Master’s students represent QLA, lead workshop at ally conference

GSLIS master’s students Jessica Colbert and Annabella Irvine will participate in the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC) this week, where they will lead a workshop on locating LGBT materials in libraries and will represent the GSLIS student group, Queer Library Alliance (QLA). Held annually, the interdisciplinary conference is organized by students and is the largest event of its kind in the country. MBLGTACC 2016 will be held at Purdue University on February 19-21.

The workshop, "Finding Ourselves in the Library: Locating LGBT Materials in Libraries,” was developed by Colbert and fellow GSLIS MS/LIS student Brittany Craig.

Abstract: This workshop serves to assist students in pursuit of queer literatures, histories, and other LGBTQIA-related library materials. Libraries have been a hub for marginalized populations, particularly those of lower-income levels, to access information. Despite being free, though, library materials are not always accessible due to challenges with finding them. Through an intersectional approach, libraries and librarians can improve information access. This workshop will provide search assistance, covering subject terms and keyword searches that follow Library of Congress subject headings....As progressive and queer librarians, we believe that subject headings should reflect the identifications used by queer communities themselves, but the reality is that library materials are still classified under terms and headings that may not be intuitive to the queer researcher or reader. This workshop breaks down why these headings exist and how to use existing headings to find queer-representational materials.

“With this workshop, we aim to show others the language that is used [in library catalogs], and also some ways to make their own collections and catalogs better,” said Colbert.  “As librarians and information professionals, the QLA believes it is our duty to help educate people about issues like this, as well as to show nonlibrarians that not every librarian they encounter will be an ‘outsider’—some of us are just like them and have gone through the same struggles and oppressions. Hopefully this will encourage more people to use their librarians, because that anxiety and fear might be lessened.”

“If people leave the workshop and are able to find materials about LGBT topics more easily, then I think that is a victory for everyone involved. We want to empower people,” she said.

Earlier this year, Colbert presented on this topic at BOBCATSSS, an international, student-led LIS symposium. Her poster, “The Search that Dare Not Speak Its Name: LGBT Information and Catalog Records,” received the event’s best poster award.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Get to know Andres Perez, MS/IM student

Andres Perez is preparing for a career in cybersecurity through a combination of the iSchool's MS in information management (MS/IM) program and the Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP), a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program funded by the National Science Foundation. Perez applied for the ICSSP—which provides full tuition, a stipend, and development opportunities for students who want to specialize in cybersecurity and privacy—to "grow as a professional and contribute to a greater mission."

Andres Perez

iSchool researchers discuss misinformation

Several iSchool researchers participated in the recent Misinformation Research Symposium, which was hosted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Science and sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and National Center for Supercomputing Applications. The goals of the symposium were to help connect misinformation research on campus, foster interdisciplinary teams interested in collaborating on external submissions, and learn more about the needs of existing and emerging research groups on campus. 

Rolling Stone the subject of undergraduate research

BS/IS student Hanyu (Zella) Zhao learned about pop culture and data analytics through her work on the undergraduate research project, Analysis on Rolling Stone Magazine Covers. Professor Michael Twidale mentored her during the project, in which a team of undergraduates created a database of celebrities who appeared on the magazine cover from 1967 to 2021.

Zella Zhao

iSchool researchers present at virtual CIRN conference

iSchool researchers presented their work at the 19th annual Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) Conference on November 8-12. The theme of this year's conference was "Communities, Technology and This Moment." CIRN 2021 explored how researchers and practitioners ethically collect information, including what happens when community information is deliberately not collected and how information systems can be designed "in harmony with communities."

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Cordiah Hayes

Eight iSchool master's students were named 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School's scholars. MS/LIS student Cordiah Hayes earned her BS degree in communications studies with an emphasis in media studies from Northern Illinois University.

Cordiah Hayes