Special Library Association, 2016/7 Edition

Welcome to our new and returning students! We are your Special Library Association, here at the University of Washington.

Your UW SLA officers for the 2016-2017 year are:

Chair: Anna Greiner-Shelton
Treasurer: Jennifer Wineland
Communications Officer: Nicole Sonett
Secretary: Robin Ford
Distance Representative: Sheana Corbridge

Get to know us a bit better here, or email us!

This year, you can find us at our booth during the iWelcome Week fair, or at the Garden Party we’re hosting on Wednesday, September 28th from 3pm to 5pm at the Grieg Garden. We’re excited to get to know you and learn more about your interests.

In previous years, UW SLA worked to host library crawls and tours of libraries in the Seattle area. We are looking to continue this tradition and open up the opportunity for you to hold them in your area, if Seattle is not too local. Special Library Association is a nation wide association, with regional chapters. We encourage you to get involved on a local level, meet librarians and students in your area, and discover special libraries. To find a chapter in your area, click here.

In addition to library crawls and tours, we’re looking to host informal happy hours, cafe chats, and online get togethers. We want to help you make connections and discover the different types of libraries that are all around us.

Over the course of the year, we will be posting and communicating via listserves, facebook, and instagram so be sure to keep an eye out!

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Get to know your 2016-2017 Officers!

Your SLA officers this year are:

Chair: Anna Greiner-Shelton, second-year online student

Treasurer: Jennifer Wineland

SLA jenI am a second-year residential student and am interested in archives/special collections, and have a new interest in cataloging. I believe that student leadership and
involvement while pursuing a degree is important for networking purposes but also to learn valuable skills to carry over into professional areas. I am looking forward to being involved as much as possible during my time at the iSchool.

Communications Officer: Nicole Sonett

13094147_10153538915901720_7913827153775133479_nI’m Nicole, a second-year residential student. I’m very excited to be the one popping up in your emails this year. My library interests fall in archiving, museum libraries, and special collections. I’m currently working in the Media Center and Arcade in the UW libraries and interning at the Seattle Art Musuem. Feel free to get in touch at any time!

Secretary: Robin Ford, second-year residential student

Distance Representative: Sheana Corbridge, second-year online student


If you’d like to get in touch with us at any time, feel free to email us!

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Harl V. Brackin Library at the Museum of Flight: A Virtual Tour

Hello all! In case you forgot, I’m Jenn – the current (and outgoing) SLA_UW Distance Representative.
I just finished an internship at The Museum of Flight here in Seattle, in their library.  As I was working there, I started thinking about how could I share this and decided to craft this virtual tour.  I wanted to do this because, as a distance student, I know it can be tough to see all the cool happenings and not be able to go or share in the experience in some way.  I tried to share some of my experience in this tour and I hope you enjoy it.
I also encourage others to consider crafting similar  items, to share what neat experiences you are having!

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Microsoft library tour

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Panorama of the library, taken near the entrance.

Last week, the staff of the Microsoft library generously opened their lovely space to a passel of students. They greeted us with excellent snacks, told us about their work, and gave us the run of the place. Here’s some of what we learned:

Microsoft has approximately 110,000 full-time employees and a similar number of contractors; the services of the library and archives division are available to all of them. The library in Redmond has six full-time employees who approach the library’s work from a strategic perspective. Day-to-day operations and research are conducted by contractors; the whole team is about 25 to 30 people. The librarians also noted that there are many people with an MLIS who work in other roles at Microsoft, such as content management, user experience, and information architecture.

Along with the library at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, there are physical branches in Beijing, China; Redding, England; and Hyderabad, India.

The physical collection includes 8,000 books that are shipped around the world for use. The collection is unusual among special libraries in that it exists not just to support job-related research, but also as a resource employees can use to learn and grow. In that way, the librarians said, they’re more akin to an academic library, which supports both the research needs of faculty and the interests of the general campus population. The library also has a Maker Garage with a 3-D printer and spaces for sewing, soldering, printing, and a variety of other tinkering.

Microsoft’s archivist assists executive groups with research: she can provide company history, photos, information for points in a speech, and more. The archives also contain every piece of software the company has made, most of the company’s advertising, and hardware needed to run that old software and play advertising in obsolete formats (notably, a Betamax).

Part of the appeal of working in the Microsoft library is that positions come with a lot of variety and autonomy; the librarians said they’re never bored. They also said a key way to succeed at Microsoft is to volunteer for things — to see something that looks interesting and jump in.

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In terms of assessment, the library staff relies not only on data it’s collecting using Microsoft’s own tools, but also on understanding and conveying the library’s impact on employees and on the company. They pointed out that it’s impossible to quantify what it means for people to have knowledge, and that the ability to tell a story that demonstrates the library’s value to its users is as important as data. (On a related note, Philippe, who leads marketing and outreach efforts, said his job is “evangelizing the hell out of the library,” and he recommended a book: “Blueprint for Your Library Marketing Plan.”)

The library plans to review its online portal and the way it’s organized, and to research how it’s being used. Nicole Partridge, who manages the portal, made a point that stuck with me: Librarians think in terms of content types, but people who need the library think in terms of the questions they have.

Two job-hunting tips: Keep your LinkedIn profile updated not only with what you’ve done, but what you want to do; make one-on-one connections with librarians whenever possible (via informational interviews or informal discussion) to learn about the work and how to be successful in it.

Many thanks to Merrill, Nicole, Kimberly, and Philippe for their time, expertise, and good humor.


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Register now for SLA PNW’s Career Night

The Pacific Northwest chapter of SLA is holding its annual Career Night on Wednesday, May 6 (next week!). The event will be a great chance to meet people working in special libraries and learn more about special librarianship, as well as to hear from SLA president-elect Tom Rink, who will be speaking. Plus, your SLA-UW officers will be raffling off several SLA memberships for students who attend. The deadline to register is April 30, so head over to Survey Monkey to sign up: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T3P6KV3.

The details:
Cost: $20 for students
Location: UW Waterfront Activities Center, 3701 Montlake Blvd NE Seattle, WA 98195

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Networking and heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Program with Guest Speaker Tom Rink, SLA President-Elect
8:30 – 9:00 p.m. Networking

Can’t make it to the evening events?
Tom Rink will meet with students in Red C at the UW Research Commons for informal conversation and questions from 3:30-4:30 p.m. May 6.

Hope to see you there!



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Winter Quarter Library Tour at Fred Hutch

Arnold Library

Image courtesy of Stephanie Ramsay

On Thursday, March 5, SLA-UW got insight into the world of medical librarianship! Acquisitions librarian Doug Shane led a tour of the Arnold Library at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Arnold Library has a physical presence in the Fred Hutch facility in South Lake Union, and the space is open 24 hours a day to support the round the clock research being done in the Center!

Although the Library tracks subscriptions to 32,000 journals, in 2008 they decided to cease all print subscriptions and now only purchase digital journals. The library retains the older printed journals and has a small popular science collection, but lot of the space has been converted to a small computer lab and study spaces, as well as a small area that can be used for filming interviews or other audiovisual purposes. The computers have a lot of software that researchers use but might not necessarily have on their own computers.

Given that more and more resources are online, the librarians at the Arnold Digital Library are working on more ways to support the researchers at the Center. They complete book and other ILL requests, as well as training on software like Endnote and databases like PubMed. They also provide help for formatting research papers and preparing grant applications, which is a very popular resource amongst the researchers!

Arnold Library shelves

Image courtesy of Stephanie Ramsay

Like many special libraries, many of the librarians do not have a background in medical knowledge and learned a lot of the terminology on the job. If you are interested in medical librarianship, the Arnold Library occasionally has internships available, and is happy to work with you to create a DFW. Reach out to SLA-UW if you are interested!

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Be a part of SLA-UW!

If you’re interested in special libraries or information management in pretty much any form, please consider nominating yourself for an officer position in the UW chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) for 2015-2016.

SLA logoSLA leaders have the chance to network with librarians and information professionals to plan library crawls, information sessions, and panel talks. We partner closely with the regional SLA chapter, allowing us to form relationships with many librarians in the Seattle area. We enjoy close ties to other student organizations and have the invaluable support of our faculty advisor, Laura Dushkes.

Positions include: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Publicity Officer, and Distance Representative. Nominate yourself or someone else at https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/aliss/260910 through February 21.

See below for descriptions of the officer positions, and feel free to reach out to any member of SLA-UW if you have any questions!

Chairperson – duties include, but are not restricted to, acting as the official liaison person with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, making contact with local special librarians, acting as a team leader for the officers and leading meetings and function, being responsible for ensuring open communication between organization members, officers, and faculty, and ensuring awareness of local and/or national events, conferences, scholarships, stipend or travel opportunities.

Vice-Chairperson – duties include, but are not limited to, assisting Chairperson in arranging meetings and contacts with special librarians, planning on campus events related to special librarianship (work with the Treasurer to ensure proper funds are available for planned events); and participating in meetings and functions in support of Chairperson and the organization.

Treasurer – duties include, but are not limited to, taking responsibility for organization funds, planning the annual budget, recording expenditures throughout the year, investigating and selecting fundraising opportunities, and acting as liaison with Student Activities Office as required.

Distance Representative – duties include, but are not limited to, acting as the primary liaison between SLA-UW and students in the online MLIS program and providing access to programs that meet the needs and interests of online students when possible.

Secretary – duties include, but are not limited to, keeping the organization’s records; taking minutes at meetings; and making such resources available online for officers in an online repository. Duties also include renewing the SLA-UW email and reregistering SLA-UW as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) every fall.

Publicity Officer – duties include, but are not limited to, producing and posting publicity of SLA-UW activities and maintaining the organization’s visibility within the iSchool community, responding to inquiries to the SLA-UW email account; and coordinating the social media presence for SLA-UW. Duties also include tasks related to maintaining, designing, and developing, and renewing the organizational website, and maintaining the “SLA-UW” and “SLA-UW officers” mailing lists.


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