SLIS mourns passage of Eliza Dresang

April 2014

SLIS mourns passage of 1981 PhD alumna Eliza Dresang, Professor at University of Washington iSchool and "champion of children's literature and digital resources."

Her research, teaching, and service focused on the information behavior and resources of digital youth. She earned her Ph.D. in Library and Information Studies from University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1981, and her Masters in Library Science from University of California, Los Angeles. Eliza was honored with the Distinguished Alumna Award in 2001.

LILI Practicum: Learning to Teach

April 2014

The LILI Practicum, offered each fall and spring semester, is a chance for SLIS students to gain real-life experience in information-literacy instruction at a UW-Madison campus library. Each student in the class has a different field placement and special projects to work on throughout the semester.

Rachel Hitt

Where did you do your Practicum this semester and what were your main projects? 

I did my practicum at Memorial Library.  My main projects included planning and teaching various Communication and English sessions.  I also created a tutorial and assessment for finding print journals in the Memorial Library stacks.

In what ways will the LILI practicum help you in the future?

I think this practicum will be most helpful in my future profession because of its authenticity.  For instance, in the case of the Shakespeare class, I had to request clarification on the assignment and explore potential resources in addition to creating and implementing the lesson plan and the Library Course.  The practicum allowed for a very realistic approach to Library instruction.

What challenges did you face in the LILI practicum that you might not have experienced if you didn’t take the course?

Without the LILI practicum, I would not have had an opportunity to provide library instruction or observe the varied styles and techniques of Madison Librarians.  Again, it provided a way of gaining authentic and practical experience. 

Laura Rudquist

Where did you do your Practicum this semester and what were your main projects?

My practicum was at the LILI office in Memorial.  I taught classes including CP 125, an elective course to introduce freshmen to the research university, as well as introductory English classes for ESL students.  My projects included an environmental scan of Library Literature conference proceedings about new trends in library instruction and I also designed a survey for the instruction listservs.

In what ways will the LILI practicum help you in the future?

I appreciated the hands-on learning experience that gave me perspective on successful ways of engaging students.  I really enjoyed collaborating with a variety of librarians as well as my classmates and was able to learn from them and think about myself as an instructor in a new way.

What challenges did you face in the LILI practicum that you might not have experienced if you didn’t take the course?

After each class I taught, my mentor or assistant would ask, “How do you think it went?”  Other than the standard “good,” I would always reflect on how different it feels to actually be teaching and engaging students as opposed to just practicing; a feeling I didn’t necessarily expect.  I was also challenged by mentors throughout the class to keep the “why” of what I was teaching in mind, which was more difficult when I was writing the learning objectives, or developing activities by myself.  It was really valuable for me to focus on why library instruction is important for students and then work tomeet their needs, rather than just accomplishing the goals that I envisioned.

Jackie Lang

Where did you do your Practicum this semester and what were your main projects?

I did my LILI practicum at MERIT Library in Educational Sciences.  During the semester I did a variety of instruction projects including teaching several firstyear experience seminar library sessions, a Zotero workshop, a SMART board session for a Curriculum & Instruction class, two English courses for ESL students, and an Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis class.  I also created a video tutorial for editing teaching observations in iMovie and how to convert MPEG-4 files to flash.

In what ways will the LILI practicum help you in the future?

I learned so much in the LILI practicum.  First and foremost, I developed teaching skills.  Between the education pedagogy readings and discussions in class, and the actual instruction sessions, I started to develop my own instruction style.  I also learned about the different roles of librarians on campus and how closely librarians work with each other and academic faculty to create meaningful information literacy instruction sessions.  I think that I learned theory to help me teach, the experience to hone my skills, and the organization skills to make me a good librarian and colleague.

What challenges did you face in the LILI practicum that you might not have experienced if you didn’t take the course?

Without the LILI practicum, I don’t think I would have challenged or pushed myself to try instruction in a formal setting.  Adapting to difficult schedules and deadlines, and balancing outside commitments was hard, frankly: but worth it.  I don’t think I would have grown as much professionally without facing those challenges.

Lori Steckervetz

Where did you do your Practicum this semester and what were your main projects?

My practicum was at Steenbock Library, where I co-taught four 3-hour library instruction sessions for Biology 152, taught Endnote Basic to Life Sciences Communication 100, taught two Library Instruction sessions for two ESL classes, and researched and presented to Steenbock Library Instruction Staff on learning outcomes assessment and incorporating an assessment piece into Biology 152.

In what ways will the LILI practicum help you in the future?

The LILI practicum helped by providing a realistic teaching situation; not only in the classroom but also in regards to the necessary steps prior to that, including communicating with instructors and faculty and working out the logistics of the instructional sessions.  Additionally the practicum helped me learn how to contextualize information literacy concepts in order to make them more meaningful and accessible for the undergraduates I worked with. Finally, it raised my overall confidence in my ability to instruct in this type of setting.  

What challenges did you face in the LILI practicum that you might not have experienced if you didn’t take the course?

The course helped me learn how to be flexible. I often had to adapt to a changing and unpredictable environment. I also had to be flexible if instructors asked me to cover subject matter I hadn’t necessarily planned on covering.

SLIS Alumni Honored as Movers & Shakers 2014 by Library Journal

March 2014

This year, five of Library Journal’s “Movers & Shakers” are University of Wisconsin, School of Library and Information Studies alumni.  They are chosen as the top 50 up-and-coming individuals being recognized for their creativity, innovativeness, and ability to make a difference.  They will be highlighted in the March 15th edition of Library Journal.

Laura Damon-Moore (’12) and Erinn Batykefer (’12) were also recognized as Change Agents. Both of these graduates are co-founders/editors of the Library as Incubator Project.  The project emphasizes partnerships between libraries and artists, writers, and performing artists.

Laura Damon-Moore & Erinn Batykefer (Photo by Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Library Journal)

Laura Damon-Moore & Erinn Batykefer
(Photo by Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Library Journal)

Amy Holcomb (’09) was recognized as an Innovator. As a Youth Services Librarian at Northbrook Public Library, she has worked at new ways to use current technology in libraries. This prompted her to start a program “Apprentices of the Book Empire,” designed to help 6th graders work on creating and binding their own books.

Amy Holcomb (Photo by Karina Guico, Library Journal)

Amy Holcomb (Photo by Karina Guico, Library Journal)

Elizabeth McChesney (’88), current Director of Children and YA services at Chicago Public Library is being recognized for her work in summer reading programs, leading one of the largest of such programs in the nation.  The growth of the program led her to be named a Change Agent.

Elizabeth McChesney (Photo by Tiffany Szymanski, Library Journal)

Elizabeth McChesney
(Photo by Tiffany Szymanski, Library Journal)

Omar Poler ('10) SLIS graduate, and current Associate Outreach Specialist, is being named a Change Agent.  He is being recognized specifically for his work in Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) and Convening Culture Keepers (CCK).  He joins other current SLIS faculty/staff Kristin Eschenfelder (2005) and Dorothea Salo (2009) as recipients of these honors.

Omar Poler (Photo by Michael Pilla, Library Journal)

Omar Poler
(Photo by Michael Pilla, Library Journal)

SLIS Students Represent at Wisconsin Library Legislative Day

March 2014

The Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association held its annual Library Legislative Day on February 11, 2014.

The program began with three keynote speakers: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, State Representative Rob Swearingen, and State Senator Jennifer Shilling. All three of the speakers talked about the important roles that libraries play in education, job training, economic development, and access to information and technology. Because libraries are non-partisan, various community stakeholders were able to lobby their elected officials in order to seek support. Sarah Lawton, Branch Supervisor of the Pinney Branch, and SLIS student Janetta Pegues joined a group of librarians from across the state and visited with four legislators.  They gave examples of important and worthwhile activities at their respective libraries.  Sarah and Janetta specifically discussed the necessity of expanding the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten”  program throughout the Madison Public Library system, as well as throughout other library systems.

"1000 Books Before Kindergarten” is currently a pilot program exclusive to the Pinney Branch of the Madison Public Library; more information about the program can be found here.

SLIS students at Legislative Day, from left to right: Annah Hackett, Janetta Pegues, and Laurel Gildersleeve

SLIS students at Legislative Day, from left to right: Annah Hackett,

Janetta Pegues, and Laurel Gildersleeve


Legislative Day Attendees, from left to right: Bruce Smith, Dipesh Navsaria, Kathy Schneider, Janetta Pegues, Melissa Sargent (State Representative), Jean Anderson, Sarah Lawton, Ed Van Gemert

Legislative Day Attendees, from left to right: Bruce Smith,

Dipesh Navsaria, Kathy Schneider, Janetta Pegues,

Barbra Arnold, Melissa Sargent (State Representative),

Jean Anderson, Sarah Lawton, Ed Van Gemert


Visiting Assistant Professor Position

March 2014

Visiting Assistant Professor Position
University of Wisconsin-Madison iSchool
School of Library and Information Studies

The School of Library and Information Studies, the iSchool at UW-Madison, invites applications for a two year Visiting Assistant Professor position.  SLIS will provide research mentorship and support to further the career development of the VAP.  The position would require teaching 2 courses per semester in SLIS’s information technology curriculum including courses such as database design, UX /HCI, information architecture or organization of information.  Some courses will be online.  The VAP will be expected to fully participate in the intellectual life of the School contributing expertise in target research areas such as: information retrieval and search/access, data mining, information visualization, or technological aspects of archives and electronic records.  The VAP will also participate in student advising and SLIS governance.

Requirements: PhD in LIS or a related field, expertise in desired research areas.  Experience successfully teaching courses at the university/college level is preferred.

To apply, send the following materials via email to:

Ms. Anne Murphy-Lom
SLIS Administrator
Email to:

Required materials:
·         Cover letter
·         CV
·         Names and contact information for three academic references
·         Summary teaching evaluation scores and student comments
For full consideration, application materials are due April 15th 2014.  Late applications may be considered if the position is not filled.

SLIS has approximately 200 masters and 10 LIS doctoral students. SLIS is a partner in the UW-Madison Digital Studies certificate that prepares undergraduate students to critically analyze and creatively compose with new media and information technologies ( SLIS is also home to the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture ( a leading research center of authorship, reading, publication and distribution of print and digital materials, produced by those at both the center and the periphery of power.

SLIS is equipped with a newly remodeled instructional computer laboratory, two technology enhanced classrooms and its own library.  SLIS is located in a modern classroom building overlooking beautiful Lake Mendota in one of the world's finest universities and in one of the most livable cities in the United States.

Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding the applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. SLIS values and actively seeks to maintain a diverse faculty.  Salary variable depending on experience. A criminal background check will be conducted prior to hiring. A period of evaluation will be required. 

SLIS Alumna and past PLA President Sari Feldman in the race for ALA presidency

September 2013

Ms. Sari Feldman, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library systems is in the race for the 2013 ALA Presidential election! 

Feldman also won the 2013 Charles Robinson Award from the Public Library Association (PLA), honoring her community impact and innovation work in the Cuyahoga County system. Feldman was past president of PLA.  While a student at UW-Madison, Feldman worked in jail libraries. She also worked for many years in the Onondaga County library systems in Syracuse, NY. 

More information available in the ALA press release.

SLIS PhD Grad Michelle Caswell Publishes Book on Cambodian Genocide Photo Records

February 2014

Michelle Caswell (SLIS PhD 2012) has just published her book at The University of Wisconsin Press which will be released in April 2014. 

In Archiving the Unspeakable. Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia, Dr. Caswell "traces the social life of (the photographic) records through the lens of archival studies and elucidates how, paradoxically, they have become agents of silence and witnessing, human rights and injustice as they are deployed at various moments in time and space."

Michelle Caswell is an Assistant Professor of Archival Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She is also an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. She holds a MLIS in archival administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a master’s degree in theological studies focusing on Asian religions from Harvard University. Her articles on archives, communities, and social justice have appeared in Archival Science, Archivaria, American Archivist, The Journal of Documentation, InterActions, Libri, First Monday, and numerous edited volumes. She is also the co-founder and a board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive (

For more information about the publication visit The University of Wisconsin Press web site.

Sharon McQueen received the 2014 ALISE/LMC Paper Award

January 2014

Sharon McQueen, PhD 2012, has just received the 2014 ALISE/LMC Paper Award for her post dissertation research, a biography of childhood education legend May Hill Arbuthnot. The annual award is sponsored by Linworth/Libraries Unlimited and is bestowed by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). The award committee was "impressed with the depth of McQueen's research and the high quality of her writing." McQueen has also received the 2014 ALISE Service Award for "enhancing the stature, reputation, and overall strength of ALISE."

Sharon McQueen's doctoral dissertation "The Story of Ferdinand": The Creation of a Cultural Icon" has received the 2013 Phyllis Dain Library History Award sponsored by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association.

Read about Sharon McQueen's award in the ALA press release.

Anna Lewis, SLIS Alumna 1999, was recently featured in the UW-Madison Libraries' website article

December 2013

Anna Lewis, Assistant Director at the Media, Educational Resources & Information Technology Library (MERIT) was featured in the recent UW-Madison Libraries' Staff Spotlight article. Read about Anna's work and her favorite part of it, hobbies and good books, and also her interests outside of work here.

Molly E.K. Ledermann won the 2013 I Love My Librarian Award

January 2014

Molly E.K. Ledermann, SLIS Alumna 2008, and a Reference Librarian at Missoula Public Library in Missoula, Mont., has won the 2013 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I love my Librarian Award.

2013 recipients were selected for their dedicated public service and the valuable role they play in th nation's communities in transforming lives through education.

Read to learn more about Molly E.K. Ledermann's nomination.

Carissa Christner, recent SLIS graduate, suggests using high-quality apps for librarians and kids

December 2013

Carissa Christner, youth services librarian at Madison’s Alicia Ashman Library, gives her advice to parents and librarians on using high-quality content tablets' apps. At the Madison's Public Library web site A Story Before Bed she reads aloud stories for children.  

Read more on the screen-time and reading to children in the Wisconsin State Journal article.

Associate Professor Ethelene Whitmire awarded a Public Works grant

December 2013

Associate Professor Ethelene Whitmire was recently awarded a Public Works grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for the Humanities. The grant is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is designed to "support faculty who wish to rethink their research in order to reach a broader public."

The workshop will bring together experts in children's books to review Ethelene's manuscript and to offer feedback. The goal is to publish a children's book about the subject of her scholarly book, Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian (University of Illinois Press, 2014), and to introduce her story to a whole new audience.

Read more on the project and book about Regina Anderson Andrews or watch videos produced by Ethelene during this research. 

You can learn more about Dr. Ethelene Whitmire form her Academic website.


SLIS wins IMLS grant in cooperation with the College of the Menominee Nation

September 2013

Congratuations to Dr.Allison Kaplan for her successful IMLS grant with the College of the Menominee Nation. The partnership Demonstration Grant award will fund a project to promote early childhood literacy family programs. The collaborative project combines SLIS's expertise in early learning research and the College's expertise in Native cultures and programming for lower income and low literacy family audiences.  As partners, SLIS and the College will develop a model for early literacy programs, especially for rural, Native American communities.

Read more about it in the Grant Announcement

SLIS remembers Professor Emeritus John J. Boll, 1921-2013

March 20, 2013

Dr. Boll in his office , 1962

With fond memories, we share these pictures from Dr. Boll’s career at SLIS, spanning 1956-1992. Dr. Boll taught generations of SLIS students, some of whom claim they “majored in John Boll” because they took as many classes from him as possible. Dr. Boll asserted that the dry sense of humor he used in class was only a device to keep his students awake, but former students appreciated his sharp and exacting nature and demanding classes as well as his quick wit.

Student-drawn cartoon from 1962
Always the gentleman, he was a generous and supportive colleague, who brought many smiles to faculty and staff as well.

Dr. Boll speaking at Barbra Arnold's retirement in 2008
Dr. Boll speaking at Barbara Arnold's retirement in 2008