Categories
Outreach

Veterans Day

My grandfather served in the army in World War II. He is buried alongside my grandmother in the beautiful Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. My grandfather never talked about his time serving in the military.

On Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share some resources related to amplifying the stories of veterans and their families, as well as serving veterans in libraries.

A green field surrounded by fir trees with a view of Mount Hood and blue sky in the background.
Willamette National Cemetary, Oregon (2013)” by Another Believer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Listen to Stories for Veterans Day recorded by StoryCorps. Encourage others to share their stories via StoryCorps. Stories can be recorded remotely and uploaded to the StoryCorps Archive.

Explore the Libraries & Veterans National Forum Toolkit which has resources compiled by experts in veteran services to help you develop programs for veterans at your library.

Read Orienting Student Veterans to the Library created by Sarah LeMire and Stephanie Graves.

Register for an upcoming WebJunction webinar about Suicide Prevention for Veterans, Service Members, Families and Communities scheduled for November 15 from 2-3pm EST.

Look at Veterans LibGuides created by community college librarians and create one for your Library.

Please comment on this post to share resources to add to this list.

Categories
Member of the Month

November Member of the Month

Meet Kathy Ladell, our November CJCLS Member of the Month (submitted by Kodi Salyor)

We’ve gotten a little behind in Member of the Month posts, for which we apologize.

Kathy (She/her/hers) is a librarian  at University of Cincinnati Clermont College Library. 

As a Student Success Librarian, a large part of Kathy’s work is partnering with other student support entities on campus in particular, the Learning Commons to host events during midterms and finals to support students. Kathy’s favorite thing about being a community college librarian is working with students and providing direct support because the emphasis as a community college librarian is on teaching and supporting students. 

A newer member of CJCLS, Kathy joined the section this summer and believes that the section is a good way to network with other community college librarians to get ideas and support in her work. 

For Fun

When Kathy is not working, she is cycling in the warmer months, doing at least 50 miles per week. During the colder months with less daylight to explore the bike trails, Kathy transitions to her indoor hobby—knitting which she finds is  an excellent stress reliever. Lately, Kathy’s been enjoying watching Harlots on Hulu. Last but not least, Kathy has a very geriatric cat named Loki, who she describes as the sweetest cuddler in his old age. 

Close up photo of Kathy's cat, Loki
Kathy’s cat, Loki

Categories
Research Skills Corner

Recent Research: Students’ Self-Perception of Information Literacy Needs

by Meagan Fowler, Assistant Professor/Librarian
Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio

To bring attention to the research that is being conducted in and about community college libraries, in this sponsored post the ACRL CJCLS Scholarly Research Committee would like to highlight research conducted by researchers at Florida State University and the University at Buffalo that was published this past July in College & Research Libraries.

In their article, “Community College Student’s Perceptions of Their Information Literacy Needs,” Latham et al. (2022) set out to explore community college students’ self-perception of their information literacy (IL) needs. Spurred by the paucity of existing research on community college libraries and IL, their research was guided by three research questions:

RQ1. What are the self-perceptions of students concerning their IL needs?

RQ2. Do students’ self-perceptions of their IL needs vary based on their educational and career goals?

RQ3. Do students’ self-perceptions of their IL needs vary based on the type of instruction they received (skills-based vs. threshold concepts)?

Latham et al. (2022) conducted semi-structured interviews with thirty-four students at five community colleges in Florida and New York and found that while students did value IL and understood its importance in their academic, personal, and professional lives, how they applied IL varied depending on the context of the information need (i.e., the sources that they considered acceptable for their personal work may be “good enough” for their academic work). Further information also emerged on the topic of students’ beliefs about their future careers and the applicability of IL and their perception of IL as a set of skills as opposed to threshold concepts.

You are encouraged to read the full article for a detailed review of the findings, interview questions, and implications for future research.

For further information on this research, the researchers can be contacted at: Don Latham (dlatham@fsu.edu), Melissa Gross (mgross@fsu.edu), and Heidi Julien (heidijul@buffalo.edu).

Reference

Latham, D., Gross, M., Julien, H., Warren, F., & Moses, L. (2022). Community College Students’ Perceptions of Their Information Literacy Needs. College & Research Libraries, 83(4), 593–609.
Categories
Wildcard Wednesdays

Passively Engaging Students

We all have our strengths, and I’ll be the first to admit that design isn’t one of mine. That’s why I’ve been excited that several of our new hires are more decoratively inclined. For the first time at my library, the circulation area has transformed for Halloween, with skulls leering on tables and spiderwebs festooning our display of seasonally spooky reads.

Our circulation team has gone beyond grisly decor to engage students. As part of the October decorations, they hid ghosts around the library, wrote up a list of clues, and encouraged students to find them in exchange for a prize. I’ve already spotted one student on the hunt taking selfies with her successful finds.  

A sign reading 'find the ghosts hidden around the library for a prize'. A ghost silhouette cut out of old book pages hovers next to the sign.

In the past, our book displays went up for one or two months and remained static during that time. With enthusiastic new staff (including some with mastery of Canva) we’ve started doing weekly mini-displays based on themes a reference team member finds in Chase’s Calendar of Events. She pairs our physical book displays with QR codes directing students toward ebooks and audiobooks in our Overdrive collection. (During Happy Cat Month, aka September, we added pictures of adoptable felines from the campus Veterinary technology program.) We’ve seen increased circulation of physical and digital titles since the start of these mini-displays.

That’s not the only way we’ve invited students to join in on the fun. A weeding project left us with plenty of excess books, which have been transformed into raw material for origami butterflies now frozen in flight across the walls of our circulation section. Two library representatives brought extra pages to the campus wellness fair, and students crowded around their table learning how to transform old books into butterflies or intricately folded bookmarks. Now detailed instructions and spare pages fill slots that formerly housed print newspapers for students to enjoy.

A library wall covered in folded paper butterflies. Pages of origami instructions are held in an old newspaper stand. A ghost peeks out from behind the stand.
Butterflies fly across the circulation wall near the origami station. Can you spot the hidden ghost peeking out?

After several slow semesters post-reopening, our library is busy again. That may have happened no matter what, but I like to think our new decorations, eye-catching displays, and engagement opportunities helped draw students in. I can’t wait to see what else our team comes up with.

Does your library engage in passive programming? What do you do to catch students’ eyes while they’re in the library?

Categories
Tech Tuesdays

The Simple Newsletter

CJCLS has been using newsletters to communicate with community college librarians for a long time. You can visit the American Library Association Institutional Repository to read section newsletters dating back to the 1940s. Our most recent newsletter will be coming out sometime in October. If you are a section member, you’ll receive a copy via email or you can visit the CJCLS newsletter webpage.

I ran across a recent article from the Atlantic, the Internet’s Unkillable App: The noisier our digital lives get, the more popular the humble newsletter becomes by David Pell. Reading it inspired me to do an inventory of the newsletters I subscribe to. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites in this month’s Tech Tuesday column.

An envelope with the word News written on it with a wing on each side of the envelope.
Newsletter, Julian Kücklich, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

What newsletters do you subscribe to? Please share your suggestions!

Categories
Research Writing

We’ve Still Got it: Sustained Value in Community College Libraries

By Terra Jacobson, Moraine Valley Community College and Spencer Brayton, Waubonsee Community College

We’ve recently released a call for proposals (communitycollegelibraries.com) for our new edited book “Valuing the Community College Library: Powerful Impact for Institutional Success” to address a gap in the community college literature. The plan for this book is to provide a historical background to community colleges and community college libraries, while also trying to push away from commonly held negative narratives to prevent further siloing ourselves from other areas of librarianship. This publication is not targeted at specific areas of practice but is a more holistic approach to showing library value through the historical context of these institutions, as well as practical applications and future thinking. 

Black and White Laptop” photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels.

There is a gap in this area of publication for community college librarians and we aim to support them in proving their value and thriving with the assistance of this publication. In our research, we have not found a title that does the work to fill this gap. No other titles target community colleges and their librarians in this way and we want to work with community college librarians across the country in urban, suburban and rural settings of all sizes to share our stories of student success and opportunities we see for the future.  

We’ve got the tools to become the student success center of campus. We already are, really. We just need to work on demonstrating that value to administration and others. This book formalizes the work we all do to make it concrete, citable, and shareable. A way to reference the impact and value of community college libraries and push forward the new narratives of the future of community college libraries. 

Support to authors will include opportunities for networking teams to discuss / share research and help one another through their writing process. There will also be opportunity to continue to work together and support each other with additional professional development through panels and podcasts. 

We look forward to hearing from you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at cclibraryimpact@gmail.com or learn more about the call for proposals at communitycollegelibraries.com

Categories
Wildcard Wednesdays

Afternoon of Social Justice Roundup

The logo for Afternoon of Social Justice featuring a cupped hand holding the Earth.

I was unable to attend the 2022 SRRT Afternoon of Social Justice live when it aired on August 3. However, I was able to view the recordings after their release. I encourage you to watch the presentations yourself, but here’s a little of what to expect from the sessions.

Paying Better Attention to Indigenous Communities

First, Karleen Delaurier-Lyle at Xwi7xwa Library reminded us that Indigenous knowledge is relational rather than compartmentalized and isn’t always best served by library classification systems. She used the example of Indigenous languages, which are classified under X in the modified version of the Brian Deer Classification System the library uses. Many other resources in the library have valuable information on language, but they’re not housed in that section of the stacks. She described an activity she does with students that reveals these materials scattered throughout the library and emphasizes how important it is to look beyond standard classification.

Next, Kael Moffat defined settler colonialism using Patrick Wolfe’s emphasis on the logic of elimination, which strives to erase Indigenous people via destruction or assimilation. Moffat then outlined settlers’ responsibilities in combatting this system. While Indigenous people decolonize, settlers are responsible for desettling. Some elements of desettling: learning the stories of Indigenous communities local to your area, listening to them, amplifying their voices, and acting in support. He also shared a longer list of desettling questions libraries can ask themselves and steps they can take to move forward in this work.

Neurodiversity in the Library

Rachel Bussan and Kate Thompson from West Des Moines Public Library both presented on neurodiversity, with an emphasis on autism, with Bussan drawing from personal and Thompson drawing from familial experience. Bussan was diagnosed with autism and bipolar disorder at 26, while Thompson was inspired to go into librarianship after her son struggled at a storytime not designed for his needs.

Both offered a wealth of tips on how to communicate with neurodivergent people, how to run accessible job interviews, and how to support neurodivergent employees once they have been hired. For example, during conversations, it’s a good idea to minimize distractions and other stimuli. A point they returned to was that everyone’s needs are different, and these guidelines should be adjusted for each person. A key takeaway: hire neurodivergent people in your libraries. They’ll know what they need better than you can.

Thompson also touched on some broader disability topics, such as the curb cut effect making accommodations beneficial to everyone, and the medical versus social models of disability and how those can change how we view the world. Both presenters ended with a wealth of resources, including, of course, book recommendations. 

This is just a taste of the presentations – if anything sounds interesting, be sure to watch for yourself!

Categories
Tech Tuesdays

Chat Training Resources

One of my favorite parts of my job is doing virtual reference. My library participates in a collaborative of Michigan libraries called Research Help Now. When I first started doing chat, fifteen years ago, I found every chat I picked up very stressful because I thought I had to quickly find an answer and was intimidated to try to help students on unfamiliar websites. Now, when I pick up a chat, I see it as a fun challenge and view myself as a partner with students as we work through their research questions together. I often get ideas for improving my library’s website by helping students do research on unfamiliar websites. Sometimes I find problems with my own library’s website by browsing chat transcripts. 

Here are some virtual reference training ideas: 

  • Librarians can choose one of their own transcripts to review and think about what went well and what could have gone better. Or all librarians can review the same transcript and share observations. This can work for an online meeting using a shared Google Doc. If you’d like, use virtual reference best practices to guide the discussion.
  • In our Michigan collaborative, we have a yearly best transcript competition. We use a rubric to evaluate transcripts and choose winners to recognize for their excellent work. I learned a lot about doing chat well by volunteering for the committee to review transcripts.
  • Organize a panel of experienced chat librarians for a local or regional workshop. A colleague and I invited best transcript winners to speak on a panel at our Michigan Academic Library (MiALA) Conference, Celebrating Our Successes, Improving for Our Future: Best Chat Transcript Awards. It was a great opportunity for librarians to share virtual reference strategies. The session was recorded and I share the recording with new chat librarians at my institution.
  • Here are additional chat training ideas that participants brainstormed during a workshop I facilitated with a colleague, Trust Me: Collaborative Chat Training for Uncertain Times.

What tips do you have for doing virtual reference? What training resources do you have to share?

Categories
Thursday Thoughts Uncategorized

To serve or not to serve. Is that the question?

My view over the bay in Mackinaw City as I write this post.

Summer is winding down. My college hasn’t started classes yet. My college holds fast to the after Labor Day start. While public schools and other colleges around us may have returned to campuses this week, we are enjoying a rare moment of peace before a busy fall semester begins. At least, I hope it will be a busy semester with students in the library and all over campus. The past two years have been too quiet while we’ve persevered through the pandemic.

Personally, I’m using these last few days to prepare for upcoming committee work, both at my college and for the profession. As I drove up to Mackinaw City for my first visit to the Mackinac Island, I had time to think about why I volunteer. Of course, some work committees are required because of my position as a Library Director. But others are purely voluntary and what you might call passion work.

For example, I’ve been a member of our Civility Committee for a few years now. I’m happily anticipating the next year on this committee as we return to in person events and projects, even though our meetings will likely still remain virtual. We work on things that bring people around the campus together to discuss topics related to civility, such as the aptly named CiviliTeas.

On ACRL side, I am beginning my term with the ACRL Membership Committee this year. As the vice-chair for the committee, I’ll be learning as I prepare to take over as chair next year. I’ve avoided chair positions for many years because of the workload. If I do something, I prefer to be able to commit fully and until the pandemic forced me to slow down some, my life had lost balance. The past two years have allowed the opportunity to reevaluate things and set some new priorities. I’m very excited to take on a new challenge and I have a great chair to work with this year.

This post isn’t meant to encourage people one way or another to volunteer for committees, although there are many opportunities within CJCLS, ACRL, ALA, and your state organizations. I realize we all have different priorities and our lives may not allow for committee work. Some of us may be required to serve on professional committees to meet tenure requirements. (I’m grateful I have no such requirements.) It can be thankless and time-consuming at times.

But there are also benefits. I have met some very intelligent, creative, and kind people across libraries of all types. They have often inspired me to try new things and see different perspectives. We share our challenges and our triumphs. By being a committee member, I’ve found a community. It’s also given me a chance to feel that I’m doing something valuable beyond my day-to-day work. The benefits and rewards generally outweigh any downsides; at least for me.

I’d be interested to hear what you get out of volunteering for committees, either at work or in the profession at large.

Categories
Research Skills Corner

Dissertation Summation

An Examination into the Library’s Influence on Community College Success, by Kate McGivern

Kate McGivern. Photo by Joan Dalrymple.
About Dissertation Summation: In Dissertation Summation, we read a dissertation related to community colleges and their libraries and note the key takeaways for you. This summary is more than an abstract but not the entire dissertation... because you don't have the time to read dissertations; you work in a community college! This segment provides an opportunity to highlight the doctoral work in the LIS field in community colleges and share the great research our colleagues are conducting. If we are lucky, you also hear from the author as they reflect later on their process.

Do you have a dissertation you've completed that meets this criterion? Please comment below so we can share your research work with the population most interested. Please include full citations of your work.

Citation

Introduction

McGivern’s Dissertation An Examination into the Library’s Influence on Community College Success considers the links between “award-winning community colleges using the framework created by the ACRL Standards” (pp. 4-5) and if there are links between libraries and high-achieving community colleges. The researcher looks at winners of the Aspen Prize and those that have also been awarded the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award to determine if there are “commonalities in practices, procedures, and policies” (p. 7) at these libraries “that make them a valuable asset to the institutions” (p. 7). This study had a sample size of three institutions, but due to issues with IRB offices, only two of the three eligible institutions participated in the in-person interview visits for this study. The research questions for this study were (p. 8):

  1. What are the characteristics of excellent community college libraries?
  2. What are the commonalities between the award-winning libraries which influenced their colleges’ recognition?
  3. How did the libraries at these community colleges contribute toward the college’s success?

Methodology

The methodology used in this study was a multiple- or collective- case study design utilizing qualitative data (p. 34). The author utilized interviews, documents, observations, and artifacts as evidence to inform this study (p. 8). They also utilized data from NCES and documents and reports that the institution provided. Site visits were conducted with two of the three selected institutions, and interviews were conducted with the head of the library and the Chief Academic Officer (p. 9) at each of these institutions. The researcher did not interview the third library since “the institution’s review board did not respond to a request for research approval” (p. 9).

Assumptions

The researcher makes assumptions about the awards provided to the institution in the “assumptions” portion of the study. They state that ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries “are examples of the best community college libraries. This designation sets them apart from other community college libraries and defines them as excellent” (p. 10). I struggle with this assumption as libraries are nominated (by themselves or others) for this award as the library must be aware of the award’s existence and have been able to put forth the time and effort to complete this application. This award has only existed since 2000. The Aspen Prize has only been in place since 2011. This study assumes that the Aspen Prize and the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award are actually signs of quality and equate to successful libraries and community colleges. A limited history provides very few institutions for this sample.

Using the multiple-case study design, the researcher conducted in-person interviews with two of the three institutions. These interviews were recorded and transcribed by the researcher themselves and were conducted within the same month. The researcher coded the data, utilized software to assist with this process, and created codes aligned with the ACRL Standards.

Key Findings/Outcomes:

Regarding the findings and the anticipated outcome, the author states that they “anticipated that the study results would show a correlation between the Aspen Award-winning institutions and their libraries” and that the results would “indicate similar characteristics of excellence for all the college libraries of the study” (p. 38). The researcher found similarities between the institutions that included the following characteristics: “librarians are members of the faculty, with tenure, professional rank and representation in the college governance” (p. 60) and that librarians are considered partners in the “educational journey of their students and… a commitment to service to the college community” (p. 60). The researcher organized findings with each research question. Findings for each question are as follows:

What are the characteristics of excellent community college libraries?

The researcher found the following consistent characteristics (p. 69):

  • Intentional engagement in the greater college community
  • Collaboration with faculty and staff
  • Librarians that are active in college-wide activities and governance
  • Openness to change and willingness to adapt
  • Creativity and innovation with resources
  • Belief in the educational role of the library

What are the commonalities between the award-winning libraries which influenced their colleges’ recognition?

The researcher found the following commonalities (pp. 86-88):

  • Knowledge of their value to the institution
  • Contribution to institutional leadership and participation
  • Partnership in teaching and learning
  • Service

How did the libraries at these community colleges contribute toward the college’s success?

The researcher found that they contributed to success in the following ways (pp 89-91):

  • Responsiveness to student needs
  • Using data to assess and demonstrated value
  • Engage in the college community
  • Actively engage students
  • Participate in professional development
  • Lead innovation

Limitations & Study Recommendations

The researcher noted the following limitations to their study (pp. 101-102):

  • The need for a larger sample of community colleges.
  • Not all documents were available from all the institutions, and only two data sources were available for all institutions.
  • Data coding was limited to the nine ACRL Standards, and it only addressed the first research question.
  • A second researcher from outside of the field of librarianship would be beneficial.

The researcher provided five recommendations from this study and suggestions for further research. The researcher suggests that more “research should be conducted into library perception and value of other institutional stakeholders, especially community college administrator and Board of Trustee members” (p. 111). They also suggest in their second recommendation for further research that the value of faculty status for community college librarians is examined (p. 114).

Study Significance

The significance of this study is that it fills a major gap in the LIS literature for community college libraries. There is a gap in the amount of literature published on the whole about community college libraries and specifically a large gap related to community college library assessment, the value of community college libraries, and the perception of community college library value by campus administrators. This adds to a baseline of knowledge about the value assessment of community college libraries and compares two relatively new awards in librarianship and community colleges, which could be indicators of success. This study is limited as it only examines three institutions but provides a starting point and a direction for assessing the perceived value of community college libraries by library directors/deans and college administrators. 

Commentary & Author’s Notes:

I asked Kate McGivern to share her insights and feedback about her dissertation, doctoral pursuits, and research work. Kate shared with me that she enjoyed the entire process of pursuing her Ed.D in Community College Leadership. At first, she did not plan to pursue her doctorate, but when an on-campus cohort program was offered, she decided to go for it and thoroughly enjoyed the coursework and entire research process.

Kate selected this research topic because she was passionate about student success outcomes related to libraries and wanted to know if there was a correlation between “great libraries and their institutions being recognized for excellence” through awards like the Aspen Prize. She advises that picking a research topic that you are passionate about makes the process seem like a breeze, but noted that the best motivating factor for conducting this research and pursuing her degree is that she was “doing it for me” and that even if it takes longer than expected, that is okay and to still count that “as a success.” The most difficult part of the research process was the repetition of some of the writing in the dissertation process. Kate notes that “some chapters started to feel like they were stating the same thing, over and over,” which made it difficult for her to recall what was addressed already and what was not, but “that is part of the dissertation process.”

When asked if Kate would change her research in any way, she stated that she “would not change it at all.” She loves the work that came from her study. Kate added that in addition to this research, a few more recent positives have come from this work. Kate has recently received full professor status at her institution, Bergen Community College, and has been asked to serve as Vice Chair of the American Association of Community Colleges’ National Council for Learning Resources committee https://nclr-aacc.org/ due to her research work.

Kate can be contacted further about her research work at: kmcgivern@bergen.edu