Musings for the week

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If Monday is the day you are rudely awakened from weekend “chillin,” then Tuesday is when it really sinks in that sitting around wearing fuzzy socks, reading poetry and drinking chai tea, while listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s newest album is, while lovely, not a thing you get to do for another three days. So instead, I’m sitting in my cubical, drinking chai tea, and listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s newest album while working on a project. That works, I guess.

 

Since starting my new rotation, I’ve spent time over the past week meeting with the other research and instruction librarians to find out more about their liaison roles and identify possibilities for co-teaching and projects. Since my core academic interests lie in education and African American studies, I am particularly interested in opportunities in those areas. One of the outcomes of my meeting with the history librarian was a project which involves identifying gaps in the collection, where we need to beef up content that either supports faculty research, serves as an enrichment to academic coursework, or is just important to have. I’m especially looking at cross-curricular ties.

I had a conversation with my residency coordinator a few weeks back about building a sustainable model for collection development that is culturally relevant, I guess would be the best way to saying it. In other words, how do we best ensure that our collection development policies allow for addressing multiculturalism and diverse views in library materials? I’ve been thinking about that a lot while brainstorming for this project. I feel like identifying gaps and thinking about sustainable collection development go hand in hand.

One of the prevalent ideas I’ve seen mentioned is that it’s not enough to just “diversify” your collections, though that’s definitely a good thing. It’s also important to let people know the information is there. Whether that’s through targeted outreach, programming, faculty communication, or partnership with other campus organizations, making those connections between the people and the information is key.

Speaking of outreach, another identified project, from meeting with the student engagement librarian, involves working with one of our A-List students to promote outreach to student organizations who may not typically be involved with the library. The focus of this initiative is on student groups with an academic focus and student groups that support students of color. I’m sure you’ll hear more about that later.

Schomberg and Grace (2005) stated that academic library collections should in some way reflect the demographics of the student body, because while library collections support academic research, they also serve to address the personal information needs of students. On a socio-cultural note, college remains a time that many young adults are (hopefully) exploring, being exposed to different views, and solidifying their worldviews.  Knowing not just how to effectively locate information and evaluate information quality, but also having access to quality information during this process is a good thing.

So how does it all fit together into a sustainable model for collection development? I…will let you know once I’ve figured that out. But a starting point for identifying gaps could be looking at academic programs, areas that the university has highlighted as being important to current and future institutional goals, and the demographic makeup of the student body and assessing how these needs can be integrated into current collection development decisions for maximum cross-curricular ties. Also, consulting lists, H-Net, and departmental academic requirements for competency. In particular, I’m focusing on history, which is sooo multidisciplinary.

And now I’m going to shut up, because that’s what happens when I think while I write. Too many words.

 

Further reading:

Gilbert, E. D. (2005). Diversity and collection development. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/24/

Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of multilingual collections and services. (2007). Reference & User Services Quarterly47(2), 198-200.

Morales, M., Knowles, E. C., & Bourg, C. (2014). Diversity, Social Justice, and the Future of Libraries. portal: Libraries and the Academy14(3), 439-451.

Schomberg, J., & Grace, M. (2005). Expanding a collection to reflect diverse user populations. Collection Building24(4), 124-126. doi:10.1108/01604950510629282

Walter, S. (2005). Moving beyond collections: Academic library outreach to multicultural student centers. Reference Services Review33(4), 438-458.

Young, C. L. (2006). Collection Development and Diversity on CIC Academic Library Web Sites. The Journal Of Academic Librarianship32370-376. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2006.03.004

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