Whew, you can always tell when a fall semester hits by the decrease in blog posts. My brain is too fried to write anything pithy and clever about librarianship and my day is too busy to read or try out new projects. In the spirit of Library Day in the Life, here are the highlights of my fall semester so far. Let’s just say for any academic librarian, the fall semester requires your game face!
Pre-fall semester week (August 13-17): Getting started!
- Intern orientation! 11 hours of fun-filled orientation to the library and the reference desk! This year we have five new interns, one diversity resident librarian, two overnight staff members, and one new reference desk staff member. I think that was everyone. I’ve co-coordinated this for three years now, so it is getting easier and requires less preparation.
- Grad student orientation! A short and peppy presentation to our new graduate students (about 100-120 people?). I got the nickname of the manic librarian and got some catcalls. I’d say it was a success.
Week 1 (August 20-24): Finding Randall Jarrell Lecture Hall!
- Reference desk madness! Our reference desk is off the hizzle sometimes and the second day it was rocking. Granted most of the questions were from lost freshmen, but it is a shock to the system when you go from the still and quiet of the summer reference desk to full on BLAM! of freshmen.
- Introduction to Russian Studies! This is a new team-taught course for students in the Russian Studies major. It includes all of the Russian Studies faculty of which I am a member because of my educational background. The primary professor and I wanted to try an embedded approach with the class, so I attended the first day to say howdy.
Week 2 (August 27-30): Teaching!
- Geography classes! I help out our Geography Librarian, Nancy Ryckman, in a couple of the high data use classes every semester along with Steve Cramer. These classes are always fun introductions to the Census Bureau data, SimplyMap, NAICS codes, and more. Good times.
- Legal research! For some reason this was a high legal research week. Nancy R and I support law together (although more Nancy than me). This week I led a session for our advanced interns and staff on legal research (lots of fun and giggles, imagine that) and with Amy Harris, Media Studies Librarian extraordinaire, gave a workshop on basic case law research for Media Law students.
- Intro to Russian Studies! I met again with the Russian Studies students to do a library instruction session. I’ll write a post later on about their cool, cool project. It will be fun to share.
- The International System! I teach a class in the Political Science department on world politics each semester. It is a blast and helps to keep me up in the political science literature. I plan to write more posts on this experience during the semester.
- Ashby Residential College Core Lecture! I support the residential college as an in-house librarian and was asked to give the first core lecture of the semester. There are four core classes that are linked together around a theme (this year is America in the 20th century). Students in all four sections come together once a month or so to hear from a faculty member on a related topic and I was invited to give the first one. Amy Harris and I developed a trivia night game to introduce them to the idea of the library (most of them are freshmen and don’t have any assignments yet). It was a bit raucous and lots of fun. Our mission was accomplished. You can try your hand with the questions too! Let us know what you think.
Week 3 (September 3-7): Annual fall cold!
- Catch a cold! Every fall I catch a cold at some point. It is inevitable. I got really bored on Thursday and figured out how to put libraryh3lp on my phone. Ah, the small triumphs.
- Intro to Russian Studies! Secret fun…more to come!
- Nonprofit management! We have a certificate program in Nonprofit Management and one section of their primary course meets every other Saturday for about 6 hours. These students are troupers. I met with them today and they were awesome. When you are teaching and ask students to pause their research for a minute and they don’t want to, you know that you are teaching graduate students! Always a nice to work with willing researchers.
Week 4: What does the future hold?
Coming up next week I meet with our new Master’s of Public Affairs students, teach two more legal research classes, and we have our EndNote workshops for graduate students. Those workshops are always great fun. We’ve had some bad news from one of our colleagues, but we are all optimistic for her recovery over the next week or so. Can’t wait to have her back!
The fall semester throws a lot at an academic librarian, but it is part of the fun of the job!
What fun or insane things have you done this semester? Any new classes or initiatives?