Author Archives: Helen


Vendor Spotlight: Meet Vable, Information Made Simple

SLA New York is proud to welcome business partner Vable to our 2017 Conference & Expo – register today  and book a time to chat with a Vable team member

Vable Logo Colour RGBIn 2003 Matthew Dickinson was working in London as a corporate finance lawyer. He pitched his firm an idea for consolidating online news to provide a current awareness service for the law firm’s clients, and their lawyers. It didn’t get any traction.

They dismissed the idea of the premise that they were a law firm and not a software company. How times have changed!

Still, Matthew knew the need was there. He knew that law firms needed new ways to improve efficiencies and to become more competitive. And so Matthew left the firm to pursue his software idea, and Linex Systems was born. In the years since then, plenty has changed. We’ve grown into a global tech company, rebranded – we’re now known as Vable – and earlier this year launched our second-generation platform.


Vable is a software company, delivering solutions to law firms and professional services across the world. We have clients in banking and finance, government, academia and of course, our birthplace, legal.

Our product evolves constantly, always seeking to meet the changing needs of our clients. Yet, despite our many iterations, our core focus remains the same. We provide tools for librarians and information specialists to empower you to do more with less, and to deliver more targeted and actionable content to the users you support.

So, consider, what if all your content lived in one place?


Click to expand.

Gain Time Through Automation
Increase Your Productivity
Automate the monitoring, gathering, indexing and sharing of information from public and subscription news sources.

Gain a Competitive Edge
Deliver Only the Best Content
Give your audience an edge by cutting out the noise, and delivering only the most relevant content.

Gain Control and Insight
Make Data Driven Decisions
Monitor your current awareness delivery through our analytics and insights to continuously enhance your service.

Interested to learn more? Download our free white paper to learn How to Use Current Awareness Technology to Gain Competitive Advantage:


Meet the 2018 Candidates: a Q&A with Kevin Adams and Hal Kirkwood

New York chapter membership submitted questions to 2018 President-Elect candidates Kevin Adams and Hal Kirkwood in an effort to get to know the candidates better from the perspective of issues of importance to our membership ahead of the Board Elections. These questions focused on addressing the global scope of SLA, member engagement, and improving SLA’s educational content. Their responses to these questions have been provided in this blog post.

A high level overview of both candidates is below along with links to their respective candidate profiles on the SLA site:

Kevin Adams

  • Has been an information professional for over 20 years and an SLA member since 1996.
  • Currently is an Information Specialist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research in Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Was one of the founding members of the Australia/New Zealand Chapter in 2005 and was secretary of the chapter for a number of years.
  • Belongs to the Solo Division; Environment and Resource Management Division; Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Division; Government Division; and Business and Finance Division.
  • Has held the positions of Director, Secretary and Chair for the Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Division, and was Chair in the Online Content Advisory Committee and member of the Information Outlook Advisory Committee.

Hal Kirkwood

  • Has been an Information professional for 24 years and an SLA member since 1992.
  • Currently is an Associate Professor and Business Information Specialist at the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management & Economics at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
  • Current president of the Indiana Chapter.
  • Served as Director on the SLA Board of Directors from 2012 – 2014, specifically involved with the Finance Committee and as chair of the Conference Re-envisioning Task Force.
  • Was the first webmaster for the Indiana Chapter and the Business & Finance Division, the Mentor Chair and Chair for the Business & Finance Division, and Chair and Co-Chair of the College & University Business Librarians Roundtable.

As a reminder, SLA 2018 Board of Directors election voting opens up at 9:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, September 6th and concludes at 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 20th. More information on all 2018 Board of Directors candidates and the election process can be found here.

Please find the Q&A below.  Continue reading


A Letter from SLA NY’s Incoming President

SLA NY Home SquareHello and happy New Year! 
The beginning of a brand new year is always an exciting time. It’s a time full of hope, revived ambitions, and the courage to conquer new (and sometimes old) challenges. 2017 is going to be an exciting year for us. I want you to know how much I am looking forward to everything this year has in store for SLA and especially our chapter here in New York.
The New York chapter is one of the most active and diverse chapters within the entire association. Our board, advisory council and chapter committee members will continue to organize innovative professional development programs and social events. We will also be welcoming back the New York conference in 2017, which will be held at Baruch College on Friday, October 20th.   
My theme for the year is “The Resilient (Not Resistant) Librarian.”  With such professional variance in our chapter membership, I find that the only constant amongst us all is change, which can sometimes be challenging to deal with. I am hopeful that this theme will foster the advancement of resiliency and adaptability of information professionals in our ever-changing world. My objective is to devote some of this year’s programming to that theme, which I hope resonates with many of you.
It is a true privilege to serve as your chapter president, and I look forward to engaging with as many current and potential chapter members as possible during my term. I welcome you to reach out to me at with your ideas, suggestions and/or concerns.
Finally, please be sure to follow us on our social media profiles to stay abreast of all of our upcoming chapter events and announcements. We are on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn
I look forward to talking with you during one of our many chapter events this year and wish you all the best for 2017. 
Nicole Dupras
SLA NY President


Joy M. Banks

Joy M. Banks, MSLS, is a consultant specializing in helping GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) organizations. With more than ten years of professional library and archive experience, her consulting strengths include project management and review; cataloging and digitization projects; documentation review and writing; and grant writing assistance. Joy currently serves at the Past-Chair of the Museums, Arts, & Humanities Division of SLA and is a member of the Florida & Caribbean Chapter.

Joy holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a BA in English from Florida Southern College.

For more information on Joy, please visit her website.


The most challenging employee: Managing a team of one

by Joy M. Banks

My Life Collage

Clockwise from top left: My husband, Jeff, showing his support at the 2016 SLA IT Dance Party; My own personal #teamawesome; Tabby, always willing to help; Enjoying the view from my former office

I had a revelation recently: Sometimes, I impede my own path to success.

I’ve had the great fortune of attending each SLA Annual Meeting since 2010. Each year, I review the conference schedule for sessions relevant to my current position and future goals. That has usually been relatively easy. I started my career as a catalog librarian at a medium sized private college. I later transitioned to a solo librarian overseeing a music library and historical archive in a garden/museum setting. Both were pretty standard positions with clear institutional goals and expectations.

This year was the first year I attended SLA as an independent information professional (IIP), and I found myself at a loss during many time slots, looking for something that seemed relevant to my current career path and goals. Invariably, though, when a time slot had one thing I found interesting, the same time slot held two (or three) things of interest. During one such time slot, I found myself walking what felt like a mile to arrive quite late to a session by Dr. Shelley Reciniello, author of The Conscious Leader. Continue reading


Colleen McClowry


Colleen McClowry lives in Brooklyn, NY and is currently a Knowledge Manager at Spotify. Prior to joining Spotify, she worked as a corporate librarian at Adobe in San Francisco. Originally from Chicago, she holds a BA from DePaul University and a MS in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Managing to have it all

Marcy and Dad

By Marcy Winkler

“You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” -Oprah

My mom died unexpectedly a little over a year ago, on August 10, 2015.

Keeping a promise to my mom, as soon as we heard the news, my sister and I flew down and relocated my then 90-year-old father who is blind and suffers from Alzheimer’s from Florida to New York to live near my family. And so began one of the most challenging years of my life so far. A year that involved adding even more balls in the air to my constant juggling act involving my family, work and volunteer lives. Continue reading


Sponsored Post: Why Our World Would End if Legal Librarians Disappeared


There is a common misconception that, as the online information age ploughs on everstrong, libraries are going to disappear forever. This sits in line with the perception that librarians require books in order to be needed and we are seeing the existence of print books steadily decline. Libraries and books are not one and the same. This concerningly common misconception is a manifestation of the lack of understanding of what a law librarian actually does – where they source their information from, how they manage and curate it and, ultimately, how it is delivered to their end users.

“Law librarians manage the risk within the organisation they serve, ensuring the organisation’s mission is met through the acquisition, management, distribution, and analysis of legal information needed for the organisation to perform its mission in a timely manner and at an appropriate cost”
Greg Lambert

The value of a law librarian is far more than meets the eye. A law librarian must know, at the click of a finger, what sources are most reliable and relevant for their lawyers, who needs what information when, how to access said information, and manage the library collection. All this must be done at and under budget. This is no mean feat.

end of the world

Of course anyone can type a search term into Google and receive a whole host of results. But few people will know the exact search term needed to be entered, the specific sources to rely on, or where to access the best quality content (often behind the gates of premium paid publishers). Few are able to interpret the results given in a manner efficient enough to fit with the demands of the information consumer. Legal librarians make up these few.

Yet, despite all this, there is a concerning tendency for the value of law librarians to pass by unacknowledged. There are countless stories of lawyers and legal professionals who utilise the library department appropriately, as indeed one should, and subsequently progress further at work as they are able to quickly and easily access the information they so urgently require. It is this information that makes one firm stand out over a competitor; knowledge is the most valuable form of capital in our society today. However, law librarians still continue to be hidden away in the foundations of the law firm. One must not forget the importance of solid foundations, for without them the whole building would crumble.

When asked by a AALL study how to best assess the value of the library one interviewee responded, quite simply:

“Send all the library staff home for a day. Lawyers’ dissatisfactions with service do not remain unnoticed for long”

Whilst such an option might be a little extreme it certainly goes a long way to suggest the dependency that lawyers have upon legal librarians, even if they do not know it. To put the value in clearer statistical terms, the Australian Law Library Association found during one research piece that the ROI (return on investment) for information resources and services is $5.43 for every $1 invested. A 500%+ return on investment? That is value right there, clear and simple. Plus, they state that this is a ‘conservative estimate’. Their real contribution could well be exponentially higher.

Whilst the means by which law librarians work is continuing to evolve, the requirement for the product of that work will continue to exist. In 1930, George S. Godard, writing about “The Past, Present and Future of the Law Library” predicted the development of a form of book that was consumable anywhere at anytime. Today we know this as the ebook. The book still needs to be written, edited and so forth, it is still read but just in a different format.

In line with this, when considering the future role of law librarians we must emphasise the importance of evolving and enhancing one’s value in a new manner. Roles will develop in the same way that books have, and we should work within and around that. Indeed, law librarians are increasingly frequently being asked to analyse competitors, opposing clients and so forth. Law librarians will continue to source, create, curate and deliver legal resources. It is simply that the tools there to assist them in doing so will continue to develop.

So, would our world end if legal librarians disappeared? Absolutely.

linex_no_systems_300dpi-300x59Join Linex Systems and SLA NY at a happy hour on September 21st – full details and registration at


Ashley Candreva

Ashley Candreva

Ashley is a student at St. John’s University in Queens, NY who is currently working on her Masters in Library and Information Science with a concentration in archives. Ashley currently works as a Graduate Assistant in the St. John’s libraries and archives, and hopes to work in an institutional archive at a museum, special library, or academic library after her graduation in May 2017.


The liminality of a graduate student at SLA

by Ashley Candreva, SJU & SLA NY

LiminalityAttending the SLA 2016 national conference in Philadelphia is a very interesting process for an attendee still working on his or her MLIS. More often than not, one doesn’t know anyone else in attendance and comes to the conference alone. I was excited to attend my first conference, nervous about networking events, interested in the sessions I was planning on attending, and a little uncertain about how the whole process worked.

As an undergraduate I studied archaeology, classics, and maybe most importantly anthropology, where we learned about the liminal period and the term liminality. The liminal period is the in-between, where a person or group of people moves from one distinct position, rank, class, or status to another. Halfway through completing my master’s degree and a graduate assistant/paraprofessional working as both an archivist and reference librarian in the St. John’s University libraries, I truly am in a two year liminal period. Attending SLA during this period of liminality means feeling like I belong as a special librarian but with a sense of being an underqualified student without the connections to other SLA members others may have. Continue reading


Alexandra Gil

Alexandra Gil
Alexandra Gil studied engineering, film, and history as an undergraduate at Duke University and spent seven years as a practicing intellectual property attorney in New York. She recently earned her MLIS from LIU Palmer, where she completed a masters project exploring how academic institutions address intellectual property issues, with recommendations for cost-effective educational initiatives. She also completed an internship at the Library of William Cullen Bryant (Cedarmere), where she gained experience in assessing rare books, engaging in conservation activities, database building, and collection policy development. After attending her first SLA Conference this year in Philadelphia, she is excited to have the opportunity to become more involved with SLA.


SLA Philadelphia: Impressions from a Second Career First Timer

SLA BadgeBy Alexandra Gil

Thanks to the generosity of SLA-NY, I had the opportunity to attend my first SLA Conference this year in Philadelphia. As a recent library school graduate in the process of a major career change, the experience was eye-opening. Everywhere I went, there was someone to meet and something to learn. People were incredibly warm and welcoming, especially to someone wearing a “First Timer” ribbon, and were generous with their time and advice. For me, this began even before I had left New York, at the SLA Happy Hour downtown. I got to meet a lot of people, some of whom I would see again at the conference, and received a lot of helpful tips (including making sure to wear that “First Timer” ribbon!).

Because of my educational and professional background, I am entering the library profession with different experiences and expectations than many of my peers. Continue reading


Adventures in Librarianship During SLA at Philadelphia 2016

By Coral Salomón

I started library school in the fall of 2014 and subsequently joined the student chapter of SLA at Pratt Institute during the Spring semester. I was fortunate to attend the 2015 SLA Conference in Boston where I met a lot of wonderful people and attended very interesting sessions. I wanted to repeat the experience this year and registered for the 2016 SLA Conference in Philadelphia.

I have always enjoyed visiting Philadelphia and throughout the conference I also realized that it’s an excellent location for librarians and archivists to meet given its rich history.

During the annual meeting of the Archival and Preservation Caucus, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania presented on its Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. This project aims to assist and increase access to important archival collections held at Philadelphia’s many small, primarily volunteer-run, museums and historical sites/societies. The organization discussed a few of the exciting collections they had identified during the course of this project, from big names like the Civil War naval engineer John Ericsson to nearly unknown individuals like Dr. Hiram Corson, an abolitionist and prominent advocate for women physicians. The group dispensed useful advice for archivists in small organizations, from posting Finding Aids online to creating a donation scope in order to outline what material can be accepted from donors. As a library reference and archives research assistant, I found their advice very helpful and illuminating, especially when they discussed the importance of not getting bogged down by item-level descriptions and focusing on the big picture. More information about this initiative and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s guide on how to create archives for small institutions can be found their website.

Continue reading



The 2016 Annual Conference & Expo is only a few days away! We want everyone to have an amazing time, so we asked Nick Collison, SLA HQ Board Member and SLA NY Chapter member, to share his best conference advice. Here’s what he had to say… Continue reading


Let’s Get Social at the 2016 Annual Conference & Expo!

Attending the SLA Annual Conference in Philadelphia? Interested in some great social opportunities? Here are a few of the many after-hours events planned.


Dine Arounds

5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Philadelphia Chapter, these informal pay-your-own-way dinners are a great way to meet new people. Head here for details and registration.


LMD’s 40th Anniversary Party

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Join LMD for food, drinks and fun at Time Restaurant. $20 gets you dinner and 2 drinks. Head here for details and registration.

Karaoke Party

9 p.m. to Midnight

Sing your heart out, or just come to marvel at SLA’s musical talent.


East Coast Chapter Reception

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This event is co-sponsored by SLA NY. It will be held at Field House (1150 Filbert Street) and we hope to see you there!

IT Dance Party

9 p.m. to Midnight

Also co-sponsored by SLA NY. Come dance the night away at this unmissable event.


Dine Arounds

6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Philadelphia Chapter, these informal pay-your-own-way dinners will be a great way to close out the conference and say goodbye to all the new people you’ve met. Head here for details and registration.

There are many other great social events planned for SLA 2016; this list is just a quick preview! Check out the full conference schedule here.


Siobhan McGuinness

Siobhan McGuinnessLiving in Waterford City, Ireland Siobhan gained her MLIS from University College Dublin in 2013.
Professional achievements include collaborating with Rudai23 and is currently part of the team for @uklibchat. Committees involved in is SLA Europe’s Digital Communication Committee and recently Siobhan became part of LMD’s Professional Development Committee.
Siobhan is SLA’s LMD Early Career Advancement Award Winner 2016, and she shall be travelling to Philadelphia in June to receive her award at SLA’s 2016 Conference.
Siobhan recently completed a Library and Records Management Internship with the Heritage Council of Ireland, gaining extensive experience in library collections management, archives, and records management, project initiation and scoping, publications management, and conference planning and organisation.
You can always find Siobhan at her twitter account: @shivguinn. 

3 Reasons You Can’t Miss the 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia!

SLA’s Annual Conference is coming up fast. Since it’s in Philadelphia this year, we hope to see lots of New Yorkers there! In case the fantastic program isn’t quite enough to persuade you, we asked a few SLA NY board members why you should attend. Here’s what they had to say:

“Number one reason to attend the conference: expand your network of information professionals. By attending SLA Boston last year, I expanded my network of information professionals in NYC and connected with others who work throughout the US and internationally. I chose to attend professional development sessions that were interactive, allowing for discussion with those sitting near me. I had numerous opportunities to chat with fellow attendees over lunch, coffee or drinks. I even got to network with individuals from other planets—my personal favorite was meeting and dancing with Superman at the superhero-themed IT dance party.”
-Marcy Winkler, Past President

“For me it’s the social sessions and networking; the camaraderie found at SLA is the strongest I’ve seen across association conferences. Attending evening socials as a new librarian introduced me to colleagues across the country who continue to anchor me to the profession. Professional networks are crucial, and they are much more productive (and fun!) when shared among friends.”
-Kelly Johnson, Treasurer

“The best part of the conference is getting people from all different divisions and locations in one place and letting serendipity take over. I enjoy the chance to meet and learn from people who work in different kinds of libraries. When I went to SLA in San Diego, this was especially valuable because I was still in school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the profession. I got the most fun and the most use out of conversations and workshops that didn’t have anything to do with what I thought I was going to do professionally. I had dinner with taxonomy librarians, breakfast with food and nutrition librarians, and great conversations throughout by seeking out people in all kinds of libraries at different stages of their careers. I’m looking forward to more of the same in Philly…with less jet lag.”
-Elizabeth Willse, 2016 Board Mentee

Learn more about the 2016 Annual Conference here. Early Bird rates end April 30, so register today!



Robin O’Hanlon

Profile_PicRobin O’Hanlon, MIS, is the public services manager at the Levy Library at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Prior to her work at Levy Library, she was head of access services at University of California Merced and in access services at University of Western States in Portland, OR. O’Hanlon graduated with a Master of Information Studies from University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. She has presented at regional and national conferences on staff training and on customer service in libraries.