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Archive for the ‘Graduate Assistantship’ Category

In our Community Relations & Advocacy class, George posed an interesting question: “Is there a way to capture…instances where a library or librarian has made a real difference and corral that into evidence of value that would compel others to use and support the library?”

I have a couple thoughts on ways that libraries can make a real difference, some evidence that may encourage support of the library as a valuable information source.  First, libraries partner with local nonprofits and social service agencies to support the desemination of information about their services.  For instance, I have seen where Tulsa libraries provide information about domestic violence intervention services information in their public restrooms.  The idea behind this is that while victims of abuse are kept under surveillance by their abusers and are thus unable to request information about how to escape abuse, the restroom is a place where victims may have a moment of privacy.  There they can pick up a “DV restroom card” with info on how to get help and slip it in their purse or pocket without their abuser knowing.  The fact that libraries are making an effort to provide information, safely and privately, to a population that desperately needs it—I think the victims that are able to escape because of that information would say the library made a real difference in their lives.  This isn’t a small population either—statistics indicate that 1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

I think the people who learn to read through library literacy programs would say that the library made a real difference in their lives.  I think the people who get free tax assistance at the public library, and the people who find employment after using library resume writing and job searching resources would say the same thing.

What we need is a way to stay in contact with the people who have been helped so they can help us advocate for the value of the library.  Many nonprofits have speakers’ panels, people who volunteer to speak to groups of people about the value of the service they received at Domestic Violence Intervention Services, or at The Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, etc.  They speak to church groups, rotary groups, the elks, the moose, kiwanis clubs, school kids, to educate them about issues like dating violence, homelessness, hunger, child abuse, and how these groups can help.  Maybe libraries need speakers’ panels to talk about literacy, intellectual freedom and how to get help with finding the information they need?

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Here’s an article from MediaShift comparing the usability of the Kindle and the iPhone with regards to newspaper content.  And speaking of news, here’s a book review of Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy, by Alex S. Jones.

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New LIS/KM student orientation wrapped up on Saturday, August 22.  Dr. Stewart Brower was thankfully present in the flesh to provide a much-needed infusion of life and enthusiasm Saturday afternoon.  He gave an overview of the new OU-Tulsa Library, showed off the cool new laptops and cameras available for student check-out, and gave a tour of the present library facility.  I think Dr. Brower was just the breath of fresh air that the students needed after watching professors on a TV screen for three 8-hour days.  If I one day learn how to give a presentation with just a quarter of Dr. Brower’s energy and charisma, I will consider myself a very successful presenter.

Dr. Brower also let the new students know that the OU-Tulsa Library is available to provide information literacy assistance.  I think some of the new students struggling to figure out the Desire2Learn platform will find this helpful, if they aren’t too shy to ask for help.  I assisted a couple new students with some D2L navigation tips, and I’m glad that at least one of these students was not afraid to ask for guidance at the library as well.  I hope I was of some assistance.

I gave a bit of a pitch for OLISSA and OUTSA on Saturday.  I think my delivery needs some work, but I tried to explain to the new students that this LIS/KM program is what you make of it.  If the students want to make the program meet their needs, the best way to do this is to get involved with the student associations–advocate for the changes they want, earmark funds for more useful tools and technology in the library, etc.  We may not be able to change everything or get everything we want, but we won’t get anything if we don’t ask.  I hope my message got across.

In other news, I’m exploring the idea of creating a facebook page for OLISSA.  Afterall, the OU-Tulsa Library is on Facebook now.  Might be a good way to get the word out about upcoming meetings.  We could post past comps questions in the notes section, share URLs for the portfolios of students who have successfully defended, LIS/KM student blogs, student-created comps preparation wikis, etc.

OLISSA also has an ancient blog that could be updated.  A blog would be accessible to everyone, even students without facebook accounts.  But since so many students are on facebook, it seems useful to go where the students are, and have important postings appear on a webpage that students are already looking at.  I think a webpage, a blog and a facebook page would all be useful to their niche audiences.

A Facebook profile and/or a blog would be easier to update than the OLISSA webpage.  I think we should still have a webpage, but if you’ve looked at it recently, you can see it’s out of date.  Unfortunately I don’t know how to update it at the moment.  It can only help to have up-to-date information about our organization out there–how else can students find us?  How can students think OLISSA is relevant if we’re outdated?

Creating a facebook page and/or blog for OLISSA could serve as one of my accomplishments/artifacts for my portfolio I’m working on.

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I have been assisting Dr. Lester with new KM/LIS student orientation this week.  Besides handing out advising packets and class exercises, I’ve tried to answer any questions the new students may have about the program, faculty expectations, the Desire2Learn platform, end of program assessment, and general questions about locating various things around campus.  While leading them from the classroom to the computer lab, I pointed out important locations like the library, the fitness center, the computer lab in hallway C, the KM/LIS computer lab in hallway E, and Tulsa KM/LIS faculty offices.  On the first day of orientation I provided pizza and soda, courtesy of OLISSA.  Hopefully I have been able to add a human touch to their orientation experience.  Sitting in a room for three days while watching professors and classmates on a TV screen can be rather numbing…

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In the intercession between spring semester and my summer internship, I’ve been delving further into the realm of podcasts, looking for resources to enhance my Library & Information Studies education.  I’ve located and subscribed to a number of library and book related podcasts, which I believe will help me to expand my awareness of current events as well as popular, award-winning and recently published books that library customers may want.  These podcasts allow me to make better use of my time—hours spent driving, exercising or washing dishes now become opportunities to cram more useful information into my head.

To expand my knowledge and awareness of noteworthy current literature, I am listening to the following podcasts:

New York Times Book Review
NPR Book Tour Podcast
NPR Books Podcast
BBC World Book Club

To increase my knowledge of classic literature, I am following the Classic Tales Podcast.

To follow current events, hot topics and developing issues in the library and information service arena, I have subscribed to these podcasts:

Book Lust with Nancy Pearl
The Library 2.0 Gang
Library Geeks
Library Luminary Lectures
LISNews Netcast Network
Longshots: Library-Related Commentary and Interviews
Uncontrolled Vocabulary

All of these podcasts can be located and subscribed to through iTunes.

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I always wondered how effective the READ posters were.  But here’s further evidence that celebrity sells books as well as name brands.  I wonder if Obama’s done a READ poster?  If not, libraries should definitely ask him to.  The results could be huge!

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Went to a very cool lecture by Carl Zimmer about the definition of life at the University of Tulsa last night.  You can listen to part one of the podcast of his Microcosm lecture series or read the transcription here, and part two is here.

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