Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The last week of library school

Yes, that’s right.  I’ve finally made it.  This was a longer road than I had anticipated but it was worth it just the same.  I learned much more than I ever thought there was to librarianship.  It’s not just putting books on a shelf it’s customer service, accounting, managing, training, cataloguing, researching and being technologically savvy.  You have to know patrons, staff, leaders, collection, resources, policies, databases, procedures, laws, communities, schools, etc. etc.  That book you check out at the library was chosen for you and is available to you because of a librarian who worked hard to research it’s value, gather funds for it, catalogue it, get that book into the collection, and send it off to whatever library branch you chose.  I’m glad that I learned so much and know there’s a lot more I need to know once I step into the library as an employee.  I also was inducted into the Epsilon Omega Epsilon honor society last week, which is something I never thought possible. 

I’m finishing up my final Personal Management Theory paper which is “In some ways this paper is the scholarly culmination of your diary” that we’ve kept all through the term regarding our readings and personal experiences or initial reactions.  Therefore, with the diary already worked through and the outline finished, this was much easier than I thought because there was a lot of re-using quotes and references and merely restating my reasons for including it in my theory (or definition as we called it in the diary) of Library Management.

Anyway, I’ve just submitted my final paper now and I don’t see any other assignments I need to turn in.  I think I’m done.  My final grades will post on May 19th and then I’ll be official.

With that said, I’m not sure how much I can keep this blog up these days.  I’ll keep applying for jobs and posting any new, interesting developments I run across (or find a completely new way to use the site) but, sad as it is to admit, I think my “grad school blog days” are coming to an end.  For now at least.

I’ll post my regular goings on at The Tales of Missus P. instead.  Thanks for everyone who’s helped me out thus far on my endeavours in librarianship.  I’ll be in touch!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

25 days and counting

On April 25th I’m being inducted into Epsilon Omega Epsilon Honor Society.  Never had such honors at grad school before.  I sent in my wedding picture to use during the commencement ceremony.  At least there’s a live stream of the event so I can watch if I want to.

Library Management

I’m working on my Reflective Diary that will be used to create a Definition of Management for a final paper.  Right now I’ve been reading about planning, leadership, budgeting, and managing people.  So far I’ve decided that Library Managers have to keep everything balanced, pay the closest attention to the budget which isn’t going to get better any time soon so planning has to be made at a needs-based system.  We also have to pay closest attention to our patrons, do what our Library Directors want us to do (but make sure to give feedback) and support your staff.  A mouthful?  Well, I’ve been writing on this for the whole term and the definition changes slightly each week (as the assignment wants it to).  Then by May 6th, I’ll have my final paper on what I believe Management is, and then I’ll be done.  I mean, I have my group work on the City of Dallas and its colleges for the Dallas Public Library stakeholders project as well but all in all, this is it.  I’m getting it all finished in 25 days.

From what I’ve been reading, I’m not terribly optimistic in my job prospects right now though.  The Colorado Dept of Labor projected that by 2019, they will only need 64 more library positions open for the whole state.  Hhmm… Granted, this is being thought of through the eyes of the Recession but still.  I’ll just have to keep my degree on hand, keep applying and see if things turn up. 

In the States we can volunteer to keep our experience up but so far in the U.K. that isn’t going to be possible.  I was never called back by the Newcastle Library and the Gateshead Library blatantly told me that “we don’t do that”.  If they need volunteers it’s only through the Friends of the Library when they have events.  Don’t know how librarians get experience in England without volunteer opportunities.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching up on library school

I’ve been on Spring Break the week before last, then last week marked our mid-point in my Library Management course. (Yes, it does seem like longer).  I’m the discussion board moderator for these two weeks about Managing People.  Reading from Herbert A. Simon’s book Administrative Behavior I inserted this quote:

"The major problems of organization today are not problems of departmentalization and coordination of operating units.  Instead, they are problems of organizing information storage and information processing -- not division of labor, but factorization of decision-making.These organizational problems are best attacks, at least to a first approximation, by examining the information system and the system of decision it supports in abstraction from agency and department structure" (p. 248-9).

My questions posed are:  What issues have you witnessed or heard of regarding problems in communication?  What could have been done to solve the problem better?  As a manager, how would you have dealt with the communication in the (library or other) organization?

I’ve found some pretty interesting comments.  I figured that was going to be a hot topic for many people.  There are public and school librarians who say that there are issues within the departments that aren’t expressed to other departments or that instructions aren’t clear and concise. 

Aside from my discussion board moderation, we have a Stakeholders Analysis project for the Dallas Public Library.  I’ll be taking on the local colleges and the City of Dallas itself for my part of the project.  We’ll get the first draft done by April 11th, then the final draft done by the 27th.  Aside from that I’ll have to do my final Reflective Diary for weeks 5-10, plus outline and complete my Personal Theory of Management paper.  That’s a lot of work to turn in by May 4th but I’ll be glad to have it under my belt.

Right now I’m still leaning toward the idea that I won’t be joining up for another online program anytime soon.  Granted I’m not working (still) and I have time to do it, I’m just burned out.  I’d like to do something in Education, but then again I’m not sure.  I think it’s best to just enjoy the Spring, look for work, get back to writing (and blogging) and try to get into a program later on when I can be in a face-to-face setting for a higher degree.  Or, better yet, if my workplace would pay for it!  I was looking through tons of online programs and then after moving and getting settled, I decided that more time in my real life was more important.  Granted I feel more enlightened and accomplished when I’m learning in a class but I can always do some online Webinars or courses through the ALA or YALSA

Married life is just way too good to worry about homework! (And you can quote me on that.)  With that said, I’ve got to get back to my cooking…

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Portfolio!

Now that I've dropped my Librarians as Instructional Partners class, I've been able to concentrate on my Portfolio. This is my Final Exam that includes my resume, five-year plan on how I'll benefit the community in a new job, a list of how I'll accomplish those goals, and academic papers proving I have the necessary skills needed to accomplish those goals. There was a lot of tweaking involved and working with my academic advisor whom I just happened to ask how I submit an online portfolio. She gave a lot more pointers than the basic outline gave so now I should have a pretty decent Portfolio all together. Before I submit it I'll have to add a paragraph indicating why I chose the academic papers I chose.

In other library news, I'm the proud owner of cards for both my local library and the big City Library. I'm still super impressed with their self-service machines. Having a cafe around is awesome too. Yesterday I was able to walk to the library with Steve, then go on to the park with my books and read Wuthering Heights over coffee. Not a bad way to start the week.

I also applied for a library job in a town near here. I'm not sure how many positions are available or how many people will be applying for them but I really hope I get that job. It would be part-time, a bus ride away, and something within my perspective career. I have my fingers crossed big time for this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Letter of resignation

This morning I made the decision to finally drop my Librarians as Instructional Partners class.  I’ve been getting daily emails from my group partner, going on about how we didn’t do all these things in the rubric –all those nit picky things.  Since I’m approaching my first submission on my Portfolio for my Final Exam and only half way through this course with only one assignment that with full credit given, I decided to lift this burden off of me. 



I’ve attached the necessary add/drop form to this email.  The Registrar’s Office said it needs to be signed by you and indicated a grade of “W”.

I appreciate all of your help and hard work you have done in this class but I really am not in a good position to continue with this course.  I only have full credit for one assignment so far and we’re at the mid-way point of the term.  I have never had such difficulty in a course and I fear for my grade by the end of the term. 

I will be graduating in May and I need to work on my last class that counts toward my graduation and my portfolio.  This means, I cannot give a lot of time and effort to any group members or such large projects.  I feel bad for being responsible for their grade, or have only a C for myself as I did with our first project.  The rubrics are very detailed and I just can’t put the effort into the work as you’d like us to. 

I also have never had to be so involved with partners or group members in any class before.  I’ve been able to correspond in email only and work on a project here and there in groups.  I chose the online program so that I could work at my own pace and I really struggle with having to meet other students’ schedules.  It’s just a lot of pressure for me so I regretfully am asking if I can drop the course with a grade of “W”. 

If this were earlier in my program and I were able to give the course and the other students more of my attention, I know I would enjoy these lessons immensely.  You have done an excellent job in setting these lessons up and I am grateful that you have taken so much time and effort in giving us feedback and being involved in our education.  That’s a wonderful trait that doesn’t always show through in other courses with other professors.

Thank you again for all of your help.  I appreciate your signing this form and giving me a grade of “W”.  Take care and have a wonderful rest of the Spring term.


~ Suzanne

I’m already getting upset each time I check my email and see something from my professor or classmate.  There is a ton of information for each tiny little assignment and I just don’t have the patience for all this right now.  I will feel so much relief to have this course off of my schedule so I can do well in my Library Management class and my Portfolio.  I’ve already been working with my advisor on it and there are things that need tweaking before I submit it for the first attempt on my 9th.  The importance of these things far out way having random students emailing me with things like “I need to hear from you by 9PM.”  I’ve never had to deal with a class like this before.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

May can’t come soon enough

Wow.  It’s almost March and I have so much going on with these classes.  Not only do I have the two classes to work on, but I also have to get my portfolio finished as my final exam for the program.  My first attempt at it is the 9th.  For my classes, the Library Management one is doing fine.  I finished the first group of Reflection Diary entries and have our group getting organized (this teacher did like many and got our group put together for us already.)  My Librarians as Instructional Partners is another story.

So we have one group of High School Librarians together.  We had to get a trio, but then another girl needed into the group.  I said it was okay and get her set up for our group wiki, then the other two members pointed out that the professor may not want us to have four members.  So off I went to contact the professor about that. (How did this become my responsibility to begin with?)  While that was all going on, about six of us in the class were getting emails from the professor saying that we still hadn’t posted our partners for yet another project.  Sheesh.  So one girl from my High School Librarian group said she’d partner with me after I already told another girl in my class whom I’ve not worked with yet, that she could be my partner.  Of course, it ended up being my responsibility to contact the professor, see if we could have the same partner for more than one project.  There was major back and forth emailing with me and the two girls, plus these emails from the professor threatening that we need to post our partners or she would have to do it for us.  After we all sufficiently had chaos, I got the final email from the professor that we needed different partners for each group, and I confirmed that everything was go for the other girls in the class.

Yes, it’s confusing.  Yes, it’s a major pain.  I’m not the only one in the class who is making comments like “this is ridiculous”.  I even told the professor that I’d picked my partner and “a lot of us have been emailing back and forth trying to get this figured out. You can understand how getting organized for two partner projects at a time can get a bit confusing.”  The professor said before that she loves suggestions for improvement and there’s mine.  We’re confused and there’s too much going on.

But no matter.  I got into the Epsilon Omega Epsilon honour society.  I paid my $30 membership dues so I have this to put on my resume.  I wonder if it will mention that on my diploma. 

I’m still awaiting word from the library system if there are any volunteer positions open at any local branches.  I think my not being able to get into the school system here is just the reason I’ll need to get experience in the public library.  I was going to inquire about volunteering at the Children’s Book Museum but they wanted a whole police background check and then I could enquire with the museum.  As Steve said “there’s always one more thing that needs done before getting anything sorted.”  How true.  Nothing can ever be straightforward.  Granted, I understand the need for a police background check but I’d rather use my time on the library and getting a background check for them if they need it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On to Week 5

My first big assignment for Library Management will be on Monday.  I have to finish up my Reflective Diaries for Weeks 2-4.  So far everything in that class is going pretty well as far as I can see.  I’m getting my weekly discussions posted and I’m in a group where I don’t have to be a leader.

My other class, Librarians as Instructional Partners, is still dragging on as usual.  This week, my partner did all the work in one day in our Wiki, then when I typed up the paper, he submitted it online instead of keeping it in MLA format in a Word document.  This meant that the teacher could only see our online discussion and she “could only assume” that I didn’t do any work.  Very nice.  But I’m not going to worry about that class anymore.  Already I’ve received only 109 points out of 145 after only 4 assignments.  I’ve never had this kind of nit-picky rubric for every single thing we do.  It’s really over the top and I just don’t have the patience at this point to hear how I didn’t do this and didn’t do that.  I understand teacher’s wanting to have high expectations but this is ridiculous!

I’m almost to the finish line though.  I’ll take whatever grade the teacher wants to give me in the end, get my A or B in Library Management, grab my degree and run.

However, since I can’t work at a school anytime soon and library jobs are scarce, I’m wondering if this blog will be able to serve much purpose in the near future.  I may volunteer at the local library as I had mused about a while ago.  I will be getting a job in some capacity soon enough, I’m just not sure it’s going to be in any kind of library field.  We’ll see. 

I don’t think I want to bother with getting another degree right away after this term is over.  I just don’t like homework cutting into my quality at home now that I’m here with Steve.  Maybe after I’m all settled and can go to school like a normal person (in actual classrooms), I can get my English Literature degree as I had planned in 2003.  But that’s all in the distant future.  Right now I have a Master’s of Library Science to get finished!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Week 4 of my Final Term

So my classes aren’t even done with their third week and already I’ve had problems here and there.  My Librarians as Instructional Partners just seems like a lot of work and since my Library Management class is my main focus (the one I need to get my degree credits complete), I don’t want the Partners class to distract me.  I spoke to the professor who eased my worries a bit but it’s a big difference from Public Librarianship to School Librarianship.  With the school library there’s so much demand.  I understand, being a teacher myself that there would be an immense need for the school librarian to be versed in the curriculum, rubric, instruction, and standards for ever class that walked into the library.  Hence the workload is a lot.  Projects.  Partner projects. 

Library Management is the way my other classes have been.  I’ll post my Reflective Diary for my past few weeks in class that need to be submitted next Monday.  That will give an idea of the things I’m working on there.

I got a letter from Durham saying that they acknowledged my cancelled interview and that they were not able to allow as many students into the program as they were last year.  I guess I wouldn’t have gotten in despite my huge tuition fees or dazzling amount of credentials I had to show them at said interview.  My application was sent on to Sunderland but the tuition fees are deemed by the government so I can’t go into their program if they offered it to me anyway.  Oh well.

On a side note, I envy professors.  I wish there were something I was an expert in that I could just teach.  Well, I guess I kind of am with the writing/reading thing.  Wish I could just go back and get my M.A. in English Lit like I originally planned.  Well, maybe not.  Reading 10 novels in one month became a bit daunting too.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Going on Week 3

I found out today that since I’ve just arrived in the UK and only under a Visa, I can’t take my teacher training courses with “home” status tuition. I’d be shelling out $18k for two terms just to undergo training that will do nothing more than get me a teaching license in England.  Not worth it.  Ignorance was bliss for a while and I had this grand master plan how I’d work in the summer, then go back to school in the Fall.  Now I’m just going to have to work and keep on looking for a school online in the States to keep up my credentials until we get back.  Until then I’ll just have to try and find some kind of job without the Qualified Teacher Status here; teacher’s aide if they’ll let me.  I can always go to a temp agency or the Job Centre and find something non school related if the system won’t have me.

I’m now torn between the idea of getting an Learning and Technology degree from WGU (as the information states, this is for school media specialists) or the Ed Specialist program at Liberty University.

It’s mildly disappointing but it’s fine in the fact that I don’t have to try and force any kind of plans on myself.  Usually I’m full of organization and plans but now, heck, I can’t make any because I don’t know what’s around the corner.  I’m just enjoying being here with Steve and seeing what life, school and career offer me next.

So I have Librarians as Instructional Partners and Library Management as my courses this term.  So far I’m a bit disappointed with my “fun” class of the Instructional Partners class.  School Librarian classes before were cool.  This one is full of wikis with information all over the place instead of just in the main class webpage.  Then we have a ton of (groan) partner work.  (I should have known.)  But since it’s my last term, the class is paid for and it’s technically an elective, I’ll grin and bear it.  The Library Management class is my main focus so I have to get an A in that and grab that degree in May.  Hooray! Anyway, I did a few things for my class that I wanted to post.

Librarians as Instructional Partners Online Discussion

First, my Librarians as Instructional Partners class required me to make a short video of myself as a portrait of what kind of collaborator I am based on a couple of (not really accurate I don’t think) personality tests. 

My Jung Typology test says that I am an INFJ: Introverted 11%, Intuitive 25%, Feeling 38% and Judging 67%. I really don’t feel that is my personality at all, however. I find the term “judging” to sound harsh rather and assessing, carefully thinking through, planning and organizing, which is what I do. Hartzell Needs Assessment indicates a balance of needs for achievement, power and affirmation. I had four questions that I answered with a 1 or 2 on each section.


Secondly, today I had to post my reason for wanting to be a school librarian and, thus, collaborator with school teachers:

I love books and I love being important

It sounds silly but it’s true. I love the idea of being a go-to person of importance. I’ve been an English teacher. I’ve had librarians who are very helpful, on top of their game, and always willing to help. That’s the kind of librarian a teacher needs as a collaborator and as a kind of support system. I will say though, sadly, I’ve run into school librarians who weren’t as helpful when I needed interviews or help on assignments in my other classes. I want to do the best I can, learn as much as I can, and play a major role in the function of my future school. I love the idea of being the one whom people come to for help whether they are students or teachers. I know that principals rely a lot of the librarians for teacher training in new technologies or resources. The school librarian is an essential part of the school. My love for learning, literature and, let’s face it, books, is why I want to be a classroom-library collaborator.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A new term, a new start

Last week my final library science classes at TWU started.  Coincidentally or not I was travelling last week as well.  So today, from my new home office in my flat in England, with a view of the back garden, I am catching up on my first assignments.

This term I have Librarians as Instructional Partners as well as Library Management.  So far I’ve done my introductions and read an article, printed the syllabi and started writing in assignment dates in my day-planner.  It looks like I’ll have my hands full with assignments and projects, but that’s fine.  I’m enjoying the spoils of being a housewife now so I can spend my days, like today, doing the laundry and tackling homework. 

As far as the quest for an online Master’s in Ed program, I found out that I really don’t need it.  My MLS degree courses will suffice for renewing my Florida Professional Certificate so I’ve already sent in the fax to have those transcripts sent in to Tallahassee (where the FLDOE is) in May once the term is over.  After that, if we come back to Florida, all I need to do is take a Media Specialist test and I can be certified for that as well.  At this rate, I’ll have a lot of tools under my belt.  I’ll still go to Durham in February to do the interview for my UK teacher training courses (see if they’ll let me in).  I now can sort of lean back and see what, if any, classes I want to take over Summer.  I’m thinking I’d enjoy the MEd in Reading programs better than the Curriculum and Development ones.  (Still not sure what the C&I programs do for anyone either but I did hear a couple comments on that being good for librarians.)

I’m sorry I don’t have much other input than that.  I’ll be able to post more specifics about my librarian/academic life once the term really gets moving.