Reviving a distant desire to become an Art Librarian?

Today, I was asked to think about what my plans were for post-graduation life, and into the next few years. I’ve been so busy thinking about how to get through the present that I realized that I had not planned things out, realistically, even to three years into the future.

I know that I plan on getting a job as a Library Assistant after graduation. I know after that lies librarianship, and that I have the goals of learning Japanese language, learning to drive, and learning to cook (more) in front of me. Also there is the possibility of learning to code…though I’m not as excited about that as I used to be.

So…depending on how the coding goes, I’ll know if I want to move further into the technical aspects of Web Development, or just stick with Web Design or Web Production. If I become fluent in Japanese language, I will be able to work with Japanese special collections. Once I can get deeper into my Web Design reading, I’ll have a better idea of whether I want to move forward with that path, as well.

I’ve been advised against Marketing, however (it conflicts with my ethics) — which then might severely limit my Web Design options — and against Web Programming (where making something which is only “mostly” right, is about as good as making nothing). An old acquaintance of mine replied, “but I don’t want to!” when I told her she could always get better at drawing. I kind of feel that way about Web Programming, at this point.

What I have done within the last few days…hmm. I started in on playing with some sashiko embroidery (it’s relatively impressive compared to nothing, but still a little embarrassing — I know, don’t judge first trials harshly), got my sashiko threads cut, bundled and tied, got a couple of Japanese thimbles to practice stitching in a Japanese technique (they fit around the middle finger)…got a hera (scorer) for tracing patterns and some circle templates for sashiko pattern-making, plus white transfer paper. This is with an eye to making one or more furoshiki (wrapping cloths), leaning towards more than one.

I’m also not sure, now, whether to make pants with my ikat and/or batik, or to make one or more skirts (that fit) with it. I’ve been appreciating clothes that fit, better, since I got up to size 16. There is beauty to being heavier; most of the aesthetic issues I’ve run across deal with being without clothes of the right size, or only having clothes which don’t fit well.

Today I also went and got a larger stake for my tomato plant (it decided to list heavily to one side, recently), and repotted a bunch of succulents (which, amazingly, didn’t seem to need it; their root systems were still very compact. Either that, or I accidentally broke them off). I haven’t shown any pictures of what the succulents look like, now. Generally, the stems have gotten longer and the lower leaves have begun to die.

Also, I’m not sure if it has to do with limited sunlight from being indoors, but the special colors that some of them used to have (yellow, maroon, violet), have faded into more greenish shades.

The stalk that was on one of them (the one which used to be silvery blue) flowered, and is now dying. I think the plant itself is an Echeveria because the stalk came from the side of the main stem (not the center), and the rest of the plant seems as healthy as ever. There’s another type which flowers and then dies (Sempervivum, I think, which is ironic given the name), but my plant doesn’t look like the photos of those.

I’m not sure if I’m transitioning into a person who has a “real job” and “hobbies.” I really don’t know. Especially since I’m not sure I’ll want to continue on in the Library field. I’m completing the degree so that I’ll have the option to have a gainful career: the window in which I will have the luxury of the possibility of extended schooling…won’t last forever. At least, unless I’m gainfully employed. Even then, I can’t imagine being able to save up enough money to take two or three years off for study, again. (Unless, that is, I became a Professor.)

The plants are good as pet surrogates…it gives me something to care for and watch grow, which in turn helps me feel better about the passage of time. Though yes, they were cuter as babies. 🙂 I also now have five empty small pots in which I can put new plants. 🙂 I should wash them out on the porch, tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure M is looking forward to my being able to go back to my art, but at this point…I’m not sure of the value of it, unfortunately. Though I have envisioned making some posters — or paintings — for my room, now that I’ve begun to hang some of my work. I see the value of covering blank walls now, that is.

I just get frustrated with working only in 2-D. There’s also the subject matter issue. If I do get the chance to take art classes again…Painting (and not just the skill of painting, but philosophies behind why to paint, and why we paint what we do) would be something I’d be interested in. My community-college Art program was relatively light on Art History and Art Criticism. I might have the chance to go for an MFA, but that’s a best-case scenario…one which I was engaged with at the beginning of my Library Science program.

It is possible for me to go back for an MFA and then become an Academic Librarian at an Art College, a specialist in the Arts for a Public Library, or an Archivist or Special Librarian for a Museum. I mean…if I had an MFA, I would actually be in the running for one or more of those jobs. With an AA (as I have now), I just don’t have the subject-area expertise (although I’m told I don’t need subject-area specialties, necessarily; but why would someone hire me over someone who has a BA or MA level degree in the Arts?).

Maybe I should be giving that more thought. I would likely need Library experience (greater than I have now), and I need more breadth of skill if I’m going to run all aspects of a Special Library. But classes to expand the latter are attainable, and so is the possibility of the former. If I keep up with my studies…I also may be able to get grants to finance my way through school (especially as I’m already in an Honors Society).

Then, I would just have to choose between an MA in Art History or an MFA in Studio Art. By the time I’m done with this and become established in a Special Library job…I might be towards the potential end of my career.

But maybe I should set my sights high?

I’m reminded again that I am an Arts and Humanities person, not a primarily technically-oriented one. Maybe the passing on of culture is something I’d like to get involved in…and I wonder if I can bring my interest in, “publishing better on the Web,” into this, somehow?

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Lots of stuff going on. What do I do when I actually *don’t* have to do anything?

I’m kind of tired of browsing others’ artwork while my own voice goes quieted (self-censored?).  Not that it isn’t a good thing to have exposure, but looking is not equivalent to doing.  It’s the same thing as reading without writing.

Last time I met with my usual counselor, they were encouraging me to take time out for my own self-care.  I’ve had an easier time looking forward to the next three years, realizing that if I take time out to care for myself, it won’t be three years straight of all-work-no-play.  (During high school, which is likely where I initially refined my study skills, it was this way.  I had to play-first, work-later, or else work would eat up all my time.  I was supplied with more homework than I could ever complete, which did jack for learning good work habits.  Or, rather, work habits that wouldn’t erode my will to engage.)

Today has been nearly nothing but taking it easy…which isn’t a good thing, but I couldn’t bring myself to think too hard, after the last two days.  I did manage to get my homework done, which was relatively easy, and fun (my Database work), though there has been no progress on the readings (I can’t concentrate around other people, and didn’t want to be alone again to get quiet time).

I also managed to get the daikon pickles started.  🙂  After that, I wasn’t totally hot on cleaning my room, or the bathroom.  I know it needs to be done, but it’s waited this long.  It can hold off a bit longer.

It also helps that I’ve accidentally read too much of my tutorials, and listened to an optional reading that I thought was required.  I have a good way to go for my Database class, where it comes to optional readings; not so far, to finish the required ones.  But I have another week, to do it.

I can get to work on the next lecture…and answering the question posed at the end of it.  In my last class, I need to finish a reading, then answer a post on it.  I think this will be it for the rest of this week, though I can’t be sure, as the days the lessons change over are not aligned with each other.

I just kind of can’t believe that I was able to complete everything.  I thought that I might not be able to get full credit on last night’s essay — but that could have been because I couldn’t imagine that the assignment was as simple as it was.  I was willing to settle for half-credit.

There is also the “homework” of reading for my Vocational program (which I have time to do, now), and talking to one or more Museum Librarians.  I think I have enough information to hypothesize that I won’t need an advanced degree in Art to be competent…but it would be nice to talk to someone in the field.  It would just clarify things.  My fear is that they will ask me questions about Art that I can’t answer.

Although it will help in getting a clearer idea of the field.  My meeting with my old co-worker did clarify that Digital Services is likely not a great bet for me, because it does still deal with customer service; in a Public Library, this would be Public Service.  An Art Librarian position would still be customer service, but my “customers” would be people in the Art field, I’m thinking.  These people seem qualitatively different than “anyone off the street.”

And then there is my “homework” from Counseling, which is to work out my time management.  I’ve been OK so far, but I’ve only been through the first four weeks of my courses.  It is relatively great that I only have one course that I have to get a good grade in…

I do need to work on my note-taking, though.  And in addition to my housekeeping and cooking, I still need to learn to drive.

Thankfully, though, I think that (and exercise) are all I have on my plate…

Catching up…

So I’m sitting here, now glad that I got a computer which I can type at, while my main station completes a malware scan.  Everything was going smoothly, then M opened up a browser which was not my regular one, and things froze up.  It could have been an update, an XSS attack, or just my computer being a &$*# (though that is not my main idea).

I feel like I’m behind, although I know I am keeping up.  It would be nice to be ahead of the game at this point; or to really know the amount of work that is ahead of me — but still — I need some down time in the middle of all this.  Both yesterday and the day before did not go quite as planned:  yesterday, because I actually enjoyed socializing with family (usually there are elements to impede this), and the day before, because most of my time was spent helping clean…so far as I can remember.  (The craft table was otherwise needed, so I had to move all my art materials and other things that had piled up.)

Isn’t it weird when the holidays become times to reorganize the house?  I’ve realized over the weekend that I need to straighten up my office (at least) and clean (vacuum, dust) my bedroom and vanity.  Personal care has also been slipping, so I need to get on it with changing my sheets and taking a good shower.  That, and I need to get more on top of things where it comes to getting ready for bed before my medications knock me out.

In any case, I am mostly done with my homework.  I have 14 more pages to read, tonight, and something to correct and upload.  After that, I’m mostly going to be moving on to the next modules (which is kind of scary)!

I did complete a very interesting reading, though, last night.  And I have realized that what I have been doing with the blogging — that is, doing things and reading things, then reflecting on what I’ve done — is probably something that University trained into me.  Therefore, there is a reason to continue doing this (writing here), even if it is not on the prior subjects I’ve studied.

From the reading I completed last night (I think it was a tract by Marcia Bates — I am not supposed to reveal curricula, but I’m sure just naming the author of my text is fine), it looks like I would be more into the Information Science side of the MLIS, than the Library side.  Both disciplines need to be paid attention to in order for either to be fully functional, but Information Science deals more with the organization of information, rather than the delivery of information services.  The LIS field itself appears to be a combination of design, technology, engineering, and social sciences — at the least.  Design, technology, and social sciences are all things I can get behind.  Engineering, I have little experience with.

And right now I’m wondering if Web Design and Info Architecture is more of where I want to go, than Special Libraries.  I am concerned that I know so little about the subject of Art History that I will not be able to be a competent Art Librarian — though I have read that information literacy (how to organize, search for, and find information) is of more use than knowledge of the particular subject.

What I really need to do is call around and ask about this, but I’m a little afraid — though it’s really pretty much just fear that I will not be qualified, or that I will have to become competent in Art Criticism and Art History to be of use.  The latter is something that has been expressly disclaimed in my readings, though.

My major problem is that I’m trying to figure out how I want to specialize, without fully knowing the information I need in order to make the decision.  (As stated in LIS, sometimes there is an information need that the user doesn’t even know is an information need.  At least I have some idea why I can’t make a good decision…)

I have about a week and a half more before I get called back in to my Vocational program.  I should do some looking around online, first — before telephoning any museums.

It’s kind of hard, not to know where your “stable place” is.

On the bright side, I was able to complete an easy repair for my aunt, yesterday (a broken earring), and one of my drawings may be going to a new home!  It’s kind of nice when people value your skills, yes?  🙂  My aunt — she wanted to pay me.  I only charged her a little, because it took me less than 5 minutes to fix her earring.  People tell me I should make a business out of jewelry repair.

It was fun!  And I was able to be obviously competent at something.  🙂  Always nice.

When I make a living wage, maybe I will devote free time just to making and selling and repairing jewelry.  It’s just one of those things that doesn’t get old.  🙂  I’ve migrated away from it due to intellectual property concerns…(and a feeling that I should be putting content into my art)…but maybe I really should take a class on copyright law and patents, and actually try and discern whether the really loud pro-copyright (anti-anything-done-before) voices have any legal substance behind them.

It’s also one of those things, though, which I probably wouldn’t be able to survive off of, on its own.  If I were married, that would be something else!  But I’m not, don’t have any plans to be, and it would be a very special person whom I’d consent to building a family with.

I do have someone in mind, but…yeah, a little scared to talk to him, too!

I’ll overcome the shyness, some way…

remaining fluid, hopefully not sloshing around too much…

I have…just finished going through the major part of the tutorials I had to read through for the new (to me) Learning Management System for this Fall.  I suspect there will be something of a learning curve, especially since I’ve never used this system before, and haven’t been in the program for three years.  It would have made sense for me to retake my first core course — the one which was expressly about navigating the LMS and the Library — but I’m thinking that I would have had to ask special permission for that to be granted.

The good thing is that I seem to be more or less on track.  My hardware is good to go; I have electronic copies of both of my textbooks — though as to whether I’ll want a physical copy of either, I won’t be able to fully tell until I’ve tried using them.  I still have not read ahead in either of them; and haven’t read the last 1.5 chapters in the @*$& management textbook from 2012, either.  (It left me with a less than pleasant memory, what can I say.)

But at least things are moving along.

I can’t say as much for work…we are just going through a bit of a staffing nightmare.  I’m not entirely certain when it’s going to let up; fact is that four of our Shelvers left within what seems like the last two or three months; I’m the only experienced one left.  I’m hoping that I don’t get called in for extra hours while I’m trying to work on my Master’s program — things are pretty stacked for me already.  (I also just realized that I will need to tell them that I can’t come in early Wednesday, because I have an appointment which I had no hand in scheduling, which I have to attend.)

That granted…after next week, things should be kicking in and I can then see what I’m looking at for the rest of the semester.  I’m pretty sure that all of the downloads I’ll need are things that I can’t sign up for on my own, so there’s really no use in worrying about that until late Thursday or early Friday.

There is some other material about work which I have been thinking about:  but realistically, that stuff shouldn’t be made public, so I’ll try and remember to record it privately.

Otherwise…gah.  I still need to complete my paperwork for the Vocational program (which is where I need to be on Wednesday), and get together my questions for the informational interview with my old co-worker, about Digital Services.  That latter option is not looking too bad for me now, either, now that I think about it.  The tough part would be the legal part (re-negotiating license agreements) — but I am not certain how much of the job that takes up.

And if I did that, I could actually honestly focus more on the computer work and not worry about that 1-2 years of (expensive, I mean) extra schooling in Art History.  Hell, I could even take programming classes locally, at the same time as the Master’s.  I don’t think it will be hard, except for dealing with others’ personalities.  (I’m kind of on a little kick because of being able to access materials online which I -had no idea existed- until I looked on the website and found it to be like my University’s.)

The main issue with that is having to take maybe an extra semester or two in Special Session (kind of like Continuing Education:  these are classes that people who already have degrees, take) to get a handle on what I can’t take in Regular Session.  If I did have to go into Special Session, though (which voids my grant)…I wonder if the Vocational program could or would help me pay tuition?  It’s something to ask about, definitely.  I’m not totally bound to the idea of working as an Art Librarian, right now; and the tech field is something that I’ve been more than curious about.  I just haven’t taken so many tech courses (though I have had an interest in Web Design combined with Information Architecture and User Experience).

Yeah, that…kind of comes out of left field, no?  But there are so many cool outlets online which would be fairly awesome to improve, it seems…though that is probably a relic of the early Web.  I wonder what Web Designers are using in lieu of Dreamweaver, these days.  (haha, hope that doesn’t make me look too vacuous.  I’ve wanted to get into Linux and programming for years, but haven’t known even where to start…)

And…I think we are a go

Not to be too optimistic, but it’s actually so much more motivating when you have a goal that you at least (think you) want and would love.  I’ve…it’s 10 PM already?!

I’ve spent the last several hours working out what needs to happen for the Special Librarianship track to be a go, and what courses I’ll need to take over the next three years.  I have three semesters where I’m at 12 units, and the other three are at 9.  (This is without Summer Intensives.)

M has told me not to worry about the BA in Art History being the minimum qualification for entry into the field of Art Librarianship.  As I already have an AA in Art, it may take 1-2 additional years for me to achieve that BA; and after all the schooling I will have been through, it will probably be easy.

I got to this point after attempting to break into a couple of books on Art History (as versus the books on art practice) and realizing that although I wanted to know this information, a lot of it was relatively new to me.  Particularly, “Art after 1960” is best prefaced by “Art after 1945.”  😉  At least this much I have realized!

I have had the pressing need to work on some art, but in reality, most of my time today has been taken up sleeping, eating, or working on the schedule…not necessarily in that order.  (And yes, my back is getting sore on the mouse side of my body.)

And can you believe that little tomatillo I’ve been drawing is still alive???  I’ve been thinking of trying to do an acrylic study of it in low light — the low-light thing being relatively critical, meaning I’d have to work quickly in the late afternoon…or bring down a desk lamp and work at night.  I have no idea how long that little thing is going to last, or if I should get a new one.  😀  In any case, it’s here now and it will (probably) still be here after I get off of work.

Part of the reason I’ve picked Art Librarianship is that I’ve been asked to think about what demographic it is I want to serve.  It could be really cool to work with arts-type people, and help find information for them to help them facilitate upcoming programs and research.  I have heard that the money isn’t all that great, but I think that the environment and the people I’d be around and working with — plus my own interest in the subject matter — would more than balance that out.

I think that working in that environment, as well, will be easier for me so far as both inspiring me to work on my own art, and not having to worry about public opinion where it comes to what I do with my own artistic expression.  Well — maybe I should say that the public can have an opinion, but that opinion won’t be expressly and directly tied to my means of living.

This has all really only come together over the past week.

I have about three weeks to prepare for my Vocational intake appointment…and three weeks before University starts.  I still need to read over my tutorials, and probably make some effort to read ahead in my textbooks, while I have the time.  There is also that awful Management text that I never finished, which I have been avoiding like the plague because it’s so poorly written as to be incomprehensible in some areas.  But I will have to show evidence of knowing what it’s trying to say, so I suppose I should get back to the attempt, at least, to plow through those last 1.5 chapters.

Planning classes and course load…

The majority of my last 12 waking hours have been spent trying to figure out what to do with my classes over the next three years (and it is, seriously, only the next three, despite my earlier confusion.  Turbo time?).

The biggest thing I can see happening is that I will need to decide whether to go for Digital Services or Special Librarianship, and tailor my course load one way or the other.  I’m leaning towards Special Librarianship, but I am not certain that having an AA in Art is really sufficient background preparation to become an Art Librarian.  I would need to do extra studies on my own, or pick up enough background information through research in the program otherwise, so that I know what I’m doing.

What I can do about this now is read some of the books which I have picked up from the Library on Art History, and see how I like reading about Contemporary Art…

Feeling like a student, again.

I’m not sure if it’s apparent that I went to bed after midnight last night.  But I woke up after noon, today.  During my waking hours, I have mostly been preparing for Fall 2016 to start, by reading content and locating tutorials.  And, well, talking with staff.

The good part is that I now have electronic copies of both of the textbooks I will need.  The bad part is that my free time is going to be taken up with getting back up to speed, for the time being; and into the future, it will probably be taken up with completing the program.  If I take 12 units per semester (successfully), I will certainly make it out in Fall 2019 — even if I take everything I can which is listed under the Special Libraries track.

I’m just…not used to being a full-blown student, again.  I mean, this is hardcore University.

And right now I wonder if maybe I should go back to the Communication group at my HMO, because I’ll need the skills once I get out — and it may help with group projects.  Not to mention, it will give me time expressly to focus on self-care.  This, plus walking or running — I have a feeling I’ll need to burn off some stress.

On top of this — as I mentioned last time, I will have the option to apply to become a Library Assistant, whenever that list opens up again.  Will I be able to do that on top of 12 units of work???  Or do I want to rely on Financial Aid and stay an LSA (Library Student Assistant) until 2020, which pays very little?  An MLIS plus job experience as an LA should look very good when I get out.  An MLIS plus LSA?  …this is different.

At the same time, I need to avoid overloading myself…but once I get back up to speed, I think it will be OK.  At least I know what to expect, this time.  That is, don’t expect to stand out of the crowd, because everyone will be at your level.

I’ve been told by one of the Librarians at work that I can work my Art interests into my projects for classes, which sounds really good.  It can also be that for self-care time, I can make an effort to read a book at a time on Art History, because I’ll need the knowledge when I get out.  Plus, it’s free.

And maybe it isn’t so bad that I have the undergraduate degree in English; it means that I can write reports more easily.  I’m still not sure if I’ll need the MA in Art History…I will need to consult with at least one specialist at my University.  The person who used to be my professor for Drawing should be able to help me get into contact with someone working at the Legion of Honor…which should help.

And I should do more research and searching, on my own.  I just kind of didn’t expect it to come together so suddenly…

EDIT:  Or do I really still want to do Digital Services?  I can talk it over with someone at my Vocational program…