Library Summer Camp

I’m hoping that anyone who reads this had the chance to go to summer camp as a kid, and to actually enjoy the experience. There’s something magical about time away from home with people you see infrequently, doing different things, learning together, and getting very little sleep. When I was leaving ALA’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas I felt like I was leaving summer camp.

This feeling may have been heightened by the fact that I was staying with seven other librarians in two suites, but I think the communal aspect comes through even when you are staying solo. I can (and will) talk about the sessions, meetings, and learning but what I found most valuable this year was the time to be around other librarians having conversations ranging from personal to professional and back again. The eight of us that stayed together came from Florida, Ohio, Texas, California, Utah, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Some of us had met in person, or online, or not at all.

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Most of the suite at dinner

We spent a lot of time together in the evenings and in spare moments. I took something from all of them, and from the myriad other librarians with whom I interacted. The most important outcome of this conference for me was a rekindling of my passion for what I do. It’s never been lost, and I am more thankful each day for the work I do, but I’ve had a rough year personally. I separated from my partner of 11 ½ years, and there were times when it felt impossible to focus on work. I am healing, growing, and changing from the experience and ALA felt like a confirmation that I’m ready and able to throw myself fully into librarianship again.

That being said, the rest of my conference was good although not as rich for learning from sessions as other conferences I’ve attended. This was primarily due to the things I had to do for committees and work projects that took away from the time I could spend in sessions, coupled with a frustrating experience traveling to/from events. My first big/important event was Saturday morning, when I moderated the ACRL DLS/ULS panel “Leading From the Side: On, Off, and Within Your Campus”. It’s interesting to be on the other side of the podium at ALA!

Doing my moderation thing!

Doing my moderation thing!

The room looked massive, and we had around 180 attendees. I got there early to make sure we were set up and that our speakers were comfortable. The session went well from what I could tell. I had to modify some of the language written on our outline to make the session flow better, but it was a good way to stay fully engaged while the panelists were speaking. As a side bonus, the information they imparted was useful! I got to catch up with some friendly faces and meet some new people after the session, and I felt a big weight lift off after we successfully implemented the panel session.

On Saturday I also attended the inaugural Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) board meeting. I went to a meeting for SustainRT at ALA in Chicago and agreed to be their webmaster, a role that I am still committed to. I’m also the unofficial social media person. The meeting was fantastic, there was a lot of energy in the room and I think we made some great decisions about how to move forward. If you have any interest in sustainability in libraries (environmental, collections, architecture, outreach, instruction, really anything!) it’s a great group to join.

After that I attended a session on training from the Learning Round Table that was interesting but not applicable to what I’m doing, however it did pique my interest in that RT. After a “quick” trip back to the hotel, several of my suitemates and I attended the joint ULS/DLS social. It was good to see more familiar faces that I met in Chicago and meet some new librarians. After that most of our suite went to see the V variety show and spent some time taking in the ridiculous Strip.

Sunday morning I met a colleague at the Springshare booth where we spent about 90 minutes talking through our LibGuides V2 migration that happened yesterday! He and I are leading the effort to migrate and hopefully revamp our guides. I spent a good bit of time in and out of the exhibits area this year and I thought it was very well done. I also held out for the best swag!

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After my meeting I caught the Sunday Ignite sessions and got to see a friend from NC do a presentation. I enjoyed every single one and took some short but good notes on marketing and design. I attended the SustainRT lightning rounds in the early afternoon. It was great to see the cool sustainability work going on in libraries around the country. I hope SustainRT can continue to hold the lightning round sessions at future conferences. It’s a great format for sharing.

After the lightning rounds I made my way to the Starbucks to meet my Hyperlinked Library MOOC instructor Michael Stephens in person. I ran into my panel co-chair John Jackson in line and the three of us had a great conversation.

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That evening I attended the LearnRT social at the LVH pool with some of my suitemates and a UCF colleague/friend. We met librarians from around the US and Canada, and enjoyed our time by the pool. After that we had dinner in the LVH and then spent a bit of time on the Strip before returning to the hotel. We all had early Monday meetings!

Monday morning we spent the hour getting to the Convention Center and then several of us attended the meeting for the ACRL Innovations Committee that is working on several events/opportunities/things for the 2015 conference in Portland. It was a busy 90 minutes but we got a lot accomplished. I like being able to meet with my committee members in person, it makes it easier to communicate virtually after you have a chance to get to know people. In the afternoon six of us drove out to the desert to hike Mary Jane Falls in the Mt. Charleston area.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Even the hike was educational! At some point during the 3 mile round trip I paired off with each person for a while and had discussions about programs, instruction, imposter syndrome, career development, publishing and research (among more personal topics!). That night I attended a burlesque show with some colleagues. Tuesday morning was time to say goodbye. My flight was at noon and I was blessed to have one of my suitemates on the same first leg of the flight! We didn’t plan it and figured it out once we were in Vegas. I love when life works out that way.

If you’re still with me or TL;DR: great trip!

Scenes from the trip

Scenes from the trip

The Start of a New Year

I enjoy starting off a year of blogging with a look back at the year. This blog had 1462 views in 2013 (compared to 429 in 2012), a number which I attribute to increased networking and the book reviews I’ve posted. In 2013 I wrote 28 posts here, just over one every two weeks. I had wished for closer to weekly posts, and I know that a contributing factor to the low numbers was the MOOC I completed in December. I posted 13 times to that blog, and often didn’t have the time or energy to blog here. I also started blogging for Collaborative Librarianship News, and posted 10 posts there. This brings my yearly library related blogging total to 51 posts!

My 2013 as a librarian started with me working as the Reference/Instruction Librarian for Cleveland Community College in Shelby, NC and finished with me working as a Regional Campus Librarian for the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. This was my first career transition within librarianship, and it’s been a challenging and rewarding change. The skills I developed in NC translated well to my new position, and I found that learning the campus culture was a more significant transition than any library related job functions.

I attended my first ALA Annual Conference in 2013. I was fortunate to have made some great library friends in North Carolina that helped me make new connections with librarians from across the country. I ran my first 5k while at ALA, and this sparked a new passion for running that has been personally fulfilling. I am attending ALA Annual in Las Vegas this summer, and will be moderating the panel discussion that my committee put together.

I started the year serving on one ACRL committee, and co-chairing the same committee for the current year. I was heavily involved in some NC specific library organizations, and haven’t yet made the connections in Florida to do the same types of work locally. I’m now serving on another ACRL committee, am the webmaster for the new ALA Sustainability Round Table, and am on the ballot for ACRL’s Distance Learning Section Secretary. I’m excited to continue my work with these organizations in the next year.

I spent my first semester at UCF learning about my campus/library system, getting to know faculty, making my face known to students, and getting into a routine with my colleagues at the reference desk. I had my name in print for the first time, as my ALA session write-up appeared in C&RL News. I also started my first research project, and have been asked to work with a colleague on another. I am hopeful that one or both of these experiences will lead to the opportunity to publish.

I participated in two MOOCs this year: the Atlas of New Librarianship and the Hyperlinked Libraries. The first was short and contained too much information to process successfully in the amount of time I had to devote to the course. The second was incredibly rewarding and enriching. It helped me experience my job in a new way, and energized me to make positive changes in the future. I look forward to more large scale learning opportunities like this in 2014.

I wrote my professional mission statement and shared that with my colleagues here and worldwide on this blog. This mission statement is a wonderful foundation for setting future goals. In the next year of my life as a librarian I would like to:

1. Make connections with Florida librarians outside UCF and my partner institution
2. Begin working on my promotion package
3. Strengthen my relationships with the faculty on my campus (which will hopefully lead to more opportunities to teach)
4. Continue my work on the national level, and potentially work on another committee.
5. Read at least 10 books that are work related (I read 5 in 2013).

Thanks to all of you who read my blog in 2014, and I look forward to another year of blogging for myself and for my readers!

Throwing Balls in the Air

The title of this post “Throwing Balls in the Air” popped in to my head earlier this week after I got an email confirming that I’m officially running for the office of secretary/archivist for the Distance Learning Section of ACRL. This email came in shortly after another email letting me know that I was selected to serve on the editorial board of the “Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning”. I am extremely excited about serving on the editorial board, and am looking forward to being more involved with ACRL. I also feel a little bit like I keep throwing balls in the air and don’t feel that confident in my juggling skills!

In addition to those new things I am getting started as the webmaster/head of the web committee for ALA’s new Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT), and am working through a Drupal training course. I’m also still working as the co-chair of the ALA Annual Conference Program Planning Committee for ACRL DLS, and haven’t started my work yet on the ACRL National Conference Innovations Committee. I think I’m officially done joining committees and being involved on a national basis, although I’d like to get more involved with the Florida Library Association. I was recently approached by two of my fellow UCF Librarians to work with them on submitting a proposal for a panel discussion at the Florida Library Association’s 2014 Conference. We submitted the proposal yesterday and I’m very energized by the topic we selected. I don’t want to say too much because we won’t know if we get selected until November, but I’m hoping it works out!

It’s been harder than I expected to transition from my former position to this one. When I started at Cleveland I was filling a long vacated position and had an immediate set of responsibilities to perform. Here I am in a newly created position. Before I came this campus had a UCF Librarian come once a week and faculty/students didn’t really rely on the services of a UCF Librarian. When I evaluate my time here thus far based on what I did at Cleveland I feel inadequate, but when I evaluate in the context of my role here at this institution I feel much more confident. I have been teaching some short overview library sessions in several classes over the last two weeks and really enjoy being back in the classroom. I’ve also had conversations with at least half of the faculty on this campus and my interactions have been positive.

I don’t like to admit that I’m having moments where I feel frustrated or inadequate, but I think it’s just a part of making the change to a new library and a new role. I have been looking forward to the beginning of the semester because I knew it would get me out of introspection mode and more into action mode. UCF classes started last Monday, and Valencia classes started this Monday so the library has been packed this week. Unfortunately, I spent last week battling an upper respiratory infection and had to miss two days. I had to reschedule one library session and missed meeting some faculty, but I made up for it this week. This post feels very stream of consciousness for me and has been helpful for reflection and processing, I hope someone out there finds value in it as well!

ALA Chicago 2013 Recap

The intention of this blog was to track my development as a librarian, and it wouldn’t be complete without a recap of my first American Library Association Annual Conference! I arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and got off the train in the Loop amidst hordes of Chicago Blackhawks fans. It was a fun way to arrive in Chicago, even if it made navigating my suitcase through the streets a bit more challenging! I stayed at the University Center, a dorm that rents out empty rooms in the summer to travelers and conference attendees. Beth Filar-Williams, a librarian I knew from NC, asked me to share a suite with her and two other librarians. It was cheap, in a good location, and staying with 3 other librarians was an excellent way to get immersed in the world of ALA.

I didn’t go to McCormick on Friday because I knew I had a social near my hotel in the early evening, and I wasn’t sure about the shuttle schedule with the Blackhawks parade. The first ALA event I attended was the excellent ACRL Instruction Section Soiree at the Columbia College Chicago Library. I met some phenomenal librarians, and a picture of some of us made it into American Libraries! It was a good introduction to the whole experience. I got to get my feet wet networking with librarians of very similar interests, see old friends, and hopefully make connections that will be enduring. A few months ago I wrote a post on my 5 library blog heroes, and one of them (Char Booth) was there, so I dorkily introduced myself. I had a nice conversation with her and was glad that I put myself out there.

Saturday I woke up early (time change + excitement) and got on the first shuttle to McCormick at 7AM. I happened to get on and spot an empty seat next to my boss and we had a nice chat on our way over to the convention center. When I got there it was too early to get my badge so I had breakfast and got myself ready for the day. I registered and picked up my 5K packet and then went to see Jaron Lanier speak. His talk was about the effect of network technologies on our lives, and followed an almost stream of consciousness style thread through different topics. One of his messages was that globalization doesn’t mean a loss of individualization and that there doesn’t have to be one way of doing things. Our networked society has flattened the world, but we should work to make sure that people still have access to multiple sources and forms information.

My first trip to the exhibits area was kind of overwhelming. I stumbled directly into the author signing area which was completely mobbed. The biggest reason why I came to ALA this year was because I helped plan a program with ACRL’s Distance Learning Section, and that program was held on Saturday at 10:30AM. Our session was a panel discussion with three librarians doing work in online instruction titled “Is it worth it?: Assessing online instruction”. Two of the panelists are now my co-workers at UCF, but I had no affiliation with them when we started planning the session. I arrived early to help hand out cards and flyers with a link to more information for the audience. The seats were already half full when I arrived and by the time we started we had a full room. We counted 310 people in attendance! The session went well and I thought our format was unique in that the panelists took turns answering questions rather than each presenting their own slides one at a time. I was furiously taking notes for my conference report for C&RL News (which I just finished editing!). After the session several people stayed to ask questions, so I deem it a success. Five of us from the conference planning committee went to lunch after to celebrate a job well done, and it was good to catch up and to meet some of them face to face for the first time.

I definitely spent a lot of time stalking name badges to look for people I knew only online beforehand. It’s nice to make the face to face connection. Saturday afternoon I attended a session on mobile websites that was interesting but not inspiring. After that session I made my way back to the Loop area to get ready for the ULS/CLS social at the Plymouth Grill. I had a good time at this social, and it was also really nicely put together. I got to meet several librarians I knew online or from papers/presentations and also to meet some other DLS section members. A few of us went to Native Foods Café after – I highly recommend this place to any vegans/vegetarians/veggie lovers!

Sunday morning was the most anxiety provoking part of my whole experience, I had to get up at 5:30AM to get ready for the Think Fit 5k Fun Run & Walk. I caught the first shuttle at 6AM and commiserated in misery with the other brave souls who made the decision to run so early! The race started right by McCormick and ran along Lake Michigan. It was my first 5K and I wish I had been better rested, but I still smashed my goal of under 30 minutes and finished in 27:39. I came in 28th overall and was really happy with my performance. Looking back on the trip, I think this was one of the most special parts of my whole ALA experience and I’m incredibly glad that I did it.

I managed to go back to the dorm, shower, change and get back to McCormick around 9:15. There seemed to be a lot of good sessions/breakfasts on Sunday morning and I wish I could have participated in them. I spent more time at the exhibits and did my only swag run. I got some good books (like the new Laura Lippman!!!) and mailed them back to myself. I think it’s so great that they have a post office set up in the hall. I had a meeting at 10 with the members of the committee I’m co-chairing for DLS to plan a session for the 2014 Annual conference. The meeting was short but productive.

After that I checked out the first half of Giada De Laurentiis. She was phenomenal! She was warm, open, funny and engaging. I tweeted her a thank you during the session and got a response back later in the day. I know that I could have done something more library related but I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the celebrities that made time for ALA. After that I attended part of an Ignite Session. I wish they would have done a better job planning space for the programs/sessions. Almost all the sessions I attended were standing room only and it made it hard to fully engage with the material. I attended that session to hear the presentation on Fair Use  and it was very interesting. I think it’s so important to incorporate academic integrity and discussions of how information is used outside of academia into our instruction and conversations with students and faculty.

In the afternoon I went to the RUSA MARS session titled “Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference”. I think usability testing is incredibly important and useful, and I was glad to see a session on it that focused more on the role of public services rather than just on website/interface design. The speakers did a good job of discussing how the results of their research could inform instruction/design/reference work. The University of Chicago talked about how they’re putting altmetrics information directly in the catalog results to help students identify valuable resources. This session definitely gave me some ideas and inspiration for how to teach students about identifying resources and doing discipline specific research.

After that I attended another good session called 40 Great Apps for Mobile Reference & Outreach from the San Francisco Public Library. It was fun to attend a session not geared toward academic librarians, and the session was very well presented and designed.

In the late afternoon I attended the Executive Committee meeting for DLS. It was my first introduction into the behind the scenes work that happens at conferences and I learned a lot by attending. I also had to give an overview of what my committee is doing, and although I wasn’t aware of that before I walked in the room, I think I did a good job. I enjoy doing committee work and being involved in leadership, and I hope to become more involved in the future.

After that meeting I walked over to Fado with Beth for the LITA Happy Hour. I am not a LITA member but after seeing who attended, I think it might be worth joining! I read a lot of library blogs and saw so many big time bloggers and “rockstar” librarians there. I got to meet another one of my heroes, Lauren Pressley ! She was so nice and welcoming. I had a great time there and also afterward hanging out in the dorm with my roomies.

Monday morning I started out at an interest meeting for the new Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) that was recently approved by ALA. I am beyond excited to start working with this group! Taken directly from the program description, “SustainRT invites the exchange of ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society. The mission of the organization is to provide resources for the library community to support sustainability through curriculum development; collections; exhibits; events; advocacy, communication, library buildings and space design.”

The majority of people in attendance wanted to focus on the environmental aspects of the mission, however, I think I can make a huge impact by helping out with the health aspect. I have so many ideas for how to incorporate healthfulness into the conference experience and I think this will be a way for me to bridge my passion for health/wellness with my passion for libraries. I volunteered to be the webmaster for the organization since I don’t get to do much web stuff in my new role at UCF.

After that session I saw some of Oliver Stone but got discouraged by the discussion because it seemed to focus mostly on what’s broken and less on how it can be fixed. I am still looking forward to watching his new documentary because I feel like my grasp on American history is limited and could use some improvement. I left early so I could check out my friend Katy Kavanagh’s poster session on universal design in STEM tutorials. It was excellent and I’m so glad to know someone who is doing great work. I checked out the other posters there (it was hosted by the ACRL Science & Technology Section) and tried to take what I could from them since I don’t currently work with STEM programs but will in the future.

I ended my official ALA experience with a lunch hosted by the American Psychological Association. I was worried it would be a sales pitch, but the presentation was very informative and taught me some things about the APA databases that I didn’t know. Also, they have something called ADEPT (APA Databases & Electronic Products Training Institute) that has CC licensed training materials that librarians can use online or in presentations.

One of the tips I read in multiple ALA prep guides was to spend some time enjoying the city in which the conference is hosted. In that spirit, I took a long walk through the streets of Chicago on Monday afternoon. I started from my hotel and walked over to Lake Michigan. As I made my way across the Chicago River I encountered the Bean and the Picasso sculpture. I stopped for a drink by the river and then took the train to the Little Goat Diner. I’m a huge Top Chef fan and wanted to go to one of Stephanie Izard’s restaurants while I was in town. The restaurant was adorable, played awesome music, had a vegan menu and the fried pickle sandwich I had was incredible. After that I walked to the Chicago French Market mostly to browse and then took the train back to my hotel to pack and process.

I used a pedometer for the time I was there, and I walked/ran a total of 31 miles in the 5 days of my ALA experience. It was an amazing trip and I’m looking forward to more in the future!

Sights New Friends Eats Conference

Navigating the World of Scholarly Communication

One of the biggest changes that resulted from my new position is the move from a 2 year institution to an institution that offers graduate degrees. I have the chance to work with students with a huge range of information needs and to work with faculty who may be deeply involved in their own research and writing endeavors. It’s slow this summer and I’ve only met one faculty member, who I believe is currently an adjunct and therefore not working on tenure, but I may have faculty members working on their own tenure in the future. I knew that one area I needed to learn more about when I came here was scholarly communication.

I was lucky at Cleveland to work with a few amazing professors who were working on their own research, and one in particular who was very concerned with getting his students to learn how scholars communicate through their work and through other avenues. This helped prime me for the work I’m getting a chance to do here. My first week at UCF I had the (amazing) opportunity to meet with many of my new colleagues in their spaces. I kept noticing this giant, full color poster scattered around various offices. UCF has a Scholarly Communication Department, and one of their most visible projects is the (ongoing) development of the Research Lifecycle at UCF. The Research Lifecycle is “a unified model of campus-wide support and services available to UCF researchers.” I love it because it includes the library at multiple points throughout the process, and helps people new to the process to become familiar with both the steps one takes and the support available when working on research. Two of our librarians are presenting a poster session on it at ALA on Sunday afternoon called “Connecting the Dots: Defining Scholarly Services in a Research Lifecycle Model” if you’re attending!
Shortly after I started, I got an email announcing a Scholarly Communication training being held at UCF and I quickly RSVP’d to the two day session. The training was facilitated by Stephanie Davis-Kahl from Illinois Wesleyan University  . The slides she used throughout her presentation are part of the “Scholarly Communications Roadshow” developed by ACRL. The presentation was lecture heavy in the beginning, but completely packed full of helpful resources and examples. UCF invited the librarians from nearby Rollins College to attend, and it was interesting to hear their perspective since they are so vastly different from UCF (small, private, etc.). Later in the first day and the second day had more opportunities for small group and large group discussions on various topics. Personally I thought it was extremely helpful and useful for me to sort out what I knew and figure out where I need to improve my knowledge.
I was aware of the need for scholars to prove the value of the medium where they publish, but unfamiliar with the resources used to determine this value. The discussions on altmetrics being developed to argue the value of a scholarly work was fascinating. I think that this is an area where librarians can help our faculty and graduate students, but also help facilitate conversations on the changing research landscape. I read a post by Lauren Pressley yesterday on blogging vs. peer reviewed publishing that really drives this point home.
Another big takeaway was something academic librarians can always be reminded of: always approach faculty with how things benefit them. That’s easy to do with discussions on peer review, journal vetting, and altmetrics. Another way we can do that is by helping them understand their copyright rights as authors. The training included a wonderful exercise where we read contracts from different journals and discussed how restrictive/open they were and how we could use that information to talk with faculty. Getting faculty comfortable with open educational resources is another avenue for communication. We can help them to discover and use these varied resources (textbooks, articles, websites like MIT’s Visualizing Cultures, etc.) to enhance the work they are doing with students and in their own scholarly endeavors. I’m extremely grateful to be working for an organization that provides opportunities for professional development and I’m looking forward to using my new knowledge in this area in the future.

The Next Chapter

It’s been five weeks since I started my new position as a Regional Campus Librarian for the University of Central Florida. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I certainly intended to update my blog sooner than this, but the first few weeks of a job are intense, especially this one! I wrote a post before I left my last job that outlines what this one is. My position is unique in that I’m employed by the UCF library but work on the campus of Valencia College Osceola campus in Kissimmee. UCF has partnered with several state colleges in the Orlando vicinity to form a network of Regional Campuses that hold UCF classes. I am the first full time UCF Librarian at this campus, and will work to support the UCF students, faculty and staff located here in Osceola.

I also work at the reference desk which primarily serves Valencia students. The ratio of Valencia to UCF students in the Fall will be something like 30 to 1, so I have to know what their priorities are as well because I will be working with Valencia students on a daily basis. In terms of starting my new job, this means learning two separate systems. It’s been a lot of information to absorb but the UCF and Valencia librarians have all been amazing and supportive of my learning curve. I spent my first full week on the main UCF campus in Orlando meeting with various people and departments. My supervisor had lists of people to meet, information to learn, and tasks to complete. I am so thankful that she had these in place. It made the training process less scary and more manageable. I’m still working on checking a few key people off my list of meetings, but I’ve completed almost everything else I needed to.

I haven’t yet worked a full week on the Osceola campus, I keep going to the main Orlando campus or some of our other locations for meetings and trainings. Yesterday I got to visit the College of Medicine with other regional librarians and librarians from the main campus. We got a two hour tour of the school and the library and it was incredible! I feel so blessed to be a part of an institution that is focused on being innovative and forming partnerships within the local community to foster student success.

One of the most interesting things for me in this transition is to see how much of what I was doing at Cleveland transfers to my role here. I observed one of the Valencia librarians’ instruction sessions a few weeks ago and I could have easily taught the class myself. The only real difference is that students have different resources and a different way to access them. I have tried to spend time orienting myself to the resources that are new to me (or ones I haven’t had access to since graduate school).

My big focus at first is going to be outreach to the faculty and students on this campus. Last week I finally felt comfortable enough to introduce myself to a faculty member who teaches Public Administration. Within 5 minutes of talking with him he asked me to come to his class that afternoon to teach a short session on APA format. I was thrilled to be able to get into a class that quickly and took advantage of the opportunity. I had a few hours to prepare so I created a quick presentation based off the Plagiarism & Citations workshops I used to do at Cleveland. I had a great time working with the upper level students, something I didn’t get to experience at Cleveland. They were very engaged and asked at least 10 good questions. After the session I connected with the faculty member on LinkedIn and he actually endorsed me for Public Speaking, so I think I must have done something right! That faculty member has already been in the library and will hopefully be an advocate for the library with other faculty members in the Fall.

Last week I also had the opportunity to attend a day and a half long training on Scholarly Communications on the main campus. I hope to write a recap of the whole session for my next post. I am excited to get involved in some new areas of librarianship that weren’t relevant/feasible in my role as a community college librarian. So far this job has been perfect because I still get to do a little bit of everything, but now I get to work with upper level students and with faculty who are actively working on tenure and publications. Speaking of publications, one of my goals for my first year here is to get an article published. I’m just starting to work on that now.

This week I spent some time working on my ACRL committee duties. I am the co-chair of the ACRL DLS 2014 ALA Conference Program Planning Committee. We have partnered with the same committee in ULS to work on a joint program proposal. We had our first meeting this week using ALA Connect’s chat space. I facilitated the meeting and was extremely pleased with the results. Our groups worked well together and the pieces of the plan seemed to fall into place without much friction. After the meeting I felt that same runner’s high type feeling I get after a good instruction session (which I did experience after my APA session last week). I want to set a goal for myself to become involved in leadership. I enjoy doing it and think I have been successful in that role when I’ve taken it on in my life.

This change has been overwhelming in the usual ways (moving to a new state, new job, etc.) but has also been invigorating. I feel like I have access to a whole new set of opportunities and challenges, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings. I know that this year will bring me to my first ALA conference at the end of the month and I am totally freaked out and excited about that! I can’t wait to see old friends, meet up with people I only know virtually, and make new connections that will last throughout my career.

A week of mishaps and successes

Oh, how I’ve missed you! I intended to write my next entry much sooner but life has intervened. Just after I wrote that sentence I was pulled away to help a faculty member put links to library content in his Blackboard course. I really feel like life is joking with me this week, I got a flat tire on my way in to work Tuesday morning which is never the best way to start a week.

Last Thursday night the internet on our campus went down at around 3:30PM and stayed off through Friday afternoon. That threw a kink in my blog writing plans and also meant that I had to spend more time at the circulation desk and on the floor explaining the situation. It down poured the entire day Thursday and we had our first winter storm warnings this season which threw most people into a panic. Thursday night was our first library film screening and unfortunately the weather kept a lot of students from attending. I’m hoping our next showing in February will not fall on a night where people are scared to drive!

There have been quite a few good professional development related things happening in the last few weeks. I have mentioned that I am on the ACRL Distance Learning Section’s 2013 ALA Annual Conference Planning Committee, and I found out that my travel has been approved by the college. I’m excited to attend my first Annual and to have the opportunity to write a report for “College & Research Libraries News” on our session. I also was selected to be the Co-Chair of that committee for the 2014 conference. On a local level, I was nominated to the Digital Services Advisory Committee for NC LIVE. NC LIVE is a statewide resource for community colleges, private universities, the UNC system, and public libraries in North Carolina. They ask representatives from each community of interest to serve on advisory committees, and I’m thrilled to be selected. I think NC LIVE is fantastic, and their staff members are wonderful. I’m looking forward to getting a behind the scenes perspective on how they operate.

On an even more local level, I found out my presentation proposal for the 2013 North Carolina Community College Learning Resources Association (NCCCLRA) Conference was accepted. I titled it “Flexing Your Library Muscles” and I’m going to talk about how to use your strengths, be flexible, and stretch yourself as a librarian in a community college library (stolen directly from my abstract!). The conference is in March so I need to get working on my presentation. I’m happy that I’m getting more opportunities to get involved professionally, and I’d like to start looking for opportunities to write. I’ve seen a few calls for proposals on listservs but there hasn’t been anything yet that looked like a good fit.

I taught my first class of the Spring semester yesterday and it was a great experience. It was an upper level English course, and the instructor is very much an outside the box thinker. He asked me to focus on developing a topic/keywords and evaluating information, and to focus less on how to search the catalog and specific databases. He wants the students in this course to appreciate real world research situations where they might not have access to proprietary databases. I started with a keyword activity in pairs, discussed resource types & the information cycle, led them through an individual search activity, and finished with a discussion on evaluating resources. The class was small and very engaged. I love starting with the keyword activity in pairs because it starts the class with the students talking to each other and it gives me the chance to walk around and work with them in their pairs. This technique has been incredibly successful in building rapport with the students, and they seem to be more involved and focused after the activity than in classes where I haven’t done it.

There are times when it all clicks for me in a session, and this was definitely one of them. The instructor asked if he could videotape my session in his other class next week, so hopefully I will be clicking then too! I have a different English class tomorrow so I spent some time today tweaking my worksheets and lesson plan. Here’s the link to download the Keyword & Search Activity handout: ENG Keyword and Search Activity

I do the keywords first in pairs and the search toward the end of the session as an individual activity. I really enjoy walking around the classroom, watching the students do the activities, and having discussions about what is working and not working. When I bring the class back together at the end of the activity I make sure to call on most if not all groups/students and remember something from my interaction with them. Sometimes it’s just the topic they picked, but often I try to talk about something interesting that happened while they searched or tried to think of keywords. Instruction and instructional design is something I’ve become passionate about in my time here, and I’m thankful that there are so many great resources for librarians who didn’t learn about instruction in their graduate studies!