School Portfolio

Objective 1
Articulating and applying a philosophy of service that incorporates an awareness of the legacy of libraries and information centers within our culture.

Artifact 1.LIS701

I wrote this paper for LIS701, Introduction to Library and Information Science. The name of the paper is “The “L” Word” and in it I had to discuss whether I thought the word “library” should still be applied to libraries or whether the word could be replaced with something else. I chose to include this assignment as an artifact because in it I invoke the legacy that libraries have within our culture and argue that it would detract from the profession if librarians were to be called anything else.

The “L” Word

The word “library” invokes many different ideas. It could mean a quiet place to study to some people, others may understand it as a community center where they can browse periodicals, and others still as a comfortable place where they can take a computer class or participate in story time. Individuals use the library in a wide variety of ways; therefore, they define the library in a wide variety of ways. The word that most appropriately describes these multi-functional institutions has already been chosen and despite the way people are accessing information today there is no need to change that word.

There are some institutions that are replacing the word “library” with phrases like “Information Centers” or “Community Resource Centers”. There is one phrase that stands out more than the other two and that is “Library Information Centers”. The words “information centers” have been tacked on at the end as though a clarification was necessary, as though there was a distinction between the first word and the second two. It is true that libraries are information centers, but they are so much more than that too. By referring to them as information centers, those that are choosing to call them that are placing a limit on what the library is and could be. This tendency is counterproductive. These trendy institutions are attempting to modernize, but they are going about it in the wrong way. They are limiting the library to a place to go where answers are simply handed out. The new wording makes the library seem like any other social service office. Information centers will begin to resemble the Department of Motor Vehicles or some such similar agency. One would have a question, get in line at the Information Dispensary, the information would be slid through a glass window and that would complete the transaction.

Information is being accessed in new ways now and because of that the institution is in a transitional state, there is no debating that. But, patrons are still going to have questions; they will still need assistance with their inquiries. The role of the library will remain intact. The basic function of the library will stay the same. The library will continue to serve a curious public and since man is the most curious of all animals’, libraries will be safe.

There is no reason to change what we call librarians. The job description and responsibilities they are expected to perform are changing but the essential function stays the same. That function is as a member of the library staff that is in a position to assist, inform, direct and educate. Terms like “knowledge consultant” or “information professionals” may be more accurate description of certain aspects of the profession, but they are limiting the position and confusing the public. If a librarian teaches someone how to send an e-mail should we call them an “information technology person”? When a librarian reads a story to children are they acting like day care workers and as such should they be referred to as that? A librarian is in place to perform both those services and anything else a patron might require. The aim of a librarian is not to confuse the patron by requesting that they be called something other than librarian. They should be honored to be recognized as a helpful and essential part of the community.

The word “Library” serves as an umbrella for a wide variety of services that are provided there apart from just hunting down books. Libraries often serve as the center of a town’s civic affairs, e.g., voting and town council meetings. Adult education is sometimes offered to the community through the library in the forms of computer literacy or retirement planning seminars. These are some of the many instances when the library serves as an instructional outlet for members of the community. The organization of story hours for children is gaining popularity. Story time for children is not only entertaining it is also educational. They learn social skills, become familiar with the library and most importantly they develop an interest in books and begin what Dr. Crowley refers to as Lifecycle Librarianship. This is an idea that if patrons develop a strong interest in reading and the library they will become lifelong members. No matter how mundane the task or fluffy the book humans are always learning and that is the essence of the library. In an article instructing librarians on how to keep libraries relevant Dr. Crowley writes, “Library patrons believe that the library “business” is learning and reading”[i]. Libraries can capitalize on this addiction to learning through a lot of creative ways. Setting up gaming nights for kids or arranging book discussions for adults will draw people into the library and maintain the founding principles of the library: to bring people together and help to teach them something.  People might not expect these types of community building activities from a place called “information center”. That term leads people to think of a mall directory or an information vending machine.

The term “library” is crucial to a population’s understanding of what is happening there. It is familiar and patrons have an idea of what to expect from the organization. The same is true for the people that work in a library. “Librarian” is the perfect word for someone that performs all of the functions that a librarian performs. Any other word would limit a patron’s concept of what a librarian might be able to do. “Librarian” is a sort of umbrella term just as much as “library” is an umbrella term for everything that happens there.


[i] Bill Crowley, “Lifecycle Librarianship,” Library Journal, April 2008, 4 Sept. 2008 <http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6542287.html>.

 

Artifact 2. LIS701

National Archives

The second artifact I have chosen to include for my first objective is another one that I created in LIS701. This was a group project that covered a short history of America’s National Archives. The National Archives are one of the largest and best respected institutions in the world. I wrote a short paper that reflects my contribution to the group. The entire presentation was approximately 30 minutes.

Click here for a PDF version of the paper.

Objective 2

Promoting the professional values of ethical responsibility, intellectual freedom and universal access to information.

Artifact 1.LIS701

Despite a library’s best intentions there will always be an undeserved population. However, one group that should not be ignored is the Hispanic community. Their numbers have been skyrocketing in every community over the past two decades. The central philosophy of the library is to provide universal access to information. Spanish speakers should see their libraries offering materials in Spanish. Some libraries and a lot of taxpayers disagree and this paper provides an argument against them.

Public Library Outreach to Spanish Speakers

American public libraries are adapting to change in a much faster way than they have had to in the past. Implementation of new technologies, budget constraints and increasing demand for services with decreasing amounts of funding are posing serious challenges for libraries across the country. In addition to all the other concerns there is another issue that is gaining national attention in America’s public libraries. The question of whether it is appropriate to provide services and materials for non-English speaking patrons and how much of the budget should be appropriated for minority demographics is one that is being addressed by libraries nationwide.

Although the issue is hotly debated in some places throughout America, the arguments for and against including or excluding non-English speakers are not complicated. Certain groups say that funds should not be allocated to purchase materials and provide programs that are not in English, while other groups say that money should be spent for these purposes. This paper will focus on Spanish speakers because they represent the largest and most quickly growing language group in America today. Other ethnicities are in need of materials at the library and those can be addressed on more of a regional level according to the area’s demographics and needs. The focus of this paper is dedicated to the inclusion and exclusion of Spanish materials because of the size of the population and the demands that a group of that size is placing on public libraries.

Community members that fight against minority outreach offer several reasons for having English-only services at their libraries. According to the Washington Times, resisters to foreign language sponsorship in Denver “say that the proposal [of a program called Language and Learning] is another step toward placing Spanish on an equal footing with English as the national language”.[1] Denver is particularly interesting because of the recent explosion of Hispanic residents there. Since 1990 the Hispanic population in Denver has jumped 23% to make up nearly 35% of Denver’s entire population.[2] CAIR (Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform), a group formed to resist any public support of immigrants in Colorado, has recently received national interest. The group’s website, http://www.cairco.org/index.html, has a lot of information and they seem to be fairly radical and very mad. A Republican representative from Colorado, David Schultheis, attempted to ban the state from publishing information in Spanish and ban libraries from purchasing materials in languages other than English. The attempt in Colorado to ban non-English services and materials failed before it made it to a voting ballot.[3]

CAIR is the largest and most outspoken group against foreign language materials in libraries but there is another form of resistance that is more effective in keeping non-English speakers out of the library. This friction does not come from an outside source but inside the Latino community itself. The New York Public Library presented a report in July 2008 on Spanish outreach throughout the state called Spanish Language Outreach Connects New York’s Libraries with Communities. The authors of that report found a long list of the challenges facing libraries on how to bring Spanish speakers into the library. Public libraries like the ones found in America are not like libraries found in other countries. Libraries in America work very hard to protect users. This is a concept that people from developing nations have a difficult time understanding. The report states that “Spanish-speakers have often avoided library programs because of an assumed association of the library with governmental authorities”.[4] Many Latinos fear the government because of immigration issues or prior negative experiences with their former governments. This is a barrier that libraries will have to work to break down if they want to include Latinos.

Another complaint and one that is especially important today, that critics make against spending money on Spanish materials is that money is being spent on resources that only a small percentage of the population can use. With tightening budgets taxpayers want every tax penny taken from them spent on benefits that they will receive. Critics that use this line of reasoning fail to understand that minority taxpayers still pay taxes and they want money spent on sources that they can use. These critics fail to remember their American history – No taxation without representation.

According to RUSA guidelines librarians are to provide service to everyone and anyone that seeks it. In the opening paragraphs on how to address patrons with non-English language skills the ALA wrote that, “It is the responsibility of libraries to provide an equitable level of service to all members of their communities regardless of ethnic, cultural, or linguistic background”.[5] It is part of the librarian’s creed that they must serve everyone that enters the library “regardless of ethnic, cultural, or linguistic background”. The professional responsibility of the librarian and the American public library is to provide service to everyone.

Nearly all libraries throughout the country are happy to provide service to all patrons. There have been a huge number of different Spanish language programs being implemented across America. There are organizations designed solely to help librarians deal with Spanish speaking library members. The most widely known organization assisting librarians is called REFORMA; it is The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking and is an affiliate of the American Library Association. REFORMA and other institutions like it work to provide resources that will help librarians help Spanish only patrons. Another highly useful tool for public libraries is an organization called PLUS (Public Libraries Using Spanish). PLUS is dedicated to serving libraries and librarians that serve Latinos and provides many different resources. These organizations provide simple and helpful phrases that might come up in reference interviews, suggested reading lists, and possible outreach programs.

Out of all of the resources and articles on the internet concerning non-English speakers in public libraries there are very few articles that discuss resistance to non-English speakers. However, there are a great many sources discussing how important it is to include this demographic. This leads one to believe that, with the exception of the CAIR group, there are not too many people against Spanish language outreach in America’s libraries. It is crucial to include non-English speakers, especially those that come into the library looking for information. America is a nation of immigrants and everyone that has made the trip here has had help in one form or another. It is hypocritical for any American citizen to deny someone else the help that they deserve. If a group of people living in a community pays their property taxes then they have the right to use any government sponsored institution. If a library has a population with a tax-paying minority in it, then it is the library’s responsibility to acquire materials for that minority.

There are many published reports stating that the Latino population is exploding in America today and will continue to do so for the next several decades. There are statistics on the REFORMA website from the U.S. Census Bureau on population projections in America over the next few years. According to the site, “The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that by the year 2010 the Hispanic population will surpass 47 million”.[6] That projection is based on the census taken in 2000 and by 2050 the Hispanic population will jump to nearly 30% of the entire U.S. population. It is crucial to start acquiring materials today and to help get Latinos involved in the library and the community in general. It is in the nation’s interest to make sure that everyone has access to the materials available in libraries.

A pilot program was introduced to four states in America that was dedicated to the integration of Latinos into American culture through public libraries. In 2005 an analysis of the effectiveness of that program was written. The program, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provided funds to train librarians on various Spanish programs and to ensure that libraries would be ready to absorb Spanish speakers during the coming population boom. According to an article on WebJunction, “The pilot program created a training curriculum, conducted 37 workshops, and trained 482 library staff members”.[7] The types of programs that the Gates Foundation sponsored are exactly the types of things that need to continue in order to successfully include ethnic minority groups.

I have mentioned in several places why libraries have an obligation to facilitate Spanish outreach programs and have Spanish materials in their collections but I have failed to mention the importance of that inclusion. There was a very interesting article in Library Journal on the importance of librarians among teenage Latinas entitled, Latinas in Need.[8] The author, Beth Dempsey, reported that depression and suicide were on the rise among Latina teens. They were feeling a lot of cultural pressure, especially if they were first generation English speakers. Young Latinas are trying to balance traditional family values and American life and are struggling to find support. This is where the library can help. The library is the perfect platform from which to launch support and social groups that can help young women cope and find support among peers. While the delicate responsibilities of tending to teenagers emotions does not exactly fit the job description of a librarian it is still a responsibility. The author sheds light on what pushes people to become librarians in the first place: “the ability to improve lives.” This is the sort of task that librarians should be doing gladly. It does not take much to change someone’s life and through simple outreach programs such as the ones mentioned in Mrs. Dempsey’s article, positive differences can be made.

Libraries across the country are very receptive to opening their doors to Spanish only patrons. According to an ALA report on serving non-English speakers in 2007, “Spanish is, by far, the most supported non-English language in public libraries. Seventy-eight percent of libraries reported Spanish as the priority #1 language to which they develop services and programs. Asian languages ranked second in priority at 29 percent”.[9] The sole purpose of the librarian is to serve and not serving a part of the population because of a language barrier is simply unprofessional. When a librarian fails to serve someone because of a language barrier they are failing to fulfill their mission.


[1] Washington Times – Library’s Spanish outreach criticized. (2005, August 5). Retrieved December 4, 2008, from Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/aug/01/20050801-120314-8922r/

 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Colorado Attempt to Ban Non-English Books Fails – 4/28/2006. (2006). Library Journal .

[4] Spanish Language Outreach Connects New York’s Libraries with Communities. (2008, July). Retrieved December 4 2008, from New York State Library: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/gateslib/spanish/finalrpt.htm

[5] ALA Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Mutlilingual Collections and Services. (2008). Retrieved December 4, 2008, from ALA: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/resources/guidelines/guidemultilingual.cfm

[6] REFORMA – Who We Are. (2008). Retrieved December 4, 2008, from REFORMA: http://www.reforma.org/who.html

[7] Murphy, B. (2007). WebJunction awarded Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to extend Spanish Language Outreach Program to all 50 states. WebJunction , 1.

[8] Dempsey, B. (2007). “PatronSpeak”: Latinas in Need. Library Journal .

[9] ALA Serving Non-English Speakers in U.S. Public Libraries. (2008). Retrieved December 4, 2008, from ALA: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/olos/nonenglishspeakers/index.cfm

Artifact 2. LIS768

Socioeconomic Barriers to Digital Access

The second artifact for objective two is a work in progress. I am writing a paper for my LIS768 (Social Media course) on socioeconomic barriers to digital access. The paper stems from a discussion I had with some classmates on the digital divide. The digital divide is continually narrowing but the economic climate of the last year has made access for some incredibly difficult. ALA’s Bill of Rights affirms that access to information should be made for everyone regardless of age, religion, views, or socioeconomic status. Librarians, politicians, and citizens have all been erecting barriers for the underserved. My paper will address these issues and offer suggestions on how to dismantle those barriers.

Objective 3

Identifying and analyzing information needs and opportunities of individuals and organizations, both within the traditional information service areas and the broader information sector.

Artifact 1. LIS770

The group that I worked with made this artifact an extremely interesting one and I consider it to be one of my best artifacts. The group was charged with the opportunity to help an entirely new community. My responsibility was to talk to a local library and community Hispanic organizations to see how they could work together. This paper is a reflection of the dynamics of working in a group. We also presented our findings in a 30 minute presentation.

Hispanic Outreach

Part 1.

The Hispanic outreach project was the most interesting of the options given to the class. It is one of the most pressing issues facing communities in America today considering the massive influx of Latinos to all regions across the country. David, Jessica, Christine, Tyler and I either all already work in a public library or are interested in working for one in the future so this assignment was an issue that will most likely have to be addressed by us in the future. Everyone in the group had interesting ideas and different backgrounds so we were each able to contribute to the project in unique ways.

The first meeting we introduced ourselves to each other and explained why we had each chosen the outreach project. The brainstorming session was our first opportunity to see that everyone had at least a few good ideas about what they were interested in seeing happen in our library. We spoke for approximately thirty minutes about who wanted to see what happening at our library. The two most talkative members of class were in the group so it made it slightly difficult to get ideas across. Although once an opportunity opened up so that I could speak the group seemed to be receptive to my ideas.

The reason I want to get into public libraries is because I want to provide the best service possible for a community. I want to open as many doors as possible and offer as many opportunities for growth and development that the community would be able to support. The budget limit for the outreach program was $20,000, which I think is a lot of money. I know how to stretch money out and I really enjoy working with budgets.

I live near large Latino populations so I am familiar with some small support organizations for minorities and different outreach type programs. I prefer a hands-on approach to most things and when everyone in the group was deciding what they were interested in doing and researching to prepare for the next meeting I said that I would visit the libraries in my area.

I live near Humboldt Park library so I called over there and spoke to an extremely knowledgeable reference librarian (who happened to be a Dominican alumnus). She told me several interesting things about how the Humboldt Park branch of Chicago Public Libraries was handling it’s largely Latino population. The most valuable resource in any institution is its’ staff and that is no exception at Humboldt. Although having the ability to speak Spanish and English was not a requirement at this library nearly the entire staff could converse in both languages. These librarians are already far more valuable at this location than they would have been in a community where it was not necessary to have a working knowledge of Spanish. Since so much of the staff can speak both languages there is almost always someone at the reference desk that can serve both non-English and English speakers. The librarian also informed me that there is a decent collection of Spanish language materials. Then as the librarian listed off a number of other services the library provides she slipped in “citizenship classes”. I interrupted her to ask what she meant by citizenship classes. She explained that Humboldt Park Library worked together with an organization called Association House, to help integrate the Latino population into the rest of the community. I wondered why this wasn’t the first thing she mentioned when I asked what the library did to reach out to the Hispanic population. She explained that Association House was a volunteer based organization that had been serving the Chicago area for more than one-hundred years. At Humboldt, Association House (A.H.) offered citizenship classes and English-as-a-Second Language classes for free. Knowing that I had found exactly what I was looking for I ended the call and took extensive notes on everything she had just told me. I then went on the computer and read everything I could on A.H.

While looking at different articles on work A.H. had done for Chicago I found another organization dedicated exclusively to Latinos. The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) has been serving Latinos throughout Chicago since 1984. I found their phone number and called it immediately, feeling that I was on a role after Humboldt. I spoke to a man named Francisco who was fairly confused about the purpose of my phone call but he ended up being very informative. Francisco “educated” me on a number of challenges that Hispanics are facing today. I was able to bring these issues to class the following week and share them with the rest of the group. UNO is more of a Hispanic empowerment project. They provide leadership development classes, citizenship classes, language classes and an amazing number of other services. I asked Francisco if UNO worked to help people in libraries and he said that it was an outlet they had not yet fully exploited. He sounded very excited at the prospect of having another venue that UNO could work from. Francisco said that the biggest problem that people have when they are trying to reach out and help others is that they never really “reach out”. The helpers always make those that need help come to them. The biggest mistake is that those willing to help never go to the people. Thus, providing services at the library, a space in the heart of the community, would be a great idea.

I was very excited that I had just found two different organizations that would continually provide services for free to the community that we want to reach out to. I felt like we had just received another $20,000 in our budget. The library would not have to pay outsiders to come in on a one-time basis to provide health-care classes or E.S.L. classes. We were able to tap into a core of volunteers that would be happy to help our community through the library. The only thing these organizations requested from the library was space. I brought my notes to class to share with the group and they seemed excited too. I had been coming up with lots of different ideas for programs that we could offer to the Latino community and now I could provide a means to make those programs tangible.

I felt as though the group wasn’t going anywhere. The group mostly just went around in circles over the same things and once I brought my findings in and shared them I felt that I had contributed something positive that the group could rally around. Now others were more comfortable to talk about spending money and how UNO and A.H. could best be exploited.

The group was not going in a direction that I felt was very productive. We spent most of our meetings talking about the P.E.S.T and S.W.O.T. ideas. I decided that I would just write down some ideas of how I would handle the situation if there were no committee and I was the only one responsible for the project. I came up with a very detailed outline of how I would use my staff and communicate to the community what my plans were. I had written several pages worth of plans that I thought I would bring to class the next meeting if a new direction hadn’t yet been taken. “Natural leaders” had emerged in the group and I did not want to cross or insult anyone by saying that we were wasting time. By the time the next class was held some e-mails were sent out that clarified everyone’s responsibilities and I did not think it was necessary to submit my plans. Instead, over the next few meetings I slipped my ideas in when there was an opportunity.

Everyone in the group was able to choose an area that they would cover and be responsible for. I had come up with a lot of different ideas for outreach programs and spoken them out loud in class. Then someone else in the group said that they would like to be in charge of that aspect of the project. I said nothing and decided to pick up whatever happened to be left over. I was assigned the task of “policymaking”. There were not going to be any policy changes because the mission of the library was going to stay the same. Collection development was not going to change since the library already had a substantial Spanish language section in the library. We had decided to implement bilingual signage throughout the library but that was essentially the limit to my task. Since we had a large group there actually wasn’t anything left for me to do so my responsibility was to establish contact with UNO and A.H. This was something that I had already done so I did not actually have anything left to do. I finished my work early and offered different ideas to the other members of the group when we held our meetings.

The very last meeting we put the power-point together. Unfortunately, this is when everyone’s task became most clear. I felt most confident of what exactly I would be talking about when I had to make my slides.

Part 2.

I do not often enjoy working as part of a team. My personality would best be described as “reserved” or “quiet”. This quality of mine makes working as part of a group difficult. This is especially true when everyone is speaking at the same time or when there are no clearly defined roles for members of the group. When I am expected to contribute to discussions at random I typically do not do so well.

This group situation was slightly different than most other groups I have had to work in. The two most talkative people in the class, David and Christine, were in my group. They are also both older with lots of experience behind them and have been in Dominican’s program longer than everyone else in the group. I felt, mostly because they talked so much, that I should yield to them when the group was having open discussions. This is no fault of theirs; I am merely explaining why I felt uncomfortable making verbal contributions in our discussions. I did find a way to make my thoughts heard though. If I focused on one person and spoke to them directly or waited until there was a lull in conversation I could make my opinions heard. They seemed very receptive when I could sneak a word in and David would often say things like, “Yea, that’s a good idea”, or offer some other positive reinforcement. I must say that David is an excellent and very effective communicator.

We spent the first several meetings going over the P.E.S.T. and S.W.O.T. ideas. I felt that this was not nearly as important as assigning tasks and getting on with the real work. Instead the group was focusing on brainstorming far too much. Everyone was contributing really great ideas but we had not yet developed a system to plug those ideas into so it seemed like we were just talking for the first few weeks. Eventually someone suggested that we might need a leader and David seemed to be the natural choice. He accepted the role graciously and outlined what exactly he would do and how to handle him if anyone else in the group felt that he was stepping out-of-bounds.

The first meeting everyone said what they were going to do to get the project started and this seemed like it was going to work well. The only effective way to work in a group is to assign roles to the members of the group. When each member can be held accountable and responsible for a particular task, then tangible progress can be made. This was certainly true in our group. At first everyone had a “homework assignment”. While that was a good idea it did not bring us any further in the project. Each person brought something different in each class but the results were sloppy and not organized at all. I think most of the things that people brought to the group’s attention ended up not being used in the final presentation.

Each member of the group did have something unique to bring to the project. Jessica comes from a Latino background and was able to correct some of the myths that some of us had believed. Tyler currently works at a library, the library whose statistics we eventually ended up borrowing actually, that participates in a few outreach programs. Christine works at a library and has served on some committees. David is a leader and was able to keep minutes for our meetings and tried to help the group stay on task. I knew what libraries in the community were already doing and found organizations that were willing to work for free. Once the tasks were assigned and the group knew which track we were supposed to be in the group ran very smoothly.

The things that the group did that I found to be most effective were when there was a specialization of tasks. Once people knew what they should be doing and had a sense of purpose and direction results started coming in. Before that different members of the group were just shouting out ideas. It worked better too when we wrote down what was expected of everyone, just so there was no confusion and anything that was not clear became clear once we wrote it down for everyone to see.

Having a leader seemed to be necessary for our group. There were three strong personalities in our group and they all seemed to agree but that’s all that was happening. Everyone kept agreeing on the same issue just using different language. It was strange to watch happen actually because no one was being hostile, they were being overly polite and it felt like if there was some hostility then more progress would have been made. The other strength of having a leader is that someone was keeping track of our meetings. This proved helpful when the weekend came around and I couldn’t remember what we had talked about during the previous meeting.

The group did not try too many things that did not work. It seemed like we focused too much on the brainstorming phase but that may have been necessary so we could get comfortable with each other. I was not fond of communicating electronically. I preferred to share results during our meetings, that way they wouldn’t be forgotten during the next meeting. Also the praise received after finding a particularly valuable resource made me feel like I was contributing to the group. Electronic communication is too impersonal and there wasn’t really anything for our group to post on the internet because our project did not really allow for that kind of communication. We weren’t posting too many facts. If someone had a question then it could be posted but apart from that and the minutes David was sending out we didn’t really use the internet. Since we stayed in the brainstorming phase for so long there wasn’t anything to post for the first few weeks.

I learned several things from working in this group. The first and most important is that the group started to work best when everyone had a clearly defined role and task assigned to them. Without those tasks people were just talking about ideas, once the tasks were assigned and people felt a sense of responsibility for the project we moved forward. It was also important for this particular group to stay in the “brainstorming” phase for such an extended period of time. Here we got to know each other, recognized people’s strengths and interests and that helped make it easier to assign people their roles. I also recognized the law that when a group is delegated a task, no matter how long they have to complete it they will always wait until the last minute to finish. If I had to work in this group again the only thing I would change is the length of time spent brainstorming. Everything else ran fairly smoothly.

Artifact 2. LIS748

I am also proud of this assignment because it is my first grant proposal. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to work on the assignment because I wanted to have experience with grant writing. After doing research for the project I found that there was a formula for writing grants and that made everything much easier. I wrote a proposal to develop a Native American collection for Seattle Public Library. This was an underserved population that needed better resources and I hope that I find a position where I can participate in this type of activity.

Seattle Public Library Grant Proposal

Background Information on the Library:
Seattle Public Library serves a population of around 602,000 , a total that city planners expect to jump by at least 200,000 in the next 30 years. The population is incredibly diverse with more than 40% of residents born out of the country. According to the 2000 census, 5,659 of Washington’s 93,301 Native Americans reside in Seattle. In the greater area of King County there are twice as many people that identify as Native Americans. Seattle Public Library has a reciprocal borrowing program with the King County Library System which would provide access to a larger number of Native Americans not residing in the city limits.
There are five Native American Tribes that consider the Seattle area to be within their traditional boundaries. They are the Duwamish Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, and the Tulalip Tribe. Washington takes a tremendous amount of pride in the preservation of the Native American culture.
Description of the Proposed Collection:
With the funds gained from this grant we will strengthen the Native American collection and provide informational resources to a group that is largely underrepresented in the Seattle region. The goal of the project is to make resources available to Native and non-Native people that weren’t available before. By making these resources available in the Library other groups will gain exposure to and an understanding of the Native American population. The hope is that by providing informational resources about Native Americans to the entire community it will help dispel any myths or stereotypes that might exist, highlight their history, and showcase this amazing community.
Following are some titles considered essential in Native American collections that are not yet in Seattle’s collection:
• Young, Egerton Ryerson. “Indian Life in the Great North-West.” S.W. Partridge and Co., 1900.
• Zitkala-Sa. “Old Indian Legends.” Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985.
• Axtell, James. “Natives and Newcomers: the Cultural Origins of North America.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
• Calloway, Colin G. “First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History.” Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.
• Dowd, Gregory Evans. “A Spirited Resistance: the Northern American Indian Struggle for Unity,” 1745-1815. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
• Gordon, H.L. “Legends of the Northwest.” St. Paul, Minn. The St. Paul Book and Stationery Co., 1881.
The best possible collection is one that would primarily represent Native American authors. Writers such as Fred Bigjim, Waldo Bodfish, and collections including books of myths and stories are necessary to paint a complete picture of Native Americans. The collection will include materials for people of all ages. Books for Native American children are fairly rare but we are working closely with Native centers and educators to locate titles to include in the collection.
Originally, the committee was planning on commissioning art for the Library from Native American artists. However, after meeting with the Native American organizations we soon realized that after we purchased all of the titles that they suggested there wouldn’t be any money left to spend on art. There are a lot of bare walls at Seattle Public Library. The Library is happy to loan wall space to Native American artists that wish to sell their art. The space will be near the Native American studies section in the Library so people that are already in the section will be able to see the art and those that come to see the art might be encouraged to browse through the section.
Target Audience:
There are two audiences that will benefit from this collection. The target audience is the 12,000 Native Americans residing in King County. The Center for Native Education (based in Seattle) is a group that is working to keep Native students in school and strongly encourages them to enroll in college. There are three high schools in King County that support a curriculum for Native students and several colleges offering courses in Native studies. Nine percent of students at The Pathfinder K-8 School of Seattle are Native. The Native Board works with the school to support cultural events and helps teachers to shape a curriculum that fosters a positive learning environment for Native students. According to the American Indian Library Association, Native American resources in America’s libraries are desperately inadequate. Without any tribal libraries in the greater Seattle region there is a large unmet need for resources. Native peoples require the same cultural and historical resources that every other ethnic group does and this project will be able to provide that for them, especially considering the interest generated from the curricula of local grade schools, high schools, and colleges.
The second audience is everyone else that lives in Seattle. With the expected population spike coming over the next several decades there is going to be a strong interest in the history of the area. People are going to want to know about the places they’ll be moving to and Native American history comprises a lot of that history. There has also been a rise in Native American interest. Award winning films like Frozen River and the widely respected young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian have drawn attention to the community.
The collection will serve children, high school students, college students, and adults that are interested in Native American studies.
Implementation Plan:
The Library is already communicating with the Native American organizations in the area. In January of 2009 SPL sent out a survey to determine any unmet needs that might exist in the community and three of the five tribes that have ties to Seattle responded. It was then that we decided something had to be done.
The project committee would announce that we have received the grant in the Library blog and newsletter and plan on making a large addition to the Native American collection.
SPL will work in conjunction with liaisons from all five tribes to determine which materials will benefit Native Americans the most. Once the items are agreed on and selected SPL will make the purchases and process them. The project committee will then purchase and display signage indicating the revamped section. By this time the Library’s graphic designer will have finished the brochures that we will give to Native organizations to hand out. After a few weeks we will publish more materials online documenting the success of the collection.
Promotion/Marketing of the Collection:
The Native American community is very tight-knit. Word will spread quickly throughout the tribes about the collection. For the population that doesn’t associate with the tribal community we plan on getting in touch with them too. The project committee will promote the collection through the monthly Library newsletter. We are going to write letters to The Seattle Times and The Stranger. The Library also has a blog on the popular internet news site, Seattlepi that we can use to promote the collection.
The SPL project committee knows that this collection is going to be very successful if people know about it. We have asked Sherman Alexie (a Seattle resident and famous author) and elders from all five tribes to participate in an event at the Library to celebrate the new collection. The publicity department of the Library will inform local and national media outlets of the event in hopes of gaining maximum exposure.
Outcomes and Evaluation:
Seattle Public Library expects this collection to make a difference for several different groups in the community. The materials the Library plans on purchasing are of educational value. The goal the Library has for the expanded collection is to improve the lives of Native Americans through better information. We want to make legal materials available for those interested in Indian Law. We want to help students learn about Native culture. Lastly, we want to see a rise in the number of Native Americans coming into the Library and participating in Library programming. With the assistance of local schools and Native experts the Library will be able to measure the effectiveness of the collection and determine whether or not our goals have been accomplished.
SPL has a strong liaison program with every school that falls within our district. The Library already has staff members that go into schools to talk about the services and collections available at the Library. Two schools have already expressed an interest in bringing classes into the Library to work on assignments that will include Native studies. Once they come in our liaison department will follow up and ask whether or not the collection helped students complete their assignments and if the materials were accessible.
The partnership that the Library has formed with Native organizations will make outcomes assessment much easier to measure. The Library is preparing a survey to hand out to the Native community. The survey will measure the effectiveness of the collection by asking how, if at all, the collection has changed users. The survey will be handed out approximately eight to ten months after the collection has opened so patrons have a chance to use it. The United Indians of All Tribes Foundation has graciously agreed to facilitate this survey for the Library.
Collection Sustainability:
The collection will be interfiled with the rest of the books on Native American Studies. The project committee plans on spending 60% of the money on materials within three months of receipt of the grant. We believe that there will be continued interest in the collection after the initial flare and because of that we have decided to hang on to $1,200 (27%) of the grant for future purchases for the collection. That way the section will be refreshed with new titles after a year or two.
Budget:
The grant is for $4,500. The money is going towards materials, signage, multimedia, and marketing. 60% ($2,700) will be used to purchase materials (books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs). Signage in the section will cost $200. Promoting the collection on the Library webpage will be free. Writing an article on the Library’s blog at Seattlepi will also be free. The Native American organizations have enthusiastically agreed to publish information on their websites to promote the new collection. Printing brochures that will be available at the Native American centers will cost $400 (we have a graphic designer on staff). The remaining $1,200 will be available to purchase materials in the future.

Sources:

  1. April 1 Population of Cities, Towns, and Counties Used for Allocation of Selected State Revenues: State of Washington. http://www.ofm.wa.gov/pop/april1/finalpop2009.pdf p. 4. Accessed August 12, 2009.
  2. Young, Bob. “Nickels backs 60 percent increase in city’s population by 2040”. The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003199361_population15m.html. Accessed August 12, 2009.
  3. April 1 Population of Cities, Towns, and Counties Used for Allocation of Selected State Revenues: State of Washington. http://www.ofm.wa.gov/pop/april1/finalpop2009.pdf p. 4. Accessed August 12, 2009.
  4. Cover photo. http://www.hickerphoto.com/native-indian-girl-9474-pictures.htm Accessed August 13, 2009.

Objective 4
Developing creative solutions to information problems by integrating relevant models, theories, research and practices.

Artifact 1.LIS768

I chose this artifact because I feel that social media sites are unnecessarily being blocked from many public and academic libraries. Libraries should provide access to information resources, not discourage it. The library I wrote about was filtering social media sites for fear of criticizing language showing up on the library’s website. Rather than strictly denying access I decided to tell patrons that if inappropriate language did show up on a library or library-affiliated website then it would be removed.

Gotham City Library: Social Media Policy for Library Users

Policy
The Electronic Resources for Public Use Policy also applies to Social Media platforms. Gotham City Library (GCL) supports access to any Social Media service that will enhance the internet experience of patrons.

The Library has a presence on several social media sites for the purposes of communicating with the community. GCL believes in transparency and values feedback from users. Library management takes all suggestions and criticisms under advisement.

All social media sites affiliated with the Library will be regularly screened by library employees. GCL recognizes and respects differences in opinion, but does not permit hateful or derogatory speech and the Library will immediately remove any inappropriate posting.

Access by Minors
As with traditional Library resources, librarians do not act in loco parentis. The Library is in no way responsible for enforcing any restrictions which a parent or guardian may place on a minor’s use of this resource. However, the Library does encourage parents to talk with children about internet safety. For more information please speak with an GCL Librarian.

Policy Subject to Revision
The Library may revise its “Social Media Policy” at any time.

For my social media policy I looked at the Internet Policy/Electronic Resources Policy of several different public libraries. I found most of them very restrictive and that is not how I wanted to portray Gotham City Library. Social Media is more about can than it is cannot. I also did not want to write a very specific policy because of how quickly social media sites are transforming. Most public Libraries already have Internet Policies in place so I just wanted to add a few additional notes for social media sites, and they mostly reinforce what would have already been covered in the Internet Policy. The three most important elements to include were: the Library supports social media, the Library reserves the right to remove any inappropriate content form Library affiliated sites, and Librarians will not act in loco parentis.

Sources consulted

Ottawa Public Library: Social Media Policy. Ottawa Public Library Accessed November 22, 2009.

The New York Public Library Policy on Public Use of the Internet. New York Public Library Accessed November 22, 2009.

Illinois Library Association: Netsafe. ILA: Netsafe Accessed November 22, 2009.

Cyber bullies

Artifact 2. LIS899

Values Assessment

This is one of the few assignments I have had in the GSLIS program that fits this objective. I developed a proposal to assess the success of the digitization of a local history collection. For the first time I used pre-established models and theories to help with the assessment. It was a valuable exercise because libraries will always need to prove their worth to someone and this is an effective way to do it.

Click here for the PDF.

Objective 5

Designing, implementing, and evaluating systems, technologies, services and products that connect users with information.

Artifact 1. LIS770

This assignment is an excellent example of how I handled the implementation of an information service. I consider it to be an example of my best work. I was able to express my creativity by designing a new collection in a small liberal arts college library. This is one of the assignments that attracted me to working in library management.

The Chenault Collection

The creation of the Chenault special collection can easily be done with the donation of $150,000. I propose that it will not require any additional or outside funding for several years and that it won’t put a strain on any other part of the library. The collection will be housed in a space that already exists in the library. There won’t be any major construction costs and we’ll be using utilities that the library is already paying for. I will explain the space in detail further on in this paper. As long as every penny leaving the Chenault fund is watched and not spent frivolously the collection will not need to lean on any other library department. This budget will get the Chenault reading room off the ground and financially sustained for several years.
First, the home that Chenault was living in has been sold and it is necessary to remove all of the donated items from there within the next six weeks. His home isn’t too far from here so in two weeks we will rent a moving truck and drive down there to retrieve them. I placed a call to both Border’s and Barnes and Noble to ask them if they would be willing to donate their empty book boxes to us for this purpose and they said that they would. In two weeks time we should have the appropriate number of boxes. The library assistant, the intern and I (Dale Jacobs) will drive down there and box everything up over the course of two days. We will need to rent a storage container from PODS for a few months as there isn’t any good space to store the collection while we process the collection. There is a spot right next to our loading dock where the storage container can sit that will provide easy access for us.
With the money donated we can afford to hire a curator and an assistant for the collection. The curator will be in charge of processing and cataloging all of Chenault’s donations and once the room is ready the curator can continue to serve part-time in the Chenault room while the assistant will stay on until the collection has been processed. Due to the enormity of the donation we will have to take on additional staff. The library has had success with the interns from Drexel University and this would be a great experience for the right candidates. If the collection is to be available this year it will be necessary to take on three or possibly four interns.
There is a space available in the library that would be perfect for housing the Chenault collection. The room is where we currently store our old card catalogs. The time has finally come for the library to get rid of them. There is more than enough space down there to hold all 13,000 items we expect to receive. The majority of the items are letters and magazines that don’t require as much space as books would. However, the room has only been used as a storage space for the last twenty years so there needs to be an overhaul. The room needs carpeting, paint, lights, bookshelves, new windows and furniture. We can save on some of these expenses. Rather than hiring painters to do the room I will paint and because the electrical already exists all I have to do is change the fixtures. The bookshelves that most libraries purchase are extraordinarily expensive but we can drastically reduce that cost by purchasing them from IKEA. There we can save approximately $400 per unit. The same is true for furniture. The money being saved can be better spent elsewhere. Also there is a comic book shop in Philadelphia called Amazing Fantasy that read about the collection coming to us and has offered to donate three display cases and that gave me the idea to call other shops and jewelry stores to see if they would be willing to do the same. They were more than happy to and we already have more than we need. So once we remove the card catalogs and lay the carpet, paint and install the bookshelves (with the help of our eager interns) we can begin to process the collection.
The purchase of new computers is unavoidable but they can be found cheaply. There is no reason to purchase new cataloging software. We can just use the same program that the rest of the library uses. The collection that we have to process is enormous. There are approximately 13,000 items coming in and they will be a nightmare to catalog. I know that our interns and curator will be very eager to have these materials on display as soon as possible so they will be very efficient catalogers. I would like each intern to come in for fifteen hours per week. Assuming one item can be cataloged in an hour the interns should be able to do 240 items per month. The curator and the curator’s assistant, at thirty hours per week each should be able to do 240 titles per month. They’ll be able to dedicate nearly all their time to cataloging because they won’t yet have to answer patron questions because the doors the Chenault room won’t be open. That means that 480 titles should be cataloged per month and that this will take a long time. Priority will be given to Chenault’s manuscripts and book collection. After four months I think enough would be done that we could open the space. It will not be necessary to digitize his entire correspondence but if special requests are made we could provide them.
Some of the best book covers of the twentieth century have been on Chenault’s books. I would like to blow the images up and display them throughout the library and the Chenault Room. When students come into the library they will see the art and hopefully become curious enough to wander down into the Chenault Room.
Once the cataloging is nearing completion there will no longer be a need for the assistant or the interns so during the interview it should be made clear that the length of employment lasts as long as the project does. The total budget for the first year is less than $54,000. After that the only real expense will be the salary of the curator and that individual’s salary will be reduced when the processing of the materials is complete. It will only be necessary to employ the curator during the Special Collection’s reading room hours and that person can finish processing the items.
With the more than generous donation by Elbert Chenault the Havermore University Library would be able to accommodate the collection. Furthermore, it can be done without infringing on the budget of any other department in the library. Without any other revenue coming into the Chenault Room the donation will sustain the space for at least ten years. There is a lot of potential to make this a fun exhibit. It will be great to acquire one of science fictions greatest authors. This room will inspire its visitors to think more creatively about writing and I am sure that was Chenault’s intention when he decided to make the donation.

Line-Item Budget

Expenses Budget

Truck 150

PODS (9 months) 1200

Carpeting 2800

Displays 0

Bookshelves 1400

Paint 120

Furniture 1900

Lighting 225

Computers (3) 1600

Software 0

Office supplies 2,000

Curator 17,280

Assistant 12,960

Benefits 7560

Medical Coverage 3480

Art 675

Windows 1250

Outreach materials 150

Artifact 2.

Web Presence

This artifact is one that can not be summed up in one particular assignment. This is a synthesis of the work I have done in several different courses. The most influential of which was Library 2.0 with Dr. Stephens. I have understood the value of social media tools in connecting with different user groups and attempted to become familiar with some of them. I believe that through effective use of web design and social media tools like Twitter, blogs, and video creation libraries can reach out and connect with users in a new and meaningful way. These are links to my examples.

Creating a site using Drupal.

Creating a site using WordPress.

My Twitter

My Flickr

Objective 6

Practicing a variety of management, communication and organization skills to facilitate appropriate change within libraries and communities.

Artifact 1. LIS770

I have chosen to use this artifact twice, the first time was for objective three. The reason I am using it again for objective six is because the project affected the lives and communities of those that we reached out to. My group reached out to and underserved population and helped to better their lives. This is a function that libraries serve on a daily basis and it is something that I want to be a part of in my career.

Hispanic Outreach

Part 1.

The Hispanic outreach project was the most interesting of the options given to the class. It is one of the most pressing issues facing communities in America today considering the massive influx of Latinos to all regions across the country. David, Jessica, Christine, Tyler and I either all already work in a public library or are interested in working for one in the future so this assignment was an issue that will most likely have to be addressed by us in the future. Everyone in the group had interesting ideas and different backgrounds so we were each able to contribute to the project in unique ways. The first meeting we introduced ourselves to each other and explained why we had each chosen the outreach project. The brainstorming session was our first opportunity to see that everyone had at least a few good ideas about what they were interested in seeing happen in our library. We spoke for approximately thirty minutes about who wanted to see what happening at our library. The two most talkative members of class were in the group so it made it slightly difficult to get ideas across. Although once an opportunity opened up so that I could speak the group seemed to be receptive to my ideas. The reason I want to get into public libraries is because I want to provide the best service possible for a community. I want to open as many doors as possible and offer as many opportunities for growth and development that the community would be able to support. The budget limit for the outreach program was $20,000, which I think is a lot of money. I know how to stretch money out and I really enjoy working with budgets. I live near large Latino populations so I am familiar with some small support organizations for minorities and different outreach type programs. I prefer a hands-on approach to most things and when everyone in the group was deciding what they were interested in doing and researching to prepare for the next meeting I said that I would visit the libraries in my area. I live near Humboldt Park library so I called over there and spoke to an extremely knowledgeable reference librarian (who happened to be a Dominican alumnus). She told me several interesting things about how the Humboldt Park branch of Chicago Public Libraries was handling it’s largely Latino population. The most valuable resource in any institution is its’ staff and that is no exception at Humboldt. Although having the ability to speak Spanish and English was not a requirement at this library nearly the entire staff could converse in both languages. These librarians are already far more valuable at this location than they would have been in a community where it was not necessary to have a working knowledge of Spanish. Since so much of the staff can speak both languages there is almost always someone at the reference desk that can serve both non-English and English speakers. The librarian also informed me that there is a decent collection of Spanish language materials. Then as the librarian listed off a number of other services the library provides she slipped in “citizenship classes”. I interrupted her to ask what she meant by citizenship classes. She explained that Humboldt Park Library worked together with an organization called Association House, to help integrate the Latino population into the rest of the community. I wondered why this wasn’t the first thing she mentioned when I asked what the library did to reach out to the Hispanic population. She explained that Association House was a volunteer based organization that had been serving the Chicago area for more than one-hundred years. At Humboldt, Association House (A.H.) offered citizenship classes and English-as-a-Second Language classes for free. Knowing that I had found exactly what I was looking for I ended the call and took extensive notes on everything she had just told me. I then went on the computer and read everything I could on A.H. While looking at different articles on work A.H. had done for Chicago I found another organization dedicated exclusively to Latinos. The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) has been serving Latinos throughout Chicago since 1984. I found their phone number and called it immediately, feeling that I was on a role after Humboldt. I spoke to a man named Francisco who was fairly confused about the purpose of my phone call but he ended up being very informative. Francisco “educated” me on a number of challenges that Hispanics are facing today. I was able to bring these issues to class the following week and share them with the rest of the group. UNO is more of a Hispanic empowerment project. They provide leadership development classes, citizenship classes, language classes and an amazing number of other services. I asked Francisco if UNO worked to help people in libraries and he said that it was an outlet they had not yet fully exploited. He sounded very excited at the prospect of having another venue that UNO could work from. Francisco said that the biggest problem that people have when they are trying to reach out and help others is that they never really “reach out”. The helpers always make those that need help come to them. The biggest mistake is that those willing to help never go to the people. Thus, providing services at the library, a space in the heart of the community, would be a great idea. I was very excited that I had just found two different organizations that would continually provide services for free to the community that we want to reach out to. I felt like we had just received another $20,000 in our budget. The library would not have to pay outsiders to come in on a one-time basis to provide health-care classes or E.S.L. classes. We were able to tap into a core of volunteers that would be happy to help our community through the library. The only thing these organizations requested from the library was space. I brought my notes to class to share with the group and they seemed excited too. I had been coming up with lots of different ideas for programs that we could offer to the Latino community and now I could provide a means to make those programs tangible. I felt as though the group wasn’t going anywhere. The group mostly just went around in circles over the same things and once I brought my findings in and shared them I felt that I had contributed something positive that the group could rally around. Now others were more comfortable to talk about spending money and how UNO and A.H. could best be exploited. The group was not going in a direction that I felt was very productive. We spent most of our meetings talking about the P.E.S.T and S.W.O.T. ideas. I decided that I would just write down some ideas of how I would handle the situation if there were no committee and I was the only one responsible for the project. I came up with a very detailed outline of how I would use my staff and communicate to the community what my plans were. I had written several pages worth of plans that I thought I would bring to class the next meeting if a new direction hadn’t yet been taken. “Natural leaders” had emerged in the group and I did not want to cross or insult anyone by saying that we were wasting time. By the time the next class was held some e-mails were sent out that clarified everyone’s responsibilities and I did not think it was necessary to submit my plans. Instead, over the next few meetings I slipped my ideas in when there was an opportunity. Everyone in the group was able to choose an area that they would cover and be responsible for. I had come up with a lot of different ideas for outreach programs and spoken them out loud in class. Then someone else in the group said that they would like to be in charge of that aspect of the project. I said nothing and decided to pick up whatever happened to be left over. I was assigned the task of “policymaking”. There were not going to be any policy changes because the mission of the library was going to stay the same. Collection development was not going to change since the library already had a substantial Spanish language section in the library. We had decided to implement bilingual signage throughout the library but that was essentially the limit to my task. Since we had a large group there actually wasn’t anything left for me to do so my responsibility was to establish contact with UNO and A.H. This was something that I had already done so I did not actually have anything left to do. I finished my work early and offered different ideas to the other members of the group when we held our meetings. The very last meeting we put the power-point together. Unfortunately, this is when everyone’s task became most clear. I felt most confident of what exactly I would be talking about when I had to make my slides. <p>&nbsp;</p> Part 2. I do not often enjoy working as part of a team. My personality would best be described as “reserved” or “quiet”. This quality of mine makes working as part of a group difficult. This is especially true when everyone is speaking at the same time or when there are no clearly defined roles for members of the group. When I am expected to contribute to discussions at random I typically do not do so well. This group situation was slightly different than most other groups I have had to work in. The two most talkative people in the class, David and Christine, were in my group. They are also both older with lots of experience behind them and have been in Dominican’s program longer than everyone else in the group. I felt, mostly because they talked so much, that I should yield to them when the group was having open discussions. This is no fault of theirs; I am merely explaining why I felt uncomfortable making verbal contributions in our discussions. I did find a way to make my thoughts heard though. If I focused on one person and spoke to them directly or waited until there was a lull in conversation I could make my opinions heard. They seemed very receptive when I could sneak a word in and David would often say things like, “Yea, that’s a good idea”, or offer some other positive reinforcement. I must say that David is an excellent and very effective communicator. We spent the first several meetings going over the P.E.S.T. and S.W.O.T. ideas. I felt that this was not nearly as important as assigning tasks and getting on with the real work. Instead the group was focusing on brainstorming far too much. Everyone was contributing really great ideas but we had not yet developed a system to plug those ideas into so it seemed like we were just talking for the first few weeks. Eventually someone suggested that we might need a leader and David seemed to be the natural choice. He accepted the role graciously and outlined what exactly he would do and how to handle him if anyone else in the group felt that he was stepping out-of-bounds. The first meeting everyone said what they were going to do to get the project started and this seemed like it was going to work well. The only effective way to work in a group is to assign roles to the members of the group. When each member can be held accountable and responsible for a particular task, then tangible progress can be made. This was certainly true in our group. At first everyone had a “homework assignment”. While that was a good idea it did not bring us any further in the project. Each person brought something different in each class but the results were sloppy and not organized at all. I think most of the things that people brought to the group’s attention ended up not being used in the final presentation. Each member of the group did have something unique to bring to the project. Jessica comes from a Latino background and was able to correct some of the myths that some of us had believed. Tyler currently works at a library, the library whose statistics we eventually ended up borrowing actually, that participates in a few outreach programs. Christine works at a library and has served on some committees. David is a leader and was able to keep minutes for our meetings and tried to help the group stay on task. I knew what libraries in the community were already doing and found organizations that were willing to work for free. Once the tasks were assigned and the group knew which track we were supposed to be in the group ran very smoothly. The things that the group did that I found to be most effective were when there was a specialization of tasks. Once people knew what they should be doing and had a sense of purpose and direction results started coming in. Before that different members of the group were just shouting out ideas. It worked better too when we wrote down what was expected of everyone, just so there was no confusion and anything that was not clear became clear once we wrote it down for everyone to see. Having a leader seemed to be necessary for our group. There were three strong personalities in our group and they all seemed to agree but that’s all that was happening. Everyone kept agreeing on the same issue just using different language. It was strange to watch happen actually because no one was being hostile, they were being overly polite and it felt like if there was some hostility then more progress would have been made. The other strength of having a leader is that someone was keeping track of our meetings. This proved helpful when the weekend came around and I couldn’t remember what we had talked about during the previous meeting. The group did not try too many things that did not work. It seemed like we focused too much on the brainstorming phase but that may have been necessary so we could get comfortable with each other. I was not fond of communicating electronically. I preferred to share results during our meetings, that way they wouldn’t be forgotten during the next meeting. Also the praise received after finding a particularly valuable resource made me feel like I was contributing to the group. Electronic communication is too impersonal and there wasn’t really anything for our group to post on the internet because our project did not really allow for that kind of communication. We weren’t posting too many facts. If someone had a question then it could be posted but apart from that and the minutes David was sending out we didn’t really use the internet. Since we stayed in the brainstorming phase for so long there wasn’t anything to post for the first few weeks. I learned several things from working in this group. The first and most important is that the group started to work best when everyone had a clearly defined role and task assigned to them. Without those tasks people were just talking about ideas, once the tasks were assigned and people felt a sense of responsibility for the project we moved forward. It was also important for this particular group to stay in the “brainstorming” phase for such an extended period of time. Here we got to know each other, recognized people’s strengths and interests and that helped make it easier to assign people their roles. I also recognized the law that when a group is delegated a task, no matter how long they have to complete it they will always wait until the last minute to finish. If I had to work in this group again the only thing I would change is the length of time spent brainstorming. Everything else ran fairly smoothly.

Artifact 2.LIS899

Creating Stakeholders

This artifact revolves around the book “Community: The Structure of Belonging”, by Peter Block. This is an instructional group presentation. My group is doing a 45 minute long presentation on how to create community. For a librarian the book reads as a how-to manual for creating stakeholders. This is an invaluable skill set for librarians and after the semester is over I will be writing a larger paper on the topic.

Click here for the PDF version of our handout/speaking outline.

 

Objective 7

Teaching others to identify, analyze, organize and use information.

Artifact 1. LIS740

I created a pathfinder for my reference in the humanities course. This pathfinder directed people to information sources relating to Chicago history. I am particularly proud of it because I love Chicago and I feel that these sources would provide an excellent guide for anyone interested in the subject.

The Chicago History Pathfinder

Click here for the PDF.

Artifact 2. LIS704/LIS768

Although I never had to create an instructional video for any course I thought that it would be a good learning experience. I decided to do a video on how to conduct a simple search with Academic Search Premier. I know that I will have to teach someone how to use a database at some point in my career and this I thought that I should have some experience with it.

Instructional Video

Click here to be directed to an instructional video.

Reflective Essay

Click here for the PDF version.

Introduction

When I first entered the GSLIS program I believed the overall objective was to equip students with skills that would make them successful librarians. I was unaware that there were specific program objectives that students were expected to fulfill. Each of the objectives would contribute to the overall makeup of a model librarian. Looking back over the course of the program I have realized that each course did add something unique to help shape me as a model librarian. Creating a portfolio has helped me see the big picture by forcing me to review and analyze everything I have done while in the program. This is a reflection on what I have learned while in the program, how my thinking about the profession has changed, and what career path I am now ready to take.

Significant Learning Experiences

I have had dozens of interesting experiences while in the GSLIS program. Domincan attracts some of the best names in the library profession. My first great experience happened while conducting research for a paper I was profiling. I was profiling the Moraine Valley Community College Library for my Academic Libraries course with Michael Gorman. I wrote to the Library Director to see if she would answer a few questions via email. She responded almost immediately and invited me to meet her and her entire full-time staff. I learned an incredible amount from a living, breathing staff. The MVCC staff taught me that having good chemistry and excellent communication is vitally important to working with other librarians. I came into the program without any library experience other than as a user, a very heavy library user, but I did not know what it was like to be on the other side of the desk. My experiences at MVCC gave me an opportunity to see how a great library functions on a daily basis.

My second most significant learning experience has taken place over the length of my last semester in the program. When it came time for me to choose classes for my last two classes at Dominican I only had one elective left. I thought long and hard about the the different skill sets I would learn in each course and how they would help me help others in a further on in my career. I decided to enroll in Michael Stephens’ LIS768 course, Library 2.0 and Social Media. I chose this course because I thought it would help me learn to better connect with users. The class has only met in person a handful of times; most of the assignments are done electronically. I did not anticipate how beneficial this learning method would be to me. I am forced to communicate with the larger library world, the one that exists outside the walls of Dominican University. This is exactly how I will be learning when I leave the program. I will be reading blogs and wikis, participating in Webinars, and connecting with and learning from my peers. Dr. Stephens has taught us how to connect and collaborate with our peers in a way that I had never before thought possible. This will be an invaluable skill to have when I am working in a library.

Best Artifacts

What I consider to be my best work is not something that exists as a single artifact or experience. My best work is a summation of my online presence. In Dr. Stephens’ Social Media course I have built a small empire on the web. I have a class blog that I find myself writing on even without having been assigned. I can choose subjects in the library world that I am interested in and reflect on them. I am connecting with working librarians across the country and sharing ideas via Twitter, blogs, wikis, public forums, and Flickr. I consider this my best work because it is a synthesis of everything I have learned throughout the program.

The next artifact that I count among my best work is the Chenault Project. In my Library and Information Center Management course I had an assignment in which I was the director of a small liberal arts college library. A local science-fiction author of some fame had recently died and donated his library to the college. As director, I was responsible for the project. I chose the assignment because I would be able to do some creative thinking, one of my best assets. With such a limited budget that is exactly what I had to do. I personally designed the new space, built bookshelves and painted the room. I collaborated with the art department to decorate the room and enlisted library student volunteers from the nearby library school to help catalog and organize the collection. The Chenault Project was a smashing success and quickly became something the whole college could be proud of. I count this among my best pieces of work because I enjoyed working on it.

How This Portfolio Reflects Me as a Library Professional

It was not until I began choosing artifacts for my portfolio that I realized how varied my experiences and interests were. Each of the twelve courses I have taken have added to what type of librarian I will be. Every time I chose an assignment I thought of how I might be able to transfer what I learned to how I will be able to apply it to my career. While looking over all of the assignments I chose to include in my portfolio I found a theme. That theme was connecting to users and providing them with a great experience. For example, I did not realize until a few weeks ago that I did four assignments on outreach to Hispanic communities. I completed two other assignments on developing collections that would attract marginalized communities to the library. Although I was not aware of the GSLIS program objectives while I was choosing assignments I managed to fulfill each one of them.

I have decided to take courses that would make me a valuable addition to any library. My skills are not limited to any one aspect of librarianship. I am interested in every function that a librarian might be required to perform. I think this is a character trait that all librarians should and probably do have. As my portfolio shows I have prepared myself to work in every department of a library.

How My Perspective of Libraries Has Changed

Completing the GSLIS program has changed my perspective of libraries in several different ways. As I mentioned earlier, the only experience I had with libraries before entering the program was as a user. After graduating college I finally had the time to make libraries a regular part of my life. I made a weekly trip to my local library to check out items for the week and went home. I never participated in any programming. I was never aware of any programming other than discussion groups for books on knitting and 18th century society life. GSLIS has forced me to think about programming in creative ways. I have visited a number of libraries that reach out to their communities and design programs for more than one demographic. There are reading clubs for twenty-somethings and Millennials, author events, and writing groups. I have learned that with creative thinking libraries can offer something for everyone in the community. The library has the resources to pull people in all they need to focus on is marketing and implementation. The library does not have to be a warehouse for books as I once thought it was, it can be an exciting place to connect with people and ideas. Librarians need to facilitate that sort of programming.

Another perspective that has changed is how libraries interact with the larger community. Although this has not been my experience outside of GSLIS, libraries can connect with the community in meaningful ways. The core function of the library is to serve the community. It is the job of the librarian to facilitate that connection. There is no rule that says librarians can not go out into the community and teach people computer skills at a retirement community or facilitate ESL programs. Before I started at Dominican I did not think that libraries ever worked with other organizations. I thought of the library as a repository for books and information. As a librarian I hope to change that perception for others.

The Direction My Career is Headed

When I first entered the program I knew that I wanted to work in public libraries. I have always had a strong commitment to public service and with the skills and training I now have I know that I could do a lot of good for people. As I began taking courses I realized that there was a lot more to do in libraries than make book recommendations in public libraries so I started signing up for courses that would give me different skills. Now that I am at the end of the program I can market myself to work in any library setting. I have transferable skills that would benefit any institution.

I have not had any experiences that would keep me from working at any type of library. I would be happy to work at an archive, an academic library, a school library, or a public library. However, I feel that I would bring the most good to the most people if I were to work at a public library. I am looking for a progressive library with a culture that encourages innovation and creative thinking to better serve the community and allow me to grow as a professional.

Resume
Click on the link to access my Resume

 

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