Professional Development

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015 9:07 am

Last Thursday, I found myself down in hot, humid Orlando for the first-ever ASERL Scholarly Communication Unconference, aka the ASERL SCUNC (pronounced “skunk”). The day brought together scholcomm folks from across the ASERL region at the John C. Hitt Library at the University of Central Florida. This event had been several years in the making, as it was first proposed by Christine Fruin, Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Florida, when she was the Visiting Program Officer for Scholarly Communications for ASERL in 2012-13.

I had never attended an unconference before, so I had little idea of what to expect. The group was small enough that we had time to go around the room and introduce ourselves before determining the schedule for the day and breaking out into sessions. Fortunately for me, there was only one time block when two sessions of interest were competing, and because we were fairly informal, I felt comfortable splitting my time between both sessions.

My first session of the day was on library publishing. As Bill Kane has been representing Wake Forest at most library publishing-specific events, this was an area that I did not know as much about, hence my interest in hearing what other libraries are doing. As was to be expected, the level of engagement ran the gamut, with our Digital Publishing Program—which, admittedly, is not officially under the wing of ZSR, but for all intents and purposes might as well be!—being one of the most robust monograph publishing programs represented. Many ASERL libraries are hosting journals for their faculty and students, but services beyond hosting, e.g. copy-editing and peer review, are generally not being offered. One interesting point of discussion during this session was on whether or not items made available via institutional repositories are considered published or not. I am of the opinion that they are not, although if you look at the OED definition for publish, it means to make public, which is what we do with IRs. But in scholarly terms, publishing usually connotes peer review, editing, and typesetting, which we do not do for items posted in the IR. My hunch is that future expansion in library publishing will need to tackle “IR=publishing?” head on. We also discussed the possibility of libraries publishing items that need to be published, but aren’t of appeal to traditional publishers, e.g. textbooks and datasets. Additionally, library publishing programs typically address preservation, whereas traditional publishers do not; this might be a selling point we can harness to our benefit.

During the second morning time block, I split my time between two sessions. I started with the OER session, to see what other libraries are doing with OERs. Some libraries are supporting OER adoption among faculty through mini-grant programs, an idea Kyle and I have been kicking around since last October’s OA Week presentation by Nicole Allen of SPARC. One challenge with OER mini-grants is distinguishing between adoption/replacement versus creation. An idea that struck a cord was to target new course creation for OER adoption. Here at Wake Forest, I immediately thought about FYS being potential targets. Switching gears, I scooted upstairs to join the session on faculty concerns about copyright. Reassuringly(?!), it sounds like most folks get the same type of questions and concerns about copyright from their faculty that I receive here.

After a fun lunchtime conversation with ASERL colleagues from UVa, Vanderbilt, and Florida, the final session I attended was on faculty concerns about open access. The bulk of this session focused on institutional OA policies, and the challenges around initiating and implementing such policies. There was much discussion about whether or not institutional policies were even appropriate for all institutions, with the consensus being that much depends on institutional culture and high-level administrative support. We also discussed how framing such policies as author rights policies—which is what they are—is more palatable to faculty than calling them OA policies; there is still enough misconception of OA among faculty to cause concern. Another part of our conversation ventured into faculty concerns about OA publishing, and the struggles to get faculty to understand that OA publishing is not unlike traditional publishing, both in terms of prestige and frustrations. No publishing process is without its woes.

The ASERL SCUNC (look below for the awesome logo designed by Ellen Ramsey, UVa!) wrapped up with a session debrief and group discussion. The day was a worthwhile experience, in large part because I was able to put many names and faces together for the first time. Certainly I ran into people I’d met before, but there were several folks with whom I’d traded emails yet had not met in person—it was nice to have an opportunity to do so. I also left with several camping spot recommendations for my family, and an offer to return to Florida to help decorate someone’s house, so I benefited both personally and professionally!

Joy, Kyle, and Amanda at The Innovative Library Classroom Conference

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 4:30 pm

For the second year in a row, the Instruction Cave descended upon Radford University (in Virginia) for the Innovative Library Classroom Conference. Here are some of the highlights from our visit.


Carrie Donovan, head of Teaching & Learning at the Indiana University Libraries gave a high-energy talk on how she and her team have viewed the ACRL Framework discussion as an opportunity to shift their role in supporting the teaching and learning of information literacy on such a large campus. Rather than delivering one-to-one instruction (which we’re able to do here, but which one could imagine being quite impossible with a student body north of 40,000) or developing a credit-bearing course program as we have, they’ve shifted their focus to be more consultative during the course development process, with an eye toward integrating information literacy concepts into individual courses and entire curricula. Carrie made it a point to reinforce in us the idea that we’re experts in our field and should act like it when we’re talking with faculty about information literacy concepts and how we can help their students achieve IL learning outcomes.

Conversation Starter: A Framework Tasting: Trying Out an Upcoming Vintage in Info Lit
Ginny Pannabecker, Virginia Tech

This was a great interactive session that allowed librarians to workshop the new Framework for Information Literacy. In the session, librarians were broken up into six groups to discuss one of the six new frames. Each group was then asked to discuss the following questions:

  • What does this frame mean to you?
  • How does your instructional practice already support this frame?
  • What else would you like to try to engage with and support this frame?

Though the questions may seem simple enough, I thought the facilitator did an excellent job asking questions that really engaged the audience with the topic. My group had so much to discuss we didn’t even make it through all three questions. I think the session might be worth duplicating at some point at ZSR.

Can You Kick It? Bringing Hip Hop Pedagogy to the Library Classroom
Craig Arthur – Radford University

It’s fairly common to use “real world” examples to illustrate plagiarism and copyright when teaching students about these concepts, so I appreciated some of the fresh examples this librarian brought to the presentation. For example, when Mac Miller copied the beat of Lord Finesse’s “Hip 2 Da Game” without attribution and, of course, got sued (warning: nsfw language on the videos). It’s a great example that illustrates the complexity of copyright infringement, especially since Lord Finesse’s song also contains short samples of other music.

I think what I appreciated the most about this presentation was the discussion about the intersections of hip-hop production culture and information literacy. For example, he emphasized the fact that traditional hip-hop production actually requires a lot of information and research skills (as highlighted in the documentary Scratch). For DJ’s, acquiring knowledge of older music to potentially sample is an early example of Information Has Value. There is a lot of crossover between the ideas of academic integrity and sampling — the conventions are different, but both involve giving credit to those that have come before. Critical information literacy folks may also appreciate the brief discussion on the hidden history of hip-hop — one that does not follow the traditional “Rapper’s Delight” narrative, but instead starts much earlier with DJ’s/emcees. (Sidebar: this reminded me 9th Wonder’s visit to Wake Forest where he also discussed the lesser known history of the origins of hip-hop). It would certainly be an interesting subject to have students research in the future!

Emotionally Intelligent Library Instruction, Or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love our Feels
Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam (UNC-G)

Kyle, Amanda, and Joy all attended this breakout session because we knew anything led by Jenny and Lynda would be good! Unless you have been under a rock for the last 17 years, you are probably very familiar with Daniel Goleman’s research regarding Emotional Intelligence which has been used in the business world since 1998. Goleman’s work inspired an avalanche of literature and presentations around the topic of Emotional Intelligence as it pertains to a wide variety of professions. One of these inspired works was written in 2005 by Alan Martiboys, Teaching with Emotional Intelligence: A Step-by-Step Guide for Higher and Further Educational Professionals. We have the 2011 2nd edition available as an ebook through our catalog, but I believe you can get the gist of what he is saying through the first link and that is the book I will cite.

Martiboys states that learning and emotion are intertwined; subject expertise is not enough for classroom success. In addition, we need teaching and learning methods as well as emotional intelligence (2). Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be learned, and Martiboys offers advice for making it part of the classroom experience. An EI teacher is: approachable, accepting, positive, a good listener, empathic, good at making eye contact, non-threatening, open, respectful, good at recognizing students, and not presumptuous (11). Instructors should plan their emotional environment which includes everything from how the classroom is set up to how you start your sessions. Martiboys stresses the importance of learning the names of students. Chapter four of his book focuses on the physical experience of learners. Martiboys says that we must plan the physical learning environment , including getting students up and moving in the classroom. While students do some movement in most of my classes, I plan to be more intentional about this starting in the fall. Another interesting section of this book is p.102-104 which talks about the concepts of “strokes” as a “unit recognition.” A stroke can be any acknowledgement that we give another, verbal or nonverbal, and we all need strokes to survive. As instructors, we are in good positions to offer positive strokes, and Martiboys encourages us to put energy into giving and accepting (not discounting) positive strokes.

How I learned to Love Evaluation and Not Care So Much about Assessment
Annie Zeidman-Karpinski (University of Oregon) and Dominque Tornbow (UC San Diego)

Annie and Dominque used the ABCD objective model to make the argument that one-shot sessions should focus on evaluation and not assessment. ABCD is an acronym for “Audience (Who are the learners?), Behavior (What do learners need to demonstrate to show they’ve achieved the outcome?), Condition (Under what conditions do learners need to perform the behavior?), and Degree (To what degree do learners need to perform the behavior?).” Instructors should be able to categorize learning outcomes within Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Evaluation Model (Level 1 – Reaction; Level 2 – Learning, Level 3 – Behavior, Level 4 – Results). By this model, LIB100 courses are able to evaluate Level 3 (they are able to demonstrate appropriate search skills in class) and they are moving to Level 4 (where they will be able to apply those skills outside of LIB100). Here is a link to the slides used in this session.

In this session, they used several online survey tools (which I believe would have worked better if I had a device other than my iPhone):
Poll everywhere =
Revised Blooms Taxonomy Action Verbs
Kahoot =
padlet =


Overall, it was a really good day with a great group of people! Attendance at this Conference was limited to 75, so it was a wonderful place to connect with other instruction librarians (including Lauren Pressley!) and to hear what is happening in library classrooms in the Virginia/North Carolina/Maryland region.

TALA Paraprofessionals Conference – May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 11:14 am

The Triad Academic Library Association (TALA) held its second conference at High Point University earlier this month. One of the conference’s goals is to provide library workers with multiple opportunities to network around topics of interest. This topics selected for discussion were taken directly from suggestions offered in the 2014 post conference survey. Our planning committee was delighted to host the 105 attendees, though numbers could have been a little higher as a few late bloomers were turned away due to limited spacing. It was by their own accounts quite beneficial for the 12 ZSR staff members in attendance. Below are a few of their highlights from the day.

I attended the second annual TALA Conference at High Point University on May 13th. I found the session on Managing Time lead by Iyanna Sims of NC A&T and Monica Young of GTCC very useful. The presenters explained the challenges of managing time in the modern workplace, especially with the distractions of technology. They recommended some good tools to manage your time and increase productivity such as the Pomodoro App that gives you a certain amount of time to complete a task. This way you can help eliminate procrastination and be aware of how you spend your time. I also enjoyed the networking hour table talks, which were a new addition this year. I attended the table talks on Technical Services staff that our own Monesha Staton lead. Monesha helped facilitate an engaging discussion on some current issues that technical service departments are currently facing such as dealing with the implementation of RDA and navigating new ILS systems. ~Bradley

I appreciate the opportunity given to attend the TALA conference at High Point University. Great conference – great day spent with ZSR Library colleagues! My favorite session was called “Communication and Conducting Effective Meetings”. Cindy Conn of Elon University was the facilitator. I learned about planning a meeting, meeting best practices, communication practices, personal communication and overall how to conduct an effective meeting. I’ve had the pleasure of being the chair of the ZSR Library Employee Recognition Committee this year (my first time as a chair) and this session gave me great ideas for conducting the meetings. ~Kristen

I learned the following similarities, ideas, and strategies at the TALA Conference. The top challenges supervising students are poor attendance and lack of work experience. The best career strategy is to have a plan, be ready for opportunities, know your strengths, be a responsive team player, be helpful, and support your department and library. Effective meetings are practical not historical, purpose driven, categorized topics, and time efficient. ~Travis

The TALA Paraprofessional Conference was a very interesting and useful event. I attended sessions on the Changing Roles and Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals, Networking Hour Table Talks, Career Strategies, and Managing Time. While all sessions contained useful information, I found the Networking and Time Management sessions most relevant to me and my duties and responsibilities. In the Networking session I got to hear how fellow TALA member institutions handle their accounts payables. I found that none of the other institutions fully use their integrated library system’s acquisitions module for fund accounting as we do here at ZSR. And I also found that the other institutions represented in the meeting were also treated differently from other departments on their campus by their purchasing departments. Just as we are here at ZSR, the other libraries were treated as separate entities making their own purchasing decisions and not requiring University purchase orders because of the uniqueness of library purchases. And needless to say, time management strategies such as reducing clutter are universally relevant. ~Prentice

Of all the sessions I attended at the TALA Conference I particularly enjoyed the session Managing Time. The session presenter gave us lots of resources and website on how to managed and keep great record of time so that you can be able to work on multiple things and not just one. ~Tara

My experience at the TALA Paraprofessional Conference held at High Point University was insightful and helpful. I attended sessions on career strategies, managing time, and makerspace and other emerging technologies. The session that I enjoyed the most and that I thought was the most informative was the career strategies session. The career strategies session made the participants think about what their personal goals are and think about where they want to go in their career. We were given great advice by Kathy Bradshaw and our very own Wanda Brown. I also surprisingly ended up facilitating a networking session on technical services due to the absence of the person scheduled to run the session. The session was with approximately 15 people from UNCG, Elon, NCA&T, and Wake. In the session we discusses RDA, WMS migration, knowledge base, vendor records, authority control and a few other topics. The session was very informative and we were able to discuss our own processes and offer recommendations to the other schools. ~Monesha

Our opening speaker at the TALA Paraprofessional Conference was Tamara Kraus from Hickory County Public Library. She was picked as Library Journal’s Paralibrarian of the Year for 2015. She gave an enthusiastic talk about finding our inner “Book Avenger” and urged us to find our own superpowers.

Probably the most productive session of the day was when the attendees divided into Table Talks for networking discussion. I moderated the ILL/Course Reserves session. We were able to compare how other academic libraries configure their department and workflow. There were several good “Why do you do it that way?” questions raised.

Elon’s shared service desk panel discussion was interesting. I was glad that they were willing to share what did not work as well as the benefits. It should help provoke productive questions if ZSR considers this service model.

The other sessions I attended were about Effective Meetings and Managing Time. These sessions had a lot of practical information. For effective meeting planning, we were given Best Practices for setting an agenda, timing and taking minutes. Recommendations for managing our time included computer applications such as Toggl, MyLifeOrganized and Pomodoro. ~Ellen M.

The conference was really good. I enjoyed the session on time management. The video they showed pointed out things we do without even realizing that causes us to lose track. They gave us great tips on what we can do to try to manage our time better like prioritizing and setting schedules and reminders. Other people who attended gave advice on ways they do things without necessarily using technology. ~Doris

There were two sessions I found to be very informative. The technical services networking table talk was a great way to find out what was happening in other libraries. We had a very active discussion about RDA, cataloging issues, bulk importing of e-books and Acquisitions of new and different formats. It was interesting to share our knowledge on problems and solutions from the different institutions. The second session was Managing Time facilitated by Iyanna Sims and Monica Young. It provided different techniques to managing your time effectively to maximize your productivity at work. ~Linda

I am so glad that I was able to attend the 2015 TALA Paraprofessional Conference this year and engage with library staff from across the Triad. All of the sessions I attended provided useful information and offered insights towards implementing greater efficiencies and improving the work that we do. One of the sessions that stuck with me was “Communication and Conducting Effective Meetings”, presented by Cynthia Conn from Elon. Cynthia reviewed best practices for organizing meetings– including tips for setting an agenda, developing an awareness of time, and recording of meeting minutes– and discussed appropriate communication practices for meetings and personal communication practices. I found her recommendations for best practices with agenda-setting particularly useful– she suggests providing clear and specific items on the agenda, dividing meeting topics into categories (discussion items, decision items, and information items), and she advises sending the agenda out two days in advance. She also encouraged us to be good meeting attendees and make sure to review agendas in advance of the actual meeting. Cynthia was an excellent presenter AND a practitioner of her own advice– her “meeting” with us was appropriately organized, she had an agenda, she stuck to the time constraints, and was a clear and effective communicator. I will definitely be using her tips and strategies for future meetings that I lead. ~Meghan


Amanda at LOEX 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 4:06 pm

Earlier this month, Joy and I attended the annual LOEX Conference in Denver, Colorado. Like previous years, this continues to be the standout library instruction conference and I’m so happy we were able to go.


I would agree with Joy’s assessment that the opening keynote, presented by Anne-Marie Dietering, was one of the best I have heard. It was the highlight of the conference. If I had to identify a theme for it, it would be about challenging traditional narratives and binaries. Dietering has the full transcript available on her website, but here were some of my takeaways:

  • It’s easy to build up a narrative of what “good” instructional practice looks like. Sometimes these narratives can be helpful, but they are just as easily stressful and harmful, especially when we accept assumptions like “any instruction librarian can fix any bad situation” and judge our performance accordingly
  • Sometimes our assignment design can favor students that are already familiar with traditional assignment narratives (and by extension, good at telling the instructor what they want to hear). Additionally, some traditional assignment designs may result in students “performing” the act of an assignment (e.g. reflection) without actually engaging in the critical thinking the instructor intended. This alone has given me lots of food for thought when designing future assignments.
  • Dietering challenged us to review potentially false binaries in our own teaching (popular vs. scholarly is an easy one to pick on) and how we might re-frame those conversations to include in-between spaces. This topic is very timely, considering the recent introduction of the new Framework for Information Literacy. I feel like I’m hearing lots of conversation in our profession about wanting to move away from teaching “checklists” into how to have more complex conversations about authority, inquiry, and scholarship.
Denver Art Museum

Of course we took some time to sight see. This is the entrance to the Denver Art Museum (conveniently located next to the Denver Public Library).

For the rest of the conference I focused on two main goals: finding new potential learning activities for my LIB 100 classroom and listening to what other library’s are doing for instructional assessment.

Learning Activities:

  • One session focused on developing your own “Choose Your Own Adventure” online game using the storyboarding tool, Twine.
  • Another session discussed creating a “Source Stack” that consists of visual printouts of various library sources on a single research topic. The source stack can then be used for different in-class activities (e.g. information timeline, source evaluation)
  • Joy covered the session on using satirical news sources to teach information literacy concepts, but here is the LibGuide that is cataloging some of these clips if you’d like to browse


  • I attended a very helpful session on pre/post test design since we are talking about including one as a LIB 100 assessment in the fall. The session was really on how to write better test questions — I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of writing pre-test questions that are too easy, which makes it hard to get good data on student learning over the length of the course. The presenter offered tips like utilizing plausible distractors for multiple-choice questions, randomizing the test questions, and potentially using open-ended questions graded with a rubric.
  • Another session reviewed one library’s assessment of cited references (using a rubric) to measure student information literacy skills. I’ve done this kind of assessment before and I like it’s authenticity — it assesses the final product of student work. The main caveat is it’s rather time-intensive, and difficult to scale up, so it’s important to consider what the goals of the assessment are and how often/long to collect this type of data. .
  • One library was using course registration data to learn more about their students and how many of them were getting repeat library sessions. While I think we usually avoid the “I’ve had this session before” conundrum at ZSR, my takeaway was that we could potentially use course registration data to “track” first-year students who’ve taken LIB 100. We might use this multiple ways, but I would be interested to see if taking LIB 100 has a positive impact on student performance in later classes (for example, a capstone research class). Grades might not tell us the whole story, so this might be an example of where the rubric assessment of student work could come in handy!
Joy and I at the Molly Brown house in Denver.

Joy and I at the Molly Brown house in Denver. Turns out, she was way more than just the lady on the Titanic!

2015 ABLD at Vanderbilt

Friday, May 15, 2015 2:53 pm

In April I attended the annual meeting of the Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

ABLD members in front of Vanderbilt b-school

ABLD is a small association of librarians from most of the top 50 business schools in North America. During the past year, I served as chair of the board of directors of the group. The Vanderbilt meeting marked the end of my term as chair and I will now serve one more year on the board as past chair.

ABLD holds its meetings on the campus of a member school. Doing so allows the members of ABLD to become familiar with other business schools and the libraries that serve them. Among ABLD schools and their libraries, there are many organizational models and no two schools and libraries are exactly alike. Vanderbilt’s business school offers only graduate degrees and its library is a full-service branch of the main library.

The conference began on a Tuesday afternoon with a campus tour led by Vanderbilt’s landscape architect. He pointed out the many exotic species of trees found on the campus that allow the entire campus to be designated as the Vanderbilt arboretum. After the tour Vanderbilt’s Interim Dean of Libraries, Jody Combs, hosted a reception in the main library.

Most of Wednesday’s program consisted of a variety of presentations by ABLD members. I was interested in a presentation by Meg Trauner of Duke who described the experience of the Duke business school library with an e-book program from Overdrive. Overdrive allows library users to borrow e-books and audio books from libraries and access them via the Overdrive app on a smartphone or tablet. Meg reported that business school library users much prefer this means of access to accessing e-books on a computer.

After a lunch at Vanderbilt’s on-campus University Club, the members spent some time with the seven vendor representatives who had been invited to showcase their products at the meeting. I learned more about BCC Research, a company that provides full text market research reports on industrial (rather than consumer) products. It’s a database to which we would like to subscribe if the price is right.

Later Tuesday afternoon the group visited the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in downtown Nashville. Michael Burcham is a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt and he founded the Entrepreneur Center as an organization to foster entrepreneurs in the city. It’s an impressive facility that is home to many companies that are just starting out. It provides office space, training and opportunities for mentoring and networking.

Thursday’s program contained more presentations by ABLD members along with a couple others by faculty from the business school. Professor David Owens spoke about the topic of innovation and Professor Kimberly Pace spoke about communication skills.

Prof. David Owens

Prof. Kimberly Pace

Among the topics discussed in member presentations were library space, teaching classes for credit and library support for classes in entrepreneurship.

Two guests from abroad attended the meeting: Andy Priestner of Cambridge University and president of the European Business School Librarians’ Group (EBSLG) and Gina de Alwis of Singapore Institute of Management and representing the Asia Pacific Business School Library Group (APBSLG) both made presentations. Andy spoke about his experience using ethnographic techniques to study library users and Gina spoke about the plans for the 2016 joint meeting of ABLD, EBSLG and APBSLG in Singapore.

The meeting concluded with a Thursday night visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville and a dinner on the site. After dinner, some of the members continued the fun on Nashville’s famous Honky Tonk Row.

Robert’s Western World Bar

More photos from my trip to Vanderbilt and Nashville are located here.

Molly at ARCS

Friday, May 15, 2015 1:21 pm

In late April, I attended the inaugural Advancing Research Communication & Scholarship (ARCS) conference in Philadelphia. Modeled on the early days of the Charleston Conference, ARCS aimed to be the first conference dedicated to scholarly communication that brought together the key stakeholders in the system: librarians, publishers, authors, and researchers. For two days, the 170 or so attendees gathered for keynotes, concurrent sessions, 24×7 talks, and a reception and poster session to exchange ideas on what works and what does not work in current scholarly communication practices, and to offer suggestions for where we might go in the future.

The opening keynote on Monday morning was extraordinarily fascinating. Will Noel, Penn Libraries Special Collections Center and Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, discussed how humanists do have data, they just don’t recognize that they do. To illustrate his point—literally and figuratively—he shared the work that he and others did at The Walter Art Museum in Baltimore on an Archimedes Palimpsest held by the Museum’s special collections. The palimpsest was first identified in 1906 and provided 78 previously unknown Archimedes treatises. He discussed how work on transcribing and saving the Archimedes works has progressed throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, from human eye translation to x-rays to ultraviolet and infrared scans to highlight the Archimedes text for study. The museum has released all of the images throughout the project openly online, and others have built viewers for scholars to be able to study these texts. The images themselves are data, and by making the data openly available, the opportunities for scholars and interested people to engage with this fragile artifact have expanded beyond what would otherwise have been possible had the images been restricted. The entire time he was speaking, I kept wishing that Chelcie, Tanya, Rebecca, Megan, Beth, Craig, and Stephanie could have been in the room with me!

The concurrent sessions I attended throughout the two days were on a variety of scholarly communication topics, many addressing openness and the future of digital scholarship. Points I’m still pondering:

  • Do we really know what scholarship is? (One panelist’s answer is that “it’s an event, it’s embodied, it’s materiality”)
  • How do we ask where scholarship begins and where does it end?
  • How do new forms of scholarship allow us to understand scholarly questions differently?

An insight that struck a chord is that scholarship no longer has to be a fixed form, i.e. a journal article or a monograph, but we haven’t yet developed systems to handle dynamic scholarship, either technically or in our mental framework of scholarship.

One of the best panels I’ve ever heard was at ARCS, bringing together a for-profit publisher, a non-profit library-based publisher, a current PhD student, and a librarian turned consultant. These four individuals, although bringing a variety of perspectives, came to some points of consensus that the model of open access that we have now—particularly looking to publishing—is likely not sustainable in it’s current iteration. Pressure points were identified by all, and while we certainly did not solve the problems of open access publishing, it was encouraging to hear representatives from across the system be able to agree on the challenges and opportunities. It was also refreshing to hear a for-profit publisher publicly acknowledge that publishers are in it for the business, not for advancing scholarship or supporting tenure, and therefore need profit. While this is known to be true, it isn’t always stated quite as bluntly.

The highlight of attending ARCS was the opportunity to connect with many scholarly communication colleagues, and also with several vendors. I shared meals or drinks with colleagues I’ve met through the ACRL Scholarly Communication Roadshow, the ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee, ASERL, the University Intellectual Property Officers group, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Advisory Board, and beyond. Because ARCS was a small conference, opportunities for conversations were plentiful, as we weren’t all dashing in different directions to catch shuttles to here, there, and everywhere as is the case at larger conferences (*cough, ALA, cough*).

This current fiscal year, I changed up the conferences I elected to attend, passing on ALA Midwinter and Annual, as well as ACRL, in favor of attending smaller, more focused conferences: Charleston, UIPO, ARCS, and next week, the ASERL Scholarly Communication Unconference. While I may yet return to the larger conferences, given the niche focus of my field, the conferences I’ve attended this year have proven to be a good match for my professional interests and needs, and I anticipate keeping to the smaller conferences for the foreseeable future.

Chris at the 2015 Carolina Consortium Meeting

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 7:17 pm

On Tuesday, I attended my first Carolina Consortium meeting. I’ve attended similar meetings previously, but this one was truly unique for me in that electronic resources were the primary focus. E-books were, of course, dominant in the conversation of the day as more packages were being offered by many vendors and libraries considered the choices in a public setting. It was interesting to me to see the forum in this format, particularly with the amount of e-mails I’ve received relating to the business of the Consortium over the years.

I also had the chance to see UNCG’s Tim Bucknall in action for the first time. When I was in library school, I took a class with him about “Emerging Technological Trends in Information Access”, but since it was an online course I hadn’t met him face to face. I have to commend him and his team at UNCG for the work they have put into building this Consortium among such a diverse group of libraries from North and South Carolina. The fact that we are able to receive discounted prices on so many electronic products is a quite an achievement, especially since there is no formal governing structure that is present with other library consortia across the country.

In addition to sessions about new deals for the Consortium and new products from the attending vendors and publishers, there was one breakout session that stood out to me. This session, “Evolving Consortial Roles in Collection Development and Acquisitions”, addressed how a consortium may shift its focus in response to the needs of its respective members. This session was presented by two librarians from the PASCAL consortium in South Carolina, and they shared how they were able to coordinate a short-term loan program for specific e-book packages across the entire state. (I plan to retrieve the slides for their presentation when they become available!) This is an interesting concept to approach an escalating problem, and it could be an opportunity of some fashion here in North Carolina.

Finally, as Carol mentioned in her post, there was a fire alarm during the Lightning Round sessions that closed the day. Coincidentally, Carol had mentioned the emergency exit doors on one side of the anteroom as we walked into the theatre in the Elliott University Center. As the fire alarm blared overhead, Carol remembered those doors and directed several members of the audience to follow us outside to the safety of a nearby courtyard. With the delay caused by arriving fire trucks and the required safety checks for the building, the decision was made by conference organizers to wrap early so that attendees with long commutes could head home. However, like the rest of the presentations at the conference, slides from all of Lightning Rounds would be available online at a later date.

UNCG’s Beth Bernhardt (third from right) thanks attendees outside of the Elliott Center.

This was a conference of firsts for me, but it was a well done event with a lot of shared information. From an acquisitions perspective, I found this to be a valuable meeting that I would attend again.

Carol at the Carolina Consortium Meeting

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 3:50 pm

On May 12, Chris and I attended the annual Carolina Consortium Meeting at UNCG. The format was half business meeting/half mini-conference with a focus on the resources that we purchase (or potentially could purchase) using the Consortium’s discounts. In the business half, I scribbled down the product names of a few offers that we might pursue.

After lunch, I attended the breakout session entitled, “The CC OCLC Deal: An Oxford-style Debate.” The two debaters were Angry Tim and Satisfied Tim, both played by Tim Bucknall of UNCG. Angry Tim sported a black hat and compared OCLC to The Borg swallowing up everything in its path (“resistance is futile”). Wearing a white hat and using the identical set of slides, Satisfied Tim painted OCLC as Capt. Picard leading a diverse crew of libraries into the final frontier. By using this style, the “two” Tims cleverly engaged our attention to deliver what could otherwise have been very boring information.

Satisied Tim

The program continued with Lightning Rounds. First, Steve Cramer from UNCG asked, “Are there alternatives to expensive business content?” (Answer: Sometimes.) Then, Liz Siler spoke on “A follow-up on UNCC’s eTextbook program.” I reported on this initiative back in November. Liz just started explaining student and faculty reaction to the program when…

BRAYNK! BRAYNK! Fire alarm!

After locating the nearest exit (it was indeed behind us), we spent 20 minutes enjoying the beautiful weather and rejoicing that the Elliott Center had not yet burst into flames. The organizers cancelled the remainder of the conference with a pledge that they’ll do something (e.g. webinar, shared slides) about the 2½ Lightning Round presentations we missed.

Midwest Archives Conference Annual meeting–Lexington, KY–Tanya

Monday, May 11, 2015 1:18 pm

I had a wonderful time at the most recent MAC meeting—there was learning, sharing information, and hearing horror stories. I was able to attend the Society of American Archivists workshop: Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records. The workshop was excellent, and included discussion of how to combine the practice of archival appraisal with accepting and documenting born-digital records. There was a focus on policies, file formats, storage considerations, and a number of tools available for archivists to use. The donation of born-digital and electronic records is becoming an increasing issue for the University Archives, and the time could not be better to attend a workshop such as this.

I also gave a presentation on Thursday on Assessing our Public Services, part of a broader session on Assessment (including Collections and Trusted Digital Repository Criteria). We had around 70 people in the room and there were lots of questions afterwards. My presentation is available here:

The opening reception was held at The Carrick House ( in downtown Lexington. There were variations on ham and biscuits, and yes, I witnessed archivists square-dancing. They also had a photo booth and it was just as popular as ours was at the Dean’s List Gala. I was able to attend more sessions on archives internships and implementing organizational change, and see posters on Documenting Ferguson and the current status of archivists’ salaries (courtesy of our own Stephanie Bennett).

Finally, I was able to knock another item off my bucket list as I traveled back via the Cumberland Gap Parkway.

LOEX 2015, April 30-May 2 in Denver, CO

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 10:39 am

Last week, Amanda Foster and I had the privilege of attending LOEX 2015 which was held this year in Denver, Colorado. This year, 390 instruction librarians from the United States, Canada, and Norway (yes, two librarians from Norway!) gathered to exchange ideas, commiserate, and re-energize. Our common bond was library instruction. As with past LOEX experiences, this was an extremely well executed event filled with outstanding plenary and breakout sessions. The entire conference took place in the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center located 10.5 miles from downtown Denver.

Thursday Evening Opening Reception

One of the best parts of LOEX is having the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people in the world. At the Friday night reception, I sat with the engineering librarian at the University of North Dakota who was an entomologist and worked for the USDA for many years, including a three year stint in Raleigh, NC (and this is just one small example of interesting people!). At the reception, I learned that LOEX is now a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization thanks to a behind-the-scenes successful rescue by a group of librarians who helped LOEX dodge being absorbed into Eastern Michigan University’s budget!

Friday Morning Plenary Session

The opening plenary session was one of the best I’ve heard. Anne-Marie Dietering from Oregon State University spoke on “Reflections on Reflection: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Meta.” Two years ago, I incorporated metacognition elements in my LIB100 sections and I was less than pleased with the experience. Anne-Marie never used the term “metacognition,” but instead used the term “metathinking,” which I really liked. You can read her entire speech, including the findings here (it includes the names of several books that we have in our library that helped shaped her five year journey with this topic). The punch line of her talk focused on Mary Helen Immordino-Yang‘s findings which connects “social emotion, cognition and culture.” It seems that through the 1980’s, scientists believed that thinking and emotion were separate, controlled by different parts of the brain. But it turns out that emotion is an essential part of higher-level thinking. New experiences receive “tags” that we put into our emotional knowledge banks that determine how we make decisions moving forward. Anne-Marie says that our world is comfortable with binary thinking (good/bad; guilty/innocent, scholarly/popular, novice/expert, etc.). She challenged us to stretch ourselves and our students to accept the uncomfortable spaces between the binaries. We are not good or bad, but in the middle and we must learn to deal with the complexities in between. She says that librarians are particularly equipped to navigate grey areas and that we should embrace our unique role. I personally loved this speech for several reasons. It helped me to understand what was wrong with my metacognition exercises that I used in my classes two years ago which were completely analytical, “What I learned” reflections. It also affirmed what happens naturally in my classes when most of the students let go of old research habits and embrace new search strategies and tools. We introduce them to the uncomfortable world of databases, the catalog, and Summon and the angst they experience is the sweet spot for knowledge. I was so inspired by this speech that I could have gone home after her presentation and declared LOEX 2015 a success!

I will very briefly discuss some of the other highlights of the conference:

Breakout: “Using Satirical News Sources to Promote Active Learning and Student Engagement” By Stephanie Alexander (California State University East Bay)

In this session, the presented showed three video clips and then asked us to use the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy and select the threshold concepts the clips addressed. The presenter shows the clips in one shot sessions. Amanda and I were both at this session and we agreed that the first two clips could not be used in our classes (both took jabs at conservatives: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Rand Paul’s Plagiarism Problem by Stephen Colbert). However, the last clip was John Oliver’s Commentary on the Sugar Industry had more potential. She showed an excerpt from the clip that quotes research from the sugar industry that says sugar does not cause obesity. This clip could be used to discuss the first concept, “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” where learners determine the credibility of sources and understand the elements that might temper their credibility.

Breakout: “Hacking the Framework: Using the Art and Science of Story to Address the Dispositions” By John Watts and Joshua Vossler.

I attended this session because I attended a LOEX preconference two years ago led by this pair and I thought it would be a fun session. It was entertaining, but I was disturbed by the story on which they hinged the presentation. Josh gave a very dramatic presentation about an English professor he had in graduate school who screamed at them for not using proper MLA format when they were given an introductory exercise in class and the answer was Moby Dick: Or, the Whale. After the class, I asked him which threshold concept this represented and he said it fell under, “Scholarly is a conversation,” and the disposition under that was, “systems privilege authorities and not having a fluency in the language and process of a discipline disempowers their ability to participate and engage.” I have thought about this a lot, and it is my sincere hope that this is not the meaning of this disposition. By the way, the Framework was a common thread throughout the conference, and it was clear that everyone is still trying to figure out what it means and how it will be used.

Roundtable Discussion: Assessment of Instruction

During lunch, I attended this roundtable discussion (with Susan Smith in mind), just to hear what others were doing. We will be a beta site for the new SAILs assessment tool starting this fall and I will be using it in my classes. I learned that the full version of SAILs requires a lot classroom time and that other institutions are using “Research Ready” and “Guide on the Side,” but no group seemed thrilled with their tools. I also learned that Megan Oakleaf is a consultant on this topic and she was given rave reviews by those in attendance.

Breakout: Teachers-turned-Librarians Share Tips for Improving Instruction

This session was filled with common sense tips for classroom management and effectiveness. Instructors should engage students, build rapport, and work to prevent distractions. When disruptions occur, subtlety is the key—focus on positives, keep your cool, ignore if possible, never reprimand in front of the class, discuss issues with students one-on-one. Up to 90% of how we communicate is with body language, so be self-aware! Stand still when you are giving directions, be aware of boundaries, use eye contact, be positive and upbeat, and be honest. Find ways to improve your instruction by using peer observation, practicing reflective teaching, co-teaching, and using mentors.

Breakout: Teaching Evaluation Can be a One Dish Meal by Heather Campbell at Brescia University College in Canada

I thought this was a particularly interesting breakout. Heather is the coordinator of instruction at her school, and she implemented a 360 degree style teaching evaluation to help strengthen the presentation/teaching skills of their teaching librarians. She shared copies of the feedback form as well as the rubric they developed. The purpose of the evaluation is to be supportive and helpful, and is not used for job evaluation.

I attended other sessions, but I have summarized what I thought was most interesting. It was a wonderful conference and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend!



2007 ACRL Baltimore
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