Free, free, free (e)books please!

I'm officially an ereader as of December 25th! Thank you, Santa (er, Mark ; ) for my new Kindle! Amazon had a banner Christmas too, I see, with all the new Kindle owners out there. So, of course, like any good consumer, I wanted to start to actually read on my Kindle. Then I found out:

1. Kindle's don't work with EPUB or Adobe Digital Editions formatted books which meant (for me) no free library books

2. I need to shop at Amazon to get my books...boo

I guess I should have been a bit more thorough on selecting my ereader, however, I highly doubt I would have received the Sony eReader for almost $300 that does essentially the same thing as my Kindle for $189!!!! Yikes...

Like any good cheapskate, I started scouring the Internet looking for free ebooks. Here are some things I have learned:

1. Kindle books are in MOBI format which means...even if Kindles are on the list of supported devices, you still might be able to download the book and use Calibre to format it to read on your Kindle.

2. DRM = rotten, stinking bugger that won't allow you to read the newly downloaded books esp. if they are EPUB format! Arghh...so what do you do then?

3. eBook Converter - a little software download that removes the DRM and allows you to format your book so that you can read it on your Kindle. CAVEAT: This is a bit naughty...kind of like using Napster before Napster became regulated. >:( There are lots of debates about DRM (oh - Digital Rights (or Restriction) Management - sorry!) so read up and pick a side. >:)

But lets get back to why we are here...eReading on the cheap! Here is my list of resources of free reading material for your Kindle:

Free ebooks by Project Gutenberg
Free Kindle Books on Amazon
Amazon - Limited Time offers (some free and some on the cheap!)

Happy Reading!



Gone, Daddy, Gone...

I am gone...no more papers, no more books..yada, yada, yada! A few weeks of not having to go to G'boro will be a HUGE treat for me.

Here's a recap of what I learned from both my classes:

Info Users & Uses:
Got to understand the people to understand how to best serve their information needs...that means leaving the library to do research!

Collection Management:
It's imperative that librarians learn to tell the communities story otherwise, no one will bother coming to use our libraries. Sad, but true.

Those are the BIG takeaways..there's lots of little stuff thrown in but I'm tired of writing epistles. ; ) Let's just keep it short and sweet and say, Merry Christmas everyone!





I've held many jobs in my short life span. Some have been pretty unique, like the time I was an office manager for a volunteer fire station in rural northeastern PA. There was a time when I was an art conservator assistant where I cleaned wall and ceiling murals and mixed various soapy concoctions to clean a myriad of who-knows-what off of priceless state owned oil paintings. I've worked administrative assistant jobs (old schoolers know this as 'secretarial' work :) and I've even worked as a field reporter during college covering local news with a lead anchor.

I guess I've seen a lot/done a lot and maybe not everything, but in each job I've gained something to take with me. All lessons learned should not be forgotten because it seems that the world of situational experience is cyclical. To quote the great Yogi Berra, "It's like deja vu all over again." (Wikipedia, 2010)

However, there is something unique about being a 'working student' or GA. For some reason, the moment the student role is assumed, it seems that past experience, knowledge and respect go by the wayside. I have worked as a graduate assistant in my previous graduate degree program and I distinctly remember the hierarchical treatment by some faculty members...not all, but some.

As a member of the teach-library program, I have a certain level of responsibility to perform a job. Not only am I on the payroll of the library, but also, I am a representative of the caliber of student the LIS program is attracting to their program. I have had the pleasure this semester of working with people who respect the experience that I bring and have taken on this project by looking at it as not a GAship with some "extra writing work" tacked on to make it unique.

The reasons I applied for this position were because:
  1. I wanted to work with someone who was doing the role I hope to do some day
  2. I wanted to collaborate with faculty and practioner to (hopefully) make changes or enhance both the practice and the curriculum
  3. I wanted to have a unique experience that might elevate me from the title of "student" to be included in big picture thinking about my profession as an information professional
This is, and should be, more than what a typical graduate assistantship entails. If it is not, than either the practioner or the faculty member are not performing in their role to allow the student to unite them and bring about rich discussion to our field. In my experience, the student in this role has the unique opportunity to perhaps influence the work within a particular specialty area and if, after getting the foundational elements, are not able to experiment or express their desires towards change or be included in a collaborative, than somewhere the model is failing that student.

People will always say 'that's the way it's always been done', however, if this was true, we would still be riding on horseback instead of driving hybrid vehicles. {insert your 'green' argument here} I think you get the point I'm making....

This is an opportunity to respect the ideas and experiences that a person who happens to be a student brings into the workplace. If treatment of the student is regarded by practioners that they should feel blessed to even be entering into such hallowed grounds, I think the praticioner needs to review why they signed up to join in on this program in the first place.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - learn it, live it - if you want a GA, that's easy to get. If you want a teach-library student, then it's more of a give-and-take relationship and, at some level, those involved need to provide the necessary financial and curricular opportunities to attract the caliber of student with the necessary experiences to make the program successful for all.

Works Cited
Wikipedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia-Yogi Berra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra#cite_note-21


More than a GAship: The Teach/Library Project Defined

Here I am w/ my poster....


The Teach/Library project is a joint venture between UNCG’s Library and Information Studies department and Jackson Library to foster an innovative exchange of ideas, knowledge sharing and goals among a faculty member, librarian and student. During the course of one academic year, the student works with a librarian in a chosen specialty area. They collaborate to create projects that align with student’s interests and career objectives and practitioner’s needs. The faculty member contributes fundamental understanding, theory and/or learning objectives through either a course or regular meetings. All contribute to the shared knowledge by electronic journal, in this case, a wiki. The DEAL method is used to focus the weekly reflections by asking individuals to describe and examine their own “personal growth” and “academic enhancement”. The final step, “articulate the learning”, is a synthesis of the entire week’s experience; to understand why an experience matters and what changes can be made to improve an experience. (Ash, 2009)

The overall objective is that all three parties are sharing, learning and meeting individual goals. Each is an equal stakeholder in the learning process. Upon project completion, it is desired that a body of work (article, presentation, etc.) will be produced and shared with others outside the institution.

The Difference

The DEAL Method: (Ash, 2009)

  • Describe
  • Examine
  • Articulate Learning

Each member reflects on this process each week and places it in context with experiences learned or observed. The wiki provides a collaborative and engaging space in which to share meaningful dialogue with each other.

The Benefits

  • Practical experience while learning “the basics” of library studies
  • Networking alliances
  • Academic financial support (Student)
  • Communicate academic initiatives and needs
  • Practitioner viewpoint encouraged
  • Collaborative and open – no hierarchy
Works Cited
Ash, Clayton & Moses. (2009). Learning Through Critical Reflection. A Tutorial for Service-Learning Students. Raleigh, NC.


Posters, posters, everywhere posters

I did my first ever poster presentation. I'm sure some of you may think, 'ho-hum', but it was a great first time experience. This is the second year that my LIS department has done a conference. It's a great way to meet people, network and see what other students are working on with faculty. The conference is called iDEALS...please take a look! I think it's a pretty good conference and if you are local, think about attending next year. (or presenting!)

My poster was about the Teach/Library Project that I am working on this year. My poster was a bit different from others as I didn't really do any research. I merely presented on the project, what made it a bit different from other internships or GAships, and how we are using Blackboard's Wiki feature to share our experiences.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing a poster and would do one again in a heartbeat. Here's my reasons why:
  • It is more informal and not as intimidating as doing a presentation before a large group of people.
  • There was no technology setup or snafu's to deal with
  • If you are a social butterfly who likes talking to people, it's very fun!
  • It's great to find out what others are doing and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE...
I would have loved to see more librarians from our campus or other campuses attend. It would have been great to see more faculty and students from other library school programs, too. I met two very nice UNC students, one of whom presented today. Aside from the great projects being done at UNCG's LIS department, it would be a great venue for recruiting! Something to think about next time...

Great experience and I highly recommend it!




Back to Community Mindedness...

In the beginning of the semester, Dr. Bird had us read a few articles by David Carr on the topic of a Community Mind. The premise is that libraries, museums and archives need to work together to tell the collectives story. These are the places where our histories are capture and stored, but they need to work together and present the entire communities stories, while constantly monitoring and adapting to the changing story.

Carr had 6 points in his article which he felt an institution should embody:

  • Connecting Through Story
  • Experimentations in Inquiry
  • Public Spaces
  • Foundations of A Community Mind
  • Acts of Giving
  • Necessity of Story (Carr, 2002)

I struggled with some of these concepts as I felt that libraries, museums and archives all struggle to finance themselves. There is only so much that can be allocated to staff salaries, preservation, collections, and acquisitions, not to mention the new collections/exhibits that need to be developed to present to the public. So my initial reaction was somewhat luke-warm. Our follow-up assignment was to read about digital libraries and then visit a few sites. Again, I wasn't too impressed with what I was seeing and, to be honest, I was having a hard time making 'connections' with some of the online libraries. They seemed totally disconnected and I wasn't sure how they would ever be useful to the public, especially after reading Carr's article.

However, the more I have thought about digital collections and libraries, the more intrigued I have become and am starting to see the value in them. I was on my way to ERIT Wednesday afternoon when a book on the shelves near the circulation desk caught my eye. "Library 2.0 and Beyond" is a compilation of works by various authors on technology use and users in the library, however, there is a great chapter on Digital Storytelling by Karen Diaz and Anne Fields. In this work, they discuss the importance and effect that regular storytelling has on a community and how, with our now digital capabilities, storytelling can open our structures to allowing users to learn more about who we are and what we do. (2007)

Of course, gleaning the stories and making them so that others would want to read them is part of the difficulties that they mention. I think, though, that people would read them if they saw them online. Digital stories can build relationships between the community of users, not only in the academic setting, but also in a public library where incentives can pay off in tax dollar amounts. (Diaz & Fields, 2007)

I know this is a bit much for a reflective post, but I wanted to share this thought and hopefully, generate some discussion about it. What would it mean for Jackson Library to start incorporating this model of digital storytelling on their website? How would it enhance the user experience according to Carr's ideas of community mindedness?


Carr, D. (2002). A Community Mind. Public Libraries , 41 (5), 284-288.

Diaz, K. & Fields, A. M. (2007). Digital Storytelling, Libraries, and Community. In N. Courtney (Ed.), Library 2.0 and Beyond: Innovative Technologies and Tomorrow's User (129-139). Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.


My Tagxedo

Here is my 'peace librarian' tagxedo that I created tonight. It contains all the words that are in this blog. I love it! Now I need a t-shirt with it on it...


Hello Wiki! Meet My Blog!

I wanted to put this on my blog...This assignment is posted on our Blackboard course wiki, however, I won't be able to access it after class is over. The assignment was to create and present an electronic list of resources based on either material, process or user community. We then needed to market it to other librarians. I struggled with this assignment, but in the end, I think it came out okay. The Prezi is my marketing piece and the resources for Distance Education Users as a community are listed beneath it. Here are the fruits of my endeavors...

Distance Education User Community


As more universities and colleges begin to turn towards online education as a viable means of delivering classes, libraries are going to need to learn how to serve this community of users. Distance education students were typically students who received instruction by mail or traveled to a site designated by the school to receive instruction through video conferencing. With courses being available online, students can not only access their coursework, they can also access their college’s library and materials. Librarians who are looking to build a collection of online resources and materials to serve this population can use this guide to serve as introduction to meeting the needs of this user population. Resources are listed alphabetically by category.


Ault, M. (2002). Thinking Outside the Library: How to Develop, Implement and Promote Library Services for Distance Learners. Journal of Library Administration, 37, 1, 39.

Article is a bit dated but provides librarians with a framework for thinking about and using different strategies to reach distance students. The article focuses on identifying users and their needs and then building resources and services to meet their needs. UNCG’s Jackson Library owns this article and it can be accessed through Journal Finder.

Calvert, H. M. (2002). Distance Education from a Collections Development Perspective. Journal of Library Administration, 37, 1, 117.

The author focuses on the collaborative process that is needed between librarians and faculty who are delivering distance courses to provide a better experience for distance learners. Studies and initiatives are taken from Ball State University Library who have experienced these issues and have had successful distance program outcomes. UNCG’s Jackson Library owns this article and it can be accessed through Journal Finder.

Raraigh-Hopper, J. (2010). Improving Library Services for Distance Learners: A Literature Review. Reference Librarian, 51(1), 69-78.

“Academic libraries offer many services to distance learning students. The sources of literature reviewed here offer information that shows relevant similarities and differences between library services offered to traditional students and distance learning students. Likewise, the associated findings from the literature offer insight that is applicable for a project to modify and improve library services for distance learners in higher education.” (Raraigh-Hopper, 2010)


ACRL: Distance Learning Section

ACRL is a division of the American Libraries Association and has a section dedicated to topics on distance learning. This site maintains news, standards, statistics, research and other resources that would be of interest to librarians seeking information on distance education.

Lita: Library & Information Technology Association

A division of ALA, Lita focuses on technology education and services to all librarians, independent of library type. While some of the material may have more of a technology focus rather than the user, there is a Distance Learning users group within the body of Lita that may be of interest to librarians who support distance education users. Lita publishes a peer-reviewed journal, Library and Information Technology, that includes information on topics related to distance education.


ACRL Distance Learning Section: Library Services for Distance Learning: Fifth Bibliography – 2008-2010. Retrieved from http://caspian.switchinc.org/~distlearn/resources/5thBibliography/BibliographyHome.html

The fifth version of ACRL’s Distance Learning Section bibliography provides current information on library services for distance learning. The work was edited and compiled by an extensive committee of academic librarians including UNCG’s Jackson Library Distance Education librarian, Beth Filar Williams who was co-chair for this edition.


Duke’s CIT: Center for Instructional Technology

Blog is written by members of Duke University’s Instructional Technology faculty. Entries contain information on technology tools, as well as, how to teach with them. Although posts are not all focused on distance education, they are focused on the use of technology with regards to teaching and learning. Interested users can subscribe to the blog’s RSS feeds for updates.


Goodson, C. (2001). Providing Library Services for Distance Education Students: A How-To-Do It Manual. Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, NY

This book gives librarians ideas and resources needed to provide online services to distance students. Since its publication date is nine years old, this book may not be quite so current in technology. However, the need to plan and strategize an approach to serving distance students can be independent of the technology. This books shares forms, documents, sample policies and other resource materials that will be helpful to librarians who are seeking more information on how to serve this user community. (Stahr, 2002)

Moore, M. G., & Anderson, W. G. (2007). Handbook of distance education. (2nd ed.) L. Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ

This received favorable reviews by both Technical Communications and Indian Journal of Open Learning for its ease of use and ready-reference for anyone delivering instruction at a distance. Michael G. Moore is editor of the American Journal of Distance Education. This is a holding in the UNC library system. (Martinez, 2008)(Mishra, 2009)

Noah, C.B. and Braun, L.W. (2002). The Browsable Classroom: An Introduction to E-learning for Librarians. Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, NY

While this book is geared more towards school and public librarians, it does offer a foundational understanding of distance education. The book offers an approach to planning, starting and ‘balancing’ online with onsite projects. (Lankford, 2002)

Arant, W., & Mosley, P. A. (2000). Library outreach, partnerships, and distance education: Reference librarians at the gateway. Haworth Information Press , New York

Albeit mixed reviews on the timeliness of the technology at the time of this printing, the book offers strategies and examples of how librarians are using technology to reach their patrons. The book is a compilation of twenty papers on such topics as “technology and outreach, targeting special connections, a different approach, and outreach in an academic library.” (Reid-Smith, 2001)

Book Series

Williams, D. E., & Golden, J. (Ed.). (2010). Advances in library administration and organization (Vols. 1 - 29). Bingley, UK: Emerald.

This series provides relevant and timely researched articles on numerous library topics, including distance education and technology. Series is available online and in print through Jackson library.

Conference Proceedings

Off-Campus Library Services Conference. (2010). Fourteenth Off-Campus Library Services Conference proceedings. Mount Pleasant, Mich: Central Michigan University.

For those who were unable to attend the conference but who work in distributed, branch, or electronic academic libraries, or interact with faculty teaching remotely or electronically, this invaluable resource covers a wide range of distance learning issues, including how to develop and promote library services for distance learners, how to establish a partnership with faculty to improve these services to students, and more. This volume is highly recommended for librarians and administrators at academic institutions with distance learning programs as it will provide them with awareness of the best practices and innovative methods to meet the needs of distance learners and faculty. (Stahr, 2003)


Chatham, L. (2005). Exploring the guidelines for library services to distance education programs. Retrieved from http://www.ils.unc.edu/mpact/mpact.php?op=show_tree&id=4737

Chatham explores the way in which library services are provided to distance education programs. She aligns her research with the standards set forth by ACRL’s Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services to see how they compare and contrast. The results and recommendations are included in the summary.


ACRL: Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services

These are the standards that have been set forth by the Association of College & Research Libraries on use and provisions for the distance education community. The guidelines provide an excellent starting point for librarians who are seeking initial information on serving the needs of this user group. Included in this online document are foundations and specific requirements, as well as, other links to resources that will assist libraries and librarians.


Moore, M. (Ed.). The American Journal of Distance Education. Routledge.

This journal focuses on use, effect and problems associated with distance education. Articles are composed of research studies as well as conceptual pieces, interviews with distance educators, book reviews, and short descriptions of publications received. “Libraries serving these populations [education, higher education and business] will find AJDE to be an essential title.” (UlrichsWeb, 1997) A link to the journals website is here: http://www.ajde.com/

Lee, S. H. (Ed.). The Journal of Library Administration. Routledge.

Many of the articles have a focus on librarians, distance education and technology related topics. UNCG’s Jackson Library owns this journal and it can be accessed through Journal Finder.

Poe, J. (Ed). Journal of Library & Information Service for Distance Learning. Routledge.

Aimed at serving librarians and information professionals, this journal is focused on the topic of distance education. Some subjects that will be of particular interest to librarians building collections for distance users are “collection development strategies, faculty/librarian partnerships or collaborations, cutting edge instruction and reference techniques, document delivery, remote access, evaluation, etc.” Description was taken from publisher’s website. Journal can be found at UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Pembroke, as well as, Winston-Salem State University and Appalachian State University. A link to the journals website is here: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/WLIS

Perry, E. H. and Pilati, M. L. (Eds.). Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. MERLOT.

A free and peer-reviewed online journal that is managed by the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) website. Topics are geared towards online teaching and learning. The website link is http://jolt.merlot.org/currentissue.html


ASTD’s Learning Circuits
This is a website developed by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) on the topics of e-learning and the resources to enable people to use technology effectively in teaching online. While this is primarily focused on the corporate training industry, it has many good tips, tricks and trend-watching guides that librarians can use when working with the faculty, staff and students at their institution. ASTD is a national recognized organization in training and online learning.

Library Conference Planner – Conferences that focus on Distance Education
Provides links to various national and international librarian conferences. Several national conferences that librarians may want to focus on are Brick and Click, Distance Teaching and Learning, Educause 2010, and E-Learn 2010. Referred from UNCG’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies Resource page.


Lankford, M. (2002). [Review of the book The Browsable Classroom: an Introduction to E-Learning for Librarians, by C. Noah and L. Braun]. School Library Journal, 48(7), 147.

Martinez, D. (2008). [Review of the book Handbook of Distance Education, by M. G. Moore and W. G. Anderson]. Technical Communications, 55(4), 441.

Mishra, S. (2009). [Review of the book Handbook of Distance Education, by M. G. Moore and W. G. Anderson]. Indian Journal of Open Learning, 18(3), 167-168.

Raraigh-Hopper, J. (2010). Improving Library Services for Distance Learners: A Literature Review [Abstract]. Reference Librarian, 51(1), 69-78.

Reid-Smith, E. R. (2001). [Review of the book Library outreach, partnerships, and distance education: Reference librarians at the gateway, by W. Arendt and P.A. Mosley]. The Australian Library Journal,50(2), 191.

Stahr, B. (2002). "Distance education services “[Review of the book Providing Library Services for Distance Education Students: A How-To-Do It Manual, by C. Goodson]. Library Journal, 127(9), 132.

Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. (1997). Retrieved from http://libproxy.uncg.edu:2424/ulrichsweb/Search/fullCitation.asp?tab=6&navPage=1&serial_uid=185501&issn=


How do you NOT use information?

Okay, that's my question for the week...but let me give you a little bit of background so it makes sense. I think it's going to be very enlightening, not to mention interesting to see what types of info I don't use.

I need to observe people not using information this week for my Info Users & Use class...I know...how do you do that!?!? Kinda tricky, but my readings this week discussed some ways that people use different coping strategies:

Monitor (want to know everything on a topic right now) or Blunt (just give me what I can handle; I'll come back when I'm ready for more);

and whether information use is self-imposed (meaning you go ask the questions) or if they are imposed (you have someone else go ask the question for you and then bring you back the answer). I know that last one is tricky but hey...I'm new at this whole thing ; )

So with all the information that we down in a given week, think about what you don't use. Do you catch yourself skimming the house classifieds or help ads, but you don't need either? What about all the ads you watch on TV - what do we do w/ that information? See...I told you it would get interesting...have fun!




E-Everything...What's a librarian to do?

We've been talking about digital libraries in our Collection Management class and while I love (LOVE) the idea of all things being online so I can access them from the comfort of my own home, I have to admit, the inner paper/print-lover in me is getting a little squeamish.

I've been reading several articles on digital-this and e-book-that...the latest is an article by Jeffery Young in the Chronicle on professors building their own textbooks. In some ways it's wonderful because they would be able to mix-n-match chapters of books and have them assembled as either an actual print book or as an e-book for students.

CAVEAT #1: This is going to make buying used books a thing of the past for students.
CAVEAT #2: Professors won't be able to mix-n-match from competitor sites.

However, e-books can be more affordable. I know the e-version of my course text was much cheaper as an e-book than a print book. I have been learning that some of the e-books offer a limited number of views and that is concerning to me. If I buy an e-book, I want to 'own' that book in my collection, not 'rent' it!

The other BIG and LOOMING question I have is:

What does this mean for the future librarian?

I'm not exactly a Luddite, but it does make me wonder what a library is going to look like in 10 years. Fortunately, I know I want to work with faculty on online course design and distance education students. I want to bring my ID background into play. That will mean a focus on technology. Through my intern experience with Jackson's Distance Ed librarian, I have learned that a great deal of what I would be doing would involve technology. And a distance librarian, as far as I can tell, does not have a collection of books to manage like other areas of the library. There is more technology and tech tools management than actual printed documents.

However, it does make me pause and think how students are going to decipher who-wrote-what and is that really want we want to be doing - creating compilations of books rather than having them read the actual book? I know professors have been doing this for years - hello course reserves! - however, I'm not sure I like the "McDonald's effect" when it comes to learning. Hopefully, professors will still be requiring at least 1 complete text that relates to the course theme and then uses the e-book compilations as resource reading. I hope...

Some other readings about digitization & future library thinking can be found here:
The Librarian's Crystal Ball - this is definitely a must read for those academic librarians out there
Libraries of the Future
Chronicle's review of The Limits of Digital Libraries based on The New Yorker's actual article, "Future Reading: Digitization and Its Discontents"

Happy Reading...and Cheers,



Love Cool Survey Tools

I found this nifty little survey tool online called Urtak. You can invite people to take 'yes/no' surveys that you create and then get some fun data from them. I'm working on my Information Users and Uses class and this week is all about.....


Wow! I know...it's going to be interesting to observe this week. I haven't figured out where I'm going to do my observations yet, either. But I decided to check out this tool for work AND create my own survey for my class research at the same time. I know...you are thinking...what a genius this girl is! LOL!

So take my poll.. who knows...maybe we might learn something interesting together!

Peace out,



Where am !? What am I doing?

So far this semester has gotten off w/ a BANG! Literally, I think I heard the gun shot about the 23rd and feel like I've been running ever since. I need to slow the ponies if I'm going to make it until December.

Classes are good...1) Collection Management and 2) Information Users & Uses. I like them both, but not as thrilled with some aspects of CM. I would really appreciate a better organized syllabus esp. when it comes to what's-due-when. I don't know...I like things a bit tidier. I can see where this isn't going to be my favorite class, although I do find the readings to be enjoyable and interesting.

And here's the head kicker...already my prof for IUU is making my headache! Oh stop with the crazy references to scholars on the definition of information!!! I can't take it! LOL...just kidding...I love it, actually, as it makes my brain feel like it's getting a good workout. My summer was spent pumping iron in the gym. Now my brain needs to do it, too!

I LOVE (LOVE) my internship with the ERIT group. Really happy to be there and am loving my project work. I wish I could turn it into a class, that's how good it is (and time consuming with the journaling).

Okay..off to do my readings! 2 weeks down and 13 to go...


Orient Me!

I get "orientated" on Saturday - whoo hoo! So here's my schedule:

8:30-9:00 a.m.
Check-in and continental breakfast (muffins, fruit, juice, coffee, etc.)

9:00-9:30 a.m.

Welcome and introduction of faculty

9:30-10:00 a.m.
Introduction to the program requirements

10:00-10:15 a.m.
Break, refreshments will be served

10:15 -10:45 a.m.
Campus information: (Parking, Books, bookstores and other book buying options, Jackson Library, TLC and TRC, LISSA membership, Campus computer labs, A walk through Curry will be given on the way to lunch)

Various Classrooms (Assignments TBD)

Meet with Advisor (Andrews, Bird, Carmichael, Chow, Chu, Durham, Gann, Hersberger, Kealy, Martin, Oguz, and Shiflett)

1:30-1:00 p.m.
Lunch with a current LIS student/LISSA member
Each group will be assigned one current LIS student/LISSA member

1:00-4:00 p.m.
Technology Boot Camp (304 and 305 Curry) - Signed copy of a technology competency checklist at the session for student folder will be handed out upon completion.

This means I can get there closer to 9am which really excites me because I was dreading the thought of getting out of my bed at 6:30 on a Sat. I know, I know...summer is over, but I'm clinging a little bit harder to it this year as I'm a bit fearful of all the work I've signed up to do. I just need to get started...

My Teach-Library job, however, is rockin'! I've already edited a tutorial that my boss did on how to conduct research. Once it goes live I will post it because the Plagiarism/Paraphrasing part is probably the best thing I've seen on the topic. Good stuff!

Okay..now I need to go read how I am supposed to write about what I'm learning and all that good fal-de-rall.




Got Me A J.O.B....

I'm pretty excited about this new adventure I'll be heading into in just a few short weeks. A few weeks ago, I applied for the Teach Library Internship within the Electronic Resources & Information Technology (ERIT) group on campus. I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it...how's that for being optimistic (and confident!!)? So I was amazed when I received an email two weeks ago telling me that I was the recipient! Whoo hooo...thank you God! This pays for my tuition for the entire 2010-2011 year. A huge deal in our household..AND...it's in an area near and dear to my heart - distance education!

I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, yet, but I know that I'm working with the Distance Ed. Librarian and a faculty member from LIS. It's a project-based internship where I'll actually 'make' something and it will be (fingers crossed) used by the ERIT group.

Anyway...now comes the tough part of getting myself back in gear with ye old ID stuff. It's been awhile...almost 5 years...and although I think most of it is common sense, I don't want to walk in to this job with the "duh" sign hanging over my head. However, I AM excited about the possibility of doing some real ID work and possibly creating some online courses. That would be fab-u-lous!

More to come...cheers!



To Be Real

I just received my "welcome" and mandatory orientation invitation by email yesterday. Hmmmm...is this all for real?? Am I really going to be a full-fledged student AGAIN!?!? Guess me and Toto are going to find out on the 21st of August!

There's going to be lots to do and learn this year. My 2 courses for this semester are...drum roll...:
1 Core - Collection Mgmt
1 Elective - Info Users and Uses

I'm pretty doggone psyched I'm going to have Dr. Hersberger again and that her course is mostly online (yippee!). I've liked all my core classes so far, too and collection management fascinates me. How does one decide what books, periodicals, reference matl's, etc. to choose!?!?!

As for orientation...well, I hope we do fun things since it's all day on a Saturday. I'm sure we'll be introduced to the faculty and other "new" students - like meeting new people, but...I'm not big on icebreaker stuff (but who really is!??!)

Secretly, the geek in me is hoping we get a tour of Jackson Library. I've been there and used what I need to use, but it would be nice to get the "behind-the-scenes" view. Besides, it would just be great to know a little more about what's there.

So...I'm limbering up my fingers so I can start writing about my journey again. It's been a little slow this summer but that's all going to change in 5 short weeks.




Be a Better Blogger!!

Great article and very simply written by Kevin Martineau. I'm trying...I really am...thanks for writing this Kevin. ; )

ps...I made my post short so I could re-read it!


Navigating My New Membership

Since I 'officially' enrolled in my LIS program this spring, I decided to go ahead and join both ALA and NCLA. I have to admit, I am a joiner! I love professional organizations and conferences and meeting new people, etc., etc., etc.! I don't know why...I just do! ; )

AND...I got my membership card a few days ago in the mail, so now I'm really official. tee hee hee

I have to admit, however, that it's a bit overwhelming. Even figuring what round tables or committees to join is a bit daunting. I joined 2 RT's so far:
New Members RT
Library Research

The New Members should be REALLY helpful in getting plugged-in. The Library Research was "free" and looked interesting. Since I'd like to actuallydo research one day, it might be helpful to tap into that one now. ; )

One thing I did stumble across (and so glad I DID) is ALA-Connect. I found this even before I joined ALA. I can't remember the details, but someone was offering a seminar online that I thought looked interesting. Anyway, I poked around enough to know what was on the site. Now that I'm a member, I get access to other cool things, such as discussion groups and committees.

In addition to joining the round table discussion groups, I also joined several 'member communities' discussion groups (I didn't actual pay and join these committees, yet. I think that this might be a good way to 'test the waters' before doing so):

Member Communities

* Distance Learning Interest Group (DLIG) (LITA - Library Information Technology
* Distance Learning Section Discussion Group (ACRL DLS)
* Instructional Design

A little disappointed that there isn't more recent action on these, but I did learn that one of the people who's pretty active in distance ed/instructional design is a local! Yipee...always good to know there is a potential contact living nearby. ; )

One other cool thing I found is that I could join groups through my LinkedIn connection, too! I joined ACRL and ALA Groups and have found ACRL to be extremely helpful. Lots of posting about jobs, careers, education, etc. And it's FREE!! (Yea - I'm all about free.)

So that's it for now...getting back in the saddle in a few short weeks...and looking forward to it!




What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up????

I know this is a departure from my chatter about my last course on reference materials, but I've found some other cool and rather interesting reading I felt like sharing (with myself, of course).

When I first started the LIS program, I thought I wanted to become a school media specialist. It seemed like a natural fit: books, kids (I have 2 and like them very much), technology, and THE BIG BONUS: the same school calendar as my kids. PERFECT!! Then I started learning more about the job. If all I've heard is true than I don't want to be someone's tech slave, esp. someone who just isn't interested in learning how to hook a laptop up to a projector. Been there, done that.

About the same time as this revelation was happening, we started reading about social science research methods in our intro class. WOW...I was hooked!! That's when I realized I wanted to stay in higher ed and some how, become involved with research. My plan is to become an academic librarian but I'm not sure where or how that will happen. Sure there are quite a few universities and colleges in this neck of the woods, but timing is everything.

Right now, I'm exploring the different round tables on ALA's website. I missed their conference this year, but hopefully will get to go next year.(I gotta figure out how to work the free or discounted student options to go!) I joined as a joint member of ALA and NCLA for $35!!! Way cool...

On my to-do list is to start finding a way to get plugged in and my first stop is the NMRT (new member's round table) as well as looking into the ACRL round table or discussion group. I need to start reading too and have this tome on my desktop:
"Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025". That scares me a little bit, but I need to get some perspective while I'm still in school (and still able to make decisions about 'what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up'. ; )

One other cool thing...I get this awesome little e-newsletter called ALADirect. Love it! There are some great article snippets, updates, announcements, jobs (yea, jobs) and other tidbits posted in this email. Very cool! Here's one resource I want to share with everyone:

ALA's Page on Library Issues & Advocacy

Anyone can type in their zipcode and choose different alerts to send to their senators or representatives regarding libraries.

Well, that's my initial crack at ALA/NCLA...Let the research on these 2 sites begin...




Why Google Isn't the Be-All-End-All

(but you can still use it and like it!)

Okay, so I was thinking about some of the major comments that kept popping up in my reference class this past semester. I think everyone agreed that we could all find the answers to our professor's questions using Google. (yes, he prepared some really challenging ones for us to seek out our answers in the reference dept. "NO GOOGLE. Get OVER IT"..his words, not mine.)

However, what I began to realize is that Google doesn't provide you with a direct source in terms of:
a publisher
an author
a publication date
an authoritative resource or subject matter expert

While Google is great at culling a massive amount of information, it doesn't really help a novice pin point the EXACT reference that will constantly be the right source for repeat searches.

Fact books and almanacs are wonderful gems in your library's reference section! Most provide a brief overview of topical information, but can provide resources for more in depth study and research. I used these when I was researching my bibliography topic, "Reality TV". I found them to be helpful in forming my direction for research.

Here are some general resources I used in my Reference course that were helpful and informative:

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica
World Almanac
Encyclopedia of Associations

A fun resource is the Guinness Book of World Records. The libraries I used had a huge collection of these - from 1960's to present. It was fun to look through these and reads some of the wild records!

(Oh, yeah - it's okay to have fun doing research!!)

Okay, enjoy using some other resources other than Google...I'll talk more about subject specific resources next time.




Recap: Why I'm Doing This

I've been posting information on pretty dull topics: dictionaries, atlases, gazetteers, etc. I know, not the stuff of legendary or memorable posts. So I wanted to stop and remind myself why all of this is important and why I need to keep going with this blog.

  1. At some point, I will be asked to recap my experience in my LIS program. It's called the "Capstone" project. It will include a personal statement, a portfolio and, overall what-have-you-learned-and-what-do-you-plan-on-doing-with-it-when-you-leave. This is my online memory of the various things I have learned and why they are important (to me).
  2. I think librarians get slack for not being creative, innovative or tech-friendly. I want to debunk this myth. TECHNOLOGY IS IMPORTANT. It's good. It helps us do incredible things. As Librarians, we need to embrace it and figure out ways to make it work for our information seekers. We need to test it, fiddle with it, break it, and come back to it with a fresh perspective each time it changes or evolves.
  3. While #3 is important, I think it needs to be noted that BOOKS ARE IMPORTANT. (Hmmm...who does that sound like?) We still need them in addition to all the very cool and wonderful pieces of technology out there. Both are necessary and useful, so let's not start throwing out the baby w/ the bath water, okay?
  4. I love library school, but I know there will be days when I don't love library school. These are the days I will need to remind myself why I'm here doing all of this.
  5. I like to write and I like having a blog. It's fun!
So that's my recap...I guess it would be nice to have some altruistic goals for this blog. Such as:
  • It would be great if I could create a more user-friendly library resource blog
  • Create book lists for different reading levels
  • Encourage support of local public libraries
I'll try and work on this as I go along..hey! I have 3 more years of classes so who knows what will happen!




Who was the guy in the movie....????

The older I get, the more I realize I need to do those Mensa puzzles or start doing crosswords so my brain doesn't turn to mush. I'm smacked awake at night trying to figure out what the name of some actor was in some movie (that I probably didn't even like) or I'm in the middle of a conversation w/ friends and I completely forget the name of the main character....

This ever happen to you??? I don't blame you if you don't want to admit to it, either. ; )

So here's my helpful resource for today: (drum roll) Biographical Resources! Yep...some will help you (or me, rather) with the above issues.

Most reference areas have these books....and I have to say....looking at the content in the book is sometimes more rewarding than looking these up online. Of course, if you are in a hurry and can't get to the library, online is great.

In my opinion, these were the best overall (not subject specific) biography online resources:
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)
  • American National Biography (ANB)
If you prefer an essay format, a picture and an author, these two databases are exceptional. They both provide advanced search features, but also, searchable themes. Students searching for info on the American Revolution or the "Bluestocking Circle" can find people associated w/ the topics, bibliography resources (in some cases) and links to related or similar themes.

Some subject dictionaries that are exceptional are:
  • The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  • The Grove Dictionary of Art
Both of these are accessible online and in print, however, I found the music dictionary in print much more user-friendly than the online version. I'm sure this is just a matter of familiarity, but newbies might want to check out the print version.

Actors, writers, political figures, notable and infamous...most are here in these dictionaries! Some libraries specialize in regional and theme-specific dictionaries, depending on their clientele. So ask the Reference Librarian if you are looking for someone special....

Other Resources:
Marquis Who's Who
Current Biography




\ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē\

That would be the pronunciation of Dictionary for all of those who are wondering about the title of this post.

I know...this probably sounds like the most boring topic in the world. But it's not...trust me....

Most of us just go online to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (and thesaurus) to find our definitions, right? Well, that's me at any rate...if I can find it online, I use it. However, guess what I found? It's not always the most authoritative source! There are better dictionaries out there ... I know you are speechless at this point. ; )

I'm not knocking M-W - it's a good one. Let's just say you are looking for a little more than just the definition. Maybe you want a more historical perspective, variations in spelling - that sort of thing. The Oxford English Dictionary is your new best friend! The fully online version is only available through a subscription service so you may want to go see the reference librarian at the local college or university.

As a side note...Dictionaries are either general, general abridged or etymological, like OED. However, they can use descriptive language to explain a word or they can be prescriptive. Webster's or American Heritage are examples of dictionaries that use prescriptive language.

Below are some comparisons that I hope help you the next time you are in need of a good dictionary:

Oxford English Dictionary - descriptive, historical in order of word's development and usage
American Heritage - prescriptive, gives most accepted meaning first
Webster' New World College Dictionary - prescriptive, gives some historical order of the word's development and usage
Webster's Third new International Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged) - descriptive and historical

Of course, these are general dictionaries...there are also more subject specific dictionaries in art, music, biographies, etc. That's my next post....

Peace out - A

http://www.askoxford.com/ (OED compact - not full subscriber version)

Ps...A good dictionary will run anywhere from $60 (Amer. Heritage) to $1000 (for 20 vols. of OED!) ; )


A brief vacation...

Classes ended back in early May and I have been having a great time keeping up w/ my summer reading list and knitting. : ) So much for my library blog....

So, over the next few months, before everything gets crazy AGAIN (isn't it always crazy), I'm going to try and recap my experience from 620. (Which was a great class!).

I have lots to share about the info I learned in this class, and one very important lesson - we still need books! More on that as I work through the recap.




Slacking already

I have 2 class posting to catch up on so I had better get rolling on these!!! I know you all are dying to know more about what types of books you can find in the reference dept!

Jan. 27th
Atlas, Gazetteers, Road Maps, Etc.

First of all, I love maps. Really and truly. But the highlight of this week was the Gazetteer. OH MY GOODNESS...lots of great info on places from the small to the great. The best thing about these: PRONUNCIATION and not just from some scholar who has no idea about the local slang - they got the locals perspective on this one! NOTE: This is really important if you are traveling in the South and want to blend w/ the locals. If you hear the words, "you got a pretty mouth", you are going to be kicking yourself for not figuring out the local lexicon!

Feb. 3rd
General & Subject Encyclopedias

Well, as much as I love maps, I LOVED our first set of World Book encyclopedias we had growing up. Lots of interesting information, esp. the human body w/ see-thru overlays so you could see where all the muscles, veins and guts went. Pretty cool!

A word about the General: These are pretty basic and if you want to use a good one, where the authors are pretty respected in their subject fields, go w/ the Britannica. However, World Book's is a very good primer for young school-aged children, has great pictures and diagrams and is overall, very easy to use and understand.

A word about the Subject: These tend to hold their content "value" for 30-35 years, but older editions are still valuable - don't toss'em!! Some really interesting ones are:
  • LGBT
  • Southern Culture
  • African-American

Overall takeaway - ALWAYS, ALWAYS start w/ the INDEX!!!! They are their to help you in both the General and Subject encyclopedias!

Okay...now go look up something fun like The Battle of Antigua or Grenada or Soccer and see what you find!


Is it bad when...

you get the title of your course wrong and you're only a week in??? Okay...so I'm taking:

Information Sources and Services


Oh man, I think I'm in trouble (la la)....


Oh Biblio, Oh Biblio...

This semester I'm taking 620 aka Information Reference and Resources. So, not so bad for the first night back...got the syllabus, the book, the calendar and...the workbook!! Ooh....that looked a bit scary at first glance. I think it will be helpful as it contains various exercises using the reference area resources.

The scariest thing in this course is the bibliography assignment. This is going to be a huge undertaking and involve the entire semester. I need to pick my topic NOW!

Here are some of my thoughts:
- knitting
- ghosts
- Edward Gorey/life work (can't do report on people, esp. living as there is not enough info)
- English Setters
- Father's geneaology

These are in no particular order! I'm just trying to figure out what would be the most feasible for a semester. I lack focus so picking and sticking to one topic is going to be a challenge. I need to have this hammered out by next Wed., too.

The other nuisance is that I can't do my work from home. I HAVE to go to the library. I'm going to try and use the local college library so I don't have to do the 40 min drive over to my school's library. We'll see how this goes...My hope is that, being academic libraries, they both have the same reference books (right!??!? sounds logical, doesn't it???)

Wish me luck... ; )


Second Semester, Not The Same As the First!

Next Wed. is the big day! This time last semester, I had my syllabus and my book. Okay, okay...I know every prof. is different, but really - no syllabus, yet!??!

I've heard this course is a hard one but that I will learn so much. It's a little intimidating but I'm ready. I'm glad I'm just taking this one course, too.

More to come...