Beginning a New Chapter

By Steve Zalusky

College library students are embracing the Libraries Transform campaign and spreading the value of libraries across the campus.

When Kimberly Tate-Louie, a graduate MMLIS student at the University of Southern California (USC) became president of her American Library Association Student Chapter in May 2016, she vowed to put the chapter on the map. “We wanted to make a name for the chapter and make it known that there are passionate students involved in the program at USC and involved in the chapter,” she said.

She said she was inspired by articles in American Libraries magazine about the Libraries Transform campaign. “What I like about Libraries Transform is that it’s based on how libraries are still relevant and continue to be relevant. They are more than relevant,” she said, especially in a digital environment.

The chapter decided to conduct a contest collecting Because statements and transformational stories. Using a raffle for Amazon gift cards as an incentive, the chapter received 25 submissions. Submissions included, “Because libraries house lots of freely available data!” and “Because your neighborhood branch is more than a building—it is an incubator of dreams.” The success of phase two spurred a second phase in which the chapter solicited submissions of photos of transforming libraries for a booklet.

Now, as January approaches and the school rounds out its year, she said, “We want to go out with a bang.” That means a third phase – an on-campus event in the main library, the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library. In the lobby, the chapter plans to set up a booth with bottled water and refreshments. There, it plans to present the booklet to students, as well as promote USC libraries.

“We are thinking of an early April event, because it would be at a time when undergraduate students are in crunch time with final exams and projects and research papers. So the main library would have a lot of traffic,” she said.