Let’s Catch Up! Teaching, learning, networking and advocacy

17 Feb

Hello! It has been a shamefully long time since my last post.  Brooklyn Biblio really got a shot of adrenaline from my classes last semester, which integrated Web 2.0 into the coursework.  Since the Fall semester ended, I have been busily wrapping up my MLIS and it is high time I let you all know what I’ve been up to.

Most significantly, I completed my first practicum at a high school in lower Manhattan.  The high school specializes in Science and Math, and the students are high performers from all around New York City.  Yesterday was my last day and I find myself already feeling quite nostalgic about it.  The thing about student teaching (or fieldwork assignments), is it seems that just as you are hitting your stride and getting to know the students, it is time to leave.  I suppose that is not altogether bad, because you are forced to leave your comfort zone before it gets too comfortable, and therefore to stretch your skills and challenge yourself in new environments.  My high school practicum included a lot of library managerial tasks, but I really focused a lot on getting hands-on teaching experience.  I’m so grateful for that and I think it has done a lot for my confidence as an instructor.

My commute to that part of the city afforded me an easy opportunity to finally go see the Battery City Park branch of NYPL.  When it opened a couple of years ago, I initially wanted to plan a visit and write about it here, but I just never got around to it.  It is a beautiful space and it is highly functional.  I used the computer kiosk for a while to get some research done, but the top floor has a lounge feel and users can hook up to free Wi-Fi with their own laptops and devices.  It is a welcoming, comfortable space and it is fun to explore.

In addition to my school practicum, I am also completing my very last class in my Masters program!  (Somehow these last two exhausting years have managed to fly by.)  I am taking a class all about school library management, and it is taught by Dr. Barbara Stripling, the former Director of the Office of Library Services for New York City schools.  What a fantastic practitioner to learn from!  It was really interesting to hand in a library assessment assignment based on my practicum location and get comments and grading from a professor who is intimately acquainted with the school system I was writing about.  On top of that, I’m learning directly from the creator of the Stripling Model of Inquiry, which I have studied in nearly all of my school media classes.

In December, I began my tenure as Co-President of Friends of the Greenpoint Library.  The Friends have a lot of exciting projects coming up, so I really hope to impact the group by leading them to a larger membership base in the next year and by expanding their communications out to the community.  (Please email me if you are interested in learning more about our group and checking out a meeting!)

Finally, I’ve been carefully honing my resume and online portfolio in preparation for what promises to be a challenging job search.  I’ve been combing the ALA and NYLA joblists, INALJ, and various professional groups on LinkedIn.  Please let me know if you have any job-searching tips for someone interested in working with youth at School or Public Libraries, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the job market and my first foray as a professional librarian.

Coming up, I’ll be as busy as ever:  I’m taking my CST in Library Science this weekend, starting my Elementary Practicum at a school in North Brooklyn later this month, volunteering at NYLA Advocacy Day, and attending PLA in Philadelphia in March!  If any readers will be at PLA, I’d love to meet up, or please stop by the Syracuse iSchool table and say hello because I will be sitting there at times.  I was hoping to go to the SLMS conference in Binghamton this May, but in a bittersweet turn of events I will be a bridesmaid in a wedding of two wonderful friends (who met at my wedding)!

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