Library and Information Science (LIS) education has been offered at Charles Sturt University and its predecessor institutions since 1975. The School of Information Studies is itself over 30 years old, and is now the only school amongst Australian universities devoted to Library and Information Science education and research. Its 'headquarters' is Building 5 on the Charles Sturt University's Wagga Wagga campus, about 400 km south-west of Sydney, NSW.
The School currently has around 2,000 students enrolled in the Bachelors and Masters of Information Studies, the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) and other specialist courses. It also has fifteen full-time academic staff, teaching and researching in a wide range of LIS subfields, many adjunct and sessional staff, and a large cohort of PhD students.
Senior Lecturer, Dr Kim Thompson and a total of 17 SIS students from the BIS, MIS and METL courses visited a range of information organisations in New Zealand's capital city of Wellington from 6-10 November. The visit sites included:-
The Study Visit group very much enjoyed and appreciated the welcome to country at the National Library, which included singing and a hongi or ceremonial "shared breath" that signified that the hosts accepted our group as "one of us" or part of the New Zealand community. The Study Visit group was also impressed by how much bicultural/bilingual thought was represented in collection development planning. This could be seen in the visibility of resources in Maori language and from Maori perspectives, as well as the bilingual presentation of signage. Several of the sites visited discussed their methods for seeking input from the local "Iwi" or social units in New Zealand Maori society to ensure information needs are met and the various cultural perspectives are represented in the collections.
When touring the various sites, it seemed every information organisation had amazing views of Wellington Harbour.
A final highlight was getting to see the actual monkey (now retired) used in the 1933 Len Lye stop-motion animation short, The Peanut Vendor, housed at the Nga Taonga Sound & Vision (New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound).
Senior Lecturer Kim M. Thompson provided a keynote address at Nankai University's International Symposium on Theories of Information Disparity in Society, which took place on 26-27 October 2017. The Symposium consisted of presentations by invited scholars from Sweden, Australia, Taiwan, as well as Chinese information researchers from Nankai University, Peking University, Renmin University, Zhejiang University, Tianjin Normal University, and Northwest Normal University. The Symposium also included academic exchange activities between these scholars and other researchers and students, with a total of more than 80 people attending the event.
Dr Thompson's presentation was entitled "A Theoretical Model for Digital Inclusion: Policy and Practice" and provided an overview of her information access model and description of how the model can be used to track progress in policy development for full information access in light of national infrastructure. Other presentations explored issues such as the time horizon in information inequality, the speed of information technology development under the capitalist system, concerns around community participation, and the role and space of the public library in children's information literacy training.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Andy Vann, and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Education, Prof Lesley White, travelled to Hong Kong to sign a new Agreement that covers the School's partnership with Hong Kong University SPACE, which together have been the main providers of LIS professional education in Hong Kong for almost three decades. Dr Mary Carroll and Dr Kim Thompson, senior lecturers in the School, have also been in Hong Kong to meet students, local tutors and administrators, and to hold the residential school for the new undergraduate cohort there. CSU's partnership with the University of Hong Kong has been responsible for hundreds of LIS graduates over the past 28 years, at both post and undergraduate levels.
The School warmly welcomes Dr Yazdan Mansourian, who has joined the School as a Lecturer in Information Studies. Dr Mansourian comes to us from Kharazmi University in Iran, where for ten years he had been a faculty member of the LIS Department; recently he was also Head of the Department. Dr Mansourian received his PhD in Information Science from the University of Sheffield in 2006, and has published extensively on web searching, information literacy, and a wide range of other LIS topics. He has also conducted many short courses for LIS professionals and was Director of the Central Library at Kharazmi University for five years.
Wagga Wagga City Council has been awarded the Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards from Local Government NSW for its Museum of the Riverina's exhibition, We Are Here: LGBTIQ Stories. The exhibition was supported by SIS lecturer and special collections specialist, Dr Jessie Lymn, along with ABC Open, PFLAG Wagga (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and CSU Momentum. The exhibition set out to capture 'the lesser known histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) residents in the Riverina.' The Council's General Manager, Robert Knight, remarked: 'This was a ground-breaking insight into the Riverina's history and this award is recognition of the cultural excellence that the museum and Council's other cultural facilities produce for the region.'
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has established a new committee as part of its President's internationally oriented agenda. The ALIA International Affairs Advisory Committee will provide advice to the ALIA Board on strategic and policy issues relating to international affairs in the library and information sector and advocate the benefits of international engagement to ALIA members and the wider profession. Prof Philip Hider, Head of SIS, has joined the Committee, intending to provide, in particular, the perspective of LIS educators.
New Librarians Symposium 8 was held in Canberra at the National Library of Australia on the last weekend in June. It was a wonderful and innovative conference in a fabulous location full of energy and creativity. Congratulations to the organisers, many of whom are CSU alumni. Dr Mary Carroll from CSU along with colleague Dr Sue Reynolds from RMIT presented a paper titled 'Origin of the species, or how an LIS Professional is built' with passion, panache, crystal balls and catalogue cards. Dr Mary Anne Kennan from CSU (Co-Editor with Dr Gaby Haddow of Curtin University of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association along with colleagues Dr Bhuva Narayan from UTS and Edward Luca from the University of Sydney presented a workshop on Reviewing and Writing Papers for Publication. Both Mary and Mary Anne enjoyed meeting up with current and past students attending the conference as organisers of the conference, presenters of papers and workshops themselves, and as attendees.
In early 2017 five very lucky students in the School of Information Studies applied and received a SIS/CSU Global scholarship allowing them the unique opportunity to attend a choice of one of two conferences in Thailand; the 3rd Asia Oceania Regional IBBY Congress or the 6th International Conference on Innovation, Knowledge and Management.
The scholarship aimed to provide opportunities for an international experience for SIS CSU student and the five lucky SIS CSU recipients travelled to Thailand and came back with a wealth of experiences and opportunities. These experiences and opportunities as reported by the recipients included (of course) wonderful Thai food and the opportunity to attend 'a fantastic whirlwind of presentations, workshops and cultural exchange' and to engage and network with those from countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Iran, China, Malaysia, France, Germany, India, New Zealand and of course Thailand. We would like to once again congratulate the scholarship recipients and encourage them to share their experiences with their fellow students and colleagues. We hope these experiences enrich their future careers.
Image 1: Opening of the 3rd Asia Oceania Regional IBBY Congress 2017.
Image 2: Location of the IBBY conference The TK Park library located in a supermarket.
The 22-28th of May 2017 was Library week and for the first time SIS@ CSU decided to join in and celebrate with the rest of Australia in our own unique way on-line. The school hosted two events which were a great success. The first was a fast paced event in which seven of the SIS academics had five slides and five minutes to share their research passion with the audience. Drs Kim Thompson, Jessie Lymn, Mary Carroll, Ying-Hsang Liu, Hamid Jamali Barbara Combes along with lecturers Tehani Croft and Lee Fitzgerald gave an insight into topic ranging from information poverty, war libraries and Zines to virtual scholars, publishing inquiry learning and the digital native. Our audience asked questions and we all learned a little more about research.
Wednesday 24th of May was National Simultaneous Story time and we decided to join in. The SIS's Storytime was 'not so' simultaneous as we got actor Kevin Harrington to read us the NSS 2017 picture book the Cow tripped over the moon as our bedtime story rather than the normal 11 am. Families gathered around there computers and the event was streamed live with both young and old joining in and fun had by all.
Since 2013 the School of Information Studies (SIS) and CSU Regional Archives have offered a scholarship at the Archives based in Wagga Wagga for a student enrolled in either the Bachelor or Masters of Information Studies course. The scholarship provides the opportunity for an Information Studies student to gain practical experience in working on archival collections in an archival setting.
In 2017 the scholarship was awarded to Crispian Winsor, a student in the Bachelor of Information Studies. Crispian started his scholarship work at the CSU Regional Archives in June 2017; he is initially working on a collection of records from the local community radio station 2AAA, and a further project will include local AFL records.
Crispian (R) is pictured at the CSU Regional Archives with Jillian Kohlhagen, Collection Management Archivist and Wayne Doubleday, Manager CSU Regional Archives.
Professor Shigeo Sugimoto from the Faculty of Library, Information and Media Science at the University of Tsukuba visited the School of Information Studies on Tuesday 30 May. From the CSU offices at Sydney Olympic Park, Dr Sugimoto presented a seminar on the development of the iSchools movement and the role of the iSchools organisation. He also discussed the particular challenges and opportunities for those of us in iSchools in the Asia Pacific Region. Following the seminar a pleasant evening was had by CSU academics, Drs Kim Thompson and Mary Anne Kennan with Dr Sugimoto, and colleagues from UTS, Dr Bhuva Narayan and Zablon Pingo and from the University of Sydney Edward Luca.
The School of Information Studies would like to congratulate Kristin Twomey, a former student, who was awarded the 2017 Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship for her paper "Libraries Building Communities: The need for Local Government to acknowledge the role of Public Libraries in Community Building and Engagement". Kristin is currently the Librarian in Charge at the Snowy Valleys Council and her role involves managing five libraries across the shire. Kristin's essay focuses on contemporary challenges faced by public libraries, in the context of proposed NSW Council amalgamations, with an emphasis on regional and rural areas.
Kristin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Science) in 2007 and is currently completing another Bachelor of Arts (English and History) at CSU.
From the Luncheon held at Parliament NSW: Kristin Twomey with Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian and Director, Education & Scholarship.
Dr Ni Win Zaw, Head of the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Yangon in Myanmar visited the School on 4 April to discuss the ways in which digital library issues could be best covered in the LIS curriculum. Dr Zaw (centre) was accompanied by Ms Roxanne Missingham (front left), University Librarian at the Australian National University.
At the launch of the ALIA-CSU Relevance 2020 project report, which took place during the 2017 Information Online conference in Sydney, Professor Philip Hider spoke about the importance of practitioners and academics working together to focus on applied research topics that were of practical importance to today's library and information profession. The report was the outcome of a series of consultations with practitioners and researchers from across the sector, which discussed how research could focus more on the needs of practice. The six one-day events organised by CSU and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) were held in state capitals around Australia between September and November 2016. The project's final report details a wide range of areas that practitioners felt needed urgent research, illustrated by examples of specific questions; the report also suggests ways in which collaborative research between practitioners and academics could be better supported. Prof Hider noted the many promising conversations between members of the profession and the academy that were started in last year's workshops, and looked forward to their evolution into tangible, and relevant, research projects. The report is available on the ALIA website.
The Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and Records and Information Management Professionals Australasia (RIMPA) have both reaccredited SIS courses for another five years. The ASA has reaccredited the records and archives management specialisations in both the School's Bachelors and Masters of Information Studies, while RIMPA has reaccredited both the BIS and MIS degrees as a whole. The School looks forward to working closely with both organisations over the next five years to ensure that its records and archives curricula reflect industry needs and trends.
Congratulations to Jan Richards, an alumna of the School, who was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2017 Australia Day Honours List 'for significant service to library and information management through executive roles with professional associations'. Jan is Manager, Central West Libraries, and has been a leading light in the library and information profession at state, national and international levels for many years. She also delivered the occasional address at the School' graduation ceremony in 2011.