How to know if you should go to library school

Are you thinking about applying to library school? Wondering how to get into the field? I’m summarizing some of the advice I’ve passed along to mentees and prospective students here, with tips on places to look for more on libraryland.

Start reading blogs in the field.

Get a sense of conversations in the field, especially around technology, privacy, diversity, trends in librarianship, the costs and benefits of library school, and ways to prepare for the workforce. Some blogs where multiple authors contribute:

Oral history: trapping weasels in Minnesota

My grandfather Bob Fischer passed away today, just shy of his 81st birthday. A few years ago, I asked him to tell me about his childhood, his working life, and his family life. Our conversation is long, but I’d love to share it with you. I’m happy to pass it along as a word document as well. 


1. Growing up in Brook Park

Could you tell me about where you grew up?

I grew up in Brook Park, Minnesota, in a small town. The sign when you come into town, it says 120 people living here, and that’s about what it was when we were there—maybe 50, 60 houses.

We were a poor family when we boys were growing up.  Dad knew it and was so happy he could leave money for us boys when he and mom were gone. We lived on three farms around Brook Park and rented the first two.  He bought the third farm on which the house burned down.

And what did you do as a child?

I remember picking blueberries as a family activity off somewhere in the bog country north of Hinckley.  I think we had a blueberry patch in a bog near (more…)

How we can better support women in the church

This week, Sarah Bessey sparked a twitter conversation that rapidly took flight among Christian men and women. Women continue to share painful and even surreal experiences under the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear hashtag– some of which I’ve reflected on here.

Yet the conversation has quickly taken a hopeful note, as both men and women share #ThingsEveryChristianWomanShouldHear.

So listen in. I hope you’ll absorb and share some of these fabulous dreams for what a rich, supportive Christian community could look like, for both women and men: (more…)

What not to say to Christian women

I’m loving the conversation about #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear. It’s hard to hear the stories–and frustrating when people protest that “not all Christians…” or “but what about X religion?” without pausing to listen.

And yet… it’s helpful to hear women express the frustration of being told that the genders are equally honored–while one group is made to serve, look attractive for, and help the other. When they share their experiences, people get told that they misunderstood, are hurting their community, or are disobeying leaders/God.

So the sheer weight and litany is helpful. Below are comments that echo my experience and that of my friends, in evangelical communities, homeschool groups, or pastoral households, in Bible studies and a Christian family: (more…)

Connecting through poetry

I recently spoke in my faith community about how poetry connects us to each other and the larger world. If you're interested, listen via this link (starting at minute 35), or read the reflections below. 


“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in hell, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.” – PS 139:7-10

We can find faith in poetry. 

When I was struggling with faith in college, I walked alongside my English professor from the classroom back to my dormitory. She was Jewish, and I asked her, what is even the point? Why read the Bible, if you can’t believe it?  (more…)

A three-day elopement

So last month, we got married! By which I mean, we eloped two days after we got engaged. For all those with questions, here are some reflections:

1. The engagement

I am very utilitarian, so I tried to propose to the gentleman over Skype. But it seems proposals should be done in person—who knew?—and should involve a story for the future.

So the day after I arrived in Maine, he proposed with my requested bride price: four white horses and a Russian jeep.



Christmas songs you haven’t heard before

You’ve heard all the usual songs, with jangling bells and presents for pretty girls and angels on high. Below, a few other songs I’ve collected over the years. I’d love to hear about the songs you enjoy, as well.

When you’re caught in traffic… try Driving Home for Christmas:

“I’m driving home for Christmas
Well I’m moving down that line
And it’s been so long
But I will be there
I sing this song to pass the time…” – Chris Rea (more…)

Why would a guy take his wife’s last name at marriage?

After writing about factors in choosing a joint family name, I found an article about a couple who gave their child her last name, not wanting that situation:

“when a couple decides to use both names as a last name, [but] usually the woman’s last name gets tucked between her child’s and husband’s, and usually that’s the one that falls away around school age.”

I shared the article with my guy. His response was that he wanted to hear more from the husband. So below are stories I found from guys who took their wife’s last name, sometimes thinking of it before she did:

Zoe and Marco Saldana, he took her last name (more…)

Family names as a design challenge

On a sunny day this past June, my friends Linnea Katzen* and Colin Hill* got married.

Right away, people asked Linnea for her new name. They called her Mrs. Hill.

She didn’t ruffle feathers in public, but her discussions in private were fierce. Linnea wanted to keep her own. Yet Colin wanted to keep his, and have his partner and any small ones join him in his name.

So they talked over the options: merge her identity into his (Hill)? join their identities (Hilzen)? hyphenate (Hill-Katzen)? keep their birth names (Mr. Hill and Ms. Katzen)?

painted names on a chalkboard, 2012

None of these are particularly lovely, but each could hold meaning. Yet for me, this seems like a design problem, a logistical issue not just of carrying on or changing tradition, but of (more…)