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An Interview With Ginny Norris Blackson, Linfield College Libraries and Educational Media Services

Head shot of Ginny Blackson

Ginny Blackson, Director, Linfield College Libraries and Educational Media Services

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

I have always been a library user. My mother loves to tell the story of when I was in first grade; after my first trip to the library I came home and took her masking tape and gave every book in the house a call number. My first library job was between my freshman year and my sophomore year of college and I worked for the Lexington (Kentucky) Public Library, and that was just pretty much it for me. I worked at the University of Kentucky Education Library and Law Library and the law firm of Stites and Harbison as an undergrad. And then I went and had this totally different career as an advocate and shelter manager for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska. And then our public library closed, and I went to the city council meeting – I was seven months pregnant and crying uncontrollably about living in a town with no library, and so they made me the public librarian. I’ve worked in libraries ever since.

What is an achievement in your career of which you are especially proud?

I think that the thing I’m most proud of is that when I was a high school librarian in Sitka, Alaska, a group of us did a program called the Alaska Spirit of Reading, and for seven years we brought authors to rural Alaska. We always of course had them visit Sitka, because we were managing it, and then we would choose different areas. One year we chose a Philippino-Canadian author, so he came to Sitka, but then we also sent him to Kodiak, which the population is about a quarter Philippino-American, and Anchorage, which has a large Philippino-American population. And we had them visit schools and public libraries, we’d distribute copies of their book around the state, and then each year we did a statewide call-in show where students from all over the state could call in and ask questions of the author. I think that’s probably my greatest achievement as a librarian and the most fun I’ve had as a librarian.

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

I think that it is the same challenge facing all libraries, but specifically academic libraries: and that is that prices go up, enrollment goes down, and so really balancing our students’ need for information. There is a lot of information out there – most of it is of very poor quality – and so we have students coming out of high school having been allowed to use Wikipedia their whole career and then come to college. I think one of the big challenges for post-secondary librarians is the loss of certified librarians in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools that we’re seeing all over the country, so that we are the first professional librarian that many of these students have ever encountered. And that’s very different than when I was in school and every librarian that I had growing up was a certified teacher-librarian. And the loss of the certified teacher-librarian is making us have to do a lot of remediation.

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

I think really just the interaction with the students. You know, I found that in my last job, the higher I moved up the career ladder, the less time that I got to spend with students. And I think the best thing about this job is that I don’t have to make the choice between being a library administrator and being a boots-on-the-ground librarian, and I really like that. I’m not excited about balancing Excel spreadsheets, but I’m very excited about taking a journey with a student in learning

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

I think that advocacy for academic libraries means advocacy for all libraries. It’s interconnected. Our students don’t just use our library; good public and school library experiences make for good college library users. I think that as colleges face these budget issues, librarians seem like the natural place to cut. But in the academy, libraries are the only real neutral space. We are not tied to the humanities, or tied to the social sciences, or tied to the physical sciences – we are a neutral place with a little bit of knowledge about all areas and the ability to help everyone. We serve the entire campus: we serve faculty and their research needs, we serve staff and their research needs, and we serve students in both their research and their growth and lifelong learning. We produce scholarship in a wide range of information and human service areas, but we’re not discipline specific, and we’re not tied to a specific college. We are here for everyone at the college. And as libraries are getting merged with IT, or getting merged with academic departments, we’re starting to lose that a lot.

What’s happening in or around our profession that you’re really excited about?

I am really excited about this upcoming generation of Millennial librarians, for a lot of reasons. Their absolute commitment to social justice, and that’s not their hobby – that’s something that they’ve been raised to believe in. There’s sort of this intergenerational thing in our profession and in other professions that says, “Well they just don’t know how hard it is, they don’t know how hard we fought.” Well, that’s okay. The fact that they take basic human rights as a given is a good thing. Also, I started out in librarianship pre-Internet, so I will always argue that no profession that still exists has made as many changes as librarians have in the last 50 years. That we fully embraced the Internet, that we fully embraced going digital, that we fully embraced all kinds of formats, and this generation of librarians coming out of library school are true digital natives in a way that I’m just not. So their understanding of issues of privacy and equitable access are just far beyond. For me, it’s a real challenge to sit down and think about the new digital divide, because I spent half my life without the Internet, so it really is the Millennial librarians that really excite me. They seem to be fearless in what they’re willing to experiment with. They haven’t been raised with the concept that they’re going to work at one institution their whole lives. And I just see these new kick ass librarians coming up that just impress me so, so much every time I work with them.

Interview with Kristine Alpi, OHSU Library

Photograph of Kristine Alpi

Kristine Alpi, MLS, MPH, PhD, AHIP, University Librarian, OHSU Library

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

My first library job was as a shelver in my neighborhood branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.  My education in art history, Spanish and Italian at Indiana University led me to working in the Fine Arts and Slide Libraries, but an exciting day of field shadowing at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library seduced me over to health sciences librarianship.

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

My first solo-authored journal article, Expert searching in public health, indexed in PubMed, the largest biomedical database in the world from the National Library of Medicine is also my most cited paper with 70 citations.  I love seeing that same excitement in the student and new faculty authors with whom I publish.

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

OHSU Library serves learners statewide, from patients and families to those pursuing advanced certifications.  We partner with several Oregon universities on joint academic programs and since our 3,000 students are mostly graduate students, we might be the Library serving your recently graduated alumni.   Even though we are Oregon Health & Science University, we are very interested in the humanities and last April our Library hosted a Humanities month with a poetry and art contest.  For 2020, we hope to spread these activities over the year. We are also passionate about making the history of health in the Pacific Northwest more accessible. We would love to collaborate on building and exposing collections to learners and researchers who would benefit from access to primary source materials.

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

It was an honor to present at both the Oregon Library Association-Support Staff Division Conference and the Emporia State University Commencement ceremony.  I treasured these opportunities to engage with library staff and students and share what I have learned from visiting 30+ libraries in OR/WA in my first eight months here.

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

My perspective has changed as I moved across regions, as much advocacy is local.  Understanding advocacy for public libraries and school libraries in the same region is an important part of the library advocacy ecosystem.  I always talk about the key role of school and public libraries in preparing students to want to be part of academia, and then the complementary role of public and academic libraries in serving the needs of the whole learner.   Advocacy for maintaining robust and transparent resource sharing among libraries of all types is a major priority.  In the face of electronic book publishing models that prohibit sharing, and the shift to purchasing almost entirely ebooks in some disciplines, this is a major concern.

Anything else you’d like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?

I am excited to travel all over Oregon and visit libraries and meet library staff, so please invite me to visit and learn from your teams.

Mark Watson appointed as interim Dean of the University of Oregon Libraries

Headshot of Mark Watson

Mark Waston, Interim Dean of Libraries, University of Oregon

On June 10 the University of Oregon announced that Mark Watson, associate dean for research services, UO libraries, has been named interim dean of UO libraries. Watson has worked in various capacities in the UO libraries since 1986, including stints as interim head of UO science libraries and co-interim dean of libraries. He will begin this new role starting July 9. ACRL-OR caught up with the incoming interim dean to answer a few questions about his new role:

What can you tell us about why Adrienne Lim (current dean UO Libraries) is leaving and where she is going?

Adriene Lim has accepted a position as Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland in College Park.  Dean Lim is a recognized leader in the national academic library community, and her record of achievement, leadership and scholarship has been recognized and rewarded by this offer to take the helm at one of the country’s largest research libraries.  As a respected leader at the University of Oregon, she will be sorely missed.

What do you most look forward to as interim dean?

As interim Dean, I will have the opportunity to work directly under the University’s Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs.  Involvement at this level of governance and the opportunity to help shape the academic direction of the institution is an exciting prospect.  Within the library, I look forward to working with the same great team of colleagues but in new ways.  As the interim Dean, I will be able to deepen and extend my efforts to support them in providing excellent library service to the campus community.

What is the biggest challenge you see in the year to come for the UO libraries?

Like many of its peers, the University of Oregon is dealing with a downturn in enrollment, especially when it comes to international students, with the consequence that all sectors of the institution are facing funding constraints.  It will be challenging to maintain fiscal balance and still deliver the quality service that faculty and students have come to expect.  This challenge extends to both maintaining adequate levels of staffing and the library’s ability to build collections commensurate with teaching and research needs.

What can you tell us about the search process for a permanent dean?

The UO is facing the prospect of recruiting several new Deans during the coming year; however, the stated expectation is that a search for a permanent Dean of Libraries will commence sometime in the fall.

Anything else you’d like the Oregon academic library community to know?

As interim Dean, I will have the opportunity to attend more meetings and conferences where I hope to meet new colleagues and interact with people I already know.  I look forward to making new connections with my Oregon colleagues!

ACRL-OR extends our best wishes to Mark Watson and to the UO Libraries during this interim leadership and search for a new dean of UO Libraries.

OSU Undergraduate Research and Writing Studio wins ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award

Undergrad Research and Writing Studio Awardees

The Oregon State University Libraries and Press (OSULP) has been awarded the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award for 2019 for their Undergraduate Research and Writing Studio. Opened in 2017, the Studio provides a place for undergraduate students to work on writing projects and receive assistance with writing and research from trained peers. The Studio is a collaboration between the Writing Center and the OSULP. The implementation and ongoing steering team includes Writing Center and OSULP staff, including: Dennis Bennett, Chris Ervin, and Vanessa Petroj from the Writing Center and Anne-Marie Deitering, Beth Filar Williams, Uta Hussong-Christian, Hannah Gascho Rempel and Jane Nichols from the library.

The award includes recognition in the C&RL News, a plaque, and $3000.

ACRL-OR was able to ask a few questions of the team. Their answers are provided below (ACRL also published a short interview).

Our heartiest congratulations to OSULP and to the implementation team on this prestigious award. Read on for some of their comments.

Who or what was the driving force behind creating the Studio?

Jane: There was a pressing need for more space for the writing center because they were outgrowing their space. At the same time there was a rising idea of reclaiming and re-invigorating the space where tutoring was happening in the library, the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). The library had been aware of the trend of library – writing center partnerships and locating the campus writing center in the library. The Associate University Librarian for Learning Spaces, Anne-Marie Deitering, and the Writing Center Director, Dennis Bennett, began talking about partnering with an eye towards addressing respective service goals centered on student learning and success. As discussions progressed, the idea to move into the library gained traction and was approved by senior leadership by both the library and the writing center. Following this, a team was tasked with carrying out the project.

An important foundation to the relationship is the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines various aspects of the terms of agreement and includes substantive calls for the partners to collaborate on issues such as learning outcomes, service design, assessment, and training.

What was the collaboration process like between librarians, writing center staff, and media specialists?

Beth Filar Williams and Uta Hussong-Christian: The nine months we all worked together on the implementation team was truly a collaborative process. Over the duration of our well-organized and facilitated bi-weekly meetings, we used a service design process to develop a shared holistic student-focused framework for the project. In the process of working through space and service concepts and eventually plans, we learned a lot about each other as individuals and about what our respective units did. This helped us compromise in ways that worked for everyone. By the time the space opened, we had laid the groundwork for our partnership as we went through the ups and downs of the first year (and beyond) of Research & Writing Studio operations.

What did writing center folks learn about the library/librarians that was new to them and what did librarians learn about writing center folks that was new to them?

Jane Nichols: As librarians we were unfamiliar with the extensive training, much of it focused on theory and pedagogical concepts, that the student writing consultants received. We appreciated seeing the consultants be open to learning about the theoretical foundations to their work.

Chris Ervin: Something I already knew as an experienced academic is that there is more happening within other disciplines than those of us who are disciplinary outsiders understand. Working alongside librarians and in the physical space of the library has shown me some of the inner workings of the discipline of librarianship, in particular where those inner workings come into contact with the Studio. For example, we in writing centers and writing studies don’t tend to think of the work we do as “service,” but rather as teaching and mentoring. There’s even a debate within our discipline about whether to consider first-year writing as a “service course” (in service to the other disciplines) or as an introduction to the discipline of writing studies. Librarians, however, often use language like that—service points, service models, etc., but I understand better what that means now. The “information seeking process” that’s iterative is very much like our studio pedagogy approach, also iterative. Librarians must suffer a fundamental misunderstanding (from the public, students, faculty) of the work they do, just like writing center professionals. One place that misunderstanding comes into the Studio is in what students think of the role of our research consultants. Students, I believe, want to see the research consultant’s role as serving their information needs rather than teaching them skills that will help them meet their own information needs. As a writing center professional whose priority is facilitating student learning through teaching (classroom or one-to-one), I see the potential for research consultants to practice the studio pedagogy we associate with writing consultations—the process-focused, metacognitive kinds of conversations that would encourage research writers to investigate their own research processes and to advance their information literacy skills.

What do you see as the next steps for the Studio?

Beth: I would like to continue to grow the partnership and iterate as we learn more from assessment. I hope we can integrate Student Mulitmedia Services better maybe in an adjacent space? And I hope we get a better referral process to library liaisons and to other resources.

What are you all going to use the $3000 for?

Chris: The four members of the Studio Steering Committee have agreed that the funds will be used mostly or fully to support the Studio’s food pantry. Because Oregon State University’s students, like college students around the country, wrestle with food indsecurity, we created a pantry in the Studio for our student staff. The $3000 will be used to stock the pantry for at least a year, possibly more.

Hannah, this comes on the heels of you being selected as the ACRL IS Featured Teaching Librarian in 2018. Is it safe to say you’re now a library rock star?

Hannah: Hannah who? In other news, tickets are on sale now for my upcoming world-wide tour “Curiouser and Curiouser.”

Anything else you want the Oregon academic library community to know about this award or about the Studio?

Beth: We welcome visitors and conversation as we grow our knowledge, our services, and learn about best practices.

Reflections on Libraries – Pierina (Perri) Parise

Photo of Perri Parise

Perri Parise, Director, Emporia State University Library and Information Management, Portland Program

When people find out I am retiring after almost 50 years in the library profession, they often remark that I must have seen a lot of changes over the years. But as I reflect back, I have to admit that although on the surface libraries today indeed appear very different, I think that the foundation I was lucky enough to have received has supported me through the seeming changes.

The formats of the materials we provide have certainly evolved, although newer formats do not necessarily replace older formats. The challenge of access is an enormous issue as technologies change, but I think that access was also an issue when libraries were buildings fixed in place and not necessarily available to all segments of a community, or they housed materials that were not relevant or accessible to the needs of all in a community.

I entered the profession at a time when most libraries probably functioned in the traditional, stereotypical sense of libraries – quiet places, full of books, usually supporting a white middle-class American value system. However, I was very fortunate to have been part of a federally funded program in library school that was called, “Cross-cultural Training in Librarianship: The Librarian in a Pluralistic Society,” which focused on underserved populations.

Through that library school program and a stint in the Peace Corps in Fiji where their public library system was *the* center of the community and an integral part of everything that went on in that town, I began my career understanding what a dynamic library can mean to a community. I took those experiences with me as a core value, no matter where I worked or what type of position I held.

Now more than ever, we need to justify our existence everyday by the proactive work we do to make sure there is no doubt how important we are to those we serve.  What I appreciate so much today is the call for advocacy and social action within the profession.  But I do worry about how polarized our society has become, and I see this sometimes within the library field, also.  How can we advocate without alienating the “other side?”  How do encourage engagement and empathy?  How do we assert our ideals, but at the same time truly listen?

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.

Interview with Rick Ball, Klamath Community College

Photo of Rick Ball

Rick Ball, Learning Resources Center Director, Klamath Community College

Tell us a little bit about your work background.

I started my library career as a K-12 librarian. I then worked as a public library director and now I am the LRC director at Klamath Community College. I feel fortunate to have experienced librarianship in the school, public and academic realms.

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

The best thing that has happened to me since starting my position has been the overwhelming support received by the administration, faculty and staff at Klamath Community College. It is encouraging to work in an environment that values the role you play in student success and in community empowerment.

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

I have a passion for helping others succeed. It is what motivates me to get up in the morning. I learned a long time ago that life is about the journey. If I can help, people learn how to embrace and enjoy the journey, to learn from it, success will come. Some of the best moments in my life have been when I’ve seen people whether students or others, stick with it, work through one obstacle after another and achieve a level of success they didn’t realize was possible. It makes me feel good to know that I was a part of that.

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

The biggest challenge we face this upcoming year is continuing to build upon the success of past efforts without our “newness to KCC” detrimentally affecting the services to our community. The library experienced a complete turnover in staff this last year. Fortunately, our current staff brings many years of successful librarianship and library leadership to KCC.

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

Klamath Community College has formed a partnership with other colleges and universities in order to realize a shared vision. That vision is to empower our communities through education. KCC is dedicated to student success and to the economic success of the communities that our partner institutions and we serve.

What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as an LRC director?

I see two major components to advocacy. The first is demonstrating a spirit of service and trust. Model professional excellence. People will notice. Academic libraries exist to serve. We are here to support our students, faculty and staff in their efforts to be successful. They need to trust that we can and will provide them with the educational support and resources they need to realize their goals. The second component is networking. Librarians need to network with other librarians, institutions, governmental entities, community organizations and businesses. If you are not talking with people, not listening, how do you know what they need? How do you learn where to go for resources? You have to communicate with people and build positive relationships.

“A great opportunity to promote impactful work ”: Past ACRL-OR Awards for Excellence revisited!

The ACRL-Oregon Award for Excellence recognizes a project that demonstrates excellence in the field by significantly improving Oregon academic libraries or librarianship. Help us recognize the great work of our colleagues — your nominations matter!

This year’s nominations are open! We’re checking in with past recipients to get project updates and hear what the award meant for them. The 2009 award went to the Library Faculty Association Open Access Policy at Oregon State University Libraries. We asked one of the project reps, Michael Boock, to reflect on the award and to give us an update on the status of the project.

What did receiving this award mean to you or your team?

Receiving the ACRL-OR Award for Excellence in 2009 for passing an open access policy came as a huge surprise. We were thrilled that academic librarians in Oregon not only had heard about the passage of our Library Faculty Association Open Access Policy, but that they found the project to be worthy of such an auspicious award. I can safely say, on behalf of the many, many people at OSU Libraries and Press involved in passing and implementing this policy and the college-level and institution-level policies that followed, that the award signaled its importance, not only to fellow faculty and staff within our library, but to the wider community of academic librarians across the state.

How has this project evolved or changed since receiving the award?

Constantly and extensively. The Library Faculty Association open access policy served as a model for policies passed by the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (now the College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences) and the College of Forestry over the next two years. In June 2013, OSU became the second land grant university in the country to pass a Harvard-style institution-wide open access policy. The library served in a lead role in the passage of these policies and has been responsible for their implementation. As of March 1, 2018, there are over 8,000 Oregon State University faculty articles available open access in the ScholarsArchive@OSU institutional repository. We hope that universities, libraries, students, and citizens across the state have benefited from having immediate access to this research.

What’s happening in or around our profession that you’re really excited about?

Related to this award specifically, I’m thrilled with the increase in the number of university open access policies that have been passed over the last several years across the country and the world. I’m also pleased with the increase in the number of open access journals in the LIS field, including the open access Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication whose editorial board includes several Oregon librarians.

Why should someone nominate a project for the ACRL-OR Award for Excellence?

As academic librarians, much of our work often happens behind the scenes. This award provides a great opportunity to identify and promote some of the impactful but not always well-recognized, work of our colleagues on behalf of our patrons.    
More information on the nomination process and past winners can be found on the ACRL-Oregon website. The nomination period closes at 11:59pm on August 31, 2018.

Interview with Faye Chadwell, Oregon State University

Tell us a little bit about your work background.

My career as an academic/research librarian began 30 years ago this August at the University of South Carolina though I’ve worked in libraries since my undergraduate years at Appalachian State University (Boone, NC).  As a young undergraduate student worker, I used to tell the folks at Appalachian State that I always wanted to come back there and be the dean.  Well, that didn’t happen but I did manage to reach my goal of being the university librarian at Oregon State.

Once there was a glimmer of aspiration that I might move on from my course of study in English (with a BA and MA) to get a PhD. I taught composition and  introduction to literature, grammar, technical writing at the university and community college level—plus a stint a high school. Librarianship came calling so I answered. Most of my career has been spent at two terrific Oregon research libraries—more than 10 years at Oregon State University preceded by 12 at the University of Oregon.  As a librarian, I started out as a pretty typical reference librarian with collection development and instruction responsibilities in my areas of strength—American and British literature but I also covered linguistics, folklore, and psychology. My love for collection development work led to a promotion as the social science bibliographer and then from there I took department head positions emphasizing collection development and acquisitions. I came into my role as a CD head as the world of collections and acquisitions was transitioning rapidly to electronic.

Throughout my career, I’ve been very involved in professional associations but didn’t take a traditional academic librarian route for my service commitments.  I was chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee in OLA and eventually elected as OLA’s president. Within ALA,  I chaired the GLBT Round Table Book Awards Committee and the Round Table itself.  ALCTS was also my home for many years because of the collections connection but in the last several years, I’ve been more involved in ACRL, leading up to my recent election to the ACRL Board.

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

I couldn’t have been prouder than when I was selected as OSU’s university librarian and director of the OSU Press.  The folks I work with at OSULP are among the best in the country.  In my opinion, the university librarian is supposed to support the success of her staff and the good ideas for programs and services they bring forth. So, there have been many “best things” but they haven’t happened to me so much as they have happened to OSU Libraries.  On an individual basis, I think being selected and supported to participate in the UCLA Senior Fellows for Library and Information Science as a an AUL has to be among the best things. I actually attended as an AUL who was moving into an interim UL position after the 3-week experience.  The coursework, nationally known speakers, etc. were good, but the network of peers and close friends I developed has proven invaluable to me in so many ways.  When I need to chat about issues, share ideas, or compare notes, I can rely on this group for support and feedback.  That kind of support network is a necessity for library leaders, especially emerging leaders.

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

Personal stuff that I am comfortable sharing: I have been out as a lesbian since I was a teenager. Having grown up in North Carolina, being out wasn’t always easy but I wouldn’t know how else to be in the world.  My partner (since 2000) and I are getting married this summer.  Though no blushing bride, I am pretty excited.  When not working I love to pursue outdoor activities, travel, cook and eat well. One outdoor activity I am still happy to be pursuing is competitive women’s softball at the senior women’s level.  And of course, I’m a voracious reader who typically has 2-3 books going at a time.  In fact I’ve been reviewing books for Library Journal since 1989, mostly fiction by international women writers and occasionally non-fiction titles about women in science.

When you run for ACRL Board, they ask candidates to describe themselves in 3 words.  I chose thoughtful, determined, and fair-minded.  Other folks who know me might add competitive, “tough but fair,” loyal, frank, and great in a crisis.  Apparently many co-workers think I’m a fast walker so that was amusing to learn.

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

Again, it’s hard to pick one. Like so many academic and research librarians, we face budgetary challenges every year.  I’ve been proud that the library’s administrative team has managed to acquire about $1.5 million in new, recurring $$$ in the last 3-5 years but it’s never enough to provide adequate resources for all we do or want to do. We also endured some retirements among our support staff positions so we are onboarding a number of new staff. It’s exciting to begin working with new folks, but these kinds of transition take time and energy. One big challenge that I would deem positive: the development and  implementation of a new strategic plan.  Finally, the sociopolitical and cultural environment we are enduring right now is taking its toll.  It will be important for us to figure out how to keep ourselves motivated in the face of ongoing challenges that yield negative impacts on earlier social and political progress we had made in this country.  No one likes taking one step forward and two steps backward.

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

It’d be cheeky and boastful to say we are the best academic library in the state, right? Okay that’s the competitive streak I mentioned above coming out.  Instead, let me say that I worked my first dozen years at the University of Oregon Libraries which is a wonderful organization.  However, I never knew all the fantastic work—research, teaching, and outreach and engagement going on at Oregon State. We are the best kept secret in Oregon higher education—too humble for our own good sometimes.  I did the research when I interviewed at OSU for the Associate University Librarian position so I knew about the innovative work in multiple areas, but after beginning to work here, I was blown away on a regular basis by my colleagues’ creativity, service commitment, and engagement on campus and in the profession.

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

Everyone in an academic library can be an advocate for academic libraries.  There are activities that we all should pursue no matter what our role or position.  For instance, contacting legislators about funding higher education issues because this has an impact on us and/or our constituents.

To be a good advocate, I think you need to do your homework and be prepared. It’s wonderful to be passionate and to be able to tell a good story, but some audiences need and require data. The folks in various units and departments at OSU Libraries are well-positioned to provide great data for me to present in my role to the University Administration.  So in that regard, we all share some responsibilities for advocating on our behalf.

I’m presently the ACRL liaison to the ALA Advocacy Coordinating Group.  We were just discussing how advocacy works for different types of libraries.  I think that advocacy messages do need to be customized but we also need to remember to advocate for all libraries. We are connected and what happens within one arena affects another.  For example, the dearth of school librarians in Oregon has impact on public and academic librarians’ work.  There’s always going to be a learning curve to move from high school to a larger academic library, but I believe children from communities with strong school librarians can have a leg up on others.  We in academic libraries advocate for changes in the scholarly communication ecosystem.  That might be motivated by costs but it’s also motivated by a commitment to broad and affordable (if not free) access for readers to research results paid for by citizens.

“We need to elevate & recognize”: Past ACRL-OR Awards for Excellence revisited!

The ACRL-Oregon Award for Excellence recognizes a project that demonstrates excellence in the field by significantly improving Oregon academic libraries or librarianship. Help us recognize the great work of our colleagues — your nominations matter!

This year’s nominations are open! We’re checking in with past recipients to get project updates and hear what the award meant for them. One of the 2012 awards went to the Journal for Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. We asked project rep Isaac Gilman to reflect on the award and to give us an update on the status of the project.

What did receiving this award mean to you or your team?

We received the award about a year after we started the journal, so it was great to have some early affirmation that others saw what we were doing as interesting and important (it wasn’t just us!)

How has this project evolved or changed since receiving the award?

The journal is still being published, although it is in the hands of new editors now. The fundamental structure and approach of the journal haven’t changed, but we did migrate publishing platforms in 2016.

What’s happening in or around our profession that you’re really excited about?

There is (rightly) concern about the consolidation of scholarly communication infrastructure (e.g. publishing, repositories, activity tracking, citations, research metrics, etc) in the hands of large commercial interests, and the movement that has started to create an alternative, collaborative open infrastructure is quite interesting. But I’m excited about another kind of consolidation that I think is good—more and more, we’re seeing academic libraries take on responsibility for additional academic student services. Bringing these into the library creates new opportunities to better coordinate traditional library services with these other areas, which can have a positive impact for students, and can help ensure students know about, and use, services that can help them succeed.

Why should someone nominate a project for the ACRL-OR Award for Excellence?

There are, of course, exceptions, but I generally find that people who work in libraries are quite humble about their achievements. There is incredible work going on all around us, and we need to elevate it and recognize it, especially for our colleagues who would never dream of doing that for themselves! And nominating projects for this award brings them additional visibility, which can lead to new collaborations as well.

More information on the nomination process and past winners can be found on the ACRL-Oregon website. The nomination period closes at 11:59pm on August 31, 2018.