Tag Archives: library school


Today was beautiful. Most California days are pretty great, but this morning I walked outside and said (out loud), “Damn, what a nice day.” That’s how beautiful it was. But I digress. I decided to get a head start on the readings for my historiography class, and since I have a real, tangible textbook, I took it outside to the teak bench near my front door. Then I spotted this guy:

The most menacing looking grasshopper (or something) I have ever seen. Easily the length of my index finger, and fatter. I decided to keep my distance.


Today is the unofficial last day of winter break for me. I slept in instead of showering before heading to the library to volunteer this morning. Oops. I was able to shower as soon as I got home, and tomorrow marks the first day of the 6AM wake-up, so it’s ok. After almost 20 straight years of being a student I have finally learned that I can’t concentrate on work at night. The thought of shoveling dinner into my mouth while reading PDFs or discussion forums is so depressing to me. So I’m vowing to get my work done before dinner whenever possible (excluding class meetings). I have no problem waking up early, so why not? I was inspired in part by this guy whose study schedule was featured on one of my favorite blogs, Study Hacks. He’s pre-med and manages to finish studying by 5:30PM every day. Pretty impressive!

I did a test-run of my new study schedule yesterday. This is what 6AM looks like:

sun rising over my neighbors' houses

Good thing it’s pretty. By the end of the day I still hadn’t finished what I wanted to. I was frequently distracted by YouTube*, which is probably testament to a larger problem: senioritis. Resulting in lack of focus. I was in a sour mood by bedtime. Must learn to focus, and must find motivation. Must do this soon: my new internship starts tomorrow. I’m feeling less nervous and more excited about it these days. In fact, I’m feeling a little better already. May 17th, here I come!

*Here’s one of the culprits for your enjoyment. Stars – “Elevator Love Letter”

Now back to work.

Library Student Day in the Life, part II

I apologize – this DITL is from this past Wednesday, since it was one of the more exciting (read: stressful) days this week.

7:30 – wake up and get ready for the day.

9:00 – arrive at Heritage Park Regional Library, where I’m asked to weed a shelf of children’s books.

10:00 – apologize profusely for having to leave even though I could only finish half of the books (they’re skinny, thus, there’s more of them on the shelf). I need to catch up on a lecture before my group meeting in the afternoon.

10:30 – arrive home and listen to an Elluminate recording of a LIBR 248 (cataloging) lecture while I do chores around the house. Going to school online is pretty neat that way.

12:00 – quickly eat lunch and dash out the door to the internship. Since I have to park so far away from Chapman’s library, and because I have to drive through Old Town Orange to get to the parking lot during lunch rush on weekdays, I have to leave about an hour ahead of time.

1:00 – arrive at Chapman, copy catalog some children’s books, feature films, and gift monographs.

4:00 – done! Take a quick break outside before heading back in to meet with my LIBR 248 group via Elluminate.

4:30 – the group meeting starts. We finish our first practice assignment and make plans to submit it that night.

5:45 – drive home, make a quick stop at Von’s to pick up 3 carrots, a lemon, and some mango Naked Juice.

6:30 – home! Open laptop, join Elluminate session for the SLIS Career Workshop (late), and start chopping up carrots, celery, and onions to make Zov’s golden lentil soup.

8:00 – soup is FINALLY DONE. I always underestimate how long it takes to make it, but it is my favorite soup on earth: fat free, tons of fiber, lemony, slightly salty, comforting, and delicious. I catch up on some forum postings while I eat.

11:00 – sweet sleep.

Another week down

Every fall I get hit hard with the urge to nest and be cozy. The unexpected rain on Wednesday really messed with my motivation to do schoolwork. I have not been keeping up with my time management schedule this week, which means I haven’t had time to write a post. Instead, I wavered between getting distracted by the almighty Internet and scrambling to finish my work, until today when I turned on LeechBlock (I set it to block access to timesuck sites between 9AM and 7PM every day) and got down to business.

Week 2 of my internship has passed and it’s going well so far. I’m learning so much more than I ever thought I would, and getting feedback from my supervisor about my records has been incredibly helpful. Today I learned how to catalog children’s books. My favorite was a book called The Raucous Royals, which explained the screwed-up lives of royals of the past, including how many chops it took to behead Mary Queen of Scots and the oozing, infected leg of the obese Henry VIII. A close second was Michael Phelan’s The Storm in the Barn, a juvenile graphic novel about a young boy living in Kansas in the Dust Bowl who finds something special inside a neighboring barn.

Time for links:

I’ve never read a Nancy Drew book. I’ll have to settle for these instead. [Link is kind of NSFW. And don’t worry, I’ll put “read a Nancy Drew book” on my list of things to do before I turn 30.]

Want to make.

Old People Insulting Young People is one of my new favorite blogs.


Are you opening your books incorrectly?

As a California girl, I absolutely love Clare’s outfit.

Are you a children’s librarian running out of ideas for programming? Solution:

Back to school essentials

Well, I have 3 days of school and another birthday under my belt. Tomorrow I have to start sticking to my study schedule. I also start my new internship tomorrow! I am a little nervous (naturally), but not too nervous because I’ll be at Chapman again. Leatherby Libraries was my home away from home during college, and I’m excited to be on the other side now.

Chapman University Leatherby Libraries

Image source

Amidst all the commotion these past few weeks, I’ve been able to do some reflecting on last year so that I can be better prepared to take on schoolwork this year. Here are some of the things I have or should have in my arsenal:

  1. Ginger Tea. I have been known to become so stressed that I make myself physically ill. Ginger tea helps tremendously.
  2. Ibuprofen. Staring at the computer for long periods of time gives me headaches.
  3. Healthy snacks. Sometimes, stress makes me want to eat. I like carrot sticks and hummus or apples and peanut butter.
  4. Two calendars. iCal has a great color-coding feature and task lists, but I like having a backup weekly planner in paper form for looking at things on the go, and to have if my laptop gets lost, stolen, or dies.
  5. USB drive.
  6. Legal pad or composition book. Sometimes, inspiration hits me when I’m not near my laptop. I’ll be taking a notebook to take notes on the first day of my internship tomorrow.
  7. Evernote. Helps organize thoughts and content from the Web.
  8. An internship or volunteer position. Check, double check.
  9. Short yoga workouts. Going to school full time online does not lend itself to good posture. I really need to work on that this school year.
  10. Post-it flags. For marking my readings without ruining my books. This usually translates into a better resale value. I use half.com to sell the textbooks I don’t want anymore and buy used books each semester.
  11. A de.licio.us account. Social bookmarking site that allows me to access my bookmarks on any computer. I don’t really use the social features.
  12. A PBWorks account. I use this to create a portfolio of all of my school and extracurricular work. It comes in handy when tailoring my resume to highlight certain activities. I just copy and paste the info I need from pbworks onto my resume.
  13. More “outside” clothes in my wardrobe than sweatpants. Still working on it…my “outside clothes” are starting to look a little weary, too.
  14. LeechBlock. My favorite time management/productivity tool on the Web.
  15. A newspaper subscription, Google News, and a radio set to my local NPR stations. News stories make for great icebreakers. I like reading the paper at the gym and listening to KPCC and KCRW on the way to the Garden library since my commute is so long.
  16. Google Reader. For keeping up with blogs, job openings, and upcoming professional association events. I’m so addicted to mine that I added it to LeechBlock.
  17. A list of goals to accomplish this semester. I am making one that I plan to put at eye level above my desk.
  18. An organized desktop. Both physical and virtual.
  19. Printouts of my greensheets. I like writing notes on them and checking off finished assignments.
  20. Career guidance books. To help alleviate my fear of adulthood sometimes.

It’s Sunday night. Forget about tomorrow and listen to The Temper Trap perform “Love Lost”. Be blown away by their ability to fill a room with such glorious sounds.

Notes from the Career Paths for New Librarians panel discussion

Last spring, SJSU SLIS, the Orange County chapter of REFORMA, SJSU LISSTEN, and the California Librarians Black Caucus sponsored a panel discussion entitled Career Paths for New Librarians. Since the session was so informative, I thought I’d transcribe my notes here before I forget what the panelists were talking about.

Career Paths for New Librarians
Panel discussion held April 11, 2010 at California State University Fullerton

Susan Berumen (Orange County Archives)
Susan received an MA in History before getting her MLIS. If you have an interest in archives, do the MARA track. Take as many archives classes as possible, including preservation. Look for jobs on USAJobs, listservs such as SAA, AMIA, and Lone Rangers (??? I don’t know if I heard her right), and apply during your last term of library school. Very important that you do an internship. Resume tips: address organization’s needs. Do research about the institution. Be positive. Don’t be modest. Think about what you can do instead of what you can’t do. Reflect your interests in your resume.

Yolanda Moreno (Director – Orange Public Library)
Yolanda has a background in mathematics, but says any background will serve you well in public librarianship. Take a budgeting class if possible. You must like to work with people. Start looking for a job immediately, and volunteer or intern during school. Public library employers look for library experience and good decision-making skills. Tailor your skills to employers’ needs, be passionate, ask questions. Public library jobs are available online.

Rosalind Goddard (LA City College Library) [I think she is the director of the library. She’s listed as Associate Professor of Library and Information Science on the LACC faculty website]
Community colleges have a similar mission to public libraries. Minimum qualifications: MLIS, knowledge of systems, web design, technology skills, background in an academic discipline [I’m guessing that a BA will suffice], knowledge of Microsoft Office. Librarians at CCs are non-instructional faculty. Must be aware of campus hierarchies. Skills: must like people, be able to adapt, embrace diversity, listen effectively, have patience, be a problem solver and team player. Career strategy: set goals, become familiar with college structures (http://faccc.org/), internship experience, read about CC environments. Job market is tough for CCs, Look at California CC registry (https://www.cccregistry.org/jobs/index.aspx), classifieds, Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/section/Home/5), CC district websites. Be flexible. What they look for in resumes: experience in community college, database skills, research [probably among other things]. Interview: committee interview, reference interview, and instructional demonstration. Listen well, answer questions well, relax. CCs do not require you to publish, but if you do, it’s a plus!

Susan Luevano (Librarian, CSU Long Beach)
CSUs are known for their information literacy programs. Salary for Senior Assistant (1 yr contract) = $56k-$70k [!!!], Associate = $64k-$89k, Full Librarian =$100k. MLIS is necessary. They only hire from ALA accredited. Apply last year of library school, must graduate by appointment date. Diversity is a plus. Information literacy background a plus. Knowledge of collection development is important. Librarians must research, publish, present at conferences, be involved with professional organizations. Must have subject specialty but also be a generalist. Must have instructional experience. Letter of application must address every single job qualification/requirement. Writing sample. Interview process: multiple interviews in one day. Instructional presentation, Q&A, attend social events (lunch, dinner, meet & greet). Study website, visit campus, ask questions, watch reference interactions. Talk about information literacy trends & research agenda. Take instruction classes. Teach. Apply to internships. Dress for success. Join CARL (http://www.carl-acrl.org/). Sample questions: What are you reading? Do you have a research background? How do you deal with a difficult patron? How do you make a difficult decision?

General advice: Work on a special project, get involved on a committee, publish something. Both the e-portfolio and thesis options are valuable to libraries because it demonstrates burgeoning expertise.

You can watch the webcast of the event here (go to Student Resources –> Career Resources –> Careers Path [sic] Workshop (Fullerton Campus – 10 April 2010)).

Library Student Day in the Life, part I

7:00 am – Wake up; shower and stuff.

8:00 – Make myself a poached egg on an English muffin; read the newspaper while I eat.

9:30 – Arrive at the research library, make myself a big cup of coffee because I can tell it’s going to be one of those days*, and grab 6 books off of the process cart to catalog. One of the former volunteers at the garden passed away, and a couple months ago, his son donated all of his books to us. There are about a bazillion boxes to keep me and the other volunteers busy.

10:30 – Catalog a book on venomous animals and plants. Realized I had no idea there were so many kinds of rattlesnakes, and that a lot of those venomous spiders live indoors. Ick.

12:00 – Headache settles in. Happily reflect upon the fact that none of the records in OCLC have been that bad, and there are no supposed duplicates in our library of any of the books. I say “supposed” because last week, I ran into no less than 4 records in OCLC and our catalog that say we had a book, and when I went to find it, it wasn’t there.

1:00 – Venture outside for lunch break. Look around to see if there are any rattlesnakes or spiders where I want to sit. Even though I knew it would be 97 degrees yesterday, I packed myself some leftover vegetable soup. Not the best choice, but delicious nonetheless. Read Lindsey Pollak’s Getting from College to Career while I eat.

1:15 – Back inside. Headache has worsened, probably from the heat. I remind myself to pack more water and a bottle of Aleve next time as I grab some more books. I am going to be under quota today.

3:00 – Start cataloging a few books on bamboo physiology. Surprised at the abundance of LCSHs on bamboo, read through them. Run across the term “very swollen node” and an accompanying picture in one of the books and gag a little. You’d never guess I was the daughter of a nurseryman.

4:30 – Done for the day. Sign out. Eye a pretty book from the sale pile that I want to get for my parents. Asst. Librarian lets me take it for free. I make a note to bring homemade cookies next week.

5:45 – Home. My brother and his girlfriend are on their way out to take the dogs for a walk, leaving me with a nice, cool, peaceful house.

6:00 – Change into home clothes and catch up on email. Arrange with my faculty internship advisor to register late for my Fall internship, which starts August 30. Catch up on the discussions on the job search boards for SJSU SLIS and on LinkedIn. Remind myself to start making notes of good advice and info. (Make a note to make notes. Efficient!)

7:00 – Sit outside on the patio and read some of Seth Godin’s The Dip.

7:30 – Dad comes home with steak. I start making tomato salad with tomatoes from our garden.

8:30 – Have a brief Google Chat conversation with Sunny about tomorrow (which is now today) when I have to say goodbye before he goes back to Pittsburgh again. Get the sads and pop in a Daria DVD. Start working on a crocheted blanket so I can whittle down my yarn stash quicker than I could with a knitted blanket.

11:30 – Make a list of things to do tomorrow, then fall asleep and have nightmares.

*Even the KPCC hosts and KCRW DJs were getting all tongue-tied yesterday. Must be something in the air.

Get out of your head (but plan early) to make the most out of internship opportunities.


My office.

This year has gone by fast. There’s so much more that I want to learn in school and I’m not sure I have the room to do it. My program puts a cap on the number of units a student can take, and in one year (21 units, give or take) I will be done.

My advice to new LIS students: start searching for internships during your first semester. If you’re on the fast track to graduation, you have no time to be scared. Search postings on your school’s internship listing website and start making inquiries. You can even submit application materials early, indicating that you’re eligible to intern after the following semester (for example). This shows initiative. If something looks interesting or exciting, apply, even if you aren’t sure it fits into your career plans. This past February (wayyy after I should have started searching), I saw an internship listing on my school’s website for a library at a botanic garden. I was so excited about it that I immediately applied, regardless of start date and eligibility (technically, my eligibility began this summer after taking 6 units of electives this past spring). I interviewed the following week, and landed myself a pretty nice, flexible internship (though records indicate that I’m a volunteer since I don’t get paid and I’m not getting school credit). I have learned more than I ever thought I would, I worked with Kiyomi who turned out to be a wellspring of great advice, and I’ve been there ever since. The commute is an hour each way, but I love it there. Your commute is another thing to consider: if you’re getting school credit, you are paying to do an internship (duh). But if you are not getting school credit, and you can handle long commutes (another thing I inherited from my parents who commute at least an hour each way to their jobs), you might consider taking that cooler internship in a not-so-local location than the boring internship in the next town over. It costs gas/public transit money, but it’s probably cheaper than a 3 unit class.

I should extend this advice to all LIS students. Begin your internship search far in advance of the semester during which you wish to intern. I say this because I am currently in a huge pickle. I found a great internship for which I must apply and interview. If I get the position, my potential supervisor and I have to submit a separate application to my school, then I have to register for LIBR 294 (Professional Experience). All of this has to be done before registration closes on August 15. I don’t have high hopes for my situation.

Why didn’t I start looking earlier? Hell if I know. I thought I had my bases covered in terms of library experience for the upcoming semester. But then it dawned on me how little time I have left in my program, and now I have an insatiable drive to beef up my resume.

Don’t do this to yourself. When in doubt, apply, apply, apply, even if you don’t think you can handle an internship in your schedule. In some cases, the hours are negotiable. The world is an unstable place. Prepare. Follow your heart, but remember to plan ahead.