almost did me in several times. Of course, most of my biggest challenges were school related, but not course related. Actually, this was the first time that I took two classes that I actually liked (with professors that I respected) in one semester. Both were excellent classes in which I learned a great deal. Sure, they both required a great deal of work, and the work might have made me incredibly cranky and intractable at several points during this semester (feel free to ask my husband, if you don’t believe me). However, I now have a great sense of accomplishment that I made it through – and am fairly happy with the quality of work that I was able to produce. So, I am BEYOND happy to be done – to have about a month break from school – to be able to relax for a bit.
So, that was the good part of my mind set. As for the other, this semester gave me some serious ambivalence about SCSU’s MLS program. Online programs are tough, I think – both to participate in and to administer. It seems to be much easier for all people involved in them to give a half-hearted effort. I got involved in trying to get some clear vision of the problems that students feel exist – and this whole thing has weighed heavily upon me. I definitely need to get back to it because it certainly is much too important to just let slide. I find it ironic that in the semester that I had two of the best classes of my program, I came away feeling worse about the program than I have at any point thus far.
Regardless of this fact, I will press on. I am 3/4 of the way through the program. That is enough to help me overcome my feelings of ambivalence. I will make it through, I will make it through, I will make it though.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever met a child that actually wanted to be a librarian. I know that there must be some out there who do, but I doubt that being a librarian is one of the most appealing occupations to children. That is why I find this blog post so very heartwarming. In it, a mom writes about her 7 year old son, TJ, who wants to be a librarian. There is a picture included in the post that TJ drew of a librarian – complete with a big smile. TJ and his mom made me smile today and reminded me that I am proud of what I do. TJ is lucky to have a mom who wants to help him accomplish his goals. Best of luck TJ!
I just finished reading Walt Crawford’s Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change(ok, that was a long time ago at this point). Overall, I really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of a balanced approach to anything – so I was predisposed to agree with the message of the book. As I mentioned in a previous post, this book is an easy read. I didn’t sit down to read it from start to finish, but I made it more than halfway through the book in a couple of hours last night – between making dinner, doing laundry, etc. It took me barely an hour and a half to finish the rest the next day (spread out over lunch and after work). To me, readability is key – especially since I tend to abandon things that I find overly cumbersome.
So, here are some of my thoughts about and reactions to this book:
- I would recommend this book to any of my colleagues. Whether one likes the term or not, the concept of Library 2.0 is important as are the discussions that have taken place around it. Reading Balanced Libraries is a great way to learn more about Library 2.0 – in a very non-threatening way that won’t cause people to become overwhelmed by the winds of change that seem to always be surrounding us.
- I would also recommend this book to people who are feeling a bit baffled by all of the recent hype demanding CHANGE. Conferences, journal articles, presentations, blogs and other venues are all pushing the tenets of Library 2.0, social software, information commons and radical change. I have a good grasp of these concepts, and I often feel overwhelmed about what it all means in practice. I’ve questioned myself and the state of my library several times because of all of this hype. I came away from the book feeling validated in a not-so-insignificant way. I’m doing what I should be doing. I’m keeping myself informed about the things that I need to know about. My library is doing ok – actually better than ok. We are balancing new technologies and tools with patrons needs – all with an eye on fiscal expenditures. IM, Flickr and assorted other tools just don’t make sense for us. They would only be distractions that could possibly detract from other services.
- I definitely think it would be great for all library students to read also. There is some great information about how to balance change and continuity in libraries – which to me, is a critical message.
So, nothing earth-shattering here (referring to my post, not the book) - but really, I think the book is well worth reading. It is a great way to start needed conversations.
In speed geeking, small groups of students meet with one professional librarian (aka geek) at a time to gain insight into what it’s like to be a working librarian. You can ask questions about their job, patrons, professional development or get tips on library school. Whatever you’re curious about.
Given that I am fortunate enough not to be a grad student who is looking for a job or wondering about what type of librarian I want to be, I don’t often pay attention to these types of items. However, this is a really cool idea. I’m impressed. I have no idea if SCSU has these types of things. Distance students have a tendency to be really out of the loop on ILS campus events. I can say that if they do have these types of things, they aren’t publicized off-campus.
Andrea Mercado from Library Techtonics pointed me to this item. Andrea thinks that Speed Geeking could be implemented at regional conferences. I think she may be on to something. It sounds like a great way to get people talking and asking questions.
One question: does professional librarian equal geek?
I got a grade back on my term paper for ILS560-College & University Libraries early this afternoon – and all is well. I definitely wasn’t overly thrilled with the paper. I chose to look at the impact of distance education on the academic library. I was fairly excited when I chose the topic a couple of months ago. However, as time passed, as life interfered and as I got caught up in all sorts of other projects, I really wasn’t able to put the time and effort into the paper that I normally would have. Usually, I have way too much to write – and end up spending a good deal of time cutting lots of material to shrink the overall page length. This time, I struggled to stretch the length so that the conclusion would make it on the 10th page – of an assignment that was to be between 10 and 12 pages. On Saturday morning, I had a better thought about the focus of the paper and almost started the whole thing over. I stopped myself since I had most of the paper that I turned in completed at that point. I figured that I just had to let it go. I’m glad that I did – and I’m happy with the grade. I believe my professor commented that it was brief, the topic wasn’t deeply covered, but was well written. I can live with that assessment.
My Office Door
Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.My secret door to the outside world from my office (I got a door to a balcony rather than a window – I can’t complain about it too much). It is one of those unseasonably warm days that causes severe spring fever. It is a good think it is time for me to go home! I think the weather will be back to normal tomorrow, so I thought I would take a moment to enjoy the present.
After some serious deliberation, a great deal of angst and even some periods of prolonged apathy, I have pretty much figured out the rest of my MLS program. A few minutes ago, I went ahead and registered for a second summer class. This means that I will be taking two classes this summer, one in the fall and then one next spring to complete my MLS program. I guess it is probably quite common for class selection to get more complicated as one progresses through the program. After all, there are always several sections of the required courses being taught – and one has lots of flexibility about when to take them and with whom to take them. The picture is much murkier when class choices are slimmer and when one has decided which professors to take and which to avoid.
I have to admit that my choices for my last four classes have much more to do with wanting to take certain professors and wanting to avoid certain others than an incredible interest in the classes themselves. I will be taking one class with a professor that I haven’t had before, but have heard good things about; two classes with a professor that I have had before and enjoyed; and one with a professor that I swore never to take a class with again. The irony of it may be driving me a bit batty. However, I have one required class left to take and I believe that taking it with this professor is the best choice that I can make at this point.
So barring cancellations my final four classes will be:
- ILS566-Library Personnel Management – Summer 2007
- ILS655-Digital Libraries – Summer 2007 – As of 5/8, I decided that I should just go with this one rather than ILS575.
ILS575-Instructional Design Principles – Summer 2007 – This is the one that could get cancelled. If it does, I will try to take ILS655-Digital Libraries
- ILS519-Collection Development – Fall 2007
- ILS680-Evaluation & Research – Spring 2008
Am I thrilled with my course selections?? I don’t think so, but I’m not necessarily disappointed either. I’m really at a point, where I am much more concerned with finishing than with anything else. There were so many classes that I was looking forward to taking. Yet, these courses either weren’t offered or weren’t offered online. And I really have to ask myself, how much can one’s overall course selection really matter? Realistically, I’m not exploring my options for work in the library world. I already have found my place in library systems and am fortunate enough to have the work experience to back this up. I need to have my master’s more than I need to have course work in specific areas. So, ultimately, it feels good to have these decisions made and to have some sort of plan that should lead to graduation in about a year. That makes me happier than anything else!
So, the end of this semester is in sight – and as I mentioned previously, I think I will survive. Actually, I think I will do better than just survive. I’m not talking grade wise – I’m referring to my psyche. I’m not terribly worried about how I did. For some reason, I really feel as if I did the best that I could given all of the constraints that have conspired to make life a wee bit difficult this semester. And even more importantly, I’m ok with that. It feels really good not to be obsessing about things too much (I do have to admit that there is probably some minor obsessing going on in the bizarre recesses of my mind). I have a suspiscion that the beautiful weather (with unseasonably warm temperatures and lots of sunshine) might be responsible for my inability to be too bothered by things – and possibly the fact that the Red Sox swept the Yankees over the weekend (these were great games to watch while doing homework).
I head back to work this morning after having taken almost a full week off in order to get a handle on my end-of-the-semester workload. Fortunately, things at work remained stable was I was away – no big problems erupted. It is always nice to return to work without an overwhelming amount of stuff to do.
Yeah!!! Today, life is good!!!
I have finished my term paper for ILS560-College & University Libraries. Yeah!!! I’m not thrilled with it, but I think it will do (meaning, I don’t think I will fail the class). I decided to write about the impact of distance education upon academic libraries, and I found it difficult to get my thoughts neatly arranged in a coherent manner. I think part of the problem is that I am so consumed with my final project for ILS656-Information Architecture that my work on my term paper seems almost like it was an afterthought. I was so busy trying to get everything together for my other class, so I found it difficult to concentrate. I haven’t turned in the term paper yet. I figured that I owed it to myself to at least give it a read through tomorrow. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this semester . . .