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

Sunday, February 23, 2014

SLIS/LISSA Professional Website Workshop

The Professional Website Workshop will be hosted by Ashley Blewer, SLIS graduate and LISSA member. Here is information regarding it that she has provided.

Paired up with LISSA, I am hosting a professional website creation workshop on Saturday, March 1 in Davis College.

The goal is to give SLIS students/graduates a “leg up” on the competition in a very competitive field. Students can demonstrate their skills and display their work in a space where prospective employers can easily find them.

This is a ¾-day workshop to assist SLIS students or graduates (particularly soon-to-be or recent graduates) on developing their web presence for the LIS job market. The morning will consist a guiding through the process of domain registration and buying a web hosting plan, then continuing with a presentation on web presence and a guide to website development and creation. We will break for lunch (on your own), and the afternoon will be spent making your own website (with me there to help)!

We will be using the Wordpress platform, so no coding knowledge is necessary (but you should be comfortable with computers/the internet). I will provide guidance on how Wordpress works, how to choose a good Wordpress theme (and have pre-selected themes to advise on using), and what kind of content should be included on a professional website. By the end of the day, you will have a website to show employers how awesome you are!

Because this is a very hands-on workshop, RSVP is required (and space limited). Please respond to if you are interested in attending.

Note: The workshop is FREE but in order to participate, you will need to purchase a web domain and web hosting for a year (this is approximately $50). I will take you through the process on the day of the workshop.

Tentative timeline
10am start, greeting, presentation
12-1 lunch break
1-4 website building!

Please get in touch with any questions.

Ashley Blewer