Thursday, December 27, 2012


So, I'm a relatively low-key person, but I've been pretty frustrated with the lack of PDFs/full-text articles in ERIC.  You can learn more about ERIC's removal of many of their PDFs here (

After seeing EBSCO's tweet, which included a nicely-edited video about their new parking lot, I got to thinking about how many man-hours might have gone into that project and, conversely, how many PDFs could have been examined & uploaded in that same amount of time had those man-hours been used in another way.  (I know, EBSCO & ERIC are two different entities that just work together...but still.)

That's when I got to thinking.  What if librarians and ERIC users all worked together to PDF-request the heck out of ERIC? Seriously. I'm putting out a call on Twitter, using the hashtag #takebackeric, because this is a service we are paying for, that receives government funds (hellooo,, that really should be available to our learning communities.  I don't have all the details worked out, but right now I'm thinking we declare one day in the future (preferably not at the very beginning of the semester, because I know we're all busy) where we search in ERIC, find 10 or 15 articles that aren't currently available and request that they be made available using the ERIC PDF request form (

We can also send emails, but those can be pretty general, and they'll likely just send back a form letter anyway.  If we specifically request articles, who knows, maybe something will happen and those articles will start turning back up in the database! So, who is in?!

I know there are huge things going on in the world right now (war, famine, politics, abuse, violence), and I'm not trying to overlook these things. I'm just trying to work together to see if, maybe, we can fix something small that might help make an impact in the education of one of our students.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Iowa Library Association Conference Recap 2012 - Friday

This past October I was able to attend the 122nd Annual Iowa Library Association Conference held in Dubuqe, IA.  Here is a very brief recap of some of the sessions I attended.

We were so fortunate to have had Jamie LaRue, library superstar (oh, and Director of the Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, CO, author, speaker, facilitator, musician, actor, and poet), as our opening speaker for the Friday, October 12 general session. His morning session was titled "Hangin' (Together or Separately)" and I found myself nodding my head constantly.  He began by discussing emergent literacy and how kindergarten reading readiness & the literacy level a student achieves by fourth grade determines much of their future (earning levels, crime rates, and more).  As a former public school teacher, I've seen this --both the positives when children are well-prepared, and also the negatives when children haven't had the support at home (more times than I would have liked to have seen).  Reading and stories helps children learn to empathize, to put themselves in someone else's shoes, and to see that there are problems in the world & figure out how to deal with them.  It helps students figure out that the world is a big place with diverse people and experiences, and reminds them that they are a small, but important, part of that world.

He then moved on to community reference wherein different community organizations are assigned a reference librarian.  Generally speaking, librarians are used to searching; that is what we do. But in the case of businesses, they needed more than just the resources. They needed the information presented in a way that was easy to understand (without hunting). This meant giving the organization an executive summary and a presentation of the information.  This helped the business owners and community members make that connection and see the difference between "my kids love the library" and "this is essential." By getting into the community, learning the context of the needs of the community, and addressing them through library services you are making the library invaluable.  By asking "what can the library do to make our community better/stronger?" and "how do you make your community thrive?" you are better able to identify issues, pull together information, and help solve issues.  By establishing community reference (targeted at community organizations and leaders) you then position the library and the library director to be community leaders which shifts the way the community sees the library.  Once only thought of as a service provider, now seen as a community leader, the library has moved from a passive (or victim) role to an active role (as an advocate for change).

E-books have been a hot topic for some time in libraries, but discussion has especially increased lately with questions of ownership and access.  Publishing fundamentals have changed.  According to LaRue "The bullet has passed through the brain of commercial publishing and we're just waiting for the body to fall." Currently we are seeing four streams of content:
  • Traditional
    • Commercial publishing (e-books, print, audio books, etc.)
  • Up & Coming 
    • Independent publishers (small process runs of works)
    • Self-published works
    • Local archives (digitizing information)
Interesting resources mentioned by LaRue included EVOKE ( and Libraries Unlimited. These bring new ideas and alternatives to the traditional approach to e-books.  The EVOKE website has many resources including sample letters to publishers, e-books survey data, and documents to help establish common understanding between publishers and libraries.  

In the section of his talk entitled "Library as a place" I noted LaRue's emphasis on some of the traditional ideas of libraries: places to go with books/information access; somewhere to go for social interaction.  The quote that I wrote down, however, speaks to the greater mission of service: "The work that we do is fundamentally affirming of society." 

In the last portion of his talk, LaRue discussed support and advocacy.  He made sure to note that library use does not necessarily translate into support.  This is evident in libraries that have high gate counts, program participation, and circulation statistics but do not receive support when it is needed in local votes.  Library patrons may not support library initiatives, projects, and maintaining or increasing funding.  LaRue emphasized that you should argue with them or that they are ignorant, or dumb, or evil (straight from my notes, I swear).  Rather, it means you need to persuade them with stories and support your story with facts.  Make it clear and simple, and drive the point home (make it personal and relatable  with the story. Resources that speak to securing local support from communities include Don't Think of an Elephant! by Lakoff and Being Wrong by Schulz.  He outlined how to tell a library story:
  • Use a real person's story
  • Give them a problem
  • Tell what the library did to help
  • Give them a happy ending
  • And have a tag at the end, a catch phrase that sticks 
Then it was off to concurrent sessions.  I attended Meg Gerritsen Knodl's session "Social Media's Impact on Libraries: Social Media and Collaborative Consumption." Essentially, collaborative consumption is an economic model with the sharing of a core to make it more reasonable to use and consume.  These communities thrive because of social media.  They are easily formed online (i.e. Ravelry), geography doesn't necessarily matter (i.e. Twitter), or you can have places where the bond is the local connection (i.e. Meetup),  they are places where anyone can be a teacher (i.e. Skillshare), or where skills and services can be shared (i.e., and you can share what you know or think (i.e. YouTube & many others). She briefly discussed the importance of a Results Oriented Workplace Environment (ROWE) and reflected on the book Why Work Sucks & How to Fix It by Ressler & Thompson.  Here the workplace is focused on results, not schedules.  She mentioned flexible work spaces and the practice of "Hot Desking" where individuals don't have a specific or assigned work space.  Workers can go anywhere to focus on work or do group work throughout the day.  

Part of her presentation was just a laundry list of what ifs and these are working elsewhere:
  • As a way of outreach, she suggested offering library meeting spaces to help companies host meetings
  • Intrepreneurship (a la 3M or Google): committing 20% of time to work on original projects, brainstorming, etc. (Need I bring up the Post-it note? That resulted from this type of unstructured time).  
  • Coworking spaces: Things like Tina Roth Eisenberg (of the blog Swiss-Miss) & the Studiomates where putting creative people together in a shared space helps build even more creative and innovative ideas.  Knodl mentioned as an example of workspaces that facilitate innovation & that serve as startup incubators.
  • Makerspaces: Makerspaces cultivate a culture of sharing whether it's crafting, writing, art, or ideas.  Examples include TEDx talks (locally grown), Recha Kucha, or Ignite talks (quick presentations).  This could also take the form of pop-up maker "markets" but all services exchanged are free.  This could be a fix-it day at the library where people bring their skills and their needs together as a community.  Or you could host maker competitions where those who come are given parts & tools and work to assemble something or fix some problem.  There is a lot of flexibility here.  
The final concurrent session I attended was given by Kelly Munter & Sherry Schlundt from the Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny.  In "YA & J: Like PB & J, Made for Kids, but Adults Love It Too!" the presenters discussed how one of their patrons expressed interest in a book club for adults who like to read YA novels.  Their club has done a variety of things ranging from talking about a common book to having everyone bring in whatever they're reading and do mini book-talks.  They meet the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. I jotted down ideas that came as they were talking that might be relevant/useful for our book club here at Grand View.
  • YA book club for faculty
  • Book talks from visiting teens (perhaps more relevant for the public library book club than the GV YA Book Club)
  • Casual book talks--bring whatever you are reading to share
  • Common book talks with discussion prompt questions
  • Talk to publishers or book suppliers about ARC (advance reading copy) to preview for book club
  • Marketing: they use the web, fliers, word of mouth.  Other ideas: giveaways/contests, social media, partnerships with other student groups or departments on campus
Some of the books they recommended or had discussed were: 
The conference wrapped up with the lunch session and Dan Buettner's presentation "Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life" wherein he discussed his research & travels.  He is the author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the LongestThrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, and others.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Iowa Library Association Conference Recap 2012 - Thursday

This past October I was very fortunate to have attended the 122nd Annual Iowa Library Association Conference held in Dubuqe, IA.  Here is a very brief recap of some of the sessions I attended.

I was teaching Thursday morning, so I wasn't able to attend the Wednesday pre-conference or early Thursday general sessions, but I did manage to slip one session in on Thursday afternoon, before the breakout meetings and evening banquet. I've been working closely with children's literature class over the past couple of years, so I thought the information shared in the Graphic Novels for Youth and Teens session, led by Andrew Frisbee (North Liberty Community Library), Sarah Latcham (Iowa City Public Schools), and Becky Johnson (Cedar Rapids Community Schools), would be helpful and give me ideas about collection development & instruction for this area. Boy, did it ever! I came away with a fantastic list I hope to purchase, plus I got to visit with a former coworker, Andrew! Below is a list of just a few of the titles that were mentioned. Graphic novels can sometimes be tricky. There is a wide range of of topics covered, and sometimes it can be tricky to determine age-appropriateness.  Particularly if you plan on recommending something to a young person, be sure you have carefully assessed this.  Just because it is presented in a visual format doesn't mean it should be fair game for some of the youngest readers.  This is also something parents don't always realize.  While this won't necessarily be a problem when purchasing for my college population, it is important for me to be aware of when presenting this type of material to our education students.

Click to enlarge

You may find more resources here:

On Thursday afternoon I attended the ILA/ACRL meeting where we took care of normal business (approval of minutes, individual & committee reports) and began to think ahead about elections for next year's officers (who have since been elected--My coworker, Dan, is the new ILA/ACRL President!).

After the ILA/ACRL meeting, a small group of instruction librarians got together to discuss Becky Canovan's idea for a group space where instruction librarians can come together to share ideas, resources, encouragement, etc. The idea behind this group came from the ILA/ACRL conference held last May in Decorah, IA.  Those who attended the instruction/IL lightning round session noticed that there were many timely, relevant questions being asked by both new and veteran librarians who may be the sole instruction librarian at their institutions.  Many great instruction ideas were shared as well.  This planted a seed in Becky Canovan’s brain and, after a few discussions and emails, the IL Interest Group began to take root. At ILA we discussed goals for the group, how/where we wanted to collaborate (online space), and what we wanted to be included (general post from one of the website moderators or guest contributors, a space where questions can be contributed and then later addressed in a post or responded to by other users, encouraging or humorous stress reliever posts to help everyone stay afloat and take a moment to remember to be a person too, and perhaps a space where users can contribute "this worked" or "this flopped" examples).  This is still very much in the early stages, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes out! This April we hope to coordinate a pre-conference session before IPAL to help connect instruction librarians around the state.

That evening Bob Anderson, Director of the Raptor Research Project in Decorah, IA, spoke during the banquet about the many projects he has worked on over the years, capturing many different species of wildlife (specifically birds) on film.  Thanks to advances in technology, online streaming of the Decorah Eagles has really taken off, but Anderson also shared stories of humor, wisdom, and science.

In my next post I will cover Friday's events.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lib & Learn - December 2012

Here's the December edition of the Grand View University library newsletter. Enjoy! Student Newsletter - December2012