I hope that this blog will serve as a resource for those interested in studying youth service libraries and librarianship by connecting the reader to pertinent information, research, and approaches within the field, while also giving the opinions and comments of someone who is beginning to immerse himself in the field. (that person would be me ;) ). I hope that you find it a useful source and I hope you follow me on this journey.
First off, a bit about me:
I live on the Northside of Chicago after growing up in CT by way of Massachusetts and Washington DC. My wife and I moved here about 3 years ago when she took a marketing job in the loop. I have been pursuing a graduate degree in U.S. history for the past few years but have come to realize that my interests lie more broadly than that and I am excited for the opportunity to pursue these as part of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. My initial interests lie in digital libraries, media, and school libraries. Ultimately I'm interested in enhancing and updating the role of libraries in school curricula across multiple subjects to build a home for core concepts in research and information approaches.
In addition to my studies I am also a swim coach and aquatics director in Connecticut. I love the opportunity to be outside in the summer, and having been at the Lake Club for 18 years now, I am happy to say I have truly found something I love doing. Its been amazing to watch so many of my swimmers and former swimmers grow up over the years.
I have also held a motley of other jobs over the past 15 years. After graduating from Williams College, I spent a few years teaching high school history, coaching swimming and water polo, and serving as a resident advisor at Choate Rosemary Hall, a New England prep school. It was a wonderful experience, and I loved the teaching and coaching components, but the residency duties were not ideal for me, as I was in my early 20s at the time. I would certainly be interested in returning to such an environment in the future, though.
I've also taught undergraduate courses while pursuing my graduate U.S. history degree. I was lucky enough to earn a Writing Preceptorship at the George Washington University which provided me with specialized training as a writing instructor. I then designed and taught my own themed freshman writing and research seminars. My courses focused on the concepts of Wilderness and Nature in history and today to better understand our National Parks and preservation within the current environmentally-driven framework. These courses also helped lead me to Library and Information Science. A crucial component of our department's pedagogical goals was instituting sound research practices and each course included a major research project. In designing my course's project I was able to work closely with library faculty and became intrigued by both the tools available for research, as well as the process of teaching those skills as we developed them during our co-taught library classes.
In my free time, I enjoy cooking, swimming, kayaking, reading epic fantasy, and watching sports--in particular the New York Football Giants. I've been known to enjoy a fine beer or bourbon on occasion as well. I also enjoy discovering new music. WFUV radio in NYC and Vince Scelsa's free form radio before that, were my sources for years. And I must say I fully approve of the new Alt-Americana turn that has emerged in the past few years. (Though R.E.M is still the greatest band of my lifetime, IMHO).
I say all of this to help give the reader a bit of context for my comments, posts, and linked materials: I have been working with children for over 15 years; I have been a researcher myself, while pursuing my history degree; I have been a manager of a staff of approximately 25, and developed and implemented various children's programming in that same role; and I have an array of interests. I have not, though, worked in the formal library setting as of yet. I am excited about the possibility of applying my own diverse life experiences to LIS and will attempt to document some of my initial experiences as I am immersed into the field. I do hope that my frame of reference can offer something to the reader as well.