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

iStudent Blog

Are you looking for a way to meet other students in our school’s online learning community? The American Library Association’s Student Chapter (ALASC) here at SJSU’s School of Information is an award-winning group that helps library and information science students connect with each other and participate in events that explore and celebrate students’ ideas.

Lori Harris, the chapter’s Program Outreach Coordinator says, “The ALASC is a way to participate in extracurricular but professionally-linked activities, get to know fellow students, experience different programs, and begin to understand the offerings of the ALA which can help students connect to like-minded professionals while in school and after they graduate.”

For more about what the ALASC does, you can check out this informational video on YouTube created by board members (and MLIS students) Lara McLaughlin and Madeleine Pressley. Perhaps you’ve already seen it in your LIBR 203 class. It’s a great overview of all the organization has to offer, as well as various ways for you to get connected.

The good news is that if you’re a student at the iSchool, you’re automatically eligible to b a member of the ALASC.  The benefits of being a part of the iSchool’s chapter go beyond connecting with other students. The ALASC connects you with the larger ALA national association, and offers a safe and encouraging place to share your ideas with others who are passionate about libraries and mananging information.  Says this year’s ALASC chair, Perlita Payne, “I love being around people who are giving back to the community. At ALASC, everyone is really passionate about libraries, books, and technology.”

San Jose State’s ALASC has won ALA’s Chapter of the Year award a record four times, including last year. The ALA was particularly impressed with the chapter’s inclusion of a variety of social media tools used to connect with its online community. So even if you don’t meet the board members face-to-face, they are making every effort to connect and encourage you and your fellow students.

In their mission statement, the SJSU ALA Student Chapter seeks ‘to make a difference in the lives of our student members by implementing programs and services that enrich their scholastic and professional experiences. These opportunities will give students access to a new era of scholarship, innovation, and contribution on both local and global levels.’  There are opportunities to write for the newsletter, take virtual library tours, or even vote for your favorite Banned Books Week Poster. The ALASC also provides resources to check out scholarships and career opportunities.

As the ALASC’s Outreach Coordinator, Harris enjoys, “The chance to help get my classmates involved in something more than just their class work. I know how over-focused we can get as students, but it’s important to take time to do other things as well. Also, I really enjoy the camaraderie and support of people who tell you if you have a good idea, to just go for it!”

Events planned for the coming 2014-15 school year include book talks (who doesn’t love discussing the great books they’ve been reading?), presentations about various ALA roundtables, as well as ALA-affiliated organizations. Harris is also excited about the beginning of an ALASC partnership with VCARA (the iSchool’s Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration) in the Second Life 3D/virtual environment.

Being involved in the ALASC means going beyond just doing your classwork, and takes your knowledge, experience and talents into the world, where you can share your ideas.

What are you passionate about? What are some ideas you’d like to share with fellow LIS students?


For other related articles, please read:
MLIS Program Reaccredited by the ALA

Online Learning—How do I Talk to People?

San Jose’s Information School, Social Media and You

image courtesy of jscreationz


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