Early Winter 2016 Issue–Community


Building Community Everywhere–A Letter from the Editor

What is a community? Some of us think of the neighborhood in which we live as our community, but a community can be any group of people who gather together. Here at the iSchool we are a community of students. But the community is even larger than that—faculty, staff, and course instructors are all part of the community as well.

The ALASC and other student chapters are one way to find a smaller community within the larger student community, and finding smaller communities is a good way to build deeper and longer lasting relationships. In an online environment, it can be less obvious as to how one can find a sense of community. Student groups like the ALASC offer opportunities to participate in discussions with people all over the world, who are interested in the same important issues—intellectual freedom, diversity and tolerance, and free, accessible resources of quality information, just to name a few. Former student Danielle Rapue gave a poster session at the recent California Library Association (CLA) conference, sharing all the ways that a student can connect in an online environment. I was there too, soaking up the atmosphere and getting to know members of the California library community. Not only are these connections great to have as I approach the working world with my MLIS, but meeting fellow librarians who share the same passion for early literacy and rural living gives me a sense of belonging in a profession that I have yet to enter. I already feel accepted and encouraged to follow my passions. Thoughts about my experience are posted on the SJSU School of Information’s iStudent Blog—another great way to find community in an online environment.

In September the SJSU ALASC Descriptor published an issue about the national ALA Conference that took place last June in Orlando, Florida. Students, iSchool instructors and ALASC board members all shared their unique experience at the professional conference, including the somber sense of community created by the deadly nightclub shooting that had taken place only a month prior to the conference. Since the iSchool’s student chapter operates within the larger American Library Association, members can take advantage of ALA resources. Earlier this month, I reached out to the ALA’s New Members Round Table (NMRT) and posted to the NMRT blog in an effort to open the channels of communication between our own student organization and current professionals. It is my hope that the professional organization will be inclusive of the student chapters and that students will take advantage of the connection they have with professional mentors.

Community is a sense of belonging, a sense that a larger group of like-minded people is working toward the greater good of the whole. If you are looking for a definition of community in libraries, please read on to find community for families and young children in the public libraries of Maine, and global community and a sense of belonging and caring for our earth. Read on and be moved by the way community was found in Ferguson, Missouri, even in an atmosphere of fear, hatred and grief. SJSU’s expert on community partnerships and instructor of the iSchool’s course of the same name weighs in on all the ways libraries can connect with their communities, from small business discount to graphic novels and tattoos.

Whatever or wherever your community, reach out and hold them close, especially this time of year and especially in the years to come. Beyond the walls of the library and beyond your computer screens, let the people in your life and your community know that you care and that who they are and what they do matters—to everyone.

blogravatarYours Truly,
Allison Randall Gatt





Community Partnerships by iSchool Instructor Morgan Pershing

war-ink-1The description for the Community Partnerships class that I teach for the iSchool reads:

Public libraries are no longer your mother’s public libraries. Facing cuts in funding yet increasing use, the landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Public libraries have expanded focus to include more programming and extending reach beyond the four walls of a physical space. Partners benefit by getting their message or education out to a huge population – the library’s patron base and in turn, libraries benefit by having new avenues in which to attract patrons and expose new people to all that a public library can provide for them.
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Social Media and Learning at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library by Madelynn Dickerson

ferguson-1On August 9, 2014 a black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The boy, who was eighteen years old, was unarmed. His death spurred on protests in the city of Ferguson that drew international media attention both in August, immediately following the shooting, and again in November after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Wilson for any crime.
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Family Place Libraries Initiative: Welcoming and Supporting Families of All Kinds by Megan Smith


In February of this year, the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, opened the doors of its newly renovated building. What is not new, however, is their partnership with Family Place Libraries, a network of libraries promoting early literacy and play-based engagement with families of young children.
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Sustaining Our Global Community by Kelley Presley

k-preseley-solar-farm-0015If you take a moment to ponder the concept of community, you begin to realize that it is a truly multi-faceted notion. There are numerous ways to define it, from the town in which you live to a group of individuals who congregate and share their love of knitting. People find and define community in many aspects of their lives. Libraries make it their mission to be acquainted with their communities and provide to them the resources, programs, and services that are needed by and are relevant to them. Libraries must always be ready to adapt to the dynamic needs of a complicated world.
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My School Library as My Community by ALASC Treasurer Cindy Hottya


When the idea for a community-focused themed newsletter was presented, I associated community with the people that make up my city, and knew I had nothing to contribute, as I am an elementary school librarian, and not a city library employee. But it was pointed out to me, that my community…is my school.
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