Student Joy Rodriguez is building her project management skills as a research assistant for a grant-funded study on public library spaces for young adults.
The Making Space for Young Adults in Public Libraries project, directed by SLIS Associate Professor Dr. Anthony Bernier, is a three-year study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It will document and analyze current approaches to planning and building public library spaces for teens to help libraries create more equitable young adult (YA) spaces.
Rodriguez joined the project team in September 2011 to help organize work products and deadlines for the project’s major research areas. In addition to administering and analyzing an electronic survey on YA space design at 700 libraries, the project is collecting librarian- and teen-produced videos of current YA spaces, creating virtual representations of teen spaces in Second Life, and publishing findings in the professional literature.
As Project Manager, Rodriguez coordinates the team’s calendar, project documentation, and progress reports using Google Calendar and Google Docs. “I’m the big picture person,” she said. “I keep track of everyone’s work and make sure everything is moving forward to meet our deadlines.” She is also responsible for scheduling and facilitating virtual meetings between eight team members in three different time zones.
Another aspect of Rodriguez’s work is editing reports, essays, and articles for publication. She helped draft and edit the project’s 2011 annual report to IMLS, and is working with Dr. Bernier to edit a collection of scholarly essays which will be published in Transforming Young Adult Services: A Reader for Our Age. Her work gives Rodriguez an opportunity to learn about issues in library youth services and about new areas of LIS research.
She also finds that her work with the project is preparing her for her future career. “I’m so appreciative of Dr. Bernier’s efforts to make this an enriching experience for all the research assistants,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I’ve gained many practical skills in project management, research, and presenting, which I can transfer to any environment. I’ve also expanded my professional network by getting to know the project leaders and student research assistants, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to form connections and build supportive relationships.”
Rodriguez shared some of her experiences with the YA spaces project as a panelist at the Library 2.011 Worldwide Virtual Conference in 2011. She co-presented a session with Dr. Bernier and research assistants Pam Okosun, Antonia Krupicka-Smith, Collin Rickman, and Julia Whitehead, on “Roles SLIS Students Play in Producing Original Research.” Rodriguez is currently writing proposals for two conference presentations in the Fall: the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference and the California Library Association’s Annual Meeting. In addition to co-presenting with her fellow research assistants, she will also serve as moderator for these two presentations.
Rodriguez first considered a career in library and information science while earning her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she worked in the university library. She decided to enroll at SJSU SLIS in Fall 2008 after working and starting a family. Rodriguez is interested in special libraries, and is also exploring digital archiving and digital copyright. She plans to graduate from SJSU SLIS in Fall 2012.