Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New Beginnings and a Million Page Visits

Earlier this week I began coursework in San Jose State University's School of Library and Information Science. Most of you know I've got a PhD in Education and have been on the faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois (UIUC) for several years.

UIUC is a "Research I" university driven by the "publish or perish" motto. Though I've written many book chapters and articles, the powers-that-be determined I was "not a good fit" for a Research I school. Not the right publishers, not the right articles, and, I wasn't "a good fit" in other ways, too. I'm a teacher at heart, and the work I do with teachers and librarians (including this blog) took time away from getting things published in the right books and journals.

In the end, I was (to use the jargon of a university) "not reappointed" to my position on the faculty. You can bet I was more than a little angry about that decision! But we always have to pick our battles, and I chose to quit fighting the University of Illinois. Those of you that have followed my blog and work since the 90s know that I am a founding member of UIUC's Native American House and its American Indian Studies program. You also know that I played a key role in getting rid of "Chief Illiniwek."

So... I was out of a job and contemplating what to do.

One afternoon while reading the newsletter of the New Mexico Librarian's Association, I saw an advertisement for Circle of Learning, an initiative at San Jose State University by which I could get an MLIS. I applied, got in, and as I noted above, my courses have started! The program itself is completely online. My goal is to establish a tribal library and resource center at Nambe. This degree will help me do that.

A few short weeks ago, I was the teacher giving undergraduates assignments for courses I taught at UIUC. Now, I'm completing assignments. It is quite the turn-about as I try to understand what the instructor wants me to do... 

Nonetheless, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Due to my mom's illness, my posts to AICL over the last three weeks were very few. That will pick back up, though. I've got many books that I've not yet written about, like Gensler's The Revenant. And, I have more to say about being at ALA in June, too.

One last note for today... The "page visits" count on AICL rolled past one million this weekend. Thank you for reading AICL, for recommending it to students and colleagues, and for returning to it yourself.


Barbara Landis said...

You are a treasure, and much appreciated! (I know, I know...so scholkey). - Barb Landis

grrlpup said...

Thanks for sharing this update with us fans who don't know you in person, and best wishes in the new program! :)

Beverly Slapin said...

And for those of us who know you in person, keep on keeping on! You're awesome, and your work is important.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a new beginning, 1 million page hits, and for being one of the only "serious" blogs I check regularily. This blog is invaluable to me as a professor and a parent.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Congratulations on your million hits--wow--and your new studies! I hope to visit that library someday.

Donna said...

First - Welcome to SJSU SLIS! I am a student there (about two semesters away from graduating), and it was through my studies that I first found your blog!
Second - I began an entirely new career (teaching) at nearly 53 and now at 61 am looking at yet another change. Good for you for, as you say, choosing your battles. You will be such an asset to SLIS!
Finally, I want to thank you so much for what you bring to us in your blog - I know I will be relying on your input heavily when I am finally in place as a librarian to be sure that books I add to the collection present a true and culturally sensitive image of Native Americans.

Tricia said...

I'm sad about UIUC's lack of insight, but happy you've found your way on a new road. Nambe will surely benefit from all your hard work.

Best of luck!

Betsy McEntarffer (emcentar@lps.org) said...

My oh my! Life IS what happens when we are planning something else! Best Wishes on your studies and you might be interested in this article: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters/author/marcaronson/
by author Marc Aronson - UIUC might want to move into the modern age of publishing.
Betsy McEntarffer

Debbie Reese said...

Thanks for your good thoughts and wishes!

And Betsy, I've been too busy to keep up with SLJ blogs over the last month. I'll see what Marc has written.


Matt Sakiestewa Gilbert said...

A MILLION hits??!!! WOW, congratulations, Debbie!

indium said...

I'm sad about UIUC's lack of insight, but happy you've found your way on a new road. Nambe will surely benefit from all your hard work.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

After thinking about this, I can't believe that there is anything that you could do better than creating a library at Nambe. I think it's a great idea. My best wishes on your new venture.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your mom's illness, Debbie. Also, it's so great to welcome you to librarianship! Kathy in NJ