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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.