ALA Midwinter

I attended ALA Midwinter in Denver, Colorado this February, which was a good experience, but when I got home from the trip, I felt worn out. I had a very busy fall. During the conference, I was wrapping up a book review, putting together a conference proposal, and working on my review documentation. As I sat in my room munching on a salad while writing, I realized this was not dissimilar to what I was doing at home most nights after work–still working, not spending time with others, not exercising, etc. I had been stretching myself too thinly and not taking care of myself. I took a step back from social media, turned down requests, canceled a few things, and used some sick days to start getting a little help. Making the right steps to get myself back on track have helped me feel a little better, and I plan to begin writing here a bit more now that I have some more energy. As a way to jump back in, I have a quick Midwinter overview.

This was my first time attending Midwinter, which I attended to co-lead ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group (LMOIG) discussion with my co-convener Jen Park. It was lovely to meet her in person, and we actually ran into each other in the restroom on the way to the ACRL Leadership Council meeting. I’ve really enjoyed working with her!

LMOIG Leadership Team

After the Council meeting, we attended the Opening Keynote, given by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors and #1000blackgirlbooks founder Marley Dias. It was a humbling experience, and I was amazed to meet them both and receive signed copies of their books, one of which I gifted to a co-worker.

I only attended a few other meetings, but I enjoyed the Undergraduate Librarians Discussion Group (UGLi DG) meeting. I also experienced falling snow for the first time.

I visited the Denver Public Library, which has seven floors and is home to the world renowned Western History Collection.

Reforma held a fundraiser at Museo de las Americas; the museum had just opened a new exhibit on pachuco culture. (I somehow missed Junot Díaz appearance at the fundraiser, though! And this is a small gallery! I’m hoping he showed after I left, but I did leave at about 10 pm.)

Lowrider piñata

I think I had the most fun at the Denver Art Museum. I actually liked that it wasn’t that large, and I managed to see everything except for a few things in a just a couple of hours. I’m not one to write reviews, and I actually wrote one for their Facebook page. In case you don’t have a Facebook account, here is the text:

I really enjoyed my visit!

I was actually able to see most of the museum in a couple of hours, which was perfect as I am in Denver for a librarian conference full of meetings. As a librarian, I was very moved by Xiaoze Xie’s book censorship exhibit. I also thought the Stampede: Animals in Art exhibit was a lot of fun.

I happened to come by during the #heartsforarts campaign and spotted a few make-and-take craft carts and the participatory poster about what visitors treasure about the museum. I also saw an area that has soft seating and Spanish- and books available for young children. I really like that there are interactive activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

I love the integration of Spanish throughout the museum, as well–from the descriptions of items to the books available for children. I would love for my mom to come visit as her predominant language is Spanish.

I also took note that the museum is free for all children 18 and under. What a wonderful way to make art available to our youth!

From fun exhibits, interactive elements, and integration of both Spanish and English, I highly recommend this family-friendly art museum.

I generally don’t go on many excursions between conference sessions, but I’m glad I took the time to do a little exploring in Denver. In June I’ll be attending ALA Annual in New Orleans, which will be full of programs, including a co-sponsored program by the LMOIG and University Libraries Section Academic Outreach Committee, and, hopefully, a little sightseeing, too.

Women’s March on Washington Archives Project

This post does eventually relate to archives.

I live in California’s Central Valley, just 90 miles away from San Francisco. The Valley is a conservative part of the state. This weekend, I was amazed by our hometown. My husband and I had planned to march in Sacramento, but he got off work very late on Friday, so we opted to go to the march in our own city. The march was sponsored by The Progressive Voice and the Democratic Women’s Club of Stanislaus County. My good friend Joey from Merced joined us with her two teenage daughters, and when we got there, we met with other friends and family members. I did not expect 1,000 people to participate. I did not expect the huge show of support from people in cars as we walked down one of the busiest streets in town. Here is an article from our local paper, “Signs, Chants, Honks, and Cheers Mark Large, Upbeat Women’s March Modesto.”

When I got home from the march, I spent some time looking at photographs people were posting of marchers and their posters. Here are some interesting articles related to posters from marchers and photographs round the world and within the United States.

The Society of American Archivists’ Women Archivists Section is interested in archiving materials, including posters, photographs, and oral histories from the women’s marches. Their project is called the Women’s March on Washington Archives Project. Click here to find the Project’s Facebook group and here for their Twitter account.

I plan to contribute photos. Some friends also gave me their posters. I just have to find out if California has a repository for the physical materials. Please feel free to share about this archival project. This could be a potentially rich source of primary material for those studying about the marches in the future.

Here are some photos I took this weekend.

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.

Scrabble Banner

Library GamesI absolutely love this Scrabble banner tutorial: http://sarahhearts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/scrabble-banner.pdf 

I used it for our inaugural library game night in October 2014, and I have also used it for our campus’ Fall Festival, and our library game night this past spring 2015. I just keep it in a manila folder, so it doesn’t get tangled.

A few words on the tutorial. Our color printer at work is extremely old and not very powerful, so what I did was print it out in black and white on regular computer paper, and then I ran the letters I needed through the copy machine onto kraft cardstock I got at the local Wal-Mart, which is the closest store to campus. I had twine at home. The only other supplies you need are scissors or a paper cutter and a single hole punch.

It came out super cute. What do you think? I am going to make a “welcome” banner for the library window facing out to the hallway (we’re a room in the Student Services building, so the hall is hot real estate) for the first week back to school.

Coloring Party and Other Ideas for Finals

During finals this year, I had coloring pages available. I only printed a few out the first day (some design I could download for free online), and the next day, one of the student assistants said I needed to print out way more because “people really like them.”

I have noticed an upswing in talk about the relaxing powers of coloring lately. Even NPR and Quartz have chimed in, and I think I remember seeing something on Huffington Post. It’s rare that I go to the local Barnes and Noble (I am a library user, after all), but I went a couple of days ago and was so surprised by all of the coloring books on display.

Long live coloring! I will still be offering coloring pages during finals, but I think in addition to my once a term game day/night, we need to have a craft and coloring party, too. I will definitely be talking to our student workers about it in August.

While I can’t remember where I downloaded the mandala image I used during this past academic year, there is a Facebook page, Coloring Pages for Adults, that offers free, downloadable pages to color. With back to school sales around the corner, now is also a good time to buy colored pencils and sharpeners. We have electric sharpeners in the library, but for a bigger event, we’d be in the Student Lounge, so we’d need little sharpeners. Right now, I can tell you for a fact that Target has a 12-pack of Crayola colored pencils for 97 cents.

I know there are some academic libraries with the big bucks and staff for massages, pet therapy, and coffee and cookies, etc., but even the smallest of libraries like mine can do something to help students de-stress during exam season. Puzzles and games are a great idea if you have the space. Our game night, for example, doesn’t happen in the Library because we are only two thousand square feet. Another option for small libraries might be to provide a crossword puzzle or word search. Origami supplies are not that expensive and don’t require a lot of room. We had Origami Yoda for Star Wars Day in May. I just put up paper and instructions by the checkout desk. I also do Starbursts “for a burst of energy” and mini Crunch Bars for “crunch time” near the doors. I do purchase those on my own because I only have a couple of hundred dollars I can use for the library from the college, and candy adds up so quickly.

Be creative, and, as I’ve learned, don’t get down because you can’t bring puppies or kitties to campus.