Welcome from SILSSA President, Dinah Handel

Hello fellow students! Welcome to the spring 2015 semester. My name is Dinah Handel, and I will serve as your SILSSA president for the semester. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of SILSSA for a third semester, and in a new capacity. In this inaugural post on our new website, I want to introduce myself, talk about some of the upcoming events we have planned for the semester, and also speak generally to some of the goals we want to accomplish as a student group this semester outside of event planning.


About me:

First, a little about me! This is my fourth semester at Pratt SILS. I study archival processes and theory, mostly, but with a side of critical pedagogy, and an emphasis on the digital side of librarianship. I am also invested in the intersections of issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality, with librarianship, which is an emerging field within our discipline. I am happy to talk any time about all of these topics! I work at Pratt as a graduate assistant, and at Barnard Archives and Special Collections as a graduate fellow. When I am not working, I like binge watching sitcoms, relaxing with my friends, and when it is warm, sitting in the park!


Upcoming events for the semester:

Now that you know a little bit about me, I want to share with you some of the exciting events we have planned for this semester, in list form (one of my faves):


Zine workshop: Zines, which are do it yourself (DIY) magazines, are a really fun way to share ideas and thoughts, politically express yourself, or just have fun and make art. Zine culture and librarians intersect a lot, and many libraries and archives carry zines! This workshop will provide a fun and supportive environment for SILS students to creatively express themselves, and get to know one another! If you want to learn more about zines and libraries, may I suggest reading more about the Barnard Library Zine collection?


Day of Service with the NYPL: Recently, Newsweek published an article about the NYPL’s Correctional Services department, and the Pratt SILS students who answer reference questions for incarcerated patrons. We have teamed up with the Correctional Services department for an afternoon of service, in late February. This event is a great way for students to volunteer their time and skillset for a social justice cause.


Tour to the Beinecke: Each year, SILSSA tries to take students on a field trip outside of New York City, to a notable library or archival institution. This year, we are planning a trip to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript library at Yale University. The tour will take place in Late February or early March, and SILSSA will pay for the cost of transportation.


Public librarianship panel: The New York City area is home to amazing library systems: NYPL, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library. We are hoping to bring together practitioners from different library branches and areas for an informative panel for those considering a career in public librarianship. If you’re a public librarian and interested in getting involved, email dhandel@pratt.edu!


Gender and Intersectionality in Library and Information Science event: This year, we will host a panel on issues of gender, sexuality, race, and class and the intersection of librarianship. The details are still being worked out but it will take place in late March! For context, check out the Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies colloquium that took place in October of 2014!


Wikipedia editathons: Last semester we hosted a wikipedia editathon about the history of the Pratt SILS program. It was a really fun and educational event! We are hoping to do another editathon this semester, the topic of which is undecided at this point. Have any ideas? Feel free to email dhandel@pratt.edu!


Happy hours: We try and encourage socializing outside of the 6th floor lobby of Pratt Manhattan, by hosting happy hours at a variety of locales in New York city. Friday, February 6th will be our first happy hour, at the Library bar. We will be there at 6, and we hope to see you!


I think that about wraps it up for upcoming events that we already have in the works, but there will definitely be more to watch out for, especially those organized by fellow student groups!


SILSSA’s organizational goals:

As for the vision for SILSSA for the upcoming semester, we have a few items we want to get in order. First, we want to hammer out the job descriptions and responsibilities of SILSSA officers. Because SILSSA acts as more of an umbrella organization, despite being affiliated with the ALA, it can sometimes be difficult to define what we do. That being said, we are committed to greater transparency about our job positions, and to that end, we have rewritten them and made them public for comment, and will be voting on them at our next general meeting, on February 24th!


In addition to greater transparency, we are also committed to increasing inter-student group communication at Pratt SILS. Too often the Pratt SILS community can feel fragmented, or nonexistent, and with the plethora of events organized individually by student groups, attendance is lowered. With this in mind, SILSSA wants to increase communication between student groups through a shared student leader calendar, and strategize with student groups to co-host events and increase student attendance at events, thereby strengthening student community.


Finally, SILSSA wants to try and work with Pratt Institute and Pratt SILS to acquire more funding for students who present at conferences. SILSSA recognizes that Pratt SILS students are contributing to the LIS discipline through their original scholarly work, and we want to support this! This is one of our loftier goals, but we are committed to advocating on behalf of the student body for more conference funding.


I hope that you’ll join us for any, or all of our upcoming events this semester, and please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments, or via email. Thank you!


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