19 February 2010

Issue Intro: Career Paths and Community Connections

It is a thrill to present our second BiblioTech publication of the year. Our current issue is titled "Career Paths and Community Connections," and highlights professional activities and opportunities. Library and Information Science professionals are involved in a wide-range of undertakings at the local, national and international level.

In "Student Organization Highlight: PLG," SIRLS student and PLG President shares information on the Progressive Librarians Guild. This active organization offers many wonderful activities throughout the year, and is an excellent way for students to connect with SIRLS and the broader library community. Similarly, the article "Just Join: The Benefits of Association and ALA Division Membership" by Knowledge River Alum Jessica Hernandez, discusses the advantages to becoming involved in professional associations.

In "Exhibits at the UA Libraries with the Undergraduate Services Team," Knowledge River Scholar Jeffrey Cruz shares his experiences developing two successful library exhibits. Cruz's efforts highlight the diversity of resources available at the University of Arizona libraries, and serve as an example of libraries reaching out to the broader community. Beyond the university or local level, librarians across the globe are also involved in important work.

SIRLS student and Library Student Organization (LSO) President Danielle Walker sheds light on librarianship in Vietnam in "An Interview with Trang Huynh." As a Fulbright Scholar and Library Director at Cantho University, Huynh shares a lot of interesting information on her experiences in Vietnam. Walker's focus on different career paths and international librarianship contributes an important global perspective to this edition of BiblioTech.

In closing, thanks to our outstanding writers who helped make this issue a success. The LSO BiblioTech team would like to maintain the momentum of our current issue by coordinating one final publication this semester. Submissions will be accepted from now until March 1st, 2010, and can be sent to jnhernan@email.arizona.edu. Articles and creative works are accepted on a variety of topics, and submissions related to job searching are especially welcome.

We appreciate your support of this online magazine.


Jessica Hernandez
BiblioTech Editor

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Student Organization Highlight: PLG

What is PLG?
The UA Chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG), formed in spring 2008, is newest of the SIRLS student organizations. UA PLG members consist of School of Information Resources & Library Science (SIRLS) students, alumni, and community library workers. We are officially recognized by the national parent chapter of PLG, SIRLS and the UA. Similar to the other SIRLS student groups, we organize social and professional development events.

We also collaborate with other community organizations with recent groups being the Dry River Collective and Read Between the Bars. We provide services to the SIRLS, UA and greater Tucson community in the form of free workshops and events, cataloging/basic check-out system help for non-profit organizations and some reference assistance. Last summer we sent four suitcases of books to Belize to build a school library collection in collaboration with Peace Corps volunteers. This past semester, we collaborated with the UA Main Library on a week of events for Banned Books Week including a mini film fest at the Gallagher Theater, a display at the Main Library, a panel discussion and a read-out. Our events even made it into ALA’s November issue of American Libraries.

What is a Progressive Librarian?
UA PLG sees progressive librarians as information professionals who defend and extend the idea of libraries for the people, by using library and information science (LIS) education and community ties to champion change for all. Progressive librarians have a stake in the community, are supportive of like-minded organizations and work with others to achieve a truly democratic society. We promote open access while encouraging scholarship and research. On its website, the parent chapter defines PLG as “a network of librarians and groups and institutions sharing a common commitment to radical librarianship, promoting solidarity and communicating vital information about activities and issues as they emerge.” As progressive librarians, we believe in taking action on important library issues, not allowing the status quo or “business as usual” to proliferate.

How to Get Involved
Anyone can get involved with PLG—you don’t have to be a member to attend our meetings or events. Once a member, you don’t have to be an officer in order to contribute: anyone can be a Project Manager. Is there something in particular that interests you? Let us know and you can volunteer to take a leadership position on organizing an event or project that is important to you.

Are you a distance student? With advance notice, we can hold our meetings online through Breeze. We also maintain a very active wiki where you can leave your feedback and contribute to brainstorming for future projects. We post pod casts of our workshops and presentations on our website. Also, many officer positions, especially Webmaster and Fundraising Coordinator, can be easily held by distance members. We’re also open to contributing to projects outside of Tucson and would welcome distance Project Managers.

Membership to UA PLG costs $20 for a two year membership. As we are a relatively new chapter, members have the opportunity to shape the direction of our chapter. You would be able to participate in creating our newsletter, work with Tucson community groups to create ties and organize events, and get to know fellow students in the SIRLS program, alumni and community library workers. You can commit as much or as little as you would like—there is no minimum time commitment for membership.
For more information about UA PLG or membership please see our website: http://sirls.arizona.edu/PLG/member

We have a fun semester ahead of us and would love to see you at our meetings or events!

--Spring 2010 Meeting Schedule--

We will meet from 5:15pm – 6:00pm on the following Wednesdays in the SIRLS Multipurpose room, unless otherwise noted:
February 24
March 10
March 24
April 7
April 21

If you’d like updates about our social and professional development events, please contact our President, Kristen CurĂ© (kkcure@email.arizona.edu) or our webmaster, Brenda Taylor (bst11@email.arizona.edu) to be added to our listserv.

For more information about UA PLG, please visit our wiki (http://plg-sirls.pbworks.com/) or website (http://sirls.arizona.edu/PLG/index)

Kristen Curé is a SIRLS Master's student and UA PLG President.

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17 February 2010

Just Join: The Benefits of Association and ALA Division Involvement

There are many benefits to joining a professional association or ALA Division, and it is never too soon in your career to get involved. I am a proud member of REFORMA Tucson, and Vice President of our local chapter. As an ALA-REFORMA Emerging Leader, I also Chair the national Public Relations Committee, and recently began serving as an Associate Editor of the REFORMA newsletter. My leadership roles provide exciting opportunities to hone new professional skills, and contribute to an organization that I am passionate about. I have gained a great deal both personally and professionally in terms of the training, networking and friendships I have developed through my membership in REFORMA.

Some of our most active Reformistas (members) are current SIRLS students and recent alums, and I strongly urge others to explore these options. Student organizations provide outstanding leadership opportunities, but it is also advantageous to establish local and national networks with working professionals and leaders in the field. Involvement in these organizations keeps you aware of the latest issues and trends, and can be a fast track to leadership in the American Library Association (ALA), as well as the profession.

It is also important to note that there can be different degrees of involvement in an association depending on your outside commitments. Examples of more ‘low-key’ forms of participation include: signing up for a national listserv, engaging in a dialogue on ALA Connect, contributing to a newsletter or journal, attending association-specific events at annual meetings, or joining a virtual mentoring program. The point is, there are numerous ways to get involved that can fit into even the busiest schedule. The professional development benefits gained from your involvement will be tremendous and are well-worth the time.

In closing, I would love to pitch REFORMA once again, but the reality is that you are most likely equally passionate about a different issue within our profession. Luckily, there is undoubtedly a professional organization or ALA division that fits your interests. And so, whether it be MLA, YASLA, AILA, LITA, LLAMA, PLA, ASCLA, or some other cool acronym that catches your eye, I encourage you to take advantage of your free or low-cost student membership. Afterwards, you will be glad you did because you never know what you will learn, who you will meet, what association scholarship you will win, or what doors it will open. Explore your options and get connected!

Jessica Hernandez is a recent SIRLS-Knowledge River alum, and mother of Reforma Tucson's youngest and loudest honorary member.

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12 February 2010

Exhibits at the UA Libraries with the Undergraduate Services Team

I had the pleasure of working with two different librarians from the Undergraduate Services Team (UST) on two very different book exhibits and displays.

The first exhibit I worked on—along with librarian Rebecca Blakiston and other Progressive Librarians Guild members—was for Banned Books Week, the yearly event promoted by the American Library Association. Although the actual set-up of the exhibit and the displays was a group effort, my contribution came in the form of researching the banned books (in addition to the ones highlighted by the American Library Association) and creating summary display cards with each book’s title, author and a short description of why the book was banned and/or challenged. The exhibit itself featured several large “black boxes” with peep holes to showcase previously challenged classic and popular literature. Additionally, the exhibit was mentioned and photographed in American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association.


The second exhibit I worked on, supported by librarian Jeanne Pfander, entitled “Sky, Star and Sea: Multicultural Perspectives on the Cosmos,” timed with both the Junior Scientists Kids’ Day (a large Homecoming event for the UA community’s youth) and the International Year of Astronomy (2009). The premise of the exhibit was to examine different stories about the cosmos—including stories on the sun, moon and stars as well as those about the creation and evolution of life—from different multicultural perspectives, all through the lens of children’s literature. In addition to the materials borrowed from the substantial children’s literature section at the Main Library, many of the books were graciously loaned by the World of Words International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature, a small but diverse private collection housed at the UA College of Education.

The goal of the exhibit was twofold: to combine astronomical elements with children’s literature and to showcase living and ancient cosmological traditions from around the globe (and many from our own multicultural community in Arizona). Many of the stories were retellings of cultural knowledge from various tribal communities and Nations—such as Native Hawaiians, the Cherokee and the Santa Ana Pueblo communities—along with mythology from the Classical Aztecs, the Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and Ancient Scandinavians. The exhibit also highlighted some amazing illustrations in contrast to the normal literature found in the Science and Engineering Library on the University of Arizona campus.


Jeffery Cruz is a Knowledge River Scholar and an ARL Diversity Scholar graduate student in SIRLS and is currently the Knowledge River Graduate Assistant in the UA Libraries’ Undergraduate Services Team.

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11 February 2010

An Interview with Trang Huynh

Trang Huynh is visiting Tucson from Cantho University in Vietnam where she is the Director of the Learning Resource Center. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study library leadership in the U.S. and the implications for the libraries of the Mekong Delta. Prior to arriving in Arizona, she visited libraries in New York, Massachusetts and Illinois.

What kind of training do you need to be a Librarian in Vietnam?
After you graduate from high school you must apply for a Bachelor’s of Library Science at one of the four training centers in Vietnam. It’s the first level and most important degree. At Cantho University the degree plan consists of 138 hours, with courses ranging from Knowledge Organization and Management to Programming. Some of the courses that are required for all students include Military training and Marxist-Leninist Philosophy. Also, Library Science students must complete a practicum in their last semester. Right now we need more Information Technology courses for our students.

What’s the library system like?There are four library systems in Vietnam. The first is Public libraries. It’s governed by the Ministry for Information, Culture and Sports. The second is Academic which includes all school libraries and is governed by the Ministry of Education and Training. The third is Scientific and Technical libraries governed by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The final category is Military libraries which are under the jurisdiction of the Military. All of the groups have their own library associations.

The salaries are the same for public and academic librarians because it is a national system. The only advantage that academic librarians have is that there are more opportunities for continuing education and to attend conferences.

Tell me about the Learning Resource Center (LRC) at Cantho University.The Learning Resource Center is a new building that is very busy because we have 550 computers and it’s the only air-conditioned building on campus! I have 55 staff and 4 managers that report to me. As the Director of the LRC, I report directly to the Rector of the University. Our students are given free internet access and the quota depends on how many credit hours you are taking. We have a software system that the student logs into that calculates their usage. If you go over your quota you have the option to purchase more time. In the beginning the access was unlimited but students began to complain because they could not get to a computer.

What is the size of your library collection?We have 300,000 volumes in our library system. This includes the LRC and 13 branch libraries in campus departments. We process all of the items that go to the branch libraries and train the staff to circulate and maintain the materials. The collection is about 50% Vietnamese, with the remaining split between English and French. Last year our total circulation was at 2.2 million items.

What reference tools and electronic resources do you use at the LRC?
We have a union catalog called “ILIB” which is Vietnamese software that we bought in 2000. It was customized for us and satisfies all our requirements. From 2002 to 2008 we used EBSCO and Blackwell through the INASP program. INASP is a UK charity that provides scientific publications to developing nations at a 90% discount rate. We stopped using the databases because they were supposed to be full-text but still requested a fee whenever you tried to access the articles. We switched to ProQuest and purchased it through a consortium of fifty libraries. They even have a branch in Vietnam with a local representative that conducts training to use the resource.

One big difference is that we don’t have as many students that come to the reference desk. Most students will only have 3 to 4 assignments and a final examination every semester. They don’t have weekly assignments like you do here.

What concepts will you bring back to Vietnam?
I really like the Information Commons. I will bring this concept back as a proposal for when we build new academic libraries. I also like the idea of volunteers helping in the library. I am thinking about getting some for my library because my staff are so busy.

Danielle Walker is a SIRLS Master's Student and President of UA LSO.

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