Library of Congress, Bookbinding & More: Spring 2019 in Review

Introducing PALA to prospective students in March.

From a trip to D.C. to hands-on workshops and behind-the-scenes tours, we had an eventful spring semester! Here’s a look at some of the events we shared with the Pratt community.

Washington, D.C. Trip

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The highlight of our semester took place in April, when we hopped on a bus with a group of students for a whirlwind visit to Washington, D.C. — there and back in one day! After a general introduction to the Library of Congress with a tour of its Thomas Jefferson Building, our generous host Muzhgan Nazarova led us to several corners of both the Jefferson and the James Madison Memorial Buildings.

In the Manuscripts Division, we learned a bit about the joys and challenges of reference, particularly when it comes to housing the papers of many Supreme Court Justices (“They always seem to pass away on a weekend,” said Manuscript Reference Librarian Patrick Kerwin, “so we’re very busy on Monday morning!”). We saw that the Performing Arts Reading Room, like much of the Library of Congress, still relies in part on card catalogs. This is the access point for the the Music Division’s collections, which famously includes five Stradivari stringed instruments (and perhaps more interestingly, it also includes around 2,000 flutes, given to LC, some say, as a move to out-donate the Stradivari donor). Finally, Nazarova provided an overview of what she and her colleagues accomplish in the Asian & Middle Eastern Division. Shelves of books in languages of the region line the walls of the office, waiting to be cataloged by librarians who seem to speak at least four languages, but often many more.

We also registered for and received Reader Identification Cards, so we look forward to opportunities to return to the Library to do some research. Having seen first-hand the dedication and enthusiasm of the librarians we met, we really can’t wait to go back.

Bookbinding Workshop

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During a fun workshop in March, we received instruction and hands-on practice in bookbinding at the Center for Book Arts. Since we’re training to work with them full-time, it makes sense to understand the mechanics of books. Plus, a little deep concentration with a needle and thread certainly helped as a form of meditation at a time when we were well into the intensity of mid-semester classwork.

Professional Events

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Being in New York City has a million perks, but for a group of library science students the best thing might be the incredible number of libraries, archives, and events relating to the field. To help students get a better sense of career opportunities and to make some professional connections, we organized tours of two libraries and gathered a group of students to attend a local discussion on reference librarianship.

Descending through the stacks of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, Michelle Misner led us to the library’s labyrinthine underground areas located below Bryant Park during a tour in February. She shared a lot of information people probably don’t get during the public tours, like how they employ multiple classification systems, including Dewey, LC, fixed order, and the Billings system.

We learned about an interesting classification system at another beautiful Manhattan library when we visited the Grolier Club in April. Meghan Constantinou, a Pratt alum and the librarian of the 135-year-old bibliophile club, provided a tour, pulled some of her favorite items from the collection for us to see, and shared some of the Club’s history — which includes the creation of a unique classification system.

Finally, during the Reference Librarianship & Justice: Critical Interventions event at METRO in March, students heard from an impressive group of librarians who spoke on panels and gave presentations discussing issues around the critical dimensions of reference services. Everyone was incredibly inspirational, and it left us wondering: How can we better connect LIS students to underserved NYC library communities? What needs can we fill, and what sustainable projects can we create or help empower?

We hope you’ll help us come up with ideas to help answer those questions and more during the 2019-2020 school year. As always, feel free to email us at silssa.pratt@gmail.com, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for announcements about events throughout the year.

Thanks to everyone who joined us at these events, as well as at our meetings, student group happy hours, and school-wide events. Thanks to the generous support of the Pratt Graduate Student Engagement Fund. And finally, extra-big-time thanks to all the people who provided time and valuable insights to help us make these events happen!

–Mary Bakija, PALA President

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: http://alaac15.ala.org/

To apply, fill out an application at: http://bit.ly/ALAScholarship

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

Events:

  • 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.

Round-Up: February 20-28

It’s finally March, and it’s come in like a Lion, as they say. So let’s take a moment to hunker down, away from the seemingly endless snow and talk about what happened at Pratt SILS the last week of February.

News

SILSSA 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 students may apply for the scholarship.

To apply, fill out an application at: http://bit.ly/1zQ90Hv

The deadline to submit is March 15!!

Recipients will be notified by March 20th.

Events

The last week of February saw some awesome SILSSA events!

  • The Pratt SILS Afternoon of Service with NYPL Correctional Services on February 26th was a huge success! Over the course of the afternoon, Pratt SILS students helped achieve everything on the to-do list for the day! Many thanks to everyone who participated, and to NYPL Correctional Services for hosting an excellent event.
  • Friday, February 27th saw the SILSSA-sponsored trip to Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Thirteen SILS students attended, and were given a tour of the building, as well as the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the Beinecke’s fantastic and extensive collection. Many, many thanks to Alison Clemens for an excellent and educational afternoon!
students outside library
Pratt SILS students outside the Beinecke building
oldest known Macbeth
The oldest known manuscript of Macbeth
Alison Clemens
Archivist Alison Clemens discusses the history of Yale’s rare book collections
  • SILSSA held its monthly general meeting on Monday, February 23rd. The proposed amendments to the SILSSA constitution were voted on, and passed unanimously. The meeting minutes are available to view and comment on.

Upcoming

  • The next SILSSA general meeting will be Wednesday, March 25th, at 6:00pm, in room 609. We will be discussing our upcoming events, SILSSA officer elections, and the end-of-year Student Showcase. Hope to see you there!
  • In conjunction with the Pratt Diversity Committee, SILSSA is proud to be hosting a panel on Gender and LIS, at 5pm on March 27th. There will be discussion and Q&A, as well as a Student Happy Hour to follow. Keep an eye out for more information about this event!
  • Just a reminder: Spring Break, woo! Spring Break is March 16-20, and we’ll see you in Cancun! (SILSSA is not going to Cancun).
  • There’s even more cool stuff planned for April, including a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, a Zine-making Workshop, and a Public Librarianship Panel.  We’ll let you know more about these events as they get closer.

It’s been a busy month, and we hope that March will be just as much fun! As always, feel free to email us at silssa.pratt@gmail.com with any comments, questions or suggestions, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.