What to Expect When You Expect Too Much

I try not to assume that the world is talking about me, let alone whatever room I walk into. But I do. More recently. I don’t know if this is a product of my (multiple) mental illnesses, a new mental illness, or a normal human conundrum. People, in my mind, never say kind and uplifting things about me. Hell, even mind numbingly boring. It is always negative or critical. This is my internal debate. And I don’t know why I care so much or why it hurts me to my core.

It seems arrogant. Why would you be the focus of attention? “Why do you, of everyone else, matter?” I mutter silently to myself. “People have their own lives, at best, or are self absorbed, at worst.”

But I work in an industry, being academia, that seems to thrive on appearances. Publications numbers and citation counts are regularly asked during annual evaluations and certainly the tenure track process. Colleagues appear to almost supernaturally known what to say during committee meetings where I stumble at best. One colleague is asked to be the speaking head on a local news channel, because they are an expert in some obscure field that relates to a hot-this-moment story. Representation of your university, school, and college is critical. You are your institution.

Logically, I know that I’ve push myself to some sort of limit work-wise. I have cut back on outside work – i.e. the work that isn’t academic or the work that won’t get me tenure. Recently, I’ve dedicated myself to focusing on the work stylings I knew as a PhD student. None of which were healthy. Much of which helped me end up in ER for suicidal ideation, depression, and panic disorder two weeks before my dissertation defense.

Despite all this, I continue to strive for some sort of ‘laudable’ goal. It may not be achievable. It’s enviable to many (I’ve heard), but I’ve seen so many suffer so much as a result of the hunt for this prize.

I started writing this brief post, because I felt inexplicably that the world was criticizing me. By that I mean academically, appearance-wise, my every day humanness, my writing, and/or whatever it means to be me. I know (or partially know) that this feeling may come from my non-stop and relentless criticism of myself. I do not entirely know. But it has lead me to more complex thoughts. Particularly regarding academia and my fledgling lifeline in it. But what else am I good at? I’ve spent over a decade in this bubble of higher education. I know the joys and the sorrows of a life lived within it (if I can steal a phrase from somewhere). I don’t want to give it up. I just want to survive it.

the interior of a dark bookstore with a man walking down the middle of a hallway

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/30/opinion/dark-academia-halloween.html

What to do with the, “What I didn’t learn in library school…” conversation.

Sometimes it’s just meant as a helpful conversation starter. “I didn’t learn this in library school, but now I know….”. Sometimes it’s a statement of fact. “I didn’t learn this in library school.”. Yet often it seems as a criticism … Continue reading

Guest Blog Post: Youth Activism Through Community Engagement—YALSA’s Presidential Task Force

I thought I should share this article I drafted up as a member the YALSA’s Presidential Task Force. Please let me know if you want to chat more or have any questions or concerns.

After the horrors of Charlottesville unfolded, we saw powerful and moving responses via social media, petitions, and public demonstrations. Recently, YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell wrote a blog post about what library staff can do to help. The 2017-2018 YALSA Presidential Year theme of Youth Activism through Community Engagement is an appropriate call to action for library staff to support teens in developing the necessary skills and confidence to engage in their communities.

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Guest Blogging: “Transforming Teen Services: Making in the Library While Learning to Fail”

More guest blogging for YALSA!

“Makerspaces, making, and the maker movement have become frequent conversation topics among librarians. We’ve encouraged making in the library through programming focused on writing, drawing, designing, building, coding, and more. As informal learning and gathering spaces, libraries are by nature situated to invite collaboration and discovery. In many cases, making has been associated with makerspaces — independent spaces that provide tools, materials, and support to youth and adults with an interest in creating (Educause, 2013). Sometimes makerspaces are flexible, subscription-based environments, sometimes they are hosts to structured programs and classes with an attached fee. Some have a technology prominence with 3D printers and laser cutters, while others lend an artistic attention  by supplying sewing machines and design software (Moorefield-Lang, 2015). No two makerspaces are the same, just as no two makers are the same.


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Guest Blogging for YALSA

So long ago (January 13), I wrote a guest post for the YALSA blog about my experience at ALISE 2016 Annual Conference and its theme of Radical Change, inspired by Dr. Eliza Dresang and her work with youth services. You … Continue reading

Top 5 YA and Libraries Research in 2015 (But Mostly from Pew Research Center)

Recently, I did a guest blog post for YALSAblog – the official blog of Young Adult Library Services Association. Here what I said in the post, and here’s a link to the original post. Happy New Year! In the world of … Continue reading

How You Too Can Transition from a Librarian to a Doctoral Student

My first (and hopefully not last) guest post for Hack Library School!


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Abigail Phillips.

I often get, quite naturally, the question, “So, what made you decide to get your PhD?” I always feel a bit sheepish when I offer my response, “Well, I’ve always known I would.” I should have an intelligent and eloquent explanation for such a major, life-altering decision. But I don’t. However, what I do have is a somewhat intelligent and kinda eloquent explanation for my decision to leave my job as a public librarian and become a doctoral student in Information Studies.

After working in public library for six years, two as a library assistant and four as a professional librarian, I left the practitioner world behind last fall to join the PhD program in Information Studies at Florida State University (FSU). I have yet to regret this decision. My experiences in researching, writing, and teaching over the past year…

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