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The following is a synopsis of 2008’s best and worst events in my microcosm:

Books I read:

Blog events:

  • Best: being told that my expose of preparing for and taking the comprehensive exam was found useful to others
  • Worst: not knowing what I should do with the blog now that I’ve graduated – maintain it? ignore it? delete it?

Education events:

  • Best: 3-way tie: receiving the Tomberlin Scholarship, passing the comprehensive exam, obtaining an MLIS
  • Worst: not knowing what educational endeavors I should pursue from here: continue teaching at TCC? enroll in a PhD program? both? neither?

Professional events:

  • Best: teaching Freshman Composition at TCC – and getting to know 16 of Tulsa’s most interesting and promising young adults (though helping choose my boss’s boss – and getting to know 10 of Oklahoma’s most outstanding professional educators – takes a close second ;-)
  • Worst: attempting to obtain a professional librarian position during an economic recession (especially given that I’m not currently mobile)
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slis-comps-results

fall08compsupdate1

Though only 50% of those taking the Fall 08 Comprehensive Exam passed on the written attempt, several more were able to present a successful oral defense, resulting in an overall pass rate of 86%.

[To be honest, I was hoping for a perfect score to be credited in part to my and Kirsten’s Comps guides ;-)
Kinda like I was hoping all the students in my Freshman Comp course would end the semester with an A or a B . . . .]

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Blog:

  • Been pondering a new title for months. Think I’ve found one worth keeping (the high five from my fourteen-year-old at hearing my choice sealed the deal :-)
  • Been updating my About page (fishin’ for a professional position) and composing a Comps page for the future reference of other OU SLIS students who have decided to choose the same path.

Education:

  • The final nine days of my last SLIS class at OU is heavily packed with readings and assignments; happily, all will be completed by midnight July 28, 2008.

Work:

  • Executive Director of Libraries Search Committee assignments are at their height. Candidates are on campus, touring, interviewing, and making presentations. As taxing as committee duties can be, and as limiting as they are on the time I can devote to other duties, I’m still grateful to have been asked to serve. I’m getting to know some wonderful librarians (and a few deans and administrators, too ;-).

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Earlier this afternoon, I was having a discussion with one of my coworkers about the different cultural perceptions of teacher/student relations and why some demographics are perceived as being more “successful” in their endeavors to maneuver through America’s standardized education system than others.

No idea the exact moment, but some time during this discussion I realized something about the nature of the MLIS program and its relation to the comprehensive exam. As with most graduate programs, the majority of what is taught in MLIS classes is theoretical, i.e. requires abstract thought and a high tolerance for the ambiguous. This tendency towards the theoretical is extremely important if the MLIS program is to thoroughly prepare students for the rapidly changing environment that is library and information services. What I gather from reading the questions of previous comprehensive exams is that the test is used to determine how well MLIS graduates, i.e., those who desire to have both the OU and ALA stamp of approval as they enter the library and information professions, understand the theories and how successfully they can apply what they’ve learned to practical, real-world situations, e.g., your budget has been cut 25%; what do you do?

I suppose what this realization means to me as I continue the comps countdown is that I best spend time both reviewing the past and contemplating the future.

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[Today’s topic adheres to four of ALA’s core values: diversity; education and lifelong learning; public good; social responsibility]

Went to the ALA website once again and performed a little retrospective review of Dia, which is an annual “celebration of children, families, and reading” that “emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.”

Here’s one of the many wonderful books written by Dia Founder, Pat Mora:

The book was published just a few short months after Mora founded Dia and is highly reflective of the celebration’s central purpose. Tomas and the Libary Lady is about a librarian instilling the love of reading in the child of migrant workers by (wait for it. . . .) loaning him books to read. The appreciative little bookworm takes the tomes home and shares them with his family. The tale is loosely based on the childhood of Tomas Rivera, who went on to earn a Ph.D. from OU and eventually became Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside. 

I like to believe that my future will include such community enhancing encounters as Mora’s tale describes; however, with legislators like these, there appears to be as much advocacy in my future as mentoring:

 

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One of my favorite people in all the world, Maggie Ryan
One of my favorite people in all the world, Maggie Ryan


Lots of sunshine at the Social Responsibility Roundtable Booth


NSU presenters left to right: Emily Brown, Jamie Holmes, Pamela Louderback, Linda Summers, Peggy Kaney

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Each year members of the OU SLIS faculty nominate graduate students who they believe “best reflect the scholarship, dedication, and professionalism of David Ross Boyd Professor Emerita Tomberlin.” To remain in contention, nominees must submit a one-page statement and vita.

Here’s the essay submitted by this year’s winner:

Tomberlin Scholarship Statement

My primary intention in becoming a member of the library profession is to serve those who seek knowledge and information; it truly is as simple as that.

My aspirations in becoming a library professional, on the other hand, are multifaceted and ever-evolving, much like the profession itself. For one thing, I am highly interested in mentoring and teaching because I truly believe the ability to share what one learns is one of the greatest gifts. Another of my aspirations is to enhance the information seeking process by performing research and sharing the results through publication. I would also like to publish works on life as it is in the library profession, both for those who work in the library profession as well as for those considering doing so. Another of my aspirations is to serve at both the state and national level library associations in order to work with those who enhance information access for all. Lastly, I am interested in serving as the head of a department or as the director of a library. To me, the prospect of listening to and leading a collective of highly intelligent information professionals is not only intriguing, but virtually limitless in the possibilities of what can be accomplished.

My association with libraries up to this point has been both personal and professional. The personal aspect, likely similar to that of other information professionals, includes many childhood summers spent searching the shelves of the small branch library near my home for adventures yet to be taken and information yet to be discovered. This childhood experience was followed years later by many adult summers spent sharing a similar experience with my children.

The professional aspect of my association with libraries includes several years serving as a volunteer at the elementary school near my home. The librarian at this school generously mentored and instructed me in virtually every aspect of maintaining a K-12 library. Ultimately, it was her aptitude, optimism, and encouragement that inspired me to return to school in order to enter the information profession.

My most recent professional affiliation with libraries began with an internship at an academic library that quickly evolved into a full-time paraprofessional position. Similar to my volunteer experience, my present position allows me to participate in multiple aspects of librarianship, from reference and instruction to acquisitions and outreach. Also as with my volunteer experience, I find that I am surrounded by generous and highly knowledgeable individuals who willingly teach, encourage, and inspire. Ultimately, it is when I serve with these professional mentors and teachers that I am most grateful I have chosen to become a member of the library profession.

Given my personal experience, a general definition of librarianship as I view it is a profession that ensures access to all kinds of information for all types of individuals, regardless of ability or affluence. Moreover, librarianship is about providing an atmosphere that is both welcoming and intellectually stimulating.

Thank you to all committee members for taking the time to consider me for such a prestigious award as the Irma Rayne Tomberlin Scholarship. To even be considered is truly an honor.

Here’s the award:


*[No one is more surprised (or humbled) than I.]

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