(Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts  profiling the iSchool’s Library and Information Science faculty.Check out previous 7 Question posts with R. David LankesRenee F. HillJill Hurst-Wahl, and Jian Qin). P.S. – This is National Library Week. The American Library Association is celebrating it and tweeting information under the hashtag, #NLW15)


Marilyn Arnone has an enthusiasm that is catching! She is passionate about teaching, student learning, the environment, and about curiosity. The delight she takes in all of these things is quite evident, and after talking with her, I was excited about these things as well.

Marilyn teaches a variety of courses, including Storytelling for Information Professionals (IST 646), Youth Services in Library Information Centers (IST 612), Motivating 21st Century Learning (IST 663), and a new course this spring on Literacy, Inquiry and Nature (IST 600) that she is really excited about. Also, this fall she will be teaching a course on using Information Technology in Educational Organizations. She the co-director for the Center for Digital Literacy here at Syracuse and has many ongoing projects and research interests that beg to be explored!

I’m rather jealous of the School Media students who get to have more classes with her…


(Questions answered: What is your headline? What is your claim to fame, or in what area do you have bragging rights?)

KM: Which Social Media do you prefer (If no social media, why not?)

MA: The answer to that is, it depends. It depends on what I’m looking to do – if it is professional, I use twitter. Things like recommending blog posts and new apps, or enhancing my weekly topic discussions with students with new or emerging pieces of information that come out on our topic. I like to get them to contribute and to be constantly looking for the new sides of any issue that we are talking about. Each course has its own hashtag.

I say it depends because I also like Facebook, but that is more for my family and friends. I do put some professional information on there but Twitter is definitely more for my professional life.

KM: What is the one app you couldn’t live without?

MA: Probably the app that I could not live without is Outlook (Android / iPhone) because I need all of the organizational help I can get!

KM: What is your favorite local hangout?

MA: When I come to Syracuse, my favorite local hangout is Phoebe’s. I think the food is pretty good but I really like the atmosphere. That’s only if we are talking restaurants. My favorite nature hangout might be Green Lakes or the Erie Canal.

KM: What was your aha moment, when you knew you wanted to dedicate your professional life to the information field?

MA: About 15 years, I had the realization that I could wrap up all of the things that I love to do in this field. Things like curiosity, inquiry, teaching, researching and storytelling. I also discovered that I love to shine the spotlight on others. I have been able to do that with projects like S.O.S. for Information Literacy and all of my Curious Kids projects.

[Editor’s note: Curious Kids is a series of storybooks and companion guides that Marilyn has authored to help kids learn information literacy and research skills. They include: Curious Kids: Why Dolphins Visit Curiosity Creek, Curious Kids: Digging for Answers, and Curious Kids and the Squiggly Question. She is also working on re-launching a new version of Curiosity Creek that helps kids learn about science and the environment through inquiry. It is tentatively scheduled to launch on Earth Day.]

KM: What do you think makes the iSchool LIS program different from all the others?

MA: I would have to go back to something many others have mentioned and that is the Faculty of One mentality. Every iSchool says that they are innovative, but I think the [Syracuse] iSchool proves it every day. I think that they ignite that same excitement in students, too.

KM: What is the craziest (most positive) development you see actually happening in the LIS world?

MA: The most positive thing that I see happening in the LIS world is how well libraries are adapting to changes in our world. They’re not just the archival place for books because more than ever they are pushing out to their communities, they are learning what the communities need and want – using assessment a lot, and they are giving it to them in the expanded services that they offer.

Libraries and librarians are also partnering with organizations and when they do that, they are able to provide more than they could alone. Recently, I have been conducting interviews with public librarians and asking them, “What are you doing to bring more nature and environmental programming to you communities – both for K-12 and for adults?” What they’re doing is reaching out to organizations like the zoo, museums, experts in the community, scientists, researchers in universities and many others so they can bring the much needed environmental programming to the library. I think that is part of the library assessing the community needs and always being ready to say, “how can we meet the needs of our community?”

I’d also like to add, and I talk about this in the class I’m teaching, that public librarians and school librarians already have the expertise in literacy and they already have the expertise in facilitating inquiry based experiences – whether informal or formal – for students. So there can be programming that combines community expertise with the librarian expertise in the literacy and inquiry components, and it results in a multidimensional experience.

KM: What was your favorite part or moment of graduate school? (proudest, most fun, etc.)

MA: There were many memorable moments that built upon the strong bonding relationships that you build with other students that are following a similar path to your own. That goes for studying or relaxing or exploring together. I had a wonderful female friend, her name was Eileen Schroeder and we used to enjoy long walks along the Erie Canal. We would talk about all kinds of things – we were both in a doctoral program so obviously we talked a lot about our research and so forth. That was really important to me.

Another moment that I was most proud of, was when I found out that I had won the Research Apprenticeship Award for the Best Research Proposal. I wasn’t even expecting it. I didn’t even know that my proposal had been submitted at all! I hadn’t submitted it myself. That was an unexpected reward. When you have an unexpected reward, that can be very motivating!

KM: Bonus question: What gets your endorsement this week?

MA: Within the past week (at time of interview) the president of Harvard University, Drew Faust, did a talk in Beijing, China, at Tsinghua University. Her talk was on climate change, global sustainability, and the efforts that both countries and universities can be making toward that end. I am glad to see more and more universities that are making these efforts toward sustainability, not only in their own university but reaching out internationally, because it is a national and international problem. The more collaborative efforts, the better.