We recently revised our mission:
“The St. Catherine University MLIS program is a student-centered and social justice oriented graduate program. We prepare students to be critical thinkers and leading information professionals who promote equity through the access, use, evaluation, sharing, and creation of information.”
Over the coming years, we will focus on being a mission-driven program.
In terms of social justice, I’m excited to highlight that Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen led the efforts to create the Research on Diversity in Youth Literature journal. This is the first journal to focus on diversity, inclusion, and social justice in youth literature and culture.
In terms of student-centered, we will be launching Coffee Hours with the Director for current students in the fall.
Because we can’t do this work alone, we will also be creating an alum council this year to give a greater voice to our outstanding alum. We are looking for folks to volunteer with us at conferences, and even conspire with us to put on our own conference. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering or joining the alum council, please contact me at email@example.com.
Hillary Clinton was the concluding speaker for this year’s ALA Annual Conference. Her closing remarks are better than anything I can muster, so “If we want brave, engaged citizens, that starts with readers…Librarians are on the front line in the war for truth, reason, evidence, and facts.”
May we all remember that we are, indeed, stronger together, and that our work does make a difference in the lives of those around us.
Director and Assistant Professor, MLIS Program
A Goodbye From Deb
We are so very lucky to have had strong internal candidates for the position of MLIS Director. With your support, and that of the amazing MLIS faculty, I know the candidate selected will be an effective external and internal advocate for our program. Dr. Tony Molaro is an experienced practitioner and manager, and an award-winner teacher and mentor. He is also well acquainted with ALA processes and personnel, and is aware of the current challenges and opportunities facing higher education in today’s environment along with those of LIS practice.
Tony is right. I think that our profession is going to fundamentally change in the very near future, as is the way in which library education is valued and validated. Exciting opportunities and awesome challenges await us. With imagination, energy, and resilience we can transform the way that information is deployed and utilized in our personal and professional communities. The ongoing work of the MLIS faculty has expanded our programmatic Vision, Values, Mission, and Goals (VVMG), placing more stress on issues of social justice and inclusion, along with literacy and community engagement. In the coming year a new strategic planning process—paralleling that currently underway at the University—will be launched. We will all have opportunities to be involved in this transformative process.
As you know, I officially stepped down as Program Director effective August 21, 2017, but continue in a part-time role as Associate Dean through the ALA Accreditation site visit and its follow up, working off-site until my official retirement date in January 2018. I will be in Denver in February 2018 for the ALA site visit to give Tony and Dean Bangs any help I can, to cheer us all on, and help celebrate our re-accreditation.
Led by Professor Emerita Dr. Mary Wagner, the summer class LIS 7600 – International Librarianship attended the 83rd IFLA conference which took place in Wrocław, Poland this year. Most of the class is pictured in the group photo on day one.
Students and faculty at home were able to follow the conference on social media with #wlic2017.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress is the international flagship professional and trade event for the Library and Information Services sector. It annually brings together over 3,500 participants from more than 120 countries and sets the international agenda for the profession and offers opportunities for networking and professional development to all delegates.
In addition to attending conference sessions, the group had many opportunities to tour the city.
Why We Attend Conferences
Becoming a librarian is about more than stacking bookshelves. We know this, and we are taught in class about the goals of our chosen profession. Part of our development as Library and Information Science professionals is to stay current with trends and network with colleagues. How can we accomplish this? Conferences!
In a recent survey, we asked MLIS students which conferences they attended this past year. The results show a wide range of conference attendance.
60% of respondents were attending their conference for the first time, but repeat visitors, like Tasha, return to MLA each year “to network and find new opportunities.”
Students who attended LibTech mentioned that it is a great way to stay on top of emerging technology trends, and that we are fortunate to have such a good resource in St. Paul. Baileigh noted that Public Libraries Division Day, a division of MLA, is a “great opportunity to learn what librarians in the real world are doing” and is also a “…great place to meet other librarians and potential employers!” Antonio mentioned that at ALA “there is so much to learn and so many people to talk to at the conference, you could go fifteen times and still not experience everything it has to offer.”
Conferences are filled with a vast array of topics to learn about for the first time or enhance the knowledge you obtained in class. Here are a few examples of some unique sessions and keynote speakers:
- Antonio gathered information about Maker Spaces at an ALA Informal Sharing session. He spoke with librarians from California, Colorado and the Netherlands about their Spaces. In Colorado, the Pikes Peak Library District partners with industry sponsors to help pay for the equipment, while librarians from the Netherlands take a Mobile Maker bus to local schools.
- Heather and Trish commented on Patrick Meier’s keynote address at LibTech. Mr. Meier spent the last 14 years using technology to help humanitarian projects around the world. It was remarkable to hear about digital humanities literally saving lives.
- Writer/director John Landis was the opening speaker at the 2017 Film Librarians Conference. Zach mentioned that Landis “highlighted his amateur efforts to preserve older film memorabilia… his point was that all of us have something we care about, that we think is worth saving for use later on, and that film librarians enthusiasm for safekeeping and film can only benefit the movie and library fields.”
- Gene Luen Yang was a keynote speaker at ALA where he discussed why librarians should care about the types of comics children read. We’ll have more about Gene Luen Yang in our October newsletter when we recap the July event Asian America in Graphic Novels: An Evening with Gene Luen Yang.
Did You Know that LIS SGO can Reimburse Students for Conference Attendance?
It’s true! Last year our Student Governance Organization gave back $4,224 to 25 MLIS students. Funds are available for current graduate students for conference attendance or other professional development such as workshops.
Students can receive up to $200 back for a US conference, each academic year. However, SGO cannot reimburse for memberships, subscription fees, tuition, or any expense that is required as part of a class, and there is a maximum allocated each semester. Visit lissgo.wordpress.com for full information and forms.
There are many ways to attend a conference, and some conferences even offer reimbursement for your registration fee if you volunteer at the conference. The majority of our survey respondents, 80%, received an SGO reimbursement or used personal funds, while the remaining 20% had a scholarship, travel stipend, or were reimbursed by their employer.
An Opportunity to Participate in LibTech 2018: Call for Proposals
Proposals are now being accepted for the 2018 Library Technology Conference.
Held annually at Macalester College in St. Paul MN, the conference features presentations, workshops, and lightning round sessions and is attended by library staff, library students, educators, technologists, designers, and others interested in libraries and technology.
Review the Planning Your Proposal resources for help in creating a successful proposal. Submissions are due September 22, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIS Conference Survey Prizewinners
Finally, congratulations to our three semi-fabulous prizewinners, Zach, Baileigh, and Janis, and thank you to all who filled out the survey.
A Call to Action for Anti-Racist Librarians
So now, as the new school year is set to begin, and in the wake of white supremacy marches in Charlottesville, a not guilty verdict in the Philando Castile case, what librarian Chris Bourg calls the “unbearable whiteness of librarianship,” and a new report ranking Minnesota as the second worst state in the nation in racial equality, the challenge that I am facing is how to continue the conversation about race, de-center whiteness, and build community.
Here are just a few ideas & resources that I, with the help of colleagues such as Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen and Deb Torres, have discovered that can help us, as librarians, incorporate anti-racist librarianship into our work:
- Educate yourself
- Check your privilege/be a better ally
- McIntosh, P. (1989). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. The National SEED Project.
- Ariel, C. (2017, August 6). For our white friends desiring to be allies. Sojourners.
- Charles, C. (2015, October 5) 10 Common Things Well-Intentioned Allies Do That Are Actually Counterproductive, Everyday Feminism.
- Examine your institution’s climate
- Question library neutrality
- Eckert, C. (2016, August 12). Libraries are not neutral, School Library Journal
- The myth of the neutral library: Why social activism is integral to librarianship, Hack Library School
- Farkas, M. (2017, January 3). Never neutral: Critical librarianship and technology, American Libraries.
- Review our professional associations’ diversity & inclusion statements
- Create a book display or online guide
- Start a dialogue at your library
- Partner with racial equity groups to hold discussions, workshops, and teach-ins
- Incorporate racial justice themes into your library instruction & teaching
- There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times (NCTE)
- Prescott, M. K. (2017). Antiracist Pedagogy in the Information Literacy Classroom: Techniques to Foster Transformative Learning. (Conference Presentation). LOEX. Slides. Handout.
- Follow #CharlottesvilleCurriculum or #critlib on Twitter
- Join Libraries4BlackLives
- Practice self-care & create space for healing
I am still learning and have made many mistakes along the way, but I will not stay silent.
Racism is an oppressive social construct that is pervasive and embedded in our institutions, including libraries. But we have the potential to make our institutions and work as librarians more inclusive and equitable.
How will your work to dismantle racism and white supremacy in your community? Share your thoughts at #librariesrespond and/or join Deb Torres and I for our session, “#librarianshipsowhite: Using Critical Race Theory to Form a Call to Action” at this year’s MLA Conference on October 6th.
Librarian, St. Catherine University
Alumna of the St. Kate’s MLIS Program
Alum News: Anna Zbacnik
We reached out to alumna Anna Zbacnik (2013) after her trip to Norway this summer. Anna is the librarian at Brimhall Elementary, a K-6 school in Roseville.
When did you graduate and how long have you been at your current job?
I got my MLIS two weeks after my third baby was born. It was a huge accomplishment. I had two kiddos while in the program, and worked full time. It took five years to graduate, but the degree is well worth it. This will be my seventh year of being the media specialist at my school. I got my media specialist teaching license in 2011.
What attracted you to the LIS field and to children’s librarianship in particular?
I was an elementary school teacher for close to 10 years when I decided I wanted to go back to school to get my master’s degree. I started thinking about what I really enjoyed doing at work and outside of the work day. I came to realize that when my class went to library, I would get really jealous of the librarian’s job. It seemed like she had the best of all worlds, She got to work with kids and books, two of my favorite things. I also realized that as a kid I had wanted to be a librarian and I would volunteer at recess time in the school library that I now work in.
What is a typical day like for you?
Most days, I have some type of meeting before school starts (either staff meetings or my PLC – professional learning community), or I collaborate with teachers to plan upcoming units. I teach anywhere between 6-8 classes each day. Most of my classes come to the library for a mini-lesson or story time as well as a book checkout. During book check-outs I try to circulate around the library and do reader’s advisory. I love giving book talks and getting students excited about reading.
I usually have one or two grade levels doing a larger research project or technology project that I flexibly schedule. If I have down time, I gather book lists and materials for teachers to use for the units that they teach. I use any other prep time I have to prepare lessons, get materials ready, or order materials for our library. I try to weed throughout the year, but usually get a good chunk done the last week of school when most classes don’t come to the library. When I go home, I try to read books that would interest my students. I love telling my husband that I am working when I am reading! I practice picture books on my kids, because I have found that reading books aloud changes my perspective on them.
What do you like about your job?
I have the best job in the world. I love that as a school librarian I am still a teacher, yet, I also get to manage a library. I get to make most of the decisions for my space. I have a lot of responsibilities, but unlike a large library system the choices are mostly mine to make. I get to do all of the things we learn about in library school: reference, information seeking, technology, reader’s advisory, and managing a collection. I also get to work with kids. I love getting kids to love books! My days are never boring.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far, and what are the steps you have taken to get through it?
It was very difficult for me to move from being on a team of 3-4 people to working mostly alone. I was used to bouncing ideas off of others and having a close working relationship. My first few years as a media specialist I felt very alone at work. While I collaborated with others and saw classes all day, I was an island in the school. My fellow librarians in our district and I pushed our administration into letting us have a PLC together instead of joining teams in our individual schools. We have created goals and shared lessons. We meet every other week. This team is my support system and we help guide each other to be stronger librarians.
What experiences at St. Kate’s (or otherwise) were most helpful to you and what advice do you have for current students?
I learned how to balance my time. I’m a working mom and can’t do it all. I learned how to say no to the things that aren’t my passions and make time for the things that are. Remember that librarianship is a job of service. It is a profession of books and information seeking but it is also a profession of serving our patrons. Be ready to do so — even when it is difficult.
A Library Internship with Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality is still available for the new academic year. This internship with our neighbors, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is ideal for a student interested in expanding their knowledge of progressive, feminist library resources and seeking to get significant experience in a flexible environment. 5-10 hours a week for the Winter/Spring 2017 semester. Work can be done during day, evening, or weekend hours and is flexible based on school schedule and breaks. A stipend is available. Prospective intern must provide a resume, statement of interest, and be able to provide two academic related references. Contact Sonja Ausen-Anifrani, Associate Director, Wisdom Ways, 651.696.2794 or email@example.com.
News in BriefDr. Sarah Park Dahlen has been elected to the American Library Association’s 2019 Newbery Award committee. The Newbery Award is the most prestigious award given to a distinguished children’s book in the US each year.
This spring, the Academic Professional Development Committee (APDC) at St. Kate’s awarded Dr. Heidi Hammond with funding for a series of six articles on “Connecting Themes in Caldecott Award Books.” We’ll have an update from Heidi in the October newsletter.
Janis Shearer (current student and MLIS Office Coordinator) earned an ALA Spectrum Scholarship. View the press release.
Deb Eschweiler (current student) won the 2016 St. Kate’s Beta Phi Mu research paper prize for her paper titled, “A Discussion of Audiovisual Archival Methods: Conversations With Institutions, Content Creators, Archival System Designers, and Integrators.”
Alum Amy Mars (2012) won the Minnesota Academic Innovators Award from the Academic & Research Libraries Division (ARLD) of the Minnesota Library Association. Read all about it and see photos at the St. Kate’s Library Facebook page
Sarah Larsen’s (current student) article, “Diversity in Public Libraries: Strategies for Achieving a More Diverse Workforce” appeared in the May/June issue of Public Libraries. Sarah initially wrote this article as her final essay for the Management of Library and Information Center course (LIS 7700) in Summer 2016, and continued working on revising that article for publication.
Trish Vaillancourt (current student) is the new Library intern at the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. Trish is also our new LIS Newsletter/Social Media GA.
Heather Carroll (current student) and Sara Butterfass (2017) presented a poster at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Conference in Iowa about the SAA project to digitize the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota (WARM) Journals.
Catherine Kratochvil (2014) started as University Librarian at North Dakota State University Libraries in June. Catherine was previously Librarian at Grand Forks Air Force Base Library.
Martha Hardy (2008) began as Librarian at Hennepin County Library, Hopkins branch in June having previously worked as Reference and Instruction Librarian at Metro State University Library.
Stewart Van Cleve (2015) is now the Digital Archives and Research Services Librarian at Augsburg University.
In July, Michelle Hueg (2013) started her new position as Archivist for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Saint Paul Province. Michelle was St. Kate’s Director of Meeting and Events Services before moving next door.
New grad Tasha McLachlan (2017) started in June as Associate Librarian at the Franklin branch of Hennepin County Library.
Current student Heather Carroll began a nine-month grant-funded position as Archival Processor at the Weisman Art Museum this summer.
In May, new alumna Katherine Bauer (2017) began as Library Technology Associate for Carver County Library (Victoria).
In April, Kai Sievert (2015) started as Multimedia Project Coordinator for the Office of E-Learning Services, School of Public Health at University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Kai was previously Library Assistant 2 at the U’s Wilson Library.
Sheli Telschow (2015) is the new Associate Librarian at Lake Elmo Public Library.
In June, former MLIS Newsletter Coordinator Samatha Stepp (2017) transitioned from her position as Metro Transit Records Management intern to Document Management Specialist, Southwest Light Rail Project at Metro Transit.
Trent Brager (2013) is the new Education & Social Sciences Librarian at the Keffer Library at the University of St. Thomas. Trent is also currently the co-chair of the MLA Instruction Round Table.
Margo Kulseth (2005) is now an Information Specialist at the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) in Rochester, MN. She previously was the Technical Services Coordinator for Waseca Public Library, Waseca, MN.
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 Trish Vaillancourt at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subject Line: News in Brief.