Guest post by Loranne Nasir: Meeting with Student Chapter Shows Enthusiastic Crop of Up-and-Coming Librarians

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an SU student in my second semester of the MLIS program who has been lucky enough to work closely with Barbara on this campaign, and she has graciously agreed to let me write a guest post sharing my experiences. In addition to getting to know my favorite candidate herself, this has given me the opportunity to meet so many people I might not have otherwise, and last week was no exception.

In addition to the town hall meeting we held with local academic librarians (see Barbara’s post for more detail on that one), on Thursday evening, we met virtuallywith the LIS students at UNC Greensboro. It was a really great experience for me, personally, considering I haven’t had many opportunities to hear from my peers at other institutions since beginning the LIS program here at Syracuse in the fall.

We conducted the meeting via Blackboard Collaborate, and it seemed that the learning curve this time around wasn’t quite so steep as it was during my first encounter with Adobe Connect. Things went very smoothly, tech-wise!

The UNC Greensboro folks were great, and it was immediatley clear that they’re a very engaged group of librarians with a wide variety of interests in our field. The questions and concerns they raised about both ALA and the changing face of librarianship as a whole were very specific and insightful. Discussion ran the gamut from concerns over how we can best assist our support staff in public libraries to ideas on how ALA can and should help promote librarianship among minorities.

Of course, I’m a bit biased, but one of my favorite things about Barbara’s views on improving ALA is her emphasis on not just including more student members in the Association’s goings-on, but also getting them involved as active members. So naturally, I really liked the fact that Barbara asked the participants to describe the changes they would like to see within libraries in the next five years. There were so many fantastic responses to this quesiton, and some of them even sound contradictory to each other, but I think that just furhter illustrates what a diverse group librarians are. We all have issues that concern us on a very deep level, and they are all valid. I’m afraid I can’t include each and every one of the awesome ideas I heard here, but I’ll share some of the highlights:

  • More communication between librarians and teaching faculty in academic libraries.
  • In school libraries: the ability to freely select material without fear of censorship or offending parents.
  • An increase in young adult material and programming in public libraries.
  • Better and more cooperative relationships between school and public libraries (Barbara added academic libraries to this one, as well).
  • And I’ll finish with my favorite quote of the evening: “To be tech-savvy and passionate about the role we have!”

Our first two virtual meetings with ALA Student Chapters have been a great success, and I’m excited about chatting with Albany’s chapter later this afternoon!

I’d like to close by thanking everyone who came out to our town hall on Monday, as well as the lovely people at UNC Greensboro for being such gracious and enthusiastic hosts. These events really couldn’t have happened without you, and it was a pleasure meeting you all!