I have been an active member of Oklahoma Library and Information Studies Student Association (OLISSA) since I began my graduate work in January 2008.
As stated on the organization's website, OLISSA is the student organization for the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Oklahoma. OLISSA's mission is to bring library students together with one another, faculty, and library and knowledge management professionals. The organization's primary purpose is to represent and serve the SLIS student body. Officers are either elected or volunteer to serve each spring and act as liaisons between the SLIS students and faculty. OLISSA is an American Library Association Student Chapter at the School of Library and Information Studies and a recognized student organization at the University of Oklahoma.
As a member of OLISSA, I have provided support for students by facilitating study groups to help students prepare for the comprehensive exam. During the 2008 fall semester, I arranged student tours of the University of Tulsa Library's Special Collections, the Tulsa Historical Society and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. These tours gave students a glimpse of the inner workings of these information organizations and allowed students to observe how these organizations handle access, classification, storage and preservation issues.
In addition, I have ordered and delivered pizza and soda for new LIS/KM student orientation, and I have purchased and delivered snacks for comps study sessions and for students taking the comprehensive exam. On the morning of the comprehensive exam, I have provided bottled water, granola bars, peppermints and chocolate to help students keep their minds and bodies fueled through the intensive examination.
In April 2009, I volunteered and was elected to serve as secretary of OLISSA. As part of my secretarial responsibilities, I began maintaining and updating the OLISSA website. This was my first experience with generating and editing website content. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I eventually acquired the information needed to carry out this task.
To provide additional opportunities for student networking, I created a Facebook page for OLISSA in September 2009. I discussed my idea for a Facebook page with the other OLISSA officers, hypothesizing that the interactivity of a social networking site would facilitate student participation in OLISSA as well as information sharing. Many students in the SLIS program are unable to attend organization meetings on campus because they are distance learners, living up to two hours away from campus, or they are nontraditional students with jobs and families requiring significant time investments. The other officers agreed that a Facebook page could be a valuable tool for students.
The Facebook page I created for OLISSA includes links to core competencies for numerous library and information professional positions, as well as links to sources for online job postings. Also, I created discussion threads where students can discuss and share information about conferences and continuing education opportunities, share study tips for the comprehensive exam, and provide feedback as to how OLISSA can enhance students' learning experience. Events such as upcoming meetings and SLIS fuctions can be broadcast to students who join the OLISSA Facebook group. Of course, one of the shortcomings of using Facebook is that only students who use Facebook and join the OLISSA Facebook group can benefit from these resources. For this reason, OLISSA continues to maintain its webpage as a source of organizational and professional information. Currently, the OLISSA Facebook group has 49 members, including students, faculty and library staff.
My recognition of barriers to student participation in OLISSA, the popularity of Facebook among students, and Facebook's suitability for furthering OLISSA's mission demonstrates my ability to assess the diverse needs, preferences, and resources of the community on a regular and systematic basis [ALSC CC]. To foster student networking despite barriers of physical distance, I created the OLISSA Facebook page as an outreach service to help meet the needs of my student community [ALSC CC]. The OLISSA Facebook page and website illustrate my efforts to encourage continuing education [ALSC CC] and use of information resources through electronic documents and other special tools [ALSC CC]. By using a popular social networking application, I have endeavored to cultivate an environment which provides for enjoyable and convenient access to and use of information resources [ALSC CC].
My creation of the OLISSA Facebook page and maintenance of the OLISSA website demonstrates my possession of up-to-date computer and technology skills necessary for effective communications and presentations [ALSC CC] and my ability to acquire familiarity with emerging technological trends and tools [ALSC CC]. My service to my fellow students as a member of OLISSA evidences my understanding and application of the concepts, principles and techniques of user services that provide access to relevant and accurate recorded knowledge and information to individuals of all ages and groups [ALA CC]. I recognize the importance of effective advocacy for library students as well as for libraries, librarians, other library workers, and library services [ALA CC].
Here is a screenshot of OLISSA's Facebook page: