New: Privacy Field Guides

Submitted by Erin Berman : Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Privacy Subcommittee

Privacy is a core value of librarianship, yet it often feels like an overwhelming and onerous undertaking. Library workers repeatedly say that there is a lack of practical how-to guides for making concrete privacy changes in the library. To address the concerns voiced by library workers, Bonnie Tijerina and Erin Berman partnered to create the Privacy Field Guides. Sponsored by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the American Library Association, written by privacy experts and reviewed by librarians in the field, these guides were designed to work in school, public, and academic libraries. These guides are now complete and the creators would like to send physical copies to any community and junior colleges who are interested (while supplies last)! All you need to do is fill out this form and we will ship them to you.

The complete set of guides is now available for download on ALA’s Privacy Resource Center. A fully interactive companion site to the guides is slated to be released in February where library workers can view additional resources and complete the guide activities. Later this year the guides will also be available for purchase as a workbook through ALA editions, so stay tuned! 

There are seven guides covering topics important to library workers.

  1. How To Talk About Privacy covers privacy talking points, creating an elevator speech, and how to build a persuasive argument
  2. Non-Tech Privacy looks at space design, user surveillance, information printed on paper, and self-service options.
  3. Digital Security Basics walks through creating strong passwords and phrases, multi-factor authentication, phishing, and the importance of staff and user training.
  4. Data Lifecycles introduces readers to each area of the user data lifecycle and gives tips and exercises to learn more about what your library may be doing.
  5. Privacy Policies introduces the read to privacy policies, how to read one and how to write one for a library.
  6. Privacy Audits helps libraries ensure their procedures are in line with their promises of privacy and confidentiality by offering an audit framework and providing resources to perform the audit and tell the audit story.
  7. Vendors and Privacy helps the reader evaluate vendor privacy and understand who in their organization controls decisions to buy and negotiate with vendors.
Instruction Reading

Critical Reading Partnership Inspired by Project Information Literacy

By Deb Baker, Library Director, Manchester Community College, Manchester New Hampshire

This fall, at an English faculty colleague’s suggestion, I’ve been visiting her Composition I class to collaborate in modeling college reading. We were inspired by Project Information Literacy’s “Provocation” series, especially articles by Barbara Fister (Lizard People in the Library) Alison Head (Reading in the Age of Distrust) and Nicole Cooke (Tell Me Sweet Little Lies: Racism as a Form of Persisting Malinformation). Together we’ve facilitated students through reading, annotating, critiquing and discussing eight articles on a single topic over seven weeks, followed by two weeks of inviting them to apply the skills they learned to the sources they’ve found for their own research topics.

In August, we met to talk about Head’s suggestion that “educators and instruction librarians must make the invisible activity of reading more visible.” In part because of Fister’s article, my colleague suggested QAnon as our topic. She found a series of articles from newspapers, websites, and academic journals that she hoped would help students situate QAnon in the historical, social, and cultural contexts of American satanic panics. Every week we read and annotated the assigned reading ourselves, uploading them to Canvas at least a couple of days ahead of class, and then talked through what we had wondered, looked up, and thought about in a class discussion. She would follow up each class with a Canvas discussion board. We set broad goals – sharing our own reading processes, helping students develop critical reading habits, introducing Cooke’s critical cultural literacy, and connecting critical reading with research.

With this plan in mind, we started class discussions in the third week of the semester. For our first session together, the students were asked to read the assigned article, but not to annotate. We led the discussion. For the next week, they annotated the first part of the article, and we again led the discussion. The idea was that each week, the students would take more of a lead.

It went relatively well, but like all of the best laid classroom plans, also went somewhat differently than we’d envisioned. First, we thought QAnon would be interesting, especially in light of the context provided by the many different articles my colleague chose – everything from a column by Los Angeles Times music critic Mikael Wood about the conservative outcry over Little Nas X’s ‘Montero’ video to a lengthy analysis of QAnon by game designer Reed Berkowitz to scholarly articles by Mary DeYoung and Sarah Hughes about the historical and economic conditions that led to past satanic panics. Some students found the topic engaging, but a few did not and one student wouldn’t participate at all. While it may not have been the topic that caused this, some of her ennui seemed to rub off on classmates at times.

Practically speaking, we observed that students were not necessarily familiar with or conscious of asking questions as they read, and just as Head reports in Reading in the Age of Distrust, weren’t sure how to connect what they read with previous readings. Even after we modeled our own methods, they did not necessarily follow suit, even when given clear directions such as “look up something about the author and the publication.” Eventually, my colleague resorted to a worksheet outlining what students should look for, such as claims and evidence.

Even with clear instructions, we also found that for students raised in a time of standardized testing and five paragraph essays, it was challenging for some to identify an author’s stated purpose. If it wasn’t the last sentence in the opening paragraph, where they have probably been taught to locate a topic sentence or thesis statement, some students missed it. They were for the most part unfamiliar with academic writing, which we were expecting, and seemed to trust the journalist author of the first article we read more than the academic author of the second, which we were not expecting. My colleague began talking about the years of study and research that go into earning a PhD, and the expertise that results. It was also interesting to discover that the most of the class was not really familiar with the role of critics, and saw criticism as “opinion.” Further discussion revealed that many students understood opinions to be less reliable than “facts” and therefore dismissed opinion pieces as bad sources. We validated their concerns that some opinion writing has a tenuous connection to evidence or is propaganda rather than journalism, but that critical reading could help them spot that and also to find quality opinion pieces.

We also confirmed that when it came to critiquing an article, students tended to have a binary view of bias, rather than seeing it as a nuanced and sometimes invisible force. That said, they were very aware of racism and acknowledged its role in satanic panics. Contextualizing other forms of also seemed to come naturally – they were well aware of biases around gender and sexuality, for example. We weren’t sure how critical cultural literacy would go over, given the heightened rhetoric about critical race theory in our state, but none of the students seemed surprised or unfamiliar with considering how racism amplifies and perpetuates misinformation.

In fact, cultural literacy seemed to come more naturally to the class than information literacy. No matter how often I tried to emphasize that the same critical reading skills apply to information found on the internet, some students had strongly held views about the trustworthiness of certain kinds of sources. When the class shared their own research sources, we had a chance to explore some of these oversimplifications. One student had found a “peer-reviewed” article in an open access journal from Omics International, the problematic vanity publisher. At first the consensus was, if it’s peer-reviewed, it’s a good source. I suggested we look together at information about the journal’s peer-review process and the class concluded correctly that it sounded way too vague and unspecific to be legitimate. They seemed surprised to hear me caution that even peer-reviewed information needs critical reading.

Another student analyzed a blog post from an economic think tank. The initial class response is that blogs are not “good” sources, but after looking closely at the author and considering their fellow student’s information need (he was looking for historical analysis related to the current debate about fair wages), they were able to see why the piece provided expert and well-documented background information useful for his paper.

Even though not every student mastered critical reading, they all had the opportunity to see it in action, and we feel like this experiment, modeling and teaching critical reading and connecting that work to students’ own research, provided a foundation for students to build on. Critical reading and critical cultural literacy will be part of Comp I at our college in the future thanks in part to what we learned together. The class got to see how they fit into the scholarly conversation and the intellectual life of the college. Students also got to know me better, rather than just seeing me for a “one-shot” research session or two, which resulted in more students scheduling research consultations.

Member of the Month

September 2021 Member of the Month

Submitted by Membership Committee member Kodi Saylor

Meet Robin Brown, our September 2021 CJCLS Member of the Month

Robin (she / her / hers) is the Head of Public Services at Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City, New York. 

As the head of public services, Robin manages reference, instruction, the library’s appointment service, and takes the lead in assessment. She says, “Teaching is the best part of my day.”  

A member of CJCLS for six years, Robin values the section for networking and developing relationships with colleagues who supported her when she went up for promotion. CJCLS has also created the opportunity for Robin to advocate for community college librarians.She is the current chair of the section. She has also been program planning chair, membership chair and the liaison to the ACRL Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee.

When asked about her favorite part of serving a community college, Robin says, “Our students.  We get everybody!” and that she is very grateful to work for  Borough of Manhattan Community College, which is a very large and diverse community college part of the CUNY system. BMCC is currently looking for a Student Success Librarian. Please reach out to Robin if you are interested.  

When not working, Robin spends her time reading and writing, saying “Disabilities Studies Research is at the centerpiece of my practice.” Check out Seeking to Understand: A Journey into Disability Studies and Libraries which Robin co-authored with Scott Sheidlower. Lately, Robin has been reading 

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet and spending her time with her tabby cat, Fuzball (sic). 


Community College Librarians are Researchers, too!

Join CJCLS for a “Sharing Recent Research” webinar on Thursday 3/18 at 3:00 pm. EDT. Register here:

Presenters include Robin Brown and Sandy McCarthy who have provided the following articles for you to preview the session. Join us on the 18th for the rest of the story.

A different type of diversity

Submitted by Robin Brown, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and Chair, CJCLS.

One of the least understood types of diversity is functional diversity.  Functional diversity is offered by JJ Poinke, as another way to describe “the disabled.” Librarianship is a field that attracts people with a widely diverse range of abilities and challenges.  We have done two surveys and a really interesting series of interviews with functionally diverse library people.  I propose to offer an overview of the results of our research. Our book will be coming out in March, (

Themes include:

Stability. Many of the people who responded to our surveys show remarkable stability in their jobs. Finding a place where you fit in is difficult.  Sometimes it’s the built environment. How is the commute? Getting into a good place with a manager who is meeting your needs… it’s an enormous risk to move on.

It’s is not all as it seems. One of the most striking learning experiences for me is discovering the prevalence of invisible disabilities within the profession.  Different learning styles and mental health issues really jumped off the page. I also learned not to “police” bodies (Kattari, 2018, 481). I learned not to critique people who are sitting in the disabled seat on the train, or who use the elevator. 

Really look at your job requirements. A requirement to have a driver’s license or to be able to lift heavy weights will exclude certain people from your pool of eligible candidates. Many excellent librarians don’t drive, for a whole variety of reasons.

We are often Type A driven people. Often people who have managed to come into the profession with functional diversity are ‘rock stars.’  At the same time many suffer from levels of exhaustion that an able-bodied person will have trouble imagining. Means that we are less likely to be social after work. 

This is a different type of diversity because it often coexists with other intersectional identities. We did address multiple identities in our work.


Kattari, Shanna K., Miranda Olzman, and Michele D. Hanna. “‘You Look Fine!’: Ableist Experiences by People With Invisible Disabilities.” Affilia 33, no. 4 (November 2018): 477–92. doi:10.1177/0886109918778073.

Pionke, JJ. “Beyond ADA Compliance: The Library as a Place for All.” Urban Library Journal 23 (1). Retrieved from

Community College Librarians are Under-Represented in the literature

Submitted by Sandy McCarthy – Washtenaw Community College and past chair CJCLS

The focus of my research is about community college libraries are underrepresented in the literature but yet community colleges play an important role in higher education. The profession of Librarianship often requires research and publication, yet many librarians lack abilities and skills in this area. To develop my expertise in research and publication, I participated in the Medical Library Association (MLA) Research Training Institute (RTI) in 2019. The outcome of the training and mentoring from RTI, helped me conduct a survey of librarians at community colleges who are responsible for collections and services in the health sciences.

Focus of the research study included:

Competencies in the medical library profession.  How do community college health sciences librarians perceive their competencies in professional skills and abilities? The survey focused on the MLA Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success “Professional competencies identify essential professional skills and abilities that can be observed, measured, and taught.”

Engagement in the profession. How engaged are community college health sciences librarians in attending conferences, continuing education, and presenting or publishing? I addressed where librarians connect with others in their community to help them with job responsibilities.

Barriers in the profession. What barriers do community college health sciences librarians face in developing their competencies? This final question identified barriers encountered in development of competences and engagement but also provided solutions to overcome obstacles.

The research supports the development of the CJCLS Scholarly Publication Committee and the new Mentoring Program Committee to encourage community college librarians to advance their skills and abilities in research and in publication. 


Medical Library Association. MLA competencies for lifelong learning and professional success [Internet]. Chicago, IL: The Association; 2020 [cited 10 Mar 2020].  <>


Addressing Gaps in Technological Literacy submitted by Megan Fowler, Assistant Professor/Librarian

Cuyahoga Community College (CCC) is a multi-campus community college located across Northeast Ohio.  When COVID-19 forced the college to move exclusively online in Spring 2020, one of the many challenges that came to light was that students struggled with navigating the world of online instruction.  Some students didn’t have the requisite hardware needed for learning online, others lacked basic internet access.  While measures were put into place by the college to address these problems (opening up on-campus computer labs, encouraging students to access WIFI from the parking lot, teaming up with PCs for People), issues related to students’ lack of technological literacy arose. Instructors reported that students were struggling with many of the skills needed for online learning, including navigating the College’s LMS, email platform, and web conferencing software, and a general lack of computer fluency.  These issues were particularly evident at the Metro Campus of CCC, located in the city of Cleveland.  The Metro Campus Learning Commons was asked to help bridge this knowledge gap.

While the idea of helping to actively solve a problem so steeped in systemic inequality was daunting, one potential idea surfaced: could we offer a credit bearing class to vulnerable students, teaching them computer basics and the requisite technological skills needed for success in an online learning environment?  A proposal for a course was drafted by CCC Metro Campus librarians.  Collaboration occurred amongst the campus librarians, the Learning Commons staff, the Counseling department, the Liberal Arts department, and the Campus President’s office to finalize the curriculum, identify students for the new class, and ensure funding.  This proposal led to a two credit hour Technology Basics class offered in the Fall.  The Campus President was able to fully fund two sections of the course at no cost to the students.

The class is taught by a faculty librarian with the assistance of a Learning Commons staff member.  It is a hybrid course that starts in-person and gradually moves to a fully online class.  The goal of the class is for students to become more familiar with using the computer and Internet for learning, hopefully better preparing them for success in their other online classes.  While we are currently unable to assess the success of the class, as it is in the midst of its first semester, it is slated to be offered again in the Spring.  Once the first iteration of the class is complete, we will evaluate the course and make adjustments where needed.

While this class was conceived in response to the situation COVID-19 created for many of our students, it did highlight issues in technological literacy that existed long before the pandemic.  It is our hope that the Technology Basics class will become a fixed offering for students and will ensure that they can succeed in any environment.


Community College Librarians Share Best Practices in College & Research Libraries News

The strategic thinking of community college librarians is on display in the February issue of College & Research Libraries News.  Check out “Maximizing the Impact of the In-Person One-Shot in Community Colleges.”


CJCLS @ ALA 2017

by Laura Mondt

Heading to ALA Annual 2017? Check out these lists of sessions for CJCLS members as well as all community college librarians. We hope to see you in Chicago!

CJCLS- sponsored sessions

To Teach or Not To Teach Discovery Tools: Balancing Practical Instruction with the ACRL Information Literacy Framework

Hot Topics Discussion Group

CJCLS meetings

Executive Committee Meeting

All-Committees Meeting

Awards Committee Meeting

Conference Programming Planning- New Orleans 2018 Committee

Library Technical Assistant Education Committee Meeting

Nominating Committee 2018 Meeting

See the Full Schedule for more sessions, posters, and events.


Hitting Refresh at Non-Library Conferences

by Laura Mondt

Have you attended a non-library conference lately? I was recently given the opportunity to present and attend the Teaching Academic Survival Skills (TASS) conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. While it was still a higher ed conference, there was only one other session that was library focused so it was nice to break out of my comfort zone and see what colleagues in other college departments are doing to help students prepare for (and survive!) college.

Academic survival skills and academic preparedness are something that affects all college departments, including the library. This conference had attendees from many different areas including tutoring, student success programs, developmental reading and writing, and more. All discussed issues that we are librarians are likely familiar with: students unfamiliar with college jargon, students not understanding of what their particular department really does and how it can help them, and students waiting until it was too late to ask for help. And, of course, lack of money to make new initiatives succeed. Sound familiar? Almost anyone who has ever worked at a library will be familiar with these and many similar issues.

I had a really great time at this conference. I got to network with people from other college departments that I don’t normally interact with much outside of my own campus. I got to hear interesting presentations about solutions to problems that easily apply to the library as well. While I am not endorsing this particular conference (full disclosure: my college sponsors it), I do endorse going to a conference that is not directly library related. It may help you understand and connect to other departments on your campus.

  • Submitted by Laura Mondt
Reading Resources

Textbook Affordability and College Success Brief Post and Article

By Alyse McKealcreativecommonsorg

Textbook affordability is near and dear to my heart, something I care about greatly for its impact and reach are far and wide. While in my graduate school programs, I remember struggling to get my required reading completed due to not owning a textbook or sharing a textbook with a classmate. Sometimes I had to find part and parcel of a textbook online, do a short term rental, or implore a librarian friend to interlibrary loan the item for me, which can be quite tricky. This is not only an issue for me, but may be more of an issue for mine and your students alike. Textbook affordability matters greatly for student success and student retention and graduation (when speaking to our administrators).  “How to Reduce the Cost of Textbooks” by Joseph Eposito is a timely article available at  .  This is especially true with the fall 2017 school year almost upon us. Students are beginning to register for classes and get their textbooks this spring. Let’s start planning to effectuate change for them now! #textbookaffordability #studentsuccess #affordability #success


The Framework: Love It or Hate It?

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Love It or Hate It?

by Lindsay Davis

What’s it like to live in a post-Standards world? Do you love or hate the new Framework  (sorry, we’re capitalizing on Valentine’s Day)?

In January, the CJCLS listserv had a lively conversation regarding the “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education” and the rescinding of the “Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.”

Troy Swanson, Teaching and Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College, shared his article “Sharing the ACRL Framework with Faculty: Opening Campus Conversations.” In the article, Swanson outlines a professional development course for faculty that he designed with librarian Tish Hayes. The course was focused on introducing faculty to the Framework. Faculty who participated made a variety of connections to the Framework from their own disciplines. The experience also allowed for discussion about how the general education information literacy outcome might be approached at Moraine.

Heather Craven, Learning Resource Center director at County College of Morris, also shared her opinion piece “ACRL and Community College Libraries: We’ve been Framed!” Her article discusses the Framework/Standards issue as it affects some community college libraries.

Sharon Weiner, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, W. Wayne Booker Chair in Information Literacy at Purdue University Libraries, also shared a citation for her and Lana Jackman’s opinion piece “The Rescinding of the ACRL 2000 Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education…Really??” Jackman is President of the National Forum and the principal and founder of Mélange Information Services, Inc.

You may also want to check out “The Framework is Elitist,” a viewpoint essay by Christine Bombaro, Associate Director for Information Literacy and Research Services at Dickinson College, and “Is the Framework Elitist? Is ACRL?,” a response to Bombaro’s essay by Meredith Farkas, Faculty Librarian at Portland Community College.

Check out the CJCLS listserv archives for more on this topic.