Category Archives: Thoughts on Librarianship

Working in teams: It’s inevitable!

There are many things necessary to be a successful library school student dependent upon if you decide to go to school in the traditional classroom or entirely online. I got my Master in Library in Information Science in the traditional format, but since then worked as an online librarian and have become very comfortable in an online environment. Right now, I am taking courses toward a certificate through San Jose State University (SJSU) which is entirely online. This is a unique experience but I spend so much time online it is not foreign to me.

I took an Online Learning Readiness Assessment offered by San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) and it gave me a score of 45, which means I am ready for online learning! At the end of the assessment you are given some tips, and the Unit 5 assignment also has some valuable points for what makes a successful online student. Of course, many things contribute to a student’s success in an online environment such as:

  • Participation in discussion boards, via email, and instance messaging with classmates and instructor
  • Time management is a huge issue because you are responsible for designating time to complete your coursework. I personally prefer going to school online than sitting in rush hour traffic on one of Chicago’s expressways after working 8 hours, and then finding the time to do homework before I go to sleep.
  • This leads into being self-motivated and the ability to work independently!
  • You must have the technical skills and computer software/hardware to be able to watch lectures, participate in synchronous meetings, complete written assignments and post them to blogs and discussion boards, send/receive email, and be familiar with Microsoft Office.
  • The ability to work in teams for group projects which is often a requirement in the workplace.

Dr. Ken Haycock made some very important points during his colloquia presentation titled Working in teams. His presentation was extremely informative, and I would have loved to receive this tutorial before I started library school. It is inevitable that you will work in teams as a librarian, and having this type of discussion would have been extremely valuable to completing my graduate coursework. A few things Dr. Haycock discussed in his presentation that stood out to me were:

  • Vertical teams incorporate different perspectives but have the same problem and issues but different ideas to bring a resolution.
  • The team should set ground rules for all team members to follow and if they are not followed there should be defined consequences.
  • Conflict is not unusual and a successful team addresses it!

Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin both point out that students often do not want to work in teams. Enid Irwin admits she is someone who does not like working in teams, and she outlines some of the fears online students have with teamwork being number 1! Students fear a lack of control in a team environment, and many do not have the skills to be a successful team member. This contributes to their fear as well. Trust is an issue both mention in their presentations. Trusting that a team member will complete the task they were assigned.

Just these few points out of the many that Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin made will help me be a better team member and leader as I continue to take courses at SJSU.

There are so many factors that contribute to a student’s success in an online environment it can be daunting for students that struggle with using their home computers. So, it is essential to gain the necessary computer skills to be successful in online coursework.

What does it mean to be a tenure-track library faculty member?

Wow that is the longest job title, but I essentially call myself a library faculty member. I specialize in everything, but focus on library instruction, collection development, outreach, and reference.

There are many requirements I have to complete to get tenure, and one of them is to return to school to get 15 graduate credits in addition to my MLIS. If I had another graduate degree or a PhD I would not have to return to school, and the 15 credit requirement would be met.

So, I enrolled in a graduate certificate program at San Jose State University. Classes started yesterday and so far so good. I am enjoying the class discussions and it has been easy to navigate throughout the course site and the school’s website.

My assignment for Unit 2 is to create a blog post. I could have created a new blog, but why start from scratch when this blog is waiting for me!

I am taking 7 credits this semester and look forward to learning about new technologies I can bring back to Wright College Library. If I learn something cool, or have any technology tips I will post them to this blog. So, feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed.

Stay tuned!


TED Talks Education on PBS

TED Talks EducationLast night I watched TED Talks Education on PBS, and it was really good. It was hosted by John Legend who added some pizzazz by playing the piano and singing between speakers. Geoffrey Canada presented, and he was a keynote speaker at ACRL. Since I did not attend the ACRL conference it was nice to hear him speak. Bill Gates spoke as well, he discussed teachers recording part of their lessons, and being in control of the camera. I know many teachers would not like having their lectures/lessons captured. The issue of using MOOCs in lieu of actual instruction is another big issue. This was recently discussed in an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad MOOC?.A couple of things stood out to me. The first was Geoffrey Canada’s statement about how educators keep implementing the same education plan, but it did not work 50+ years ago and it still continues not to work in our schools.The second was Sir Ken Robinson’s statement that we have heard many times before that educators are facilitators of learning. The teacher is in the classroom and delivers the lesson, but the students may not be learning.

How do you assess distance learning and library instruction?

confusedWhen I joined Wright College as a full-time library faculty member many things related to education were foreign to me. I had a lot of questions and I was willing to ask anyone to get an answer. How do I get the students to stop talking? How do I get the students to put their cell phones away and to stop texting? I get an hour with 35 English 102 students how do I determine they understood my lesson? This leads us to assessment. You are thinking as librarians we keep statistics for everything, but determining if students are learning is a completely different ball game. I was fortunate enough to take the Faculty Development Seminar offered by the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), and it was taught by two veteran faculty members at CCC. The instructors were Sharon Silverman, a library faculty member at Olive Harvey College, and Kennette Crockett, a English faculty member at Harold Washington College. It was just easy to learn from them with a room full of colleagues from other disciplines that were just as confused as I was about assessment, rubrics, syllabi, and active learning. Sharon Silverman my go to person when I have questions or I need to work out how I am going to engage students presented at the  ILCCO/NILRC conference: “Next Steps in eLearning”. As an instructor I was happy to see Sharon tie in the CATs (classroom assessment techniques) into her presentation. I learned a few things, and will be using CAT #28: Opinion polls in my Fall 2013 library instruction sessions. If you would like to view Sharon’s presentation check it out here!

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Response to “So….what is an adjunct faculty job fair?” on

confusedjobcandidateMy colleague sent me the posting by Holly Lipschultz on about the adjunct faculty fair at the City Colleges of Chicago. I like to think we are extremely open to questions, and I am wondering why a librarian at CCC was not contacted for clarification about library faculty positions at CCC. What does the job entail? Do librarians teach credit courses? Is it a traditional librarian position? I felt the posting would leave anyone unfamiliar with faculty librarian positions with a lot of questions.  We are looking for talented people at CCC. Please feel free to ask us questions!

I just sent this email below:

“Dear Ms. Naomi House,
I am writing in response to the blog posting by Holly Lipschultz about attending an adjunct job fair for the City Colleges of Chicago. I wish someone had reached out to one of our librarians for clarification about the library faculty positions at the City Colleges of Chicago. We are happy to answer any questions.

If there was a posting for the Library Technical Assistant program it would have been indicated in the job description. The LTA program is not across all CCC campuses but unique to our campus at Wright College. Each college of the City Colleges of Chicago has a different focus, and the courses taught may vary. Since librarians within the City Colleges of Chicago are considered faculty many teach courses. They are still performing library outreach, reference, library instruction, library administrative duties, committee work, etc. along with teaching credit courses.

The application process for library faculty follows the same procedure as faculty within any other discipline at CCC. Of course, in other institutions that have faculty librarians the application may be different because it is overseen by the university library’s human resources department.

In terms of applying for positions at CCC you can say positions are posted toward the end of the semester to have people in place for the next semester, but positions can pop up at any time depending on a college library’s need, and those job posting can be found at the site listed on your job board.

Best wishes,

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Tomorrow is World Book Night!

Hi res WBN logo 2013I am excited about participating in World Book Night. My library is participating as a group of givers. Some of the titles we will be passing out are The Alchemist, The House on Mango Street, The Lightening Thief, The Handmaid’s Tale, Glaciers…this is a wonderful event! How often do you get to pass out freshly printed books to unsuspecting students? 🙂

Design Thinking: New ways to look at reference and instruction

The Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking was referenced in this article in the ILA Reporter. The article suggested this design thinking course as a library retreat activity.

This quote sparked my interest in design thinking and I am planning to investigate further.

“We often ask smaller questions aimed at incremental improvement like “how can we improve reference?” What if we started asking big questions like, “How can we foster accomplishment, community, and creativity?” If we ask those types of questions and begin our design there, there are no wrong answers.”–Andy Burkhardt, Champlain College Library

Pekin Public Library gets new digital sign – Pekin, IL – Pekin Daily Times – Pekin, IL

Pekin Public Library gets new digital sign – Pekin, IL – Pekin Daily Times – Pekin, IL. I would love to get %18,000 to buy books and pay for programming. 🙂

Libraries survive while bookstores close

bookstoresvsolibrariesThis NY Times article makes me think about the long discussion of libraries vs. bookstores. Many of us remember the debates in library school about how bookstores were going to replace libraries. Libraries had to be able to compete with bookstores.

When Borders in Downtown Chicago closed and the Chicago Public Libraries stayed open with reduced hours I knew who would survive. In the end no matter what hardships people endure the library is always there.

As libraries continue to thrive with limited resources and budget cuts we need the support of our patrons. Financial support, donations and advocacy, just to name a few contribute to the longevity of our libraries.

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Obama presidential library in Chicago?

obama_libraryIn response to this article in the Chicago Tribune if the Obama presidential library is build in Chicago I think it should be built in a community that needs the economic boost like Bronzeville. Beautiful architecture and a rich history exist in this community.

Since his first campaign Chicago has been super supportive of Obama. It would be right in the heart of a community that loves the President.

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