The Newsletter of the Association of Library and Information Science Students

The Silverfish Logo

[Formerly the Sojourner]
Autumn 2000


A Note from ALISS

Welcome (back) students to a new beginning! This year promises to be one of firsts - the first in our new digs in Mary Gates Hall and the first with our new undergraduate major and Ph.D. program. At the same time, we are reintroducing the student newsletter, The Silverfish. Though this first newsletter is in print, we plan this quarterly newsletter to be primarily an electronic publication. Look for future issues on the soon-to-be revamped ALISS web page.

Make New Friends - and Socialize With the Old
At the moment, we at ALISS are busy planning our schedule for the new year. Look for monthly open meetings where you can share your suggestions. To start the school year off right, the first social event will be a potluck picnic in Lower Woodland Park (at Shelter 6 - in case it rains) from 12-5 on Saturday, October 7. ALISS will provide beverages. Look for more information (and a reminder) on IANNOUNCE.

We at ALISS would like to encourage you to get involved. Check out our web page for volunteer opportunities or just email us ( with your ideas. We'd like to be advocates for the student body, while providing an opportunity for socialization. Remember - we're here for you! Watch for the student organization info booth October 3rd and 4th to find out what we're all about (or just come and say hi.)

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Librarians Land in Chi-town! - A Student's View of the ALA Annual Conference

Over 20,000 delegates from all walks of librarianship, as well as vendors, students, and “library fans.” All navigating, or trying to navigate, the enclave of Midwest chic that is Chicago. This year the annual conference of the American Library Association was taking place in its home city from July 6-12. Not only was this my first trip to ALA, it was also my first trip to Chicago, and as our school's representative in ALA's Student-to-Staff program, I wanted to be a good ambassador.

In the Student-to-Staff program, each student gets assigned to a particular ALA division, office, or conference function and works for approximately 20 hours during the conference, getting an inside glimpse into the workings of the conference and the association. I was assigned to two very active divisions: LAMA (Library Administration and Management Association) and ALCTS (“"alects”" Association for Library Collections and Technical Services). Some of my tasks were quite mundane—-filling out photocopy requests and packing slips. Others were more exciting, especially taking a cab to Wrigley Field to deliver ball caps to game-going librarians (alas, I could not stay for the game!). Board meetings of both LAMA and ALCTS filled the last day of my duties—-these afforded a unique view into the odd machinations of ALA. This is an organization that operates on parliamentary procedure, so there are rules, forms, and protocols for everything that gets done.

When not working, I had difficulty deciding what to do with my time. Do I go to a conference session? Walk through the HUGE exhibit area? Skip out on the conference altogether and go to the Art Institute? Well, I had time to do all of these, plus a little more. I highly recommend going to conference sessions to hear papers. First, they provide great information. Second, they allow you to become accustomed to the professional conversation in a particular area. Undoubtedly you will find that you want to go to 5 or 6 sessions that are happening at the same time, in at least 3 different hotels. Although the conference shuttles are efficient, they aren't that efficient. (When planning your trip, make sure to budget for cab fares. I had planned on going the cheap route and taking public transportation during my stay, but those cabs are quite convenient, and fares can stack up.)

As a result, the sessions I attended were partially determined by where I needed to be for my ALA duties. One session on outsourcing included the director from Florida Gulf Coast University, who outsourced most all of the technical services functions to get a new university's library up and running in short order. The LAMA President's Program proved to be another compelling session on “multiple generations of users,” featuring Mary Catherine Bateson speaking on the “silent generation,” and other speakers addressing the Boomers and Generations X and Y. Susan Smayda from Wallingford Public Library (CT) attested to the success of her library's book groups and “adopt-a-shelf” program (I love that idea!).

Did I mention yet how HUGE the exhibit area was? Here, you'll find all the major vendors, publishers, and educational/information dot-coms. You'll also be reminded of the more low-profile businesses: the plastic book enclosure people, the bar-code-card guys, the plastic basket folks. And my favorite stall: the commemorative brick people. As students, you probably won't be in the market for a moveable shelving system any time soon, but you can cruise around the exhibits for potential employers.

Networking in the exhibits is one way to find your next job, albeit a slightly low-percentage one in the short-term. A better bet is the Placement Center, also known as the “meat market” (or “"meet market"), where you can submit a resume at the beginning of the conference and check back occasionally to see if an employer wants to interview you. Yes, you can leave the conference with a job! The atmosphere of this place is very much like a cattle call, but I couldn't resist submitting my own credentials. I wasn’'teven thinking of being on the market when I arrived. At the very least, you can talk to some of the recruiters, who are for the most part from public libraries. I chatted with the representative from my hometown, Sacramento.

Or—-and I highly recommend this alternative—-you can go to the bar closest to the exhibits and main conference venue. Sit up at the bar, not at a table. Order a mineral water with a twist if you prefer. On a break between sessions and before dinner, I stopped by the Hyatt Regency bar and ended up talking with Prudence _____, director of the Abbeville-Greenwood Regional Library in South Carolina. Her library had 3 positions open: branch manager, technical services and reference. Not quite ready to relocate, I took some of her cards and passed them out to fellow student helpers who were interested.

There are so many other tidbits that I wish I could fit into this space: meeting students from other schools as well as our school's alumni, talking to representatives from companies such as Ebrary and Questia, and enjoying the Taste of Chicago and the Art Institute. In place of more stories, however, I would rather leave you with a recommendation. Go to next year's ALA Annual Conference, scheduled for June 14-20 in San Francisco (how convenient!). You can meet some wonderful colleagues, participate in conversations about the hot topics facing today’s libraries, and possibly talk with your future employer.

For more observations and tips from Lisa's trip to ALA, and to find out what NBA star she spotted in a hotel lobby, come to the informational session sometime in October (details to be announced a future date).

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Student Organization News

The Special Librarian Association welcomes back returning students and extends a warm welcome for everyone new to the I School. SLA-UW is the UW chapter of the regional Pacific Northwest Chapter of the even larger, national SLA. Needless to say there are lots of opportunities for networking and learning about special libraries. Here are some of the ways to get involved with SLA:

Join us at one of the monthly professional chapter meetings. These take place in the evening and consist of a 'social time' before a program/speaker. We'll meet as students before and head to the meeting together. Of course, there's a special student rate.

Look for more information about our monthly informal brown bag discussion series . We'll be bringing in local 'experts' on a variety of topics such as networking, project management, presentation skills and contract writing.

Tours! Check out local special libraries up close and personal with our quarterly tours. Microsoft and NOAA/National Archives in the fall.

Later in the year we'll have a resume night sponsored by the regional SLA chapter to get feedback from professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Also look for the annual 'non-traditional info/library careers' panel.

So there is lots to do and we hope you'll join us. National membership isn't required to participate in these activities, but now's the time to join (for just $35) so you'll receive the SLA magazine and have access to their 'members only' section their Web site, plus more benefit sort of stuff. For more about us visit the SLA UW web site

-Pam Green
SLA-UW chair

The Graduate & Professional Student Senate (GPSS) is the official student government for all of the more than 9000 graduate and professional students at the University of Washington. The I School has two senators on GPSS and you could be one of them. The commitment involves a monthly meeting and occasional email forwarding. We represent the I School student's interests at the senate and bring back information that our 'constituents' need to know. It's a great way to get a sense of the rest of the graduate community as well as get an interesting experience to include on your resume. For more about GPSS visit their Web site. If you're interested in serving send a message to ALISS. Elections will be held in the next few weeks.

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Five Free/Cheap Things to do on Campus

Five free/cheap things to do on campus:

  1. Visit the Burke Museum - This natural history museum is free to students! For information on hours and current exhibits, see the Burke Museum Web page.
  2. Go to the Henry Art Gallery - also free to students, information regarding the Gallery may be found here.
  3. Go canoeing at the Waterfront Activities Center - Canoeing costs only $3 per hour for students,but go soon - after October 31st, the WAC is closed until February.
  4. Get some exercise - go to the IMA! Exercise is great for reducing stress and if you're a student, your activity fee covers entry to the student gym. Classes are reasonably priced and there are a number of club sports for those competitive folks out there. For more information see the IMA page.
  5. Attend ASUW movie nights - The Associated Students of the University of Washington show a variety of films throughout the quarter. Last year's prices were $2 for a single film or $3 for a double feature (you can buy two tickets with your student ID card). Though this quarter's schedule is not yet posted, it will be soon here.

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Silverfish Name Change

Do you have an idea for the renaming of The Silverfish? Send your ideas to Kristin Dermody. Entries will be judged by a panel of your peers and presented in the next edition.

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Submissions Requested

nterested in sharing your knowledge with the rest of the student body? Have you been involved in directed fieldwork or a class outside of the department? Send your Silverfish submissions to Kristin Dermody

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Edited by Kristin A. Dermody (last updated 9/25/00)
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