DLIS Symposium 7: From the Classroom to the Community: Social Justice in Library & Information Science

April 18, 2015 – Professors, students, and field professionals gathered on a warm Saturday afternoon at the St. John’s University Queens Campus for an enlightening series of presentations on the issue of social justice in librarianship. A blend of professional talks and student presentations, Symposium 7 offered attendees a wide array of viewpoints on issues facing information professionals today, including digital representation of cultural heritage objects, library services to the incarcerated, the benefits of professional organizations to students and recent graduates, and revolutionizing library service to communities. Professional speakers included author and DLIS alumnae Marybeth Zeman and Michael Edison of the Smithsonian Institution, Open Knowledge Foundation, Council on Library and Information Resources.

Representatives from eleven different library and information science professional organizations attended, including: ACRL/NY, ALA/ALSC, ARLIS/NA-New York, ARMA, ART, LACUNY, LLAGNY, METRO, MLA NY/NJ, SLA NY, and SUNYLA. The diversity among professional groups offered students a glimpse at the broad realm of library and information science field professions and the opportunities that await them and can currently get involved with as students to help develop an enriching professional career.

Intermittent breaks, breakfast, and lunch provided ample opportunities for students in particular to reach out and network with the many professionals in the field. Eager to help students gain an understanding of the profession and find a strong network of support, professionals in attendance shared work stories, educational background and overall advice with interested students. As DLIS works to build a strong networking platform for students in a primarily remote program, events like this Symposium opens the floodgates for student involvement in professional organizations.

Student Ignite! sessions engaged the audience with semester projects and research in brief presentations of work. These sessions not only enrich the professional development of student skills, but also offer insight into the materials and topics covered in these courses to other students with the potential to enroll in these courses in the future. Students presenters from the Museum Informatics and Web Design courses included: Sean O’Donnell, Lisa Borten, Eileen Brennan, Elizabeth Beneke, Kanisha Greaves, Lisa Ha, Alana Coulum, Christa Devirgilio, Toni Liberty, Ally Mercado, Brian Agwul, and Christopher Elford.

The event concluded with the presentation of the H.W. Wilson Scholarship award to one of its two student recipients. Dr. Lee announced the winners and allowed she in attendance to explain the project that led to this scholarship honor. DLIS extends gratitude to all that attended and helped develop, plan, and run this semester’s successful Symposium 7.

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