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This blog has MOVED

Hi everyone! This blog has moved! Please come and check it out – I got tired of managing 2 blogs at once and decided to bring everything together. So, if you’re so inclined, come read over at this blog’s new home :)

Here you will find Library-related issues and discussion, photography, poetry, and my musings as an editor for an up-and-coming literature magazine. Exciting things are happening.

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Safe Zone: practical applications in the commuter-college library

If you remember from my last post, I started working on a LGBTQ libguide with a few other colleagues in the HACC system.  Luckily, I was able to attend the Safe Zone training presented at the York Campus today and gained some valuable information that can be utilized to assist our LGBTQ student/staff/faculty population across campus’.

First, we learned terminology that I THOUGHT I was totally familiar with – this was not the case.  Most noteably, I discovered that the term “Transgender” is an umbrella term, while I thought it meant someone who was transitioning from either male-to-female or female-to-male but who hadn’t gone through with the surgery yet.  ::insert obnoxious buzzer::  Wrong!

However, this got me thinking – what terms would LGBTQ students be using in their search?  I wrote down terms and added them to the libguide (which is not public yet).  I put this under the “Books” tab, but I am still mulling over the idea of placing books, articles, and more into one category.  I added a section: “Try using these terms” to help our campus population find more information on what they are looking for.

I also learned about “Central Voice” which is an LGBT paper published out of Harrisburg (available here) and that the SGA (student gov’t) is working with the “It gets better” project – all of which I am very excited about.  So, I was thinking of adding the latest edition in PDF form to the libguide so that it is also accessible online and physically.  I think that many LGBTQ students may not be comfortable carrying around the physical pamphlet, so making it accessible online would provide another avenue of access.

Since HACC York does not currently have an Allies group on campus, I was thinking that maybe the smaller satellites could work with the Harrisburg campus’ strong Allies group to coordinate events together.  Since this is a commuter campus, we should be thinking of ways to allow all students the chance to participate.

Here’s some things to try:

  • Skype meetings with Harrisburg Allies group to other HACC Campus’
  • Coordinate events such as: Campus Pride or set up a  display table at local (central PA) Pride events during the summer.  This will show that HACC is a safe place for all students and it gets us out there in the community.
  • Discuss having special topics classes offered at different campus’ on Queer Studies.  Seems out of reach, but it’s not unheard of.
  • Celebrate Pride events in the library!  Parties = People!  Bring people in, provide a safe space, gain allies, and promote library resources for LGBTQ students/staff/faculty

With a little help, we can all reach out to provide a safe space on campus for LGBTQ students.  The library plays an integral part as we are providers of information, and we need to be understanding, knowledgeable, and able to provide resources to our campus community.

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PaLA 2011 conference notes (Sunday/Monday)

So if you didn’t attend PaLA this year, don’t worry!  I’ve taken a few notes on my short stay in State College, PA.  Since I got there a little later on Sunday, I only went to two sessions.  Then, on Monday, I went to three sessions and presented my poster: “Changing perspectives, building careers: library internships for undergrads” with Libscenester :)

Service Learning @ the University Library

  • The data shows: students take ownership of learning, it increases student motivation to learn course content, learning through point-of-need is most effective, and it’s a low-pressure way for students to transfer skills.
Ok..so how does this apply to Higher Ed?  Perhaps at HACC, the community college I work at, we could have our CSI (computer science and information) students teach computer literacy to non-traditional students.  This will then increase their ability to learn the material they have worked with in class and then transfer skills to students in need.
A safe space on campus to serve LGBTQ students and faculty
You can find the slides of this presentation here , but here are the basics:
  • ALA provides many places for libraries to get ideas for starting LGBTQ
  • Our universities need to provide a safe welcoming environment (either through collection development, or in my case, an online guide)
  • Guides should be electronic and should have a contact person and/or link to a student group on campus
  • Our reference librarians should be knowledgeable of terminology and where students can find the guide.
  • Outreach:  Connect with Allies group on campus, educate staff on ALA ethics, participate in safe-space training, GLBTQ history month is October (reach out!), try poetry readings, hook up with the Student Activities group, etc.
At HACC, we are collaborating to create a GLBTQ libguide for our students.  As it stands, there is a “Diversity” guide which provides excellent information.  However, in order to provide service to all students and to treat everyone as a WHOLE, we are collecting materials and working across campus’ in order to provide the best service for our students and community.
Marketing: a librarian’s field guide to NFC
Ever hear of Near Field Communication?  No?  Well, it is basically a new way to transfer information (data) between phones similar to a QR code.  However, this type of marketing will allow people to just “tap” their phone to an icon and have that information transmitted through a short field blue-tooth connection.
What does this mean for libraries?  How can we use this technology?

  • Obviously, Marketing – outreach
  • Provide a quick way for people to register to library events
  • Replace locks?  Possibly for 24-hr labs, dorms, etc.  Replace the student ID
This technology is very new and the iPhone4s does not support it YET.  The phones that do support the technology include: Nokia C7, N9 and the Google NexusX phone.  Perhaps this is something to look forward to in the near future – experts predict 2012 :)
Get off the bench: Outreach initiatives
This was a fantastic presentation discussing some easy (and cheap) ways to get students and the university community into the library – who doesn’t want that??  Here are some things I gathered from the talk:
  • Try performances at the library – this helps get people into the library as well as bring awareness to other students about different campus events.  This is a fun way to integrate departments across campus
  • A college author reception: bring in the faculty to have a pseudo-fancy event to celebrate the work they’ve published.  Offer cheese and crackers and display the work (MU might remember the Showcase of Scholarship).
  • Offer free tea and hot chocolate on late hours (HACC-york is possibly working with the tutoring center to provide a 24-hr open access environment for students for finals – maybe we could try this).
  • Anything having to do with a birthday (famous in the library-world or not) will bring people into the library.  Cake = people.
  • Offer study breaks – legos, games, crafts
  • Book-truck decoration contests – maybe campus groups?
  • 1st Friday exhibits in the library – this could be fun.
  • Write Thank You cards to people on campus that have helped out the library.  Maybe use some photographs from special collections for the front of the cards!
Going Mobile with Lincoln
This session discussed mobile marketing of the library (at Gettysburg College).  I went to this session because I am preparing a QR code presentation for Millersville University and I got some good ideas about marketing here.  The problem is: how do we get the website to go mobile – how do we tell students that they can access the library at all hours even when the library is closed?
           First, we need to know what students are using, who’s the target, and what values are there?
Here are some ways to market to students:
  • Partnerships with campus community groups
  • Table tents (in library) and maybe in the study rooms
  • Digital signage
  • Newspaper/stall publication
  • Stacks signage
Promote the message “Wherever you are.”  I like this because for my instruction I use QR codes so students can access their libguides at any moment when they need help.  I have been following the QR codes to track data and to see if people are actually using them – we cannot forget to assess what we are doing, or we begin to assume what the students are doing – and we all know what ASSuming does to us ;)
Hopefully you can take something away from these notes – I look forward to spearheading new initiatives at HACC from what I learned at PaLA.  So, just like last year – Thanks PaLA!

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Hey PaLA 2011!

Fall weather, classes starting, and PaLA conference-time is in the air!  

This year, I am presenting a poster with LibraryScenester called “Changing perspectives, building careers: library internships for undergrads.”  Learn how I (and other interns at Millersville University Library), gained invaluable experience and the motivation to continue further study in librarianship – so, be sure to stop by on Monday between 1-2pm! :)

It’s good to know, too, that I’ve never stayed overnight at a conference so this is going to be an entirely new experience for me.  Last year, I just walked down to PaLA which was being held about 4 blocks from my apartment – this year, I’m driving 3 hours up to State College (no worries, I’ve got playlists).

Here’s a few things that I’m bringing for my short stay at PaLA 2011:

  • My trusty laptop – Mostly because I have to work on a Lit midterm – haven’t decided whether to bring it to sessions – thoughts?
  • Multiple outfits- I’m terrible at choosing what to wear, hopefully my hotel roomies can help me out :)
  • My COAT – It’s going to be freezing and raining on Sunday, so come prepared!
  • iPod – for the car
  • Camera – I’ve never been to State College, and I thought taking photos at PaLA would be a fun way for me to relax between sessions.

Be sure to check back for notes from the sessions – thanks for having me again, PaLA :)

 

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Student-Worker to Professional Librarian: Overcoming the Transition

Today marks the end of my first week as an Adjunct Reference and Instruction Librarian at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) York Campus.  While I am very excited to start working on my instruction presentations and help students at the reference desk, I have found myself dealing with a tough transition from student-worker to professional librarian.

How could this be?  I have been applying for librarian positions for over a year now – I went to library school – why does being a “Librarian” feel so awkward?

As a student-worker and supervisor, I was constantly moving: looking for students/staff/faculty, training incoming students, working the circulation desk, ILL, resource sharing, stacks, and special projects.  I also had several supervisors that I had to report to.  Now, I have the specific duty of manning the reference desk and working on class presentations, but I still have the urge to shelve newspapers and books, check the book-bins, and tell student-workers what they should be doing.

I am also finding myself concerned about being called “Faculty.”  During my tour, I met several staff and faculty around campus who mistook me as a new student.  Since the majority of the student population is non-traditional, I get the overwhelming sense that they don’t trust me to help them with their assignments.  And if the students don’t trust me, how will the other faculty trust me to instruct their classes?

How does one deal with this dilemma?  Well, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  •  Told myself: they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you were qualified and capable of doing the job.  This mantra has helped and was reinforced at my New Faculty Orientation.  Obviously, during my interview and presentation, they saw my potential regardless of my appearance (specifically age), and thought that I would be a good fit and addition to their library.
  • Be confident.  “Confident” isn’t the first word I would use to describe myself, but I have quickly learned how important it is to gain trust from students.  If students see that you are confident in finding the information they are requesting, you ultimately gain their trust.
  • Ask questions.  Don’t be shy, you are working with librarians.. They love to answer questions.  I have found that the more questions I ask, the more comfortable the staff and faculty feel with me – I want to do the best I can, and they see that.  All of this will help boost that confidence :)
  • Relax.  You don’t have to know everything all at once.  Any new job is an information-overload, and no one expects you to know it all.  Just remember to breathe while sorting through all of your new work email.
  • Be flexible and don’t panic.  During my first week, my supervisor had a family emergency which left me at the reference desk by myself.  Instead of panicking, I just followed #4 and winged it the best I could.  If you don’t know an answer, tell a student you will get back to them with the information they are seeking – don’t worry!

As I explore, discover, and learn all about being a professional librarian, I am sure I will begin to feel more comfortable in my new role.  In the meantime, I have to squash those desires to direct student-workers and command the circulation desk as I previously had.  Those days are over now – I can finally say I am an Academic Librarian, so it’s time to start acting like it!

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Library Day in the Life [of the unemployed librarian]: Tuesday

Today turned out to be pretty busy for me for day 2 of Library Day in the Life round 6 :)  Here’s what I did today:

8:00-9:00 – Got up, started the coffee pot and made breakfast for Ava.  Then, I checked my email and got ready to go to Millersville University for a webinar.

9:30-10 – Met up with Library Scenester to get my parking pass and settled into the library classroom (by logging into Twitter and Facebook).  Met another librarian from the Lancaster County Public Library System who graduated with me this past December in Clarion.  We talked about what direction in librarianship we want to take and she told me she would like to get back into Academic Librarianship (heh, me too).

10-10:50 – Listened to “The Joy of Text” webinar sponsored by PaLA CRD.  I tweeted some of what was going on during the session, but I also took some notes.  Before the break we learned:

  • What text messaging is and the definition of SMS.  (I found that this was a kind of unnecessary information considering the audience)
  • Discovered the LYRASIS delicious page, however, we were told that this would be moving sometime in the near future.  In the meantime, there are some pretty interesting links if you are interested in continuing your education on mobile reference services.
  • Reasons why texting and reference makes sense: 1. Phone is favored form of communication. 2. Texting is easier (and quicker). and 3. There is documented evidence of increased usage.
  • Learned about “the cloud.”  Basically, this cloud is the core network that every device that has internet connection bounces off of.  I thought we already assumed that, but now there is a term for it.  This is something that I have been seeing on TV a lot more in ads, now that I am jobless.

10:50-11:05 – BREAK TIME!  Which meant fill up on caffeine at the Starbucks on the G floor of the library (a favorable addition to the building).  I must thank Erin for spotting me the extra dollar for my Almond Joy Latte :D

11:05-12 – Wrapped up the webinar:

  • Vendors offering SMS reference service: Libanswers, Mosio: Text-A-Librarian, Volusion, Library H31p, Altarama, Google SMS (Voice), Guide by Cell, [KGB and ChaCha]
  • Briefly touched on policies/tone of texting, how to be professional and polite and uphold ALA standards.  Also, what are the students’ expectations? However, I would have liked to have seen an example of a library implementing this in their library, maybe an article link.  I think that this could be touched upon a little more for the purposes of the seminar.
  • How to implement: use dashboard service as in Mosio? Or every librarian have a device?  The text service could be used all the time or just during peak hours.  Again, I didn’t really get more than that.  I would have like to have seen libraries that are using this and how it is working.
  • Results May Vary: you may or may not get as many texts as you were expecting (obviously).  But, it becomes an issue when the library must choose a service and sometimes, the pricing is based on how many texts will be going out per month.
  • Best Practices: Provide hours + Availability, FAQs, Policy, Staff training, and Promote/Market the service.  Here, I would have liked how other libraries had marketed the service and how it is working for them.  I would like to see what flat out didn’t work.  I could probably tell you: bulletin board marketing (which was suggested).  While a good idea in theory, students just aren’t seeing it.  Believe me.
  • How to answer texts: Direct complicated texts to email or chat, always use an away message if necessary, send descriptive links OR URLs, keep it simple, and be mindful of text character limits.  However, here again, I would have liked to know how to approach a question.  Should we conduct a deeper reference interview with, say 4, texts?  Or, should we throw assumptions of unlimited texting aside, and stick to one-text answers?

Essentially, I learned that the library is just going to have to come up with some skeleton base that seems appropriate for their particular library- Then, EXPERIMENT.  No one will know how to implement this into libraries if there aren’t people experimenting and writing about it.

12-2:30 – worked on cover letters at the library with my friend and former co-worker (and now library intern), Jacob (whose blog looks startlingly similar to mine..uh oh!  :) ).  He was there for me to complain to when discussing the cover letter.  After a while, I start to forget what I am doing and what job I am applying to.  Right now, I am working particularly hard on this one job application because the description seems to fit my experience and also the direction I want to take.  However, I don’t get too excited: I have enough rejection letters to wall-paper my bathroom.  This isn’t to say that I don’t put in a serious effort into every app that I send out, but I have to remember to keep it light, so to speak.

2:30-3 – Drove to my hair dresser (gotta keep it fresh for any upcoming job interviews).  This time, though, I got a little lost because: a) My new GPS talks extremely low and b) my hairdresser quit the salon and is now doing it out of her house, so I’ve never been there before.  But, I will say, it was a relaxing part of my day, and her new house-salon is beautiful!

3-4 – Enjoyed myself at the salon, I was pampered with coffee, food, and some man (the next haircut client) who entertained my nerdy photography babble  :)

4:30-6:30 – Cooked dinner for Ava, played with her and put her to bed.

6:30-8 – Finished working on my cover letter from earlier and rearranged my CV and added/changed a few things.  Man, this stuff is tedious.

8-Now – Writing this post.  And listening to Pres. Obama in the background talking about this economy.  And I am sitting here thinking, ‘yeah tell me about it.’

*Hope you didn’t fall asleep during that post.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings!*

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Library Day in the Life [of the unemployed librarian]

Since graduation, things have been busy looking/trying to find a job.  I have been doing my own searching while working with former colleagues and I have probably sent out over 50 applications and c0unting – so, I thought it would be interesting to participate in Library Day in the Life: Round 6 and describe the life of the recent-library-school-grad-unemployed-librarian.

6:45 – Got up and immediately went for the coffee pot.  Got ready, got Ava dressed and then checked my email.

8-9:15 – Received email about the “Joy of Text” webinar I am participating in tomorrow at Millersville and confirmed the date because my days have been running together since becoming unemployed.  Watched Ava listen to records and play with her books, kissed her goodbye, and started becoming nervous for my interview

9:30-9:45 – Drove to my interview.  Job Title: TSS (Therapeutic Staff Support).  Main Responsibilities: Encourage child/adolescent in fostering greater independence and socially responsible behavior (usually in the classroom).   Not a librarian position, but still extremely excited.

10-11:15 – INTERVIEW WENT AWESOME.

11:30-11:45 – Called my best friend/former internship supervisor to tell her how my interview went.  I was also driving to the grocery store (I know, I shouldn’t talk on the phone while driving, but I was too excited).

12:00-12:30 – Grocery shopped and picked up extra milk because of the possibility of another Snowpocalypse (Nor’Easter, haha).

12:45-1:30 – Whipped up a quick lunch before Ava woke up and checked email and facebook.  I received a few more job notifications and started copying links to my Job Pathfinder.

1:45-3 – Fed and played with Ava.

3-4:15 – Talked to another best friend on the phone about my job interview and sent him an email of links for jobs I thought he might be qualified for.

4:15-6:45 – Cooked dinner, fed and played with Ava some more.  Then, put her to bed.

7 – Another good friend came over and we discussed the possibility of me landing that job.

9p-Now – Finishing up this post and job searching..until at least midnight.

Being unemployed actually means working around the clock looking for jobs, so my day really never ends.  I feel guilty if I have down-time between the baby’s nap schedule and don’t look for jobs.  I add each link to jobs onto a pathfinder I have created and then start drafting cover letters until my eyes cross, and then I am satisfied enough to go to bed.

However stressful it may get, I am always hopeful and excited for the opportunities of a new day :)

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