Saturday, October 29, 2011

Faculty Development and Instruction Librarian (and Nursing Department Liaison)

After a whirlwind summer, the school year got off to a great start! The library is quite a bit quieter in the summer, which gave me a good chance to learn about which resources we have (I made some tutorial videos using Camtasia and step-by-step PDF handouts, which helped me learn by doing). I was thankful for the opportunity to ease into my responsibilities, but thankful when more of the students arrived back on campus. They bring an energy, excitement, and unpredictability that was lacking in the summer. Plus, their return brought more opportunities for me to do what I love best, help & teach!

I am embedded in 3 1/2 English classes, and have been working with a wide range of classes for one- or two-shot sessions (ranging from Biology to Business to Speech and Nursing). I love getting to work with students and, because of the smaller size of the University, I get the chance to learn names and really connect with students in many of the classes I work with.

I also get to work closely with faculty, particularly those leading the classes with me as their embedded librarian, but also through my Conversations on Information Literacy sessions. This semester I have already led one, and am preparing to lead the second, faculty development session with faculty that exposes them to library resources and services that will (hopefully) help make their lives a little simpler and more connected to the library. Our last session was entitled "Saving Time and Stopping Plagiarism." In the next session, I plan to cover how the library can support faculty work and student learning through Blackboard.

I can't emphasize how lucky I am to a) have found a job, b) that I love, c) that allows me to wear many hats and, d) connect with fantastic students and faculty through, e) instruction and reference work and f) (and this is a big deal, friends) no cataloging!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Return from Blog Hiatus

As you may have gathered, I was on a brief hiatus from professional blogging. The next few posts will likely give you the "Reader's Digest" version of what's happened between my last post and now. This summer was a whirlwind of adventures, both professionally and personally. Here's a brief laundry list: presenting at LOEX and ILA/ACRL, applying for jobs and eventually juggling different interviews and offers, supporting my family as my dad recovered from major heart surgery, working at my favorite summer camp (Dorian Summer Music Camps), attending ALA Annual, starting a new job, living in 5 places over the span of about 8 months... Let's just say life kept me on my toes during my last semester of graduate school, and I wouldn't have had it any other way!

My internship at University of Dubuque concluded in May and Anne Marie Gruber and I presented at LOEX on the morning I would have walked in my MLS graduation ceremony. We had a fantastic time at LOEX, met some wonderful folks at various sessions and dine-arounds, took away tons of great ideas, and caught up with old friends! Those who attended our session were engaged we were excited to share ideas about mentoring and MLS-level internships. I would highly recommend LOEX to anyone interested in instruction and would love to attend (and possibly present) again in the future! After that, we returned to Dubuque where I continued to work in my intern capacity as well as at the reference desk (to finish out the semester).

I took about a week to be at home with my family as my dad recovered from heart surgery, and then hit the road for various job interviews. After that, I juggled accepting a wonderful job, working at camp (for 2 1/2 weeks in June), and figuring out how I would find a place to live between the end of camp, heading to ALA, and starting my job in early July.

ALA was an adventure, that's for sure, but it was good to go and see what it was all about. The convention center was huge. What an excellent set up for this large conference! Many of the events were held within the conference center itself, with various receptions held in nearby hotels or art galleries. I enjoyed seeing colleagues I hadn't seen in a while, networking with new acquaintances, visiting with vendors, and exploring New Orleans. I met some fun ALA people who were staying in the same hostel as I; we explored Bourbon Street together and listened to some great jazz and dixieland groups. When it got down to the sessions, though, those I attended were interesting enough, but I found them to be "just alright." For me, the best types of sessions engage attendees and provide take-aways beyond just "here's what we did"--they allow for an exchange of relevant and timely ideas. Perhaps it was because I missed the pre-conference sessions and the first day or so, but the sessions at the tail end of the conference didn't necessarily impress me as much as other presentations I've seen at smaller conferences like LOEX, Brick & Click, and state conferences. I would be interested in seeing if it was just a fluke with this years presentation lineup, or if it is just the way the larger, national conferences are. The execution and organization of the details it takes to put on a conference of this size was exceptional, however. Wherever you turned there was someone willing to answer questions (because librarians are the friendliest people, of course!), the transportation between hotels, tours, and other events was well coordinated--and understanding the logistics of coordinating such things for smaller conferences, I appreciate the effort that went into the local arrangements.

After ALA I had 1 week to move my belongings from Dubuque to my parents' place (what wound up being a temporary solution), find a place to live, and get ready to jump in with my new work responsibilities as Faculty Development and Instruction Librarian at Grand View. It all worked out--I found a place to live after looking at 12 apartments in about 6 hours and signed my lease by the end of the week; I was able to commute from my folks' place to Grand View for the couple of weeks before I could move into my apartment, and then moved closer to Des Moines in August. I was very glad to finally be settled somewhere, not be living out of a suitcase (after having done that for the last 2 1/2 months), and starting a new career as a full-fledged librarian!