Archive for MLIS

honing your Kraft

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on March 10, 2016 by phanteana

as we all know, libraries have expanded their collections far beyond books and magazines over the past few decades. the role of the librarian has also shifted, and more responsibilities are added to job listings on a daily basis. in addition, a growing number of agencies and organizations are adding librarians to their staff. recently, the CIA announced its need for a librarian. there are over 1,400 information professionals employed by the federal government, but the CIA itself is typically more recognized for its James Bond-like nature. in other words, you probably won’t be able to talk about work much at the dinner table.

another newly-advertised position comes from a highly unlikely source: the American Cheese Society in Denver. the actual title is Content Manager, but candidates with MLIS degrees are preferred. basically, a Cheese Librarian. in addition, applicants must love Pepperjack and Gouda. wearing a Cheese-Head hat isn’t necessary, but you need to know the Dairy Decimal System.

 

Homer is dreaming of all the benefits that come with the Cheese Librarian job

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librarians are doomed (again)

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on January 29, 2016 by phanteana

many years ago, librarians existed in droves and a new-fangled invention called the Internet was still in its infancy stages. the MLIS was/still is a respectable degree with several job options. but no one could have predicted that Google and other search engines would wind up besting the librarians at their own game: reference and research assistance. back in the day, students had to spend hours in a large room filled with books and converse with live human beings, often dressed in moth-eaten sweaters and over-sized glasses (yes, i’m exaggerating the librarian stereotype), in order to locate information for that Psych 101 term paper that was left all by its lonesome until 3 days before the due date. now, they can simply sit back in their PJ’s and find exactly what they need after a few clicks of the mouse (if they’re a PC person).

so what does this mean for librarians? are they really doomed to spend their careers locating lost sets of keys rather than teaching patrons how to utilize the computer? this might be typical for public libraries. but in the corporate library where i work, foot traffic isn’t as heavy and we don’t have to kick people out past closing time. here is a list of the top LIS schools as of 2013. they all have their merits and downsides, like any educational institution. but with budget cuts, changing professions, and the Internet takeover occurring simultaneously, are MLIS programs in danger of becoming obsolete? this is not the first time we’ve heard that librarians are a dying breed (thanks, Google!). as long as people show continued interest in libraries and the folks who strive to make them a better place, then perhaps we’re not as doomed as the Internet claims us to be.

Happy World Book & Copyright Day 2015!

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2015 by phanteana

4 things i learned the first year of library school

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , on April 28, 2014 by phanteana

although i obtained my MLIS a few months ago, i gained a great wealth of knowledge during my first year of library school…and i’m certainly not the only one. on the INALJ website, a current LIS student shares what they’ve learned so far as to be crucial to achieving success both in and out of the classroom during year one:

  1. it’s important to pair education with experience: i was fortunate to have already been (and still be) working in a library setting when i started the LIS program, although there were plenty of concepts and skills that were new to me. but i did what any student would do, and not only read about them but put them to practice. many schools offer graduate assistantships, which are part-time paid positions that allow students to assist professors, or work in the campus library and registrar’s office. so if working full-time isn’t possible, this is an option to earn a little cash while gaining a lot of experience.
  2. courses are challenging, but not as difficult as imagined: some courses were a lot more stressful than others (reading 30 YA Lit books in 6 weeks was time-consuming-yet-fun, and thanks to some of the more tech-based classes i am now less overwhelmed by coding language than i was when i first read the syllabuses), but they can help prepare students along the way. if there are assignments that are giving a bit of trouble, students shouldn’t be afraid to ask their professors questions to clarify anything that might be confusing.
  3. group work is inescapable: a group work setting (if utilized properly) can be a great way to not only make friends and networking contacts, but it also demonstrates leadership and teamwork skills. there is still the misconception that librarians are solitary workers, but that is not necessarily accurate. it is also important to divide the work equally so everyone can contribute to the assignment.
  4. technology is everywhere: digital information is on the rise, and libraries are more than just book hubs. Metadata is a key word in librarian jargon, and it’s important that LIS students can demonstrate their knowledge with hands-on experience. Code Academy is a terrific site for practicing HTML, CSS, and other coding languages…and it’s free!

 

 

 

 

 

some fantastic YA fantasy recommendations

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , on September 19, 2013 by phanteana

four weeks into the final semester of library school, and i’m still reminiscing about the YA literature class i took over the summer. it was one of the most enjoyable courses i’ve taken in the past 2 years of schooling, and really helped me to better understand a genre i previously knew very little about. while i won’t have much time to read for leisure until early December, i’m at least planning ahead to what series might be of interest for when the MLIS is completed, and i can do more reading when i’m out of the office (or maybe on days when the work flow is quiet). i came across Elinor Crosby’s list of recommendations for YA fantasy series…Ms. Crosby is the author of the awesome article “So You Have Blue Hair”, which i blogged about a few months ago. i’ve read Lord Of The Rings twice and seen the films way too many times (including the back-to-back marathon screenings in the theater…don’t judge me because i’m not the only one who has done so…for the record, i did not dress in costume. if i’m going to sit through 12 hours of film, i want to be comfortable- unlike the guys several rows behind dressed as Ents). i read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe many years ago (and have seen the various film adaptations both live-action and animated) but never got around to the rest of the Narnia series. prior to reading Ms. Crosby’s post, i never heard of The Dark Is Rising or The Fionavar Tapestry, but they sound interesting. the final series in the list is Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles Of Prydain, which i never read but saw the mess of a Disney film known as The Black Cauldron. granted, that was many years ago so maybe i should revisit it despite my hesitancy…or at the very least read Alexander’s books to see where Disney went terribly wrong. at any rate, i will be glad to have some new reading to look forward to that doesn’t come from a textbook.

the growth spurt of Young Adult literature

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on July 2, 2013 by phanteana

the final stretch of Library School approaches and with only 3 courses to go, it seemed reasonable to explore an area that i haven’t had exposure to in years, but is quickly becoming one of the hottest areas of focus in Librarianship: Young Adult Literature. the graduate program i’m enrolled in offers a summer intensive course on YA fiction, and considering i haven’t touched a YA book since middle school it sounded like a fun reprieve from the required courses in coding, preservation, etc. truthfully, i never read too many Young Adult books. i was reading Heinlein, Stephen King, and other authors that probably blew the attention span of the average 12-year-old out of the water.

Young Adult (YA) literature is a term used to describe fictional books geared towards readers ages 12 through 18. although it’s popularity has increased in the past 15 years, it is actually not a new phenomenon; YA books have been circulating since the 19th Century in the forms of such classics as Oliver Twist and Alice In Wonderland. YA novels evolved in the 20th Century as teens gobbled up books by Madeline L’Engle (A Wrinkle In Time), Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles Of Prydain, which inspired the epic Disney disaster of 1985 known as The Black Cauldron), and in recent years J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter series). as with all types of fiction, YA is not exempt from misconceptions and criticisms…including the one about vampires that sparkle (for the record, that series is not included in the syllabus). they don’t…just ask Kiefer Sutherland.

a recent posting on the Book Riot website attempts to clear up some wrong assumptions often associated with YA literature.

first, YA fiction is a category as opposed to a genre. if you’ve ever read a YA book, then you know not all of them fit neatly into the same box. there are stories that deal with real-life issues such as divorce, death, and sex but there are also the ever-popular yarns featuring vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. other trendy publications within YA reading are graphic novels and manga (Japanese animation). in addition, just because a book has the Young Adult label on it does it mean that adults are too old to be reading it? surprisingly, over half the sales of YA books have been to the 21 to 35 (and sometimes older) demographic.

 

in conjunction, just because a novel is written from the point of view of a teenager it doesn’t automatically make it a YA book. one of the most famous teen protagonists (or antagonists, depending on how the reader discerns him) is Alexander DeLarge, the focal character in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. but Alex is not the average 15-year-old, and Burgess’ ultra-controversial book was clearly intended for an adult audience even though it attracted a following among teens many years later in part to its Oscar-nominated film adaptation. both the book and the film are crucial contributions to modern popular culture. the only downside to Kubrick’s film is that it doesn’t include the famous “missing” chapter, which was not added to any US publications of A Clockwork Orange until 1986 (Anthony Burgess died in 1993).

one of the biggest mistakes people make when they hear the phrase “YA fiction” is that it’s predominantly aimed at females. while this may be true of some teen novels, there are a lot of male authors and characters throughout the category, especially in the sci-fi and horror-laden stories. in addition, juvenile fiction is opening up its doors to a more diverse audience by featuring an array of characters from different faiths, ethnicity, sexual orientations, and body types.

the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is one that certainly applies to the world of Young Adult fiction. sparkly vampires aside, it is actually a lot more intelligent than it appears to be and it has not only encouraged higher levels of reading in teens but has also attracted the attention of grown-ups who are still young at heart (or just want to read something other than TPS reports).

can you get a (good) job with blue hair? yes.

Posted in Library Science stuff with tags , , , , on June 20, 2013 by phanteana

as mentioned in my introductory post, i am a librarian.

when people hear the word “librarian”, they usually imagine the stereotype of elderly ladies in mothball-infested sweaters shushing people and chastising them for late fees. on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the equally ridiculous fantasy images of the “sexy librarian” with their short plaid skirts, cleavage-baring dress shirts, and Elvis Costello-style glasses. these assumptions are quite inaccurate, and most LIS students tend to learn this during their first semester of Library School. librarians come in a variety of appearances, and despite the field of librarianship being predominantly female there are a sizable amount of males enrolling in LIS programs.

so what does a typical librarian look like? truthfully, there is no such thing as typical. this statement is especially fitting if you are an individual who favors a less traditional look in the professional world. recently, i read an article entitled “So you Have Blue Hair…”, by a librarian offering career advice to LIS students and job seekers with more “alternative” appearances. the author, Elinor Crosby, has blue hair and several tattoos/piercings. yet she has worked steadily in the public library sector for nearly 2 decades. i haven’t had blue hair since i was 19, but i still wear a lot of black yet i incorporate other colors into my wardrobe. i am also a big fan of stripes and polka dots. i do not have any tattoos or piercings (not even my ears). but never say never.

i found Ms. Crosby’s piece to be very inspiring. she is proof that even people with multi-colored hair and body modifications can have successful and rewarding careers. while her story relates mainly to Librarianship, it can apply to any field. i am fortunate that the organization i work for doesn’t abide by strict dress code rules and encourages diversity among its employees. but i still try to look presentable while still retaining some semblance of personal style.