My Professional Excellence Grant Experience

By Joanne Gialelis, Library Assistant II, Utah State Law Library

The Utah State Library Division’s UPLIFT Professional Excellence Grant provided me with an excellent opportunity.  With this grant award, I was able to pay for a Collection Management course and apply the credits towards my graduate degree program at SJSU’s School of Library and Information Science. This course showed me how collections are built and changed over time. There was much discussion of the obstacles and challenges faced when trying to build and maintain a strong, relevant collection.  These obstacles include censorship challenges, copyright issues and the increasing annual costs of books, videos, and periodicals.

I had the opportunity to learn about item selection tools that relate to my work in a public law library. I also learned about materials selection in subjects I don’t see in my day to day work, including entrepreneurship, home ownership, and stock investment books. The most challenging assignment was putting together an Opening Day Collection using a predetermined budget. This forced me to choose a few titles among so many available while trying to keep a variety of viewpoints.

The most valuable lesson taken from this course was that networking will be an important part of managing a library collection. Whether being active in a library association, talking to cultural or business leaders, or keeping in touch with teachers or faculty, librarians don’t work in isolation to provide the best collections and services. I learned a lot from my classmates (including two fellow Utah students) how different types of libraries face challenges such as budget crises and shared with other libraries. The class was a valuable experience that will have lasting impact on my emerging professional career.