Alumnus Evan Carlson Integrates Innovative Learning Approaches Gleaned from SLIS Professors into His Current Work in an Academic Library

Community Profile

Less than a year after graduating, alum Evan Carlson incorporates emerging technologies, virtual services librarianship, and teaching strategies he gained as a San José State University School of Information student into his current work as a Collection Development Librarian at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.

“The MLIS program gave me an ideal blend of theory and fundamentals of librarianship with emerging technologies and skills for thriving in the current profession,” said Carlson, whose job includes collection development for the campus’ print collection and eBooks, manning the reference desk, teaching students how to conduct research and use library resources, and connecting these resources to the academic community. “I find myself regularly integrating what I learned in my MLIS courses in my professional practice, and the instructional presentations and outreach I do.”

An important aspect of Carlson’s job is creating marketing materials that promote library resources and developing ways to teach students and faculty how to access and use the library’s electronic resources. “I explore various approaches and technologies,” he said. “I blog, and I’ve used Screencasts, Pinterest, PowerPoint, and whatever proves effective and dynamic for our diverse community of users.”

Working at FIDM while attending SLIS offered ample opportunities for Carlson to put theory into practice. “I was fortunate to be working at my library while attending the program, and fortunate in that both my workplace and SLIS accommodate personal creativity and ideas,” said Carlson, who took a generalist approach while in the program, taking a well-rounded mix of electives. “You never know what opportunities await in the future,” he said.

With an interest in virtual librarianship and eLearning, Carlson sought out classes on emerging technologies and virtual services, and studied the teaching methods and course design of his various classes. “I learned a lot and use these skills daily,” he said.

Carlson chose INFO 299 Thesis for his culminating experience in the MLIS program. “I took Research Methods (INFO 285) with Dr. Debra Hansen, a wonderful professor and scholar, who then became my thesis advisor once the possibility of the thesis emerged,” said Carlson. His thesis topic was an historical examination of a grassroots radical street press and agents of print culture in San Francisco’s counter-culture Haight Ashbury district during the late 1960s, explored within the context of the American radical pamphlet tradition. You can view Carlson’s thesis here.

“I loved doing the research, visiting archives, and utilizing digital archives and other resources,” he said. “I felt passionate about the topic and found a gap in the literature, so it was an opportunity to contribute something original.”

Carlson graduated after his thesis was approved in Summer 2012.

Influential Classes

Dr. Michael Stephens’ INFO 281 course on Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies: “This was among the most influential courses I have ever taken. Michael himself is an incredible mentor, and there was so much to this course, like several courses in one!”

Lecturer Lori Bell’s INFO 287 course on Virtual Services: “This was another excellent class. Students paired up to facilitate and host the weekly discussions, based on a week that held a topic of particular interest to you. This really elevated everyone’s level of engagement and responsibility, and made for a dynamic discussion environment.”

Best Conference

Internet Librarian: “Hands down!  It’s an exhilarating, inspiring conference and absolutely rewarding if you’re into technology, digital services, and other related aspects. Your head is massively full at the end.”

Tech Tip

“Find out the Twitter tag to whatever conference you’re interested in and follow the tweets that come out of it. It’s the cheapest way to get great information and be linked to some wonderful resources and blogs reporting from the event! You can also find out some of the movers and shakers and the conferences they attend, and follow their social media activity during the dates of those conferences.” can be a great resource, not only for personally curating and visually gathering your preferred online resources, but it’s also a rewarding research tool – you’re pulling from other people’s curated resources, so it’s a global resource of human-collected and curated data and information.”

Favorite Blogs & Tweeters

Twitter: “I use Twitter heavily to follow developments, news, interesting articles and blog posts.”

Dr. Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web: “I really like that Michael has guest contributors, like Troy Swanson and Justin Hoenke.” Librarian In Black, SLIS instructor Meredith Farkas’ Information Wants To Be Free, Librarian by Day, David Lee King, Libraryman, Steve Hargadon, Jessamyn West, Free Range Librarian.

“And I’ll read whatever David Lankes, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Brian Mathews, Char Booth, and Henry Jenkins have to say.”

Professional Affiliations

Society of American Archivists and Special Libraries Association