Library and Information Studies Student Association at UNCG

Leave a comment

Updates from the Graduate Student Association

News from the Graduate Student Association meeting, Thurs., 11/20/2014

Major news items on Tuition & Fees, which are made on a 2-year plan by UNCG administration. Plans for 2015-17 have just been approved. They will be sent on to the UNC system’s Board of Directors for final review and approval.

See current Tuition & Fees schedule (Spring 2015) here:


Student Fees Committee notice:

-         For 2015-16, a 3.5% increase over 2014-15 rates has been approved.

-         For 2016-17, a further 8% increase over 2015-16 rates has been approved. Two committee members, representing the GSA and the Chancellor respectively, dissented on this item, voting for a 5% increase.

-         The GSA reports that the largest of the 7 fees areas (described here, to increase will be the Facilities/Debt Service (FDS) Fees. Facts about FDS Fees:

o   What are FDS Fees?: ‘Pays for debt incurred on “capital projects” which cannot be built using state funds – for example: soccer stadium, student recreation center, baseball stadium, EUC renovation, student health center expansion/renovation.’ (

o   Examples of recent ‘capital projects’ are listed on page 10 (ten) of the UNCG Business Affairs Annual Report, 2012-13, viewable here:

o   Current 2014-15 rate for FDS Fees are $707 per academic year (for an undergraduate enrolled for 12 credit hours). This is higher than any other UNC school’s FDS Fees (see comparison chart,


Tuition notice:

-         For 2015-16, a 5% increase over 2014-15 rates has been approved.

-         For 2016-17, a further 5% increase over 2015-16 rates has been approved.

-         GSA is concerned about faculty salaries and the possibly unethical process by which faculty raises are sought and earned. Graduate students deserve the best teachers and the best teachers deserve a fair raise request process. GSA reports that faculty, in order to obtain a pay raise, must first apply for another teaching position at another university, obtain a salary quote for that position, then present that quote to UNCG administration, which then considers matching a higher salary quote. This encourages UNCG faculty members to apply for jobs which they have no intention of taking, if offered. Furthermore, the job application process is time-consuming, diverting from normal faculty duties, like teaching. GSA is concerned about the dishonesty and diversion of faculty’s attention this procedure promotes. No resolution has been reached by GSA on whether or how to address the issue.


Graduate Research & Creativity Expo, 2015:

-         April 19, 2015, 1:00-4:00pm, in EUC Cone Ballroom

-         For more info, see

Leave a comment

Academic Libraries: Present and Future (College and University Section of NCLA Conference)

Hi LISSA members!

Check out this College and University Section of NCLA conference! They are looking for proposals and the deadline is October 18th. Also, consider going to this conference if you are interested in Academic libraries.

“The College and University Section (CUS) of the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) invites you to present at the 2014  CUS one-day conference, “Academic Libraries: Present and Future,” which will be held on Friday, December 5, 2014  at the UNC-Charlotte City Center Campus. NC.

Submissions for presentations addressing any of the following themes are encouraged:

-The professional marketplace

-The virtual library

-The physical library

We need your experience and knowledge to make this conference a success! This is a great opportunity to showcase a special project accomplished at your institution or to share an innovative idea with your colleagues.

Proposal Deadline: October 18, 2014

To submit your proposal, go to:

More information on the conference can be found at:

We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Best Regards,

The CUS Conference Planning Committee”

Leave a comment

Margaret Maron Presents: Women of Mystery

uncg flyer


Hi LISSA members, check out this UNCG event!

Author Margaret Maron to Inaugurate New Series at UNCG About Women of Mystery

Who: Margaret Maron Presents Women of Mystery (with Nancy Pickard)
When: Wednesday, October 29, 7 pm
Where: Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House, UNCG
Free and open to the public

For more information, see

Leave a comment

Graduate Student Association Announcements

Hi All!

A couple more announcements from GSA:

I.      Research/travel funding for grad students!

       – GSA offers three different ways to fund your research or reimburse conference-related travel costs. Students MUST apply first. Read more here:

      – Two $1,000 Research Travel Grants are available, one per student per funding window.

      – A number of Professional Development Fund (PDF) awards are available for students who are presenting at and/or traveling to conferences. Awards of up to $400 per student per funding window are given out.

      – A number of Thesis/Dissertation Fund awards are available as well.

II.      StudentBlue Health Insurance:

       – All graduate students are automatically enrolled in a BCBS StudentBlue health insurance plan each semester.

       – Students must either ACTIVATE or WAIVE the StudentBlue plan each semester. This can be done online at

       – The StudentBlue plan is $802.00 per academic year, added to your student account. This covers all procedures, visits, and pharmaceuticals available at the Gove Student Health Center on campus. It does not cover visits to off-campus doctors or pharmacies.

      – September 10, 2014 is the deadline for submitting a StudentBlue health insurance plan waiver. You can submit a waiver if you already have health insurance through a relative, employer, ACA insurance provider, or other means.

      – There is no deadline for activating your StudentBlue plan. However, delaying activation will affect how you are charged for services at the Gove Student Health Center. Activate online at

Leave a comment

Graduate Research Council Announcements


Just passing along the following announcements from the GRC:

TRC Makerspace Preview Party!

What it is: See the official unveiling of the School of Ed’s new makerspace. Including a 3D printer! Several SOE faculty have received US DOE grants this year and will be using the makerspace to pursue research interests.

Day: Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014


Location: Teaching Resources Center, 3rd floor of School of Education Bldg

More info


Upcoming SOE Symposium.

What it is: 2014 School of Education Research Symposium: Using Makerspaces to Improve Learning

Day: Friday, Nov. 14, 2014


Location: School of Education Bldg

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kylie Peppler, Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences, Indiana University-Bloomington.

More info


SOE Student Research Fair & Mixer.

SOE administration is in the planning stages of this event. We want—we need—your help!

What it is: The event would give students from all 6 SOE departments (including LIS) the chance to mix and meet. The idea is to build community within the School of Ed and also to promote cross-departmental student research collaborations. Perhaps you will connect with, or co-create a research project with a fellow SOE student! Research looks great on a resume and can count for course credit. An awesome opportunity. If you are currently doing or contemplating research, or just interested in meeting other SOE students, let us know your interest by e-mailing LISSA ( We want to gauge student interest. Include the following in your e-mail to LISSA (only Name, E-mail, and Dept. are required). We will send you more details.

Student/researcher name:


Research topic/interest area:


E-mail address:

Leave a comment

LISSA 2013 Resume Workshop Notes

Hi all. Last December, LISSA held a resume workshop for students. The workshop focused on successful resume-building specifically for library jobs. Our secretary Chanda Green wrote up a summary of the event which was sent out on the LISSA list-serv. For easy access for new students and for archival purposes, the summary is reprinted here on the blog! This is really useful information, and we hope to host another resume workshop this year.


December 9, 2013

LISSA Resume Workshop

Steve Cramer, Business Librarian, UNCG

Jenny Dale, Reference Librarian and First Year Instruction Coordinator, UNCG

Amy Harris Houk, Reference Librarian and Information Literacy Coordinator, UNCG

Lynda Kellam, Data Services and Government Information Librarian, UNCG

Lea Leininger, Health Sciences Librarian, UNCG

Emily Mann, Reference Services Assistant, UNCG

Dr. Rebecca Morris, LIS Professor and LISSA Advisor

Kathy Shields, Head of Reference and Instructional Services, High Point University


Our presenters and advisors have a great deal of experience in successful resume and cover letter best practices between them, having not only been through the process themselves, but also having read many, many resumes and cover letters as members of hiring committees.

Here are some of their tips on resumes, cover letters, and the job search process.

  • Your resume is, first and foremost, where you show that you meet the requirements of the position. Read the listing carefully, and make sure that you’re addressing each of the required qualifications on your resume. Search committees often have a checklist of job requirements that they will use to narrow down a large batch of applicants; any application that doesn’t meet those requirements is likely to be discarded.
  • The resume is a checklist of requirements, the cover letter is a follow-up. This is where you will expand on how your qualifications are a great match for the position. Use your research skills: find out all that you can about the institution and department, their priorities, information about the people you’d be working with, collections — anything that will be useful to presenting yourself as a good match. Distinguish yourself.
  • Tailor both your resume and your cover letter to each position that you apply for. Consider creating a resume template that contains all of your skills and experience, and then remove irrelevant items and reorganize their order to highlight those that best meet the job requirements.
  • Remember that you are applying for a professional position. Focus on experiences directly relevant to the position, less on your educational experiences. You are presenting yourself as a professional, not as a student.
    • A practicum, internship, or assistantship where you gained hands-on experience, or a research project highly relevant to the position are exceptions. If you did thesis work in English Literature and you are applying for a position as a subject specialist or liaison, this can show your familiarity with the subject as well as your research skills. Use your judgement.
    • Several presenters mentioned that they are not fans of seeing a GPA on a resume: your undergraduate GPA was good enough to get into graduate school and your graduate GPA was good enough to get you through it.
    • Some academic and extracurricular events are worth mentioning, such as a nationally-recognized honor society like Phi Beta Kappa, an organization where you were an officer or played an active role, especially a student professional organization (like LISSA!).
    • You do not need to mention your specific coursework. Not only will it be assumed that if you are applying for an academic library position you did coursework in academic libraries, but if you make it further into the hiring process you’ll be providing a graduate school transcript that makes your coursework and your GPA clear anyway.
  • You can omit the “purpose statement” section on your resume: it can be taken as read that your purpose is to get the job you’re applying for.
  • Don’t feel like you need to follow the common piece of advice to keep your resume to one page. You may well need that space to show that you meet all of the qualifications. That said, it should be as concise as possible: anything not specifically relevant to the position can stay on your template. (For example, customer service job experience is relevant to a position that works with the public, like a reference librarian. For a cataloging position it would be less so. If you were a restaurant supervisor and the position involved supervision, if you were a teacher and the job involved instruction, etc.)
  • Also consider clearly breaking your work experience into sections, such as “Relevant Experience” and “Other Experience.”
  • Your references are really important. Consider now, while you’re in school, who you will want them to be. If you’ll be asking professors, make sure you’re participating in class and talking to them outside of it. They can’t be a good reference for you if they don’t know you.
  • If at all possible, include a job supervisor as a reference. You’ll want someone who can say that you show up on time, don’t call in sick, and have a good work ethic. These are important qualities in any job, and they’ll want to hear that you have them.
  • Ask ahead of time if you can use someone as a reference, and if they feel as though they’d be able to represent you well. If they decline, don’t be upset. They may well simply be very busy, especially at certain times of the year.
  • Have a list of a number of people who are willing to be references, and again, tailor them to the job. If you’re applying to a liaison or specialist position, a thesis advisor would not only be someone who knows you well, they can confirm your knowledge of the specialty. If you’re applying for a position in instruction, pick a reference who has seen you teach, and so on.
  • Let your references know when you’ve been contacted about an interview. Send them the job listing and the resume that you tailored to it; this gives them the tools necessary to represent you well, and also doesn’t catch them by surprise when they’re contacted.
  • In terms of the language of the resume, obviously proofread. Have others proofread. Make sure your verb tenses match (and are in the past tense for previous positions), and that experiences and skills share common formatting.
  • Use action verbs to begin your experience descriptions: List of resume action verbs from Yale Undergraduate Career Services.
  • Avoid acronyms. Others likely won’t know what you mean. For example, don’t list “the TRC,” say “The Teaching Resources Center.” Even better, describe it: “The Teaching Resources Center, a satellite library geared towards School of Education students.”
  • Consider what a Google search reveals about you. Librarians are certainly going to see what information is freely available about you on the Internet.
  • Remember that librarianship is a fairly small community, and especially if you are applying for jobs in North Carolina, inquiries about you might be informal. As in any other profession, network. Present yourself well.
  • During the hiring process, be patient. It can take months to fill a position, and you’ll probably need to apply to lots of positions. The ability to move helps your chances of success: North Carolina has a lot of library schools, so this is a highly-competitive job market.
  • You can also check out notes from the recent presentation on applying for library jobs given by Kathy Bradshaw, Human Resource Librarian at UNCG. These, and a recording of the session, are posted on LISSA’s blog.

Leave a comment

The Reference Librarian’s Guide to Coping with Emotional Demands of the Job

Imagine the scenario. You are a reference librarian working a five-hour shift. It’s nearing five o’clock. Only three people have approached you in the last hour, two to ask where’s the bathroom and one to ask where he can pick up Interlibrary Loan items. The land of reference is quiet. Perhaps it’s a Tuesday, typically your quietest day.

Then a teenager walks into the library. She approaches the reference desk and asks for help with a school assignment. In the next twenty minutes five other high school students come in, wanting help with the same assignment. It’s due tomorrow. They’re anxious, and you only have so many resources on 16th-century France and the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

But you must remain friendly, helpful. You want to. But the students are impatient, rude, and you have to hear them out, each one, though you know the answer already.

The emotional demands of reference work are often overlooked. Sometimes the demands are rewarding, other times they’re simply frustrating. How do you cope?

Luckily, that question has been answered. An article in a 2013 issue of The Reference Librarian, “Emotional Labor in the Academic Library: When Being Friendly Feels Like Work,” discussed what 6 interviewed reference librarians had to say about how they cope with feelings of anger, boredom, fear, and frustration on the job. They had strategies they used with patrons, and strategies they used during down time. Here’s a summary of reported coping strategies:

Coping strategy used in dealing with patrons:                   Actions:

Helping someone really hard. Focus on finding the wanted information and not on the patron’s emotional state. Often, finding the info will take care of the patron’s frustration. Remember, you deal in information, not counseling.
Reframing or excusing behavior. Avoid taking a patron’s negative emotions or behavior personally. Instead, imagine to yourself that the patron’s behavior is due to a backache, an argument with a boy/girlfriend, or family issue.
 Empathizing. Try to understand why the patron is upset, especially if the reason library-related. For example, if he/she is confused by a lack of signage in the library, say “Yeah, I would find that confusing too” if you were a first-time visitor to your library. Acknowledge the patron’s frustration.
Using or threatening to use authority. As a last resort, in extreme circumstances, for example with a dangerous or abusive patron, you can say “There’s the door. You can leave, or I can call police.”


Coping strategy used during ‘down time’:                          Actions:

 Venting. Talking with co-workers about on-the-job problems or difficult patrons.
Stepping away. If someone is available to cover the desk for 10 minutes, you can take a walk outside around the building. If you are stuck at the desk, you can take a “break” by searching for something non-work-related to read on the internet.
 Hiding (this is serious, guys). A last-resort technique. You can vacate the desk when a well-known problem patron comes into sight.



Tips for applying to library jobs

Applying for positions in libraries—public, academic, school, special, or other—can be intimidating.

Few MLIS students and recent graduates know how the hiring process works. It’s easy to get anxious wondering if you’ve put too much or too little information, or included all the relevant details, in your application. To help shed light on what makes a good application, LISSA invited a human resources professional from our own University Libraries to speak at our November 6 meeting. Here’s a summary of what our guest speaker, Kathy Bradshaw, Human Resources Librarian at Jackson Library, shared with us:

(Link to recording here Due to technical difficulties, only half the talk was recorded.)

-Different types of libraries have different application requirements. Follow closely all the instructions given in the specific job listing and/or submission guidelines; including whether paper or electronic copies of application materials are preferred (or both); how many copies are wanted; and by what date all application materials must be postmarked or submitted online.

-Note whether the application requires you to give professional references now, with the initial application, or if they want you to provide them later per request.

-Keep your cover letter two pages or less in length.

-Do not reuse the same cover letter for different applications. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job position.

-You may sometimes need to tweak your resume, depending on what you want to emphasize for a certain job position.

-Proofread all application materials several times. Check for typos and grammar—more than one or two typos will greatly reduce your credibility.

-Do not repeat your resume in your cover letter. In the letter, expand briefly on your successes in relevant past positions, but do not list your job history again.

-Include library-related volunteer experience in your resume but list it separately from your professional (paid) experience.

-Many library jobs do not post salaries. If a job offer is made, you will get a salary offer. Before this happens, it is a good idea to know what amount is acceptable to you to live on.

-For academic library jobs, start the job search early! It can take several months from the initial job posting to get to the actual interview process.

-Academic library positions are usually chosen by a search committee, so more than one person will be involved in the decision process.

-At UNCG, once all applications for a library position have been reviewed, a small pool of finalists will receive a phone call. At this point, each finalist goes through a 30-minute phone interview. Be sure you are ready to describe yourself and talk about why you want this job!

-UNCG will generally narrow it down to two candidates in the final stage of the hiring process. Each one will be invited to campus for a two-day in-person interview. All travel and lodging expenses are paid by UNCG.

-Academic library jobs involve presentations, so be sure to practice your public speaking skills! At UNCG, the in-person interview involves you presenting before the hiring committee, so be prepared.

Leave a comment

A Guide to Cataloging Terms for First-Year LIS Students.

Hello readers! In this post I’ll link LISSA followers to resources on the “backbone” of all libraries: cataloging. If you’re driven mad by MARC, enraged by RDA, frustrated with FRBR, or annoyed by overabundant acronyms always appearing, read on. To start with, above all, cataloging is about metadata. It always has been. Even before computers and the World Wide Web were around. What is metadata? Metadata describes data. For example, consider the following: “TITLE: Curious George takes a job.” The words “Curious George takes a job” is a piece of data. The word “TITLE” describes what the piece of data is, i.e. what it indicates or means. Metadata (in the ex., “TITLE”) describes what it is that the data (in ex., “Curious George takes a job”) describes. Confused? Use the links below!

The following links are presented in alphabetical order by topic. Each link is accompanied by a brief definition of the topic.

FRBR – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records – This set of requirements outlines 21st-century-ready expectations for catalog records and how to conceptualize an item for cataloging purposes. FRBR is a starting point in the creation of a bibliographic record, from which you can then determine the basic elements, or pieces of descriptive information, to put in the catalog record of an item. See Barbara Tillet’s (of the Library of Congress) excellent pamphlet, “What Is FRBR?”, available free as a PDF here:

IFLA – International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions – The international group responsible for formulating FRBR, IFLA calls itself “the global voice of the library and information profession.” Primarily IFLA is concerned with standardization and internationalization of cataloging and bibliographic practices. See

LCSH – Library of Congress Subject Headings – The LC Subject Headings is a standard set of vocabulary terms (a controlled vocabulary), created by LC and adopted internationally, which allow all works relating to a single topic to be categorized under a common term indicating that topic.  Thus, for example, all books about birds are categorized under “Birds”, rather than one book on birds being searchable only under “Fowl”, another under “Winged vertebrates”, and yet a third under the Latin “Aves.” LCSH eliminates the need to search under multiple terms to find all books on birds included in a catalog. See:

MARC21 – Machine-Readable Cataloging Record for the 21st century – MARC21 does the job of coding catalog record fields (“fields”=Title, Statement of Responsibility, Publication Info, Edition, etc.) so that the fields are readable by computers. For MARC basics, see For more detailed info, see these two sites: and

OCLC – Online Computer Library Center – A cooperative formed in 1967 with the mission of connecting libraries the world over in order to promote sharing of resources and increase the availability of information among libraries and related institutions. OCLC has achieved this goal primarily through the website, an online “super-catalog” which links the individual catalogs of a vast number of the world’s libraries. See

RDA – Resource Description and Access – A set of cataloging rules first published in 2010 and adopted by the Library of Congress in March 2013. RDA replaces AACR2, the cataloging rules used by LC from about 1978 to 2013. RDA requires a great deal more information to be included in a catalog record than AACR2 required. Thus, RDA-compliant catalog records are significantly lengthier than AACR2-compliant records. Interestingly, RDA is not compatible with MARC21, which means, strictly speaking, RDA-compliant records cannot adequately be stored in computer catalogs. This is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the world of Library and Information Science at the moment! See these two resources: and

That’s it for this post! Thanks for reading.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers