Learning and Generating Ideas

Last week was a momentous one professionally. May 10th was my one year anniversary of working as a Regional Campus Librarian for the University of Central Florida. It’s been a year of great change for me personally, and I’ve grown quite a bit professionally as well. Working for a larger institution has given me the opportunity to interact with a larger group of librarians on a regular basis. This has helped me develop a better sense of who I am professionally and what my interests are within librarianship. I also had the opportunity to attend the Florida Library Association Annual Conference last week, which furthered my learning and helped me to generate some new ideas.

The conference spanned three days, and was attended by librarians from the entire state. It’s always interesting to interact with new people. I find myself having conversations with other academic librarians facing the same challenges, and also with public and school librarians who have a very different daily experience but who are rooted in the same core values. I find both to be valuable in my quest to provide the best service possible to my institution. The first day of the conference I presented a poster with two of my colleagues.

 

My colleagues and me with our poster. (L to R) Kelly Robinson, Carrie Moran (me), and Michael Furlong.

My colleagues and me with our poster. (L to R) Kelly Robinson, Carrie Moran (me), and Michael Furlong.

Our poster was titled “Mythbusters: The Digital Native”. We addressed the common myths about digital natives, provided evidence from our various reference desks, and offered some solutions to address the technology challenges all libraries face. I’m happy to send the PDF to anyone interested in the topic. The poster sessions were the first experience for most people as they took place immediately before and after the opening session. It was my first poster session and I enjoyed having the opportunity to discuss our work with multiple people in a more intimate setting than a presentation.

The keynote was fantastic. It was a talk titled “The Art of Perception” by Amy Herman. Herman developed a training program to teach police officers to enhance their observational skills while working at the Frick Museum in NYC. Her program uses art and imagery to teach these concepts and she was fantastic, so fantastic that I attended the follow up session later in the day. Her website The Art of Perception has more details, and anyone who works with the public should check it out.

On the second day I attended a great lightning round session. There were seven mini sessions and each one gave me something to ponder. One group of librarians used GoPro cameras to track user behavior in the library, another group used theater students to make library instruction videos, and one librarian discussed a project where he was embedded in a class who had to edit Wikipedia as a course assignment. After that I went to a session on retooling a reference program, and although I didn’t find what they did especially relevant, it did spark me to spend 10 minutes writing ideas for things I can do in my library.

The final session I attended that day was on project planning and it was fantastic. The speaker used a model from the “Getting Things Done” method, and gave us time to work in small groups to discuss projects we felt stuck on. One thing I am going to do as a direct result is make sure to start all meetings with a statement of purpose. I already do this frequently, but I think it should be the first step on any meeting agenda. The learning I did on day two inspired this tweet:

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The final day of the conference was a half day but still packed with good stuff. I got to see a Twitter friend present in real life on library web performance and user expectations. I also attended a session on social media that focused entirely on public libraries, but still had some good takeaways. I think our library can do better about having conversations on social media and at making our posts more fun – even those that ask our users to do something. The closing keynote was from J. Jeff Kober from Disney. His talk was on customer service and creating excellence, and he was one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen live. The biggest takeaway from Kober was to make sure everyone in the organization knows the greater mission and cultivates that in his/her daily work.

I’m blessed to work for an organization that supports professional development and new learning opportunities. I am looking forward to applying some of the knowledge I gained to new programs and outreach efforts at my library. Attending this local conference also got me excited for ALA Annual in Las Vegas, hope to see some of you there!

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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!

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

Flexing My Library Muscles

This week started with the North Carolina Community College Learning Resources Association annual conference in Wilmington, NC. I went to school in Wilmington so it was nice to be in a familiar place. I also enjoy this particular conference because it’s only for NC community college librarians so every session was relevant and I got to catch up with some friends from across the state. The conference started with a short welcome by the president of the host college followed by a keynote from Cal Shepard (State Librarian at the State Library of North Carolina). Both of them mentioned my presentation by name during their talks! It was pretty funny, all the people in the room that knew me and my title were giving me looks.

Speaking of people I knew, not only did I get to see my library friends, but I also had family at the conference. My Aunt Barbara is a part time librarian at Cape Fear CC and was able to attend the conference. It was neat to have a family member there, certainly a unique experience! My presentation was in the first slot after the keynote, and I was a bit frustrated with the conference planners. I left a minute or two early to make sure I could set up and got to my assigned room to find it locked. Thankfully my aunt was able to track down a maintenance person to open the room. Obviously, the computer wasn’t running and by the time I had my slides downloaded it was already time to start. There were no instructions on  how to use the projector and I was worried about timing so I started without them projected and turned my monitor out to the room.

I had great attendance. I didn’t count but I know I made 30 handouts which I ran out of, and I had about 10 people standing at the back of the room. I actually had a nightmare two nights before the conference that I couldn’t get my slides to work and I told that story as an ice breaker and to give myself time to recover. One of the librarians from Cape Fear was able to get my slides projected by the 3rd or 4th slide and I think I handled it as well as I could have. Once I got past the beginning hiccups I was pleased with the rest of the presentation, but feel as though I could have done better if I hadn’t started that way.

My presentation was titled “Flexing Your Library Muscles”. In hindsight I would have added a subtitle like “Outreach across the campus” or something similar. The description I wrote was “This presentation identifies how to use your strengths, be flexible, and stretch yourself as a librarian in a community college library. These skills will be paired with concrete examples of how each skill has been used by librarians at Cleveland Community College to enhance the services provided to our patrons. Participants will leave this presentation with strategies for improving outreach to students and faculty, enhancing in person and online library instruction, and partnering with other campus departments.” You can find my slides here  and the conference website has my handout document.

I left time at the end for people to pair & share using their handout to discuss ideas for things they could do in their own library or that they already do. The room burst into chaos so I thought that was a good sign. Several people shared their experiences and asked questions. My co-worker that attended told me it’s one of the most useful presentations she’s ever been to at a library conference (and that includes multiple ALA and ACRL conferences). That was really nice to hear. I also got a shoutout on Twitter from someone I didn’t know personally that said “great presentation”, so I feel good about the whole thing. I’m keeping an eye out for calls for proposals at upcoming conferences. I really enjoy presenting.

The rest of the conference was good. I had several great conversations about library and non-library things with new and old friends. I picked up some ideas for eBooks. Unfortunately, I started the day with a sore throat and ended it with a worse sore throat, canceled plans with friends for that night, and the inability to attend the second half day of the conference. I’m still feeling rough today. I had to come in yesterday as I had two Psychology classes scheduled in the morning that no one else could have taught. The classes went well. Both of them ended before their class session and every single student in both classes stayed after being dismissed to look for resources or ask questions. I’ve been using the Habits Pro app to record one positive moment from each work day, and that was definitely it yesterday!

As a final note, I’m a huge blog fan and I love Google Reader. Check out this article by John Paul Titlow for a great perspective on the loss of Google Reader.

Conference Catch Up

I was fortunate to be able to attend the 2012 Metrolina Library Association Information Literacy Conference at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte last week. I started with an awesome session by Patricia Gamble at Winston Salem State University titled “Triple Threat Searching Strategies”. She had great ideas for interactive learning and you can read information on the majority of what she covered on this Libguide. I actually used a riff on her Boolean operators activity for a SMART board training I did today.

After her presentation I went with a small group on a tour of the JWU library. It was neat to see a library that was designed in 2006 and you can tell that their Director really kept the students and their needs in mind with his design and the collection development. They had great handouts on databases that inspired me for our library. Many of our students prefer holding something in hand. We only have handouts now on MLA and APA, but I think making handouts on other resources would encourage students to use them more often. The second session I attended was called “LAF: Librarians and Faculty as Teaching Partners” by Michael Frye at Winston Salem State University. The sessions for the day were broken into 4 categories: Collaborate, Sharpen, Remodel & Engage. All of the Collaborate sessions seemed to have a similar theme of how to engage faculty so I only attended one from that type.

The presentation was okay, but not as engaging as the first one I attended. He showed a video with the faculty member he partnered with, and it was nice to hear a faculty perspective on working with librarians. I wish I had the time to be as embedded as Michael was in his example, but it’s not feasible based on our staffing and campus size. I did pick up a few good ideas. One is the “Think, Pair, Share” activity that I think would be helpful for our English students when they are trying to select and refine topics. Another good idea was to offer 5-15 minute review sessions to instructors whose students have already attended a one shot during class. I think this will be super helpful to students, especially those who get their library instruction early in the semester before they are focusing on their final projects.

The third session I attended was a panel on working with discovery services. When I went to the conference I thought we’d be getting a discovery service soon, but it turns out we won’t. I try to pick up something useful from every session, and one of the panelists had a good idea to poll students at the beginning of class and ask them what they think is the most challenging thing about their research assignment. I think this helps students feel less anxiety, more camaraderie, and would help me focus my instruction. After lunch I went to a session on Project Information Literacy, which I already know quite a bit about. The session was good and had lively discussion from all types of librarians. Several librarians discussed models/assignments/tutorials that break the research process into steps that students can use to track progress and I think this is a neat idea.

The keynote session was by Jessamyn West. She was probably the best live speaker I’ve seen to this point in my life and career. She was funny, intelligent, well researched and made a topic I wasn’t too excited about very relevant for me. Her talk was titled “Myths & Facts About the Digital Divide” and it really resonated with a lot of challenges I’ve faced on campus. We have tons of students who take online classes and have no computer or Internet access at home. Jessamyn talked about how the digital divide is a cultural phenomenon and how people who don’t have access to computers likely don’t know anyone in their intimate circle (friends, family, etc) who does. I think community colleges are in a unique place to reach these groups and I see students of all ages who prove this to be true. She helped me to connect the counseling background I have with the work I currently do, and remind me to have compassion with people who are trying to navigate the digital world I’m so comfortable with for the first time. She also taught me about Wikipedia articles in Simple English which totally rocked my world!

All in all it was another fantastic experience and it gave me the presentation bug. I haven’t presented professionally yet, and I have my first presentation scheduled for October. I’d like to find other opportunities to present and I’ve been pondering what I could talk about. I have ideas but nothing I want to shout out to the world just yet! 😉

This week has been a blur. I was out for the conference, and then a vacation day to spend time with my parents who were in town, then a sick day on Monday. Tuesday I had two webinars and a committee meeting, yesterday I had SMART training all day, and today my morning was all SMART training. I cherish the time to review my conference experiences, and I wish I could have done this one sooner! It’s been a busy week for a summer semester, and I’m looking forward to next week when I’m planning to immerse myself in re-designing online instruction for several classes.

Things to Do and People to Meet

Last Thursday I attended a webinar from the NMRT of ALA on networking. It had some great tips and ideas that I’ll try to put to use tomorrow when I attend the Metrolina Library Association’s Information Literacy Conference in Charlotte. I especially like the idea to make notes from your conversation on the back of the person’s card. I don’t think I need to worry as much about developing talking points since I’m attending a themed conference, but I know what my current struggles/projects/questions are and I will make sure I bring them up with people I meet.

After the presentation I cleared the dust off my Twitter account and added several of the presenters and attendees from the webinar. I’m really trying to get back into Twitter but the sheer volume of tweets is often overwhelming. I deleted the vast majority of the non-library accounts I follow to cut down, but if I leave my feed open for half an hour without checking I have 50-100 new tweets to read. I’d like to continue using it for professional networking and I’m trying to tweet more often. Sometimes the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of my library colleagues is intimidating. I worry that I’m not doing enough or meeting the right people or cultivating the right experiences. I need to remind myself that I’m still really new and that what I’ve done so far is at least sufficient, if not remarkable.

The past week I’ve been focused on evaluating some new resources for the library, making a game plan for the online tutorials and instructional videos I need to make this summer, and working on improving our security and functioning based on the workshop I attended. I met with my fellow full time librarian, our Dean and our Office Manager for about an hour and a half yesterday to discuss the security plan I drew up for our library. The meeting went well, my suggestions were well received, and everyone seemed committed to making the changes we need to move forward. After the meeting I drew up a short list of library rules and a guideline for how the rules will be enforced. It’s interesting being a part of a larger institution. We consulted our Student Handbook to see what other campus rules were, and we have to get our new procedures approved by several people plus build a relationship with our Student Services department to have a formal way to deal with disruptive students. I’m looking forward to putting our plan in place and training our staff to feel comfortable using it.

Now that the security project is moving in the right direction I’m directing my attention to creating online materials for instruction. I’ve been keeping a running list of things I’d like to accomplish, and now I’m trying to pull it all together. I need to re-vamp the way we deliver instruction to the basic skills classes that we teach in person over one to two class periods. We’ve changed our website, bought new resources, and upgraded resources since I started so I also need to make short tutorial videos for our users to replace old videos and teach them how to use some of our new content. Lastly, I’d like to make a series of videos based on the information literacy standards. I attended a webinar called “Information Literacy and E-Resources: Moving Beyond the Chalkboard” where Amanda DiFeterici (Head Librarian, South University) mentioned having a set of mini mix & match information literacy lessons, and I thought that was great. I’d ideally like to make a plan that pairs the standards with skills I already teach that can be recorded in short videos or taught in short segments to in person classes.

This might not all happen this summer unfortunately. I’m also working with our Psychology department to build library space for their projects and will likely be teaching in each of our Fall Psychology classes. We’re also on the verge of getting a discovery service and have recently purchased another resource that I’d like to teach all of our “regulars” (English orientation and basic skills classes), and I need to make sure I get our instructional outlines and plans for the in person classes finished before the semester starts. There are some good ideas in this blog post and the comments section that I might put into use. I’m really trying to focus on our in person instruction being more hands on and active for students.

Now that I’ve listed all the things on my agenda I’m itching to do some research for my online tutorials. Suggestions are welcome!

Nine Month Anniversary

Trying to write a consistent blog is quite a challenge. I was doing well with the Thursday evening blog posts but it’s easy to let yourself slip. And then once you’ve slipped it is hard to come back. I’ve been thinking about potential blog posts since my last post. When I checked to see when my last post was, I was shocked that I’ve let two and a half months pass since my last post! Perhaps if I hold myself to a less rigorous schedule, like once every two weeks, I can be more consistent. I’m really enjoying keeping a record of the beginning of my career. Speaking of that, today marks 9 months since I started working as an Instruction/Reference Librarian!  I’m getting more used to telling people that I’m a librarian, but it still gets me a little excited/overwhelmed whenever I do. I can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since I graduated from Drexel, and less than two and a half years since I decided to become a librarian.

I am incredibly glad I decided to take this journey, and I feel like I’m in a good place professionally. Trying to keep up with the very active library community can sometimes be intimidating. I’d like to make an impact on librarianship as a whole, but it’s hard to figure out what my niche will be to accomplish that goal. I’m considering applying for the ALA’s Emerging Leaders program, but I’m also thinking of maybe waiting a year until I have more professional experience. Earning my MLIS online was a fantastic experience, but I think it limited some of the opportunities my fellow new librarians had in more traditional programs like opportunities to attend professional development events and give presentations. I’d like to build up that side of my career a bit more before I really put myself out there.

Fortunately, I’m working on some great committees and I keep being asked to join things! I also just found out that I’ll be co-presenting with a librarian from NC LIVE and a librarian from Catawba Valley Community College at the North Carolina Community College System Conference in October. This will be my first professional presentation and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to be talking about how our library’s online resources support the QEP we developed for our recent accreditation process. The conference is for everyone involved with the North Carolina Community College System, not just librarians. This means more opportunity to meet people and to learn about what I’m doing on a broader scope. I just read an excellent blog post about community college librarianship that I’d highly recommend to anyone in this field or anyone considering it.

Another good blog post I found recently had an embedded video of a presentation by Char Booth and Brian Mathews called “Understanding the Learner Experience”. The presentation was over an hour long but it was worth every minute. I really encourage you to watch it to get the full picture. Essentially it discussed how to analyze both the student experience and the faculty experience, and how to make the library a third place that can help facilitate more successful and meaningful experiences for everyone involved. I’m looking forward to implementing some of their ideas and techniques into my own work.

The final incredibly valuable experience I’ve had recently was the opportunity to attend a Black Belt Librarians workshop with Warren Graham. He was one of the most magnetic and interesting speakers I’ve ever seen. The workshop was a whole day and it was hosted by a consortium for higher education institutions in the Charlotte area. The workshop was about security in the library and was full of practical information that we can start applying here. It made me realize how much work we need to do in that area. Our office manager went with me, and we’re meeting with our Dean and other full time librarian to discuss how to start updating our security procedures. Warren wrote a book called The Black Belt Librarian: Real World Safety & Security that should contain all the information he presented. If you can find him presenting somewhere near you I’d highly recommend attending!