New library school developments

I remember a long, boring lull between when I was admitted to USC and when the classes and action finally started up that fall. Not so with SJSU and their Library Science program! I am inundated with emails about colloquia, activities, student groups, meetups, blogs, and more on a daily basis. They certainly take their mission seriously, of making the virtual learning environment as immersive and connective as possible!

Tonight I attended (virtually) SJSU’s Director’s Forum, in which the director, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, gave a sort of “state of the school” speech and answered questions from students. I learned about new faculty hires and new classes to be offered this fall (they offer *sixty* electives each semester!). Dr. Hirsh also gave some general advice to students, encouraging them to participate in internships, get involved in student organizations, and… to have fun. That’s right. :)

I also learned about Library 2.012, a (free) virtual library conference that SLIS is hosting this fall, October 3-5. They’ve identified six “strands”, which I’ve annotated with keywords that jumped out as interesting:

  • Libraries – Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces (learning commons, gaming spaces)
  • Librarians & Information Professionals – Evolving Professional Roles in Today’s World (“embedded” librarians, library privatization)
  • Content & Creation – Organizing and Creating Information (meta-data, copyright, open source)
  • Changing Delivery Methods (eBooks, social media, digital databases)
  • User Centered Access (privacy, freedom of speech, search, disabilities)
  • Mobile and Geo-Social Information Environments (social networks, QR codes, augmented reality)

The other neat thing I learned about is SLIS’s Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI). What sort of research do Library Science profs do, I wondered? Their current projects include studies of archive methods, the efficacy of text messages as a way to query the reference desk, developing an online library science program for Vietnam, YA (young adult) space practices, and virtual internships. They also have a CIRI research blog!

I keep having to remind myself that, in this community, “research” often means “searching archives and information sources for the answer to a question” (i.e., what you do to get an answer for a patron) *not* “developing a new algorithm to solve a problem.” I may have cognitive dissonance on that one for a while.

One student question was about whether SLIS would/should start restricting the number of students they admit, to respond to the job market. Dr. Hirsh responded (and I agree) that it isn’t the school’s job to regulate the number of people who are allowed entry to the field (and SLIS has students from all over the world, so it’d be hard to make policy based on any one job market anyway). She followed this up with statements about how it *is* the school’s job to help prepare students to be as ready for their job search as possible — and from what I’ve seen, SLIS does invest a lot of resources in career seminars, workshops, colloquia, counseling, etc. Not that I’m going back to school to get a new job myself. :)

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I knew this already. I learned something new!