Tag Archives: work

Where I’m at.

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It’s officially been one month since I assumed my new role. Classes start again in about three weeks. And it’s my birthday month. Yay birthday!

Before birthday (and the start of classes), though, comes a lot of prep work. I’m in the process of emailing faculty from the liaison departments I inherited. Our library is also in the process of switching over to Libguides from an in-house system, so I’m creating course guides for my assigned TSEMs and creating shell course guides for classes I’ve confirmed instruction for, but haven’t nailed down the specifics yet.

I have to admit, I still feel weird emailing professors and saying, “Hi! I’m your new liaison librarian.” But the more I get “Oh, that’s awesome. Can you come teach a session?” the more it sinks in. Part of my role involves supporting student retention and success, so I’ve been reaching out to faculty members teaching classes that either haven’t had a library component before or haven’t had a library component in a long time. Which is cool, because I’m basically building from the ground up.

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It seems there were a lot of problems

We’re also in the process of weeding the general collection. I’m working with the American History section (E in LCSH), which includes gems like the ones on the left. Also, can I add “a distinct negro strain” to my list of phrases? “Flavor of blackness” is also on the list. I found most of them in the archives 🙂 I’ll have to find them and share them at some point. Good stuff.

Also, I decided to take advantage of a few MOOCs*, because I like learning and I wanted to brush up on my education background knowledge, for a few reasons. A.) I work with the teacher education program on campus and it’s been a little while since I’ve actually studied education, besides leisure reading of articles and blogs. B.) I came across the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute a few weeks ago and was fascinated by the concept of a program that encompasses applied research, a school, and a teacher training academy. C.) I found an online course taught by
the director of the UC Urban Education Institute. and D.) I’m planning to apply for a Ph.D. program that will in part be focused on education and literacy. So I’m taking two MOOCs. One is Critical Issues in Urban Education  (offered by The University of Chicago, as mentioned) and the other one is Literacy Teaching and Learning: Aims, Approaches and Pedagogies (offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a focus on multiliteracies. Yes please.) 

So that’s what I’m up to. Oh, and I’m presenting at a conference next week, so I’m mentally preparing for that. Also, I can’t wait!

 

 

 

*MOOC = Massive Open Online Course. Interestingly, I’ve seen a few articles recently that describe MOOCs either designed in part (or whole) by students or that feature student contributions. I wonder what possibilities exist in that with information literacy and developing instruction modules for distance learners or larger classes where possibilities for F2F instruction are limited. Hmmm….

 

New job!

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Roughly a year ago, I was interviewing for jobs and sleeping off my grad school fatigue, trying to figure out what to do with my post-MLIS life. In July 2015, I ended up accepting a two year residency at Towson University and moving to the Baltimore region.Within that role, I’ve had the opportunity to complete a rotation in Technical Services, Research and Instruction, and part of a rotation in Special Collections and Archives. I learned a great deal in each division and count the residency as a valuable part of my early career formation. However…

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Professional me

I won’t be completing the remainder of my residency, because I’m excited to announce that I have accepted a permanent status (same as tenure-track) position as a Research and Instruction Librarian!! As of July 1st, my position became official. I knew coming into the program that there was no guarantee of post-residency employment, but I’m really happy it worked out for me to stay.

Within my new role, I will responsible for liaising to the College of Education; supporting student outreach and support, with a focus on retention of at-risk populations; and assessment of instruction programming. And you know what they say, other duties as assigned.

So here’s to the next few years of greatness as I work on building my dossier 🙂

The library as a community safe space

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“It was kind of overwhelming, but in a good way, you know? It felt safe, which…to be honest, is not always how I feel around here.”

I happened to be walking across campus last semester and overheard two students of color talking in front of me. They were leaving a student affinity group event, which, ironically, was located next door to the faculty/staff affinity group event that I was attending. The student’s comment made me, A.) nod in recognition, B.) smile at the student, and C.) wonder how this type of comment fits into the wider discussion about diversity and inclusion…

Discussions about diversity and inclusion have been all over the place of late, particularly with some of the racially driven incidents we’ve faced on campus recently. Additionally, articles abound about diversity in the workplace, diversity in library user populations, and diversity in hiring and retention. But what do we mean when we say diverse populations?

A few minutes ago, I was listening to a webinar on intersectionalities in education and they opened by doing an exercise in which individuals were supposed to identify five words that they would use to describe themselves. Then they had to limit to three words. And finally one word. The point of the exercise is that no one word or identify wholly encapsulates the entirety of our personhood, but in many cases, people see only the outwardly descriptive parts (gender, race, etc.) and there are many other identities that have just as much meaning.

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Students studying in the Glen at TU (image courtesy of TU)

When we talk about diversity, we too often stop at the outwardly descriptive identities. That’s not to say that those identities aren’t important (tbh, if I had to pick one identity, it would probably be race), but they’re not the only ones.

This summer, I’m taking a stab at addressing some of that by planning a staff development series in partnership with colleagues both on and off campus. Within this series, we’ll be looking at different student populations who may be often overlooked (and some who aren’t) when we think of diversity. However obvious these identities are, they likely have some impact on the academic experiences of student populations.

So far, I’ve had a great response rate from potential partners and am planning to focus on the following populations over the course of this series:

  • students with mental health concerns
  • international students and English language learners
  • military and veteran students
  • students with learning disabilities
  • students who identify as LGBTQ
  • students of color

Additionally, I’m working with one of our student employees to plan an outreach initiative focused on connecting with student organizations on campus. We’re targeting groups that either have an academic focus  or serve to highlight or celebrate different cultural identities. So far, we’ve partnered with one student group this past semester to host a study night before finals.

The idea behind all of this is to encourage awareness of the library as place and as an integral part of the campus community. It also allows library staff to increase in awareness of often invisible student populations, so that we can better engage with them and meet their needs. Maybe in future semesters, we’ll be hearing students say that the library is overwhelming, but in a good way. You know?

 

 

#AdjunctLife

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I’m currently listening to Jessye Norman sing Habanera, because my friend reminded me that I do like opera. And I especially enjoy sopranos, her voice texture in particular, because of all the things I wish I could do with my voice. Oh, and I’m grading papers again.

*We now take a break from our regularly scheduled librarianship to talk about teaching as an adjunct.* It’s almost halfway through the semester. As a matter of fact, midterm grades are due this week, a fact that escaped my notice until fairly recently. So I figured now would be a good time to look back and think about all the things I’ve learned so far. Read the rest of this entry

“I knew the pathway like the back of my hand…”

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It turns out that the last semester is actually the hardest, for a number of reasons. But anyhow, I am going into my last semester of grad school, still working full-time, and serving as the president of my school’s SAA student chapter. So lots of fun all around! One of the classes I am taking, LSC 555 (Information Systems) requires periodic blog posts reflecting on required reading. Since I already use this blog for very periodic postings, they will be hosted here. Be informed. The other class I am taking is LSC 634 Humanities Information. It’s basically an overview of using and evaluating sources as a librarian for the arts and humanities. It seems interesting so far with a lot of practical information. Last but not least, I am taking….COMPS!! Because that means I am (almost) so done! So yes, I am excited.

We’ve started back into the semester at work. As such, I’ve been caught up in hiring and training student employees, teaching students (and sometimes faculty) how to use their library accounts and best take advantage of library resources, and trying a few new things on the job. One is that I started cross-training with Research Assistance (formerly known as Reference) over the summer. Now that the semester has started, I’m excited to see it when it’s busy. I’m also the liaison between Access Services and the Research, Teaching, and Learning divisions. It has allowed me to see what librarianship is like behind the scenes and what types of skills are priceless. It has also allowed me to build relationships with the librarians and find ways to get involved on their end. To that end, I’m currently working on a few LibGuides. One of which (seriously gleeful here) will feature resources for those studying African American Studies and the African Diaspora. In case you haven’t yet figured it out, AfAm Studies is a serious area of interest for me and I am tickled pink to be able to put my enthusiasm and skills to good use. I’ll be sure to post a link to the guide when it is done.

In other news, my blog post should be published at SIA pretty soon. Keep an eye out for that.

Ephemera on Life

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Just say no to cheese, say yes to sleep, and dress in layers/bring a sweater to work, so you don’t freeze when the indoor temperature is a mirror of outdoors. This is my advice on life to people everywhere.

I have taken a leave of absence from the world of education, in order to further my career and experience in the world of library science. It is, in fact, likely a permanent leave. Because I won’t be working with little people any time in the near future and will not have anyone with whom to read  aloud picture books, I am taking applications for adopted nieces and nephews. They will have to pass a background check prior to being considered for the position.

So about the new job. My new job entails providing circulation services at an academic library. Through this position, I hope to gain general library skills and supervisory experience. For example, I am currently assisting in the hiring process of student employees, to include interviewing, which I am rather excited about. Other job responsibilities involve opening and closing, assisting patrons with borrowing materials from the library and through consortium/interlibrary loan, facilitating access to library materials, and occasionally telling people where the nearest restroom is located. It’s been a good first few weeks and I have enjoyed interacting with the diverse student body. And of course, my coworkers. They’re pretty neat.

I’m coming up on my last few weeks in the school semester. Some days I feel like I’m dragging myself across the ground, saying, “Watterrr…” Only, it sounds more like, “Winter breeeaakkk…” with an imploring hand outstretched. I’m working on finishing final semester projects and getting caught up on my part-time job (research assistant), because yes, I’m currently working PT and FT. It’s only for a season.

Seeing as this is the season of thankfulness, I would like to take the opportunity to express thanks for my family and friends, a sane mind, the degree that I will one day have, and employment. I was reading a book containing research on the power of friendships and emotional connections. I can honestly concur with the idea that people are invaluable. I am rich, indeed.

With the holiday tomorrow, make sure you take a chance to breathe and enjoy your loved ones. I will do the same. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Halfway Through the Semester

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It’s been a minute since I last wrote anything. I know, I know…I was supposed to return and update about the summer internship. I can certainly say it was a valuable experience and I learned a whooollle lot. I loved every minute of it! One of the biggest advantages was gaining experience in the metadata and technical side of archives. I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge in future arenas.

Since the end of the summer, I have been soo busy. After a quick break with the family in August, I quickly got back into the swing of “real life.” Currently, I am working as a Literacy Instructor. I teach emergent reading and reading remediation strategies to elementary students, which is a rewarding, but sometimes tiring job. I’m excited at the progress my kiddies have made. I am also working as a research assistant for one of the professors at my university, which has exposed me to many new discoveries and ideas in the library science field. Then, of course, there is grad school. I am currently taking two classes: Use and Users of Libraries and Information and Metadata.

I am also working with the graduate student organization for library and information science students at my university. My job title is Public Relations Officer. Part of my responsibilities has been to assist in creating a website for the organization, as well as keeping the student body informed of upcoming events and opportunities. I am also serving as a Graduate Student Association Senator. I get to attend all the meetings and be a voice for the LIS student body. It’s been a very interesting venture.

So yes, I have been very busy. But not only am I learning a lot, I am learning to be more productive with my time and prioritize things in order of importance. And I still make time for the fun things, like family, friends, and a bit of adventure here and there. 🙂