- I was appointed as the Program Director;
- we received full and unconditional re-accreditation from the American Library Association;
- we improved enrollment by almost 100%; and
- we have improved relationships with current students, alum, and the broader LIS community.
But, next year is going to be very different from this year. I am guided by a quote from Rob Bell, “surrender your agenda to the thing that is happening in the room.”
He also said, “Far too often, we don’t start because we can’t get our minds around the entire thing. We don’t take the first step because we can’t figure out the seventeenth step. But you don’t have to know the seventeenth step. You only have to know the first step. Because the first number is always 1. Start with 1.”
Sometimes we have to focus on the next step and nothing more.
Grace and Peace,
MLIS Program Director
The MLIS Program presents…
RISE UP! Dread Nation in Conversation
Friday, May 4, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
Recital Hall, Music Building,
St. Catherine University,
2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105
JUSTINA IRELAND is a writer for young adults. Her other books include Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. (justinaireland.com).
SHANNON GIBNEY is a professor at MCTC and author of MN Book Award winning YA novel See No Color and the forthcoming Dream Country, and a contributor to A Good Time for the Truth. (shannongibney.com).
TAIYON COLEMAN is an Assistant Professor in the St. Catherine University English Department and a contributor to A Good Time for the Truth. (stkate.edu).
Contact: Kallie Schell (email@example.com).
Event co-hosted by: St. Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science Program and its American Library Association Student Chapter, LIS Student Governance Organization, and Red Balloon Bookshop.
Thank You to Our Contributors!!!
Since this is the last newsletter of the 2017-2018 academic year, we’d like to take a moment to thank our contributors to this year’s newsletter. From faculty/staff to students to alum and more, we deeply appreciate the time you spent to make the MLIS newsletter special.
Thanks also to everyone who contributed with photos, news and notes, etc. We love keeping in touch with you and celebrating your successes, so please keep them coming!
We hope you have a wonderful summer!
Trish Vaillancourt, MLIS Student, Newsletter and Social Media Grad Assistant
Toyin Akisanya, LIS IT Coordinator (Editor, LIS Newsletter)
A Note from May Graduates
At the beginning of the semester we invited all graduating students to send a note about their plans after graduation. Here are some of the responses.
I‘m eager to begin my LIS career and would like to thank the St. Kate’s MLIS community for a wonderful and supportive experience over these past few years!
This semester, I’m serving as a reference assistant at Macalester College, where I love assisting students and community members with research, reference, and information literacy instruction. In addition to these skills, my professional interests include making information more accessible (digitally/technically and via instruction), open access, and the intersection of social justice and LIS.
Beginning next year, I hope to pursue employment in an academic or public library, nonprofit organization, or anywhere I can continue to serve a wide range of patrons, conduct research, teach information literacy, and work with digital resources.
After graduation, I plan to refresh my dormant Spanish language skills and to finally submit my research on leisure reading for publication.
I’m interested in all three knowledge institutions – libraries, archives and museums – and especially where they intersect in terms of information science.
I enjoy cataloging the weird things, researching the lives of objects and making non-text-native information digitally accessible and engaging to broader audiences.
I am open to the many possibilities that this degree can offer in the workplace but if I had to choose just a few: I hope to work in a museum with an object collection, almost any archive or a special library, particularly if it’s art related.
I am excited to get into the workforce and put my classes and experiences from St Kate’s to good use. I’m eager to gain more real-world experience in any sector, and so am currently pursuing employment in public, academic, and special libraries; I hope that my past experience with public libraries and corporate archives will aid me in that search.
My special interests are in organizations concerned with social justice, historical/cultural heritage preservation, and information literacy. I would also like to nurture my interest in collection development.
A big thank you to the St Kate’s MLIS program! It’s been a great journey.
Student Perspective: How Am I Going To Do This?
That’s the thought I found myself thinking repeatedly during the days leading up to and following my first week of class in the MLIS program. I started the spring  semester in 7010 Introduction to Library & Information Science. It seemed so daunting: trying to balance working full-time, raising a small child, and keeping my home reasonably put together. Now, I wanted to add in graduate school? I’m here to tell you that you can do this.
I’m wrapping up my first semester in LIS now. I was a little surprised to be writing this entry for the LIS newsletter but, I’m very happy to share some of what I’ve learned this semester. Here are a few key ideas:
You won’t be able to do everything
You won’t be able to attend every student organization meeting. You won’t be able to take every class that sounds interesting. You won’t be able to pick up every volunteer experience or attend every event. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try to be involved, attend events, or pick up new experiences.
Pick a group and/or pick a night
I remember at LIS orientation, I was interested in all the student organizations. Sign up to be on the email distribution list for any organization you’re interested in. I picked all of them. But, I can’t attend all the group meetings. I’d miss a whole lot more bedtimes, if I tried. Instead, I attend the group meetings that work into my schedule before class (Wednesday nights). I set a goal to attend at least one event, outside of group meetings, a month. This has given me a variety of professional development experiences, and kept my time commitments reasonable. Totally doable.
Sign up for a mentor…
SGO (the Student Governance Organization) will invite you to participate in the student mentor program. Do this. Think of how nice it will be to have someone a little more experienced to answer questions, and welcome you into the LIS program!
…AND find a study buddy
I quickly learned that I cannot get much coursework done at home, where I will be distracted by family or chores or television. Having a study buddy has been an excellent way to hold myself accountable to getting my work done. One afternoon each weekend, I go to the library with my study buddy for concentrated homework time. It’s like having someone hold you accountable to working out. Except you’re exercising your mind. Okay, that was too cheesy. ☺
Make a (very flexible) plan
For some reason, a written plan helps me stay focused and motivated. Maybe it’s because I’ve written it down so my mind doesn’t wander as frequently back to “How am I going to do this?” I have a plan and therefore I’ve answered that question.
I wrote down a plan for everything. A plan for managing my course assignments. A plan for making sure I had quality time with my daughter, Annie. And a plan for completing the program in a reasonable amount of time.
And make sure you remember: plans can and will change.
Use your resources
You’re a graduate student. You’re also an imperfect human. Whether it’s your first semester in the MLIS program or you’ve been a Katie for many years, use the resources in the community. A few of my favorite options are:
Those are my take-aways from my first semester in. If you’re new to the LIS program, like me, best of luck! And to my classmates about to graduate, congratulations!
MLIS Faculty: My Relationship with Harry Potter~ It’s Complicated
On Sunday, April 8, 2018, I attended the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast live show at St. Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis.
Before the show, MLIS student Kallie Schell and MLIS alumna Kate McManus and I met up for dinner, and then English professor and Harry Potter course instructor Cecilia Konchar Farr met us at the Basilica.
We geeked out about how much we love the Harry Potter series, while conceding that the series is deeply problematic.
I want to share a little about that love and a lot about its complexities.
However, it doesn’t take a degree in Asian American Studies to understand this: I had a visceral reaction when I first read “Cho Chang” in the Prisoner of Azkaban because of how the name so closely resembles the sing-song chant that bullies use to taunt people of Asian descent. Google “ching chong” and you’ll learn that they are “pejorative terms” (Wikipedia) and “the go-to slur for mocking East Asians” (NPR Code Switch).
On March 26, 2018, sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen tweeted that she “just wish she [Cho Chang] had a different name.” Yuen wrote, “I cringed when I read her name in the book.” Moreover, “Cho” is not a common first name for an Asian girl. “Cho” and “Chang” are actually both common family names among Chinese and Korean families (we don’t know whether Cho is Korean or Chinese). Jessie Baek responded to Yuen: “Same! It wouldn’t make sense for a white character to be called Smith Thompson.” Impossible? No. Unlikely? Yes. And “Smith Thompson” doesn’t carry the orientalist baggage that “Cho Chang” does, in its proximity to “ching chong.”
So it was with both eagerness and annoyance that I continued to read the series, and like Yuen, I cringed every time I read “Cho” – which, according to Kallie, appears 13 times in Azkaban, 34 times in Goblet of Fire, 132 times in Order of the Phoenix… you get the idea. I was so peeved I wrote a paper on this topic for the 2014 Children’s Literature Association conference. This year, with Kallie’s help, I’m converting the paper into a formal essay to be published in an anthology I’m co-editing with my colleague Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. The book is tentatively titled Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Diversity, and Justice in the Wizarding World, and will include essays that address many different aspects of the Potter universe.
Despite my criticisms and those of many others, Harry Potter has had a significant impact on many readers. An article in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology claimed reading Harry Potter could reduce prejudice, while The Good Men Project suggested readers could learn about social justice organizing from the series. So it is no surprise that The Harry Potter Alliance, an organization created by fans, would advocate for girls education (A World #WithoutHermione); organize a book drive for Puerto Rico (Accio Books); and support net neutrality (#NevilleFightsBack and #OneMoreVote).
I’ll be on sabbatical during the fall 2018 semester, and I’m super excited for my ongoing projects:
- co-editing the Harry Potter anthology,
- co-editing the Research on Diversity in Youth Literature journal,
- co-writing an Asian American children’s literature textbook, and
- reading children’s books for the 2019 Newbery committee.
Sarah Park Dahlen
St. Kate’s Libraries: Sophia Scholar
I have been fortunate to work at St. Catherine University Library as a graduate assistant in Technical Services in the Saint Paul campus since starting the MLIS program in Spring 2017. This experience has helped me learn so much more about our profession.
Through my position, I have been involved in several projects that have helped move our library forward. This includes working closely with print serials as we migrated library systems, as well as analyzing and organizing usage and other statistics.
A very exciting project I have been a part of is Sophia Scholar.
What is Sophia Scholar?
I help faculty build and manage a profile that showcases their scholarly work.
What sets these profiles apart from regular university faculty and staff profiles, is that copies of their published articles and other scholarly work are also included within the profile. This allows viewers to be able to read our faculty’s interesting research and work.
Navigating Publisher’s Permissions
Through working with Sophia Scholar, I have learned so much about the journal publishing industry. For example, in order to add a copy of an article to a faculty profile, I first need to check and get permission from the publisher. Journals often have very complex policies on article reuse and permission, so I frequently have to wade through these to find what is permitted.
In an ideal situation, the journal allows the publisher PDF version (the final version that is formatted for the journal) to be added to our institutional repository, but often journals stipulate that only drafts such as post-prints or preprints may be added.
Many journals also have embargos which specify when an article can be shared to our repository. In addition, not all journals have clear policies so I have regularly had to contact publishers to request permission. This has helped me better understand the process of becoming published–which will help me if I choose to do so in the future, or work with those who are. It has also helped improve my knowledge of copyright and usage rights–which are so important in all areas of librarianship.
Working with Faculty
Sophia Scholar helps raise the visibility, and provides straightforward access to, the scholarship of our faculty.
I, along with others in my department, create profiles for faculty, and also co-manage these profiles in conjunction with faculty. Faculty have access to their individual account, but we assist them with tasks such as adding citations, getting permission to include copies of articles, and uploading their articles to their profiles. This enables faculty to retain control of their profiles, yet not have to worry about the upkeep–so they can focus on other important duties.
I often communicate with faculty via email, keeping them informed about their profile. I have also met with faculty to help them learn how to customize their profiles and view readership reports. I find it very rewarding to help them showcase their significant scholarship, and these experiences have helped me better understand how to perform outreach in the future.
I am very grateful for the experience I have gained working on Sophia Scholar as a graduate assistant. It has taught me many things that will help me in future library positions–such as navigating publishing rights, and how to perform outreach.
I am looking forward to continuing to work on this and other projects in the future.
Technical Services Graduate Assistant
Alum News: Amber Bullis
Amber is pictured with future librarians, Eleanor and Matilda.
What attracted you to the LIS field…
Through my work there, I got to know and understand librarians in a way I hadn’t before. With the support and financial help of my employer, I decided to get my MLIS to better expand my skills for the work I was doing, and also have the opportunity to work as a librarian in the future.
How are you using your LIS degree in your job…
What has been your biggest career challenge…
However, the position was not a good fit, and I went through feelings of my LIS being a waste of time. I realized, though, that the skills I gained in my LIS were more than the specific children’s lit skills. It was also about becoming better at organizing information and learning to think about processes in a new way. It’s hard to explain exactly how important that is in my current position, but I have moments of feeling incredibly grateful for those skills.
What has changed about the profession since you graduated…
What experiences at St. Kate’s (or otherwise) were most helpful in getting you to where you are today…
What advice do you have for current LIS students…
Don’t be quick to disregard the classes that feel they might not be the best fit for what you plan to do. For me, my MLIS led me to a job that I really love. I’m working with a community of educators, helping schools find products that best fit the literacy needs of their students.
It’s not the path I envisioned, but I feel grateful I’ve found my niche!
Present in the Hard Work: a Mindful Path Toward EquityPresent in the Hard Work: a mindful path toward equity, was a day-long summit hosted at MCTC on April 13, 2018. It was comprised of 3 major events: a Distinguished Panel Discussion, Living Room Conversations, and Breakout Sessions, and was attended by over 100 students, faculty, staff, as well as external stakeholders and invited guests. Preliminary reviews indicated high rates of satisfaction, as well as requests for additional opportunities to continue these conversations. The event was organized by Jenny Sippel (MLIS 2006), and was part of a year-long Minnesota State Shark Tank Innovations grant project which was awarded to Sippel in 2017, and she has been managing within MCTC’s Equity & Inclusion division, working closely with Jay Williams, Director of Diversity.
The initiative titled MCTC: A Mindful Path Toward Equity was funded just under the max allowance of $25,000, and has resulted in a year’s worth of programming at MCTC, focused on exploring the intersections of mindfulness, and equity and inclusion–which is one of the college’s top strategic priorities. Programming is designed to help build foundations for ongoing work both at the institutional and system level, and included onsite training and the development of an online course available to all.In addition to leading some of those ongoing efforts moving forward, Sippel will be reflecting on the work completed thus far in a chapter contribution to an upcoming book titled, Recipes for Mindfulness in Your Library (published by ALA, forthcoming in fall 2018).
If you wish to learn more or explore possible partnerships in this work, please reach out to Jennifer.Sippel@minneapolis.edu.
Job Postings After May 31st 2018
Beginning June 1st, 2018, we will no longer add new job postings to the LIS blog. Instead, we will be asking employers and colleagues to post their LIS jobs on Handshake — a system already in use throughout the rest of St. Kate’s and at many other academic institutions around the country.
We will continue to post internships, scholarhips, and events on the LIS blog.
How to Post a Job on Handshake
For questions about Handshake, or further information, please contact St. Kate’s Career Development team at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-690-8890.
Tasha Nins (MLIS 2017) is the new Createch Manager and a Librarian I at the Arlington Hills branch of Saint Paul Public Library.
Salie Olson (current student) has been selected to participate in the 2018 ALA Student to Staff Program! There are only 40 slots each year, and St. Kate’s has sent a student every year since Sara Zettervall established the ALASC on campus. Sara was the first Student to Staff participant from St. Kate’s. Past students selected include Stephanie Rosso, Tasha Nins, and Chayse Sundt.
Please extend your congratulations to MLIS student Trish Vaillancourt for being awarded the 2017-2018 MLIS Scholarship. The MLIS Scholarship is awarded to a current student who demonstrates academic excellence and leadership potential. It includes a $2,000 monetary award. The recipient is selected by the MLIS Faculty each Spring semester. Trish will be recognized at the MLIS Graduate Reception to be held on Saturday, May 19 at 11 a.m. in the University Library, 1st floor.
Jenny Sippel (MLIS 2006) was the recipient of a 2017 Minnesota State Shark Tank Innovations grant — an award of just under the max allowance of $25,000.