The American Library Association (ALA) has granted the St. Catherine University MLIS Program continued accreditation.
It was a long and hard process, but a process made significantly better with all the help you provided.
Our Program is undergoing our strategic planning process. We are excited about the opportunities ahead, and where we are going. I do know, in the coming weeks and months, we are going to ask for your help.
Grace and Peace,
Director, MLIS Program
LIS Faculty Supports YA Ambassador and Diverse Books
In the worlds of Young Adult (YA) and Children’s literature, 2018 is already shaping up to be a big year for diversity and Associate Professor, Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen was on hand to lend her support.
We reported last year that Prof. Dahlen was selected to serve on the 2019 Newbery Award selection committee. In January she flew to Washington, D.C. to participate in the inauguration ceremony for the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Newbery Honor author Jacqueline Woodson.
Pictured from left to right are: Writer and 1st National Ambassador Jon Scieszka; Selection Committee member Starr Latronica; Jacqueline Woodson; Selection Committee Member DeAndra Beard; Selection Committee Member Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen; Graphic Novelist and 5th National Ambassador Gene Luen Yang; Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden.
Woodson’s platform for the coming year will be: Reading = Hope x Change. You can read more about the event here.
Prof. Dahlen also attended the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards ceremony where “A Different Pond” –a book authored by her friend, Bao Phi, received a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations (the Illustrator was Thi Bui). Shortly afterwards, Prof. Dahlen was interviewed by Laurie Hertzel of the StarTribune to gain her perspective on the level of diversity in this year’s ALA awards. You can read the article here.
Prof. Dahlen will be taking a sabbatical at the end of this semester to focus on her duties as a Newbery Award Selection Committee member as well as other personal projects. As the clock counts down towards that time we’re excited to see the myriad ways she will continue to support the YA and Children’s literature communites, and in particular diverse books.
We will keep you posted.
Student Perspective: Weisman Art Museum Archivist
We are lucky to have one of our students, Heather Carroll, working at the WAM archives. She has written many articles for The WAM Files during her time at the Weisman. We recently asked her to tell us a little bit about her job.
There were many things I wanted to be, but the first I recall was an artist. Eventually I went to art school and I will always be an artist at heart, albeit sometimes more practiced than other times. Somewhere along the way during art school, I discovered that I like the objects and things that other people make as much as I like making them myself. I discovered that the art on display in the exhibition halls of museums only scratched the surface of the collections they hold.
It was electric – holding a two-thousand-year-old piece of history in my hand. It sparked something. Questions. A lot of them.
What was written on the tablet? Who made this tablet and why? How did it get here? Was it passed down person to person or found in an archeology dig? How has it lasted two thousand years with hardly a chip? Is it a mistake that I’m not wearing gloves? How do I get to see and hold ALL the stuff? That’s the job I wanted.
It has been a long time since I held that cuneiform tablet, and perhaps it’s serendipity that I’ve ended up working in the archive down the block from that very library, getting to work with all the stuff.
Today, I am the processing archivist for the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) Collection at the University of Minnesota Archives.
This is the second phase of a larger processing project made possible by funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society. I joined in late June 2017.
The materials in the collection run the gamut from binders of press clippings and photos from the 1960s, to stacks of Mac-formatted 3.5″ floppy discs, and all the way up to recent exhibition planning documents like e-mails, CAD drawings and CD’s of images. There are even sketches and collages by artists! The bulk of the materials are from the 2000s, and subject-wise in the realm of exhibition planning, budgeting, education and other related museum workings.
I was tasked with processing a minimum of 90 cubic feet of materials, using a modified MPLP (More Product, Less Process) approach… with an added twist: I was to select items of interest while I was processing, research them and write blog posts for the WAM Files.
Items of interest! As one might imagine, there are a lot of interesting things to be found in an art museum’s records–museum staff who are a part of a very large and international campus, were travelling and working with artists all over the world, meeting interesting people and talking about all kinds of visual and conceptual leaps and bounds. Researching the items they curated can lead down some pretty deep rabbit holes, some more fruitful than others. There were far more things I wanted to post about than I have had time to write, but a few of my favorite posts are:
As this phase of the project wraps up on February 28, I have to say it has been one of those jobs where every once in while I pinch myself to make sure this is real.
Yes, it’s true I am working down the block from that cuneiform tablet that started it all! Yes, it’s true I am working with all the things behind the things we see in exhibitions!
I’m sad to see it end, but interested to see where it leads.
In the meantime, I’ll pick up where I left off with a passion project to digitize the WARM Journals and (re)focus on coursework since I’ll be graduating from St Kate’s with my MLIS this spring, as well as a Museum Studies Certificate from the University of St Thomas.
MLIS Student (graduating Spring 2018)
Photos used with the kind permission of the University of Minnesota WAM Archives.
MLIS Faculty: The Importance of Research for Evidence-Based Practice and Assessment
We interviewed Professor Lim about the importance of research for evidence-based practice and assessment in Librarianship. This article is a paraphrasing of our discussion.
Every profession has a body of literature that informs its training and practice. This is one of the key distinctions between vocational education and professional education. Librarianship is a profession, so graduate students need to be aware of the body of literature within this field and be able to read their professional journal articles with critical eyes.
In any profession, research underpins the formation of the body of literature through which the profession is advanced. Therefore, proficiency in research methods is a useful skill to have.
What does a savvy consumer of research look like?
In graduate school, for example, imagine a psychology major. Wouldn’t you agree that she should not only be aware of psychology literature, but also be able to understand and apply it?
Similarly, library students should be aware of the kind of discourse that is taking place within our profession, and know what kind of findings emerge as a result. They need to be aware of what kind of intellectual traditions–including peer-reviewed journals–exist, and how to integrate research findings into their practice. In addition, they should not only be able to understand research, but possess the skills to review it through a critical lens–because not all published articles are credible. Discernment is essential and is one trait of a skillful researcher.
I also mentioned that I would like to encourage students to be producers of reliable research. This is another trait of a skillful researcher–the ability to generate trustworthy or credible knowledge. Since they also have to be able to apply that knowledge, this actually improves their practice.
In my opinion, research is not emphasized in LIS to the same extent as it is within other practice-oriented professions such as nursing, social work, business, etc. There are, of course many reasons for this, which I will not go into now. However, in thinking about these other practice-oriented professions, we can easily recognize that they also have an extensive body of literature, and they continuously stress the importance of evidence-based practice.
Evidence-based practice means –in the case of nursing for example, when comparing and considering care-giving methods, if there are research findings, they apply those to their practice.
For example: what would be effective reference services? What kind of sources would be good? How to teach and improve information literacy?
In all of these scenarios, our services benefit from having a significant body of literature that we can use to inform our practice.
To be more specific, consider another example: organization from the perspective of library users.
Why do we organize information? I always feel that without the possibility of future use, we would not organize information. Thus, when we are organizing information, we always consider access and provision of information. (It could probably also just be a part of human nature to desire to retain a record of what we have accomplished – so it is also partially human behavior.)
There are studies pertaining to what kind of organization would be more intuitive and more accessible for the user, versus what kind of organization creates confusion or barriers to the user or a particular user group. A librarian having access to those studies might pause to consider, “perhaps the way we organize information is not entirely user-friendly…” and then subsequently apply those research findings to effect a positive change.
Consider another example of evidence-based librarianship: all students will eventually become managers within the library and will need to evaluate programs. At the micro level, they may be required to evaluate, for instance, a reading program to determine its effectiveness–a Program Assessment. At the macro level, as a Director, they will need to perform an Organizational Assessment to evaluate their library’s effectiveness and demonstrate the value of their existence.
Both situations require research methods skills: what to measure, how to measure, what kind of data will be needed, how to analyze data, how to communicate the findings, etc. (These are basic skills taught in the Research Methods course.)
For the reading program, after it has completed, they will need to collect reliable or useful data and then analyze that data to determine whether the program has been effective or not. In order to collect good data, they need to ask good questions with appropriate designs; they need analytical skills in order to analyze the data.
These are practical examples of the application of research skills within the library profession.
Understanding research is important for academic librarians to engage in scholarly communications in meaningful ways. Many academic librarians are required or encouraged to publish in order to gain tenure or promotion so there is that incentive. While in other areas such as public libraries, school libraries, etc. there may not be such an incentive, they still need to demonstrate their value in order to secure funding. Hence, they need to engage in continuous assessment to be able to justify why they are important.
Research takes time. After writing a research proposal in the Research Methods course, one or more semesters are often needed to complete a research project involving original research.
Original research comprises of the following key components:
- research question;
- literature review;
- data collection method;
- data analysis and findings.
Thus, I strongly encourage our students to take their course projects seriously and apply their best effort to producing a high-quality project which can be turned into a publication. I would like to share a list of my students’ publications in order to encourage our students to aim high. Here is the list:
- Bloomquist, C. (2015). Reflecting on reflection as a critical component in service learning, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 56(2), 169-172. (From LIS 6693 for LIS 7620)
- Lim, S. and Bloomquist, C. (2015). Distinguishing service learning from other types of experiential learning, Education for Information. 31 (4), 195-207.
- Cothran, T. (2011). Google scholar acceptance and use among graduate students: A quantitative study, Library & Information Science Research. 33(4). 293-301. From LIS 7690 (current LIS 7050)
- Payne, D. (2010). Harnessing Conflict, Library Administration and Management. 24 (1). 6-11. (From LIS 7700)
- Larson, S. (2017). Diversity in public libraries: Strategies for achieving a more diverse workforce. Public Libraries, 56(2) at http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2017/12/diversity-in-public-libraries-strategies-for-achieving-a-more-representative-workforce (from LIS 7700)
- Bloomquist, C. (2014). Generation X librarians: Mentoring for retention, Public Libraries. 53(3). at http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2014/07/mentoring-gen-x-librarians/ (from LIS 7700)This article was selected for First Place in the annual Public Libraries feature award-writing contest. The award was offered at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June 2015 in San Francisco, CA.
- Mars, A. (2012). Library Service to Homeless Patrons, Public Libraries, 51 (2) at http://www.publiclibrariesonline.org/magazines/featured-articles/library-service-homeless (from LIS 7700)
St. Kate’s Libraries: National Library Week
April 8-14 is National Library Week, an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers.
This year, National Library Week is 60 years old!
It was first sponsored in 1958 as a time to celebrate the contributions libraries and librarians make to our lives and to promote the use and support of libraries. In 2018 libraries’ roles have grown and evolved and here at St. Kate’s our goal is to support your learning needs–whether you need a quiet place to read, a room to discuss projects with friends, find resources for your research paper, attend readings, get advice about a book to read, or ask a simple citation question.
At St. Kate’s we are especially proud to not only have a library to support and celebrate, but future librarians in our MLIS program. A special recognition should go to all those who contributed to the re-accreditation process, even though it isn’t yet National Library Week.
Each year the Week has a theme and this year’s theme is Libraries Lead.
Through many of our activities, services, resources, and hard work, libraries lead in many different, and sometimes unexpected ways, on our campus and around the world. The One Read, A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, last year is a great example of how the St. Kate’s Library leads. Amy Mars, Research & Instruction Librarian, takes a lead with outreach and programming. Her efforts and collaboration with faculty and staff across the campus lead to critical engagement with social justice issues important for all to understand to be global citizens.
- by advocating for widespread access to crucial services and information
- by leveling the playing field for people of any age or status who seek information and access to technologies to improve their quality of life
- by teaching information and digital literacies so you can be an engaged citizen
- by introducing and adopting new technologies to help you succeed
- by creating and providing space that can be your sanctuary
- by facilitating collaboration with your colleagues
- by bringing the diversity of the world to our local communities through our resources
- by advocating for you as a learner, citizen, and whole person
Help us celebrate St. Catherine University Libraries, Media Services, and Archives and your future career during National Library Week. On Monday, April 8, we will honor and provide information about some of the amazing librarians and library advocates that your St. Kate’s librarians look up to. We will celebrate library employees on Tuesday, April 9, National Library Worker Day with special thank you’s. Thursday, April 11, Take Action for Libraries Day, we will provide tips and resources about how to advocate for libraries including our library here and anywhere.
Director of Libraries, Archives and Media
Alum News: Heather Palmer
Here, she is pictured in the Valley View Middle School Media Center with the books that have been honored by the Addams Award since she began her work on the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Committee. She has served on the committee since 2014 and is the current Chair.
What attracted you to the LIS field…
I had always found children’s literature to be an effective springboard for meaningful, authentic learning, and thought that becoming a media specialist would allow me the opportunity to help children learn about themselves and the world around them in a new way.
How are you using your LIS degree in your job and what is your day like…
Along with a full time tech para and a part time clerk, I strive to meet the reading, information, and tech needs of about 75 staff members and 1000 middle schoolers (grades 6-8).
When I’m not at school, I keep busy as the Chair of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. The Addams Award recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.
My librarian training is essential to this rewarding work.
What has been your biggest career challenge…
For me, the biggest change in transitioning from a classroom teacher to a media specialist was the fact that I no longer have daily interaction with specific groups of students.
Students and classes come to the media center throughout the day, to be sure, but I missed working closely with students on a regular basis, for extended periods of time. I knew that I needed to find new ways to feel like an integrated part of the learning process.
I began by starting a student volunteer group. I invited a handful of students from the previous year’s classes to the library for lunch once a week, eating quickly and then helping with shelving. Soon, our group had doubled in size and was meeting four times a week. The group is now called Library Council, and it is more of a leadership group than a volunteer opportunity. We meet regularly during Advisory to plan literacy experiences and maker activities for our school community.
Library Council has given students voice in what the library can offer our school, and it has provided me with the opportunity to set goals and enjoy the learning process with a group of fabulous middle schoolers!
I also reach out regularly to teachers, hoping to embed media goals and resources with the learning that is taking place in the classrooms or clubs. Some of the collaborations we’ve organized have been large group, “one and done” meetings.
Sometimes I’ve led reading groups with special interest student groups like GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) or Equity. I’ve also offered alternative learning experiences for students who have met the curricular standards in a given unit, some spanning the course of a month.
Partnering with classroom teachers and various groups has allowed me to offer both shorter and extended collaborations, based on the needs of students and staff, and has helped me feel connected to students as I did in my classroom teaching days.
What has changed about the profession since you graduated…
One factor that has spurred this evolution is related to technology. The depth to which schools embed technology – offering students new ways to access information and ideas – has led the media team to have additional responsibilities where devices and digital citizenship are concerned.
Another factor is the under representation and misrepresentation of people of color in media in this country. It has brought to the forefront the need for careful curation of culturally responsive books that represent all members of our student body.
The media profession is also influenced by shifting trends in the world of education. Educators are rethinking “one size fits all” teaching and considering how physical spaces facilitate learning needs. This is great news for school media specialists. These changes are bringing things like collaboration spaces to our library learning commons, flexible learning times, and accommodating schedules.
To my mind, this solidifies the importance of the media specialist role, and makes it easier to integrate with classrooms and individuals on an “as you need it” basis. The changes to the LIS field that I notice most are the “how” and “why” we do things.
What experiences at St. Kate’s (or otherwise) were most helpful in getting you to where you are today…
While working on this project, I became aware of the close ties between the ideals of the Addams Award and the service-learning experiences I incorporated in my classes, and I expressed my interest in becoming a member of the selection committee.
I was invited to join the group in October 2014, and have been Chair of the committee since 2016.
Our virtual committee is made up of nine individuals from across the country who have demonstrated familiarity with children’s literature and experience in social justice activism. I cannot express how much of an honor and privilege it is to learn with and from these intelligent, passionate women.
We read, discuss and compare high quality literature looking for books that include themes of social justice and peace. The books honored by the Addams Award invite thought-provoking dialog, purposeful reflection and passionate response through excellent literary quality. To review a complete list of Addams Award winners since 1953, or to have news about Addams Award recipients delivered to your inbox on a weekly basis, visit the Jane Addams Peace Association website: janeaddamspeace.org/jacba.
What advice do you have for current LIS students…
Also, get as much experience in libraries as you can. Having experiences in a variety of libraries or settings will give you skills to build and maintain the library program that your institution needs.
Finally, consider developing a PLN (professional learning network) on Twitter – there is so much practical information to learn from experienced professionals!
Another Successful LIS Mixer!!
The second annual LIS Mixer was held on Monday, February 5 and a fun time was had by over 50 attendees. While a mix (pun intended) of students, graduates, faculty, and community members bowled and mingled, they also learned important lessons about the “dangers” of bowling.
Thanks to everyone who came. If you weren’t able to make it this time, we hope to see you at the annual LIS Mixer next year!
Peggy Johnson, MLIS Adjunct Faculty, recently published Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, 4th ed (ALA Editions, 2018). You can read an interview with her about her writing process and other thoughts on the profession at ALA Editions.
Recent graduate Zach Jansen (MLIS 2017) is a Digital Assets Management Cataloger at Jostens in Edina.
Molly O’Keefe (MLIS 2017) is the new Library Associate at Anoka County Library: Rum River.
Sara Butterfass (MLIS 2017) recently began a new position as Management Intern at the Center for Local History at the Arlington, Virginia Public Library.
Amy Vogel (MLIS 2014/SLMS 2017) was featured in the inaugural issue of the ITEM (Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota) newsletter. Read it here.
— That’s me, Trish Vaillancourt. I am in my last year at St. Kate’s and enjoying the program very much. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for the newsletter. Also, I like cats…a lot.