Skip to content

Learning to Be Together Again

September 19, 2022

Many of us who work in academic libraries are busy teaching library instruction sessions again. This is my second academic year as a First-Year Experience Librarian, and already I have noticed such a big change from last year. Like many other universities, we returned to full-time, in-person instruction in Fall 2021. Last fall, I noticed a lot of awkward silence during instruction sessions. Most of the activities I did with students utilized tools such as Padlet and Mentimeter, which prevented them from having to speak out loud at all to deliver answers to the activities. However, sometimes I would ask a follow-up question, and I got crickets. I was lucky if I got one person to volunteer a verbal answer, and many times that was with some extra encouragement. Also, it seemed any exercises I did involving groups or partners required more work on my part to get the students into groups. It was obvious to me that, just like everyone else, our students were learning how to be around other people again.

A year later, and I have noticed a big change in this year’s first-year students compared to last year’s. When I ask students to partner up, I usually only have one or two shy students, who I have to help find a partner. Last year I was having to help pair up each student. This year I slightly dialed back on how much I use other tools for students to answer questions. While I still use those tools for many activities, I now have more open conversations built into my lessons as well. This was a bit of a gamble because I didn’t know if the students would be ready for this. However, so far, I’ve been getting at least a few hands up every time I verbally ask a question. There’s also more chatter amongst the students as they file into the classroom, and I have to do much more wrangling when they’re working in groups than I did last year. Students last year were quieter when working in their groups, and when they finished an activity, they would often just scroll through their phones. This year, students turn and talk to one another and joke around to the point where I have to direct them back to the task at hand. I actually taught a class last week where the students were so comfortable and animated around each other that I was struggling to explain the directions for the activities over their talking.

While these instances can be a little frustrating in the moment, I have been happy to see our students acting like normal college students once again. Our sessions are so much fun when the students are engaged and really interacting with the lesson. It’s been refreshing to watch them become friends with one another and begin building that sense of belonging that turns college into their home away from home. I’ve also seen a dramatic increase in students popping by my office to ask a quick question once I’ve taught one of their classes, or coming up to me when a session is complete to get additional help from me. I hope this means our students are finally starting to recover from the pandemic and find solace in human connections once again. Such a big part of college is the friendships we build that last a life time, and it’s been nice to see our students forming those friendships once again.

Archives, Libraries and K-12 Collaboration 

September 15, 2022

As a University archivist, it’s my job to collect, preserve and maintain historical items related to our institution’s history. We have certain items we know we have to collect, i.e. course catalogs, President memos, university publications, and so on. We also occasionally receive donations covering a broader range of topics. Notably, the George Raymond Papers, and more recently, a collection of historical political campaign and U.S. Government materials. I mention these two collections because they cover topics not specifically related to the university. 

Rarely do I have the thought of “who is ever going to use this material?” Though more frequently, I have the thought of “I wish more people would utilize these materials.” Unfortunately (or maybe luckily), I don’t have the ability to predict the future or read minds. I can take an educated guess, but I will never know what items in our archives could be useful to any of the researchers out there. As long as I do the best of my ability to ensure that users in 5, 10, 20, or more years can access our print and digital materials, I’ve done my job correctly.  

This question of who uses archives leads me to how do we get more users? There’s no doubt that many archives contain fascinating, unique primary sources that someone out there can use. Outreach efforts within the university community are important, but thinking about users outside this community is equally as important. Libraries and archives goal is to provide access to information, so let’s spread the word! 

Our archives is a member of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) and together several member reps are organizing a conference called Beyond the Textbook: Equity, Engagement, and Primary Sources. It’s a free conference for educators to help support teachers in collaboration with archivists and librarians. It will take place on October 1st at LaSalle University, and we will be offering ACT48 credit for Pennsylvania Teachers. The overarching goal is to help K-12 teachers learn where and how to find primary sources, specifically related to diversity, equity and inclusion.  

It’s a great opportunity for teachers to learn how to access primary sources and integrate them into their teachings, but also for archivists and librarians to create connections and, hopefully, collaborations with teachers. I would love to see more K-12 teachers using local, primary sources from area archives and libraries. To be able to touch and interact with historical items as a young person is invaluable.  

If you’re interested, please consider attending, or if you know of any K-12 teachers in the area, share this conference with them. We’d love to have you! 

Join CRD at Pennsylvania Libraries: Keystones of our Communities!

September 14, 2022

Plan to invest in yourself and your career by joining us for the 2022 Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference, Pennsylvania Libraries: Keystones of our Communities, scheduled to take place October 16 – 19, 2022 at the Hilton Harrisburg.  

The College and Research Division (CRD) of the PaLA encourages academic librarians to attend the following Educational Sessions. Read all about the sessions in the 2022 Registration Brochure

  • Insourcing or Outsourcing Online Learning
    • Victoria Raish, Online Learning Librarian, Pennsylvania State University 
  • Using Your ILS Data for Collection
    • Sylvia Orner, Collections and Resource Management Librarian/Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton Elizabeth Davis, Support and Project Management Specialist, Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (PaILS)
  • Designing Scaffolded Disciplinary Information Literacy Curriculum 
    • Josephine Smith, Instruction and Assessment Librarian, Shippensburg University
  • Applying the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines to Reference Practices 
    • Emily Reed, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State University Libraries
  • Picture This: A Diversity Audit of Picture Books in an Academic Library 
    • Karen Wanamaker, Education librarian, Rohrbach Library, Kutztown University of PA
  • Understanding your Strengths, Unlocking your Potential
    • Jolene Pickens, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach Brianna Campbell, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach
  • Wrangling the Wild West: One Library’s Successful Experience with LibGuides 
    • Molly Wolf, Head of Research & Instructional Services, Widener University Kayla Van Osten, Research & Instruction Librarian and Assistant Archivist, Widener University

Also please join the CRD for the College & Research Division Luncheon on Monday, October 17.  Keynote speaker, Steven J. Bell, Associate University Librarian at Temple University Libraries, will share his experiences with keeping alert to trends where the library can take a leadership position on campus – and help to maintain relevance. This interview-style talk will touch on factors such as identifying trends, risk taking and experimentation, and using design methods for prototyping.

Lastly, CRD members are welcome to join our Keynote speaker and fellow CRD members at our annual division dine out at Grateful Goat on Monday, October 17 at 6:00 pm! Grateful Goat is located in Camp Hill, a quick 10-15 minute drive from the Hilton Harrisburg. Please RSVP to attend the dine out here. We hope to see you there!

Attendee registration is OPEN! We urge you to experience maximum engagement by planning to attend the full conference, which offers the best value and experience! Registration fees & deadlines.

Submitted on behalf of Allyson Wind, CRD Publicity Coordinator

C & CS Presents: Using R Statistical Software for Library Assessment: Do More with Your Data, for Free!

September 12, 2022

Presented by Sara Kern 

September 21, 2022 at 1:00 pm EST

Registration Link

Library assessment is an essential part of library planning and management. It helps us make informed decisions about collections, operating hours, events, and more. However, moving past collecting data to analyzing it can be challenging. This presentation will share how a librarian at Juniata College used R statistical software to analyze information gathered by our student workers to assess library space and resource usage. R is a free, open source software environment that you can use for statistical analysis and creating visualizations. The presenter is a novice R user, and this presentation is geared towards those with little to no experience using R, but with takeaways that may be useful for more experienced R users.

Sara Kern is the Student Success & Outreach Librarian at Juniata College.

As a reminder, the Zoom link will be sent approximately 48 hours before the session. We will mute participants on entry into the Zoom room. Session will be recorded and available on YouTube after the session. We will enable Zoom’s Live Transcription feature during the session.

If you would like to present with C&CS, please contact the C&CS team.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Support is also provided by the College and Research Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association.

Scholarly communication support in hospital library setting

August 31, 2022

 Library support of scholarly activity of our library patrons and students can look differently depending on the role and setting we find ourselves in. In libraries many times the role of the librarian who supports this activity is called the Scholarly communications librarian and according to ACRL, scholarly communication is defined as “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs.”1 This support can begin with education surrounding rules and laws that govern copyright and then moving into helping our staff/faculty and students choose journals for publication. This role can also play an exciting part of promoting and training about open access resources and even support of hosting and development of publishing platforms to house the work of your institution’s authors.

 For me, I work in a hospital setting and one of my major tasks is in support of the author publication report process. These reports require the completing of searching, reviewing, and  preparing of lists of citations of the published works of the many clinical and educational authors within our hospital. It is a process in which I conduct searches within multiple databases, utilize excel spreadsheets to keep track and rely on continuous and clear communications between departments and the library. It is a rewarding process which I have been, since I arrived, working to streamline and improve. I welcome any feedback or recommendations from other librarians who manage this scholarly activity for their institution as I know there is always room for learning for improvement.

  1. Retrieved from on Aug 8, 2022