Student Perspectives

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

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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

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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.

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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

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Exploring Arts, Archives, and Special Libraries at SLA Boston 2015

By Megan De Armond

Image courtesy SLA B&F

Image courtesy SLA B&F

I started library school in the fall of 2014 thinking I might want to be an archivist, but not certain about which area I wanted to focus on. I attended SLA student chapter meetings at Pratt Institute (SLA@Pratt) and was inspired by then chapter President Sarah Davis’s enthusiasm about the organization and all it had to offer at the student, local chapter and national level. I joined SLA in January of this year prior to attending SLA NY’s Student Swing, which ended up leading to an internship at the American Museum of Natural History. In April of this year, during one of the student chapter meetings, Sarah talked about her great experience at the 2014 SLA conference in Vancouver and the connections she made and the sessions she enjoyed. She highly encouraged all of us at the meeting to go. I registered a few days later. I was eager to experience a library conference, but also skeptical about how fulfilling it might be. I had never attended a library conference, though I had attended other conferences.

I have found that librarians are generous with information and their time, and willing to offer suggestions and share ideas with anyone who asks. I’m beginning to believe this is a characteristic of the profession. At the SLA conference, I found the environment overall to be supportive; it seemed evident that the attendees wanted each other to succeed. Continue reading

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SLA Boston 2015: Lessons and Observations from a First-Time Attendee

By Coral Salomón

Image courtesy SLA B&F

Image courtesy SLA B&F

I had the opportunity to attend my first professional conference this summer at the SLA 2015 Annual Conference in Boston. I am a Library and Information Science student interested in the digital humanities and how they fit within special libraries and archives. I am also interested in how digital applications can be used to maximize engagement and further the mission of libraries and cultural heritage institutions. I attended the conference because I wanted to learn more about the type of tools available to librarians, hear practical advice from professionals, and learn about exciting initiatives occurring in knowledge organization institutions across the country.

Below are several lessons and observations I was able to absorb throughout my time in Boston. Continue reading

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SLA NY Conference & Expo: benefits for students

By Sarah Davis

After a year of library school at Pratt Institute, I have learned that professional development is an important component of my education. My undergraduate studies were in liberal arts, and finding a job afterwards was more of a pleasant afterthought rather than the goal of the degree. A Masters in Library Science is a much different experience. The whole program—my classes, extracurricular activities, and projects—is geared towards helping me learn the skills needed to secure a job in the library field of my choosing. Continue reading

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UX in Libraries with a Case Study at NYU Libraries

By April Ibarra-Siqueiros

The field of User Experience (UX) deals with meeting exact user needs and focuses on facilitating a seamless customer or patron experience. It takes account of the emotional aspects of how users interact with a service or product and measures the quality of the experience. Much UX work is done for online interfaces, such as websites and mobile apps, but holistic UX includes other aspects of a service, such as physical space and marketing. As a broader concept, UX encompasses various approaches, such as usability testing (determining ease of use), information architecture (categorizing information and creating a meaningful structure for it), and interaction design (imagining and continually re-evaluating the interaction between a customer and a product or service). Continue reading

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