Tag Archives: library science

My MLS Degree: An Experiment in Abnormal Psychology Part Three

The saga continues.  Click here for Part One and Part Two.

It keeps going . . . and going . . . like this post!

It keeps going . . . and going . . . like this post!

Second Spring Semester (Jan 2009 – May 2009)  Adventures in Psychosis

My courses are “Public Libraries”, taught by the great Dr. G., and “Children’s Literature” by Dr. V.  I soon start hearing the horror that is the teacher of Library Management – the course I have put off until later.

His name is Dr. S.  Apparently this guy expects unbelievable things like subject / verb agreement and calls people on their idiotic comments.  Gee, what a jerk.

 While most of the others are suffering, I’m reading kid books and writing on another blog.  My boss gives me the evil eye when she sees me check out lots of children’s literature.  My decision to take Kiddie Lit has had the unforeseen benefit of freaking her out.  She is certain I’m after her job now!

I especially like this piece of children's lit.  You know, where the kids kill each other.

I especially like this piece of children’s lit. You know, where the kids kill each other.

I forget most of Public Libraries, except that it was supposedly about how to work in a public library, provided said library was on Saturn.  I did find out that some of the cohort (like my boss) think staff are as expendable as office supplies.  I’m deeply touched.

We are told to create a Disaster Plan.  My library naturally does not have one.  They don’t even have a shovel to remove snow from the sidewalks.  I ask my boss in the cohort what our procedures are in case of disaster, and she tells me to stop trying to copy off of her.  No, really, I’m serious.

My husband had to bring the shovel.

My husband had to bring the shovel.

I’m pretty sure this is the semester where I seriously tick a cohort off with my opinions concerning filtering public access computers.  Unfortunately, I forget that said person has been my roommate at TLA.  Whoops.

I get another roommate who has thus far been a champion in class because she has absolutely no shame or fear when it comes to demanding answers from professors on the message boards.  Her name is Kathy.

Starting to see why they need the booze . . .

Starting to see why they need the booze . . .

Second TLA!  New Verse, Worse Than the First!

Here we go with the TLA Prep Merry-Go-Round . . . again.  Dr. G and her grad assistant Summer insist that we tell them how we plan to travel to TLA and how long we’re staying and when we’re coming and going, etc.  We ask what time we have to be there, what time the program starts and ends, etc.  Summer has to check with Dr. G on that, who in turn has to ask the dean.

We are told again that they need those travel plans right away.  Blindly, we make plane reservations.  I decide to fly in Monday night, since they say that probably we will need to be there on Monday night.

I am informed that there are no rooms on Monday night.  I change my reservations and charge them the difference.

I am told that now there are rooms on Monday night.

Off we go into the . . . God I don't want to know . . .

Off we go into the . . . God I don’t want to know . . .

I decide to book a shuttle to and from the airport this time.  While waiting for my shuttle, I start talking to a woman who turns out to be Dr. Mc.  I barely keep from calling her my pet name for her by accident.

At the hotel, I find out that they have charged me for Monday night.  They start trying to fix it.  I take my stuff up to my room.  Kathy decides that the room is not spiffy enough and gripes until they let us move to another floor.

I find out that Kathy likes my boss.  Her approval rating is shooting down rapidly.

 Another cohort is charged for the entire floor’s rooms – in one night.  The hotel graciously gives her a free breakfast to say “sorry” for taking over 1,000 dollars out of her account.

Free food!  And it only cost a heart attack!

Free food! And it only cost a heart attack!

We have a meeting with Dr. J., Dr. G, and Dr. S.  They’ve decided in their ultimate wisdom that Dr. S. (who doesn’t disguise the fact that he hates us all) would make a great motivational speaker.  After his speech, most of us realize that we aren’t that great.  In fact, we really suck.

The dean tells us not to worry about registration.  There will be plenty of time to register for our classes.

The next day every class on my degree plan – except Library Management, of course, is filled in the first five minutes after registration opens.

I decide not to grab every single book this time, even if it is free.  I’m learning.

Again, I don’t go to very many sessions.  I can’t seem to negotiate my way around the halls fast enough.  One session on Story Times looks promising until the women start clucking and mooing to the ABCs.  A cohort and I run for our lives.

Cluck, cluck, mooo, moooo!

Cluck, cluck, mooo, moooo!

I am talked into trying the Fun Run/Walk.  In the rain.  And nearly die.  But I get a T-shirt and a banana!

Somehow, this TLA seems to last twice as long as the first one.  When I get home, it’s back to work!  Children’s Literature teaches me one important lesson.  There are stupid people all over this university, not just in my cohort program.

I dare complain to Dr. G because I am waitlisted for most of my classes.  She is horrified and tattles on me to the dean who berates me for not being happy with my lot.  For that much trouble, I should have used a few four letter words in my email.

I'm in hellllll!

I’m in hellllll!

Second Summer Session: Summer of Hell Part Two

I get a warning email that they are going to drop our schedules for nonpayment.  Dr. G.  assures us that won’t happen.

The university drops the schedules of every single student.  As it turns out, the university’s incompetence works for me, as I’m able to re-register and get in first for my chosen classes.  Haha, suckers!

This is the first official semester separate from the cohort.  Many of the cohort have panic attacks and start sucking their thumbs.

I’m enrolled in “Multicultural Children’s Literature” and “Youth Programs”.  I take more kid books out of the library.  My boss asks why I don’t help with the programs if I like kiddie lit so much.  I tell her she has never asked me.   She huffs and says I need to show initiative and tell her I want to do storytimes like my coworkers did.

This is totally mulitcultural.   They're gay, and they're penguins!

This is totally mulitcultural. They’re gay, and they’re penguins!

I ask my coworkers who work with storytime if they volunteered for the job.  They look at me like I’ve lost my senses entirely.

Multicultural Children’s Literature is all about respecting other cultures.  By staying the heck away from their literature, you dumb whiteys!

I’m shocked to discover that no library in my area has any books about gay people needed for this course (because gay people are now a race?).  I order some through ILL through our ultra-conservative ILL person.  I have to get my jollies where I can.

My boss decides to take a computer course despite knowing nothing about computers.  She’s mad that I was smart enough to take the easy kiddie lit classes instead.  She has everyone in the library take a quiz on computer literacy for fun.  She and several others pat themselves on the back for getting around 70 percent.  I score 100.

My Dad points out that I just don’t want to live, do I?

Off with her head!

Off with her head!

My “easy” kiddie lit class asks that we film ourselves reading and load said video up to YouTube.  I decide to read to my kids.  The five year old helps out by making sound effects.  The book is The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle.  After this project, I hate The Very Quiet Cricket.  I figure I might as well have read War and Peace instead, since that’s about how long it takes for the video to actually load.

 While my courses are not as demanding, my job becomes more so as my boss gets more unglued with each passing day.  I get so used to being in trouble that I start watching how her veins pop out while she berates me for breathing.  I realize I’m staying in the job partly just to tick her off.

To be continued . . .

My MLS Degree: An Experiment in Abnormal Psychology Part Two

The saga continues.  Check out Part One here.

Feel the excitement!

Feel the excitement!

First Summer Semester (June 2008-August 2008) : Summer of Hell Part One

Two more fun classes!  As if you could get more fun than “Technical Services”, now we have “Collection Development” and “Information Storage and Retrieval”.

We find out that Dr. M. has suddenly taken early retirement.  We are dumped in the capable hands of Dr. G., who barely knows the university.  No problem.

I’m not even sure what Information Storage and Retrieval means.  As it turns out, neither does Dr. A., and she’s the teacher.

I ask my mentor about ISAR.  She groans and says “It’s useless, just survive it.”  I also tell her horror stories about my boss.  Oddly, as the semesters go by, the calls become fewer.

Collection development is taught by . . . a teacher whose name I’ve forgotten.  It might be because I was one of the few who didn’t spend the entire time sucking up to her

In ISAR, we get to set up our first BLOG.  Until now, I’ve never blogged.  Or realized that blog, blogging, blogged were now words in the English language.

WTF, who does this blogging crap?

WTF, who does this blogging crap?

In CD, we have tedious assignments like fake ordering with lots of fake money.  To save time I begin ordering multiple copies of the most expensive materials I can find.  I bet they wouldn’t give me another grant after that.  Not even a fake one.

In ISAR, we continue learning “search procedures” that make no sense and then put our procedures on our blogs.  No one dares suggest that Googling, while not P.C., works a hell of a lot better.

Because two graduate classes are not enough for me, I decide to move from one town to another with my husband and two children who are just about to turn 8 and 4.  My loving boss pouts that I have it easy since I have unpaid Wednesdays off.

My husband starts overtime – which drags out for the entire summer, exactly one day after we move in.  He gets home after 8 each night.  Then I get to start homework!  At one point I drop the children off at a random church for Vacation Bible School and almost forget to pick them up.  Whoops.

At the same time, the library is in the midst of Summer Reading Club.  The hordes of children and desperate parents descend.  I often get the privilege of running the desk not only for the actual story time programs but the multiple two hour rehearsals for the programs.  I’m not exaggerating.  Apparently, the SRC is doing Hamlet.  You’ll never guess which of my bosses is also the children’s librarian!

Also we have animals in the library because patrons love them and the way they smell and make noise and cause allergic reactions.  The cockatiel learns to mimic the scanner beep.  I realize that if the bird learns how to use the scanner, it’s going to take my job

I somehow not only pass but make two As even though I not only don’t think I’ve learned much, I’m fairly certain that my I.Q. has begun to drop.

Beeeeep . . . beeeeeep . . . I'm taking your jobbbbb . . . beeeeep!

Beeeeep . . . beeeeeep . . . I’m taking your jobbbbb . . . beeeeep!

First Fall Semester (Aug 2008 – Dec 2008) : More exercises in futility.

Next up, “Reference” and “Cataloging and Classification”.  I’m excited about Reference since I actually enjoy research.  The only cataloging I’ve heard of thus far is copy cataloging.  At work they let the high school students do it.  After all, who really needs to find a book that badly?

I discover that while I enjoy reference, I enjoy using materials like books and websites that are not ten years old and thus still exist.  Our professor, Dr. Mc., is not inclined to agree.  She shows off a sadistic streak with reference questions that are impossible to find yet only yield 5 points a piece.  I think up a new name for the professor involving “Mc” and “Asshat”.

Cataloging is surprisingly not that bad.  I guess that’s why I forgot the prof’s name – I had no reason to gripe about her constantly. I discover I’m good at cataloging.  Naturally my bosses inform me that no one hires cataloging librarians anymore.

The joy of online learning: I turn in a reference exercise only to discover later that I goofed and sent in the wrong file.  In a very understanding way, she says “You’re screwed.”

Cataloging involves quizzes with no grades.  So I breeze through them with little care.  Other students comment on how “fun” the quizzes are and report that they take them multiple times.  Clearly, these people need Cable.  Or electric shock treatment.

My boss struggles with her homework since her pesky job keeps getting in the way.  She also must keep me under her thumb at all times lest I lead a peasant revolt.  She decides to punish me by not letting me do any new jobs.  Uh okay.

My boss.

My former boss.

My husband brings me dinner and sets it at my computer desk.  He and the rest of the family live somewhere off on the other side of the house.  My kids think it is ridiculous that an entire college could fit into a computer.  I’m inclined to agree.

Students continue to drop out.  Sadly, rarely are they ones I’d like to drop.

The economy tanks.  No one wants librarians.  I feel so secure in my pursuit of this worthwhile degree.  Two more As come my way.  Inflation doesn’t just occur in the economy, at least.

To be continued . . .