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Connect and Communicate Presents: Oral History 101 

November 30, 2021

Creating an Oral History Program for Your Library 

Presented by Heidi Abbey Moyer

December, 9, 2021 at 11:00 am EST

Registration Link

Interested in preserving the COVID-19 experiences, perspectives, and voices of the people in your library community? This session will help you learn how to kick-start a successful oral history program. The presenter will cover the following elements central to successful oral history programs: 1) defining purposes, short- and long-term goals, scope, and themes or topics; 2) respecting budget and staffing constraints; 3) learning best practices for conducting interviews, ethical and legal guidelines, and resources available from the international oral history profession; 4) selecting audio and/or visual equipment and software; 5) identifying potential interviewees; 6) developing consistent documentation for interview questions, legal release forms, guidelines, and transcribing interviews; 7) publishing and marketing your program to users; and 8) establishing assessment and preservation strategies to ensure for the long-term accessibility of the program.

Heidi Abbey Moyer is the Archivist and Humanities Reference Librarian, Archives and Special Collections, Penn State Harrisburg Library.

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.

Call for Volunteers: ALPA Working Groups

November 28, 2021

Interested in getting more involved with Affordable Learning PA? Consider joining one of their four working groups and help us build a strong community of practice in support of open education and affordable learning. ALPA Working Groups are charged with leading program activities in their respective areas and contributing their expertise toward shared projects:

  • Assessment & Data – develops and leads projects designed to support collection and sharing of data, metrics, and analytics, as well as qualitative assessment of affordable learning programming
  • Education & Training – leads and coordinates educational programming and content for librarians, faculty and other stakeholders in the higher education community about OER and textbook affordability
  • Communications & Outreach – leads in sharing information and fostering community around affordable learning, OER, and the ALPA program
  • Publishing & Repositories – explores OER publishing and hosting needs across the diverse landscape of PA higher education, and encourages a community of practice to share skills and experience between new and mature OER publishing programs

To volunteer, please complete their brief online interest form.

This project is made possible by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Department of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Staring into the Abyss: Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grows and Maintains a Workforce Which Feels Welcomed and Appreciated

November 19, 2021

As #Striketober becomes #Strikesgiving and the Big Quit continues, the “Great Resignation” Wikipedia article was last edited today, there seems to be a lot of finger pointing and advice on how to retain talented employees. Perhaps it is a good time for institutions to do a little looking in the mirror.

In fact, it is a good time to consciously think about how we can integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into our hiring and retention strategies. Since being intentional about DEI, and not just paying it lip service, is a proven key factor in employee satisfaction and performance.

Here are a few tools which can be used to work on this. First consider the concept of privilege. Better Allies has a good list for assessing “50 potential privileges in the workplace” and getting the conversation started about what it means to be a person with or without a lot of privilege.

Next start thinking about gender bias. One thing you can do is to use the Gender Decoder to analyze how you advertise for job openings, and whether it is gender coded. Then when you design the interview-process make a conscious effort to be inclusive. TalVista can help you prepare “structured interviews with conscious inclusion consideration.”

Finally, if you are serious about introspection, you can evaluate your attitudes. Project Implicit has an online instrument for evaluating the hidden stereotypes and bias that we don’t really think about consciously. Examining implicit associations can be an important step in self-awareness and improving the work environment.

DEI is about social justice, to be sure, but it is also about making the workplace as welcoming as possible. And as any good coach will tell you it’s important to have breadth as well as depth on your team’s bench. Something everyone seems to be struggling with these days.

Further reading:

Atcheson, Sheree. “Diversity and Inclusion Are The Differentiators You Need to Beat the Great Resignation.” Forbes, November 17, 2021.

Cook, Ian. “Who Is Driving the Great Resignation?” Harvard Business Review, September 15, 2021.

Langer, Arthur. “The Great Resignation is a Chance to Get Serious About Diversity.” Entrepreneur, November 03, 2021.

Leonhardt, Megan. “The Great Resignation is Hitting These Industries Hardest.” Fortune, November 16, 2021.

Ricker, Mary Cathryn, and Larry Cohen. “Strikesgiving.” Shanker Blog, November 05, 2021.

Rosalsky, Greg. “Why Are So Many Americans Quitting Their Jobs?” NPR, Planet Money Newsletter, October 19, 2021.

Woods, Arthur. “The Great Resignation Doesn’t Have to Threaten Your DE&I Efforts.” Harvard Business Review, September 1, 2021.

Meditation in the Academic Library

November 15, 2021

As libraries become about space just as much as they are about research, many academic libraries are searching for ways to best serve their students through programming within both physical and virtual spaces. Since the library is historically known for offering quiet and peace to stressed students, it is no wonder that there has been a growing interest in meditation in the library. Short, guided meditation sessions within the library offer students a break from the hustle of their daily routines, and it offers librarians a chance to connect with the student body and recommend further resources for mindfulness, be they books, articles, or campus mental health services.  

At the Wolfgram Memorial Library of Widener University, our librarians have offered both in-person and virtual meditation sessions in the past. Our physical meditation sessions (hosted before COVID-19 restrictions) took place in one of our open meeting rooms where many students could enjoy the meditation session without feeling crammed or distracted by other students coming and going from the library. Virtual sessions have been streamed through social media platforms like Facebook Live where students could sit with others while in the privacy of their own homes. 

As a practicing Zen Buddhist and a library staff member, I am often interested in finding ways to help students destress and find a mindfulness and meditation practice that works best for them. Both time and space are real considerations, but knowledge is a big barrier to students accessing this mental health tool, too. Books and articles can give students theoretical knowledge of the practice, but the best way to learn how to meditate is by doing it. Apps like Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm can offer an easy start to meditation. Still, nothing beats the guidance of another person when it comes to learning any new skill, and meditation is no different. 

Scheduling meditation sessions later in the semester when students are eager for a break can be very beneficial. 30-minute sessions scheduled around lunch time are long enough and flexible enough for students to get the hang of the practice and try it out for themselves. Longer sessions can seem intimidating to those who are new to meditation practice. Including other faculty members on campus who are skilled in meditation to assist with the program can also help spread awareness. 

To offer a meditation program at your academic library or to enhance your current program, consider the following questions: 

  1. What kinds of spaces do we have available for a meditation program? Are these spaces naturally quiet and peaceful or can they be temporarily adjusted to made so? 
  1. Who can we collaborate with on campus to assist with and promote a meditation session? Mental health services and student groups are a great place to start. 
  1. How much time can both students and librarians or library staff members dedicate to a mindfulness or meditation session? 
  1. Would students on campus benefit from more guidance in a meditation session, or do they have familiarity and therefore would be better assisted by focusing on a dedicated time and space? 
  1. What resources does the library have to support further mindfulness practices for interested students? 

As far as library programs go, meditation sessions are an affordable and flexible option that offer many benefits to the student community, along with faculty and staff. Meditation programming also provides the opportunity to help students connect with other parts of campus. At the very least, teaching students about mindfulness can help them prepare for their future careers, where they will want to be mentally ready for whatever challenges come their way. In other words, making time and space for a meditation program at the academic library comes with all kinds of benefits for everyone involved.  

Notes from “Next Steps in Shared Collection Management”

November 10, 2021


Photo by Mary Taylor from  Pexels

Last week, I had the great pleasure to moderate a panel at the 2021 Charleston Conference as a part of my work with the Partnership for Shared Book Collections. I led three speakers, Linda Wobbe, Heather McQueen, and Boaz Nadav Manes, in conversation about shared print and resource sharing. We discussed what we thought the role of shared print in resource sharing initiatives might look like, what challenges we will probably come up against, and identified ways for resource sharing librarians and staff to participate in the development of shared print in resource sharing programs.

We talked a lot about the digital side of shared print, and how many unknowns there still are. Controlled digital lending (CDL) is still in development and largely decentralized, but it was agreed upon that CDL is the future. Automated lending was also discussed, since so much of interlibrary loan is automated already. Challenges include ensuring complete metadata and the discoverability of retention commitments, the emerging issues surrounding lending digital materials (licensing, policies, and copyright for example), the lack of collection statistics beyond one’s home institution, and the need for interoperability between platforms and vendors. For shared print programs to succeed in resource sharing, we need to think more large-scale–more globally (this was also a theme of one of the keynotes, Paul Saffo’s “How to Think Like a Civilization”).

We also highlighted the importance of including resource sharing practitioners in these conversations. The developments made in resource sharing and shared print can feel like they’re all being made by administrators and vendors, but there is a real desire among the Partnership for Shared Book Collections to include front-line resource sharing practitioners at the table. I made a point from my own observations that resource sharing staff need to be empowered to attend these meetings. They need to be able to step away from their daily duties to bring that first-hand experience to the wider library field. For supervisors, maybe this looks like planning for redundancy in duties so tasks still get accomplished while a staff person is in a meeting. Maybe this also looks like supervisors seeking out opinions of their teams and then acting as an active representative for them in these meetings.

These are conversations we really want to keep going, since we’re going to have to contend with these issues more as time goes on, and budget realities and patron expectations put increasing pressure on our resource sharing programs. Another one of the goals of this panel was to identify the resources and initiatives that are already happening that will help resource sharing navigate the shared print environment. We hope that this panel will be shared among resource sharing practitioners to give them an introduction to these conversations. [NB: as of posting, the video has not yet been made available]

Moderating this panel was an incredible learning experience. Not only did I learn more about the topics we discussed, but I learned about moderating panels in general. Organizing a group of people from different institutions, keeping them on track, keeping everyone within our allotted time, and making connections between the points being made in real time, was an experience that I found very valuable. I definitely think this panel was a success, and hopefully it facilitates discussion beyond just the four of us.