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ACRL-OR Board: Call for nominations

Interested in meeting other fantastic academic librarians and serving the academic library community in Oregon? Is there someone you know that would be a shining addition to the ACRL-OR Board? Here is an opportunity to get involved! The ACRL-OR Board is looking for candidates to run in our upcoming spring elections. 

The open positions are:

  • 1 Vice-President/President Elect (3 year term)
  • 2 Members-at-Large (2 year term)

View position descriptions and responsibilities for more information.

How to nominate:

To nominate yourself, a colleague, or an employee, submit our online nomination form. The nomination period will close on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. 


  • Vice-President/President Elect must be members of OLA and ACRL-Oregon and ACRL national
  • Member-at-Large candidates must be members of OLA and ACRL-Oregon


Please contact Michele Burke (michele.burke@chemeketa.edu) if you have any questions or concerns about the open positions.

Thank you,

The ACRL-OR Nominating Committee

Rachel Bridgewater
Patrick Wohlmut
Michele Burke


COVID-19 and Academic Libraries

The following is a letter from Candise Branum, ACRL-Oregon President

As many of you may already know, the World Health Organization has publicly classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. Across the country, K-12 schools are shuttering, colleges and universities are moving curriculum online, music festivals, conferences, and sporting events are cancelled or are proceeding without fans. When the NBA cancels the rest of the season, you know things are serious. So much has happened in the past few days that I don’t even know how to process it all.

One thing that has come up for me, though, is thinking about the academic library’s role in continuing education throughout a pandemic. As universities cancel in-person classes and move towards providing online education, libraries continue to remain open to provide services to suddenly displaced students. Some academic libraries are business as usual, while others are operating at reduced hours. There are a select few who are closing facilities altogether but are promoting online library services, like MIT. 

I was speaking with another library director at a smaller college recently about the decision to remain open or to close in the event that our respective organizations move curriculum online. We are both adamant about protecting our library staff, and she mentioned allowing her employees to work from home and staffing the library at reduced hours by herself. My first thought was, yes, this is absolutely something that I would do as well. And something that I have done. As a library director, sometimes you have to work an extra long day or otherwise pick up the slack; that is completely understandable. But then I started to question why I tend to not prioritize my own physical and mental health, and why administrations are not prioritizing the safety of library staff when making decisions to close facilities. 

So why do so many colleges come to the conclusion that being on campus and in a classroom is a risk, but justify keeping the library open? It almost feels like the burden has recklessly been displaced onto library staff. Moving curriculum online and leaving libraries to support those changes also makes the assumption that library staff are not high-risk themselves, or that they do not live with immunocompromised or elderly people. And what is the actual goal in keeping the library open? Is it primarily about access to the facilities? Because I think we could all be pretty creative in how we provide access to other library services, including reference, document delivery, and even book delivery. 

Why is it so hard to close a library? There is an assumption that libraries will continue to remain open, and of course we don’t want to disappoint our communities, but we’ve also been programmed to believe that it is our responsibility to lay our bodies on the line in order to remain open. Yes, I absolutely signed on to provide library services and to be a leader in difficult times. I am still here and committed to that. But I also pause to remind myself that Librarianship is a primarily female-identified profession, and that as academic librarians, we are seen as both educators and caretakers, and in the time of a crisis, martyrs. I question the extent to which we are expected to put our bodies on the line during this public health crisis. Public librarians (shout out!) are physically and mentally challenged every day, but I also think: where is the line? When do we value our own safety? I don’t have an answer to this except to say that this is the conflict I’m currently struggling with — valuing the health and safety of our library staff, and balancing that with our commitment to serving our communities through dangerous times. And understanding that there can be an intrinsic conflict in being both a caretaker and in taking care of yourself.

In times of crisis, libraries have the potential to be places of sanctuary. Sometimes a library provides computing services that allow students to continue their education online when they do not have the technology, space, or quiet that is required to do this from home (and this is all assuming that they have a safe home). Sometimes a library’s value can be as simple as providing a safe, warm space for people to rest. But there is no road map for how academic libraries handle a pandemic. Oregon colleges and universities have yet to close down their campuses, but as administrations prepare for what seems to be the inevitable, I encourage everyone working in academic libraries to take a moment to think about your own values and boundaries. Think about how to balance the desire to support our students, but also make the right choice for yourself and your family when it comes to staffing your library during a healthcare crisis.

And continue to take care of yourself and one another.

Candise Branum
ACRL-Oregon President, 2019-2020

2020 Census Participation Will Have Critical Impact on Higher Education

Any librarian that has helped students or faculty access demographic data knows how essential the Census is for many research activities in higher education. But did you know that most federal programs that support higher education institutions, including those funding scholarships, college readiness, and research, rely on accurate Census data to allocate funding? In 2020 Census officials face an even bigger than normal challenge in getting an accurate count, given the distrust of government and concern over privacy in current times.

Academic library staff can help to boost 2020 Census participation among one of the country’s hard-to-count groups, college students. This highly-mobile part of the population is difficult to count because there is often confusion about where they should be counted and who is responsible for counting them.

Campus Census Advertisement

ALA provides a helpful guide that outlines how college students are counted, whether they live on campus, live at home, or rent off-campus. Getting these facts out to students when census participation is being promoted (mid-March through April 2020) is a great way to help insure accurate information is widely available. More outreach materials that explain confidentiality and residency issues are also available.

Partnering with faculty, student groups, or community organizations to host informational events about the Census is also a great way to help promote participation. Along with Census promotional materials, information resources like the Counting for Dollars research provided George Washington Institute of Public Policy or the Hard to Count 2020 map from CUNY’s Center for Urban Research help provide data and context for why Census participation is so important.

Oregon Counts 2020

Oregon-specific resources such as the Oregon 2020 Census Communications Toolkit and #WeCountOregon campaign offer promotional resources and messaging tailored specifically to Oregonians and those in hard-to-count communities throughout the state.

#countonlibraries logo

If you are looking for more promotion ideas or resources, see the State Library’s Census 2020 Resources for Oregon Libraries or Campus Compact’s 2020 Census hub. Aren’t finding what you’re looking for, or want to share a success story? Please let me know!  Arlene Weible, arlene.weible@state.or.us or 503-378-5020.


Collaborating for a Bird Safe Campus

By the Mt. Hood Community College Bird Safety Action Team

Photo of MHCC's Bird Safety Action Team

MHCC’s Bird Safety Action Team. From left to right: Troy Builta, Building Information Specialist, Facilities Management; Susan J. Spencer, Instructor – Anatomy & Physiology, Science; Mark Peterson, Faculty Librarian; Walter Shriner, Instructor – Biology, Science; Heather White, Library Technical Services and OER Coordinator

Having read the recent article “Decline of the North American Avifauna”¹ which explores and documents the alarming loss of migratory birds over the last 40 years (the U.S. and Canada have lost nearly 3 billion birds, a massive reduction in abundance involving hundreds of species, from beloved backyard songbirds to long-distance migrants), Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Library Technical Services and OER Coordinator Heather White decided to take action.

She has organized the Bird Safety Action Team, which operates under the oversight of the campus Infrastructure Council. This team is composed of herself as well as Library, Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology faculty, which is working with various relevant campus stakeholders and governing bodies in order to make the entire campus a safer environment for both the birds that call our campus home, and for those that visit during their annual migrations.

The team’s short term goals are to raise awareness and gather data from our campus community so we can have anti-collision bird-proofing on highest risk windows by February 2020, in time for the spring migration season. Long term goals include getting the entire campus certified as Bird Safe, Bee Safe, Tree Safe, and maybe certified by the Audubon Society as a “Backyard Wildlife Habitat” through their Institutional program.

In 2016, MHCC became the first Salmon-Safe certified community college in the country.

As this initiative continues, the action team will be working with faculty and students from a variety of programs, including Biology and Integrated Media, in order to implement bird safety solutions such as professional grade anti-collision window treatments, hosting nature-scaping workshops for the east county community, and habitat restoration projects across campus.

As the site of two Sandy River tributaries (Beaver and Kelly creeks), Mt. Hood Community College’s 212-acre Gresham Campus serves an integral role in the encompassing 500-square-mile Sandy River basin. The campus has more than 40 acres of forested lands, as well as wetlands, a 1.62 acre pond, and is home to several endangered species as well as large numbers of migratory birds and waterfowl. The unique nature of our campus provides the Bird Safety Action Team with an opportunity to have a significant impact on east county bird populations through local campus efforts.

This project is a wonderful example of how applied information literacy skills, along with the cross-pollination of skill sets and areas of expertise from a variety of discipline areas, can be utilized to great positive effect on campus and in the local community.

More information about this project can be found at the following libguide: https://libguides.mhcc.edu/birds

¹Rosenberg, Kenneth V, Adriaan M. Dokter, Peter J. Blancher, John R. Sauer, Adam C. Smith, Paul A. Smith, Jessica C. Stanton, Arvind Panjabi, Laura Helft, Michael Parr, and Peter P. Marra. “Decline of the North American Avifauna.” Science. 366.6461 (2019): 120-124. Print.


Professional Development Scholarship: Apply Now for Spring

ACRL-Oregon is delighted to announce a new round of Professional Development Scholarship awards.   Thanks to a matching-fund grant from the State Library of Oregon, ACRL-Oregon is able to offer up to $675  for each award for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Applications are accepted at three points throughout the year (see below for specific deadlines); we are currently soliciting applications for the March 27th deadline. Applications will be reviewed within two weeks after the application deadline.

How can the scholarship be used?

The ACRL-Oregon Professional Development Scholarship may be used toward conferences, workshops, courses, seminars, or other learning opportunities (including e-learning opportunities) appropriate to the applicant. The funding priority is registration and transportation costs incurred by the applicant. 

For examples of how past recipients have used their awards, see these posts on the ACRL-Oregon blog:

  • Serenity Ibsen, Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) annual conference as a director representing the Association of Independent Colleges of Art
  • Kim Olson-Charles, Personal Librarian and First-Year Experience conference
  • Maureen Flanagan Battistella, American Association for State and Local History conference, presentation on digital collections of local history
  • Kate Rubick, ACRL national conference, panel presentation on library-faculty teaching collaboration using BEAM
  • Darci Adolf, e-course on copyright

Professional Development Scholarships will not be awarded for ACRL-OR/WA Fall Conference attendance as this annual event has its own scholarships.

Who is eligible?

  • All ACRL-Oregon members in good standing.
  • In awarding scholarships, preference will be given to:
    • Applicants from diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds and/or historically marginalized groups
    • Applicants employed at institutions or in positions serving under-represented groups
    • Applicants who have not previously been awarded an ACRL-OR scholarship
    • Applicants employed at community or technical colleges or applicants employed at smaller or rural institutions with limited funding

Who is not eligible?

  • Non ACRL-Oregon members.
  • Individuals who have already been awarded an ACRL-OR scholarship in the current fiscal year

How will applications be evaluated?

Please visit our FAQ page, which contains our evaluation rubrics and answers to frequently asked questions.

How do I apply?

Apply for the scholarship using this online form.


Applications will be accepted at three points throughout the 2019-2020 year:

  • November 29, 2019
  • March 27, 2020
  • July 31, 2020

For more information, contact the ACRL-OR Board President:

Candice Branum
ACRL-OR President, 2019-2020

Join ACRL-Oregon for a free webinar – “Improving Library Tutorials: The Multimedia Design Principles”

ACRL-Oregon offers free webinars on topics relevant to academic library staff. Our upcoming webinar is “Improving Library Tutorials: The Multimedia Design Principles” and will be presented by Darlene Aguilar, Instructional Design Librarian at Loyola Marymount University, on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific.

Are you creating online modules, videos, or tutorials to teach information literacy skills?

Whether designing instruction online or in-person, you must implement research-based instructional methods for successful learning to occur, and Mayer’s Multimedia Design Principles are the best place to start. In this session, you will better understand the relationship between memory and learning to differentiate between effective and ineffective multimedia with the guidance of 12 principles: multimedia, spatial contiguity, temporal contiguity, coherence, modality, redundancy, individual differences, signaling, pacing, concepts first, personalization, and human voice.

Join us for this live webinar to ensure your questions get answered and you are able to apply these principles in your own tutorials.

Registration is open to any library staff-person, but we are limited to 100 attendees in the session, so register soon! 


We also plan to record the webinar and make it available on our YouTube channel. If you register, we will email you a link to the recording after the session. Questions about our webinars can be directed to ACRL-Oregon President Candise Branum at acrlor@olaweb.org


New Undergraduate Research & Writing Studio Opens at Concordia University

The Concordia University Libraries recently opened a new Undergraduate Research and Writing Studio. The new space is located on the first floor of the George R. White Library & Learning Center and will operate by a studio-based learning model, meaning that students can drop in to work on their papers at their own pace with the help of peer tutors. The Studio will still offer some 45-minute appointment sessions as well as online help for distance students. Faculty are also encouraged to reserve the space for their classes.

Photo of Research & Writing Center Ribbon Cutting

At a grand opening event on January 22nd, student tutors, faculty, and staff were on hand to celebrate the new space. Interim President Tom Ries was in attendance, where he remarked on the importance of Concordia University supporting student writing.

Acting Dean of Libraries Nancy Hoover also gave remarks at the event, stating that the reorganization of Concordia’s college structure, which resulted in moving the Writing Center into the library, “created a wonderful opportunity, not only for the co-location of the vital student resources of Research and Writing, but also the formation of a deep collaboration of student focused support.” She also emphasized how the new Studio will “provide strong support for student choice, access, and success” as well as provide opportunities for the Writing Center to collaborate with librarians. Krista Reynolds, Head of Reference & Instruction, also emphasized the opportunities for collaboration. “I’m excited the librarians have the opportunity to join forces with writing services to serve students even more seamlessly and effectively than ever,” she said.

The Studio is meant to be an active learning space. “Studio pedagogy is a different framework for the process of how students learn to be better writers. It engages the process of research as well as the process of generating ideas, drafting, and revision,” Meg Roland, Undergraduate Writing Chair and Director of the Research and Writing Studio shared. “The Reference librarians are here to support the mutually informed process of researching, reading, evaluating, synthesizing, and drafting.” Roland says that the learning model for the Studio will incorporate practices found at other Northwest universities like Oregon State and Western Washington that have a studio-based learning model to support research and writing.

Join ACRL-Oregon for a free webinar – What is quantitative data good for?

ACRL-Oregon offers free webinars on topics relevant to academic library staff. Our upcoming webinar is “What is quantitative data good for? Throwing great big noisy fusses about white colonial power structures.  *An ode to Ramona Quimby” and will be presented by M. Brooke Robertshaw, PhD, Assistant Professor and Assessment Librarian at Oregon State University on Thursday, January 30th, 2020, at 10am Pacific.

If you don’t know Ramona Quimby, through this presentation you will learn a bit more about her.  If you do know her, you know she is  all about justice and fairness, but sometimes context needs to be changed so we can get to that space of justice. Thus, this webinar will discuss how, as a society, we got to a space where we are using quantitative methods as a tool of oppression, how we can rethink these uses, and ways to think about research as activism. Data, like Ramona’s rain boots, should be shown off, but it’s much prettier when we can rinse off some of the muck of white patriarchal colonialism.

Registration is open to any library staff-person, but we are limited to 100 attendees in the session, so register soon!


We also plan to record the webinar and make it available on our YouTube channel. If you register, we will email you a link to the recording after the session.


Congratulations to Professional Development Scholarship Winners!

ACRL-OR is delighted to announce the awarding of a professional development scholarship to Steve Silver, the Library Director at Northwest Christian University.  Mr. Silver will be attending the 2020 OLA Annual Conference in Bend, Oregon.  He will be representing private colleges at a session sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Committee on diversity and inclusion and sharing his experiences working at a private, Christian liberal arts college.

Photo of Steve Silver

Steve Silver, Director, Kellenberger Library at Northwest Christian University

Congratulations to Steve Silver on receiving this scholarship.  We wish Mr. Silver safe travels to Bend and look forward to hearing about his experiences following the conference in May.

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

Head shot of Ginny Blackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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