Tag Archives: Student Experience

Why You Should Take the Information Services for Diverse Populations Course

This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me

Guest poster NaVosha Copeland, graduate student at the iSchool at Illinois, discusses her experience with taking an Information Services for Diverse Populations course and what she learned from it. 

navosha ideas photo croppedNo one forced me to take the Information Services for Diverse Populations course at The iSchool at Illinois this semester, but I wanted to for several reasons. First, I was curious about the subject. I studied Race and Difference during my undergraduate studies and I was interested in learning more information about the topic. Secondly, I wanted to be taught by the professor who teaches the course. During Orientation, she gave a short presentation about diversity in the Library and Information Science profession, and I was impressed.

I am enjoying the class, and I am learning a lot, but what I am most enjoying about the course is that my experiences as a Black woman are consistently affirmed by the texts that we read each week, and this has been one of the most gratifying experiences I have had while taking the course. Furthermore, the texts that we read each week challenge and motivate me to better serve people who are different from me. The affirmation and knowledge that I receive in this course should be given to all Library and Information Science professionals, therefore, I make a case for all members of the LIS profession to take a course that teaches them how to properly serve diverse populations.

In our class, we engage with Critical Race Theory and we learn about the ways in which certain communities have been excluded from benefiting from libraries in the United States, due to a particular identity and/or socioeconomic status. The scholars we have read such as: Daniel Solórzano, Tara Yosso, Tracie D. Hall, and Todd Honma, have written texts that have caused me and my classmates to look in the mirror and recognize our privileges, adversities, and shortcomings. We are made aware of books that reveal the history of segregation in public libraries, such as Cheryl Knott’s Not Free, Not For All, which has caused me to recognize the inequalities in libraries and archives that still affect people today. I, too, have experienced this inequity in some of the libraries and archives I have frequented. Gratefully, this class serves as a space where I share my experiences and they are validated.

The discussions in the weekly forum and live classes online give me an opportunity to share my identity and experiences with my classmates. I am one of the few Black people in the class, and this had the potential to get a little awkward because I did not know if my classmates would look to me to speak for all Black people. I cannot do this, and I will not. Also, I did not want to be looked upon by my classmates as the spokesperson for diversity. Gladly, none of these things have occurred in my class. Our discussions are honest and vulnerable, and I am grateful that there is space for us to:

  1. inquire of each other, how do I serve this particular group? and
  2. provide our answers, based on experience and scholarship.

I share this space with my classmates, knowing that my experiences and identities do not make up the totality of diversity. In our class, we learn about how to serve people who are in different groups. I thoroughly enjoy learning about the needs and experiences of others. It is humbling to know that I am not the only one who needs unique services in the libraries and archives, but that others need them too.

I encourage all Library and Information Service professionals to take a course that teaches them how to serve diverse populations. It is vital to decentralize one’s own culture in our profession, in order to serve different groups effectively. We aim to manage and disseminate information, but the information we handle yields much sweeter fruit when it comes from a variety of sources, rather than from one source alone. Let us hold our selves accountable by taking a course that teaches us how to serve diverse populations. As a result of this, we will improve our profession and ourselves.

Addendum: Dr. Nicole Cooke teaches Information Services for Diverse Populations at the iSchool at Illinois. To learn more about enrolling in the course via the iSchool at Illinois or the WISE Consortium, please visit .

NaVosha Copeland is a graduate student in The iSchool at Illinois, pursuing a Master of Science in Library and Information Science, which she will attain in Spring 2018. She is currently a Visual Archives Associate at the Atlanta History Center. To learn more about her projects, follow her on Twitter @navoshacopeland.

Student Experiences: Michael Harris on Online Programs

This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me

Guest poster Michael Harris, Simmons College online student and archivist at the University of Colorado Special Collections and Archives, discusses how he chose to do an online program and the successes and struggles he’s found with it.  Continue reading

Student Experience: Learning How to Juggle When the Floor is Lava

This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me

Guest poster Irina Sandler, Simmons College student and archivist at the Baker Library of Harvard Business School as well as the Cambridge Historical Society, discusses how she balances school work, jobs, and personal responsibilities, and  what keeps her sane.  Continue reading

Confidence Within, Company Throughout: Publishing and the Peer-Review Process

Next in our series on students and scholarly publishing, Steve Gentry (@StevenGentry15) offers practical advice on the nuts and bolts of submitting an article. His post is based on conversations with College Archivist Kent Randell and former editor of Provenance, Dr. Cheryl Oestreicher, in addition to his personal experience as a peer reviewer of the Museum of Science Fiction’s Journal of Science Fiction and work as a Graduate Student Assistant at Simmons College. 

Although few experiences are more satisfying, going through the peer review process and publishing a work can be exceptionally daunting. Having recently published a journal article in Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, I want to pass on some information that may be of use to future writers. By the end of this piece, I hope you’ll understand that flexibility, patience, confidence, and perseverance are key qualities needed to successfully endure the peer review process and, ultimately, publish a work. Furthermore, a strong editorial support network can be a major boon when editing drafts. Although this post focuses on publishing articles in a peer-reviewed journal, these lessons can also be applied to other, similar endeavors (e.g. publishing a book chapter).

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From Coursework to CV: Navigating Scholarly Publishing as a Student

This is the first of two guest posts on the publishing process. First, we have this contribution from Amy Williams (@a_williams06), graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. 

One of the most important professional development opportunities graduate students can experience is publishing in an academic journal. Publishing allows students to showcase their research to others in their fields. It also demonstrates to future employers that a prospective job candidate keeps up with trends in the field, knows how to conduct research, and effectively communicates to a target audience. Additionally, students can receive substantive feedback on their research and their research process. Lastly, it looks really good on a resume!

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Amplifying Student Voices in Archives and LIS: DERAIL Forum Launches at Simmons College

This is a guest post written by Des Alaniz, graduate student at Simmons College School of Library and Information Science. 

What do radical archives and radical archival practices look like? Why is the archival profession so overwhelmingly white and what impacts does this have on our profession’s ability to promote truly inclusive practices at the collection and professional levels? These are some of the many questions that have emerged in my conversations with other archives and LIS students on my campus, and on March 26th students and professionals will come together to address these issues at Simmons College for the first-ever Diversity, Equity Race, Accessibility and Identity in LIS (DERAIL) Forum.

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Student Experience: Making the Most of the Balancing Act

In our next installment of the Student Experience Column, Megan Crayon, University of Maryland student and archivist at the MD State Archives, discusses balancing her various worlds and responsibilities, and leveraging opportunities that emerge.

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I am enrolled in a dual-masters program the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing a dual MLS and MA in History, and I work full time as an archivist at the Maryland State Archives—plus the other realities and responsibilities of life. There are days that I have seriously questioned if I can handle so many responsibilities. I mean, I’ve had others (gently) ask me if I’m over-extending myself. And I am not certain of the answer. I was so excited when I applied to my program, after years of contemplation, and now…now I need reminders about why I’m pursuing graduate education. And reminders that it’s normal for it to be a bit overwhelming. This post is for all my fellow insanely busy people–working hard and pursuing your education, regardless of your individual set of circumstances. Continue reading