The student group of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information may be relatively new, but in its short history has achieved remarkable success.
The SLA announced in a press release on Aug. 27, 2014, that the SJSU SLA Student Group won three Certificates of Merit for Creative Use of Electronic Resources, Outstanding Leadership, and Innovative Programming.
The student group, advised by SJSU iSchool faculty members Dr. Cheryl Dee and Dr. Bill Fisher, has embraced an "environment of virtual collaboration in its programming and networking activities” and has used technology such as Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard IM, Google Hangouts, and Google Drive effectively, according to the SLA press release. “Through the use of these tools,” noted SLA, “the group has grown its membership from eight members in 2013 to 66 this year.” Collaboration with three California SLA Chapters, the Oregon Chapter, and various divisions has also invigorated the group’s presence.
Shawnte Santos, president of the SJSU SLA Student Group was “extremely excited” to learn of the group’s awards. “Since we are one of the newer groups at iSchool,” she stated, “we really hope that these awards will go a long way toward spreading the word about our group and getting more members. Our executive committee and Dr. Dee, our faculty advisor, have worked incredibly hard this past year to bring interesting programming to our members, and we are looking forward to continuing to provide unique programming and activities to the iSchool community.”
In addition to the United States and Canada, SLA Student Group members come from such far away places as the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Uganda. Basia Delawska-Elliott, vice president of the student group, commented that "creating programming for such a geographically diverse group can be challenging, but it also has been a tremendous opportunity for innovation. As SJSU iSchool already offers a rich selection of webinars and workshops for students, our group concentrated on creating professional opportunities for our members through webinars on important new developments in special librarianship.”
The SLA concluded that the SJSU Student Group’s programming efforts contributed significantly to its surge in membership. In the past year, the student group has sponsored presentations by Stephen Abram, former SLA president; Rachel Berrington, past SLA Oregon president; and Amy Afelt, database research director at Compass Lexecon.
In addition to developing innovative programming, the group has been expanding its online presence. According to the student group’s officers, the number of social media followers on the group’s Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Google+ groups has been climbing over the past year.
"Our group is off to a great start," said former SJSU SLA Student Group president Brian Elliott. “The interest in special libraries at SJSU is strong, as the leap in our group membership indicates.”
Dee observed that “in one year the SLA Student Group reactivated SLA at SJSU by effectively marketing well-planned, relevant programming using innovative technology under the guidance of hard-working leadership. The opportunity to work with these talented and delightful officers is a genuine pleasure.”
The SJSU SLA Student Group was the only student group to be honored with multiple awards this year, as recommended by the SLA’s Student and Academic Affairs Advisory Council. The SLA stated, “San José State’s SLA Student Group addresses the entire spectrum of professional development, and it is more than deserving of the Certificates of Merit.”
Congratulations to the SLA Student Group at the SJSU iSchool for this impressive accomplishment!