25 August 2008

The Sheck READS

Reading...It Never Gets Old.

Soon to be the Sheck's Staff picture on the Library Contact Page.

20 August 2008

The Future of the Net

The greatest thanks to Michael Sauer at the Travellin' Librarian for posting this video by Lawrence Lessig.

I will be including this video in my course on Technology, Politics, and Democracy this semester. Not only does it offer students an important definition of Net Neutrality but it also asks students to think about how their rights and freedoms, how the foundations of governance and society, democracy itself, are impacted by the Internet. It is something I'm not sure many people think about...though luckily I am in a field where many do.

13 August 2008

"I" is for Inspiration, "L" is for "Loving It"

It's been a whirlwind since I returned from San Diego. We are in full countdown-to-school-starting mode at the Library and that means PROJECTS and PLANNING.

From an IL point of view, all those exercises and handouts from Immersion have really paid off. The incredible team of librarians at Champlain have been 100% on board with our planning for a big year of teaching and I am so grateful. We are working together to develop programmatic goals, create activities for students that are creative and meaningful (it sounds so easy, doens't it), and prepare ourselves for a heavy teaching schedule this fall. It's a lot for me, as I am sure it is for them. But we are talking it out, especially in thinking about what we need to succeed. Here are a few of the things that have made it to our list:

1. A shared vision. CRUCIAL. One of the things I wish for most is for all of the librarians embrace the program but also the reason behind the program. One of the first things we have done is to develop a list of goals that is meaningful for all of us and that we all can stand behind. It has been a wonderful way of learning about how we each understand and imagine an IL program.

2. Awareness of our differences and styles. Again, so important. One of the things that really stuck with me from an Immersion reading was Parker Palmer's belief in maintaining your identity and integrity in the classroom. While we have goals and outcomes to meet in each session, each librarian is their own person and their own teacher. We will approach classes in our own ways. I appreciate that difference and am glad that this was brought.

3. Openness to Failure. This is a new initiative at Champlain and a new way of teaching for many of us. For myself, the Immersion mantra "Fail Often to Succeed Sooner" is a hard but important one for me to chant. I am an overacheiver and have high expectations for myself and others. I know this about myself. Failing is always hard for me. But, learning is not. And that is how we are going to view our failures, as an opportunity to learn and celebrate our efforts. We are trying new things, and that is such an incredible acheivement for a group to do together.

4. Communicate. Whether it be to ourselves, to our director, to the faculty, to the students, to the division...in order for us to succeed in the coming year we need opportunities to share experiences and ideas with one another.

Again, I am reminded again and again how lucky I am to work with these librarians. They are facing the challenge of a new program with such grace, enthusiasm, and determination. For example, while talking about what some of the opportunities for the coming year may be, one colleague said that the new IL program was an opportunity for personal growth. She was looking forward to trying new things. So inspiring.

Finally, speaking of growth and inspiration, Champlain has welcomed a new librarian to the fold. Andy Burkhardt is our new Emerging Technologies Librarian. He blogs over at Information Tyrannosaur and you can read his brief intro to our college community at our library blog. I am thrilled to have Andy with us. In just a few short weeks, he is generating a ton of great ideas. Awesome.

02 August 2008

Immersion: Day 5 and Beyond

So here I am, at 10 pm (PCT), waiting to get onto the red-eye back to the lushness and simplicity of Vermont. It's amazing to travel to other parts of the country and realize how lucky I am to live in a place that nurtures so many sides of myself. Besides missing my husband, my dog, and my garden, I miss the pace of life in VT. While I hate flying overnight, I look forward to waking up tomorrow at home.

Immersion was a truly remarkable experience. I feel like I have developed a vision for our IL program as well as a series of steps to try with which to realize it. I feel like I learned a lot about how to capitalize on my strengths and develop my weaknesses. I feel like I am prepared to respond constructively to criticism and generate interest and enthusiasm for my program. I feel like I have a network with which to brainstorm, question, and collaborate. Good things.

I also feel like I could use some time reviewing my notes and reflecting for a while. The one thing I wish I had had more time for is reflection. As I think back to the past week, I feel like I haven't had as much time to process as I would like. I hope I can find some time for that in the next few days, if not weeks. Sadly, that is not what my schedule has in mind once I return to Champlain. Still, I look forward to returning to work on Monday and talking to my director.

Anyone who is thinking about participating in an Immersion, I highly recommend it. I also recommend spending some time in a different mode immediately thereafter. I was terribly fortunate to have a wonderful friend in the area whisk me away to relax, rejuvinate, and come back into myself after being on the go and at the top of my mental game for a week. It has really allowed me to settle into my thoughts and I am grateful for it.

More blog posts to come about Immersion and our program. though we will be on whirlwind mode upon my return to VT. Especially because I imagine some time in the garden will be necessary and warranted. But I tend to feel like putting my hands in the dirt can help me achieve the kind of meaningful and reasonable decisions and design that I've spent the last week thinking about.

01 August 2008

Immersion: At the Library (End of Day 4)

The last part of day 4 was all about working on our action plans to bring back to our libraries.
(Did I say this already? Please excuse me, my brain is like swiss cheese at this point.)

Anyway, I decided to take this opportunity to check out what I am lovingly calling the Dr. Seuss Library. UC San Diego has the Geisel Library. The motto in front of the doors reads: Read. Write. Think. Dream. All the glass and levels of the buildings seems to encapsulate those very principles in its design. It's a good model for the program I am trying to design, no?

I have to say, it has been a number of years since I have been in a large research library. Granted, I went to library school at Illinois in Urbana Champaign which is the biggest of them all but still...I was taken aback when I walked in. I thought about all the students that come to Champlain and wonder how to get about in the Library. Imagine what students at UCSD must think. It's no wonder that Library orientations are so vital at these large institutions!

As I wandered around, I saw a sign for the Seuss Room. I love Dr. Seuss. Any opportunity to read Dr. Seuss to my nephew (only one of my three charges is into Dr. Seuss anymore), I take it. So imagine my joy at seeing original sketches and drawings on display. Even though I was in Special Collections before coming to Champlain, I forgot what it is like to have such pieces of history and beauty available for learning, exploration, and inspiration.

Finally, with my deadline quickly approaching, I sought somewhere to sit. I was hoping for something a little more exciting and encouraging of reflection that the traditional table and chairs. I came across this little oasis on one of the bottom floors. It was wonderful to have so much light and life around me as I tried to pull together my dreams for our program, the strategies to apply to make them happen, the constituents I hope to involve, and the places where I am going to start.

Can you tell that I was ready to be somewhere other than in a conference room?