Month: May 2014

Self-Discovery Layer

Summon is Library Google. That’s how I’ve referred to our discovery layer since we first implemented it. But after a stimulating journal club meeting I realize I’ve been going about it the wrong way.

Rather than lazily plunking Summon and Google into the same category and letting the students figure it out on their own, I should be using Google and Summon as a bridge into library research and resources. (Pardon me if this sounds like, “duh,” but I’ve been avoiding Summon in the classroom like the plague for reasons I won’t go into here.)

Google is simple. And we like that. Google usually gives us what we want within the first two pages of results (you know, because if it doesn’t we just do a different search). Thank you, Google, for about 469,000,000 results in 0.28 seconds, but what good are they if I can’t sort them in a way that’s meaningful to me?

Enter Summon. With its simple, Google-like search box that accepts searches like “why is global warming bad” and “rush limbaugh doesn’t believe in global warming” and its gracious offering of refinement options by Publication Date, Content Type, Subject Terms, and Language.

In the classroom, I’ll start where students are familiar (Google), blow their mind about how search engine results are ranked, and show them how their library makes research easier and results more relevant.

I’m growing as a librarian. Really!

 

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Time to Make the Buttons

Over the next few weeks I will spend a lot of time in Microsoft Publisher and Paint, my design arsenal when it comes to button giveaways. I’m sure there are far more advanced programs I could be using, but this primitive tool belt suits me just fine. I will have buttons available for StART (OWU’s testing and registration event in early summer), Freshmen Orientation, and many other beginning of school year events/activities.

I use the 2-1/4 inch Button Machine by Neil Enterprises. I’ve had it for well over a year now and it is still in perfect condition. The press is very heavy duty and I only recently had to change the rotary cutter’s blade (spare blades are included in the kit). I purchased a 1000 piece button making supply package alongside the machine and still have plenty to last through the 2014/2015 academic year. This high-quality product and its companion supplies are well-worth the price.

As far as actual design goes, I am not limited to creating library-related buttons. The buttons are less a marketing product for our library and librarians, but another chance to connect with students. My hope is that a student will pin a button to her shirt or bag and when her friend asks, “Hey, where did you get that awesome button?” she’ll say, “My librarian gave it to me!”

I’ve had limited success polling students for button ideas via Facebook or otherwise, so I usually rely on my own pop culture knowledge or the suggestions of my colleagues. I rarely make more than 20 of a particular design so I can assess student response.

Some of my designs:

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It’s the End of Academic Year 2013/2014 as We Know It and I Feel…BUSY.

It’s finals week and as each day passes the number of students on campus will decrease exponentially. The library, while packed now, will be a desolate landscape come Thursday afternoon. And while I look forward to lazy, peaceful summer weekends, I feel a creeping anxiety when I think of the self-discipline required to keep myself on-task through the summer work days.

Thankfully, Summer 2014’s project list is growing longer and more exciting by the minute.

I have about a month and a half to prepare for the onslaught of incoming Freshmen that visit during OWU’s three June StART sessions (Student Advising, Registration and Testing). Last summer, I set up a table, some button giveaways, and a record player on the library veranda and spent much of StART hula hooping, handing out bottled water, dancing to Led Zeppelin, and getting to know our incoming students and their parents.

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(See? I wasn’t fibbing.)

This year’s June StART sessions will be different. I received an email from the program coordinator that an “information fair” will be added to the check-in portion of StART. Students and families will complete essential StART tasks, but also have access to various campus departments/offices/services.

I can’t think of a better place for the library to be!

Appearing side-by-side with financial aide, the honors program, student counseling services, the health center, residence life, etc. reaffirms the library as place…essential place. Not only that, but it concentrates our participation in the three day event to a very staff-able three hour window.

In addition to the aforementioned button giveaways, I will have candy (of course) and other library promotional materials. But this year I’m going to bring Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook into the mix with a directed activity. I found a dry-erase dialogue bubble board on Amazon that I will affix a lead-in phrase to with letter stickers (something like, “I love libraries because…” or “My librarians will…”) and will photograph the students, their responses, and of course, post them with some hashtags.

  #loveowulibraries   #iamowu   #owulibraries   #loveyourlibrarian

What else is on my summer to do list, you ask?

  • LibGuides revision (in particular, our Library Basics guide as referred to in a previous post)
  • In-house journal club
  • Reference Camp
  • First Year Experience matters (library involvement in Freshmen Orientation, UC 160 – OWU’s Intro to the University Experience course, and ENG 105 – OWU’s Freshmen English Composition Course)

Of course, you’ll hear much more about all of these in the coming months.