May 12, 2011

Volunteer for a GSLIS Committee

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:56 pm by melissaautumn

Note: This post is for my Illinois readers.

If you’ve been following the GSLIS general forums for the last few weeks, you’ll know that the School had a town hall on April 20th. One of the issues raised was that the School needs to do a better job of creating an inclusive environment for students of color. As a follow-up, the School had moderator-led conversations and town halls on May 5th and 9th; as a result of those meetings, the School has formed multiple committees to work on areas such as curriculum, cultural competency, faculty recruitment, and support for students.

The committees are looking for volunteers – including students and alums! – to help with this work. I strongly urge you to consider volunteering. This is important work – you have an opportunity to improve the culture and curriculum of the School for future students. Although the conversation is currently focused on race, I also see an opportunity to increase awareness of other forms of diversity within our profession and our patrons – socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, etc.

In addition to making your voice heard, serving on a committee could be great professional experience. Some of the committees are dealing with issues of curriculum and pedagogy – if you are interested in instruction, this is a chance to get experience with curricular and pedagogical change. For those of you going into academic librarianship, this is a chance to get experience serving on a committee (you can put it on your vita! you can talk about it when you interview! you can learn important skills for effective committee service!).

If you have questions, I’d be happy to talk to you. If you’d like more information on the committees, please see the Town Hall forum available on the main LEEP Moodle page.


May 10, 2011

Take Me to the Mall

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:54 pm by melissaautumn

We have a really lovely outdoor, three story mall near my home. The first two floors are primarily restaurants and shops, along with a skating rink, and part of the third floor is a large movie theater. There’s also a large fitness center that takes up two floors at one end of the mall; a preschool, again at one end; and numerous offices for doctors, a nail place, and an investment firm, primarily on the third floor and at the ends of the mall (there are some second and third floor spaces that are near the parking structure and don’t open directly onto the “mall” space).

At first it seemed like the diversity of tenants was a reflection that a large mall couldn’t find enough shops to rent space, but I’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of having so much in one area, as well as how one set of tenants can drive traffic to another set of tenants. Our kids’ dentist moved in and now we’ll stop in a shop to run an errand or grab a snack after appointments (when our son got a tooth filled, I was able to go straight to the toy shop as a reward). Our kids went to preschool there for two years and I loved the convenience of being able to run an errand or grab dinner before I picked up the kids – in fact, the ease of not having to make an extra stop encouraged me to try new restaurants and stores that I otherwise would have ignored.

All of which is to say, I would love it if the library were there, too. Not only would it be convenient for me, it would be good for both the library and our local businesses. On some days, a planned trip to the library would easily result in an unplanned stop for ice cream or coffee, while other days running errands would result in a stop at the library. Now granted, I’m a regular library user already, but I do wonder about our non-users – could location be part of attracting non-users? And if so, where do we need to be in our communities?