Category Archives: School

What ever happened to teenage boy literature?

Even though I’m not too big on YA lit, I often find myself having to think about YA lit a lot – and not only because I work at a high school library, but because of the emergence of YA lit as a viable genre for publishers.

I love seeing the new books that come in from Ingram – every time we receive new books, it’s like unwrapping a Christmas/Birthday present (for me, it’s the same thing…) because I can’t wait to see what new books I’m going to want to check out. In recent years, I’ve found that I prefer nonfiction books as my pleasure reading. As much as I love reading a good fiction book and getting lost, I so rarely find that captivating book that just makes me want to READ.

I was lucky this past summer that I found a good fiction book – Almost Like Being In Love. But aside from that, I’ve mainly been reading nonfiction. I looked back at my history of reading, and made a realization today – I’ve read mainly nonfiction nearly my entire life. I wonder why I never got hooked on YA novels…

Then, I saw this list of Top 5 YA novels and made another realization – very few YA novels are geared towards boys. I guess thats an awful thing to say – why must novels be divided up by gender? Why can’t literature be cross-gender? In the YA genre, the last book/series that I can think of that had appeal equally among boys and girls was Harry Potter. The more recent popular books tend to be geared towards female readers.

Is there a reason for this? It’s not as if boys don’t read books – the Library rats at my work can attest to that (mainly boys!) I guess it could be because it’s so much easier to pinpoint what a girl reader would enjoy, hence making it easier to write? Who knows…

Thoughts?

Why I love practical math

During high school, I learned that I loved math. I loved that challenge of solving problems, of learning new techniques to solve older problems, learning about the quirks of the number systems and how to get around them. In my mind, math was about the challenge of solving problems through various means. My favorite part of my math homework was trying various formulas and ideas to solve the problems we were given. If it didn’t work, I could always erase my paper and get back to work. It was about attempting things.

I’m pretty sure my logic is a little flawed – most people don’t like math because they see it as a challenge to solve problems through any means. For those who do like math, it’s learning about the beauty of numbers, of figuring out the logic behind systems, of finding out “y?” (what up, random Adventures of Pete and Pete reference!). It takes a special kind of person to really enjoy math – they have to be willing to work through problems and to be stymied by not finding the right answer.

In college, I realized that as much as I loved math, there were things that I didn’t enjoy about it. I find abstraction to be annoying sometimes – as much as I can wrap my head around certain problems, when there are multiple layers of abstraction, when I have to transform my logic too many times, I get annoyed because I don’t see the practical application of the abstraction. This is why I loved my practical math classes – I took courses on mathematical modeling, on game theory, on learning MatLab for numerical methods. I learned so many practical skills from these classes and I enjoyed each class immensely.

I like learning about why the things I am learning about are important or applicable to real life. It’s why I really enjoyed my sociology degree because I learned about things that are interesting and actually about real life, about real interactions. It’s why I pursued my MLIS – I learned skills that will help me with information design and helping people find the information they need.

In life, the most important thing is to enjoy what you do. The second most important is learning transferrable and applicable skills. It’s time to encourage students to think about more than just their grade, but to also think about how what they are learning will help them in the future. At the end of the day, teach skills, not just content.

How to Fix Our Math Education

It’s official….

This past weekend was Convocation from SLIS. It was a long time coming, as I graduated a year later than I expected. However, that was fine.

This was a long weekend, so let’s break it down…

Thursday – my mom came up from Orange County to watch my graduate and I spent Thursday with her.

Friday, I had work in the morning, followed by an afternoon event that I had planned – a Pre-Convocation Faculty/Student/Alumni mixer. It was very well attended and, from what I heard, the faculty were very excited for the event, as they were able to meet students and relax after their Faculty Retreat. I got to meet one of my favorite professors, Dr. Susan Aber, and made some pretty good connections. It was interesting to find out that people sort of knew me. Does that make me infamous? After the mixer, a few of us went to P.F. Changs for dinner and that was great to have dinner with some friends – haven’t had one of those dinners in a long time. Since we were in downtown, I had suggested we go to my favorite bar – singlebarrel. The line was AWFULLY long, but worth the wait. I met up with some OC SLIS folks, and we drank and had a good time.

Saturday – convocation time! There was some drama that I’m not well versed on so I won’t make any judgments regarding it. The ceremony itself was VERY long…but all the graduates should be acknowledged, so thats understandable. Dr. Haycock was the speaker and his ten points really resonated with me. His suggestions regarding what to do now that we’ve graduated are things that I’ve been doing for the past year, so that felt good to be validated. He also suggested we carry our business cards everywhere – my roommate and cousin both suggested I should have given him my card on stage, but I didn’t think about it because Dr. Haycock went “so you’re Andrew Carlos…”, which really threw me off. My mom took us out to dinner at a chinese buffet and it was delicious. mmmm

Sunday – Woke up for dim sum! Then Paulo and I went to watch Thor – awesome movie! Highly recommended. Then I went home and slept for hours and hours and hours. I <3 sleep. Monday - feeling lazy, I keep looking at my todo list and groan at how much I have booked myself....

Things I wish people learned in Library School

Similar in vein to a recent presentation done by Roberta Stevens, I would like to present my own list of things I wish were taught in Library School. I’m trademarking this list bitches! (can you even trademark a list?)

1) Find good people to collaborate with. This goes beyond working in groups in class. I find it annoying sometimes to be forced to work with a group, rather than allowing you to choose your groups. However, this doesn’t mean I’m a bad groupmate. I’m fantastic. Well, not always, since I’m kind of bossy and try to take over the group. I only do it for the good of the group/grade! Wait, I’ve deviated too much already – find good people to work with. Out of Library School, I am coming out with a core group of friends who I would love to work with in the future. Some of them, I already work with (in terms of presentations, projects, discussions, idea bouncing, etc.), others I haven’t had the chance but I know I work well with them in a group setting. You have to find that special group of people who trust your ideas, who listen to you and whose ideas you trust as well. It’s kind of rare, but when you find those people…it’s like magic.

2) Look beyond libraries. No, I mean REALLY look beyond libraries. Looking for a job has been really stressful lately. However, I’m comforted by the fact that I have applicable skills beyond just a library/information organization. I can really work in a wide variety of places, doing a wide variety of things. I guess this speaks more towards the mind of the student – if they are getting an MLIS, they WANT a library job. However, I came into SLIS knowing that I did not envision painting myself into a corner and only pursuing library jobs. There are only so many libraries hiring, and exponentially more candidates applying for those jobs. Be willing to work at other places – some places, you might not think you’ll like, but you never really know until you try it out.

3) Look beyond libraries. No, I’m not repeating myself. Okay, yeah I sorta am. But really, look beyond libraries in how you apply the skills you are learning. I don’t mean in terms of jobs,but how your ideas and thoughts affect culture, society, people around you, etc. We learned the history of information science in Libr 200, now see how the changes that are occurring in LIS are affecting adjacent fields. Also, look outside of LIS for ideas on how to innovate LIS. Adapt ideas from other fields, test them out, see what works and if it doesn’t, try a new approach. I came into SLIS with a BA in Math, a BS in Sociology, an AA in Geography, and wanting to apply all of these perspectives on LIS. I haven’t quite found my match yet, but I’m working on it!

4) Put yourself out there. Act a fool. Make yourself memorable. Start a blog and talk about weird things. Tweet about your latest incident with a computer. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. I’m all about transparency – I don’t (often) hide things. I think I might have coined a new phrase on Facebook recently: Transparency is the new modesty. It’s true though – with the amount of social networks out there and the various ways people can self-publish, it’s really kind of unheard of to be modest. But at the same time, people look down at you if you overshare or post too much. Well. What is it? What’s the proper thing to do? From my perspective, I would prefer to be transparent-  I’d rather let my feelings out there, let my thoughts out there, than to keep them bottled up. In this way, you can engage others. You can find others interested in what you are sharing. You can NETWORK!

5) Be happy. Really, this is just a life lesson. I don’t think this is something that Library School should teach you, but something that I’ve realized during my time in Library School. It’s really important to be happy. I was in a period when I wasn’t very happy with my options. It really affected my relationships and my decisions. I knew I had to get myself out, so I started doing things that I liked (sometimes to the detriment of my classwork, but really, You Do You – focus on yourself, and the rest will follow). I eventually came out of it, but still…those few months sucked really badly. But now I know that I need to find that thing that makes me happy and I’ll be okay.

Of this list, I think the most important is BE HAPPY. If you’re happy, everything else will really fall into place.

Okay now. Done with being a sap! *tear*

Rounding third, heading to home – Last semester at SLIS

I’m almost done with my masters program here at SJSU SLIS. It’s been  long three years, that should have only been two had classes not been cancelled and changed around. I’m a little miffed about that, but really nothing I can do about it at this point.

All I can do is think about my future and where I am going to be. While I would love to stay in the Bay Area, there is no guarantee of a job for me around these parts. I have a strong resume, good experience, excellent skills, a curious nature, and am willing to do anything for anyone. All of these traits should find me a good job somewhere down the line.

I’m writing this post mainly because it’s been a week since my last post, but also because of a series of posts I just came upon thanks to Twitter.

Michael Stephens encourages students to “seek a challenge”. I started this program expecting to finish quickly and just get started with my career. However, as the classes progressed, I became enamored with the idea of presenting, of innovating, of coming up with new ideas to share with the world. I love a good challenge now. I try to encourage innovation not only with my own ideas, but with others – I like to say that I demand innovation of others.

Stephens references Daniel Chudnov’s blog post, which is the text from an email Chudnov wrote to a library school student. It’s full of great advice, the most important of which is BE CURIOUS. Take the time to try to learn new things on your own. Much of what you learn that will advance your career you learn OUTSIDE of school. This motivates me more to finish learning Processing, Java, Rails, Korean…

Finally, Stephens also references an article written by Roy Tennant. A couple stands in this article include the command “learn as you breathe” – make every experience a learning experience. “don’t be afraid of forgetting” – I’m an idea/knowledge packrat, but really I shouldn’t bother with that cause I can always look it up if I forget! “don’t blindly embrace the new” – sometimes I am so enamored by new things, I don’t actually know why I care about it. Example: Quora. Purpose please???

And with that, I end this post. I think these little bits of advice really apply to anyone, not just Library School students.

SUPER DUPER BONUS TREAT POST – Radio Interview

So much for postaday2011…

I thought I would put this out there for those of you interested in hearing my awesome voice: I was interviewed this afternoon on KUCI for a show called Our Digital Future, about the future of librarianship and information science.

I felt like I rambled on, but thats just cause I’m super critical of myself. If you’d like to hear the interview, you can find it here.

I pretty much talked about random things that I enjoy, my research interests, etc.

For those of you new blog followers who came here from the show: Welcome! Enjoy your stay here, and I’m sure you’ll be entertained.

2010: Conferences in Review

Now seems like a good a time as any to write a review post of the past year. Things have been up and down for me professionally, but I think overall the year has been kind to me.

Let’s talk about the conferences I attended.

I started the year off working on a presentation for a graduate seminar in Milwaukee. It
went alright. I played the stereotypical Californian – managed to sleep past my presentation time. Oops? The session itself was less theoretical than other sessions – I think this has to do with the topic of educational tools.

I also presented at a teacher academy at my work. The session was very well attended and we got some great feedback from people about our topic. It was a topic near and dear to my heart: pathfinders. I oddly like looking for new sources of information for people so that was great to teach teachers new tools they can use for their students.

The two biggies of the year were this past fall: Internet Librarian and CLA.

At Internet Librarian, a friend and I presented on Digital Etiquette and communication tools. Essentially, we talked about what people should do and how they should act when they are online and communicating with students. It was a very stressful presentation, until I was in it and I just relaxed and went with it. It was also my first experience with a conference. As in, really attending and participating in all conference activities. It was great and I got to meet a ton of interesting people.

CLA was a bit more laid back than Internet Librarian. I didn’t have a presentation, just a poster session to prepare for. However, it was attending this conference that encouraged me to become more involved with the librarian community. Very few of the sessions presented felt fresh or innovative. Topics were rehashed and very little new information was presented. The contrast between CLA and Internet Librarian was so strange – Internet Librarian looked to the future, CLA felt stuck in the present.

I look forward to attending more conferences this year, and hope I can make it to ALA Annual in New Orleans.

Rundown of Internet Librarian

Internet Librarian was intense.

My friend and I left San Jose around 830-845 am and got there a little before 10 am. Not too bad a drive really, and at least we got to talk about our feelings…and stuff.

Arriving at Internet Librarian…I could FEEL the nerdiness. It was overwhelmingly AWESOME.

I’ll break down the sessions I attended by day.

Monday:

Mobile that works for your library: Interesting, but much of what was presented I already knew about. There was a lot of discussion about webapps vs native apps and things. I probably should have paid a bit more attention but…I’ll explain why I didn’t later on =)

Libraries in a Transliterate, Technology Fluent World: Wasn’t really sure what this was about at the time, but I guess the idea of transliteracy is knowing how to use different media  and that literacy is no longer just about knowing how to read and write, but about using technology appropriately.

“Cryptic Love Letters”-Digital Primary Sources: Unfortunately, what could have been a really great learning experience was marred by the lack of focus on what was presented. I was initially drawn to this presentation because I saw the word “maps” in the description…the presentation devolved to just showing different online repositories of primary sources, rather than discussing what they are, what they could be used for, etc.

Facebook as a Learning Management Tool: This…felt odd. While I’m interested in the idea of using Facebook as an LMS, it just felt oddly incomplete. We were presented with a class taught within Facebook and how you could use Facebook features to emulate an LMS. Unfortunately, one of the speakers…did not feel as if he addressed the topic. Or if he did..it was only tangentially.

Mobile future: Ended up being a discussion of mobile apps and random things. Informative for people who aren’t necessarily into Mobiles.

After Mobile Future, my friend and I went back to our hotel and worked on our presentation. I was super stressing about it because we were nowhere near finished. We got as much done as we could, then went to the Crown and Anchor for an IntLib2010 tweetup.

This ended up being the best part of the day! Meeting other librarian tweeters, seeing them loosen up and sing karaoke and discuss random things. TOO COOL AND AWESOME.

Tuesday:

Worked on our presentation right up until we presented. I was so nervous. My supervisors from work were there to watch me and I was a WRECK.

It went well – I’m always nervous before a presentation, but then when I’m in the middle of it I relax and go with the flow. I’ll post up a link to my notes and slides sometime soon…

After the presentation, I ate a crepe then took a two hour nap in my car while waiting for a friend. Good times 😀

OH! Actually! I interviewed a maps/gis librarian for a project and that was so awesome. I got to learn a bit more about being a maps/gis librarian and I think I would like to go that route somehow…I do have a semi background in GIS and geography.

Overall: #intlib2010 was awesome. The. End.

Can’t wait for CLA, which is in three days (oh hell…I gotta finish my presentation for that still too!!!!)