Library & Information Sciences.
Librarians are crucial players in advocating for the purchase of new products, promoting available resources, and supporting instructors who are looking to try something new or to update the content they plan to present. Some librarians teach classes, sessions, or meet with students or faculty to discuss a research project or to refine a search topic.
Meetings with new or well-known faculty members are the perfect opportunity to discuss new library resources and services. If the faculty member regularly asks the library to present in a course, scheduling a meeting two months prior to teaching the class gives the librarian an opportunity to advocate for adjusting class content to fit in with the rest of the course. Also, it is an opportunity to consider providing a demonstration of how a database, electronic book platform, or other library resource could be used by the students to complete an assignment. This type of class takes extra planning for the librarians, but the students will leave the sessions with knowledge they can use forever.
Changing course content is one example of the challenges our profession faces. It is also a relatively easy and effective way to change the perception of the library.
Balanced Skepticism: Teaching Source Evaluation in a Time of Uncertainty. Chana Kraus-Friedherg and Emilia Marcyk, Michigan State University
We live in a moment when uncertainty is weaponized to throw everything from science to politics to history into doubt. This makes sorting the reliable from the unreliable more difficult for students, and some of the methods that librarians and instructors have traditionally used to help them are no longer effective. The checklist model for evaluating information, a staple of many library instruction sessions, is not enough. Over-reliance on traditional markers of authority, such as affiliation with a university or a government agency, will not serve our students well in the contentious 21st-century information landscape. Instead, they will need to develop a more detailed understanding of how the reliable and unreliable can coexist in a single source and how to decode and use even imperfect sources of information.
In this presentation, we will explore how to bring more nuance to source evaluation lessons. Using examples from the contexts of information and science literacy, we will suggest some methods of addressing the challenges that this kind of information environment poses for students and instructors. Our goal is to help students develop a sense of productive uncertainty about information that will serve them in academic, professional and personal contexts.
The Academic Library as Catalyst in the Strategic Mission for Diversity. Arjun Sabharwal and John Napp, University of Toledo
Academic libraries play a crucial role in meeting strategic goals for diversity in higher education. There are two critical components to playing this role effectively. The first component is internally focused; that is, libraries need to champion the cause for diversity by developing and reinforcing organizational culture supportive of diversity hiring plans, professional development programs, and incentivizing. The other component is externally focused, featuring three areas of activity: collection development, public services, and outreach. A collection development program can focus on multicultural resources for academic programs as well as staff development. Public services (reference, instruction, and circulation) would need to connect users with such resources and understand special populations affected by ability issues, prior military service, identity, and language issues. Finally, outreach would need to focus on all three areas whereby libraries can offer workshops and public events to engage with the university and surrounding communities.
Assessing the effectiveness of diversity initiatives can inform administrators and diversity coordinators about choices for new programs and approaches. Various qualitative and quantitative instruments may be available to measure the impact of libraries' diversity initiatives on undergraduate students from acceptance through completion and graduation. This presentation also addresses groundwork at the University of Toledo and the models considered for future developments.
Using Tour Builder to Tell Stories from the Archives. Brooke Boyst and Julia K. Nims, Eastern Michigan University
Primary sources document people, activities, ideas, and events from the past. As uninterpreted artifacts, they require that students develop special knowledge and skills to appreciate and understand the context of their creation, as well as fully decipher the experiences they reveal. While the Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy (ACRL Rare Book and Manuscript Section & Society of American Archivists, 2017) provide core ideas and learning objectives for using and teaching primary sources, they intentionally omit prescriptions for assignments or user-created outputs. College and university librarians, archivists, faculty, and others teaching with primary sources are free to develop their own means of determining if students have demonstrated primary source literacy. Tour Builder, a web-based storytelling tool built on the Google Earth plugin, provides a platform for students to combine digital archival artifacts, including videos and images, with their own text to present their interpretation of the primary sources while providing a visually appealing story to their audience. This presentation will demonstrate the Tour Builder app, including examples of how it has been used in conjunction with archival materials, and review the advantages and drawbacks of the app and its use with primary source material.
How DDA Is Qettierizing Research. Kate Langan, Western Michigan University
This presentation links Demand Driven Acquisitions records to a particular epistemological counter-argument to knowledge, Gettier cases, which demonstrates how knowing can be based on false evidence or luck. DDA is similar to Gettier Cases in that patrons can find materials by happenstance, which calls into question the reliability of sources. Access is a core tenet of library services and should not be a game of chance. Beneath what seems to be a superficial or pragmatic headache of access lurks a more serious epistemological crisis that finds information and scholarly evidence as the victim. I argue that the DDA bibliographical record serves as that evidence that is required to lead to knowing. The library record is the evidence relied upon by researchers and librarians. Without accurate records, the practice of research itself, knowing whether we can refer to, find, and build upon previous materials in order to build new knowledge, is destabilized. If the process of research is destabilized, then it also calls into question the validity of future evidence. Without providing reliable access, libraries who use specific acquisition practices are complicit in the destruction of the academic record and promote the dissemination of false knowledge.
Keeping the Collaborative Dream Alive (in the Face of Change). Sandy McCarthy, Washtenaw Community College; Sara Memmott, Eastern Michigan University; Rachel M. Minkin, Jill Morningstar, and Christine Tobias, Michigan State University; Ann Walaskay, Oakland Community College
A virtual reference (VR) cooperative is a group of institutions who provide collaborative reference services through a chat interface. Research Help Now (RHN), a VR cooperative in Michigan, was formed for this purpose and has been providing high quality, real-time, interdisciplinary research assistance to the academic community since 2004. Members of RHN include university and community colleges, contributing to diversity in patronage, service philosophies, staff resources, and skill sets. These institutional differences combined with vendor relations presented challenges in quality, staffing, scheduling, and cost. Thus, RHN explored options to address these challenges with minimal impact on service excellence.
However, change can be difficult and can put established camaraderie and collegiality at risk. Active discussions showed some RHN members as surprisingly risk-averse and hoping to remain status quo; other members questioned their place within RHN. Drawing on its strengths and longevity, RHN was able to build consensus and move forward. The switch to a new chat software enhanced reference services with lower costs and more flexibility in staffing and scheduling. This paper shares the experiences and challenges of RHN and highlights how change strengthened the organization's commitment to collaboration and service excellence in support of academic research.
Transforming the Academic Library Organization: Concepts and Contexts. Karen Liston, Wayne State University
Organizational culture is the framework in which we perform and live out our daily work lives, and transforming that culture can, at times, feel threatening, exhausting, stressful, and exhilarating. What defines transformational change? How does it differ from what we're doing now? What will change? And--perhaps most important of all--what will happen to me?
Instructional and human performance technologist and librarian Karen Liston will share her experience, learnings, insights, and issues concerning transformational change in academic library organizations. From her perspective as a team leader in a customer-focused, data-driven, team-based learning organization in the mid-1990s, through a variety of organizational trends and structures, and up through Wayne State University Libraries' launch of transformational change via strength-based appreciative inquiry, Karen will demystify the jargon, vagaries, and uncertainty that can give transformation a bad name. Together we will explore the history and major concepts in transformational organizational development, what benefits and pitfalls are possible, and what characterizes the successfully "transformed" academic library. By sharing techniques, useful coping strategies, and simply learning what to expect, this presentation will make change less scary, and more of the opportunity, adventure, and new approach to work that can greatly improve our lives.
Educational Background of Library Leaders. Kristine Condic, Oakland University
In this new information age, libraries have undergone dramatic changes as warehouses of print materials to portals for online resources. This has forced librarians to change their career paths from information gatekeepers to teachers and innovators, but what about library directors? Is the library profession moving away from hiring librarians as directors and embracing those with academic backgrounds in computer technology, business, or instructional technology?
To this end, information was gathered and analyzed on graduate degrees attained by directors of 125 research-oriented libraries in the United States and Canada. These libraries, members of the Association for Research Libraries, include those that share common values of innovation and partnership. Compiled data included subject, location, and type of graduate degree attained by the directors, deans, and vice provosts who lead these libraries. Preliminary results reveal that most, but not all, leaders have attained the master's degree in information and/or library science. Additionally, over half have also earned an additional graduate degree. Detailed findings will be presented and their implications discussed.
Distributed Library Website Maintenance with Open Source Software. Keith Engwall and Mitchell Roe, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Maintaining a library website has several inherent challenges, which can be compounded when multiple authors and/or developers are involved. The ability to test website changes in a development environment is critical in protecting against downtime for the production site. However, obtaining a development server can be difficult, and coordinating changes between multiple contributors even in a development environment can be difficult. This presentation describes a homegrown distributed development environment based on Git and Virtual-Box. Git, a free and open source distributed version control system is heavily used in distributed software development. VirtualBox, a free and open source virtual machine (VM) solution by Oracle, allows a local replica of the server to be run on a user's computer. Combining the two provides each contributor with a local development environment on their computer, and automatically coordinates changes when they are pushed to the production server. This distributed approach allows libraries to manage their website without the need of a separate development server and with reduced risk of downtime, easier collaboration, and improved change tracking.