Friday, October 29, 2010

Interview With Scott Douglas

Hello everyone! This post's interview is with author Scott Douglas. Scott works at a public library in Anaheim, California and has written a books about his experiences: Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian. Scott also writes through several blogs and maintains other numerous writing projects (all of which can be found here. Scott's interview is funny and enlightening and enough to give any LIS student food for thought. Enjoy!

What is your educational/professional background?

Education: English Lit (AA, Fullerton College), Comparative Religions & English Lit (BA, Cal Sate University of Fullerton), Library & Information Science (MLIS, San Jose State University

Current Position: Anaheim Public Library (current role librarian)

Publications: Going Mobile: Developing iPhone and Mobile Apps for Libraries (ALA Editions, 2011), Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian (Da Capo Press, 2008)

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

When I graduated graduate school, I was hopeful! Now I just want to retire. Seriously! I like what I do, but not always the environment I do it--patrons seem to be getting more hostile, teens seem to be getting more violent, and parents seem to be getting more demanding. I find myself clinging more and more to library jobs behind the scenes. In all honesty, I’d like to go back to being a page--you get the library setting without any responsibility.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

Working at a public library paid my way through college, and I enjoyed it. I was offered a state grant out of college, so I figured if I didn’t like it at least I didn’t owe any money. As it turns out, I did like it (libraries, not school--school I hated and it was a complete waste of time and resources), so I stayed.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Depends on the day. I’m a public librarian, which means I’m tossed into doing whatever is needed and my responsibility changes on a daily bases. For the most part, I work in adult services. I am in charge of coordinating and teaching all the free computer classes (usually 4 or 5 a month) and doing collection management for CDs and technology book. I’m also on most committees that include any kind of technology--most recently that means mobile apps. 80 or 90% of my time, however, is spend manning the reference desk--which means on most days I give people more computer time and pass out the restroom key...once or twice a day someone also wants a book.

Any interesting anecdotes you care to tell?

A whole books worth! I guess the oddest thing that’s happen recently is a little 10 year old who kind of reminds me of satan--at least the satan I was taught in Sunday school; he’s a borderline homeless kid, being raised by his borderline mentally challenged mom (and that’s not an exaggeration of her, unfortunately). He used to have screaming fits when he didn’t get his way, but most recently he’s also having hitting fits. The first time this happened, the police actually had to be called because his mother could not be reached; when the police officer arrived, he high fived the kid, told him to go home, and then said something along the lines of we were bullying him. A week later, it happened again, but this time he actually knocked over a video rack and tossed his bike helmet at the stomach of a pregnant mother; luckily, female cops came this time around, and female cops in Anaheim don’t mess around with high fives--they actually try to fix things. So now he is officially banned, until social services can talk to the mother and try and figure out what’s going on.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

Favorite thing: helping down and out patrons, who need the library to improve the quality of their life.

Least favorite thing: helping unappreciative patrons who think that just because they pay taxes (in California this means a little less than $1 a year from your taxes goes to libraries) they somehow own you.

Do you feel that you incorporate your personal interests or passions into your work as a librarian and is that something you recommend doing?

I love computers/gadgets, and I teach all the computer classes, so I suppose so. I think a lot of people make the mistake of believing just because they like reading, they’ll make great librarians--obviously they haven’t been to a library in quite sometime, because often more space is devoted to computers than books. The modern library is more a community center than place of books.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

I learned absolutely nothing from library school; everything I learned came from reading and actually working in a library. I recommend library school only because it is required to get a librarian job; it is in need of a complete overhaul--at least where I went (hopefully it’s better elsewhere). When your thesis paper is on terrorism in the South Pacific, you know there is something wrong with the system...

How do you think people generally perceive librarians and do you think you fit into that perception? Why or why not?

Most people still believe in the stereotypical librarian of the 50s. I’m sure you’ve seen the Nancy Pearl librarian doll--that’s how people see librarians...but that’s not how most librarians look. And if they are seriously still shushing people, then they should be ashamed--that little finger to the lips should be reserved for pre-school, unless your a passive librarian too afraid to actually communicate words with a a person. So no, I don’t fit the typical perception of librarians.

What is your salary range/what can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

In Orange County, librarians usually make around $22 to $29 dollars a hour P/T or $40,000 to $50,000 a year F/T.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I suspect the next five or ten years will be devoted to trying to catch up with the rest of the world. Libraries used to be cutting edge--they had the Internet before most people even knew what that was. Lately, shrinking budgets have forced too many to taking a “wait and see” approach to most technology trends. Libraries will have to learn more and more how to work more with less. It’s unfortunate, but libraries just aren’t getting the same funding that they used to get, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon--in tough times, people would rather have police/fire protection, then knowledge. Librarians need to fight to stay relevant, and prove that they are still needed. If they aren’t on top of technology, then they simply won’t survive--cities will outsource work to staffing firms, and save a bundle doing so.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

I don’t mean to seem bleak, but a lot of outgoing students believe that cities will be running to hire them. They won’t. Libraries can do without you, unless you can prove otherwise. My advice is to find your talents, and sale this talent to the library--prove that not hiring you will be the biggest mistake they ever make. You have to do more than just your job--you have to be proactive and actively show how valuable what you do is.

And finally, what are you reading right now (what would an interview be without this question!)?

Gillermo Del Toro's "Strain" series.

Interview with MK Eagle

Hello to everyone! This post's featured interview is with MK Eagle--a public high school librarian working outside of Boston. MK Eagle also manages the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) blog at:
MK's personal blog, The Sagittarian Librarian can be found at

What is your educational/professional background?

I have degrees from Harvard and Simmons. I worked for three years in Special Collections at the Harvard Law School Library, then as an intern for a year at Fenway High School and Boston Arts Academy (the two schools share one library). I’m now in my second year as librarian at Holliston High School.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

I can’t really say that I had any career goals when I graduated from college, but by the time I was in my practicum at Simmons I knew I wanted to be a teen librarian.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

Honestly, it was sort of an arbitrary decision. I’d been working in my college library for a few years and was vaguely interested in either education or libraries when I discovered that Simmons had the School Library Teacher Program, which seemed like a great mix of the two fields.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

There’s no such thing as a typical work day. I might have eight classes booked to use the library, or none. I might be doing formal, direct instruction on database searching or website evaluation, or I might only be interacting informally with students and teachers. On any given day I might weed, reshelve, catalog, update the library website, create a class resource page for a particular assignment, help another teacher use a Flip camera or create a Wordpress blog, recommend a book, go to a meeting, work with the yearbook or the GSA.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

The teens I work with are my favorite part of this job. Classroom management is probably my least favorite—I don’t particularly like discipline.

Do you feel that you incorporate your personal interests or passions into your work as a librarian and is that something you recommend doing?
Yes, and yes.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

The practical aspects of graduate work (practicum hours and field work) were the best preparation for this job. All the education in the world can’t replace experience in this line of work.

How do you think people generally perceive librarians and do you think you fit into that perception? Why or why not?

I think there have been so many trend pieces lately on “young, hip” librarians—reacting against the supposed stereotype of an older, quiet woman with glasses and a bun in her hair—that most people’s perception of librarians has less to do with stereotypes and more to do with their own experience with librarians.

What is your salary range/what can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?
If you plan to be a public school librarian, you can generally find salary scales for a given district. Your starting salary will depend on things like how long you’ve been teaching and how much education you have, and will most likely increase as both your experience and education increase (barring factors like salary freezes or contract negotiations).

What changes do you forsee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

Technology, particularly mobile technology and cloud computing, will continue to play a much larger role in the field.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

Apply to every open position you find. Job descriptions can be deceptive; interviews elucidate much that may not be evident from a simple posting. Until I got to the first interview, I had no idea that the job I’m in now would involve the chance to build a brand new program with a great deal of autonomy.

And finally, what are you reading right now (what would an interview be without this question!)?

I’m usually reading several things at once, which is true at the moment—I just finished the first volume of 20th Century Boys, and I’m also working on Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead and the Pretty Little Liars series.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview With Hannah Guthrie

Hello to all my faithful readers out there. This week I have a very special treat for all of you. We have a UNT College of Information graduate and current PhD student!!! Hannah Guthrie is currently employed by the Children's Hospital in Dallas, Texas and she has a very interesting educational background to match. If you would like to know more after reading this interview I suggest you come to this year's All School Day on November 6th, @9am @Discovery Park, because we will have a whole panel of non-traditional librarians speaking about their current professions. Our theme for this semester's All School Day is: "What Else Can I Do With My Degree? Non Traditional Paths In Librarianship" This event is free and open to the public but you must register by emailing Once you send an email you will be automatically emailed the registration page where you can choose your lunch option. We look forward to a big turnout this year so register early and tell your friends! Anyway lets get to the interview!

What is your educational/professional background?

I received my BA in Forensic Anthropology from Millsaps College in 2005. I received my MLS from UNT in December 2008. I work at Children’s Medical Center at Dallas as a Medical Librarian and am a PhD student in the College of Information at UNT.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

When I received my Master’s degree, my first goal was to find a job in Dallas and apply to the PhD program. Ever since I met those two goals, my long term career goals are changing every day. I feel like a kid who wants to be a firefighter one day and a lawyer the next. I’m contemplating being a professor eventually. Or a director of an academic library. Or maybe even a researcher in a medical library. Perhaps the Smithsonian could use a librarian. I’m still young – 27 years old – and I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. I’m keeping an open mind about career opportunities and just taking things one day at a time. I love my job at Children’s Medical Center and am enjoying the PhD program immensely. For now, I only have one concrete goal: to finish my PhD. Other than that, I’m just having fun thinking of the possibilities.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

The summer after college graduation I had an internship at a human identification lab at the University of Florida. It was very interesting and I came away with great stories and experiences, but I didn’t feel a true passion for the work. So I moved to Denver and worked as a manager of a bookstore for a couple of years while trying to figure out my next step. I had worked in bookstores since I was 14 and I realized that I love books and I love helping people, but I didn’t like the retail environment. That left libraries. I applied to UNT and moved to Texas in the Fall of 2007 to start my Master’s degree.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

No two days are alike. We have 5 libraries at Children’s and 4 librarians; so we are each in charge of our own library. My library – the Krissi Holman Library – was the first of the libraries. It opened in January 2005 and is named after a cancer patient who wanted a place where patients could get books. Our libraries are a hybrid, per se. We have a leisure collection for children of all ages as well as adults, of which all the books are donated. We have a medical reference section and a consumer health section. We have computers with full internet access for patients and their families to use. We have magazines and a book mobile that goes to all the rooms. The libraries are built for the patients and patient families. I like to think of our libraries as a safe haven, a utopia away from white coats and needles, a quiet escape from the hospital room.

We librarians do a lot of research for patient families, such as information about their child’s diagnosis or a procedure, medication their doctor recommended. In a world where nearly everyone turns to Google, we are here to help them find information through reliable and unbiased health websites and other sources. A lot of the time parents just want to come in to pay their bills, update family and friends via Facebook or Caring Bridge, or just checkout a good book to read to their child.

We also do research for medical staff, everyone from nurses to the transport team, from surgeons to clinical dieticians. Such research is often for evidence-based practice, presentations or lectures, or research papers or publications.

A typical day can encompass: conducting story times, coloring or reading with a little patient while the parent is looking for information, troubleshooting computer problems, taking out the book mobile around the hospital, doing research for medical staff, organizing donations of hundreds of books, or just letting a parent vent about the stress and emotions of their child’s condition.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

In regards to tasks, I love it that my day includes such a variety of responsibilities. It keeps me on my toes.

In regards to working in a hospital library, the setting itself has helped me stay grounded. I tend to worry and stress easily, but when I come to work I am constantly reminded about how miniscule my worries are compared to those of my library’s visitors. Such a reminder not only helps me stay sane, it also keeps my heart soft and empathetic. The libraries and librarians are here to make life as easy as possible for our patients and patient families. I truly enjoy striving towards that every day.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

The salary range for this position is $37k-$55k, depending on experience and education. This is my first library job, not counting the experience as a library assistant at my middle school during my 6th – 8th grade years. Although the job description required 2 years of experience, my boss took a chance and hired me with only 3 months experience I gained from my practicum while in the Master’s program. And so, as my entry level job, this salary is completely in line with the other entry level jobs across the state of Texas.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

My education gave me enough knowledge to feel comfortable taking a job where I was in charge of my own library. I felt I had enough of cataloging, library management, and collection development to get started. Of course, I still had lots to learn, but I had enough under my belt to give it a good start.

There are things you just don’t learn in the classroom. I quickly discovered the chain of command and the hierarchical structure of the organization – who I can and who I cannot contact directly. I learned to look as myself as a professional, working on the same level as others who have much more experience. Although some people didn’t take me seriously because they thought I was too young, I learned to develop the confidence and professionalism needed to do my job and do it well.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

Keep an open mind to the type of library or information setting you want to work in. I was set on working in an academic library, even after my practicum in a medical library. But I turned down such a job offer to take this job at Children’s. I love the job and can honestly say I love going to work every day. Go ahead and apply for jobs even if you don’t have all the required experience. In my interview, I pointed out to the director that I did not have the required experience but I was completely confident that I can accomplish all responsibilities and duties outlined in the job description.

My advice really boils down to three things: be confident of yourself, follow your passion, and stay open minded.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I believe the stereotypical expectation of librarians as stuffy old women with long skinny fingers telling you to “shhhhh!” is going to go away (think of the librarian in the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) – but not easily. The technological advances are forcing librarians to not only redefine their job descriptions but also to convince the greater society that librarians are not a thing of a past as many perceive print books to be. Librarians and the MLS degree is needed more than ever. We are becoming more of a bridge to information than ever before and we are going to have to continuously convince people of that. The title of “librarian” is not the only title that defines what we do. People with MLS degrees are also called Knowledge Managers, Research Analysts, Systems Analysts, Information Architects, Digital Knowledge Managers, Public Health Informationist, among many others. The resources and mediums used by our society are constantly changing and advancing and thus so are our responsibilities and skills. We can’t let our field be left behind, we have to keep on the edge of technology and keep proving that we are relevant and necessary in our society.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview With Linda Absher

Hello to all of my loyal readers. This week I have Linda Absher, a librarian who currently works in Portland, Oregon at the Portland State University Library. She pretty much has my dream job by the way. However, she has worked in a variety of library environments, not to mention she has her own website entitled "The Lipstick Librarian." Where she discusses the "prettier" side of librarianship. It's nice to see we still have fashionistas in our profession (besides me of course). Well I know I am excited so lets get to the interview.

What is your educational/professional background?

I have an AB in English Literature (what else) from the University of California, Davis. I received my MLIS from the University of California, Berkeley. At the time it was the School of Library & Information Studies; it’s been revamped and is now the School of Information Management, a program that does not have (and did not seek) ALA accreditation.

Since library school, I have worked in academic, special and public libraries, including IBM and Multnomah County Library. I am currently a reference librarian for the humanities for Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

Career Goals: the first goal was employment. The fact that I am an academic librarian surprises me since at the time, everyone in my program wanted to be one. I figured my best chance in getting a job was becoming a special librarian, unaware that at the time many corporations were downsizing and closing libraries. But I accepted a complex project as an internship with Golden Gate University, which led to a position with them after graduation.

As for changing goals, I’d say the bibliographic sparkle that made the profession so enticing has worn off for me. Not sure why, other than I’m at a mid-career stage. Currently I am one of a very rare breed: a tenured librarian. I would like to become a full professor, which would entail more service and publishing, two things I enjoy doing. I would also like to write a book that has nothing to do with the profession, but I do have one obstacle: I’m lazy.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

I was working as an office drone right out of college; one of my workers was leaving because she was accepted into the librarian program at Berkeley. I was shocked because, quite frankly at the time I had no idea one needed a graduate degree to become a librarian. It stuck in my mind, though for a variety of reasons mostly boiling down to the fact that I was terrified, I didn’t apply to the program until almost ten years later. In the interim I worked at a slew of subsistence jobs, which included shoveling popcorn at a movie house, receptionist, and record store clerk. Ultimately weariness and poverty won out over fear.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Is there a typical work day for librarians anymore? I do work reference hours; I provide collection development services, including managing a budget. Since our library has a subject specialty model, I am the subject specialist and liaison for the World Languages, Applied Linguistics and Communication Studies departments for Portland State. I also provide bibliographic instruction as well as develop research guides and learning objects for the campus and community.
Because I’m tenured, I also do research on librarianship; right now my interests are diversity and vernacular materials. I try squeezing that in between questions from students as to why they shouldn’t cite Wikipedia in their papers.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

It’s probably the same thing, I love being a librarian. If I could no longer refer to myself as a librarian, I would feel a sense of loss. I enjoy trying to come up with solutions or (believe it or not) answers on the spot. I’m also extremely nosy, which means I get paid to listen to people trying to explain what they’re doing or what they’re preoccupied with—it’s intellectual eavesdropping.
But sometimes the whole aura of being a librarian becomes a bit tiresome. I have made somewhat of a name for myself by writing about the professional stereotype, but there are times when it is an obstacle, in expected and unexpected ways. I do believe once people find out I’m a librarian, I’m placed in this nice little mental box, unable to see the value of what I do beyond being something quaint and or quirky. And I don’t think my experience is unique.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

I will say I make over $50K/year—average to high for a front-line academic librarian with over five years experience. My salary went up after being granted promotion and tenure, a process that took approximately six years. As for salaries today: I’m not too familiar with starting salaries, but they seem to have gone up somewhat since I started in the mid-1990s.
I’m hesitant to speculate about salaries in this day and age. That being said, I think salaries are higher in that many positions require a fair amount of tech savvy, even for positions that may not seem at first glance to need it (e.g., YA librarian, et al).

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

I was lucky in that I attended library school right before the World Wide Web was introduced. Berkeley at the time was incredibly forward thinking in terms of computer skills and training. As part of my course work, I completed C and database programming classes. In addition, I learned to work in a command-based, UNIX environment. These skills were what got me interviews. I also have to give a shout-out to Marcella Genz, who was my reference instructor: she was the person who made me truly think and develop a reference philosophy. There’s not a work day where I don’t base my reference interview on something I learned from Marcella.
Surprises: The biggest surprise was how much public speaking/interaction I’ve had in my career—that wasn’t brought up in library school. I do think many people still choose librarianship because it seems like a secular nunnery: it’s a profession where one can cloister themselves with as little interaction with others as possible. Alas, it is a myth: I have done more public speaking as a librarian than in any other position. We teach; we present; we give tours, story times—in short, we do a lot of very loud talking. All in the name of information literacy.

What changes do you forsee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I think librarianship will continue being more and more technologically sophisticated. Even with the background I came out with from Berkeley, there are very few positions now for which I would be qualified—I don’t see that changing. In fact, the only change would be the speed at which technology is morphing.
The biggest challenge for us as a profession is convincing those around us that they truly do need us, even with these big, sophisticated tools--*because* of these tools. The technology is so powerful it deludes folks into thinking they’re expert information researchers, when all they’re doing is pulling so much dreck that they’re unable to filter or assess what they find. I’m hoping there comes a breaking point where people are so overwhelmed with what they find they realize they need some sort of expert to deal with all this content, but at this point, most people are perfectly content with the first 3-4 hits in Google.
But I am a patient librarian. And a proactive one to boot. You should be one too.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

Don’t become discouraged by the job market. Despite what you may have heard, it’s always been tough to find librarian position, a fact that was presented to me during my library program orientation in the early nineties. Try to be as technologically sophisticated as possible, even if you’re looking into positions that seem to have little to do with technology. You’d be surprised at how many library positions have been completely transformed over the last ten years.

And though it may sound like heresy, you may want to think about positions outside librarianship. The skills we learn in school aren’t just applicable to librarianship—I know of one graduate who works with an insurance company handling complex disability claims; she’s very highly regarded (and financially rewarded) due in no small part to her ability to ferret out information from a variety of resources.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Carolyn Sosnowski

Hello to all of my faithful blog readers out there. This week I have a new interview with an employee of SLA or the Special Libraries Association. Carolyn manages SLA's Information Center and is also the association's e-learning manager. She has fourteen years' experience in libraries, including seven years at SLA. In addition to her research and professional development duties, she writes the Info Sites column in SLA's Information Outlook magazine, in which she recommends sites of interest to information professionals. I know you are all excited after reading that bio so lets get to the interview!

What is your educational/professional background?

I received a BA in History from the University of Virginia and then my MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I've been a librarian in special libraries and information centers for fourteen years. I have worked for large companies and small ones, in for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

My main goal was to work in special libraries. In school, I was mostly interested in film and the arts, but that focus changed as I realized there weren't that many librarian jobs in that area! My main areas of interest now are research, coordinating information services, and applying technology applications (including social networking tools) to the work of information seeking and sharing.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

When I was growing up, I worked in a couple of the libraries in the schools I attended, then took a bookshelving job in a public library when I was in college. I liked the atmosphere and the people, and saw first-hand the types of career opportunities that were available. I enjoyed working with books and information and could see myself doing that for the longterm.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Currently, I manage the information center at the Special Libraries Association and also work in Click University, our professional development area. I conduct research for staff, help association members and even non-members find the information they need (resources, statistics, etc.), and help plan and present continuing education offerings. Some days I work on just one or two things, and other days I have a long list of tasks to accomplish, such as writing a blog post, organizing content for a program, answering member questions, helping staff find information. It does vary quite a bit, and being organized and having the ability to prioritize is crucial.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

I like working with our members and helping them succeed in their jobs and careers. On the flip side of that, it is difficult to hear from librarians about how their jobs are in jeopardy or that their library is closing.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

I work in a special library, and salaries in special libraries are generally higher than those in public, school, and academic libraries. Specific career paths will definitely affect salary potential. Do your research about salaries before accepting an employment offer. SLA (as do other library/information associations) publishes a survey that can offer guidance about salary depending on job responsibilities, geographic area, and years of experience, among many other factors.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

I think my education was a good foundation for the work that I do, but working in the tech lab in the library at Greensboro while I was earning my MLIS offered a different, practical training that was helpful as well. The classroom is very different than the workplace, so getting that hands-on experience even before graduating is a necessity in order to hit the ground running. Beyond giving you practical skills, internships and library jobs help you make professional connections, which can lead to career opportunities.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

Visit libraries to see information services in action, and ask questions. Join and be active in an association that will help you along the career path through continuing education opportunities, networking with colleagues, and leadership training. Education does not end with the diploma! And, be flexible. The economy can be challenging to deal with, and that first job may not be ideal but it will be a good start if you make the most of it.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

A continuing emphasis on technology, especially mobile applications and social networking, in all types of libraries. More of a focus on analysis for those who are doing research. Hopefully, barriers to information sharing being removed and a recognition that librarians are not just people that deal with books, but strategic professionals who track, organize and manage information in its many formats!

Special thanks to Carolyn for participating in our blog. Stay tuned for our next fun filled interview and as always if you have any special requests for interviews please email and we can get that arranged.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Interview with Blane K. Dessy

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful summer. I know you all have been patiently waiting for my next posting! This weeks interview is with a federal librarian by the name of Blane K. Dessy. He is currently the Executive Director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee which is a consortium of the many Federal libraries in the U.S. government. Prior to this, he was the library director at the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. In addition, he has also worked as a state librarian, a consultant, and a public library director as well. In addition to his position as Executive Director, he currently teaches Management as an adjunct at the Catholic University School of Library and Information Science. So as you can see he is a very busy man and I was very lucky to get this interview!

What is your educational/professional background?

I have a Bachelor's degree in English literature and Master of Library Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1976). However, I have always engaged in continuing education so that I stay current and learn new things. After graduating from Pitt, I attended library management training seminars at Miami University in Ohio, took graduate classes in the field of education, and have regularly attended conferences, workshops, etc. As part of my various jobs, I have also been trained to be a group facilitator, a Government contracting officer and a grants manager among other things. My personal interests in training go beyond library issues to things such as budgeting, planning, marketing, etc. I think that librarians need to obtain a broad education in order to be effective. Think outside of library and information science education.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

To be honest, when I graduated from library school, my career goal was to find a job…any job that would give me professional experience and, of course, some money. While in graduate library school, I had concentrated in Communications, so I took courses like Group Dynamics, Organizational Analysis and Design, Counseling, etc. I even did an independent study in Bibliotherapy. Needless to say, this was not the most traditional library science education and I couldn't have described what job I wanted. So, I applied for a lot of entry level jobs and actually got a job as a library director right out of school. I had taken Management in grad school, but I had never managed anything or anyone except myself, so I had a lot to learn. However, I did learn that I really liked management and policy, so I began to build a career in which I could learn more about this and get positions of greater responsibility. Once I solidified my career goals two or three years after graduation, I looked for opportunities to advance. I've never regretted my choices, but I have had friends tell me I'm not a real librarian since my interests are in management. I really love marketing and public relations.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

I had always loved going to the library as a child, but it wasn't until undergraduate school that I realized I could be a librarian. I had a part time job in the university library in technical services and I found that I really liked the work, the people, and the environment. I had that job because my older brother (also a librarian) told me to work there because it was pretty easy work and it was air conditioned. Sorry, that's the truth…but I fell in love with the profession as a result. After getting my Bachelor's, I did some graduate work in English Lit., worked for a short time, and then returned to graduate school to get my MLS. I have never regretted this decision.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I am in an administrative position, so a lot of my time is spent communicating. I go to a lot of meetings, some that I call and some that I am invited to. I spend a lot of time communicating via email and I am on the phone a lot. My daughter teases me by saying that my job consists of going to meetings and drinking bad coffee. As a manager, the work involves dealing with issues on a more conceptual level (policy) and dealing with people. As a person rises in his/her career, the technical skills become less important and the human and conceptual skills become more important. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the future, thinking about the next year or the years after that so that my organization stays viable. I also spend a lot of time writing and speaking, so remember that your communication skills are extremely important.

I don't spend that much time on technology at all, except in the planning and evaluation sense. I use technology, but my more important skills are effective communication and conceptualization skills.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

I know that this sounds strange, but I really don't have a least favorite thing. A lot of librarians might think that I have a terrible job--budgeting, personnel, planning, evaluating, communicating, but to me, it's always interesting and always challenging. No two days are alike because the situations are always changing.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

Salary ranges for Federal librarians are generally pretty good. Federal librarians also receive wonderful fringe benefits and have a great retirement plan. There is no hard and fast rule, but most beginning librarians start as a GS9 which is about 50K a year plus benefits. Many librarians in the Federal government advance to the GS12 level which begins at 75K. Of course, some librarians earn more than that. Before anyone gets too excited, just remember that DC, where most Federal librarians are, is a very, very expensive city, so the cost of living has to be factored in.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

In retrospect, my education prepared me very well for my career. I came out of graduate school with a lot of knowledge about how organizations function, how people work and communicate, and how to listen and resolve problems. This has helped me far more than the technical skills that I acquired at the time. In my career, I have not had to use the bibliographic and resource skills that I had acquired. By the time that technology was becoming prominent, I was already in management positions where the issues were more policy-oriented. As you advance in your careers, you will find that the technical skills begin to fall away and the management and conceptual skills become more important. I was lucky to leave graduate school with a grounding in those topics.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

I have several pieces of advice for graduating students.

1. Don't stereotype yourself as a librarian. You have acquired great skills in a lot of areas and you have more career options that you may think. During my career, I have been in charge of HR Offices, EEO Offices, and even Facilities Offices. This is because I have the management and organizational skills to do these things. You also have those skills, so don't think too narrowly when you describe yourself. The famous cultural historian Jacques Barzun once wrote that we should never confuse our profession with our function. Our profession is librarianship as it's now defined, but our function is bringing people and information together.

2. Be as flexible as you can; don't lock yourself into one type of thing…I knew people in graduate school who only wanted to be catalogers or reference librarians or children's librarians. It's a big world out there, don't limit yourself. Also, if you can be geographically flexible, that's a big help. There are good jobs out there, but you may have to move to get one.

3. Your degree may get you in the door, but it's you that will be evaluated. Sharpen your communications skills; stay current with the literature; be a good colleague; dress for success, etc. Librarianship is a very tolerant profession that gives its members a lot of personal latitude. Don't abuse the privilege. Having the degree is important; having a great work ethic and being nice is more important for your success.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I think that the changes will be much the same as they are now--rapidly changing technologies, changing audiences and demographics, financial limitations, etc. How we do things is changing rapidly; why we do these things remains pretty much the same. What I would hope to see is that librarians see themselves differently--not as custodians of collections and not as technology trapeze artists, but as people who are committed to the expansion of knowledge and the betterment of their communities.

Thanks again to Mr. Dessy for taking time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed! Stay tuned as we have many great interviews to come in the upcoming year. Also, if you have individuals that you would like us to interview or specific professions you want to know more about please email us we love feedback!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview with Ruth Kneale

Hey guys we've got another new interview for you (I know you have all been patiently waiting!). This weeks interviewee is Ruth Kneale the author of the widely popular book You Don't Look Like a Librarian. For those of you who have yet to read it its pretty awesome especially for a librarian like me with tats and piercings! Needless to say, shes anything but the stereotypical librarian. But, enough jabbering from me lets get to the interview!

What is your educational/professional background?

I have a Bachelor's of Science in astronomy, and a Master's in Information Resources and Library Science. My professional background is all astronomical - I've been working in one way or another for observatories since I was an undergrad. My first real job was with the Steward Observatory's Mirror Laboratory; I changed jobs to the Gemini 8m Telescopes Project in late 1991 and worked for them for over ten years. My first post-grad job was for the new Gemini Observatory (which is what Projects become when they grow up, in astronomy), setting up a research library in Hawaii. After a couple of years I jumped ship for the daytime side of astronomy and came to work as a systems librarian for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope project of the National Solar Observatory, where I still work.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

One of the benefits for me of going to grad school while working full time is that I had a very definite idea in mind - I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was great to be able to immediately apply something I learned at school to my work situation. My goals haven't changed much since then - I still want to make sure that information is sorted, organized, findable and available to folks.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

During my time with the Gemini Project, I was put in charge of organizing and managing all the technical documentation for the project; that task really brought home to me how much I enjoyed organizing information and making it available and easily findable by the staff. That, in conjunction with my home experiences, led me down the street to the library school. (My mother was a librarian as well and I learned about librarianship from behind the desk at an early age.)

What does a typical work day look like for you?

That's a tough one - every day is different! Typically, I'll wake up the computer (while making coffee) and then check and answer email on several accounts. I deal with any requests that have come in, then touch base with my boss to see if he's had anything come up that needs attention. I then turn to my never-ending to-do list; some of the items on it right now include combining three separate documents on a similar topic into one, and annotate; finish migrating some software to a new server; process some released technical documents; add new items to our staff publication web page; cross-check two mailing lists for commonalities; update some instrumentation work areas with new information; and write a newsletter article. So I work on any one of those items, keep up with my email, and deal with any issues that pop up over the day (ranging from helping someone fix a template issue with Word to configuring a new computer). Near the end of the day I skim my list of library blogs and/or my library magazine pile; I may not work in a typical library but what happens in public and academic libraries does have an impact on my job, so I keep up as best I can.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

The favorite thing is easy: the people I work with. I've got a great staff who not only understands the skill-set I bring to the party, but actually uses it. That rocks! The least favorite thing is probably the never-ending software issues I have to handle, across the board - users, servers, visitors, anyone who's having problems with their software brings their computers to me to fix.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

This is a tough question to answer. I do make a very decent living, eleven years after graduation. Starting salaries for systems librarians can vary widely based on location and the skill set you bring to the table; in general, though, systems librarians rank slightly higher on pay scales.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

The school I attended focused primarily on the theory of things; I took all my practical classes as electives outside the core class requirements. I also had the benefit, as I mentioned earlier, of working full time at the same time, so I was also able to get on-the-job training, so to speak. So, for the philosophical take on things, I was pretty well covered; for the hands-on, day-to-day "get it done" part, there was a lot less coverage.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

Be persistent. Be open to the possibilities. Most importantly, think (and look) outside the box! Librarians can and do work anywhere - if there's a particular type of work you want to do, you will lose absolutely nothing by approaching organizations and companies and asking them about it. You might be surprised at the responses. Never stop learning, either - and be open to all kinds of learning, including learning by playing. In my opinion, it's the best way to learn how to use a new tool, whether it's a smartboard or a social network.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I can't predict any specific changes - so much has changed in the last ten years! - but I do believe that libraries and librarians will continue to be critical for communities, knowledge distribution and sharing, and information management. I also believe that more organizations and institutions will begin to use the embedded librarian model (that of a librarian working within and as a part of a particular project team, not as a central shared resource). I firmly believe that it is and will be a good career to be in!

Special thanks to Ruth for participating in our blog. For those of you interesting in learning more about Ruth please check out her website or email her at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with Debbie Cox

I recently spoke with UNT graduate Debbie Cox, a full time reference librarian at Lone Star College - Montgomery. In a personal interview, we sat down together in her office and had a very interesting and informative conversation.

Debbie Cox has been a Reference Librarian with LSC-Montgomery for the past 14 years. Debbie’s previous career was as a college English teacher. She has two master’s degrees - one in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas, and one in British and American Literature from Southwest Missouri State University. Debbie is passionate about her profession, and she serves as the library liaison for English, Art, Speech, Communication, Drama, Education, Human Development, Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, and Religion. You’ll see her running around the library and hear her cheerful laughter in every corner!

What is your educational/professional background?
Before I became a reference librarian, I taught English at a private college for several years. After that, I taught English at Austin Community College. In 1994, I earned my MLIS from University of North Texas, and became a full time librarian at Lone Star College – Montgomery, where I have also served as an Adjunct Instructor of English. In 2009, I won the Faculty Excellence Award at our college - the first time a librarian at our campus had won it! I was very excited! It was quite an honor.

When you graduated college/graduate school, what were your career goals? Have they changed?
I wanted to be a full time community college teacher by the time I was 30. I had earned my first MA, been a full-time faculty member, published a novel, and owned/operated my own small bookstore. With all of that behind me, I needed a new goal. I decided I wanted to be a reference librarian.

When and how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?
In 1989, while I was running a small bookstore, I decided to shift gears toward an LIS career. I truly enjoyed my small bookstore, and I loved providing books and information to my customers. My reluctance to charge customers for the information they sought, however, inspired me to begin a career where I could give people information instead of charging them for it!

What does a typical work day look like for you?
My days are varied, and I would like to lay to rest the rumor that librarians do the same thing every day. I spend the first hour or so of my day answering emails and voicemails from students and faculty. A two-hour shift on the Reference Desk has me answering questions from students and faculty in person, on the phone, or through the college’s instant online messaging system (PhP). The next hour includes lunch and office time, which I often spend catching up with emails/voicemails and serving as faculty liaison. Another hour and a half at the Reference Desk has me focusing on patron questions, with the down time between questions spent on continuing library projects. The last few hours of my day are split between communication updates, more faculty liaison, collection development, and cooperative projects with my fellow librarians. I also teach an average of three Bibliographic Instruction classes per week in any subject discipline that comes my way.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?
While my favorite aspect of the job is collection development (I could happily do this all day!), my least favorite activity is trouble-shooting copier/printer problems.

What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession look to make as far as salary (starting out or over time)?
A low starting salary could begin around 29K (it shouldn't be any lower!), and established academic librarians who pursue all available venues may reach into the area of 80K.

How did you think your education prepared you/didn’t prepare you for your current career?
I definitely wished that technology had been more of a focus when I went through the program. It also concerned me that no courses during my educational career taught the Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal system; librarians were “expected” to learn those on their own.

Additionally, my graduate degree in literature has been as helpful in serving students as my MLIS.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?
Don't settle in a job that you don't want. While your first job may not be your ideal, continue to work toward your dream. Don’t give up!

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?
A heavy emphasis on technology will continue to dominate our field, with an increased dependence on library databases rather than physical books. New MLIS graduates will have an edge in the field as they bring energy and advanced technology skills to the profession. The future is bright for all of us in this career field! I actually envy new graduates. The future of our field is going to be exciting!

Interviewed by Angela Colmenares

Friday, July 16, 2010

AALL Update

Hello everyone!

Sorry I did not update yesterday as I was busy running around. So let's get to the update!

Sunday (Day 2) was the first official full day of the conference. While many of the special interests groups had board meetings on Saturday, this was the big opening event. The morning started off with the general session, welcoming all the attendees to the conference. Following the welcome, key note speaker Dr. David Lankes, Director of the iSchool at Syracuse gave a tremendous speech on the state of libraries and librarians; stating that the best days of librarianship is still ahead of us. He directed our attention towards the future, and to an almost radical idea that the function and purpose of the libraries is not specifically to exist as an entity standing alone. Libraries have to be molded to fit their communities, and strive to fit what their communities stand for. With this being said, he also pushed the audience to push for their own self value, rather than the value of collections. Collections are great, but they exist only to be used because over centuries we have learned how to utilize collections. Needless to say, it was truly an uplifting presentation.

I had the liberty of attending many great panel discussions as well as presentations on a wide variety of topics. Some of the big more popular topics revolved around digital preservation of digital born objects (such as blogs, websites, etc) as well as how the digital age has provided a new set of obstacles for legal research. These are very real concerns, as more and more people turn to the internet to find and use evidence (social media has been used in court cases as well as competitive intelligence). How do we preserve digital epherma and WHAT do we preserve?

Now, I think one of the coolest things that I encountered at AALL was the exhibit hall, where all the legal vendors showed off their wares, both print and electronic. This was very cool and a unique experience that librarians can use and test drive new technology, as well as talk to executives of the vendor companies about problems and give them suggestions.

All in all, This was a fabulous experience that I suggest anyone attend. It not only helps people keep up with the current trends and topics in librarianship, but also brings together the field; where life long connections and friendships can be made.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

AALL 2010 Updates

Hello All!

This is your LISSA Vice President, Jaeger Wells, reporting in from Denver where the annual American Association of Law Librarians (affectionately known from here on out as AALL) is taking place. This is my first time at a professional conference and so far it has been a blast. I just came back from the opening reception (where they feed you) and have already done some great networking! It is definitely worth going to professional conferences like this, ALA, SLA, and others because you never know who you could meet (and who potentially could help you get a job).

I will be doing daily updates of the conference just to give you all a sneak peek of what goes on at these conferences, so stay tuned!


Jaeger Wells

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Interview with Jessamyn West

Interview with Jessamyn West

Alright ladies and gentleman here is the first official LISSA Denton Blog Interview. For those of you who didn't read my previous posting I will be interviewing people in the upcoming year several times a month currently employed in the LIS field. These individuals will come from both traditional and nontraditional settings. I will be asking every person the same set of questions, for the most part, to give all of you a better understanding of what life as a LIS professional is really like and the wide variety of settings and environments these individuals are employed in. If you have any requests for types of LIS fields you would like me to post just shoot me an email or post a comment on the blog. If you would like to submit an interview or suggest someone you would like me to interview please also email me or post on the blog.

Our first interviewee is Jessamyn West.

For those of you who don't know who she is I have included her brief bio from her website below:

Jessamyn West is a community technology librarian and a moderator of the massive group blog She lives in a rural area of Central Vermont where she teaches basic computer skills. She assists tiny libraries with technology planning and implementation, helping them with wifi and websites and making sense of their systems. She maintains an online presence at and and has had her address and phone number on the Internet for a decade. Her favorite color is orange.

Other bullet-point type information that may or may not be helpful.

-former ALA Councilor
-co-editor Revolting Librarians Redux was one of the first librarian weblogs
-runs especially the question asking/answering part of the site Ask Metafilter.
-official blogger at the Democratic National Convention 2004
-"the FBI has not been here" signs
-Wikipedia article

So as you can see she's kind of a library celeb of sorts. Needless to say I couldn't wait to ask her a couple questions about her LIS career. Now lets get to the part you've all been waiting for the interview questions!

What is your educational/professional background?

I have an undergraduate degree in linguistics from Hampshire College
and a MLib from the University of Washington.

When you graduated college/graduate school what were your career goals/have they changed since?

I wanted to be a rural librarian and now I live in a rural area mostly
doing technology work but sometimes working as a rural librarian. I
like rural library work, but I think wanting to run my own library was
a goal that wasn't as attainable as I thought. Actually what i wanted
to do was LIVE IN the library I worked at, and while I tried hard to
do that, I haven't managed it yet.

When/how did you decide the LIS career path was for you?

When I got out of college and I thought about what I really had
enjoyed doing most when I was in college. The answer was looking
things up and doing research at the library. I have always loved to
read, and to help people, and there was a great library school just up
the road. It worked out perfectly.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I have a lot of small jobs so there is really no typical day. Today I
got up around 10, had coffee, checked the website,
where I work as a community manager. Then I went to the vocational
high school in town that I work at, did IT stuff for a few hours
[helping people with software installations and getting their email
working] and then I did "drop-in time" for two and a half hours.
Anyone in the community can come by the computer lab and I will help
them with their computer issues. I had someone who came in to do
email, someone who had laptop questions, a whole family who had a new
laptop and wanted help setting it up and two young adults from the
evening degree program who wanted to catch up on facebook before
class. Then I went and had dinner with a friend and now I'm writing
this and will probably work some more on my book about teaching
technology to novice computer users before a nighttime scrabble game
and then bed.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about your job?

Every day is different. I like that I've managed to achieve some sort
of status and reputation and someone who knows what she is talking
about but at the same time not get up to an alarm clock every day. I
love helping people and I love living in a rural community and I'm
happy I can make a living at it.

What is your salary range/What can students interested in working in your type of LIS profession
look to make as far as salary (both starting out and over time)?

It really varies. I make an annual salary in the mid five figures with
my community management job. The local high school pays me between
$20-50/hour for the work I do there. When I work at the local public
library I make $8/hour. Writing the book is going to pay very little.
When I go places to give speeches, I get paid in the
high-three-low-four figures depending on what I do and how long I'm
there. It's a weird way to make a living but it works well for me.

How do you think your education prepared you/didn't prepare you for your current career?

I didn't learn as much about the business side as I could have used. I
feel that I don't know as much about working with vendors and budgets.
I feel that I learned a good amount about computers, considering that
it was 1993-1996 at the time. I feel that I learned a lot about
working with lots of different sorts of people, in ways that are
helpful to me. I feel that UW gave me a good ethical foundation of
what it really means to be a librarian and that's been helpful to me
all the way along.

What advice do you have for current/graduating library and information science students?

practical experience with technology and in libraries before you
graduate. Realize that many great jobs don't happen in a library
setting and think about other places you could use your brain to be
useful. Get involved in professional organizations like ALA or TXLA
[which is really one of the best state library associations in the
country, seriously] and take advantage of some of their mentoring
programs and learn to do public speaking and interact with other
professionals maybe outside of your specialty or geographic area.
Interact with other librarians online and enjoy the social scene in
addition to the professional scene. There are a lot of great people
doing great things lately and there's always room for more.

What changes do you foresee for the field of Library and Information Science in the next five to ten years?

I'm a very poor futurist, so I always answer "More of the same, even
if you think otherwise"

Well there you have it folks. I hope I provided you all with some useful information and special thanks to Jessamyn for being so helpful. If you would like to know more about Jessamyn or you have some questions for her please visit her at her website

New Year, New Blog

Hello all my name is Angel and I am the new secretary/treasurer of LISSA Denton for the upcoming school year. I will be changing the format of this blog. From now on it will be a post for interviews with individuals currently employed in the LIS field. Every two weeks there will be a new interview for LIS students to checkout. I will try to find individuals from both traditional and non traditional library settings so that people about to enter the work world get a true sense of what it is to be a "librarian" in todays work world. Stay tuned for more information. I will post links to the facebook and twitter when I have posted a new interview.

Monday, April 26, 2010

LISSA Elections

It is time for LISSA elections. This year, voting will be done through the SLIS Village. If you want to vote, but are not yet a member of the Village, email to sign up.

To vote for the next President and Vice President, send the name of the candidates you would like to vote for to Jennifer LaFleur in an email within the SLIS Village. Please submit your votes by 5 pm on Monday, May 3rd. Here are the candidates:


Staci Young - I would like to serve as LISSA President, because I believe in the potential of the LISSA organization. I would like to develop programs to give us all more opportunities for professional development, professional networking, leadership, service and fundraising, all of which are facets of Librarianship that are imperative for careers as information professionals. I believe with the best resources, which UNT offers, the LIS student body will become the information leaders of Texas and potentially the US. I am the best candidate to lead LIS students in this direction.

Will Senn - I am a PhD student in the Information Science program. I earned my Masters in Library and Information Science at UNT in 2009. I have previously served as the SLIS SGA Senator and I am currently the College of Information's Alumni representative on the University Library committee. I would like to have the honor and opportunity to lead this successful organization in the coming year.

Vice President

Jaeger Wells - Hello, I am Jaeger Wells and I am currently in my first semester here at UNT in the SLIS program. I am running for the position of Vice President because I am a firm believer that at the heart of an academic department, there needs to be a strong student organization supporting the students interests. I believe that I could help make LISSA an even better organization than it is by doing more marketing as well as making students more aware of the resources available from LISSA. I am qualified for the position of Vice President because I have many years experience promoting and bringing people together as well as leading organizations. During my undergraduate career I was on the Executive board for the University of Southern Maine's chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma; running business meetings, setting up fundraising, as well as setting up philanthropic outings. As a small business owner, I ran On The Rocks Productions based out of Portland, Maine, organizing, promoting, and booking local all ages rock shows around the Southern Maine area. One of my biggest accomplishments was putting together a 2 day music festival featuring local, regional, and national acts; drawing a ground of over 200 people each day. I am able to communicate quite effectively with a variety of different people. I think my diverse background would help serve the LISSA community in fresh new ways.

Amber Bookman – I am a first year graduate student in the SLIS program and pursuing the school librarianship track. I received my B.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2003. Following graduation I worked at several law firms in the Houston area with the intent of attending law school and pursuing a legal career. A couple of years after working in the field, I determined that my true interest was in teaching. I relocated back to the DFW area in Fall 2009 and began my MLS in the Spring. I begin the alternative teaching certification program this summer with the hope of securing a K-6 teaching position in the Fall. I currently volunteer at the Lewisville Public Library and am an Administrative Consultant to Angela Fraser Realty. For fun I enjoy reading, cooking, watching HGTV or the Travel Network, spending time outdoors, visiting with my husband, our pets, friends and family and meeting new and interesting people. I am excited about the strength and diversity of the individuals I have met thus far in the LIS program. LISSA is an opportunity for fellowship among all LIS students since we all share the same goal, to go forth and manage the information frontier! I hope to become an active contributor to the organization and encourage others to do the same.

And congratulations to our new Secretary/Treasurer and Members at Large, who are running unopposed:


Angel Durr - My name is Angel Durr and I have been to most of the LISSA events throughout the year. I have experience being a treasurer as I was treasurer of the Texas State University College Democrats for a year. I really want to get more involved on campus and I think becoming an officer in LISSA would be the perfect way to do that. This is my second semester in the SLIS program and my field of study is law librarianship. I plan on graduating next May (if all goes well!). I am 22 and I am from Austin, Texas. I am very responsible and I was very involved in my undergraduate career with such activites as student government, student organizations, and an internship. Therefore, time management is no issue for me. I really hope next year we can plan some great events to draw some of our fellow LISSA students out of the woodwork, which I know can be somewhat difficult because of the nature of our program. However, I am up for the challenge!

Members at Large

Howard Marks - As an active member of both ALA and TLA, I would very much like to serve as a LISSA officer. I am a dedicated, passionate library and information science graduate student at the University of North Texas who strongly feels libraries are the key to learning both on a local and global basis for people of all ages. My recent work experience was serving two months at the Fort Worth Public Library as a temp reference librarian helping patrons. After ten plus years as a professional advertising and marketing copywriter crafting words to reshape the present, my dream is to enable others to learn from words of the past to become part of a promising future. I plan on graduating in December 2010. I have been active as a volunteer in organizations in the past, including Newsletter Chairperson of the Gulfport-Biloxi Advertising Club and as a Big Brother for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of North Texas. I currently help out to serve meals for the homeless at the Bridge in downtown Dallas on occasion.

Stephanie Boring - I am originally from Houston and attended Stephen F. Austin State University in East Texas for my undergraduate degree (Child Development and Family Studies - nothing like Library and Information Science!). I worked in the private sector for about 7 years and realized my passion for library science quite recently. I have now completed 18 hours of my masters and desire to pursue a career in preservation upon graduation. In my college sorority I was an officer and truly enjoyed the experience and the first-hand understanding of the group which accompanies these positions. I would love to serve in a similar capacity with LISSA.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LISSA Officer Elections - Call for Nominations

LISSA officer elections are coming up. Five positions are available: President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and 2 Member-at-Large positions. This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to develop leadership skills, become more involved in UNT's Library and Information Science program, and network with students, faculty, and professionals in the field. If you are interested in running, please e-mail the following information to by noon on Friday, April 23rd: name, position for which you are running, and a paragraph about yourself.

Here is a description of each position and its responsibilities:

The President of the Association shall preside over the meetings of the Association, both general assemblies and the meetings of the Executive Committee. The President shall be responsible for all communications to officers, the general membership, the Dean, the faculty, and the staff regarding Association meetings, assemblies, activities, and other pertinent information regarding the Association. The President shall act as the official liaison between the Association and the Dean, faculty, and staff of the School of Library and Information Sciences, the University of North Texas (UNT) Student Association, and the UNT campus and administration. The President shall appoint chairs for Association committees. The President shall also attend Faculty/Student Council or will designate a representative to serve in his/her place.

The Vice-President shall assist the President in the performance of that position and shall serve in that position in the event that the President is absent. The Vice-President shall have primary responsibility for programming Association functions. The Vice-President shall also be responsible for the upkeep of the Association bulletin board.

The Secretary/Treasurer shall be responsible for the recording of minutes at all meetings of the Association. The Secretary/Treasurer shall be responsible for the distribution of the minutes to all members of the Association. Financial responsibilities include the conducting of any financial transaction and accounting which is conducted by the Association and the reporting of such activity.

Members-at-Large shall be responsible for chairing committees as appointed by the President. The Members-at-Large shall also be responsible for assisting the Vice-President with the programming for Association functions. In addition, one Member-at-Large will be responsible for the distribution of information regarding the American Library Association (ALA) (convention information, scholarships, etc.) and one Member-at-Large will be responsible for the distribution of information regarding the Texas Library Association (TLA)(convention information, scholarships, etc.)