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Finding New Followers

February 22, 2019

Finding New Followers_.pngDo you ever feel like you post things to social media and no one cares? Sure your core audience saw it (may the algorithms forever be in your favor), but only a few liked it. Then that post you worked really hard on with great photography and awesome hashtags falls flat with only a few likes. You are not alone.

So how do you raise your profile in a professional, but fun way? Short answer… it’s a work in progress. Our team has been specifically looking at how to grow our audience and up our views and likes on Instagram since this is the most popular platform for our audience.

Are we using Adobe Lightroom? No. Are we doing paid advertising on Instagram to promote ourselves. We wish. Are we cross promoting our Instagram on other platforms? Check. Although, we should do it again and more regularly.

Are we promoting all our social media via email marketing? Finally… we’ve started to email students directly (with lots of help from our awesome campus Marketing and Communications department).

Are we doing Instagram stories? Yes! This is our new focus and we hope it pays off. As the spring semester continues we will be doing different stories and a series called “Senior Spotlight” featuring all our graduating senior student workers in a Q. & A. session. Our first Insta-story was live a week ago and got 131 views. We will hopefully complete at six or more before the end of the semester.

The library’s social media committee student contributors are leading the way this initiative and we as staff are following. ;) Here’s hoping new audiences do the same.

Photo credits in order of appearance:

  • Lebanon Valley College. “Lebanon Valley College Library” Box Collection, Lebanon Valley College Archives Photograph Collection, circa 1960, Annville, PA.

  • Kristich, Bethany. “Senior Spotlight: Cheyenne Troxell!” Instagram, 2019, 


C&CS Session “What Does PA Forward and the Star Library Program Have To Do With Academic Libraries?” now available

February 22, 2019

Great turn out for yesterday’s session, “What Does PA Forward and the Star Library Program Have To Do With Academic Libraries?”. The session has been recorded and is available at the following link:

Closed captioning should be available within a few hours of uploading. We thank our session presenters, Christina Steffy, Amy Snyder and Joann Eichenlaub for their excellent insight into the Star Library Program and how we can go about creating sessions and advocating with the PA Forward program.

Experiencing imposter syndrome when working with upper-class students?

February 21, 2019

One of the areas we are focusing on for assessment during this academic year involves upper-level classes/students. The English department is one of my liaison areas and I’m meeting with that department’s Capstone class three times this semester. Today was the second time the class would be coming to the library. Through discussions with the professor, we had decided that what the students might benefit from most, at this stage in their research, was a one-on-one reference desk appointment with a librarian. I was able to recruit two of my colleagues to help and so we each met with three or four students for about 20 minutes at a time.

As I prepared to meet with these students, I found myself wondering if I was going to be able to understand their topics enough to help them. It’s been over ten years since I’ve taken an English class and even then, I hadn’t read most of the texts these students were using. What if I couldn’t offer the students anything valuable? Would a bad interaction with this class deter their professor from wanting to work with the library again? It feels like there can be an expectation that librarians are walking encyclopedias, able to answer questions on any topic without hesitation. Having met with this class once before and hearing what they intended their research topics to be, I felt like a big imposter. How was I supposed to help someone who already knew more than me?

I was worried that students wouldn’t take me seriously if I admitted that I didn’t know what they were talking about. However, in almost every interaction, I found myself admitting to students up front: “I am not familiar with this text” or “I’ve never heard of genre theory”. This gave students a chance to explain these topics to me and in some cases I think providing an explanation to me helped them clarify their understanding of it. One of my colleagues said she too had this experience and felt that by us admitting we didn’t know something; the students were more comfortable admitting they didn’t know how to search in certain databases or weren’t familiar with the library website.

I found that I really enjoyed these interactions, perhaps more than my normal ref desk interactions, because they turned out to be a conversation between equals: they “experts” on their topic and I an “expert” on how to find information using library resources. They had already tried many of the more basic search strategies and based on that work I found it easier to come up with suggestions for how they could take their searches to the next level: suggesting databases they might not have known about, helping them track down citations, or even assisting with E-Z Borrow and ILL requests.

I met with four students, and each one of them walked away with at least a few new sources that they could explore further. I also think that they walked away with a deeper appreciation of how talking with a librarian could help them during their research. After class I talked with my colleagues and they both indicated that they thought some of the students they met with would be seeking them out for further assistance as their projects progressed. Which I think is great news for the students and for us.

For now, the imposter has been banished and I’m feeling good about my ability to assist all of our student patrons, even the 400-level capstone researchers. Do you have many opportunities to interact with your upper-level students? How do you feel about trying to represent yourself as someone who can help in your liaison areas, even if you aren’t an expert in those subjects?

Your Bookish Guide to the Oscars

February 19, 2019

The Oscars air on Sunday, and Oscar season always makes me want to put up a display — it’s easy to highlight classic award-winning films and this year’s contenders. In the face of constant threats of campus closures due to bad weather, students may want to grab up a few movies to pass the time.

But in addition to the films, I’m always interested in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which is often the book’s time to shine at film’s “big night.” While many will always claim that the film is never better than the book (I will argue that Jaws makes a much better film), films can take a different perspective on the source material and even introduce audiences to a book that can become a new favorite.

This year’s Best Adapted Screenplay category features a range of films adapted from novels and memoirs (and A Star Is Born, versions 1-3). Let’s take a dive into the “adapted from literature” nominees!


BlacKkKlansman, screenplay by Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott

Book cover of Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

Adapted from Black Klansman: A Memoir by Ron Stallworth.

In 1978, Ron Stallworth is the first and only black police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He sees a classified ad in the newspaper for the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan with an address to write to for more information. Mr. Stallworth wrote a note expressing his interest in joining — but forgot to sign his undercover name, and instead signs his real name. He soon receives a phone call asking if he would like to join the KKK.

Working with a white colleague who posed as Ron, Mr. Stallworth and the police department were able to infiltrate the Klan in Colorado Springs and prevent a great deal of their activities and potential violence; he even spoke regularly on the phone to KKK Grand Wizard David Duke about Klan operations, who had no idea he was speaking to a black man.


Can You Ever Forgive Me?, screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Book cover of Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee IsraelAdapted from Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel

Author Lee Israel had a successful career writing biographies of the notable, the rich, and the famous. But her success dried up and by 1990, she was broke and in need of a lifeline. She turned to forgery — typing up 300 fake letters in the names of literary superstars and selling them to collectors before she was caught.





If Beale Street Could Talk, screenplay by Barry Jenkins

Cover of If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Adapted from If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

Tish and Lonny, a young black couple, fall in love, have a child, and intend to marry. But Lonny is falsely accused of a crime and is jailed.

Tish and her family work to find a lawyer and prove Lonny’s innocence as they consider their relationship and their place in the world.






The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen

Adapted from All Gold Canyon by Jack London and The Girl Who Got Rattled by Stewart Edward White

The Coen brothers adapted two chapters of their Western-anthology film from stories by London and White which were originally published in The Century Magazine in 1904 and 1901, respectively. All Gold Canyon, tells the story of a gold miner’s life in the American West, complete with both astounding beauty and violence.  The Girl Who Got Rattled recounts a trip West by a woman and her fiance, and the guides who help them survive.

See who wins on Sunday!

Emily Mross is the Business Librarian and Library Outreach Coordinator at Penn State Harrisburg Library.

“How do critical educators approach student learning outcomes assessment?” with Carolyn Caffrey Gardner and Rebecca Halpern (a C&CS session)

February 15, 2019

Connect and Communicate Series


“How do critical educators approach

student learning outcomes assessment?”

presented by

Carolyn Caffrey Gardner and Rebecca Halpern

Friday, March 1, 2019

2pm EST (11 am PST)

Register for the Zoom link here

Assessment: Necessary evil? Is assessment the solution to prove libraries’ value? A tool of institutional oppression? In this webinar, two information literacy program coordinators attempt to answer the question: How do we as critical educators approach student learning outcomes assessment in our daily practice? Assessment is an institutional reality for most of us, though we might be in tension with some of our institutions’ approaches and top-down mandates. We will provide background on critical pedagogy’s relationships to assessment and the neoliberalization of higher education. From there we will shift to how we can push back against compliance and embrace ownership of understanding how students learn. Rebecca will describe an approach to building a culture of critical assessment at a liberal arts college, Carolyn will take us through a learning outcomes assessment project where librarians scored student work at a public comprehensive university, and ultimately both will reflect on the assessment process from a critical perspective. We will spend time in the webinar discussing how do we challenge our own expectations for information literacy instruction and student expectations of librarians while remaining critical practitioners? How do we also, somehow meet the mandates of the institution?



Carolyn Caffrey Gardner is the information literacy coordinator at California State University, Dominguez Hills. After completing her MLS from Indiana University Bloomington, Gardner worked as an instruction librarian at University of Wisconsin–Superior and then University of Southern California, where she focused on the intersections of first-year writing programs and information literacy instruction. Her research interests include critical pedagogy and assessment, peer-to-peer scholarly resource sharing through social media, and information literacy collaborations in higher education.

Rebecca Halpern is the Undergraduate Engagement Team Leader at The Claremont Colleges Library, where she oversees the first year information literacy instruction program. Rebecca completed her MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin, and then moved on to instruction and reference librarian roles at Antioch University Los Angeles and University of Southern California. Since moving into supervisory positions, her research interests include antiracist library management, critical pedagogy and assessment, and ethnographic research methods.

Can’t make the session? No worries! As always, session will be recorded and made available in closed captioning when available. After recording, registrants will be given links to the session and to an evaluation form.

If you would like to host a C&CS session, please contact Erin Burns or any member of the C&CS team. The team graciously thanks PaLA and the CRD and members for supporting us and these important professional development opportunities.

Information about our team, a session proposal form, and past and future sessions can be found on the CRD blog site here:

Using a Short Story Dispenser for Citation Workshops

February 8, 2019

Penn State Brandywine Vairo Library received a fun new toy this semester. A few weeks ago, a large box arrived at the library with a Short Story Dispenser. For those who are unfamiliar with Short Story Dispensers, it’s a product by Short Édition created “for the public to enjoy a serendipitous literary experience, free of charge.”

short story dispenser

The machine sits right inside the entry to Brandywine’s library, and generated a lot of interest since its arrival. There are no specific instructions, just buttons to press. A would-be reader picks a button for a 1-minute, 3-minute, or 5-minute read, and out comes a long receipt paper with a title, author, and a quick read on it.

The dispensers are at Brandywine because of the urging of one of our faculty members, who is using student work as submissions for the machine. We at Vairo Library are happy to host it, and have been using it as a tool for citation workshops while we have it. Students in a history class, working in pairs, grabbed a popular magazine and a story story from the dispenser, then worked together to create both a notation and a bibliographic entry in Chicago style. Because the stories in the dispenser are all types of content we were also able to discuss the differences in primary and secondary sources using the dispenser. For anyone who teaches Information Literacy sessions, these are not new lessons, but using the Short Story Dispenser to generate content was a fun way to engage students with these topics in a new way.

Though the dispenser has been useful in class and is namely here for pedagogical support, my favorite part is the students who print a story, read it, and come over to tell me whether they liked it better than the last one they read. That kind of reading engagement is always welcome!


C&CS Presents: What Does PA Forward and the Star Library Program Have To Do With Academic Libraries?

February 8, 2019

What Does PA Forward and the Star Library Program Have To Do With Academic Libraries?

Presented by Amy Snyder, Christina Steffy, and Joann Eichenlaub

February 21, 2019 at 2pm

Click here to register for the Zoom link

Academic librarians, are you interested in participating in the PA Forward Star Library program but don’t know how it will work for you? Or, are you working your way through the program and want to learn more about how you can support the literacies and earn your stars? Join librarians from Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College) and Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PCHS) to learn how they became gold star libraries.  Penn College’s Madigan Library and the Learning Commons at PCHS are the first two academic libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to earn the PA Forward Gold Star status.  They are eager to share their experiences, challenges and opportunities as they achieved the Gold.



Joann Eichenlaub achieved her MSLS from Drexel University. She is the Assistant Director of the Madigan Library at Pennsylvania College of Technology located in Williamsport, PA.  She is current Chair of PA Forward’s Star Library and Training Committee and also serves as a Director At Large on the Board of the Pennsylvania Library Association.

Christina J. Steffy is the Director of the Learning Commons and Library at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster, Pa. She is also a PaLA mentor and a peer-reviewer for the journal Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice. Christina has been very active in PaLA programs, and spent 6 years on the CRD board. She earned her Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Professional and Digital Media Writing at East Stroudsburg University.

Amy Snyder is the Education Librarian at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.  She earned her Master of Science in Library Science from Clarion University.  She is a current member of the College and Research Division’s Connect & Communicate Series Planning Committee.

As a reminder, Zoom session will be made available with closed captioning when possible. Zoom link will be sent to registrants approximately 48 hours before the session.