Beinecke, Zines, Alumni & More: Fall 2019 in Review

Pratt students outside Beinecke library
Pratt SI students at the Beinecke library

Before we head into 2020 and begin planning a new lineup of events for the spring semester, we’d like to reflect on what a spectacular fall semester it was — all thanks to an engaged group of returning students, and an incoming group of equally enthusiastic ones. Here’s a look at some of the events we shared with our Pratt community.

Yale’s Beinecke Library Trip

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In October, we hopped on a train to Connecticut to enjoy autumnal colors and go behind the scenes at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. Visiting in person is the best way to experience this weirdly magnificent building, with translucent marble that allows just a little light to shine through. The exhibition hall is open to the public — so you, too, can see their copies of Audubon’s Birds of America and the Gutenberg Bible (whose pages, contrary to popular legend, are not turned often for an undergraduate to read the whole thing during their time at Yale) — and the reading room is accessible to registered researchers.

But we were fortunate to meet with several librarians and archivists who showed us around beyond the public areas. The Beinecke is known for a number of collecting areas, but is particularly strong in American literature, and we saw examples of books (multiple copies of Peter Pan) and heard fascinating stories about the challenges of collecting materials from living authors (one of whom’s includes correspondence in which they wrote something along the lines of, “I would tell you, except this letter is going to end up at Yale”). These librarians and archivists (including a Pratt alum) were incredibly generous with their time and insights, about the Beinecke and about their work and about librarianship in general, and we are so thankful to them all.

And yes, we also had some delicious New Haven pizza.

Alumni Talks

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This semester, we launched a monthly series to highlight the work of Pratt School of Information graduates, while providing current students a chance to hear about professional paths and make connections with librarians in the area. We heard about opportunities to provide volunteer reference services to the incarcerated via NYPL, learned about the surprising instructional aspects of librarianship in a corporate library and archives, and found out what it takes to build engaging comics programming. Again, we can’t thank Emily, Deimosa, and Leigh enough for sharing their time and expertise with us.

Tours: Explorers Club & AMNH

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Being in New York City provides us with access to an incredible range of libraries, archives, and museums, and we were able to visit two fascinating ones this semester.

First, we explored the 114-year-old Explorers Club and its library and archives, which include books, maps, and films about travel and exploration. Retired club flags that club members brought on expeditions line one room, including flags that have been to space and on deep-sea missions. We also heard a great example of the unexpected skills you pick up outside of school: the Archivist and Curator of Research Collections has three taxidermists’ numbers on file in case of a conservation emergency.

Paintings hanging on a wall in the stairwell at the Explorers Club were sketches for the backdrops of the magnificent dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History, where we enjoyed another tour. Show a group of library science students some cool visualizations made using metadata, a 1558 encyclopedia about sea creatures, and a page from Darwin’s notebook, and you’ll really be playing to your audience.

Zine Workshop

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Finally, we hosted a hands-on session led by alum Emma Karin Eriksson, who shared some of the best practices she’s learned for leading zine workshops for kids, teens, and undergrads. Scheduled during the end of the semester, we enjoyed a fair amount of therapeutic cutting and pasting, which was a welcome break from final projects.

We’ve got some equally engaging events in the works for the spring 2020 semester, but we always welcome your ideas. 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. And the greatest thanks go out to all the professional librarians, archivists, curators, and more who provided time and valuable insights to help us make these events happen.

–Mary Bakija, PALA President

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.

Round-Up: February 6-13

Howdy, Pratt SILS! It’s the weekly round-up, and we’ve got some good stuff to go over:

News:

  • Our Happy Hour last Friday, co-hosted with SAA@Pratt, was tons of fun! We had a great time discussing libraries, archives and Gingerdead Man, starring Gary Busey, which was being ‘screened’ on the wall, to the delight and horror of many!
    Happy Hour at The Library
    Gosh, look at all these cool and fun Pratt SILS students!

    We hope you’ll join us for the next happy hour; keep an eye out for posts and emails once we finalize the date and location. (And if you have a suggestion for a neighborhood or bar we should get happy in, let us know!)

  • Pratt SILS student Allison Piazza is organizing a weekend study group for SILS students. She writes,

    “I’m looking for people to meet at Pratt on Saturday or Sunday from roughly 12-4pm every weekend to read and/or work on projects (including the e-Portfolio). We’d sit together in a classroom or the conference room but otherwise work quietly and independently.”

    The group will be meeting this Saturday, February 14 at 1pm in the PMC Library conference room.  If you’re interested in future study groups, you can sign up here.

  • Our blog, Keyword is up and running. You’re reading it right now, in fact! Right now, we’re posting twice a week, including the round-up, but we’d love to do more. If you’ve been to a conference, are working on an interesting project, or just feel like you have something to say, please reach out to us at silssa.pratt@gmail.com, and you, too, can become a LIS blogger!

Events

We have come great events coming up at the end of this month:

  • Many of us are drawn to library science by a desire to help others.  So let’s flex those service muscles by joining NYPL’s Correctional Services Program on Thursday, February 26th at their midtown office! All are welcome to drop in anytime between 1-6pm, for as long as you are able.  Staff will direct us in the tasks that will be most helpful to the inmate population they serve. This could include answering reference letters, packaging boxes, and a number of other service-oriented tasks! Please RSVP if you plan on attending, so NYPL knows how many people to expect: http://bit.ly/NYPLService

And if you haven’t already, check out this article in Newsweek featuring SILS, Professors Rabina and Drabinski, and all of you who have answered inmate reference letters!  Thanks for all you have done, and continue to do!

  • We will be taking a field trip to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale on Friday, February 27th. It will be an all-day event, and space will be limited. We will send out an email with more detailed information and how to sign-up within the next few days, so keep an eye out!
  • The next SILSSA general meeting will take place Tuesday, February 24th, at 6pm in room 610 of PMC.  We’ll discuss our upcoming events, and vote on a change to the SILSSA constitution (review the proposed changes here). Our aim is to make this meeting quick and easy, so join us, and don’t worry about being late to your 6:30 class!

That’s all from us this week! As always, you can follow us on Twitter for more events and news, and on Instagram for cool pics of those events!

If you have something you’d like for us to feature in our weekly round-up, or if you’re interested in writing for Keyword, please email us at silssa.pratt@gmail.com!