Supplementing Your Library School Education

If you aren’t overwhelmed by your library school classes, you may consider supplementing your education via a variety of alternate channels.

1. MOOCs

What is a MOOC? If you’re a gamer, you may be thinking of certain MMORPG’s right now, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong in doing so. A MOOC, or massive open online course, is an “online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web…[usually through the use of] interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors.” Finding out about different MOOCs for MLS/MLIS students can be difficult if you don’t know where to look, but fortunately there are a few MOOC providers that make it easier. The first of which is Coursera, an education company that partners with universities and other educational organizations to bring free courses to the masses. Another MOOC provider is edX. Though edX has some really interesting courses, many are not aligned with what you will be learning in library school. If you are planning on working in a specialized library, however, taking some of the courses available through edX could help prepare you for types of instructional literacy you may be required to understand. One of the very last MOOC providers is Udacity, whose catalog is currently very limited. Most of what they have to offer is more aligned with the hard sciences, but it can provide a welcome break from reading about information retrieval systems.

Another excellent way to find out about MOOCs is through your university. There are lots of top universities offering free, open access courses. Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Duke, Harvard, UCLA and Yale all over some form of MOOC content. There is even a University based in the UK called The Open University, that offers all of its courses through distance education.

File:MOOC poster mathplourde.jpg

2. Free-to-View Webinars

Librarians love webinars and library school students are no different. If there is a way to make a presentation a webinar, librarians will find it. One of the best sites for finding free webinars is Webjunction. Webjunction maintains a list of current webinars and has links to archived sessions as well. Another site that you can find information technology webinars on is Cisco’s Webex. Webex contains webinars that you can even view on your iPad, so if you’re not at a University or don’t have access to a computer capable of running a web session, you can go mobile!

Checking with your local university or library is a great place to start too. Many academic librarians offer webinars for new students, or as a resource to students unfamiliar with library resources.

You should even consider creating your own webinars via screencasting if you have learned something of interest in class. This will help you solidify the ideas and concepts you learned, as well as disseminate that information to others. The video below will show you some screencasting basics!


3. Podcasts

Podcasting has been around for awhile, but it’s still an excellent way to disseminate information. If you have a long commute or need something to listen to at the gym, a library science or information technology podcast may be right up your alley.

A list of podcasts you may find interesting:

4. Self-paced Learning Modules (eLearning)

If the speed of MOOCs are a little too intense, you should consider an online self-paced learning module. These learning modules offer interesting courses, which you can take at your own pace. This means that you can finish the course in a weeks’ time, or over several months as you have free time. One of the benefits of these self-paced courses is that you are not at the mercy of others!

The Library of Congress (because it is amazing) offers a few online modules and so does the National Library of Medicine. Another option that you can always look into are the resources available to you through your university. Some colleges and universities have created simple modules to assist students in finding resources, but they can also be helpful to library science students!

A great list of free library-related eLearning sites can be found at Library 2.0.

5. Professional Development Programs

If you are already working at a library, your professional development team should have a list of opportunities for you to check out. Local libraries can also be part of exchange programs, which would allow you access to libraries you may not know much about!

Check out a short list compiled from neflins23things professional development list:

  1. Start your own blog
  2. Learn about new technologies (Web 2.0)
  3. Start a library science RSS feed to keep current
  4. Explore social media sites and familiarize yourself with new media
  5. Experiment with photosharing and editing
  6. Understand how to utilize current web tools and communication tools
  7. Browse collaboration tools and consider starting your own Wiki
  8. Build your own search tool using Google Co-op
  9. View videos related to library issues, create your own
  10. Subscribe to a podcast, or two…or three!

Check out more of the list from Neflin23things

Your library doesn’t have a professional development team you say? Consider starting one! What better way to learn than through your own actions!

6. Subscribe to listserv’s and RSS feeds

If you’re short on time, consider subscribing to a library science listserv or curated RSS feed list. Creating a list of RSS feeds in The Old Reader is easy (similar to Google Reader), or even check out Feedly if you prefer a different view of your RSS feeds. Most of these RSS readers are available on a mobile device, so even if you’re on the go you can still be connected.

Email may be more your thing and if that’s the case, subscribing to listservs allows the information to be delivered “right to your front inbox.” The Library of Congress (did I tell you how awesome it was yet?) has a wonderful list of library related listservs for you to peruse, as well as some other LIS resources to get you started.

7. Leisure Reading

Last, but not least, read about what interests you! Check out the 50+ Articles Every Librarian Should Read and curate your own list of articles you think would benefit other MLS students.

LibSchool Texts

The shelf of a library school student

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Finding the Unfindable

I have a new obsession. Yes, it is library-related. It happened a few weeks ago when I was reading a book at work. I noticed a citation for a conference poster and it got me thinking about the materials that aren’t readily available. I traced the poster back and then read up on searching for conference proceedings. It was then that my new love appeared.

Grey literature.

What is grey literature? According to the ICGL Luxembourg definition and Wiki:

Information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e., where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body. –ICGL

Gray literature…refers to informally published written material (such as reports) that may be difficult to trace via conventional channels such as published journals and monographs because it is not published commercially or is not widely accessible –Wiki

This includes materials such as reports, clinical trials, conference proceedings, posters/slide presentations, reviews, social network data and preprints. The list really does go on though…

Image

 

So why is grey/gray literature important? As an academic health science librarian, my patron base tends to be on the up-and-up when it comes to information literacy. Years of medical school, nursing school, and the hard sciences have honed their search abilities and the questions they come to me with are the questions they have already tried to answer. Simply searching Google or Pubmed doesn’t help, since they have already tried both (plus a few others) before coming to the library. Most of the researchers who visit the reference desk need to find a single piece of elusive data or a conference paper about a rare disease that was presented at a conference in India, in 1984.

This is where knowledge of the “grey areas” really helps. Knowing what databases are available to you can reduce the number of searches you perform, which will ultimately save you time.

The more I read about grey literature, the greater my obsession with it grew. Soon it was boiling over and I needed to create something that would allow me to organize all of the knowledge I had recently acquired. I decided to create a LibGuide about Grey Literature in the Health Sciences. It hasn’t been as popular as my other LibGuides, but it is in its infancy. I’m going to be adding more pages about searching for visual material (posters, images, videos, etc..), but I am learning about this as I go. I have even convinced my library school team to do a “review of methods” and literature review based on the question, “How has the Internet and open access publishing affect grey literature?”

So exciting!

GreyLine

The “spectrum” of research.

50+ Articles Every Librarian Should Read

A few days ago I was putzing around on r/Librarians and I came upon the following:

“Just wondering if anyone knows of any books / articles / websites that are essential, or at least very useful, for anyone who wants to know the field?”

I went about my day helping patrons, attending meetings and working on promotional materials and yet all the while I was thinking about what I had read regarding librarianship. Throughout the day I spoke with my coworkers, asking them what they had read while pursuing their MLS/MLIS and even what they would recommend to me as an aspiring librarian. After collecting a fairly extensive list from coworkers, other blog posts and my own experiences I decided to post the collection I put together*.

  • Anderson, Rick. (2011). The Crisis in Research Librarianship. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. doi:10.1016/jacalib.2011.04.001Are Librarians Still Important? | Scholastic.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2013, from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3757441
  • Willen-Brown, Stephanie. (2008). The Reference Interview: Theories and Practice, Stephanie Willen Brown. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. University Website. Retrieved May 16, 2013, from http://unllib.unl.edu/LPP/willenbrown.htm

*Pardon the APA formatting, I will come back and clean these up as I have time. Also, please let me know is any of the links don’t work so I can fix them.

A link to the Zotero Collection: 50+ Articles Every Librarian Should Read
Join the “Librarian Must-Reads Zotero Group!

Robot, Zombie, Frankenstein Story Time

I really need to update this more, we do so many fun things at the library and I should document them! I have been so busy though! We lost one of our part-time employees and have been training a second, very time consuming.

In the midst of training, however, we had a wonderful story time featuring Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon. I paired the book with The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara and If You’re A Monster and You Know It… by Ed Emberley. All three books were really great and the kids loved them, of course. I always know that any book about pirates, ninjas, robots, monsters (especially zombies) and aliens will do well at story time!

We started off story time by reading Robot Zombie Frankenstein. The kids really listened to this book. I think the combination of bright, vivid illustrations and easy to follow dialogue helped. We talked about what kinds of robots they would build if they had a chance and then I handed out an amazing activity pack from Annette Simon’s website.

Robot Zombie Fridge
“Mine can fly AND jump really high!” – Creator

The kids enjoyed doing the packets while I set up for the robot building craft. I had them sit at the table and read them The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot. They were a little wound up, but eventually calmed down enough to where they were listening well. I then gave them scrap paper (from past projects) and let them create a their own robot/monster/whatevers.

Robot Zombie Florist

When they had finished their craft, we rounded out the story time by dancing to If You’re a Monster and You Know It… and singing along. Fabulous story time, with fabulous books, by fabulous authors!

Robot Zombie War Machine
The book his robot is holding is titled “The Ancient War”

Attack of the Robots!

Spring Has Sprung Story Time

Before this nasty bit of hot weather, we had a few weeks of glorious spring weather. In celebration of the birds singing and the flowers blooming, I decided we would make spring tree boughs.

The kids loved the craft, especially since they got to use glue and “shiny things.” I thought the craft turned out wonderful, with each of the kids creating a different picture. A few of them made fields of sequin flowers, some made a single branch and a couple made an entire tree.

I chose two wonderful books about spring to read to the kids. The first one is called And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. I have never read any of her other books, but this one has definitely gotten my attention!

It’s a beautiful book about a boy who plants a garden while there is still “brown” around. Brown grass. Brown leaves. Brown weather. He wonders why his garden isn’t growing throughout the seasons…

And Then It’s Spring…and its green all around.

I would definitely recommend this book. The prose is poignant and the illustrations are gorgeous. The story might hit home with adults a bit more than preschool children, but the kids were very attentive and asked questions about the illustrations. Any book that promotes discussion among pre-readers is ok in my book!


The second book that I read was It’s Spring by Samantha Berger. It is a board book, but the rhyming prose is just too cute. The kids had me read it to them twice! The second time they tried to say it with me, which I thought was adorable. The kids really liked the little rabbit and the rhyming goes something like:

” The robin told the rabbit…
The rabbit told the deer…
The deer told the duck…
Then all the birds began to sing
To tell the bears, “Wake up, it’s spring!”

Then it was on to the crafts. The kids sat at different tables and started creating their spring scenes!

The kids getting down to business with their pictures.

I just used some left over blue printer paper, crayons and each child had a small cup of sequins and pieces of tissue paper.

You can see in the picture that each of them created something unique and different! A few of the kids were a bit older and they always seem to try and replicate the example that I give them.

Though I always try to use glue sticks, the sequins don’t really work well with anything beside white glue. The younger kids were THRILLED to get to use the white glue and it was good practice for them since most will be going into kindergarten shortly.

Having a few older kids at this story time was great. They were a big help with the younger ones!

The table of older kids really liked the craft too. I let them do several pictures since they were getting so into it. The creativity of all the kids was really astounding! Even though I had just shown them a picture of a fairly mundane tree bough, their trees had curly branches, sequin birds and falling leaves.

One of the little girls picked out all the pink, clear and white sequins. Her entire tree branch matched the little pink dress she was wearing and when I asked her what her favorite color was she pointed to the pink sequin bird she had made.

I will definitely do this craft again! Maybe a Christmas tree?

After story time, the kids and their parents picked their books for the next two weeks. I always love to see the way the kids interact with their parents when choosing books. It’s wonderful to see the kids so excited to read!

May the 4th Be With You

It’s been a long time since I have been able to post! Been busy, busy, busy at the library.

The library has been busy gearing up for our Summer Reading Program and I have been planning all our events. We have some really great programs planned for all our patrons for the months of May-August and I am very pleased with the themes we have chosen.

One of the most exciting programs I have had was my May 4th Story Time! Since May 4th was “Star Wars Day,” I decided to show the younger generations some intergalactic fun. Our wonderful bookstore-next-door, The River Reader, donated an event kit for Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown and I pulled some of our juvenile Star Wars books for them to check out.

How cute is little Luke?

We started by talking a little bit about space. I asked them, “How many of you like to learn about space?” Every hand was in the air, so I continued with, “Would you want to live in space?”

A few of them said they would and described the kind of spaceship they would want to live in. Then I showed them the book we were going to be reading and a few of them knew Darth Vader already. The book isn’t a typical “story time” book and I had to interact with the kids quite a bit to keep them focused. The illustrations are adorable though, so I had the kids sit really close so that the cute details didn’t go unnoticed.

“He’s playing with Legos like I do!” – Story Time Attendee

The kids seemed to really enjoy the book, even though it wasn’t as much fun for me to read as say, Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door, and they had a lot of Star Wars related questions after we were done. When I had answered all their questions, we headed to make our crafts. I had pre-cut out Stormtrooper masks for the kids and I let them color them however they wanted.

“I want to be a Stormtrooper when I grow up!”

I also sent the kids home with copies of activities from the event kit.  The full PDF kit can be downloaded at Activity Kit for Darth Vader and Son. If you feel so inclined you can print off Yoda coloring pages for them to take home too.

All in all, the kids really enjoyed the story time. I would suggest trying to find another book to read a long with Darth Vader and Son if you want the kids to be a little more attentive. Some of the jokes are more for adults, but you don’t have to be a fan of Star Wars to enjoy this book.

“That wasn’t very nice of Greedo.” – Story Time Attendee

Follow @ChronicleBooks for more great reads!
Read more about the author at: Jeffrey Brown Comics

Holiday Gifts for the Literary Critics in Your Life

It’s that time of year again. The time when you put on a smiling face in public, but are barely keeping sane behind closed doors. It’s time to get into the holiday spirit! This time each year, we are all making our lists and forgetting to check them twice (which means a run to the mall the night before). Thankfully, you have me. The few of your who do read this blog will be happy to know that I have done the work for you and compiled a list of gifts for all the bookworms in your life!
For the Librarian:

Book shelf necklace
Librarian Love
Librarian Action Figure
Librarians Love Buttons
Handmade Book Page Wreath
Vintage Book Handbag

For the Future Author:

Typewriter of the Future
Describers Dictionary
Oscar Wilde Action Figure
USA Literary Map
A subscription to writersmarket.com

For the YA Book Lover:

Teen Ink subscription
The Hunger Games Collectors Edition
“I’m with the banned” tote
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Harry Potter Poster

For the Avid Reader:

eReader Covers
Nook Simple Touch
Out of Print T-shirt
Literary Quote Tote
Jane Austen for President Travel Mug

For the Little Bookworms:

Doodle Cook by Herve Tullet
LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Publishing
The Lion and The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins
V.Reader by VTech

Literary Stocking Stuffers:

Upcycled Book Earrings
Handmade Bookmarks
Mockingjay Pin
Literary Lites
Mini Journals