Wikipedia as a Tool, Resource and Opportunity

This Saturday, April 18th, SILSSA is hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon (sign-up!) covering the history of Pratt SILS, and notable leaders and alumni from the Pratt Libraries. I (Sarah) thought I would take a moment to talk about why I believe knowing how to edit Wikipedia is an important skill, and the value of adding information to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia touts itself as an egalitarian source of knowledge, edited by everyone, for everyone. But studies have shown that the vast majority of editors are men, and the coverage of women, LGBTQ people, and POC is sorely lacking, or missing altogether. As a profession that is traditionally female, and still more than 80% (pdf) comprised of women, as well as one that cares about equal access and representation, I feel that librarians have an obligation not only to help expand the perspectives and stories that are told on Wikipedia, but also to teach others how to edit and engage in the Wiki-community. Plus, librarians are expert researchers, and can provide the sources and context to create excellent, well-cited pages, which helps make sure the pages they create and edit remain a permanent part of Wikipedia.

Editing Wikipedia for the first time can be scary, because there are a lot of rules about form, citation and content, and there’s always the fear that something you’ve spent hours creating will be taken down. That’s where edit-a-thons come in. By coming together as a group to work on editing and creating pages, we can lean on one another, and create a supportive in-person environment to help overcome the fear of wading into the wild internet alone. There are tons of  great, friendly communities on Wikipedia, but getting your foot in the door, or knowing the social etiquette can be intimidating at first, just like with joining any group. Plus, many edit-a-thons, including the Librarians @ Pratt this Saturday, will provide sources for you to work off of and suggestions of pages to work on, which makes research that much easier!

Additionally, editing Wikipedia can be a great learning experience, not only in the topic you’re working on, but in research skills, knowledge creation, community engagement, and digital literacy. The Wiki Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to help incorporate Wikipedia-based projects into classrooms, and provides heaps of really helpful information, resources and encouragement for anyone looking to incorporate Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool. I would encourage you to look through their blog and resources!

I truly believe that Wikipedia has the potential to be a force for good on the internet and in the world. But, I also believe that it requires the input of diverse voices, and the time and commitment to work at making the Wikipedia community better than it is, and more inclusive and open than the current world it attempts to document.

That’s my soapbox speech and I hope you can join us this Saturday, April 18th, for the Librarians @ Pratt: Part 2 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. We’ll be set up in PMC Room 609 from 1-6pm, with a workshop for beginners from 1-2pm, led by SILS alum Gina Shelton. Come by for a few minutes, or stay the whole time. We’ll have snacks!


Gender, Intersectionality, and LIS Panel Slides and Audio

Did you miss our Gender, Intersectionality and LIS panel a few weeks ago? Not to worry, we’ve collected the slides and audio from the panel and are now able to share them with you!

Slides from each panelist:

Sian Evans, #artandfeminism Wikipedia Editathon.

Jen LaBarbera, Filling in the Margins: The use of Queer Theory, Feminist Standpoint Theory, and Critical Race Theory to build inclusive archival collections.

Shawn Smith, Being a Lesbian Librarian, Collection Development in Lesbian Librarianship, and Archives as Lesbian Spaces.

Click here for the panel audio. (File has to be downloaded)

Here’s a link to the storify from the day as well:

Round-Up: April 3 – 10

Welcome to the weekly Round-Up! This week, we started rolling out a lot of information about the end of the semester, and beyond!

We made a thorough list of everything that’s coming up in April, and it’s up right now on our homepage. Check it out. In other news:

  • Nominations for SILSSA Officer positions for the 2015-16 school year are now open! There will be THREE officer positions available in SILSSA for the upcoming fall semester: President, Vice President, and Treasurer.

    If you are interested in running for any of these positions, please send an email to Rachel O’Neill,, including a biography and statement of purpose (two paragraphs total). Please submit by 5 PM on Sunday April 26 for consideration.

    Please read the Guidelines for SILSSA officers including: time commitments and payments to officers, and the Pratt SILSSA constitution. Elections will be held the week beginning Monday April 27th.

  • #infoshow15 is coming! There is a blog post about what that entails, and how you can participate, either as a presenter or a volunteer. Take a look at that for the details, but the vital information is: Nominate by May 1st, and #infoshow15 itself will be May 15th.
  • Tonight! Tonight! One night only! All of Pratt SILS’s student groups (SILSSA, ASIS&T, SAA, SLA & UX/IA) are co-hosting the monthly Librarian Libations at Beauty Bar, from 6pm onward, tonight, April 10th! Come join us for a drink, and maybe also a manicure?
  • Tomorrow, April 11th, starting at 1pm is the Zine-Making Workshop. Meet in PMC 613 to learn about the history of zines, their social and political impact, and make some of your own. Drop-in and out as you please!
  • Tuesday, April 14th, from 5:30-6:30 is the Perspectives in Public Librarianship Panel. There’s also a great blog post about this event, so be sure to read up! Also, if you’re considering giving a lightning talk at #infoshow15, this would be a great opportunity to see how it’s done.
  • And next Saturday, April 18th, from 1pm -6pm (drop-in) is the Librarians @ Pratt, Part 2 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon! Help expand the world of Wikipedia as it relates to the achievements of Pratt SILS and it’s faculty, staff and alumni. There will be an introductory session on how to become a Wiki-editor, make changes and create new pages! Sign-up here.
  • And, at all of these events (except Librarian Libations) there will be FREE SNACKS! So join us!

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Public Librarianship Panel…and a new Pratt SILS group

Hi! My name is Anna Murphy, I’m in my second semester here at Pratt SILS. You may have seen my emails earlier in the semester about starting a new student group** encompassing schools, literacy, and youth services. I plan to roll this group out in the fall, and I will need your help and ideas! Until then, I have been working with the leadership in SILSSA to get a great event underway…

Tuesday, April 14th drop by Room 611 anytime from 5:30-6:30pm to get some Perspectives in Public Librarianship

Along with SILS student, Corina Bardoff, and SILSSA, we have asked a diverse group of Public Librarians to come and talk a bit about the paths they’ve taken, decisions they made during and post Library School, and what they’ve encountered in terms of challenges and inspirational experiences that have led them to become the librarians they are today.

Whether your passion lies in archives, local history preservation, community, reference, business, youth services, management or metadata this panel of lightning presentations will reveal how public librarianship can encompass every interest.

Now, let me tell you a bit about each of the panelists:

Natalie Milbrodt is the Associate Coordinator of Metadata Services for Queens Library. She is also the developer of the Queens Memory Project, which collects images and memories of Queens residents to make a beautiful archive of the most diverse neighborhood in America.

Lauren Comito is the Jobs and Business Academy Librarian at the Queens Library central branch. She will be talking about the group Urban Librarians Unite, an activist group promoting modern, community-centered libraries.

Betty Lacy is currently the Assistant Head: Collection Services and Coordinator, Small Business Services at the Science, Industry and Business Library. She has also worked in two research libraries as well as the Schwartzman Building for the NYPL.

Nicola McDonald is the Library Manager of the Jerome Park branch in the Bronx. She has previously worked as a Youth Services Librarian in the Brooklyn Public Library and now serves as a Board of Directors Fellow for YALSA.

Along with great conversation, we’ll have coffee and cookies to keep you stimulated for an hour post, pre or in-between classes!

**If you are interested in youth services and or public librarianship, please do reach out to me, say hello, and share your ideas for a great new group next fall via Twitter: @librannary

#infoshow15 preparation begins!

Please note that this blog post is about #infoshow15, which took place a year ago (in 2015!). The information about what the #infoshow is, and how it is run is still relevant, but the date for #infoshow 16 is Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 5:00pm.


Hello fellow students!

SILSSA is excited to announce details and open self-nominations for the upcoming #infoshow15 at Pratt SILS, to take place on May 15th, from 5 to 7 PM. Before we get to that, however, we’d like to share information about last year’s show!

Last year, the Pratt Student showcase featured the following work from students: 8 thirty-minute panel presentations, 13 fifteen minute presentations, 29 five minute presentations, and 14 poster presentations.

Topics of student work ranged from presentations on issues of gender and race in libraries, the need for embedded librarianship, how to develop a consistent file-naming standard, a linked open data website of textile collections in museums, usability testing of museum websites, and many more fascinating projects. If you’d like to get a sense of the types of projects presented by SILS students, check out !

You can also view the program from last year below:

PrattSILSShowcase14Program (1) PrattSILSShowcase14Program

For a sense of the mood and energy of Pratt SILS Student Showcase, check out our Storify of last year’s Showcase!

The Pratt SILS Student Showcase, referred to by the new name #infoshow15 from here on, is a great way to share and celebrate student achievements at Pratt SILS.

Now that we’ve got you all excited about last year’s student showcase, read on for information about participating in this year’s!

 What is the Pratt SILS #infoshow15?

#infoshow15, referred to as the Pratt SILS Student Showcase in previous years, is the annual showcase and celebration of Pratt SILS student work. #infoshow15 is modeled as a professional event with panel presentations, lightning talks, poster presentations and more. It also gives students a chance to look at some of the work done in classes they may be interested in taking the following semester. #infoshow15 is an opportunity to share all of the work that you’ve done over the past year with fellow students, your families, friends, and the New York professional community. It is an occasion to see what other students in the program have been working on, and celebrate our collective achievements.

In addition to providing an environment to present work, #infoshow15 gives students the opportunity to chair panels. This is a great opportunity to bolster your CV and gain professional experience! Chairs will introduce panelists, keep time to ensure that the session stays on schedule and solicit questions from the audience. Chairs are integral to the functioning of #infoshow.

Student projects are included in #infoshow by faculty or self-nominations.

 When will #infoshow15 take place?

#infoshow15 will take place on Friday May 15, from 5 to 7 PM. Following #infoshow15, Pratt SILS will host the graduation party. Workshops for participants will take place in early May, and will provide information and a chance to practice presentations and chairing sessions.

 This sounds so fun! How can I present my work?

If you would like to present work, please fill out the nomination form:

2016 Nomination form:


If there are too many projects to fit all of them into Student Showcase, the Selection Committee will decide which projects will proceed (this selection process will take place at the beginning of May).  The deadline for student project submissions is May 1st.

We encourage you to invite your family, friends, internship and work supervisors, LIS mentors, and members of the professional community who you think would enjoy #infoshow! Please have non-family member guests RSVP here:

2016 RSVP:

If you have any questions, please contact:

Round-Up: March 27 – April 3

March is behind us, and we’re barreling into April! The last week of March was a good one for Pratt SILS, and we’re here with the Round-Up to let you know about it.

Gender, Race and Sexuality in LIS Panel

We held our panel last Friday, March 27th, and had excellent turnout: 20+ attendees, including students from Queens College and Rutgers. The speakers Sian Evans, Jen LaBarbera and Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz covered a wide range of theoretical and practical topics regarding libraries, archives and cultural heritage as it relates to gender, critical race theory, feminism and sexuality. Thank you to everyone who attended, and for the great discussion after the panel!

If you couldn’t make it, or just want to relive the experience, check out the Storify of tweets about the panel, and keep and eye out here for audio recordings and slides!

Summer and Fall Registration

As you’ve hopefully noticed before now, registration for the Summer and Fall semesters begins next week! You should have received an email with instructions for how to find your registration time (It’s on your MyPratt page, under Academics). But be aware that registration for summer classes begins on Monday, April 6th, with Fall registration beginning on the 8th. Don’t forget to have your choice of classes approved before you try and register!

Upcoming Events!

This next Friday, April 10, all of the SILS Student Groups will be co-hosting the month Library Libations at Beauty Bar, on East 14th St. Library Libations is an event for all NYC-area librarians and library students, and we’ve all teamed up to have hopefully the biggest Pratt SILS presence yet! Happy Hour starts at 6pm, and SILS people will be rolling in throughout the evening. We hope to see you there.

The next day, Saturday April 11, is the Zine-Making Workshop, from 1pm – 5pm. There will be an opportunity to view zine collections, learn about the history of zines, and make a few of your own. You’re welcome to come for part of the workshop, or drop  in and out as you need to.

Finally, keep an eye out for emails about nominations for SILSSA officer positions for the 2015-16 school year, as well as for the end-of-year InfoShow. We will be giving you more info about both those things this coming week. There will be emails, and there will be tweets!



Round-Up: March 20 – 27


And especially so, because tonight, Friday March 27th is our Gender, Race and Sexuality in LIS panel! Starting promptly at 5pm, in Room 609, we will have some fantastic speakers to discuss intersectional issues in the LIS field. And also snacks!


Copy of Posters
*Please note that this panel will be recorded (audio only). If you have any concerns, please feel free to email us, or speak to a SILSSA officer in person.

Everyone is welcome. If you’re not a current Pratt student, it’s especially important that you RSVP, so that there’s no problems letting you into the building (144 W14th St).

And, following the panel, we will be hosting a Student Happy Hour! (Location TBD, keep an eye on Twitter for more info) You do not need to have attended the panel to join us for a drink!

That’s just what’s happening tonight, but we’ve got a lot of other cool stuff coming up, too!

  • Zine-Making Workshop: Saturday, April 11, from 1:00pm – 5:00pm. Led by Emma Eriksson, this crafty afternoon will be divided into a “History of Zines” portion, and a “Let’s Make Some Zines” portion. You are welcome to come to either or all parts!
  • Perspectives in Public Librarianship: Tuesday, April 14, from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Librarians from several public library systems will speak on a panel about their unique and rewarding positions within the public library. This panel does span between classes; we understand and it’s cool if you need to leave early or drop in late.
  • Librarians @ Pratt, Part 2: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Saturday, April 18, from 1:00pm – 6:00pm (drop in), Room 609. Come learn how to edit Wikipedia, and put your skills to use expanding and creating pages about the rich history of Pratt Libraries and Librarianship. All are welcome! You do not need to have attended Part 1, or edited Wikipedia before!

Phew, with all that out of the way, there’s a few more things we should mention:

  • SILSSA Officer Elections! We will have positions open for 3 new officers for the 2015-16 school year. Nominations will be opened on April 6th, and we will send out an email with the requirements and details then. Voting will be the first week of May. If you’re considering running, take a look at the Officer Roles, and feel free to talk to any of the current officers about their position.
  • Our March General Meeting was on Wednesday, and the minutes are available to view now, in case you couldn’t make it! Thank you to everyone who attended, and our next meeting will be Monday, April 20th, at 6pm.
  • InfoShow is coming! This is the event formerly known as Showcase, and a great opportunity for you to share your best work with the Pratt SILS community, as well as the larger NYC LIS crowd. More information about nominations and other ways to contribute will be coming soon, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it!

That’s all we’ve got for you this week! If you’ve got any questions or comments, feel free to email or tweet at us, and we hope to see you at one of these events soon!

Welcome Back from Spring Break!

Hello, SILS!

We hope you had a fun and relaxing Spring Break, hopefully somewhere with warm weather! We are hitting the ground running here at SILSSA, and we wanted to let you in on what’s going on!

First! We are pleased to announce the winners of the ALA Annual Conference Scholarships:

  • Tara Das
  • Stevie Feliciano
  • Stephanie Neel
  • Eugene Rutigliano
  • Jodi Shaw

Congratulations! We know that you will have a great time, and represent Pratt SILS well.

Next! Our March general meeting will be happening this Wednesday, March 25th, at 6pm in Room 609. We will be talking about all the awesome upcoming events, as well as elections for 2015-16 SILSSA Officers. We’d love to see you there!

And about those upcoming events! Here’s a quick overview, with a promise of more details to come:

  • Friday, March 27th, 5pm : Gender, Race and Sexuality in LIS Panel
  • Saturday, April 11th, 1pm : Zine-Making Workshop
  • Tuesday, April 14th, 5:30pm : Public Librarianship Panel
  • Saturday, April 18th, 1pm : Librarians @ Pratt, Part 2 – Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
  • Monday, April 20th, 6pm : SILSSA General Meeting

It’s going to be a fun and busy month, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated here, on Twitter, and via email!

San Francisco here we come!

Hi SILS students, Rachel here, I’ve just registered for the ALA Conference 2015 and so should you – early bird registration ends 1pm EST March 16th! While there will still be plenty of time after this date to register, now is the time to decide whether or not all that hard work you’ve put in to your MSLIS is worth one extra investment and make the commitment to go to Conference…there really is nothing like it!

Last year I attended my first ALA Annual, 2014’s conference was held in Las Vegas and while the sight of 18,000 librarians storming the exhibition center on opening night was worth the price of registration alone, the experience of five days of presentation hopping and poster viewing, not to mention all those book giveaways was one I would highly recommend to anyone considering a career in librarianship of any kind. However, by far the best experiences of the conference were the one-off conversations I had with Librarians – all of whom were open to a newbie asking them questions, sharing their experiences, knowledge of the profession, and delight in their work.

Inspired, I went back for more and attended ALA Mid-Winter in Chicago where even a blizzard couldn’t keep the place from buzzing with excitement as awards were announced, contacts were made, and committees joined – Mid-Winter tends to be the conference where, if you are interested in committee work, there are open meetings to attend and help you understand more the work of the ALA divisions.

There are 11 divisions within the ALA and all of them are represented at both the Annual Conference and Mid-Winter Conferences with a vast array of programs, presentations, open meetings, and, in the case of YALSA, a Happy Hour!

If you’re totally new to the conference there are guides a plenty, one of the best is this one and I can certainly testify that attending New Member Round Table meetings and volunteering are two sure fire ways to meet people who want you to make the most of your conference and your career.

So…what are you waiting for? SILSSA is offering five scholarships of up to $500 per recipient to attend ALA Annual Conference and offset the cost of registration, airfare and accommodation. Applications close March 15th – good luck and I hope to see you in San Francisco!

Access the SILSSA Scholarship application form here:

Round-Up: February 28 – March 6

It was pretty quiet at Pratt SILS this week, but we consider that the calm before the storm. The storm of awesome upcoming events, that is!

ALA Scholarships:

ala san fran2SILSSA is delighted to offer five scholarships of $500 per student to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Dates for the 2015 conference are June 25-30 and SILS students interested in a career in Public, Academic or School libraries are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to learn about current issues in the profession, attend presentations and poster sessions, get actively involved with an ALA Chapter, meet your peers and your future co-workers, and meet a favorite author (or two)!  Only current SILS students may apply for the scholarship. For more information about the conference, visit:

To apply, fill out an application at:

The deadline to submit is March 15, and recipients will be notified by March 20th.


  • SILSSA will be hosting a panel about Gender, Race and Sexuality in Library & Information Science on Friday, March 27th, co-sponsored by Pratt’s Diversity Committee. Panelists will discuss how the categories of gender, race and sexuality affect or inform library and reference practices, archival theory and practice, and knowledge creation and Wikipedia. The panel will take place from 5:00-6:00pm in Room 609, with discussion and refreshments to follow. Please let us know if you’re planning to attend, so we can have an idea how many people to expect.
  • Zines are super cool, and have a unique history  and role in library collections. So, join us Saturday, April 11 for a Zine-Making Workshop! The event will be from 1:00-5:00pm, on a drop-in basis. You’ll be able to see some zine collections, and there will be a lecture on the history of zines at 1:30, with time to make your own afterwards. Look for more information from us about this event as the date gets a little bit closer!

And if you can’t wait until April, The Feminist Zinefest is Saturday, March 7th from Noon- 6:00pm at Barnard!

  • In addition to these events, SILSSA is also planning to host a panel on Public Librarianship, and a Pratt SILS-themed Wikipedia edit-a-thon in April. Oh, and of course, Student Happy Hours!

Our next General Meeting, where we will discuss all this–and more!– will be Wednesday, March 25, at 6:00pm in Room 610. We hope to see you there!

And, as always, keep up with all the hottest SILSSA trends on Twitter, Instagram, and via the Pratt SILS Google Group.