Professional Development

In the 'Uncategorized' Category...

Joy Attends The Innovative Library Conference and NC-BIG

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:27 am


On Thursday, May 12, Amanda, Kyle and I made the lovely two hour scenic drive to Radford University to attend The Innovative Library Conference (TILC). Registration for this 75 participant conference filled in 27 minutes, so we were fortunate to be a part of this well-done and informative event.

The keynote speaker was Donna Lanclos, Associate Professor for Anthropological Research at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC-Charlotte. Donna’s speech can be found here on her blog, but just pondering her job description was enough to make the speech interesting! She talked about Active Learning Classrooms and their implications for libraries and librarians. She focused on the importance of active learning and the idea that the community IS the curriculum. She encouraged librarians to serve as “consultants, partners, and leaders on campus with faculty” to encourage active learning across the curriculum. She was adamant that 25 years of research has proven active learning is more effective than traditional lecture. However, I cannot just summarize what she said without sharing some of my own skepticism to this approach. I am a huge Parker Palmer follower, and I believe that there are many approaches to teaching that can be highly valuable. While active learning is my approach to classroom learning, I cannot imagine ever suggesting to Ed Wilson that he should integrate active learning into his classroom.

My favorite session was led by Maryke Barber from Hollins University which was titled “Balance Through Mindfulness: The Art of Now in the Library Classroom.” She led us in three contemplative practices that can be integrated into our instruction. She created an amazing LibGuide for her presentation that can be accessed here.

One interesting session was led by Patrick Rudd (librarian) and Paula Patch (Coordinator of the College Writing Program) at Elon University who reflected on their experience from librarians doing one shot, canned presentations, to becoming co-owners of the curriculum. They created is a wonderful “community of practice” model that impacted the entire Elon University first year writing program.

After lunch, Amanda and I participated in a Selfie Scavenger Hunt of Radford’s McConnell Library. It was the perfect after lunch session. I had heard NC State present on this self-guided approach to library tours, but it was my first time experiencing it. They equipped us with a map, a list of items to find, and an iPod mini. You will be pleased to know that thanks to Amanda’s technology skills, we (team “Deacons”) won!

My Selfie Scavenger Hunt "Team Deacons" partner.

My Selfie Scavenger Hunt “Team Deacons” partner.

It was a good, but long day. Hats off to Radford University and the TILC Conference Committee for pulling off one of the best instruction conferences anywhere!


On Friday, May 13, Kathy, Kyle and I attended NC-BIG Camp 2016! Kathy did a great job as the facilitator for the “ACRL Framework” discussion. I have still not watched the John Oliver video, but I plan to do that soon!

I also participated in the “Learning How to Teach” session which was a fun and interesting discussion facilitated by Amy Harris Houk. Our group had representatives from public libraries, community colleges, small colleges, and large universities. To me, it was the quintessential NC-BIG “unconference” breakout session because our entire discussion was fueled by one librarian’s question which was, “How do you learn to teach?”

My big takeaway from NC-BIG was that you can convert PDFs to Google Docs using Google Drive. This one piece of information was worth attending the conference!

Kathy at NCBIG Camp Unconference

Monday, May 16, 2016 1:31 pm

On Friday, I attended the NCBIG Camp Unconference at UNCG. NCBIG (NC Bibliographic Instruction Group) is an interest group within NCLA that has been around for a number of years. This was the third NCBIG Camp, and it was organized by Jenny Dale (UNCG), Katy Webb (ECU), and our own Kyle Denlinger. I have missed the last few NCBIG Camps, so I was excited to attend this one! This year’s camp had about 20 attendees from a wide range of institutions, including academic libraries, community colleges, and public libraries. We met in the Digital Media Commons on the lower level of Jackson Library, which was renovated just a few years ago to provide a space for digital media creation and collaboration.

We began the morning with a group check-in, and then we broke up into discussion groups. Each group had a facilitator and a note-taker. The notes from each session are available in a Google doc that participants can continue to add to. During the first session, I facilitated a discussion on the ACRL Framework. Our group spent a lot of time discussing practical ways to implement it, as we felt that was missing from a lot of the discussions around the Framework, especially in regards to one-shots. We shared some of our own experiences incorporating Frames in small ways in our own classes. We spent the last portion of the session watching some of John Oliver’s recent segment on Scientific Studies and talked about the ways we could use it to spark discussion around some of the Frames in both one-shot and credit-bearing scenarios. (I’m already thinking about how to use it in LIB210 in the fall!)

For the second discussion group, I participated in a discussion on Outreach to Faculty and Beyond. We first defined what we meant by “outreach.” According to our definition, outreach does not have to be focused on the library, and that the biggest goal with outreach is to build relationships. We also discussed some of the challenges, including time and resources.

We took a lunch break to Don on Tate Street (I highly recommend the bulgogi don in a hot stone bowl!) and then came back to the DMC for some lightning talks. I learned about making Google docs accessible and also a few new tools that I want to try out: Pear Deck and Screencastify. Pear Deck allows for interactive class presentations and Screencastify is a plugin for Chrome that allows you to record screencasts from your browser. Kyle also demonstrated how he’s using VoiceThread in his online class, which really made me want to do more with it!

I also enjoyed catching up with friends from other libraries, as it was the first time I had seen many of them since starting here at WFU! I’m grateful to Jenny, Katy, and Kyle for all their work in putting together a great unconference!

Joy at LOEX 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 3:37 pm

LOEX is always a dream conference for instruction librarians, and this year was no exception. This year’s Pittsburgh Conference brought together a record 425 participants from 40 states, but most exciting was our Wake Forest contingent which included Kyle, Amanda, Meghan and me.

The conference kicked off with an opening reception Thursday evening, and began in earnest early Friday morning with an opening plenary session by Dr. Sheila Corrall who encouraged us to become reflective teachers. She made the case for the idea that critical reflection should be elevated to the status of a threshold concept. In her lovely British accent she described how in England, in order to become a librarian, one must first graduate from library school and then work two years in a library, during which time one is required to keep reflective journals. At the end of two years, one must write a capstone paper reflecting on the experience. She made the compelling case that in order to become effective professionals, we must incorporate critical self-reflection as instructors and learners.

Here are some of the things I learned about from various breakout sessions:

  • Candice Benjes-Small (Radford University) gave a great presentation on how to assess one-shot sessions by using the mixed methods observation technique. Evaluations should be immediate, actionable, and able to be captured. At the end of one-shot class sessions, students at Radford are given quick written surveys/quizzes and at the end of the sessions instructors return to their offices and spend 30 minutes, self-assessing and making changes for upcoming one-shots.
  • Inclusion and social justice were dominant themes throughout the weekend. Emilie Vrbancic (U of Colorado, Colorado Springs) led a great session on creating inclusive teaching environments by designing instruction centered on principles of Universal Design. Most of what she said, I am already incorporating in my classes, but I had never heard that the most inclusive room design is one in which student are facing one another. We should promote interaction between students, have group activities, keep instructions simple, present instructions in multiple formats, allocate a third of class time for individual work, and integrate citation management tools such as Zotero (there is more, but I’m stopping there!).
  • Eamon Tewell (Long Island University Brooklyn) introduced ways of incorporating critical information literacy in library instruction. Critical IL aims to understand how libraries participate in systems of oppression and finds ways for librarians to act upon these systems. Tewell gave the results of a survey in which instruction librarians shared how they address critical IL. Some instructors use social justice issues in their search strategy examples. Some instructors introduce alternative media zines to introduce a variety of perspectives. Other instructors abandon the search strategy demonstrations altogether reasoning that students can learn it themselves and social justice issues are far more important than search strategies.
  • I attended a session on international students and academic libraries. I learned that the 2014/15 academic year saw the largest increase (10%) of international students in the United States of any time since the 1970s. Most of the students (57%) are from China and 22% are from the Middle East.
  • Kyle and Amanda had the most interesting session of the entire conference! They talked about their experience teaching LIB100 online last summer and the changes they made in their fall LIB100 sessions. I believe we could create an in-house WFU mini-LOEX and learn a ton just by hearing what is happening in our classes! They shared this link which I will share with you: ly/wfuloex
  • Catherine Fraser Reihle (Purdue) and Merinda Kay Hensley (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) gave the results of a study on what undergraduate students know about scholarly communication (an article will be coming out on this). They surveyed students currently engaged in research experiences such as capstone projects or scholarly research with faculty members. The majority of respondents were STEM students. The findings were fascinating: Not a single student could say with confidence that they owned copyright to their work; most respondents were not concerned about the data they had generated and many did not know where the data was located (in a notebook somewhere); and the vast majority collected the data in a written notebook with no digital version.

Amanda, Meghan and I took an early flight Thursday morning to Pittsburgh in order to take in a few of the sights. During the ZSR Reynolda: An American Story Library Lecture Series, I learned that the Reynolda Gardens greenhouse was designed by architects Lord & Burnham. When Allison mentioned that Lord & Burnham also built Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, I immediately put Phipps at the top of my list of things to see while at LOEX. You can see the similarity of this amazing building (built in 1893) and our own Reynolda greenhouse (1913).

Overall, it was a wonderful conference and I am very thankful for the opportunity to attend LOEX 2016!

Amanda at LOEX 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016 4:21 pm

For me, the main theme of this year’s LOEX was Critical Pedagogy. Critical pedagogy has been buzzing around the library instruction world since at least 2005, but has its roots in the works of authors such as Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and Henry Giroux, to name a few. I hesitate to define critical pedagogy, but I’ll try by saying it is a pedagogy that concerns itself with designing learning situations in which students are empowered to question traditional oppressive power structures, be it capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, imperialism, etc…

Clockwise: Andy Warhol Bridge, University of Pittsburg building, mural at Duquense, Skyline, and a group photo at Phipps Conservatory.

Of course you know it wouldn’t be a proper LOEX without a bit of sightseeing. Clockwise: Andy Warhol Bridge, University of Pittsburgh building, mural at Duquense University, Pittsburgh Skyline, and a group photo at Phipps Conservatory.

Critical Pedagogy in Library Instruction

There was quite a bit of talk about the role that critical pedagogy can play in library instruction. One practical example would be teaching students about the white, patriarchal assumptions made by traditional information organizational schemas, like Library of Congress subject headings. (Relevant example, it took until 2016 to switch from “illegal aliens” to “unauthorized immigrants). There are several more great examples in the slides of: Eamon Tewell’s “The Practice and Promise of Critical Information Literacy”

Several photos from the Phipps Conservatory.

Several photos from the Phipps Conservatory. Sorry for the potato quality pics from my phone.

Critical Library Practice

What’s cool is critical pedagogy is not just for librarians with instructional responsibilities. Critical library practice is for everyone in the library. (The Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship recently dedicated their entire opening journal issue to critical library practice). Archivists, access services, and resource services have been engaging in critical practice for years, so this is probably nothing new to them. Nevertheless, I’m happy to see these conversations happening with such frequency and urgency now. You can read more about Jeremy McGinniss’s ideas for engaging in critical pedagogy with student workers here:

“Everything we do is pedagogy”: Critical Pedagogy, The Framework and Library Practice from JMcGinniss

Critical pedagogy is an important movement (maybe the most important movement) happening in library instruction and I think it deserves thoughtful reflection. It seems like it’s no accident that these conversations are ramping up at the same time as local conversations about campus climate and national conversations on racism, sexism, homophobia. transphobia, and other oppressive movements. I’m excited to work on this moving forward. Recently I’ve been having students edit Wikipedia, which is a great introduction to some of these ideas. I’m hoping to have some time this summer to brainstorm more ways to successfully implement critical pedagogy in my own classroom.

Tanya @ MAC (Midwest Archives Conference), Milwaukee, WI

Thursday, May 5, 2016 10:34 am

I recently attended the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MAC is one of the largest regional archival organizations, and I have been an involved member since 1995. It was, however, a nasty shock to arrive in Milwaukee with the high only being 40—apparently, I am now completely acclimated to the NC climate.

One of my duties as a Past President of MAC, is to chair the Presidents’ Award Committee, which recognizes individuals, groups, or organizations. This year, the awards were given to the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and three individuals who founded the Urban Appalachian Council (UAC) in Cincinnati in 1974. After the UAC was closed in 2014, these three made sure 40 years of records were transferred to Berea College for preservation. I had other duties at MAC, including co-teaching a workshop on Career Planning for Archivists and giving a presentation on community beyond the archives, focusing on the St. Benedict 75th anniversary project.

I also was able to attend a number of interesting sessions, but wanted to share more specifically about two that really struck a chord with me:

Crowdsourcing Beyond Transcription:
This pecha kucha style panel presentation offered panelists sharing various stories of how they utilized crowdsourcing in a unique way. The most fascinating was offered by Laura Alagna (Northwestern University) who had received a mobile phone as part of the personal papers of actress Karen Black (one of my favorites, who could ever forget Trilogy of Terror?). It was an old-school mobile phone, and Algana decided to crowdsource donations of charger cords in the hopes of finding the right one to access the contents. Of course, they now have a large collection of charger cords, which they hope to utilize in accessing other obsolete media.

Preparing Students for a Future of Working with the Past: Designing Undergraduate and Graduate TPS Curricula:
This was probably one of the strongest sessions I have ever attended at a MAC meeting. The topics included teaching students about:
Not judging historical resources
Developing an appreciation of changing language
The value of digital hands-on work in research, such as using city directories

There were also presentations on how archives and special collections instruction can focus on engaging your students, as opposed to simply show and tell. The best takeaway? The concept that digital collections are the one thing from Special Collections that students CAN browse.

All in all, attending MAC was well worth shivering in the Milwaukee rain.

2016 Administrative Professionals Conference

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 9:59 am

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Administrative Professionals Conference at WinMock in Bermuda Run, NC. WinMock is a beautiful old barn that has been renovated to hold conferences, weddings, etc. Our audience was made up of Administrative Professionals from WFU, WF-Health Sciences, Novant, UNC School of the Arts and Forsyth Technical Community College. We had 181 attendees.

I have been on the Administrative Professionals Committee, which plans the conference, for 13 years. This year, each attendee at the conference was able to win a door prize!

We had 3 awesome speakers!

Speaker 1 was Nicole Greer

Topic: S.H.I.N.E. Live an Illuminated Life

A VIBRANT LIFE is pulsating with energy and purpose. SHINE is a master plan for goal setting through harnessing strategies, systems, and smarts. This program aims to release your talent like a light to illuminate the dark places where your brilliance is desperately needed in your organization. You will experience a fresh approach to Self-Assessment, take a hard look at your Habits, explore what it means to be in Integrity, articulate Next Right Steps, and take an Energy audit. This proven methodology for coaching creates movement…significant movement.

You lead at work, at home and in the community. You need a structure to support your life as you support your organization’s future. Integrated with stories Nicole provides proven, time-tested, and smart actionable strategies. Nicole speaks directly to the audience in a group-coaching format utilizing tools like the ‘Art of Dialogue’, a technique you can tuck away in your own tool kit.

  • Understand “YOU 101.”
  • Learn about your elemental communication style, see your strengths and challenges, and name them.
  • Get a grip on your unconscious tendencies or habits.
  • Take a deep dice into what it means to be a man or woman of integrity, whole and contributing in a powerful way.
  • Formulate next right steps.
  • Look at energy in a four-fold model that if taken seriously can change everything about your life, your organization, and your future.
  • SHINE is for professionals who know they can do more but feel limited by the organizations challenges with regard to time, money and energy. If you have a dream to contribute your talents, gifts and life to your family, your organization and the greater community in a powerful way, you will be inspired to do more with the untapped potential that lies dormant within. SHINE identifies the obstacles that hold you back and gives you the strategies, systems and smarts to overcome those obstacles.

Speaker 2 was Shayla Herndon-Edmunds

Topic: Stop Telling Me to Breathe!

Have you ever had some severely happy or ironically anxious person tell you “just breathe?” Who has time for that, right?!!! Today, we are bombarded with messages about balance and wellbeing. From gurus and coaches to products and programs, there is no shortage of people telling us how important these things “should” be to us. Some believe that balance and wellbeing are critical to our emotional, spiritual, and physical health, while others believe they don’t exist.

As incredibly busy working professionals who wear multiple hats, while completing multiple tasks, for multiple people, using multiple tools and devices, the idea of focusing our own wellbeing often feels like “another thing to do.” And if you’re like many of us, the very thought of self-care can be overwhelming. While balance and wellbeing may be important, they can only be achieved when we make them for us and about us by recognizing that our needs are specific to us.

Together we will:

  • assess our own needs and priorities,
  • evaluate how well we meet them,
  • created a personal definition of balance and wellbeing; and
  • receive tools for living a more balanced and mindful existence.

We all deserve to live the life we deserve and desire. In reality, most of us have all the tools that we need in order to do so but we use them to help others and very rarely, ourselves. As an administrative professional, I’ve been Guilty of helping others to live their best life while barely attending to my own. And now as a coach, entrepreneur, and a mentor, I’ve committed to helping others discover and define their own sense of balance, which in my case began with two words “me too.”

Speaker 3 was Laura Hamilton

Topic: Time Wasters: They Steal our Lives

Ever finished a day at work and wondered where the time went? Ever tried to finish up “one more thing” and actually completed nothing? Ever wanted to spend a quiet night at home but your youngest child remembers a science project is due tomorrow? Ever noticed you complete things faster the closer to a deadline? Ever wished you could gain control of your world? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need help eliminating the Time Wasters in your Life! Time Wasters steal any extra bits of time to add more chaos in your day. Topics include:

  1. Eliminating self-distractions and interruptions
  2. Managing text messages and emails
  3. Cleaning up the clutter
  4. Developing a “no” script
  5. Utilizing a list of things to do
  6. Realizing technology does not manage time
  7. Discovering “reflective” time
  8. Developing good time management habits

ILLiad Conference 2016 Virginia Beach

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 11:57 am

March 17th. Where I attended the 2016 ILLiad Conference on Virginia Beach, VA. from Tuesday, March 15, through Thursday there were over 335 attendees at the conference. This was my second experience at the ILLiad conference, and I wanted to share a few things, including updated information about the ILLiad software.

Mary Sauer-Games, Vice President, Product Management, OCLC presented on Wednesday morning about “Interlibrary Loan in the Life of Your Users”. She talked about millennials and generation X. How millennials (Born 1977- present) spend more time on mobile/ electronic devices, how these users are requesting more materials electronic then the actual physical hard copy. Where the generation X (born 1965 – 1976) prefers the hard copy, paper copy of materials.

In addition to attending several sessions, the most memorable were presented by Kurt Munson, Northwestern University “Half the Work: Circulating Lending and Borrowing Request from ILLiad in Alma Using NCIP. He explains how they checkout and update all their materials in one system where we now have to update in ILLiad and check out in voyager. Kurt explains how circulation interchange protocol z allows for the exchange of an ILLiad supports for NCIP message to create a brief record, then it allows you update both records. This also applies to the borrowing check in.
Another relevant session Stan Huzarewicz, University of Connecticut “Stop saying “No”: Improving Fill rates and Reducing Lending Denials in Interlibrary Loan. He talked about how his library conditional there requests instead of saying “no”. How after carefully verifying request if unable to fill they will conditional the request to the requesting library, This request is not showing unfilled by his Library.

I also enjoyed networking and meeting new people and hearing about their workflow and how they daily operation is at their university.

Social Justice and Disability Workshop

Monday, April 4, 2016 9:46 pm

On Thursday, March 31, the Learning Assistance Center/Disability Services office sponsored a day long workshop entitled “Reframing Disability and Creating Inclusive Environments”. The meeting included interested parties from all across campus, from facilities, to athletics, to student services, and many representatives from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Amanda Krause, a faculty member from the University of Arizona and an advocate of the disabled, was the dynamic speaker who kept us engaged and challenged our perceptions, expectations, and beliefs throughout the day.

Through lecture, discussion and small group work, we uncovered much of the bias that has existed that kept disabled individuals as “special” cases. Using historical images and images from media, she discussed how people who are blind, deaf, wheelchair users, etc have always been made to seem “less than” and pitied, requiring extra help and service. Even charitable works like telethons and penny drives, while well-intentioned, still had, as a consequence, perpetuated that notion that those people are “separate” and “special”. The real problem she identified is that environments are not built to be inclusive enough to all people. In fact the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 resulted in a cultural shift whereby those responsible for the built environment sought out just what is the least that needed to be done to be compliant, undermining the spirit of the law entirely. In actuality, using the principles of Universal Design, no disabled individuals need accommodation. If everything is designed to account for the challenges of those that are in a wheelchair, blind, hearing impaired, or otherwise disabled, then no special accommodations would need to be made. Accommodations are made for individuals to fit into a poorly designed system. It is expensive and requires many special inputs to make these fixes. Creating environments that are inclusive will repair existing limitations and provide equality for everyone. (The attendees from Disability Services mentioned that they are constantly working to put themselves out of a job!) If you are interested in the topic, I encourage you to review her powerpoint, and I’ll be happy to discuss it further with you. It was an enlightening day.



Steve at North Carolina Serials Conference 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016 12:35 pm

On March 21st, Chris and I got up really early (can’t say “bright and early” because it was before sunrise) and went to Chapel Hill for the 25th North Carolina Serials Conference. While there were a number of interesting sessions (including one on using the free tool OpenRefine to manipulate metadata), I’m going to focus on just one session, which I think might be of the most general interest to everyone in the library, because it doesn’t just focus on serials or metadata. The session, presented by Megan Kilb and Matt Jansen of UNC-Chapel Hill, was called “Visualizing Collections Data: Why Pie Charts Aren’t Always the Answer,” and it offered tips and advice on how to present data.

The presentation grew out of their need to evaluate the TRLN consortial deal on Springer e-resources. They found that pie charts aren’t always (actually are almost never) the best way to present data, which matches research that has shown pie charts to be sub-optimal for human comprehension. Pie charts get confusing if they have more than 4 or 5 categories, they treat everything as a proportion, they make readers have to compare areas/angles, and the values are only available via labels.

Research into the accuracy of human interpretation of graphical data is on a continuum. The most intelligible graphical data from most accurate to least accurate is:

  1. Position
  2. Length
  3. Angle/Slope
  4. Area
  5. Volume
  6. Color/Density

With this info in mind, alternatives to the pie chart might be the bar chart (because length is easier to perceive), or a simple table (if you have only a few values to consider). Regarding other graphical representations of data, if you have a graph, be aware that backgrounds, particularly lines, can be distracting. Lines and other detail can make it hard to read values of dots on the lines. Stacked charts (charts with multiple jagged lines, each representing different values) can also be problematic, because there may be confusion over what the overall height of columns mean. They require the user to do visual math, which is difficult. Alternatives to this might be to make lines next to each other (rather than on top of each other), or represent each line as a slope, which emphasizes different rates of change.

In addition to attending the conference, I also represented NASIG (as Past President) at our sponsor table, giving out literature and talking up the organization.

Steve, Jeff, and Amanda at LAUNC-CH

Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:27 pm

On Friday, March 18th, Amanda, Jeff, and Steve visited Chapel Hill to attend the LAUNC-CH Conference. This is an annual conference put on by the librarians at UNC-Chapel Hill and features breakout sessions on a variety of topics related to all aspects of academic librarianship.

Keynote Address: Makerspaces in Libraries (Amanda)

The Keynote Address was delivered by Peter Wardrip, a learning scientist from the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, who spoke to us about makerspaces. Wardrip led an upcoming project to create a framework for supporting learning in makerspaces, and he gave us a sneak peak of that framework:

  • Purpose – refers to determining makerspace goals. Who is the audience? What does success look like? In terms of success, Wardrip emphasized quality of experience over number of people served.
  • People – Wardrip argued that makerspaces need to be more than just putting a tool on a table to be successful. He highlighted the need to have dedicated people in the makerspace, preferably people with pedagogical experience. Even though people are expensive, the value in a makerspace comes from the teaching/mentorship.
  • Pieces and Parts – refer to being intentional about tools and materials. Wardrip argued that too many people rush out and buy a 3D printer when it doesn’t fit in with their program’s goals.

Wardrip also gave examples of how different makerspaces are measuring learning/value. An example of this being done well is the Tinkering Studio, which measures on five different dimensions of learning, which can be observed/reported on in the makerspace.

Map-a-thons, Edit-a-thons, and Transcribe-a-thons at UNC (Amanda)

Many of us are likely familiar with Wikipedia edit-a-thons, but GIS map-a-thons and special collections transcribe-a-thons were completely new to me. All of these initiatives work to get students and other library patrons involved in open knowledge creation. The map-a-thon used OpenSteetMaps to create openly available maps of parts of the world where no accurate maps currently exist. The transcribe-a-thon transcribing hand-written documents from the special collections for accessibility. Both of these projects were creative and unique. Personally, I was very excited to hear about UNC’s experience putting on an edit-a-thon through Wikipedia. I’m planning to have my students edit Wikipedia later this semester, so it was great to meet the librarians involved afterwards to get some first-hand accounts of their experiences.

Book + Art = Snowball (Jeff)

This is a topic I knew absolutely nothing about, i.e. the best kind of topic. Artists’ books are works of art that take the form of books. Josh Hockensmith from UNC-Chapel Hill talked about his library and Duke’s joint 2010 effort to stage exhibitions of artists’ books from their collections in a series called “Book + Art.” The benefits of partnership on a project like this range from expanded audience to shared cost/labor to greater diversity of expertise. An unplanned outcome of the events was the organic development of a local community centered around common interest the book arts, which eventually came to be known as Triangle Book Arts (TBA). This group in turn increased awareness of the artists’ books held by both UNC and Duke’s Special Collections departments: a win on all sides. And yes, we have some fascinating artists’ books of our own, right here at ZSR.

Archiving for Artists: Outreach and Empowerment (Jeff)

Elizabeth Grab, a graduate student from UNC-Chapel hill, presented on a day-long workshop called Archiving for Artists, which gathered area artists in an effort to empower them to develop best practices for archiving the products of their studio activities. Attendees were instructed in the fundamentals of digitization, organization, storage, etc. The hope of the organizers was that the workshop might serve as a model for similar workshops to be held around the country in a larger effort to encourage artists to document their work and their careers.

Libraries Unbounded: Partnering With Carolina ADMIRES to Expose High School Students to Scientific Research in a Library Setting (Steve)

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Amy Oldenburg and Therese Triumph, a physics professor and a science librarian, respectively, discussed their involvement in a grant funded program to get 8th and 9th grade students involved in the STEM disciplines, particularly encouraging gender and racial diversity. The program began last year with 20 students, who participated in two hour sessions twice a month for a semester. The students were put into pairs and matched with a mentor from the science departments or medical school at UNC. Each mentor was trained in working with high school age kids. About half the time of the sessions was spent in the lab, which had to be set up to be safe for high school age children. The students developed a research project, ending with a capstone research presentation. The students had to be taught the fundamentals of information literacy, because their initial impulse was to rely on Google and Wikipedia for their research, and they didn’t evaluate the credibility of their sources. One important lesson learned by the programmers was that some of the students did not have access to home computers and had to rely on their smart phones for research and staying in email contact with their mentors. The programming for the second year is taking this into account.

Programming on The Edge (Amanda)

This session informed us about the many new outreach activities taking place at Duke’s recently re-designed space called “The Edge.” No, not that Edge. This Edge. Most interesting to me was the Long Night Against Procrastination — an outreach event that has been successfully done at several other academic libraries. The LNAP takes place during finals week, late at night, much like our Wake the Library event. Library staff were there to provide snacks, games, and other activities related to campus wellness. Duke’s unique take on this was to partner with other academic support staff, like the tutors from the writing center. Writing consultations with three different tutors were booked solid for the four hours they were offered. This sounded like an excellent collaboration and perhaps an opportunity for us to explore in the future.

Researching Reynolda: Teaming up with a Campus Institution to Teach Students Research (Jeff)

Our own Amanda Foster presented on her experience with a project in which she instructed her students to choose some aspect of Reynolda House to research for her LIB100 class, using the house and museum, essentially, as their primary sources. Unforeseen difficulties arose when students chose the very worthy topic of the lives of African-American domestic workers at Reynolda House. The archival record, and Reynolda House’s public persona (can a house have a persona?), were disappointingly quiet on the topic. In the end Amanda was able to use this as a teaching moment; both for herself and for her students. I’ll limit my praise here, but Amanda really gave one of the more interesting conference presentations I’ve seen in awhile, making great use of visuals from Reynolda House’s rich history and a compelling narrative structure. And for the record, she went out of her way to praise Reynolda House and its excellent staff. She did ZSR and Wake Forest proud.

2008 North Carolina Serials Conference
2008 ONIX for Serials Webinar
2008 Open Access Day
2008 SPARC Digital Repositories
2008 Tri-IT Meeting
2009 Big Read
2009 code4lib
2009 Educause
2009 Handheld Librarian
2009 LAUNC-CH Conference
2009 LAUNCH-CH Research Forum
2009 NCLA Biennial Conference
2009 NISOForum
2009 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2009 RBMS Charlottesville
2009 SCLA
2010 ATLA
2010 Code4Lib
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