The iSchool’s SLA Student Chapter Offers Innovative Programming and Exciting Leadership Opportunities

iStudent Blog

Published: December 2, 2015

Are you interested in specialized libraries like law, medical, archives, music, digital, museum, or a variety of specialized collections in different library settings, and looking for a way to connect with your fellow iSchool-mates? Then you should definitely think about joining SJSU’s Special Libraries Association student chapter (SLASC) for an online event.

Recently the group’s current Executive Committee shared with me their enthusiasm about all the opportunities, benefits and exciting events open to iSchool students who want to be part of a student group. “Participating in any student group is a wonderful opportunity to get professionally involved,” says current SLASC President Basia Delawska-Elliott. “It’s a great opportunity to become part of the virtual campus community, and to make friends. The Special Libraries Association is unique in that it is an umbrella organization for all kinds of LIS specialties, from digital asset management and competitive intelligence to art and philately librarianship. Everyone fits in. The iSchool’s SLA membership is very diverse, too—both geographically and in terms of professional interests.”

New Skills, Friends and Colleagues
You don’t necessarily have to be interested in a career in a special library setting in order to enjoy the benefits of the SLA student chapter’s programs or membership. “I am currently working as a public librarian,” says the SLASC’s most immediate past president, Shawnte Santos, “but I use some of the things I’ve learned about video conferencing to try out some of our library’s first ever virtual programming and live streaming. I don’t think I would even know where to start with that if I hadn’t tried it with the SLA student group.”

Rebecca Leung, the SLASC’s webmaster, has gained both important LIS skills as well as a group of friends and colleagues. “Our team is close-knit and supportive,” says Leung. “I met a lot of great people, and I learned how to be a webmaster (this is a new skill for me!). In addition, the SLASC has helped me branch out to other opportunities and I have decided to serve as a board member for my local chapter of SLA. Being a part of this group is a great way to enhance your MLIS education. I encourage everyone to get involved.”

Heather Kiger, who is the group’s current secretary and archivist, discovered the importance all the many facets of professional presentations through SLASC involvement, including technology management, group facilitation, liaising with guest speakers, archival preservation considerations, and commitment to responsibilities within a team. “We work together to contribute however we can to make events successful,” she says.

Former group secretary Hope Glenn and founding president Brian Elliott both find the leadership skills they’ve gained from being a part of the group invaluable and directly applicable to their current jobs. “Working with special librarians for our events also opens up many avenues for networking with people who are working in the field and who have a lot of knowledge and insights to share,” says Glenn. There’s also the benefit of using many of the activities in student group activities as evidence when putting together the e-portfolio.

Opportunities to Get Involved
As you can see, there are so many great reasons to be part of a student group, and regardless of your career interests, the SLASC has opportunities to be involved at any level. The group is currently looking for a public relations director, and there are always ways to be a part of the next event. “Being part of the student group makes it easier to make personal connections,” says the SLASC’s social media director Yael Hod. “Students can be part of the Executive Committee, can attend online workshops, write blog posts, post on our Facebook page and be part of the conversation there, and follow us on Twitter to learn about our activities and the activities and news from other SLA chapters.”

Programming director Grace Kim encourages students to participate in other ways, including just attending an event. “All our events are open to the iSchool, so participating in an event doesn’t require any commitment. We are looking for ways to contribute to the iSchool community through blogs, so suggestions or articles for our blog are always welcome.”

Award-Winning Programs
Recently, the SLASC at the iSchool was awarded the SLA’s Student and Academic Affairs Advisory Council (SAAAC) award for innovative programming. To experience some of this innovative programming in the new year, be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming SLASC events:

  • On December 9, 2015, at 6pm PST, the SLASC will be hosting a talk with SLA President Elect Dee Magnoni, who will be sharing a presentation entitled, “Leveraging Professional Activities and Relationships.”
  • Starting off the new spring semester on February 8, 2016, iSchool Assistant Professor Dr. Michelle Chen will talk about data visualization and how this new approach and a variety of emerging visualization tools can be utilized for large-scale data analysis.
  • On March 1, 2016, Tracy Z. Malleeff will present a talk entitled, “Technical Tools and Information Security for Librarians.”
  • On April 26, 2016, Aaron Schmidt will speak about user experience (UX) for libraries.

“You can create your own path here”
Whichever event you choose (or all of them!), the SLASC would love to see you there. “The opportunities open to students are limitless!” Elliott says encouragingly. “Whatever your interests are—leadership, social media, marketing, or just socializing with your peers—you can create your own path here. And the experience you gain will make you a stronger job candidate and a better colleague.”

For related stories about student groups, check out:
A Great Way to Get Further Involved in the iSchool—the ASIS&T Student Chapter

Our School’s ALA Student Chapter—Reasons to Check it Out