Category Archives: Pursuing the PhD

Cool Change

I left the Library today for 7 weeks leave. I have worked there full time for 13 years. I start my PhD studies in two weeks. This is what was on the radio as I pulled away:

If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
It’s the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
Lots of those friendly people
And they’re showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration
It’s time for a cool change
I know that it’s time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it’s time for a cool change

I Own a PC!

I have mixed emotions for sure but I am now the “proud” owner of a Sony VAIO laptop that meets the UNT Tech specs for our PCs. What a learning curve! I’ve used Apples and Macs since I was at IU in the 80s… and now…

It’s good to be biplatform!

Thanks to the ladies of the cohort who gave me good advice and nudges!!

PS: To offset my guilt, I ordered a decked out PB 17″ to replace my older one!

Update on Doctoral Program

I realized I hadn’t said much of late about my beginning the UNT PhD program. Here’s where things are:

The cohort consists of ten people: 9 ladies and me. :-) Typical for the library world, yes?

We are receiving a budgetary allotment for broadband access at home and a laptop. We received tech specs that outline how the laptop should be configured. I’m totally ready to upgrade my PowerBook but I heard that at UNT the SLIS faculty prefers students use PCs. I am waiting to chat with the director of the program down there to see if my Mac, running OS 10.3 will be compatible. I think it should be.

We will meet in Denton, TX on Friday June 11 for our first weekend of class. Here’s what our typical weekend schedule will be:

Friday, 3:00pm to 9:00pm;
Saturday, 8:00am to 6:00pm;
Sunday, 9:00am to 3:00pm.

The hotel — a brand new Hampton Inn — has a classroom built in — fully wireless. Nice.

I’m still trying to figure out some of the details and what I should be doing… more will come clear soon.

Watch this category for my contunuing news of moving toward a PhD!

Dominican Talk Part II

Yesterday, I drove back into Chicago to Dominican University to speak at Prof. Bill Crowley’s Public Libraries class. What fun! What great students. We had three hours of engaging discussion about technology in public libraries from OPACS to RFID and back again through blogs, RSS and building tech-spaces.

One of the women in the class mentioned libraries wanting to have the sexy technology because it was cool. Oh yes! Technolust! What a great way to describe it: sexy. RFID is sexy. WiFi is rather sexy. Federated searching? SEXY!

I was impressed with the student’s questions – one about copyright stopped me in my tracks with its deepness: Who will win in the copyright wars? The technology makers, the people, the libraries, the content providers? Another shared that her 11 year old daughter is using IM and loving it. A large buddy list, she reported, is a symbol of status….

Lunch beforehand with Prof. Crowley was darn cool as well. We talked libraries, my future PhD endeavor and what it’s like in the academic world.

Here’s my presentation. Take a look at the screenshot of Aaron and I sharing the document via IM for him to give it a once over.

Dominican is lovely… I hope to go back again soon!

Life Changes…Pursuing the PhD

I have not mentioned the biggest thing happening in my life yet because I wanted to give a little time to thinking about new directions and life changes.

My big news though, which came to me the day I got back from CIL: I have applied to and been accepted into the first distance independent PhD program for Information Science out of the University of North Texas. The program will begin in June with a few days on campus and then will be Web-based with cohort meetings a couple of times a semester for 2 years. I thought long and hard about this, sought the advice of colleagues and friends and am very happy with the outcome! I will be studying technology and its impact on public libraries — probably a lot of the things I’ve written about here for the past year.

For the last year or so, as well, I have been pondering further education with the ultimate goal of a faculty position in a LIS School. With my current situation, it would be impossible to pull up stakes and move to one of the towns that have PhD programs in LIS. While working with the Staff Development Team at my public library to evaluate how we develop future library leaders, I did some research into the various ways library employees could get their MLS here in Indiana or beyond. Online classes offered at the University of Illinois were intriguing, but only for Masters students. I pondered the virtually impossible commute to Bloomington or Ann Arbor from South Bend. I was also fact-finding and soul-searching to make sure I was ready for such a big step if an opportunity appeared. IM and e-mail conversations with library colleagues helped me decide I was ready for the challenge of doctoral pursuits.

Special thanks to Rachel Singer Gordon, who originally sent me the info about th program on 2/6 (the application was due right before PLA!). Other folks were so helpful as well with advice, gentle nudges and “big picture” views while I made the decision to go for something I have wanted to do for a long time. I will not be a name dropper here — You dear souls know who you are and you ROCK.

I always want to stay connected to the library technology profession so I will continue to work at SJCPL, although I some of my duties and responsibilities may change.

Here’s the Web page about the program, as an FYI:

http://www.txmike.com/imls/index.htm

I plan on blogging extensively my experiences with the cohort: the group meetings in Texas, the online classes, the process itself… so stay tuned!