Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Last Lecture

I just finished The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch this weekend. It is a good read. Inspirational, but Pausch is also a realist. He knows he is dying. He writes for his kids, so that they will have a legacy. I think writers should know their purpose, and Pausch knows his. To be able to look at your life and chose lessons from it that are universal is the mark of a life well-lived. Though Pausch is not yet fifty, he seems to know what he got and is getting from his life.

The Last Lecture is full of great quotes and noteworthy ideas. One I liked was "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted." I learned early and continue to learn that We don't always get what we want out of life, but we have to live it anyway, so we might as well live the experience. Whether uplifting or disappointing, experience makes us stronger. Life is too short to dwell on what we don't get. It should be embraced day by day because tomorrow is an uncertainty.

Someone I know died of cancer this week...she was not yet thirty. She struggled with her cancer for several years, but she believed that there was a purpose for everything she went through. So do I. She showed others how to live life in the face of adversity just like Pausch does. Jessica may not have written a book, but her life was full of meaning and purpose. Both she and Pausch have given me a little perspective.

A link to the last lecture in case anyone is interested: http://www.thelastlecture.com/

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Little Disney Magic

I graduated in May and headed for Florida to work for Disney as a summer intern. I am in their entertainment resource library. Because Disney has so many projects going at any given time, the resource center can be a busy place. At Disney I am in a different environment library wise. The Resource Center is essentially a special library where the librarian does everything from answering detailed reference requests, to video documentation, to making labels. The projects are various and everyone depends on the resource center for inspiration or documentation whether they fully realize it or not.

While the collection is small compared to an academic or public library, the resources cast members need are available from internal publications to popular magazines and squeezed into some limited space. Seeing this operation has given me a real appreciation for all that can go into library work. It takes more than "faith and trust...and a little bit of pixie dust" to make this place run. The library runs on the dedication of one full time librarian with the help of interns. The reputation the librarian has--a great one--makes my life as an intern that much easier. All I have to do is offer the same willingness to help and I am set. The "magic" that people see at Disney is real for our guests and it takes people like the librarian at the resource center to make it happen.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reading for Pleasure

I.E. something I haven't really done in nearly two years. I am taking the time to indulge now that grad school is over. A former supervisor gave me People of Book by Geraldine Brooks. It's about a thirty-year-old book conservator who is called in on a rare book project in Bosnia, Brooks traces the history of the ancient Jewish manuscript that Hannah is restoring. At the same time the reader gets glimpses of Hannah's life and her stormy relationship with her mother. Brooks' descriptions and realism had me hooked in first chapter. Brooks uses several narrators to tell the story, but she does so masterfully. I definitely recommend People of the Book.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Recommended Reading

Last week a friend of mine sent me an article from the Journal of Higher Education entitled "Inside Man" by Richard Riofrio. Riofrio discusses his journey to a tenure-track position in English. He also offers the view of someone who now interviews candidates for such positions. The insight he provides is definitely transferable to librarianship, and there is no reason to think that finding the "perfect job" or any job would be any less daunting for those of us seeking library positions. Riofrio's advice is to see the process as a process, not a personal rejection or a drudgery. The article allowed me to understand the job search from both sides. This is an excellent advantage for a young soon-to-professional. Check out the link: http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=vqWHbXPbsM5nsbTZjK5XqCppGdHkYJVj

Reading "Inside Man" prompted me to find other resources that might help me in my job search. I am sure there are several excellent sources out there for librarians. I checked out Rachel Singer Gordon's The Nextgen Librarian's Survival Guide. The book provides practical advice to the young librarian on graduate school, job seeking, and the professional world. I recommend that MLIS students put it on their wish-lists. It is an excellent read, and it includes real-life experiences of nextgens as well as electronic resources for young librarians. Here is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Nextgen-Librarians-Survival-Guide/dp/1573872563/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202841457&sr=8-1

To my others who might be job searching, I hope your search is successful. I, for one, am glad for resources that make the search that much easier.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Perfect Job

Finishing grad school in May means churing out applications like there is no tomorrow. I think I have ten out right now, and I am constantly looking for new opportunites I qualify for. People keep asking "What is the perfect job?" My answer includes something in reference, perferably academic, for me public service is what being a librarian is about. I have come across and applied for a few fellowships...learning on the job sounds good. I know I would be low on the Totem pole so to speak, but you have to start somewhere. Disney, one company I worked for often promotes from within. Many "cast members" have stories of starting out in Magic Kingdom scooping ice cream and ending up with their dream job some years later. Someone hand me the proverbial ice cream scoop, and show me where to start!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting Out There

"Get out of the freakin library – and, stay in the library. You've really gotta be somewhere and everywhere, as every library should be. It's the concept of the library leaking out of the building. Somewhere and everywhere—in and out."--Joe James

I think James has the right idea about librarianship. We can't be stuck in the stacks if we want to reach users. The concept of Library 2.0, using technology to interact with patrons, get feedback and make change happen is what libraries should be about. This semester, I was able to design a wiki that nhew library students can use to learn about the library program at the University. As a student, I am glad to help others succeed. Hopefully the information product I created will add to someone's knowledge base. I know this product is good practice for what I will do in the field.

I want to get out of the library, and stay in it. I know that theory and practice rarely match up, but I am hoping to use the skills I have learned now to build my career. I hope that I can keep in mind that the library isn't just a building, it's the information therein and online and however I can get it to the people who need it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Information evaluation

As a tutor in a community college writing center I see all kinds of assignments. In one paper I read today the assignment asked students to evaluate a website based on a specific cultural group by deciding who the site primarily targeted and why as well as what kinds of information were available on the site. As a future information professional, I have completed these assignments in my classes.

For many students at a community college level, evaluating an information source is a new concept. Assignments like these give students the chance to question the information they are seeing on the screen and explore it somewhat in depth. Being able to quickly analyze a source is a critical skill in decision making. It can mean the difference between coming up with a source and coming up with the right source. This is about more than information, it is about finding what you need when you need it. A skill that many students lack.