Keeping Up With Scholarship

by Lindsay Davis

Earlier this month, Nora Bird, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Library and Information Studies department in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, announced that she was the new editor of the Community & Junior College Libraries journal.

In her message to the CJCLS listserv, she wrote:

We are always looking for content. We publish research length articles, opinion pieces (1000-3000 words), book and electronic resource reviews, and there has been a column, ‘The Librarian Abroad’ documenting visits to international libraries. So, if you are traveling this summer and want to submit something that would be great.

Maybe you are working on a project to re-design your library space or a service and have done a literature review in preparation for it. Please do consider sharing it. (2016)

I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of this journal. What a great place to submit articles about all the great work being done at two-year college libraries.

This also got me thinking—what journals (or other information sources) do two-year librarians typically read to keep up with and learn from the library profession and/or higher education? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget–the CJCLS blog also has a Scholarship page devoted to literature written by two-year librarians. If you’ve published a peer-reviewed journal article, book, or book chapter in the last five years, contact Lindsay Davis at, so we can add it to our growing bibliography.

Bird, N. (2016, July 7). Announcing a New Editor of Community and Junior College Libraries [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from


From the CJCLS Listserv: Library Humor

By Kristy Padron


I have an unusual question for the group. I am giving a humorous speech in Toastmasters and I need your help. I am looking for funny reference questions or incidents and encounters with the usual unusual patrons. For example, one student asked for information on flying buttock instead of flying buttress. For the unusual patron, a man known as The Whisper laid between the stacks and looked at feet. When he got bold, he whispered to the female students that he wanted to suck their toes! I think my audience would be amazed at the goings on in a library.

A lot of humor resulted from reference questions:

Who wrote Dante’s Inferno?

Is it safe to mix bleach and ammonia in my backyard just to see what happens?

Can I change my house address?

I need a video on Julius Caesar, but it has to have been filmed in that time period. It has to be a primary source.

Response from an appreciative patron after getting help: “thank you for doing my Googling for me, seriously.”

What is the definition of PMS?  Is it a new academic degree?  I see it being frequently used.

How tall was Jesus Christ? The answer needs to be from a thesaurus.

I need driving directions to the Louvre Museum in Paris from my house (in South Carolina).

Sometimes generational differences were humorous:

A teen patron asked for information on John Lemon, the Beatle. I almost hit my head against the wall.

A Millenial student worker asked me, “what was it like to grow up in the 1980s and 1990s? They had some fun music and good movies back then!”

I had a college student request some books on the “olden days.” Based on my age, I assumed she was looking for books on the turn of the century, say around 1900. After further questioning, she gave me her definition and it was the 1960s! I told her my heart was wounded. Those years were not the olden days to me, but the wonderful years of my youth!

Misinformation or misunderstandings during the reference interview resulted in some some chuckles:

A student repeated what she thought she heard when her instructor assigned a research topic. In this case, the student was a bit indignant when I could not immediately find what she needed, while I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.  She asked for information about black partners and cuckoo clocks when she needed information about the Black Panthers and the Klu Klux Klan.

A student requested books on hamsters. At the time, I worked in a college with a veterinary technician program, so I assumed she was in it and wanted academic titles.  When I asked her, she gave a childlike, playful expression. She said she wanted a book about having hamsters as pets because she had recently adopted one.

The student provided the correct title to a book, but my co-worker was confused. The student asked for The Little Prince, but my co-worker was trying to search for “little prints.”  She had a heck of time searching before the actual title dawned on her.

I had a student ask for books by Mark Avelli. When I asked how to spell the last name, he said he did not know. After talking a little bit more, I realized he meant Machiavelli. The poor guy was just repeating what he heard in history class!

A student asked if we had anything on air ducts, or at least that is what I thought he said. I took him to the books on HVAC, but he kept saying, “no, air ducts, air ducts!” I finally had him write what he wanted down on paper. It read, “adults.”

Many odd things also occurred in the library that the general public would not expect:

During my first year as a librarian, I was going through my normal closing routine one Thursday night. I heard voices from a dark classroom. I turned on the light to see a male and female in various stages of undress. I think I was more embarrassed then they were. I quickly turned off the light and told them we were closing in 15 minutes!

A patron showed up with an antique short sword. It was nice, shiny, and sharp with no scabbard. I looked at it and pointed out the key markings to study, then suggested he return with photographs we could use for further research since large, edged weapons were not allowed on campus!

A campus police sub-station was located in my library near its entrance, and a policeman parked his bicycle next to it then worked in the office. A patron attempted to quietly remove the bicycle from the library. When I shouted at the patron (it was a knee jerk response), the cop noticed and jumped out of the office to go after him!

A computer tower disappeared from the reference area and was never found. Perhaps it was smuggled away in a backpack?

We had a student return a book with toilet paper (clean) in it that he had used for a bookmark.

A student entered our library, looked around the stacks with books, and asked with total seriousness, “do you have books here?”

What were some humorous questions asked or occurrences that took place in your library? Share yours in the comments!


From the CJCLS Listserv: Is OER a threat or opportunity to libraries?


Image Source:  Wordle Tagcloud for OER course by Jonathan Feinberg, (Public Domain).

By Kristy Padron


Are Open Educational Resources (OER) a threat or opportunity to libraries? As librarians promote OER, faculty may wonder why should they have their students use our books, databases, or other resources. I understand, however, that we need to promote all types of resources and that we may be able to create collections and work with faculty on them.

Whether they open-access journals, open online courses, or curriculum materials, OER grows in number every year. Heather Morrison, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s École des sciences de l’information / School of Information Studies, shares her OER growth studies in a series of blogs called Dramatic Growth of Open Access.  Libraries are increasingly facilitating or adopting the use of OER on their campuses.

One use of OER is to replace textbooks which students are often unable to afford, and also to encourage the use of open textbooks:

Use College Open Textbooks for a good starting place to educate yourself.  Textbooks can also be found through Google by doing a search for only Creative Commons-licensed materials.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked with students who couldn’t buy books at the beginning of the semester because they didn’t have the money. By the time they could, the students were so behind they had no hope of passing the course. OER has a potentially significant role in helping engage and retain a significant number of students.

Some respondents found that OER provides opportunities as being curriculum resources used in parallel with library resources:

I’m regularly asked to locate OER for online courses to both supplement the textbook and also to work towards an open adoption model for courses. I recommend OER in combination with ebooks and databases provided by the library. The primary goal is to eliminate the need for an expensive textbook which can be a barrier to students.

I’ve had numerous content requests that were not available as OER, so I turn to library resources. The library doesn’t have the funds to buy the expensive textbooks for the collection in support of classes, so I continue to recommend library resources alongside OER.

In one case, OER was used when library resources were defunded:

I added OER in direct proportion to my inability to secure funding for existing proprietary databases. I was able to keep access to state-funded electronic resources, but lost some major databases.

A few respondents thought OER will add some points to consider for library instruction:

We traditionally promote popular, trade, and scholarly periodicals for academic purposes and show their contrasts, but only leave it at that. The information landscape, however, has changed! Now various information sources (streaming video, ebooks, etc.) are available. Librarians need to give information about evaluating resources; after all, many predatory publishers and sham journals are out there. In my view, that’s where librarians come in.

OER may also influence our roles in supporting students and faculty:

OER ties in our roles as information curators and supporting student and faculty. I also like to think of OER as an opportunity to re-invigorate or rethink pedagogy as different ideas are often sparked with the useful, interesting, and fun resources for faculty and students to discover.

Librarians should embrace OER the same as any other education resource. We can inform faculty about them and their potential to replace traditional textbooks. Many faculty based their teaching too heavily on traditional textbooks instead of effective pedagogy, so using OER will make them rethink their pedagogy. Librarians have always prided themselves on finding materials for our students and faculty, so OER may make a real treasure hunter out of us!

OER does have limitations, as one respondent shared:

Faculty would have a hard time putting together a bunch of journal articles to supplant a textbook while still meeting all of their course objectives and learning outcomes.

OER presents opportunities for librarians to engage with faculty in other ways:

A number of our faculty started using OER materials instead of textbooks in several online courses. It brought a good opportunity to explain the Creative Commons licensing process to them. Textbooks in for some technical subjects had a pretty tight lock on instructional materials!

The National Council for Learning Resources has sponsored OER programs in the last 3 annual conventions of the American Association of Community Colleges.  One college president stated in the Q & A session in this year’s panel discussion, “when beginning an OER project, involve the librarian!” This was music to my ears!

The idea that OERs are a threat to libraries plays into the idea that librarians are only book keepers and not information intermediaries.  Librarians are needed to organize, evaluate, and retrieve OER for our libraries’ unique populations.

Do you think OER is a threat or opportunity to libraries?  How is your library or college using OER?  Please share your comments!


The role of tenure in higher education

by Librarianshines

Yesterday I read an interesting piece on the effects of the decline of tenure in higher education in America — it discussed that the reliance on contingent labor in education results in lower retention and grades, less coherence in the curriculum, and fewer people available to take on service work like committees and governance.  I imagine that the rate of contingent labor in 2-year education at most places is even higher than at 4-year schools.  It made me curious about how libraries are seeing this shift–do you have faculty status? Is there a move on your campus or even in your library to use more adjuncts? How do you think this affects student outcomes and institutional effectiveness?


Mark your Calendars! CJCLS at ALA Orlando!

By Kathleen Pickens

If you are coming to ALA Annual in Orlando, please consider saving the dates/times for these CJCLS programs, meetings, and fun!

Room assignments at convention center are not yet determined; keep checking the program for updates.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

  • CJCLS Program (8:30 a.m.)
    Academic Libraries and Open Educational Resources: Developing Partnerships.
    Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives are being widely discussed and implemented throughout higher education. Academic libraries are challenged to understand what constitutes OER, what their adoption means for faculty and students, and what the library’s role may be in supporting and promoting their implementation. Panelists will examine established OER programs with strong library connections, discuss benefits and challenges to use by students and faculty, and impacts initiatives may have on libraries and parent institutions.
  • CJCLS Hot Topics Discussion Group (3:00pm-4:00pm)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

  • CJCLS Committee Meetings
    • Executive Committee Meeting: 8:30am-10:00am
    • All-Committees Meeting: 10:30am 11:30am
    • Awards Committee Meeting:  10:30am-11:30am
    • Conference Program Planning – Chicago 2017 Committee Meeting: 10:30am-11:30am
    • Library Technical Assistance Education Committee Meeting: 10:30am-11:30am
  • CJCLS Awards Presentations and Dinner (6:00-9:00 p.m.)
    Join us Sunday night at Cuba Libre Restaurant. Space is limited to 40, so reserve a seat today (and by June 1st, for certain)! Get details & RSVP at Eventbrite.

From the CJCLS Listserv: Extended Library Hours

By Kristy Padron

A recent listserv discussion was on the topic of extended library hours during final exam week. One respondent received a request to keep the library open for 24 hours during final exams. For years, my library received requests from students as well as student government leaders to extend its open hours. My experience in a library that provided extended hours  gave me one perspective and stance on the matter, but a few members of the listserv offered theirs:

Not a chance. The cost and liability would be overwhelming, the rewards practically nil. I would beware of outliers pushing for extended hours.

Resources were matters of concern for offering extended hours, particularly in terms of the staffing and costs required. However, the college’s setting should be considered.

I have never heard of a community college that had the need, let alone the resources, to offer these hours. We have studied extended hours (8:00 to 10:00 p.m.) for a couple of years. Usage, entries, and desk stats suggest that very few students relative to daytime usage come in. The drop-off is around 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and no one comes back.

I have seen very different patterns at previous jobs that had residence halls and residential students, who often needed to get away from rowdy dorms and such, but our community college students almost always seem to prefer to go home as soon as they can and do not seem to prefer to study on campus unless they have a class later.

My take is that unless there is a residential component, community colleges are going to fit the commuter college pattern, and most patrons will leave campus after their last class and never come back. The few that are in the library later in the evening are generally coming out of evening classes and use the library as a place to study after their class gets out, but almost no one comes to the library as a destination after 4:00 p.m. unless they have a class later or just got out of one. Evening usage is extremely light, and there is no suggestion that students would stay much beyond 10:00 p.m. let alone overnight, even during midterms or finals.

I can’t imagine putting resources into keeping things open beyond that, and our numbers for the last couple of years around midterms and finals suggest exactly the same thing.

Use patterns can provide insights on the feasibility of offering extended hours:

My current community college does not have dorms or residential students, and our students generally leave campus before 5:00 p.m. and never return. We have been experimenting with extended hours for a couple of years now. During the heavy study periods (midterms and finals), there is almost no increase in visitors during the peak hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and no significant increase during the extended hours.

We tried numerous ways to advertise our extended hours for students, but they do not return to the library in the evening, even during heavy study periods. We have a large student enrollment, but we have low numbers of students 9:00 or 9:30 p.m., and sometimes only one or zero.  This is after 2 years of extending hours to 10:00 p.m., and very few students seem interested in taking advantage of those relatively late hours.

One person used their experience and a recently published study that scrutinizes the benefits of offering extended hours:

My library routinely has students request extended regular hours, especially into the later night hours (eg., up to or past midnight). I wonder if the findings of an article in College & Research Libraries are somewhat appropriate do this discussion. The authors state the variable of students who use the library as a place for late night studying (using the “after hours” 24 hour study room) has a negative relationship on their graduating GPA.

Citation: Stemmer, J. & Mahan, D. (2016). Investigating the relationship of
library usage to student outcomes. College & Research Libraries [In press]. Retrieved from

Alternatives were presented for offering extended hours.  One librarian described a night that offered extended hours and involved the participation of various college units:

Ten years ago, I initiated a finals cram night for the library. I partnered with a student government association and recruited my colleagues. On the night before finals, the library stayed open until midnight, past our usual closing time of 9:00 p.m.

Faculty members and tutors were stationed at tables in the library and were available for tutoring, one on one assistance, group discussions, and homework checks. Some faculty members brought in board games to just play and debrief with any  of their students. The student government provided free food throughout the evening, which is always helpful. Posters, word of mouth, and faculty announcements helped spread the word. The librarians set up a “citation station” for help with papers. We tried offering yoga stretches, soft music, and stress-reducing activities, but the students wanted their instructors and also food. The student government then has drawings, prizes, and surveys. We even had a flashmob start the evening on a few occasions.

This was a great community event and involved faculty, students, librarians, and administrators. We have requests to offer it for a full week before finals, but we are a small staff and I do not think I could convince enough faculty to commit.

The surveys indicate the students like the event and look forward to it every semester. They also indicate that it makes a big difference in their grade and/or comfort level with their final.

Another alternative was to set aside a space for extended hours:

A cheap alternative to all-night libraries is a late night study hall.  It will need tables, chairs, access to restrooms, wi-fi, and a vending machine. The only staffing required is
campus public safety.

Extended hours are an often-demanded service, and as one part of the discussion indicates, a lucrative opportunity for collaboration. Please share in the comments how your library has responded to requests for extended library hours, or what it has done.


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?