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From the Dean

Libraries: Not Obsolete, Just More Virtual

Voters in Richland County are making a $59 million decision on November 5 whether or not to fund major improvements to the Richland Library system throughout the county.

As the state's only School of Library and Information Science, we have a certain bias not toward libraries, but toward all they accomplish in their communities.

Libraries are a "huge quality of life indicator for any community," Richland's executive director Melanie Huggins told one interviewer during the campaign to support the bond referendum.

We'll admit to another bias. Huggins is a SLIS alumna who's directed the county library since 2009. Even fuller disclosure, her husband J.C. Huggins is USC's director of web communications and an alumnus of our School of Journalism and Mass Communications. J.C. likes to say the Huggins family merged the two schools before the university did.

But I digress.

Cross the state of South Carolina and you will find our graduates in just about every public, school or academic library. We feel good about the impact SLIS is making in the state. I sense we feel even better about the role libraries continue to play in the social and economic welfare of those communities.

The digitization of our lives has not made libraries obsolete. They've got ebooks. They are stacked with computers. They are the "home office" for many in their communities who seek information about jobs or health care. They stimulate young minds through myriad programs and keep older minds fresh.

When I visit Richland Library or make an occasional road trip with Cocky's Reading Express™, I'm reminded how vital libraries are today, not that they have not long been so. The library in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, was just down the street and a haven for a young boy.

I'm not lobbying for the Richland County referendum here. Voting is taking place even as we send out our monthly eNews. Yes, $59 million is a major investment, even over 20 years. But the library here last benefited from a bond referendum in 1989. In 2001, it was named the National Library of the Year. Its 11 locations stretch across the county. The libraries' number of visitors, circulation and online visits are all increasing.

If you even doubt — could you? — that libraries are viable and valuable in the 21st century, drop by yours and see what's going on. And see if the librarians might not be among our SLIS alumni.

Libraries have my vote.

Charles Bierbauer

Bierbauer signature


College News


Mortarboard photoFaculty honored with Excellence in Teaching Awards

Jay Bender, journalism, Dr. Shirley Staples-Carter, public relations, and Lisa Sisk, public relations, were honored at the annual Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Awards on October 24, 2013. Recipients of these awards are nominated by students who have been motivated, enlightened and inspired by their professors. Bender, Carter and Sisk were among 29 faculty across campus to receive Mortar Board Awards this year.
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Dr. Hastings photoDirector to moderate program at conference

Dr. Samantha Hastings, director of the School of Library and Information Science, will moderate a panel at the 2013 SCLA/SELA conference in Greenville, S.C. on Nov. 14.

The program, "Individual Stories, National Impact: Celebrating the Lives of South Carolina Women," is sponsored by the SLIS Diversity Leadership Group and the SCLA Roundtable for African-American Concerns and organized by the school's Nonie Price. The SLIS Alumni Tea follows from 5:30-6:30.
Conference Information


Jeffcoat photoJeffcoat elected to Humanities Council SC

Kim Shealy Jeffcoat, executive director of the S.C. Center for Children's Books and Literacy, has been elected to a three-year term on the Humanities Council SC Board of Directors. Jeffcoat began her term on Nov. 1. Jeffcoat is involved with numerous statewide literacy outreach programs including the popular Cocky's Reading Express™ and Young Palmetto Books, for which she serves as series editor.
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Alumni honored at J-school's Alumni Awards Dinner

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications honored five alumni at its annual Alumni Awards Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 31. Recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni awards were Kent Babb, '04, and Sally Cumberland Brown, '05 M.M.C. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni awards were Stephen Brown, '95, and Jane Pigg, '74. Van Kornegay, '81 M.M.C. and associate professor in the J-school, received the Excellence in Service Award.
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Alumni and friends celebrate, reconnect at Gamecocks on the Green

Bad weather did not stop alumni and friends of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies from gathering to celebrate Homecoming and reconnect at Gamecocks on the Green on Friday, Nov. 1. The reception moved from its location on Gibbes Green, where it has been held for eight years, to Davis College. New this year was a mini-program by Cocky's Reading Express and an arts and crafts table from Richland Library.
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Charles WashingtonAdvertising student networks way to the BET
Music Awards

Charles Washington, a senior advertising student and budding rap artist, was introduced to a prominent DJ at a concert in 2011 and remained in contact with him, reminding him several times of his interest in the industry and openness to opportunities. This contact led him to an internship at the BET Music Awards this September.
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Timothy Olson photoPR student voted Homecoming King

For the third year in a row, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications is home to Homecoming royalty. Timothy Olson, a fourth-year public relations student, was elected Homecoming King on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Olson is the first 'king' for the school. In 2011, Christina Galardi, '12, was elected queen. In 2012, Lauren Nottoli, '13, was elected queen and Kevin Walker, '13, was elected prince.
Read more




Breathing new life into a core class

By Liana Miller, communications intern

Restructuring the JOUR 202 course, Writing for Mass Communications, has been a key initiative in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. JOUR 202 is an introductory course that teaches students the basics of story structure and speaking to a community audience by writing news stories and press releases.

Rantin and Gump photos Dr. Deborah Gump, a visiting journalism professor, is one of many instructors passionate about making the course more beneficial for students. She makes sure that her students are equipped with a well-rounded knowledge of mass communications. As a part of this effort, she has her students conduct interviews in the community about current events to include in their writings. Dr. Gump says that students should leave her class feeling comfortable with this key element of the journalistic process.

"It is critical for students to connect the dots between real life and the classroom," she says.

Bertram Rantin, an adjunct instructor in journalism, shares this mindset. In his sections of JOUR 202, students write content for publication in The State newspaper, where Rantin is also a staff reporter.

"The goal is to get as many students published as possible. Writing for The State is a practical complement to the course curriculum and demonstrates the reality of news writing," Rantin said.

Dr. Gump and Rantin agree that academics need to be supplemented by real world experience. For this purpose, they have designed some of their own tools to supplement students outside of the classroom.

A JOUR 202 website is in the works according to Dr. Gump. This website will include grammar drills, guides, explanations and other information covered in JOUR 202. It will be a resource to students, but open to anyone who would like a refresher on these writing concepts.

The faculty have also created a Facebook group, Gamecock Journalists. This serves as a forum to relay journalism-related information among students, alumni, faculty and professionals. Dr. Gump hopes that the Facebook group will help connect students and alumni to the professional world. The group is open to all students, alumni and faculty of the school. See group arrow



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SLIS Alumni Tea
Thursday, Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m.
SCLA/SELA Conference
Westin Poinsett Hotel, Greenville, S.C.

Buchheit Lecture with Leeza Gibbons
Monday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.
USC School of Law Auditorium
Open to the public

For more information,
contact Annie Lambert at lambert@sc.edu
or (803) 777-6791.




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