Originally posted on AC VOICE:

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(Craig Campbell)– Last Friday, my visiting parents and I drove to Hampshire College to take a look at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. For a 10-minute bus ride and $6 admissions fee, I recommend the museum for anyone who has ever read a picture book – that is, everyone.

The gallery displayed original drafts of illustrations from a variety of classic children’s literature, including a special exhibit on Charlotte’s Web, anniversary illustrations by Maurice Sendak, and Carle’s own tissue paper collages that make up the striking images in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As I browsed the collection, I perceived a distinct sense of familiarity with many of the images; I had evidently read the stories at some point in childhood. Although I couldn’t put a finger on the narrative associated with any of the pictures, I felt, on a visceral level, what I had…

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This Post Has No Clear Direction (dealwithit)

Hello faithful followers (or random people from around the world who find my blog by searching strange things on yahoo search… i’m trying really hard not to judge you for using yahoo search in the first place).

IT SURE HAS BEEN AWHILE, EH!? My life just hasn’t been interesting enough to write anything for the public world.

Actually, that’s a lie, my life is sometimes like a sitcom.  A really bad sitcom in which you feel really embarrassed for the main character.  Not charismatic and awkward like Jess in New Girl.  Just awkward.  It would probably get canceled halfway through the first season.

Anyways, I’m living in a different zip code these days and have two female roommates who I have no sexual chemistry with and no one sleeps in the living room. And two cats and a dog (well, I guess the dog sometimes sleeps in the living room… so not much has changed).  I’ve started my LAST SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL. I have quit my museum job even though the costumers always made for some great stories.  And I have started applying for REAL JOBS. BIG GIRL JOBS. Jobs that include like benefits, and salary, and paid vacations (hopefully).

This is surreal.  What do real adults even do?  Will I have to give up my sweatpants and mismatched socks?

Thinking about the future is both super exciting and super terrifying.  I will probably not be in Madison in 6 months.  Or maybe even the midwest.  I keep telling my mom I’m moving to Virginia.  I’ve never even been to Virgnia.  What about Washington State?  I could even move to Georgia (although I’m not sure why I’d want to).  The possibilities are endless my friends.  Well, I mean, it totally depends on where I get a job.  Let’s just all keep our fingers simultaneously crossed that I’ll get a job.

I just hope that wherever I end up I make friends as half as amazing and fun as the ones I’ve made in Madison.  (And a lot less snow would also be appreciated..I’m not picky though).

And now for a quick recap of what I’ve been up to:

In October I got to see President Obama speak.  I went with two classmates, Laura and Katelyn, at 8am and finally got to see Mr. President himself speak at around 3pm.  We sat through rain, I almost got trampled while attempting to read my book, and I got to see the first President I ever voted for in person.  He then became the second President I ever voted for just a couple weeks later.

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not pictured: President Obama

Santa knew exactly what I wanted for Christmas and got my JOHN GREEN BOX SET WITH Looking for Alaska AND The Fault in our Stars autographed.  I literally hugged it. Best present ever.

john green

AND, I helped to organize the Second Annual Sexy Librarian Pub Crawl!  It was a smashing success, if I do say so myself.  We made a scavenger hunt and terrorized everyone (read: strangers) around us for proof of their library card, sexy librarian shots, or pictures of their cardigans, all while dressed to the nines in order to fulfill the sexy library stereotype.

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In addition to the highlights I have also enjoyed countless cups of tea using my new red tea kettle, spent some much needed time with my family over the holiday’s, made a fool of myself on a regular basis, purchased bright orange corduroys, and have gotten some really great new albums.  I’d say life is good.

Don’t forget to be grateful and smile for no reason.

(get at me)

Professional Me!

This past week I got the chance to take a week off of school and work to do my first real bit of professional development– going to WLA (the Wisconsin Library Association Conference).  This came at a really great time in the semester (see last post) and was succeeded in building up my motivation to finish school and get a job!

warning: the following may contain a bit of cockiness and a high level of self confidence

Tuesday morning Caitlin, Dorothy and I set off to go to a pre-conference all about youth services.  For Caitlin and I this was our first library conference and it was reasurring to be with someone who had gone through this before.  Dorothy was able to answer some of our general questions like: will the shwag be good from the vendors? is my pencil skirt too dressy? what day should I wear my orange blazer?– you know all the important stuff.  Anyways, the pre-conference was basically just an idea sharing time and we were three of five students among the actual working librarians in the room.  Half of the afternoon was spent in small sessions discussing a specific topic.  Caitlin and I ended up in the same group talking about bringing non-users into the library.  Other topics were school-library partnerships, early literacy, and youth services advocacy.

The three of us left the conference on Tuesday feeling energized and excited for what the next three days will bring.  We were joined by Peter later that evening and we all started devouring our conference packets figuring out which sessions we wanted to attend.

Wednesday started out eventful with an energizing keynote speaker, some interesting topics on twitter using the wla12 hashtag, and some really great coffee.  My first session (and yes, I wore the orange blazer the first day) was spent in “speed networking” in which we had a couple minutes with each person in the room.  During this session Dorothy, Caitlin, and I each got to meet and talk with MPL’s new library director Greg Mickells.

The excitement and energy we started with stayed throughout the rest of the conference while we dazzled, shined, and rocked the socks off of networking, socializing, learning, and impressing.  We were joined by Eleanor and Jacob on Wednesday and they joined us in making our program look great.

Caitlin, Eleanor, Dorothy and I went to a “tweet crawl” in downtown La Crosse on Thursday evening where we had homemade nametags that were quite a hit and continued our socializing.

I took away some valuable lessons from my first ever library conference and my only regret is that more of my classmates did no join.  I may be working extra hard this week to catch up on homework but what I learned and took away from WLA is invaluable to my future as a children’s librarian.

Some tidbits from my week at WLA:

“the glitter has purpose”
“life is more exciting when you raise your hand”
“I don’t know everything, but I really want to learn”
Show your passion! Have enthusiasm!
Human Kind- Be both (Wakanheza Project– look it up)
Maybe I should take cataloging next semester
I asked three different people when I should start applying for jobs and got three different answers.
The LAX public library director told Eleanor, Dorothy, Caitlin and I that we made the conference for her
The four of us girls were told on Friday afternoon that we will be the movers and the shakers of this profession

If you are a SLISer and would like to take a glance at my notes or want more information feel free to ask! I also know that there is talk about us doing a brown-bag about WLA and going to conferences and networking in the nearest future.

Oh, and P.S. I got some compliments on my business card and was super excited to hand them out all week.  I felt so prepared!

school day blues

It’s that time of the school year: I’ve hit a rock.

Can you get a form of senioritis in grad school? second-year-itis?

All I want to do at this point is apply for jobs, go to conferences, network, learn on my own time and with my own deadlines, and work full time in a library. while getting paid.

Is that too much to ask?

I’ve become bored with the note taking (at this point even my bright pens aren’t helping the situation).  I’ve become frustrated with syllabus errors and constant emailing between professors and classmates. I’m restless in class and have a hard time focusing on anything,even if it is something I find very interesting.

I need a mental health day.  I need an entire day to sit in bed, watch some shows on hulu, knit, and not think much beyond food, bathroom, breath, repeat.

There are so many books I want to read, too many cool opportunities and projects I want to be involved in, and places (virtually and physically) that I want to explore.  But instead I’m being bogged down by weekly assignments that I can’t seem to get motivated for, articles that all seem to run together, and a google reader that seems to keep growing.

I need some inspiration.  The goal is in sight: just a little over 7 months until I am a Master of Library Science.  Seven months until I will have my first break over 30 days from school in nearly 4 years.  Seven months until I will be on the job market, officially.  I want to get there.  I know I can do it.  I just need some inspiration.

and now a word from crazy monster:

source: explodingdog comics

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stealth edit: this is a little funny coming right after my post about organization. ah to be excited about school.

Organization

I have never been known for being overly organized or clean.  Ask any of my past or present roommates (or parents): my room is always covered with clothes. on the floor, on my bed, on my dresser. heaven forbid it they go in my dresser, the closet, or laundry hamper.  A majority of the time my desk is just a place to collect papers, junk, and random things that I do not want to have to deal with.  I usually end up doing my homework on the kitchen table because I can’t even see the top of my desk, let alone use it.  In college I often had random papers floating around in my backpack and was never very good at keeping a planner.

When I came to graduate school I knew that one thing I really needed to work on was my organization.  No more flimsy notebooks and folders.  Enough with the “just remembering what homework I had to do.”  It was time to start acting like a real adult when it came to my work.  Instead of buying the 10 cent notebooks I splurged and got composition notebooks.  Not only do they seem to hold up better and are less messy but they make me feel more productive.  Nothing says “I’m smart and I know what I’m doing here” like a composition notebook.  I did not get the paper folders but got a  nice 5 pocket folder.  This way, instead of carrying around multiple folders and risking forgetting which color went for which class I could always have it with me.  The folder I got this semester was a hefty 3.99 but it is exactly what I want in a folder. The front pocket can hold a calendar so I never forget when an important assignment is due.

I also got legal pads and colored felt tip pens.  On the legal pad I write down all of the homework I have for each class due in the next week.  I then go to the next page and, using a different color pen for each class, write down what homework I am going to finish on which day.  This helps me stay on task and not fall behind, leaving everything for one day.  Last year I only did one week at a time but I think a more vigorous schedule this semester means I will have to plan two weeks in advance.  My time management skills have grown exponentially since starting this.  The colored pens are probably my favorite source for organization.  Not only do I use them on my weekly task list but I use them when taking notes.  My notes look very organized and easy to read with a couple different colors instead of random underlines.

Google calendar has become my lifeline.  I can access it through my computer, phone, or ipod.  If it is not in my google calendar, it does not exist to me.  I honestly think I would have lost my mind if not for my calendar.  I can add or remove an event from any device and it is so helpful to plan my day and keep on top of things on the go. Everything from lunch with a friend to my class and work schedules gets plugged into my calendar.  Similar to my task lists and notes, my google calendar is color coded.  A different color for nannying, the library, class, and social events.

Not only do these tools help me to be more organized, but they encourage my productivity.  I look forward to sitting down and planning my week.  I get a small thrill from deciding which color I will pick.  I find great satisfaction in crossing a reading off of my task list.  I feel calm and collected looking at my calendar instead of trying to remember each and every date.

What do you do to stay organized?  Do you have any favorite school supplies?