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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

Interview with Drew Harrington, University of Portland

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 Drew Harrington, Dean of the Library at the University of Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Drew!


Drew Harrington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Interview with Karen Clay, EOU

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 Karen Clay, Library Director, at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Thanks for talking with us, Karen!

Pierce Library, Eastern Oregon University

Pierce Library, Eastern Oregon University


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hannah Gascho Rempel, ACRL-OR Past President (2015-2016)
Associate Professor & Science Librarian
Oregon State University Libraries
hannah.rempel@oregonstate.edu

Interview with Chris Shaffer, OHSU

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 Chris Shaffer, University Librarian and Associate Professor, at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.

Thanks for talking with us, Chris!


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

Chris Shaffer photo

Chris Shaffer (photo used with permission)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Uta Hussong-Christian, ACRL-OR President (2015-2016)
Associate Professor | Science Librarian
Oregon State University Libraries
uta.hussong-christian@oregonstate.edu