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




 title of the newsletter: The Silverfish


March 2004

Vol VIII Issue III

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Information School
University of Washington
About the Silverfish
Editorial Board
Submission Guidelines
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iServe, uServe, We All Serve

By Blythe Summers, MLIS Day
With so many iOrganizations out there, it is understandably hard to keep them all straight, but iServe is one student group you’ll want to pay attention to. As one of two new co-chairs for the organization, I am shamelessly exploiting my position on Silverfish staff to tell you about iServe.

The mission of iServe is to put students in the iSchool in touch with volunteer opportunities related to library and information science. It is the new incarnation of a group some of you may recognize better as Friends of First Place. Last year Friends of First Place raised money to purchase a barcode scanner for the library at First Place School—a school for children who are homeless or in transition. The group soon realized its potential to serve other worthwhile causes. Original co-chairs Katie Fearer and Tricia Kenealy developed a vision statement and constitution to reflect the new, broader goals of the organization.

iServe has dual goals of serving the community with our skills as information professionals, as well as serving as a resource for iSchool students interested in volunteering. The vision statement says, “We recognize that there are many people who, for reasons such as poverty, lack of education, language barriers, and disabilities, are unable to acquire information that is essential to their quality of life. We believe that through direct service, information professionals and students can help break down barriers to information access, while enriching their own academic and professional lives.”

One problem identified by the organization is that despite the many volunteer opportunities, many of us hear about them through an email that gets buried in an inbox before we can get back to it. To address this problem, Sarah Zabel, one of the original members of the organization and current co-chair, is overseeing the building of a database that will hold information on all the volunteer opportunities that comes iServe’s way. The estimated completion date of the database is in June.

In the meantime, iServe meets at least once a month to discuss new volunteer opportunities that we have heard about and to organize some of our own. In December, iServe led a group of volunteers downtown to staff the holiday carousel and the proceeds went to Page Ahead. Currently on the horizon is a group volunteer trip to the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and upcoming volunteer opportunities surrounding the opening of the new Central Library in May. Anyone and everyone affiliated with the iSchool is welcome to come to the meetings to simply listen, or to share information about opportunities.

In early spring quarter, iServe will also host a volunteer forum. iServe invites students and others to briefly speak about volunteer opportunities that they are involved with. For iSchool students leaving a volunteer position as they graduate, this is the perfect opportunity for them to find another iSchool student to take their place.

Watch for posters on the fourth floor, and of course for emails announcing upcoming meetings and events.

Co-Chair: Sarah Zabel
Co-Chair: Blythe Summers
Secretary: Erin Hawk
Treasurer: Lisa Euster
Webmaster: Dianne Ludwig
Alumni Relations: Tricia Kenealy

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