Sunday, February 28, 2010

the 'normal' things that are going on in my life

here are the 'normal' things that are going on in my life, beyond the unsettling-getting-burglarized-stuff...

on Feb 1, i started my 6th semester of graduate school at Queens College... my master's degree is definitely being done slowly and on a very part-time basis. This is because A- I am working fulltime at a very busy branch of my library system and B- my commute to school is long and therefore as much energy gets expended on the commute as does on the actual class (if not more), leading to not being able to take too many classes per semester. Plus, I think I am devoted to the quality vs. quantity model --- having achieved an A+ in every class but for one (in that one class i earned just an ordinary A) ;)

This semester I am taking one class, which is actually an internship at an academic library (in the instructional services department). Basically this means that I am paying about 1000 bucks (including fees etc) for the privilege of working for them. But seriously, this experience of interning has started off well, and I am learning a lot about how academic libraries (or at least this one) function/functions. Academic libraries are so different than publics in so many ways, i cannot begin to enumerate them here... but maybe i'll start keeping a running list for myself--- something good to put into my journal for my internship, eh? (ya, part of the internship class is to keep a detailed journal)

what else? Work is the center of my life right now, so I'll go into some details about what's occupying me these days...

Here's one reason I really enjoy my work at the public library: Last fall this one wonderful teen, "D", kept bugging me about starting a creative writing workshop at my branch. I told her i was skeptical and that prolly teens wouldn't come. But she pollyanna'ed me into doing it, and we launched the workshop in early December. I am proud to say that "D" has soundly proven my pessimistic ass wrong -- we have averaged about 8 teens per class since then. (the numbers range from a high of 14 to a nadir of 5). While I cannot say that I know exactly what I'm doing leading a writing a workshop (!!!), I will say that I absolutely love it, every aspect. The interacting with the "teens" is my favorite part. (attendees range from ages 12 to 18... with one anomaly of a 23 year old who is in between college and grad school and needs an outlet for her energy and creativity.) On a weekly basis they blow me away with their writing and their spirit... and their generosity and perspicacity when giving each other honest feedback on their work. While we have a limited time together due to scheduling difficulties, we squeeze the most juice out of that time as possible and inhale the rinds until the next time we can meet. To say that these teens have made life interesting would be a dull understatement. To say that they make my life worth living, and Wednesdays my most-looked-forward-to day of the week, might be maudlin, not to mention cliché , but that would be a bit more, um, accurate.

Another activity I enjoy immensely at work, in a similar way, is running the Arts and Crafts programs on Tuesdays at the same branch. The kids are younger and sweeter and more rambunctious and messy than the teens, but I enjoy them all. So far we have made a myriad projects together, but some that come to mind are-- a wall of snowflakes, sorcerer turkeys (don't ask), paper beads, mosaics, and sparkly pipe cleaner christmas trees with bead ornaments. Tuesday afternoons for me are a whirl of white school glue, construction paper, safety scissors, lanyards, pony beads, manila paper (remember that stuff from school?), and googly eyes, not to mention moving around furniture in the meeting room. And kids. Kids galore, of every age from 3 to 13. And, sometimes, their mommies. :-) Sometimes I have over 20 people who come to an arts and crafts program!

Moving on to less rambunctious yet equally though differently enjoyable work endeavors -- This January I became a mentor to two high school aged interns at my branch. they are interning at my library as part of an IMLS funded grant to start a teen internship program intended to introduce high achieving low-income youth to library work. The idea is to cultivate future librarians as well as to serve the multicultural, multilingual communities of our city. Can I just say that I adore the two interns who have been housed at my branch to pieces. "X" is a shy yet at times loud, sensitive, EXTREMELY well read, 2nd gen Chinese american, oldest child of a family of four children who takes great care of her kg attending brother and younger sisters, responsible, wise beyond her years, junior in high school. "Y" is a soft-spoken, high achieving, thoughtful, artsy, innovative, gentle, loved-by-little-kids-as-older-sister-figure, Pakistani-American, senior in high school. They are teaching me as much as I am trying or hoping to teach them. And, on a lighter note, I love feeding them chocolate, as it satisfies the spoil-the-kids urge within me.

Another experience I've been having at work that I might not have mentioned is that once a week I have a rotation within the library system. As my title is officially Librarian Trainee, they allow me to go, once a week, to another division of the library and take part in projects and work there as a staff member... for the past almost one year, I have been stationed at the education and job center at the main branch. There I have done everything from put together resource lists on topics like searching for green jobs and business opportunities and Internet resources for high education to working at the reference desk (very different from reference desking at the branch) to observing resume and interview workshops. I have also worked on building a wiki for the department to use internally (hosted on as well as successfully advocated for a dedicated job information blog/discussion link on our library's intranet. Plus my supervisors there have been incredibly supportive and kind and enthusiastic and I cannot tell you how motivating and invigorating that is.

What else? I have managed to do some fun things too, of late. Some things that come to mind are:
  • getting back into dance this past fall with an 8 week bharata natyam workshop with Parijat Desai, who is an amazing teacher as well as a warm wonderful person and activist. I hope to do this again soon!
  • a wonderful visit to Boston on Valentines day weekend to spend time with Smitha, Ganesh and darling baby M----- - just 7 months old, in addition to many antics to make the baby laugh her deep gravelly old lady laugh, I also had the opportunity to sneak in a dance class with Smitha as teacher as well as a viewing of My Name is Khan -- awesome NRI Bollywood movie that instead of examining what does it mean to be Indian in America, for the first time explores what does it mean to be an American.
  • not to forget a major highlight of December-- over winter holidays i got to bake and decorate cookies with my favorite Ohio nieces, M---- and S---, which was incredibly fun and relaxing. And catching up with their parents, Pranav and Myth wasn't too shabby either. ;-)
  • Another fun experience has been to housesit at my parents place while they were away, and spend time with my sister at their place. I baked banana bread for her despite her protests of too many calories, and in turn she dragged me to her luxurious gym as her special guest. I must say, the sauna was definitely my favorite part... (thanks H!)

1 comment:

Ariah said...

I think I want to become a librarian now ;)