Hack Library School Library Student Day in the Life! (or #HLSDITL, for short!)

This year I’m participating in the Hack Library School Library Student Day in the Life event! It involves library school students blogging, Tumbling, or tweeting about their day; the purpose is for prospective library students to get a peak into library school life and for current library students to connect with each other!

It’s been a fairly busy week for me, as I was in Arizona last week and have since been catching up, so I decided to do a week-long recap today!

While this picture was not taken this week, it does accurately represent my fairly ever-present state: nerding out about library things (in this case it was a tiny traveling library at a historical lighthouse in Georgia!).
While this picture was not taken this week, it does accurately represent my fairly ever-present state: nerding out about library things (in this case it was a tiny traveling library at a historical lighthouse in Georgia!).


On Monday I was at my job at the Funk ACES Library at the University of Illinois for most of the day. We’re an academic library that specializes in Agriculture, Consumer Sciences, Environmental Sciences, City Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Biology. So my days can be quite varied! I mostly do reference desk work, with some projects. This week the graduate assistants are all keeping busy preparing for our new lineup of database instruction sessions. I’m in charge of promoting all of the sessions, as well as co-teaching a session on agriculture databases (CAB Abstracts & Agricola). The sessions actually started last week, so most of *my* promotional work is done – that is, it is now in the hands of the various librarians and administrators who promised to continue promoting the sessions via email, social media, and in person through the next few weeks. So I mostly worked on polishing up the presentation we’ll be using for our session and making sure that my search demonstration is airtight.


Weekly reference staff meeting! While I don’t have a regular Tuesday shift, we do have a weekly meeting for the graduate assistants, circulation staff, technical services staff, and librarians to go over new training, recent issues, new policies, reference tools & strategies, and general updates. It is the one time of the week that we’re all in the library at the same time and a great place to be able to crowd-source opinions and ideas. This week we talked about the start of our database instructions sessions & initial thoughts, went over Emergency Procedures (as last week we had a water leak in the library; yikes!), and discussed applying for a marketing grant from the larger library system to create promotional materials.

In the evening I attended my synchronous, online GIS class. The night’s lecture was mostly on how to gather and digitize geographic data; the class is pretty great as our professor has a lot of professional GIS experience, so the lectures are full of real-life examples!


On Wednesday mornings I have my Administration & Management of Libraries course on campus. This week we talked a lot about establishing workplace policies and effective organizational communication. We also went over our board meeting reports, an assignment for which we had to go to and report on a board meeting (most of us went to local public library board meetings). Both of our local libraries are currently or have recently experienced problems (publicity issues, financial issues, etc.), and it was definitely interesting to see each board’s reaction and approach to said difficulties.

After class I went to one of the public libraries for an afternoon of service learning volunteering for my Community Informatics class. I serve as a computer lab helper a few hours a week, and my position mostly involves helping people with their email accounts, job applications, various computer programs, saving documents, and printing documents. It wasn’t a fairly eventful afternoon; I was able to help a few people.

After volunteering I chatted with my advisor on the phone to figure out my plan for next semester. I’m thinking two library classes (probably Project Management & Community Engagement) and one communication class (on Persuasion… the theory, not the book). We also discussed the fact that we’re going to hear back soon about a conference presentation proposal that we sent a few months ago… *Fingers crossed*


On Thursday mornings I have my Community Informatics class! This week we talked a lot about virtual worlds and communities, how they compare and relate to in-person communities, and how the LIS field can work to promote and preserve these virtual spaces. Also, every week we have a guest speaker, as part of the Digital Divide lecture series; this week’s speaker was Annie Abbott of the University of Illinois Spanish, Italian & Portuguese Department. Her presentation was titled “How Do You Say Digital Divide in Spanish? Community-Campus Partnerships with Spanish-Speakers,” and it was fantastic! She made a lot of interesting points about the (lack of) availability of Spanish-language local information online and had suggestions for online outreach to the local Spanish-dominant immigrant population.

My Thursday afternoons are normally reserved for homework, but seeing as how I am relatively caught up and I needed a little downtime, I decided to make a complicated French recipe for dinner. Multiple disasters ensued, but I did end up with a tasty meal. Why do I mention all of this? Because I think it’s important to work in time for things that aren’t library-related every once in a while (even if they do end up being less soothing and more terrible – looking at you, “oven-safe” casserole dish that broke in two!).


And as of Friday it’s back to work at the library! I’m polishing up my database session presentation (our first one is next week!), straightening out some issues with a special collection project, and working on a rather lengthy reference question. Hope everyone enjoyed reading about my library school week! For more on LIS issues, library school, and my adventures, check back here, on my blog; I update about once a week!


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