Professional Development

During May 2013...

NCBIG Camp 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013 4:59 pm

On Friday, May 31st, Joy Gambill, Kyle Denlinger, and I attended the NCBIG Camp 2013 at UNCG’s Jackson Library. The North Carolina Bibliographic Instruction Group (NCBIG) is an NCLA discussion group, and this “unconference” was designed to be a participant-driven event, with facilitators for each of the twelve session (three breakout sessions with four facilitated discussions in each session). Joy, Kyle and I all agreed to facilitate a session. I attended a discussion on “Assessing Student Learning Outcomes“, where I got some great ideas for embedding some assessment tools in my LibGuides and learned about an excellent LibGuide on assessment from Portland State University on “Assessing Library Instruction“. Next, I attended Kyle’s session on “Technology for Teaching and Learning“, where we discussed a variety of useful tools including (yes, it is spelled that way!) “Mozilla Thimble” just to name a couple. After lunch, I facilitated a discussion on “Outreach to Students“. I was glad I had prepared a structure for the discussion, developing an icebreaker and bring flip chart paper and pens for participants to use to list their successful outreach programs and their challenges.

After everyone wrote their ideas on the flip charts, we discussed the results and found interesting differences and similarities between the K-12 and public libraries and the academic libraries. There was some interest in Humans v. Zombies and it looks like I made a connection that will get us a contingency from Winston Salem State University for the next event in October! All in all, we agreed it was a very productive day with some new and interesting ideas and some great networking with other librarians! Thanks to Joy and Kyle for a great day!

Basic Book Repair Workshop at ZSR

Friday, May 31, 2013 4:20 pm

Book Repair Workshop set up

On Friday, May 31, I taught a basic book repair workshop sponsored by the North Carolina Preservation consortium. This workshop covered the basics of repairing books. In many cases, this is all you need to get by. We mended paper tears with heat set tissue,
tore and repaired hinges using Japanese paper, tipped-in loose and torn-out pages, repaired torn end sheets and repaired damaged spines. These are repairs I do almost every day and which I’ve taught as useful skills in the workshops.

After lunch, we also toured Preservation and Special Collections. It was a small but good group. They represented library staff from Appalachian State, UNC-W, Rowan County Public Library the Orange County Historical Society and the Webb Memorial Library in Morehead City. We also managed to fit in making books-always a hit. It was a good day, doing good work.

Completed books

Sarah at the 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians

Thursday, May 30, 2013 2:40 pm

On May 16th-17th, I attended the the Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians: Social Entrepreneurship in Action held at UNCG. Here are some highlights of the programs that I attended:

Brian Mathews was the opening keynote speaker on “Engines of Change: Developing Platforms for Social, Civic, and Cultural Engagement”

  • Social entrepreneurism: civic engagement, human rights, environment, illiteracy, poverty, health, ethics, food
  • Value creation: shifting resources from low productivity to an area of higher productivity; library tours for an underserved community; reaching out to new groups

4 Defining Entrepreneurial Characteristics

  • Alertness: being able to recognize opportunities when other people don’t; anticipate problems and develop changes
  • Combiner: Steve Jobs brought the pieces together
  • Empathy: understanding the needs of the customer
  • Networked: alert people to things that are happening

“We’re surrounded by good ideas… we know what we need to do… But what we don’t know is how to take the knowledge we possess in bits and pieces and implement it at the scale of problems we are facing.” -David Bornstein

  • “Fill our patron’s memory bank with positive associations of the library and what it stands for.”
  • Invest in other people’s problems and how to help them
  • Find the right nutrients and environment for ideas

“Igniting Change: Transforming Practice Through Dialogue with Diverse Information Professionals” moderated by Dr. Clara Chu presented by UNCG students in the ACE Scholars program

Public Libraries, Immigrants, and Refugees: partnered with Greensboro Public Library Multicultural Services Librarian

  • Learn what they need: ESL classes, assimilation assistance in schools, information literacy classes
  • Develop a community profile: culture, language, identify community leader
  • Identify information resources from focus groups
  • Develop information resources on health literacy and financial literacy
  • Advanced ESL classes
  • Promote cross-cultural understanding
  • Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher
  • The Spirit Catches and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child by Ann Fadliman

“Social Entrepreneurship in Action in Spanish Libraries” by Jose Antonio Merlo Vega

Economic recession affected libraries in Spain, and public libraries still support their communities despite reduced acquisition expenditures

  • Local experiences are global experiences
  • Libraries in Spain support open access to resources – OA seems more critical for countries in recession
  • Social Action: Libraries help people with economic needs; libraries collect food and school supplies to give to community, often overdue fines are forgiven with donations; libraries provide job search services; libraries are a point of exchange of books between patrons
  • Social responsibility: “People are important, and libraries are for the people.”
  • Political action: Libraries and patrons protest against cuts and defend library services and funding; Library associations advocate for favorable legislation
  • Yellow tide: Spanish libraries movement against cuts
  • Digital action: Libraries use free technologies to offer services
  • Economic action: Libraries adjust and redistribute their budgets; Libraries use indicators to cancel subscriptions; Libraries support OA to scientific articles and resources; Libraries re-negotiate licenses with e-resource providers

“Taking Risks and Forging New Collaborations for Environmental Causes” by Frederick Stoss, SUNY-Buffalo

  • Promote Environmental ICE: Information, Communication, Education
  • Literacy is more than reading: writing, expressing music, dance, drawing, communicating, telling stories, listening, learning, teaching, and sharing
  • Science seeks to explain the complexity of the natural world and uses this understanding to make valid and useful predictions
  • Technology utilizes innovative tools, materials, and processes to solve problems or satisfy the needs of individuals, society, and the environment
  • Guidelines for Excellence

Developing Cultural Competency Panel:

“An Award of Their Own: The Creation of a Book Award for the Arab American Community”

  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) Arab American Book Award
  • Worked with museum staff to discuss mutual benefits of the award
  • First Award Ceremony in 2007 at the museum
  • Poetry category award, Non-fiction award

“Preserving Refugee Cultural Heritage: Taking Community and Culture into Account”

  • Let underrepresented communities speak for themselves
  • Multicultural and globalized digital libraries would guarantee the right for all cultural voices to be included
  • Respect the culture with integrity
  • “Our parents will never write, so we write for them.” Vang
  • Preservation: We must ask what and observe how intangible cultural heritage objects are used
  • Authentic Preservation: document for posterity; perpetuate (ongoing practice/survival within community
  • Disseminate to the next generation and community at large
  • Cannot assume refugees as a group have common issues
  • Same country but different ethnicities, tribes, loyalties, religions, and languages
  • Represents not only inherited traditions but contemporary rural and urban practices
  • Inclusive: link the past, present, and the future; expressions are passed from one generation to another and evolve in response
  • Model program of authentic preservation practices
  • Project APRCH

Michael Porter, an Executive Board member of ALA, was the closing keynote speaker.
Presentation: “No, YOU Go Do It (or leave it up to somebody else and take what you get)”

  • Solving problems is better than complaining about them
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: there is a reason why libraries are important
  • Communities need libraries to thrive
  • Libraries = content + community
  • Optimism does not denote naivete; need to be realistically optimistic to help things get better

Life is short. Build stuff that matters.
It’s simple until you make it complicated.
Start simple.
Stop sketching and start building.
Experiment. Learn. Fail. Repeat.

“Be guided by the mission of the library and the university which lets us help other people and society”

Dean Lynn Sutton concluded the conference with closing remarks. Kudos to the UNCG and WFU conference planning committee for organizing an excellent conference.

Lynn at ASERL Spring 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 9:14 pm

I have been overdue on this post for a while, so here it is!

On April 23-24, I attended the Spring meeting of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. I normally attend all ASERL meetings, but I had two special reasons to attend this one: I was giving a presentation on ZSRx, and at the close of the meeting, I would assume Presidency of the Association.

First, the presentation. Kyle gave the definitive presentation of ZSRx at CNI in April, which we have already described. For this version, I called it ZSRx: The back story, since it was to my peer deans and directors and I could afford to be honest with them. Many of the slides will look familiar, as I “re-used” them, with Kyle’s permission, of course. I received many comments and questions afterward, as most people were stunned by the idea that a library could offer a MOOC, instead of just supporting it. Sarah Michalak from UNC-CH reported that they were considering offering a course on Metadata on Coursera later this year.

ZSRx: The Back Story from suttonls

I was part of a panel on Research Libraries and MOOCs (massive, open, online courses). Carrie Cooper of the College of William and Mary did a great job in introducing the topic and providing basic information as well as asking pertinent questions. Catherine Murray-Rust from Georgia Tech spoke about the way they support MOOCs given by their faculty members. She also presented material from Duke, as both of them are active in Coursera. Some people predict that MOOCs are the latest fad that will soon fade, but I think too many of the biggest names in higher education have invested too much money in them to let them go away very soon. They will change and adapt to whichever way the demand pulls them, but I think they will be with us for a while.

Here are the other programs at the meeting:

ASERL’s new Visiting Program Officer in Scholarly Communication is Christine Fruin from the University of Florida. She gave a remote presentation, flawlessly executed, on the recent big copyright cases: Georgia State and e-reserves, Kirtsaeng and right of first sale, ReDigi (first sale for music); as well as FASTR(legislation introduced in Congress to mandate open access), the White House directive on public access, and fair use issues on materials used with MOOCs.

In another session, there was discussion around the sustainability of the annual ASERL statistics, to which WFU contributes every year. Virginia Commonwealth has coordinated it for many years but feels the need to hand it off to others. It was recommended to contract with Counting Opinions, who is already the vendor for ACRL stats. ASERL libraries would have to pay $199 a year, but would also gain access to ARL data for that price.

Roger Schonfeld from Ithaka S+R presented the results of their latest Faculty Survey. This had been premiered at CNI earlier in April. Faculty from all institutions offering bachelor’s degrees were surveyed. Highlights of faculty opinion include:

Discovery and access: libraries do well with known item searching and scholarly databases; 78% use library resources; 65% use free material online.

Who is your primary audience? Faculty said (in order): my sub-discipline, my discipline, professionals outside academia, undergraduates (last).

What is the role of the library? Buyer, gateway, repository, teaching facilitator, research supporter. Humanists assigned the greatest value to the library, then social scientists, and scientists last.

Format transitioning: 66-75% still use scholarly monographs, preferably in print, with only searching and exploring references being features that are better in ebooks. Still, 16% say within five years there won’t be a need for print books.

Natasha Jankowski from the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment, co-located at the Universities of Illinois and Indiana, gave an overview of NILOA’s programs. She was not that familiar with library efforts with outcomes assessment (though she did mention RAILS, ACRL’s Assessment Immersion, and the Library Assessment Conference; she had nothing good to say about LibQUAL) so there was a good deal of learning on both sides. The purpose of learning assessment is to inform students of their learning and where they are in the path to their goals. She cited St. Olaf College and Miami-Dade as examples of best practices.

A presentation on CHARM, the Consortium for the History of Agricultural and Rural Mississippi, led to a call for a broader program on agriculture in the South, perhaps as the next digital collection following the Civil War portal. This will be taken up in the coming year.

There were updates on ASERL’s Gov Docs and Journal Retention projects. We, at ZSR, are much more invested in the journal project. ASERL has signed a collaborative agreement with a similar regional program in the Washington DC area, with combined holdings that make it even bigger than the well-known WEST program. Carol is our representative to this group, and I have served as the Chair, although I will need to step down in the coming year.

The grand finale of the meeting was to officially launch the ASERL Guide to Southern Barbecue! Lauren Corbett was one of the prime movers of this initiative. Enjoy!



Joy, Kaeley, Roz, and Kyle at NC-LITe

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:22 pm

On Tuesday the 21st Joy, Kaeley, Roz, and I ventured to Raleigh to participate in the summer meeting of NC-LITe, the twice-annual meeting of NC librarians who are interested in library instruction and instructional technologies. It’s a very informal group and always a fun time with lots of idea-sharing. This year’s summer meeting was at the shiny new Hunt Library at NCSU, which was a sight to behold. Like all NC-LITe meetings, this one followed a familiar format.

Campus Sharing

Each campus got some time to share updates. Some of the most interesting were:

  • UNC-CH: A transition to a required ENG105 course in which librarians cooperate with instructors to create assignments and integrate information literacy learning outcomes into the curriculum

  • UNC-CH: A live-action Clue game held in their special collections department (which would be a good opportunity for both outreach and some light instruction)

  • NCSU: figuring out how they can integrate their new makerspace into their instruction beyond the traditional STEM applications

  • NCSU: moving past outdated LOBO tutorial by rethinking learning goals and producing high-quality animated “Big Picture” videos (Kaeley thought the best title was “Picking a Topic *IS* Research!”)

  • Duke: librarians assigned to every MOOC taught through Coursera, where they might develop libguides or help course developers find open educational resources to support the course

  • UNCG: just finished a 3-day Power-UP workshop for faculty who want to develop online or blended online courses

Lightning Presentations

Five of us (including me and Joy!) gave quick talks about bigger projects we’d tackled recently. Joy talked about the awesome LIB100 template and I struggled to condense our ZSRx mini-MOOC experiment into a 7-minute talk. Other things:

  • Emily Daly at Duke told us about their user-centered library website redesign (to be completed in the fall)

  • Kathy Shields at High Point told us about some information literacy modules they built in Blackboard

  • Kerri Brown-Parker at NCSU’s College of Education media center showed us Subtext, a very cool iPad app for guided literacy and social reading

There was also a rather interesting debate that sprung out of Joy’s presentation on the LIB100 template: what is the role of the library in preventing or educating students about plagiarism? Lots of opinions, but most felt that the library was central in this role, although a focus should be on educating students about the responsible use of ideas, not on “how to avoid plagiarism.”

Building Tour!

If you haven’t been to the new Hunt Library at NCSU, make sure to visit! It’s truly an amazing space that is probably only possible at a place like State. It’s hard to put into words, but the entire library was a lab for technology-enhanced and -facilitated learning and creation. Still, despite the impressive architecture and the awe-inspiring spaces, from the MakerSpace and the Game Lab to the Next-Gen Learning Commons and the BookBot, the thing we (and most others) found most impressive were the lockers with outlets in them. There were literally audible gasps, I kid you not.

Joy said it best, though: “it seemed to me that the star of yesterday’s show was the jaw-dropping Hunt Library. Words like ‘unbelievable’ and ‘incredible’ keep racing through my mind as I ponder this blow-your-mind building. To me, this experience made our library feel like Hagrid’s cottage in Harry Potter–cozy, warm, and a bit disheveled. While we might not have a Creativity Studio or designer chairs that cost thousands of dollars, we are greeted by Starbucks and Travis Manning when we come in the door. I’m very proud and glad to call ZSR ‘home.'”

If you’re interested in going to the next meeting or just keeping up with what’s going on with NC-LITe, we have a shiny new website and a Google Group you can join. We’d love to have you join us next time!


ALADN in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 10:51 pm

I made a quick trip to Pittsburgh after Commencement on Monday to attend the remainder of the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network (ALADN) annual conference. I try to go at least every other year to keep up with what is going on in library fundraising. I knew I was in the right place when I went to the registration desk and the guy said, “Wake Forest? Didn’t you win the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award?” I am not making this up.

I missed the first day of programs, so I tried to catch up with others who had been there from the beginning. I loved seeing old friends and colleagues from other parts of the country, along with many of my buds from the Southeast.

The keynote on Tuesday was billed as “Hard Conversations at Work” and I have had my share of those, but it was really a leadership development kind of workshop. The best nugget I got was, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.” A big HMMMM on that.

The best program I attended was on “Persuasive Writing: Getting Them to Say Yes Before You Ask.” Since we are getting to the stage in our WFU campaign where we need to prepare materials (they call it “collateral” in the trade), this was timely. The presenter was an experienced professional and she gave great advice. Especially useful was her categorization of the four types of donors:

  • expressives: they want ideas, new directions, and are easily bored,
  • analyticals: they want facts and figures, testimonials work well
  • bottom liners (that’s me): they value brevity, like summaries, and make quick decisions
  • amiables: they want to be your friend, tell you about their families, and value face-to-face conversations

In another session, a panel of library deans/directors answered these questions (with greatly simplified, bottom-line answers):

Q: How do you go about positioning your library? A: Success breeds success, and the squeaky wheel locks up over time.

Q: How do you come up with a theme to transcend all constituent groups? A: Go back to your mission and vision (here is where our ZSR mission beats all)

Q: What is your most difficult constituency? A: Faculty, faculty, faculty. (But also the most ardent advocates)

The rest of the programs did not give me any new information, sorry to say. But perhaps the most valuable experience of the trip was dinner with a couple from Pittsburgh who are ultra Deacs. Both are alums and they have two children at Wake. And both of them worked in the library as undergrads! They asked me lots of questions about libraries today and were very interested in how ZSR had changed since they were there. Lots of fun!

Keynote at ACRL New England Chapter

Friday, May 17, 2013 10:11 pm

On May 10, 2013 I had the honor of giving the keynote presentation at the ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference. Last fall, I had seen a call for papers on a conference called “Communities in the Cloud, the Commons, and the College.” They were looking for papers on how academic libraries could engage their communities. Easy. We do that pretty well at ZSR. So I submitted a proposal listing all the things we do for faculty, staff and the community at large. Several weeks later I was contacted by the conference chair who said my proposal spoke so well to the theme of the conference that they wondered if I could give the keynote presentation. Sure!

Here is the presentation:

Community Building in Libraries: Success for Every user from suttonls

I had a great time doing it. Enjoy!

CUPA Conference day 2

Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:39 pm

The second day of the CUPA HR conference was just as enlightening as the first. I began the day by attending Employee Recognition: A Look at the University of Oklahoma HR “STAHR” Program. The presenter Eric Sourie was filled with energy and enthusiasm as he delivered the program details. In the Oklahoma program STAHRs are recognized daily, quarterly with a luncheon and annually with a major celebration. The program is based entirely within Human Resources, a department of 72 employees. A STAHR is a Super Talented Associate of Human Resources. Sourie offered advice on building an effective recognition program. In a recognition program everyone should know exactly what the organization hopes to recognize? What behaviors do you want to reinforce? Is it the peers who recognize or is it the supervisor? Effective employee recognition programs reinforce the mission, vision and values of the organization and should be easy to administer. Above all they should be valued by the employees. For the most value, you really need to find out what the employees actually value. Sometimes there are challenges in maintaining enthusiasm and value around the program. It’s never a done deal, but more of a continuous cycle to evaluate, recognize, celebrate and then evaluate again. Programs should consider recognizing those: whose opinions are heard and valued, those who give extra effort, those who are examples to their peers, those who volunteer above and beyond, those vested in the success of the organization, proactive and those committed to excellence.

Creating a Culture of Respect on Campus: Developing Standards of Professionalism, explored how inappropriate interactions reduce optimum performance on our campuses and was led by Sibson Consulting representatives Barbara Butterfield and Robert Conlon. Values of the organization should be interwoven in the daily interactions of both faculty and staff. Professionalism actually starts within the search/interview process. The search committee and its interactions should display the highest levels of professionalism. This conveys the message of expectancy. Language that speaks to collegiality should be included in the job description. Professionalism is defined by respect, integrity, positive communication, fair, doing your best, knowledgeable, and controlling your emotions. Does professionalism matter? Yes it does! It should be communicated and modeled. Rochelle Arnold Simmons, Organizational Development Specialist at Johns Hopkins University, shared details of an active John’s Hopkins case study with the audience. Why would Johns Hopkins undertake a study centered on professionalism? As a leader in both teaching and research they need to be able to continue to attract and retain the best faculty, staff and students. The committee’s charge was to cultivate an environment/culture characterized by trust, mutual respect, open communications, accountability and collaborative interactions among all members of the Hopkins community and those they serve. A healthy campus has a climate of trust and respect, with work/life balance and ethics. It has behaviors conducive to physical intellectual, emotional, financial, social and spiritual well being. A healthy campus displays behaviors which are consistent with organizational values to promote a productive and supportive, collaborative, fun, dependable and safe workplace. Johns Hopkins launched a phased approach to developing the desired culture. First gathering information from the university and select peers on standards of professionalism. Next they analyzed the data to determine internal patterns and reviewed best practices. Currently they are creating an executive summary which will include a recommended implementation plan and a supporting structure. Ideas from that days’ brainstorming session is to be included in the documentation.

Putting Social Media to Work in HR, led by David Zajchowski of Rollins College, took a different spin from what I had hoped. His focus was on HR’s value and advantage in using social media in advertising position vacancies, updating and sharing university news and communicating with faculty and staff. I had hoped they would talk some about effective ways to use social media in the actual search process, however, none the less, the information given was beneficial. Of particular interest were the statistics on social network usage across racial lines. Whites lead with 79%, Hispanics with 12%, Blacks 10% and Asians 3%. The presenter asked the audience if we knew why the numbers were so low for minorities. I asked him what the source of his data was to which he replied, from Nielsen ratings. I said that says a lot since, I have never known any African American who was asked to participate in any of the Nielsen rating events. No one else had any possible reasons to offer either. Social media, if used correctly, can promote deeper engagement with communities of interest. Attendees were advised to safeguard the fine line between personal voice and institutional voice.

The last session of the day sought to provide “Answers to your Toughest Legal Questions?” and was led by attorney Beth Tyner Jones of the Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice firm of Raleigh. Some topics touched on were, retaliation lawsuits, departmental mis-classification within exempt and non-exempt categories and ADA compliance. I was also glad to hear her recommendations for universities conducting criminal background checks on previously hired faculty members and complying to Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines specific to adjunct faculty and the provision of health care benefits. Concerning background checks, Jones asked that we consider these factors: time passed since the offense, conduct while working with your university and the length and terms of sentence served; nature of the job held in relation to the offense and the nature and gravity of the offense. Institutions should allow faculty members the opportunity to explain. With regard to adjuncts and ACA compliance, Jones stated that most often, institutions do not track hours worked but instead pay adjuncts per course, taking into consideration the specific course’s demands, preparation time, in-class instruction time, and out-of-class responsibilities. Teaching twelve credit hours equates to 36 hours of work time. Counting of these hours is to begin in July. The discussion on having interns and volunteers advised employers to state the terms up front within the internship/volunteer agreement. Specifically one should address expected hours, mutual benefits and desired outcomes, include statements that reinforce that no wages are attached to this project and there is no commitment to hire.

Overall this was a super conference and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend. Please see me if you want to hear more on any of the topics covered.

Sarah’s reflection on her studies in bibliometrics & altmetrics

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:40 pm

From April 3-30, 2013, I was a student in the online course, “Digital Scholarship: New Metrics, New Modes,” taught by Marcus Banks, Director of Library/Academic & Instructional Innovation at Samuel Merritt University, and offered by Library Juice Academy. It seemed to be similar to a traditional course, and homework assignments included reading seminal papers and watching videos on bibliometrics and altmetrics, as well as a critique of a research article from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Altmetrics collection. For my final project, I did a comparison and analysis of bibliometrics and altmetrics indicators of the top scientific journals. Through this course, I became familiar with using ImpactStory, which is an altmetrics aggregator developed by Jason Priem, a Ph.D. student at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information & Library Science. Since I graduated from library school almost 10 years ago, my experience as a student will make me a better instructor as I reflect on my work in the course. Special thanks to Roz Tedford who encouraged me to take this course and ZSR Library for providing the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of bibliometrics and altmetrics.

LOEX 2013 – Nashville, TN, May 2-4

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:24 pm

There is so much to say in this post and I’m certain that most people who open this link will only read this first paragraph, so I’ll just start with the punch line: LOEX was awesome!! I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend three invigorating days surrounded by instruction librarians and immersed in ideas and thoughts related to library instruction. It was my original intention to send daily blogs from my Kindle Fire, but I quickly discovered that my talents do not include thumb typing on a Kindle! You are now reading “Plan B” which is to simply hit the highlights of the conference in one fell swoop.

Day One: Thursday, May 2

Pre-Conference Workshop: “Building Rapport and Creating Community: What Standup Comedy and Acting Can Teach Us about Student Engagement.” John Watts and Joshua Vossler

I kicked off LOEX by attending this workshop led by the authors of the book Humor and Information Literacy. There were only about 16 attendees at this workshop and the intimate setting was fun and it helped in getting to know other librarians in a non-threatening atmosphere. I was quickly reminded that the vast majority of instruction sessions done by librarians are with one or two shot sessions. This workshop emphasized the importance of making a positive first impression and connecting with students. It turns out that humor for humor’s sake usually falls flat in the classroom, but what does not fall flat are personal stories and analogies. We spent most of our time reflecting on and practicing our own stories to create self-introductions and analogies related to information literacy concepts. We also played improvisational games meant to help build rapport with students. The time flew by in this workshop-if you want to know how to play “Drop a Line” or “Whiz, Bang, Fire!” just ask.

That evening, there was a conference reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton. The last time that I attended LOEX, which was eight years ago, it was held in Ypsilanti, Michigan and there were about 200 in attendance. This conference had 350 in attendance from 44 states and 4 areas outside the US, including several from Canada. It was a very well planned conference and perfectly executed as far as I could tell.

Day Two: Friday, May 3

Plenary One: “Decode Academy: The Library as a Meaning-Maker Space.” Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College

I will go ahead and apologize to Barbara Fister if she reads this and is not satisfied with my summary of her presentation. Barbara has had two works of fiction published and she strongly believes in fostering critical thinking skills and creativity in students. Much of what she said reminded me of what Derrik posted as a blog a few weeks ago that in essence said that the purpose of libraries is to provide the landing point for new information to be created. She presented 6 outrageous claims targeted to freshmen to help make this possible: 1) Research papers should not be part of the first year experience. She suggests that short writing projects be assigned and creativity encouraged. 2) Stop teaching students how to find sources. She says that we are not just consumers of other people’s stuff. 3) Rarely are citations needed, they take time away from writing personal stories. 4) Stop policing plagiarism. How did the library get that job? We give the message that rules matter more than creativity. 5) We should stop implying that “scholarly” is “good.” Scholarly articles don’t explain the larger question and many scholars make mistakes. 6) Librarians should spend as much time working with faculty as they do with students. She states that collaboration is essential to success. Barbara proposed that the ACRL IL Standards stifle creativity and that finding information is not the hard part.

I thought her speech was interesting and I see many of the problems she presented in my own classes. While I don’t agree with most of her solutions, I believe that she is on target with her analysis that many students equate research papers with simply stringing together text from other sources without any reflection about the meaning of the text. That being said, I’m not willing to have students submit creative writing papers for my LIB100 course, and I suspect that most professors and instructors in other disciplines would agree.

Breakout sessions from Day Two:

In addition to the plenary session, I attended 5 breakout sessions on Friday:

  1. “Don’t Start Believin': Flimflam, Fraud, Razzle-Dazzle and Other Useful Tools for Teaching Information Literacy.” This session was on teaching critical thinking and evaluation skills as part of information literacy training. They used controversial videos to spark discussions about how you find out if something is true or not. While I would not use their examples, I thought the premise was good.
  2. Next, I attended a session on “Teaching Discovery Tools.” This was an interactive session which meant that most of the discussion happened around small groups at tables. There were only 4 choices for discussion and so I sat at a “Freshmen One Shot” table. This was not a helpful session for me (our group created a learning outcome/teaching strategy for evaluating scholarly journal articles retrieved after checking the “scholarly journal article” facet). There was not a lot of time in the session, so only two groups reported back to the larger group. The presenters said they would put the information in a Wiki, so I’ll check back later to look for helpful suggestions.
  3. After lunch, I attended a session on the Charette Protocol, a structured reflection and problem-solving technique commonly used in design fields. This session was led by Nicole Brown from NYU and Kaila Bussert from Cornell. It was a very simple structure, but helpful and I believe it could be used with our instructors for a continuing education experience.
  4. Amanda Foster of Coastal Carolina presented her experience as the Facebook coordinator for her library. This session made me better appreciate our use of Twitter and Facebook here in ZSR; front page real estate is hard to beat!
  5. The last session of the day was led by Jean Cook from the University of West Georgia. She presented a series of video clips that can be used as case studies for information literacy. Molly Keener has mentioned the Beyonce video/plagiarism case many times in her intellectual property sessions for my classes, but in this presentation, the two dances were shown side by side simultaneously. Jean also showed clips from Twilight and gave information about the Wikipedia page on the day of Hurricane Sandy (controlled by an editor who deleted any mention of global warming).

That evening, I participated in the “Dine-around in Area Restaurants” option and I went to eat at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant with 19 people that I did not know. The evening confirmed my suspicion that librarians are among the most interesting people on the planet. It was a lovely evening complete with live music.

Day 3: Saturday, May 4

Plenary Two: “Creative People Must be Stopped! Managing Innovation When No One Want to Change.”David Owens, Vanderbilt University.

If I had this to do over, I would have sat on the front row! This session was immediately after breakfast and I was sitting at a table of interesting librarians and I did not notice that I was so far from the front until he started speaking and I could not understand much of what he was saying. He talked about the need to think outside the box and he gave examples of many failures such as Kodak’s unwillingness to move beyond film and the record industry’s unwillingness to change from their model of buying an album to get one song. In order to be successful innovators: 1) individuals must enlarge their toolsets, 2) the groups’ cultures must support risk, 3) organizations must have a strategy, 4) industry must see utility and value in the innovation (used Segway example), 5) society must accept the concept as legitimate, 6) technology must be developed.

Breakout sessions and lightning rounds from Day Three:

I attended three breakout sessions on Saturday:

  1. Lisa Louis from Texas A & M did a session on using your voice in instruction. She is a musician and we did several warm up exercises and we practiced expanding our diaphragms so that we don’t run out of breath when we present. It was a fun way to spend a session.
  2. The next session was on Visual Literacy and it addressed the new ACRL Visual Literacy Competencies. This was very well done and it encouraged the use of more visuals in presentations, using the entire image and not just a token picture on the side of text. They gave out an excellent handout with references. One of the suggestions was the use of to find images.
  3. After lunch there were four 7 minute lightning talks. There were a couple of game presentations, a presentation on ThingLink, and a lecture on Information Literacy lessons learned from Senator Joseph McCarthy.
  4. After lunch, I attended a Karaoke session which compared doing Karaoke with library instruction. I had to leave this session early to get to the airport, but it was very upbeat with real Karaoke and a reflection on what it can teach us about doing library instruction sessions (breathing, taking risks, etc.).

After the session, I took the Airport Express bus to the airport. I made the decision to use public transportation on this trip and I will say that my trip was richer for that experience! I found several information specialists along the way who served as angels to this novice Nashville traveler. Overall, it was a wonderful conference and trip. Thank you for making it possible for me to attend LOEX 2013!





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