Year One

This past Sunday marked the one year anniversary of me matriculated from library school. I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone. I decided to look back on my capstone and compare the five year professional development I wrote and what has happened this year.

For a recap here is what I wrote a year ago:

Year One: January 2011 to December 2011

Career

  • Take on a practicum at Wake Forest University’s library: Z. Smith Reynolds Library in the Research and Instruction department to gain experience in reference services, library instruction, and general academic library experience.
  • Graduate from UNCG’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies program – May 2011.
  • Find, apply, and gain full time employment in an academic library, in a position that focuses on research, reference services, instruction, and technology.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

  • Continue my membership in professional associations (American Library Association and North Carolina Library Association).
  • Attend conferences, nationally and/or statewide, to network and learn of new trends in the LIS field.
  • Provide mentoring help with the new cohort of Academic Cultural Enrichment Scholars.

Publications

  • Apply for research grants to continue research previously started, (i.e. Modern Teens and Library Usage).
  • Submit end product of Public Library Design and Technology to scholarly journal for publication with Dr. Chow.

Here’s the breakdown:

Career

The spring of 2011 I did in fact complete a practicum at Wake Forest in their Research and Instruction department. I taught a total of 3 classes as part of a Library Instruction course and complete many hours on the reference desk. You can read about my practicum here. I graduated from UNCG with an MLIS in May of 2011, a very exciting time and nerve-wracking at the same time. In September of 2011 I found, applied and gained full-time professional work at the public library in my hometown.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

This year I will not be attending ALA but I did attend NCLA and PLA online. It has been a bit more challenging than I realized to continue in the professional association as well as get more involved in these associations. I do hope to do better in year two. This past year one of the second cohort ACE Scholars did their internship at my library and in my department. I actively tried to talk to her not just about the library school program but also the field as I’ve experienced so far. I’ve also had conversations with other interns here and people who by happenstance are applying to the program this upcoming term. It’s always strikes me as odd when I find myself having these conversations and actually having an opinion and things to share with people who are in the same place I was just a short time ago.

Publications

I was able to present my research with my professor at the NCLA conference this past October. And that’s as far as publication has gone. I realized that there was a lot more research and observation that needed to happen. This is still an goal of mines but I’m not sure when that will get checked off.

Looks like I’m settling in nicely into the library field…yay!

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PLA 2012: Program Palooza

This week my library paid for those who wanted to attend the PLA (Public Library Association) Virtual Conference that was going on simultaneous as the physical PLA. We had it set up in our boardroom so we could come and go as our schedule allowed. I wasn’t able to catch any of the first day’s broadcasts but I was able to catch two on the last day. The first and last one, which were the ones I was most excited about.

Program Palooza

I have to say the main reason why I wanted to go to this session was because it had the word “Palooza” in it…it’s just a fun word. And this session was indeed a palooza of programs. They covered 60 different kinds of programs in 60 minutes. I’m just now dipping my toes in the programming world, with Money Smart and the Ask-A-Lawyer day I help organize in February, but I’m finding that I’m actually enjoying making contacts and having people come in and share their expertise. My supervisor has expressed that she feels we do better jobs as Reference Librarians at the service desk and truthfully I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think the service desk is valuable don’t get me wrong. But I’m starting to see that programs and events are becoming the public libraries little niche, and it’s something sorely needed in a lot of communities.

Some of the key points that I took away from this session was opening the way so that everyone could be involved in program planning; not just the librarians or directors, but the paraprofessionals and the volunteers. The library that presented the program believed that anyone can have a passion for a topic and they should be allowed to suggest a program and help bring it about. They then broke down into categories;

Signature Events

Events that happen on a regular basis, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. Something that your costumer base could always depend on. For example their customers could expect a big event around the Dia de los ninos, Dia de los Libros celebration. I think this is a great idea, because every time you go to organize it, it will become easier and easier to pull it all together. However, I can see a downside to it, especially with public libraries who either have people moving on a constant rate and sometimes the positions aren’t filled OR people who stick around forever and get stuck in tradition. Both of these things can have a big impact on programming. Signature events have to be flexible because interest are always changing but you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel every year.

Family/Intergenerational

These programs surround the idea of bringing different age groups together. Some examples where Stroller Shimmy and Sweat for New Moms. Dog Day Fashion Show and Parade, who wouldn’t want to dress up their dogs and parade them around? Family Game Day and Mother or Grandparent Day Tea. The point is not always thinking of programs in age brackets, meaning only the youth librarians can give a program dealing with children. Sometimes programs would be enjoyed by more than one age group, for example video gaming events . More and more games are being targeted to families, so a video game tournament could be enjoyed by someone who is 8 and someone who is 28.

Out of School Time

Programs specifically aiming at topics to help kids bridge that gap of time after school and before they go home or weekend activities. They don’t all have to have an immediate lesson behind them, like Cursive Club to help kids learn how to write in cursive, they can be just pure entertainment, like Lego Club.

Passive Programs

I really enjoyed this section as I never thought about how some of these activities are programs that need little effort on the librarian part. The passive programs were programs that worked in getting the costumers involved on a project that didn’t require them to come to the library at a specific time or date. Holiday Mail for Military Heroes, having the community write letters and greeting cards for military families and dropping them off at the library, who then dropped them off at organizations who delivered them. You can set up signs and notices during the month of November and December and just allow people to drop off letters at their leisure. No commitment and it cost you the amount of signage. Spot the library mascot…get a library mascot, take pictures of it in different parts of the library, and post them. Makes the kids want to come in a find the mascot and get a sticker or something. Nothing big but it’s a fun way to let the kids explore the library, help them bridge the gap between the children section and their parents browsing time.

I really enjoyed this session and it gave me some ideas of things I would like to do or even help collaborate with others. I have no intention becoming the programming queen but I do think with the idea of a new main library being built we need to up our gambit on why people should come to the library over and over. I’m okay with the idea of programs getting them into the building, because the programs gives us a chance to show off all the great resources we have…for FREE.

LSTA: Library Outreach and Innovative Services Grant

This past week I’ve been tied up at work with meetings and program researching. All to help my library write-up a letter of intent for a grant we are seeking. If you recall I’ve done one of other grant writing process before, with the Diversity Research Grant. Which I’m beginning to see is different from a grant that a library would go after.

The goal of the grant is to help us improve the services offered to our homeless population. The homeless issue is big for almost all libraries and especially for the public ones. It’s nothing new and it’s something that you are going to have deal with if you work in a public library. For us it’s becoming an increasing topic as we go forth with the new Library Bond we just got the commission office to okay. It came up more than once, the sentiment that the main library “is nothing more than a day shelter and why should we build a new library for a bunch of homeless people?” Harsh, I know but it’s reality that there are people are there that think this way. Part and parcel of this project would be to offer up sensitivity and information training to not only the staff by the public at large.

This past week we’ve met to discuss the grant and work on the letter of intent which is due next month. I’ve been tasked with coming up with a really basic outline of informational programs that can be offered as part of the project. I’m kind of going about it blind because I don’t have background in homeless outreach services but there are some general classes that I feel can be beneficial to those who are temporarily homeless. We’ve already been able to sign on a host of local community partners which I know will be more than helpful in defining what this group’s real needs are.

It’s been very interesting and beneficial for me to work on this committee as I’m learning more about the Assistant Directors and how they work. As well as I’m learning grant writing skills, which is important for anyone in the non-profit world to know.

Attempted Reading

For the last month I’ve attempted to read the first book in the Faerie Wars Chronicles by James Herbert Brennan. This is another young adult fantasy series that usually would take me about a week or so of nightly reading to get through. But that’s not the case with this book. It’s not a necessarily hard read or complicated by any means. On the back cover that I have you can see that it was once the YALSA top pick, it was also ALA‘s “Best Book For Young Adults”.

So going in I had high hopes, really I did. Fantasy action with fairies…key ingredients for a fun read. The first chapter started off well, the writing style was easy to follow and the main character seemed likable. However it left off on a weird note. Something that didn’t really seemed to mesh with the rest of the chapter, almost like he wanted to through some controversial drama in to make people keep reading. That’s what a writer usually does but it wasn’t necessary and it didn’t fit. So right there I could feel my interest waning. However I’ve never been one to completely give up on a book, especially after the first chapter. I might sat it down and forget about it for a year only to rediscover it in an old bag hidden in the back of the closet…at any rate I kept reading.

Only to find that the second chapter changed topics completely and read as a second book. I’ve read books like that read like two separate story lines and found that some authors struggle to bring the two stories together and some are a master at it. But when it doesn’t work…it just doesn’t work. Obviously Mr. Brennan has some talent and this book has some lovers out there, but I’m afraid I’m just not one of them. I’m about halfway through chapter nine and I have never been so confused about the premise of a young adult book. My main issues boil down to a few main points.

1. The set up is extremely long and arduous, like I said I’m at chapter nine and the story is still in set up mode as in what I think are the main characters are just meeting and obviously there is something amiss.

2. Pieces are missing in the set up. Meaning the author seems to think the reader is going to catch on to the setting and how things work in each world. Which is weird when you switch from what seems to be reality and a more fantasy world but isn’t all that different from reality.

3. Why that weird cliffhanger. It bothers me so much.

One day I’ll finish this book and rather or not I read the rest of the series is a different question. Now spill is there a book that you just can’t bring yourself to read and/or finish? What about book that got great raves but didn’t live up to the hype?

One Month and Counting

As of today there is but one month left before I can switch the words MLIS candidate to just plain MLIS (I’ll have to wait about a month before I can hold the actual degree in my hand). I’m a mix between being excited, nervous, and a little sadden at the same time. Another chapter in my life is quickly coming to an end. Two years honestly flew by in a flash.

To catch you all up since I didn’t post much last month besides the Practicum update here and there I’m steadily applying for employment. Granted I could be applying more but I’m just a bit tired to be honest. For instance today with a long list of things to do I got up early, but ended up taking a 2 hour nap before doing anything. There’s so much more I feel like I could and should be doing but at the same I’ve been non-stop since 2009. I’m running on empty here. But if I can make it to the finish line and accept that job offer than I can think about resting then.

Classes are going good, the final papers will be due soon and I’ve started rewriting my Professional Value Statement. It’s interesting to see how much I’ve not changed what I value professionally, but my understanding as to why I value these things has changed. I should have it all completed by next week. Technically I’ve completed the minimum hours needed for my practicum and could use the hours to do other things,  but I’m continuing to go because I’m just learning and experiencing  so much. Which you’ll learn more from the many posts I’ve been sharing…(insert some sarcasm there.) The only class giving me some pause is my Academic Library class. The final paper is due at the end of the month and I’m suffering from information overload. I’m glad I’m not stuck with a topic that lacks information but now I can’t stop finding relevant articles and books. I need to narrow my topic and just start writing. I’ll talk more about the paper at another time.

I guess it’s fine to speak about this since she’s officially made the announcement but my BFF is having her first child in August. I’ve been named the Godmother and I’m beyond excited.

I think that’s really all for now. Time to bunker in for the long haul.

Practicum Week: Day 17 and 18

Graduation is almost one month away and everything is starting to blur together. I think I’m going to slammed with writing papers. So blog posting might become even more scarce around here. I will however get the post up about how the conference went last week. Just got to find the time. It turned out great though!

Tuesday

Me at work in Special Collections

Tuesday saw me conducting my first official Personal Research session with a Jr. for help with finding sources on a term paper for a HIS 300 level course. They originally wanted to find sources for the Inquisition during the Italian Renaissance. The problem being that the Inquisition started after the Italian Renaissance so coming in to the meeting I had a feeling they hadn’t done any preliminary research. At first it was hard to get the student to narrow down on a topic. So I asked my supervisor for some tips. I had gone from the inquisition point of view and she suggested I go with the Renaissance. Which proved to be a better starting point, we can narrow it down to the church’s role during the Italian renaissance with their argument being how that role leads to the inquisition. I can help them find the section of books that would be most helpful as well as showed them how to get primary resources in a language they don’t how to read (also known as reading the citations). After lunch I went to my class were we had them complete assignment one. That involved them finding a reference material and a book from the main stacks that was pertinent to their group’s research topic. They also had to write a citation for both using MLA. We told them last Thursday to try and find a book to bring to class to cut down on searching time; I think only one did. In the end I had to offer help on telling the difference between the reference materials they were finding. By the end of the day I was really feeling like I had made some major contributions to my librarianistic (I don’t think that’s a word) future.

Thursday

Thursday I had another Personal Research session that went better as the student had done some searching before hand. Not to mention the paper was shorter and for a 100 level course. So we were able to narrow down to a topic and find a couple of articles that would lead to enough sources to write the paper. I explained how to do use the research guides and the databases. Most of the librarians were away at the ACRL conference including the librarian who co-instructs with me. That meant I had to lead the class alone. And it went great if I do say so myself. The whole class showed up and I think I got the message across. The class was on Finding Scholarly Journals. There were no questions at the end so I can only hope they got it.

This week was another great week at feeling comfortable sharing information. I think most of my apprehension came from knowing that the students were in essence depending on me to show them how navigate the world of information. But every time they that little light of understanding and they take that little breath that signals them relaxing and knowing they are going to be able to write that paper makes me feel all warm inside.

NCLA 2009

Well I’m up and awake, we got back around 11 last night. It was a long day, we got there around 11:30 that morning, but we left here around 8:30 am. I got up around a quarter of 6, I was just so excited to get going. I was so excited that I ended up leaving my confirmation, luckily I didn’t need it. We rode down there in mini vans that they had rented. It was only four of us in my van. We had a blast going down there, we talked and laughed and talked some more. We wanted to stop at every cool town we went through.  There’s a Farmville, NC and a Country Doctor Museum, who knew.

When we got there the morning sessions were already happening, so we missed them. Instead we hung out in exhibit room, there was no free books. Everyone was doing raffles, I figured as much. But hey maybe I’ll win something. I ran into Jackie Case, it was great seeing her, and we got to catch up for a little while. I also saw my boss from the public library in Winston-Salem. I made it to one of the afternoon sessions, Gaming as a Service. It was interesting but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It was basically a workshop on how to throw a game night at your library. I’ve been to a good number of game nights at libraries and consider myself a somewhat knowledgeable gamer.  So there really wasn’t any new knowledge for me.  I should have went to the one on social networking, I was going to go to that one but I couldn’t find the room and the gaming one was the first room I came to that I was semi-interested in.

Afterwards there was a BBQ at a local public library, a band played some beach music and there was some shagging, drunk librarians, and awesome cookies XD. It was fun, it really was. Librarians do know how to party. I’m so ready for the ALA (American Library Association) conference next summer in Washington DC. We were told it’s way bigger and more intense, so bring it on.