…is certainly different from talking about them.
I have an odd relationship with the physical Syracuse University. While I’ve been as immersed in Cornell’s environs about as much as a human my age can be, I only spent 14 days at SU during the two years I studied there; distance programs are like that. And more than half of that class time was spent in a building that’s not even the iSchool’s official home, which was being renovated back in 2007.
But that didn’t cause me a moment’s hesitation when I was invited to talk to this Fall’s IST 511 (Introduction to the Library and Information Profession) class about academic librarianship.
Jill Hurst-Wahl was the main lecturer that evening, and my portion preceded the Syracuse University Library’s own Natasha Cooper (who’d been one of the instructors for my own IST 511 class four years ago). I put together a presentation, the slides of which can be found here. (As usual, a lot of the meaning is lost without the voiceover, but I do think that slide #6 is complete unto itself.)
I really enjoyed the experience, and it was great to answer questions and discuss elements of academic library work both during the class, in the hallways of Hinds afterwards, and on Twitter over the last couple of days. I’m grateful to everyone involved, and I’d jump at the chance to do this again in the future.
Two points of follow-up:
1. I was thrilled to see that the iSchool was also covering the more esoteric elements of library professional development:
2. I was asked during the initial Q&A period about librarians jumping from public to academic libraries, and vice versa. I asked around on various social networks, and found examples of both. One prominent local example is Susan Currie, director of the Tompkins County Public Library, who spent many years working and leading at Cornell and Binghamton University. Most of the other examples were shared directly with me, but I’d be glad to discuss them over email if folks are interested.
At around noon on Friday, July 24th, 2009, something really cool happened: I finished my last class as a library student. The nice pieces of paper with “Master of Science in Library and Information Science” and “Certificate of Advanced Studies in Digital Libraries” won’t show up for a while, but barring unforeseen calamity I am done with library school.
It’s a major milestone in the path I’ve chosen for my life, and it’s sort of mindblowing that my answer to the question, “Are you a librarian?” just changed from “Not yet” to “Kinda!” The progress serves as some validation: if I’d decided to go to law school, I’d probably be wrapping up my seventh year of practice by now. If I’d decided to be a professional policy wonk, I’d likely be giving myself an ulcer working 100 hour weeks to get some traction with the new administration. If I’d decided to keep making sandwiches, I’d almost certainly be exploring the experimental reaches of concept sandwiches — like concept albums, but delectable:
“Hey man, can I get a Silmarillion, hold the avocado?”
“Are you mad? The avocado represents Fingolfin’s brave yet futile stand against Morgoth before the fell gates of Angband itself!”
“Great, but… I don’t like avocado.”
“I think you should probably leave.”
…yeah. Librarian was definitely the way to go.
I’m currently watching the sun set over Syracuse’s Bird Library from the dorm room in which I’ll be lodged for the next week as I finish what should be the final class of my time as a library student. (For those of you wondering how I can watch a sunset and type at the same time: that’s how all those prepositional phrases made it into the previous sentence.)
It’s hard to believe it’s almost done. Two years ago to the week I was moving into the dorm next door and preparing for my first library school class, and now I’m making sure I didn’t forget to do any pre-work for my last one. On the one hand, it seems like the intervening years barely happened, and on the other it’s tough to remember a time when I didn’t work all day and then come home to do homework. Or even a time before I understood the virtues of meta-metadata.
I’m hoping I’ll have time to post this week. Of course, it’s possible that I’ll actually be posting as part of my course work. We’ll see.
Working on my final assignments for the semester: a pair of issue briefs documenting net neutrality and internet filtering, respectively. With that in mind, here are three fun links that are worth a gander:
The Secret Of Google’s Book Scanning Machine Revealed
Using Dropbox for library document delivery
My presentation from Wednesday’s meeting of the ILR Extension Leadership Team, from prezi.com. Be warned: the “story” portion doesn’t make a lick of sense without me talking, but the software’s just plain keen.
Back to the grind.
EDIT: I have not forgotten about my promise of book reviews. They will come after I wrap my classes, possibly accompanied by one of When Gravity Fails, which has gotten off to an amazing start.
News: Thanks to my internship having a significant component applicable to the field of digital libraries, it looks like I’ll be graduating this August, rather than December.
What this means: I’m gonna have to start rationalizing not changing the name of this blog about four months early.
News: The ILR Student Government Association decided to take our library as the inspiration for their t-shirt this year. The front of the shirt reads “CLUB CATHERWOOD”, while the back says, “WHAT HAPPENS IN CATHERWOOD, STAYS IN CATHERWOOD”.
What this means: While it may indicate that the student body doesn’t fully appreciate Catherwood’s commitment to outreach, the main lesson to be learned is that other libraries should be totally jealous that their patrons don’t compare them to freakin’ Vegas.
I spent a huge chunk of today working on my internship, with results that I’m pleased with and wish I could share. But, while the research guide I’m working on likely won’t go live until the Spring, it’s really starting to look like a guide. Lots of resources (including embedded video and RSS feeds to show off how cool LibGuides is), and even some images to pretty it up. I need to get some print resources worked in, though: I tend towards a kind of electronic chauvanism when I create these sorts of things, and that’s a habit I badly need to break.
I’ll be dipping back into book reviews sooner than I’d anticipated, to tackle Richard K. Morgan’s staggeringly awesome The Steel Remains.
The project I’m working on for my library school internship involves setting up a single research portal for use by the faculty of an academic department (the very department which granted me my BS, in fact). I’m in the process of vetting both content and the system to manage that content, and it’s the latter that I’d like to pick folks’ brains about.
It doesn’t look like LibGuides is going to fit the bill for what we’re trying to do, and I’m not sure that Drupal will be within my capabilities given the time frame for this project. So right now I’m looking at other CMSs, as well as systems like wikis; this article by Edward M. Corrado and Kathryn A. Frederick was an excellent start, but now I’m hoping to hear from folks who have undertaken projects like this.
The department in question has around 25 faculty members, and is looking for a single website where they can find resources relevant to their research drawn from the Cornell University Library, the U.S. government, and other online and print sources. I’m looking for a system that is easy to set up, easy for the faculty to use, and easy to maintain (since I can only be dedicated to this project for six months, tops).
Any advice, warnings, recommendations or tall tales would be greatly appreciated!