Newsletter of the Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS)




 title of the newsletter: The Silverfish


February 2004

Vol VIII Issue II

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University of Washington
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NEW! Silverfish Advice Column
*Featuring* Marion the Librarian and Information Professional

Edited by Cheri Streby, MLIS Evening
funky librarian image
Image used courtesy of Virtual Librarian.
Greeting iSchoolers! Starting this month, Silverfish welcomes Marion the Librarian and Information Professional to our staff. Marion and her staff will be here each month to answer your questions about all things iSchool.

This month, Marion tackles the difficult issues of keeping up with your class reading workload and group project challenges.

Marion is here to help! If there is an issue of interest to you, or if you feel you need some suggestions or advice regarding Information School related matters, please send your anonymous questions via our Catalyst form.

We look forward to receiving your questions!


February Letters

Dear Marion,

I am a first year MLIS student and the reading workload is killing me! I just can’t keep up and it’s stressing me out. Any suggestions?


Dear Stressed,

First of all, you are not alone. The MLIS program, as well as the other Information School programs, does require a lot of reading, much of it heavy on theory, which can be pretty tough to get through. Not to worry, we’ll get through this together!

First of all, to help with retention, it is a good idea to schedule reading time into your schedule when you are most alert. If you are a morning person, read then. If you are better in the afternoons, try to do your reading then.

Next, take notes! A very wise graduate of the MLIS program who has gone on to much success in the real world counseled me to use note cards when reading. Use these cards to make note of what you feel are the key points in the material.

Lastly, some classes require more careful reading of assigned materials than others. You will get a feel in the first couple weeks of the class for just how big a part the assigned readings will play in class discussions and assignments. Of course, you should try to complete all the assigned readings for each of your classes, but if your schedule is getting too crazy, focus your energy towards the readings for the classes in which the readings play a greater role.

There you go, Stressed – with some attention to scheduling your time and energy, you’ll get a handle on your reading workload!


Dear Marion,

Help! I am having issues with one of my team members for a big group project! This person is like, my way or the highway, and will not listen to suggestions from me or the other members of my team.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Dear Why Can’t We All Just Get Along,

Have you talked to your team members and are they feeling the same way that you are? Be sure that everyone is in agreement on this person’s behavior and wants to do something about it. Honestly, some of your team members may prefer to let this person take charge. If this is the case, you should defer to the majority and tough it out.

Now, if the rest of your group does feel that something needs to change, one of you needs to take this person aside for a private chat and let them know (in a polite way of course) that their domination of the team is making it very difficult to complete your work. I suggest that only one of you talk to the bossy one, so that this person does not feel as though the team is “ganging up” on him or her.

I won’t lie to you, group projects are one of the most challenging aspects of the Information School programs. Perhaps you are into your third of fourth quarter and have done a few group projects already, so you are familiar with the challenges. But if you are new to this, please know that this too shall pass and your chances of getting a better group dynamic the next time are good.

Another important thing to remember is that you will more than likely be required to work in groups when you go out into the work place and that the experience that you are gaining here will be invaluable in those situations. Also, to be able to say in a job interview that you are a veteran of working in groups will be a fantastic advantage and one of the benefits of working on group projects.

Good Luck!