CJCLS colleagues — we would love to hear about what is happening in your libraries and communities! Why not write an article for the Spring 2023 CJCLS Newsletter? We are looking for stories about:
equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives
collaborations with other departments or institutions
other ideas — what do you have in mind?
Please contact us with any questions, or submit a story between 200-500 words with your name, job title, and your library name to email@example.com by Monday, April 24. The newsletter will be published in May on ALA Connect, via social media, and our Newsletters webpage.
Stephanie D. Davis Christine (Mi-Seon) Kim ACRL/CJCLS Scholarly Research Committee
Conducting research on human subjects requires oversight, and in higher education this involves working with an Institutional Research Board, the IRB as it is commonly called. In December 2022, the CJCLS Scholarly Research Committee hosted a webinar on the topic, “Successfully Navigating IRB Processes as a Community College Librarian,” featuring a panel of presenters including Faith Bradham, Bakersfield College in California; Vikki C. Terrile, Queensborough Community college, the City University of New York; and Terra Jacobson, Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois.
During the Q&A discussion, panelists were asked a series of questions:
What kinds of structures or support are available for the IRB process at your institution?
What challenges did you experience?
What are the potential pitfalls? What are the unspoken norms that you should have known?
What surprises did you encounter in the IRB process? What was new for you?
What are some best practices? What would you have done differently?
The 38 webinar attendees heard from the three panelists about their experiences working with an IRB. The basic requirement of an IRB is for the researcher to share their research plan, such as any instruments they will use to collect data and information, for review by the IRB to ensure the research follows established protocols.
Each panelist indicated that working with an IRB for the first time is a learning process. Terra Jacobson noted, “I was nervous, but it turned out to not be scary, and they were helpful with the process.” It was also shared that each institution approaches the process differently. Large institutions where research is common, like the City University of New York (CUNY), have a formal process with a point person to answer questions and help researchers. At other institutions, the IRB process is informal and is worked out on a case-by-case basis. Not all community colleges have an official IRB, but rather researchers work through an institutional assessment office or other department responsible for collecting and reporting student data.
During the question-and-answer period, attendees were asked about training, approval time as well as potential pitfalls. All three agreed it is beneficial to get training, if possible. Terra and Faith shared that their learning started when they entered a doctoral program. While approval times vary, two weeks was shared as a common time frame. If an IRB has concerns or questions, revisions are possible. Pitfalls included difficulty obtaining consent from research participants, particularly in the online environment, as well as not fully understanding the difference between exempt and non-exempt research. Survey results showed an interest in continuing the conversation on IRBs and the research process in general.
The Scholarly Research Committee's charge is to advance and promote research by and about community college librarians. Information on Committee activities, including future webinars, is available on ALA Connect.
I became active in CJCLS in 2018 when I volunteered for the Membership Committee. I became the chair of the committee and have enjoyed working with community college librarians from across the country. Our libraries are very different, but also very similar. I’m so glad I volunteered.
Lisa Eichholtz – Jefferson Community and Technical College, Kentucky
I have been involved in CJCLS for the past three years. Meeting other community college librarians has been inspiring. As part of the Communications Committee, I coordinate the ACRL Community College section blog and newsletter to share stories and ideas from community college librarians across the U.S.
Suzanne Bernsten – Lansing Community College Library, Michigan
There are so many intelligent, thoughtful, and creative community college librarians out there and I’ve learned so much from them. I enjoy hearing about how other people meet challenges and I get inspiration and ideas to bring back to my library. I’m a better community college librarian because of my involvement with CJCLS.
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.
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.
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.
Highlights of recent research articles written by community college librarians and articles written about the issues that pertain to our libraries.
Tools, trainings and a spotlight on ways to grow your own research capacity.
A place for conversation in the comments section.
Thoughtful and salient opinions (we hope!).
Conducting research can be difficult in a community/vocational/technical/junior college. We often do not have staff tasked with research explicitly or tied to our promotion or tenure process directly. And it is critical that this research is conducted on us and with us. Our institutions frequently have higher numbers of first gen students, diverse and historically underrepresented students as well as PELL grant recipients, veterans and more. Our students are our strengths and while there are similarities to the demographic makeup of students in R1s, our populations are not identical. How do those differences impact the applicability of student success research done at R1s to our institutions?
How can we provide service to our students and our institutions through research? How can we help each other grow our research capacities? One thing we can do is collaborate with each other across institutions on topics we are most curious about. Our committee recently hosted a network and brainstorming session around ways to collaborate around potential research interests. A few people attended and the conversation generated turned out to be very valuable for future work opportunities. Would these informal conversations and community building sessions be something that could be useful if held more frequently such as several times a year? Alternately, is LibParlor a growing channel for this discovery of collaborative opportunities? How can we tap into the work of other existing ALA committees that focus on growing research capacity? All the questions.
Please let us know if there are any topics/papers/tools that you would like to see featured in this column. Did you publish something recently? Drop us a note below!
As I have become more involved in CJCLS, I was curious to find out how many states have regional groups focused on community colleges like we do in Michigan. So, last month, I shared an empty Google Sheet in our CJCLS ALA Connect group to crowdsource a list of regional community college groups. So far, librarians have added groups from Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Washington.
Do you have a group to add to the list? What do you find valuable about being a member CJCLS or of a regional group community college librarians?
Next year, my library building celebrates its 30th anniversary. From the outside, it still looks contemporary and appealing. This plot of land has come a long way since it was home to a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant!
Much has changed, though, since the library was built in 1993. The year of our grand opening, a student might have walked out the door of our sparkling new edifice with a backpack full of books, a ream of photocopies, or a stack of printed articles accessed via CD-ROM databases. Today, students can access sources and get online research assistance without ever setting foot in the building, but the many who do come in expect a robust WiFi connection, power for their devices, easy access to help, and spaces for both quiet study and group work. (Yes, and books, too.)
How has our building kept up with the times? Some areas have been successfully repurposed over the years. For example, the Periodicals room gave way to our “Research Zone” computer lab. The copy room is no more – in fact, our photocopiers have all made way for book scanners and networked printers. We have plenty of computers for students, the WiFi is generally stable, and we’ve installed a phone locker that sanitizes devices with ultraviolet light while they’re charging.
However, our wish list is growing. We need more outlets throughout the building to accommodate students’ needs, but that wasn’t foreseen in 1993, and we’d have to dig into the concrete floor to run more power. Shelving that once housed a massive and aging reference collection and a wide range of print periodicals now begs to make way for collaborative space for students, but the only lighting in that area was built directly into the top of the shelving itself. Oops.
Our faithful Reference Desk is an island set apart from the imposingly large Circulation Desk – the pinnacle of 1993 library services planning. We’d love to see a combined services desk giving us more flexibility, and students less consternation. Now we’re talking demolition and construction.
We librarians are a scrappy bunch, and we’re always dreaming/devising/proposing ways to update our 30-year old building. When infrastructure isn’t adequate, we find a workaround when we can. But the wish list, it keeps growing. And planning is made even more challenging as we wonder whether pandemic-era changes have made a lasting impact on library use.
How old is your library building? Has it kept up with changes in use? What were the best changes made over the years, and what do you want or wonder about for the future? Maybe you’ll stir a colleague reading from across the miles to propose something new. May today’s Friday Finds lead us to find some inspiration!