Friday, April 8, 2016

LISSA's New Officers for 2016-2017!

Hi all,
It is my pleasure to announce our two new LISSA officers that will be serving in 2016-2017! Elections were not held for these positions this time as we only had one candidate for each officer position come forward during the nomination period. Heather O'Brien has been appointed as LISSA President, and Jess Land has been appointed as LISSA Secretary. Congratulations and thanks to both of these ladies for volunteering their time and efforts to continue LISSA's endeavor in promoting the importance of libraries and professional development as well as serving our local community. 

Heather (left) and Jess (right)
About Heather:
Heather is a second-year MLIS student with a focus on academic librarianship, and intends to pursue a Ph.D. in medieval studies after graduation in Spring 2017. She graduated magna cum laude from Newberry College in 2014, with majors in History and English, as a Bachman Honors Scholar in the top 8% of her class. She worked in the college's Wessels Library for two academic years as a circulation assistant and tutor. Currently, Heather spends her out-of-class time as a graduate assistant in Thomas Cooper Library, instructional assistant in McMaster College, and seasonally grading the written scores of California's CAASPP test for the Educational Testing Service. She is an avid reader and writer of fantasy fiction and fur-parent of four cats.

About Jess:
Jess is a second-year student in the MLIS program at USC. She is interested in academic libraries and hopes upon graduation to end up working in a middle or high school environment. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Winthrop University in English, Creative Writing in 2014. In her free time Jess enjoys reading, paddle boarding on Lake Murray, practicing yoga, and teaching Spin classes. She is excited to become more involved in LISSA and looks forward to working with everyone!

Please join us on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm in Davis 112 for LISSA's last member meeting of the semester, and to welcome our two new officers (please note the time change from our usual meeting time).

Monday, January 11, 2016

LISSA's VP Presents at ALISE

Mir Parvin, our VP, recently presented the ALISE conference in Boston, MA. Below, she recounts her experience and exhorts MLIS students to explore new opportunities made possible through such professional conferences.

What is it all about?
I started off 2016 with a visit to ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) conference in Boston, MA, from January 4 to January 9, 2016. My poster was selected as a work-in-progress contribution. This is my second poster in a professional conference but the first one as a primary author. My first poster was selected for SCLA conference in 2015, which won an award. My current poster has the title of “Techniques of Information Seeking Behavior and Personal Information Management (PIM) of University Students: A Pilot Study”.  The ALISE work-in-progress contributions are generally foundational in nature and will go through more developments. I attended this conference as a guest participant to my husband, Hassan Zamir, who is a SLIS PhD student and a member of ALISE.

What was my main purpose?
My poster was developed from the SLIS 707 Information Organization and Retrieval course project. It included a review on the current studies and practices in the area of information seeking and Personal Information Management (PIM). I investigated current customs of information seeking and PIM activities from the perspectives of tools and technologies. It focused on the techniques that are used for information searching and personal information management. The specific populations were the undergraduate students of University of South Carolina. The aim of this research was to compare and extend the current study findings in the area of information seeking and PIM. To explore the practices of information searching and PIM activities of undergraduate students in a knowledge-based society I took a survey through Google Forms. 

Image 1: With ALISE president and SLIS director Dr. Sam while presenting my poster
Image 1: With ALISE president and SLIS director Dr. Sam while presenting my poster
What were my experiences?
I was one of the very few MLIS students at this conference. Most of the attendees of ALISE conference are either faculty or doctoral students. It was a rewarding experience for me in terms of knowledge, networking, professional opportunities, and of course the wonder Boston city site seeing. ALISE conference is especially good for faculty, doctoral students. Most of the doctoral students’ works were related to their dissertations. There were many sessions including panel and workshops. SLIS held un-conference sessions throughout the whole conference. There was a doctoral students poster session, which was followed by an award giving ceremony. It is a great place for doctoral candidates to apply for jobs and interview the potential schools. I heard it is known as the formal ‘job-meet-market’ for various LIS professionals. SLIS doctoral students were actively visible in various sessions. Our director, Dr. Sam Hastings, was the outgoing president of ALISE. She skillfully managed, as always, the whole conference and turned it into a successful one.

Why is ALISE good for MLIS students?
MLIS students can specifically explore new opportunities. They can learn about the attending schools if they wish to start doctoral programs after the graduation. Moreover, there are advertisements for librarianship positions. The soon-to-be-graduates, therefore, can meet the employers for interviewing. Also, they can become involve with various professional organizations, which is an effective way to increase networking skills.

Mir Parvin standing by MIT Letter Display
Image 2: At Massachusetts Institute of Technology
What were some cool stuff?
I got some time to roam around Boston city. It is a very small and lovely city, only 89 square miles (the land is 48 square miles while 41 square miles are covered by water). Every corner of the city is well connected. Public transportation is always available, quick and affordable. The subway system is not that complex in comparison with New York and London ones that I visited very recently. We stayed in the conference hotel. Everything was within walking distances. I have got the opportunity to visit MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard University and Boston Inner Harbor areas. Foods were delicious; lobster cuisines are signature in all around Boston city. All kinds of seafood are popular in Boston. I went to Chinatown near Tufts University to have hot-pot cuisine, which is a trademark Chinese dish all around the world. Overall, it was a pleasant conference filled with scholarships, networking, and travelling.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chris Fite at DHSI 2015

Chris Fite, previous LISSA Vice President, was awarded funding in Fall 2015 for attending the DHSI 2015 conference. In lieu of being awarded funding, Chris has sent LISSA a blog post from The Association for Computers and the Humanities that he wrote discussing fundamentals of programming and coding.
Congratulations on your award Chris, and thank you for giving all of us more insight into programming and coding!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mildly Attractive Men and Women of SLIS Present:

The 2016 Calendar is here....--CARDIGANS OF THE GALAXY--

Are you a Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or Twin Peaks fanatic? Are you in need for a Christmas gift for your best friend, the Trekkie? Look no further...all your favorite fandoms await in the 2016 SLIS Calendar!

$15 per calendar, $18 with shipping, and $30 special combo price for a calendar and t-shirt!

Contact Lindsay ( or Erin ( to purchase, or come to Student Services in Davis College to pick up your copy today!!

All proceeds support LISSA sponsored activities - Thanks for your support!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Came, I Saw, I Inventoried

This past summer I was a graduate collections intern in the library/archive of the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas. It was not my first internship but it was probably my best. I got a lot of hands-on work experience, I was able to observe the everyday functions of a real workplace in my field, and I received great feedback from some awesome professionals who have helped me further my understanding of what I want to do when I grow up and/or graduate.

 I know that an internship can seem intimidating when all you have is a vague notion of what one involves, a few horror stories from folks who have done them, and a bunch of paperwork with deadlines. Figuring out where you want to put your blood, sweat, and tears for a good chunk of time (and probably without pay) can be stressful. But I promise that the hoop-jumping can be worth it, especially if you actually (at least kind of) know what you’re doing when you’re heading into it. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned about internships:

1. Know what you’re looking for before you apply. What do you want to learn through this internship? Is it experience with a particular skill set, or working in a certain kind of place? Are you only going to look in the area where you live, or are you willing to intern somewhere else? (Some internships come with lodging, others are conveniently located near good friends or family with a spare room/couch). Do you want to do a little bit of everything, or focus in on particular tasks? Whatever you want, there’s an internship for that.

2. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. The Witte (where I worked this past summer) doesn’t actually publish information regarding internships, so my application started with me taking the first step (and a really deep breath) and asking. If there’s an institution which you would love to work in, go ahead and see if you can get some experience volunteering or interning there.

3. Look before you leap. Do your research, because you can potentially end up in a bad work environment if you sign an internship contract without knowing much about your host organization. Visit the institution, look into their organizational goals, observe how staff members interact with each other, familiarize yourself. Know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line.

4. Be passionate. Internships are not for the faint of heart; they can involve long hours, large amounts of menial labor, and living on a combination of sheer enthusiasm and pixie dust. Before you invest yourself make sure it’s for something you care about, not just trying to add another line on your resume.

5. Have fun. This may seem like the opposite of everything I’ve said thus far, but it’s not. Internships are about rolling up your sleeves and getting some life experience in your field of choice. Even when there are challenges, you can still end up learning a lot. And those bumps in the road are part of what make the adventure interesting. (Plus there’s always the regular fun stuff, like exploring new places, meeting new people, getting to be a shameless tourist, eating fresh TexMex…)

Get outside of the classroom and your comfort zone, try new things, do stuff. And then tell me all about it, because I love swapping stories. (Speaking of stories, if you want to read more about my recent internship adventures check out my blog:

Megan Coker
MLIS Candidate
LISSA; Social Co-Chair

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Professor Spotlight: Dr. Clayton Copeland

Dr. Clayton Copeland (right) with her former elementary school librarian--and inspiration--Mrs. Ellen H. Ramsey

1. What made you become interested in the library and information science field in general?
I have always loved reading and libraries. Many of my earliest and happiest memories are in the library. I was particularly inspired my by elementary school librarian, Mrs. Ellen Ramsey and then by my middle and high school librarian, Mrs. Vicky Culbertson. Both are SLIS alums, and I count it among my greatest privileges to have known and worked with them.

From the time I was in elementary school until I graduated from high school, I worked in the school library as an assistant. I knew I wanted libraries and all that they stood for - learning, inquiry, knowledge, and opportunity - to be my life's work. The library was such a peaceful, tranquil place to me, a place where happy days were made happier and challenging days easier. No matter the burdens of my heart, somehow opening the library door, finding just the right book, and cuddling in a soft comfy chair made everything seem o.k. again. All of my worries seemed to be carried away by the gentle rustling of turning pages. My book journeys allowed me to discover both far and distant places and places within myself. Books gave me the gifts of learning and self acceptance.

Perhaps it is because libraries were the places where I came to love learning and to embrace differences that I came to love finding myself in their midst. From kindergarten forward, every spare moment was spent in the library. I joined the profession because I wanted to share all that libraries and librarians had shared and meant to my life with others.

2. Where did you earn your MLIS and Ph.D, and what did you appreciate about that program?
I earned both degrees from the University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science. I have always loved learning and have sought challenges and rigor, for it is through these that I believe we continue to learn and grow.

I began the SLIS program because I respected the reputation of the school, its faculty, and staff, and I have never once questioned my decision or had anything but gratitude for being exactly where I am. I have never wanted to leave, and while one can never be certain of life's journey, I hope to always be a part of the SLIS "family." The School's reputation caught my attention, and the "family" that is SLIS kept it and captured my heart. For all that SLIS has been and is to me, I want to be a part of our students' journeys and to help SLIS be all that it has been for me for others.

3. Prior to joining the SLIS faculty, do you have any other career experience in the library and information science field?
I have worked in various types of libraries in numerous capacities since I was a very young child. To this day, after more than 20 plus years of working experience in libraries and a lifetime of patronage, nothing makes me happier than seeing the eyes of a precious child light up when he or she comes into the library. For children and adults alike, the library is a magical place. People often come to the library with questions. Whether their questions relate to scholarly research or to life itself, the library has the power to help them find answers. Both as a library and information science professional and as a recipient of the power of the library to educate and help its patrons, I know the profound difference libraries can make.

4. What are some of your research interests?
Honestly, I am like a kid in the candy store, and it seems I always have my hand in the cookie jar. There are so many facets of our field in which I find interests, areas that give me pause and ignite my seemingly unquenchable passion for learning. I teach courses in information literacy, using information resources, planning library facilities, children's and young adult materials and programming for underserved populations, and Universal Design, and equity of access.

Libraries have an unmatched power to make a difference in the lives of each and every patron coming in their doors. With technological advances and storehouses of knowledge, libraries have the power to help patrons belonging to all demographics achieve their goals. My hope is that by working together and taking things one day and one step at a time, we can make libraries accessible to all members of the populous. Each and every person on earth has a mission in life – a purpose.

Cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and physical differences leave us all with unique challenges and barriers to overcome. Rather than leaving us with “disabilities” however, these differences leave us “differently able” to achieve. In future research, I hope to continue focusing on how libraries can be made more accessible and user-friendly to all patrons and library staff.

5. What advice or tips do you have for aspiring librarians in the program?
Always believe in yourselves and in your abilities. You are destined for work that only you can achieve, so always keep striving, never settle, and always, always, always keep your minds and hearts open to learning. Be the faces and the voices you want to see and hear in libraries and information centers. You are the present and the future of our libraries and information centers.

6. What do you think of student associations, such as LISSA?
They rock! Student Associations like LISSA are second to none because they help us find our professional voices and set us on the path for professional engagement and leadership throughout our careers.

7. Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thank you kindly for this opportunity. I am truly humbled and honored. Please always, always know that, along with the other members of the SLIS faculty and staff, I genuinely care about each and every student in the SLIS program. We are here to support and help you all in every way possible.

Monday, March 3, 2014

LISSA Officer Information

It’s time for March elections! Starting today, we will be accepting nominations for the positions of President and Secretary of LISSA. The President shall preside at all LISSA functions, head the Executive Council, and have the authority to appoint all committee chairpersons and to create new committees. The President shall also provide leadership and act as chief spokesperson for the organization. The Secretary shall handle and keep a record of all LISSA business and correspondence, including, but not restricted to: recording minutes at all LISSA meetings; keeping an up-to-date file on all members; informing members of all LISSA meetings and activities. Our Multimedia Chair, Robert Blank, will also be graduating this May, leaving an empty spot for the position. The multimedia chair is responsible for maintenance of the LISSA website as well as other duties concerning web development and e-mail accounts. This position is appointed by the President. If this is a role you would be interested in taking on, be prepared to let the incoming President know. Officers are expected to be active at meetings and, within reason, all other events. As such, officers must be Columbia residents, or live within reasonable proximity to the city. As of today, we will be accepting nominations until March 16th. Following that, we will have an election period lasting from March 17th through the 23rd. The election will be conducted via an online survey, with the winners being announced on the 24th. All applicants should plan to keep the evening of the 26th open as this will be our first officer’s meeting with the new elects. This meeting will occur prior to the guest speaker we have slated that evening. In order to nominate yourself, send an e-mail to me at with a brief paragraph stating your intention to run, why you want the position, any prior experience you have, and anything else that you want to share. This statement will be used as a “candidate introduction” on the survey page. Working as a LISSA officer presents a fantastic opportunity for professional growth, and I would encourage any interested members to run. I will also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the office of President. We will be discussing elections in further detail at Wednesday’s member meeting in Davis 112 at 7. If you have any questions, please join us then. -Morgan