(Belated) Happy First Blogoversary to Me & Important Announcement

That's right folks, "Adventures in Library School" turned one last week (May 9th for those of you keeping track). I missed posting on the actual date in the rush to get ready for a brief vacation back in Colorado, but I wanted to do something to mark the occasion. It seems like calling out favorite posts from the past year is a common theme of blogoversary posts, so I'm going to follow that trend, and take a little trip down memory lane. Here are my 5 faves from the last year (in chronological order):

  1. Hello World! Where it all began....
  2. A Visit to the British Library. The first adventure I chronicled on this blog was my trip to England last May/June. While there, I managed to fall absolutely goofy in love with the British Library (which, considering that it's a very old school library, is managing to pull off the Library 2.0 thing pretty well). ::wistful sigh::
  3. The Dewey Binary System. I have a... quirky... sense of humor, sometimes. I may be the only person who finds this funny, but since this is my blog, I'm the only person who has to find it funny.
  4. Tucson Rivers: Easy Come, Easy Go and Tucson Rivers Pt. 2. Okay so this is kind of cheating, but these two posts really do go together. Tucson had some pretty amazing rainstorms last summer, and I was lucky enough to be able to document some of the results.
  5. It's Not About Us: Un-Sucky Design and the 21st Century Library. In which I get my rant on and explain my library service philosophy. I'm pleased to note that since that rant, the self-checkout stations at my local public library have actually been replaced with something usable.

And with that little blast from the past completed, it's now time for me to make a fairly important announcement.

These are the last words I'll be writing on "Adventures in Library School".

No, no. I'm not going to quit blogging (I've been doing this for a year, I'm addicted now). But I've run into a slight problem.... You see, this blog is called "Adventures in Library School" and I'm no longer *in* library school and suddenly the blog name doesn't seem quite right....

So, I now have a new blog, "Adventures in Librarianship" and a new home for it at www.adventuresinlibrarianship.com. And, although I'm sorry to have to make folks do this, it's time to update your browser bookmarks and your RSS feeds, 'cause I be movin'. See ya'll over on the new site.

(And a prize goes out to Rebecca Blakiston and Tom Ipri for being the first folks to note that my blog had outgrown its name - I owe each of you a drink the next time I see you in Real Life.)

Tweet, Tweet! Tweet, Tweet!

Yes, that's right folks! I've finally jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon. Another Web 2.0 sheep is born. Baaa! So, if any of you out there in libraryland are still reading this blog after its long hiatus, and want to read a bunch of allegedly funny, occasionally snarky (but probably ultimately inane) comments from me about my day in 140 characters or less, I can be found at http://twitter.com/advinlib

I'd have signed up sooner, but I knew I didn't need that kind of a timesink while the semester was still going on (school was a supersized black hole of a timesink all by itself, didn't need any help).

And to my family, who no doubt have absolutely *no* clue what I'm talking about. Twitter is a sort of strange little mini-blog. The idea is to post updates that answer the question, "What are you doing?" The catch is that your answer to that question has to be 140 characters or fewer. Yes, it probably really is just about as dumb and inane as it sounds. However, it's really taken off amongst the geek set (library geeks included) as another way to stay connected with friends. So, library geek that I am, I'm giving it a whirl!

I think the 140 character limit could be a good thing for me. As y'all might have noticed, I tend to ramble a bit ;-) so putting a limit on the amount I can write at a time could be a good writing exercise. I'm choosing to think of this as internet haiku.

Finally Finished!

Well, I did it. I'm now done with library school. The last of the projects has been turned in. The last of the forum messages posted. The last bits of my internship got finished up a while back. As the old schoolyard rhyme goes: "No more homework! No more books! No more teacher's dirty looks!" I'm not going to recap everything that's happened (I'll just start whining and ranting, and I don't want to do that), instead, I'll just leave it at saying that I'm overjoyed to finally be done.

I need a vacation.

Go LSO!

At the risk of sounding stupid for making the same apology and excuse for not blogging that every other blogger seems to make... sorry I've been so quiet lately, but I've been busy. And since I expect the busy to continue until this semester draws to a close, I expect to go back to radio silence shortly. However, I have some awesome news that I've just got to share.

The University of Arizona's Library Student Organization has just won the American Library Association Student Chapter of the Year Award!

In the spirit of ALA's New Member's Round Table (NMRT), the Student Chapter of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a chapter's outstanding contributions to the American Library Association, their school, and the profession. The purpose of the award is to increase student involvement in ALA through student chapters, and to recognize future leaders in the profession. (ALA | Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee)

LSO has done some really great things this past year: the symposium, the blog, oodles of professional development programs, lots of fun social events, getting virtual students involved by letting them use Skype to attend our meetings, and a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting right now. It's been a great ride and helping out with all this stuff has been one of the highlights of my time in library school. So I'm over the moon that LSO has received recognition like this.

Rock on, LSO!

Woosh!

That wooshing noise I've been hearing lately was January speeding past. In the time since I last blogged, the following has happened: School started again - my final semester here at Arizona. I'm taking two classes and an internship. The semester got off to a slightly rocky start due to a hacker getting into the UA Library's computer system - causing them to shut everything down and make sure there weren't any nasties lurking in any of their systems, from public desktops all the way up to their servers. A good thing to do from a security standpoint, but shutting off library systems like electronic course reserves and interlibrary loan at the beginning of the semester caused, to put it mildly, problems.

I think my classes are going to be interesting this semester. I'm taking a class about marketing library services - an interesting subject in itself, and it's being taught by one of the best teachers in our department - I think it'll be fun. My other class is about diversity in libraries and although I think it will be interesting too, I'm slightly worried by the fact the the professor doesn't quite seem to have figured out what to do with the class. We'll see.

Then there's my internship, which is proving to be quite interesting already, even though I've barely started. For one thing, (and I realize in the grand scheme of an internship as a learning experience, this is a trivial thing, but...) I have an office. Of my own. This is a first for me, and I'm probably more excited about this than I need to be.... Then there's the project I'm working on, which looks like it's going to turn out to be even more interesting than I originally thought.

I thought I'd be helping to design and produce a little online, interactive tutorial for a single subject for one of the Law Library's legal reference classes. Well, it looks like I may get to do a bit more than just one tutorial - they've never taught this class as a virtual class before, and it's looking like I may have a hand in helping to figure out how to best translate the whole class from a 5-day on-campus intensive class to a 1-day on-campus plus 3 week online hybrid class.

That's just... cool.

Oh, and I went to ALA Midwinter, and I think I'm still disoriented. My, but that is a large conference.... Still, I enjoyed myself. I got to see some of the friends I made at Internet Librarian, meet some new folks, attend some informative sessions, see the new Seattle Public Library (oooo, shiny....), hang out with some of the gang from Tucson and go sight-seeing, sample some really excellent microbrewed beer, get a couple of nice tips on job possibilities, attend the LITA Blogs, Interactive Media, Groupware, and Wikis Interest Group committee meeting (cool group, that - and they've got some neat stuff going on - I hope I can find the time to stay involved with them). I even managed to blog about Midwinter, just not here. If anyone's interested in my very short report, head over to the Library Student Organization blog: http://lsoarizona.blogspot.com/2007/01/seattle-impressions.html

And since getting back from Midwinter, I've also gotten to fulfill my first work as editor of our student webzine by putting up our first issue of the year (if you're interested, you can find it here: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2007jan_vol4_no2/default.htm). I can't claim full credit for the editorial work, though - the previous editor gathered most of the stories, I just did a bit of copyediting and posted them - but it's a start. I'm glad it's up, too. Now I can start pestering people in earnest for contributions for the next issue.

Big things are happening with my position as LSO webmaster, too. We're realizing that since our school has a large group of virtual students (both distance students and local students - by the time I finish, I'll have taken 2/3s of my classes virtually, and I live in Tucson), and since web technologies like blogs, wikis and podcasts becoming important for librarians to understand, we really need to give some thought to our group's web presence. So, we've started a committee to take a look at what LSO can do to better support our virtual members, and what we can do to give LSO members a chance to play around with this technology a little. Should keep me from getting too bored as webmaster.

And of course with less than a semester to go before graduation, my job search is beginning in earnest...

So, yeah, January's been a bit busy. However things are finally starting to settle down to a more normal level of chaos, and I hope to be posting a little more regularly from now on.

Classroom Blogging

I'm sitting in on the social computing section of our intro to library and information science class and since we're talking about blogging, I thought I'd post a message from the class. If any 504 students are reading this, feel free to comment.

5 Things You Don't Know About Beth Hoffman

So, while catching up with my newsfeeds after an exciting holiday season (pictures to come eventually), I discovered that I've been tagged with the "5 Things" meme that's been floating around (thanks David). This is kind of a tricky one, though, since a significant portion of my readership are family (who know more about me than I'd prefer to share in this space), but here goes: 1) In addition to being the LSO Webmaster this semester, I'm also going to be the editor of our student webzine, Bibliotech. Muwhahahaha! I get to unleash my inner copyeditor! What fun.

2) I have delusions of authorship (of books, that is). I have this idea for a sci-fi story that's been kicking around in my head and growing and evolving for years. Someday I hope to have the time to write the thing down.

3) I am a huge, huge, geeky, pathetic Terry Pratchett fangirl. I've read all the Diskworld novels, and I'm slowly working my way through some of the more obscure titles ("The Bromeliad Trilogy", "Only You Can Save Mankind"). My 3 favorite Pratchetts? "Night Watch", "Going Postal", and "Thief of Time".

Royal Observatory: Prime Meridian 4) I've only ever left the country twice, but in the course of those trips, I've crossed the Equator, the International Dateline, and the Prime Meridian. Okay, so the Equator and the Dateline were crossed while on an airplane in the middle of the Pacific, but I've still crossed 'em. I love to travel, so here are some other travel-related things I hope to do: Visit all 50 states, visit every National Park in the US, visit all 7 continents.

5) When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronomer, and it's all Carl Sagan's fault. I even got as far as getting myself an A.S. in Physics before Calculus and Differential Equations finally defeated me. Although I don't follow the world of astronomy as much as I used to, I still love to just watch the night sky, though....

And since just about everybody I know and read has already been tagged with this meme, I'll throw it out to anybody who hasn't yet been tagged but wants to participate.

Exciting News!

I have two bits of news that I've been sitting on for a while, and it looks like I can finally announce both of them. First newsbyte: For the spring semester, I will be interning at the library at the University of Arizona John E. Rogers College of Law. I'll be helping one of the reference librarians there put together an interactive learning module for one of the library's legal reference classes. I'm overjoyed about this: I'll get to do some fun geeky things, and I get to be a little bit involved in teaching, which is cool (my parents are both teachers - love of teaching is in the blood).

Second newsbyte: Election results are in, and I am now officially the Webmaster for my school's Library Student Organization. Because my school has a significant number of distance students, our online presence is important, and I'm hoping that in my time as webmaster I can come up with some ways to give our distance students more of a chance to particpiate in the organization.

Of course, between these two things, regular classes, a job search, and life in general, I'm going to be extremely busy during the spring semester. But hey, I've never done bored well, and sleep is overrated. ;-)

Next semester's gonna rock!

It's Not About Us: Un-Sucky Design and the 21st Century Library

My User Interface and Web Site Design class this past semester allowed me to get reacquainted with an old web design site I'd lost touch with: Web Pages That Suck. And then when the updated, "Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015" article came out, I had a minor epiphany. Take a look at mistake number one:

These ladies are laughing at you. Why? You designed your web site for your needs, not their needs. It gets worse. After they stop laughing, they’re going to one of your competitors’ sites and buy something. ...

  1. The only reason my web site exists is to solve my customers’ problems.
  2. What problems does the page I’m looking at solve?

Too many organizations believe that a web site is about opening a new marketing channel or getting donations or to promote a brand or to increase company sales by 15%. No. It’s about solving your customers’ problems. Have I said that phrase enough?

Now, this is definitely something that's important to keep in mind when you're designing the web page or online catalog for your library, but how about expanding the idea just a bit and applying it to the library as a whole?

  1. The only reason my library exists is to solve my customers’ problems.
  2. What problems does the library service I’m looking at solve?

How many library services and/or programs exist to solve library customer's problems, and how many of them exist to solve the librarian's problems? And how many of those services that we think exist only to solve our customer's problems are designed in a way to make the service easier for the customer to use (not easier for the librarian, easier for the customer)?

  • Is your signage written in library jargon, or is it written in language the average human is able to understand?
  • Is your self-service holds pick-up section arranged by something your average customer is likely to instantly understand, like the customer's last name, or have you just used your library's standard classification system? (I'm looking at you, University of Arizona Library)
  • Is your self-checkout system easy enough for the average person to figure out, or does it require some not-readily apparent "magic gesture"? (I'm looking at you, Pima County Public Library)
  • Is your nifty new WiFi service public, or is it only available to library card holders (and then only after they've entered their 15-digit, impossible to remember library card number)?
  • Are your online databases directly available to folks who are logged into your WiFi network, or do they still have to enter their 15-digit impossible to remember library card number (again)? (Even if they wouldn't have to do this if they were using one of the library computers.)

I could go on, but I think those examples make my point.

Oh, and for the folks who dispute that the library exists solely to solve our customer's problems, and say that it also exists to preserve the information, knowledge, and wisdom of the world, I will say this:

Why is it so important to preserve all this information, knowledge, and wisdom?

Oh, that's right. It's because somebody will need to use that information, knowledge, and wisdom someday....

Housekeeping

Now that the semester's over and I've had some time to think, I'm realizing that there are some odds and ends I've been meaning to mention and haven't gotten around to. So, in no particular order, here they are: Everybody's slides from the SIRLS/LSO Symposium are now up on the web and can be found at: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/symposium06/presentationsFinal.htm There were some really great presentations this time around, and although just looking at the slides isn't quite the same as being at the presentation, there's still some good stuff there.

I've got my own page of presentations (including slides) here: http://www.adventuresinlibraryschool.com/presentations/ I've only done two presentations so far, but I'm hoping that the list will slowly grow - the two I've done so far have been fun.

I've also got a page with my various Flickr photo albums here: http://www.adventuresinlibraryschool.com/photos/ including (and I'm really sorry I've been forgetting to mention this for so long) all of the photos from my trip to England this summer. For the friends and family who have been waiting for months to see the England pics, they're also available directly by going here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventuresinlibrarianship/sets/72157600222260041/

Rollin' Home

The end of the semester has come once again. This one just flew by, and since I didn't have an final exams, just final projects and final bits of discussion, I'm kind of left feeling that it hasn't really quite ended yet. One nice thing about final exams - you do get a wonderful sense of closure when you're done. It's been an... interesting... semester. I think it's going to wind up being one I remember more for stuff that happened outside of my classes than for the classes themselves. That's not to say the classes were bad or anything (although one of them was so good that it made the other two look bad in comparison). But when I look back at some of the other stuff that happened this semester: Internet Librarian, the Symposium here in Tucson, the fact that our Library Student Organization had a pretty active membership this semester, the classes kind of take a back seat. I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.And now after two days of mad rushing to finish up projects at work (school may be finished, but when I'm the graduate assistant for a winter session course and work continues throughout the break - at least I can do all of it virtually for now) and at home, I'm just about to head off to Colorado for the holidays to see family, friends, pine trees, Pikes Peak, mountain air, and with any luck, snow.

I can feel my stress level dropping already.

A Confession and a Request

I like to think of myself as a computer geek and an internet geek. I've built computers and installed many different flavors of many different operating systems over the years. I've been on the internet so long that I remember what it was like before the web and all the pretty pictures (no, I'm not really that old - I've just been on the net since I was in my teens). I'm down with all the Web 2.0 social software goodness (although I do my best to stay away from YouTube - too much of a timesink). Heck, I've even annexed myself a computer science degree. But even with all that geek cred, I must confess that there is one huge, gaping, and increasingly embarrassing gap in my knowledge: Instant Messaging

I don't IM, I never have. I've blithely ignored this entire sector of the internet. The last time I did real time chat on the net was back in the bad old days of IRC (which, as far as I can remember, was just plain painful over dial-up, even back in the day before everybody was online). I just never really saw the point (particularly since I've now got free long distance on my cell phone and can call family to keep in touch).

However, it's come home to me in the last couple of months that this is a bit of ignorance that I need to correct. However, I really kind of feel like I've missed the boat when it comes to IM, and I'm not even really sure where to start to learn a little more.

So, here's my request to any of the IMing folks who are reading this (particularly the library folk): if any of you know of a good "IM for Newbies" kind of website, article, etc. could you please let me know about it? I don't necessarily need info on how to choose and use software (I'm pretty good at figuring that out myself), but I'd love to find a basic guide to IM etiquette.

Oh, and if you're feeling brave enough to tutor an IM noob, I can be AIM'd at advinlib.

Thanks.

Redecorating

You know, this is probably a sign that I shouldn't be left alone with a bottle of wine, an internet connection, and a day off. For reasons that are no longer entirely clear to me, I decided to redecorate "Adventures in Library School" this afternoon. Fresher theme, nicer banner. Oh, and widgets. Mmm, widgets (gotta go see what other ones are out there one of these days). At some point I do intend to do my own theme, but of course, I've been saying that since May. And there's something slightly goofy going on with the banner image (at least on my computer). For the moment, though, I'm kinda liking this new look.

Let me know what you think, and if you notice that anything's broken.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my family and all my friends (old and new), I wish you the best this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day, enjoy the food, enjoy the football if that's your thing. If you're spending the day with family and friends, enjoy the company. If you're flying solo, enjoy the solitude. Relax, laugh, play.

Oh, and to my fellow SIRLS students, for heaven's sake, put the homework away and take the day off. I am, and if I can do it, so can you.

Peace.

The 2006 SIRLS Grad Student Symposium

Hottest Ticket in Town Our second annual graduate student symposium was a rousing success. Although attendance was down from last year, we still had a pretty good sized group of people show up, and the folks who came were all interested and enthusiastic about the presentations. Speaking of presentations, the slides will be up on the LSO website soon, when they are, I'll post a link. All of the presentations I attended were great! Even though this was a smaller group this year, I actually think the overall quality of the presentations was a bit better than last year - not that last year's were bad, they weren't - but this year's were really good. Here's a brief recap of the presentations I saw:

Shana Presenting Shana Harrington's presentation, "Are Irish Public Libraries Similar and/or Different than American Public Libraries?" was great. Shana did an internship at a public library in Dublin this past summer and got some first-hand experience in the similarities and differences between public libraries here and there. Really interesting stuff - there are a lot of commonalities, but a few surprising differences. Maybe one of the most surprising is the fact that the public libraries in Dublin rotate their staff through different positions (and different libraries) every 5 years - they have a policy of not wanting people to get too specialized in their jobs.

Jeff Collins' presentation, "Digitization Projects" was also great. Jeff talked about projects like Google Print and Yahoo's Open Content Alliance project. Google Print (I think they're calling it Google Book Search now) has made a lot of news, and I've been following that story sporadically, but I haven't followed news about the Open Content Alliance much at all, so it was great to hear a bit of an overview of what they're up to. I really must spend some time learning about that soon. It was also interesting to hear some of the other worries that people have about such digitization projects beyond copyright issues. Copyright infringement issues make headlines, but issues such as how accurate the scanning is (and how much data might be lost in the scanning process) and how the constantly changing electronic formats are affecting preservation are just as important.

Wendy Begay's presentation, "Digital Divide in Navajoland" was a real eye-opener. Having grown up in the southwest, I thought I was reasonably aware of the Digital Divide issues Native Americans still face, but it was sobering to realize just how big the divide still is. Wendy talked about a program that got funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to provide computers and internet access to a number of Native American tribes in the southwestern US, and how the program worked out for the Navajo Nation. It was fascinating to hear about the issues - both technical and cultural - involved with this program, and since Wendy is Navajo herself, she has a great perspective on this subject.

Oh, and my presentation went well too. This was the first big presentation I've ever done, and I was a little nervous. However, I maintained my outward cool, the technology I was using behaved itself, and everyone I talked to afterward said they learned something. All good things, I think. I actually enjoyed myself quite a lot. I'm going to have to do this sort of thing more often.

Michael Stephens Michael Stephens' keynote, "Library 2.0: Planning, People and Participation" was awesome. It was just the thing to get us all charged up about the profession at a point in the semester when the deadlines are coming up behind us fast and enthusiasm is starting to flag just a bit in the face of end-of-semester homework. It's great to see some of the cool stuff that's happening in libraries now. We've still got a ways to go in convincing everybody that we're about a lot more than just books these days, but I'm looking forward to being involved in the changes that are coming. So, Michael, thanks for making the jaunt down to Tucson to talk to us!

Gentle Bens The post-symposium reception was also great. I got to see some folks I haven't seen in awhile, including Andrea Lemeiux, the past LSO president who was the primary force behind getting the symposium started last year (she's now a public librarian in Los Angeles County). She came for the state library conference and stayed on in AZ a couple of days so she could come to the symposium, too. Very cool. As seems to be the case with professional development activities like this, the after-session get-togethers are usually as interesting and informative as the sessions themselves, and this was no exception. A splendid time was had by all (well, at least by me), and conversation continued on into the evening.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

More photos can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventuresinlibrarianship/sets/72157603061383766/.

Showtime!

I expect that most of the Tucson locals reading this already know about the SIRLS Graduate Student Symposium that's happening tomorrow, but I thought I'd give one last invite. The details about the symposium can be found here: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/symposium06/schedule.htm, and if you're in town tomorrow, stop by and see us. You don't have to register, and the more the merrier. The symposium gives us grad students a chance to make presentations in a lower-stress atmosphere than a conference might be, and it also gives us a chance to hear about what our fellow student are up to.

This year we've got people talking about: Internships in Ireland, Google Print and Other Digitization Projects, The Digital Divide in Navajo Land, Ethical Dilemmas in Reference, and more. (And wish me luck tomorrow morning: I'm presenting on RSS and I'm a wee bit nervous.) Our keynote speaker is Michael Stephens of Tame the Web, who will be talking about Library 2.0.

There will be a reception at Gentle Ben's on University afterwards.

Last year's inaugural symposium was a rousing success and a really great time, so come by and help make this year's even better!

Playing Hookey

Desert LandscapeI probably shouldn't have done it - I have a mountain of stuff to do this week that's roughly the height of K2. But Monday was just one of those gorgeous, perfect days that occasionally comes 'round to Tucson: clear skies, temps in the 70s, light breeze, and it was just too nice to be cooped up indoors.So I played hookey from my mountain of work (and one of the nice things about taking all virtual classes is that I wasn't really missing anything), and headed for one of my favorite places in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which despite just having museum in the name is really a sort of combination of natural history museum, zoo, and botanic gardens. It also happens to be one of the very best places in the area to get out of the city for a little while and enjoy the wonderful weather. Coati I have to remember more frequently that the occasional break from school can recharge the batteries, and I think this one was needed (I may think differently during the next couple of days as deadlines loom, but probably not). It wasn't really even a total time-waster slacker activity either. I got a chance to take shiny new Canon Digital Rebel camera out for a bit of practice - something I desperately need, my last SLR camera was a 20 or so year old Minolta that didn't have such advances as auto-focus, and I haven't had a lot of time to learn all the bells and whistles on my new toy (sad thing is, it ain't all that new anymore - I got it in June, I just haven't had a lot of time to use it).

And although my primary love when it comes to digital photography is still landscapes, I also got a chance to practice photographing animals, and I think I'm getting a little better at that. Not good enough to go looking for a job at National Geographic, but better. The trick, of course, is to be patient (stop laughing, Mom, I can be patient when I want to). Of course, I think the other trick is really knowing your gear inside-out - I took a lot of really strange pics yesterday before I realized that I had somehow managed to get it set to a fairly slow shutter speed - not the best of settings for recording moving animals. But even some of the mistakes came out interesting, like this one of an ocelot:

Ocelot

The best of the photos are up on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adventuresinlibrarianship/sets/72157600433239241/ if anybody wants to take a look.

Any Given Day

If you're not a football fan you might want to skip this post. And if you're a Cal fan, you definitely want to skip this post. Don't say I didn't warn ya. The Arizona Wildcats have not done a great deal to win me over as a fan in the year and a half I've been at UA (I'm still first and foremost a Colorado fan when it comes to college ball). But every so often they manage to pull off something amazing.

Like today.

When they handed a loss to 8th ranked California on national television for their homecoming game.

Alas, I was not at the game (one thing I don't like about grad school is that it's kept me too busy to even contemplate attending sporting events - I still haven't ever been to game), but I did get to watch it.

The first half was pretty shaky, and I feared the worst (the Cats haven't had the best of seasons so far), but whatever pep talk Mike Stoops gave the guys at halftime worked wonders. They battled back from trailing by 14 to leading by 7 (a lead which eventually dropped to 4). They had some very lucky breaks: there was a very bad pass interference call on a Cal interception that broke their way and saved their bacon, and they also got lucky when the Cal touchdown that would have cost them the lead got called back on review because the receiver had stepped out of bounds.

But those two interceptions that won them the game? Oh, those were sweet. So very sweet.

Damn, I love this game.

GO WILDCATS!

My Thoughts on Library and Information Science Education

It's weird sometimes how one topic can pop up in a bunch of different places at once. There's been a debate going on in my library management class right now about library education, and the real value of the MLS degree. A few of my fellow students (and I'll admit, I include myself in this group) are frustrated that our classes are focused a lot on theory and that we're not getting very much practical experience (or that any practical experience we might have is discounted because we don't yet have our degrees). Then I come across two very thoughtful blog posts from folks about the current state of library education and the value of the MLS degree, and some of the issues that arise from a degree that's focused more on theory than practice. So, please, before you read on and hear my thoughts, go read this post by Josh Neff and this post by Nicole Engard. I'll wait. Josh made the point that as the new grad, his more experienced colleagues are fond of joking whenever some sticky situation comes up, that "I bet you didn't learn about this in library school." To which I only have one thing to say: Why in the name of God aren't we learning how to handle real-life situations in library school?!?!?! We're getting a degree that is to prepare us for professional practice, so why on Earth is it assumed that we don't need anything more than a theoretical background to enter professional practice?

Nicole mentioned, "We need to require on the job training like they do for teachers (student teaching). The professors instructing us (most of the time) haven’t been in a library in a while and don’t know about the real changes that are going on - by making students work while they go to school we can hope that they’ll get more out of their education." To which I say I absolutely agree!

To make my point a little clearer, let me offer a couple of other examples from still other professions. When you go to Medical school you have to learn theory, but to get your MD, you also have to get practical experience with, you know, real patients. When you get your nursing degree, you have to learn theory, but you are also required to to get practical, clinical experience. In my opinion, this does a lot to engender my respect for those professions. I know that even if my doctor is just out of med school or the nurse assisting with some medical procedure is just out of nursing school, I am *not* the first patient they have ever interacted with. This gives me some confidence that even if they're new, they have some experience behind them and they know what they're doing.

So, why do we send MLS grads out into the world thinking that the theoretical background we get in library school is enough? I do *not* (I emphatically do *NOT*) dispute the need for MLS grads to have the theoretical background we get - part of the point of getting an advanced degree is that it's supposed to give you that deeper, advanced theoretical background. But I think we do ourselves a disservice as a profession that we don't also see the need to give people entering the profession the same kind of practical experience that is part and parcel of the training in other professions.

It's not that we don't need the theory and the understanding of the role of librarianship that we're getting in our library education programs. We do. But if the point of being a professional, is the ability to apply theory to practice, then we're getting only half an education if all we're learning is the theory. Medicine, nursing, and education are three professions that understand the value of practical training as an integral part of the educational experience. I sincerely hope that librarianship will learn this same lesson soon and start beefing up their requirements for practical training (making internships a requirement of graduation, instead of just an optional course would be a good start) as part of library science education.