25 Books by 25

So I turned 24 a few days ago. No big deal really. Until I realized that in turning 24, I am now living the 25th year of my life. I will have been on this planet for a quarter of a century in a year. Crazy right? Well, it is to me.

Anyway,  in honor of my twenty fifth year on the planet, I’m making it my goal to read 25 carefully selected books over the course of the next year. In all honesty, I’ll read more, since reading is what I do. But I want to make sure to read the following 25:

 

25 Books by 25 (in no particular order)

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  8. Middlesex by Jefferey Eugenides
  9. A Room with a View by E.M. Forrester
  10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  11. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  12. The Republic by Plato
  13. Sold by Patricia McCormick
  14. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  15. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  16. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  17. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  18. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  19. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  20. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  21. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  22. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  23. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  24. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  25. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Wish me luck!  I’ll post as I read them and keep you updated.

Also, what would you recommend? Anything on here you strongly agree or disagree with?

Love Your (Future) Librarians

For those of you who don’t know (which, for all I know is all of you, since I haven’t written in a year) I will be starting my fourth semester (of five) of graduate school. I am studying library and information science.

That’s right – I want to be a librarian. A children’s or teen librarian, to be specific.

You can stop laughing now. Because yes, I’m aware that many people think libraries are dying out as printed media begins to be pushed aside in favor of electronic media. And I’m aware that Forbes recently (well, in June) named Library Science as the worst Masters degree for a job in this article. Sure, they list a low growth rate of the profession and a low median salary as their evidence, but do they stop to consider the range of options someone with an MLIS has as they seek employment?

Forbes listed school librarian, reference librarian, and library director as common jobs for people holding this degree. While these are jobs someone with an MLIS may hold, they are a very limited selection. My school alone offers graduate certificates in Arts and Museum librarianship, Records and Information Management, and Archival Administration to name a few. Students can also specialize based on their courses (Digital Content Management, Organization of Information, Law Librarianship, Health and E-Science to name a few), or follow a more general course of study. All of these options open up a myriad of doors and possibilities.

But my big issue with articles like this is that people throw them in the faces of those of us studying for this degree. Lower pay or limited job growth doesn’t mean we don’t work hard and put in a ton of time to get the degree. It doesn’t mean that the jobs we seek are less difficult or not as necessary as jobs that other Masters degree holders are seeking. It means that many of our jobs are being cut due to lack of funding and misunderstanding of what we do. Maybe it means Forbes didn’t consider all the options we have, but only those that a.re obvious. It means people flaunt these articles as evidence that we, their friends or family, or complete strangers are wasting our time and tuition.

Here’s the problem with that logic – I know I didn’t pursue this course of study to make boatloads of money. I may never be obscenely wealthy, and I’m okay with that. I’m aware that the starting salary of the job I want is well below the average for someone with a Masters. I want to be a youth services librarian and the job requires a Masters. I want the job so I can put stories in the hands of children and teens. I believe in the power of stories to teach, to be therapeutic, and – above all else – to entertain. Stories are necessary and libraries make access easier and inexpensive. If I can help one child find the book they need at the right time, I will have made a difference. I know the power those books (or movies, stories, poems, etc) can have because they’ve affected me and changed me and made me who I am. Everyone should have access to that chance.

This is why I study, work like crazy so I can manage to survive grad school, and why I picked my degree. So please, stop throwing articles like the Forbes article in my face and telling me it’s worthless. Because to me, it’s not. And I’m betting that many of my fellow MLIS students feel the same. It’s frustrating when people don’t even try to understand that it’s not about the money – we love what we do and what we want to do. So instead of saying we’re wasting our time (or that those who came before us did), love your librarians and your future librarians. If you haven’t needed one at some point in your life already (you might’ve without even knowing it!), chances are you will someday.

What’s Earned

DISCLAIMER: The opinions represented in this post are my own as an alumna of Central Michigan University. I do not claim to speak for current students, faculty, or other alumni unless otherwise state

The Faculty Association at Central Michigan University (my Alma Mater) began a strike this morning after being without a contract since the end of June. Bargaining between the union and the university’s administration failed to result in a new contract, and here we are. The FA is made up of tenured and tenure-track professors who do far more than teach classes and hold office hours. These men and women also serve on committees that make the colleges within the university run, advise undergraduate and graduate students, grade papers and tests, and do research and/or get published as part of their job at the university. All of this amounts to many more hours of work each week than those spent in the classroom teaching classes. Is a livable wage really a lot to ask for all this work?

Outside of the Friends of CMU Faculty group on Facebook, I’ve been seeing a lot of students bashing the FACULTY for their “greediness” in seeking to maintain a livable wage. They may seek a raise now because the administration rejected their offer to take no pay increase if tuition remained at the same rates as during the 2010-2011 school year, but they did make that offer so that STUDENTS would not have to pay more. The administration’s offer is basically a 20% DECREASE in pay because the faculty will have to pay more into their health care.

Now, a lot of comments have been made about how districts all over the state and country are requiring employees to pay more of their health care costs. Believe me, I know. My mom is a teacher consultant and my dad is a retired teacher. I am well aware of what goes on in education. I am also well aware that cuts are most commonly made among teachers and other employees rather than among administration. My mom is dealing with figuring out how to support her family without knowing what her take home pay will look like this year, but knowing she’s paying more into health care. It’s a legitimate concern – it’s not a small amount of money, and the cost of living keeps rising. These circumstances affect CMU’s faculty as well.

The vast majority of complaints I’ve seen are about the lack of classes due to the strike. People are worried about graduating and feeling like they’re paying a lot of money for classes that aren’t happening. While I can understand these views, I’d like to point out that people don’t complain when classes are cancelled because of a teacher’s illness, snow, a power outage, etc. Most rejoice at the day off. Now, this is a slightly different circumstance. It’s on a bigger scale than illness and is a choice made by the faculty. However, it’s a choice that the faculty has made in order to stand up for what they – and I – believe is right. I don’t think it’s fair for students or community members to expect the faculty  to let the administration walk all over them simply because classes were supposed to start today. Those voicing a wish for the faculty to go back to work before a fair contract is even being negotiated should take a look in a mirror. While they’re busy spouting off nonsense about greedy faculty, who’s really being selfish? I sincerely hope these students are simply flinging these accusations about as a result of misinformation rather than voicing an educated opinion.

 

Want to help? Email or call President George Ross, Provost Gary Shapiro, and the CMU Board of Trustees. Contact info can be found in the Facebook group Friends of CMU Faculty