The Silicon Valley Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) hosted its inaugural book club gathering with a very special book and guest: Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director of San José State University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts School of Information and editor of Information Services Today: An Introduction. SLA is an association of information professionals with chapters in more than 80 countries.
An SLA Silicon Valley chapter member, Hirsh was invited to join the lively discussion of her textbook, which includes the perspectives of many iSchool instructors such as Wayne T. Disher, Dr. Mary Ann Harlan, Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom and Dr. Michael Stephens. Since its release in March 2015, the book has been adopted by a number of library and information science instructors around the country.
“It was really an honor to speak about my new book with the Silicon Valley SLA Chapter,” Hirsh says, describing the text as “a valuable foundational textbook for Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students as well as current information professionals who want to learn new areas, brush up on topics which have evolved since they were in school, and learn from the leading thought leaders (both from academia and practice) in the field.”
Over dinner at Billy Burke’s in San José, Hirsh shared the goals and key themes of the book, special features like webcasts, discussion questions, and an online supplement. The group discussed everything from reference services to managing technology and demonstrating value through assessment, to issues like open access and information licensing.
Chrystelle Browman, SLA director-at-large and programs chair, notes that one topic of particular interest to the group fostered a discussion on “leadership vs. management, and the limitations on the words ‘library’ and ‘librarian’.” In response, Hirsh shared her own background in the LIS field, and the role that played in the perspectives represented in the textbook, such as the use of the terms “information professionals” and “information organizations.” “We also talked about the importance of continuing to learn—even after getting the master’s degree,” Hirsh adds.
As chapter president Cory Laurence explained in her invitation to join the book club, “there’s a lot of reading to be done as a librarian, and it’s the kind of reading that is really enhanced with discussion.” Information Services Today highlights current issues and trends, and provides expert insight into the emerging challenges and opportunities of the future, identifying career management strategies and leadership opportunities in the information profession. Hirsh was inspired to create this new textbook because “the underlying principles of our field are valuable, no matter what.”
With Hirsh and Information Services Today, the book club event was a bona fide success!