A Celebration of Creative Library Outreach & Collaboration at the University of Maryland


The University of Maryland’s four iSchool student groups held a screening of the “Cycling for Libraries” 2011 documentary that inspired a discussion about creative library outreach, the possibility of organizing a “Cycling for Libraries” event in Maryland, and how American graduate students in library science can become more involved in the international library community. Participants from the Student Archivists at Maryland, the Special Libraries Association, the American Library Association, and the iDiversity student groups were impressed and inspired by the way in which “Cycling for Libraries” brought international librarians together to make meaningful connections with each other, to discuss important topics that affect the future of libraries around the world, and to conduct library outreach in an entirely new and innovative fashion.

The documentary sparked a conversation about the forums available for American library science graduate students to connect with an international community of students and young professionals in libraries, which led to a discussion of NPSIG and the Bobcatsss conference. The main concern for many students was how to participate in events and conferences around the world that are prohibitively expensive to travel to. Students were interested in the possibility of organizing events in the United States and participating in webinars, but the question of how to bring international library students together despite the cost of travel will be one to consider.

By the end of the evening, everyone agreed that international library student activities should be more than just more professional workshops: they should focus on fostering lasting connections within a worldwide network of information students and professionals.

Student reactions:

“Great documentary! I think it got a lot of us really excited to try a similar event. We should totally try to organize a US version … I have a lot of library friends on tumblr who are really into cycling, and who I think would join this kind of event in a second.” – Rebecca Hopman, MLS ‘12, @rchopman

“The cycling for libraries event was really inspirational for me. It seemed like an awesome opportunity for librarians to grow and encourage one another. I would love to participate in a similar event.” – Laura French, MLS ‘13,

“Super excited that this is something that we could actually make happen right here in Maryland!” – Rebecca Oxley, MLS ‘13, @LibrariansFTW

Follow UMD’s student group activities on Twitter: @mollyfication , @alaatumd , @SLAatUMD , @LISDiversity

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