Second ALASC profile: Shelli Owens

Welcome to our second ALASC profile.  This is a series of introductions of ALASC board members, SLIS students, and other information professionals who you may want to hear from.  If you’re interested in being profiled, please message us!  This was originally published in October on our Facebook page.


For our first profile, please welcome Shelli Owens.  Shelli is the Alumni Social Media manager at SLISConnect, the combined student and alumni networking group for SJSU SLIS.  They are hosting an event soon, check it out below. 

Introduce yourself!
I’m Shelli Owens, also known in many places as ShelliO. There are some people out there who have never even known my last name. I kinda dig having an alter ego. Or maybe it’s my superhero name. I currently work for FedEx and I’ve been here a LONG time. If I’m good and true and clever, maybe soon, I’ll be some place else. Some place very library.

I live in San Francisco which is also my favorite past time. This city is crazy with interesting things to uncover, history to explore, and the people watching can’t be beat. SF history is my current new hobby; I walk every Sunday with my friend Nicole and we try to explore new places that are soaked in SF myth and mystery. The ruins at Sutro Baths are especially fantastic, both for history and a cardio workout.

Why are you at SLIS?

I actually graduated in May but I’m still very entwined in the program. I’m the Alumni Social Media Manager for SLISConnect and a member of the Curriculum and Program Development Committee. It took me a while to get my undergrad (my announcements said “The 40 Year Old Graduate: It’s About Time” which pretty much says it all) and had always planned to find my way into publishing. But by the time I graduated and started exploring the field, I felt like the profession was in such a flux that I’d have a really hard time breaking in. When I looked around at other options, I realized everything that I loved about publishing could be found in librarianship. Getting involved with libraries opened my eyes to the depth and breadth of the field. Librarians have the most amazing, diverse jobs. We are always learning. That’s just the coolest thing ever.

What’s the best part of being a member of ALASC?

My peers, hands down. I have met the best people in this program. Finding your tribe is one of the most heartening experiences. I feel so lucky.

What advice do you have for new students? / What’s the best advice you’ve gotten recently?
New students, get involved. Go to local events, conferences when you can swing it. Meet people, meet people, meet people. It’s amazingly simple to meet the people you who are writing the articles and books you’re reading in class. Find a way to meet them because 9 times out of 10, they want nothing more than to help you succeed. On the 10th time, they probably just want a cold drink. It’s rough being a superstar. Also, do internships. And you can never start too soon. Well, first semester might be a bit much but as soon as you can get an organization to take you on, start putting in your time. There is so much hands-on knowledge to learn that the sooner you start, the more likely you will be able to hit the ground running the day after graduation.

The best advice I’ve been given recently is to look at the desired skills for the jobs I want and figure out how I can get those skills. As much as we learn during the program, much of it theoretical. We get a solid base for our philosophy and understanding of the demands of librarianship but we also need to be able to translate this knowledge into the daily work of a librarian. It’s one thing to take a Web Apps and Skills class but another thing entirely to manage an organization’s website. Do both of these things.

What are some great SLIS classes that you recommend and why?

I can’t say enough good things about Michelle Simmons’ Information Literacy course. This is where the rubber meets the road. Even if you never planned on teaching, librarianship will put you in the position to guide students and patrons towards developing the critical thinking skills that will affect every area of their future. You’ll leave this class understanding the importance of this profession and the duty we have towards the responsible use of information. Plus she’s just a fantastic person. Be her friend.

Michael Stephens has some great classes also. I took Hyperlinked Libraries which helped me to envision the future of libraries, librarianship, and how I can be an asset to the profession. The ability to look forward and think in terms of “what’s next” are valuable skills in this field. Michael is a rockstar in our profession and passionate doesn’t do justice to how he approaches his work. It’s more like a calling or a mission for him and I think everyone should stand in the shining light of his brilliance for as long as they can. You will learn, learn, learn.

Really, there are so many fantastic courses and professors. The hardest part is not getting to take them all.
If students want to meet you in person or ask more questions, how can they reach you?
Our next event is a meet up at CLA. Read all about it and we’d love to see you there!
You can find me here on Facebook and feel free to add me as a friend. I like freeeeenz: