Insights from Banned Book Reading Nite

We just finished up Banned Books Week across the country and the ALA is alive with all of the various lists of banned books now and over time ( ALA@Wayne joined forces with Always Brewing Detroit to have a Banned Books Reading Night. Due to a small turnout, this event quickly turned into a roundtable discussion, and several members of a book club joined us, which regularly meet at Always Brewing, as well as, a lawyer and her young daughter, whom had her own thoughts about banned books and is also was an avid reader.

We brought in Looking for Alaska, which regularly makes the list for smoking, drinking, and sexuality; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for its trippy nature; and The Boy Who Lost His Face, for including the occult and some incredibly brief sexuality. From banned books, we discussed the teaching of literature, i.e. having discussions about difficult subject matter and how to help students value the written word. We talked about what makes books good, or have value. Does it depend on your emotional reaction or attachment to the story? Is it okay to just like something even though it’s something you read before bed and it’s not a dense novel that you can pick apart with others?

What gives something literary merit—is it how it’s written vs. subject? It’s definitely important for librarians to consider all of these factors when recommending books to people, and there is not just one area of the United States that bans books. It’s happens all over. Do your part—even if you don’t engage in conversation with others about a banned book, pick one up and read it. Consider why it was banned and if that holds true for you. Lists can be found in the above link.

Thanks to Amanda Brewington and Always Brewing Detroit for hosting us and to those who attended.

Elissa Zimmer, President


Highlights of the 2014 ALA Student-to-Staff Program

I just returned from the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Student-to-Staff (S2S) Program at the Annual Conference in Las Vegas. The S2S program gave me an opportunity to work with the ALA’s International Relations Office (IRO). The S2S program requires a lot of energy and a “can do” customer service attitude. I was assigned to the IRO Registration area, where I helped international librarians register for the conference. I also worked in the IRO Visitor Center and distributed conference resources to the international registrants. I enjoy helping others, so my IRO assignment was a pleasure to perform.

The conference was jam-packed with events for every type of librarian and paraprofessional. The main conference sessions and exhibits were a buzz with the glitz and showmanship for which Vegas is known. I could not have imagined there would be 700+ exhibitors on hand including book vendors of all types, not to mention software and furniture retailers, and LIS graduate schools. There were so many exhibits to visit and Elvis had not left the building when I arrived, so I took a picture with him. Plus, I unexpectedly connected with a few colleagues in the exhibit hall.

Roxanne and Elvis Impersonator

Our own WSU SLIS graduate program was on hand displaying our program materials. Networking was the biggest perk of the 2014 S2S and Annual Conference. There was an Alumni Reunion sponsored by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), and they also provided a shared booth for the LIS graduate schools that were exhibiting. I got a chance to meet some WSU alumni who graduated in 2003 and 2009. They shared some of their experiences finding their first job after graduate school, along with their progression in the profession. This event also gave me an opportunity to meet and chat with our WSU SLIS Associate Dean, our Academic Advisor and a previous ALA@Wayne colleague at the reunion. These are the types of social interactions and experiences that conferences support. As a distance student, I would not have met my WSU and other future LIS colleagues, without my attendance and participation at this year’s ALA S2S program.

Check out the other experiences I gained through the 2014 ALA S2S program at the Annual Conference on the SLIS blog.

Roxanne Brazell

Networking Information

Networking is extremely important. Many students will try to find a job by looking online or through a job listserv. However, in order to truly find a job, students need to talk and develop relationships from within the working force. De Janasz and Forret explain that the, “prevailing wisdom suggests that 70–80% of all professional jobs are not obtained through classified advertisements; rather, they are obtained through effective and consistent networking” (2008). Networking can increase your contacts, establish interviews, and cultivate mentors throughout your education and career. I believe that networking can establish your future profession, your income, and pave the way for your passionate career. Here are a few ways it can help you out.

Make the effort. In order to have networks and contacts, the most important endeavor is to spend time within libraries, archives, information agencies, companies, and so forth. If you are not willing to spend the time, then you will never begin to delve into different professional careers. This can occur through part-time jobs, volunteering, internships, conferences, and other functions. When you begin to talk with other professionals, you need to be succinct and clear about your career aspirations. It should be your “30 second commercial” or your elevator pitch (de Janasz & Forret, 2008). Many say that it is “branding” yourself, which I somewhat agree with. Thinking about what your future career will entail can improve future discussions. By thinking about and preparing for this first, you can have a much easier conversation.

Conversations are not networking. Networking is a constant dialogue with the contact individuals. After you speak about job availability or other, unpretentious banter, you need to get their business card and contact information. The most imperative aspect is writing a follow-up email stating that you enjoyed the conversation and the possibility of coming to the next event. Another way to demonstrate the relationship is by writing a snail-mail letter of the given subject. These are vital expressions by making sure that the individual remembers and becomes mindful of you and your interests. Likewise, Stevens asserts that there are strong networking ties as well as weak ties (2011). Strong ties “can get you more access to favors from those people.” Weak ties are usually, “a contact they met briefly at an event. That means the more people you meet and network with, the more likely you are to find new opportunities.” Both ties of networking are great for your career path. Choosing whom you want to talk to, how long, and establishment of the contact is the networking connection.

Finally, many of us are introverts whether we acknowledge ourselves or not. If you are an introvert and have a difficult time starting conversations, than there are other options. For introverted individuals try to form a networking experience, de Janasz and Forret state that, “Skill-building opportunities in how to approach other people and introduce themselves, as well as opportunities to learn how to engage in ‘small talk’ to help find areas of common interest can enhance individuals’ networking abilities” (2008). Think about your strengths and how you can enrich the conversation, also leave out weak subjects in order to stimulate the communication.

Networking will develop throughout your life. By talking and letting people know of your interests, people will want to help, assist, or possibly hire you based upon the simple connections (Muir, 2009). Next time you go out, remember to establish relationships with other people and ensure your contact interactions.

Please use the references below and look up networking experiences from different databases for a clearer understanding of the connections.


De Janasz, S. C., & Forret, M. L. (2008). Learning the art of networking: A critical skill for enhancing social capital and career success. Journal of Management Education, 32(5), 629-650. doi: 10.1177/1052562907307637

Muir, C. (2009). Rethinking job references: a networking challenge. Business Communication Quarterly, 72(3), 304-317. doi: 10.1177/1080569909340687

Stevens, C. K. (2011). Don’t discount the value of networking. The Washington Post. Retrieved from