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Oct 2 / Roxanne Brazell

What’s with all the SLIS Group Projects?

ALA@WSU LogoAre you honing your skills or just taking classes and droning through group projects? Group collaboration is more important than we sometimes realize. I know it can be challenging to be asked to form a team with individuals you don’t know, but group projects are an opportunity for us to grow and develop new skills. When you work with students that think and learn differently than you do it can help you embrace the ideas of others. This is important as you work on student group projects, because each student has strengths and areas that need improvement. Working as a team creates a balance for the group and can significantly enhance your group course projects.

I mentioned “working as a team”, which means collaborating and actively participating with other students in your team as you each use your strengths to develop and complete a group project. Throughout this process you learn to negotiate with other student’s and consider your limitations, as well as, your colleagues. Working in a team helps refine your leadership skills. You can definitely learn how to diplomatically approach your team members with new ideas and constructive criticism. You also gain new knowledge on a topic or technology skills from working with your peers. How many of us did not know how to use web conferencing or cloud storage tools before we entered graduate school. Student colleagues in my first few graduate courses helped me get acclimated to a few technologies.

I have been in some amazing groups during some of my classes and we created advanced-level professional work. Amazing groups have one thing in common, active participation from all group members who have the same goal in mind. They give their best to the group project without fail even in the face of outside commitments.

Are you still wondering why is this important? The reality is that your professional work will mirror the student group collaboration process. You will be asked to work with people in your organization that you don’t know at some point. You will each have different skill levels and you will have to figure out how to complete some projects that your supervisor may not be able to determine who would be the best fit for the job. So, you will be thrown into a role that does not fit your skills at some time in your career. Knowing how to effectively and fairly negotiate with a colleague who is stellar at the job you have been handed is worth taking the time to explore.

Group collaboration also offers you a hands-on opportunity to learn from your peers and take on different team roles (i.e. content strategist, designer, editor, project lead, etc.) during your graduate coursework. Our profession is about working with others whether it is a patron or a colleague, so use your group projects as positive learning experiences to listen and recognize what other individuals are communicating to you, so you can identify solutions to meet your patrons needs and your organization’s goals through teamwork.

Find out how you can hone your collaboration skills with the ALA@Wayne!

Aug 26 / Roxanne Brazell

We’re Here for You – Join Us!

Welcome to new and returning students. I’m part of the ALA@Wayne student organization and we could be considered the cheerleaders of the American Library Association (ALA). We’re interested in the happenings and events of our parent association and we promote the professional development of our students. We can help you with what matters most…getting involved in librarianship and learning about the trends and issues that impact our profession.

There’s the Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity (FLID) student organization, which delves into ways to manage an inclusive and diverse environment in the library profession. Here’s one way to polish your diversity skills.

Everything’s going digital and libraries are pioneering the effort to digitize, preserve, and manage their collections digitally. You can learn how to prepare for a digitization project and how to organize digitally borne resources by spending time with your fellow LIS classmates at the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NSDA) student chapter meetings. I am also involved with this group, too. They’re pretty innovative as the first student chapter of the Library of Congress.

Student Organizations of Library and Information Science (SOLIS) can be quite helpful to new students getting oriented to the WSU SLIS program. They hold monthly online meetings where you can meet newly admitted students to the program and ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere.

If you are passionate about history and the possibility of handling original documents from histories past gets you excited, then the WSU Student chapter of the Society of American Archivist (SAA) could be your muse.

We’d all love to have you join us, but we know you can only pick one or maybe two. Watch out for the September meeting announcements in your WSU email. Connect with one of our SLIS student organizations and spend some time with like-minded students and find your passion in the LIS profession.

Hop on over to the SLIS Student Associations site and check out our organizations.ALA at Wayne



Aug 6 / Nichole Manlove

My Experience as the SLIS Diversity GSA

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.  Lo 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.

Dr. Kafi Kumasi and Diversity GSA Nichole Manlove at ALA 2013

Dr. Kafi Kumasi and Diversity GSA Nichole Manlove at ALA 2013

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, Michigan, 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.

Aside 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 project 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 August 2014!  My last month as the Diversity GSA is 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!

Sincerely, Nichole L. Manlove

Jul 14 / Roxanne Brazell

ALA@Wayne – Learning and Networking at the 2014 ALA Student-2-Staff Program

I took part in the 2014 Student-to-Staff (S2S) Program at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Las Vegas this past week. The experience will be memorable for quite some time. The S2S program was an enlightening and fast-paced learning experience over five days. I was fortunate to work with the ALA’s International Relations Office (IRO), and learn about international librarianship, which is one of my interest areas. I worked at the IRO Registration area with the convention staff and in the Visitor Center distributing resources. I met a variety of international librarians from all over the world. It was exciting to hear about their countries and the library roles they perform. I enjoy helping others; so working at the conference was rewarding.

My IRO Unit supervisor and the S2S Coordinator were a delight to work with and they supported our professional development by making sure we could attend some conference sessions. Of course, the primary goal of participating in the S2S program is to work 16 hours for an ALA unit. In working with the IRO, I gained some perspective on the IRO’s mission and activities.The IRO supports the International Relations Round Table and fosters initiatives, such as the “International Partnership for Advocacy and Libraries Services” that promotes events for the growth and development of international and non-international librarians. Since I am considering international employment in the profession, I attended a session on working outside of the country. It was helpful to hear about the pros and cons of working abroad.

The 2014 S2S program was the best way for me to attend my first ALA conference. It gave me a chance to network with staff, students, and professionals at the conference. Two of my student colleagues (from left to right in the photo), Callie Wiygul from the University of Southern Mississippi, Xochitl Rocha from the University of Washington, and I worked at the International Librarians Reception at the UNLV Barrick Museum on the last day of the conference and had the opportunity to meet the President, Barbara Stripling and chat with her briefly about the S2S program and take a photo.

2014 ALA S2S Program-Roxanne BrazellI had listened to Ms. Stripling speak during a few webinars this year and in the opening session of the conference, but it was great to meet her in person. I would not have met the ALA President, the staff, and my student colleagues, if I had not participated in the 2014 S2S program. I truly appreciate the opportunity I was given to serve my future colleagues.

I had so many amazing experiences that I have shared others on the ALA@Wayne blog.

If helping your future colleagues in a bustling environment is exciting to you, then consider applying for the 2015 ALA S2S Program. Look for the application announcement between mid-October to early November on the WSU SLIS listserv to apply.

Jun 16 / Matthew Fredericks

Five GSA Positions Open for Fall 2014!

The School of Library and Information Science is happy to announce the availability of five Graduate Student Assistantship (GSA) positions starting in Fall 2014. Three GSA positions will be within WSU Libraries. Two GSA positions will be within SLIS. Each assistantship provides a full tuition scholarship (up to 36 credits) for a master’s degree in library and information science (MLIS), an annual $16,838 stipend, health insurance and representation by the GEOC (Graduate Employees Organization Committee). Further details and link to the job postings are below.

  • Graduate Student Assistantship (3) Positions within University Library System (Purdy/Kresge and Undergraduate Libraries)
    • GSAs provide direct user assistance at information/reference desks through in-person, phone, and virtual reference; assisting patrons with the catalog, internet, databases, and use of computers. In addition, GSAs collaborate on the development of library guides, provide information literacy instruction, and participate in special projects as assigned; such assignment may be based on interest, and can include work with discovery services, material processing, eResources, acquisitions, and digital publishing. The special project duties are facilitated by the discretion of the GSA Coordinator and/or other Staff Librarians.
    • The GSA employment experience is designed to provide a wide overview of academic library operations, with a focus on developing skills in operational areas increasing in responsibility and independence over an approximate two year period.
    • Open to both new and current students.
    • DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: July 18, 2014 by 5:00 PM.
    • For further details on requirements and how to apply, download the full GSA job posting.
  • SLIS Diversity Outreach GSA
    • Provide outreach and build and maintain relationships with undergraduate programs on campus and surrounding colleges about the value of graduate SLIS studies at Wayne State University with a focus on historically-underrepresented populations
    • Participate in the recruitment of prospective students by attending programs, fairs, and open houses in- and off-campus; give recruiting presentations, including oral and PowerPoint presentations.
    • Open to both new and current students.
    • DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: July 11, 2014 by 5:00 PM.
    • For further details on requirements and how to apply, download the full Diversity Outreach GSA job posting.
    • Questions about the Diversity Outreach GSA position? Contact the current Diversity GSA, Nichole Manlove at
  • SLIS Information Technology GSA
    • Continue to develop SLIS online community through social media
    • Help supervise student technology assistants
    • Update SLIS websites
    • Provide technical assistance to SLIS students, faculty, and staff
    • Work with full time staff on computer and server maintenance
    • Develop online instructional materials
    • PRE-REQUISITE: Completion of LIS 6080 Information Technology.
    • DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: July 3, 2014 by 5:00 PM.
    • For further details on requirements and how to apply, download the full SLIS Information Technology GSA job posting.
    • Questions about the Information Technology GSA position? Contact the current Tech GSA, Kevin Barton at!


May 27 / Sean McConnell

Spending Spring Break at a Presidential Library

Wayne State’s School of Library and Information Science offers a variety of internships and volunteer opportunities for interested students, and I must count the Alternative Spring Break as one of most rewarding of all offered. SLIS students may apply for one week internships during spring break at National Archives branches across the country. Each NARA site provides a unique program. One in particular caught my eye: the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library. I have spent the past three years pursuing a Masters of Arts in history with a certificate in archival administration. My alternative spring break at the Bush Library became a capstone tying together what I have learned about history and archives.

Archival administration student Sean McConnell on his Alternative Spring Break internship at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

Archival administration student Sean McConnell on his Alternative Spring Break internship at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

The internship at the Bush Library centered on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Located in College Station, Texas, the library contains the papers of President George H.W. Bush, from his days as a businessman to his years in the White House. Fellow student Steven Wejroch and I met over dinner with the library’s director, Dr. Robert Holzweiss, upon arrival in College Station. Dr. Holzweiss gave us a crash tutorial on FOIA that frankly made our heads spin. FOIA contains numerous provisions and stipulations, as well as avenues for litigation, that initially appear complex. Dr. Holzweiss and his staff did a wonderful job explaining the law’s contours, however, and I left with a greater understanding of the act. President Johnson signed FOIA into law, allowing public access to potentially all documents of the federal government’s executive branch. The president’s and vice president’s papers did not originally fall within the law’s scope. This changed when President Carter signed the Presidential Records Act in 1978, which extended FOIA to the office of the president and vice-president. Beginning with the Reagan administration, presidential papers are now maintained by NARA and subject to FOIA requests.

A successful FOIA request often entails a lengthy process. Archivists at the library said requestors should expect to wait between one and five years for a request’s completion. Archivists are required to respond to a request within twenty business days, but this does not mean material must be released within this timeframe. Requested material must first be reviewed by the staff and then sent to all relevant agencies that produced the material for clearance before release to the public. Presidential papers must also be cleared by both the former president’s and current president’s legal counsel. The Bush Library’s archivists provide a great service guiding researchers through the FOIA process and developing efficient ways to search for and deliver material. Responding to a FOIA request involves a fascinating operation. When a researcher requests material on the Gulf War for example, all pertinent documents must be pulled from their original and often unprocessed locations. An artificial collection eventually forms, leaving a lengthy paper trail until all documents can be processed and returned to their original order.

After tours throughout the library and discussion with archivists, the staff entrusted Steven and I with reviewing documents from senators’ files. I reviewed the files of senators McConnell, Moynihan, and Danforth, and even redacted sensitive information and removed papers with Bush’s signature. I found this activity captivating and felt fortunate to be able to handle historical material and engage with FOIA processes so closely. The staff at the Bush Library supplied valuable lessons on archival principals, governmental procedures, and meeting the needs of researchers. This experience challenged many notions I had as well as supplemented what I have learned at Wayne State. I recommend this internship to any student desiring an engaging and informative spring break.

May 8 / Roxanne Brazell

Start Thinking About Research Projects

SLIS Student Roxanne Brazell

SLIS Student Roxanne Brazell

As the spring flutters in and the weather is warming up, this is a good time to work on research projects, internships and practicums. I attended the “SLIS Job Hunting Skills” workshop online last Friday. One of the main points that stood out for me is that, “We are called on in our profession to write, publish, and present”. Public librarians focus on this from the perspective of writing and presenting usage reports to a Director or management committee, providing reference and instruction to their patrons, and developing marketing materials. Academic libraries have similar expectations, but include a librarian’s engagement in scholarly research and publishing.

You can get a jump start on this by planning out research projects you’re interested in now and working on them in small increments over the summer. It’s the most effective way to develop and complete a research project that you can add to your resume. There are a variety of options for research projects. Of course, you can present course related projects you have completed, but a research project demonstrates originality and helps you develop expertise on a chosen topic. It also needs to be more substantial than a literature review as research theories and methods need to be incorporated into your project. It would be advantageous to build on a current course project. Use one of your projects that you felt was not complete. A project that you wanted to learn more about or one where you obtained more research articles than you could read or fit into your original project. You will need a faculty member’s guidance, if you are performing independent research.

So, consider attending the session, “Do You Want to Publish or Present Professionally” on May 13th at 4pm in Room 315 or meet us online at Dr. Bob Holley and Professor Kim Schroeder will discuss publishing and presenting with us in the profession. Within SLIS you can also work on projects over the summer through a student organization. This can aid you in finding your career interest in the profession and enhance your research skills. There are several National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) projects that are a great way to collaborate with other students. It also provides an opportunity for you to write, present and publish a paper with other students. There are various “Calls for Proposals”, especially in the fall and winter terms, so working on a research project in the spring and summer gives you an opportunity to prepare well in advance, before you are met with a new academic year of LIS courses. Challenge yourself and create your niche in the profession with a solid research background. Not ready for a research project, then make sure you get the most of your internship or practicum experience.

Apr 15 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Students Digitize Unique Detroit Historical Society Materials

SLIS students in Professor Kim Schroeder’s Digital Imaging course are digitizing a wide array of materials for the Detroit Historical Society, making fascinating bits of history available online. They have written blog posts discussing the unique items they have have digitized. Check them out!

Stay tuned, there are more student blog posts uncovering the treasures of Detroit to come!

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Mar 26 / Roxanne Brazell

Highlights of the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) Conference – Professional Development Opportunity

3021614731-1I attended the 2014 Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L) conference in Austin, TX. If you are interested in this niche area of the profession, then this is the conference to attend. Digital, Online and Electronic Resource Librarians discussed the trends and challenges of managing e-Resources and data.

Attending the conference gave me a chance to learn about the core culture and values of my future colleagues. Although the conference did not have a subtheme, “Librarians as change agents, collaborators and leaders,” whirls in my head each time I think about this event. Electronic Resource Librarians are looking for ways to solve e-Resource management problems in their libraries, collaborate with other librarians and share their successes and challenges. There are Techniques for Electronic Resource Management (TERMS), which are evolving as the demand for e-Resources continues.

There was a day of user experience (UX) events to facilitate user design processes, but librarians seem to have an innate grasp of user experience. During their presentations many of them talked about how they are addressing e-Resource issues within their departmental team and across other areas of their libraries. A few of the presentations with question and answer sessions inspired a research topic I hope to pursue this summer.

The other 2014 Taylor and Francis Student Award Winner and I received a warm welcome from everyone we met and were able to connect with librarians at every level from career entry to Directors. A few of them took the time to get to know us over lunch and dinner. This is where I was able to learn about upcoming internships and a distance practicum that will enhance my skills in e-Resources next summer.

It was nice to meet my future colleagues in a casual atmosphere where I had no idea what their role was initially, until I connected with them. Several librarians provided me with cards and asked me to keep in touch. Of course, I asked for cards, too. But, having a Library Director ask you to stay in touch is worth gold in our profession.

The most important take away is that conferences and association meetings are a vital tool for developing a network of colleagues, identifying library roles that interest you, and allows you to gain advice from your future colleagues on what skills you need and how to build or enhance them. Longstanding friendships and mentee roles can be a natural extension of making connections at these types of events, as long as you periodically continue the conversation long after the conference ends.

Think about attending next year’s conference from February 22 – 24, 2015 in Austin, Texas. The 2015 Taylor and Francis Student Travel Award can make it happen for you. Look out for the student travel application in the next few months. Don’t have the travel time in you plans then consider the 2015 ER&L Online Conference next year. I hope to see you there virtually or in-person.

Mar 3 / Matthew Fredericks

Alternate Spring Break at the National Archives and Smithsonian for SLIS Students!

SLIS Lecturer and Career Advisor  Kim Schroeder will again take a group of SLIS students to the National Archives and Smithsonian during WSU’s Spring Break.  national archives and records administration logoFrom March 10 – 14 the students will work as unpaid interns at iconic American institutions, in the process gaining valuable experience. Interest in this alternate Spring Break opportunity was so great that students have also been placed in other National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) offices in Chicago and Kansas City and in the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, Texas. See the full list of students below with their placements and the types of projects they will be working on.

  • Julia Teran – Archives of American Art, Smithsonian, EAD Conversion
  • Aubrey Maynard – NARA Kansas City Offices, Citizen Archivist Project
  • Laura Gentry – NARA Kansas City Offices, Citizen Archivist Project
  • Wendi Mekins – Textual Records Processing Unit, NARA, College Park, Maryland, Descriptive Standards
  • Katy Schroeder – Textual Records Processing Unit, NARA, College Park, Maryland, Descriptive Standards
  • Justine Bailey – Department of Justice, NARA, College Park, Maryland, Over-sized Processing
  • Adam Mosseri – Agency Services, NARA, College Park, MD, Increased Web Presence Project
  • Steven Wejroch – George W. Bush Presidential Library, Dallas, Texas, FOIA Project
  • Sean McConnell – George W. Bush Presidential Library, Dallas, Texas, FOIA Project
  • Lura Smith – NARA Chicago Office, Reference and Processing, Maritime Project
  • Elizabeth Nicholson – NARA Chicago Office, Reference and Processing, Maritime Project

Congratulations in advance to these hardworking students! While others catch up on sleep, binge watch “House of Cards” and, of course, head to beaches in Florida, these aspiring information professionals will have their noses to the proverbial grindstone, helping to ensure that America’s history and records are organized and accessible to its citizens!

Julia Teran, on her Alternative Spring Break internship in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Julia Teran, on her Alternative Spring Break internship in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

SLIS students Wendi Mekins, Katy Schroeder, and Justine Bailey on their Alternative Spring Break internship at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland.

SLIS students Wendi Mekins, Katy Schroeder, and Justine Bailey on their Alternative Spring Break internship at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland.