• This site is the primary online presence for ACRL-Oregon, which serves a dual role as the Oregon chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) as well as the Academic Library Division of the Oregon Library Association (OLA).
  • ACRL logo
  • OLA logo
  • ACRL-Oregon logo
  • Site Policy

  • Categories

  • Archives

Interview with Nora Barnett, Birthingway College Library

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into librarianship?

Growing up, the public library was like a second home to me. One of my earliest memories is negotiating to go to the library before nap time. In college, my favorite part of any paper was doing the literature review and background research. I have always had an inclination towards social justice and an insatiable curiosity, so librarianship seemed like a natural choice.

What is an achievement in your career of which you’re particularly proud?

Working on a shoestring budget, I have sought out creative ways to get resources to students and faculty. I go out of my way to find solutions outside of established channels so that I can connect patrons to peer reviewed articles, books, and other resources that support their learning. I see myself as an advocate for my library’s users.

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

Birthingway is a very unique place. It’s the only school in the Pacific Northwest that is Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council accredited to educate direct entry midwives. The founder, Holly, is dedicated to training skilled and competent doulas, lactation consultants, and midwives. Birthingway’s collaborative approach towards learning and multi-vocal approach to policy development have made it my favorite place to work.

The library is similarly unique; it includes traditional western medicine resources as well as resources on plant medicine and homeopathy. The librarian’s role, particularly in teaching information literacy and giving students the tools to find and evaluate information to support evidence based practice, is a small but vital part of students’ education.

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

In 2018, Birthingway’s board decided not to admit new students to the midwifery program, which is the oldest and largest program at the college. Once current students complete their education, the program will end. This will likely lead to the school closing within the next few years. Unfortunately, it’s a challenging financial climate for small, private, academic institutions, as has been demonstrated with the recent closures of Marylhurst and others colleges across the country.

The biggest challenge will be continuing to provide the best library services possible for our students and faculty. Despite a probable closure and shrinking budget, my aim as the librarian is to ensure that students continue to have access to all the resources and instruction they need to support their educations and become lifelong critical consumers of information.

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

I love the feeling I get when patrons go out of their way to thank me for for how helpful I’ve been, or when I’m able to get them access to something they didn’t think they’d be able to access.

Having the opportunity to get to know other librarians is another wonderful thing that’s happened since I started. I’ve applied for and received a number of scholarships to attend continuing education courses and conferences. Equally if not more valuable than the conference sessions has been my discussions with other professionals, many of whom I have kept in touch with. Whether I have wanted to bounce ideas about information literacy exercises and lesson plans or ask a technical question, these individuals have been  helpful and constructive. It’s great to see the values displayed that led me to the profession in the first place.

What’s New at FWJ Sylwester Library at Concordia University

Kim Olson-Charles, distance education and outreach librarian at Concordia University and current ACRL-Oregon board member, shared the news from the FWJ Sylwester Library.

Concordia University Library Postcard

Personnel changes:
Judy Anderson, the Dean of Libraries, retired this summer after many years at Concordia. Kim Read is now the Interim Dean of Libraries. Additionally, the library welcomes a new Electronic Resources Librarian, Carin Yavorcik, to its staff in mid-January; Carin comes to Concordia from the State of Oregon Law Library.

Concordia OER initiative:
The library is in its second year of leading a campus-wide OER initiative. Fifteen faculty attended this year’s Introduction to OER Workshop and ten faculty will receive a stipend to peer review an open textbook. Stipends to convert courses from commercial textbooks to OER will also be offered again this year, adding to the six courses converted last year.

Personal Librarian Program:
This past fall, Concordia initiated a pilot Personal Librarian Program. As a part of a larger university mandate to address student recruitment and retention, the library contributed by creating the Personal Librarian Program.  Faculty librarians reached out to incoming first-year students throughout fall semester to connect them to a familiar and friendly face that could help them navigate the library and its resources.

New blog liaison model for ACRL-Oregon

Last month, the ACRL-Oregon board decided on an exciting new blog liaison model for our website. When our new website and blog began a few years ago, the board began a blog liaison model with volunteer correspondents from academic libraries around the state contributing news from their respective libraries. You can read more about that here and here. A huge thank you to all the volunteer correspondents throughout the years!

With this new model, ACRL-Oregon board members have “adopted” academic libraries around the state, as you can see here on our newly updated blog liaison list. Each board member will then contribute content, interviews, and/or news on the blog throughout the year, for the benefit of ACRL-Oregon members.

We have also had the opportunity to expand the list of academic library liaisons. In the previous model, there were a little over 30 blog liaisons and libraries listed; there are now almost 60 libraries (!) currently listed, as taken from the directory of Oregon academic libraries from the Oregon State Library website.

Look for the first post published under this new blog liaison model, which will be coming your way soon! 🙂

Of course, if anyone would like to share news or happenings from your library or region, feel free to contact the ACRL-Oregon board directly — check out our Board Members page for contact info — so we can share with everyone!

Liaison program

Diane mentioned our new “liaison program” briefly in a post below but I thought I’d take a moment to expand on this a bit.

The goal of the liaison program is to help ACRL Oregon facilitate communication among all academic libraries in the state.  The long-term goal is to have a liaison in every academic library in the state of Oregon.  This liaison will have the ability to post news to this blog.  The liaisons will be expected to post news from their libraries regularly (as often as they’d like but at least a couple of times a year).  News would include personnel information (who got that great job you advertised), stories about upcoming (or completed!) programs and events, and anything else the liaison feels like sharing about their libraries.

We hope that this kind of information sharing will help us all feel more connected to one another and be more aware of the goings on at each other’s libraries.

Naturally, the liaisons will also receive any important news from ACRL Oregon to pass along to their colleagues at their libraries.

We also see the liaison program as a way of increasing participation in ACRL Oregon.  Not everyone has the time, support, or inclination to serve on the Board but many people do have an interest in participating a way that requires less time and/or travel.  Serving as the liaison from your institution could be just the thing!

Interested?  Please let Diane Sotak know!  She’ll get you set up with an account on the blog and you’ll be off to the races!

WANTED: Blog Correspondents

Volunteer to be the ACRL-Oregon liaison for your institution and share what is happening in your library. Spotlight library programs, initiatives, research projects, or events. Provide updates on changes in personnel (retirements, new librarians, etc.). Reveal interesting tidbits from your academic library world.

Contact: Diane at sotak@up.edu to volunteer.