MLIS Summit Ten Year Anniversary
“On May 7,  the MLIS faculty and staff will host a gathering of adjunct faculty, alumnae, students, employers and supporters of the program.” ~ From an announcement for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) newsletter.
Ten years ago, the MLIS faculty and staff met with our community members for the first MLIS Summit. It was held in Derham Hall 409. After an update on Program accomplishments, the bulk of the evening involved table discussions on student learning outcomes and help identifying 2-3 critical issues for the Program as we moved forward to full ALA-COA accreditation finally achieved in 2011 (see photo above).
Thus began our annual tradition of coming together. The Summit soon outgrew Derham 409 for the number of attendees and moved to the Rauenhorst Ballroom in the CdC Building.
The focus for the Summit agenda has varied over the years. The Summit typically opens with time to socialize. There have been speaker panels of LIS Professionals and/or Graduates of the Program. We listened to Ignite talks and Innovate! talks. We honored the 1994 graduates of the Dominican University/St. Catherine program in 2014. We hosted ALA President Courtney Young in 2015. Each Summit has included time for either table discussions to gather input into various aspects of the Program or for audience engagement with speakers/panelists. The photo on the right shows a packed ballroom of attendees for the 2016 Summit.
This Anniversary year the MLIS Summit will take place on Monday, April 24, 2017, 5-8pm in Rauenhorst Ballroom CdC. Activities planned as of this date: We will host representatives from LIS Professional Associations. We will showcase student accomplishments via Student Posters. During the heart of the evening, we will hear research project results from the Student-Faculty Collaborative team. Their work was supported by FLDS Funding. We will end the evening with table discussions on a topic of importance to our community. And there will be our usual offering of delicious refreshments.
Registration is now open via this Online Registration Form. We cannot wait to see you there.
Deborah Grealy, Associate Dean and Program Director
Deborah Torres, Assistant Program Director
Alum Profile: Kevin McCollam
Kevin McCollam is a Business Systems Analyst at Bibliotheca digital library solutions. He would like students to know that Bibliotheca is currently looking for an Intern and a Customer Account Manager for their cloud library.Kevin McCollam is a Business Systems Analyst at Bibliotheca digital library solutions. He would like students to know that Bibliotheca is currently looking for an Intern and a Customer Account Manager for their cloud library.
According to Bibliotheca’s website, you provide “library solutions that connect, engage and evolve.” Can you explain more about what that means?
What this means is that we are THE ‘go to’ partner for libraries; growing, changing, adapting right along with them. Our goals are their goals. We are constantly tweaking and developing solutions that allow them to improve outreach, connect to more patrons, and engage them in new ways. One of our customers partnered with their local transit company to provide access to their cloudLibraryTM collection as well as register new patrons for temporary library cards. Our combination of self-service kiosks, security hardware, material handling solutions, cloudLibrary and other services allows us to serve the WHOLE library, not just one of these areas. Be sure to visit our booth at ALA and other conferences to see our latest solutions!
You have an MLIS, but your job title is Business Analyst. What do you see as some of the parallels between those two fields?
Librarians and Business Analysts have one common goal, which is meeting the needs of their customers/patrons. Similar to librarians, business analysts need to understand what the needs of the customer are and ensure that the organization is taking action to meet those needs. I was lucky enough to find a company that serves a customer that I know very well (thanks to the MLIS): libraries!
In addition to understanding their customers, both need to understand technology, accessibility, and the flow of information (hence the “information science” part of MLIS). My job is to ensure that features of the cloudLibraryTM app are easy to use and provide the patron with an excellent experience. I work directly with our developers to design workflows and user-interfaces that meet our user’s requirements.
What attracted you to the LIS field, and to digital solutions in particular?
My passion is making technology and information more usable. There’s always a way to make your life easier with technology! The same is true for libraries. I’ve always been very tech-savvy, but I never wanted to strictly do a computer-science degree. I’m very social and didn’t want to be in a basement coding all day. The LIS field allowed me to stay on the front-end of technology. In the program, I took database, network, web design, and accessibility courses which allow me to perform the business analyst role very well. Being able to combine technology with my passion to make information more usable was perfect for me!
What is a typical day like for you?
During a typical day, I write requirements and prioritize work for the developers in our various applications. I meet with the sales and business team to determine what our library customers’ needs are and plan out future work. Also, I recently became the primary contact for all of our publisher partners. In that role I oversee the ingestion of titles into our system and assist with metadata changes.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far, and what are the steps you have taken to get through it?
My biggest challenge was a significant career change. I previously pursued a career in healthcare and worked in that field for 5+ years. Transitioning into libraries and technology was not an easy sell when I was applying for jobs. I overcame this challenge by networking and finding parallels between my previous work and the job I was applying for. For example, in my healthcare career, I participated in user groups where I designed workflows and made the healthcare software more usable – sound familiar? I also played with data and helped with process improvement.
Networking also played a significant part in conquering this challenge. I stepped outside my comfort zone and emailed the Chief Information Officer at Hennepin County Medical Center (my last employer) for an informational interview. He was nice enough to meet me for a quick lunch. I told him about my education, experience, and interests. He mentored and encouraged me to apply internally for technology positions and get in front of as many people as I could. In doing so, I met the wife of a Bibliotheca employee and the rest is history.
What advice do you have for current LIS students? Are there any particular experiences you had at St. Kate’s that helped you to get where you are today?
I recommend considering ALL the options that the MLIS degree provides – not just libraries. Dr. Grealy can tell you, I went into the program with the intention of working with information science and technology. The tricky part is that these types of jobs are called different things in different organizations: business analyst, data analyst, systems analyst, knowledge center specialist, etc. If you’re interested in being a business analyst, I recommend these courses: Database Management and/or Advanced Database Management (shout out to Dave McKoskey), Web Usability/Accessibility, Networks, and Information Technology, People, and Society.
SAA Student Chapter Movie Event
on the theme, Censorship: Then Is Now
Mon, Mar 6
6:30pm, Visual Arts Building, north side of Quad
Chapter members invite you to see the 1956 drama, Storm Center, featuring Bette Davis as a small town librarian who is shunned by her community after she refuses to remove offensive material from the local library. Storm Center was one of the first Hollywood films to explicitly criticize McCarthyism, and its themes and principles still hold an apt resonance for today’s librarians. Popcorn, drinks, and prizes will be provided.
Career Development Workshop
Mon, Mar 27
6pm, Panel Talk Location TBA; consultations will be in MLIS Office/Classrooms area
Students are invited to hear panelists speak on aspects of the job search including resumes, cover letters and interviewing. There will be time after the panel for students to have individual consultations with the panelists. The event is sponsored by the SAA Student Chapter.
Academic Calendar Events
March 8: Summer 2017 Registration Begins
March 13: Applications due for MLIS Scholarship
March 15: MLIS ePortfolio Submit for Initial Review Deadline
March 20-26: Spring Break
Check out the MLIS Program Calendar for the most up to date information on events and student group meetings.
News In Brief
Exciting news about Dr. Sarah Dahlen was included in last Friday’s weekly email message to the campus from University President Becky Roloff. Dr. Dahlen was one of two University faculty members recently to meet with the President upon recommendation for tenure by the Provost. We congratulate Sarah on her successful tenure review!
Congrats to student Antonio Backman on his new part time position at Anoka County Library, Rum River Branch.
A number of MLIS graduates and two current students (Nathan Nins, Tasha McLachlan) are among those who will participate in the 2017 MLA Institute for Leadership (MILE) happening May 2-5, 2017. The full list of the 2017 Cohort is available here.
The Society of American Archivists (SAA) Student Chapter will have a poster at the 2017 RBMS Conference to be held in Iowa City, IA from June 20-23, 2017. The poster will highlight the Chapter’s work undertaken for the Womens Art Registry of Minnesota (WARM) Journal digitization project in 2016-2017. The journal was in publication from approximately 1980-1987 and includes 24 volumes.
A story about Sarah Dahlen’s collaboration with illustrator David Huyck and author Molly Beth Griffin for the creation of an infographic about the lack of diversity in children’s book was included in the Spring 2017 issue of the University Magazine.
MLIS will have a presence at the 83rd IFLA World Conference and Assembly, August 19-25, 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland. Students in the Summer 2017 International Librarianship course will attend the conference as part of the course requirements. Dr. Mary Wagner, Professor Emerita, is the instructor.
Seeking News From Our Alums
Have a new position? Presented at a conference? Starting a new project? Serving on a committee? We love to hear updates and news from you. Email us at <firstname.lastname@example.org> with Subject Line: News in Brief.
Student Chapter Organization Meetings
- Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG): Wed, March 1 & 29 @ 5pm in CdC 5
- Student Governance Organization (SGO): Thurs, March 9 @ 5pm in CdC 20
- Society of American Archivists (SAA): Mon, March 13 @ 6pm in Library Room 123
- American Library Association (ALA): Tues, March 14 @ 5:15pm in CdC 17
- Special Libraries Association (SLA): Thurs, March 16 @ 5:15pm in CdC 19
Click here to view past editions of this newsletter.