Thursday, October 29, 2009

Library 101: The finished product

I'm excited to see that the Library 101 video is not only finished, but is appearing today on

If you look closely, you can see still photos and video of my colleagues at EKU that they let me film. Very exciting!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Need a Mentor? / Want to be a Mentor?

The New Members Round Table of the American Library Association offers a great program to match up librarian mentors with five or more years experience with librarian mentees with five or less years experience.

You must be an ALA member, but you don't have to attend conferences or be an NMRT member (although NMRT is a great resource for newer librarians, and I highly recommend it).

To sign up or for more information, see the NMRT Mentoring Program website.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Louisville Public Library needs your help

photo from

Yesterday, parts of Louisville, Kentucky were horribly flooded from massive amounts of rainfall. The main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library was particularly hard hit.

To contribute to the recovery:

The Library Foundation
Attn: Flood
301 York St.
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 574-1709

To contribute online, you can donate through the Steve Lawson's See Also blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Library 101

Michael Porter of Libraryman blog fame has put out a call for participants to be part of his new song and video: Library 101. I took a few still photographs at our library instruction retreat, but then a call went out for actual video. I had never used a Flip (or any video camera for that matter), but I tried my best to capture a few moments on the camera, including what was supposed to be a few of our librarians saying, "We are Library 101!"

Of course, I totally missed the moment and only got myself talking on camera, and couldn't cajole my co-workers into a fourth take. I posted two of my three attempts to the group pool on flickr anyway, and today I find two positive comments! Librarians are so nice. (Including my colleagues, who I think still don't quite understand what I videoed them for, but were game anyway.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

2009 ALA Annual Conference: My first poster session

I had an excellent time co-presenting my first poster session with Stacey Greenwell. We presented on the University of Kentucky's annual freshmen orientation event, The Hubbub, which I've written about before.

I was a little nervous about doing a poster session, which was a new format for me, but I actually loved talking to all the people who stopped in to learn more about how to show their students what a great place the library can be.

If you would like more information, please check out our posting at the ALA Conference Materials Archive.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Huge Hubbub - A July/August C & RL News article

The July/August 2009 issue of ACRL's College and Research Libraries News just appeared, and one of the articles is The Huge Hubbub: Freshmen orientation fun at the library, written by yours truly.
I really enjoyed writing about the University of Kentucky Libraries' huge freshmen orientation event, which I was involved in for its first two years, in 2007 and 2008. I'm also very excited to have an article appear in a publication so widely read by academic librarians. I hope I did UK's marvelous Hubbub justice in my story.

photo credit: Beth Kraemer and the Hubbub Photo Booth Team

In related news, Stacey Greenwell and I will be co-presenting a poster session on the same topic at the American Library Association's Annual Conference next Sunday, July 12, from 1:00 to 2:30pm at McCormick Place West. I hope to see you there!

photo credit: Kopana Terry

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Not a Trustworthy Source

I was recently shocked to learn that the academic publishing giant Elsevier had published an allegedly peer-reviewed academic journal called the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which was actually a disguised promotion for Merck products.

Academic libraries pay through the nose for academic journals, particularly from Elsevier, and in return we should be able to expect the highest quality information. This type of fraudulent information should do a lot to increase the already steamrolling interest in open access publishing instead.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Learning Spaces in EDUCAUSE Quarterly

photo by Alice Wasielewski
A recent special issue on learning spaces of Educause Quarterly contained a photo of the Information Commons at the University of Kentucky taken by yours truly (at the bottom of the page second from right if you click on the link).

The Information Commons at UK is a great place for students, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. At my current job at Eastern Kentucky University, we are working on our own great new space for students, The Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. Construction is beginning soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Motivating Students

I recently read a useful book (that I have to give back to ILL today) called Motivating Students in Information Literacy Classes by Trudi E. Jacobson and Lijuan Xu. This handy little volume is aimed at librarians teaching full-semester IL classes, but it contains a lot of good advice that can also be applied to the brief sessions that I teach. One standout was the advice on student autonomy and how students become more motivated when given simple choices. This is a book that I don't want to return.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What a Huge Hubbub at Spring KLA!

photo by Shawn Livingston
I really enjoyed presenting a mini-session with Stacey Greenwell about the University of Kentucky's annual freshmen event at this year's KLA spring conference.

"What a Huge Hubbub: Welcoming students to the library by having a party!" introduced our audience to the ins and outs of holding an enormous library event as part of freshmen orientation week. UK Libraries' "Hubbub" attracted about 400 students in its first year in 2007 and doubled to nearly 800 in 2008. That makes for an event that is wonderful publicity for the library but also takes a great deal of preparation and hard work from lots of library employee volunteers.

The best part of our presentation, for me, was putting a lei around everyone's neck as they entered, just like we did at our freshmen event. Thanks to Stacey for presenting again with me this year!

Sacred Cows

Rick Anderson of the University of Utah gave a thought provoking talk at Spring KLA. Five Sacred Cows of Librarianship: Why They No Longer Matter, and Why Two of Them Never Did questioned some basic assumptions of reference work and collection development. I'm not sure I agreed with his point that libraries have never really owned physical copies, only access, but I did like his point about technology making on-demand just-in-time access now possible and that librarians' ultimate goal should be to make reference service unnecessary. I always feel like my goal in instruction is to teach students what they need to know to help themselves.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm at the Kentucky Library Association/Special Library Association joint spring conference, affectionately known to many as "Spring Camp" due to the fact that it is always held at a Kentucky state park.

This morning I attended session on LibGuides by Eastern Kentucky University's Cindy Judd and Nicole Montgomery, my colleagues at MPOW. I just started using LibGuides when I started at EKU in October, and I find them to be easy to create, appreciated by teaching faculty, and really used by students. I didn't even have any real training when I began, but they are so simple that I could just jump right in.

Cindy and Nicole gave a great overview of why an institution would want to use LibGuides and some challenges that they represent. Myself, I learned that you can put two profiles with two librarians' pictures on a LibGuide, which is going to be great for next time I'm team teaching different sections of a class with another librarian.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Librarians in the Press

Librarians and libraries have been getting a lot of press lately, almost all of it positive. In these times of economic hardship, the media is highlighting how public libraries can provide entertainment, Internet access, job-seeking assistance, technology classes and more.

As an academic librarian, I'm happy to see my colleagues in the public libraries getting positive feedback, but I haven't really felt like the news media has been talking about me and what I do for a living.
Photo credit: Carlos Seo

Today, the New York Times ran an article called: "The Future of Reading:
In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update
," which really felt like it was about my job as a librarian.

This article is about school librarians (K-12), but it focused on Information Literacy, which is the main skill that an Instruction Librarian also tries to develop. (For readers not used to education jargon, IL is the ability not only to find information but also to critically evaluate it.)

This article showed how librarians are important for teaching America's students not only how to find information, but how to analyze and evaluate what they read. On this cold day, it warmed my heart.

Facebook & Privacy

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I use it (voluntarily) almost every day, and I love the way it allows me to easily keep in touch with friends, re-discover old acquaintances, make new connections, and publicize items of interest.

However, I also lament the way that I have greatly reduced longer messages to close friends and, more importantly, fear the way that Facebook is revealing large amounts of personal information. For the former, I think I will just need to make email and phone calls a priority again, but for the latter, I have taken specific steps to preserve my privacy on Facebook.

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know should be required reading for all users of Facebook. Read this to learn how to set very specific privacy levels, such as limiting photo views to only certain groups of friends, preventing stories from showing up on news feeds, and controling who can post to your wall.

There is still the larger issue of the Facebook corporation itself having access to so much personal information, but short of avoiding social networking altogether, I haven't figured out a good solution to that one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lakes Regional Library

I recently visited the Lakes Regional Library in Lee County, Florida. They have the same jaunty little library sign that I like so much at the new Northside Branch in Lexington. (Due to road construction, I creatively photographed from the back.)

Inside were comfortable chairs, easy-to-find desks, and helpful library employees. I was able to use the Internet to check my email and buy a nice used paperback from their small store to read at the beach. Overall, a very nice library.

Our Backyard

Not much riding going on in the Bluegrass these days. Our house has been without power for nine days and counting, due to the apple tree shown here. Thank goodness for the kindness of relatives.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Break "The Library Cycle"

This cartoon appeared in our student newspaper.The Eastern Progress

The question, for me, is: How do we break "The Library Cycle?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crabbe Library Stars in Award-Winning Film

The winner of the Best Short Film Award at the 2008 Cinefest Movie Expo and Festival in Louisville, Kentucky was written and produced by two Eastern Kentucky University faculty members and involved several students.

"The Library," as the title implies, takes place almost entirely in EKU's main library, where I work.

Although this is definitely not a film made by or for those concerned with re-vamping the librarian's image as a busybody matron, I give a big thumbs-up to this delightful little comedy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kool Tool

Even if your school or library is blessed with excellent up-to-date technology, Murphy's Law says that sooner or later you will find yourself in front of the classroom without electronic access to the things you were going to share with your students. For me this happened when EBSCO's server was down in New England, cutting off access for me in Kentucky.

At the time I was lucky to quickly find a tutorial on-line that I could use, but in case of future trouble, I decided to make a back-up plan. First, I tried using Microsoft Paint to do some screen captures, but found that I had captured only one screen of my double monitors. I re-did them, only to notice that not only was I capturing all the other junk on my desktop, but that there were gaps on the screen not visible to me.

My tech-savvy hubby recommended WebKut to solve my problems, and it was a great solution. This free application allows you to capture the entire page, current view, or only a selection. I'm in the process of snipping some screen shots of databases, searches, and search results to save on a flash drive, so that the next time something is down, I'll have a plan in hand (literally).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

False Dichotomy

I've noticed a tendency among librarians to want to label things like Wikipedia and Google as simply bad and library catalogs and databases as simply good, which is particularly exacerbated when trying to teach inexperienced undergraduates what they need for their papers in 50 minutes or less. I loved this recent post by one of the authors of In the Library with a Lead Pipe, which talks about the importance of not oversimplifying this complicated situation.

There is some great stuff in this post about why it is important not to dismiss Internet sources out of hand, while at the same time teaching students what is and is not appropriate for citing in an academic paper, including some great examples from the author's own experience doing library research as a graduate student. I'm looking forward to reading more.