What I do in Library School

I was asked many times over break by family and friends, “So… what do you… DO…in library school. So here is my answer.

Classes:

After a semester of Foundations courses, I am happy to be getting into more specifics of the profession. This semester I am taking Database Systems, Search and Discovery, and Analysis of Scholarly Domains.

Database Systems

You may not realize this, but databases run your life. Banks, schools, any store you go to, anything you buy on line, every time you log into Facebook, you use a database. You don’t know this because mostly what Databases do is behind the scenes. I had no idea how complicated databases were until, well, this week when we started on the content. We’ll be working in groups to create a database system for an imaginary employer. The first thing this required was a slight facelift of my webpage from Computing Foundations. I made a new homepage that links to both my Computing assignments and to my new Database assignment page. Check it out here and stay tuned for more additions. It’s a whole new language to learn, new symbols new terminology. We’ll be working with PHP and SQL and creating cool stuff. I’m sure there will be a lot of swearing along the way, but I’m excited to gain these skills.

Search and Discovery

This class is a modern fancy title for a Reference Class. Since librarians are the ones you ask how to find things, its important for us to know how to find things. This is more complicated than a Google search- believe it or not. We learn how to navigate different databases (see- they run your life) of information and track down answers to your questions. Part of this is knowing how to phrase a question so that it will generate answers. Part of this is knowing how to interact with questions and information in the different disciplines. Getting information in the sciences is different than in the humanities. Part of this is knowing why people look for what they do and why they search in the ways that they do. Understanding people—it’s what librarians do.

Analysis of Scholarly Domains

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this class, but after our first meeting I’m really excited for it. It revolves around academic librarianship, and how academic librarians navigate different disciplines and find their place. The role of the librarian is different at a small liberal arts college than a research university. The role of the librarian is different in a subject specific library than a large one. We’ll be exploring all these rolls and how to best serve the patrons in each role. One of the things I like most about it already is the group of people in the class. We all know each other well by this point and are comfortable speaking our minds. It’s a nice shortcut to the kind of openness you usually have to wait to find until halfway through the term. I anticipate some great discussions. We are assigned a large research paper in this class, which I’m looking forward to because ** confession time** I really love writing research papers. I love the process, frustrating as it can be, and I love having a stack of printing at the end full of my words. I like getting to direct my learning so specifically.

Work

When not studying and reading and writing I also work at the Music Library. At the moment, and this might change, but at the moment Music Librarian is #1 on my list of dream jobs. At the music lib I work circulation, shelve, bind music and generally anything else I’m needed to do. I spend a lot of time coming across books that I want to read and music I want to play. I’m hoping to do more projects in the future, but I honestly love the rhythm of binding music and shelving books. I also work with some pretty awesome people which is always key.

The strangest thing this semester is not having our whole cohort together in classes. We spent all semester going through each landmark together. Complaining about javascript, joking about antelopes, monsters and Svenonius. As exciting as it is for us all to break off on our own paths, I do miss our collective group.

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