ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

Char Booth Workshop March 28, 2012

Filed under: Conferences — ellie @ 2:53 am

My report back to my college from Char Booth’s workshop at Macalester College in October:

A brief description of new ideas and information obtained:

Libraries/librarians as indicator species. “An indicator species is an organism whose presence, absence, or abundance reflects a specific environmental condition.” Indicative of values of the time. That is, as a group of individuals possessing qualities representative of a thriving intellectual democracy (intellectual and social freedom, information access, intrinsic motivation) that are among the first to be threatened in times of strife and scarcity.

Emphasis on higher level critical thinking. Not “this is a trust worthy source,” but instead, “there are paths to information and you need to understand those paths from a social p.o.v. Who put it there? Who wrote it? Why?”

An effort to develop a local community of practice.

USER model for instructional design.

  • Understand (identify problem, analyze scenario)
  • Structure (create targets, involve & extend)
  • Engage (develop materials, deliver instruction)
  • Reflect (assess impact, revise & reuse)

Included an important reminder that most of us (librarians) have experiences and memories that predispose us towards libraries, but we may be the first library/librarian that our students encounter. (e.g. CA has cut media specialists – aka school librarians – entirely.)

Ideas Normandale Community College may want to consider implementing:

  • Homework prior to library instruction sessions geared towards giving students a chance to explore library resources on their own so that first contact is outside of the classroom and classroom time can work towards more complex goals. Move beyond tasks & tools to concepts. Also, asking students to try to find a book first made them more willing to listen because they’d’ had failures.
  • Use consistent reflective practice techniques, e.g. 3 question reflection
    • What was positive about the interaction
    • What was negative about the interaction
    • Describe one thing you’d like to improve or follow up on
    • Identify key threshold concepts in library instruction as areas of focus (e.g. purpose of citations, types of information, not everything is online, disciplinary vocabulary). “A threshold concept is a tipping point in the learning process related to a specific content area, difficult to grasp, but fundamental to understanding.”
    • Look for opportunities to collaborate with specific programs to integrate library instruction across a series of courses. Aka curriculum mapping – what ideas/scaffolding are being built across the curriculum? Where are specific concepts being duplicated or missed? (Nursing might be a good program to work with)
    • Hang library bill of rights near entrance.
    • Remember to explain the point of each exercise, why did we do it, what did we want you to learn

A description of the activity’s value to the college, your department and to yourself:

The presentation and workshop included both a large chunk of practical takeaways (including all the ideas listed in the above section as well as smaller and more specific activities, tools and useful metaphors to use in instruction sessions) and a healthy dose of educator cheerleading, reminding us why we became librarians and why education matters. We are here to make a better society for everyone. It was fantastically inspiring to be in a room full of educators actively focused on improving our instruction and learning from each other. The college, my department and I (and our students) will all benefit both from the influx of new ideas and my own renewed energy and dedication.

Other comments:

Additional resources:


Library Technology Conference (March 15)

Filed under: LTC 2012 — ellie @ 2:47 am

Chatting over the morning snacks I got some reading suggestions, including Kathleen de la Pena McCook. I also wrote a note to myself to find ‘that article about porn and cats – political ,’ which showed up as my first hit when I searched for ‘internet cats and porn political’. I do love the internet. It was “The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism

Keynote: Larry Johnson

I apparently took no notes on this one. He did announce that they would be doing a Horizon Report specifically for libraries.

Prove it! Me Report Pretty One Day

This was my stand out session. Software suggestions of tableau public for visualization. (note to check whether we can upload our data). Also hohli.

Reminder to use macros. Can record a process and have Excel re-run it. (to clean up data among other things) e.g. Excel can list the most common words (analyzing open ended question answers). Note to self to follow up on getting analytics set up for the library website (can you believe we don’t have that!?). There was a particularly good slide about targeting reports, something I’m aware of in my writing in general, but maybe haven’t put as much thought into in reporting. Suggestion of book – The Non-Designer’s Design Book.

Suggestion to use templates and smart art in Word.


Another slide had a great example of prettying up a report and displaying #s more effectively.

I have a note that says “links to library resources from D2L” which I’m not sure what I meant to tell myself with, but I’m leaving it here in case I remember.

Good charts read top to bottom and left to right, like we’re used to.

Think about flow between graphs.

There was a great chart about “goodness” of citations.

Assess the report and outcome.

note to self: double check LibData for analytics, follow up with IT on analytics for library website

Lunch: There was board gaming during Thursday lunch. I didn’t game, but I was interested in connecting with fellow librarian gamers and it looks like the people running the games may be working on a mailing list.

Books on the floor: teaching information literacy

Students most appreciated learning how to identify credible sources. This was interesting since my own surveys at ACC tended to show students most appreciating learning about keywords. I don’ t think I’ve discovered a trend yet at Normandale. (reminder to re-institute my minute papers next semester when we’re not doing this big assessment project.)

Maybe discuss how Google tailors results?

Example – holds a bottle of soda, has them describe it. explains “those are search terms”

primary sources from WWi = great war

splits room and has half do Google and half databases

Talking about different tools, sometimes Google is good, e.g. careers


FAIR and OIM – 2 different immigration sites

Overall, I had several good takeaways from this session. It did delve into one of my pet peeves – teaching with joke sites – but there was plenty of other great stuff.

Approaches to Database Management: Did Our Comprehensive Review Work?

1 big project each year on a 4 year cycle (weed, journals, databases, satisfaction)

serials solutions has an overlap analysis (do we use this at Normandale?)

canceled bio abstracts, picked up scopus

messages coming from Dean’s office = good (as opposed to coming from librarian)

charts of database usage over months

proxy server statistics (<-that’s a thing, look into)

See if Mayya knows about SUSHI


Homegrown Usability Testing– Will It Provide Results?


book – Rocket Surgery Made Easy


Library Technology Conference (March 14) March 21, 2012

Filed under: LTC 2012 — ellie @ 4:15 pm

Minnesota has a wealth of professional development opportunities for librarians. In October I attended a fantastic workshop lead by Char Booth (I’m just realizing I never wrote about that here, so I’ll post my report to my college shortly.) and last week I attended the Library Technology Conference held at Macalester College. I had mistakenly thought this was just a local thing, but chatted with librarians from New York and North Dakota.

Links for the conference include:

The keynote speakers were all engaging, though it was a little disappointing that they were all white men.

In order, the sessions I attended were:

Keynote: Andrew McLaughlinFight for the Future: Libraries, Tech Policy, and the Fate of Human Knowledge

Andrew talked about storage costs going down, computing power going up. He showed a map of Africa getting cables. “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” He gave an overview of the internet and its architecture. Carriers don’t act as editors. Some specialty terms – abstraction (the idea that you don’t have to start from scratch to build tools and services, you mix existing tools, e.g. to make apps & specialty websites), disruption (disruptive of old channels, e.g. Kickstarter is disruptive of old funding models). Khan Academy (note to self to share with our STEM department).

Egypt required all carriers to connect through a single building, thus Egypt was able to shut down the internet. Surveillance from phone companies. Borderless internet vs. bordered nations. Borderless internet worth defending. Goes with American ideals. The government and libraries should be about platform – making data available in machine readable form. Showed a Latvian petition site that lets you get floor time in govt. We the People is modeled on that, but only gets you a response from a White House rep.

His hot issues for librarians:


  • broadband
  • spectrum
  • municipal wifi

Policy directs competition and what spectrums of wireless are available.

Open internet:

  • net neutrality
  • wireless
  • competition (or lack of)

Copyright & the regulation of creativity:

  • copyright office modernization
  • open access to research papers
  • orphan works

There are some open access bills in congress now – write your reps.

Advocacy organizations:

  • Public Knowledge
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Access Now

Internet also weakens traditional methods of communication.

Assessing & Building Digital Literacy Skills for Low-skilled Adults: A Practical Approach

This presentation was very interesting. A group of people created Basic Computer Digital Literacy Standards as well as an assessment and certificate. I would have loved more on how to teach these competencies, but that’s not what the session’s focus was.

Keynote: Chad MairnTransforming Our Vision to Enhance Library Services

He also shared a link to a real-time collaborative notebook, but it looks like it wasn’t used. People were tweeting a lot though.

This presentation struck me as a whirlwind trip through some tech that’s maybe worth looking at. It reminded me to create a LibX toolbar/searchbox for my new library, I learned about the Open Library digitization service and the Booklamp recommendation site.

The thing that I always find difficult with these rah rah technology talks is the insistence on how easy it all is. There was a mention of how easy Google Hangouts is. I am pretty darn good with technology, as is my husband. We tried chatting with his father and another friend who happened to be online and it took us a while to get it working. My brother is as good as me if not better and we tried to use the GChat video feature so I could see my niece, but we couldn’t get his audio working. I think there was also a comment along the lines of, no money for Windows? install Linux! I’m all for open source, but not without acknowledging the drawbacks. He did have a great collection of fantastic programs and plenty of enthusiasm though.

Introduction to the New American Factfinder

This session was clearly for people already familiar with the old American Factfinder (which I am not). It was still easy enough to follow along and do the exercises, but not quiet the ‘here’s the kind of stuff you can find here’ I was hoping for. But like the assessment session earlier, that wasn’t the intention of the session, so I can’t fault it.

Next up, Thursday!