Monday, November 07, 2005

The Capstone

John N. Berry III focused on "The Practice Prerequisite" in his 15 September 2005 editorial in "Library Journal." He noted that few LIS programs require students to complete a practical experience. Not so, here in the School of Information.

Our MSIS students complete a required Capstone near the completion of their degrees. Students preparing for careers in school librarianship or in preservation or conservation complete a required practicum or internship. In fact, you can view the conservation portfolios online at A few others opt to complete a master's report or a master's thesis. Most students select the Professional Experiene Project, a field-based project completed with a field supervisor and under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Students agree to spend at least 125 hours with their Capstone project; many devote more time.

I typically supervise three to ten Capstone students each semester. We meet weekly and students submit weekly written reports as well. Some of these Capstones have included:
  • weeding the Boerne (Texas) Public Library;
  • cataloging rare materials in the theater collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center;
  • establishing and continuing the student liaison program in;
  • creating curriculum materials for authors/titles featured at the Texas Book Festival;
  • evaluating the culinary and travel collections in a local community college;
  • developing services for a Wired For Youth center in a public library branch in a Hispanic neighborhood;
  • launching an international celebration of reading in schools that serve indigenous children;
  • designing and delivering a computer skills after-shool program for fifth graders;
  • planning a stacks move in an academic departmental library.
All students present their Capstone results to a large audience of students, faculty, and field supervisors. See the iSchool Web site for more information on the Capstone. Consider serving as a field supervisor; you'll find the Capstone Database on the Web site and information on how to post a new listing.

Reading Circle

I picked up a number of titles at the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum in Regina, Saskatchewan in September. I recently read "Silent Words" by Ruby Slipperjack, a novel set in the 1960s that features a teen Ojibwe boy who runs away an abusive family environment. He finds shelter with elders and other community members and strengthens his connection to culture, building his sanctuary with silent words of understanding and, finally, deep affections.

Have you subscribed to the Writer's Almanac? I receive a daily email with a poem and notes about important anniversary events in literary history. You can also listen to clips in RealAudio.