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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.

 

 

Interview with Megan Dugan, Mt. Hood 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 Megan Dugan, Library Director at Mt. Hood Community College, just east of Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Megan!


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

I started library work as a Page in the circulation department at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District’s Vancouver Community Library in 1991. Since that fateful day, I’ve been a library assistant, children’s specialist, information services specialist, bookmobile driver, circulation supervisor, substitute coordinator, and patron services manager in the public library.

In 2013, I was hired at Mt. Hood Community College Library as the public services manager. I decided to go to library school in 2014 after our director retired, which is when I became library manager. I graduated from Emporia State University in 2015 and became the library director at MHCC!

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

Earlier this year we were able to restore a third tenured faculty librarian position that had been reduced in 2012. This position fills a huge need for our library, staff, faculty and students.

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

I cry when I laugh. And I cry all the time so I carry my grandmother’s old handkerchiefs everywhere.

Megan Dugan, Library Director at Mt. Hood Community College

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

With our year seven accreditation this fall we have work to do on assessment of our services to ensure that students are being served effectively across all our facilities and academic divisions.

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

It’s not actually ON the mountain. It always interests me how many people ask what it’s like getting to the campus in wintertime. You know, with all the snow on the mountain?

Though the MHCC district does encompass Mt. Hood, the campus is actually located in east Multnomah County just outside of Troutdale, http://mhcc.edu/District/.

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

For me, this has been one of the most interesting parts of working in an academic library. I am continuously discovering areas for growth and learning how vital advocacy for my library is even within my own institution.

Coming from a public library district where all of the staff worked in a library, it’s a stark contrast when only a few people in an organization work in the library. We promote our services through our district communications department, by visiting lots of council meetings, and by bringing pop-up libraries to campus events whenever we can. Visibility is key!


Jennifer Snoek-Brown, ACRL-OR Communications Coordinator (2014-2016)
Faculty Librarian
Mt. Hood Community College

Interview with Luke Kralik, Clatsop 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 Luke Kralik, the Library Director at Clatsop Community College, located in Astoria.

Thanks for talking with us, Luke!


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

I began my library career as a shelver for the Jackson County Library System and became a reference assistant once I started pursuing my MLS through Emporia’s distance program. When I completed my degree I was hired on as a part-time reference librarian.

Since then I have worked as a school librarian at Sacred Heart Elementary in Medford (eighteen storytimes a week!) a reference librarian at the Tillamook County Library (watched an ILS server die!) and as the library director at Tillamook Bay Community College (oversaw the library’s contribution towards the college’s successful accreditation!).

I currently work as the library director at Clatsop Community College, and am having a great time.

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

I have been at Clatsop for about a year now, and I would say the best thing that has happened to me has been the pleasure of working with the library staff. Their kindness is what really stands out. They genuinely put the needs of students first, and treat them with the respect and dignity they need to flourish. It is wonderful to be a part of!

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

I have three of the best fishing partners on the entire North Coast (my daughters)! Even though many of our trips have ended with someone falling in the water, or a bathroom emergency, I wouldn’t want to fish with anyone else.

Luke Kralik fishing with one of his daughters

A good catch of the day! Luke Kralik fishing with one of his daughters.

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

With our Seventh Year accreditation visit just a couple of years away, the entire campus is focusing on establishing and refining our assessment activities. While I embrace and value the benefits of assessment — refining, creating and implementing sound assessment practices can be a little daunting.

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

I think that when most people think of Clatsop Community College they think of the wonderful atmosphere and breathtaking views of the main campus. What many visitors are unaware of is our equally impressive Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station or MERTS.

Located near the mouth of the Columbia River, the MERTS campus is home to our Fire Response & Research Center, our Industrial & Manufacturing Technology Center, and the Forerunner, our 50’ bright yellow training vessel.

The next time you find yourself on the main campus, be sure to ask for a tour of our MERTS center!

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

Communication! We have a lot of great folks doing amazing work here in the library. I feel that it is my job as the director to let the rest of the campus know. I share as much as I can with the entire campus, whether it is survey results, new resources, or ongoing efforts. I feel sharing this information helps strengthen our connection with the library advocates across the campus, as well as helps open the door for feedback we might normally not receive.

It is not always easy being the person who is constantly sending out “all employee” emails, but I feel it has to be done!


John Schoppert, ACRL-OR Legislative Representative (2015-2017)
Director of Library Services
Columbia Gorge Community College
jschoppert@cgcc.edu

Interview with Nancy Hoover, Marylhurst University

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 Nancy Hoover, the University Librarian at Marylhurst University, just south of Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Nancy!


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

Nancy Hoover, University Librarian, Marylhurst University

Nancy Hoover, University Librarian, Marylhurst University

My name is Nancy Hoover, and I am the University Librarian (UL) at Marylhurst University. I have a BA in Literature from Antioch College and a MLS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute [now known as the “School of Information”] in Brooklyn, NY. I started out working in special libraries before moving into academics. I was Systems and Technical Services Librarian before becoming the UL at Marylhurst in 2003. As Systems Librarian, I guided the conversion from a card catalog to a stand-alone Dynix system and the conversion from the stand-alone system to the Innovative web-based system which included membership and integration in the Orbis Cascade Alliance. More recently, Marylhurst volunteered to be in the first cohort of libraries to go live on the new Orbis Cascade Alliance Shared Integrated Library System (SILS).

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

This is a tough question to answer because so many great things have happened to me since becoming the UL. If I had to pick one thing, it would be leadership opportunities. The Systems and Technical Services Librarian position I held was very much a behind-the-scenes job; I did not have a lot of contact with folks on campus. When I became the UL, I was suddenly on every committee and out in a very public-facing way. The UL is a very distinct and unique position on campus, one that gives you a neutral view of all programs and support systems without necessarily having a stake in their respective interests. Librarians are collaborators, and the library supports the entire university. Because of this, I was appointed to lead many initiatives and groups ranging from technology planning, strategic planning, and accreditation, and I was elected to serve as chair of the faculty governance organization. With the support of the MU administration, I was selected as a Frye Leadership Institute Fellow in 2012, currently named the Leading Change Institute, the EDUCAUSE leadership institute for librarians and technologists.

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

The most enjoyable parts of my job are mentoring (whether that is my team, library interns or mentees and volunteers) and teaching. I was mentored as a new library director by an experienced library director who I could still call on for advice if needed. I love sharing my experience and enthusiasm for our profession with new or soon-to-be new graduates, and in turn, I am inspired by those new to the profession who have innovative and creative ideas for teaching and learning. I have had several folks either go to library school while working at Marylhurst and/or move up into advanced positions in other libraries, and I am very proud of their success in our field. And I love teaching and having direct contact with students and helping them meet their goals. Although I no longer teach at Emporia or Portland State, I do teach classes here at Marylhurst.

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

I would have to say keeping up with technology will be our biggest challenge. The new integrated library system mentioned above is still in development and is constantly being improved, but along with improvements come challenges. Management of electronic resources forced a big organizational and structural change for us; the resources are embedded in our back-end-module unlike our previous arrangement where electronic resources were managed and paid for separately. It takes our entire staff to work closely together on upgrades, identifying bugs, creating workarounds, etc. Every day I count my lucky stars that I have such a diligent, hard-working, dedicated, and smart staff who like solving problems, and that we have the power of the Alliance with us.

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

Marylhurst is a small school but our small size allows us to be nimble and to respond to the needs of our students and the community. We are an outcomes-based, writing-intensive educational institution. Marylhurst was an early adopter of online distance learning in the 1990s and was a Beta-test site for WebCT. Also in the early 1990s, the university adopted information literacy outcomes in the undergraduate general education requirements, which at the time was quite innovative because we taught the required 3-credit information literacy class with face-to-face sections as well as online. Currently, the information literacy-required outcome is in a 3-credit research writing class that is co-taught by a librarian and a writing instructor. This class is one of only a few courses that students must take at Marylhurst; other general education requirements can be transferred in. Faculty were in unanimous support of this vitally important requirement for undergrads.

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

Academic libraries must demonstrate their value to the academy in terms of student and faculty success. Academic libraries are both an academic support and a student service. We are not the heart of the university; teaching and learning are the heart of the university, and libraries exist to support teaching and learning. We must demonstrate that the skills and knowledge we teach are critical to the success of students, while in school and later in their lives, as informed citizens and information-savvy members of society. To do this, libraries need to be involved in general education on campus to ensure that students are getting the information they need, and libraries need to have assessment plans that demonstrate the impact they have on student learning, retention, and success. Librarians need to be available to students at the point of need; at Marylhurst, our librarians are embedded in each online course shell so they are available when students have questions about their research. Lastly, we can advocate for ourselves by sharing our skills and expertise with the university, for example, by participating in the accreditation process, assisting with campus assessment projects, and creating digital repositories that serve the entire institution, to name but a few.


Elizabeth Brookbank, ACRL-OR Public Universities Representative (2015-2017)
Instruction Librarian
Western Oregon University
brookbanke@wou.edu

Interview with Jessie Milligan, Southwestern Oregon 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 Jessie Milligan, Librarian at Southwestern Oregon Community College (SOCC), in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Jessie supervises the SOCC campus library and library workers. We hear a lot about the larger institutions in the state, but this month we wanted to focus on some of the lesser-known Oregon academic libraries.

Thanks for talking with us, Jessie!


Jessie Milligan

Jessie Milligan, Librarian, Southwestern Oregon Community College

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

Sure, I actually started out as a journalist. For 30 years, I wrote feature stories for newspapers. Finally, there came a time where it felt like the internet was taking over everything, and I made a move to my real first love, libraries.

After graduating with my MLS, I worked in several public and academic libraries in the Fort Worth/ Dallas Area in Texas. Then in 2012, I felt the call to return to my Pacific Northwest homeland and accepted my current librarian position at SOCC.

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

I’ve noticed an increase in the number of students that use the SOCC library. Some of the projects that I took on in 2012 have helped the library be a space that better serves the student needs. We did an extensive weeding several years ago. It created additional study space, and we hired some congenial staff.

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

As of June 2016, I will be retiring from SOCC. I enjoy the peaceful and beautiful surroundings on this campus.

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

Advocacy. It’s a challenge to keep administration aware of what the library does and can do. There are people that still believe that libraries are only about physical books. Promoting and providing access to our digital resources is a big challenge. Also, administration needs to understand that students require training to operate these digital resources that we spend money on. Students need direction on how to access and when to use these resources

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

It’s a beautiful campus. Our students love this library. It overlooks a lake that is teaming with local wildlife. We are located just two miles from the Pacific Ocean. We are a small library in space and collections but have great services. These services offer students access to additional collections outside our school. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services from both Coos County and other library systems provide our students with access to excellent expanded resources. Coos County has a book mobile service that will deliver items directly to the Southwestern College library.

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

Constant promotion of the library and its services. Many of our students come from a rural background and are not necessarily tech savvy. They need the opportunity to access our facilities, our resources, and our staff.


~ Jennifer Cox, ACRL-OR -Member At-Large (2016)
Supervising Librarian, The Art Institute of Portland
jacox@aii.edu

Interview with Brent Mai, Concordia University

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 Brent Mai, Dean of Libraries, Concordia University in Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Brent!


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

Brent Mai, Dean of Libraries, Concordia University

Brent Mai, Dean of Libraries, Concordia University

I began my career in librarianship as an industry business analyst with Bell Northern Research (today Nor-Tel) in Dallas and moved on to become a competitive intelligence researcher with Brown & Root (today KBR) in Houston. I moved to academia with a faculty appointment in the Management & Economics Library of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University where I coordinated all instruction and integrated research methods classes into the entire curriculum. Purdue was followed by serving as the director of the Walker Management Library at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Almost 13 years ago, I came to Portland as the Dean of University Libraries at Concordia University. At Concordia, we’ve built a new library building and expanded the staff from 2.5 to 23.5 FTE (plus student workers) and the collections from 55,000 print volumes to over 160,000 print volumes and about 250,000 e-volumes.

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

Concordia became part of the Orbis-Cascade Alliance several years ago, and the friendships that have developed among the various library directors has been very rewarding, personally as well as professionally. They are a great group of people with a huge range of talent and expertise that they are willing to share with each other!

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

I’m a big advocate for the role of libraries (and more importantly librarians) in the academic community. Academic libraries are charged with oversight of a good-sized chunk of a given institution’s fiscal expenses that support the research capacity of its faculty and students. Academic librarians have a unique vantage point from which to observe and participate in the breadth of scholarly activities that take place on a campus, and our campus-wide observations and participation with faculty, staff, and students help us to allocate resources in the most effective and efficient way to support the institution’s mission. This role is critical to an institution’s success!

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

For the past several years, Concordia has experienced phenomenal growth in the size of its student body (from 1,000 to 9,000), and most of that growth has occurred in online programs. Being able to deliver the resources needed by the students and faculty in these programs is an ongoing challenge – both technologically and fiscally.

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

The faculty and staff of the Concordia University Libraries are top-notch people, and working with them is a distinct honor and privilege. During our unprecedented growth, we reached out to colleagues at other institutions for advice and support, and it’s now out turn to reciprocate and offer assistance to others who may need it now or in the future.

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

I think I covered this one up in Question 3!


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

Interview with Merrill Johnson, George Fox University

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 Merrill Johnson, University Librarian at George Fox University in Newberg.

Thanks for talking with us, Merrill!


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

Merrill Johnson

Merrill Johnson, University Librarian, George Fox University (personal photo provided)

I worked as a college student in a couple of different libraries before deciding to become a librarian. After receiving my M.L.S., I worked for six years at the Klamath County Library before coming to George Fox University to fill a reference position. After four years in reference, I became library director.

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

There really is not one thing that could be identified as THE best. Serving as director during a major addition/renovation project here at George Fox was a great opportunity, although it brought with it a number of unusual and difficult challenges. I have also been here long enough to see our building transformed through a major repurposing of space that reduced the size of the print collection, established a learning commons through which we added significant new technology and partnered with other departments, created new kinds of user spaces, purchased new furnishings, re-carpeted, and re-painted. It has been great to see the increased use of the building. We have also undergone some recent changes and improvements at our Portland Center library.

The move to digital resources has also been one of the best things that has happened. Not just databases and ejournals/ebooks, but the creation of Digital Commons@George Fox University (our institutional repository) and the positive impact it is having.

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

I enjoy researching family history, as well as studying and understanding the context in which they lived their lives. I also enjoy reading, traveling (although we don’t do nearly enough!), music (as a listener, not a participant), observing wildlife and nature (including the birds, squirrels, and fish that are a part of our yard), and I am a big sports fan.

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

Although this is something of an ongoing need, adapting to changing research service and information literacy needs. For example, major changes will soon be implemented in the general education package, and while we feel confident about the library’s information literacy role relative to these changes, this will be a time of some adjustment and change. We are also seeing an increase in demand for research consultations from advanced students, particularly in some graduate programs. This is actually a good thing, but it does stretch our human resources.

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

George Fox is a Christian university that has experienced remarkable growth and success over the past few decades. An undergraduate liberal arts college with about 550 students in 1986, it has grown to over 3,900 total students with more than forty majors, adult degree programs, six seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.

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

Academic libraries need to be very aware of the campus climate and the evolving needs of our users. Anticipating and understanding these needs and proactively finding ways to meet them is very important. We also need to be sure that key administrators understand that who we are and what we do meshes well with the larger institutional goals and priorities, and that in fact, the library helps the university achieve these goals and priorities.


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

Interview with Robert Felthousen, Rogue 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 Robert Felthousen, Library Department Chair at the Rogue Community College Libraries in southern Oregon.

Thanks for talking with us, Robert!


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

Robert Felthousen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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