Alabama: Grad School Begins

I’ve been in Alabama the past few days for graduate school orientation at the University of Alabama. They have an exceptional distance learning program for library and information studies.  As this trip came nearer, I found it quite difficult to explain to others exactly what I was doing. Yes, it is graduate school, and yes, it is in another state. UA’s program is a synchronous online program, meaning it is virtual class on set days. It is NOT a go at your own pace program. Every Monday I will sit down to “attend” Organization of Information from 6:00pm – 8:45pm. Every Wednesday I will sit down to “attend” Introduction to Library Information Studies. I will be attending classes for the next two years. Ready. set. learn.

This program is accredited by the American Library Association and I have been beyond impressed with all of the faculty and students I’ve met. These aren’t just book lovers, these people are lovers of information in general. There are lawyers, researchers, historians, archivers, those who work in public libraries, and a few teachers. The people  in my cohort are from all over the country and we have a few from out of the country as well. I’m nervous about returning to school, but so is everyone else. All of these people have full time jobs and other commitments. It can and will be done.

Walking around campus has made me feel nostalgic about my years in Aggieland. There really is nothing like being enrolled in school. Anything is possible, and learning can take you anywhere and on any path. My road has forked, and who knows where this new journey will lead me.

We toured the Bear Bryant Museum and were able to see the archives. It made me think of the museums I love, and how much they must have in the back. The museum is in the process of digitizing tape and scanning in pictures and articles. Every institution that collects data is currently in the same predicament. Many of my peers have worked with organizations to help with digitization.

There will always be a need for information and Google will not replace the library. Libaries are the keepers of history. Libraries are the keepers of our futures. Read a book people, you won’t regret it. 

Best of 2008.

Rolling Stone released their Best of 2008 Albums and I immediately went to the best website around. The library. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the library is the most ignored free source of books, movies and CD’s around. I went down the list, one by one, and placed a hold request on each CD that remotely interested me. If the CD turns out to not be my cup of tea, then whatev– it didn’t cost many anything. Then I get a nice email, telling me I have items for pick up. I go to the library and on a shelf, there is a bundle rubber banded together with my name on it. BEST SYSTEM EVER.

But it just so happens when you reach a certain point, the library will no longer let you place a request. You can only wait for so many items at a time, I’ve now reached my limit. This is the message I just received (in red) There is a problem with your library record. Please see a librarian. Fine, I’ll see a librarian, when I go pick up the goods.

I recently went through a best documentaries list and requested them at the library. It was hard to keep up. My mom and I have been doing it with best sellers for awhile. My mother describes the overwhelming sense of too many great books ready for pick up as putting a quarter in a gum ball machine and not being able to catch all that comes out, and not wanting to waste any of the gum balls. This is funny to me, because I can imagine my mom trying to hold to many gumballs at once and dropping them.

Thank you library.

P.S. There is snow on the steps leading up to my house.