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New open access journal: Communications in Information Literacy! November 29, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Library Related, University at Buffalo.
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Colleagues Chris Hollister and Stewart Brower of the University at Buffalo Libraries have initiated a new open access, peer-reviewed journal, Communications in Information Literacy (http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php/cil/index)!

Chris’ talks on the issues of scholarly publication have gotten me (pleasantly) riled up on more than one occasion, and I’m thrilled that this alternative resource will allow him to practice what he’s been preaching for so long. Stewart is an expert on issues related to the “Millenials”.

Best of luck to Chris and Stewart and the entire editorial board (comprised of many of the top scholars in information literacy!). The inaugural issue is due to come out in Spring 2007. See the “Submissions” page here (http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php/cil/about/submissions) for guidelines.

From the call for papers:

“CIL seeks manuscripts on subject matter of interest to professionals in the area of higher education who are committed to advancing information literacy. Manuscripts may be theoretical, research-based, or of a practical nature. Some suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Definitions and standards for IL
  • Pedagogies and learning theories
  • Assessment
  • Developing an IL strategy within your institution
  • Designing an IL program
  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom instruction
  • Online instruction
  • Instructional competencies

I will be subscribing, and look forward to tracking (and discussing*) trends and challenges in information literacy knowing that my library can provide this for free. Bravo!

*CIL editors, have you considered a concurrent discussion board for readers to actively discuss the articles and issues? 🙂

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Students’ spaces October 27, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, library 2.0, social software, Web 2.0.
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This afternoon I did something I do every once in awhile: I ate my lunch at the student union on the campus where I am a librarian. I sat at the strewn tables in the loud lunchroom eating the expensive and not so savory food that many students eat out of necessity. I thought about how much my sandwich would ultimately cost if I had bought it using student loan money. Quietly I observed the hectic goings on around me. In the short time I was there in students’ space I observed fraternity pledges “forced” to chant loudly a hearty bit about their greatness. I wondered if in ten years they’ll be just as excited about their greekness. Good thing for their sakes the revelry won’t be etched permanently in the ether that is the Internet. Unless of course it was recorded and put on Youtube. I thought, what a strange word to use for the Internet: “ether”. It falsely implies impermanence.

And between moments of awe at the fact that I was once that young, I noticed several arguments, outbursts, and bully moments. I heard a young woman demand that her friend give her one of her shirts to wear to class tonight, and another wiped her sparkly eye shadow off quickly as she was critiqued by a whole table of other girls. One young man demanded another’s homework from him. It’s not that I had special radio frequency recording equipment. These conversations occured all around me as openly and accessibly as a MySpace profile. Even more so, since I didn’t really search. I just sat down. I realize these were just a few of the happenings in the room. The loudest are the most noticeable…

And before I dared entertain the idea that this generation is any different than mine I remembered a loud and heated conversation I and another student had in a campus cafe in 1991. We disagreed about how to deal with Kosovo. I had a young brother, she didn’t. Thinking back, everyone in the building probably heard our “discussion”, but we didn’t care. Or, it’s perhaps not that we didn’t care, but that the question didn’t really concern us. The cafe was our space. The campus was our space. School wasn’t just about classes, it was about passion, ideas, ego development, and the safe space to be loud and even to make mistakes.

I accomplished some great things as a college student but I also made some mistakes. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different, or if it would be different, if there had been MySpace or Facebook or a blog in which to document all these things for posterity. Would I be declined an interview by someone who disagreed with my political stance in 1991, even if it may have tempered or changed over the years? Or would potential employers keep in mind that they were young once too, that they found there own spaces in which to grow, and that some adult somewhere may have heard everything – but resisted the urge to intervene?

Lots of discussion these days about how students forge their online personas, much of which admonishing folks to “watch it”. The IT folks at Cornell have posted a really good piece, called “Thoughts on Facebook” (http://www.cit.cornell.edu/policy/memos/facebook.html), that delves into these issues accessibly without talking down to the students. It’s a must-read for anyone working with students involved in web 2.0.

But as I sat in the student union today, realizing I participate in all manner of social software products (likely soon to drop MySpace as all the wonderful free music cannot, for me, trump the increasingly invasive corporateness of its new owner, Rupert Murdoch), agreeing with the push to teach students how to be careful, and cringing at some of the things I heard around me, I secretly applauded the students’ willingness to be themselves. To learn to be themselves. It’s their space. I’m not advocating a free for all, and I certainly want any student I have the honor of meeting to understand what it means to communicate on the web or in-person. And I want the campus library to be a comfortable place to learn these things and more. But we all need space to grow. In a student union or online. Everyone is a work-in-progress.


Protected: Best Practices September 12, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Blogging, Web 2.0.
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10 Rules for New Librarians July 1, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Image of Librarians.
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Michael Stephens at Tame the Web posted an excellent top 10 list for new librarians yesterday. In the midst of current local tensions here in Buffalo with our University and our LIS program (well documented earlier in this blog) I found this inspiring and useful, and honestly, quite apropos. Following I quote my 2 personal favorites but you can read more here. What are your favorites and why do they resonate with you? Not JUST for newbies… I feel this advice rings true for all of us:

“Work and Play nice with each other at your jobs, at conferences and in those places where information professionals gather.This isn’t a competition or a contest. It’s not all about you, new grad (sorry, but it’s not). It’s about the user. And creating services. And being the best librarian you can be.”

Now that I think about it, this could be extended to any field. Any customer service oriented profession you can think of wouldn’t exist without the users/customers/students/clients it serves. Users come first. Without them, there’s no us. Next time I hear someone criticize their patrons’ lack of boolean savvy I’ll kindly ask them to read this list… it takes far less time to explain and/or/not to someone than to complain about how they don’t know how to use a database.

“Listen to the seasoned librarians you encounter. They know things. Good things. Listen and they may inform your future decisions and planning. Learn from every conversation, meeting or water cooler chat. (And seasoned folk, listen to your new hires! You do the same: listen, learn and share… break down the generational divide present in some organizations…you’ll be happy you did!)”

One of my academic interests has been looking at demographic trends of generations. In academic librarianship, at least, “millenials” has been one of the big buzzwords, and many have looked at generational differences in terms of both users and librarians. Generation X has different information technology wants and needs than Generation Y than Baby Boomer than Gen Z and so on. But providing good service has always stemmed from the same core values: approachability, needs assessment, working within a budget, empowering users to find, evaluate and use information… developing high quality accessible collections (what others?).

Library Stuff still Collecting Librar* Blogs… June 20, 2006

Posted by jennimi in About me, About this Blog, Academic Librarianship, Blogging, library 2.0, marketing yourself, Web 2.0.
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Steven is still trying to gather up all those library blogs out there, old and new. Three of my colleagues from the LIS program started them just recently! Get those URLs to Steven! Glad to see folks catching on! La-La Librarian looks at fostering creativity in libraries… a research interest of your humble author, and colleague Shannon Kealey.

And your humble blog, Library Matters, was included in this week’s list. And yes, it DID lead to more traffic. Thank you Library Stuff for including this effort by a recent LIS grad to inform her community on the importance of blogging in librarianship… . 🙂