Skip to this page's content

Library & Information Science Success Stories

Jen Langley '09LS

Title: Associate Director of Information Systems, YouthBuild USA


Jen Langley was the recipient of the Simmons Student Chapter of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) Outstanding Information Science Student Award for service to the chapter and academic achievement in information science. 

While at GSLIS, Jen says, "I took as many classes with the word "digital" in the title as possible!" This included Digital Libraries (LIS 462), where she served on the web committee, and Digital Publishing (LIS 457), where she wrote about Open Access. She also took Database Management (LIS 458), Web Development and Information Architecture (LIS 467) and Social Informatics (LIS 421).

Her most valuable experience while a student, however, was taking part in the GSLIS Information Architecture (IA) Project, which formed the framework for the 2009 GSLIS Website redesign. One of a group of six students who worked on the project as part of an independent study, Jen was part of the Paper Prototyping team and also acted as the 'schematic wrangler, creating wireframes of the different iterations of the IA team's proposed structure. "I worked harder on the IA project than on anything else in Library School and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my 2 ½ years," she says.

In addition to taking a full schedule of courses at GSLIS Jen served as Chair of the Simmons College Student Chapter of ASIS&T while also working full-time as a Web Manager with YouthBuild USA. Now the Associate Director of Information Systems, she uses what she learned about databases, user testing, web development, social software, and information organization at work every day.

What were you doing before library school?

I was the Web Manager at a non-profit (YouthBuild USA) in Somerville, MA.

Why did you choose library school?

I knew I wanted to get my Master's degree and wanted it to relate to the work I was already doing. There are, of course, not a lot of "web" focused programs so I was having a hard time finding someplace I fit. I was at a web conference and noticed one of the presenters had attended library school, so I went to a GSILS open house and was immediately hooked. I knew it was the right place for me.

What did you do while you were at GSLIS (particular projects)?

I took as many classes with the word "digital" in the title as possible! I built a database and wrote queries in Database Management, I was on the web committee in Digital Libraries, I wrote papers on cultural heritage and the internet in Social Informatics, I created schemas and wireframes in Web Development and Information Architecture, I learned how to use Dialog in Digital Information Services and Providers and I wrote about Open Access in Digital Publishing.

What was your favorite class and/or the most valuable experience you had?

Most definitely the GSLIS IA Project. I was one of a group of students who worked with the GSLIS Publications/Web Team on a semester-long project which led to a proposal for a new information architecture (IA) for the GSLIS web sites. I was part of the Paper Prototyping team and also acted as the "schematic wrangler", creating wireframes of the different iterations of our proposed structure. We were all also a part of an independent study supervised by Terry Plum and each wrote papers on our experience. At the end, we presented our findings to the Simmons Web Office and they were accepted. I worked harder on the IA project than on anything else in Library School and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my 2 ½ years.

What are you doing now?

Right after I graduated, I was promoted to Assoc. Director of Information Systems @ YouthBuild USA, so I'm still here (8 ½ yrs) and I'm able to use a lot of what I learned about databases, user testing, web development, social software, and information organization on a daily basis at work.