Ellen Rubenstein Wins Beta Phi Mu Chi Chapter Student Scholarship Award

Monroe County Public Library
Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN
Day:April 27, 2007
Time:10:00 - 11:30 a.m. - Award Presentation
3:00 p.m. - Paper Presentation
Place:Wells Library, SLIS Room 030 - Award Presentation
Wells Library, SLIS Room 001 - Paper Presentation

SLIS faculty member Thomas Nisonger announced the winner of the 2007 Beta Phi Mu Chi Chapter Student Scholarship Award. Nominated by SLIS faculty member Alice Robbin, recent SLIS Master of Library Science graduate Ellen Rubenstein won for her paper, "The Monroe County Public Library: Its Place in the Community." The paper was part of her work for Robbin's L563 (S541) Information Policies, Economics and the Law course.

"Last year, the information policy course focused on "community," taking a multi-disciplinary perspective that drew on a number of different theoretical frameworks. Students were encouraged to select an interesting topic that would engage them in research during the entire semester, in addition to substantial readings and class discussion. It was very exciting for me to watch Ellen seek out archival sources and conduct interviews so that she would gain a historical perspective and could tell an interesting and highly informative story of how Monroe County Public Library became a valued and integral institution in our community. For me, Ellen's paper exemplifies what students learn in my information policy class: how to develop a researchable question; how to use theory to look at the empirical world around us; how to use multiple sources of evidence to examine a specific research question; and how to address practical problems that information professionals face in the everyday life of work. I am very grateful to the retired and current librarians who participated enthusiastically and helped make Ellen's paper a fine piece of scholarly work." [quote from Alice Robbin]

Rubenstein is currently a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She will be given the award at an official presentation at the Beta Phi Mu Chi Chapter 2007 Awards and Initiation Ceremony to be held on Friday, April 27, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., with refreshments served beginning at 9:30 a.m., in SLIS Room 030 (the SLIS Commons Classroom). Rubenstein will present her research at 3:00 p.m. in SLIS Room 001 on the same day. All SLIS students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend both events.

Summary - "The Monroe County Public Library: Its Place in the Community"

By Thomas Nisonger, SLIS faculty sponsor the chapter

In my opinion, Ellen Rubenstein's paper offers a fascinating account of the MCPL's history and interaction with the community and is well-grounded in the theoretical literature.

This paper presents a history and chronology of the Monroe County Public Library and its interaction with and role in the community, organized into 3 historical periods: 1816-late 1940s; late 1940s to late 1970s; late 1970s to early 2000s. She uses as her sources: newspaper clippings, interviews with staff, administrators and community leaders; historical texts, and primary documents. The concepts of place, community, civic engagement, and social capital (discussed in the literature review) are used as a theoretical underpinning for her research.

It's stated in the paper's conclusion: "As a physical place, the library has relocated several times and been reconstructed several times, all in response to community needs and input. As a place imbued with meaning and social capital, the library has been deeply rooted in the psyche of the community. . .The library has been a gathering place, a community center, and a place for education and recreation. . .it is clear that the library and the community exist as mutually supportive entities committed to the well-being of Monroe County."

Below are the seven additional student papers nominated for the Award:

  • Rob Bain – "Direct Marketing and Online Privacy," nominated by Noriko Hara
  • Ryan Brubacher – "The Role of Doubt in Information Science: Starting a Discussion Concentrating on the Implications in Image Databases," nominated by Ron Day
  • Catherine Cowser, Paulette Gibbs, and Jill Scarbrough – "ILTA Trustee Survey," nominated by Rachel Applegate
  • Tierney Dwyer – "Unitarian Universalism: A Research Guide," nominated by Lokman Meho
  • Emily Ford – "Open Source Software: A Case Study of Bloomington Libraries," nominated by Noriko Hara.
  • Sarah Beth Grant – "Difficulties of 'Difficulty': Rhetoric and the Humanities," nominated by Ron Day
  • Dean Sullivan – "The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893: A Guide to Federal Government Information," nominated by Lou Malcolmb

Posted April 05, 2007