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Student association receives top national honor in back-to-back years

Posted June 7, 2016
By Heather Moorefield-Lang, LISSA co-advisor
Photo: LISSA at Cocky Tales: Amanda Bullington, Laura Kotti, Cocky, Megan Coker, Erin Patterson, Lindsay Rogillio, Heather O’Brien, Yuan Li. 


The USC Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA) chapter has been named the American Library Association (ALA) Student Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row and third time total. 

The award is presented in recognition of a chapter’s outstanding contributions to ALA, its school and the profession. The SLIS chapter will be recognized at an award ceremony during the New Members Round Table Student Reception at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando on June 26 . They will also receive a $1,000 travel grant to help with the cost of attending the conference.

Lindsay Rogillio, USC chapter president, submitted LISSA’s many accomplishments to the ALA New Member Round Table award committee, who selected them as the top chapter.  The application was divided into categories of membership engagement, programs, communications, leadership, financial health, as well as awards and honors related to the Student Chapter of the Year Award. 

The organization led a number of events in the past year, including a LISSA Game Night, library tours, a hot chocolate social, a presentation at the South Carolina Library Association conference, and their annual calendar fundraiser, this year with accompanying t-shirt. They have also participated in many community outreach projects including volunteering with Cocky’s Reading Express™, creating library exhibits, as well as weeding books at the local public and SC State Library.

LISSA advisor Dr. Elise Lewis, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science, said the LISSA students are truly innovative information professionals who have taken the MLIS curriculum and implemented it through chapter activities.  "Transitions in leadership are never easy," she said.  "As co-advisor for a student chapter, I have seen the challenges new leadership face when taking over.  Momentum may be lost while the new leadership figures out what is going on.  This chapter has not lost momentum because early in the process they began documenting and training each other.  They represent leaders in the field who advocate for the community and are dedicated to the field.” 

One of the purposes of the Chapter of the Year award is to increase student involvement in ALA through student chapters and to recognize its leaders. But the students also benefit from the organization's events and activities.

President Lindsay Rogillio said the networking and career development opportunities is of particular benefit to LISSA members. "The need for networking springs from our program being largely distance-based because even the people who live in Columbia do everything largely online," she said. "With LISSA, not only are you widening your social circle for networking with people who are potential colleagues, but also the people they can put you in touch with."

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians and library users since 1876. This year ALA is celebrating its 140th birthday.