Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Library Student True Confessions

One of the listservs that I follow is the ALA-YALSA listserv, which is a part of ALA that deals with young adult services.  The most recent viral thread is confessing love or distaste for books that librarians are supposed to love or despise.  It has been hilarious and eye-opening.  It prompted me to do my own true confessions.  As is my custom, I did this in a list.  I would love to hear any response to this and to what your true confessions are about books and libraries.  You don't have to be a librarian or library student to answer, just a book lover.

Shannan's True Library Student Confessions

1.  I don't like cats.  I am horribly allergic to certain types of cat hair and I must have Benadryl handy.  Besides, cats look at you like they can see your soul.  It kinda creeps me out.

2.  I have never read any Twilight or Hunger Games books.  I don't like trilogies.  The master of dystopia is George Orwell and the master of fantasy is Ray Bradbury.

3.  The classics mostly bore me.  When I was about 8, my mom bought me a set of classics that were sort of adapted for a child's understanding.  They were great!  That's how I read "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Treasure Island", and piqued my lifelong love affair with "Little Women."  However, when I got to high school and was expected to read the real ones, I was bored out of my skull.  Kids don't learn to love reading from classics.  They learn to love reading from Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.  

3.a.  Books that everyone should at least read once:
Little Women, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Long Dream (a little known Richard Wright - brilliant), Invisible Man (Ellison), Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe), Jane Eyre and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Original, not bastardized version, please).
3.b.  Books I hope to never have to pick up again:
The Sound and the Fury, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Heart of Darkness, Catch-22, Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter.

4.  I am more Bronte than Austen. When I was 9, my dad offered 3 months of "Right On" magazine if I read "Jane Eyre." Hey, it sounded like a good idea in 1979 and so I went for it.  Best line in all of literature:  "Reader, I married him.   I have been to the Bronte sisters childhood home in England.  It really is Wuthering Heights!! 

5.  I adore Southern writers, being Southern myself, but I cannot abide Faulkner.  I love Welty, Percy, Lee, Capote, Flagg, Toole and Andrews, but I just can't deal with Wild Bill.

6.  Hemingway is largely unreadable.  This dude is majorly overrated.  "The Old Man and the Sea?"  AAARGHH.

7.  Unless I am in a movie, I am not standing in line for hours on opening night to pay for a ticket to the midnight showing.  (See Twilight and Hunger Games referenced above).

8.  I love everything Alice Walker has ever written, especially her short stories and short novels (Meridian should be required reading for every girl going to college), but I have tried to read The Temple of My Familiar about 12 times and I can't get past the first chapter.  

9.  I have tried to read "The Hobbit"and I just don't get it.  I really love The Chronicles of Narnia, however.  My dad bought me the boxed set when I was a kid.  (Yeah, I had amazing parents).  

10.  I freely admit to my addiction to Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins.  I can't tell you anything about the Dark Ages, because I was sitting in the back of my 10th grade World History class reading "Lucky."

11.  The appeal of manga, anime and most graphic novels totally escapes me.  

There, AAAAAAHHHHHHH.  Off my chest.  What are your true confessions?

Friday, January 25, 2013

How Many Librarians Can I Be? Let Me Count the Ways...

As I was sitting in one of my classes this week (fully engaged of course), hearing about yet another cool library job, I thought about how many times I've said or thought, "That looks like such a cool job/ environment/set of materials or patrons, I think I want to be a ________ librarian.  After a year into this and some different job experiences, I have found out what I am suited to and what I am not.  However, I know many library students go through this.  You stand up at orientation and declare that all you've ever wanted to be is a children's/teen and YA/medical/art librarian.  Yet by midterm, you're signing up for the school librarian conference.  I thought I'd list the areas of librarianship that have turned my head over the past year.  I'm sure many library students and librarians can relate to this.

1.  Public Library System Director - I LOVE the public library.  I figure, hey, I've run businesses, I could do this too. In every city I've lived in, I've signed a lease and then immediately taken it to the nearest library branch to prove residency so that I can get a card.  The public library means so much to me.  When I was a little girl, my father used to take my brother and I to the big downtown library in every Saturday and let me get whatever book I wanted, even if it was an adult book.  By the way Dad, thanks for being so liberal as to turn a blind eye when Shannan Hicks, age 11, started checking out Jackie Collins books.  Hey, it's all contributing to my literacy, right???  When I was older and job hunting, the library was my office, a place to get out of the house and feel productive.  The library welcomes everyone without judgment.  I am always going to be an active and avid patron.  A public library director remains a major mentor to me today (Thanks Dr. Ron Heezen).  I think that they are awesome people who do a tough job with little thanks.  I learned exactly how hard public librarians work after working a summer as a circ clerk.  It's no picnic.  But our communities are nothing without the public library.

2.  School Librarian - I promised myself that I would be open and explore every part of librarianship.  When the director of our program sent out a message that she would reimburse for attendance at LASL (Louisiana Association of School Librarians) last year, I decided to go, largely because it was close to home for me at the time.  I met so many awesome school librarians and realized that the work they did was important, different every day and really touched lives.  I thought I had found my calling.  I immediately scheduled times to shadow librarians at an elementary, middle and high school.  Thank you so much to Mrs. (soon to be Dr.) Gail Griffin, Ms. Sandra Smallwood, Dr. Judy Nicholas and Ms. Lorna Crosswhite.  I still think that this is an awesome way to serve as a librarian.  Plus, you are mistress/master of all that you survey.

3.  Academic Librarian - I love being on a college campus.  There is something about helping students to access what they need that really does it for me.  LSU has some amazing, smart librarians who do a little bit of everything, including outreach. It's just astounding.

4.  Indexer - I was reading an awesome book by Priscilla Shontz and Richard Murray - "A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science."  The chapter on indexing sounded so interesting and creative.  Basically, indexers created indexes in all sorts of books.  The American Society of Indexers is a great resource for this area of the information profession.  I am still looking at getting this certification as something to do on the side.

5.  Cataloger - I have literally never met a cataloger that I did not immediately love.  My friend Teresa, Head of Cataloging at the Bossier Public Library, schooled me about what catalogers do.  Basically, without catalogers, nobody would be able to find anything in the library.  It would be a literal Tower of Babel.  Linda Smith Griffin supervised me in a service project at LSU's Middleton Library.  She is heavily involved in the changeover from AACR2 to RDA (this will be another post). I am telling you, I am overcome by the humility and skill set of these folks who wield immense power.  I work with Susan Morrison, law catalog librarian extraordinaire and she is teaching me the finer points of cataloging materials in a library that is at once academic, special and public.

6.  Acquisition Librarian - Well, they get to buy books all day.   How much more could you want????

7.  Teen Librarian - If you talk to any teen librarian, including my friend LaVette Fuller at Shreve Memorial, you will want to be a teen librarian too.  This lasted just until I realized that it would mean that I would have to actually deal with teenagers.  God love these people.

8.  Embedded Librarian - This sounds so James Bond.  I learned about this type of librarian in my Special Libraries class first semester.  It is a librarian that works in a business as part of the project team.  This librarian provides all the information needs for that team.  This is usually seen in large business units that are broken up into teams.

9.  Outreach Librarian - I have the type of personality that cannot be kept in a cubicle.  I need to be out, and amongst the masses, spreading my vocation throughout the land.  Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but it shows you what I like about this type of librarian, who goes into the community, whether the community at large, or the community of their school, business, etc, to educate and "administer" librarianship wherever needed.

10.  Law Librarian - Clearly, because of my background, this is a fit for me.  I know the materials, I've been a law student, I am a lawyer and so things like reference are easy to me.  I really love the teaching and publishing aspect of law librarianship.  I happen to work with some smart, generous and really cool law librarians who are teaching me and encouraging me, so I really love this type of work.

So there you have it.  Librarianship is not just a lady in a bun shushing people.  Librarians are awesome and I am happy to be training in the profession.  You can go all over the world and do all kinds of things in librarianship.  I hope this has been an eye-opener for folks who had no idea why I am in library school;-)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why You Should Worship a Librarian

I am attaching a link to a great site called Librarian Avengers.  I think, in this age of information, the work that librarians do is not fully understood.  It is certainly not appreciated.  Have a look at this.  Let me know what you think.

Until the next post...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A little introduction

Well, I've been threatening to do this for a while now, and, here it is.  My blog about my journey in librarianship.  When I was in law school, a professor of mine told me that the skills of a lawyer can always get better.  That's why they call it the practice of law.  My approach to librarianship is the same. Even after I receive my MLIS (targeted graduation date:  May 2014),  I am always going to be a practicing librarian.  Contrary to what many believe, librarianship is a profession.  It is service in the truest sense of the word.

A little background:
I have always loved books and libraries and have been interested in how libraries serve a community.  After college, I graduated from law school and practiced law for 12 years. In 2010, I served on an advisory committee for my local library and participated in building a strategic plan using Sandra Nelson's  Planning for Results Model endorsed by the American Library Association.  It changed my life.  I knew that I wanted to work in a library somewhere, somehow.  After conducting my research, as any good lawyer does, I discovered that the only way to work as a professional in a library was to have a graduate degree in library and information science.  I was encouraged to consider library school.  Of course, I scoffed at this, as I was planning to NEVER go to school EVER again.  However, God had other plans for me, and after a series of crazy situations and time to think and pray about it, I answered the call.  You'll probably be hearing more details about this as we journey together in this blog.

In January 2012, I began library school at Louisiana State University's School of Library and Information Science, or as it is fondly known, SLIS.  (By the way, everything starts with SL-, so the lab is the SLab, the office is called the SLoffice, you get the drift).   Because we have to declare a track, I chose Archives, because I am interested in it, and it is a part of every librarian's job.   I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Library Fellow at the LSU Paul Hebert Law Center Library, and I also am a student worker at the State Library of Louisiana in the Talking Books and Braille Library.  Both jobs are really awesome, and I am learning and using so many skills.  Conventional wisdom is that I would definitely want to be a law librarian.  That is certainly a possibility given my background, and I love my position at LSU, but as I am learning, there are about a million different ways to be a librarian.

I am at the beginning of my fourth semester, and I am very excited about my courses.  Here's s list of my courses:

Information Technologies - we're learning HTML and CSS among other things.

Evaluation of Information Systems - exactly what it says, learning to evaluate ILS, OPAC and other library systems and software.

Digital Curation - This is of interest to me because of the ubiquitousness of it.  There are definite links with my legal background in terms of e-discovery and other digital documents and evidence.  Additionally, I worked on a project at the law school last fall creating metadata for all 72 Louisiana Law Reviews.  It was an interesting to look at the history of Louisiana from the last century.

Public Programming and Outreach in Museums and Archives - I am taking this through the Archival Education Collaborative, which includes LSU, Auburn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Middle Tennessee State University.  This class is being taught to us in real time from Middle Tennessee State University.  My advisor suggested this class, probably because she knows that I like to run my mouth, so this is a good way to channel that!  Besides, you can't put Baby in a corner...

I have already taken the following:

Special Libraries

Research Methods for Library and Information Science

Information Needs Analysis

Management for Librarians

Electronic Information Resources

Foundations of Library and Information Science

Cataloging and Classification

Media and Services for Multicultural Populations

I'd love to hear from other librarians, library students, or just interested looky-loos in this blog.  Please feel free to leave comments.

People often ask me what I am reading and for book suggestions.  They do this mainly because most people who know me know that I read A LOT.  See the above link to my Goodreads page for my lists.  Doesn't every good bibliophile have a Goodreads account?

Until next time...