Issue 7

December 2015 - Transitions

Transitions through the Years: A History of the Pittsburgh Chapter

By Carrie Wardzinski


First published Bulletin of the Pittsburgh Special Libraries Association, from 1933. From the SLA Pittsburgh Chapter archives.

The Pittsburgh chapter is the fourth-oldest chapter of the Special Libraries Association in existence. Founded on December 5, 1922, it is only surpassed in age by the Philadelphia, New York City, and New England chapters. With such a lengthy history, the Pittsburgh chapter has come through a number of transitions over the years.

Even from the beginning, the librarians within the Pittsburgh chapter faced an extreme transition within their professional lives – the abrupt change from the Roaring Twenties to the single worst economic downturn the United States has ever experienced. Pittsburgh was widely considered to be the industrial center of the nation at that time. Companies such as Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Koppers, Alcoa, and PPG headquartered themselves in the western Pennsylvania region. These companies, and their associated libraries, were operating with somewhat limited budgets due to the Depression. Despite these financial constraints, business and research and development continued as usual, which meant that information resources were still needed. One small way that the librarians within the Pittsburgh chapter overcame some of these constraints was by creating their first duplicate exchange list in 1932. This list facilitated the exchange of usable materials within this regional network. Another way was by updating and expanding their Union List of Periodicals, which was originally published by the chapter in 1924. The updated and expanded list came out in 1936, and allowed the librarians within the area to share resources widely and freely. These two efforts would not have happened without the Pittsburgh chapter, particularly since the Union List was funded by SLA’s headquarters.
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A Whirlwind of Transitions

WillseTabletsAppsLibrariesBy Elizabeth Willse

I squeaked this submission for the Bridge to Excellence in just barely on deadline (thanks to the editors for being so understanding!) I had trouble getting it written, but not for any lack of material. The chance to write about transitions couldn’t come at a better time. It’s been quite a year so far!

The sheer number of transitions this year has included doesn’t feel huge until I have the chance to catch up with friends and fellow librarians I haven’t seen in a while. Or until I have to write them all down for a B2E article about transitions. Here’s a brief recap: Continue reading


Social Media in Libraries: An Interview with the Social Media Managers at the Morgan Library and Museum

by Stella Sigal, MSLIS Candidate and Themis Brown Reading Room Intern at the Morgan Library and Museum

“If it can’t be found on the Internet, it doesn’t exist.” As we move into the Twenty-First century, industries have transitioned to a social media platform to promote their products. With a click of a button, users can easily access information. Traditional cultural institutions, such as the Morgan Library and Museum, have embraced this revolution. Online social media platforms offer institutions an unusual opportunity to interact with patrons outside their physical walls. This facilitates educational dialogue and offers institutions a chance to showcase their programming to a larger audience.

The Morgan’s social media managers, Moriah Shtull and Michelle Perlin, offer their thoughts on promoting the library’s collections and educational programs and its transition to social media.

Q: The Morgan Library and Museum has made its transition to social media. What are some of the benefits?

A: The mission of the Morgan is “to preserve, build, study, present, and interpret a collection of extraordinary quality, in order to stimulate enjoyment, excite the imagination, advance learning, and nurture creativity,” and social media presents an unparalleled opportunity for outreach to a global audience. Continue reading


Transitioning from One Library into Another

A Conversation with DaTransitions Word Cloudvis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun

Davis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun are co-editors of the upcoming volume titled Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2016. This conversation piece explores how they both decided to work on this edited volume that is focused on library career transitions. They will also share some insights they found in the chapters that were submitted for this volume.

Hello Ray! Thanks for conversing with me regarding our project to edit and publish a book featuring stories from librarians who are making transitions within the field. I remember when you and I met for coffee in June 2014 to talk about partnering on this project. How did you conceive of this project in the first place? We know from our publishers that a book of this nature hasn’t been produced before; how did the idea come to you? Continue reading


Letter from the Editors

Fall Foliage by fabfotofx licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Fall Foliage by fabfotofx licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the Transitions issue of Bridge to Excellence (B2E). In this issue we encounter individuals, organizations, and professions in transition as they face the challenges and opportunities that accompany all change.

Davis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun chat about how they both decided work on editing an upcoming volume tentatively entitled Career Transitions for Librarians: Getting A Job in Another Library. (It is to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2016.) Thanks, Davis and Raymond, for inspiring the theme of this issue of B2E!

Stella Sigal interviews Morgan Library and Museum social media managers Moriah Shtull and Michelle Perlin about how this classic institution has bridged the transition into a new era for library outreach by connecting with people around the world via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms.

Elizabeth Willse takes us through a year of career and personal transitions as she networks her way from library student to academic librarian and author of Using Tablets and Apps in Libraries.

Rina Krautwirth, a 2014 Ellis Mount Scholarship winner, shares her experiences learning about medical libraries’ transition into the world of new technology during her thesis project at Queens College.

Finally, we are introducing what will be a regular column, “Words from Outside SLA New York,” featuring an SLA member from another part of the country or world. Marcy Winkler and the 2015 SLA NY Board wrote in an open letter that local chapters serve as laboratories for innovation, and we want to learn from our colleagues in other regions.

This issue, Carrie Wardzinski from SLA Pittsburgh takes us on a historical journey through her chapter’s long history of succeeding despite economic downturns, changes in technology, and even war. She discusses how we can all learn and take inspiration from that history during our current transition as an organization and profession.

To welcome Emma Davidson as SLA NY’s incoming president for 2016, B2E is proud to announce that our next issue will match her theme for the year: “The Future is a Moving Target.” We’ll leave it to Emma to explain what this means to her in the upcoming issue, but this is what it means to us as the editors of B2E: Continue reading


Transitioning Technology in Today’s Medical Library

By Rina Krautwirth

Research Project on Medical Libraries

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

For my thesis project at the Graduate School for Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) at Queens College during a required course titled Research in Library and Information Studies, I chose to research and study medical libraries and librarianship in order to learn more about how a modern-day medical library operates. In particular, I looked at how a medical library utilizes emerging technology, a phenomenon currently progressing rapidly, and gained valuable insight into best practices for medical libraries. Moreover, I saw how a medical library can serve as a vital resource and pillar of support for its surrounding community. I also learned of the current challenges faced by medical libraries and librarians. These challenges stem to some degree from the recent rapid growth in the field of technology and from the vast amount of medical research taking place, two positive contributions to society that at the same time require adaptations and accommodations for their successful implementation. As librarianship continues into the twenty-first century, medical librarians continue to work to meet new challenges and to bring about improvements in medical and scientific knowledge.

Synopsis of Findings from Research Project Continue reading