During the month of March, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to women in the field of Library and Information Science in commemoration of Women’s History Month. This is the fourth post in our Leading Ladies of LIS series.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Eliza Valeria Atkins Gleason, one of the first African American scholars in library science, understood the power of education; she used hers to create opportunities for African Americans to study library science and to draw attention to library history from a black perspective. Her distinguished career was full of firsts, and she was not only a champion of education but also an early advocate for increasing diversity in the library science profession, a field in which approximately 12 percent of librarians and about 11 percent of LIS students are ethnic minorities.
- Created first library science education program for African Americans in Kentucky
- First African American to earn a Ph.D. in library science
- First scholar to research library history with emphasis on African Americans
- Founding dean of the School of Library Science at Atlanta University (Clark-Atlanta University)
- First African American to serve on American Library Association Council
Born in 1909, Dr. Gleason was the ninth child of two college graduates and educators. She earned undergraduate degrees from Fisk University (1930) and the University of Illinois (1931), a master’s degree in library science from the University of California-Berkley (1936), and a Ph.D. in library science from the University of Chicago (1940). Her doctoral dissertation was published in 1941. The book, The Southern Negro and the Public Library: A Study of the Government and Administration of Public Library Service to Negroes in the South, was the first comprehensive study of access to libraries in the South and “traced the history of library service to African Americans up to that time and laid the foundation for all subsequent scholarship on that aspect of library history” (ALA). Today, the Library History Round Table of the ALA presents the Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award every three years to the “best book written in English in the field of library history” (ALA).
Early in her career, Dr. Gleason worked at the Louisville Municipal College, a separate and segregated four-year institution, where she created a library department, which, in partnership with the Louisville Western Colored Branch Library, offered the only library classes for blacks in the state from 1932 to 1951. In 1941, Dr. Gleason established and served as the first dean of the School of Library Science at Atlanta University (Clark-Atlanta University), which trained 90 percent of all African American librarians by 1986. Throughout her career, Dr. Gleason worked at several institutions, including Fisk University, Talladega College, the Chicago Public Library, the University of Chicago, and Northern Illinois University. She died on her 100th birthday.
American Library Association. (2015). Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award: Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/offices/ors/orsawards/gleasoneliza/gleasoneliza
Ashley, T. (2014, March 18). Eliza Valeria Atkins Gleason. Retrieved from http://womenoflibraryhistory.tumblr.com/post/79964107108/eliza-valeria-atkins-gleason
Little Known Black Librarian Facts. (2011, September 8).Librarian education: Eliza Atkins Gleason, first African American to earn PhD in Library Science. Retrieved from http://littleknownblacklibrarianfacts.blogspot.com/2011/09/librarian-education-eliza-atkins.html
Compiled by Tracy A. Walker
During the month of March, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to women in the field of Library and Information Science in commemoration of Women’s History Month. This is the third post in our Leading Ladies of LIS series.
Misty Jones, 41, was named the director of the San Diego Public Library’s 36-branch system this past November. She came to San Diego more than two years ago from South Carolina as the deputy director of the Central Library. She oversaw the move, opening and operations of the new main library, which opened in September 2013. The state of the art building was quite the buzz in the library world as two levels of the building are dedicated to a charter high school. While there have been libraries in schools, there has never been a school in a library.
Misty is an Alabama native and received her MLIS from the University of South Carolina. There, she oversaw two library systems for nine years before moving to San Diego County. Misty is also the president-elect of the California Library Association as well as a member of the California State Library Legislative Committee and Advocacy Sub Committee. Here is a short interview with Misty just after she was named the new SDPL Director: http://youtu.be/FbmVPn2Fw2I.
Compiled by Rachel Esguerra
During the month of March, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to women in the field of Library and Information Science in commemoration of Women’s History Month. This is the second post in our Leading Ladies of LIS series.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 14, 1913, Clara Stanton Jones was the first woman and the first African American appointed to serve as the director of the Detroit Public Library (DPL) system, where she served from 1970-1978. This was just one of the many accomplishments and firsts in her long career. Prior to entering the LIS profession, Jones attended the Milwaukee Teachers College in 1930; she then transferred to Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history in 1934. Jones then went on to receive a degree in Library and Information science from the University of Michigan in 1938.
Upon graduating, Jones served as a reference librarian at Dillard University in New Orleans and as an associate librarian at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1944, she joined the Detroit Public Library system; at that time, she was the third African American hired in the library’s [79-year] history. In 1970, she became the first woman and the first African American director of any public library system in the United States, and while serving as the DPL director, Jones launched “The Information Place” (TIP) referral system, the first of its kind, which connects the general public with information on different agencies and non-profit organizations. This service became a model for libraries throughout the country. In 1975, Jones received the University of Michigan Athena Award (highest award for humanitarian service). In 1976, Jones became the first African American President of the American Library Association (ALA). During her tenure between 1976 and 1977, she encouraged the ALA council to adopt an Equal Employment Opportunity policy; she also advocated for a resolution on the awareness of racial and sexual discrimination and awarded the first Louise Giles Minority Scholarship. In 1978, Jones retired from DPL. That same year she, deservingly so, received the Distinguished Service Award from Wayne County Community College.
Jones’ drive for knowledge and equality spilled outside of the library system and directly into the community. In 1984, while in Oakland, California, she founded Black Women Stirring the Waters, a black women’s dialogue group, in which they shared various perspectives on race and sexism in education, art, politics, the media, literature, health, history, genealogy, culture, technology, business, social and economic trends as well as foreign policy. From 1978 to 1982, she served as the Commissioner to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and in 1983, was named an honorary member of the ALA. In 1990, Jones received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s (BCALA) Trailblazer Award, the highest honor recognizing outstanding pioneers in the profession. For her outstanding work in promoting urban libraries, Jones was finally awarded several honorary doctorates from various institutions, including her alma maters, Spelman College and the University of Michigan.
For 40 years, Clara Stanton Jones fulfilled her calling as a pioneer and mentor to numerous up and coming library and information science professionals. In doing so, Jones paved a path of success for many people. A maverick of sorts, she went against convention in fighting against discrimination. Jones stood as a trailblazer and a catalyst for change; she managed to fight her own war against racism and sexism by outmatching her opponents “in wit, in intellect, and in class” (Wheeler, 2012).
Clara Stanton Jones, a catalyst for change, passed away in her sleep at the age of 99 on September 30, 2012.
n.a. (2012, November 29). Mourning the Loss of Clara Stanton Jones. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from Detroit Public Library: http://www.detroit.lib.mi.us/story/mourning-loss-clara-stanton-jones
n.a. Clara Stanton Jones. Library Journal. New York. Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/12/opinion/backtalk/remembering-clara-stanton-jones-backtalk/
Schwartz, M. (2012, October 3). Obituary:Clara Stanton Jones, Detroit Director and ALA President. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from Library Journal: http://www.lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/10/people/obituary-clara-stanton-jones-detroit-director-and-ala-president/
Wheeler, M. (2012, December 27). Remembering Clara Stanton Jones/Backtalk. Retrieved March 8, 2015, from Library Journal: http://www.lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/12/opinion/backtalk/remembering-clara-stanton-jones-backtalk/
Compiled by Nichole L. Manlove
During the month of March, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to women in the field of Library and Information Science in commemoration of Women’s History Month. This is the first post in our Leading Ladies of LIS series.
Charlemae Rollins (nee Hill) was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, on June 20, 1897. When she was seven years old, Rollins’ family moved to Beggs in the Oklahoma Territory. As a child, Rollins’ school experience was segregated; she attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and Western University in Quindaro, Kansas. After receiving high school-level education at those schools, she attended Howard University from 1917-1918. In 1918, Charlemae married Joseph Rollins and moved to Chicago, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Charlemae and Joseph had one son.
Rollins worked in the Chicago Public Library and the George Cleveland Hall Branch Library. She also published a bibliography entitled We Build Together: A Reader’s Guide to Negro Life and Literature for Elementary and High School Use. After her essay reached circulation, she became an authority on African American children’s books, and publishers sought her advice on books they were editing. Rollins was the first African American elected vice president/president-elect of the American Library Association’s Children’s Division Services. She also served on committees and won several awards for her work in the field of library science.
After retiring from librarianship, Rollins wrote award-winning children’s books that actually represented African Americans rather than making a caricature of them. Her books are still available in libraries and on Amazon.com. She died of pneumonia in 1979 and was buried in Chicago’s first African American cemetery.
Rollins’ role as an advocate made her a leader in the field. Libraries are community centers, and she worked to change the library in order to suit the community’s needs. She persuaded her fellow librarians in the Chicago Public Library system to remove books that stereotyped African Americans and wrote to publishing companies to request more realistic representations of African Americans in children’s books. Her bibliography of African American children’s books reached a large audience, which shows how strong her leadership was.
Rollins’ work is still relevant today for many reasons. Additionally, the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, hosts the Charlemae President’s Program during the American Library Association Annual Conference.
ALSC at ALA annual conference. (1999). Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.ala.org/alsc/annual
Willett, H. G. (2007, October). Rollins, Charlemae Hill. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.anb.org/articles/20/20-01887.html
Photo of Charlemae Rollins retrieved from http://thebrownbookshelf.com/2007/11/17/a-brown-bookshelf-trailblazer/.
Compiled by Lauren M. Catoni
During the month of February, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to African American pioneers in the field of Library and Information Science. This is the second post in our tribute series.
Dr. Sadie P. Delaney was born in Rochester, New York in February 1889. A pioneer in the field of bibliotherapy, which uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and written words as therapy, Dr. Delaney began her career in librarianship at New York Public Library in 1920. While there, she discovered her interests in bibliotherapy and realized the impact of the therapy on the emotional health of immigrants and children from troubled homes. She also had an interest in Black history and literature and was cited for her exceptional work at the 135th branch of New York Public Library. Not only was Dr. Delaney a pioneer in librarianship and notable in Black history, but she was also a force in Black women’s history and received many awards that honored her accomplishments. She founded the first black professional women’s club in New York City and won the National Urban League Award as Woman of the Year in 1950.
Dr. Delaney was a leader and humanitarian. She organized the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. She assumed the role of Chief Librarian in 1923 and was recognized for her innovative work at the hospital, particularly her group therapy for the mentally ill and disabled and her development of a special library for the blind. Delaney was considered a beacon of hope in the segregated South and brought books and pride to Black veterans (Gubert, 1993). She was affiliated with many organizations, including the National Council of Colored Women, International Hospital Library, Guild and the Friendship League of America, which she founded, that addressed social issues.
Dr. Delaney died in 1958 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Some of her personal letters and papers are currently housed in the Rare Books Division of the Schomburg Research Center in New York City.
Gubert, B. (1993). Sadie Peterson Delaney: Pioneer Bibliotherapist. American Libraries Magazine, 24 (2), 124-130.
Sadie P. Delaney Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library. Retrieved from http://archives.nypl.org/scm/20693#overview
Image Source: Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library
Prepared by Alyssa Brissett
During the month of February, FLID [Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity] will pay tribute to African American pioneers in the field of Library and Information Science. This is the first post in our tribute series.
Born on April 7, 1914, in Salisbury, Maryland, Dr. Harold T. Pinkett was the first African American to head a branch of the National Archives. Hired in 1942 as head of the Agriculture and General Services branch in Washington, D.C., Pinkett contributed to the development of archival management in a multitude of dimensions, including records management, publishing, research, advising, and leadership. As a newly recruited member of the National Archives, one of Pinkett’s first tasks involved inventorying and transferring unprocessed records from the Department of Agriculture. The success of the project led Pinkett to publish a review of the agricultural records in 1969 in the American Historical Review, aptly titled “The Archival Product of a Century of Federal Assistance to Agriculture.” Pinkett subsequently authored and contributed to various publications pertaining to agriculture, African Americans, the archival record and of course history. From 1968 to 1971, he served as editor of the American Archivist, the official journal of the Society of American Archivists; from 1971 to 1979, he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. In 1972, he served as coeditor of the National Archives publication, Research in the Administration of Public Policy. He also assisted in drafting legislation for the archival program in Washington, D.C. Upon his retirement, Pinkett took on several personal endeavors, which included a book length piece on the history of the John Wesley AME Zion Church in Washington, D.C., of which he was a member, as well as a history of his free Black ancestors, some of whom served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Pinkett’s endeavors extended far beyond authorship; he served as a fellow for the Forest History Society, and from 1970 to 1977, he was an adjunct professor in History and Archival Administration at Howard and American Universities. In his effort to reach beyond the proscribed duties as a department head, Pinkett extended his talents by serving as an advisor to staff and fellow researchers on managing archival records pertaining to agriculture and natural resources. Beginning in 1978, Pinkett served three terms on the Washington, D.C. Historical Records Advisory Board, and in 1979, he served as the archival consultant for Howard University, Cheyney University, and several other institutions associated with the United Negro College Fund, National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation.
In the midst of his accomplishments, Pinkett’s most memorable contributions to the archival profession were demonstrated through his leadership capacity. In addition to serving as a fellow, he was elected to the executive council of the Society of American Archivists in 1971. From 1972 to 1992, he served on the Board of Trustees for the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and in 1976, he was elected president of the Forest History Society, where he remained until 1978. He additionally served as the president of the Agriculture History Society from 1982 to 1983. During the latter half of his career, Pinkett acted as chief of the Natural Resources Branch, where he was in charge of the records for the Department of Agriculture, Interior, and the New Deal Agencies (Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Projects Administration).
On March 13, 2001, Dr. Pinkett passed away, leaving behind a legacy of leadership and influence. It may be fair to say that during his career span, Pinkett was an inspiration to many breaking into the archives profession: “Young archivists at the National Archives who wanted to pursue historical research while working as an archivist found him a model and an inspiration. Scholars of all ages valued his vast knowledge of the records and their relevance to historical research topics.” (Helms, Harold T. Pinkett (1914-2001), 2001).
Helms, D. (2001, November). Harold T. Pinkett (1914-2001). Perspectives on History: A newsmagazine of the American Historical Association, 39(8). Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/november-2001/in-memoriam-harold-t-pinkett
Helms, D. (2001, Summer). Obituary: [Dr.Harold T. Pinkett]. Agricultural History, 75(3), 349-351. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3745135
Unknown. Harold T. Pinkett. Rediscovering Black History: Blogs Relating to the African American Experience. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://blogs.archives.gov/blackhistoryblog/files/2014/06/pinkett.jpg
Walker, A. (2014, June 17). Dr. Harold T. Pinkett, The First African-American Archivist at the National Archives. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from The National Archives-Rediscovering Black History: Blogs Relating to the African American Experience: http://blogs.archives.gov/blackhistoryblog/2014/06/17/harold-t-pinkett/
Compiled by Nichole L. Manlove
I had been in the program for a little over two years when I decided to apply for the position as the Diversity GSA with SLIS. Like those who came before me I was nervous…quite nervous to be exact. I was not sure if I had what it took to even win an interview. Low and behold…a week or so after I applied my wish was granted! Excited? Of course, but this was the first time I had ever applied for such a position. I was proud yet doubtful at the same time.
Now fast forward to the interview…I had no clue of what to expect as I made my way through the Kresge side of our schools library and up the stairs to the third floor. There I was greeted by a panel of SLIS faculty and staff ready to pick away at my brain to see if I had what it took to make it as a GSA. My initial reaction when I approached the panel was to run…run as fast as I could to the nearest safety zone (preferably home). But something inside me told me stay, to show them what I was made of….and alas despite my uncertainty I approached the panel with confidence and a no holds barred attitude. In actuality I must have nailed it because shortly after, I began as the second Diversity GSA for SLIS.
The SLIS faculty and staff were considerate of the fact that I had never done anything like this before, in doing so I was granted the opportunity to receive training from the first GSA as she transitioned out of the program and into her career. She aptly helped me to adjust to my new position, showing me where and how to gather information for research, helping me to develop a list of professional contacts, explaining in detail her previous endeavors, initiatives and ideas as well as potential projects that I could start or continue with. Most importantly she was open and accepting of all of my questions and of course mistakes! Shortly after she finished the program I began to delve into projects with some of the faculty such as researching and gathering contact information of LIS alumni and professionals. In addition I was allowed to get my feet wet in the public speaking arena by designing and conducting “Lunch and Learn” sessions for prospective students on an off campus. My first was frightening…and yes it was a bust (due to lack of attendance), nevertheless it was great start as I received solid professional advice from other faculty and staff on how to carry on with success. Once I was comfortable speaking in front of a small and cozy crowd I graduated to larger speaking engagements outside of Michigan. This included but was not limited to participating in a Leadership program with the Atlanta University Centers Summer Leadership Institute, Poster sessions at the American Library Association (ALA) conference in Chicago, the Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA) in Kentucky, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) in Grand Rapids, MI and a graduate school fair at Michigan State University. I was even granted a few opportunities to introduce myself and speak at a few of our open houses. Though I still haven’t mastered the art of public speaking I am a far cry from where I stood over a year ago.
Asides from the occasional speech I took the opportunity to reach out to prospective students via emails and blog postings, I was surprised by the positive responses I received from students not only interested in the program but curious about issues of diversity within our field…. even my eyes were opened to the lack of diversity within LIS.
I am almost ashamed to say that what I knew about diversity (within the field), prior to starting this position paled in comparison with what I know now. It opened my eyes to what the word minority really entailed. It wasn’t just limited to people of African descent, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians; it included those with physical disabilities, different religious and economic backgrounds as well as members of the LGBT community. Being in this position really opened my eyes to what diversity means to the human population not just me. I must credit research and networking for the knowledge I gained in this area.
Asides from these eye opening experience as well as traveling and public speaking, two of the most rewarding adventures came when I was approached by Dr. Kafi Kumasi to take over FLID (Future Librarians for Diversity and Inclusivity) and assist with research for an upcoming article (“Opening up Diversity Levers in the Core Library and Information Science (LIS) Curriculum: An Exploratory Study”) for possible publication in Library Trends in (2015). These experiences have forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and into the shoes of a leader and a researcher. The first I had no familiarity with and the latter very little (professionally…that is!). These are all critical skills that will help me grow as a professional…and I can say with certainty I may have never had the chance to face these challenges if it weren’t for my position as the Diversity GSA.
Now fast forward to July 2014! My last two months as the Diversity GSA are quickly coming to a close, my how time flies! I have served as the DGSA for SLIS for a year and half and what an adventure it has been. Sadly I am leaving behind my responsibilities, but it is what I have learned here that will help me succeed as I continue on through the program as a dual MLIS and History major. As I transition into the history program I plan to become more involved outside of the classroom and carry with me what I have learned thus far into new ventures, leadership positions and prospects. Out of all of my challenges in life and at Wayne state, obtaining this position has thus far been the most rewarding overall and one that I am most proud of. I can guarantee the next DGSA will feel the same.
With thanks and great appreciation I bid you adieu!
Nichole L. Manlove
Prior to starting this program I had a hunch that I might be in for a bumpy ride. I really didn’t mind because I knew that the knowledge and experience gained would be well worth the sacrifice and of course a long term career that I was passionate about.
Getting involved in a graduate program is a rewarding yet huge undertaking. In addition to taking courses many students have work, internships, practicums and life itself to contend with. Something I am all too familiar with.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a SLIS faculty meeting, one of the major concerns involved getting students to understand the dynamics of taking on a graduate program especially SLIS. Many had come to the conclusion that some students just aren’t fully aware of what it takes to survive a graduate program without feeling overwhelmed. From there a few faculty proposed addressing this concern within a blog topic, so as a SLIS Graduate Student Assistant I decided to add my two cents.
These are a few pointers that have helped me to stay afloat while navigating my way through SLIS:
- Time Management-The reality is that each graduate level course is the equivalent of two undergraduate classes. An average course load for many SLIS students is between 2 to three classes. Much of the course work involves reading, research and in many cases site visits. So with this in mind you might want to develop a schedule that allows you to take on these tasks without falling behind or feeling overwhelmed.
- Multitasking-In addition to course work, you may have to consider the number of hours you are or able to spend working in order to sustain yourself. SLIS also encourages students to get as much hands on experience as possible, so if you are not currently working within a library, archives, museum or such you should consider taking on a few internships or volunteer positions to get your feet wet. According to most employers, proving your scholastic abilities is only half the battle-what they really want to know is what can you do? / What skills do you have that can be directly applied to the job at hand?
- One step at a time-Though grad school doesn’t last forever there is no need to rush it’s better to take your time so that you get as much out of the program as possible versus graduating with no real knowledge or skills gained.
- Read your Syllabi-This is crucial as the syllabi outline the course descriptions, instructors expectations of the students, grading policies and most importantly assigned readings and projects. Going over these can help you plan accordingly which will allow you to tackle readings and assignments within a reasonable time frame.
- Get to know your instructors-They are there to help! No self-respecting instructor wants their students to fail, so by all means, if you have any concerns PLEASE REACH OUT! You may find yourself surprised at how open and willing they are to assist you; some may even find it flattering that you are seeking their help! Instructors are excellent resources for recommendations for internships, scholarships and other academic and professional endeavors. Making your presence known enables them to learn more about your personality, professional and academic abilities and goals. It also gives you the chance to prove to your instructors how serious and driven you are!
- If possible take half of your classes online and half in person-This gives you an opportunity to tweak your tech skills and get familiar with using Blackboard. F2F courses allow you to get to know your instructors and fellow classmates a little better. Placing names with faces is always a plus!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions-There is no such thing as a silly question, speaking up whether you are sure or not will always help to solve concerns before they become issues, this not only applies with instructors but with the program overall!
- Seek tech support if you need it-That is what they are here for!
- Believe in yourself!-We are often our harshest critics and our worst enemies! We all doubt ourselves from time to time-it’s normal, but don’t let your doubts get the best of you! You were accepted into the program, which means that someone out there sees your potential!
YOU CAN DO IT!
In 2011 if anyone had asked me a few years back where I saw myself in 2013, I would have quickly shrugged my shoulders and given them a look of uncertainty. Before I realized my interest and talents lay in librarianship and archival studies, I had no clear vision of what I wanted or where my life should go.
Fast forward two years, and I find myself as a newly hired Graduate Student Assistant with Wayne’s School of Library & Information Science. The opportunity came as a surprise as I never envisioned myself engaged in any academic endeavor outside of the classroom. So the fact that I had been accepted as the new Diversity GSA was a bit surreal, 3 days passed before the brevity of my situation sank in.
After realizing that part of my responsibilities would include traveling to and presenting at conferences, school fairs, and other events… fear began to ease its way into my self-conscious. Traveling was easy, the idea of presenting or communicating with others ON A MASSIVE SCALE was what frightened me. I trembled at the thought of me, holding THE source of information that could make or break someone’s decision to start our program and ultimately change their future. Well, I’ve overcome that hump, sort of!
Presentations still send chills up my spine; the difference is that with each presentation, my knowledge base and confidence levels increase. This leads me to believe that while I may never write speeches for the White House, I’ve developed enough eloquence, gall and know-how to get a solid point across.
I also had to overcome my insecurities and learn to trust myself enough to develop solid ideas and initiatives that would bring attention to the program and the field. I also had to focus on ways to increase diversity. For me that meant reaching out to other professionals and students for ideas, opinions and experiences; conducting research related to diversity issues within LIS; getting more involved with student organizations; blogging; assisting professors with projects surrounding diversity and so on.
My experience up to this point has been a whirlwind of positive challenges that have helped me to develop as an individual as well as a professional. Of all the academic and professional experiences I have had, my position as the DGSA has proven to be the most profound.
As we move into 2014, my intention is to continue reaching out to prospective students by hosting more information sessions and making myself and the program more visible on and around Wayne’s campus. I also plan to delve more into research surrounding issues of diversity within librarianship. One of my major goals is to put more energy and time into establishing FLID (Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity) as one of the premier student organizations on Wayne’s campus. A tough task but not impossible, as I will be collaborating with the student chapter of ALA in bringing more attention to FLID (by increasing diversity in membership, hosting meetings, events and other functions that will bring more awareness to the field of LIS.)
It seems as if I have busy, challenging, and interesting year ahead of me, all of which I look forward to. In the end this will make my goal of leaving a positive mark on the university, the program, my peers and of course myself more possible.
Thank you all, for such a profound and enriching semester! Until next time…..
On August 9, 2013, I participated in a poster session for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (See link to image below). The session which lasted for about 45 minutes allowed me to discuss the inception of the Diversity Graduate Student Assistantship, how, why and when it was initiated, the past, present and future goals of this position and some of the undertakings on and off campus. Whilst there I had the opportunity to meet with Latisha Reynolds a Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian with the University of Louisville, who was one of the programs coordinators. In addition I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mark Puente the director of Diversity and Leadership Programs at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in which we briefly discussed the purpose and recruitment initiatives for the ARL/SAA Mosaic Scholarship Program as well as the ARL/Music Library Association Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. Our meeting was brief but the connection I made was priceless. For me one of the highlights of the evening was discovering that my presence alone was much anticipated by several conference attendees, one in particular, Kenneth Despertt, a Washington, DC librarian, was interested in discussing ways to recruit more male participation within the LIS field. Unfortunately for me I do not have much experience yet in the area of recruiting underrepresented male populations. However speaking with him helped to shed light on an issue that seriously needs to be addressed within our field, our discussion even prompted me to consider ways in which I can promote our SLIS program and Library and Information Science to the underrepresented male population.
Because of certain time restraints I was not able to participate in the remaining stretch of the conference; it nevertheless was a valuable experience for me. It once again allowed me to further develop my presentation skills, but most importantly this experience allowed me to network with other professionals on a more personal level, exchange information and ideas, and hopefully apply what I have learned in my daily activities as the DGSA.
I can’t stress enough the value in participating in such events, the connections one makes and the information obtained is difficult to come by in our everyday lives, this is what makes these experiences absolutely priceless! Again I stress the importance of placing oneself in the limelight, making the right connections, learning and accepting new ideas and applying them in order to make a difference and promote a more diverse library universe!
View the poster: BCALA-2013 DGSA Poster Presentation
Nichole L. Manlove
Diversity Graduate Student Assistant
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University