Going through L-Net (Oregon’s virtual reference network) training was the best professional volunteer experience I have ever had. The training itself, led by Emily Papagini on the Portland Community College-Sylvania campus, was informative, hands on, and thoroughly prepared me for the wild world of virtual reference. I first heard about the training opportunity through SLIM’s listserv and decided that it would be an important step in diversifying my resume and proving to future employers that library school had prepared me to professionally handle the reference interview. This artifact is a compilation of four chat transcripts that reflect my range of challenges with patrons on L-Net (excluding the occasional prank chat). Chat 151246 demonstrates my ability to navigate an unknown lending feature at a library unfamiliar to me. Chat 151095 was one of the simpler reference questions, looking for a straight yes or no answer. Of course the answer isn't always as black and white. Chat 144741 had me worried. I am not an IT specialist, and after defining the terminology that the patron was using I was scrambling to find the requested data. This was a scenario where I felt like backup was necessary; although, as it turns out, the patron ended up satisfied. Chat 141386 demonstrated a situation in which I felt confident as it was with a user group I was familiar with. I plan to continue volunteering with L-Net after I graduate. The wide range of questions brought me into contact with university students, students in the public school system working on research reports, patrons with questions about library services, and users with questions about the moon, Iraq, and mice. As an occasional user of chat reference myself I am appreciative of what goes on behind the scenes, and I feel like being a user myself helps me provide better customer service when I am the one providing the answers.
LIB534:(Portland State University) Library Redesign Project (presentation)
I obtained my teaching license in Educational Media (K-12) through Portland State University. I was able to transfer several of those credits to my MLS program at SLIM. LIB534 addresses Administration and Management of the School Library Media Program. One of the projects required in this class was to conduct research on an existing library and come up with a redesign of that space in order to maximize user access. This artifact presents my findings and rough sketch for redesigning the library space at Cascade Junior High in Turner, Oregon. Our class discussed various inquiry and retrieval models that informed how we designed our spaces. Library architecture fosters a relationship with users, whether it be a physical or virtual space. The proposed redesign considers user demand, allocated resources, and communication theory, all relevant to the management and design of a successful information service.
In academia, various disciplines have their own theories and models that inform how a user might seek information. An archaeologist digs and dusts, a sociologist observes and records, etc. When taken as a whole “a global information society is composed of individual ‘societies of shared knowledge’ (UNESCO World Report on Knowledge Societies, 2005), a sort of interdependent globalization,” For example, my bibliography on world heritage sites combines archaeology and sociology (among other things) to explain how interdependency and interdisciplinary theories and models operate in order to make preservation of heritage sites possible. By looking at theories of how people value information it is possible to salvage endangered information (such as world heritage sites) through education and preservation. When managing a library it is important to educate the user about what is available for their use and solicit their support for the preservation and continuation of the institution as a dynamic repository of human knowledge. Globalization then does not become a monoculture but an interconnected web of users democratically exercising their right to a diverse array of information. The relevance of this global information infrastructure (interdisciplinary) concept to managing library and information service agencies is ultimately that librarians meet the user where they are at with respect to their diverse backgrounds and experiences. It also means that information service providers must be sensitive to unique and specialized vocabularies; for example, as discussed in the bibliography a folklorist defines “resource” one way and the National Park Service another. The very process of creating the annotated bibliography itself was a lesson in synthesizing work that offered perspectives from physical geography (including Geographic Information Systems, or GIS technology), museum curation and antiquities, interpretation and folklore, climatology, geotourism, and perhaps most importantly, education. In the same way, the manager of a library must synthesize budgets, acquisitions and collection development, programming, serials, information technology (including web presence), and public relations in order to build a cohesive institution which meets the needs of a particular community.
Conducting an information needs assessment for Silver Falls State Park (SFSP) was the result of a culminating project for Archives in the Park, with Dr. Nancy Thomas. After spending a week in Rocky Mountain National Park on three different projects: indexing oral histories with the Estes Park Public Library, organizing historic photographs at the Estes Park Museum, and learning physical preservation techniques (Japanese paper paste, map encapsulation) at the Rocky Mountain National Park Museum, students were required to identify an organization or institution that was in need of an archival assessment and the design of a customized product based on that assessment. Three separate artifacts tell the story of this process I went through with Silver Falls State Park. I initially met with Dorothy Kwaiser-Brown, the Interpretive Ranger at SFSP and assessed that there was an immediate need to salvage historic documents and photographs from their current storage, first designing a flowchart demonstrating how the information packages would be processed, with the end goal of creating a permanent repository aligned with current archival standards. During an initial presentation to park managers, rangers, and volunteers I recommended a plan that would fit the needs of SFSP, offering instruction and a long term vision for the archive. After initial rehousing was completed I began using a park owned copy of Past Perfect, software commonly found in archives and museums, I began cataloging photographs of historic significance to the park, and documented my achievements by creating a photo essay. These artifacts may be used by SFSP in the future to train rangers, interns, and personnel, preparing them for the ongoing care an archive requires.
In “Repackaging” we talked at great length about executive summaries and the importance of condensing information when proposing a program, budget, or staff request to administrators. In the case of a school librarian, it is essential to market supplementary resources while integrating media literacy lessons in their use. Forging partnerships with departments often requires diagnosing that subject’s needs. For example, I had prior knowledge that a science teacher conducted a unit on environmental science. It is often a struggle within the classroom to connect the “outside world” to students when curriculum and standards require much of the content to be tied to an approved textbook. Upon her request for ideas about new material addressing the concept of environmental leadership I retrieved a variety of materials and repackaged them into a learning activity that could be conducted in the classroom, in the library, and the computer lab prior to a guest speaker addressing students about possible career paths of environmental leadership. Every good lesson is also accompanied by an evaluation. In many cases an authentic evaluation may be appropriate. This type of evaluation comes in the form of observation, discussion, and engagement of students rather than regimented tests and quizzes. The executive summary artifact repackages the essence of the partnership for all parties involved, while the learning material represents the repackaging of resources done on the part of the librarian.
In LI833, Special Populations, I worked on a collaborative project with two peers in which we presented findings to the class from research done on senior citizens living in Gilliam County, Oregon. Our group felt passionate about rural living as all three of us had grown up in agricultural and remote landscapes. The end goal was to propose a collaborative effort between local libraries and medical centers with the OHSU Office for Rural Health, and the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in order to disseminate consumer health information to seniors. We used lessons from LI819, "Repackaging" as we brainstormed how to reach out to this "special population." It was empowering to diagnose a specific community and directly link the theory of serving special populations with a living, breathing user group. In addition to the PowerPoint we used as a guide through the presentation we handed out a brochure to the class which could hypothetically be used in a presentation to administrators in charge of funding collaborative outreach programs on consumer health information and further adapted to serve as a resource for rural seniors themselves. During the research and retrieval process I contacted a librarian working in Gilliam County in order to obtain a copy of the library budget. It was apparent that with such slim resources to work from, collaboration is imperative for rural libraries to survive. There were several layers to the “special populations” component of the project. First, being that rural libraries are marginalized by geography and funding. Secondly, the populations they serve are marginalized by lack of services, staff, and resources. While my group members and I had not taken a community analysis class, we essentially did an abbreviated version in order to gain an understanding of the target user group. The first several slides were used to evoke the feeling of the community, and to interpret statistics relevant to the county. Later on in the presentation we discussed the reality of implementing a program and how to evaluate its use and impact on the community. The presentation and academic essay are repackaged artifacts from our collective research and would ideally be used to educate an administrative board or committee, persuading them of the need to partner with other entities in order to reach an underserved user demographic. The brochure seeks to repackage consumer health information for Gilliam Co. seniors in a quick visual bite.
Change LI839: 20th century Ashes and the 21st century Phoenix: Librarians as Political Combatants in Cultural Conflict (academic essay)
While studying the history of libraries in LI839 I came to the same conclusion as Archibald MacLeish, former Librarian of Congress, “What is more important in a library than anything else—is the fact that it exists.” History is a conglomeration of destruction and rebuilding, from the fall of Rome to the reconstruction of Berlin. What fascinated me was that there were small bands of patriots, salvagers, and rebels from each time period who risked their lives in order to preserve human memory and experience. The attached essay reflects my interest in how social change could be achieved through learning from past tragedies and applying them to current world crises such as those in Iraq and Somalia. The potential for change is strengthened when groups organize on a united front. For example, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the United Nations, and countless individuals and universities around the globe should come together to create a permanent unit such as the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section (MFAA) created in 1943 under the Roosevelt Administration and the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments. The MFAA was disbanded not long after the war, but ongoing devastation in the Middle East and Africa create a need for collaborative and preventative effort. My essay identifies this need and supports it with modern evidence. Events such as the Hague Convention and much of the modern discourse on libricide tend to focus on the conflict without providing any grounds for change. If the pen is mightier than the sword then librarians “cannot be neutral” as MacLeish says, and must work with each other against extreme odds in order to keep information free and accessible.
Repackaging information is another way to address appropriate change. For example, in LI819 I learned how to craft an executive summary. Leading change must often occur through a chain of command, or an executive. In this case I addressed how the dynamic of a high school student population that had been experiencing incidents of bias could be changed by integrating library materials into Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum. As a school librarian I need the support first of my peers, then of administration, and then buy in from students. This artifact contains a brief PowerPoint which was presented to other cohort members, an executive summary to initiate dialogue, a list of supplementary materials, and a webquest designed to teach media literacy skills.
Teach Authentic Experience @ CJH: Information literacy instruction: 6th grade mini lesson on "netiquette" (lesson materials)
It has been a privilege to work in a library and simultaneously work on an MLS. While it has been challenging in terms of time, the rewards are to directly use theoretical applications in a classroom setting. My area of expertise is school librarianship. Over the course of five years I taught information literacy skills in Cascade School District, a rural area east of Salem, Oregon. This past year I taught information literacy skills to 6th grade students on a regular basis. The attached artifact includes lesson materials to teach middle school students about “netiquette.” A common misconception among adults is that millenials are born knowing how to use technology. While they do know how to text, network, and game, they are at a loss when it comes to accessing basic programs, and information on the internet. Search techniques, authoritative authors, and etiquette are terms that need taught in context and discussed at length. One of the most effective instruction techniques is to start with something students can easily identify with in order to introduce a new concept. Since middle school students are comfortable with social networking it is an excellent platform through which to discuss copyright, flaming, and cyberbullying. The materials includes a quiz which I use to check what students already know, a glossary to self correct, and my favorite part the netiquette scenarios which students work on in small groups.
While an internship is not required to graduate I was intrigued by a cultural resources intern position under the tutelage of the museum curator, Alice Hart, at Grand Teton National Park. After successfully interviewing for the position I learned that the primary focus of the internship was to act upon a directive all NPS park units had received from the Department of the Interior earlier in the year. The long term vision of NPS is to create a comprehensive database of scientific research freely accessible to the pubic via the world wide web.While policies have long been in place to obtain data and catalog specimens, limited NPS resources have prevented optimum record keeping. My job was to retroactively amend and produce documents explicitly leading the researcher through policy and improve communication between the curation office and the primary investigator (researcher).I also dabbled in editing photos of the Vernon Collection housed at the Colter Bay Indian Arts Museum and worked with the ANCS+ museum software used by NPS to catalog backlogged items in the Grand Teton collection. The attached artifact is a spreadsheet I created which was then used to improve tracking of specimens and data produced through scientific research. While I had worked with spreadsheets before I gained new confidence in working with Excel, experienced the direct impact of changing conditions (and bureaucracy), observed the inner workings of a museum office and a busy interpretive center, and got to know the geography, ecology, people, and history of Grand Teton National Park on an intimate level. For additional commentary on my internship experience please view My Blog. This artifact demonstrates life-long learning and the ability to continually acquire new knowledge. I responded directly to a changing condition (the Department of Interior directive) by immersing myself in an unknown bureaucracy and acquiring new skills to improve the organization and dissemination of information generated by the National Park Service.
Communicate LI861: Rocky Mountain National Park Museum Catalog (finding aid)
During a week-long seminar style course in Rocky Mountain National Park (LI861, Archives in the Park) students worked at three different job sites. The first was at Estes Park Public Library indexing oral histories, the second was at Estes Park Museum organizing a historical photograph collection, the third was at Rocky Mountain National Park Museum where students worked on two different projects: physical conservation techniques including Japanese paper paste and encapsulation of maps, as well as cataloging a backlog of artifacts using ANCS+ (customized museum software used by the NPS). One of these artifacts was a collection of oral history materials from Native Americans with ties to Rocky Mountain. These materials included original audio recordings, transcripts, and a comprehensive report. The result of this cataloging experience was the attached artifact, a finding aid containing a detailed description of the materials. This finding aid was produced collaboratively with three other cohort members and with the direction of the supervising Ranger. Finding aids are essential to visiting researchers and strimmunicate the essence of an artifact.
Value LI803: Information Transfer in Haitian Literature: Edwidge Danticat and the Immigrant Experience (academic essay)
I have a background in Comparative Literature so I was thrilled to utilize that knowledge in LI803 when looking for an example with which to illustrate the information transfer (IT) cycle. I believe this essay not only serves as an example for information transfer but also demonstrates the value of diverse cultures and their contribution to knowledge. I felt confident in using literature as a method for discussing the IT process and it helped me comprehend the nature of the IT cycle more quickly. This was also a “theory course” in which there is usually more discussion and less emphasis on presentation. Discussions concerning “paradigm shifts,” the difference between dissemination and diffusion, and interdisciplinary theory were incredibly valuable for the conversations they evoked, the problems they wrestled, and the confidence they inspired in forming an articulate contribution.
Exhibit Authentic Experience with Censorship: Sold, by Patricia McCormick vs. Reconsideration Committee (statement, policy)
School librarians face an inordinate amount of challenges to their collections. I dealt with a formal challenge this year (coinciding with my MLS program) at Cascade Junior High in which a parent asked the District to withdraw Sold, by Patricia McCormick. The attached artifact is a statement I prepared to present to the Reconsideration Committee which was composed of an administrator, teacher, two parents, and a student. This experience was especially challenging as I found myself in conflict with the building administrator who did not appear to have experience with a formal complaint being carried through to the committee level. To the administrator’s credit I had made some rookie mistakes in previous years which may have led the administrator to believe that there was no formal guideline for handling complaints and that everything could be dealt with under the table, so to speak. Thanks to professional encouragement of peers and the SLIM program I was able to stand firm, exhibit policy, garner the support of the District Superintendent and follow through with client-centered philosophy and ethics. The experience also inspired me to take a closer look at policy that was on the books and resulted in my attendance to a School Board meeting which approved an updated version of policies relevant to the library.
My internship as a cultural resources intern for Grand Teton National Park was intricately linked to the concept of advocating for others by displaying a commitment to quality and equity. Working with the curator of cultural and scientific resources we sought to improve the quality of service provided researchers in the Park. Conducting scientific research on government land produces a complex application and permit process. Part of my task was to improve communication between the researchers and the curator’s office in order to track specimens and data being produced. The attached spreadsheet exemplifies the tracking process and the information necessary to determine the legal and ethical responsibilities of Grand Teton. Coincidentally, the Obama Administration’s call for “open government” and the release of new Freedom of Information Act guidelines in March of 2009 align with the Department of the Interior’s information audit which revealed that an alarming loss of data was occurring in National Park units. The internship presented a struggle between maintaining the integrity of intellectual property and the mandate to archive data, specimens, and findings, ultimately making these records available to the American people to which government is held accountable. My time with the Park also exposed me to NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990). NAGPRA consultations often happen within the context of museums when there is an issue of object use and cultural affiliation with Native American and Native Hawaiian artifacts. Complying with NAGPRA and participating in NAGPRA meetings advocates for the equal treatment of all peoples; often resulting in the return of sensitive information packages sacred to particular tribes and not meant for public view.
Lead LI810: Digital Preservation and Interpretation in the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department: A mixed-method study (research proposal)
Proposing anything is a risk. In LI810, Research & Inquiry in LIS, I proposed exploring the relationship between interpretive rangers and specialists in the arrangement and preservation of information packages (librarians, archivists, and curators). During an Independent Study (LI865) experience at Silver Falls State Park I identified a need for collaboration between these two groups in order to improve visitor services and maintenance of collections. My proposal adapts two methods of research: quantitative (in the form of a survey), and qualitative (in the form of interviews). The artifact attached demonstrates vision by identifying a need, and openness to new ideas by seeking information that would in turn improve relations between two groups with a common interest—resource conservation. On one hand interpretation of park resources is the art of provoking imagination in others, information specialists provide the infrastructure through which to move and repackage resources in such a way that makes them accessible to the public while maintaining the integrity of the original resource.
LI865: Independent Study, continuation of the Silver Falls Archive Project (journal) The Silver Falls Archive Project (LI865, Independent Study) required leadership. By acting as an information consultant I initiated a standard for the cataloging of historic photographs through collaboration with the Interpretive Ranger at Silver Falls as well as working closely with Past Perfect, the museum software used to catalog archival material. This artifact not only logs hours spent with the collection but also asks questions concerning scope, provenance, and the possibility of working with organizations like the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Department of Transportation, which had governance of the park in its earliest stages. The journal also represents the continuation of a project begun in LI 861, Archives in the Park, seeking to adapt to park specific needs and the guidance of Oregon’s State Historic Preservation Office. Due to the lack of time and staff at Silver Falls to work on such a project I know they were grateful for the leadership. I plan to stay in touch with the Park and perhaps volunteer on the project in the future.
How does a school librarian contribute to the teaching of sensitive material? In my experience, current events in K-12 public education are usually not discussed until high school. Whether the complexity of understanding these events requires historical context, or whether the events are of such a nature that they cannot be fully explored due to public sensitivity, censorship, or fear, is not an excuse for ignoring these topic s altogether. An effective school library provides views on all topics from all sides. While discussing conflict in the Middle East may seem too much for second graders, exposing them to age appropriate resources like The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter, and One City, Two Brothers, by Chris Smith, introduces students to conflict on a level they can understand. By high school, students are emerging as higher level thinkers, capable of grasping more complex material. This artifact manages a sensitive topic from a multidisciplinary perspective, providing a package to educators that includes multimedia and approaches respective of multiple intelligences. In compiling this package I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a high school student who perhaps had developed certain assumptions about the topic based on media, peer, and parental influences. This artifact attempts to broach a sensitive topic in a thoughtful way.
A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. ~Henry David Thoreau