On another note, our Program is very committed to professional development. We believe that state associations strengthen the library community. To that end, we’ve been working with the President of MLA Amy Boese (an alum) to secure student memberships for all of the St Catherine University MLIS students. More information to come, but we are certainly excited.
Director, MLIS Program
The Program has been moving towards our upcoming re-accreditation. We submitted our self-study on September 25th. I want to thank the MLIS faculty, staff, students, alums, advisory council, and employers for helping us with our self-study. Accreditation is a wonderful process. It lets us tell our story, helps us reflect on accomplishments for the last 7 years, and identify areas for improvement for the coming years.
The external review panel (ERP) will be on campus from November 5-7. You are all invited to join us on Monday, November 6 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the Ballroom to talk with the ERP.
Grace and Peace,
MLA 2017 Highlights
At this year’s MLA Conference the theme was Radical Librarianship; the sign at the entrance to the Exhibition Hall declared:
Amy Boese, MLA President
In Would Trader Joe’s Hire You?: Lessons from the Best Retailers, recent graduate Tasha Nins, Program Director Tony Molaro, and Suzi Stephenson from Hennepin County Libraries presented about how libraries can learn from retailer customer service.
St. Kate’s Librarian Amy Mars and Deb Torres looked at librarianship through the lens of critical race theory to advance the discussion about race, de-center whiteness, and bring theory to a practice of anti-racist librarianship in their session #Librarianshipsowhite: Using Critical Race Theory to Form a Call for Action.
Molly Hazelton (SLMS student and Adjunct Instructor in Archives) and Chayse Sundt (MLIS student) discussed the history and evolution of GLBTQ young adult and children’s literature in: Queering the Stacks: LGBTQ Young Adult Literature. Despite their 8am start time, Molly and Chayse had over 30 people in attendance – perhaps due not only to their topic, but also to their awesome rainbow cookies!
As shown in the cover photo for this issue, Janis Shearer gave a poster presentation on Diversity Initiatives during the Academic Research Library Division meeting.
Together with friends and colleagues, 2017 alum, Mallory Haskins presented, Leave it to Teens: Running a successful YA book group…by not running it.
Below are some of the conference highlights! Click on the images to enlarge them and view their captions.
We apologize to anyone we are not yet able to include. Please feel free send any photos if you have them, and we will add them as we receive them.
MLIS Faculty: My Sabbatical in Scotland
First, I’d like to say that a yearlong sabbatical is a benefit that all people should have as a part of their benefits package. Removing oneself from the daily grind and opening up to new experiences is revitalizing. Taking a break from work every seven years apparently relates to the Sabbath, whereby one rests on the seventh day. Employers do not actually expect their employees to just rest on a sabbatical however. There is an expectation that they will do something like finish uncompleted work, or pursue new knowledge. I opted for the latter; I went to Scotland to study architectural history.
Rather than telling you all about my thesis research here, I thought would relate two other important aspects of my experience: immersing myself in Scottish history and culture, and navigating a large international university. For three semesters, I studied Architectural History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh. I don’t have a background in architectural history, or art history, or anything related to the field. I became interested in the subject a few years ago trying to understand how the built environment conveys knowledge over time and space. To explore this idea well, it seemed to me that I needed to get formal exposure to the literature, theory and methodological approaches in this foreign discipline.
Not only did I embed myself in a new discipline, but also a different academic culture. I gained a fresh empathy for my students back home as I struggled with the material and attempted to understand academe through a British frame of reference. I audited several undergraduate and graduate courses, in addition to my regular course load, In order to keep up with my classmates, almost all of whom had backgrounds in architecture, conservation, or preservation. There were 12 students in my cohort, representing Turkey, Bengal, Poland, Italy, China, Uruguay, Canada, England, and the United States; none were Scottish. We were a range of ages and surprisingly, I was not the oldest.
My cohort took the core courses on Theory and Method together; the rest of the curriculum was flexible. For instance, in addition to architectural history classes focusing on Victorian Britain and Medieval Scotland, I also took a class in Art History called the Celtic Question and one in in Conservation Engineering called Culture and Performance in Building History. The summer semester was devoted to researching and writing the 12000-15000-word dissertation (we would call this a thesis). In addition to working with the faculty on our coursework, we attended weekly workshops by visiting architectural historians. I also attended the weekly master classes offered through the conservation and preservation program. My brain was fully stuffed at the end of each day.
Sheri Ross, Ph.D.,
MLIS Associate Professor
St. Kate’s Libraries: Co-Chairing the MLA Conference Committee
Conference themes are chosen by the MLA president, and Amy’s vision was laid out in her introductory letter in the conference program:
“We have had a tempestuous year. We have struggled with challenges to free speech and disappearing data. We have faced funding cuts, threats to net neutrality and Fake News. We have been reminded again and again that we are a nation divided by race. As we gather today and tomorrow, I hope our time together challenges us to think about the radical work that we do: the power libraries have to provide access to the truth, to strengthen community voices, to create opportunity for exploration and innovation, and to assist our patrons to build a better future.”
I’ve served on multiple conference committees, but I have never felt the surge of energy and excitement that this theme invoked. Committee members were passionate about bringing Amy’s vision to light and found keynotes and sessions covering racial equity, LGBTQ literature, Dakota Access Pipeline activism, algorithm bias, serving bilingual patrons, social justice, cataloging for inclusion, and so much more.
Conference attendee evaluations aren’t compiled yet, but we heard positive feedback from many people about how inclusive the conference was, how empowered they felt to return to their libraries, and how this was one of their favorite MLA conferences.
As a co-chair of the conference, this feedback was wonderful to hear, because I wasn’t able to attend most of the conference. I was there, but I wasn’t going to many sessions, networking, and hovering over my silent auction bids. I was putting out fires, like running around trying to find volunteer room moderators, replying to Twitter comments on the MLA account, taking pictures, and helping in any way I could when things were going wrong. But this isn’t a complaint. I expected this.
Educational Technology & Reference Librarian
MLIS Adjunct Professor
Alum News: Karen Neinstadt
Karen received her MLIS from Dominican University/St. Kate’s in 2004. She has been a Reference and Outreach Librarian with MnDOT since February 2009. Prior to that, Karen was an Assistant Librarian at the Perpich Center for Arts Education.
What attracted you to the LIS field?
What is a typical day like for you?
What do you like about your job?
What has been your biggest career challenge so far, and what are the steps you have taken to get through it?
How has the profession changed 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?
Send Your Holiday Greetings!Photo by Sean MacEntee
The holidays are just around the corner, and we’d love to celebrate them with you!
As a part of the December newsletter, we’d like to add a section of holiday greetings from students, faculty, staff and alumni.
A picture of your dog with reindeer antlers? Send it! A photo collage of your family in ugly Christmas sweaters? Send it! A Hanukkah wish for your friends? Send it! A Happy New Year greeting for the library community? Send it!
The first ten responses will be displayed in the December newsletter and any additional wishes will go on the department website. Please adhere to a 50 word limit so we have room for all the amazing wishes.
If you have a happy holidays wish, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 15.
Adjunct Professor Gail Nordstrom and Associate Professor Heidi Hammond presented “Reading the Art in Caldecott Award Books: What makes a picture book Distinguished? at the Education Minnesota MEA (Minnesota Educator Academy) Conference. The conference provides professional development for educators and took place October 19-20 at RiverCentre in St. Paul.
Professor Sarah Park Dahlen attended the Global Rights for Women celebration dinner on October 27 with MLIS students and recent grads Kallie Schell, Elizabeth Johnson, Anne Burkhardt, and Tasha Nins as well as two undergraduate students from GSJ 3990 Dismantling Racism: Taylor Hall and Ashley Alex.
Janis Shearer (current student) wrote an article for The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Newsletter (No. 146, 2017 September), as a follow-up to her presentation at their 49th Annual Meeting in June 2017. Titled “Story Time in the Garden: Picture Books that Celebrate Diversity through the Seasons”.
Anne Thayer (2015) is now Youth Services Librarian I at Washington County Libraries.
Sarah Park Dahlen spoke on a panel with Edith Campbell and Laura Jiménez at the #Indivisible10 Institute at the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books in Illinois on October 14, 2017.
There is a new professional development opportunity targeted for academic and research library professionals, SPARC Open Education Leadership Program. More information can be found at https://sparcopen.org/our-work/open-education-leadership-program.
Scholarships Available for the 2018 Library Technology Conference: a limited number of scholarship opportunities are offered for persons with financial need to attend the Library Technology Conference. The Library Technology Conference will be awarding up to 10 scholarships. Anyone is welcome to apply. Special consideration will be given to applicants who live outside the 7-county Twin Cities metro area, students, and applicants who have not attended the conference before. Selection will largely be based on the brief (up to 300 words) statement of how attending the conference will benefit the applicant. All scholarship applications must be received no later than Monday, November 13, 2017. Applications received after this date will not be considered. All applicants will be notified of their status by November 30, 2017. For questions, contact email@example.com.
Looking ahead: we’ll have a review of the ITEM Fall 2017 Conference by Laura Gingras and Lauren Cottrell in our December newsletter.
Seeking News From Our Students & Alums
Have a new position? Presented at a conference? Starting a new project? Serving on a committee? Hosting an event? We love to hear updates and news from you. E-mail our Social Media Assistant, Trish Vaillancourt at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subject Line: News in Brief. 50 words maximum.
<– That’s me, Trish Vaillancourt. I am in my second year at St. Kate’s and enjoying the program very much. It is exciting to be back at school after getting my undergraduate degrees last century. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for the newsletter. Also, I like cats…a lot.