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Interview with Robert Felthousen, Rogue Community College

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library directors across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Robert Felthousen, Library Department Chair at the Rogue Community College Libraries in southern Oregon.

Thanks for talking with us, Robert!

1. Tell us a little bit about your work background.

Robert Felthousen

Robert Felthousen, Library Department Chair, Rogue Community College (personal photo provided)

My library career began in 2003, when I interned at the Southern Oregon University library as part of a class project. Apart from that internship, my entire library career has been at Rogue Community College, and I’ve worked in almost every library position here. I started as a circulation volunteer, but my interest was actually cataloging and technical services. I’ve been a cataloging assistant; full-time, para-professional cataloger; circulation services coordinator; and full-time reference and instruction librarian. I was appointed department chair in December 2013.

Prior to 2003, my more notable jobs were repo man (1994-1999), dental assistant (1999-2002), and dental instructor (2001 – present). That’s right, I still teach classes in RCC’s dental assistant program: radiology, and legal and ethical issues.

2. What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?

I became department chair at the start of a large wave of retirements. Although it was hard to see so many of my friends and mentors leave, it’s given me the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing new peers. Their energy, fresh ideas, and insights have truly been the best thing that’s happened!

3. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

I write fiction and poetry as a hobby, and have recently started work on some non-fiction essays. I would love to teach creative writing, not as a new career, but just to share my interest in something I’m very passionate and opinionated about.

4. What is the biggest challenge facing your library in the upcoming year?

Our department website has not substantially changed since the early 2000’s. It’s too large of a project for us to handle independently, and our needs have not been understood by the institution. The library is usually regarded as an academic department (like math or humanities), instead of an essential student service (like registration or financial aid). A well-meaning colleague explained to me that every department feels like they should have a large “bells and whistles” site, linked to the college’s home page; another was certain that students would just find our databases and services with a simple Google search.

We were able to use Google Analytics to prove that students were accessing our site from the main page and not from a Google search; that they use PCs instead of mobile devices to access our site; and that the site does, in fact, receive a lot of use:  at the time, the library homepage was the third most-visited college webpage for the month. We’re actively working with the college’s web design team now, so I’m hopeful that we’ll see a new site in 2016. But it has been a challenge!

5. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?

Last year, RCC applied for and received a federal research grant. Titled “SOHOPE: Southern Oregon Health Occupations Poverty Elimination,” this grant will provide support to low-income people in our community. Eligible applicants can use this support for approved healthcare certificates or degree programs, and will receive assistance with job placement after graduation.

I’d also like to brag about Table Rock campus, which just celebrated its 10-year anniversary in October. Most of our career technical programs (such as fire science, EMT, criminal justice, electronics, manufacturing, and diesel technology) are located at this campus. The college recently purchased a neighboring building, which is tentatively slated for a flex technology lab.

6. What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?

Advocacy for the community college library starts with a solid belief that the library is the single most important department on campus. If it isn’t, why not? Work for the day that students come to the library and say, “I can understand why they built a college around this library.” Keep improving everything.

Advocacy is also relationship-building with the faculty. Instructors are your most influential advocates. Instructors should be able to describe your services accurately, and they should want students to use the library. If they don’t care about the library, why would the students?

~ Stephanie Debner, ACRL-OR Vice President – President Elect (2015-2016)
Faculty Librarian
Mt. Hood Community College

Request for Proposals – Oregon Information Literacy Summit 2016

~Reposting from the Libs-Or list-serv~

The 10th annual ILAGO Information Literacy Summit will be held May 21, 2016 at the Central Oregon Community College campus in Bend, Oregon.

Proposal Form for 2016 ILAGO IL Summit

The theme for this year’s IL Summit is “Collaboration,” but we invite a variety of presentations related to information literacy. The theme of “Collaboration” could take many forms, including collaboration among different types of libraries/librarians (e.g. academic, public, school), across the curriculum, and/or examples of successful outreach and collaboration between librarians and external stakeholders. Though public, school, and academic libraries serve different populations, we still all have one goal in common: to provide support to our users in order to help them be successful. One way we can do this is through the collaborative relationships we build within our communities. When librarians are able to collaborate with teachers or instructors, and certainly with each other, students reap the benefits.

The IL Summit typically has 60-80 attendees who come from many areas of practice (higher ed, public, K-12) and are eager to hear new ideas and ways to approach information literacy. We invite you to submit proposals for panels, presentations, discussions on best practices, and other programs.

Programs should be designed to run for a total of 45 minutes including Q&A; longer programs/workshops will be considered on a case-by-case basis (if a longer program/workshop is desired, please include that in the Comments field).

Program proposals will be accepted until March 4, 2016.

Please submit your proposals here:  ILAGO IL Summit Program Proposal

Please visit https://ilago.wordpress.com for more information on our organization.

We look forward to hearing from you!

~ Lisa Tegethoff, ILAGO Chair 2015-2016

Interview with Drew Harrington, University of Portland

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library directors across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues, the next interview in this series is with Drew Harrington, Dean of the Library at the University of Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Drew!

Drew Harrington

Drew Harrington, Dean of the Library, University of Portland (personal photo provided)

1. Tell us a little bit about your work background.

I’ve had a very interesting and varied career that has had a real focus on administration and building libraries. After receiving my MLIS, I started working in public libraries in the Four Corners area. I spent a year or less as a children’s librarian, but then had the opportunity to be the interim director and then, bizarrely enough, director at age 28 at the public library in Farmington, NM. I worked hard, but getting the position had a lot to do with circumstances. I was there for ten years. One thing about that job that stands out was working closely with the Navaho tribe there to get public library services more available on the reservation and to develop a special collection on Navaho history and culture in the library.

After that, I worked in a private independent school, Albuquerque Academy, for 10 years. It was an amazing place:  it was a well-resourced day school and had the most diverse student body in the nation. During my time there, I had the opportunity to do a one-year job exchange at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, which was a vastly different school. Not only was it a residential school, but it had a wealthy, sometimes celebrity student body, lots of history and traditions, and amazing special collections in the library.

When I left Albuquerque Academy, I went to Pacific University in Forest Grove. Transitioning between different types of libraries was not always the easiest thing to do. It can be hard for libraries to see the benefits that candidates who are outside their library type – public, school, academic – can bring to their institution. I think that this kind of cross-pollination is healthy!

One thing that has been a constant thread throughout my career has been my great love for planning and constructing libraries. We built a new library when I was at Farmington Public Library. At Albuquerque Academy, we built an architecturally award-winning building. I started to get calls about helping others do this kind of planning and was very much involved in the LLAMA section on buildings and equipment. When I moved on to Pacific University, we also built a new library there.

After four or five years at Pacific, I started a full-time library building/planning business working as consultant for five years. I loved it for a while:  it was interesting work, and I got to travel a lot. Over time, though, it became stressful due to the amount I was travelling and the feast or famine nature of the job. When a library dean position opened up at the University of Portland, I was ready for a change. It seemed like a particularly good fit because they were looking for someone with building planning experience, as well as director experience. We built a new library at UP, which was finished about three years ago. It was a challenging project because it stalled, so raising money became more of an issue, and it ended up taking seven years before we could begin construction.

I am genuinely grateful for what has been a very satisfying career. I have worked hard, but I have also had luck, opportunities, and a lot of people help me along the way.

2. What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?

Completing the library building project has definitely been the best thing, and seeing how that has changed the university. There is a lot of literature to support the concept of how spaces shape behavior, and we have really seen how a new library space has shaped behavior at the university. The UP library always had usage, but it was mostly from necessity. The library was stuck, due to the limitations of the building. The new library has led to increased and enhanced services, including changes in how we work with faculty and expanded instruction. We have an overwhelming amount of usage:  2,800 visits a day, seven days a week; for a student population of 4,000, this is huge. With the new digital lab and editing/sound studio for student and faculty use, multimedia products are more incorporated into the curriculum. We had the goal of being the intellectual commons of the university, and this has been achieved.

3. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

The thing I have liked most about working in the Pacific Northwest is the Orbis-Cascade Alliance, which is a remarkably strong consortium. I have been privileged to be part of it and the work that academic libraries do through the Alliance. In my experience, the work that the Alliance does is so far beyond what other consortia do.

4. What is the biggest challenge facing your library in the upcoming year?

Challenge and opportunity are sometimes the same thing. As I step away from the University of Portland this summer, the selection of a new library dean and the direction that this decision will take the library is both a challenge and an opportunity. Fresh eyes will bring a new approach to the future ahead.

5. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?

The library faculty members at the University of Portland are so strong. I work with people who are leaders – in instruction, in teaching, in collection services; there’s real leadership here with the library faculty, independent of the dean. They are very highly regarded by the UP faculty, and they interact on important levels with the faculty around instruction and curriculum. The staff is also very strong and committed. We are small but not tiny; the size of the institution supports the ability to find one’s own spot for leadership.

6. What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?

Advocacy starts with a genuine understanding of academic librarianship – of our values, of the challenges, of trends and change. You can’t be an effective advocate without a genuine grounding in what academic librarianship is and where it is going. You need to bring this understanding, as well as a passion, to the work of advocacy. It is also a matter of engaging in multiple venues for advocacy: in your own library and institution, which is day-to-day work; at the state or regional level, via statewide organizations and the Orbis-Cascade Alliance; and at the national and international level. For me, I worked very hard within ALA. An advocate has a responsibility to know what she is talking about, a passion for moving forward, and an ability to take advocacy to different levels. It is also all about collaboration:  advocacy doesn’t work well as a lone voice. To facilitate this, it requires constant work to act as a team, to draw on each person’s abilities and expertise so that we are all headed in same direction.

~ Stephanie Debner, ACRL-OR Vice President – President Elect (2015-2016)
Faculty Librarian
Mt. Hood Community College

OLA 2016 Conference registration is now open

~Reposting from the Libs-Or list-serv~

Registration is now open for the 2016 OLA Annual Conference.  Join colleagues for educational programming, networking and a whole lot of fun at the Riverhouse Convention Center in sunny Bend, Oregon, April 20-22, 2016. Check out the slate of preconferences and programs.

Register for the conference by March 21st to get the best rates. You can register online with a credit card or by check.  Once you have completed your registration form and have chosen a payment option, you will receive a confirmation page.  If paying by check, please include a copy of the confirmation page with your check and mail it to the address noted on the page.

Registration Forms

(if you are attending a full-day or the full-conference, choose the “Full Registration” form): 

Hotel reservations can also be made at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes by calling 1-866-453-4480 (Sorry, NO online hotel reservations – phone only. We’re a bit old-school out here in the high desert).  Rates are $138.00 plus 14.4% tax and fees.  Be sure to let them know you are with the Oregon Library Association.

Key Dates

  • Early registration ends Monday, March 21, 2016
  • Online registration ends Monday, April 11, 2016
  • Pre-conferences: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
  • Conference: Thursday-Friday, April 21-22, 2016
  • Onsite registration will be available, check & credit card payments only (no cash). Note that we cannot guarantee meals with onsite registration.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

There’s still time! OLA 2016 posters proposals due Friday

~Reposting from the Libs-Or list-serv~

There’s still time to get a proposal in for this year’s exciting OLA Annual Conference at the Bend Riverhouse, April 20-22!

The deadline for submitting a Poster proposal for this year’s theme: Tell Your Story is 5:00 pm on Friday, January 15. We will have 2 separate poster sessions – one on Thursday and one on Friday. Find more information and a link to the submission form on the OLA 2016 Conference website, https://orlib16.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/call-for-poster-proposals/.

If you have any questions, please contact the Conference Poster Chair, Valery King at valery.king@oregonstate.edu

Interview with Karen Clay, EOU

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library directors across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Karen Clay, Library Director, at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Thanks for talking with us, Karen!

Pierce Library, Eastern Oregon University

Pierce Library, Eastern Oregon University

1. Tell us a little bit about your work background.

My educational background is in Engineering, which is unusual for a librarian and probably what got me my first few library positions once I graduated with my MLIS.

Early on I worked for the Library at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., providing their marketing arm with information to help them position their CANDU reactor in the global market. Their information needs were very broad, as they were interested in projecting the energy demand and governmental stability for numerous countries around the world. The role of the librarian was critical in helping provide and then sift through available data.

From there, I moved to academic libraries. I spent 5 years the University of Manitoba, a very large doctoral institution with a law school, a medical school, and multiple professional schools. I started in their Engineering Library and later became the Head of the Agriculture Library. I emigrated to the United States in 2001 (a few months before 9/11) to take a position as Head of the Engineering Library at Stanford University. In 2006 Eastern Oregon University offered to sponsor me for American citizenship, and I moved to La Grande to become Library Director here at EOU. These three academic institutions and their libraries have been utterly different from one another, which I have enjoyed – and I also hope it has given me some perspective as I move through my working life.

2. What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?

The most unique opportunity that has come my way here at EOU was the chance to be in involved in a fairly large scale library renovation – about $25 million. Not every aspect of this project was enjoyable — but it was always interesting and the renovation ended up being an unqualified success. One of my favorite parts was at the very beginning of the process – working with focus groups, trying to ferret out what our priorities should be for the new space, and then communicate those priorities to the architects. The other thing that I found very engrossing was the process of designing and laying out the stacks in the new collection space. It was not a trivial process by any means!

A big eye-opener for me was that our collection was very heavily used during the year that we were moved out of the Library, operating out of a much smaller space. We only had about one third of the collection available, and that third was not browse-able, as it was housed in closed stacks. I think many students preferred being able to simply pick up their requested books at the circulation desk, and not having to go wandering through the stacks themselves to find the books they wanted.

3. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

Well – two things:
One is an admission that I don’t have very refined taste in books. I really like young adult books – also fantasy, science fiction, humor like Asterix comics, or mystery novels from the best-sellers list. I truly read for the sake of entertainment and escape, not enlightenment.

The other is that the thing I like very best about libraries is that over and over in my career I see evidence that libraries are strongest working together – I’ve seen it in Canada, where they have successful, centralized, country-wide initiatives, and I’ve seen it here with the Orbis Cascade Alliance. It’s nice to be in a profession where that is the case.

4. What is the biggest challenge facing your library in the upcoming year?

Our big challenge this year will be demonstrating that the Library remains relevant and vital as Eastern Oregon University evolves. The librarians here have done a very good job building new partnerships – in particular we have worked with our Division of Student Success to develop a First Year Experience class with a strong information literacy component. My challenge will be communicating the importance of this approach to the EOU administration. Our University President just came to EOU and to academia in July, from a career in the forest products industry. I report to an interim Provost who is facing numerous pressing challenges outside of the Library. Right now the institutional focus is very much on enrollment – I will need to find opportunities to talk about not just enrollment, but also the importance of retention, and the ways that the Library is effectively and demonstrably contributing to student retention and success.

5. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?

Eastern Oregon University has been through a difficult time and is beginning to embark on a cautious rebuilding and re-visioning. We have just emerged from the old OUS system, and now have our own institutional board. We have also just undergone some program cuts, and are looking to bolster the programs that remain and tentatively investigate possibilities for new programs. We are looking for better ways to serve our quite unique demographic – rural populations, students from low-income families, most of them first-generation, non-traditional students. Reaching students like this can be challenging, but it is very satisfying, and I think we do it well at EOU – both within and out of the Library.

6. What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?

I see the academic library as a vital support unit within the institution. The role of the academic library will vary depending on the priorities of the institution. For example – the University of Manitoba, where I worked, is a large, research-focused, institution, and the Library collection is the major area of focus. The Library’s task there is primarily to make sure that the researchers have access to all the latest articles in their fields of study. At Stanford, the Libraries not only served very in-depth research needs, but also were involved in many cutting edge partnerships. Like the institution they serve, their role was to innovate and push boundaries – in this case by helping to curate unique collections around the world. At EOU, the Library has a large teaching role – we are very much a partner in helping students from diverse backgrounds succeed academically. It’s gratifying to me to see how many different ways there are for libraries to contribute to the educational enterprise.

Hannah Gascho Rempel, ACRL-OR Past President (2015-2016)
Associate Professor & Science Librarian
Oregon State University Libraries

ACRL-OR has Two New, Permanent E-mail Addresses

email graphicACRL-OR has two new, permanent email addresses to facilitate both general contact with the organization and contact with specific board members.

  • Those seeking to make general contact with the organization or to contact the ACRL-OR President can email: acrlor@olaweb.org

The Contact and Board Members pages on the ACRL-OR website have also been updated.

The “olaweb.org” part of the new email addresses reflects that fact that ACRL-OR is affiliated with the Oregon Library Association; ACRL-OR is OLA’s Academic Division. The new, permanent email addresses are part of OLA’s strategy to streamline communications.

Please email acrlor@olaweb.org with any questions.

Uta Hussong-Christian
ACRL-OR President, 2015-2016
Science Librarian | Associate Professor
Oregon State University Libraries

University of Portland invites librarians for ACRL Critical Library Pedagogy webinar viewing

The University of Portland public services librarians are going to gather in early January to watch the ACRL Critical Library Pedagogy webinar (see previous “Critical Library Pedagogy Webinar Archive Available for Viewing” blog post), and we’d like to invite any interested library people to join us.

Here are the details:

Friday, January 8, 2016
9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Room 211 (library classroom)
Clark Library, University of Portland, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland 97203
[Directions and Maps]

Parking permits are not required because University classes are not in session.

We will provide coffee and tea, and some light refreshments. Please RSVP to Heidi Senior, senior@up.edu / 503-943-8037 so we know to expect you!

Heidi Senior

Heidi E. K. Senior
Reference/Instruction Librarian
Clark Library
University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.
Portland, OR 97203
senior@up.edu | 503-943-8037


Call for OLA 2015 Poster Proposals – due January 15, 2016

The OLA 2016 Conference is only 4 months away! Never fear, you still have a chance to get involved!

The Call for Posters is now open for this year’s theme: Tell Your Story. We will have 2 separate poster sessions – one on Thursday and one on Friday. Accepted posters will be assigned a specific day, during which there will be a one-hour poster session for attendees to browse the posters and speak with the poster presenters about their topics.

  • The submission form is now live.
  • The deadline is 5:00 p.m. on January 15, 2016.  Notifications will be sent out by February 19.
  • For any questions, contact the Conference Poster Chair, Valery King at valery.king@oregonstate.edu
  • Pre-conferences and conference sessions are all in the process of getting scheduled now.

OLA 2016 Posters submission form

We look forward to reading your poster proposals!

~ Valery King for the OLA Conference Committee

Interview with Chris Shaffer, OHSU

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library directors across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Chris Shaffer, University Librarian and Associate Professor, at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland. Thanks for talking with us, Chris!

1. Tell us a little bit about your work background.

Chris Shaffer photo

Chris Shaffer (photo used with permission)

After receiving an undergraduate degree in philosophy, I started my career in libraries as an interlibrary loan clerk in a state college in Texas. My mother had worked as a serials librarian in the same library when I was growing up, and my cousin worked in the instructional technology unit as well. I was convinced to go to library school at the University of North Texas. I then applied to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s library residency program for new graduates and was surprised to be offered a job in the Library of the Health Sciences, working half time in interlibrary loan and half time in reference. That was followed by a stint at the National Library of Medicine’s outreach office in Chicago, exhibiting and teaching classes in a ten-state area. My mentor Jean Sayre recruited me to be Assistant Director for Public Services at the University of Iowa health sciences library, and in 2008, I moved to Oregon to become University Librarian and Associate Professor at OHSU.

2. What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?

It’s hard to pick one thing, but the establishment of the Ontology Development Group (ODG) stands out. When the federal stimulus act was underway, I received a phone call from Dr. Lee Nadler at Harvard University which resulted in a major grant to develop ontologies in support of research resource sharing. Melissa Haendel was hired to be lead ontologist, and from that beginning ODG has grown to become a department of the OHSU Library. ODG strives to promote research innovations, service development, and education through semantically enabled technologies for the purposes of data management and publication, research reproducibility, and the building of novel tools for biomedical data exploration. If I could list two things, I would add the growth of the OHSU Library’s Historical Collections & Archives programs. HC&A staff have built strong relationships with key stakeholders in the OHSU community that have resulted in significant donations and transfers, as well as rich programming.

3. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

When I’m not working in libraries, I like to play board games and spend time with my family. My child will graduate from high school this year, so we are spending time on campus visits and applications, which have changed a lot since the last time I did it in the 1980s. As someone who has never owned a car, I love living in a city which has great public transit and support for active transportation. Someone once said that “Portland is a city surrounded by a gigantic park,” and that has definitely been my experience.

4. What is the biggest challenge facing your library in the upcoming year?

OHSU is going through massive transformations: from the Knight Cancer Challenge which successfully raised $1 billion for research to the launching of a new data science initiative; from curriculum changes in support of inter-professional education to the opening of a new School of Public Health with PSU; from the establishment of OHSU Partners with Salem Health to the establishment of a distributed rural campus. The Library is challenged to stay relevant and keep a seat at the table in a sea of change.

5. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?

With nearly 14,000 employees and a $2 billion budget, OHSU has nearly as many faculty (2,608) as students (2,861). The Library serves all mission areas: education, research, clinical, and outreach. We have joint education programs with OSU (pharmacy), PSU (public health and healthcare management), and OIT (clinical laboratory sciences and paramedic). There are campuses all over Oregon, including nursing programs at SOU, WOU, OIT, and Le Grande. A campus is being established in Thailand in cooperation with Bangkok Hospital and Siriraj Medical School, and a new rural campus has launched with locations in Coos Bay and Klamath Falls.

6. What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?

Academic libraries have such a great future, if we can only look beyond the obvious challenges to our traditional roles. The key to advocating for libraries is providing services and collections that are relevant to users. If people need what you have, they will go to bat for you with administrators and decision makers. It’s all about building relationships and partnering — being an active member of your community.

Uta Hussong-Christian, ACRL-OR President (2015-2016)
Associate Professor | Science Librarian
Oregon State University Libraries


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