Passions Lead to Opportunities at SJSU iSchool
“When you get involved in student groups, you have the opportunity to gain demonstrable skills and knowledge to supplement your course work. In my experience as a student leader, I’ve developed skills in collaboration, project management, marketing and outreach, programming, and more.”
Kelli Roisman, MLIS Student
Managing Editor, Archeota 2019-present
Events Coordinator, ALASC, 2020-present
Events Coordinator, ALASC, 2020-present
Executive Board Chair SAASC, 2019-2020
Los Angeles, California
Student chapters of professional organizations, such as the American Library Association and the Society of American Archivists, offer students incredible opportunities for engagement, leadership and service, in addition to expanding their overall learning experience.
iSchool student Kelli Roisman saw opportunities to connect via student chapters and currently holds the positions of managing editor for the open access digital publication Archeota, and events coordinator for the American Library Association Student Chapter (ALASC). She has also served on the leadership team of the Society of American Archivists Student Chapter (SAASC). Her involvement started with a simple call-to-action that spoke to her passion for community service and professional development.
Archival Interests Turned Into Opportunities
In the spring of 2019, Kelli saw a call for submissions to Archeota, a student-run, student-written publication that focuses on the concerns and issues of the archival world. Published twice a year, Archeota provides students a platform for contributing to the conversation around archival studies and an opportunity for career development. The timing was fitting as she was also following the controversy surrounding Harvard University’s collection of slave daguerreotypes. The call for submissions motivated her to write and submit a piece on the Lanier v. Harvard lawsuit, “Papa Renty: Captive of the Archives.”
Submitting her article made her more aware of SAASC and what they do. When the chapter was recruiting for a new leadership team for the 2019/2020 academic year, Kelli joined the executive board and became the managing editor of Archeota. Later, when the chair of SAASC stepped down, Kelli stepped up. As chair, Kelli found a new passion: “I discovered that I really enjoy planning and organizing events. There’s a lot of freedom to be creative and come up with new ideas.”
Kelli organized SAASC’s Writing Opportunities Panel Discussion event where she led discussions with guest speakers, including Laurie Putnam, the faculty advisor for the SJSU LIS Publications Wiki project, leading to another opportunity to develop her professional skills. Kelli is now a volunteer for the Wiki project where she edits and updates entries for publications such as scholarly journals, trade publications and professional publications.
Events with ALASC
Kelli became the events coordinator for the ALASC in fall 2020 and is enjoying her time there. She collaborates with other members of the ALASC team to come up with programming that has value for iSchool students. “Because we’re in a distance learning program, it’s especially important for us to hold events that foster a sense of community and belonging,” she explained.
One such event was a joint meet-and-greet that ALASC and other student groups held at the beginning of the fall semester for iSchool students to socialize and learn about each group. In addition, at the end of September, the ALASC hosted a Banned Books trivia show in celebration of Banned Books Week where 11 lucky winners went home with Starbucks gift cards. More recently, the group hosted a virtual Around-the-World Library Tour where students visited libraries from all seven continents. They also held a Librarians Leading Change event with Ruth Barefoot, who talked about change management and leadership in the pandemic.
Get Involved and Follow Your Passions
Kelli encourages all students to get involved with student chapters: “We’re a service-oriented profession so why not start by serving our iSchool community? As my experience shows, you may not know where it will lead you, but you will definitely have more opportunities open to you. In June, thanks to the generosity of the iSchool and its support of professional development, our leadership team was able to attend the ALA virtual conference.”
Student chapters provide valuable learning and professional development opportunities. From being a part of a leadership team to participating in professional conferences, student chapters are a great way to connect with faculty members and peers, build one’s professional network, and engage with various professional development and learning opportunities.