Wednesday, September 18, 2019

How can the Blind and Visually Impaired take advantage of Library Service?

Jill Rothstein, Chief Librarian of the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library and Pratt Grad will speak about library accessibility, technologies and her career path. She has presented
at the National Library Service for the Blind and Print and Print Disabled conference, Metro library Conference, American Library Association, and Harvard’s World Heritage Strategy Forum. Jill is a
founding member of the New York Public Library’s Accessibility Working Group, and a founding member and mentor with the Innovation project which supports staff at any level in bringing to life
unusual and creative projects.

When: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Time: Program begins at 5:30 pm
Where: Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011

Please RSVP to by October 8, space is limited.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

2019 Chapter Initiation

Vinette Thomas, Michelle Lee, and Anthony Cocciolo

This year's chapter initiation was held on May 16, 2019 at PMC. 

We had 8 initiates this year; 3 were initiated in-absentia. The Dean of the School of Information addressed the group, and the featured speaker was Coral Salomón, Digital Strategies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania, and Beta Phi Mu member.

Welcome from the Dean

Anthony Cocciolo, Dean of the School of Information gave us an update on what will be going on at Pratt Manhattan in the coming year.  

Especially exciting is the upcoming redesign and construction at PMC. Although construction is expected to continue through 2020, there should be minimal disruption to 6th floor operations.

Featured Speaker

Coral Salomón, a Beta Phi Mu member, was our featured speaker at the 2019 Initiation.  She talked about her professional positions, what they entailed, how she got the positions and often how course/professors at Pratt helped her along the way.

Coral is the Digital Strategies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania, where she implements and manages all aspects of Penn Libraries first web archiving program while also initiating and maintaining collaborative professional relationships and establishing training programs. 

Prior to that was The National Digital Stewardship Resident in Art Information, which was a yearlong initiative at Penn to provide recommendations and best practices on acquisition, discovery and preservation or digital art-related assets.

Coral, who is from Puerto Rico, spoke about how heartened she was by all the volunteering efforts by many Philadelphia organizations, residents and students to help people on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria by collecting emergency supplies and assisting hurricane evacuees who fled to the City of Brotherly Love. 

Coral talked about her own experience with co-organizing a Puerto Rico disaster relief digital community mapping event at the University of Pennsylvania in November 2017; volunteers digitized a 350 square mile region for the American Red Cross and updated maps used by aid workers and emergency responders.

More recently, Coral worked with other members of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York (ART), the Art Libraries Society of North America New York Chapter (ARLIS-NY), and the Puerto Rican archivists consortium La Red de Archivos de Puerto Rico (ArchiRED) on a successful fundraising campaign to preserve Puerto Rican cultural heritage collections by creating Spanish-language programs and instructional materials related to preservation, disaster relief and recovery, and grant-writing.

In the Beta Phi Mu initiation, it states:  " ... professionals demonstrate a willingness to use their talents in service to that society. In accepting membership in Beta Phi Mu, you commit yourselves and your talents to the promotion of the best in scholarship and service."  Coral embodies this quality of service. 

Chapter Initiation

Congratulations to the newest chapter members!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019 Beta Phi Mu Initiation

Save the date and join us for the Beta Phi Mu Initiation.  Come and meet the Initiates and network with friends.

WHEN:   Thursday, May 16th
WHAT:  Beta Phi Mu Spring Initiation 
5:30 PM Refreshments and Networking
6:00 PM Program and Initiation Ceremony                     
Introduction:       Anthony Cocciolo, Dean, School of Information 
Guest speaker:   Coral Salomón, Digital Strategies Librarian, Fisher Fine Arts Library, University of Pennsylvania 

Please RSVP at

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Career Stories: Interesting Opportunities for Librarians and Info Pros

On March 26th Beta Phi Mu Theta Chapter, SLA's Professional Development and Diversity Committee and Pratt SI, held a joint event - Career Stories: Interesting Opportunities for Librarians and Info Pros.   

Five speakers shared their career histories and their passion for their current roles.  We enjoyed light refreshments and an opportunity to tour the Pratt Gallery exhibit before the presentations; networking followed.

Emily Toder, Processing Archivist at the New York Transit Museum described some of the many artifacts in the museum's collection.  If you are looking for an item relating to the NY transit system will be sure to find it in this archive.  Emily shared images of historical car cards, tunnel construction, graffiti covered  subway cars, old uniforms, lanterns and tokens and a decommissioned car being dropped into the ocean to help create an artificial reef.   For Emily working as an archivist is her ideal job.  She gets to practice all the traditional elements of information management; processing, cataloging, reference and outreach and has also developed subject expertise.   Work for her is never boring.

Stacey Calabrese, Manager of Research Services at the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A'S) described her team's very organized approach to running  an extremely busy research service.  Research is the most heavily used function of the Association, they receive 7000 custom requests from members a year.  Working for mid sized advertising agencies means she never knows what she will be working on next, recently Stacey provided a company profile on Hagen Daz followed by an industry profile on chain saws.  Other services her team provide include an insights newsletter, curating content for the online members' portal, monitoring developments in advertising  and orientations.

Brynn White, Archivist at the American Kennel Club, accompanied her talk with a rolling display of dog photos from the Club's collection, and very cute they were too. She described how a series of intern positions and part time roles helped her to further her career in information, although it seems her love for her childhood pet, a rare breed of terrier, contributed towards her securing her current role, truly  a dream job for a dog lover.  With only one part time assistant Brynn's challenge is to manage the expectations of her stakeholders as to the services she can provide, a challenge that has increased since the Club opened the Museum of the Dog earlier this year and where part of the library collection is now housed.  Her advise to anyone entering the library and information profession is to develop advocacy skills, the reality of today's workplace is that many of us have to advocate the value of our own jobs.

Deborah Goss, Director, Library at Mt Sinai Services/Queen Hospital Center described her love for medical librarianship.  When she graduated  in literature in 2009, at the height of an economic recession she had not been planning to follow a career in medical libraries.   She started as an intern at the Queens Public Hospital and clearly found her niche.  Deb provided a helpful overview of the opportunities available to medical librarians and the skills required.  Apparently it is possible to become a clinical librarian who accompanies the physician on ward rounds. Today's challenges include the dramatic rise in available clinical studies over the last 20 years and how to research them effectively which must be a positive for her and her colleagues who have the skills required.

Sheryl Ramer, Director of Hospital Library, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Mount Sinai Services, also did not plan a career in medical libraries.   After working in a number of different sectors she 'fell' into librarianship.  Sheryl has extended her library service to everyone in the hospital from the physicians to the janitors.  Recognizing the diverse cultures of the hospital workers she has developed language learning programs open to all.  She has a pragmatic approach to budget management, buy what is requested, don't buy what is not and as a result she still manages a print collection.  Challenges for Sheryl include working with colleagues who are protective of what they consider their areas of responsibility and regular hospital quality surveys.  Sheryl gave a real sense of the satisfaction she gains from helping her hospital community.