ABCs: Article, Baby, & Chapter

Wooden letters A, B, and C hung on a wall

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Last December, I was struggling with the transition back to community college libraries after a whirlwind research university library experience. It had been three months, and I was worried I had made a mistake. When COVID happened and the library shut down for regular services, I found myself feeling useful again and able to throw myself into what needed to be done. One of my colleagues and I worked really hard this spring, summer, and fall to make changes. You can read about what we worked on in “Pivoting Library Services in a Pandemic: Merced College Library Steps Up to the Challenge,” which was published in the December issue of the CCL Outlook, the newsletter for the Council of Chief Librarians, California Community Colleges. There were many basic needs the library had prior to the pandemic, so some of what has changed will continue when we return to campus.

Our library is also going to experience other major changes in Fall 2021; academic and student support services are moving into the building. I’ve been pretty quiet about my feelings about it among colleagues, but I welcome the changes. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road as we figure out how things will work, but in the end, I think this will actually be a positive change.

However, I am a little worried about when changes will begin to be made since the full-time librarians are off contract over the summer. In any other summer, I wouldn’t mind being contacted, but I am going to spend this summer caring for a new baby and recovering from childbirth–my husband and I are expecting our first child in early May! I’ll be on maternity in April, so this doesn’t leave me a lot of time to help with any decision-making. I’ll just have to defer to my colleagues and go into fall knowing that things in my personal and work life are going to be different. Coming back to work in person in the fall will be challenging enough–leaving my baby, pumping, getting used to driving two hours a day again, etc.

Besides COVID and a baby on the way, another big surprise of 2020 is that the Library Outreach Cookbook was finally published this year! I had almost given up hope. My chapter (55) is about my experience using Smore to advertise new books when I worked as the solo librarian at the Los Baños Campus. I worked there full-time between August 2013 and May 2016, so this chapter is pretty dated. At the time, we had a really cruddy catalog and were using version 1 of LibGuides. Earlier this year, nearly all of the California community college libraries began using ExLibris Alma Primo, so it’s easy to create new book lists, and there are so many other tools that folks can use nowadays to show off new acquisitions.

I had really hoped to have written more posts this year, but like my reading goals, I didn’t have it in me. Just making it through the year was enough.

Stat Lit & Other Small Writing

Although I finished graduate school six years ago this week, and I have been working as a full-time professional librarian for four years, I’m still a new librarian. However, now that my role is more specific, I feel more confident about spending most of my professional time and energy in instruction and outreach. I actually a couple of small pieces of writing in these areas this year, and I also have another couple of pieces coming out this spring.

I didn’t intend to set and meet any writing goals in 2017, partly because I struggle with selecting topics (the irony is that I help students with this) and partly because I thought that if I even expressed it in my goals statement, I’d jinx myself. But, somehow, I found things to write about on a small scale. Just recently, a colleague from Immersion tweeted a post about writing from The Librarian Parlor. In “‘I Wish I had Known That!’ Advice from the Field, A Librarian Parlor Series,” guest contributor Alison Hicks‘ first bit of advice for reluctant writers is to start small, from book reviews to reporting on professional development activities. Her post was very encouraging, and, if you’re newer to writing like I am, I hope you’ll be inspired by her advice. Starting small has been very liberating for me because it’s low-pressure.

In June, Lynda Kellam (who is awesome and was not at all bothered that a newbie librarian cold emailed to ask for help!) and I published “Keeping Up With…Statistical Literacy.” Keeping Up With… is an ACRL series focused on “trends in academic librarianship and higher education.” Last December, I was doing some reading on statistical literacy while researching lesson plans related to statistics and government information. I hope to one day be able to collaborate with a faculty member to create a lesson on statistical literacy for a class or do some more work in this area. (Um, and the world’s statistical literacy guru actually reached out to us about our little piece. It was super exciting!)

This year, I’m serving as co-convener of ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group. In December, my fellow co-conveners and I published a short bibliography of free and low-cost marketing resources, including our brand-new LibGuide, in College & Research Libraries News. Check out “Marketing for the Beginner: Resources from the ACRL Library marketing and Outreach Interest Group.” The guide is linked in the article. We hope folks will find it useful and continue to contribute to the guide.

College and Research Libraries News

When I was about to transition to my new position at UC Merced, I submitted a chapter proposal for the Library Outreach Cookbook, which is part of a series of bite-sized ideas for librarians. This spring, I learned that my proposal, “Pass Me Smore Books, Please! Promoting New Print Library Books at a Small Community College Library,” was accepted for publication. I submitted the final draft this summer, and the book should be out in February 2018.

I’m also working on reviewing Video Marketing for Libraries: A Practical Guide for Librarians for Public Services Quarterly. It’s due in February.

Video Marketing for Libraries: A Practical Guide for Librarians

I’d like to set some other writing goals for 2018, but I’m pretty pleased to have taken the plunge in 2017.