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Reflections on Libraries – Pierina (Perri) Parise

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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.

Interview with Michelle Bagley, Portland Community College

Michelle Bagley is a long-time Portland resident, but is new to Oregon libraries, having worked as the Library Director at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington for many years. She is now seven months into her role as Dean of the Library at Portland Community College.

Photo of Michelle Bagley

Michelle Bagley, Dean of the Library, Portland Community College

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

I was working in private industry and serving as a liaison to the inaugural First Book Local Advisory Board (Portland, OR) when I began considering a career change. One of the board members urged me to look into a career in librarianship. After some research and reflection I enrolled in the Emporia State SLIM program. I graduated in 2004 and began working in libraries shortly thereafter. Librarianship has been a terrific career path for me. I have been able to use my extensive management and customer service skills developed in my previous career and apply my passion for access to information and education.

What has been the greatest influence upon you so far in your career?

As a graduate student I strongly considered a career in corporate librarianship. This was due in large part to my educational background and work experience. I became a member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and the Oregon Special Libraries chapter. As a new librarian, volunteering in a professional association was instrumental in getting established in the profession. I attribute the relatively small membership and extremely diverse range of libraries represented in SLA in equipping me with the skills to advance pretty rapidly. My involvement with SLA gave me the opportunity to chair meetings, plan conferences and professional development events, to work on strategic planning, and to develop professional relationships to SLA leadership. I also joined the SLA Education Division and had the chance to work with some terrific library educators who were staunch advocates for the role of information literacy and libraries.

When I began working as the library director at Clark College (Vancouver, WA) I immediately became involved in consortium and state/system library leadership. Through participation in the Washington Library Leadership Council and the Orbis Cascade Alliance I was able to deepen my experience and work on initiatives with the goal to enhance library services and promote effective state/regional partnerships. Also I worked with leaders from across Clark College. Serving as a member of Instructional Council and other key college groups provided me with the opportunity to learn and contribute to the college’s work focused on student learning and success. As I progressed in my role at Clark we were able to bring other key academic supports into the same unit as the library.  In this transition I was able to take the lead on integrating tutoring, eLearning, student technology support, and faculty support into library services. This was a model we had put into practice at my first library job. This change in my responsibilities had a big impact on continuing to build my capacity as a college leader. I became much more involved in instructional planning and decision making.

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

The achievement that I am most proud of, at this point in my career, was the work that I lead renovating sections of Clark College’s Cannell Library and developing a new student service area, Tech Hub. The development of Tech Hub originated during the revision of Clark’s comprehensive IT plan. A key outcome for the plan was to develop centralized student technology help. The partnership between IT, eLearning, and the library demonstrated the best of collaboration.

Shortly after the development of Tech Hub, the library presented a proposal to the Student Technology Fee Committee to fund a some necessary improvements to the library. The first part of the proposal was an update to the lower level of the library to accommodate a collaborative commons, including improvements to the electrical/data infrastructure in the library. The renovated space is beautiful and has become a destination for students looking for collaborative learning spaces. The second part of the project was a modification the second floor computer lab which presented some hazards for building evacuation and was consistently mentioned in the student satisfaction survey as being too crowded, too hot, and too loud. By moving roughly half of the computers from this lab to the new collaborative commons, the space became an inviting “quiet” computer lab.

I am proud of these projects because they demonstrate the things that I am most passionate about – listening to/observing library user needs, developing services based on these needs, and having a positive impact on learners.

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

PCC Library is a very innovative library with a focus on instruction, student success, collaboration, assessment, and student-centered services. The library staff and faculty are very active contributors to work related to teaching and learning, assessment, and librarianship. They are strong partners in collaborative efforts at the college, in the Pacific Northwest, and nationally. These partnerships range from work with PCC faculty on integrating information literacy and library resources into to their courses, to advocating and promoting the use of Open Educational Resources, to developing new programs and services that provide access to library collections and technology across our service district.

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

A big challenge that PCC Library is facing in the coming year is continued pressure on our budgets (which is likely a common theme at many academic libraries).

Also PCC has recently joined Achieving the Dream. This year is a planning year; the challenge is to find a balance between letting the foundational work occur and having the college include information literacy and the library into the re-imagined student experience.

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

While the library director plays a key role in this work I have found advocacy is most effective when all library staff can speak a common message to the college community (and beyond). This is particularly important because academic libraries are multi-faceted – definitely academic in nature, strongly linked to student services, part of the college’s physical infrastructure, and a place for community engagement. We all can keep the library on the radar of college leaders and decision makers, develop and maintain solid collaborative relationships with faculty, student services and other college staff, and promote student-focused services and spaces.

This means that everyone working in an academic library benefits from being involved in library planning. Ideally each person has the capacity to highlight the library as an important campus learning space, communicate the importance of information literacy in our students’ learning, speak to the cultural importance of libraries for campuses, respond to the growing need to support our faculty and staff in their work. When library faculty and staff are actively involved in planning and operations in all areas and all levels of the college, the library benefits.

As the library director I have the responsibility to advocate for and demonstrate the impact that integrating academic libraries into the college’s instructional programs and student supports has on our students and our community. I am also responsible for creating an environment that prepares all library staff to be engaged in the conversations and activities.

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

I am very excited to now live and work in Oregon. I am eager to get more involved in working with academic libraries, to learn more about specific initiatives that are important to Oregon libraries, to promote our value to students, faculty, and staff as well as to state leaders. I think it is crucial that we continue to advocate for libraries to ensure that libraries are involved in key educational initiatives, are funded to accomplish our objectives, and are recognized for the impact that we have locally, regionally, and nationally.

Interview with Steve Silver, Northwest Christian University

Photo of Steve Silver

Steve Silver, Director, Kellenberger Library at Northwest Christian University

 

Tell us a little bit about your work background.

Like many, librarianship is a second career for me. I have a Masters in Choral Conducting (University of Oregon) and did church music gigs in Oregon and Washington for many years. Twenty years ago I took a second job working part time as the technical services assistant in the library at what was then Northwest Christian College (now University, also my alma mater). At the time it was just a job to supplement income. Through a series of fortuitous circumstances I was able to earn my MLS, moved to technical services librarian, and ten years ago became library director.

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

In the fall of 2011 I was awarded a grant from ALA to host their traveling exhibit Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible in the NCU library. This exhibit, jointly sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare library in Washington, D.C, with assistance from the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England., celebrated the 400 year anniversary of the King James Bible. The exhibit explored both the creation of the King James Bible and its impact on culture, language, and literature. NCU was one of only two libraries in Oregon to host this exhibit and one of only a couple dozen or so around the country. It was a huge undertaking for our very small institution but proved to be a phenomenal success, drawing hundreds of visitors to our campus and providing opportunities to collaborate and strengthen bonds with other community organizations.

Tied for best experience, and closely related, was my summer 2011 sabbatical. NCU is fortunate to own one of the most extensive collections of rare early printed English language Bibles in the western United States. 2011 also marked the 100 year anniversary of the founding of this collection. I was able to use my sabbatical to research this founding, including a trip to England to visit still existing book shops where some of the Bibles were purchased, as well as visit sites in Oxford where NCU‘s founding president Eugene Sanderson worked and studied himself. Visiting the old Bodleian Library while there was one of many highlights.

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

As you might surmise from my answer above, I’m rather passionate about the history of the Bible as a book, particularly the early years of its translation into English. I love sharing this history and exhibiting NCU‘s incredible rare Bibles. I welcome inquiries and opportunities to do so (seriously; call me).

I’m also passionate about intellectual freedom issues, which may not be so surprising for a librarian but perhaps cuts against the stereotype of someone from a faith-based institution. I am currently working on a book chapter on intellectual freedom from a Christian perspective.

On a more personal note, I’m a huge Oregon Ducks Football fan. Fantasy is probably my favorite genre for reading, though I also read scifi, some bestsellers along the mystery/thriller line, and of course books on the history of the Bible. I enjoy a wide variety of music (but not country. Or rap. And probably not polkas). Our daughter is getting married this October, so we’re slowly ramping up wedding planning mode (they’ve sure gotten expense since we got married 30 years ago).

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

Probably staffing. NCU‘s enrollment has been growing in recent years, which is great. But over the past decade or so the library’s staffing levels have actually decreased. So we’re serving more students with fewer professional and student staff. Coupled with trying to adequately serve our several distinct student populations with a very small staff we’re stretched quite thin (we have traditional daytime undergrads, evening degree completion and masters programs on accelerated 8-week semesters, and online courses and programs).

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

We are small but growing. Currently around 800 students. Although NCU is un-apologetically Christian, we are fairly ecumenical, welcoming students and faculty from a wide-variety of Christian faith experiences. Students do not need to be specifically Christian. In fact we had a student body president come out as atheist during his term a few years ago. That attracted a bit of attention, but he was allowed to continue his term and graduated. All faculty must have a statement of faith describing their particular Christian faith journey, but NCU does not proscribe any specific faith statement, unlike most other faith-based institutions.

And did I mention we have an amazing collection of rare early printed English Bibles?

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

1) Do our jobs well. Proving our worth by actually being of worth may be the most overlooked aspect of effective advocacy. 2) Relationships. Establishing positive, trust-filled relationships with administrators, one’s supervisor, leaders of other campus units, and significant friends of the university provides opportunities for the advocacy message to be heard. If they know I care for them as individuals, that I care about what they care about, and that I am trustworthy, fair, and honest, they are much more likely to hear my message when I advocate for library needs. 3) Put the institution first. An academic library exists to support the institution. Putting library needs first creates division and competition and undermines trust. Re-framing library needs as ways to support the institution creates collaboration and trust, and keeps my work in perspective.

This is all internal advocacy. Especially in today’s environment external advocacy is at least as important. Others are more informed about best practices in this realm, and I strive to follow their lead. Such efforts are vitally important. I am intentionally working to improve the level and competence of my efforts to advocate for libraries on state and national levels, and challenge each one of us to do so as well.

Steve Silver signature

Interview with Robin Jeffrey, Klamath Community College

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library leaders across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Robin Jeffrey, Learning Resource Center (LRC) Director at Klamath Community College, located in Klamath Falls.

Thanks for talking with us, Robin!

Photo of Robin Jeffrey

Robin Jeffrey, LRC Director, Klamath Community College

How did you get into librarianship and how did you end up at Klamath Falls?

You could say that librarianship runs in my family! My mother has been a librarian for 18 years and I was always her most excited work volunteer. Even before that we were a very library-centric family, to the point where, as a toddler, I thought it was a fun game to pretend to ‘check-out’ books from my ‘library’ to my older sister. I’ve known for a long time that being a librarian was in the cards for me!

I ended up in Klamath Falls after I graduated from the University of Kentucky with my MLS. I was on the hunt for that elusive first library job when I saw a posting for a library assistant at Klamath Community College. I wanted desperately to be an academic librarian and it seemed like the perfect way to get my foot in the door. That was almost 2 years ago now and I certainly haven’t regretted the amazing opportunities I’ve gotten at KCC!

Who/What has been the greatest influence upon you so far in your career?

Mark Peterson, who’s been featured on this blog before, was and is simply the best mentor any young librarian could hope to have. He gave me a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream and equipped me with all the tools and knowledge I would need to excel! In addition to him, though, I have to give another shout out to my mom, who I call and ask for librarian advice from all the time.

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

The best thing that has happened to you since I started this position has been being on the receiving end of an outflowing of support from other OR. library directors and librarians. It’s been such a welcoming and heartwarming experience and I’m learning so much from everyone every day.

Tell us about your OER writing book. What prompted you to create the book? How did you go about creating it? (what platform, conceptual organization)? Who is making use of the textbook currently?

Klamath Community College serves a large population of students, many of whom are at or below the poverty line. Having to buy a $200 textbook for a required course may very well mean the difference between a student finishing their degree or giving up – not to mention it has a huge impact on their finances if they do purchase the book (i.e. I don’t get my medication this month because I can’t afford it, or I’m only eating dinner this week)!

The LRC initiated a meeting with the Writing Department to discuss these issues and talk about possible solutions. The Writing Faculty outlined for us what they liked about the book they were using, which was really only the basic grammar, sentence structure, and citation material. I offered to create a writing guide that would cover all these basic concepts and which would be open source. Hence, About Writing was born!

I relied a lot on my background as an English undergrad to create the content for the book, drawing ideas from online sources like Purdue OWL and from the textbook currently in use, A Writer’s Reference. Amy Hofer, the OR State OER Librarian was a great help while creating this resource, especially in gaining feedback from faculty and formatting it to be published on Pressbooks! Currently, About Writing is in use at Portland Community College, Klamath Community College, and Clackamas Community College!

Tell us about your love for graphic novels/comic books. How has this manifested itself so far in your work at KFCC?

I’m a lifelong reader and I’m here to tell you that some of the best work being done in creative fiction right now is being done graphically. Whether its DC, Marvel, Image, or that small indie publisher that cranks out photocopies of new work, graphic novels are, to me, the perfect marriage between image and text. I’ve been a regular comic shop patron since I was 16 and have been going to comicons for over 8 years, with no plans to stop.

I’ve always considered graphic novels to be the “gateway drug” of reading and have found, more often than not, that no matter how much people insist they don’t like to read, almost everyone can be persuaded to pick up a comic! With this in mind, I’ve helped create a (still growing!) graphic novel collection at KCC, which has helped to boost our circulation numbers across the board. Students of all ages get excited when they hear that such a collection exists, which gets them into the library – and once they’re there, they almost always walk out with a few books under their arms.

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

The biggest challenge facing my library in the upcoming year is our push to become more of a community space. We want everyone to feel welcome in the library, even if they don’t have research to do and just want to hang out! Facilitating that culture shift is an exciting challenge.

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

The Klamath Community College Learning Resource Center, which I head, is made up of three distinct areas of the college – the library, the Tutoring Center, and the Testing Center. We’re a small academic library with a growing presence on campus and we are instrumental in helping people succeed in their academic pursuits!

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

From my perspective as a library director, advocacy for academic libraries looks like constantly throwing a surprise party; as long as I can keep coming up with new services and resources to offer the students, faculty, and staff that keep them saying “Wow!”, I’m showing just how useful, versatile and vital an academic library is on any campus.

Potpourri – what’s something random that’s worth knowing about you?

I am actively pursuing a side career in creative writing! Last year was the first time I was ever paid for my creative work, when I won second place in a contest for my flash fiction piece Season of the Dead.

Interview with Lori Wamsley, Lane Community College

Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library leaders across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Lori Wamsley, Library Director at Lane Community College, located in Eugene.

Thanks for talking with us, Lori!

Lori Wamsley Portrait

Lori Wamsley, Library Director, Lane Community College

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

I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to wear several different library “hats” in my library career.  I’ve been a library science instructor for the last 10 years, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  As a current national faculty member for Emporia State University’s SLIM program, I teach information technology, reference, and teaching/instruction. As a faculty member for Portland Community College’s Education department, I taught a wide range of library and education classes.  I’ve also worked as a reference and instruction librarian at Clark College and Portland Community College. In January 2016, I began working as the Library Director at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.

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

The best thing has been the opportunity to work with the dedicated library staff at Lane.  Lane’s vision statement is “transforming lives through learning” and I see that every day when library staff go above and beyond to help our students succeed and have a positive learning experience at Lane.  Whether it’s a librarian teaching a student how to use a particular resource, or a smile and kind word from our public services staff, or our student workers helping their fellow students with technology questions at our Student Help Desk (SHeD), everyone in the library contributes toward making the library the best place on campus.    

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

I really like assessment.  It is an essential tool for ensuring our libraries stay relevant to and engaged with patrons and their information needs.  While some see assessment as a dreaded task, I see it as an opportunity to see what is working and what is not.   Either way, engaging in assessment gives us the chance to explore and reflect on our practice and the option to let go of things that aren’t working or find new ways to make them work.  It also gives us a chance to celebrate our successes and share them with others on our campus.   

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

Assessment, of course! One of Lane’s strategic goals this year is to improve our assessment practices college-wide and as a Library, we’ll be looking at ways that we can improve our own work as well as how we can support other learning and service departments and programs college-wide with assessment of information literacy skills.

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

A few fun facts:

  • Lane is the third largest community college in Oregon, encompassing an area of 4,600 square miles from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean that includes the Eugene/Springfield area and smaller communities such as Cottage Grove and Florence.
  • Lane is in the process of searching for our 7th president, as our current President, Dr. Mary Spilde, will retire in June 2017.
  • The Library has been part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance since 2005.
  • We have rafter of turkeys that live on and around our campus.

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

Advocacy for academic libraries is about getting out of the library and connecting and partnering with other departments and programs on my campus. Liaison work is not a new concept to academic libraries, but the need to focus more on customized outreach to departments and programs and helping students and faculty at their point of need has become an essential function for us at community college libraries.  This takes a lot of advocacy on my part to facilitate conversations and collaboration between library staff and college-wide staff.