I've held many jobs in my short life span. Some have been pretty unique, like the time I was an office manager for a volunteer fire station in rural northeastern PA. There was a time when I was an art conservator assistant where I cleaned wall and ceiling murals and mixed various soapy concoctions to clean a myriad of who-knows-what off of priceless state owned oil paintings. I've worked administrative assistant jobs (old schoolers know this as 'secretarial' work :) and I've even worked as a field reporter during college covering local news with a lead anchor.

I guess I've seen a lot/done a lot and maybe not everything, but in each job I've gained something to take with me. All lessons learned should not be forgotten because it seems that the world of situational experience is cyclical. To quote the great Yogi Berra, "It's like deja vu all over again." (Wikipedia, 2010)

However, there is something unique about being a 'working student' or GA. For some reason, the moment the student role is assumed, it seems that past experience, knowledge and respect go by the wayside. I have worked as a graduate assistant in my previous graduate degree program and I distinctly remember the hierarchical treatment by some faculty members...not all, but some.

As a member of the teach-library program, I have a certain level of responsibility to perform a job. Not only am I on the payroll of the library, but also, I am a representative of the caliber of student the LIS program is attracting to their program. I have had the pleasure this semester of working with people who respect the experience that I bring and have taken on this project by looking at it as not a GAship with some "extra writing work" tacked on to make it unique.

The reasons I applied for this position were because:
  1. I wanted to work with someone who was doing the role I hope to do some day
  2. I wanted to collaborate with faculty and practioner to (hopefully) make changes or enhance both the practice and the curriculum
  3. I wanted to have a unique experience that might elevate me from the title of "student" to be included in big picture thinking about my profession as an information professional
This is, and should be, more than what a typical graduate assistantship entails. If it is not, than either the practioner or the faculty member are not performing in their role to allow the student to unite them and bring about rich discussion to our field. In my experience, the student in this role has the unique opportunity to perhaps influence the work within a particular specialty area and if, after getting the foundational elements, are not able to experiment or express their desires towards change or be included in a collaborative, than somewhere the model is failing that student.

People will always say 'that's the way it's always been done', however, if this was true, we would still be riding on horseback instead of driving hybrid vehicles. {insert your 'green' argument here} I think you get the point I'm making....

This is an opportunity to respect the ideas and experiences that a person who happens to be a student brings into the workplace. If treatment of the student is regarded by practioners that they should feel blessed to even be entering into such hallowed grounds, I think the praticioner needs to review why they signed up to join in on this program in the first place.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - learn it, live it - if you want a GA, that's easy to get. If you want a teach-library student, then it's more of a give-and-take relationship and, at some level, those involved need to provide the necessary financial and curricular opportunities to attract the caliber of student with the necessary experiences to make the program successful for all.

Works Cited
Wikipedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia-Yogi Berra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra#cite_note-21


More than a GAship: The Teach/Library Project Defined

Here I am w/ my poster....


The Teach/Library project is a joint venture between UNCG’s Library and Information Studies department and Jackson Library to foster an innovative exchange of ideas, knowledge sharing and goals among a faculty member, librarian and student. During the course of one academic year, the student works with a librarian in a chosen specialty area. They collaborate to create projects that align with student’s interests and career objectives and practitioner’s needs. The faculty member contributes fundamental understanding, theory and/or learning objectives through either a course or regular meetings. All contribute to the shared knowledge by electronic journal, in this case, a wiki. The DEAL method is used to focus the weekly reflections by asking individuals to describe and examine their own “personal growth” and “academic enhancement”. The final step, “articulate the learning”, is a synthesis of the entire week’s experience; to understand why an experience matters and what changes can be made to improve an experience. (Ash, 2009)

The overall objective is that all three parties are sharing, learning and meeting individual goals. Each is an equal stakeholder in the learning process. Upon project completion, it is desired that a body of work (article, presentation, etc.) will be produced and shared with others outside the institution.

The Difference

The DEAL Method: (Ash, 2009)

  • Describe
  • Examine
  • Articulate Learning

Each member reflects on this process each week and places it in context with experiences learned or observed. The wiki provides a collaborative and engaging space in which to share meaningful dialogue with each other.

The Benefits

  • Practical experience while learning “the basics” of library studies
  • Networking alliances
  • Academic financial support (Student)
  • Communicate academic initiatives and needs
  • Practitioner viewpoint encouraged
  • Collaborative and open – no hierarchy
Works Cited
Ash, Clayton & Moses. (2009). Learning Through Critical Reflection. A Tutorial for Service-Learning Students. Raleigh, NC.


Posters, posters, everywhere posters

I did my first ever poster presentation. I'm sure some of you may think, 'ho-hum', but it was a great first time experience. This is the second year that my LIS department has done a conference. It's a great way to meet people, network and see what other students are working on with faculty. The conference is called iDEALS...please take a look! I think it's a pretty good conference and if you are local, think about attending next year. (or presenting!)

My poster was about the Teach/Library Project that I am working on this year. My poster was a bit different from others as I didn't really do any research. I merely presented on the project, what made it a bit different from other internships or GAships, and how we are using Blackboard's Wiki feature to share our experiences.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing a poster and would do one again in a heartbeat. Here's my reasons why:
  • It is more informal and not as intimidating as doing a presentation before a large group of people.
  • There was no technology setup or snafu's to deal with
  • If you are a social butterfly who likes talking to people, it's very fun!
  • It's great to find out what others are doing and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE...
I would have loved to see more librarians from our campus or other campuses attend. It would have been great to see more faculty and students from other library school programs, too. I met two very nice UNC students, one of whom presented today. Aside from the great projects being done at UNCG's LIS department, it would be a great venue for recruiting! Something to think about next time...

Great experience and I highly recommend it!