Emily Ekstrand-Brummer is a second-year graduate student at the University of Toronto iSchool, where she studies library and information science with a special focus on public libraries. She is only one “packed” semester away from becoming a Master of Information—a pretty big feat in today’s information age if I don’t say so myself (it takes one to know one).
What’s on your agenda for today?
Emily: So my agenda for today is pretty packed. I’m working this morning at the department of Italian studies where I am (attempting) to archive and catalogue a huge collection of newspaper articles about Leonardo Sciascia. After that I’ve got a doctor’s appointment and then I’m going to a class about issues in children’s and YA librarianship.
What other classes are you taking this semester?
Emily: I’m also taking a course about public libraries where we talk about the role of libraries today. It’s actually pretty interesting because the prof spent all last year traveling to different libraries around Canada, so she has a lot of insights that you can’t find in the literature. I’m also taking collections development and the practicum course.
What was your favorite assignment from the past semester?
Emily: My very favorite project last semester was probably my favorite from the entire two years. I took Beyond Literacy, which is a weird special course where we just talk about what it would be like if we didn’t read and write anymore, and we all made podcasts in groups. They actually taught us how to use the recording studio and helped us record and everyone’s groups were really supportive of each other. We got to be super creative and take it any direction we wanted. Even though it wasn’t about libraries, I think I learned more than essay assignments because we just throw out any ideas and roll with it. My group did reading addictions and post humans. Here’s a link to the podcasts: http://beyondliteracyradio.com/
What reading/article from last semester stands out in your mind as particularly interesting or pertinent?
Emily: I really like the Bowker and Star book Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. We read parts of it in Professor Keilty’s Bibliographic Control class, and it questions how we catalogue things in all areas of life. It uses examples like classifying humans in apartheid South Africa.
What are the hot topics at the i-School this year?
Emily: It’s things like maker spaces and community led libraries. The interesting thing is that a few of my professors are questioning that and also asking, what are these things? What do all of these buzzwords mean? Why are we putting actual books on the backburner when that is still why most people come to the library?