HLS Weekly Round Up

Editor’s Note: Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful. Enjoy!


Happy new year! This spring marks my last semester of library school. I’ll be taking capstone, our version of a thesis, and the reference core class that I just haven’t been able to fit in yet. I’ve also applied to another graduate program in Art History for fall 2015 matriculation. If I’m accepted, I’ll be able to continue working full-time in my position as a Visual Resources Curator and can earn my MA part-time. Wish me luck!

For those interested in art or visual resources librarianship, ArLiSNAP and VREPS are hosting a free webinar, Visualizing the Future: New Perspectives in Art Librarianship, on January 17 at 12:00 PM-4:30 PM CST. You can check out the full lineup here. I will be presenting as part of the Students and New Professionals section on Community and Outreach Initiatives at the Visual Resources Center at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia. The event is free and open to all, but registration closes two hours prior to the event. Can’t make the time? No worries! The webinar will be recorded and made available through the ARLIS/NA learning portal.


This is my second-to-last semester (hopefully) before I start making everyone call me Dr. Skinner (really, how could I not?) I’m plugging away at my dissertation and wrapping up other projects, all while applying for jobs, so my professional involvement and non-dissertation reading is pretty minimal. That being said, I did just get back from a trip to Ireland, which was my first actual vacation since 2009.
While I was there, I hung out with the folks from the Forgotten Zine Archive, which is the only zine archive in Ireland and is run by dedicated and passionate folks who do a great job of advocating for the importance of collecting and preserving zines. For more information on what zines are, and what it’s like to work with them professionally, check out this article that Mick O’Dwyer from the Archive put out yesterday. If you happen to be at the ASL2015 conference in Dublin next month, they’ll be speaking there as well.
I also visited some awesome libraries in Ireland. My favorite was the Marsh’s Library. If you’re ever in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit–it’s inexpensive to get in and look at the exhibits, and it is one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen (and the calligrapher in me loved the guestbook you could sign with a quill and ink!)


My last semester also. I’m not worrying about a job search (I have a job that I’m perfectly content to keep, even though it doesn’t use my library skills), so if you need someone to be jealous of, I’m here to serve.

Yesterday’s good news, of course, was President Obama’s plan to make community college free. I have to be completely honest and say that I haven’t read any news stories OR watched the video of the announcement–I love my job but could use an improvement on my computer’s speakers–but as a BIG IDEA I think it’s fantastic. I’m sure there’s a lot of room to quibble on the details and implementation, though. What do you all think?


This is my second semester in the MSLIS program at FSU. I survived my first semester! Woo hoo! This semester I’ll be taking Management of Information Organizations (a required class) and Digital Libraries. The management class looks like it’ll be a lot of work but should be interesting, and I’m super excited about the digital libraries class.

I’m also super excited to be starting a new job on January 23! I’ll be the IT Trainer at the brand new branch of the Norfolk Public Library here in Virginia. You check out the library here. This library, which opens today, is going to be amazing and have tons of cool technology. I can’t wait to start!


I’m happily in the final-semester club along with Courtney and Becky and couldn’t be more excited. I’m only enrolled in three classes as opposed to the usual four: my master’s thesis; user education, an instruction and learning theory class I’ve been hoping to take since my first semester; and an online library advocacy class taught by a former ALA president. I’m looking forward to getting started in all of my courses, which is a library school first for me.

My master’s project focuses almost exclusively on library instruction, and I’ve been doing a lot of self-teaching regarding pedagogical best practices and theories of learning. Though not new by any means, I’ve been reading through Understanding by Design, a really interesting way of thinking about instructional design that emphasizes guiding students through understanding of transferable “big ideas” rather than covering discrete skills and topics. I’d highly suggest anyone who’s interested in teaching & learning within the library to check it out. Nicole Pagowsky, Research & Instruction Librarian at the University of Arizona, wrote a really great post tying UbD into the new ACRL framework which I would also recommend to those of you interested in pursuing academic library instruction!


A couple of things caught my eye on Twitter this week:


I am so stoked to start my second semester, mostly because I’m taking one less class than last semester. This means I’ll have time for – gasp – a social life! Hobbies! Reading! Breathing! I was hellbent on finishing my MLIS degree in three semesters, which meant taking four classes each semester while working full-time at a library. Evidently, this was not my greatest idea. This semester I’m bringing it down to three classes, including one online WISE Consortium class I’m taking through Syracuse University, and a Reference course. I work Reference at my public library, so I’m excited to be able to apply what I learn in class to real life!

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the homeless, who have already begun to suffer this winter due to freezing temperatures and poor shelter policies. There is a considerable homeless population in the city where I work, and fortunately our library is generally hospitable to homeless patrons. Our library card policy allows for homeless shelters to be used as proof of address within the city, and our public computers are open to all patrons, whether or not they have a library card.

However, as in most libraries, our patrons are prohibited from bathing or washing clothes in our public restrooms. Our director forwarded a conversation from ALA Think Tank about having signage by the bathrooms to direct patrons to local showering and laundry facilities, and I decided to look into this. I found that there is only one organization in the entire city that offers free showers and laundry facilities to the homeless. I made up a flyer with tear-off information and it was posted near the public restrooms and on our bulletin boards. This is just one small way that the library can be an ally to our homeless patrons.


I am entering Quarter #2 of library school, and it’s gonna be a doozy. In addition to a larger course load and a big fat research project, I am replacing my job search with (drumroll) a job! Well, technically it’s an hourly fellowship – but it fits the bill regardless. I could not ask for a better way to start the new year!

This week, I am thinking a lot about technology penetration rates and what role they serve in service evaluation and provision. While I am thinking specifically in terms of developing countries, the question remains for discrepancies in technology resource access and use in nearly any context. The afore-linked article is a couple years old, but its caveats regarding penetration statistics are as relevant and thought-provoking as ever.

And while we’re talking about caveats over hype, I cannot let this round-up go by without pointing you to four Venn diagrams that put the data revolution in its place.

Finally, as my university’s wayward open access initiative (which I co-direct) marches on into a new year and a new quarter, I sometimes feel discouraged and in need of some soul-stirring, crowd-pumping open access talk. If you find yourself in the same boat, look no further than this Huff Post article.

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