Happy birthday to the ILSS!

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but Feb 18th is my blog’s first anniversary! A year ago I set out on this voyage, not knowing what to expect, and since then I’ve interacted with some great people and learned a lot about libraries and the Web. I promise I won’t get too emotional on you, but I wanted to acknowledge my first year as a blogger and to thank everyone who has supported me along the way!

In other news, I had a lot of fun as the photographer for the McGill CLA Student Chapter Freedom to Read photo shoot today. Here I am, posing with a fantastic novel – A Clockwork Orange:

Posing for the SIS Freedom to Read photo shoot

Posing for the SIS Freedom to Read photo shoot

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Freedom to Read Week is coming up

Freedom to Read Week doesn’t actually start until a week from now, but we’re celebrating a week early at SIS because the 22nd to 28th is our spring break. (You may recall I posted about Freedom to Read last year too) The CLA McGill Student Chapter is raising awareness by having a challenged books photo shoot (an idea we borrowed from the Freedom of Expression Committee). Anyone who comes to the SIS student lounge at lunch on Tuesday or Wednesday will have the opportunity to have their photo taken while reading a frequently challenged book, and everyone who participates will be entered in a draw to win a gift certificate for Chapters. Hopefully the winner will use it to buy a challenged book!  Brittany Trafford, our CLA Student Chapter secretary, has already taken a stack of appropriate books out of the library, so there will be plenty to choose from.

How is Freedom to Read being promoted at other schools and libraries? Leave a comment to let everyone know.

Freedom to Read Week 2009

Web 2.You 2009 was a terrific success!

Whew, I can’t believe it’s all over! After months of planning, negotiating, reserving, and worrying, Web 2.You finally happened on Friday, and I couldn’t be happier with the way everything went. I can’t write a long post today because all the schoolwork I ignored last week is calling my name, but I wanted to say that the event went off without a hitch. It turns out that Michael is just as kind, helpful, and inspiring in person as he has been by email over the past few months, and Stephen and Amy captivated the audience as usual. Our student volunteers really went above and beyond to make sure everything went smoothly, and the student presenters did a great job as well. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved with such a great group of people – my sincere thanks to all the presenters, volunteers, attendees, and my incredible co-organizer, Amanda.

Sadly, Amy had to return to the reference desk right after her presentation, so she missed the group photo, but here I am with Amanda, Stephen, and Michael, and there’s Amy giving her talk about social networks below.

Amanda, Stephen, Graham, and Michael at Web 2.You

Amanda, Stephen, Graham, and Michael at Web 2.You 2009

Amy presents at Web 2.You 2009

Amy presents at Web 2.You 2009

Guest post – Amanda discusses presentations by professionals

As my spring graduation approaches and I face the idea of no longer being a library school student (inspired or otherwise), I hope that the next generation of students will continue to blog about the issues that affect them. I’ll keep blogging, of course, but I think it’s important for students to hear authentic student voices, as well as professional ones. One way I’m promoting this is by encouraging other students to write guest posts for the ILSS. Today’s article is from Amanda Halfpenny, who’s in her first year of the MLIS program here at McGill.

A common complaint of students in MLIS programs is that our classes are often too theoretical and that we are not receiving enough practical information on what it will really be like once we are professional librarians in the real world. Students at McGill University decided to take matters into their own hands and since we got back from Winter Break there have been student-organized professional speakers on almost a weekly basis during lunch hours. These presentations have been organized by different student associations and the turnouts have been extremely impressive (in some cases higher than the number of students who actually attend their classes). It is not difficult to understand why: we are all curious to listen to librarians talk about their careers and we are hopeful that they will impart some words of wisdom that will help us as we prepare to begin our careers.

Last Thursday, the ABQLA (Quebec Library Association) student chapter hosted JoAnne Turnbull the general director of the Reseau Biblio of the Laurentians. She was an enthusiastic speaker and succeeded in engaging all the students with her witty accounts of the ups and downs of her career as a librarian in a variety of types of libraries (academic, corporate, law and public). In general, the students in our program are all concerned with whether or not they will find an interesting position after graduation. However, when JoAnne explained how bleak the job market was for librarians when she graduated in 1987 (1 position was posted for 60 graduating students), the students at her talk realized how fortunate we are that, despite the present economy, we have strong prospects of finding a library job soon after graduation. Another encouraging message that JoAnne shared was that if you are bored with your current job, it is fairly easy to create new challenges by either helping to develop new projects or simply by applying to a new position.

I strongly encourage MLIS students at other universities to stop waiting for your professors to organize professional speakers and to do it yourselves! You will not only learn a lot from the librarian who comes to give the talk but you will also gain valuable experience in organizing events (finding a speaker, advertising, etc.). For professional librarians, I would hope that you are all open to the prospect of speaking with groups of MLIS students. We are truly interested in what you have to say! So thank you JoAnne, and all the other guest speakers in the past month who have taken the time to come and meet with McGill’s MLIS students. We truly appreciate it!

Things are looking good for Web 2.You

Registration for Web 2.You is now closed, and the response has been great! 56 people are registered (not including speakers and volunteers), which is perfect because we were planning to cap it at 60 – in other words, we’ve filled the room without having to turn anyone away. Amanda and I have been working hard, but it looks like it’s all going to pay off.

I’m super excited to meet Michael Stephens, and I’m also looking forward to hearing Stephen Abram and Amy Buckland, who I know from experience are both fantastic speakers. The three McGill student presentations look promising as well, two of which will broaden our LIS scope by touching on the use of Web 2.0 in knowledge management.

To everyone who’s registered – see you on Friday!