23 Framework Things
Metronet’s 23 Mobile Things program was an experience that I benefited from by learning how librarians can effectively use mobile apps in their work with patrons. The idea of a 23 things program is to immerse participants in a subject by exploring 23 selected facets of the subject and writing (usually a blog post) about each facet. Long-time friend and fellow academic librarian, Amy Mars, and I, enjoyed the 23 Mobile Things program. So, when I became the co-chair of the Instruction Round Table (IRT) of the Minnesota Library Association and she suggested we do a 23 things program, I was all for it. Working with Amy and the past co-chair and co-founder of the IRT, Kim Pittman, we made 2017 the year to focus on the often-confusing ACRL Info Lit Framework for Higher Ed. In late April, we facilitated a workshop, presented at a conference, and launched the 23 Framework Things program to help librarians in Minnesota (and anyone who wants to participate nationally or internationally) better apply the Framework at their institution. Together, we have learned a great deal about the employing the Framework in various contexts, securing funding for a professional development program, and collaborating effectively over time and distance.
My graphic design skills have come in pretty handy for making mockups for projects, creating eye-catching instructional content, and for marketing library services.
HTML + Bootstrap
Extending beyond the basic LibGuides software, I’ve used my skills with HTML and Bootstrap (the basis of LibGuides) to create guides and learning objects that go beyond what most other libraries have created. Some of the custom web features I’ve built include accordions, to hide and display lots of information in a small space, and popovers, that are similar to tooltips. I use CSS customization to make the look of created content conform to institutional style guidelines. These tech skills, in addition to knowledge and creativity in instruction, allow me to make unique online learning objects, including the “Start Research Here” guide. The guide uses images, popovers, and custom CSS to teach students the basics of the research process in a visually appealing way.
Getting students’ attention – especially at a virtual campus – is not easy. As a quarterly update and a way to introduce the online library to new students, I create HTML emails. These are much more eye-catching than standard emails but aren’t that easy to make, requiring the employ of some pretty archaic web design techniques. However, the reward is worth the work when sending out an attractive, easily-digestible newsletter that actually gets read.
A Library Video Other than a Screencast?
Upon receiving several requests for assistance in determining if students were plagiarizing discussion board posts, I discovered a need that wasn’t being met: students don’t understand plagiarism. To meet this need, I know that an engaging form of instruction would need to be created. I mean, the word plagiarism even sounds boring. So, I employed one of the techniques I co-presented on at the 2016 Library Technology Conference – making videos using a mobile device. I wrote a script, shot it in one long day, and spent the next three days editing and adding after-effects to the video using Camtasia Studio. The result: A long, yet engaging, informative, directly-applicable video for all students in online or hybrid courses to learn about plagiarism and the exact steps to take to avoid it.
Screencasts for Online Reference
Recreating the reference desk experience in an online setting can be difficult. Though I coordinate and perform online reference in a variety of media (chat, phone, text, web form, email), one technique that I find to replicate the in-person reference experience is to create screencast videos. In a typical online reference interaction, I am helping students find resources for a research project. Instead of sending links to students, I make short screencast videos that introduce them to suggested e-resources and demonstrate search techniques that are beneficial for their projects. Using Screencast-O-Matic and some practice, it’s easy to create, upload, and send a useful video that students can watch over again – all within ten minutes!
Working in a library seems to be a crash course in project management. My experience has been no different. As a coordinator of e-resources, I have planned and seen my library through many technical migrations. The biggest migration project so far is the move from an OPAC and an article discovery product, into an all-in-one discovery layer for books, articles, and media. I have been heading the project and collaborating with our IT department and several specific librarians, as well as our librarian group as a whole to make sure the project moves forward as scheduled. I coordinated and compiled a list of project needs while mapping out tasks and milestones to be completed along the way. I’m sure to communicate progress with all stakeholders as well. So far, the effort put into this project is paying off, with only minor issues to report.
Library Instruction Committee Coordinator
I returned from the Music Library Association Annual Meeting in March 2014 with several ideas about how to improve library services, mostly in the area of instruction. It was then suggested that I enact a library instruction committee and serve as its coordinator. Based on the interest by the other librarians employed by the Minnesota School of Business and its partners, it sounds like this idea was long overdue; over 80% of the librarians joined the voluntary committee. In meetings we share ideas of pedagogical methods that reach students and we collaborate to find solutions to difficulties that arise, including confusion over instruction standards, frustrating classroom management, and generating excitement for instruction. The committee has been a great experience for me and has allowed me to practice leadership using an almost flat structure.
APA for the iPad®
Due to my previous experience using the APA citation style, I was asked to be on an ad hoc library committee to create a local resource to replace the APA pocket guides that students were required to purchase. With the small committee, we created a course using iTunesU that students could access using their iPads. iPads have been institutionally required for students at the Minnesota School of Business since mid-2013. The course consists of several explanations of the various uses and intricacies of APA citation style. I was primarily tasked with creating reference list examples for the 55 source types that we identified, including notes on the general form. The image above shows a snippet of the APA guide that we created.
I have embraced professional development since becoming a librarian. I feel as though I am a lifelong learner and I love the process of acquiring more knowledge. I have expanded my knowledge by attending conferences and in-services, partaking in webinars, giving conference presentations, and continuing my college education by taking more courses.
Little Free Libraries
The photo above appears courtesy of Melissa Kaelin for St. Catherine University.
As a member of the Progressive Librarians Guild – St. Catherine University Chapter, I was able to assist in getting three Little Free Libraries installed on the St. Catherine University campuses. I specifically worked to get the approval of several parties of the university to allow us to put up the structures, including the facilities director, the marketing/communications department, the MLIS program director, the dean of our college, and the director of the SCU Libraries. I also helped in the building of the libraries which was done by our chapter’s student members and our faculty advisor. The President of St. Catherine University was so taken with the Little Free Libraries that one was given to her as a personal gift! These structures are our way of starting a conversation between members of the university and the surrounding community that we are a part of. The link below is to an article written about our chapter during the installation of the first of the Little Free Libraries.
Within my Collection Management course, my small group tackled a project requiring a collection overlap analysis of a small library. We communicated with a board member of the Quatrefoil Library, dubbed the Twin Cities GLBT Library, to find what they specifically wanted to find out from our analysis. As a small group, we decided the best methods to reach this end, eventually taking a sample of 500 books and comparing these to the holdings of these books in OCLC Connexion to make our analysis. Through the use of spreadsheets and a few long nights we developed a statistics sheet and a final report that we presented to the folks at the Quatrefoil Library.
The materials above were created for the Quatrefoil Library.
Though I didn’t need the extra credit for graduation, I took the Grant Writing for Libraries course offered at St. Catherine University. Through the course I developed an idea for a library grant (building a zine creation lab at the Minneapolis Community & Technical College Library), searched for appropriate grants, and finally, completed the writing of my grant proposal. With much toil and tedious work, I finished with an understanding of the grant writing process and the completed grant application below. To view, download the file, scroll down to the “Attachments Form,” and click the “View Attachment” buttons to the right of each attached document.
The above grant proposal was written for the Minneapolis Community & Technical College Library.
Noticing the current maps hanging in the St. Catherine University, St. Paul campus Library were out-of-date and oriented incorrectly, I decided to make a project out of creating new, updated maps. With collaboration of several librarians I was able to construct user-friendly maps in Microsoft® PowerPoint®, which allows them to be easily edited for future changes. In addition to the multiple maps created for the St. Paul campus Library, I made a new map for the Minneapolis campus Library.
The St. Catherine University logo appears courtesy of St. Catherine University.
I began thinking of ways to improve the user experience of the St. Catherine University Libraries and began asking my co-workers, fellow circulation student employees, about how we could do this. Because of my experience using wikis, I suggested that we all add ideas to a wiki that I created, titled “How to Make the SCU Library More User-Friendly.” Our supervisor at the St. Paul campus was willing to make comments and have discussions about the plausibility of these ideas. From this list, several improvements have been made to the services offered at the St. Catherine University Libraries, among them, the updated library maps that I created.
Above are screenshots from the wiki.
Mind-Mapping for Research
For my Music Librarianship course, I used Mindomo© mind-mapping software to build and display my research on the American traditional song, Stagger Lee. I used it to show aspects of the song that would not be readily found using traditional cataloging methods. Please click through the mind map, using the link below, for an example of my use of new technologies to present research.