Creating My Own Experience

When I graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Culture and Telecommunications from the College of Arts and Science, I thought my education was done. I was excited to enter the workforce and put my degree to use. I was shocked to learn that it turned out to be a lot harder to find a job in the field I wanted to go into, television and film production, and I quickly learned that it was an extremely competitive market in Bloomington, Indiana and unless I was willing to uproot my life to either New York City or Los Angeles, it was going to be hard to find a job that put my degree to use. I did what a lot of people coming out college have to do, find a job outside of my field so that I could support myself. Long story short, I was unhappy in the work force, doing a job that I never saw myself in. It was time to go back to school.

The first question I had to answer was, what did I want to go back for? What was my passion besides movies? What could put me in the best position to make sure I found a career right out of school? I originally thought I’d go back for computer science. I’ve always had a passion for computers and consider myself a pretty technology savvy person, but after looking into this, I quickly learned that my lack of code background would severely hinder my chances of success in this field. As cliche as it sounds, I love to read, so that is where I went next. How could I apply this passion to a career that I could love? Library school was the answer.

I am so excited to be back in school. I was skeptical at first about going back, but I am so happy that I finally am back. I was out of school for 4 years, and I can honestly say that I don’t miss working 40 hours in a job that had nothing to do with what I wanted to do at all. Best of all, I can take my passion for computers and technology and create my own experience with my degree. I think that was one of the major drawing factors of going back to school for library sciences. I get all the skills required to become a successful librarian but I can also acquire technology skills and get hands on experience with computers without having a heavy background in computer science.

The first thing after I decided to go back to school for library sciences was trying to decide how I was going to use my love for computers and technology and incorporate it into this degree. Luckily for me, someone had already had that idea and it was comforting and great to learn about the Digital Library specialization. As I looked through the courses in this specialization, I got more and more excited that this was exactly what I was looking for: a specialization that focuses solely on how computers and libraries interact. I am so excited after finding this specialization to take some of the courses. This semester I’m taking Database Design and it has fulfilled every expectation I could expect from it. In this course I get hands on experience learning SQL, a database language, and I get hands on experience with Access in order to create a database project of my group’s choosing. My group decided to create a database for a library. Already, in my first semester, I am getting hands on experience with computers coupled with library experience.

As I go forward with this program, I look forward to getting even more technical experience because as technology progresses, there is going to be a bigger demand for people with these skills, especially in the field of library sciences. The idea of libraries is changing and I am excited to be part of that change and hope by creating my own experience while I’m in school, I can find a career that is challenging, exciting, and combines both of my passions.

-Matt Malher

Maker Mondays

This semester the Scholars’ Commons hosted a series of workshops to highlight different tools used in makerspaces. In case you missed it, here’s a quick rundown of the five tools we explored. And if you’re new to the maker movement, check out this recent article from the Atlantic that chronicles the rise of the makerspace in libraries.

Google Cardboard
What is it?
Cardboard housing that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer
Cost
~$10-20
What can you do with it?
• Watch 360-degree videos on YouTube
• Play virtual reality games
• Create your own 360-degree images, or photo spheres, using Google Street View
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littleBits
What is it?
A kit of electronic modules that snap together to create inventions
Cost
Kits start at $99
What can you do with it?
• Make music with the Korg Synth Kit
• Make a Drawbot
• Create your own Bubble Maker
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MaKey MaKey
What is it?
A kit that turns everyday objects into replacements for your computer keyboard and mice
Cost
$49.95
What can you do with it?
• Play the banana piano
• Turn almost anything into a controller
• Create interactive art

Raspberry Pi
What is it?
A tiny computer
Cost
~$30
What can you do with it?
• Send your Pi into outer space
• Make a baby monitor
• Make music using Sonic Pi
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Arduino
What is it?
A micro-controller that allows objects to interact with their environment
Cost
~$25
What can you do with it?
• Make interactive art
• Monitor moisture levels in the soil of plants
• Keep an eye on your beehive
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-Leanne Mobley

Staying Current with Current Events

Even during the crunch time at the end of the semester, it is important to know what is going on in the world. There are many online news sites that can provide you with current information for all your news needs; they can also be a nice break from studying and group projects.

The Indiana Daily Student — An online version of the IDS. It is always nice to know what is going on around campus and the IDS provides that along with local, state, and national news.

CNN — Provides breaking news from the US and the world. I find CNN to be the place to go to find out what is happening currently and to learn about any big stories.

BBC News — For a bit more World news, BBC has the latest stories, along with the ability to check out the news in certain areas of the world. It is important to know what is happening in the rest of the world.

Wired News — Now for my favorite kind of news…Tech News! Wired has articles and blogs about various technology topics. There are gadget reviews, articles about brand new cars, the latest information in hacking court cases, and articles about historic tech events. Wired is a good website when taking a break because it provides you with a bit of news and you can also learn about the newest things and impress your friends with your knowledge.

When you are taking a break from all your hard work, take some time to get some current events. Also, if you are more interested in reading news from the past, IU Libraries has many newspaper databases you can look through. Use the search box on the top of any library page and search for “newspapers”.

KJK