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Lessons Learned: Through a Librarian's Lens

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Lessons Learned: Through a Librarian's Lens

  1. 1. Life Lessons Learned Through a Librarian's Lens Susan Sharpless Smith NCLA Biennial Conference October 17, 2013
  2. 2. What I Learned from my Mom • Always wear clean underwear (in case you are in an accident) • A college education is an expectation • Women can become anything they choose, but….. • Young ladies should act like young ladies! • It’s not becoming to be too assertive • A job well-done will noticed and will be rewarded
  3. 3. Annual Employee Recognition @ ZSR Library
  4. 4. What My Children Learned from Me: Life’s Not Fair
  5. 5. Personal Level Life Lessons
  6. 6. Helplessness is Rarely Attractive (although this example Is MOST attractive!)
  7. 7. Know When to Pass the Baton
  8. 8. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
  9. 9. From Staff to Library Faculty
  10. 10. Sometimes, Toot Your Own Horn
  11. 11. Take Ownership When You Fail: It’s OK!
  12. 12. Find Shared Values
  13. 13. It’s All About Relationships
  14. 14. Always Take the High Road
  15. 15. Even When it’s Rough Going
  16. 16. Don’t Ever Air Your Dirty Laundry
  17. 17. Take the Time for Team Building
  18. 18. Team Retreat Activity
  19. 19. ZSR Habitat for Humanity Team
  20. 20. Summer Olympics
  21. 21. Leadership at Every Level
  22. 22. Career Development for Women Leaders
  23. 23. ZSR Library Ambassadors
  24. 24. Play to People’s Strengths
  25. 25. Collaboration is Hard Work – But Worth the Effort
  26. 26. Lessons in Running A Library
  27. 27. It’s Not About Us
  28. 28. Library Hours Now 24/5
  29. 29. Food and Drink are Allowed
  30. 30. Renewal @ Faculty Offices
  31. 31. Not Just for Studying!
  32. 32. Know When it’s Time to Let Go
  33. 33. Labor-Intensive Fund Raising
  34. 34. ThinkPad Orientation Training
  35. 35. Unexpected Opportunities
  36. 36. South Trip
  37. 37. Senior Showcase
  38. 38. ZSR Outdoor Reading Room
  39. 39. Letterpress
  40. 40. Make Your Own Opportunities!

Notas do Editor

  • Introduction**When you think about life lessons, it often has makes you think about learning things the hard way. I prefer a more neutral definition: Something that you learn from life, an event, or an experience*Background**Two very different careers with amazingly similar skillsets in play**What Bea Kovacs said to me in my “exploratory” interview: Most of what I can bring to this new professional will be in the form of skills already developed**Long ago discovered that unlike many people, I simply can’t compartmentalize my life. My personal and professional lives are rolled together into a mashup that blurs the lines. As I talk today you’ll become aware that my two favorite personal passions are photography and being physically active. And you’ll see how I weave them into my professional life.*Over the next little while, I’m going to share just a few of my photos with you and talk about they how either remind me of or are examples of a few of the life lessons I’ve come to embrace.
  • *What I Learned from my Mom**Life lessons start early on and I know we are all aware that we carry lots of baggage that goes back to our formative years. None of us would be the person we are as adults without acknowledging those that helped shape us. You can tell from this image that I grew up in a simpler time and my childhood was one of a stay at home mother while Dad supported our family through his work. However, for all her traditional views, she was a strong figure: a nurse in WWII, piloted her own plane, was the power in our family.*Always wear clean underwear (in case you are in an accident)*A college education is an expectation*Women can become anything they choose, but…..*young ladies should act like young ladies!*It ‘s not becoming to be too assertive and*A job well-done will noticed and will be rewarded
  • And, in good organizations, that is true! This is an image of the winners of the ZSR Library annual employee recognition awards. In 2006, the library’s Employee Recognition committee designed a comprehensive recognition program that combines recognition for small acts as well as larger projects. The cornerstone of this program is the Dedicated Deacon. Through a simple web form, library faculty and staff can easily nominate colleagues who go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis. In addition to the annual Dedicated Deacon award, the library awards three other annual awards. The Unsung Hero/ine Award is for continual and effective fulfillment of obligations to the mission of the Library for someone not commonly recognized as doing so, the Helping Hand Award for someone who has gone out of his or her way to help a fellow ZSR Library employee in a unique situation of unusual stress, and the Employee of the Year award for continued exemplary service to the Library’s mission. These internal awards create an environment in which everyone knows the work they do will be recognized. 
  • *What my Children Learned from Me**Life’s not Fair (tell about Sarah’s dry summer)**Oscar Wilde: “Life is never fair...And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.”**We live in a time many believe that that children’s self esteem will be irreparably harmed if there are winners and losers. The fact is that the best person doesn’t always win and sometimes you get the short end of the stick**I wanted them to understand this and learn to deal with it in a positive manner. Conquering adversity helps develop character and those that never have to deal when life throws a curve ball are less prepared IMHO.**A bit of hardship is a real character developer**It now is a multi-generational family mantra that even my 6 year old granddaughter says!**Library example: Library schools are graduating young professionals who have a hard time finding their first position. What I hear on a regular basis (and granted I might be a bit sensitive on this) is that they are being held back by all of us older librarians who are supposed to retire. Well, the recession put a crimp in those plans for many of us. This is a classic example of life not being fair, but even though it takes, on average, 5 months to find a position, there are strategies that new graduates are using to increase their rate of success (practicums, internships, willingness to relocate, etc.) that are good examples of dealing positively with a bad situation.
  • *Personal Level Life Lessons*First I’d like to talk about some of my life lessons that help shape who I am as a person.
  • *Helplessness is Rarely Attractive: *At the beginning of the ThinkPad project, way back in mid-1990’s, there was a focused effort to bring Librarians up to speed. As part of the initiative, the Library was given the role to teach all students and faculty to use their laptops for academic use. During a training session, one librarian evidently complained of the level of difficulty once too often and was told by the Library Dean- Helplessness is rarely attractive. That has become a catch phrase in our library to remind us that some degree of self-initiative is an expected norm.
  • *Know When to Pass the Baton*As I progressed in my career, I found it hard to let go of some of the things I held near and dear. I liked some of the granular job functions (web authoring and design), system administration, etc. However, over time my responsibilities evolved into a more managerial then leadership role. I was given different responsibilities that didn’t leave sufficient time to do the old ones well. In the case of the library website, after a year or so of just barely keeping new content updated, we realized that it was time to think about what needed to change so that we could continue to move forward and have an innovative site. It became evident that the web portion of our business was expanding and it was time to dedicate a position to making sure it was done right. When a position became available, it was transformed into a Web Services Librarian. *When I look at it from a generation point of view (1st generation, 2nd generation, etc.) I think we are at 3rd generation about now. And I could put names to my generational division. Roz, Hu and I “passed the baton” to younger librarians like Kevin Gilbertson and Lauren Pressley. They’ve now “passed the baton” to the next group, that includes Kyle Denlinger, our young new “e-learning” librarian. It’s a case of looking to the future and trying to determine where things are heading so that new and emerging roles are given the attention they deserve.
  • *Get Out of Your Comfort Zone*South Trip*I know that I won’t grow as a person unless I put myself into situations that force me to reach beyond what I feel comfortable doing. One way I do this is to volunteer when new initiatives arise so that I put myself in a situation where I have to learn new things to accomplish the task at hand. This image shows an occasion that put me so far past comfort that it still makes me feel uneasy today. This is a picture of when, on the South Trip (Social Stratification in the Deep South which explored race, class and gender issues in that region) we were entering Parchman Prison to talk with prison officials and inmates as part of this traveling class. This is the only picture I have because we had to leave all personal items on the bus and get searched before we were allowed to proceed. It was an unsettling experience (I went two different times). Each of the times I participated in the South Trip (2007 and 2009) I was pushed out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. We visited places I would never have chosen to go on my own and discussed topics/situations that changed how I now view the world.
  • *Transforming from Staff to Faculty*In July 2009, ZSR Librarians changed from staff to faculty status. This followed a year of study about the issue and hour upon hour of discussion to decide whether it was what we wanted and, if so, how it should be implemented. Following a vote to proceed, A second year was spent selling the idea to the University administration and faculty. There were plenty of excellent reasons on why we should seek faculty status (increased visibility and recognition for librarians as part of the education process) but… *There was a great deal of trepidation because, until then, performance was judged strictly on each person’s execution of librarianship (as defined by specific job responsibilities). The large majority of librarians did not formally seek to create scholarship or be very active professionally.  *It is noteworthy, that 4 years later, all of our librarians have successfully made the transition to faculty. We are represented on all University committees, have peer governance, lots of publications, and overrun our travel budget routinely since so many are in active leadership roles within our profession. It’s been inspiring to watch so many individuals push themselves and, in doing so, learn new things about what they can accomplish.
  • *There are Times to Toot Your Own Horn*For most of my life I was simply unable to do this!. I was inhibited by what my mother had taught me – modesty over pride. I can clearly recall the first time I gathered up my courage and spoke up for myself instead of waiting to be recognized – when I was on a search committee to find a person to fill a new position at ZSR – Head of Technology. As we worked through the applications, I kept thinking, I have qualification that are more than these people. But why doesn’t the director (Rhoda Channing) recognize this? But it was obvious that she was not reading my mind. We were not getting very far in the search and were to the point starting over again. So, finally I thought, what do I have to lose? And I gathered up by courage, made an appointment to talk with her and told her she had the right person already on staff – me. To my surprise, she agreed, gave me the job and the rest is history *I don’t think I am the only person who struggles with tooting my own horn. *One of the major changes when we transitioned to faculty status was how we conduct annual evaluations. Instead of a form that does a numerical rating of accomplishment, each of us writes a narrative letter to our supervisors. In the letter we “sell” our accomplishments in the areas of librarianship, professional achievement and service. Self-evaluation forces us to think about what we have accomplished. It requires reflection on our part and gives the dean a fuller view of what takes place that makes a difference in our operation. *Every librarian had hesitation about how to write the letter. Shouldn’t my supervisor already know what I’ve done this year? All my triumphs? But we are compliant sorts, so set about writing our letters. What I found was that it was useful on many levels, beyond its official intention, including helping me set goals for the next year; documenting my activities for future contract renewal justification, and communicating accomplishments beyond my supervisor (the Provost’s office) *Personal Branding*These days when I think about tooting one’s own horn, the idea of personal branding comes to mind.*To me, this is a new generation’s way of “tooting your own horn.” There’s much that has been said both pro and con to this practice. About the closest I come is through my personal website where I attempt to combine my professional and personal interests. I think it’s an intriguing concept to consider in a market where there is lots of competition for positions. However, I fear being “typecast” if I brand myself in such a way that it inhibits possibilities. Over the course of my 21 year career in librarianship, I’ve been in a variety of very different roles and am certain that I would have missed some of them if I had branded myself too strictly.
  • *Robert the Doll: museum in Key West. Haunted. Owned by Robert Eugene Otto. “Robert Did it!”*It’s OK to Fail! Failure Offers a Learning Opportunity*If your goal is to improve services and operations through innovation, then taking risks plays a role. And with risk comes failure*There was an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week about how companies are trying to find ways to get employees to take more risks. Because of the recession and bad economy, many employees are in survival mode and are afraid to push the envelope. But growth and innovation come from new “daring” ideas and calculated gambles. And if you are in a culture (like at ZSR) where risk-taking is embraced, then you have to be open to failure and take away the stigma it so often carries. As one CEO said in the article, “It’s impossible to try something new and not fail.”*Technology Project? I can’t begin to tell you how many technology innovation failures I’ve been a part of. One of the things I love about our culture is that everyone is encouraged to try new things, and if they don’t work out, we scrap them and try something new. It’s not as though we jump into new technologies without any investigation, but we’ve never had “analysis paralysis” that can torpedo a technology project.*Failed Search? Bad interview? I’ve been on both sides of the table in the search process. And have failed on both sides. From the hiring side, it is so important to get (hopefully) the best fit for an open position. It’s also true that even when you think you’ve found the right person, you don’t really know until the person starts to work and becomes acclimated. From the side of the job searcher, I know you can relate to the feeling of failure when you don’t get past the phone interview, or go to all the effort to make a site visit (complete with presentation) and then not make the cut. But, when the pain has subsided, it is what you take away for the experience that is important.*How a Person handles failure tells you a great deal about them. Do I take ownership of my failure? What did I learn? Did I turn it into an opportunity?
  • *Work for an Organization with a culture that fits and that Shares Your Values*If there is a mismatch between culture and values, you are not going to be happy and neither is your organization.*Finding out about culture and values are something that you should do before joining an organization. After the fact, it’s too late. You can’t expect the organization to do a 180 degree turn around just for you. Better to understand its philosophies before you decide to join.*I admit, when I started to work at ZSR 16 years ago, I came with no idea of what its culture was. I was there almost a year before I found out they didn’t even do performance evaluations (that’s changed). So I have been very fortunate that it turns out that I share the same values as does the organization. I came planning to stay 3 or 4 years, and now it’s been almost 17.*However, our value system was an oral one, not written down anywhere.*Last year, this bubbled up from our library-wide strategic planning retreat. Now our organization’s values are publicly available on our website.
  • I*t’s All About Relationships*Learning life lessons about myself is helpful, but I know I don’t live in a vacuum. Most of us depend on the quality of the relationships we build, both in our personal and our professional lives.
  • *Always Take the High Road (next slide)*Urban Dictionary: "Taking the high road" is an expression thatrefers to one being a "class act" during a very difficult time. Those who take the high road, are demonstrating being honest, fair, and selfless while not being completely defenseless.
  • ….even when it is rough going!*This has to do with stepping back sometimes even when you know you are right. Or when you feel you’ve been wronged. *Sometimes personalities simply clash. Even if I think I am right (and I always do), I’ve learned to step back and give the benefit of the doubt. *For me, this is most important when you are dealing with conflicts. There are issues of positionality which often include political and power dynamics. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and remember to take the time to understand the other person’s position, feelings and beliefs. And then put myself into their shoes and treat them the way I would like to be treated.*And if my mind’s not in a place to automatically take the high road, I’ve learned the value of having a “safe venting” system. This system is made up of the people I most trust, who know me the best and who are neutral to the situation at hand. For work issues, I rely on my husband and my daughter to patiently hear me out until I get things out of my system.
  • *Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry (explain this image is a real case of airing dirty laundry, on the South Trip)*To me this is an obvious “don’t do” but I continue to be amazed at the things people say, both face-to-face and virtually about how they’ve been wronged.*I’m a believer in “Praise in Public, criticize in private.” *The library world is a small one, and there’s too much chance of doing future harm when you publicly put a bad spin on a person, organization or event.*Tell about the recent Presentation at ALFMO about what went wrong with renovation project. Singled out library director and College architect
  • *Take the Time for Team Building*It’s been my practice for years to organize an annual off-site retreat for a day or a weekend for the group I am supervising at the time. We do strategic planning, reflection of past activities and just get to know each other better. *This was an all day retreat held at the “President’s Garage” In this image, the Research, Instruction and Technology Services team is working together on how to untie knots in a rope without letting go.
  • *The type of retreat has varied over the years depending on many things. This is a picture of the Technology Team on the New River Trail at a weekend retreat in Fancy Gap (where WFU has a few houses). Following a day of work, we would end the weekend with a team activity (we took turns choosing each year).*You can see that often, my team building efforts revolve around sports (once again a reflection of combining personal and professional passions).
  • *We look for opportunities to do team building on a inter-team basis, since so much of what we do in the library is cross-team. Each year that the University has had a WFU Habitat House, ZSR has gathered a team of staff to work for a day. *This also gives our folks to “work outside their comfort zones.” For some of us, it’s forcing ourselves to climb up a scaffold onto a roof to shingle, or span the eaves in the attic to add supports. But at the end of the day, we leave with a feeling of great accomplishment and shared satisfaction.
  • *Staff Summer Olympics* This annual summer event is sponsored by Campus Recreation and brings together teams from academic and administrative departments for several weeks of friendly competition. For ZSR, it is a chance to get healthy and build esprit de corps. Early on, we even brought home the Reynolda Cup, but that was back in our more intense years. *Now we are more about inclusion and networking with the other departments who have teams.*Looking at this picture however…..It could be another example of “Life’s not Fair”! Which team do you think won this wheelbarrow race??
  • *Leadership happens at Every Level! *Just because someone isn’t in an official position of authority has nothing to do with their ability to lead from within their own group. At ZSR, our committee structure provides opportunities for interested staff and faculty. When we see someone with leadership qualities, we do everything in our power to open opportunities for them to develop those skills*ALA Emerging Leaders Program:The American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders (EL) program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations. Pictured here are two of our three emerging leader librarians: you all will recognize Lauren Pressley, and Molly Keener (both graduates of this program). I think you’d agree that they are great examples of how to become leaders early in their careers.
  • *Maybe some leaders are born, but for most of us, we benefit from structured programs that can help us learn the skills to become leaders. This is the leadership group I was in for one academic year. You’ll see only women in this particular program which originated on the Medical campus to give opportunities to women physicians (in a very male dominated organization). But our University offers another co-ed one that is Reynolda campus people only. There are also programs offered by NCLA, by other organziations (like SAA and Harvard Institute). We try to find at least one leadership program opportunity for every librarian.
  • *ZSR Library Ambassadors*Part of a university education includes developing students to become leaders. This group of students, our ZSR Library Ambassadors, are noteworthy because they self-formed and came to us with their proposal to be ambassadors. They love the library and want to help us help the students. They’ve brought new ideas and have been successful enough that we will assign them to work with our first ever ZSR Library Fellow next year. *The Wake Forest Fellows Program was created to provide recent graduates a chance to work in higher administration in a year-long position as full-time staff members of the university. Established by the President’s Office in 2008, the program provides a variety of challenging work opportunities.*In addition to a year-long assignment in a particular department of the university, each Fellow has opportunities to interact with key administrators and faculty; to learn about various administrative areas of the university; and to participate in a series of leadership lunches and enrichment activities with leaders in the Wake Forest.*Our fellow will report to me and will be mentored by our Dean. We are extremely excited about this new opportunity to have a top-notch new graduate work with us and to help her grow as well.
  • *I’ll return to my sports metaphors for this “life lesson.”*Play to People’s Strengths.*If you read my little interview that preceded this event, you will know about StrengthsFinder. To me, this makes so much good sense. I have never had good results trying to correct a person’s weaknesses (it took me 10 years of hard work to get my husband into shape!). So the idea of getting people to develop their strengths to a higher level seems to be a win-win.*It really allows you to target the right people for different projects, initiatives and assignments. And to assemble an effective team that brings in different strengths. And to understand ourselves better.*From the interview on the blog:*Over the past year, one of the things that ZSR Library has done has been to identify our faculty’s and staff’s strengths so that we can leverage those rather than focusing on how to improve weaknesses (which often isn’t too successful!). To that end, everyone participated in taking the StrengthsFinder (Tom Rath) assessment to identify our talents. We found that it appears to be a fairly accurate instrument, so I will share my top five “talents” that I bring to my job:*Achiever:  I am “driven” in a way that pushes me to achieve and I look for tangible results to feel that I’ve been productive.*Activator: I like to get things done. Analysis has its place, but action gets things accomplished. I like to make a decision, take action, look at the result and learn from the experience.*Maximizer: I like to capitalize on people’s strengths (and my own) and make those stronger.*Arranger: I like to be faced with complex situations, manage all the variables and find the best solutions.*Focus: This is related to my “achiever” strength, because I do best when I have a clear goal in mind. Focus helps me be efficient in getting to what I call “the end game.”*We have made a spreadsheet that contains everyone’s top five strengths and it has been very helpful in understanding team and personnel dynamics.*Of fifteen possible (5 for each), our leadership team only has two overlaps, and 13 unique strengths.
  • *Collaboration is Hard, but Worth the Effort*There was a long time in my life where I really preferred working in isolation. Particularly when I was a student, it was just so much hassle to have to work with other students when my grade was on the line.*I was the champion of “I want to do it myself, then I know it’s done right!”*However, that is not the way the world operates, and we all know the benefits that collaboration brings.*I think that some of you might be familiar with our DF project and it really is one of the best examples I have of a very complex collaborative project that illustrates how it can work to produce something so much better than any individual partner could have accomplished.*Digital Forsyth: WSSU, PLFC, Old Salem, Carpenter Library, ZSR
  • T*he Business of Running a LibraryT*here are life lessons that pertain to the decisions we make at the library level.*these are ones that it is important to gain buy-in throughout your organization.
  • *It’s not about us*I don’t think our library was alone that many decisions were historically made based on how it worked for us. We were the only game in town for a long time and users had no other choices. But our Dean saw the importance of flipping the status quo and think first about what is good for our users, rather than what works for Library staff.Instead of asking “why”, we now ask “why not”?
  • When representatives from Student Government approached the Dean about extending hours longer than the closing time of 1 am, she took their request seriously and we investigated what needed to be done to make it feasible. A vacant position was converted to a night supervisor and hours were extended to 24/5 during the academic year.
  • This change was a tough one for many of the staff on a philosophical basis. But the students love it. We added a Starbucks in the library in 2008 and the only “off limits” for food and drink are in the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • We try to make things easier for faculty tool. We’ve made deliveries and pick-ups from their offices for some time. But this year, we have added in a service where, if it’s too much of a time drain on them to come over to the library to renew items, we will send a staff member over to scan the materials and renew them for another year!
  • We aren’t just about studying any more. We are interested in demonstrating that the library isn’t just about books and studying and so we reach out to non-traditional uses of our space. One of our library ambassadors brought the idea of a Humans vs. Zombies event and it’s become a huge hit. We hold it on a Friday night each semester and the number of participants increases each time. This past January, we even had a group of UNC students travel down to participate.
  • Because we encourage innovation and risk-taking, we are constantly trying out new ideas, big and small. Inevitably, some run their course, or don’t work out as envisioned. However, resources are limited and devoting them to enterprises that stagnate or are fading prevents moving forward with new ideas. Sometimes, you just need to cut your losses and move on. But, when it’s a sentimental favorite, that can be a hard sell.
  • A prime example is the annual 5K race we put on for 3 years. Its original purpose was to raise money to support our semi-annual Wake the Library exam week event.Putting on a 5K race is not a simple affair. It is one that requires an enormous amount of collaboration and planning both within the University community and in Winston-Salem. It requires hundreds of hours of work from a a large group of volunteers (that took them away from their primary job functions). We made enough to support the program, but we didn’t really factor in the cost of the internal human resources required.Finally, the Provost’s Office approved annual support for the WTL event because it was declared a “tradition” and brought tons of great PR to the University (parents loved us for it).At that point, it just didn’t make economic sense to continue on with the race, and so we dropped it.We had lots of disappointed racers who loved it, but unless we decide that the community building component of the event outweighs the cost of running it, we will put it away as a nice memory 
  • This is another good example of a big time commitment that changed over the years. In 1996, the Library was given the responsibility (along with several new positions to support the initiaitve) to train new students and faculty to use the technology that accompanied the introduction of the ThinkPad program at the university.Each fall, this meant hundreds of hours of planning, scores of hours of human resources committed to training, and a major logistical effort to schedule training for 1000 students face-to-face in a day or two. As students became more proficient in computer use, the training evolved to teaching them about “computing at Wake Forest.”A few years ago, it was transitioned to an online module that freed up major resources that were no longer necessary.
  • Unexpected OpportunitiesSometimes, the best opportunities come when you aren’t looking for them.Last semester’s “Musicircus” is one of these. "Musicircus" is an oft-replicated presentation conceived by John Cage (1912-1992).The library was approached by a music professor who was putting on a semester-long Cagefest. (John Cage). He proposed a Musicircus. Tmany musicians would play different compositions, on different instruments, all at the same time. They read texts, sang solos or played in instrumental ensembles in the atrium of Z. Smith Reynolds Library on campus. The gathering, called "Musicircus," will probably be unlike any other seen or heard at WFU in some time: Multiple performances of different pieces will occur simultaneously.
  • This opportunity came in the form of a traveling sociology class that needed help with research and creating a daily web presence. What seemed to be a simple assignment turned into being a life altering experienced (x’s 2) that brought national recognition to the library through an award, presentations and a publication.*How did we get involved? The two professors who offered this class, went to New Orleans following Katrina to plan the next class (they were offered every other year). On the shuttle bus from the airport, they happened to be with a bunch of librarians on their way to ALA (the first national conference to return to New Orleans post-Katrina). That impressed them so much that when they returned to campus, they sought out the library to participate in the next class.*This image is one of the many ruined home in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. One of my jobs for the trip was to document it through photos that were posted at the end of each day so others could follow the class’s progress. When I came across this as we toured on foot through the 9th Ward, I put away my camera for the rest of the day.
  • *The Senior Showcase is an idea brought to the Library by a WFU senior student who thought it would be nice for students to have a venue for sharing the research they do for their senior theses. This evolved into a major event, where faculty nominate exceptional student theses or senior projects in one of five divisions. The winners present the results of their research in the annual Showcase.*Our goal is to endow this event, but in the meantime, the library is offering prize money for the first time this spring. Each of the division winners will receive a $1000 prize.
  • A new initiative at WFU is one to enhance outdoor space so students will use the beautiful campus grounds to engage with each other. The university engaged the Biederman group that was responsible for a similar project at New York’s Bryant Park. The group approached the Library to sponsor an outdoor reading room and stock racks with books and periodicals for people to read while they enjoy a beautiful day. This is so new, the racks just arrived on campus earlier this week. It is part a program that includes a cart with board games, a foosball machine, an outdoor solar powered keyboard and fitness equipment (along with scores of movable tables and chairs). Being included in this initiative will boost awareness of our library.
  • *We recently received a gift of a complete print shop. The equipment came from a Winston-Salem citizen, who spent his entire working life in printing and packaging. He retired eleven years ago as the President of RJR Packaging. Mr. Hein began running his own printing company while attending Carnegie Mellon University in the 1950s. The printing equipment has remained in his family for 60 years.*The equipment includes a 1906 Chandler & Price letterpress, an 1892 Peerless Gem paper cutter, five cabinets of lead type and all the tools needed for setting and printing type. Stop by the Preservation office for a firsthand look at this equipment.*This donation has attracted a great deal of attention from various departments on campus. We used it to produce our annual holiday card and it has been used in teaching our History of the Book class.
  • I’d like to close with my final lesson learned:the best things happen when you make your own opportunities.*In 2011, we were selected as the university winner in the ACRL excellence in Academic Libraries. This wasn’t a gift out of the blue. This was the third year we had applied for the award. After the first application, if you don’t win, you are automatically entered for the following 2 years. The disappointment was a bit too much to revisit in year 2. but in Year 3, we completely reconstructed the application, updating it and building a website to showcase our qualifications. We were successful in our application, enjoyed a year of celebration and are still reaping the benefits from pursuing this award!
  • I’d like to thank you for inviting me to speak to you today!