30 April 2009


There is no milk. Do I:

1) Run to the corner store and buy some, come home, and make coffee
2) Run the the coffee shop, get coffee to go and come home to drink it
3) Actually prepare for my day, without the aid of coffee, and then get a coffee on the way to the library?
4) Have tea.

21 April 2009

Best Spams Ever

Subject line: How To Get Boys To Kiss You

Body: With bugles sounding, advanced up yonder street and under the conduct of shebasam.

It's practically poetry.

20 April 2009

Grad School: Bad School or Glad School?

Yes, I've been a bit lazy about updating my little blog recently--noticed perhaps only by Shiloh, my one faithful reader. Shi has recently settled on a graduate school program, gotten a scholarship for it, and is beginning the process of moving herself, her husband, and her insanely cute doggie across the county--I think congratulations are in order, and I thought I'd start with those since this post is about beginning the search for my own graduate program.

Last year, I completed a Master's degree at the University of London--I did this straight out of undergrad, which gave me a kind of mixed bag of experience. I should perhaps have listened more closely to friends and professors who advised me to wait a year before setting off into graduate study, because my goals upon entering that program and my goals now have definitely shifted--but on the other hand, as a personal experience, living in London, getting that degree, meeting my lady, and just generally having a year of study and reflection rather than sloth and dejection after getting my BA--these were all good things.

Anyway, this year has been a lot about figuring out professional goals, and I think I have a fair handle on what I want to do, and now I'm looking at schools that can help me get things done.

It's funny to be applying to graduate school again and to notice how much my methods and thinking about it have changed. The last time around, I was much more haphazard--I pretty much just relied on the universe to work things out for me, and went with my gut reaction to a school most of the time. I didn't look very closely at things like financial aid or the specific research interests of the school/faculty, and I went for quantity much more than quality in terms of my own applications. I guess in the end the universe has the last laugh--I do think things worked out for me, but not the way I expected.

This time around I'm trying to be more thorough. Funding is more important to me now than I realized last time around, so that's something I've paid more attention to, in addition to checking out faculty interests, course listings, institution's resources outside their department, resources in the surrounding area, and chances for internships and graduate research.

But, in the end, sometimes it does come down to a gut reaction--why do some programs stick in my mind while other similar ones fall by the wayside? Why are some programs so exciting that I am willing to overlook the fact that they are located in a cornfield surrounded by a windswept tundra of Midwesternness, while others remain only frustratingly place-bound? Trying to analyze these reactions can be confusing, and sometimes only comes down to good or bad website design (although, since I'm looking at MLIS programs, I DO think usability and clear information access are more important than they would be for, say, an English department website).

Other times, though, I think it has to do with voices--whose voice comes through the summary descriptions of two years or more of what my life might be? Is the voice the cold checklist of ALA-accreditation, or is it the warm voice of interest, scholarship, and history? Is the voice the voice of the bureaucracy of an institution, or is it the voice of the professors and department chairs who make up the fabric of the program? Sometimes, rarely, it can be the voice of the students themselves--today looking through the website of a program I'm kind of on the fence about, I found my way to the online publication of the MLIS students--articles about libraries and books, interviews with interesting professionals, photographs of great libraries around the world; all written and compiled by students, and showcased by a proud department. Suddenly, the search stopped being about what kind of classes were offered or how perfectly suited the catalog was to my interests, but rather about wanting to be in a place where students are interesting, thinking creatures, and a department filled with faculty who are capable of recognizing that and promoting it.

And in the end, that is exactly what I want from a school, you know.