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 – http://barlova.blogspot.com/
Amy Buckland – http://jambina.com/blog
Janis Dawson – http://jandawson.wordpress.com/
Ahniwa Ferrari – http://ahniwa.com/blog
Andrew Hankinson – http://www.transientstudent.net
Brett Williams – http://BrettLWilliams.wordpress.com

Many thanks to Amy for compiling the list!

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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
nirak.net – 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.