Welcome to our ALA Student Chapter blog. Visit this site to find out what's happening in UCLA's Department of Information Studies and for the latest news and events about libraries, archives, and information management.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Greetings from your Chapter President

Hi Everyone,
Welcome back! I hope everyone had a relaxing break; they never seem long enough, huh? I just wanted to give you all an overview about what has happened and what we have planned for this quarter. First of all, ALA has attracted some of the brightest minds of our program to form an excellent board of officers. ALA's new officers, whom I affectionately refer to as the "ALA Angels," are as follows:

Vice-Presidents: Caroline Yee and Francesca Marineo
Secretaries: Linda Kobashigawa and Christine Chai
Publicist: Leann Voss and Ashley Sands
Treasurers: Alyson Thomas, J Lee, and Stella Castillo
Webmaster/Blogmaster: Camille Mathieu and Alice Schock
I am really excited about this group of officers. After our first officer meeting of the quarter, which was held on Monday, it is clear that these ladies have excellent ideas about how to bring ALA back to its former glory. Here are some things that I would like to bring to your attention.
  1. At the second UCLA Librarian Panel (about which I neglected to blog), Jennifer Osorio's description about the lengthy interview process for academic librarians piqued the interest of our members. This coming Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (the 15th, 16th, and 17th), ALA members will have the opportunity to observe the Presentation and General Session of the interview process for the Research Informationist position at the Biomedical library.
  2. Professor Christopher Kelty will be giving a talk to students about the UC Open Access policy and what this means for future university librarians on January 27th.
  3. UCLA MLIS alumna Sylva Manoogian has agreed to give our members a behind-the-scenes look at LAPL's Central Branch library on February 21st.
  4. Lastly, I am in the process of getting our student chapter a new webpage. Our current page has served us well but our officers agree that it is time for a new site.
As you can all see, we have a lot planned for the winter quarter. We are even starting to talk about events for the spring. If you guys have any interest in the field of librarianship or ideas about how we can better serve/educate our MLIS students, we would love to hear from you!
Wishing you all the best for the winter quarter,
Nick Auricchio
ALA President

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ALA's First Librarian Panel

Greetings Future Librarians,
I have had such a stressful, but rewarding today. Today was the first of two UCLA Librarian Panels and all I can say is that the experience exceeded all of my expectations. I felt like a lot was riding on the success of this panel. For one, I needed to show my fellow students that the ALA student group is a presence in the MLIS program. Secondly, I think that attendance was really important because it demonstrates that students in the MLIS program are interested in the work that is currently being done in our field. Lastly, I feel like this event was my baby and I do want it to be continued by future ALA presidents. For me personally, a lot was riding on this panel because this is the first time that I have organized a professional event. While contacting the librarians was tough and time-consuming (don't even get me started on how I was able to get five busy librarians to be in one place for ninety minutes), this experience was so rewarding, both personally and professionally, and I am grateful that ALA has given me the resources to put together an event like this

In attendance was one librarian from the undergraduate, arts, law, east asian, and biomedical libraries. The panel itself was structured in three parts: the first part was dedicated to getting to know the panelists. The second was dedicated to understanding the work that these librarians do in their respective libraries. For the last part, I actually created a Google form so that students could submit questions to be asked in the panel. Unlike traditional panels, I had each of my panelists sit together in chairs and take turns answering questions. I felt this informal structure would encourage the librarians to interact with both me and each other; much like a talk-show.

Coming into this, one of my biggest concerns was that the panelists would be shy. Let me just say that librarians are more than happy to talk about the work they do! I hope that the audience was able to see that while the duties of these librarians can be similar, the topics of questions, the resources, and the patrons of their respective libraries can really make a difference in the work you do. Another interesting phenomenon found in this panel was that many librarians now work in libraries that specialize in fields that they did not study as undergraduates. In fact, the panelists stressed that librarians need to be good generalists!  Despite these differences, the common thread found among each of the panelists was their love of helping people. In fact, when asked what they liked most about the job, they all said that it was working with and helping students. It was really touching to see how passionate these professionals are about their work.

The field of librarianship attracts so many different kinds of people. My classes are filled with people of different ages, sexes, ethnicities, and professional as well as academic backgrounds. This has made for some very interesting class discussions. Despite these differences, we are all driven together because of our desire to help others find information. While it may not sound like a lot, information is truly the great equalizer and we are all working to ensure that EVERYONE is able to find the resources needed to answer their questions. I came into the program because I was interested in who the librarian was as a person rather than an information resource. After this panel, I have a much better idea of who the librarian truly is and I can say with certainty that I am on the right path. I look forward to next week's panel.

ALA President

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Partying with the Pink Chicken of Powell

It was one a.m. on a Friday—roughly a week before Halloween—and I was sitting on the floor of my room sewing pink feathered boas onto a pair of black shorts. White nylons, a hot pink top, and a pink eye mask were to accompany my feathered shorts. Who would guess that I’d be headed off to the library in this outfit.

I’ve interned with the undergraduate library for almost five months now, working in the Teaching and Learning Services department to analyze evaluation data and plan and implement instruction sessions for a Freshman Cluster course. My initial goals for the internship were to gain experience with instruction and to evaluate library instruction services, but when I heard about a potential Halloween party, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Event planning may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the responsibilities of a librarian, but whether you’re public or academic, at the reference desk or working behind the scenes, being involved in planning programs, events, and outreach is not uncommon.

I remember talking with my site supervisor earlier in the year about building a greater partnership between the Information Studies department and the library. Most of the libraries on campus reserve research, reference desk, and other part-time positions specifically for MLIS students to gain practical experience while in school; but why stop there? I pitched the idea of the ALASC getting involved with the planning of the party, and the partnership was born!

          The party ended up as less Halloween and more get-to-know-your-library-themed. However, it was a fun night filled with people in some pretty great costumes, making book sentences, dancing, organizing books by call number, posting photos to Instagram, and learning a whole lot about the UCLA library.

Here are some things I’ve taken away from this experience:

·         Time is definitely a virtue: Whether you have the support of 100 volunteers or 10, you need enough time to plan, meet, discuss, and revise your plan. And be prepared to run this cycle more than once. The planning team at the library did a fantastic job pulling this party together in a little over a month, but there are some things that cannot be rushed, like publicity for the event. We’ve also talked about getting the MLIS students involved sooner to have some input in the beginning planning phases rather than right at the end.

·        Just ask: This goes both ways; when you’re trying to get volunteers and when you’re trying to be a volunteer. I have never been turned down from asking to volunteer for a function. To be blunt, you’re providing free labor, and almost everyone will appreciate your contribution. I was also lucky enough to have fellow student club officers agree to volunteer with me, and was also able to get a few more people to join by pitching the party at smaller group meetings and sending a call for volunteers through the department listserv.

·       Building connections with your (future) colleagues: And keeping them! While I knew most of the other library staff who were at the party, some my classmates did not. It was a great opportunity to meet and work alongside library professionals (some of whom are alumni of the program).

·       Building connections with your users: Probably the most important thing to take away is giving students a positive first experience interacting with library materials, services, and personnel. The get-to-know-your-library approach by participating in really fun and inventive challenges seemed to resonate with the students. A classmate and I were stationed in the new InqSpace where librarians hold research consultations with users. While a research consultation can sound intimidating, the tone of the evening was very relaxed, we were all in costume, and although we were basically giving the students a research consultation, it didn’t feel that way. The students’ questions about the library and the catalog were of genuine inquiry, and we even talked about how one becomes a librarian and subject specialist.

What do I hope the students took away from their experience? That libraries and librarians are pretty darn cool. And my costume? I was supposed to be a flamingo, but someone guessed a pink chicken, and the name just kinda stuck.


Linda Kobashigawa

ALA Secretary

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ALA's First (Annual?) Icebreakers on Ice


Hello Future Information Professionals,
Don’t let the look on my face fool you (I am the one in the Ramones shirt). I am still thrilled about ALA’s first event of the academic year! If you all don’t mind, I’d like to tell you a little more about ALA’s Icebreakers on Ice, which occurred this past Sunday. As I stated in my previous post, I want our ALA student chapter to be a fun mixture of both profession-building and social events. I originally saw Icebreakers as an opportunity for students to interact with their classmates outside of the classroom setting. What I have come to realize, during my short time at UCLA, is that our profession is quite small. The people in our classes today, will be our co-workers and colleagues tomorrow. Our internship supervisors and future employers were once, like us, struggling with information theory! Another unfortunate thing that I have noticed is that life (work, school, family, and relationships) often prevents us from getting to know the people in our program. To remedy this, I conceived the idea of Icebreakers on Ice.


My thinking behind this was that by having students step out of their comfort zones, from the library to the ice, I thought that ice skating might break down any barriers to meeting new people and would hopefully be a fun way for people to bond. While I did not get as many people as I had envisioned (I think that a lot of people were a little scared of skating and two people had to cancel due to illness), I do think that Icebreakers provided MLIS students with a good opportunity to interact with their classmates. The initial number of RSVPs may have been discouraging but my spirits immediately lifted when a group of four students decided to visit the ice arena after working on a group project. I did wish that I was able to reach more first-year students but I hope that of the ones who did attend, they were able to make a couple new connections with people in the program. If not, I will be more than happy to introduce them!

This was my own personal attempt at event planning and I am satisfied with the results. With this task completed, I will use my experiences to better understand what students want from ALA programming and to better advertise these events in the future. I am confident and even more excited that ALA’s two planned university panels will be a smashing success!

Until next time,
Nick Auricchio
ALA President

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Word From Your New President

Greetings New MLIS Students,
My name is Nick Auricchio and I will be ALA president for the 2013-14 academic year. I would first like to welcome you all to the program and congratulate you on devoting your lives to fighting the good fight...for information equality. I think that once you get to know me a little better, you'll understand why I say this...but seriously, librarians are superheroes!  Unfortunately, our student chapter was inactive last year and as a result, I am really scrambling to get everything prepared for the coming year. That's where you all come in! Though we may not have a model on which to run this club, I know that this can only work to our advantage. I am open to listening to new ideas and to trying a number of new things. My dream is to make ALA into the fun, yet professional, student organization of the MLIS program.

As you will quickly learn, the field of librarianship is currently trying to redefine itself as the nature of information, as well as the ways in which people access/interact with it, is rapidly changing. Things that may have worked in the past, may no longer work in the libraries of the future and it is up to venture into the unknown. Despite the explosion of Google and other search engines, you will see that librarians are still the superior source of navigating through the forever-expanding amounts of information, locating the quality sources, and MAKING them available to the masses. In times when more and more groups are challenging the content of reading materials, librarians are leading the charge against organizations that infringe on the first amendment rights of others. As you can see, we are on our way to becoming superheroes.

Because we are almost starting over, the new crop of students will have the opportunity to really shape the course of the ALA student group and build it into a fun, informative, and, most importantly, professional resource for future students. We were once the "Student Chapter of the Year" and I am hoping that we can once again claim the title...but none of that will be possible without the help of new students like yourselves. I look forward to working with and getting to know you all better.

Wishing you all the best,