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 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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Special Librarianship Panel: Highlights

SLA professional development panelOn Thursday, Feburary 12, SLA-UW worked with UW iSchool Student Services to host a SLA Professional Development Panel! The panel was a very informative discussion of what makes special libraries special, what kinds of roles and responsibilities special librarians fill, and what we as students can do to enter this field.

Mary Whittaker, Boeing Library; Vicki Valleroy, Boeing Library; Nancy Gershenfeld, UW iSchool and Microsoft; and Dylan Flesch, KEXP.

  • We have the panel in full here: ! But panel highlights include:
    Special librarianship is a broad field with many opportunities; you can act as a specialist in a discipline, focus on a specific user community, and be a solo librarian/information professional.
  • Its essential to prove your value as an information professional to your organization, both anecdotally and quantitatively. Advocating for your services, working directly with management, and consistently report out how the services you provide assist with productivity, workflow, etc. is crucial!
  • Your job title may not always “librarian.” For example, Dylan is a Licensing and Podcasting Coordinator at KEXP. Vicki noted an SLA report stating that there are over 200 job titles in special librarianship. Your duties vary from that of a traditional librarianship role, so your title may too.
  • Special librarianship sometimes necessitates breaking the rules of traditional library practice. For example, certain cataloging standards may not be applicable for your user group or information needs in a special library. Be flexible!
  • Its important to advocate for yourself and your services. Work across departments, connect with people, hear their stories, and share yours. These connections can lead to awareness about the help you can provide.
  • Our panelists recommended taking courses centered around technical skills, such as data analytics and data visualization. They also mentioned the importance of classes in copyright, statistics, and government documents. These skills will help you succeed in non-traditional environments.
  • Here are some ways to get involved in special librarianship or to learn more about available opportunities: read job postings often (iCareers!), volunteer (and if volunteer opportunities are not advertised, reach out to the organization you are interested in and create them for yourself!) subscribe to newsletters or listservs, and join professional organizations. Some of these include SLA (Special Library Association), AALL (American Association of Law Librarians), LLOPS (Law Librarians of Puget Sound), and ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology).

We also discussed the upcoming annual SLA Conference taking place this June in Boston. SLA has several specialized divisions (yes– specialized special librarians!), so researching/joining groups that may be of interest to you can help you build connections and job search. Please also note that a stipend opportunity is currently available through the Engineering Division of SLA. Our panelist Mary noted how great it would be if someone from UW won this award, and we agree! See here for more information.


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Touring the Library at the Wing Luke

By Amy Trost

Last Saturday, around 20 MLIS students and library professionals attended a tour sponsored by the SLA Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Wing Luke Museum Library in Seattle’s Chinatown-International district. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum documents and celebrates the experience of American immigrants from all parts of Asia with a rotating collection of exhibits.

The Wing Luke Library. Retrieved from:

The Wing Luke Library. Retrieved from:

Library coordinator Jordan Wong shared with us with a history of both the museum and its library, named after former Washington governor Gary Locke. At 18,000 volumes, the small library strives to maintain a collection that documents the experience of all Asian immigrants with a mix of archival and current holdings. Most of the library’s new volumes are obtained through donations from individuals and partner organizations, such as the Korean American Historical Society.

Within the library, Jordan also manages the Wing’s collection of oral history records. Members of the community regularly visit the library (typically with a parent or grandparent) to create an audio recording that documents on a personal level, the story of immigrants here in Seattle. The mix of recordings from both ordinary and prominent citizens provides materials for a number of exhibits in the museum proper.

We enjoyed some quiet time browsing the library’s collection and chatting with Jordan about the challenges of librarianship in a small museum: the collection budget can be quite literally nonexistent, and librarians can struggle to find their place in the larger context of the museum’s work. Despite these constraints, the Wing’s library is succeeding in its mission, with a beautifully displayed collection, thriving oral history project, and nascent children’s programming.

The library (located at 719 South King Street) is open to the public from 11 AM to 3 PM from Tuesday through Saturday. Head downtown for a visit sometime!

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Internship Spotlight: Interning at Perkins Coie LLP

Students at the University of Washington iSchool are always up to neat things! Read about second year student Dana Deseck-Piazzon’s experiences as an intern in the library at Perkins Coie LLP:

And as always, let us know if you are doing anything neat you want to share!


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SLA Holiday Party 2014: Learning about Wine

By Senteara M. Orwig

Holiday partyThe 2014 SLA-PNW Holiday Party this year was held at the Seattle Wine Outlet, and was themed appropriately! Senteara M. Orwig, a 2nd Year MLIS Student who hosts tastings and sales at local farmers markets for Wilridge Winery was kind enough to lend her own expertise and give her experience of the event:

The recent SLA Holiday party provided students with an excellent networking opportunity and had the big perk of being held at the Seattle Wine Outlet. The party featured Jon Haupt fromthe Sonoma County Wine Library and a wine tasting led by Richard Kinssies. This was perfect for the wine geek in me, especially because I want to apply my MLIS skills to the wine industry. The world of wine is an information gold mine if you care to take a dip in it. GoJon Haupt interviewing to tastings is the most enjoyable way to start wrapping your mind around everything wine has to offer. If you get overwhelmed the first few times, don’t worry, it is very common to only retain about 10-20% of the information from a tasting, it is how you slowly learn about the world of wine. I really enjoyed the tasting because Kinssies didn’t just tell us about the tasting notes, instead, he told us delightful stories about each wine. My nugget of fun wine knowledge from the tasting: Old World wines (European, mostly France) name wine based on the region it comes from, while New World wines name wine based the grape it comes from.

Senteara Orwig and Jon Haupt

Senteara Orwig and Jon Haupt

Here’s to a happy end of the quarter, and keep an eye out for the exciting events the SLA-UW has for the winter and spring!

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Wine and Special Libraries: SLA Holiday Party

The SLA-PNW will be holding its annual board meeting and holiday party on Tuesday, November 18 (two weeks from today!)

The event, which will have a heavy buffet of hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting, is $20 for students. SLA-UW will be sponsoring scholarships to the first 20 students to register for the event! These scholarships will take place in the form of reimbursements. These scholarships will take place in the form of reimbursements. However, if a reimbursement is tricky for you, contact SLA PNW treasurer directly to see if you received a scholarship and do not need advance payment.

More information can be found at the SLA-PNW website, but the basics are here:

Register Here:

Date: Tuesday, November 18, 6-9 pm

Seattle Wine Outlet
946 Elliott Ave. W
Seattle, WA 98119

How: You can easily take the #32 from the University District, or sign up to carpool here.

Why: This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how the PNW Chapter of SLA works, as well as having some tasty food and wine tasting with Richard Kinssies at Seattle Wine Outlet.

Jon Haupt, a Sonoma County Wine Librarian and UW iSchool alum, will also be attending the event, either in person or virtually. So not only is this event a great way to connect with your colleagues in the SLA, it is a great way to learn about some of the interconnections between wine and librarianship.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. SLA PNW Board Meeting
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Networking and heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Wine tasting with Richard Kinssies
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Networking and wrap-up

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SLA Library Tour: EPA Region 10 Library

By Lydia Bello

EPA Region 10 - image1On Wednesday, October 8, almost 20 iSchool students from SLA-UW joined the Pacific Northwest Chapter for a tour of the Region 10 EPA Library.

Created in the 1970s, The Region 10 library holds an interesting position in the EPA. Contractor operated since the 1980s, the library has moved between the public affairs, IT, and Infrastructural and Operations Departments before recently moving back to IT. Liz Doyle, the supervisory librarian and current SLA-PNW President, works with a staff of two other librarians to serve both the employees of the EPA and the general public. The library materials were barcoded in 2000, and the library uses Inmagic’s DB/TextWorks catalog for the local database.

Two months ago, the Library moved from the 10th floor into a beautiful new space on the first floor of the Park Place Building in downtown Seattle. The staff of the library is currently focusing their efforts on weeding, digitization, and creating the idea of “library as place.” Three fourths of the known collections are digitized and online, and the library maintains a collection of Region 10 documents. The library is in the process of encouraging EPA staff to use the library as a collaboration space, with places to work and monitors that can be hooked up to libraries, similar to the UW’s own Research Commons. The library has already gotten more foot traffic as passers-by see the stacks and other materials from the ground floor windows.

Although the quantity of reference questions have declined over the years, Liz notes that they have become increasingly complex. These questions often include background research for enforcement projects.

EPA Region 10 - image2If you missed this tour but are still in the Seattle area, the EPA library is a great place to visit. And as Liz said during her presentation, like with all special librarianship, “everything you do is with the help of your colleagues,” and there are some pretty fantastic ones here in the Pacific Northwest.

Have you seen or worked in any neat special libraries as of late? Want to share your experiences with the SLA UW and the iSchool? Write for the blog!

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