Documenting the Future (& Past)

As of yesterday, I have exactly one month before I leave Merced College, and I have started preparing for the new librarian who will be making the Los Banos Campus Library his or her new work home. (Here is the job ad for the position I am leaving, by the way.)

Last summer, Meredith Farkas’ American Libraries column was about what to do to ensure your projects continue after you’ve left a position, “Future-Proof Your Project.” Documentation is so important when leaving a job. When I got my position, documentation wasn’t necessary because my predecessor (and librarian mentor) was switching to the other campus, so I could easily call to ask questions. I have been working on a Word document that is simply a list of things to know: a little library history, accounts to get set up (LibGuides, Text-a-Librarian, Sirsi Workflows, etc.), collection needs and procedures, things I worked on and things I still wanted to do, etc. I also have a message about how important it is for him or her to make the library his or her own; I have my strengths, and the new person will have other strengths. I also included my personal email and cell phone number. I have nine single-spaced pages so far.

I added the librarians at the other campus as co-owners to all of my LibGuides, so they can share those with the new librarian. I got rid of paper and digital files the new librarian won’t need and re-organized the file drawers.  Our campus has a shared drive, so I am updating the Library folder in there, too, with various folders for electronic copies of handouts, important forms, instruction calendars, and other things I mention in the Word document I am writing up.

I switched all my listserv subscriptions to my Gmail, started forwarding a few emails, and boxed up the things to take home, including a binder full of flyers I made over the last few years for displays, events, and contests.

13072919_10156770974445573_4293123233050030986_o

I also started cleaning out my office.

13071947_10156783673190573_7654611409594775529_o

Doing these things has also helped me realize that I was able to accomplish some good things in the three years I was full-time in Los Banos. Ultimately, I am glad I was able to be an energizing force on our small campus. Their librarian wasn’t a shushing, stern type. I was able to make small steps to get a more user-centered space. Culture is the hardest thing to shape, but I made progress. I was able to have some fun displays, contests, and activities, including Game Nights. Through these and other communication efforts, the faculty and student groups began to see and use the library as a campus hub. Our student government even had a campus suggestion box in the Library at one point. And let’s not forget about the food pantry! I feel great that the faculty and staff knew they could count on the Library to help, in both instructional and non-instructional efforts. I was able to build solid relationships in our campus community.

And the students knew they could count on me, too. To quote one of the student comments on my evaluation this year, “Definitely not the crusty old librarian stereotype.” I feel really good about that.

December 2015 & January 2016 Library Displays

The last day of the fall semester was December 18th, and the spring semester started on January 19th, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

I don’t really have a whole lot of time in December as students are hurriedly finishing final papers. Our library media technician pulled some winter and holiday items out for a quick display, which always stresses me because we don’t have a whole lot of variety when it comes to holidays. I always forget to have the main library order me some children’s titles about Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Ramadan, and I vow to ask by the end of today. We have a part-time child development instructor at our site, so we have a small children’s collection specifically for an assignment involving multiculturalism. As someone who worked as a bilingual (Spanish/English) library assistant in the children’s department at a public library, I desperately need to make this a priority before embarking on the next chapter in my library career (more on that soon). Because of those changes, my display game this term will be even simpler. I decided to forgo linking the titles in Smore and will just be posting photos.

Sure enough, I didn’t even have time to link the titles I used for the refugee display I had in December anyway. I was really pleased–people checked items out!

Refugees

For the latter half of January, I had some Martin Luther King, Jr. books out, and I also highlighted some of our biographies (I did a little cleaning in this section, and I think I am done for now) about survival, failure, and success.

MLK

Survival

 

November 2015 Library Displays

So it’s February, but here are the displays I had up in November.

I love highlighting Native American Heritage Month. This year, I focused on items that relate to California and CA’s Central Valley.

Native American Heritage Month

Although I am Mexican-American, Día de los Muertos is not something my family does, mostly because my mom’s side is not Catholic. I really enjoy how much interest develops around the display. Here’s the online display, which I especially like. I re-used last year’s Día de los Muertos sign. One of the evening librarians made the tissue paper flowers during Hispanic Heritage Month, so I re-used a few.

Dia de los Muertos

For Veterans Day, the library media bookstore technician (she is now full-time–the first full-time staff position our little library has ever had!) re-used a banner we had last year for people to honor those who have served in the military. It’s blue butcher paper with white stars attached. People are encouraged to write in a veteran’s name with markers i leave on the windowsill. We put the banner in the hallway outside the library. The technician also put together the display we had inside the library. She also advertised the city’s second annual Veterans Day parade.

Veterans Day

I had one Major Idea display about criminal justice (you can read more about this display series in my August 2015 Library Displays post). I stopped doing this series in November because the space I was using is where I moved our children’s and young adult section. Our history section is out of control, and it was getting way too full, so I moved things around to create room before tackling the 900s this semester.

Criminal Justice

October 2015 Library Displays

In October, I had two Major Idea displays (see the August 2015 Library Displays post to learn more about what this is), one about math and another about English, which focused on fairy tales as a theme to explore literature studies.

English

Mathematics

October 15th was also the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. See the September 2015 Library Displays post about it here..

I also put together a quick display for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which included directions for conducting a breast self-exam in both English and Spanish. I snagged up the instructions during an event our campus had last year that had booths from the community, including the local health center.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One of our part-time evening librarians put together our Halloween display this year, for which I am very grateful. Here’s the online flyer I made for her display. Since I have more people to rely on in the library and now know what can be delegated, it’s been fun to see others’ creativity.

Halloween

October is always the beginning of research paper season around here, so it’s been busy! I’ll have to share more about that soon.

Participatory Culture & Vernacular Collections at the Library

I have a bad habit of collecting links through the save feature on Facebook. However, I seem to notice a penchant for public art. Consider this Colossal post about an artist who bought billboard and this NPR article about kids’ art taking over billboards in Times Square. I love members of communities being able to take part in their communities. Participatory culture is something I have been trying to cultivate in the community college library.

In Fall 2013, I did half of the Hyperlinked Library MOOC through San José State University, my MLIS alma mater. It allowed me to explore a little more about user experience, and it really got my excited about the possibilities for participatory culture in libraries. In one class discussion, I shared about the display space kids in the community are able to use to display collections of all kinds in the children’s department of the Stanislaus County Library (I worked as a bilingual Spanish/English library assistant in the children’s department for a couple of years). Kids ages 4 and up can sign up for either a display table or display case to show off rocks, soap, dolls, books, trains, cars, PEZ dispensers, LEGO creations, etc. The collections were very unique and customers of all ages love looking at new arrrivals. The collections stay in a locked case or table for two weeks. It truly is one of the coolest things that allow kids in our community to really feel that the library is theirs. (As it turns out, the idea of displaying everyday items is a thing. I did a little research, and these are called vernacular museums. I have to do a little more reading about them, but I did contact a professor from Pine Manor College about her work last year.)

I also think this idea would work well in even an academic library if locked displays cases are available. The University Library at my undergraduate alma mater, California State University Stanislaus, sort of has this with their Warrior Book Contest, which is essentially a topical bibliography students can submit. Winners can have some of their books put on display, and it’s always really interesting to see the winners’ lists and displays. I have a friend from college who won one year. I have tried a similar tactic to have individual students sign up to do book and online resource displays at the community college library, but it hasn’t worked out so far. We only have one student club on campus, so I am going to check with them this semester. But the idea of displaying collections doesn’t have to just be books and online resources. It could be action figures or Hello Kitty memorabilia. College can be fun.

Psychology

August 2015 Library Displays

This isn’t anything mind blowing as far as libraries go, but I really believe in the power of displays in showcasing not only resources but also getting library users to discover a new topic or idea they might not think up on their own.

My library is two thousand square feet, and our campus serves about 1800 students. We don’t have a lot of space for displays, but I use all the nooks and crannies and sometimes a book cart parked by the research help desk. I mostly use the lower reference shelving underneath a giant window, which, unfortunately, is in the back of the library, but it’s closest to the main bank of study tables.

There is a section within the higher reference shelving I’ve carved out with shifting and weeding. It’s the space I have dubbed Major Idea in which I’ll be displaying books and databases related to a topic or idea within a major offered by the college. First up is psychology.

It’s not pictured, but I also am advertising the services offered by the academic counselors and our new career counselor for those interested in the psychology major and/or careers in psychology. I also have a college catalog on display. (When I went to check on the display the next day, the illustrated Interpretation of Dreams had been checked out! )

Psychology

August 18th was the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. August 26th is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

Women's Equality Day

Since I snapped this photo, I’ve shuffled things around and also added resources about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Act banned racial discrimination in elections, which enfranchised more women and men of color, especially in the South. It’s an incomplete story without this bit of history.

Here is the online flyer for Women’s Equality Day and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Since we’re in California’s Central Valley, drought has been ever-present the last few years. Both college campuses have brown lawns, and we’re proud! I put up a display about water and drought materials, a quick list of relevant websites and databases, and I incorporated some interactivity by asking how students cut back on water usage this summer. Since it’s in an awkward spot, I didn’t expect more answers beyond my own example on a Post-It, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Water Conservation Drought Websites Drought Ideas

This year, I’m going to see if I can get our student workers and staff to participate in some displays. Now that I have evening colleagues, I asked one of them if she’d like to do the Banned Books display this September. It’s always a fun one to do, but September is just really busy with many other events, displays, and information