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Thursday, June 2, 2016

At the TLA Booth~~Guest Blog

For the first time ever, GLISA representatives were at the TWU SLIS booth during TLA Annual. If you’ve never been to TLA, the exhibit hall is a city long block of vendors and authors, all hawking their wares. It is an amazing, busy place. At the SLIS booth, future students are stopping by for information on the school and program. Former students are stopping by to visit with professors. Current students are also visiting, but it is with these folks that I wanted to chat.

Web Administrator Allison Renner designed a terrific banner for us to hang in the booth. I had it printed at Staples and we placed it right next to the SLIS banner. It was a great piece of marketing that will be used again next year, I hope.

Our first day, officers Tracy Jolivette, Paloma Lenz, and I all took over the booth during lunch hour. And what a busy lunch hour it was! Between the three of us, we could barely keep up engaging all the visitors. That hour, we met several current SLIS students and invited them to become GLISA members. With the enticement of a free tumbler, a few did. Former GLISA President Elizabeth Hollenbeck also stopped by and supported us by purchasing a heavy canvas bag. There were a few transfer and not-yet-students whom I tried to convince, that when they were ready, GLISA would be waiting for them.

The following day, there were some scheduling conflicts, read: I screwed up. For some strange reason, I never bothered to check Paloma and my schedules against the exhibit hall schedule. Anyway, it worked out that I stayed at the booth during lunch again. This time. I had Drs. Vardell, Jeng, Hoffman, and Richey, the GLISA advisor, to visit with. Despite having had almost daily interaction with Dr. Richey, this was the first time I had met her in person. I don’t know what she thought about me, but she was much like I expected, friendly and cordial and utterly professional.

I spent almost no time in the exhibit hall this year; freebies just weren’t doing it for me. The two hours I did spend there were about forging relationships and making new friends. I hope to see y’all there next year!

Christine De Angelis is conference junkie who is also a one-woman fan club of Clayton Genealogy Library’s director, Sue Kaufman.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Experience As Vice Prez - Guest Post

As a TWU SLIS student, I juggled two courses, two jobs, and volunteering for seven semesters. When I received the email notifying me of my nomination to serve as a GLISA officer in April 2015, I was shocked. What had I done that demonstrated any sort of leadership potential in my distance education courses? Turns out, joining the Texas Library Association and attending my first annual conference was my first step.

Raquel Williams, the fall 2015 Web Administrator, was in one of my courses in spring 2015 and remembered that I had posted in the class discussion board about attending TLA. For whatever reason, we didn't connect at conference, but she threw my name in the GLISA officer pool and the rest is history.

The email I received offered me the positions of Treasurer or Vice President. After skimming the descriptions of both roles I realized as VP I would be the editor of the online newsletter, charged with not only writing articles (which I have done before on various platforms) but also designing the entire layout of the publication (which I had never done before), so I hopped on-board figuring the summer break would give me time to brainstorm article topics and play around with Microsoft Publisher (not at all, but that's a different blog post).

With no previous experience in layout design, but an eagerness to produce a vibrant digital publication with a balance between stimulating visuals and text, I produced the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 GLISA newsletters. I interviewed SLIS professors, delegated and edited the work of my peers, and gained new skills in layout design -- all of which have been transformative for me. And, once I completed the semester newsletter, I assisted fellow officers in completing their duties by contributing ideas for social media posts, strategies for member recruitment, and assisting with the spring and fall service projects.

Meeting Christine, Raquel, Nekeeta, Tracy, Allison, and Brea has had a huge impact on my confidence as both an individual and a library professional. Being able to connect with this group both virtually and in person has been a huge learning opportunity. I admire the work ethic of each officer, current and past, and have adopted some of their practices in order to boost my own potential. As a result of my involvement with GLISA, I am motivated to participate in TLA and am now the Secretary of the Latino Caucus (the hardest part is showing up to your first business meeting). It took one fateful email to push me beyond my comfort zone and connect with some strong, forward-thinking women.

Coming into the SLIS program, I didn't expect to meet anyone from any of my classes for more than a group assignment. But, joining GLISA and answering the call for officers as GLISA VP enabled me to walk away with not only my intended MLS degree, but also great friends. Additionally, the newsletters and service projects completed during my time as VP have made for great work products to present during interviews.

Do you have a writing/online publishing background, or are you interested in building experience in editing/writing? If so, this position is perfect for you. If you want to introduce new and emerging topics in the field of library and information science, interview literally WHOEVER you want (because you're the editor), and procrastinate on course assignments by spending time searching for the perfect (copyright-free) image to enhance your Q&A, then sign-up for GLISA (if you're not already a member) and shoot an email to with your resume and an elevator speech about why you would make a great VP. And, remember, if you still have two years ahead of you, being VP this year means you can be President next year!

Paloma Lenz served as the GLISA Vice President for the 2015-2016 academic year. She graduated last week on May 11, 2016. You can follow her on Twitter at @pl0la.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Take on the Final Exam Portfolio~~Guest Post

If you are relatively new to the TWU SLIS program, you may not even realize you are required to complete a final exam to receive your MLS.  Surprise, surprise!  Lucky you, welcome to the land of ambiguity and fingernail biting…but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In Blackboard, under My Organizations>>SLIS Student Resources, there is a folder called Final Exam Portfolio.  In its many sub-folders there are instructions, Q&A, and other information.

Some semesters, the Final Exam Committee offers a BB Collaborate informational session.  If the session is not offered, I suggest emailing one of the committee members for their slideshow or hints and tips.  Last year, I could not log into the correct session and missed it.  The session was not archived, either.  I emailed Dr. Perryman and she gladly gave me the slides.

Her two biggest take-away from the slides were to be succinct and to use the rubric elements as sub-headings.  Using the sub-headings allows the grader to easily see if you have addressed the rubric line item.  It also allows you to organize your thoughts logically.  Being succinct is more challenging.  I was as to the point and brief as possible, yet I had 20 pages total not including resources by the time I was finished. 

Planning for the FEP is essential.  The final exam is offered ONLY in the long semesters, NOT in summer.  Therefore, if you are graduating in August, you will need to plan to have your FEP turned in the spring prior.  In a way, this is advantageous for you.  I highly recommend that you use the breaks, whether summer or Christmas, to fully complete your FEP so that once the window opens, you only need to submit it.  This will allow you to focus on the classes you are taking without the stress of the final exam.  The submission window is only open about 20-30 days.  If you wait until the window opens to start the FEP, you will be in a world of hurt.

The FEP is in two parts:  your professional development plan and your work products essay.  Each of these sections is submitted separately, as is each of the three work products.  When working ahead, do not make the mistake, like I did, of collating all materials, including embedding my work products, into one report.  While I thought this was a more presentable approach, it will not work with the Blackboard submission system. 

Start planning now for which work products you want to submit.  Each of the three must be from different classes and each must express different competencies.  If your instructor tells you you have done an excellent job on a specific project or ‘highly recommends’ for you to include it, follow that lead.  If you’re unsure, ask that professor what they think about including it in the portfolio.  

While you can use one group project, I avoided this. For one, the other student had graduated and the link to the Web 2.0 tool we used was broken.  He created the user name and password for the account we used, so I was stuck.  Permission was not an issue for us, as we had previously agreed that its inclusion in FEPs was okay.  Also, upon reflection, I could not effectively link the parts of the project that I worked on to the competencies I wanted to cover.  With all these challenges, it simply was not worth my time to fret over it.  

Your professional development portion of the FEP is basically your five year plan.  What you want to be doing upon graduation and beyond, and how you are going to get there.  This is actually a really great exploration tool into what’s available for continuing education, job opportunities, and to visualize how you want to ‘do’ librarianship.  For a final reflection in another class, I started squirrelling away various pieces of information which I could also incorporate into the FEP professional development piece.  

Another interesting factor is that CMS is the required citation style for the FEP.  All previous classes I had taken at TWU required APA or MLS.  Having never used Chicago before, I immediately bookmarked Purdue’s OWL for CMS.  Don’t be confused, because the three work products you include in that portion of the FEP do NOT need to be changed.  They should remain in whichever citation style you used originally.

There is no need to be intimidated or fear the final exam portfolio.  The skills that you have been using during the entire degree program, planning, research, and writing, are all that are needed here.  Time management should be your only eyebrow lifter.  That can easily be vanquished by using the off-season well.  

Christine De Angelis was awarded the 2016 TWU College of Professional Education Student Award for Outstanding Student Service in SLIS for her time as President of GLISA.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Year as GLISA President~~Guest Post

I am writing this blog post as one of my final acts as President of GLISA.  And what a ride it has been!  Like some other GLISA officers, I came into this hesitantly; I jokingly say I was snookered in.  Really, I had won the GLISA ALA 2014 scholarship and was subsequently asked by then President Elizabeth Hollenbeck if I would like to be an officer.  Well, it was not really something I had endeavored for or even considered, but upon reflection (see, I did learn something in library school, lol), I really could not come up with an honest, viable excuse to say no.  The Nos I came up with were BS, with ‘No Time’ being the biggest lie.

Thus, I said okay.  Treasurer was out for me because I live in Houston with no plans on going to Denton.  Secretary?  No way, too much work.  I’m the secretary for my HOA, undoubtedly a larger and more complex organization than GLISA, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  Veep’s only is responsible for the newsletter each semester.  That sounded about my speed.  The hitch:  after Veep, you are expected to stay on as President the following year to provide continuity.  Eh, I could live with that.

My first year as Veep was a learning experience.  The first semester, I couldn’t get my poop in a group and the newsletter ended up being really late, like just before the semester ended.  I was not pleased with myself about that.  I sat out the second semester because of extended military training.  Even so, I felt like our leadership was weak and the officers did not gel.  I was even considering not continuing on as an officer the following fall.

The position of President requires a strong leader who can make a decision and stick with it.  S/he should ask for and welcome guidance from the experts and the other officers, but should not be ruled by committee for important items.  A good president also needs to be able to trust his / her officers and delegate authority.  If you are a person who must always be ‘in the weeds’ and micromanage, President is not the position for you.  That is not to say the president cannot get his / her hands dirty; on the contrary, you must lead by example.  One of the most important things I can say about being President is that you must tell all the officers your expectations from the get go.  By doing this, you are setting them up for success and also giving them an out before they get too deep if they don’t think they can handle it.

This year as President of GLISA has been AWESOME!  Under my guidance and suggestions, the officers came up with specific service projects for both semesters, created spectacular newsletters with ALL officers contributing and the VP editing, we garnered interest through intense social media coverage and our new blog / website, started an online book club, and more…Basically, we reinvented and reinvigorated GLISA to be a vibrant, positive student organization known throughout the SLIS department and campus wide.

My only important disappointment this year is leaving GLISA without officer volunteers for next school year.  Three of the officers graduated…oh, about 24-72 hours ago; a fourth graduates in summer.  The fifth has completed her term and will not continue.  If you’re reading this blog, you are probably a GLISA member or thinking of becoming one.  I know you’ve got it in you.  Stand up and represent…become an officer today.

Christine De Angelis, a TWU alumna for three days, is the current ~ former President of GLISA.  A life-long learner, she begins a genealogy continuing education class...tomorrow!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Being Web Administrator for GLISA - Guest Post

I fell into the web administrator position at the end of the fall 2015 semester. A friend and classmate, Nekeeta Borden, was the secretary; she and Raquel Williams, the web administrator, were both graduating, and Nekeeta wanted me to apply for one of the positions.

I worked full time when I was an undergraduate, so I never had time to hang around campus and get involved with my classmates and school organizations. I was excited at the thought of being more involved as a graduate student, but with TWU being the best choice for my educational goals, I realized that I would never really have the on-campus experience of being an involved student. In fact, living in Memphis, TN, meant that I would not even be able to attend a meetup, the Texas Library Conference, or graduation.

Even with that in mind, I wasn't too sure that I wanted to be a GLISA officer. Taking two classes a semester while raising a young son and balancing volunteer work seemed to be all I could handle. Before I knew it, Nekeeta and the current president Christine De Angelis were emailing me to say that the web administrator position was still open, and Raquel was sending me a list of duties. I felt pretty unprepared for the position, even though I have experience blogging and interacting on social media.

After the first GLISA meeting, I was hooked. I felt so comfortable with my fellow officers, and it was a lot of fun to find interesting articles to share on the GLISA Twitter and Facebook, because I knew I would get feedback and new thoughts on these articles from my classmates. I started the GLISA blog and invited students to share guest posts about classes, conferences, and thoughts on librarianship in general.

The point of GLISA is to provide a community for SLIS students and be a source of information and resources when it comes to school, the job search, and professional development. But GLISA is also a really fun organization to get involved with. As web administrator, my duties include:

  • Posting GLISA and SLIS information on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog.
  • Sharing interesting and thought-provoking articles on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog.
  • Keeping up with GLISA's Blackboard for students not on social media.
  • Writing blog posts and inviting submissions from current students.
  • Writing two articles a semester for the GLISA newsletter.
  • Participating in monthly meetings via Blackboard Collaborate.
  • Providing opinions on matters like GLISA merch, grading scholarship submissions, and more.

The time commitment, the thing that originally scared me away from a GLISA position, is completely manageable. The monthly meeting I previously mentioned is the only major commitment; the rest of the duties are done as I have time - and since the program is online, I found a lot of time to do a little GLISA work here and there while completing schoolwork.

I highly recommend the position of web administrator to anyone who loves finding interesting articles to share, sounding off on social media, writing blog posts, and being enthusiastic enough to get other people to chime in and get involved. Apply for a position, or nominate a classmate today!

Allison Renner, who lives in Memphis, TN, is the current GLISA web administrator. She graduates in August 2016 - so sign up to fill the position NOW!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Confessions of a Caterpillar Secretary - Guest Post

My experience as the secretary of the Graduate Library and Information Science Association (GLISA) was a pivotal time of growth and challenge. It symbolized evolution, metamorphosis, even. I was a reticent, pupal pupil, thrust from my cocoon of complacency & fear & excuses by some light flattery & a call to duty. I crawled through my tunnel, strewn with the leaves of seemingly endless papers (See what I did there with "leaves"?), enchanted by the faint glimmer of a promise. A promise to break the monotony of school work, the anonymity & disconnectivity that online classes can sometimes create. To my work-worn eyes, that promise was the sun…the GLISA sun! The sun was luminescent with creativity, collaborating, liaising, scribing, planning, & building relationships within the organization & the community at large.

You're thinking I'm a kitschy drama queen, right? Before you strain your pupils with the side-eyes & eye rolls, you should know some things about me. I am the consummate hot mess. I am a serial procrastinator with the MO of Amelia Bedelia meets Mr. Magoo. I am chronically tardy, allergic to outlines, & find structure claustrophobic. Holding an office, being accountable to members on a scholarly & professional level, is not at all ideal for my, erm, unique skill set. And I somehow managed to ROCK it. GLISA was the firm boot that kicked my flabby bottom out of my comfort zone, & I learned immensely from my time as secretary.

It's funny how much I enjoyed my term, seeing as I didn't want to be a secretary at all! I was gunning for web advisor because I loves me a good Facebook post & am uber social. When I discovered that position was already filled (by the fabulous Raquel Williams, who was much better suited for it), Dr. Richey convinced me to go out for secretary. The GLISA game kind of chose me...& being secretary was the best thing for my time commitments & personality. My duties consisted of:

  •  Arranging a mutually agreed upon time & date for monthly meetings.
  •  Sending out reminders via Google Calendar.
  •  Taking thorough notes during the meetings; disseminating the minutes within a week after each meeting.
  •  Reaching out to organizations for to scout potential donors & recipients.
  • Partnering with community organizations to further the mission of literacy; make GLISA's presence known.
  •  Brainstorming ideas for the semesterly community service project.
  • Writing 2 focus pieces for the semesterly GLISA newsletter.

The aspect of leadership I most feared was time management. If my life were a type of music, it would be a freestyle rap. During the fall semester, time was especially scarce, what with taking 3 graduate classes, 2 small kids, & a full-time job. The magic of GLISA is that it keeps students involved without being all-consuming. It helped to regard GLISA as a hands-on, add-on project rather than another class. I set aside time on breaks at work or on the weekends. And by setting aside, I mean casually nibbling at notes & pecking out ideas on GroupMe. I did not let it become a stressor, & really, there was no reason for it to be. GLISA didn't have a rubric or grades - it was a collection of plucky chicks on a like-minded mission. Really, it was a way for us to decompress, share articles about issues that affect librarians & job searchers, trade witticisms, & sharpen our professional teeth. And there were brunches & happy hours for the locals.

My secretarial duties majorly enhanced my organization skills. Setting the meetings & checking multiple communication outlets kept me accountable. Of all my activities, taking the minutes was the most intense & rewarding. Relaying your thoughts while simultaneously listening & responding to, then recording the thoughts of others will put hair on your chest. Being the scribe has informed me when leading meetings at work. I also learned how to use a number of helpful tools, like the GroupMe texting app & conference callings through Blackboard Collaborate.

My creativity was on TEN in GLISA! Because I wasn't so bound to the day-to-day processes as a president or vice president, I used that freedom to fling pixie dust on what could’ve become a staccato school org! I developed Season's Readings, a book drive where we collected children's & teen literature for young people in local shelters. I wrote a really cheesy jingle to market it to donors. Marrying the blazing sun logo with a book & torch, emblems of scholarship, I designed a cool pin. If you are an "ideas man" with questionable strategizing skills who bristles at strict structure & don't particularly enjoy telling people what to do, consider being the secretary. Fun projects abound to soothe the squirrel in you.

If you have a heart for community outreach, this is your gig! I wanted to make sure that we performed true service that would impact those in need and endure past our big date. By selecting three shelters as recipients, we got to make our giving personal & interactive.  We were able to see first-hand the depth of the need in our very own neighborhoods. And we sparked relationships that would open the door for future collaborations. The best part? We made founding donations for THREE mini-libraries!!! When I called each place, I had no idea they were establishing lending libraries. I just knew it was hard for low income families to access quality books when school was closed. When Project Row Houses showed us the space for their library & we saw all the kids on site who would benefit from our donations, it was one of the proudest, most gratifying moments of my career. There was something really fulfilling about meeting up on that cold, rainy Saturday to bring some GLISA sunshine to oft-overlooked communities.

I’m one of the least put-together people you don’t know, but I’m really proud of the work I did with GLISA. I discovered strengths I didn’t know I had, and I made the secretary position my own. I would totally sneak in the back door for another term, but seeing as I’m not a student anymore, that presents an ethics issue. So I’m calling you out. Sign up for secretary and put your signature stank on it. Arise, chubby caterpillar, take your wings, and fly toward the GLISA sun!

Nekeeta Borden was the GLISA secretary before graduating in December 2015. She is currently a Librarian I for Fort Bend County. Scholarships and awards Nekeeta has won include: 2015 Literacy Matters Minority; 2015 E.J. Josey; Published in the Winter 2015 Black Caucus of the ALA News Journal "What's Old is New Again: Traditional Library Services in the 21st Century" (Vol 42:1); 2014 D. Genevieve Dixon; 2014 Michelle S. Lee Endowed; 2014 Janeway, Texas Library Association.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Post-Graduation GLISA Meetup in Houston

Can you believe it?!?  Graduation is here!

All SLIS students & GLISA members are welcome to attend our final gathering.

Please join us for the final GLISA Houston meetup this school year.  We will meet at Under the Volcano, 2349 Bissonnet St. (near Morningside) Houston, TX 77005 after the graduation ceremony on Wednesday 11 MAY 2016 for camaraderie and conversation.  It is about 1.5 miles from Tudor Fieldhouse.

Near the Village but not quite of the village, Under the Volcano attracts its share of preppy Rice students and chill locals. There's more than one patio for sitting and relaxing.   There's pool for the sporty types, a tiki area for something a little different, and live music from time to time. Under the Volcano is a great under-the-radar spot to hang out with friends or meet some new ones.

Hope to see all of you there!

2015-2016 GLISA Officers

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Lending Library for Project Row Houses - Houston, TX: Guest Post

The fall 2015 service project was Season's Readings, a collaboration between GLISA officers in Houston and Denton, collected over 1,000 picture, children’s, and young adult books for donation to four non-profit organizations. Project Row Houses (PRH), a community-based arts and culture non-profit in Houston’s Third Ward, was a recipient of several hundred books. Upon delivery, Walter Hull, the Education Coordinator at PRH, shared his excitement over the large amount of donated books delivered and explained that the Education House would be transformed into a neighborhood lending library beginning in spring 2016. GLISA President, Christine DeAngelis, and Vice President, Paloma Lenz, offered GLISA’s assistance in creating an online catalog for the library in order to track the inventory of books and enable the creation of patron accounts. Mr. Hull accepted the proposition and in February both GLISA officers began working to identify a low-cost online cataloging system fit for a small library.
The officers chose Libib, an online cloud cataloging system that allows users to catalog books, DVDs, CDs, and video games in their collection for free. Going pro with the system means users can customize their own online catalog and enable searching and lending, along with a variety of other features, for just $60 a year. Libib also has apps available for download on iPhone and Android devices. Additionally, the officers decided on a classification system based on genres adapted for children, teens, and adults.

On April 9, Christine and Paloma spent 7 hours cataloging 253 books into the Libib account created for PRH. The cataloging process included searching for the books in Libib either by keyword or ISBN, adding the record to the collection, applying a “group” (or subject heading), tags, and any necessary notes or summaries for the books. Many of the titles were already in the system, a handful required manual entry.

The officers returned April 15 for another 6 hours to continue cataloging, ending the day with a total of 398 items in the collection. Currently, the officers have a handful of books awaiting cataloging before they begin physically applying labels to the books. They anticipate two more days will be necessary to complete the project. 

At the end of their most recent visit, the Houston GLISA officers met with PRH’s Executive Director, Eureka Gilkey, who shared Mr. Hull’s enthusiasm for GLISA’s assistance in the building and design of the new lending library, assuring GLISA that the work being done is of great value to PRH and will be a lasting contribution to the organization and the surrounding community.

Paloma Lenz is the Vice President of GLISA, and graduates in May - congrats, Paloma!

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Tao of TLA 2016: Guest Post

It was my good fortune to receive the GLISA scholarship to attend the Texas Library Association (TLA) 2016 Conference in Houston. It was Disneyland, complete with my favorite characters. Throughout the week I dined with old friends, made new TWU friends, finally met one of my favorite TWU professors, sang along with other Opening Ceremony attendees the Reading Rainbow theme song, and heard LeVar Burton, Jeff Kinney, and Dav Pilkey speak. And I gave Dan Salmieri, the illustrator of Dragons Love Tacos, a huge hug after the Illustrators Sketch-Off. But wait, you ask. Aren’t you studying academic librarianship?

 Early in the MLS program we were asked to define the path of our studies. Although academic librarianship is my primary interest, my passion is divided. My young children are in primary school. Our family is breathing the Texas 2x2 and Bluebonnet books. So between fascinating sessions on censorship, the application of ACRL competences to academic curricula, the nature of embedded librarianship, and the pros and cons of open source vs. closed source LIS software, there were Bluebonnet awards luncheons and Speed Dating sessions with the authors. GLISA gave me four perfect days where my diverse library interests came together. Heaven.

 If you’re not a member of GLISA yet, you’re missing out. If you are a member, thank you. I am a better librarian for having attended TLA. And better fed. There were waffles and wings, y’all, at the TWU Breakfast Klub Meet Up. See you there in 2017.

Guest post by Rebecca Cannon, winner of the GLISA TLA scholarship! Rebecca is a GLISA member from Tyler, TX, who will graduate Fall 2016.

Monday, April 25, 2016

What’s in a Word? Guest Post

My community grocery store prominently displays a small selection of art created by students at our local primary school.  The engraved plaques beneath the frames read:  “This art presented by an Inspiring Artist.”  I cringe every time I pass the display.

According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, and relayed on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” radio program, extroverts are less likely to be bothered by small grammatical errors, whereas introverts report being more significantly annoyed.  Additionally, those likely to be bothered fell into the “curmudgeonly” personality traits as measured by the Big Five Personality Test.

Guilty as charged.  I have found myself editing in red pen poorly worded business flyers that misuse homophones and flagrantly disrespect the grammatical rules of a literate, educated society.  If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then with proper grammar we ascend to Nirvana.  I don’t actually do anything with my edits, mind you.  But I do become peevish when people publish poorly written English.  There are rules, people.

So I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to grammar.  Does being right bring me any happiness? Not really.  Just the opposite.  Dr. Richard Carlson’s classic advises us “not to sweat the small stuff.”  My yoga instructor guides me similarly.   And in no religion are grammatical errors a sign of the End Times, so maybe I can relax at bit.

Maybe the difference between an inspiring artist and an aspiring artist is in the eye of the beholder.  And these eyes are choosing to see the happier side of grammar.

Guest post by Rebecca Cannon, a GLISA member from Tyler, TX, who will graduate Fall 2016.


Carlson, R. (1997). Don't sweat the small stuff-- and it's all small stuff: Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life. New York: Hyperion.

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me [Radio Program]. (2016, April 2). Chicago, Illinois: National Public Radio.  Accessed 4/15/16 from

Boland JE, Queen R (2016) If You’re House Is Still Available, Send Me an Email: Personality Influences Reactions to Written Errors in Email Messages. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0149885.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149885 accessed 4/15/16 from

Friday, April 22, 2016

TLA Session Reviews: Guest Post

Hello from Houston! The conference has been great. There are so many sessions to attend and with the little free time I have had, I have been frantically trying to complete one of my last papers due before graduation. I attended both the Speed Mentoring and the Getting More Out of Networking Events as I felt both of those were areas I needed to work on.

Mentoring is such an important part of our profession and we should all do as much as possible to encourage each other to grow and share our knowledge. The Speed Mentoring session was a fun way to get career advice. It worked like speed dating, in that us "mentees" had 8 minutes with each mentor to ask career advice before they rang the bell to move on. Each of the mentors were experienced librarians from public, school, or academic libraries and were all Tall Texans so they had plenty of tips and advice to share. One of the most important idea I came away with was how important it is to create a brain trust. What is a brain trust? It's finding a group of like minded librarians who are doing the same thing you are. Email librarians who work at the same position you do and ask to meet over coffee and then share experiences and tips. Having a support network is very important. What else? Get involved at the district and state level. Volunteering helps to get you noticed, builds your brain trust, and helps to grow your network.

The second session, Getting More Out of Networking Events led by Maureen Sullivan, was also an interactive session. Networking events mean you have to actually talk to people. As an academic librarian, I will be attending faculty events and will always need to be a champion for the library. This may take a lot of us out of our comfort zone and this session gave us tips and practice developing our skills. We learned how to break the ice and also how to gracefully exit the conversation. It's important at these events to not hug the sidelines are just talk to the one person you recognize. Get out and mingle, that's what networking events are. So how to break the ice? Talk about what book they are reading or what was their favorite childhood book. Pets are always a safe topic. Most everyone likes animals and talking about pets is a great icebreaker. What do you do if they say they're allergic? Commiserate and ask if they have ever had an aquarium. What do you like to do in your spare time? You get the picture, don't you? After we discussed these ice breaking strategies, we were given a handout and had to practice what we learned. Maureen knew we were all apprehensive but said we had 15 minutes to meet 8 new people, get their names and contact information, and learn something about them before moving on. When she said time's up, to our surprise 30 minutes had passed and we all were talking and moving without any problem. Surprisingly, I found I had a lot more in common than I thought. I found people who had lived in my home state, liked bassets (who doesn't), and loved baseball. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. If this is something you feel is out of your comfort zone, try it out at your next gathering and I think you too will be surprised at how easy it actually is to talk to strangers.

Guest post by Deborah Hathaway, a GLISA member who will be graduating in August (whoohoo!). Check out more library posts on her blog, Musing from Within the Stacks.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Too Busy to Celebrate National Library Week, But in a Good Way: Guest Post

Our local primary school library (and media center!) was too busy to celebrate National Library Week. When I realized suddenly that, as the PTA Library Liaison, I might have organized something to celebrate, I couldn’t figure out how. Because, really, the library was just too busy working…as a library.

Our library and its adjacent media center are like the kitchen in a house with its doors flung open. There are always lots of busy, boisterous kids who want a book and a snack and who need to tell you something truly important.

Teachers, administrators and staff make full use of the library by hosting meetings, requesting resources, discussing solutions for tricky teaching situations, hosting book clubs and running Skypes with authors. The library invites impromptu conversations that spark ideas or resolve questions. Perhaps it’s the library’s location, literally in the center of the school. However, it’s more likely that the happy chaos is due to the librarian’s (media specialist!) emphasis on community among the stacks.

In fact, this week our school hosted its annual Silent Auction, a fundraiser months in the making. Parents, teachers and students collaborated in creating art for auction and succeeded in raising the funds required to continue several important projects. The event is held…in the library.

And so, National Library Week was overlooked. Not because we don’t love our library. Rather, because our school library is so central to the academic, social and community life of the school that it was over-run with purpose. Honestly, I think that’s the best homage to libraries that a community can pay, especially on National Library Week.

Guest post by Rebecca Cannon, a GLISA member from Tyler, TX, who will graduate Fall 2016.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zombies in the Library: Guest Post

I’m on a personal fitness improvement mission and have incorporated the library into my routine. In the past, I would arrive early and use this time to prepare myself for the day’s challenges, i.e. surf Facebook. Now, however, I use this time to walk all four floors of my library, in and out of each and every stack. It’s amazing what titles seem to catch your eye as you walk by and what floor soon becomes your favorite one to walk through. Today, my mind slipped into auto-mode and I found myself contemplating zombies. Yes, you read it correctly…zombies.

I admit that I enjoy a good zombie flick but what is it about zombies that has captured the world’s attention? There are movies, World War Z is a personal favorite, television series such as The Walking Dead, and trashy novels featuring zombies in every genre possible being published every month. All my personal zombie research led to my question of the day. If a zombie apocalypse occurred, what floor of the library would I want to be confined to for a long period of time?

My office is on the lower level (read: basement but everyone knows Texas does not have basements) and is very large and roomy, close to the restroom and most important only has one window and a door that locks. The drawback? The books shelved on this floor are A-D763 and that means I would only have access to philosophy, psychology, theology, and the teensiest range of history for my reading enjoyment. I’m ruling out the main floor as it has too much glass, no restrooms, and is the circulation and reference area. Spending my days reading Ulrich’s or looking at Who’s Who in America might have me opening the door to the zombie horde. The third floor has definite possibilities as D-N are shelved here. I like history and love looking through art books but would definitely have to skip the law section. This floor also has a kitchen and a restroom which add to the positive side although odds are that nothing would work in the kitchen but it does have a locking door. The final floor, the fourth floor, houses the P-Z range. Although it does have a glass wall along the inner wall, the idea of spending my days reading my way through the great literature of the world makes this a risk I could accept. Additional positives are a restroom and two study rooms with locking doors.

My decision is made. When the zombie hordes arrive on campus, I will make my way to the fourth floor, barricade the stairwell doors with tables, and read until rescued. How about you?

Where will you be if zombies invade your library? 

Guest post by Deborah Hathaway, a GLISA member who will be graduating in August (whoohoo!). Check out more library posts on her blog, Musing from Within the Stacks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Club Discussion: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Discussion questions for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten:

1. Who do you think is the "unlikely hero" in this book?

Future questions will be added to this post, and you can also follow along in real time as they are posted on Facebook and Twitter using #GLISAreads.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What's going on with GLISA?

Happy Monday, GLISA members! Here are a few noteworthy things to kick your week off right.

- TLA is April 19-22 -- are you going? Chime in on the comments of this post, Blackboard, or Facebook. Several members are getting together, and some need roommates to save on hotel costs.

- Threads and discussion questions will be posted this week for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten on GLISA's Blackboard forum, Facebook page, and Twitter account (using the hashtag #GLISAreads). Chime in if you're reading the book, and if not, check out the posts to see if the book is something you'd be interested in reading.

- Guest posts for the blog are now being accepted! Sound off on you experience being a distance student at TWU, or the stress (and relief!) of the final exam portfolio, or graduation. Guest bloggers can be current students or alumni, so spread the word! You can do a one time gig or be a continuing guest.  Please contact Allison Renner, Web Administrator, for further details at

- Don't forget to check out the new volunteer opportunities that are available in the Library Research Data and Assessment Office. There are positions available for both distance and local students, so don't miss out on this great experience to learn, network, and build your resume!

- Another great volunteer opportunity is, of course, to become a GLISA officer! Check out the positions available and the duties required, then send an email to with your information - or the name of an outstanding classmate you'd like to nominate!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Volunteering with the Library Research Data and Assessment Office

GLISA has some exciting volunteering opportunities available through the Library Research Data and Assessment Office in the Blagg-Huey Library. Dr. Sita Peri, Director of Research Data and Assessment, is excited to have us working with her and the other departments in the library as a way for students to gain extra working experience in libraries and wants to develop on on-going volunteering program with GLISA members.

These volunteering projects can be for both local and distance students and can be tailored to your own interests. Projects may include doing content analysis, flexible quantitative research methods, and evidence-based reporting practices.

Some of the projects that were suggested include:
   - Analyzing Reference Statistics and Creating Assessment Summaries
   - Editing and Reviewing Assessment Reports, Surveys, and Interviews from Various Library
   - Interpreting Instruction Data and Literacy Assessments
   - Analyzing General Student Responses and Feedback for Library Improvement

For Denton/DFW Students:
   - Working as a Roving Student Ambassador (answering student questions and ensuring their
     needs are met when staff are not available, mainly on the 3rd floor)
   - Working on the Student Advisory Board for Services and Facility Improvement (walking around
     the library and taking notes on what students are doing, like moving the comfy chairs into study
     rooms, etc.)

If you have ideas about a project or would like to talk to her about one of the projects above, please contact Dr. Peri at 940-898-3776 or (Please use the subject heading "GLISA Volunteering Interest" and your email if possible.) All projects need to be approved by the Library Administration.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Become a GLISA officer!

Are you looking for an opportunity to gain leadership experience? Want an opportunity to connect with other SLIS students? Need more experience for your resume? Want a more active role in your graduate studies experience?

GLISA needs you! 

GLISA (the TWU Graduate Library and Information Studies Association) is the graduate student professional association for the SLIS program. GLISA is currently seeking officers for the 2016-2017 school year.

Candidates should be GLISA members in good standing who will be enrolled in at least one SLIS course during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. Learn more about GLISA and become a member HERE! Nominations and memberships are open to both master level and doctoral students. 

To nominate yourself or another candidate for a GLISA Officer position, please send an email to with the candidate’s qualifications and a brief statement of support. Volunteer today to make a positive difference with GLISA by serving on the new Officer team!

A brief description of the officers' duties:

  •  The President shall preside at all meetings, direct the activities of the other officers, and oversee matters concerning membership, publications, and GLISA-sponsored projects and activities. 
  • The Vice President will serve as the President Elect, and must commit to being an officer for two years. S/he shall be responsible for publicizing the activities of the association. S/he will serve as editor of the GLISA newsletter. 
  • The Secretary shall record the minutes of every GLISA meeting and and make them available to members on the GLISA Blackboard site. S/he will also write notes of appreciation where appropriate on behalf of the chapter. S/he will create drafts for correspondence, advertisement, marketing, etc.
  • The Treasurer shall collect dues. S/he will keep accurate records of membership and financial matters transacted by GLISA.
  • The Web Administrator shall update and maintain GLISA's online presence, including the Blackboard site, GLISA blog, and social networking sites.