Professional Development

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NC-BIG Camp @ UNC-G 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014 9:29 am

NC-BIG Camp had the coolest name tags ever! Designed by Kyle and printed by Craig Fansler.

On Friday, May 30 Hu, Amanda, Kyle, and Joy traveled to UNC-Greensboro to attend the second annual meeting of NC-BIG. NC-BIG is sponsored by the Bibliographic Instruction section of the North Carolina Library Association. Kyle was on the steering committee, and it was an extremely organized and well-planned unconference. The entire event consisted of three break-out sessions with four group choices in each session. Unlike NC-LITe, this was a larger group of librarians representing a variety of institution types such as high schools, community colleges, public libraries, special libraries (from the Research Triangle Park), and college and universities. Here are some of the breakout sessions we attended:

Presentation Tips and Tools(Joy)
The facilitator for this group was Amanda Glenn-Bradley who works at UNC-Asheville. I always enjoy learning about new presentation ideas and tools, and this session delivered both. I decided to try out Haiku Deck to demonstrate one of the free presentation tools I learned about. Here’s the presentation, and I think it looks great, but I had to switch it to Google Presentation to make it public (I could not get it to upload to Slideshare) and I was not able to include links to the tools. I thought the most helpful link shared was Sam Harlow’s Free Media Software LibGuide. I mentioned this link in my NC-LITe post, but her guides are simply amazing and include tools for MindMaps, Brainstorming, Screencasts, Presentations, Word Clouds, etc. We could use a ZSR LibGuide like this!!

Digital and Visual Literacies (Joy)
I think I have become a Sam Harlow groupie! Sam (the facilitator for this session) is the Media & Digital Resource Librarian at High Point University and she works with faculty to help them integrate digital resources into their curriculums. ACRL developed Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in October 2011. Visual Literacy is defined as a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. The part I found most interesting in this session was Sam’s discussion of her Research Poster Creation instruction sessions. She even offers suggestions for developing and grading multimedia projects.

ACRL Information Literacy Framework (Amanda)
This breakout session was quite popular — everyone wants to talk about the framework! As we get further into summer break, I believe librarians have had more time to digest the recent drafts of the new framework. Since then, the discussions about the framework are only getting better and more thought-provoking. Several interesting ideas were discussed at NC-BIG Camp. One was using the new information literacy framework as a gateway to move away from information literacy as a one-shot library instruction session and into something that is integrated throughout the curriculum. I think this will be difficult for many libraries, especially those without lots of institutional/faculty buy-in and some wondered if it was necessary to get institutional buy-in for the new framework. Since not all the threshold concepts have been decided upon, we also made predictions on what threshold concepts may be coming down the pipe in upcoming drafts of the framework to be revealed around the time of ALA. I placed my bets on something that encompasses Information as Commodity* or Information Privilege so we will have to wait and see! (*This is not my idea, I’m basing my guess on possible threshold concepts presented in this article: Troublesome Concepts and Information Literacy: Investigating Threshold Concepts for IL Instruction).

Program Assessment (Amanda)
Joy and I led a breakout session on program assessment. Though we were “leading” the discussion, I think we both learned quite a lot about what some other institutions in the area are doing for program assessment. For example, we learned that Wake Tech is also participating in Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success and overhauled their information literacy assessment and wrote a 100 page (!!) QEP proposal for information literacy. They detailed the changes they made to their program assessment and the group discussed moving away from “user satisfaction” assessment to “did they learn” assessment. This theme was repeated later in a breakout session about Student Learning Outcome Assessment, where we discussed final product assessment.

Creative Outreach Programs(Hu)
Facilitating this session was the highlight of my day! First, it offered me the opportunity to introduce the session by talking about all the great outreach programs at ZSR this semester! After discussing the new ZSR Fellow position, and their role in planning and implementing these big events, I described the Dean’s List Gala, The Future of Higher Education Symposium “The Big Disruption: The Coming Transformation of Higher Education,” and the Connections and Conversations, an alumni weekend focused on well-being, I also mentioned the 5th Annual Senior Showcase , and ZSR’s Role in the Wake Will Capital Campaign.

This led to a discussion of creative outreach programs at other libraries. Here are some highlights from the session notes:

  • Durham Public Libraries have a new bookmobile and they are revamping that program. They also have a new library mascot, a moose the kids named, you can “check out” the moose and take it on vacation!
  • High Point University worked with a group of freshman leaders, from student government, to promote the library, host an event, and share the library’s page on social media. (This reminded me of our Library Ambassadors program!)
  • Meredith College has a sports equipment collection that circulates; student activities funds went toward it; students get to know them and come into the Library!
  • Campbell Student Government came to the library with a lunch, and Librarians talked to these students about their lives, the library, the chat service, all in an effort to better know their users.
  • Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson– Poster competition through an art class and a professor; online scavenger hunt

Libraries at commuter schools are a particular challenge. Creative outreach programs at these schools must reach students who spend a minimal amount of time on campus, increasing the need for opportunities to effectively engage these students online. We had a diverse group of libraries represented at this session, and it was inspiring to hear such a variety of creative outreach stories.

Gaming and Gamification (Kyle)
This session was all over the place, as people approached it with completely different ideas of what gaming in libraries means. I actually can’t believe we were able to talk about all of these things, but we did:

  • game lending programs
  • video game labs (such as that at UNCG)
  • gaming events in the library that serve the purpose of outreach (like our own HvZ and Capture the Flag, and other libraries that have hosted board game nights),
  • library instruction disguised as big games (such as the live-action CLUE game at UNC-CH that has students solving a murder mystery by combing through some pieces in their special collections)
  • “gamified” library instructional materials (such as the “Goblin Threat” plagiarism game)
  • “gamified” library instruction in general (which includes digital badging programs like Purdue’s Passport)

I was glad I went to this one! I went into it thinking we’d just talk about gamifying library instruction, but I learned so much from some of the folks there that are paying more attention to gaming in general.

Teaching with Technology (Kyle)
I facilitated this session, which was a lot of fun. We each got a chance to share some of our successes with using technology in the classroom, some failures we’ve learned from, some of our favorite instructional technology tools, and how we keep up with new developments in instructional technology. I wound up sharing a lot about ZSRx, which I didn’t expect to do, since NC-BIG is focused on classroom instruction. Nonetheless, people were eager to learn about what we’ve been doing with that platform, and I was able to share some of the tools I’ve been using to build those courses. Out of that discussion, I learned that Durham County Public Library is working with a contractor to offer more than 500 free online courses, which is kind of amazing.


NC-LITe at UNC-Charlotte May 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014 3:11 pm

Joy, Amanda, Kyle, and Kaeley

On Wednesday, May 28, Joy, Amanda, Kyle, and Kaeley traveled to UNC-Charlotte’s Atkins Library to attend the biannual meeting of NC-LITe. In order to keep from repeating ourselves, this post is combined into one. For those of you who need a refresher on the NC-LITe, this is a biannual “unconference” that brings together college librarians interested in discussing instructional technology uses and ideas. UNC-Charlotte’s librarians were amazing hosts and they provided muffins and coffee when we arrived and they also provided our lunches.

There were ten colleges and universities represented with a total of about 30 librarians in attendance. The day kicked off with introductions and updates from each campus represented. It is fascinating to hear how technologies are being used in classrooms, both face-to-face and online. If you have not checked out NCSU’s newest 3 minute videos, “Picking Your Topic IS Research,” “From Idea to Library,” and “Peer Review in 3 Minutes,” I suggest you take some time to look at them. Appalachian, UNC-Charlotte, and NCSU all reported that they are in the process of combining their service desks into one. NCSU and UNC-Charlotte are also in the process of creating Makerspaces in their libraries. NCSU also has a grant for purchasing ebooks as an alternative to printed textbooks. About an hour of our day was spent listening to the updates from the various campuses.

After the campus updates, we had breakout session to discuss topics such as “Creating Tutorials for Freshmen,” “Using Google Communities & Google Hangout in the Classroom,” and “Creating Makerspaces.” Joy went to the breakout session on Google Communities and Hangouts and in typical “unconference” style, it turns out that none of us had ever looked at Google Communities. We watched the video about it and then a lively discussion ensued that covered everything from speculation about how this tool could be used with book clubs to a tangential discussion of how Google Scholar continues to improve. It was interesting to note that all of the librarians in my group frequently directed students to Google Scholar (if you have not tried it out lately, you should). “Unconferences” are great fun because of the informal ideas that come up such as using Trello for project management work.

After the lunch, there was a round of lightning talks. NCSU talked about a new program that refer to in-house as the “Walk-in Wisdom” program. It builds on the idea of what Hu does with bringing the Library to the students by setting up a table in a dorm lobby and just hanging out. They came up with the idea of a “popup” service station within their library that offers the answer to a specific question. They chose three days in mid-November from 10:00-1:30 and 1:00-2:30 and they located the table in a high traffic area. They hand-drew beautifully designed signs on whiteboards (they only displayed one “offering” at a time): “How to become a Google Scholar Power User,” and “How to get books & articles from Across the Universe with Tripsaver.” Tripsaver is NCSU’s Interlibrary Loan service. It was a big hit and they plan to do it in the future. They attributed the success of the program to the novelty of it and a big bowl of candy also helped lure the students over.

Another interesting lightning talk was presented by Samantha Harlow at High Point University. Samantha is their Media & Digital Resource Librarian and she has made some very helpful LibGuides related to media topics such copyright & visual resources. I especially liked her guide that offers a list of where to go for open source/acceptable images for academic papers and projects. Her guides offer many how-to instruction videos that are also very helpful.

After the meeting, the UNC-Charlotte librarians offered a tour of their Library. It is an impressive space that includes 35 study rooms and some awesome technology like the whiteboard we are posing in front of in the picture at the top of this article.

NC-Lite is always a fun and informative experience, but perhaps its greatest strength comes from having the opportunity to get to know other librarians in our state with similar interests and experiences. If we get approval, we are hoping that ZSR will be hosting NC-LITe in December!!


Kaeley in front of coffeeshop.

Advertisement for printing from phones in the Atkins Library.

Joy at LOEX 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 3:19 pm

As Amanda said in her blog, LOEX was a wonderful experience this year! It is always energizing to be surrounded by instruction librarians, but it was twice as fun this year because Amanda was with me. This year’s LOEX Conference was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. What a great place for a conference! This historic hotel is located in the heart of Grand Rapids, within easy walking distance of numerous shops, bars, and museums including the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We took an early flight to Grand Rapids and we spent the afternoon as tourists visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House as well as the Presidential and Art museums. It was a magical day where everything went right including our flights, the cab ride, and they even had a room ready for us at the hotel at 11:00 a.m.! That evening we attended the LOEX Hors d’oeuvres Reception where we met many wonderful librarians from across the United States and even bumped into Steve Cramer who provided some great tweets over the two day conference.

Since Amanda has reported on several sessions from the conference, I will try not to repeat what she said. Here are some of the sessions that I particularly enjoyed and found helpful:

Friday Morning Plenary Session – Terry Doyle

The conference kicked off with a great presentation by Terry Doyle who is a Professor of Reading at Ferris State University. The title of the presentation was, “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” (which also happens to be the title of a book he wrote that was published in 2013). Doyle’s expertise is neuroscience as it relates to teaching and learning, and for this session the focus was on creating the best conditions for student learning. He presents the idea that the burden of creating these conditions falls mostly on learners (if teachers could fix the problem alone, they would have fixed it years ago!). He started off by showing the Gardio Sarducci 5 Minute University video which is totally worth five minutes of your life if you would like to add some humor to your day. He laid the groundwork for his talk by stating that by 2018 57-67% of all jobs will require a four year college degree and that many of the future jobs do not currently exist. Students must learn how to learn. He dispelled a couple of theories such as the idea of right or left brain learners, and the idea of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. He stated that learning creates a change in the neurological patterns of the brain. It is the “ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and it is the ability to use the information to solve problems that arise in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally taught.”

He stated that “it is the one who does the work who does the learning.” He then proceeded to describe the conditions needed to learn. He talked about the importance of paying attention and how we do not have the ability to multitask. Multitasking interrupts learning and decreases mental resources. At this point, he focused on five things all learners need to be prepared for the learning experience: oxygen, hydration, diet, exercise, and sleep. Here are just a few of the things he said:

Physical activity is a reliable way to increase blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain.

  1. Water is essential for optimal brain health and function. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. Even mild levels of dehydration can impact school performance.
  2. Glucose is needed for fuel your brain and since neurons cannot store glucose, the bloodstream provides a constant supply. Glucose comes from carbohydrates you consume in the form of grains, legume, fruits, and vegetables. Too much sugar or refined carbohydrates can actually deprive your brain of glucose and deplete your brain’s power to concentrate, remember, and learn. Glucose enhances learning and memory. Recommended foods for healthy brain function include: blueberries, avocadoes, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and wild salmon.
  3. In order for our brains to function optimally, we required regular physical activity. Research shows that movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to: strengthen learning, improve memory and retrieval, and enhance motivation and morale. I like this line, “regular exercise, even walking, leads to more robust mental abilities beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.” Exercise also erodes stress (stress disrupts the process by which the brain collects and stores memories).
  4. While we sleep, our brains flush out neurotoxins through the spinal column. Sleep also plays an important role in the formation of long term memories. The final two hours of sleep from 6-8 hours are crucial for memories to be laid down as stable residents in your brain. Your brain also prepares for learning during the “second half of the nights, so if you sleep six hours or less, you are shortchanging yourself and impeding your learning.” Sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. Sleep also helps us produce new and creative ideas. If a person is sleep deprived, even though they are fully awake, the neurons used for important mental tasks switch off. Doyle said that humans are supposed to nap daily and that 20-30 minutes is ideal. Resting after learning improves your chances of remembering (more Starbucks time?).

Terry Doyle has a website titled “The Learner Centered Classroom” filled with fascinating links such as “Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment,” and “The Learner-Centered Classroom.” I think LIB100 does a great job of helping students develop several of the essential skills he says they need including: Learning how to learn on their own, and taking more control of their own learning.

Sculpting the Mind, Shaping the Learner: Mindfulness Practices in the Classroom

My first breakout session segued perfectly with the plenary session, where Jill Luedke from Temple University and Deborah Ultan Boudewyns at the University of Minnesota introduced the idea of incorporating mindfulness practices in the classroom. Jill is a yoga instructor and Deborah practices yoga, and our session started with a two minute meditation exercise. They explained the benefits of mindfulness practices to foster more productive learning experiences with greater awareness, patience, and focus. I must say that these presenters completely had my attention when they talked about us creating a collective body to be more aware and present in the moment. They showed an image of the constellation Orion and they said that they encourage their students to find the brightest start for their research. They defined mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment.” They talked about loving kindness and bringing that to the classroom. These presenters are both art librarians and I found their presentation to be completely authentic and genuine. I have never taken a yoga class, but after this session, I’m ready to give it a try!

ACRL Information Literacy Framework (Roundtable Discussion)

Amanda did such a great job talking about this, that there is no need for me to say much about this discussion. I will reiterate the fact that the overall theme of this discussion seemed to fall under the category of uncertainty and perhaps skepticism. One of my personal goals for this summer is to spend some focused time on the Framework so that I can be up to speed with what is happening. I am hoping that Amanda, Kyle, and I will have the opportunity to lead some discussions about this with the Research and Instruction team. This is still a work in progress and a second draft is scheduled to be released in early June. The next draft will include even more threshold concepts and scenarios that will provide ideas for how to incorporate the concepts into instruction. In order to understand the differences in the documents, you can start by looking at the different definitions of information literacy:

Information literacy as defined by the 2000 Standards: Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” [Note: there is more, but this is the first line and summarizes the rest.]

Information literacy as defined by the 2014 Framework: Information literacy “combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship.”

More to come in the future on the new Framework!

Unifying Ideas: Building For-Credit Information Literacy Courses Around Themes to Optimize Student Learning

In this break-out session, Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson, both from Murray State University talked about their experiences teaching a one-credit course using themes. One of the instructors used the theme of “Digital Footprints” and then she had the students research the topics in light of their majors. For example, “How do privacy issues affect us psychologically (or sociologically)?” “What are the financial risks related to privacy breaches?” She touted the approach as helping students analyze sources for their usefulness. The other instructor used the theme “Is Google Evil?” which sounded very intriguing to me, especially since my husband just purchased a Chromebook this weekend!

Saturday Morning Plenary Session – Lee Van Orsdel

Lee Van Orsdel is the Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Her presentation was about the new $65 million main library on their campus which opened in the fall of 2013. She showed numerous pictures and explained the “social/student centered” approach. The layout and philosophy are very similar to the NC State’s Hunt Library‘s. Here are a few things that she said that stood out for me: there is no signage in the building; furniture is only moved by the staff at the beginning of the semester, the rest of the time students are free to rearrange furniture as they desire and they do this frequently with tables and chairs going up and down elevators; only students work at service desks; students do their “Peer Consultant Experience” consultations (the equivalent of our PRS’s); they track a lot of data about their consultations; and they provide quiet study rooms (the opposite from our stated purpose of study rooms). My impression is that it is a beautiful library, but I don’t think I’m ready to turn ZSR into a social-centered instead of an information-centered library.

Zombies, Pirates, and Law Students: Creating Comics for Your Academic Library

This presentation was a lot of fun and presented a range of ways that comics have been developed and used in academic libraries. Jennifer Poggiali at Lehman College and Matt Upson at Oklahoma State University both used artists to create original comics based on actual people in their libraries. Jennifer worked with her college’s art department and Matt hired a nontraditional student assistant who happened to be an artist. The part of the presentation that I got most excited about was Katy Kavanagh’s (East Carolina University) presentation on how she used ToonDoo to liven up their LibGuides. Evidently there are several options beside ToonDoo for creating comics, and maybe if I get some extra time this summer, I’ll explore some of them! Wouldn’t Hu Womack make a great super-hero librarian?! I I think this concept has a lot of potential.


Overall, LOEX was simply wonderful! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend this great conference.



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!





NC-LITe and WFU Summon Usability Study Findings Presented at Appalachian State University

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 4:13 pm

On Monday, May 21, Hu Womack, Kevin Gilbertson, Lauren Pressley, and I drove to the High Country of Boone to attend NC-LITe. It was doubly wonderful for me because I had the opportunity to travel with three amazing colleagues to one of my favorite places on earth.

It seems hard to take in that it has been seven years since I left my position at Appalachian as an Instruction Librarian. Our family moved from Boone three months before the Library moved into their new facility so it was fun just seeing the building! When we drove up in the parking deck and told the attendant that we were there for NC-LITe, she proclaimed in her authentic mountain brogue, “We finally got us one!” and for me, it felt like I was home.

When we entered the library, Scott Rice greeted us and escorted us to the fourth floor conference room. We were welcomed with a beautiful spread of pastries and coffee. Institutions represented were Salem College, UNC-G, High Point University, Appalachian, and WFU. The intimate group encouraged informal discussion.

The day began with around the table introductions and catch-up. Most of the shared information had to do with strategies for reaching the masses by offering consistent content for specific courses such as Expository Writing and Freshmen Seminars. (We are so fortunate at Wake to be able to tailor our Freshmen Seminars to the content taught.) It was interesting to note that each represented institution is currently using or has plans to use a discovery tool similar to Summon.

After the round table discussions, Kevin, Lauren and I presented our findings from our Summon usability study. Kevin began the discussion by offering some historical perspective regarding how our Library first used Multi-search and then implemented Summon last summer. Our tech team was forced to move quickly in order to get it up and going before Erik Mitchell left. In light of this, the tech team decided it would be particularly helpful to conduct a usability study to see how ZSR’s Summon (the “Everything” link) was being used.

After Kevin’s introduction, we used a clicker presentation to introduce our findings. (Note: having three techies on this trip was a true gift!!) Our usability study was based loosely on NC State’s usability study which was done three years ago and was sponsored by Summon (NC State was a Summon beta site). Their study was led by an outside consultant and their report can be found here:

For our study, we used eight student workers who were available for the afternoons that we conducted the usability study (thank you, ZSR student supervisors for sharing your students with us!). Each individual interview lasted 30-45 minutes and we met in the vacant office of the Instruction Suite (302B). Kevin conducted the interviews while Lauren and I took notes.

We began with what NC State called “Standard Framing” which helps to determine the student’s proficiency at navigating the Library website. This ended up being a very interesting section of the study! Students were asked to go to the Library homepage and asked to find a book about Bill Gates but not by Bill Gates and to tell where it was located in our library. A couple of students thought they had a book about Bill Gates when it was about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A couple of students did not notice that they had selected an ebook, and at the end of the interview one student asked, “What is an ebook?” One student found a book in the Professional Center Library and did not realize that it was not in the ZSR Library.

Students were given a journal article citation and were asked to locate the article. There were two students who used the “Journals” link to search for the article title and those students could not locate the article (one of those eventually used the “Everything” link and was successful). Two students used the journal names in the journal link and they were successful. One used the “Article” link and she was successful, and one started with the “Everything” link and was successful. One student started with the catalog link and after a long and winding search, located the article.

We found similar results when we asked students to find a scholarly journal article about stress among college students. One student started with the Databases link and another started with the Journals link and each typed in their subjects within the boxes; neither was successful. Students who started with the “Everything” link or the “Articles” link were successful. One student (not the first Database selector) got frustrated with the Databases link and decided to switch to JSTOR because her professor showed it to her once and she knew it was really big.

We then switched to having the students search only using the Everything link (Summon). We asked them to find a book by an author they liked. Two of the students were not successful with their search because their authors were J.D. Salinger and H.G. Wells; many sources came up about these authors, but not by these authors (to be successful, they should have used the Books/eBooks facet). One student searched for “Harry Potter” and there were six entries before a “Harry Potter” book appeared on the list.

Students were asked to find the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. None of the students were successful with this search. What happened was that they began with a searches for the [Journal of the American Chemical Society] which produced a list, but the first three entries on that page directed them to Carpenter Library. (To correctly answer this question, they needed to click the fourth entry to see our subscription to the latest articles.) When they were not successful with the first couple of links, they switched to the “journal articles” facet where they lost the ability to sort by relevance. Summon does an excellent job searching by title, but after that, relevance is lost. Several of the students were confident that they had found the answer, when in fact they were looking at articles where the Journal of the American Chemical Society was cited.

We asked the students find to an article from the New York Times from the month and year they were born. Only two students noticed that newspapers were excluded from the Summon search results (it could be turned on from the facets). Two students were simply not successful with this search, two other students thought they were successful but their articles were from New York Times Magazine, and two students were successful because they ended up with links to Proquest Historical Newspapers.

None of the students were successful finding an article on “Is genetically modified “golden rice” safe?” As the interviewers, we really wished the student would use quotation marks to look for strings of words or “Ctrl-F” to search for words in their results. We hope that our LIB100 instructors will start teaching these skills as part of their curriculum!

We asked the students if they would recommend the Everything link to their friends, and five out of eight said they would “if they don’t know where else to start.”

We also asked the students what they would change about the Everything link and they had a few suggestions. The number one suggestion was to make it so that it could do a better job searching by relevance; they worded this concept something like this: If you search for “Harry Potter,” a “Harry Potter” book should come up to the top. A couple of students said that they wished that you could limit the category options before you do your search (searching by author, title, etc.). Another student said that it would help if the results were sorted by format with maybe the books on top followed by the journals.

After our presentation, Margaret Gregor, Appalachian’s Instructional Materials Center Librarian and Scott Rice, Appalachian’s E-Learning Librarian, presented a tool they created to provide virtual tours of the IMC. The students were required to find 16 hidden puzzle pieces and a book in the collection (the students were instructed to write down the bar code of the book they found). Scott set up a temporary password for us so that we could try it out. They reported that over 500 students had completed the tour. Here is a link to this site and I can give you a password that you can use if you are interested:

After Margaret and Scott’s discussion, we then had some group discussions about things we were doing at different institutions. That discussion was followed by lunch at “Our Daily Bread” in downtown Boone and then a tour of the Library.

Overall, it was a great way to spend the day! I’m already looking forward to NC-LITe in the fall!!



North Carolina Summon User Group Meeting

Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:18 pm

On Friday, May 18, Lauren Pressley and I went to Perkins Library at Duke University to attend the inaugural meeting of the North Carolina Summon User Group. My last visit to Perkins Library was 20 years ago, so just getting to visit their beautiful facility and amazing coffee shop was a treat in itself! I was surprised to discover the intentional dearth of signage on their campus and was very thankful that Lauren knew where we were going.

Upon registration, we were greeted by two very friendly Duke librarians and given very nice Serials Solutions portfolios as well as name tags and name table tents. The meeting began with a lunch hosted by Serials Solution. There were about 50 in attendance with several schools represented including NC State, ECU, UNC-CH, Campbell, Duke, and others.

Eddie Neuwirth, Senior Product Manager for Summon, began the program by introducing himself (he lives in Cary!) and his colleague, Vince Pella who is a Customer Service Representative and flew in from Seattle for the meeting. Eddie began by giving an overview about what is new and what’s coming with Summon. He said that Summon is currently being used by 450 libraries in 40 countries and that 38% of the largest Research Libraries in North America are using it. They are currently approaching one billion records with more than 90 content types. They push out new releases every three weeks that can be added by local Summon administrators. We were pleased to note the newest release gave the option for the Widget and Search Box Builder to “Keep Search Refinements.” This was one of our concerns that we noted in our own recent usability study and we were pleased to see that they had addressed this problem! Also, the save and preview items icons are now visible (another concern we noted in our usability study).

He then introduced a new widget that will be rolled out this summer called the “Discipline” widget that uses Ulrich’s categories to group journal titles and it uses call numbers to group books. He noted that not everything is mapped to the Discipline widget and then he gave an example of how to use it by limiting the Discipline widget to Biology and searching for “Blood Cells” (which yielded 600,000+ hits).

He then proceeded to talk about other enhancements such as spotlighting images (digital repositories) and a recommender feature that will suggest LibGuides, databases, etc. The biggest announcement was that they are working on a product targeted for 2013 that will replace the need for OPACs. He gave a sneak preview of what the records will look like and they appear much like our current catalog records. They are also working on A&I citation displays so there will be sneak previews to the abstracts and database records. Eddie also mentioned a product they are developing called Intota that is a web-scale development product that will eventually eliminate the need for integrated library systems as we know them.

After Eddie’s talk, there was an hour of lightning rounds which were five fascinating 10-minute presentations where people from different universities presented research related to their use of Summon. The first up was Patrick Carr from ECU who presented his findings on the impact Summon has had on E-Journal use. He reported that the cost per session came to $.39 and the cost per search came to $.08. They found that the use of Sage and Springer journals increased four times. The use of Elsevier increased 10-15%, but the use of JSTOR was down 10% and the use of EBSCO journals was down significantly. In a later part of the meeting, Eddie explained that the numbers being down in JSTOR had to do with the fact that JSTOR provides limited access to the bulk of their metadata (JSTOR gives Google Scholar full access to all of their metadata). In the end, the download of full-text downloads stayed flat for pre-Summon and post-Summon at 1.4 million.

The next presenter was from Duke and he demonstrated their use of Summon to include their visual collections (scanned items from special collections). They were still working on Summon’s ability to include thumbnails which they anticipated to be working by this week.

For me, the highlight of the lightning rounds was hearing Karen Cicconne from NC State. They were a beta site for Summon and thus have three years of experience under their belts. Karen presented her findings from comparing the results of an EBSCO group cluster search to the same search in Summon. She used the exact wording and punctuation used by students in the EBSCO searches to see the result in Summon. NC State offers a group of course tools for every course taught at NC State, and each course offers an EBSCO cluster at the top of the page. She found that the EBSCO searches had consistently better returns but there were a couple of searches that did better in Summon. (Side note: one of the consistent themes throughout the day was bemoaning Summon’s inability to sort by relevance.) Her next study will be comparing the results from Google Scholar searches with Summon searches. Her initial reaction is that both are good (as a reminder, they are only searching journal articles in their Summon searches).

Next up was Ginny Boyer from ECU’s Joyner Library. She did a survey with ECU’s Health Science librarians to gauge their perception of Summon and its usefulness for the medical field. They found that while most did not use it, they did not feel strongly about it either way. They did a study to find out their proficiency with the tool and found mixed results. There seemed to be little or no success with winning over the Health Science librarians to Summon. The kicker to this presentation came with Karen Cicconne from NC State spoke up and said that research shows that people in the health sciences do not need Summon, they can find everything they need in ChemAbstracts and Medline. The key to success in medical searches is MESH headings.

The last group were Anita Crescenzi and Kim Vassiliadis from UNC’s Health Science library. They did a Summon usability studies that was very elaborate in its execution with 170 applicants vying for the $20 gift card offered in appreciation for 60-90 minutes of their time. Their results were identical to ours (which we did with student assistants in no more than an hour for each session). A couple of their observations: Summon searches titles very well, but loses relevance searching after that. Their students also mentioned the desire to limit results from the beginning and the desire to have the results grouped by format such as journal article or book.

We ended the day with discussions around tables based on common interests. Lauren and I gravitated to the instruction table where we talked with Karen Cicconne (NCSU), Emily Daly (Duke), and Sarah Steele (Campbell). We found that most of us do not teach Summon, but sometimes it is used as an example of a broad search versus a targeted search in a specialized database. Karen gave a very interesting statistic that said that they found that 74% of their students began their searches on their website using the “All” option, with 40% of second clicks going to the Summon articles, 30% going to their catalog, and 30% going somewhere else on the page. If you have time, I suggest that you take a look at NC State’s Library homepage to see how they are implementing Summon:

I apologize for this very long reflection, but as you can see, it was a day packed with fascinating information. They are hoping to make this an annual event and I highly encourage others from ZSR to attend next year!

NCLA Bibliographic Instruction Group: Teacher Librarian Academy

Friday, December 16, 2011 9:48 pm

Today, I had the opportunity to travel to Jackson Library at UNC-Greensboro to attend a NCLA Bibliographic Instruction workshop titled, “Student Engagement and Active Learning.” The presenters were Jenny Dale and Amy Harris, both UNC-G librarians. Jenny kicked off the day with introductions and a think-pair-share exercise asking, “What make a good presenter?” The librarians present were involved in instruction with their respective institutions which ranged from high schools to universities as far away as East Carolina. As you can imagine, the group eagerly participated in the discussions and activities.

This workshop reminded me of what an incredible job I have and what a wonderful opportunity our students have with our LIB100 and 200 courses. I was the only one in the group teaching a for credit course; most of the discussions centered around motivating students in one shot sessions (incentives, positive feedback, competition, and fun).

Jenny presented John Keller’s Motivational Design model which includes attention, relevance, confidence. and satisfaction. She also talked about Jacobson and Xu’s model which says that there are three elements to successfully motivating students: enthusiasm, clarity, and interaction. Perhaps the most interesting nugget of learning came when she showed a graphic of a “Learning Pyramid” that shows a scale that says that students only retain 5% of lectures, 10% of what they read (four other levels between), and 90% of what they teach others. Here’s the interesting fact: there is no research out there to back these claims!

After lunch, we discussed practical ideas for active learning activities. My favorite was UNC-G’s human citation activity where they get volunteers to come to the front and they give them pieces of a citation to hold. The audience tells the people where to stand to put the citation in the correct APA or MLA citation style order. Another interesting activity was Gardner Webb’s book truck rodeo where they take book trucks and put about 12 books on each truck. The students are divided in small groups and the team who gets the books in correct LC order first wins candy!

I spent a good portion of the afternoon trying to help a new librarian at St. Augustine’s plan how to structure her one shot sessions for the freshmen seminar classes in the spring. We are so fortunate to have so much time with our LIB100 students!

I believe the greatest value of my trip to Greensboro was simply getting to meet other instruction librarians from across the state. It was a good day, but I’m glad to be back home at Wake Forest!

Rethinking Reference Collections

Friday, October 21, 2011 4:19 pm

Today, I completed a four week online course title “Rethinking Reference Collections” which was offered by Infopeople and was taught by Dave Tyckoson, Associate Dean of the Library at the University of California, Fresno. Dave spent many years as a reference librarian and is still a reference librarian at heart! One of my new job responsibilities is collection management of our reference collection, so Roz encouraged me to take this course and Lynn very generously provided funding. The timing of this course fortuitously came just as we are preparing for a massive weeding of the reference collection in preparation for the consolidation of the reference and circulation desks next year.

There were 74 participants for this course coming from a wide variety of libraries from small public libraries to Stanford and UCLA (most libraries represented were from California). Here are the highlights of what I learned:

  1. The first week, the punch line was: All librarianship is local!! It is our responsibility to tailor our collections to the needs of our community.
  2. The second week we did usage studies of our reference collections. Thanks to Carol Cramer, I learned that we have 9,994 unique titles in our collection and 22,704 volumes. Tim Mitchell graciously created an Excel spreadsheet of our usage for the week; the spreadsheet was used as a model in our WebEx class for how to manipulate the data to make decisions about what to weed from our collections. That week, we had 148 titles scanned in from Reference. As Dave observed, we have a highly used collection, particularly in our religion section (no surprise to any of us who work at the reference desk). Having all reference materials bar coded is the optimal way to assess usage. Hats off to those who thought of bar coding the reference collection and implemented the system-you earned a star for our library in this class!.
  3. The second week, we also compared print and electronic resources. We were given access to the online version of World Book as well as Oxford Reference Online. What struck me about both online sources was how far we are from seeing the power of the web in reference resources! The Oxford Reference materials are just the print materials put online (similar to the Gale Reference Sources). There are no updates, videos, visuals, etc. World Book is better, but still very much like the print with some links thrown in to websites and videos. The online reference materials are still very bland and usually no more up-to-date than what we have on our shelves. While access is much more convenient through the web, the presentation is no better. As more libraries move to electronic sources, it is my hope that publishers will seriously upgrade the content and presentations! They are competing with Wikipedia, shouldn’t Oxford Reference be and look more cutting edge? I will say the same for Gale Virtual Reference, our current electronic reference resource of choice. Can they please upgrade their products to be more than reprints from their print collections?
  4. The third week he introduced the concept of circulating reference materials. It seems that the current trend is to allow reference materials to circulate for 3 days at a time. Dave advocates creating a ready reference collection that does not circulate and then allowing all other reference materials to circulate. He suggests putting the circulating reference materials in the main stacks with special marking on the books for 3 day check out. This was something I had not really thought about and I’m still chewing on the idea for our collection. It is clear to me that we have many reference books that will need to be in our ready reference collection. The question is whether or not we need the 3 day check out option for the books we move to the stacks, or should they just circulate like regular titles?
  5. The current trend is to move to electronic resources while print reference collections are shrinking. However, he predicts that as we allow reference books to circulate, the use of print reference materials will go up.
  6. Another thing to ponder is how we will promote the use of our reference resources. I plan to do some informal usability testing with our students at the reference desk to see if they have a clue about where to go to find encyclopedia articles from our Databases page. Do they know what Gale Virtual Reference Library contains? I’m putting this on my to do list for the second half of the semester!
  7. The last helpful piece of this course was learning that there are tools that will specifically search reference collections. One is called Paratext and it searches electronic and print collections. The next one is Credo Reference and it searches across all electronic reference materials. These tools are seriously meeting a need and I wish we had Paratext (though I have never seen it in real life). I wish we could get Summon to easily navigate and limit to our reference sources; that is something we will probably see by the time Summon 10.0 is released!

Overall, I really enjoyed this course and the online learning environment! Thank you, Roz and Lynn for making this possible!

Elon Teaching and Learning Conference, August 18, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011 11:13 am

Yesterday, Lauren Pressley and I journeyed to Elon University to attend their 8th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference. It was well worth attending for many different reasons including the opportunity to meet colleagues from across the state. I ate lunch with Elon’s instruction librarian, Randall Bowman, along with a couple of other Elon faculty members. It was my first visit to Elon and was very impressed with the campus as well as the people. This conference was offered at no charge to the attendees including lunch, amazing!

The theme for the conference was “Thresholds to Learning” and it began with a plenary session led by Ray Land, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. The title of the presentation was Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: a Transformative Approach to Learning. Most of the presentation was spent describing the meaning of “Threshold Concepts” which he described as somewhat like a portal which opens up new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking about something. Unless a learner experiences this transformed way of understanding or viewing something, they cannot progress. He described the consequences of not being transformed as being “stuck.” These elements of knowledge needed to make the leap from being “stuck” often involve what he termed “troublesome knowledge.” There are a many reasons why learners my not move beyond this “troublesome knowledge” including the fact that it may be conceptually difficult or alien or perhaps the learner does not wish to change their way of seeing things. He offered numerous quotes including one that said that students are required to venture into new places, strange places, anxiety-provoking places. If here is no anxiety it is difficult to believe that we are in higher education.

During the last ten minutes of Land’s presentation, he presented “10 Considerations for Course Design.”

  1. Threshold concepts can be used to define potentially powerful transformative points in learning.
  2. Engagement is important
  3. It is important to listen for understanding (listen to your students to gauge where they are in their understanding)
  4. Reconstitution of self – pay attention to the discomforts of troublesome knowledge.
  5. Recursiveness – moving beyond the simple learning outcomes model. Reflect on past semesters to create the new one.
  6. Students must be able to self-regulate within the liminal state (stuck spot)
  7. Assessment – concept mapping
  8. Contestability of generic good pedagogy
  9. Students must gain epistemic fluency
  10. Professional Development

I believe that Catherine Ross plans to offer a book discussion of Land’s book in the Teaching and Learning Center for those of us who attended the session. I hope that I will be able to attend!

Concurrent Session I: Effective Feedback and Efficient Grading by Katie King and Peter Felton, Elon University

This was an excellent session that began with the question, “What is your grading philosophy?” “What do you grade and what do you leave off?” Through this session, I was please to discover that I’m on the right track! They gave examples of too much red ink and not enough red ink. They stressed the importance of giving students the opportunity to revise and to use the instructor’s comments. The most helpful part was a two-column chart that showed “Learning Orientation” in one column and “Performance Orientation” in the other. Students who are “Learning Oriented” want to improve competence, seek challenge, be successful through effort, persist and they view instructors as resources. Students who are “Performance oriented” want to prove they are competent (get the “A”), avoid challenge, exert little effort, and they view instructors as evaluators. I found these categories to be very help and on target with my experience with students! Catherine Ross was in the room and she described the performance oriented students as subscribing to “inoculation theory” which is the idea that “I’ve had AP biology so I can’t learn any more about that.” They gave several good ideas about how to create assessments worth everyone’s time.

Concurrent Session II: Writing Transitions/Writing Thresholds by Jessie Moore, Elon University

In this session, the presenter talked about how almost all universities require a freshman writing course with the theory that they will transfer their skills in other courses in college. It turns out that research shows that students have very few writing assignments during their first two years of college. We spent the session coming up with ideas for good assignments and critiquing a student paper that needed a lot of help. This was not my favorite session.

Concurrent Session III: The Threshold of Consciousness: How to Wake Up Your Students by Ed Neal, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This session was well worth attending! He gave out a packet of hands-on activity exercises and ideas to help engage students in problem-solving and critical thinking. All of the strategies are low-risk and most can be easily adapted for the classroom (including LIB100).

Overall, it was a very good conference!










New Faculty Orientation

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 3:19 pm

New faculty orientation was one of the most informative and enjoyable experiences that I have had since coming to work at Wake Forest. I am convinced that my gratitude for this opportunity is much deeper than it ever could have been if I had had this experience when I first started working as an adjunct five years ago.

On Wednesday, August 10, the new faculty gathered in the Mandelbaum Reading Room where we began the day with a light breakfast and mingling. What an interesting group of people! I met several new faculty from the English Department who have offices in the Writing Center. I also met Sandy Sikes whose picture is on the front page of today’s Winston-Salem Journal (and she would not have known it if I had not told her this morning!). The networking that happens through faculty orientation is invaluable.

The first day set the pace for a remarkable three days. The program kicked off with an introduction to the provost’s office. After being here for five years, it felt like I was in the presence of rock stars! Finally, I was able to put faces to names that I have heard and seen. These “Ah-ha” moments were consistent for me all three days.

Next, we were introduced to the ZSR Library and all I can say is, “Wow!” What great PR for the Library and kudos to the presenters. It could not have been better.

After a delightful lunch in Room 401 where we ate on white table clothes (a rare treat for me!), we were introduced to more WFU people. I then took a campus tour led by Jennie Harris, Assistant Dean of Admissions. I wish I had a video of the first part of tour where she began by talking about our wonderful Library; everything she said was completely in line with what was said in the earlier Mandelbaum presentation. She said many interesting things that I did not know, such as the fact that Tribble is the largest academic building on campus and Reynolda was bigger than all of the academic buildings combined on the old campus. Also, she said that 85% of Wake students are involved in some sport, mostly intermural.

The second day was spent with Human Resources. It felt a little like the Oprah Winfrey show in that a department would make a presentation and then people appeared bearing gifts for all the new faculty, such as tickets to the tennis open, a pedometer, posters, bags, a cup, pencils, a Metlife stuffed Snoopy, etc. How fun is that? I learned several helpful things such as the fact that WFU employees get a 22% discount from Verizon.

The third day was held at the Graylyn Conference Center. Is there any more beautiful place on earth to have a meeting? It was a delight to meet Jacquelyn Fetrow, the Dean of the College. We also met the five associate deans from her office. My personal favorite presentation was by Jane Caldwell. Since I teach so many athletes, my respect for her department and how she runs that program made me want to give her a standing ovation. I am convinced that we are the most compliant school in the NCAA and ACC.

I was most curious to hear what President Hatch would have to say to a new group of faculty and I was not disappointed. He started with a self-deprecating story about his own experience as a new faculty member. And then he asked a simple question, “What are we about?” He referred to William Powers’ book, Hamlet’s Blackberry and the fact that we have become a society of continuous partial attention. He said that at our core we are about learning and to learn anything well requires concentration. It is an idea that I continue to ponder.

Today, I attended the Gatekeeper Workshop for new faculty. If you have not attended one of these, I highly recommend it. I’m now ready to sign up for 2 and 3 in the series.

Overall, it has been a remarkable week and it never would have happened without faculty status for ZSR librarians. Hats off to Lynn and the other forward thinking people who made it possible for me to participate in these events!



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