Published June 27, 2012
In the spirit of a new year of life, I’ve changed the name of my blog. When I first started I had nothing pithy or creative. The original name was Reinventing the Library — oh so full of hubris — which lasted about an hour. My handle was fine for a bit, but lately I’ve wanted something less personal and frankly less like lynda.com
Admittedly I won’t change what I write about. I write about instruction, embedded librarianship, mentoring LIS students, and outreach most of the time. I do conference reports when I can. And I’ve been trying to write book reviews as part of Cannonball Read. If I am an expert in anything, it is probably embedded librarianship, program planning, and my subject areas. Really though this blog exists because I like to write and interact with readers. So, the content probably won’t change much.
[CC Attribution 2.0 Anna-Stina Takala]
But the title is changing.
I chose the new title because it is flexible, simple, and truthful. Librarianship = what we are doing right now. Librarianship = what we will be doing in the future (and I am certain of a future). Librarianship isn’t only about e-books, collections, information literacy, transliteracy, access to info, scholarly comm, linked data or whatever other buzz words are popular at this moment. It is about all of those things and much more.
Librarianship = us, our actions, our conferences, our discussions (and debates). And librarianship = me.
We’ve almost hit the halfway point for the Cannonball Read IV. I’m crazy behind though. I’ve read 17 books and only reviewed 12. While that is good for me, I’m nowhere near 52. But the summer and vacation starts today, so here’s to some great reads in the next month!
The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum has nothing to do with the marketing campaign for Prometheus as my friend recently asked me when he saw me reading the book. I don’t quite know how to interpret that question because I never saw the marketing campaign. The movie I enjoyed, however. But this book has nothing to do with the movie. It is an addition to the Ludlum spy canon complete with turns and twists that will make your head spin much like Linda Blair in The Exorcist (i.e., not in a good way).
As the story begins, the main character, Nick Bryson, is a master spy working for a super secret spy agency called the Directorate, but he is asked to resign by the company for some vague reasons about age and judgement. He assumes a new identity as a dowdy professor and five years later all hell breaks lose when the CIA comes to recruit him to bring down the Directorate (for some additionally vague reasons). After some strange occurrences, betrayals, and more, Nick begins to question who his friends are and who is telling the truth.
As this sounds, it is the typical Ludlum story. Now, I am definitely a fan of the Bourne series, so that’s one reason why I picked this up. In that series Ludlum handles well the interplay between betrayal and truth. In this book the main character just seems amazingly gullible. A bit too gullible for a master spy. Actually his willingness to believe whomever has his attention in a moment makes him a particularly frightening spy as he is killing a lot of people and blowing a lot of stuff up. Let’s just say this character and the storyline are not the top of Ludlum’s game, and considering this is one of his last (or his last novel), then the failings make more sense. Quick summer read though.
As spy stories go, Ludlum tends to be extremely detailed and technical in his writing. If you like very detailed descriptions of how to pull off a particular heist (and who doesn’t?!), he is a great storyteller for you. If you are looking for a more nuanced character, try the Bourne books.
So, I’m packed and not as sleepy as I should be. I have an early start tomorrow, but I just wanted to check in with one last thing before I head off to ALA. The UNCG LIS student association posted today about FREE LISSA memberships with joint student membership to both ALA and the North Carolina Library Association. LISSA has always had trouble getting members, even when I was the supreme leader. I’m dismayed to see students not taking advantage of these kinds of easy professional development opportunities, and I wonder if this will translate into a lack of involvement in professional organizations later in their careers.
In the spirit of supporting LISSA and to celebrate the eve of ALA, here are my top reasons every UNCG LIS student should take advantage of this opportunity. Amy Harris, the outgoing co-coordinator of our Reference Internship Program, and I have given these reasons to our interns repeatedly. You should chime in too!
- It’s the only time LISSA will be free. And the student membership in NCLA and ALA is basically free. You will have sticker shock later on when you pay your real dues, so take full advantage of this opportunity now. Also, your conference attendance is basically free (compared to the rest of us).
- Professional organization membership, even in LISSA, provides an instant network on which you will be able to draw for the rest of your career. These informal networks will be your lifelines in years to come, both for professional and possibly personal advice (as in asking a colleague “Hey, should I move to New Jersey?”).
- The formal networks are extremely useful. I couldn’t do my job as a data librarian without the IASSIST listserv. Whenever I am stuck on a question I send it out to the listserv and get plenty of feedback. In many organizations you can’t be on the listserv without being a member.
- In smaller organizations (like LISSA or NCLA), you have the opportunity to rise to the top relatively quickly. I was asked to serve as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Government Resources Section within a month of joining. GRS is a very special case, but honestly you can get that leadership opp you’ve always dreamed of (and probably more than you would want).
- This one is cynical, but some of us coming out of library school need a bit of resume or CV padding. Employers might even be surprised not to see some professional involvement. As a member of LISSA you can help plan events and do fundraising and pretty much whatever you want to do! On your resume it can say LISSA, organizer of all of this wonderful stuff.
- Library conferences are the best. I like non-library conferences and think they are helpful for new thinking, but seriously, until I went to a library conference I thought all conferences were horrible hell-mouths where graduate students looked for the first opportunity to denounce you and mother as frauds. Library conferences, while they have their faults, are at least collegial (most of the time). People want to hear your story and you are able to learn from each other. They are true learning events both in the conference center and out and I love them for that. You don’t have to be a member to come to these, but they are usually cheaper if you are.
- A Political Science professor who was a rainmaker once told me that “opportunity builds on opportunity“. She was talking about finding fellowships, but this is true for all kinds of possibilities. If you make a name for yourself in one area, you will get noticed in another and more opportunities will come to you. This could happen without professional involvement, but getting into and active in organizations helps to make you more visible.
- Those opportunities will also lead to something ALL librarians need in this current climate– the ability to present yourself and your ideas. We must be self-promoters to survive and professional organizations are incubators for learning how to do that. NCLA has been doing a bunch of sessions on presenting your personal brand and other similar topics. You also have opportunities to present and learn on your feet how to sell an idea and yourself to an audience.
- No, you will not learn all you need to know about librarianship in library school and that isn’t the purpose of an LIS degree. Professional organizations exist to help you develop in your career as the field changes. LISSA has done some wonderful professional development activities in the past few years and it saddens me to think that anyone would miss them because they think they have to stay home and study. Seriously? Get over it. No one cares if you make all A’s in graduate school. (My apologies to any profs reading this, but…)
- Did i mention free (or basically free)?
So, join LISSA! Or if you are a member (or not a UNCG student) write your reason why they should join. Spread the love.
Help!, the NCLA Government Resources Section webinar series, is hitting a milestone. It is turning 18! Well, we are hitting our 18th webinar. The 19th webinar is also in the works and more information about that soon. Both will be in July and you should join us!
At the June webinar we learned how to find and report those pesky fugitive documents. It was excellent. Become a fugitive hunter! Recording and slides will be available on our website soon.
Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents … Mooooooore Data at the USDA!
The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us all do better reference work by increasing our familiarity with government information resources, and by discovering the best strategies for navigating them. This webinar is jointly sponsored by the International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology
Join us on Thursday, July 12 at 12:00 pm (ET) for a session on the US Department of Agriculture’s resources. The USDA website provides a wealth of data for users. Of course, much of it is about agriculture, but the USDA is also a great source for data you might not expect such as nationwide broadband adoption, food insecurity, and weather. The USDA also provides access to data from other agencies, such as population data, in forms easier to use than the source. However, the depth of content on the USDA site comes at the cost of ease of use. This session will highlight the diversity of data available from USDA and provide tips for navigating the site in order to locate datasets and databases within.
Amy West has been the Data Services Librarian at the University of Minnesota since 2007. From 1999 to 2006, she was the Electronic Government Publications Librarian at the University of Minnesota. As a result, she has particular expertise in US government data sources.
We will meet together for Session 18, online on Thursday, July 12 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (EDT). Please RSVP for the Session by July 11 at 5:00 pm using this link: http://tinyurl.com/grs-session18
Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Elluminate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (firstname.lastname@example.org). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.
The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page (http://www.nclaonline.org/government-resources).
Published June 18, 2012
Because of awesome crowd-sourced things like a list of places to eat and have fun. And a volunteer made map of where the parties are.
I’ve attended a lot of conferences both in librarianship and in another field, and never have I seen such enthusiasm and helpfulness. Man, I love librarians. You people bring it!
Published June 16, 2012
I’ve been posting like crazy but that always happens in June. This month is full of three things I love: watermelon with salt, my birthday, and conferences! The watermelon has started getting tasty this week.
The birthday is still a couple of weeks away. But, the trifecta of IASSIST, Metrolina, and ALA kicked off and we are getting into the home stretch.
I’m following the trend of posting where I will be headed (in general) at ALA. I’m not presenting, but will be writing for Against the Grain again this year. If you have a great story to share, stop me and say hi! I have some committee duties, but I will try to get around as much as possible. Maybe I will see you there!
If you wonder why people write these posts, try it. You’ll have a much better understanding of the realities of your schedule than you can get just slapping events on the calendar.
Friday, June 22:
- 10: Going to a session on the Proquest Congressional migration both for ATG and for my own work. LexisNexis had a great product in Congressional so I’m a wee bit wary of this.
- 1: ACRL Leadership Council session for both the Data Interest Group and for the Law and Political Science Section
- 3: Emerging Leaders poster session (ELs REPRESENT!)
- 5:30: The Government Documents Round Table happy hour
- 7:30: LPSS Executive Board meeting
- 8:30: Splitting time between the ALA emerging leaders veteran/newbie meet-up and the LPSS reception
- 10: D.A.N.C.E. party
Saturday, June 23:
Sunday, June 24:
- 8:30: LITA’s dataone program
- 10:30: The International Relations Committee Near East & South Asia Subcommittee program on the Arab Spring
- 1:30: The CQ award ceremony
- 3:30: Meetings for ATG
- That night there are a few overlapping receptions (GODORT, NMRT, LITA, LIS). I will see where the flow takes me!
Monday, June 25:
- 8: Proquest awards ceremony. I’m very excited about this one. ASERL is winning the award for their Collaborative Federal Depository Program.
- 12: Work at the ACRL booth
- 1:30: GODORT general members meeting
- 2:45: Librarian wardrobe panel discussion
- 5:30: Battledecks!
What are you up to at ALA?
Metrolina, the Charlotte area library association, has been organizing an excellent conference each year on information literacy. As promised here are my notes. The powerpoints should be up on their site soon.
Fostering a community of collaboration: scaffolding the student research process presented by Amy Burns, Jaime Pollard-Smith (CPCC)
I have a huge library crush on Amy Burns and the folks at Central Piedmont Community College, so I was excited to see her session. This year she presented with an English instructor at CPCC with whom she has worked closely. They ran the session like a mock class to explain how they scaffolded the research process. Basically the professor prepared the students to come to the library session with three activities:
- A loop quickwrite: The student writes down a topic they think they would want to research and then they free-write for a set amount of time about the topic. The professor then asks them to pick something from their free-write that is most interesting and circle or star it. They then free-write for one minute about the circled thing. They circle something from that and free-write for thirty seconds. The professor then asks the students: “What happened as you were writing?” and “Why are we doing this before the library class?” These questions get them talking about narrowing down the research topic.
- 20 questions: The day before library session she asks them to get up and go around classroom asking classmates for questions about their topic. Each classmate is supposed to give the student one question. (I really like this activity and will definitely use it in my PSC class. May also use in library instruction.)
- Ticket to the library session: Before students may enter the library session room, they must have on a sheet of paper answers to the following questions: What is my topic? Why am I interested in my topic? What do I hope to learn from my research? They also must give their research question and do a short prewrite exercise answering the question “what do I already know about my topic?” (This is fabulous as it forces the students to do the kind of thinking we wish they would do pre-session!)
@ the Library session Amy does several activities. These are just a few she mentioned:
- Shows Eli Pariser Ted talk on filter bubbles
- Talks about how Google tailors content and ads for your personal information
- Talks about evaluating information: who created it? Why was it created? When was it created? Will it work for this assignment?
- Asks them to compare the sites (http://martinlutherking.org/ and http://www.thekingcenter.org/)
- Then they go to the library website and she gives them time for individual research
They talked about their high level of trust and collaboration, which allows them to have a strong research experience for their students. Jaime also mentioned that she includes Amy’s information and name in the syllabus and refers to her by name (rather than saying “Go to the library!”). This creates a personal relationship (and an embedded experience) for the students! Just shows you don’t need a formal personal librarian program to create a personal relationship!
The Feedback Loop: Student Reflection on Research, Writing, and Information Literacy presented by Jennifer Arnold (CPCC)
Jennifer is the Director of the CPCC libraries and teaches English composition classes. She had a lot of great references in her presentation, but I couldn’t catch them all. Plus she just had a lot of great information. Below are some highlights. Here is the prezi for the full picture.
Her big idea was reflection as part of the research process. She had students complete a reflection assignment at end of their writing workshop (1 week before paper due). It asked them 6 questions around these topics: comfort using lib and why or why not; what have learned; how writing process improved; what learn about thesis writing, citing, plagiarism.
She also mentioned in her session that knowing the librarian as a person and knowing that the librarian is familiar with the assignment lessens student anxiety. It means that they don’t have to explain the assignment to the librarian. The librarian just gets it. (Another point for embeddedness!)
Another interesting insight from her session is that a student mentioned that she wasn’t sure how dominant the research should be in the paper. In other words should it be more her own views or the research that presents itself? Our students can so rarely articulate this point, but it is definitely something I see them struggling with so often. How do you explain this to a student? Do you have ideas for activities we could do to help students with this skill?
The value of evaluation; faculty and librarians teaming up to advance Information Literacy presented by Brian Mooney, Joe Eshleman (JWU)
They discussed a collaborative project to help students with ACRL IL standard 3 on evaluation of resources in a science class. Joe discussed the main criteria for evaluation and then talked about their project. They give an assignment in which the students must provide a good website and a bad website based on evaluation criteria presented in the library session. They have 48 hours to send their assignment to Joe, the librarian, who then grades and sends them to the professor. The professor mentioned that they took the assignment seriously because it was tied to their class grade. This is a pretty good model for creating a collaborative assignment. My favorite part of the session was when he described his model for their collaboration as a “three legged stool” and that students, librarians, faculty working together is the platform for learning. I guess learning sits on top of us?
Again, Metrolina was a great conference. My absolute favorite moment is below.
Seeing a current intern, Heather Helms, present her poster to a successful former intern, Kathy Shields from High Point University, brought a smile to my face! They grow up so fast…
Heather, Kathy, and Amy at poster session
My second favorite moment was seeing JESSAMYN WEST!!!!!! Squeeeee! Ahem, I mean Jessamyn West gave a lovely and funny talk on the Myths and Facts about the Digital Divide. Her materials are all linked and excellent and I was so in awe that my notes are pretty much useless. Go see what she has. The top takeaway point for me was that the digital divide isn’t just a device divide, but also and more importantly a cultural divide. Those who are the have not’s typically do not have a culture of connectedness that the have’s do. When you think about the argument that way it really hits home why this problem is a) still a problem, b) not easily surmountable, and c) typically discussed in terms that obscure its complexity. Thank you Metrolina for bringing a library goddess to be your keynote speaker. You made this librarian’s summer.
Yesterday was the 7th Annual Metrolina Information Literacy Conference, always a fun and informative conference. The sessions were fabulous and we heard from Jessamyn West! I will post my notes later, but here are the materials from my presentation with Jenny Dale on teaching upper-level students. We developed the presentation because there is a tendency at information literacy discussions/conferences to assume the target audience is first-year students. Those of us teaching upper-level students don’t get quite the same amount of attention. It can be difficult to adapt materials designed for entry-level students to classes with students who have some background in research and their discipline.
We are going to try to do some workshops on this topic, so if you attended and have suggestions or ideas, please let us know!
Here is the information from our handout, if you are interested or didn’t get one. We only made 20 and we ended up with around 40 attendees! Thank you to everyone who attended! It was a great group.
Published June 13, 2012
Tags: iassist, numeric data
Walter from York University just sent me a recording of my pecha kucha from IASSIST 2011. Good lord I was nervous, but man was that fun!
IASSIST needs to start recording more of its events and presentations! Maybe that is a job for membership.
Published June 12, 2012
Tags: iassist, singalong
This is a test of my ability to work my fancy iPhone. I will transfer this file to IASSIST once I figure how to do so.
In the meantime here is a true IASSIST tradition (meaning something we have done more than one time): The Conference Song. Way to go Walter!
(Sorry for the shakiness and my snort at one point. I was asked to do this 5 seconds before it began)