Library Gazette

5 Questions for Bobbie Collins, Social Sciences Librarian

Thursday, April 16, 2015 4:36 pm

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Tamura and LENS Summer Program.

On November 1st, 1990, Bobbie Collins set foot on the campus of Wake Forest University and began her career as the Social Sciences Reference Librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. As a Tennessee native with a background in Education, Bobbie had originally embarked on a path to pursue school librarianship, but after working at the University of Tennessee Graduate Library as a Research Assistant in the Reference Department, she decided to continue a career in academic librarianship.

After 24 years with the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and Wake Forest University, Bobbie will be retiring on April 30th. But before she flies the coop, she sat down with me to discuss her fabulous career and share her insights, memories, and lessons from a life in the Library.

We talk a lot about change in libraries, but there are some things that remain the same. From your perspective, what has changed and what has stood the test of time?

Technology has changed how we deliver some of our information. For example, researchers now have access to electronic journals and electronic databases. Probably one of the biggest changes was saying goodbye to the card catalog. The card catalog served us well for generations. It was an exciting time for libraries when the online catalog was introduced. My first experience with an online catalog was at Texas A&M University in 1982. I helped to develop an instructional program to train students and faculty on how to search the online catalog. Through the years, we have seen enhancements and improvements to the online catalog. Search functions are more sophisticated, and the user interface has definitely improved. It is interesting how people take technology for granted. There was a time when there was no email, no online resources. In April 1992, an email instruction class was offered to ZSR staff members. Email enabled us to launch our popular AskZSR email reference service, and now we can assist patrons beyond our building.

What has remained the same, I believe, is our mission and our basic service. We still collect materials (books, journals, etc.), organize them, and provide access to them in order to help the WFU community succeed.

With the exhaustive amount of information now available online, do you have any words of advice to offer patrons for finding the information they need?

I like to ask myself, “where could that be hiding?” I like to think of information as being packaged, for example, words are packaged in dictionaries, journal citations in indexes/databases, statistical/factual information in almanacs. I’m always thinking, “where would somebody put that?”. This stems from a time before electronic sources, when you had to consider who was printing that information at that time. Are you going to find it in multiple sources? This is not as true today, maybe because the web has provided people with the ability to use search engines to find that kind of factual or statistical information themselves, and they are not used to consulting specialized resources. The questions we receive today are more advanced and require further knowledge about where an item or piece of information may be stored and how can we access it.

What is your favorite library space at ZSR, and why?

I sometimes like to visit levels 7 and 8 on the Reynolds Wing, and another place I really like is Government Documents on Reynolds 4. I enjoy looking at all of the old government documents, and finding interesting items to browse. There are many little gems waiting to be discovered in those stacks. Just browsing the stacks, I have been able to find resources that I can use when responding to student research inquiries. With resources such as the Public Papers of the Presidents, students who are researching the 1960s and the moon landing can read John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech”.

There is no doubt you’ve helped countless patrons, and taught multitudes of students about academic research. What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned from your work at ZSR?

One thing that I love about being a reference librarian is that every day presents a new challenge. So one of my ZSR lessons is to always stay curious. There is always something new to learn, and I am hoping to remain curious– that is one thing that has sustained me throughout my whole career. When I don’t have the slightest clue as to a topic or a piece of information, (like ostrich farming in North Carolina ), I have the drive to look further.

Looking back on your career, what are some of your favorite ZSR moments?

There are so many different ones, it’s hard to narrow it down. One that definitely comes to mind is moving into the new Wilson Wing. It was so nice to have an instructional classroom (Room 476). Before the move, librarians delivered instructional sessions in the middle of the Reference Department (where Government Documents is now located). Another one would be in 2009, when I mentored Carolyn McCallum for a period of time as she developed instructional material for Information Literacy instructional sessions. Carolyn nominated me for the “Helping Hands” award, and I was honored for assisting a colleague.

Congratulations on your retirement, Bobbie! And thank you for your years of dedicated service! You will be missed!

5 Questions for Molly Keener

Monday, February 23, 2015 2:44 pm

Molly Keener, Scholarly Communication Librarian

In honor of Fair Use Week (Feb. 23rd – 27th), we have 5 Questions for our Scholarly Communication Librarian, Molly Keener. As the Scholarly Communication Librarian, Molly supports faculty and graduate students in understanding and managing copyright, new methods and models of scholarly publishing (including open access), and sharing scholarship. In her 6 years at ZSR Library, she has assisted countless faculty with thorny copyright questions, managed the Open Access Fund to support publication, and championed greater sharing of scholarship created at Wake Forest University.

What is Fair Use and why is it important for libraries and higher education?

Fair use is a provision within the Copyright Act that gives people the right to make limited uses of copyrighted content without permission from the copyright owner(s). Generally, fair use covers news reporting, commentary, satire, parody, and educational uses. For libraries, fair use is important because it is what enables us to offer services such as electronic course reserves, for our patrons to make photocopies of materials for personal use, for our colleagues digitizing content in our special collections and archives…the list goes on. In higher education, fair use is critical for generating new scholarship and expanding knowledge: articles can be shared, poetry can be read aloud, films can be shown and critiqued, and works can be excerpted and cited.

What are some of the common misconceptions about the Fair Use doctrine?

One common misconception is that fair use is hard to use. It isn’t (well, not always). In fact, I wager that everyone reading this has relied on fair use–albeit without knowing it. Ever shared a photo online that you didn’t take? Get permission? No? That’s a fair use. Ever used a direct quote in a paper (with double-quotes and attribution, of course)? That’s also a fair use.

Another common misconception is that you cannot use a work in its entirety and it still be fair. That may be true in some circumstances, but not all. There are plenty of times where using the full work is necessary for your purpose and is justifiably a fair use. For example, our family and friends sang “Happy Birthday” to my son last summer when he turned 5. “Happy Birthday” is still protected by copyright, but we all sang the song in full, without nary a concern for copyright. Why? Fair use (and fun!). We didn’t limit ourselves to only one stanza, or to n% of the song. People try to apply bright line limits to fair use, often in an attempt to establish clear yes/no boundaries, but those bright lines are difficult to establish and apply unilaterally, as each instance of fair use must be assessed independently.

When we’re presented with a copyright question at the library, we don’t immediately say, “Nope, sorry, can’t;” rather, we evaluate for fair use, assess our risk, and make informed decisions. We don’t let ourselves be unduly intimidated by copyright.

What do you enjoy most about your role at ZSR?

That I never know what question I will encounter next! I’m the only librarian in ZSR to do exactly what I do, so I am the go-to for questions relating to copyright and scholarly publishing. My work has necessitated researching French and EU copyright laws, emailing British publishers, writing letters to Congressmen in Washington, and explaining copyright basics to folks on campus. I’ve even researched copyright and trademark as it relates to the circus–twice!

When you help someone make sense of what was murky, be it related to copyright, open access, funder compliance, or publishing agreements, it’s a wonderful feeling. Witnessing their “Aha!” moment is rewarding.

What areas of your personality strengthen the work that you do?

I am details-oriented, and love an intellectual challenge. I also am not afraid to call a spade a spade, so I am direct in my assessment. That said, I’m also willing to acknowledge when I don’t know enough and will seek guidance from my peers at other institutions.

What has been the biggest influence on your work?

Chance. For many years, my sights were set on law school, until I landed my first library job working in Circulation for my father’s freshman year roommate when I was a sophomore at my parents’ alma mater (that lovely light blue school down the road a ways…shh…). I then decided to become a librarian, with aims to work at a small, private liberal arts college, probably in reference. But a chance conversation with my grad school advisor led to a summer internship at Wake Forest’s medical school library, the Coy C. Carpenter Library, where a year later I landed my first professional position. When I started at Carpenter, I’d never heard of scholarly communication, but was asked within my first month on the job to revamp their program. I have many, many more examples of how chance–chance encounters, chance conversations, chances to say yes–has influenced my career and work. Much like not knowing what questions I’ll encounter, I never know when I’ll have my next chance…but I’ll likely take it!

 

5 Questions for Le’Ron Byrd

Friday, January 30, 2015 9:37 am

Le'Ron Byrd talks with Maggie Perez Vincente ('15)

Welcome to our 5 Questions series! These mini-interviews introduce our dedicated staff and faculty, and share behind-the-scenes stories about the work that we love to do! In this installment, we caught up with the ZSR Library Fellow, Le’Ron Byrd (’14). As the ZSR Library Fellow, Le’Ron has worked with the ZSR Library Administrative Team in a year-long position as a full-time staff member of the university.

Le’Ron, you also worked with ZSR as a student assistant during your undergraduate experience. How has your view of ZSR changed from working here as a student assistant to your current experience as the ZSR Fellow?

I worked as a student assistant in Access Services throughout my undergraduate career and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with people who approached the main desk. As a student assistant, I had the unique opportunity of getting to know not only my immediate supervisors but some of the library staff. They truly are amazing people and are enthusiastic about their jobs on a daily basis. What changed once I became the Fellow was my overall perception of the staff and faculty here at ZSR. I learned that that each individual here in the library (even those who work behind the scenes) are committed to working hard towards bringing ZSR’s mission– to help students, staff, and faculty succeed– to life. It is honestly something that amazes me every day I come into work.

As the ZSR Fellow, you have a hand in work that goes on behind the scenes and in the public eye . . . What have been some of your favorite contributions?

It’s hard to identify a particular favorite project because it’s not about the actual project to me, it’s about having the opportunity to collaborate with others. I mean, let’s be real… ZSR is home to the best staff and faculty here at Wake Forest. Everyone in this building is excited at every opportunity to show why ZSR is the heart of our campus. It shows during Wake the Library– which would be my favorite “project” if I had to choose.

What’s next, and what’s your best advice for the next ZSR Fellow?

Next is continuing to work in academia. I was so sure I wanted to go right into law school next year but being a Wake Forest Fellow has taught me that I still have a lot more to learn about myself before embarking on my career. Thus, the best advice I have for the next ZSR Fellow would be to come into this position open-minded about yourself. Do your best to not visualize your time as the ZSR fellow as a means to an end. You can discover so many opportunities during your tenure as the fellow.

Has your opinion of libraries or librarians changed? How so?

Oh absolutely! I now know how complex libraries are and how far along ZSR is, as it relates to other academic libraries. In particular, I’ve learned how many different departments exist inside of libraries and how they all function together to make the institution work. I mean… working at a library has defeated my preconceived stereotypes of librarians too. ZSR librarians are so much more than people who shelve the books and are louder than most people imagine! They’re actually quite humorous.

What are some of your favorite ZSR memories?

(smiles) As a student during Finals Week watching the sun rise in the Atrium, after pulling an all-nighter. Although pulling the all-nighter was quite terrible, watching the sun rise in the Atrium made the painful experience a little better. My second favorite memory happened as the ZSR Fellow in November. I helped bring ZSR to China alongside the Wake Forest Advantage Program. While in China, all I could think about was my first day working in ZSR as a student assistant in 2010. I just never thought I would have gone from being a student assistant in ZSR to an advocate for ZSR in different countries.

 

The Office of the President is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Z. Smith Reynolds Library Fellow. For more information, or to apply, visit Wake Forest Fellows Program. Applications are due by February 6th.

Sources, Citations and Cookies!

Monday, March 31, 2014 2:24 pm

If you are working on a research paper or project this semester and would like a bit of help from one of the research experts at the ZSR Library, here’s your chance. We are holding three drop-in research help sessions during the end of the semester paper-writing season in ZSR Library classroom 476:

  • Sunday, April 6th from 3:30PM – 7PM
  • Monday, April 14th from 3:30PM – 7PM
  • Sunday, April 20th from 3:30PM- 7PM

We will have librarians available to help with any aspect of your research project from selecting a topic to citing tricky sources. Cookies and refreshments will also be available to help get you through the stress!

There is no need to sign up for a time, but if you would like to, you can reserve a time from the Professional Development Center website.

If these times don’t work, you can always use our Personal Research Session request form to schedule an appointment with a research librarian at a day and time that is convenient for you.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Research and Instruction Team, ZSR Library

 

Instructional Technology Meeting

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 8:46 am

A year ago, Steve Cramer initiated a get together of UNCG and WFU library staff to talk about reference technology. We had a great time visiting our colleagues, talking about common issues, and brainstorming about the future of our distinct part of the field.

Yesterday, we met for a second time. A similar group from UNCG came to visit, and we broadened the group to include NCSU. It was a great time! We met in Starbucks from 10-12:30, had lunch at Shorty’s, and gave the NCSU folks a short tour before they went on their way.

Roz, Giz, Sarah, Mary, Kaeley, Bobbie, Kevin, and I participated from ZSR, and we had nine visitors from the other schools. We talked a bit about how our different institutions are organized, discussed current tools that have potential for instructional work, talked about current projects, and where our work was headed. If you’re interested in seeing the links we discussed, you can find them here.

It’s really energizing to connect with others doing similar things and to see how we’re approaching the same issues from our different institutional perspectives. NCSU was interested in hosting a get together in the fall, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Teaching Teaching (or maybe it should have been Teaching Strategies… )

Friday, March 20, 2009 4:25 pm

It occured to me that with the passing of spring break we’ve crossed the halfway point with our Teaching Teaching class! For those who are interested in what we’ve been doing, you can read up on it with our blog. If you’re interested in coming, feel free to drop in any Friday at 9:00 in 476. You can attend as many or as few as you’d like, and we try to make it relevant to everyone, even if they’ve missed prior classes.

Here’s some of what we’ve covered:

Let Roz or me know if you have any questions!

Teaching Teaching (or Learning Teaching, or something like that)

Friday, January 16, 2009 4:09 pm

Today was the first Teaching Teaching class. (For those who are curious, Roz and I had a Google Doc that was punnily named “teaching teaching” since that’s what we were planning… the name stuck.)

Over the course of the spring semester Roz and I are planning to give a one hour “course” on teaching. I’m really excited about this for a number of reasons, one of which is that it is open to all WFU librarians. Today we had two guests, which was really nice. The course is made to be modular, so you can miss some or attend based on topic. There are no readings, assignments, homework, or quizzing. We’re hoping that the “course” is long enough to allow us to present with some depth, without requiring too much time commitment from attendees.

Here is the presentation from today:

& you can find more in the blog. If you’re interested in the individual class sessions, you can see the calendar here. If you’re interested in the topic or the class, feel free to talk with Roz or me, or just sign up for the class!


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