Category Archives: Graduate School

The Graduate.

All done.

It’s strange.  I don’t think it has actually hit me.  I was hoping that participating in the ceremony

would make it hit me.  But really…it just hasn’t.

It feels like I’m just waiting for classes to begin.  In between semesters.  Waiting for something.  I guess I’m not sure what yet.

Anyways I start work tomorrow.  I’m excited.  I’m kind of nervous.  I’m ready.  Very very ready.

I’ll keep you updated.  Until then, have a lovely, rainy Sunday.


Good news for people who like good news.

Hello fair readers!

In case I haven’t blurted out and told you already, I wanted to share some pleasant news that I have been learning how to deal with the past few days.



I FOUND A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know! It’s so exciting you all just jumped up and shouted “Finally!”.

Me too.

I accepted a Reference/Adult Services position at Calumet City Public Library, a small South suburban library.  I’ll be one of three Adult Services librarians and I will also be in charge of Fiction collection development, some community outreach, and Teen Programming.  I am super, uber freaking excited.  I have some really fun ideas, like potentially creating some kind of fiction collection development blog…pending approval of course.  So we’ll see.

But can someone please explain to me why….after years of being an adamant Fiction reader and now being put in charge of an entire Fiction collection…why oh why is every book that I want to read right now Nonfiction?!?!

Like this and this?!

I know it sounds silly but I want my first post-graduate book to be special.  Something that I will look back and remember that it was the first book I read after being in school for 19 FREAKING YEARS!

We’ll see.

Have a lovely Wednesday.  I’m graduating on Saturday so you better believe there will be a photo blog coming up.  Oh yeah, I know you’re excited.

Where in the world did Leah the Library Student go?

Hello fair readers!

You might be asking yourself…where in the world did Leah go?  And if you’re old enough to remember it, you can even sing that little song from the show that was based on the PC game.

Remember that show?  Sigh.  Good times.

But seriously, where the hell have I been?  Let me give a little hint.

Yes, that’s right.  My life has basically been overtaken by grad school in the past few weeks.  More so than ever before.

Because guess who is done?  Just take a little guess.  A tiny, itty guess.

The girl with the Information Policy book?  Omg good guess.  Me!

So right now, I’m in the weird period between student and librarian.  Officially, I’m not a librarian until May 3rd.  Yet, course work is done.  Assingments…done.  I guess it’s just all up to the waiting game now.

Still, I would like to share some of my final projects that I worked on this semester.  I would like to think that some of these are a culmination of my graduate career.  So you better believe that I’m going to share the things that have been completely taking up ALL of my time in the past few weeks.

First, my Humanities Public Piece. 

In my resources in the Humanities class, we had to take a topic that bridged over several areas of the Humanities and then design a public piece around it.  I chose to do Pride Month because I have worked at a library that has done LGBT programming before.  It was widely publicized, extremely popular, and rewarding for everyone involved.  Also my boyfriend works at this amazing bookstore that specializes in LGBT lit. and I really saw an opportunity to create some unique programming.  If you would like to view my presentation, click here.

Second, my instructional tool.

I decided I wanted to focus on free, authoritative legal resources on the Web.  All you regular readers know that this is an area that is of special interest to me.  Most legal resources are difficult to find, difficult to use, and insanely expensive.  Legal research should not be for the few, but for the public.

And finally, my National Information Policy presentation.

We basically had to pretend we were being nominated for the Secretary of Information, a position that exists in most countries…just not the US.  I tried to really narrow my policy proposals, as you can see if you watch my presentation.  


There was more.  Papers to be written, evaluations of presentations to fill out.  It’s strange that this is now over.  This huuuuge part of my life…that really only lasted about 1 1/2 years.

This is me 2 years ago…to the month, graduating from Undergrad.

Oh Leah the Library Student…you had no idea what was in store for you.


To everyone at Dominican GSLIS graduating in two weeks….congratulations friends.  We made it.

Like Cat Stephens, I can’t keep it in.

Hello fair readers!

I hope your Vernal Equinox and your potential Easter celebrations went smooth and hopefully with much less snow than mine did.

(photo taken by Yenna, posted on Flickr with the tag “Winter sucks”…I agree)

But all this winter snow in Spring has given me some time to stew and grow more and more annoyed with this article:

Our Public Libraries Are Being Turned Into Video Arcades

and the fuddy duddy librarians who are rallying around it, as if this was a good point.

I would like to take one particular response to the article and break it down into it’s ridiculous components. Why you ask? Because it’s sad. And angering. And wrong.

Posted by anonymous in response to the LISNews blog about the article:

this is just part of the problem with public libraries since they forgot what they were in the early nineties, and decided to become this hybrid and noble/arcade/rec center ordeal that we have now. I am a young adult librarian and soon we will be losing ref desks for kiosks so that we are encouraged to wander around and bother the patrons ala target employees. this is sad. the video game aspect, while i don’t agree with it, isn’t the libraries fault. we have books here. we just have adult and children too stupid to read them now.
Wow. Just wow. That’s right people. Librarians like that actually still exist. Sad, yes?Let’s debunk that statement.

“this is just part of the problem with public libraries since they forgot what they were in the early nineties”

What is a library? According to the free online dictionary:



n. pl. li·brar·ies


a. A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, prints, records, and tapes, are kept for reading, reference, or lending.
b. A collection of such materials, especially when systematically arranged.
c. A room in a private home for such a collection.
d. An institution or foundation maintaining such a collection.
2. A commercial establishment that lends books for a fee.
3. A series or set of books issued by a publisher.
4. A collection of recorded data or tapes arranged for ease of use.
5. A set of things similar to a library in appearance, function, or organization: a library of computer programs.
6. Genetics A collection of cloned DNA sequences whose location and identity can be established by mapping the genome of a particular organism.
So there’s a definition. But truly, a library is what a community makes of it. A library can be as big, or as small, as the school, city, business or organization it serves provides it to be.
So libraries can be this:
But libraries can also be this:
(this picture was taken by The Shifted Librarian at DOK Delft, one of the hippest libraries in the world)
Needless to say a library, a building, an inanimate object, does not forget what it is. A community, a school….people change it when they see a need for change.
Back to the hater:
“and decided to become this hybrid and noble/arcade/rec center ordeal that we have now”
This comment implies that a library cannot change to keep up to date with the times. That a book-store style of library, or a library catalog that has pictures and words that everyone understands in it….are bad things. Let me direct you back to a blog I posted about librarian stereotypes. If change does not occur, if keeping up to date with modern trends…not just in libraries but in the whole world
If these things do not occur, then it is logical that the entity will cease to exist. I recommend this poster reads a little something called The Origin of the Species by means of natural selection by Charles Darwin. Check out the bit on survivial of the fittest. Apply.
Let’s continue:
“I am a young adult librarian”
Really? Well that’s quite a surprise. Because most teen librarians that I know…totally rock.
“and soon we will be losing ref desks for kiosks so that we are encouraged to wander around and bother the patrons ala target employees”
First, Target employees certainly do not walk around bothering people…or even asking if you need help. They are few and far between. And would it really be so bad to get rid of those awful reference desks that scare the bejeezes out of most patrons? Wandering around and asking people for help…well that’s just helpful. Not bothersome.
“this is sad. the video game aspect, while i don’t agree with it, isn’t the libraries fault. we have books here. we just have adult and children too stupid to read them now
As soon as I read that sentence…well it took every bone in my librarian body to not pick up a volume of the OED and chuck it across the reference section.
And no, the typo in the sentence does not make it any better.
Talk about a total loss of hope.
Not just in libraries…or even librarians…but humanity as a whole.
It’s sad.
So I suggest to reading this to cleanse your palate of that awful taste of bitter librarian:
It’s much more useful than calling someone stupid….which as librarians we should all know….is just no excuse for poor service.
Have a lovely week, fair readers! And do yourself a favor, play some video games. 🙂

Sincere Apologies.

Dear fair readers,

My sincerest apologies for my severe lack of posting in the past week or two. I know that excuses are no excuse, but what can I say? My to do list is catching up with me.

This week alone I have one presentation on Hoover’s, another for Humanities class on Scientology, a paper on privacy for my Info Policy class, one phone interview for a job, and one second interview for a different job.

Oy vey!

So, you might wonder, what am I doing to keep completely sane?

Oh Nintendo DS Lite! Your accessibly simple, yet educational gaming saves my sanity every time!The Nintendo DS has oodles of educational games that you can pick up, play for 30 minutes or so, and then go back to whatever things you really should be doing atm. My current favorite is My French Coach.

Through a series of games and quizzes and an excellent “coach”, I can refresh my memory of all those lovely high school french classes with Mdm. Roselle.

So next time someone tells you that video games rot your brain, tell them to bugger off in french. (Va t’en! Tu es tres stupide!) Or your could tell them to read up on their Jenny Levine. She’ll tell them what’s up. 🙂

So again, my apologies fair readers. If you need something to do, I recommend gaming. It’s good for your brain.

Happy Monday!

No really….why isn’t there a national information policy?

Hello fair readers!

First before we launch into extremely intellectually stimulating and amazing conversations on the issues of information policies (sense my sarcasm….please), I will give you an update on the past to-do list.

1. still working on those readings but nearly there 🙂

2. In regards to the sinus issues…after playing with my neti pot

I realized two things. One: it is weird at first but once you get used to it…kind of amazing. And two: it doesn’t work as well when you don’t just have sinus issues but a really nasty cold. Thankfully I’m recovering after a long day of rest and boredom.

3. Shinji is doing very well and in recovery. He did have to have two teeth pulled, which was scary and expensive. For those of you who don’t understand why this is scary take a look into the connections between a dogs overall health and his/her teeth. The lesson here: I have to start brushing the Shinj’s teeth every day. oy vey. He’s worth it.

4. Mind is still intact. So that is good.

and that brings me to my cliffhanger:

5. The blog on my information policy class! Oh boy! Here I go……

So far I have just started my third week of classes…technically. Even though it really feels like the second. Strange. And yes, as I keep repeating over and over again, this is indeed my last semester.

::tiny celebration::

I’m taking three very interesting classes: Library User Instruction because I need to sharpen my teaching skills

Reference in the Humanities because I have taken almost exclusively legal and business oriented courses…I need a little refinement

and finally…my present to myself….Information Policy taught by the uber cool Ed Valauskas, a man cool enough that Google corrects your spelling of his last name, which to me is usually something like v-a-l-a-s-k-a-s, to the more accurate spelling of v-a-l-a-u-s-k-a-s. You know you have it made when Google knows the correct spelling to your weird and difficult to spell last name.

Anyways I am totally excited about this class. On the first day he told us about some of his experiences lobbying for libraries in Washington D.C., which in my mind happens to be one of the coolest professions ever. A library lobbyist? Yes please.

Then he wrote this on the board:

Yes, fair readers, that is the Second Amendment….firing power for such gigantically annoying groups like the NRA and the Neocons…and yes, I do like my little pun.

Then on the other side of the board he wrote this:

In case you can’t make that out, it reads as follows: Being necessary to the self-governance of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.

Then he turned to us and said “What if this [pointing to the book version] was in the constitution and not this [pointing to the gun version]”.

At first I thought in my head, “That would be heaven”. And then he divided up the class into two sides. One argues for the book amendment

And the other group argues for the gun amendment.

I happened to be on the book side. What a surprise.

So we divided up and starting listing out arguments. We had to put ourselves in the time frame of the founding fathers…which of course made things difficult. We weren’t thinking in terms of a mostly literate society vs. machine guns. This was a very illiterate society vs. hunting rifles.

ugh. It was going to be difficult.

Right away my group decided that we weren’t taking away the right to guns…just not constitutionally guaranteeing it. We deceided that the federal government shouldn’t be involved in gun control…that would be absurd. It should be left up to the states. As I wrote down this argument…I felt a little like a Ron Paul supporter.

Which I’m not. In fact, I do think the government should regulate use. I completely do. But that wasn’t the point of this exercise.

I was nominated to be the speaker and then we each stood up and argued our sides. My group came up with ideas such as:

-education is vital to sustaining a democracy and since America is the first adventure in democracy we should invest in the people, not aggression.

-the second amendment that deals with guns is a pessimistic view of society while ours is optimistic, we should trust the people

and so on.

When the other side came to speak, I actually found myself agreeing with some of the things they said. I actually thought…wow….the second amendment is really important. It guarantees protection!

(Don’t worry…I haven’t decided to become a Republican. Still a bleeding heart liberal. 🙂 )

But when someone gets up to speak….and speaks charismatically, with enthusiasm, and argues their point well….well, let’s just say it’s easy to get caught up in the moment.

Eventually we had a chance to retort to each side’s arguments and then just sit and basically argue with each other.

Finally someone made the point….why do we have to pick one or the other? Can’t we have both?

Ed Valauskas stopped and said “Ah yes. I was wondering when we would get here”.

He then stood up and proposed mixing the two…is this possible? How can we?

We then drafted the above. The perfect second amendment. It reads as follows: Being necessary to the security and self-governance of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall be held in the same regard of the right of the people to keep and read books and neither shall be infringed.

Seriously. Why don’t librarians run the country?

As it stands the country does not have a Secretary of Information. We do not have an official Information Policy. And even when checking out the candidates…none have their information policy listed on their site. Why is this? Perhaps because more people care about this:

Still…aren’t these things connected? How did we end up in Iraq anyways? Misinformation? Those supposed weapons of mass destruction? Would a Secretary of Information perhaps played an important role in this decision?

I am not saying it would solve the world’s problems. But it certainly is something to think about. My class will be mailing the candidates to ask what their policy is on information. I highly encourage you to do the same. Because information does affect our daily lives…sometimes for the worse

and sometimes for the better

Have a lovely Tuesday fair readers. Remember to think critically and vote and participate. I know I will.

To do list:

1. Readings for school

2. Fix my insane sinus issues

3. Supervise my dog Shinji is his post-surgery state 😦

4. Not lose my mind.

That’s an important one.

5. Post blog on Information Policy class….oh yeah, that’s right…..a cliff hanger……

::evil laugh::

Opportunity Knocks

Hello fair readers!

I have had the fortunate opportunity to work at the Joseph Schaffner Library at Northwestern University while working on my graduate school. And now we are hiring another Intern. I would encourage any Chicago area library students to check out this paid internship. It is a wonderful environment to work in and valid experience to put on your resume. Carol is an amazing boss who will include you in many aspects of the library. So far I have been fortunate enough to contribute to library instruction podcasts, evaluate databases, and answer reference via Instant Messaging. So if you are looking for academic library experience and have a passion for progressive librarianship, I would encourage you to check out Schaffner. Here is the job posting:

For GSLIS Students
Joseph Schaffner Library Northwestern University

Joseph Schaffner Library, a branch of Northwestern University’s Library, has a part-time position available for a GSLIS student. Schaffner Library, located on Northwestern’s Chicago campus near Water Tower Place and the John Hancock Building, serves adult part-time students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs and professional development certificate programs. The library emphasizes reference services, bibliographic instruction and exploration of new technologies.
Provide reference assistance and develop familiarity with Schaffner’s reference collection. Assist patrons in the use of electronic resources, including the online catalog, a variety of online databases and the Internet. Serve as a computer consultant for a lab within the library, trouble-shooting hardware and software problems. Assist in various library operations including circulation, intercampus and interlibrary loans, checking in serials and new books, and a wide range of other projects as assigned.
Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate program of Library and Information Science. Although an extensive background with computers is not required, a demonstrated willingness to learn is essential. Completion of or current enrollment in a reference course is preferred. Interest in academic libraries is also preferred. Flexibility and the ability to work well with people is required.
Conditions of Employment:
Three five-hour shifts per week (afternoons, evenings, and weekends). The schedule is arranged around GSLIS classes. The rate of pay is $11.00 per hour, and positions typically last one year.
Please contact us for more information about this exciting pre-professional opportunity!
To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to:
Carol Doyle
Joseph Schaffner Library
339 E. Chicago Ave., 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60611
Fax: (312) 503-8930

If you have any further questions about this position I will be happy to answer on the comments below. Have a lovely Sunday everyone.

Books, Glasses, and A Shushing Action Figure.

Hello fair readers!

First let me thank everyone who participated in the survey. My paper and research are both finished, at least for the time being. However I’ll keep the survey up. Simply because it is fun and interesting and truly an ongoing work in progress.

So I figured after asking everyone to help me, I could at the very least explain what I’m doing. I have a bit of a passion for the topic of library stereotypes, the damage they can deal, and how they can be fought. My most recent paper was specifically focused on academic libraries.

The survey ended up being extremely interesting, and I wanted to post some of my results. I’ll try to keep these as anonymous as possible. Promise. 🙂

In my survey, I asked two questions. The first was if the respondent was a student and the second was “What come to mind when you think of the word “librarian”?

I’ve actually conducted this survey before but it was really me just emailing a bunch of friends and asking opinions. So this time I wanted to use a format that was a little more formal and also try to get an idea of who was responding.

Approximately 60% of the respondents were students. Which is great. I figured as long as I had a majority I could still make this pertinent to academic libraries specifically.

30% of respondents mentioned books. Trust me when I say this stat depresses me. Of course, I love books (see above picture). But libraries offer so much more than just a book. And when all is said and done with this survey…only one person said anything about a computer.

Here is a picture of University of Kentucky’s library.

That is their information commons. Isn’t it awesome? I know. Check that signage. I totally want to staff that desk. Three cheers for progressive librarians! This is one of my suggestions in the paper. Creating an information commons and hopefully having this be the first thing a patron sees when they enter the library.

Now I’m just going to share a few of the more interesting comments on the survey. Stats are only fun for so long, right?

Let’s start out with one of my favorites:

Like a Robin to a Lawyer-Batman

I must say, I had several law students reply and besides the library graduate students, they by far had the most positive answers. When I think of why this might be, I realized that law students simply interact with librarians more than the average undergraduate. It makes sense that they might think of us as the awesome research assistants that we really are. 😉

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like this. Let’s get some of the bad ones out of the way:

A woman, wearing glasses, standing behind a desk telling me to “shhhhhhh”.

Gee…wonder where they got this idea?

:::glares in the direction of a certain unfunny action figure:::

I used that one several times in the paper.

One who categorizes, shelves, retrieves, repairs books.

This is a perfect example of how a lot of people just don’t know what librarians do all day. And let me tell you, if I have to go back to shelving after having my Master’s….well lets just say it won’t be fun.

The very first thing that popped into my head was “glasses”. Not exactly sure why, but it was.

ha! That made me giggle.

Another funny one: “smelly books

ha! Love it.

Repressed middle aged woman

(See above action figure.)

And of course, this one always pops up. It surprised me at first. But then every Halloween, you always bump into one of these.


And still, the best answers can even come from librarians themselves:

Stuffy and boring, book-centric out-of-touch old lady with applique sweaters of teddy bears holding balloons. Sadly, I know this isn’t true, nonetheless it is the first thing that comes to mind. Mainly due to the root of the word “libr,” meaning book, and the oh so many Nancy Pearl connotations of a “shusher,” yet the term has come to not encapuslate the demands of the position. Viva la revolution.

We are guilty of thinking of this stereotype too. And really…when it’s all said and done, who’s fault is it that people think of these things? If you mention marketing to certain people in our field, they practically run in the other direction. Even if you do a literature search for “marketing and academic libraries”….you will have sad results indeed. (and yes, I tried truncating)

OK. The stereotype is there. Now what can we learn from this? Well, as I put forward in my paper, there are multiple ways that you can start working against the stereotypes that exist. Here are a few….and I’m not going into as many details because I just don’t want to write my paper all over again:

Update the catalog

Gaming!! (three cheers for Jenny Levine!)


Update Marketing!

To quote one of the awesome respondents, “Viva la revolution!”.

Thanks to everyone who participated. You services are deeply appreciated.

Have a lovely weekend, fair readers.

Opinions do count!

When you assist me with my research! Participate in my survey:

You know you want to. Don’t lie to yourself.