Catching Up

I have a strong will power. If I commit to doing something in my life, I typically will continue doing it even when I’m not motivated or am frustrated. The flip side of this is that when I let my commitment to something wane I have difficulty starting again. That’s how I feel about this blog. I was really enjoying the experience and only had a few Thursday nights where I felt that I was struggling to write a post. I’d planned to take time off from the blog for the holidays, but not a whole extra month!

I’ve actually started this post before and stopped, but I’m pushing myself to get through it tonight in an attempt to get back to my regularly scheduled postings. I read quite a few blogs and I think they are a valuable and exciting way to share information and opinions. I hope that this semester I will be able to keep my commitment and track my first year as a librarian.

A lot of the faculty and staff here made jokes about being busy/crazy at the beginning of a semester and I think I underestimated how it would impact me! I got our new website mostly finished by the end of last year, and we got it live (with only a few hiccups!) on January 6th. I’ve yet to hear any complaints by students, faculty or staff so I’m happy with that project. My Dean and other full-time Librarian also both got involved creating pages and I was pleased that they showed so much enthusiasm for the project.

I was also working on a project to evaluate streaming video services, and the services we chose all became active at the end of last year. I’ve been slowly working on training myself and other people on how to use them. We have a more formal training session scheduled for later this month, and I need to create some training documents for that. I’ve also been doing some joint training with an Instructional Technologist that I work with. I found an article about a librarian doing an “Appy Hour” program, and we’ve started doing that here. There’s always been a monthly Tea & Technology training session that our Instructional Technologist leads, and 3 of the 6 scheduled for this semester are the “Appy Hour” theme. We did one a few weeks ago and had good turnout. We each showed 2 apps, she focused on more work related apps and I did some “fun” apps. Then we let attendees discuss apps they liked, and we projected them to the group. For our next session I’ll be covering the work apps and I’m going to discuss the EBSCOhost app and ArticleSearch. I might talk about the different e-reading apps available as well.

The most time consuming thing I worked on in January was re-designing the library instruction that’s a mandatory part of our ACA Basic Skills classes. I used Adobe’s Articulate software package to make online tutorials for our online students. I tried to make one long tutorial for them to complete but there were some technical issues and the head of the ACA program thought it might be confusing for her students. I broke down what I did into chunks and created a guide on our site to present the tutorials. It’s still being reviewed by the ACA instructors but I’m hoping to be done with the online part soon. For the in class sessions we traditionally have had the students come for two 45 minute sessions, or one combined 75 minute session. We used to do a library overview and scavenger hunt on the first day and a quick and dirty database session on the second day.

I changed these sessions so that the first session is called “Using Library Services” and the second is called “Doing Research”. I made the first day focus on what the library offers in person and online. The second day focuses on distinguishing between resource types, knowing where to find them, basic searching skills, and an overview of 2 popular databases. I’m going to use a method I found in the book “Humor and Information Literacy” called the Cephalonian Method.

I always try to bring humor into my instruction sessions because it helps the students feel more at ease and shows them that I’m human. I get more questions and follow up contact from students after particularly humorous sessions. Speaking of instruction sessions, I’ve been doing quite a few of them. I keep getting asked to do my Plagiarism & Citations workshop in classes. I’m also going to a local high school tomorrow to teach a class during 1st period and another during 2nd period about basic research skills. As of now, I’m scheduled to teach 21 classes in the 19 working days left this month! It’s been a little overwhelming but I like doing them.

The last thing I’ve been working on is some committees. I’m the Chair of a training committee for the catalog consortium we belong to for NC Community Colleges, which also makes me a member of the Steering Committee. I’m planning the first meeting of that committee for later this month. I was also asked to join the 2013 ALA Annual Conference Planning Committee for the ACRL’s Distance Learning Section, so I’m looking forward to getting more involved on a national level.

February looks to be one of the craziest months of my life. Beyond all the work stuff I’m moving into a new house at the end of the month! Thankfully I have a vacation to FL planned for early March to recover from this whirlwind month.

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