Libraries and Librarians, Agents of Change: Moving Forward

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Image credit: staticflickr.com

Admittedly, I wanted to write about something else, but it was a mere distraction from what was and is weighing like a ten ton brick on my heart. As such, I felt pulled as if magnetically, towards writing about libraries and the increasingly important role they have, particularly in terms of having unbiased, open-arms for all the diverse individuals and populations they serve. We are the one place that our users and patrons know they are accepted and safe, and can use our openly available resources without judgment, bias, and censorship. Furthermore, through our libraries and library work, we can continue to fight the good, strong fight against hatred and oppression that exist in our society and work towards greater acceptance, equality, and growth (including healing) for all people not just the group(s) we connect to in our own lives. I wish us all the strength, courage, and willingness to continue to serve in our important roles and hold a places for our patrons, customers and users, especially in the aftermath of the election results.

I was incredibly fortuitous last week because without any consideration to Election Day, I scheduled a day of seated chair massages along with coloring activities and a therapy dog visit the Thursday following it. The only thing that could have improved the experience would have been if everything had been scheduled for last Wednesday instead.  Ah well, hindsight is perfect, isn’t it? These events shifted the energy in the library and provided support and healing for many during such a challenging time. It was also a great opportunity for students, staff and faculty to connect and share positive stories and just be there for one another energetically. Sometimes it just takes someone holding our space to get us through the moment(s).

Many of us are grieving, hurting, and angry or experiencing a myriad of other emotions, and it is important that we take care of ourselves during these times. A loss has occurred for a large group of us. After we have dealt with our own, very personal self-care, it is imperative that we keep moving forward and participate in progressive action to support those we serve while continuing to effectuate change. What are some ways that you or your library are working towards regrouping, empowering and bringing your community together? Please share here.

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Global Literature in Libraries Initiative

Global Literature in Libraries InitiativeThe #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign isn’t just for school libraries or public libraries. Community college, college, and university libraries also need diverse books. When I attended the National Diversity in Libraries Conference, I attended a great lightning round program, Academic Libraries Spearheading Diversity and Cultural Initiatives on University Campuses. In that program, the University of Cincinnati Libraries discussed their Reading Around the World book club.

What is your community college or community college library doing to highlight materials from other parts of the world? Do you have a collection of translated works from your international students’ home countries? Do you have a book club focusing on books from around the globe? How do you learn about books from other countries?

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI), newly founded by Rachel Hildebrandt, works to raise awareness of world literature:

…for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. We intend to do so by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators, librarians, publishers, editors, and educators, because we believe that these groups in collaboration are uniquely positioned to help libraries provide support and events to engage readers of all ages in a library framework that explores and celebrates literature from around the world.

We want to increase the visibility of international works in English translation so that more readers can enjoy the amazing diversity in these books and the perspectives they present. And we would like to do this by increasing cooperation between literary translators, international literature advocates, and librarians, who are already experts at guiding readers to new titles. Whether you are a children’s librarian or a YA blogger, a rural library director or a teacher at a large urban school with a diverse student population, we would welcome your insights as we explore collaborative opportunities to encourage readers to explore beyond the boundaries of their own culture and language.

Goals & Projects:

  • Book lists and guides tied to major translation awards and library themes

  • Programming ideas for various library user groups: children, teens, college students, adults, English Language Learners, etc.

  • ALA conference involvement: workshops and sessions, networking through various ALA units and offices to explore the best ways to provide information and services to librarians

  • Joint webinars with various ALA offices

  • Publisher and journal lists organized by vendors/distributors to help librarians more easily acquire books in translation

  • Advocacy on behalf of small publishers to increase their visibility on the review platforms that librarians commonly use for their acquisitions decisions

  • General education efforts to help librarians understand more thoroughly the value of translated literature and of contemporary foreign-language literature

  • Pan-publisher catalogs crafted specifically for librarian users, as a form of “one-stop” shopping to learn about new works coming out in translation

  • Exploration of ways in which non-US publishers of English translations and non-US, non-English-language publishers can more easily promote their works among libraries (Global Literature in Libraries, “About,” 2016)

If you would like to get involved with GLLI, please contact Rachel Hildebrandt at rehildebrandt@gmail.com. GLLI also have a Facebook group, which you can find here.

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Inclusive Learning Resources: GADP & TILE

In the last post on the CJCLS blog, “Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography,” I mentioned that several of us in the ACRL Instruction Section Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee attended the National Diversity in Libraries Conference that was held at UCLA this August. During the conference, I sat it on a session related to instruction called “Educating the Educators: Proactive Approaches to the Inclusive Classroom,” which introduced me to two new resources for developing a more inclusive learning environment, the Global Awareness Dialogue Project (GADP) and the Toolkit for Inclusive Learning Environments (TILE).

This session was comprised of two individual presentations. The first presentation was given by Paula M. Smith, Reference Librarian, from Penn State Abington and focused on the Global Awareness Dialogue Project (GADP). GADP is a faculty development program that engages faculty in the exchange of ideas about contemporary global issues in education, with an emphasis on non-Western educational systems. The sessions are three hours long and are open to 20 or so faculty members who register for the program.

After Smith introduced the session, we were asked to complete The Numbers Exercise, which was developed by Roxanna Senyshyn and Marianne Brandt. Essentially, it’s a list of simple math problems, but the directions indicate that subtract means to multiply; divide means to add; add means to divide; and multiply means to subtract. So 12 x 2 really means 12-2. After a few minutes, Smith asked how we felt completing the worksheet. I said it was stressful. The idea behind this is that this is the sort of frustration international and immigrant students feel navigating American academic life.

Smith then discussed the types of GADP sessions they have had at the university. In one program, a panel of international and immigrant students were able to tell faculty members about some struggles they have had in the classroom. For example, a few students mentioned they were not familiar with cursive and were Googling the characters one by one. Some students also explained that they felt uncomfortable because many of their American classmates would leave exams early; these students said they were used to using the whole time allotted for an exam. There were also some challenges about what academic integrity means in the western context.

Another neat thing I jotted down that was a result of one of the GADP sessions was that faculty members who speak more than one language started putting little stickers (or signs) on their windows/doors that said, “My name is_____. I speak ________.”

The second presentation was given by Shannon Simpson, Librarian for Student Engagement and Information Fluency, from Johns Hopkins University. She helped develop the Toolkit for Inclusive Learning Environments (TILE), which is a toolkit of “best practices [and] a repository of specific examples that all faculty are welcome to replicate or re-use.”

Simpson shared a sample assignment that professors/librarians teaching information literacy, business, marketing, and communication could use. It’s a simple but effective assignment. “In 2014 a food and entertainment public relations firm called Strange Fruit was the subject of a media backlash. Ask the students to Google the term strange fruit to see why.” Students then answer these questions:

  • To what does the term refer?
  • Where did the term originate and who has used it since then?
  • What would you tell this firm if during the media firestorm they had come to you for advice?

During the session, we also did a pair-share in which we came up with groups or people we could partner with to share about TILE, such as a diversity committee, student life/affinity groups, teaching and learning groups, university departments, human resources, provost/president’s office, and other relevant people or groups.

How is your community or junior college library—or institution at large—working to build and develop more inclusive learning environments and teaching practices? Do you think your institution would benefit from using or adapting these resources?

(Examples from the GADP session revised on Oct. 25th.)

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Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography

Now that it’s mid-October, many of us are in the thick of teaching research skills in the classroom and at our virtual and physical reference desks. How do you help create an inclusive learning environment? How do you learn about reaching diverse populations in your instruction?

In August of this year, several of us from the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Instruction Section committee on Instruction for Diverse Populations (ISDivPops) presented a poster at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC) at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), “Reading About Diversity: Developing and Reflecting on Inclusive Instructional Resources.” The poster outlined the work we did in the 2015/2016 academic year, which consisted of updating the Instruction for Diverse Populations bibliography.

Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography Poster

The ISDivPops committee’s charge is “[t]o support instruction librarians in providing instructional services to diverse populations. The committee reviews, researches new content, updates, and promotes the ‘Multilingual Glossary’ and the ‘Library Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography’ bi-annually, focusing on one document per year” (“Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee”). The bibliography includes print and electronic resources key to development of effective methods and materials for providing library instruction and teaching information literacy competencies to diverse student groups.

In spring 2015, the committee moved the bibliography from a static PDF document to a Zotero bibliography that utilizes collaborative and dynamic features. In fall 2015 and spring 2016, the committee added new student populations, including veteran students, and also worked on adding tags and new content. The committee focused on adding resources written primarily within the last ten years that specifically describe teaching diverse groups within an academic library context. In 2016/2017, the committee will continue to update the bibliography and will also be updating the Multilingual Glossary.

If you come across an article, book, website, or another resource you think would be a good addition to the bibliography, do let us know in the comments. Ernesto Hernandez, Teaching and Learning Librarian at University of California Irvine, is the chair of the Instruction for Diverse Populations committee this academic year.

Stay tuned later this week for a resource not yet in the bibliography that I discovered while at the NDLC.

“Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee.” ACRL Instruction Section, www.acrl.ala.org/IS/is-committees-2/committees-task-forces/instruction-for-diverse-populations. Accessed 17 Oct. 2016.

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Shopping with Caution: Community College Reviews of Electronic Resources

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Regardless of your role(s) at your library, you’ve likely been the recipient of vendor emails that ask you to trial (& buy!) their product. With limited budgets and a plethora of program accreditations to consider, how do you know what your community REALLY needs? And, whether it’s worth the quoted price?

Great news! The Community College Library Consortium has a collection of reviews available on their website at http://www.cclibraries.org/reviews/. In just the past year, the CCL-EAR committee created comprehensive reviews of ProQuest SIPX, a Discovery Tools Comparison, JSTOR, CountryWatch, Lexis-Nexis Academic, & Mango Languages! Check them out!

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Nominations Now Being Accepted!

Award Announcment
The Community and Junior College Libraries Section (CJCLS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is excited to now be accepting nominations for the annual EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award and EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award!

Awards sponsored by EBSCO Information Services:  For both awards, a plaque to honor the winner’s achievements and $750 cash sponsored by EBSCO Information Services will be presented to the winner at a special ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 2017.

Submissions must be received by December 2, 2016.  Self-nominations are welcome!

For complete information about these awards, the application form and past winners, please visit:

The applicant for the Learning Resources Leadership Award should demonstrate achievement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Nominees for the leadership award should demonstrate significant achievement in advocacy of learning resources/library programs or services, or
  • Nominees for the leadership award should demonstrate leadership in professional organizations that are associated with the mission of community, junior, or technical colleges.

The applicant for the Learning Resources Program Award should demonstrate achievement in the following area:

  • Nominees for the program award should demonstrate significant achievement in development of a unique and innovative learning resources/library program.

Questions and nominations must be emailed to committee co-Chairs:   Abbie J. Basile, Tidewater Community College, abasile@tcc.edu or Sandy C. McCarthy, Washtenaw Community College, mccarthy@wccnet.edu.

 

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Keeping Up With Scholarship

Earlier this month, Nora Bird, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Library and Information Studies department in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, announced that she was the new editor of the Community & Junior College Libraries journal.

In her message to the CJCLS listserv, she wrote:

We are always looking for content. We publish research length articles, opinion pieces (1000-3000 words), book and electronic resource reviews, and there has been a column, ‘The Librarian Abroad’ documenting visits to international libraries. So, if you are traveling this summer and want to submit something that would be great.

Maybe you are working on a project to re-design your library space or a service and have done a literature review in preparation for it. Please do consider sharing it. (2016)

I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of this journal. What a great place to submit articles about all the great work being done at two-year college libraries.

This also got me thinking—what journals (or other information sources) do two-year librarians typically read to keep up with and learn from the library profession and/or higher education? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget–the CJCLS blog also has a Scholarship page devoted to literature written by two-year librarians. If you’ve published a peer-reviewed journal article, book, or book chapter in the last five years, contact Lindsay Davis at davis.lindsay.ann@gmail.com, so we can add it to our growing bibliography.

Bird, N. (2016, July 7). Announcing a New Editor of Community and Junior College Libraries [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from http://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/cjc-l/2016-07/msg00041.html

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From the CJCLS Listserv: Library Humor

ORIGINAL EMAIL:

I have an unusual question for the group. I am giving a humorous speech in Toastmasters and I need your help. I am looking for funny reference questions or incidents and encounters with the usual unusual patrons. For example, one student asked for information on flying buttock instead of flying buttress. For the unusual patron, a man known as The Whisper laid between the stacks and looked at feet. When he got bold, he whispered to the female students that he wanted to suck their toes! I think my audience would be amazed at the goings on in a library.

A lot of humor resulted from reference questions:

Who wrote Dante’s Inferno?

Is it safe to mix bleach and ammonia in my backyard just to see what happens?

Can I change my house address?

I need a video on Julius Caesar, but it has to have been filmed in that time period. It has to be a primary source.

Response from an appreciative patron after getting help: “thank you for doing my Googling for me, seriously.”

What is the definition of PMS?  Is it a new academic degree?  I see it being frequently used.

How tall was Jesus Christ? The answer needs to be from a thesaurus.

I need driving directions to the Louvre Museum in Paris from my house (in South Carolina).

Sometimes generational differences were humorous:

A teen patron asked for information on John Lemon, the Beatle. I almost hit my head against the wall.

A Millenial student worker asked me, “what was it like to grow up in the 1980s and 1990s? They had some fun music and good movies back then!”

I had a college student request some books on the “olden days.” Based on my age, I assumed she was looking for books on the turn of the century, say around 1900. After further questioning, she gave me her definition and it was the 1960s! I told her my heart was wounded. Those years were not the olden days to me, but the wonderful years of my youth!

Misinformation or misunderstandings during the reference interview resulted in some some chuckles:

A student repeated what she thought she heard when her instructor assigned a research topic. In this case, the student was a bit indignant when I could not immediately find what she needed, while I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.  She asked for information about black partners and cuckoo clocks when she needed information about the Black Panthers and the Klu Klux Klan.

A student requested books on hamsters. At the time, I worked in a college with a veterinary technician program, so I assumed she was in it and wanted academic titles.  When I asked her, she gave a childlike, playful expression. She said she wanted a book about having hamsters as pets because she had recently adopted one.

The student provided the correct title to a book, but my co-worker was confused. The student asked for The Little Prince, but my co-worker was trying to search for “little prints.”  She had a heck of time searching before the actual title dawned on her.

I had a student ask for books by Mark Avelli. When I asked how to spell the last name, he said he did not know. After talking a little bit more, I realized he meant Machiavelli. The poor guy was just repeating what he heard in history class!

A student asked if we had anything on air ducts, or at least that is what I thought he said. I took him to the books on HVAC, but he kept saying, “no, air ducts, air ducts!” I finally had him write what he wanted down on paper. It read, “adults.”

Many odd things also occurred in the library that the general public would not expect:

During my first year as a librarian, I was going through my normal closing routine one Thursday night. I heard voices from a dark classroom. I turned on the light to see a male and female in various stages of undress. I think I was more embarrassed then they were. I quickly turned off the light and told them we were closing in 15 minutes!

A patron showed up with an antique short sword. It was nice, shiny, and sharp with no scabbard. I looked at it and pointed out the key markings to study, then suggested he return with photographs we could use for further research since large, edged weapons were not allowed on campus!

A campus police sub-station was located in my library near its entrance, and a policeman parked his bicycle next to it then worked in the office. A patron attempted to quietly remove the bicycle from the library. When I shouted at the patron (it was a knee jerk response), the cop noticed and jumped out of the office to go after him!

A computer tower disappeared from the reference area and was never found. Perhaps it was smuggled away in a backpack?

We had a student return a book with toilet paper (clean) in it that he had used for a bookmark.

A student entered our library, looked around the stacks with books, and asked with total seriousness, “do you have books here?”

What were some humorous questions asked or occurrences that took place in your library? Share yours in the comments!

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From the CJCLS Listserv: Is OER a threat or opportunity to libraries?

OER

Image Source:  Wordle Tagcloud for OER course by Jonathan Feinberg, wordle.net (Public Domain).

ORIGINAL EMAIL:

Are Open Educational Resources (OER) a threat or opportunity to libraries? As librarians promote OER, faculty may wonder why should they have their students use our books, databases, or other resources. I understand, however, that we need to promote all types of resources and that we may be able to create collections and work with faculty on them.

Whether they open-access journals, open online courses, or curriculum materials, OER grows in number every year. Heather Morrison, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s École des sciences de l’information / School of Information Studies, shares her OER growth studies in a series of blogs called Dramatic Growth of Open Access.  Libraries are increasingly facilitating or adopting the use of OER on their campuses.

One use of OER is to replace textbooks which students are often unable to afford, and also to encourage the use of open textbooks:

Use College Open Textbooks for a good starting place to educate yourself.  Textbooks can also be found through Google by doing a search for only Creative Commons-licensed materials.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked with students who couldn’t buy books at the beginning of the semester because they didn’t have the money. By the time they could, the students were so behind they had no hope of passing the course. OER has a potentially significant role in helping engage and retain a significant number of students.

Some respondents found that OER provides opportunities as being curriculum resources used in parallel with library resources:

I’m regularly asked to locate OER for online courses to both supplement the textbook and also to work towards an open adoption model for courses. I recommend OER in combination with ebooks and databases provided by the library. The primary goal is to eliminate the need for an expensive textbook which can be a barrier to students.

I’ve had numerous content requests that were not available as OER, so I turn to library resources. The library doesn’t have the funds to buy the expensive textbooks for the collection in support of classes, so I continue to recommend library resources alongside OER.

In one case, OER was used when library resources were defunded:

I added OER in direct proportion to my inability to secure funding for existing proprietary databases. I was able to keep access to state-funded electronic resources, but lost some major databases.

A few respondents thought OER will add some points to consider for library instruction:

We traditionally promote popular, trade, and scholarly periodicals for academic purposes and show their contrasts, but only leave it at that. The information landscape, however, has changed! Now various information sources (streaming video, ebooks, etc.) are available. Librarians need to give information about evaluating resources; after all, many predatory publishers and sham journals are out there. In my view, that’s where librarians come in.

OER may also influence our roles in supporting students and faculty:

OER ties in our roles as information curators and supporting student and faculty. I also like to think of OER as an opportunity to re-invigorate or rethink pedagogy as different ideas are often sparked with the useful, interesting, and fun resources for faculty and students to discover.

Librarians should embrace OER the same as any other education resource. We can inform faculty about them and their potential to replace traditional textbooks. Many faculty based their teaching too heavily on traditional textbooks instead of effective pedagogy, so using OER will make them rethink their pedagogy. Librarians have always prided themselves on finding materials for our students and faculty, so OER may make a real treasure hunter out of us!

OER does have limitations, as one respondent shared:

Faculty would have a hard time putting together a bunch of journal articles to supplant a textbook while still meeting all of their course objectives and learning outcomes.

OER presents opportunities for librarians to engage with faculty in other ways:

A number of our faculty started using OER materials instead of textbooks in several online courses. It brought a good opportunity to explain the Creative Commons licensing process to them. Textbooks in for some technical subjects had a pretty tight lock on instructional materials!

The National Council for Learning Resources has sponsored OER programs in the last 3 annual conventions of the American Association of Community Colleges.  One college president stated in the Q & A session in this year’s panel discussion, “when beginning an OER project, involve the librarian!” This was music to my ears!

The idea that OERs are a threat to libraries plays into the idea that librarians are only book keepers and not information intermediaries.  Librarians are needed to organize, evaluate, and retrieve OER for our libraries’ unique populations.

Do you think OER is a threat or opportunity to libraries?  How is your library or college using OER?  Please share your comments!

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The role of tenure in higher education

Yesterday I read an interesting piece on the effects of the decline of tenure in higher education in America — it discussed that the reliance on contingent labor in education results in lower retention and grades, less coherence in the curriculum, and fewer people available to take on service work like committees and governance.  I imagine that the rate of contingent labor in 2-year education at most places is even higher than at 4-year schools.  It made me curious about how libraries are seeing this shift–do you have faculty status? Is there a move on your campus or even in your library to use more adjuncts? How do you think this affects student outcomes and institutional effectiveness?

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