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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.

Re-cap: University of Portland Library’s Digital Privacy Checkup

University of Portland (UP) librarians Jane Scott, Heidi Senior, and Diane Sotak, along with two library student workers, offered a Digital Privacy Checkup pop-up event on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, that we thought other ACRL-OR members would like to know about. We were inspired by similar events (Sullivan et al., 2018) elsewhere that have been successful.

Photo of UP Digital Privacy Chceckup

Digital Privacy Checkup pop-up event in the University of Porland Library lobby

Heeding research related to attendance at traditional library workshops (Witherspoon & Taber, 2018) recommending that librarians “be there,” (i.e., be where the students are) we set up in the library’s lobby rather than holding a drop-in workshop, and we were “pushy” (Witherspoon & Taber, p. 12), approaching students as they entered the building to ask if they “wanted to learn a little bit about digital privacy.”

The event had two main themes “Creating Strong Passwords” and “Your Digital Footprint (Understanding What the Internet Knows About You).” These themes correspond to pages of resources on a Digital Privacy Checkup LibGuide we created for the event. We set up four laptops on tables in the lobby so that students could explore the LibGuide’s sites, with a spinner provided by the UP Student Activities office as a fun way to select a site at random. We offered a diceware game (Reinhold, 2019) to illustrate the passphrase approach to creating strong passwords. We also set up two whiteboards asking students to share their concerns about digital privacy, and to fill in the blank: “I am concerned about sharing ____ on the Internet.”

In addition to these activities, we gave out freebies: zine-style instruction booklets about creating a strong password (McElroy, 2018); “#cyberaware” pens and magnets provided by UP’s Information Services unit; and buttons designed by our Digital Lab Coordinator José Velazco with three sayings: “I’m a Privacy Superhero,” “Bet You Can’t Guess My Password,” and “I Had a Digital Privacy Checkup Today.”

Compared with traditional drop-in workshops at which we’d feel lucky to have five attendees, this event reached many more people; for example, we gave out 50 zine-style instruction booklets about creating a strong password, and nearly 100 cards with the LibGuide address. We enjoyed the discussion with students about their privacy online, and their concerns or lack of concerns, as another benefit of this type of workshop. We are planning another event to observe International Data Privacy Day on January 28, 2020.


McElroy, K. (2018). Password 1234: How to use diceware to build a strong passphrase.      Library Freedom Institute. Retrieved from https://github.com/alisonLFP/libraryfreedominstitute/blob/master/assignments/week3/McElroy%20Week%203.pdf

Reinhold, A. (n.d.). The Diceware passphrase home page. Retrieved from http://world.std.com/~reinhold/diceware.html

Sullivan, M., Rainey, H., Cross, W., & Nakasone, S. (2018). Digital safety and privacy: Raising awareness through library outreach. Presentation at the Online Northwest conference, Portland, Oregon. Retrieved from https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/onlinenorthwest/2018/presentations/11/

Witherspoon, R., & Taber, P. (2018). Student attendance at library workshops: What the data tells us. Presentation at the Workshop on Instruction in Library Use (WILU) conference, Ottawa, Ontario. Retrieved from http://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/37937

A Response to “Yes but…”

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

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the ACRL-Washington/Oregon Joint Conference at Pack Forest. The conference theme was Whiteness and Racism in Academic Libraries: Dismantling Structures of Oppression; I’ll write a separate review of my experiences at the conference in another article, but I left the conference feeling like I had some specific tools to confront microaggressions in the workplace and a bit more hopeful about the possibility of change in academic library culture.

And then less than a week later, the latest issue of OLA Quarterly was delivered to my inbox. The closing article, Yes, but… One Librarian’s Thoughts on Doing It Right was extremely disturbing; as many of our colleagues have already pointed out, the article diminishes the work, experiences, and knowledge that women of color provide in leading discussions of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), and instead centers the author’s own experience as a white woman as the “right way” to do this work. This is an inflammatory article, in which the author specifically names and critiques BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) scholars and allies for intentionally making white people feel bad and uninformed.

There is no excuse for this. We need to do better.

White librarians have to reckon with both our institutional and our own individual roles in white supremacy. Hosting White Nationalist groups explicitly puts the safety of our communities at risk; this is not a question of intellectual freedom, but of ensuring that our communities literally are not in fear for their well-being. As allies, white librarians must be the ones to step up and do the emotional labor of working towards racial justice, and not just waiting for our BIPOC colleagues to point out injustices; if we are passive or neutral, we are inherently supporting the racist, white supremacist status quo. There is no getting over this: the culture will not change unless white librarians force a change.

Since returning from Pack Forest, I’ve been doing some soul searching about my role in disrupting whiteness in both my personal life and my professional one. I’d like to explore how ACRL-Oregon as a body can propel the conversation forward in a community-driven and constructive way, and to build a network of librarians unified in doing work (not just making statements) towards racial justice. I obviously don’t have all the answers, but I do still have hope that our community will continue to grow together, and that we can work together in confronting white supremacy in our profession.

Some additional reading:

Candise Barnum
ACRL-Oregon President, 2019-2020

Congratulations to the Winners of the ACRL-Oregon School/Academic Librarian Collaboration Scholarship

We are pleased to announce the recipients of funding for the current cycle of the ACRL-Oregon School/Academic Librarian Collaboration Scholarship, which was created to foster collaboration between academic librarians and school librarians: Maureen Battistella of Southern Oregon University, and Carol Bailey of Eagle Point High School. Carol is a School Media Specialist and Maureen is an MLS librarian who has a faculty appointment in Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology program.


They have three project goals:

  • to document new local history resources, including pioneer diaries, oral histories, historic photos and video, and to develop an Eagle Point Historic Resources Guide / finding aid for these resources;
  • to supplement instruction in Eagle Point High School teaching and learning;
  • to move an already-existing oral history workshop into an online course delivery environment, where it will be open to local museums, historical societies, public libraries, and schools at no cost.

Funding provided by this award will support Maureen and Carol’s work on this project, and will enable them to purchase microphones and tripods to support video and audio capabilities on already-existing iPads. They are planning to purchase the equipment in preparation for Eagle Point’s 2020 spring term; during the spring term, they will develop the Historic Resources Guide and the online workshop. They plan to be mostly completed with the project by the end of June 2020, with some online course testing and revision continuing through the summer. 

Our congratulations to Maureen Battistella and Carol Bailey. We wish you a successful collaboration and look forward to seeing your reports on the outcomes of this work!

Interview with Kristine Alpi, OHSU Library

Photograph of Kristine Alpi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply now for the ACRL-OR Professional Development Scholarship

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 November 29th 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.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received a Professional Development Scholarship from ACRL-Oregon.


Congratulations to ACRL-OR/WA 2019 Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to Katherine McDonald and Tova Johnson who both recently received $155.00 scholarships from the ACRL-OR scholarship committee to cover registration costs for the 2019 ACRL-Oregon and Washington Joint Fall Conference. The conference is October 24-25, 2019 at the Pack Forest Conference Center in Eatonville, WA. The scholarship is designed for those who live and/or work in Oregon and more information can be found on the ACRL-OR Scholarships page.

Katherine is an MLIS student living in Clatsop County, Oregon. She volunteers as a tutor for Clatsop Community College’s literacy program, focusing on ESL (English as a Second Language) adult students. Katherine works to improve the dialogue and understanding towards the marginalized demographics of Clatsop County.

Tova is a Health Sciences librarian at OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University). She is looking forward to this conference because it addresses racism in academic libraries. Tova works to make academic libraries more diverse, inclusive and equitable for all.

Apply Now: K-12/Academic Librarian Collaboration Scholarship

Applications are currently open for ACRL-OR’s K-12/Academic librarian collaboration scholarship. Up to $1000 is available to support a joint project involving an academic and a school librarian. The application deadline is Oct. 18, 2019.

Who is eligible?

  • All Oregon academic and school librarians
  • Preference will be given to teams that include at least one ACRL-Oregon member in good standing
  • Preference will also be given to applicants who have not previously received a School/Academic Librarian Collaboration Scholarship from ACRL-Oregon

Who is not eligible?

Academic and school librarians outside of Oregon (unless part of a team of collaborators that includes at least one Oregon librarian).

How can the scholarship be used?

This funding opportunity covers any collaboration between at least one school librarian and at least one academic librarian that the applicant(s) can make a good case for. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sponsorship to attend, exhibit, or present at a relevant conference (OASL, regional conferences, or others)
  • Creation of programming, such as a conference, workshop, unconference, or pre-conference
  • Work on a collaborative research project
  • Something else we haven’t thought of

Find examples of past projects from 2019 and 2018 on the ACRL-Oregon blog.

How will applications be evaluated?

Reviewers will look for applications that:

  • Have at least one applicant who is a member of ACRL-Oregon.
  • Demonstrate meaningful collaboration between school and academic librarians.
  • Have the potential to favorably influence information literacy awareness/education in Oregon.


  • First round due October 18, 2019, 5:00pm.
  • Second round deadline TBA if there is still scholarship funding to be awarded.

Apply today! Follow the scholarship application link to access the application.

Contact Meredith Farkas, ACRL-OR Scholarship Committee Chair, with any questions (contact info below).

Meredith Farkas
ACRL-Oregon President, 2018-2019
Portland Community College

Join ACRL-Oregon for a free webinar about data visualization on 9/13 at 10am!

ACRL-Oregon offers free webinars on topics relevant to academic library staff. Our upcoming webinar is “Data Visualization: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” and will be presented by Negeen Aghassibake, Data Visualization Librarian at the UW Health Sciences Library on Friday September 13th, from 10-11am Pacific.

Data Visualization: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

This webinar is designed to be an overview of the fundamentals of data visualization. If you’re new to data visualization or are just curious about what it is and why it’s important, then please join us!

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.