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School Begins New Community Library and Information Science Group

From putting libraries on MySpace to providing pleasure reading for university students, the issues on the table at meetings of the Library Science Interest Group (LISIG) reveal an open-ended discussion gravitating toward the edges of traditional library issues.
School of Information Studies Professor Scott Nicholson, director of the school's library and information science master's degree program, started the group last fall as a way to give faculty and students a chance to become more involved in local libraries, while giving librarians a forum to discuss issues outside of their individual libraries.
Everyone who comes has something different to contribute, Nicholson says, and through this collaborative discussion, we all come away with a greater number of perspectives on library-related issues. Nicholson hopes this group will serve as a launch pad for research projects and grant proposals that bring together the University and library communities.
At past meetings, the group has discussed topics like Participatory Librarianship, the imagined but not yet implemented set of web-based applications that will allow library users to become active participants in library processes. Many of the big questions ask if such two-way communication will take place through established social networking sites like MySpace or through the creation of a new application designed with advice from library professionals.
Like Participatory Librarianship, most of the issues discussed by the group affect both public and academic libraries and represent possible research projects for diverse teams. Other topics making appearances at LISIG meetings include the possibility of academic and public libraries teaming up to provide students with leisure services such as browsing collections or reading rooms; evaluation of library user-friendliness and the application of tradition academic library metrics to public libraries; and the role of participatory librarianship and community activism in the age of online catalogs and digital resources.
There is obviously so much potential for those who do,' those who teach, and those who are learning, to inform one another, says Elise Calvi, a reference and subject librarian for information studies at SU's Bird Library, who has been attending LISIG meetings since October. My main hope is just that this group can be a channel for that and for enhancing the level of interaction to our mutual benefit.
This spring, LISIG will meet Tuesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The dates and the locations of the meetings are:
  • February 20 at Syracuse University, Bird Library, Hillyer Room
  • March 27 at the Onondaga County Public Library, Central Library, Smith Room
  • April 17 at Syracuse University, Bird Library, Hillyer Room
  • May 22 at the Onondaga County Public Library, Central Library, Smith Room
Librarians of all types are invited to attend and present their issues. Meetings are open to the public.
For questions about the Bird Library meetings, contact Elise Calvi at For questions about the OCPL meetings, contact Gail Cox at General questions can be directed to Scott Nicholson at

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