Thursday, December 15, 2005

You Need to Respect My Mad Media Skillz, Yo!

Want to know the easiest way to piss off a librarian? Ask her where she got her Library degree, and then when she tells you, say... "I can't BELIEVE you need a MASTER'S degree to be a LIBRARIAN!!! What did you learn in grad school? Did they make you memorize the Dewey Decimal System?!" This will piss her off partially because it's just plain insulting to insinuate that someone's profession is so mindless that it shouldn't require an advanced degree, but it's mostly irksome because that is EXACTLY what EVERYONE says when a librarian tells them they have a master's degree. Assuming that the person asking isn't also a librarian.

And just so you know, we do not memorize the Dewey Decimal System in grad school. You can really do that easily in a couple of months on the Reference Desk at any library using the blasted system. However, we do learn to use the Dewey and the Library of Congress Subject Headings. And if you ever do wonder why we have advanced degrees, take a look at those volumes one day. Should answer all your questions. (For example: Looking for a cookbook? You should use "Cookery" in the subject line. Those librarians... they really are dorks at heart.)

Now, having told you how essential my Master's Degree is, and after clarifying how exasperating it is when people think it must be the easiest degree in the world, let me tell you what the easiest degree in the world is... An Education Degree. You've all suspected it, I know. But it's true. And before all you card-carrying Education majors get all huffy, you should know that in addition to my Master's Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I also hold a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary English Education.

To get this first degree, I went to the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (class of '92. Go Heels!) Now, before Chris composes all kinds of insulting comments about UNC, let me again stress that I did have some difficult classes, and some generally tough semesters. I'm lucky I got out of American History post 1876 with my GPA in tact, and I DIDN'T get out of Marine Science with it in tact. One semester (Fall of Junior Year, I believe), I had to write 23 papers. That's more than one per week, folks. And I would have had to do another 15 had I not dropped that French Composition class like it was a live cockroach. However, I have to admit that once in a while I got a nice slide course. Introduction to Media was just such a course.

At least, I THINK that's what the class was called. It was in the spring of 91, and as far as I can tell, they no longer require the class. I checked the current course list. But when I was an undergrad, it was a required three-hour class.

So what IS this Media class that was so important and time-consuming I deserved three-hours credit for it? I am SO glad you asked. In it, I learned to do everything any teacher in any classroom in America was expected to know in order to effectively incorporate modern media into her classroom. I learned to thread a film projector. I learned to load and run a slide projector. I mastered the ever-tricky overhead projector. I learned to create a document in a word processing program (I believe it was Word. An EARLY incarnation. And incidentally, MY document received an A+ and was used by the grad assistant teaching the class to demonstrate excellent use of layout, margins, and white space. Nyah!) And most importantly, I learned to make a bulletin board.

Now, you may laugh at how absurd this is. And it was, indeed, absurd. And I haven't even mentioned that one of my assignments was to "evaluate" the educational classic "Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego," which took up HOURS of my time in the computer lab testing the game and judging its merits as a classroom tool. (My God, that was the coolest little game, wasn't it?!) But this absurdity gets even absurder (as an English Education major, I have the right to make intentional grammatical errors for humorous effect, by the way)... I took this class AGAIN in grad school.

Now, I need to step in and say that in grad school, the class was NOT required and was only worth an hour of credit. It was only really recommended for those who intended to be school media specialists. I did not intend to be one, but it was 1996, and this class was the only one that promised to expose me to the fine art of Power Point, so I took it. Media had come a long way, but I once again learned all the things I did in undergrad, but just added in a video camera and Power Point. Funny how I had to do MORE for this class, but only got one hour credit. But I digress...

Anyway, I am proud to say that over the past three days, I have put my mad Media skillz to good use. I produced a bulletin board to market our newest, "hottest" titles in the library. And it's a damn fine bulletin board, if I do say so myself. I cut paper. I laminated. I chose a nifty border. I incorporated unoriginal clip art. It's a work of art, I tell you. And I owe it all to those four hours of credit at UNC and UNCG. Thank GOD I got my degree. I couldn't have done it without those hours of training that formed the base of my knowledge of colored butcher paper and laminating film. I'm sure my father rests peacefully in his grave knowing that the money he spent on my college education is going to good use.


Chris said...

and to think I was wasting my time taking Chemistry and Physics for Engineers... not to mention those calculus classes.

There is a well known truism about UNC and NCSU - it's easy to get into State and hard to stay there (the aforementioned chemistry and physics tend to weed out a lot) and it's hard to get into UNC but easy once you're there.

Now you see why. :-)

eaf said...

Uh huh... and you didn't have a single slide course, Mr. Sociology Major? Somehow I'm sure Golf 101 wasn't too difficult to pass.

And we DID have to get to all those 8am classes after winning all those basketball games... let's not forget. :-)

Ah, school rivalry. It can really spice up a marriage, eh?

Chris said...

Physical activity is still a requirement at all colleges - so what class did *you* take?

eaf said...

Touche. Bowling. And Modern Dance, but I know bowling was the one you wanted me to admit to. For the record, the bowling lanes were in crappy shape, which made the class quite challenging. That, and I have ample hips, causing me all sorts of Physics problems while trying to bowl. So I DID get physics. I also had to pass a swimming test.

Brian said...

To prevent further confusion I think everyone with masters degree should be required to put "Master" in front of their profession. Master Librarian, Master Programer, Master Lion tamer, etc.

Not only would it clearly identify that the person has an additional diploma on their wall, but it would also set the stage for the eventual master-student cane whipping in response to snide remarks about Mr. Dewey and his system.

eaf said...

"Master Mommy Librarian." It has a nice ring to it. But Chris will NEVER call me Master anything. Well, not Master anything-you-can-repeat-in-public anyway.

Judy said...

Well you obviously use your skills to good effect, whatever you call them, and however and where ever you learned them. That's the bottom line. By the way, my son Avi, who just graduated from college a year ago, says that these days "Communications" is the lamest major anyone can have. It's for people who can't hack it in "Business," according to him.

A Girl From Texas said...

I really like this post a lot. I knew a girl who was a librarian and I have to admit htat when I heard she had to have a master's degree to be a librarian, I was surprised, too. *sheepish grin*.

I had no idea.

Jen said...

You know, I didn't have to take a physical activity in college. The option was to either take Health & Wellness or an activity--which one do you think I chose? Though, I have to admit that an 8am Health & Wellness class every Friday morning of first semester freshman year was quite painful, and I think I went to more classes than not still halfway drunk.

Anyway, good to know I have a lot of exciting times to look forward to one I get the MLIS I busted my butt for!