Association for Library and Information Science Education: The Eyes of Texas on LIS

By Seavey, Charles | American Libraries, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Association for Library and Information Science Education: The Eyes of Texas on LIS


Seavey, Charles, American Libraries


Nearly 450 members of the Association for Library and Information Science Education met January 16-19 in the Omni Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, for their annual conference. The overall attendance was down a bit from Boston in 2005, although individual sessions were better attended.

Conference planners Julie Hersberger of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Connie Van Fleet of the University of Oklahoma returned to an earlier model of fewer juried paper sessions, allowing for more conversation in the halls. Randall Bass, associate professor of English at Georgetown University, delivered the sole keynote address, on "The Difference that Inquiry Makes: Fostering a Scholarship of Teaching and a Culture of Learning." After that it was all refereed papers from a mix of LIS faculty, doctoral students, the occasional practitioner, and a group of faculty members from school library media programs accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Two innovations surfaced at this conference. One was that ALISE Special Interest Groups must now submit papers to the same refereeing process that everyone else goes through. The rule has been in place for a few years, but this was the first year that it had a major impact. SIGs have traditionally been the forum where doctoral students try out their presentation skills, and the addition of the jury process gives them practice in another skill they will need to be successful faculty members.

Another innovation was the "Birds of a Feather" discussion group. Suggested by Stephen Bajjaly of the University of South Carolina, the noontime sessions started out with 10 table discussions, ranging from administration and management to research methods and public libraries, all in one ballroom. Both the interest and noise levels were high. No table was empty, and several discussions simply moved on to lunch at a nearby restaurant when the allotted time ran out.

One conference high point has always been the poster session presentations by doctoral students. These are a look at both where LIS research is going and who the future faculty members are. Last year's session was unusually large, so this year the organizers wisely restricted it to students in the process of writing dissertations. A works-in-progress session took place at another time for other presentations, one of which got me thinking about education for the increasing use of Geographic Information Systems in libraries.

A nice touch this year was a silent auction to raise money for the association's research grant program. Bids on 22 items--ranging from a volume of the speeches of Cicero printed in 1559 by the Aldine Press to a carnelian necklace with matching earrings--brought in nearly $2,000. …

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