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SLIS Shines Bright at ALA Conference

The USF School of Library and Information Science was well represented in a variety of areas by a diverse group of faculty and students during the June 24-29 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Throughout the week, SLIS faculty and students had lots of great things to say about their experiences.

Early in the conference, Dr. Debra Slone attended workshops and the second annual Town Hall Meeting on Diversity. The Town Hall allows the ALA Diversity Committee to connect with the ALA membership, hearing their concerns and sharing ideas. Debra Slone was quoted in the Saturday, June 26 edition of the, ALA Cognotes page 21, regarding teaching, diversity issues, and intellectual freedom.

V. Gregory & K. O'Brien

V. Gregory & K. O'Brien

Dr. Vicki Gregory, SLIS Professor and current Chair of the ALA COA (Committee on Accreditation) spent much of her time at ALA in accreditation related meetings and activities. She and Karen O’Brien, ALA COA Director, moderated a panel of directors from other accrediting associations to better understand accreditation standards and competencies. Presenters were Crystal Calarusse , Academic Director of the National Association of Public Affairs and Administration and Laura Rasar King, Executive Director . Dr. Gregory said that it was “very interesting to hear how two other professional program accreditors view accreditation practices and procedures. Although in many ways they were very similar to COA’s, the panel members provided a number of new ideas to consider during the ongoing COA Standards Review.” To learn more about ALA Accreditation, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/accreditation/

On Saturday, Dr. Henrietta Smith participated in a panel discussion entitled “Trailblazers: What We Can Learn from our ALSC Leaders. She and Carole Fiore, consultant and past ALSC President , Anita Silvey, Author & Children’s Literature expert, and others reflected on the past, present, and future of the field.

One of the highlights of the conference was when Dr. Kathleen de la Peña McCook, USF-SLIS Distinguished University Professor, presented the 2010 Dr. Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecture on Monday, June 28th. The lecture honors the first director of the ALA Office of Literacy and Outreach Services (OLAS). Her topic, “Librarians and Human Rights” looked at the “historical and cultural analysis of the librarian’s role in human rights” (ALA Cognotes, 06/27/10). The lecture explored the philosophical basis of librarian’s commitment to human rights and human development as exemplified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Millennium Development Goals. She and co-author Katherine J. Phenix, read excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and dedicated select passages to colleagues in the audience representing the essence of those declarations with in the field. For more info go to http://www.ala.org/olos.

Dr. McCook is featured under OLOS news and in the ALA conference news, ALA Cognotes, Sunday June 27 , edition on page 11 .

Dr. Cora Dunkley and Dr. Henrietta Smith, editor of the Coretta Scott King Book, were part of the working committees and attended the Coretta Scott King Book awards breakfast on Tuesday, June 29. The 2010 award winners are announced at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/emiert/cskbookawards/recipients.cfm .

CSK Awards Breakfast

CSK Awards Breakfast

Also in attendance from SLIS were SLIS Assistant Director Diane Austin, current SLIS student and ALA student chapter president Bill Harris, and SLIS alumni Josh Newhouse (’05), a media specialist in Tampa. Bill commented, “ALA is a marathon but is a great learning experience that I recommend to others who have the opportunity to attend”. After the breakfast, the faculty participated in photo ops with authors and other CSK affiliates (see http://www.facebook.com/usfslis#!/album.php?aid=183164&id=347754542878&ref=mf). Dr. Dunkley also interviewed noted children’s author Eloise Greenfield.

C. Dunkley & E. Greenfield

C. Dunkley & E. Greenfield

In addition to the honor of being Coleman lecturer, Dr. McCook moderated the program discussing the National Women’s History Museum Project.  Joan Wages, President and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum addressed the audience about the need for grassroots support and the legislative issues of the project. She presented some of the online exhibits currently at the NWHM site. More information about the project and online exhibits can be viewed at http://www.nwhm.org/

Alicia Long and Shalu Gilliam represented 2009-2010 Spectrum Scholars at the conference. Shalu, who will be graduating from the SLIS program summer 2010 semester said, “Attending the ALA conference was a motivational experience for me. It was amazing to be around thousands of librarians excited about their profession.” Alicia, who helped staff the REFORMA booth for the Diversity and Outreach Fair, and attended several of their programs (Pura Belpre Awards and President´s Program) added that “having the opportunity of meeting so many people who want to make a difference in the profession was inspiring and it compensates for the bad news we hear about budget cuts, closings, and lack of opportunities. I came back with a notebook full of notes, a pocket full of business cards, and a new perspective that made me appreciate the big picture of librarianship in a way that could have never happened in my little corner of the world.”

Along with representing the USF SLIS program at various functions and meetings, Diane Austin, SLIS Assistant Director and instructor of media, technology, and web design courses, attended several technology based presentations sponsored by the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA). ALA member organizations presented current practices and the exchange of ideas to meet future technology demands of libraries and information centers. She also hosted the ALA/ALISE Joint LIS School Reunion, table for SLIS alumni, interacting with current and previous students and colleagues from other library schools throughout the country, including USF SLIS alum Sam Hastings, Director of the University of South Carolina LIS program , faculty from Florida State University FSU School of Library & Information Studies, and Elaine Yontz, former SLIS faculty member, now  Chair of East Carolina University’s SLIS program , along with husband Jack R. Fisher, SLIS alum. Seeing the conference not only as a great networking opportunity to meet and collaborate with others in the profession and learn about the issues facing the field, Diane saw the conference as  a testament to librarians and their contributions to society, lifelong learning, and the quality of life. Next year’s annual conference is June 23-28, 2011 in New Orleans. DA

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