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Posts Tagged ‘grad school’

Sorry for the long hiatus.  I completed my Master’s Degree in Library & Information Studies in May 2010.  Between my last two classes and completing and defending my professional portfolio, the spring semester was extremely busy!  But I passed my portfolio defense and graduated with a 4.0 GPA–Huzzah!  Here’s a link to my professional portfolio.

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying a little vacation and frantically applying for jobs.  The job market is tough, but I’m hopeful.  I’m primarily looking for work in a public or academic library in Northeastern Oklahoma or central Arkansas.  If anyone has any insider tips, I would greatly appreciate a heads-up!  🙂

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At long last, I am about to begin my last semester in the OU School of Library & Information Studies!  I’m heavily entrenched in putting my professional portfolio together, so my postings have become somewhat sparse.  In a few weeks I will post a link to my portfolio website so any interested parties can see what I’ve been doing with the last two-and-a-half years of my life.  If all goes as planned, I’ll defend my portfolio in late March and graduate in May. 

Ahh, I’m so close!  Just a little further to go…

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I have been assisting Dr. Lester with new KM/LIS student orientation this week.  Besides handing out advising packets and class exercises, I’ve tried to answer any questions the new students may have about the program, faculty expectations, the Desire2Learn platform, end of program assessment, and general questions about locating various things around campus.  While leading them from the classroom to the computer lab, I pointed out important locations like the library, the fitness center, the computer lab in hallway C, the KM/LIS computer lab in hallway E, and Tulsa KM/LIS faculty offices.  On the first day of orientation I provided pizza and soda, courtesy of OLISSA.  Hopefully I have been able to add a human touch to their orientation experience.  Sitting in a room for three days while watching professors and classmates on a TV screen can be rather numbing…

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My supervising faculty member, Dr. Martens, and the internship documents provided sufficient explanation of what was required by the OU School of Library and Information Studies in terms of documentation and hours of service.  My placement supervisor, Louix Escobar-Matute, provided ample orientation by giving me a tour of the library facilities and collections, explaining the organization and work flow of each department, and encouraging me to review the Tulsa City-County Library’s policies and procedures.  My placement supervisor also directed me to spend several hours shadowing and working in each department to learn standard operating procedures.  All in all, my orientation to the internship experience was more than adequate.

I worked in the circulation department, checking in and routing returned library materials to the proper locations.  I processed holds on requested items and cleared the hold shelf of expired requests that customers did not pick up.  I learned how to use the Millennium circulation software, including how to check library materials in and out, place hold requests for customers, process fines for late materials, and create new library card records for new customers.  In addition, I assisted circulation staff with tracking down missing pieces of library materials, such as DVD cases returned without the DVD.  I also observed the process of creating on-the-fly records for periodicals.  Although I worked as a shelver and circulation clerk for the Tulsa City-County Library from June 1998 to May 2003, a number of policies and procedures have changed since then, and it was very helpful to revisit circulation procedures and learn the reasons for changes implemented.  Experience working in the circulation department provided insight as to the need for careful planning and understanding the repercussions of work practices.  This was not reflected in my initially stated objectives but was nonetheless a valuable lesson.

I also served in the reference department, where I assisted customers with reference questions, helped customers with computer issues and did paging.  This assignment allowed me to practice skills such as the reference interview and customer service.  Also, this experience allowed me to see the other half of the holds process, in which requested items are collected, labeled and routed to the desired location.  Assisting with adult information services and assisting with holds were two of my initial objectives, both of which were fulfilled through this experience.  While I did not have the opportunity to assist with adult programming, I did have the opportunity to provide directions to rooms where programs and meetings were being held.

Serving in the children’s department allowed me to practice the reference interview with children and to learn the procedures related to summer reading program activities.  I observed three children’s events in Connor’s Cove, Hardesty Library’s new auditorium, and assisted by taking pictures during one of these events.  Assisting with children’s information services, children’s programming and the summer reading program represent three of my initial objectives.  Working in this department also allowed me to observe and learn from the information seeking behavior of children and parents, which can provide a wealth of information in itself.

My internship project involved researching and designing pathfinders on popular educational, informational and recreational subjects for children and parents.  Buddy Ingalls, head of the Hardesty Children’s Department, indicated that the department really needed pathfinders on a number of frequently requested subjects to assist customers and librarians quickly locate relevant materials.  This project allowed me to learn about collection development and marketing.

All of the activities outlined above were exceedingly valuable with regards to fulfilling my learning objectives. 

The class on Readers’ Advisory Services (LIS 5123) was helpful with regards to my pathfinders project, as this class taught me how to create useful pathfinders.  Management of Information and Knowledge Organizations (LIS 5023) was also helpful in understanding the various management challenges Louix discussed.  Information Users in the Knowledge Society (LIS 5053) was helpful as I considered accessibility issues with regards to collections and services.  All in all, I felt very well prepared by my courses thus far.

The most positive aspects of this internship included having the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals in the field and the opportunity to interact with customers.  Louix and his staff have so much experience and expertise to impart.  The training I received under their supervision was truly invaluable.  Moreover, the practical, real-world experience of working with customers, tackling real reference questions and negotiating real challenges provides excellent training in applying theory.  Because I have as yet had no training in how to properly conduct a reference interview, this task was challenging.  But observing experts in the field as they answered reference questions provided me with guidance, and personal trial and error allowed me to learn by doing.  This internship enabled me to begin to fill the gaps in my experience.

Louix Escobar-Matute provided numerous opportunities for my enrichment.  He permitted me to work in all three library departments, encouraged me to attend library-sponsored programs, and invited me to attend a Friends of the Library meeting and a staff development planning meeting.  He permitted me to fill in when there were staff shortages, allowing me to gain additional experience.  He took me to lunch multiple times with various staff members, allowing me to benefit from accounts of their career experiences.  Louix also made the necessary phone calls and arrangements so that I can work as a substitute for the Tulsa City-County Library, filling in when other staff members are sick or on vacation.  I could not ask for a better mentor than Louix in the public library field.

Communication between Louix Escobar-Matute, Dr. Martens and me was easy and effective.  I kept Dr. Martens abreast of my activities through my blog as well as periodic emails.  Louix spent several hours each day talking with me about policies, procedures, best practices, and expectations.  He provided a great deal of very helpful feedback after I completed each assignment and encouraged my questions.  At the end of my internship, Dr. Martens and Louix were in contact via email regarding my performance.  I believe our communication was very effective throughout this internship period.

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Whew!  This semester has been like being tied by the ankle to a runaway llama so far…  Which is why I’m so woefully behind on updating this blog.  So here’s an essay I wrote about my aspirations for the profession:

My long-term career goal is to serve as a public librarian, specifically in the areas of reference, readers’ services and children’s librarianship.  As the field of library and information services continues to expand at an exponential rate, it is clear that serving as a librarian means being a perpetual student.  Through my career, I aspire to be knowledgable of the unique and changing needs of child library users and to sythesize theories of child and adolescent learning as I develop library services for this population.  I will strive to stay informed about current practices, trends, and standards in the field by reading journals, attending professional meetings and conferences, and discussing current issues with colleagues.  Following listservs and the blogs of colleagues will also assist to expand my awareness of new developments in the field.  My duty as a public librarian is to be aware of new resources available in all formats so that I can quickly guide customers to the information and resources most likely to meet their needs.

Librarians are called to serve not only as stewards, but also as advocates.  I intend to advocate for customers’ right to read and access materials and to provide for diverse information needs through ethical collection development.  It is vitally important to foster a welcoming and comfortable library environment by ensuring that collection organization and arrangement facilitates access for all potential customers, including those with special needs.  I will make every effort to connect children with the resources they need by encouraging browsing and questions, and enabling them to use the library effectively.  Perhaps one of the best ways to engage children in the library is to consider the children’s opinions and requests in the development and evaluation of library services.  I will promote library resources by providing bibliographies, book talks, displays, electronic documents, and other tools.  I will promote children’s services through storytelling, book discussions, puppet shows and a variety of other programming.  By networking with other local agencies, I will provide outreach to underserved populations to promote literacy and reduce the digital divide.

I have some experience working in library settings as well as experience with research and records management through my work as grants coordinator for The Salvation Army.  My grant experience taught me how to locate funding opportunities for varied services and manage multiple deadlines.  Working as a shelver and circulation clerk for the Tulsa City-County Library between 1998 and 2003 allowed me to become familiar with the library OPAC and the Dewey Decimal System of organizing resources.  The majority of my time was spent ordering and shelving returned library resources, checking library resources in and out for customers, creating and updating customer records, issuing library cards, processing fines for late items, and placing hold requests for customers.  Yet these activities taught me the importance of customer service in every role in order to cultivate a welcoming and accessible library environment.

Libraries are forums for information and ideas provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people.  It is the mission of the library to challenge censorship and provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.  Libraries should promote free expression and free access to ideas in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.  I feel strongly protective of our first amendment rights and the freedom to share information.  In my opinion, education and the stewardship of information are among the noblest of professions.  Through my career as a public librarian, I will endeavor to perpetuate knowledge and education by promoting the accessibility of information for all people and encouraging and assisting others in their information quests.

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Went to the OU Tulsa Student Association (OUTSA) meeting tonight.  Cynthia Patterson with the Knowledge Management Society was there–I think she said she was standing in for George.  I need to double check with George, but so far, no one seems to know if the OU School of Library & Information Studies has a student representative.  If there isn’t one, I may give it a shot.  I want to make sure SLIS and OLISSA are properly registered and represented in case we need to solicit funds from OUTSA for activities.

Items of interest (for LIS/KM students) at the meeting included the announcement that OUTSA officers and Student Affairs will be selling 2-gig flash drives for $14, which is supposed to be a pretty good deal.  As a representative from the IT Dept. was present, I asked if it was possible to capture the AV feed from meetings conducted between Norman and Tulsa, such as OLISSA meetings.  This would make it possible to post recordings of meeting proceedings or guest lectures online.  Apparently it is possible, and I got the name of the person I need to contact to set it up.  However, it was suggested that we consult the legal dept. regarding posting such recordings on the Internet for general access due to privacy concerns.  I will make contact regarding capturing the AV feed tomorrow, collect information, and then report my findings to OLISSA at the meeting Wednesday night.  The next OUTSA meeting will be Sept. 25th, 2008, at noon.

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This represents my first post for my Digital Collections class, discussing examples of interesting digital collections.  All posts for this class will be categorized under the term “digital collections.”

ibiblio is a “collection of collections,” including art, history, literature, music, science, software, and cultural studies.  Some collections within ibiblio are in non-English languages, such as Spanish and French.  The variety of resource subjects and media is admirable; the diversity of resources makes it feel like a full library, rather than just a special collection on a limited topic.  ibiblio allows individuals and nonprofit organizations to contribute relevant collections in order to expand ibiblio resources.  By welcoming collaboration from various agencies, ibiblio has the capacity to grow and diversify so much more than it could otherwise.  I was interested to find a collection called CyberSufis, categorized under religion and theology.  Unfortunately it’s currently under construction and inaccessible, but I’ll have to revisit it.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of Rumi’s writings, but I love what I’ve read so far.

Project Gutenberg is another of ibiblio’s collections.  Founded by Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg is the oldest and largest “single collection of free electronic books.”  Besides text in multiple languages, Project Gutenberg also offers audio books, CDs, DVDs, and digitized sheet music.  My brother, a digital aficionado, actually introduced me to Project Gutenberg in the late ’90s–since then it’s grown exponentially.  It’s amazing to me that this digital collection is a 501(c)3 run almost entirely by volunteers.  To have lasted almost 40 years on only the support of grants and donations is truly impressive.  I wonder if I will ever create a digital collection that could be active and relevant for even half that time?

Being fond of Latin and the classics, I can’t help but appreciate the Internet Classics Archive, which provides 441 works of classic literature by 59 authors, including Augustus, Julius Caesar, Livy, Ovid, Aesop and Aristotle.  Texts are offered in English translation, but this archive also partners with the Perseus Digital Library to offer texts in Latin, at least those originally written in Latin.  Moreover, each Latin word is hyperlinked to provide the translation and part of speech in English.  I found this resource a couple years ago while searching for the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. 

The Internet Classics Archive notes that in the fall of 2000, its website suffered disk failure and backup errors, but the majority of texts were recovered with the assistance of Google and the MIT Media Lab.  Unfortunately some applications of the Archive still do not work after 8 years.  Some of the links to texts in Peseus also seem to be defunct.  I wonder if this collection has been abandoned?  In any case, it is listed in the OEDb article “250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives,” dated 2007.  Hopefully it will be restored to full operation someday. 

I guess the Internet Classics Archive illustrates what happens when a digital collection is neglected.  Digital collections require upkeep as much as physical libraries, to combat bit-rot and to grow the collection.  If a site displays outdated announcements, users may assume that its contents are irrelevant and look for another resource.  We need to make the place look hospitable if we want people to come in.

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