Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Idea

I get tired of boring verbiage laden screen-savers in the library, don't you? Well, I had a brainwave a few weeks ago and I'm so happy it is working. Here are the steps and everyone is welcome steal this idea.

1. Find a bunch of book jackets/book covers/books. You'll want 30 - 40 so you won't have to update the screen saver very often.

2. Find a smart employee (here, her name is Emily), have her scan the books covers and create .jpgs. After scanning, have the clever boots add text about Books in the Library and the call numbers.

3. This step may be optional, but for us, we had to get buy-in from our systems department. They had to do the critical thing of going to every computer and deleting all photos from the My Pictures folder replacing them with the book .jpgs.

4. Next the systems people changed the screen-saver to the one that rotates pictures from the My Pictures folder.

5. Done

It works beautifully. We are very happy with this. It showcases new and interesting books.

To check out our book jackets see our flickr account at:

-- Jenny

Monday, October 20, 2008

Art in the Library - Univ. of Alaska, Anchorage

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Foucault's Pendulum "Still Proving the Earth Rotates" and hung in a prominent spot in this fabulous library.

Art in the Library - Univ of Alaska, Fairbanks

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Paper. Several years ago there was an exhibit of paper sculptures in the library. They decided to purchase this fabulous raven.

Art in the Library - Univ. of Alaska - Fairbanks

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
A collection of prints by Fred Machetanz hang gallery style in the library. They are wonderful!

Art in the Library - Univ of Alaska, Anchorage

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Anchorage had lots of great photographs in the library. This is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Signage - University of Alberta, Edmonton

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
There are actually three signs, this is the best photo. It is for the quiet floor, there are additional signs for the silent floor and the common floor.

The Quiet Floor
"You are entering a
Quiet Floor
This floor is designated as quiet study space. Please respect the need for a quiet work space.
Quiet conversations can be expected"

The Silent Floor
"You are entering a
Silent Floor
This floor is designated as silent individual study space. Please respect the need for a silent work space.
No talking please"

The Common Floor
"You are entering a
Common Floor
This floor is designated as for group study and works space.
Conversational noise can be expected"

ILA: Plugging into the Numbers

by Gillian Harrison of BCR

We collect a lot of data in our libraries. Gillian's presentation began with what kinds of data can be collected and then turned its focus to how to present the data.

She showed charts, graphs, graphics, visuals... and had us assess their effectiveness in presenting the information.

Here are some more soundbites/notes
Before beginning a data project, determine who is going to pull/gather/manipulate the data. Decide which data will be collected and who has the password.

Data can be collected from in-house operations, vendors, professional organizations, Pew ( and OCLC.

There are standards for data collection for journals and databases. To see these standards take a look at

Make friends with your data. Look for baselines, trends and patterns.

Manipulate your data, simplify, compare and picture it.

Ask yourself, is this data point really valuable? Is it adding to the message or just adding noise?

Define your audience (and their data sophistication) What are you trying to say to them?
Is it an update, funding request, justification/explanation, information, shock or impact?
What outcome are you looking for?

Choose where and how to present the data. (venue, media, voice)

This was a very useful workshop. I am really glad I went cause I have a mountain of data to try and make into useful and useable information. Additionally, I'm going to change the first slide of my Wandering presentation to a better more descriptive graphic.

ILA: Active Learning Potions for Information Literacy

Presentation by Spencer Jardine

This was a great presentation to end the conference with. Spencer had us interacting with each other and him. His handout lists 14 different activities that can be integrated into bibliographic instruction.
1. Listening teams
2. Groups applying the CRAAP test
3. Visual quiz
4. Quick/pop quiz
5. Demonstrations aka demos
6. Worksheets
7. Citation assignment
8. Lecture
9. Think-pair-share
10. Analogies & stories
11. Object lessons
12. Identify the term
13. Jeopardy review
14. Student blogs

Some of these he demonstrated, or rather used us to demonstrate. Unfortunately time ran out and we didn't get to discuss all of them. I really liked the way this session became truly participatory. I guess that says something about active learning techniques.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Signage - University of Calgary

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
And here is another useful sign found in the bathroom. This time it provides contact numbers for places to get help with:

Safety on Campus
Distress Center/Drug Center
Sexual Violence
Physical Violence
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexual Harassment
Status of Women
Staff Assistance Program

I thought this was a very useful sign to have out. -- Jenny

Signage - University of Calgary

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
This is a nifty sign, positive in that it tells students they can eat food here. And useful in reminding them to be responsible and clean things up.

Signage - Colorado School of Mines, Golden

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
I love this little power outlet sign. If you want to find a place to plug in your laptop, you just look for one of these.

ILA Information Literacy & Instruction Roundtable

Hosted by Sara Seely, Rick Stoddard, Glynda Pflieger

This was an unusual roundtable in that the first draft of the Technology & Information Standards for k-16 was presented. This standard will hopefully be integrated into the state educational standards. While the words information literacy are not used explicitly, the concepts, and goals are integrated. I think this was a lot of work and I am really hoping it gets adopted. If these standards are implemented into the education of our k-12 schools, the students will benefit immeasurably. People who are information and technology fluent are so much more adept at navigating college, life, and difficulties.

I was particularly impressed with the mapping of AASL, ACRL and Big 6 information literacy goals to the ISTE standard. Well done!!

ILA Division Meeting: Idaho Librarian

There are a lot of changes coming to the Idaho Librarian ( The new editor is Kim Leeder of Boise State University. The IL will be using software that many other open access journals use. It will now be a hybrid with a new section for peer-reviewed featured articles.

Articles for any section (peer-reviewed feature, non-scholarly articles and reports, book reviews) are welcome. Email submissions to

I have a concern regarding the Idaho Librarian. Yet, I am hesitant to voice it because I have not submitted anything for publication to them. If I have not been willing to be involved by writing, then who am I to criticise? Be that as it may I'm going to write it anyway. Particularly, since I voiced it in the meeting. The periodical has not been coming out on a regular basis in recent years. If this is because of a lack of articles being submitted, then won't the peer review process bog it down further?

Well, time will tell how this will play out...


Friday, October 10, 2008

ILA Keynote Speaker

George Needham of OCLC gave the Keynote address. It was inspiring and encouraging.

Here are a few soundbites from the presentation:

The library's tag line should read: Save Time, Get Better Grades.

Libraries need to be marketed not as Institutions, but as Infrastructure, from frill to neccessity, from altruism to return on investment. There are several online OCLC reports with information and data that can be used to back up the argument so go check them out at: In particular, the reports on "From Awareness to Funding," "Sharing, Privacy & Trust in Our Networked World," and "College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries & Information Resources"

To enliven his presentation Mr. Needham included some facts from the Beloit College Mindset List (

"The Mindset List is not a chronological listing of things that happened in 1990, the year they were born. It is instead an effort to identify the worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2008. Of course, our students come from many backgrounds and different traditions and these generalizations may not apply to all. The list identifies the experiences and event horizons of students and is not meant to reflect on their preparatory education.

It is also not deliberately designed to make readers feel really old!"

Here are the first five of the sixty entries on this very entertaining list:

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.

George Needham was a very interesting speaker and best of all, he was truly inspiring about the impact a that we can have on our communities.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Signage - University of Northern Colorado, Greeley

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
I need one of these signs posted by our Library's air intake. Instead of smoking I need it to read, do not idle your vehicle here. Nothing quite like the smell of exhaust in the morning. - Jenny

Signage - University of Wyoming Laramie

bathroom sign
Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Eyup, another bathroom sign. This one actually tells people who to contact if there is a problem. Shocking! - Jenny

Signage - Montana State Univ. Bozeman

clowder sign
Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Clever, clever, clever, that's all I have to say for both the naming of the area and for the sign. - Jenny

Signage - Boise State Univ

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
Found hanging over the recycling bins near the candy and soda machines. Brilliant. -- Jenny

Signage 2 - New Mexico State Univ. Las Cruces

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
The sign says:
Watch your stuff! Do not leave your valuables unattended -
Watch your purses, backpacks, laptops...

I do not understand how students can just leave their items in the library and feel that they will not get stolen. It's like a big surprise when the item is gone and they're asking us if someone turned it in to lost and found.

This sign was hung up in the bathroom over the sinks. A pretty noticeable/readable location if you ask me.

-- Jenny

Signage - New Mexico State Univ. Las Cruces

ada signage2
Originally uploaded by J Semenza
While the sign itself may not be ADA accessible, the information is great for the reference staff who may be helping the patrons. -- Jenny

Signage - University of Arizona Tucson

cool sign
Originally uploaded by J Semenza
These bright green signs were very noticeable and had that sense of humor we're all trying to portray. - Jenny

Signage - Arizona State Univ Tempe

Originally uploaded by J Semenza
In recent years libraries have become more and more noisy. We may have finally gotten rid of the dot matrix printers, but that noise has been replaced by cell phones and group projects. Areas for group and noisy study need to be balanced with areas for quiet individual study. Marking these different areas in easily identifiable ways is crucial. So here's one of the best sign ideas I saw in my wanderings. -- Jenny

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My Sabbatical


In case you're looking for more information on my sabbatical activities and results check out the following:

For info on the scholarly side, including some compilations of results see:

For a more personal look at my adventures try my personal blog:

Thanks for listening
-- Jenny