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FPinfomart Student-to-Conference Awards for 2011 : Student Statements

SLA Toronto Chapter is pleased to announce that Yannet Lathrop and Janina Mueller are the winners of the 2011 FPinfomart Student-to-Conference Award. The FPinfomart Student-to-Conference Award provides each of the winning students with a $1,500 stipend for travel to and participation in the 2011 SLA Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO in Philadelphia, June 12-15.

Yannet and Janina were selected by the Executive Board of SLA Toronto on the basis of their résumés and the quality of their statements on what they expect to gain from the conference experience.

Yannet graduated from the New School for Social Research in New York, with a Master of Philosophy in Political Science. This spring, she graduates with her Master of Information Studies degree from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. In addition to her studies this year, Yannet worked as an Editorial Assistant with Professor Andrew Clement at the Faculty of Information and as a Special Librarian at Comparative Education Services at the University of Toronto.

Janine graduated from the University of Sussex with a Master of Arts in Social and Political Thought. This spring, she graduates with her Master of Information Studies degree from the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. In addition to her studies this year, Janine worked as a Reference Assistant at York University’s Scott Library and as a Practicum Assistant at the Canadian Centre for Epigraphic Documents.

Statement by Yannet Lathrop

I write to apply for the 2011 FPinfomart Student-to-Conference Award. While networking and resume building are often-cited as two of the most important benefits of conference participation for new LIS professionals, I believe the SLA Annual Conferences offer new professionals more substantive opportunities—namely, the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the state of the special librarianship, and its strengths, challenges and controversies, thereby helping new professionals integrate themselves into the field and make lasting contributions therein. In what follows, I will explain my goals and expectations for attending the 2011 Annual SLA Conference.

I am currently a second-year LIS student at the University of Toronto, focusing on the subfield of special ibrarianship. I am a member of the SLA Toronto Student chapter, and a student liaison for CASLIS-Toronto. I currently volunteer as a reference and collection development librarian at the Hart House Library, and serve as publications assistant for Professor Andrew Clement (Faculty of Information). As well, I recently concluded a position as a special librarian for Comparative Education Services (CES) of the University of Toronto.

My focus on special librarianship will allow me to receive maximum benefit from attending the SLA Annual Conference, as I will have a strong background in the subfield. I believe the conference will grant me the opportunity to witness the Special Libraries profession in action, outside the structured environments of the library and the LIS classroom. Gaining a knowledge of how special library professionals organize, conduct and govern their profession across institutional boundaries will be beneficial in establishing myself in this important subfield of librarianship.

Participation in this conference will also permit me to develop a deeper understanding of professional leadership, and its application to special librarianship. How are leaders in the subfield chosen? What are their responsibilities? How do they help develop and advance special librarianship? How do they interact with other LIS professionals? I believe that my participation in the conference will help me develop an understanding of these questions.

Prior to my LIS studies, I earned an M.Phil in Political Science and held positions as an intern for a U.S. Congressman, a project manager for the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping, and a publications intern for a trade union. I am currently finishing an internship at the Library of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

I have a strong desire to integrate my background in Political Science with my future career in special librarianship. I hope that by attending this conference, I can develop a strategy for achieving this career goal. Specifically, I hope to attend presentations related to, or by, SLA’s Government Information Division, in order to develop an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing government librarianship, as well as the prospects within it for new professionals.

As I am devoted to special librarianship, I expect that my participation in this conference will help me develop skills and knowledge that I will build on over the course of my career, during which I hope to make a lasting contribution to the advancement of the field.

Yannet Lathrop

Statement by Janina Mueller

I am writing to apply for the FPinfomart Student-to-Conference Award to attend the SLA 2011 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. This conference is an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about success stories, current developments and challenges in the working world of information professionals. By attending this conference, I hope to learn about the diverse work that SLA members from all over North America do, and I hope to share their knowledge and insights with other information professionals and students here in Toronto.

Last summer I interned at a small, specialised library at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York City. Unfortunately, this library laid off its full-time librarian a number of years ago. By working there, I came to realize the importance of advocacy work in all libraries. Librarians should strive to demonstrate the importance of their services to all members of an organization. Only if they assert their importance, align their goals with that of the organization and work closely with decision-makers can they survive even through economically difficult times.

Over the past months, I have had the chance to learn from a number of highly successful and inspiring information professionals here in Toronto. Field visits in Vicki Whitmell’s graduate course ‘Management of Corporate and other Special Information Centers’ have given me the opportunity to speak to a wide variety of information professionals, to learn concretely about how they assert themselves and how they have positioned themselves inside an organization. In Kimberley Silk’s iSchool Institute class ‘Entering the new Information Economy,’ I further had the chance to network with information professionals from around the GTA and to get inspired by their stories.

As a result of these experiences, I am thrilled to enter the information profession as a full-time worker upon completion of my studies. I am looking forward to continuing to learn from information professionals from all over the world, and to give back to this community of professionals that has inspired me and infused me with enthusiasm.

This award is an ideal way for me to achieve these goals. As such, I would feel privileged were I to get the opportunity to attend this year’s SLA conference in Philadelphia, and to celebrate special librarianship with professionals from all over North America. Attending this conference and serving on the executive board of the SLA Toronto Chapter next year would enable me to learn and to simultaneously contribute to the community of information professionals. 2011 is an exciting and challenging time to be graduating with a Master’s of Information degree, but as this year’s SLA conference program shows, our opportunities are wide-ranging and plentiful.

I thank you in advance for your consideration, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Janina Mueller

Posted in V48-N3-Spring 2011Comments (0)

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