Library blogs by McGill students

My apologies for any feelings of deja vu, but as promised, here’s the list of blogs by students (and one former student) from McGill’s School of Information Studies:

Jacqueline Barlow –
Amy Buckland –
Janis Dawson –
Ahniwa Ferrari –
Andrew Hankinson –
Brett Williams –

Many thanks to Amy for compiling the list!


Blogs by LIS students and new professionals

Jason Puckett has compiled a nice list of blogs written by new LIS professionals and students (which includes the ILSS – thanks, Jason!) I’ve mentioned a number of these already, and indeed, some are written by my classmates, and they are all worth checking out:

I didn’t actually realize how many I was subscribing to until I went to compose this post. Some of these I’ve been reading for months or years, and some I just added last week. My “New Librarians” subscription folder consists of:

heidi go seek
informing MUVEs
The Inspired Library School Student
Into the Stacks
Jan Dawson, 7/8 librarian
Life as I Know It
New Librarians Blog – Musings of an LIS Student
The Vital Library
What I Learned Today…

Stephen Abram at McGill

Stephen Abram, of Stephen’s Lighthouse and president of the SLA, gave a talk at McGill today, and it was exactly the sort of thing that helps keep us motivated, especially now that everyone is so busy with final assignments that are often less than exhilarating. He talked about how librarians can be innovative and make serious change in the field, and he made some distinctions between Canada and the United States, which is always interesting. He promised he’d post the slides online, so I’ll give you the update when those are available – I just couldn’t wait to post about his talk! If you’re not familiar with it, I highly suggest that you check out his blog.

Making library schools smarter

When I started library school, I expected more of a focus on technology – after all, everyone knows that libraries need to be on the cutting edge to provide the best information services, right? Well, it turns out that library school is more concerned with teaching traditional skills, and to be fair, even the most tech-savvy wouldn’t get very far without a solid foundation of basic skills. But I still think we could squeeze in a bit more computer training, so I was interested to read the debut editorial from Conversants, a brand new open-access journal about participatory networks. The article, which came my way via Words for Nerds, is called making library schools smarter:

Librarians need to realize that the knowledge and implementation of user-centric technology is not optional; it is a pillar of library infrastructure. Technology education components of Library and Information Science programs need to be developed and improved to provide the crucial training to prepare librarians for success and innovation, and to provide excellent services that match patron needs.

So cute!

Librarians, future and current, listen up! When you see adorable little grade 3 students in your library, do you fear for the security of your collections? You might change your mind after reading this story of schoolchildren turned hardened criminals (via Life as I Know It):

Our elementary principal broke up a crime ring last week.

She happened upon some 2nd and 3rd grade students, participants in an after school activity, who were “stealing” from the library. The object of their villainy? Not books, but the old sign-out cards still found in some of the volumes.

Things I will do if I am ever The Librarian

The idea for this post comes from an idea that has been passed around about what bloggers will do if they are ever the vampire (discovered via the Vampire Librarian). This captured my attention because I have always been fascinated by vampires, and the thought of “being the vampire” tickles me in just the right way.

Of course, I do intend one day to be the librarian, but today I’m thinking about being The Librarian. Prompted by the news of a new sequel on its way (featuring a vampire, no less!), I watched, for the first time, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. For all its flaws (and it indeed has many), I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to any library nerd who doesn’t take cinema too seriously. However, there are a few things I would do differently as The Librarian:

  • I will challenge even more stereotypes – being a male librarian with a female bodyguard is a good start, but perhaps I will also depict the library as a friendly place and maybe even not include a scene in which the audience is convinced that the natives of the Amazon jungle will boil me for dinner at any moment
  • I will spend even more time in palatial libraries with bookshelves several storeys high, to the point that it could be considered library porn
  • I will not tolerate the token female member of the bad guys being better looking than my bodyguard; I will, however, encourage said females to fight over my love even more often
  • I will be clear about whether my film is a parody; if so, I will make a stronger effort to poke fun at the conventions of action films, and if not, I will make a stronger effort to create at least a couple of scenes that follow the laws of science as we know them
  • I will not confuse the public any further about what a librarian actually does; if this calls for at least one scene involving a reference interview, so be it. Alternatively, I could change my title to Archivist of Things That Don’t Exist
  • I will shoot at least a couple of scenes without the use of any computer animation or green screens
  • I will not put my life on the line for a woman who is rude to me and, frankly, isn’t even as hot as she clearly thinks she is

Bonus: if I am ever the librarian in The Mummy, I will not set up my bookshelves like dominoes, especially if I am a klutz

The ILSS strikes again!

Have you ever wanted to ask a question to someone whose opinion you really respect but were afraid to ask for fear of making the person uncomfortable? John Dupuis made himself an easy target for this type of question by offering to publicly answer absolutely anything (within reason, of course). Apparently this idea has been going around, and I think it’s a fabulous way for bloggers to challenge themselves, and for readers to really get to know their favourite bloggers.

I took advantage of this opportunity and asked John the following:

What is your biggest criticism of MLIS programs in North America, and what do you think library schools should be doing to fix this?

(I know what you’re thinking: this sounds a little negative for the ILSS. But think about it: it wouldn’t be a very uncomfortable question if I asked him to praise library school!)

John left a thoughtful and detailed response, explaining exactly what he thinks a good library education should consist of – here’s a brief excerpt:

One interesting thing that always comes up is the technology course. How many courses should be part of the core and what should they cover. Well, I’m pretty minimalistic on this, surprisingly. You often see on blogs long laundry lists of stuff every librarian should know about technology, as if we’re not allowed to have colleagues whose talents and interests compliment our own. Everybody should take one (maybe two) courses that establishes a basic common vocabulary and knowledge base as well as some experience with a few key tools, like a basic web development tool, a CMS, blogs, wikis or databases.

So I’d like to thank John for taking the time to put some thought into this issue, and I encourage you all to ask him questions of your own.

ILSS Book Club: The Librarian’s Career Guidebook

I’ll admit it: I hardly ever buy books. Fortunately, as a library school student, I feel like I’m supporting libraries, instead of just feeling cheap. At any rate, if you do end up buying one book about librarianship, this should be the one. This is not to say that the quality truly puts the other library career books I’ve read to shame – it’s just that this is a book you could pick up even before you start library school and still find useful years later when you’re in the middle of a career.

The Librarian’s Career Guidebook, edited by Priscilla K. Shontz (also check out this review by another MLIS student) is the longest of the books I’ve come across at 550 pages, but each chapter is written by a different author, and each one is quite brief. I love this format because it means that each topic is covered by someone who is an expert in that field; it also provides variety, and hearing the different voices helps to keep the reader’s interest.

As I already mentioned, this one really covers a lot of ground, from choosing a library program, to experience as an entry-level librarian, to experience as an experienced librarian. Of course, this means that not every article will interest you right now, but if you want to know what life will be like, you can always skip ahead and take a peek. And speaking of peeks, you can find a preview at Google Books.

The section on potential types of jobs covers some careers not covered in other books (unfortunately, the focus is very much on library-related work, so folks in other areas of information studies may be disappointed). Besides the usual suspects of public, academic, school, and special libraries, each of the following gets its own chapter: library consortia, library associations, LIS education (i. e., becoming a prof), vendors, publishing, and freelancing (bonus points for having an article by Jessamyn).

I was excited to see a whole section called “enjoying your career,” because I thought it would be especially appropriate to this blog, but it turns out to be about how to deal with the stress of being a librarian – oops! Maybe students trying to become excited about library school should skip that section.

I think everyone will find something useful in this book. Personally, I’m paying special attention to the chapter on which classes to take to prepare for a career, since it’s time to start thinking about September already.

Email etiquette

Does it drive you nuts when you receive an email riddled with spelling and punctuation errors to the point that it is rendered nearly illegible? Do you find that friends, acquaintances, and strangers email things to you that they would not say to your face? The E-mail Etiquette Revolution is here for you. Sign their pledge:

  • I will do my best and make an effort to learn about and follow proper E-mail Etiquette so I can communicate with courtesy and clarity so as to avoid misunderstandings.
  • I will do my best to ensure I don’t hide behind this screen to say and do things I would otherwise not do if face-to-face with those I e-mail.
  • I will do my best to make an effort to understand technology enough to be able to use it properly so that my lack of knowledge doesn’t have a negative impact on those I communicate with.

[Join The Email Etiquette Revolution]
Join the E-mail Etiquette Revolution

Note: The E-mail Etiquette Revolution spells email with a hyphen. I do not. According to Wikipedia, there is some debate about which spelling is preferable, but neither is considered incorrect.