April is the month to celebrate poetry. April is also the month we librarians and book lovers celebrate National Library Week. This year we took the opportunity to unite these celebrations and ran two successful poetry events: Book Spine Poetry and a poetry reading by UWM faculty and students.
I was really happy to bring book spine poetry to the library. Ever since I saw a blog post featuring the author’s spine poetry I’d hoped we’d get the opportunity to create some book spine poetry in the library. Book spine poetry invites people to look at a book differently, to activate their creative side, and discover new books to read. It was an easy event to coordinate. We pulled two carts of books from our Browsing Collection (we keep the pretty covers for those books making them more attractive for making poetry). We created a simple poster outlining the three steps to creating a book spine poem. Set up a table and white board and then let our users make poems. There was a lot of interest. A couple folks posted pictures of their prized poems on our facebook page. We also captured many poems and published an album on facebook. When the event was over and we culled the books to return there was only one cart of books left. So many folks left with some new books to read.
We also partnered with our Creative Writing folks to bring poets into the library. The staff in Creative Writing were great to work with and super supportive of the collaboration. About 40 people came to the library Grind to hear the poets read from their work . The event was such a success that we hope to be able to host poetry readings every semester!
Upon returning to work after attending acrl 2013, I am faced with the task of sharing what I learned with my colleagues. As I unpacked my bag I pondered how I might succinctly and meaningfully share my experience. Then I unpacked my badge. The name badge. That ubiquitous conference item so essential at the conference, clunky and exorbitant back at your desk. And yet I pause to part with it because it captures so much of my experience. So it will live on here in digital format.
Going into my first ARCL conference I had a good sense of what I wanted to get out of it. Mainly, I wanted to network, meet new people, and learn from them. When deciding what to attend I made a point to select sessions that would encourage socializing and sharing. So I attended First-time Orientation/ACRL 101. It was a pleasure to be encouraged by Steve Bell to network and participate. I enjoyed hearing perspectives from acrl newbies. And I learned that almost 1/3 of the attendees this year were first-timers! And I made my first new connection which leads me to…
If you’ve ever attended a conference you know about ‘the ribbons.’ At acrl 2013 we got to self select our ribbons. In theme with the DIY Library, I met Ginger who had created her own ribbon and gave one to me after I inquired about her awesome ribbon. DIY was a theme that came out in many sessions and in the cultural of the conference. Battle Decks, a DIY, karaoke style presentation social event, was another great opportunity to network and encourage a culture for the conference. The registration area also included idea trees…
innovate … inspire … imagine
Three idea trees around the above concepts were placed near the registration area and folks were encouraged to share back with acrl and other conference attendees. If you add an idea to the tree you get a button! I couldn’t resist the beautiful trees and cute buttons.
My favorite library innovation is…Suma [ACRL session: handout, ppt]
ACRL 2013 inspires me … TO DO! I proposed a session for ACRL THATcamp on crowdsourcing a MOOC which was met with much interest and was the most valuable experience for me at ACRL. Coming together with librarians from across the nation to build something with our knowledge and skills that could be useful to many people beyond our brick and mortar libraries was truly inspiring.
In keeping with the ‘to do’ inspiration, here is my To Do List from acrl 2013:
- Learn more about: inalj.com, code academy, digital storytelling, constant comparative method,
- Read Oakleaf’s LQ article, Are They Learning? Are We?
- Update instruction menu to better reflect concepts we teach
- Find out if we have access to campus assessment tool, WEAVE
- Incorporate workshop handouts into summer instruction camp
- Propose MOOC session for digital futures unconference
- Explore NCSU Makerspace and THATcamp makerspace session for implementation ideas
Imagine the profession in 2025 … librarians are consultants working outside the physical library. Inspired by the workshop Flip It, Flip It Good and my work at THATcamp, I see a future for librarians as consultants to professionals who need help organizing, communicating, teaching, digitizing, making things find-able in the ever expanding world of information, and more.
Knowing that I wanted to connect with others first and foremost at acrl 2013, I signed up as a volunteer. I was able to get two slots: check-in & set-up for the Flip it workshop and Resume Review. Volunteering to work a workshop guarantees you a place in the workshop! This worked out great for me because the waitlist for the Flip it workshop was over 20 people! So in addition to meeting librarians as the check in desk, I also found the workshop to be helpful to my current work- affirming our curriculum design and supplying useful handouts to incorporate into training sessions.
As a resume reviewer I had the opportunity to meet a senior librarian and a newbie librarian. These review sessions were an opportunity to reflect on what is important to future libraries and share passion for working in the profession.
Peep My Tweets @ganski1
Networking through social media is essential these days. Twitter is the place to be for professional connections. If you aren’t there and you want to be connected with others then you should really ask yourself ‘why am I not on Twitter?’ I’ve expanded my professional learning network with so many ACRL peeps and I look forward to learning more from them as we share ideas and experiences on Twitter. Here are some hashtags that I followed and contributed to: #acrl2013, #ilmooc, #acrlbattledecks, #thatcamp, #infolit, #DHMakerspace.
So as you can tell there is a lot for me to do! So thanks acrl 2013 for keeping me motivated!
For awhile now I’ve been thinking about the best way to flip our freshmen composition library instruction. Two catalysts have stirred my thinking: the successful development and implementation of our Information Literacy Tutorial and an article (full-text is behind pay wall) from the Chronicle on composition courses not teaching source analysis.
I’ve had the Chronicle article by Dan Berrett on my whiteboard for over a year now with this question written next to it: “How can we help?” We being the library instruction sessions. Library instruction is integrated into our freshman composition courses and we have done a fine job of introducing freshmen to basic information literacy skills (ACRL standards 1 & 2). But Standard 3 has remained elusive.
From one perspective (the half-empty one) you could make the argument that there is not enough time in a one-shot session to teach students how to critically evaluate and incorporate sources into their arguments. True. You could also argue that standard 3 veers into critical thinking territory and is therefore beyond the scope of librarians. [See: Elmborg, J. Critical Information Literacy: Definitions and Challenges. In Transforming Information Literacy Programs: Intersecting Frontiers of Self, Library Culture, and Campus Community. 75-95, 2012.]
But from the glass half-full perspective, I can make the argument that standard 3 can still be taught in a one-shot even though students will not master it in a one-shot. In fact, students may not master it until they graduate. Critical thinking skills continue to be an essential learning outcome to be mastered by college graduates, but one that must to taught in every course. It is not the sole domain of one course. Similarly, critical source analysis also is not the domain of one course, but the freshman composition course is the building block course.
Having embraced the idea that we can help I set out to envision ways that we might alter our curriculum. This is where flipping comes in. If freshman composition students could work through our Information Literacy Tutorial prior to coming to the library research workshop, then we could spend a lot less time teaching standards 1 & 2 and more time teaching standard 3. In fact, this change has recently been embraced in the new standard sequence.
So how then should we move to teaching standard 3? The curriculum I have developed is based upon the source use model authored by Joseph Bizup. Bizup’s model, BEAM, pushes readers to move beyond simple definitions of source types, primary vs. secondary, into dynamic definitions that depend on how the author will use the source.
Here is the outline for the new curriculum:
I. Source Spectrum Block [See: my previous blog post on this.]
II. BEAM Block [Introduce with slide above and discuss with topic example.]
III. Group Tasks [As a class develop a keyword search strategy for a question. Split into 4 groups - each group tasked with finding a source that could be used as B, E, A, or M on a paper on this topic. Groups share back their findings.]
We’ve had the opportunity to pilot this new approach with a couple of sessions this semester. Feedback from professors has been overwhelmingly supportive (“This is what I’ve dreamed library instruction could be.”) We also observed students talking more, collaborating more, and really wrestling with sources that they were finding. We will do some end of semester assessment to determine impact on student source use. Ideally if we adopt this curriculum, freshman composition professors will also adopt the BEAM model so that it will be reinforced throughout the course.
I really enjoyed teaching this, but I love to try new things and feel well versed in the language of source use. Other librarians might not feel as confident or comfortable talking authoritatively on this topic. That is a challenge that I need to plan for. Training for teaching with this model is only part of that plan. The other part is more tricky as it deals with shifting roles of librarians.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the 1st campus Assessment Showcase. The theme of the showcase was ‘assessing student learning in courses and programs’ and was meant to highlight student learning assessment taking place on campus as campus gears up for re-accreditation.
My colleague and I saw this as a great opportunity to share our work assessing information literacy learning in one of the courses in which we are embedded in the curriculum. We created a poster focusing on the formative assessment that we use in the classroom over the course of the three sessions that we work with these students.
When creating the poster we laid out three design goals:
1. Visually interesting
2. Stimulate conversation
3. Clear and direct
We both agreed that one characteristic of academic posters that we did not like was the tendency to contain a lot of text, leading the reader to either feel overwhelmed and walk away, or to engage only with the poster and not the presenter. We hoped to avoid this in our poster design. Our design goals also helped us to focus the content on what we felt was most important to communicate to our audience.
I am proud to say that we tied for fourth place in the individual category. Not only is that personally rewarding, but gives our poster the opportunity to be viewed by folks beyond the showcase. We’ve been highlighted on the showcase web page and our poster will be included at future accreditation meetings.
While winning fourth prize was exciting, one of the most rewarding experiences that evening was a conversation with one of our poster viewers. After viewing our poster she said, “I just love you poster because it is visually interesting, easy to understand, and to the point.” Wow! Even if we hadn’t won, that comment would have been enough for me.
Participating in this event was a lot of work, but it was work that I feel confident will reap rewards in the future as the library continues to be seen as a contributor to student learning on campus. It is a good example of stepping up and out of the library to be a part of campus conversations.
[2/20/2013 The slide presentation below has been updated in preparation for my all staff presentation this Friday.]
As part of my strategic planning work I was tasked with introducing the idea of makerspaces to our Executive Leadership Council. I thought it was necessary to showcase some maker spaces in my presentation and connect the broader movement with campus initiatives to highlight the real world impact of student learning.
In my research I found the following blogs, articles, and websites to be most helpful.
1. Library as Incubator Project – an excellent source, culling together a lot of great initiatives around the country.
2. Makerspace: Madison Public Library sees innovation centers as a key part of its future
3. The Makings of Maker Spaces- a two part series from Library Journal
4. Milwaukee Makerspace an interesting local chapter
I would love to hear from you about maker spaces you are involved with and I’m especially interested in hearing about maker spaces on college campuses.
Here are a few academic libraries that have or are developing makerspaces
1. University of Mary Washington – ThinkLab
2. Valdosta State library – in development, hopefully will be up and running Spring 2013
3. North Carolina State University – Digital Media Lab
4. University of Tennessee Chattanooga – Jason Griffey the librarian behind the LibraryBox is the contact
Sometime during the first week of January, while I was away on vacation, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
I was very impressed with the design, fun, and detail of this automated report. Since it is the start of the new year, reports have been on my mind- assessment reports, annual self evaluations, statistical reports, etc. While compiling many of these reports myself I’ve been thinking of ways to make them more interesting to read, more visually engaging, and more meaningful. This WordPress.com report while being all of those things was also mass generated for all WordPress.com account holders. That’s impressive, but also only possible thanks to all of the statistical analysis tools employed on the WordPress.com account and the flexible design elements of XML.
Pondering the reports creation I got to thinking that it could be possible to create a personalized report for library users. Something like, “your year in learning“. Using data from sources such as patron borrowing record, ILL borrowing record, RefWorks, Primo account, and any other library account linked to your campus ID; a program could be developed to gather and report how many books you borrowed, citations created, and articles viewed. Individual data could then be compared to the aggregate to include such things in your report as: “you read % more books then your peers. Way to go!” or “Faculty viewed x# of articles this past year. Think you could read x more articles in one year?” Going beyond your own data Amazon, Worldcat.org, and other sources could be mined to position your reads within a larger context, such as letting you know what was the top rated book of the year, most read book, most cited work, etc. and noting whether or not you read it.
I have a hunch that many people would find this information more than interesting. It could be used as a self-evaluation tool, especially the comparison data. It could be one way that the library could help students think about how their library usage impacts their GPA. For example, one entry on the report could read: “The average number of books read by students with a 4.0 GPA is #. Make this your new goal for 2013!”
Undoubtedly there will be issues of privacy to think about, but the report would be distributed to the individual only and I’m sure policy could be written and tools tweaked to allow for more collection while ensuring that this data is not made public without a legal request.
I would love to see more academic libraries hiring tech staff to develop products like this that help students and universities better visualize and understand how valuable the library is to learning.