Summer 2015 "Off the Shelf" Newsletter

 Dominican GSLIS "Off the Shelf" Masthead

Kate Marek, GSLIS Dean and Professor


Dear friends -

It’s been a busy summer already as faculty and student members of the GSLIS community spent time at ALA in San Francisco and various other professional conferences across the country (and many are still traveling!). In the meantime, we have also submitted our draft program presentation to our External Review Panel (ERP) for ALA’s accreditation self-study process. The ERP will begin to offer feedback as early as next week, with our final presentation due in September and a visit from the ERP members in October. We are excited about our self-study results and are looking forward to engaging with our review panel members as we move forward in this accreditation process over the next several months.

We’ve also been busy shifting responsibility for the Butler Children’s Literature Center from its founding curator Thom Barthelmess to its new leader Diane Foote. Thom departed in June to accept a new position as Youth Services Manager at the Whatcom County Library System in Bellingham, Washington, which was a loss for us but an exciting new chapter for Thom. We are delighted to announce that next steps for the Butler Center include the appointment of Diane Foote, GSLIS assistant dean, as curator effective July 1, 2015. Diane brings a depth and breadth of children’s literature-related experience to this position and is looking forward to continuing to build the profile, services, and reputation of the Butler Children’s Literature Center.

As we look toward fall, we continue to pursue program development and new partnerships as part of our strategic directions. We also plan to create a new, specialized advisory group for Children’s and Young Adult Services to build on our leadership in this important aspect of LIS services.

Our recent experience with the COA self-study process has reminded us how proud we are here at Dominican of our program, our students, and our alumnae/i. Many thanks to all of you for your continued support and direction.

Enjoy these last two summer months!

--Kate Marek, Dean and Professor


Foote Steps in as Butler Center Curator

On July 1, outgoing curator Thom Barthelmess officially passed the baton (and the keys) of the Butler Children’s Literature Center to assistant dean Diane Foote. And with that change in leadership comes a change in hours. This summer, the Butler Center is open Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m., with additional times upon request. Visit or contact Diane at for additional info.


GSLIS Power Start Scholarships will enable incoming MLIS students beginning their studies in the fall 2015 semester to jump-start their library and information science careers. They feature a one-time, non-renewable award of $1,500. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Must not have been enrolled in courses in GSLIS prior to the fall 2015 semester.
  • Must register for the fall 2015 semester no later than August 1, 2015.
  • Must be registered for at least six credit hours (courses are 1.5 or 3 credit hours each) through the end of the add-drop period, which ends September 15.
  • Must be MLIS degree-seeking.

Awards are automatic upon fulfillment of these criteria. Scholarships are a component of your financial aid award and may impact your total student loan eligibility for the term. Questions? Contact Meagan Sather, Coordinator of Graduate Recruiting and Marketing, at


Youth Services UnCon at Dominican

Jenna Nemec-LoiseOn August 6, players will most certainly play – and then take a step back to consider the meaning of the game. Dominican will play host next month to the 2015 Illinois Library Association Youth Services Unconference, subtitled “Players Gonna Play” and presented by the ILA Youth Services Forum, ILA Young Adult Services Forum and Dominican GSLIS. Attendees will discuss the concept of play as it relates to learning and development and share tips and best practices concerning libraries, play, advocacy, gaming and programming. And in keeping with the “unconference” spirit, the schedule includes opportunities for networking and resource sharing. Jenna Nemec-Loise, librarian at the Chicago Public Library Roosevelt Branch, adjunct instructor at Dominican and advocacy columnist for ALSC’s Children and Libraries magazine, will give the keynote. Closing remarks will be provided by Renee Grassi, youth department director for Glen Ellyn Public Library and 2012 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. The $45 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch; registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in Parmer Hall, with closing remarks ending at 3:45 p.m. Head to for more information.

Register Now! 2015 McCusker Lecture

Registration is open for the 2015 McCusker Memorial Lecture, taking place Wednesday, October 14 at 6 p.m. and featuring John Chrastka, executive director and founder of EveryLibrary, the first nationwide political action committee for libraries. Since 2013, EveryLibrary has provided pro-bono support to 25 library communities on the ballot, winning 19 campaigns and securing over $46.2 million in stable tax revenue at these elections. The lecture is free, open to the public, and will be followed by a reception.


Make It @ Your Library
Make It @ Your Library Team

Founded in 2013 by five Dominican GSLIS grads, Make It @ Your Library aims to make it easier for librarians to build and sustain makerspaces, both through an online clearinghouse for suggested projects ( and, if all goes well in the prototype stage, by distributing maker kits to Illinois libraries.

Caption: The Make It @ Your Library team: back, Elizabeth Ludemann, Amy Killebrew, Anne Craig (Illinois State Library director), Allison Parker; front, Vicki Rakowski, Katy Hite. Make It @ Your Library was originally titled LLAMA, or Leading Libraries to Awesome Makerspace Awareness; in this photo, taken at ILEAD 2013, organizers are seen flashing llama signs.

Founders Vicki Rakowski, Amy Killebrew, Allison Parker, Katy Hite, and Elizabeth Ludemann met while attending Dominican, where they bonded over their common goal to “do something about makerspaces in the library,” Rakowski told Off the Shelf. They refined the idea through ILEAD USA, a continuing education library immersion program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Service, and, in October 2013, launched the organization’s website, which features a curated collection of library-friendly maker projects originally posted to, a massive online community devoted to DIY (or do it yourself) culture.

Maker kits came into the picture when Make It @ Your Library was awarded a $35,000 Knight Prototype Fund grant at ALA Midwinter 2015. “We were totally blown away to be among the finalists, so actually winning was mind-boggling, and a tremendous honor,” Rakowski said. “The kits themselves are in progress as we speak, and we’re learning a lot. Since nobody’s ever circulated these kinds of materials through interlibrary loan across the state, we don’t have a lot of examples to follow.”

Pilot libraries will begin trying out prototypes in July, and if the Knight Foundation deems the project a success, it may grant additional funds to help it move beyond the beta stage. Make It @ Your Library is partnering on the maker kit initiative with the Illinois Public Library, which Rakowski described as “a truly wonderful organization run by truly wonderful people.”

All five organizers work as full-time librarians, four in Northern Illinois and one in Ohio, making Make It @ Your Library a “side gig” (Rakowski’s term) that consumes whatever hours and brain cells they have to spare. Is it time well spent? “It’s hard to say what trends will have staying power – no librarian likes to be on the back end of a trend, so sometimes as a profession, we might hop into things that in retrospect we wish we hadn’t,” she said.

But for Rakowski and her cohorts, makerspaces follow in a long line of attempts by librarians to meet patron needs and support or catalyze their creative endeavors. “Maker culture is very much about just trying it – just trying to deconstruct and reconstruct a thing, learn a thing, and create a thing,” she said. “That’s a lot like the DIY ethic – do it yourself and don’t be afraid of it.”


Valeria Hunter, MLIS ‘14, was awarded a travel stipend by the Illinois chapter of the Special Libraries Association to attend the SLA 2015 Annual Conference in Boston.

Taras Kozbur, MLIS ‘15, was appointed a CyberNavigator at the Harold Washington Library Center.

Katie Lawrence, MLIS ‘11, was appointed school library media specialist in the Northview Public School District in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Stephan Licitra, MLIS ‘15, was appointed technical services librarian at the State Law Library of Montana.

Maurine McCourry, PhD ‘14, presented “Domain Analytic, and Domain Analytic-Like, Studies of Catalog Needs: Addressing the Ethical Dilemma of Catalog Codes Developed With Inadequate Knowledge of User Needs” at the Milwaukee Conference on Ethics in Knowledge Organization in May.

Marci Merola, MLIS ‘11, and her bookshelves were featured in Printers Row Journal and on in May. The opening sentence: “Stories of unsung artists, poets and political activists, particularly those of Italian and Mexican descent, populate the bookshelves of Marci Merola's Logan Square home.”

Corinne H. Miller, MLIS ‘12, was appointed reference librarian and outreach coordinator at the Library of Rush University Medical Center.

Philip Sulentic, MLIS ‘14, was appointed stock footage film researcher at the WPA Film Library in Orland Park, Illinois.

Rebecca Vnuk, MLIS '99 and editor for reference and collection management at Booklist, published The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide (ALA Editions). “I find no one is ambivalent about weeding -- people either love it or loathe it,” Vnuk writes in the introduction. “I fall into the love-it camp. In fact, I once imagined my perfect career would be traveling from library to library across the nation, weeding collections”.

Read more here for additional alumnae/i news!


Abrar Alkusaimi, a student in the MLIS program, is working this summer with the archiving and museum staff at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

K.C. Boyd, a student in the PhD program and library media specialist at Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, was interviewed for School Library Journal’s coverage of contract negotiations between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union. “It’s very flattering to hear the union chief and other representatives reference the importance of libraries,” Boyd told reporter Carly Okyle.

Guadalupe Colin and Mozhdeh Khodarahmi, students in the MLIS program, were appointed instruction interns at the Rebecca Crown Library for the 2015-16 academic year.

Ana Devine, a student in the MLIS program and Library on the Go manager for the Gail Borden Public Library District, published “Boost Summer Reading Results with Gold Star Partners”, a report on Gail Borden’s off-site summer reading program, in the May 15, 2015 edition of Strategic Library. Launched in 2013, Gold Star Partners finds community organizations partnering with the library to offer a summer reading program at their own locations, with the library providing books, reading logs and prizes, and partner organizations agreeing to make reading a part of daily or weekly programming.

Nitoshia L. Ford, a student in the PhD program, was appointed community engagement librarian at Skokie (IL) Public Library.

Heather Hummons, a student in the MLIS program, was named a 2015-16 American Library Association Spectrum Scholar and will receive a one-time award of $5,000 in scholarship funds from ALA (to be matched 100% by GSLIS) and $1,500 to attend the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The Spectrum Scholarship Committee reports that this year it received “three times as many applications as there were available scholarships.” Applicants were selected based on “their commitment to diversity, commitment to entering the library profession, demonstrated community outreach, academic ability and achievements, and leadership potential.”

Sarah Mitchell, a student in the MLIS program, was appointed program assistant on the Learning Experiences Team at Skokie (IL) Public Library.