Hit the Books!

Adventures in Graduate School

Things have been a little busy on my end lately.  I officially started graduate school in the middle of January.  So far the reaction from peers and friends alike is a mix of "yikes!" to "you go girl!".  In case you haven't figured it out by my cover photo, I am working towards my Masters in Library and Information Science.  My dream to get this credential was put on hold for many years due to my choice to care for my elderly mother. 

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I was accepted to, and am currently attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville School of Information Science.  This online graduate program is unique as it requires students to attend a one day orientation to meet faculty and get to know the rest of their cohort face to face. 

As you can see, I made it to orientation. . .this is the building my program is housed in.  Unfortunately getting to Knoxville in late January by plane can be a bit challenging, so I had less then twenty-four hours on campus. But, I definitely appreciated meeting my fellow students, who like me are all working, and in some cases have more challenging schedules than I do-young children!

UTK is a big school, about thirty-thousand students from what I was told.  It is a big sports school as well, and my new team is the Tennessee Volunteers. The football stadium was something of a giveaway about how into their team everyone is, and some of my classmates who hail from Tennessee made it clear that I have never been to a College football game quite like the ones played here.

In spite of the public chorus of who needs libraries or librarians when I have Google at my fingertips?,   I'd like to make a few observations.  Many "librarians" do not work in traditional library jobs.  They work as data miners for corporations, or they work in publishing, or they work for museums or the government.  All those things you look up on the Internet?  Many sites both public and private are structured quite similarly to how libraries build records for their own resources. 

 And now for a soapbox moment- Libraries represent all that is good in a democracy.  Public libraries support all.  Rich, poor, homeless, elderly or infant, all are welcome to walk through the doors and use the resources that are there. And they strive to provide as many diverse services as they can, whether it be a maker-space, classes on information literacy or helping people with their taxes. And for those who cannot afford to subscribe to a magazine or buy the latest best-seller libraries are their opportunity to still read-for free!

After many years of working in an Academic Library, I am pursuing my degree in Youth Librarianship, because I have seen the difference it makes when young people are taught good research skills and develop a love of reading at an early age.  I am learning a lot about information structure right now, and the core values of librarianship. In spite of the long hours on top of working full time, I am very grateful to be pursuing this dream.  In a few years, I plan to head back to Knoxville, to visit the Smoky Mountains, and perhaps hit a game too. Go Vols!

In the meantime, I will continue to rely on the best-gift ever from my partner, who bought me a machine that has been used an awful lot in six weeks.

Espresso makes all the difference when this is your new reality.  More later y'all!


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