Sunday, March 13, 2011

Michigan Academy 2011

I enjoyed another informative, low-key Michigan Academy conference, this year at Saginaw Valley State University. I like meeting my colleagues from Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, MSU, Uof M, Wayne and other colleges around the state.

Michael Unsworth from MSU and Merle Rozenzweig from UofM collaborated on a session about IRBs or institutional review boards and just reminded us, that though most library research gets exemptions, if we want to publish the results of any surveys, interviews or other human contact research we do, we have to go through the laborious process of getting IRB approval. I have to check if our process is all online now, and if the turnaround time has improved at all, since Uof M can get an expedited review in a couple of days.

There were quite a lot of health sciences librarians present, and I feel these could be good contacts for us when we start planning library resources for our new medical school. MHSLA, a small, inexpensive, but valuable conference for Michigan health sciences librarians was recommended.

Stephanie Swangerg, a student at UofM’s library school presented research on the point-of-care medical databases used by faculty and practitioners. They contacted 29 people, 11 responded, and ended up doing phone interviews with 8, asking about 6 databases – UpToDate, DynaMed, MDConsult, STAT!Ref, Access Medicine and Pediatric Care Online. Though UpToDate was used by all, they found that it did not necessarily have the most current and best information, and it was not accessible off campus, plus it was very expensive. The result was that UofM has decided to drop UpToDate, and make DynaMed their main resource, plus they hope to do more marketing of some of the other databases. A valuable tip was that when they sent out e-mails to the original 29, they asked for “input” on the subject line of the email, addressed them by name and named their liaison librarian, so they might be more likely to respond.

Abby Bedford from Grand Valley State, a first year librarian, talked about embedding herself in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program, which is mostly online, except for five intense Thursday-Friday sessions on campus. Originally her sessions were optional – three two hour sessions on Saturdays, but she got such good feedback from the students on how necessary it was for everyone to learn to access medical data, that this semester she has four one hour sessions during their official on campus time. Since these were mostly non-traditional students ages 30-60, working in their professional fields, it was hard to determine their information literacy level, so Abby started with basics, showed searching techniques, databases and ended with RefWorks. She was concerned about retention of this information, so created tutorials on Slide Share and YouTube for things like how to get PubMed articles into RefWorks, a complex process on which she did not want to waste class time.

Elizabeth Bucciarelli talked about how she has partnered with faculty by identifying needs in a department and finding the faculty with which she shares similar interests, goals, and a passion for teaching. She had a list of characteristics she looks for, and does some research on the faculty to determine their interests and focus. Elizabeth then showed how a one shot instruction session in the introductory nursing skills class blossomed into a three tier instruction in nursing and occupational therapy. Evidenced based research is  important to nursing, but complex, so she pulled that out of the introductory classes.

A couple of sessions were focused on First Year Experience. The librarians at University of Detroit Mercy wanted to take on teaching the common read for Arts & Sciences, and though originally encouraged, ran into various roadblocks. Then the School of Architecture invited them to work with their freshmen. The book was The Other Side of the River by Kotlowitz about the 1991 racial incident in Benton Harbor. They brought in guest speakers to tie issues brought up in the book to the university and issues in the community. Unfortunately the speakers seemed to have their own agendas, and did not relate their talks to the book, plus the architecture students felt they were wasting time when they could be learning architecture. One librarian added that the older architecture students were much more broad minded.

Another interesting FYE project was presented by Jennifer Meacham at Marygrove College. Their FYS tries to introduce not only the collegiate experience, but the community, Detroit history and service learning. Their recent common read was To Kill a Mockingbird. They have a digitized collection of over 20 interviews of local people talking about immigration, migration and civil rights. The students were asked to listen and write down unfamiliar names, places and things and summarize the interview to the class. This had led to very interesting class discussions.

Ann Franz, a circulation clerk at Wayne State talked about their Subject of the Month display that has been successful and fostered collaboration between reference and access services departments. Subjects are related to special national months, but also cover the various liaison areas. Liaisons are the ones to make the choices, circulation pulls the books. This has increased circulation of those books and provided a point of interest in the library.

Ruth Helwig from Central Michigan University talked about an instructional collection of children’s books, textbooks and teaching aids that was housed in the education college, but moved to the library after the new education building no longer had space for the collection. These materials were now cataloged and allowed to circulate for one week. The response has been positive, though it is hard to tell if the circulation has actually increased. This led to a discussion about departments and individuals continuing to create their own private collections in their offices, often for student use.

It always amazes me how Michael Barnes of Eastern Michigan can make cataloging interesting to the rest of us. This time he tackled authority work and presented it as a fable with kings and knights and dragons, so we did not fall asleep in this after lunch presentation. Basically, Michael pointed out various challenges with keeping up with authority files, including the fact that they had lost a staff position. He estimated the cost of staff time spent on authority work, compared pricing and services of four vendors, and chose Marcive. EMU sent them all their records, they cleaned up all the authority records, and now there is a monthly update for new records and updates on existing authority records. There is still some staff time involved, but much less, so the process costs less than it did and it frees up staff time for other projects.

Ryan Christman is a PhD student at Eastern Michigan, who has worked through an expressive writing program for veterans, now teaches it himself and wants to offer it to veterans across Michigan. He explained his situation through a YouTube interview - and was thankful for this program. Librarians have been a great help to him in this process and he sees our role as expanding beyond what we do now.

Lisa Rabey, a library student at Wayne State as well as an employee at Ann Arbor Public Library did a study with a librarian about the online presence of public libraries and their involvement with social networking. Since a high percentage of adults have access to the Internet, the time has long passed when libraries can opt out of an online presence. Lisa and her colleague looked at about 20% of Michigan public libraries and often found missing contact or address information, and abandoned Web projects. They suggest creating a social media policy to ensure regular use and updating, treating your Web presence like your virtual front door, using free online tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Library Thing and more, but sticking to technologies patrons are most likely to use. Content should be relevant, but personable.

I felt like I was giving an annual report on what I was up to at work. My session was based on previous sessions when I have talked about the READ scale for categorizing the difficulty of reference questions and the training of our student employees. This time I talked about where we are in the process of creating an assessment plan, and how we are trying to organize our various assessment methods under a few general outcomes. I showed some of the results we are getting out of Library Stats, our online way of recording reference interactions.

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