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Library Friday: New LIS Student Survival Guide

A warm Syracuse welcome to all new LIS and LIS: School Media (LISSM) students! Even though I’m calling this a ‘survival guide,’ have no fear. The support you receive during your time at the iSchool is bound to not just make you survive, but thrive!

Today is the new student orientation for incoming, on-campus LIS and LISSM students, and new student orientations tend to be equal parts exciting and nerve-wrecking. Plentiful peers and distinguished faculty to meet, a foreign campus to explore, and a whole new degree to embark on. Here’s some stuff you should know about being a new library science student:

New LIS Students are automatically a member of LISSA

LISSA stands for Library and Information Science Student Association, and is the student chapter of ALA here at SU. From the moment you enroll in the LIS program, you are automatically a member of the active, welcoming student group. (Free friends! Woohoo!)

LISSA’s leadership team holds weekly meetings where all on-campus and online students are encouraged to attend. An Adobe Connect link is emailed to the student body each week to allow for virtual attendance for online students.

Mark your calendars— LISSA’s Welcome Night is this coming Wednesday, August 30, at The Inn Complete at 6:00 p.m.!

New LIS Students Can Attend Library Conferences and Join Professional Organizations

Excitingly, during the first week or two of IST 511, LIS students can become student members of the New York Library Association (NYLA), or Special Library Association (SLA), and the iSchool covers the cost. Please note: by joining the New York Library Association (NYLA), you will also become a member of the American Library Association (ALA).

Getting involved in a professional organization is a great way to fulfill an interest that may not surface in the classroom, and establish networks across the country. In most large library organizations, you have the opportunity to join roundtables and/or divisions that closely cater to your interests. Here are some helpful resources:

All of the aforementioned organizations organize conferences, where librarians and library students can register and attend numerous informational sessions, workshops, socials, and more! Conferences aren’t cheap, and fortunately, LIS and LISSM students have the opportunity to apply for funding to attend a conference.

New LIS Students can receive unlimited mentoring at the iSchool

If you are unsure of what classes to take, or if you would like someone to review your resume, there are people who work in the iSchool that can help you with that, and more.

A lot of the staff you may meet during orientation have bios on the iSchool website. Take a peek to see who you think is the most appropriate person to answer your question, and shoot them an email. Not sure who to contact? Get in touch with the LISSA Leadership Team; we’d be happy to connect you with the right person.

More specifically, Christopher Perrello, director of Career Services at the iSchool, holds LIS Career Prep Drop-In Nights, and he will work with LISSA to plan the third LISSA Career Month this October. Keep a lookout for emails about these events in the upcoming weeks.

Help for Online LIS Students

You are never alone! Online students can find comfort in the fact that the iSchool faculty and staff, as well as your fellow classmates, are more than willing to communicate in a myriad of ways.

Oftentimes, the professors provide their Skype username or Adobe Connect room, so that you can have a face-to-face interaction like on-campus students. Typically, faculty and staff are also available via phone, email, and Twitter.

LISSA recognizes the numerous online students and their unique situations, so it has an Online Student Liaison: Becky Fitzgerald (rafitzge@syr.edu). Becky is a second-year online student who can answer any of your more informal questions and provide insight on the online life.

Fran Roach (froach@ischoolonline.syr.edu) is a Manager, Student Support for Online Programs and is available to answer online students’ questions, too. 

New LIS Students Have A Voice!

At any time, online and on-campus students can email yours truly with questions, comments, criticism, or praise regarding the LIS program.

Program Committee Meetings

My job as program assistant is to work with LIS director, Caroline Haythornthwaite, to resolve any problems students may encounter. The way it works is as follows: I receive a concern, and then I anonymously report it to Caroline. Next, her and I present the issue to the rest of the LIS faculty at monthly Program Committee Meeting, and eventually, an answer or solution is reached.

LIS Town Halls

LIS Town Hall takes place every spring semester, too. Town Hall is an open forum that allows students to ask the LIS Program Director and Program Manager questions, and discuss likes and dislikes about the LIS program. The students decide the discussion topics!

Being Active in LISSA

Another avenue to take for seeking advice is to call upon the LISSA Leadership Team. Have a question about a course? Or maybe you’re contemplating whether public libraries are for you? We have diverse interests and we are happy to help you.

Blog for InfoSpace

To add, the InfoSpace Blog is the official blog of the iSchool at Syracuse University. LIS, LISSM, and IM students can learn a great amount from their peers in browsing numerous, easy-to-read blog posts in their spare time. Interested in writing for InfoSpace? Contact Katie, the Digital Content Manager and co-manager of the InfoSpace blog, to pitch an idea!

Syracuse Living

If you’re an on on campus student, you will quickly realize that you’ve landed in a college town where students are encouraged to express themselves and be leaders. SUNY ESF, SUNY Upstate Medical University, LeMoyne College, and Syracuse University are all in close proximity, bringing together countless people of all ages with varying interests.

During today’s orientation, students will get a chance to go on a walking tour and visit a whopping 8 libraries on and around campus. By living in the Syracuse area, students will also have access to the wonderful Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) system, which is made up of the Central library in downtown Syracuse, 10 city libraries, and 21 independent libraries. Add into the mix museums, art galleries, music venues, restaurants, and you’ll never be bored.

Here are the LISSA Leadership Team’s fav spots in ‘Cuse:

  • The New York State Fair: check out the NY State Libraries booth while you’re there!
  • The Evergreen: awesome food and craft beers
  • CNY Regional Market: you haven’t been to a farmer’s market until you’ve checked this out!
  • Recess Coffee, Cafe Kubal, and the Roji Tea Lounge: for all your tea and coffee needs
  • Green Lakes State Park:  A scenic state park with two small lakes; the park has a popular swimming beach, hiking trails, and is a great place to cross-country ski during the winter months!

This post has been written with contributions from the LISSA Leadership team:

  • Kayla Del Biondo, President (kmdelbio@syr.edu)
  • Nicole Potter, Vice President (npotter@syr.edu)
  • Kara Conley, Secretary/Treasurer (kconle01@syr.edu)
  • Kim Hoffman, Communications/Marketing (kahoffma@syr.edu)
  • Becky Fitzgerald, Online Student Liaison (rafitzge@syr.edu)
Kayla Del Biondo

Kayla Del Biondo

Kayla is a second year MLIS student, and the current program assistant for the Library and Information Science Master's program at SU. She is interested in research, instruction, and academic libraries, and aspires to be both a librarian and a small farmer.

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