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.


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.

CJCLS Listserv moving to ALA Connect on May 1, 2021

ALA has begun transitioning all discussion lists from Sympa to ALA Connect. The CJCLS listserv will be closing as of May 1, but all of us, ALA members and non-members alike, can continue the conversation and even make our ALA Connect community behave much like the listserv has — particularly by receiving and posting via email.

What is ALA Connect?

ALA Connect is an online platform for discussion and collaboration. We’re working to make Connect the centralized online communication space for colleagues, whether they’re part of a formal ALA committee, membership group or just want to share questions and ideas with other library professionals.

What does this mean for my group?

All group posts, conversations, and documents will reside in ALA Connect. The ALA Connect platform will provide privacy, while serving as an easily searchable repository. (ALA staff is working on a way to maintain access to archived listserv posts.)

How do I post to my new list?

Your ALA Connect space is now available — you don’t have to wait for May 1 — and you can begin using our discussion list address:

When you send a message to the above email address, it will generate a post directly to the CJCLS ALA Connect Community — just like posting to this listserv! Please note that in order to post, you must send your message from the email address associated with your Connect profile.


  • You can adjust your Connect email settings to receive individual email notifications or a digest format. This short tutorial also shows how to adjust these settings.
  • You will be able to post a response directly via email, or by logging in and responding to the discussion post via the ALA Connect website.

Please note, you can only post messages if you are a member of the CJCLS Connect Community. See steps below on how to join this Community.

Posting Attachments

If you are sending an email to the Connect address and it has attachments, the files will automatically be posted as an attachment in the discussion post you make as well as added to the main folder in the group’s library. Once posted, your group’s community admin can move the attachment within the Connect Library to keep the group’s files and folders organized.

How to Join the CJCLS Community

Current ACRL Members

All ALA members have an ALA Connect account connected to their ALA login. You are automatically added to your ACRL interest group’s Connect space when you join that interest group as part of your ALA/ACRL membership.

If you know you are a current ACRL member and cannot access the ALA Connect space for CJCLS in Connect, you may need to add CJCLS to your ACRL membership. Your ACRL membership allows you complimentary membership to any ACRL Community of Practice. Please call ALA Member & Customer Service at 1-800-545-2433 ext. 5 for assistance or login to your account to check your membership status.


Non-members are welcome to create a free ALA Connect account. As a non-member, you can view and post to the CJCLS Connect Community once you create a free account, log in and join the CJCLS Connect Community.

Watch this video about Free account sign up or visit the Connect FAQ page for more information.


If you have any questions related to our upcoming move, please email Ken Simon at As your moderator on the listserv — and in our new Connect Community — he’ll gladly answer what he can and investigate what he doesn’t know yet.


Instruction Uncategorized

Let’s talk about Project Information Literacy: Reading in an Age of Distrust

If you haven’t already seen Alison Head’s essay “Reading in an Age of Distrust” (part of Project
information Literacy’s Provocation series) you’ll want to read it soon, so you can discuss it with us.

The ability to read analytically and deeply should be one of the most important takeaways from college. But are educators equipping students with the skills they need for today?” How can community college librarians contribute to a culture of critical reading in our institutions and beyond? Please comment with your initial thoughts and we’ll be back with some discussion questions soon.


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].  <>

Instruction Uncategorized

Are there lizard people in your library?

What do lizard people have to do with libraries?  For an answer, check out Project information Literacy’s Provocation series. “Our occasional series features timely essays about what “literacy” means in all its manifestations. At a time when finding reliable news and information is more difficult than ever, we publish a new long-form essay every two months to spark discussions about pressing issues, ideas, and concerns.” (Project information Literacy, 2021.) On February 3., 2021, “Lizard People in the Library,” by Barbara Fister was posted to kick-off the series. Check it out here: Then come back here to talk about it. We’ll post a new question every week, and we welcome your thoughts.  Feel free to color outside the lines and answer questions we haven’t asked.

This week’s discussion question: Article databases, especially those that aim to represent multiple sides of contentious issues, may include content that promotes, as Fister puts it, “counter-factual beliefs.” How can we help students develop source evaluation skills and not just accept a source because it’s “from the library?”


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.


Seeking Outstanding Community College Librarians and library programs

submitted by Laura Mondt

Do you know an amazing community college library leader or unique library program? Consider nominating yourself or an outstanding colleague for one of these awards.

This year (2020) , we were fortunate to be able to present both of these awards. Jean Amaral, Associate Professor and Open Knowledge Librarian, Borough of Manhattan Community College received the EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award for her work spearheading the OER program at her college and the Colorado Community College System received the EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award for their program “Colorado’s Top 40: Curating OER Content for the Top 40 GT Pathway Courses.” We were able to honor both recipients at a CJCLS webinar in June.

Award Details:

Awards sponsored by EBSCO Information Services:  Winners will receive a citation and $750 cash sponsored by EBSCO Information Services at a special ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in 2021.

For complete information about these awards, the application form and past winners, please visit:

The applicant for the EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award should demonstrate:

  • Significant achievement in advocacy of learning resources/library programs or services, or
  • Leadership in professional organizations that are associated with the mission of community, junior, or technical colleges.

The applicant for the EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award should demonstrate:

  • Significant achievement in the development of a unique and innovative learning resources/library program.

Submissions must be received by December 4, 2020. 

Questions can be emailed to: Laura Mondt, Northern Essex Community College,


Community College Librarians at Home (or not)

Today is Thursday, April 2, 2020. Day 11 of my semi-quarantine. I am a reference librarian (programming and outreach are my interests) at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, KY. My “work from home” experience began on March 19 and was initially scheduled to end on April 5. Now we are scheduled to be home until at least April 30.
In the comments, tell us where you are, and what your current status is.

On the positive side: I’ve started a new virtual program (a very small student, faculty and staff reading group) that is meeting in MS Teams. The students selected Little Women as our first book, so I get to quarantine with the March family.  I  also have a virtual coffee break with librarians brewing (pardon the pun).

On the downside my home technology is far inferior to my office tech, and I’m super lonely and bored.

Grateful to be on the payroll, but a bit sad because two of our part-time circulation clerks were furloughed today. We rely heavily on part-time temporary employees and times like this are especially tough on them.

In the comments, tell us where you are, and what your current status is. To quote my governor “We will get through this”,  and “We will get through this, together”


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.”