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If phase one is planning, then phase two is doing. That’s where I am now. I spent a good chunk of the spring semester planning and pitching things and good news, they’re happening. Although, that means I’M happening. I distinctly told myself that I wouldn’t overcommit to things, but geez, things are busy around here.

I’m looking forward to phase three – assessing, phase four – self back patting, phase five – frequent napping, but not so much phase six which is writing about phases 1 – 4 and then going back to phase one again.

It’s the circle of academic life, y’all.

Isn’t The Lion King the best Disney movie EVER?!

Hey folks. I kind of missed the month of May. After my 3 conferences in 30 days palooza I got back to work just in time to pack up my office and move to a new building. I got unpacked (mostly) just in time for all the projects I’ve been trying to put together to magically all come together on the same day. Seriously. Weeks/months of planning and I got emails from all the contact folks of all the projects within 36 hours of each other.

Right now I’m doing a lot of prep work for fall instruction sessions and focusing on outreach with student groups. I do have one IL session scheduled so far for summer school. Which is good, because this fall there are 56 sections of the class that we do the most IL sessions with.

I’ve been thinking about some new (well new to us) models of instruction for the fall. I usually have the 50-minute one-shot sessions (although sometimes I get a T/Th class so I get 75 minutes). I know some people don’t like those, but I do and think they can be beneficial if you design them carefully. However, I don’t believe that it is enough. Call my crazy, but I think students need to think about the library for more than 50 minutes in 4 years. I went to the Off-campus library services conference in my beloved Cleveland, Ohio (#2 of the 3 conferences in 30 days palooza). I figure that I probably won’t be able to convince all 56 sections of the class I work with to come into the library, let alone to come in more than once, and even if they wanted to I’m not sure we’d be able to (sanely) support that. So I decided to head up to The Cleve and learn ways of connecting with students online from the distance ed experts. It was neat. The folks from ANTS were there. I love that they’re making the conference rounds. I’ve already sent tutorial links to my favorite college student, and my coworkers at another one of our libraries. Fantastic!

The OCLS conference presenters had a lot of student feedback about learning objects and LibGuides. Don’t you love it when other people do research and publish it so you can learn from their experiences don’t need to start from scratch every time? (I *hate* the phrase “reinvent the wheel”) The conference proceedings are phone book thick (luckily our travel folks signed me up for the digital version – thanks y’all!) so there is a lot of material to wade through, but it’s full text searchable in Acrobat which helps so much.

This is the point of the post where I would usually insert some relevant song lyrics or a movie quote, but I’m listening to Yo-Yo Ma play the first movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85. Yeah, y’all didn’t think I was cultured, did you? 😉 Ooh and now my shuffle has steered me to Radiohead’s “Punchup at a Wedding”. Good stuff!

The aforementioned Book Cart Drill Team has made it past the YouTube copyright folks.

This is great because you can actually hear the fun and clever lyrics, but you miss out on the crowd noise. There was a lot of it. Good job, ladies!

Enjoy!

<3LL

My attempt at the Baby Got Books lyrics:

*parody of Sir-Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back*

Oh my god, Becki,
look at her books
they are so big
she looks like one of those librarians
who understands those librarians anyway
I mean, her books, they're just so they're so big they're just like out there
she's just so smart

I like big books and I cannot lie
you other brothas' can't deny
that when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
and a big book in your face
you check out
that's what it's all about
paying my overdues
I'm looking at the nonfiction
so I can improve my diction
oh baby wanna tell you my preference
meet me in reference
so don't be such a bummer
just give me your – call number!

ooh Dewey Decimals
you say you don't like LC?
well read me, read me
catalog and discard me

*Low Rider by War interlude*

so welcome to the school library
ya got a big dictionary
we don't want books unless you got good looks
you can sleep or read a magazine
if books just ain't your scene
I just can't help myself I like 'em in order
sit and read – don't loiter!
admin thinks it's funny
the budget ain't got no money
so ladies?
YEAH?
ladies?
YEAH?
do you wanna support libraries?
YEAH!
scan it, scan it
scan them barcodes
baby got books

*Reading Rainbow Theme sung by Tina Fabrique interlude*

*Single Ladies by Beyoncé Knowles parody*

if you like it then you shoulda put a hold on it (x4)

Day one was great, rainy and kinda gross, but great.

I didn’t go to many sessions, but had lunch with Megan Oakleaf who is one of my information literacy and assessment heroes.

A great day was capped by a perfect night with a little time spent at the all-conference reception and a night of walking the River Walk with my lovely friends from library school.

I ❤ conference!

Tomorrow (Thursday) the real learning begins.

Have you all heard about the libraries in Baltimore that are serving as a grocery delivery station in two neighborhoods that do not have grocery stores?

How cool is that?

Also, it would totally solve this surprisingly-common problem:

Now I have two songs in my head 1) C is for Cookie, 2) the Bon Secours Bal.ti.more jingle.

Okay, really it’s been 8 days, but it feels like forever.

I’ve been busy librarianing and puppy training. Oliver is now an obedience school graduate. He has a little bandanna to prove it. So cute.

Anyway, I’ll be librarianing 24/7 starting tomorrow because it’s CONFERENCE TIME!

Get ready for enthusiastic posts about new and cool stuff I’m learning.

(subject from Ani DiFranco’s Superhero)

You may recall my post on guerilla reference in IHOP (which I type as iHop every time, darn you Apple). I am pleased to say that this remote-reference-during-finals plan has come to fruition. Yay! Instead of IHOP, a team of two librarians will be in and around the student dining halls. We’re doing two lunch time and two dinner time sessions. Although we will, of course, provide solid reference services, I see this more as an outreach initiative than a reference initiative. Exciting stuff and further proof of the power of pancakes.

thanks to flickr user kevandem for sharing this gorgeous picture

Post title from:
Sharmat, M. W., Sharmat, C., & Simont, M. (1990). Nate the Great and the musical note. A Break-of-day book. New York: Coward-McCann.
“I, Nate the Great, needed pancakes. Pancakes help me think” (p. 33).

Ok librarians, please, sit down. I have some news for you, and it is so shocking it will knock you right out of your sensible shoes.

People use the computers at public libraries.

I know! Can you believe it? I thought our banks and banks of computers were for decoration. Oh! Hey! Now I know why I’m an expert in queueing software and paper jams. 🙂

But seriously folks. All of us library types KNOW that when the economy takes a dive the library sees an increase in patrons. Add this to the list of things you didn’t learn in library school:

  1. How to find jobs for everyone that walks in the door
  2. How to assist a patron that speaks a language that you don’t with an application that is in a language they don’t speak
  3. How to deal with the heartbreaking and tragic stories of loss people share with you because they often don’t have anyone else that will listen

Yeah, where was that class?
Oh? Over in the Social Work department! Hmm . . .

All kidding aside, this is actually fantastic. Although I have a Gender Studies background and am all about The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (seriously, it was my thesis bible), I do understand the need for numbers. We qualitative types aren’t against numbers, and any research worth his/her salt knows that mixed methods research is the bee’s knees and the only way to get a comprehensive picture of user behavior. I do have to admit that some of the math they used is stuff I never learned or forgot (sorry Mr. N – your calculus class was great though) – so I get lost a bit, but I love the fact that people found this worthy of time and money. Thanks Bill and Melinda, IMLS, UW, and all those folks that had to make the calls for the phone survey!

Check out the excerpt below, full article available through the Information School at the University of Washington.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and IMLS funded a study on computer usage in public libraries. (U.S. Impact Public Library Study)

Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries

About the U.S. IMPACT Public Library Study

Public libraries have provided free access to the Internet and computers since the 1990s. Libraries have also provided access to digital resources, databases, networked and virtual services, training, technical assistance, and technology-trained staff. However, little research has examined the relationship between free access to computers and outcomes that benefit individuals, families, and communities.

To better understand how the provision of free access to the Internet and computers in public libraries is impacting the lives of individuals, families, and communities across the United States, the Institute of Museum and Library Services issued a request for proposals for research targeted at documenting, describing and analyzing the use and results of this use in libraries throughout the nation.

Works mentioned in this post

Becker, Samantha, Michael D. Crandall, Karen E. Fisher, Bo Kinney, Carol Landry, and Anita Rocha. (2010). Opportunity for All: How
the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries. (IMLS-2010-RES-01). Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Washington, D.C.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

(oh, and if you noticed the mismatched citation styles 1) you’re a total nerd 😉 and 2) I used the suggested citation for the study and good ol’ APA for the other)

I’m not sure if everyone feels the need, at some point, to justify their career. Not their career choice, but their career. Not – “Why on Earth did you want to be a DOCTOR?!” but more “Why on Earth do we even HAVE doctors?!” or “Hospitals are obsolete, everyone can just use WebMD and their 24-hour CVS.” Yeah, you don’t really hear much of that, but what I DO hear is “libraries are obsolete,” and once during an instruction session I was conducting and from the instructor that had requested the session – AND in front of a room full of his/her students. Gee, thanks. Just wait until the day I pop into the back of your classroom and tell your students that literary criticism is USELESS in real life.*

I have read so many of these – “Why librarians are important” pieces – and it makes me frustrated that there are people that think we aren’t. I matter, darn it!

Here’s one from the L.A. Times written by a school librarian whose job has been eliminated.

Go ahead. Read it, then we can discuss in the comments.

<3LL

*This is not really what I think, it's just a fitting parallel. Plus, I would never do this. We educators need to support each other. Woo nerd solidarity!

Saving the Google students: For the Google generation, closing school libraries could be disastrous. Not teaching kids how to sift through sources is like sending them into the world without knowing how to read.

Opinion | March 21, 2010 | By Sara Scribner

(excerpt below – full article available here)

The current generation of kindergartners to 12th graders — those born between 1991 and 2004 — has no memory of a time before Google. But although these students are far more tech savvy than their parents and are perpetually connected to the Internet, they know a lot less than they think. And worse, they don’t know what they don’t know.

As a librarian in the Pasadena Unified School District, I teach students research skills. But I’ve just been pink-slipped, along with five other middle school and high school librarians, and only a parcel tax on the city’s May ballot can save the district’s libraries. Closing libraries is always a bad idea, but for the Google generation, it could be disastrous. In a time when information literacy is increasingly crucial to life and work, not teaching kids how to search for information is like sending them out into the world without knowing how to read.

*tweet tweet*