Wednesday, November 18, 2009

designed by Melissa Bowles-Terry

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Libraries' Seminar series

An enterprising member of our faculty started a seminar series so libraries faculty have a regularly scheduled venue to share our research with one another. Previous presentations have focused on digital initiatives, consumer health resources, and visual literacy. My turn is next week, when I'll be talking about an embedded librarian project I tried out last semester. It will be a bit of a dry run for my LOEX of the West program in June, and I'm hoping to get some helpful feedback from my colleagues here.

I've heard of embedding into courses for several years now, but it really seems to be catching on lately. A couple of months back, I read an article by Russell A. Hall in C&RL News that really echoed my own experiences. The time commitment was huge, and while the benefit to students was obvious and positive, this benefit is difficult to measure. A project like this really takes systematic planning and assessable outcomes.

It's a little scary to present about a project that was only partially successful. I'm sure my audience at the conference will include some librarians who know how to do it better than I did. My big hope is that the program will generate a lot of discussion and we can all learn from one another.

rising from the ashes

It's time to resurrect this blog. I had grand plans to post about what I was doing and reading about IL and then I got busy doing all that stuff and it didn't seem fun to write about what occupies the bulk of my time and thoughts. But I have lots of interesting projects in the works and several presentations coming up that are relevant here, so I'm going to make a better effort at keeping this space up-to-date.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Staff Workshop

Summer is the slow season for instruction around these parts, but I've been able to do a little bit. I gave a workshop today for some of our staff who support distance education students. They work all around the state, as well as on campus. I love doing instruction for students and often work closely with faculty, but there's something extra special and fun about working with staff.

Today's session was all about accessing resources and services from off-campus, which meant that I got to demonstrate all the fun technological tools we've been madly implementing. When I demonstrated the citation format feature in EBSCO's email form, the participants broke out in applause. How awesome is that? Undergrads are far too cool to get that enthusiastic about anything we show them. Other fan favorites seemed to be the federated search, link resolver, citation matcher, and the for-credit, online IL course we'll have next spring.

After the workshop, several of the attendees commented that I was really enthusiastic. I truly love my job, especially the teaching part, but I know everybody else's enthusiasm and eagerness to learn really made the session what it was. I only wish we'd had twice as much time together.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Colorado Academic Library Summit

This is a slightly shorter version of the travel report I submitted at work. I enjoy writing these because it helps me think through what I heard and learned at conferences. This meeting in particular was really good. There were lots of interesting presentations jam-packed into one long day, but there were plenty of breaks and chances to meet and talk with people. It was especially nice for me to get a chance to meet more academic librarians in this region. Being at the only 4+ year school in the state forces us to look outside for peers.


The opening keynote speaker was Carie Windham, a graduate student and “millennial learner.” She’s written for EDUCAUSE publications about learning from the millennial perspective, which was also the topic of her keynote. I’m overloaded on literature about the characteristics of millennials, but Carie’s talk was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, we spend a lot of time trying to understand this generation, but they really don’t seem to understand us or how technology savvy we are. Carie kept referring to people her age as internet pioneers, not seeming to realize that the Baby Boomers were the real pioneers. Second, she said she’s a heavy library user and enjoys it, but described her ideal library. Nothing she wants (visually oriented web tutorials, active learning activities in instruction, mobile printing, etc.) is surprising, but it was nice to hear that libraries are already moving in the direction our users probably want.

After the keynote and reception, Jenny and I joined librarians from the Northeast Kansas Library System, Fort Lewis College, University of Northern Iowa, and Colorado School of Mines for a fun dinner at Café Bisque.


We began the day with breakfast and Joan Lippincott’s keynote. I’ve read just about everything she’s written, so it was nice to get the chance to hear her speak. She also spoke a bit about millennials/NetGens, but made the good point that many of the descriptions of NetGen students—always connected, experiential learners, group workers—also fit older adults (especially librarians). Mostly, she showed us examples of the ways libraries are making their web and physical presences more appealing and useful for their students and faculty. There are some really cool projects out there; I particularly like the example from University of Minnesota, which has a special webpage for undergraduates that includes an assignment calculator to help them pace their research.

Session 1

Web 2.0 and the Digital Library (or, Learning from Flickr) - Steve Lawson (Colorado College)

Steve is active on many of the social networking sites I use, and I was interested to hear what he would say about 2.0 technologies. His presentation focused on lessons libraries can learn from flickr and implement on their own web presences. These include using human-readable and predictable URLs, offering RSS feeds, allowing user participation (tags, comments, notes/annotations), and opening up the API. Steve says what flickr has that we lack is the “single-minded devotion to improving the user experience” because our jobs pull us in so many directions. His handout and slides are available online:

Poster sessions

Five posters were presented between the first and second programs. I was particularly interested in this one: WRite-on! Interactive Design for Teaching Citation Styles - Alan Aldrich, Carol Leibiger, Ph.D. and Andrea Peterson, undergraduate student in German and History, (University of South Dakota). This group developed an online tutorial patterned after refrigerator magnet poetry. Students get a pile of “magnets,” each of which is a piece of a citation, and rearrange them into correct MLA or APA style citations. Future plans include adding more styles and making the tutorial work on Macs and handhelds.

Session 2

That's Fun! Teach Me More - Randy Christensen (Southern Utah)

This session was more free-form than the others I attended. Randy jumped right into an audience-participation game. He asked us each how we use games in instruction, or how we think games could be useful. I heard a few really good, easy suggestions from other librarians. Most of the session focused on in-person games, but a few people mentioned adaptable games software for use in distance classes or as tutorials.

At lunch, we had the option to sit at topic tables. I chose the “Wikis in Academic Libraries” table. Most libraries represented in the discussion mainly use wikis to organize staff/department information, sometimes as a replacement for an intranet. One librarian (I wish I could remember her name/library) described using a wiki for subject guides and allowing patrons to edit them.

Session 3

Overload: Strategies for Managing and Integrating Web 2.0 Technologies in Academic Libraries - Nina McHale (Auraria)

I think this session was meant more for people new to 2.0 technologies than for people already using them. The advice presented was good (use technologies to solve existing problems, not just because they’re cool), even if it wasn’t new to me. Nina offered lots of good examples of problems and their tech solutions, making the session really practical.

Session 4

The Faculty - Library Connection - Erin McCaffrey, Tina Parscal, Tom Riedel (Regis University)

I vote for this as the best presentation of the conference. Librarians and an instructional designer created an WebCT course for faculty teaching in their School for Professional Studies, most of whom are at a distance. Librarians facilitate the two-week course. For the final course project, faculty participants integrate an effective library learning activity into one of their courses. This is the way to make an information literacy instruction program relevant to course objectives and scalable to a large student body while introducing library services and resources to faculty at the same time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Librarian bloggers: get linked

I've been negligent about promoting Library Links, a new-ish library blog network started by Jessica, the Cool Librarian. If you're inclined, join up and add the cute little button above to your page.