The School of Information Sciences had multiple faculty members and researchers participate in the 2018 Charleston Library Conference, which brings together a cross-section of librarians, publishers, researchers, academics, and others involved with libraries and scholarly publishing, every November in Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s conference was Nov. 5-9; it is a large conference, with attendance around 2,000 participants in 2017.
“There aren’t very many conferences that are attended by both library and information sciences (academics) faculty and library practitioners, or a lot of opportunity for us to talk to practitioners at conferences,” said Rachel Fleming-May, associate professor and SIS director of graduate studies. “I go to Charleston specifically to engage with practitioners and to learn what they’re doing, and what kinds of questions they may have. I bring that back to my teaching and to my research.”
Fleming-May was one of several people from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to speak on the panel “The Winds of Change: A New Model for Specialized LIS Education.” Other participants included: Chancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir; SIS alumni and research associates for the Center for Information and Communication Studies (CICS) Jordan Kaufman (’18) and Brianne Dosch (’18); SIS alumna and CICS research associate Amy Forrester (’16); and Regina Mays (’09), UT assessment librarian and SIS alumna. Professor Dania Bilal and Chancellor’s Professor Suzie Allard participated in the proposal for the presentation.
This session focused on SIS’s specialized “Experience Assessment (UX-A)” program, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21stCentury Librarians Program, which supplemented MSIS’s students’ existing program with curricular and co-curricular experiences focused on preparing them for careers in user experience and assessment. UX-A provided participants with mentoring, on-site practicum experience, and specialized skills. Twelve SIS students participated in the first round of the program, which began in 2016; five new students joined UX-A in August 2018, to complete the grant period.
The presentation was highlighted in an article by Charleston Conference blogger Donald Hawkins for the website and publication “Against the Grain.”
Kaufman and Fleming-May also presented, “A Dream of Spring: Academic Libraries’ Services to Graduate Students,” sharing research regarding academic libraries’ services to graduate students, as focus at academic libraries often centers heavily around the needs of the larger undergraduate population or faculty.
Tenopir was on another panel, presenting “Demonstrating Library ROI: Success Stories and Strategies to Replicate in Your Library.” The panel consisted of librarians who shared strategies on how they successfully told their ROI story internally and externally regarding the value of the library in a campus community without using student outcome measures.
Also presenting at the Charleston Conference was Assistant Professor Xiaohua “Awa” Zhu. She presented, “Buy, Subscribe, or Borrow? Consumers’ Use Preferences for Information Products,” which investigated consumers’ notion of ownership, the perceived importance of owning information products, their preferences for obtaining different types of media content, their subscription and cancellation behaviors, and the perceived importance of a range of different features of information products and subscription services.