Represent CJCLS in the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA)!

By Kathleen Pickens

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) serves as the voice of libraries in the international community and hosts the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) each August. ACRL invites applicants to serve as ALA representatives to IFLA standing committees for the 2017– 2021 term. There is an expectation of travel, but some travel grants may be possible.

If interested, please submit the following materials to Elizabeth Bowman by email at by May 6th.

    • Completed “Request to be Nominated to IFLA” application form:
    • A resume reflecting expertise in field of the section applied for.
    • Affirmation that the person can fulfill the working language and travel requirements.

ACRL sections review the IFLA representative applications and make recommendations to the ACRL Leadership Recruitment and Nominations Committee (LRNC). The LRNC will review applications at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The LRNC then submits its recommendations to the ACRL Board for consideration at the 2016 Fall Executive Committee Meeting. In turn, the ACRL Board submits the approved candidates for nomination to the ALA International Relations Committee in November, 2016.

The complete ACRL IFLA announcement is available on ALA Connect at


ALA Elections are open!

by Librarianshines

Have you gotten your email from ALA yet with your login information? Be sure to check your spam folder. If you have a hard time figuring out who to vote for for Council, Andromeda Yelton has created a great ALA Council candidate filter that helps make that long list easier to sort through. With the ALA election, voting really makes a difference–when I ran for Council a few years back I lost by only two votes! If anyone else has useful tools or metrics, please share them below.


Student Mental Health on CC Campuses

by Librarianshines

I saw an article this morning on an issue near and dear to me: how mental health plays into retention at community colleges.  Beyond the scary issues that have led to banning a few patrons, I know I see several who struggle every semester with depression and anxiety and have seen far too many obituaries for students who have committed suicide. Part of the problem is that our campus has no on-site mental health services which limits our referral options to campus security, and that can be less than ideal for students who are already struggling. Has anyone tried working with any of the non-profit organizations listed in this article: Active MindsCampus Program, or Single Stop? I would love to hear about it, or about any other action your campus has taken to address these issues.


Are students coddled or defeated?

by Librarianshines

An interesting article this week from Inside Higher Ed claims “Students aren’t coddled; they’re defeated.” The author discusses the high stakes testing environment of secondary education in the U.S. and how it has separated school from learning in a very negative way, which leads to student disengagement. I know I’ve seen similar signs of students’ lack of interest in formal education in my work with classes and in the library, where they chase just what they need to make the grade and have no interest in learning anything beyond that.  The author calls for us in higher education to better connect what we do to students’ futures beyond college, which I feel is an important component for us in community colleges.  The article has apparently struck a chord, as the comments section indicates. What do you think? Is this an area of concern for you, for your institution, for librarianship?  What can be done, if anything?


Fines @ your library

by Librarianshines

Fines and fees seem to have arisen recently on the library consciousness. A new column today on Library Journal discusses the issue from a primarily public-library perspective, based on a library’s recent decision to begin charging a fee for the use of meeting room space. I’ve also seen this issue discussed on a few Facebook librarian groups I participate in, and it’s come up yet again in the main academic library. We at the branch library remain fond of fines–it’s how we end up getting a lot of materials back!–but those at the main library want to remove this barrier to access.  Where does your library fall? And how do you feel about it?  Do you charge at all? Do you charge fees for space or just materials?


From the CJCLS Listserv: Questions to Ask College President Candidates

By Kristy Padron


My state technical college is in search of a new president. I am honored to be on the search committee. We need to come up with questions for the interview. What are some good questions that can be asked about the library field, information literacy, or other related areas?

One of the first respondents said he or she asks about the role of libraries within a college setting:

Library products and services are evolving at a rapid pace. With so many online resources available, some believe libraries are becoming irrelevant. What are your thoughts on the role of the library in teaching and learning, and also in the academic success and retention of our students? How have you advocated for libraries in your past positions?

Respondents agreed that questions such as these will be revealing, and “will quickly set off your cow dung detector.” Others suggested to ask candidates about their views on the value of libraries and the level at which they value them. These answers can gauge the amount of support a candidate is willing to provide to the library and its services. Sometimes, the answers may indicate their level of engagement or understanding:

I recently served on committees interviewing individuals who had been in the classroom. I asked candidates how they and their students made use of the library’s print and electronic resources and then I see how they respond. If the candidate starts talking about their book club or how they still love the smell of old books, you know you have some work to do.

Naturally, candidate responses can help with selecting one:

It would be better to have someone with a few preconceived notions about college libraries than one with many firm, outdated ones.

Some respondents gave scenarios where their college administrators were not informed about the library or its operations. Many administrators believe libraries are obsolete because of the internet. In one example, a chief financial officer asked a librarian why she had an acquisitions budget if she was not buying books. Administrators are often unaware of factors affecting access to information such as database licenses, copyright, and fair use. While these conversations were dismaying at times, other respondents said these discussions offer opportunities to inform administrators.  Sometimes, these discussions forged relationships:

I had a similar conversation about our site license for Wall Street Journal with our then-new head of the business office. He had never worked in government or higher education. Needless to say, after my initial incredulity and exasperation, I realized he needed some serious education about our world. Thus began many tedious, but eventually fruitful conversations about library purchasing, licensing, and other financial matters. He became a supporter and a friend, and I maintained contact with him after I moved on from that college.

One respondent said being a part of the presidential search offered an opportunity to educate administrators. Ultimately, librarians need to initiate these conversations, whether it is through search committees with candidates or with established college administrators:

Let your library become the positive model from which your administration learns. This is not easy, but we have no other choice.

It is part of our job to always explain, educate, and advocate.


Help Community & Junior Colleges Have a Voice!

By Kathleen Pickens

Following every national conference, there is at least one discussion about how under-represented the community college librarians were in the program. Even at ACRL, a conference centered on academic libraries, the community colleges seem a bit, well, absent. Part of the issue may be that sessions led by community college librarians simply aren’t strongly promoted as being targeted towards the CJCL audience. Rather, they are targeted towards the topics they cover–whether library instruction, distance learning, student outreach, etc.

Or, maybe it’s that we don’t submit as many presentation proposals because our travel pockets aren’t as deep?

Or, it could just be that we just simply don’t submit as many presentation proposals. Period.

Whatever the reason, let’s make sure that this year ACRl is flooded with presentation proposals from CJCL librarians! If your travel pockets are frayed & holey, investigate scholarships & professional grants to support your participation. If you’re nervous about presenting, team up with a colleague(s) to bolster your confidence at the podium. If you’ve submitted proposals that haven’t been accepted, follow these tips:

  • Read (& follow) the proposal guidelines carefully: 2017 ACRL Proposal Instructions
  • Also read “The Rules” & selection criteria: How to Submit
  • Check out the conference tags for inspiration: Conference Tags
  • Have a colleague proofread the proposal before you submit it. In addition to grammatical advice, ask him/her for suggestions to make it stand out (does it need more excitement, clarification, or evidence that it’s a current topic?).
  • Submit before the deadline: May 6, 2016. And then submit another one!

The best way to ensure that the voice of CJCL librarians is heard at next year’s conferences is by offering to open our own mouths. Good luck & happy submitting!


From the CJCLS Listserv: What advice would you give to someone considering library school?


A friend asked if I had any advice to give to her daughter, who is thinking about getting her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS).  What advice would you give to someone in their mid-20s who is thinking about going to library school?

Respondents strongly recommended gaining library experience because of the advantages it gives to an applicant:

I receive applications from MLIS graduates without any library experience, except possibly an internship in library school. If the person has an opportunity to work part-time or in a work-study position in a library during their undergraduate education, that would be great.

I just finished writing a letter of recommendation for my practicum student. The letter was much easier to write because she also works for us as a library assistant and I know she is prepared for the job market.

Many respondents drew from their own professional experiences:

It is difficult to get an entry-level job without experience, even with a MLIS, which was the case for me in 2005.

Hands-on experience helped me land me my current job, along with having an MLIS.

Experience is indeed the key. I started off being a library office secretary while I attended graduate school for art history.  I progressed to becoming an acquisitions assistant and then held 2 different positions in government documents before going to library school while working full time.  Almost everyone in my library school cohort was already working in a library; the only one who did not was a recent Bachelor of Arts graduate without library experience, and she was very lost.

Experience is big. I did not have any library work experience prior to applying to library school, but I had some good conversations with librarians beforehand which helped inform my decision to apply.  During library school, I had some excellent experiences in many library settings and in various roles.  It helped me decide which department I wanted to work and also helped my resume so I could get that type of job out of college.  I do not think I was at a disadvantage by not not having prior experience before library school, but the experience during library school was critical.

Respondents agreed that the candidate can make a better informed decision to attend library school if she first gets experience, whether as an intern or employee.  Some respondents said this may help the candidate discover desirable positions or roles that do not require a MLIS:

I might suggest alternatives to the MLIS degree like certificates, diplomas, or Associate degree programs in Library Technology.  Check a community or 2-year college for such programs.  We appreciate the paraprofessional staff in our library who did not have the time, money, or interest in earning their MLIS; they are still outstanding members of our library team.

My son is a public services library clerk at Denver Public Library. It seems that DPL has more opportunities for skilled paraprofessionals than for MLIS librarians.  Because of this, he decided to hold off on library school (and the accompanying student loans).  He loves his job, has the same benefits as a MLIS employee, and is able to explore what to do next.

Other than experience, a level of comfort with technology was highly recommended:

One has to be engaged with technological changes taking place. Technology has attached itself to the core of our profession, and to not embrace or be good with it dooms a new person.

Embrace technology.  You do not need to be on the cutting edge, but you do need to stay informed and relevant.

Be as knowledgeable about modern online technology as possible.  Be cognizant of social media such as Facebook (or the next great thing), understand Google tools, and be able to create and maintain a webpage.  I probably would not hire myself for a job in my library because I am not up to date on what is out there; I will hire the fresh graduate to do it for me.

Another repeated suggestion was to look at job announcements or positions:

Forward some job announcements to her so she can see what kind of positions are being hired. I see a lot positions in electronic resources, electronic access, digital libraries, and more that are being advertised.

Read some job advertisements to see what skill sets are desired for certain positions.  It might help identify other related degrees and credentials to pursue.

Other suggestions included to be geographically flexible:

When she is ready to graduate and look for a job, she should be willing to relocate and be open to taking jobs in less desirable places.  The competition will not be as great and she can eventually return home if she wants to.  My first professional job was in the back of nowhere Kansas, but I learned a lot and met wonderful people who are still my friends 30 years later.  10 years and 2 jobs later, I moved back home to become a library director.

A couple respondents said the candidate should research the profession and also complete an inventory of her interests and personality traits.  The candidate should also look at some of her soft skills:

What do I want to be when I grow up?  What do I want to do when I grow up (not really the same question as the first question)?  Where do I want to live in the short or long term?  How do I want to live in the short or long term?  Then, ask these same questions with “don’t.”

She should read an excellent book by Lauren Pressley, So You Want to Be a Librarian, published by Library Juice Press.

People skills are very important.  Like it or not, librarianship is about a positive, interactive experience. Think customer service!

You need to be someone who really enjoys helping people. I am sure we have all been told by someone, “you’re a librarian, so you must love books!”  However, my interest in books is pretty irrelevant to what I do.  In my role as a reference and instruction librarian, helping others is the biggest part of my job.  Beyond that, it is also having patience while helping people because sometimes it takes a lot!

Some respondents expressed caution about the costs of library school.  One suggested not to pay for it with student loans, while another recommended getting a graduate assistantship that would pay for it, and also help with gaining valuable experience.

Respondents suggested the importance of professional networks, and to cultivate them early in her education and throughout her career:

Always remember the axiom regardless of the field: who you know gets you in the door, and what you know keeps you there. Plan to make as many quality connections with people in the field as possible when you go to school.  Use LinkedIn and other means of networking.  You never know who can help you.

Once in school, connect with people who can give you good references.  Work experience will help with this, but find professors to use as references.

Flexibility was also a key suggestion:

Do not pigeon-hole yourself in your learning path, or you might get trapped into being qualified only for certain types of positions.

Plan to work hard on your studies.  Be involved in pre-professional activities like student organizations and poster presentations.  Join state and regional library associations.  Read and listen to as much as you can; the information you get will help you contribute your expertise to conversations because it is easier to get known than you would expect, for both good and bad reasons.

Be flexible.  What you are doing now will probably not be the same in 5 or 10 years.

What other pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring library and information science professional?  Share yours in the comments!


ACRL Seeks Volunteers for 2016-2017

ACRL Volunteer

By Kathleen Pickens

Are you looking for ways to expand your professional network and contribute to ACRL? Committee volunteers help shape ACRL by advancing its strategic plan and influencing the direction of academic and research librarianship. Serving on a committee or editorial board is a great way to become involved and make an impact on the profession. If you’d like to become more engaged, ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect Irene M.H. Herold invites you to volunteer to serve on a 2016-2017 division or section committee. —From the ACRL Website.

Please consider volunteering for a CJCLS Section Committee! Volunteer forms must be submitted electronically before February 15th, 2016 for consideration. For more information and a link to the volunteer form, visit the ACRL website at:


From the CJCLS Listserv: Should the library report to Academic Affairs or Student Services?

By Kristy Padron


We currently have a leadership vacuum at my library. Our library director resigned and less than a week later, his supervisor and the interim library director, the Vice President of Student Success, also resigned.

We now see an opportunity to possibly move the library’s place in the college reporting structure from the Student Success department to Academic Affairs, and report to the Dean of Academic Affairs or the Vice President of Instruction. I’ve searched the list archives but haven’t found much on this topic, so I’m wondering:

  • To whom do you or your library director report? Someone in Student Services or Academic Affairs?
  • If you made the switch from reporting to Student Services to Academic Affairs, or vice versa, what have been the benefits or drawbacks?

The respondents overwhelmingly recommended to go with Academic Affairs.  One librarian, whose unit reports to Student Services, described her experience:

The meetings I attend are with the heads of units like financial aid, athletics, admissions, and housing.  We found ourselves in meetings discussing enrollment management issues and did not understand why we were there.  I don’t meet (and am not invited to meet, and in one instance was told I shouldn’t meet) with faculty. This makes it harder to establish rapport with them.

The librarian also stated her area is often tasked with activities not traditionally done by libraries, such as proctoring make-up tests and issuing school identification cards.  This seemed to feed inaccurate perceptions of what they do:

When Student Services staff give prospective students and families campus tours, I often hear them say when they stop in the library, “this is where you come to make up a missed test.” That’s all they have said about the library!

As a result, the library is often overlooked by faculty.  While the library is seen as a physical space, the college does not understand their staffing, budget and IT support needs.  The library is often seen as having a support role but its employees are not on equal footing in terms of pay or status with other colleagues who have comparable duties and levels of education.

Librarian status was affected by the department to which they reported:

Reporting on the academic side means you are faculty.  At my college, faculty must have a master’s degree.  Since librarians have a master’s degree, we are all equals.  This gives us a voice in governance, which is key.

Many, but not all, of the respondents who said they reported to Academic Affairs said librarians had faculty status.  This strongly affected their roles on campus, particularly with governance:

Having faculty representatives is great in the governance structure, and then having my position be in administration is advantageous because of my opportunity to be part of the management team.  Many of our college committee’s bylaws (instructional council, curriculum, etc.) specify a library representative.  In most cases, it is a voting role, but in some it is non-voting.

Librarians do not have faculty status in some libraries that report to Academic Affairs.  This bars them from participating in professional development, governance, and other campus activities.  Those who reported this added that administrators and sometimes faculty do not know or appreciate what the libraries can contribute to their college.

Many of the changes in reporting structure formed as a result of retirements, resignations, or restructuring:

My sister college had a librarian serving as Dean of Library and Learning Resources. Upon retiring, the position was vacated and they now share a dean with Literature-Language Division. The dean is a former English instructor.

When I started here 7 years ago, the library director reported to the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  She now reports to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

We had major turnover in administration over the summer with our President, Dean of Academic Affairs and Dean of Career and Technical Education (CTE) either resigning or retiring.  They didn’t replace the CTE dean’s position.  Rather, they placed everyone and everything associated with that position under the Academic Affairs dean, again.

Sometimes the changes in reporting structure happened because of a promotion or reassignment.  At other times, the library was assigned under an academic or IT unit, which posed its own challenges:

Our library does not have its own dean or director.  Ours was the dean of Instructional Resources (IR) who reported to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  At one point, our dean was promoted to Vice President of Student Services, and IR was obliged to follow her and be placed under a dean there.  Soon, IR was moved back to Academic Affairs and then went through a succession of deans that saw us connected to Visual and Performing Arts, and eventually Language Arts.

I report to the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).   HSS falls under the instructional/academic affairs side of the organization.  This reporting structure proves challenging on a couple of fronts.  I don’t always get information that I need to move this library forward.  I also don’t have the clout that goes with reporting directly to a vice president or administrator.   On the upside, I have the autonomy to manage my staff and resources (provided it doesn’t involve too much money).

At my college, the Library Coordinator answers to the Dean of Academic Technology and Learning Support (ATLS), who also oversees Distance Education (Online Learning), Testing, and Tutoring.  Theoretically, this is a natural alliance of units, with the possible exception of Testing.

My library is an outlier. We report to the Dean of Institutional Research and Planning. The history behind this is that our dean used to be head of IT. When he made the switch to Institutional Research and Planning, the library went with him. Talk about being off the grid! The upside is that the library is fairly autonomous. The down side is that the library has fallen off the scope of the academic side of the college

I report to the Dean of Academic Affairs along with the faculty department heads and other academic directors (Outreach, Assessment, Academic Achievement, etc.).  My current dean used to be our assessment director, so he’s a numbers guy, which means he reads and follows my reports. He’s also very pro-library, believing that the library has an important role in student success, so I lucked out in that area (it doesn’t hurt that he’s married to a librarian).

In conclusion, most of the respondents recommended reporting to Academic Affairs, mainly for the following reasons:

It is much easier to make the case for why the library is important to education and information literacy when you have access to academic administration.

Libraries need to work with classroom faculty, which is harder to do when you are in student services.

As a major contributor to teaching and learning, the library belongs under Academic Affairs.  The learning outcomes in library instruction (and reference) should be aligned with larger institutional goals, such as general education goals/competencies, in order to maximize the impact of those services on student learning.  This alignment has the potential to mean the most for administrators in Academic Affairs.  When the library falls under Student Affairs, operational outcomes may be prioritized over learning outcomes.

It’s where the action is and you want to be in the thick of it, good or bad.

What has your experience been with reporting to Academic Affairs or Student Services?  Please share in the comments!