Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

At the heart of a library is its collection. The purpose of this collection is based surely on the library’s mission. “As budgets remain tight, the allocation of scarce resources requires that libraries answer important questions about their primary functions so that they might make these allocations wisely” (Rubin, 2007, p185).

Upon entering the profession many information professionals are presented with an existing collection with in which they must help maintain, build and perfect. The key to maintaining a collection is to remember that the growth of the collection does not mean acquiring only but also shaping it towards the needs/desires of the patrons, weeding the collection of unnecessary items, adding quality material over quantity of material and securing it in the event of a disaster. “They [librarians] maintain the collections by reviewing titles for preservation, replacement, off-site storage, or removal” (Haycock & Sheldon, 2008, p51).

The hardest of these is shaping the collection to fit the needs of the patrons. Over recent years many libraries have adopted what has been referred to as PDAs or Patron Driven Acquisitions. While I worked at an academic library, the library budget has a set amount set aside specifically for PDA requests. I helped process these requests and while occasionally some of the selectors would submit requests through our PDA system, predominantly it was patron centered.

How PDA requests work is the library develops a set of standards for the types of material they want to receive PDA records from vendors. These standards can include publication date, exclusion or inclusion of certain subject material, inclusion/exclusion of material types, classification ranges and format (electronic, physical, serial, hard bound, etcetera). These records then get loaded into the library’s catalog so they are searchable by users and then when a patron clicks on the record of interest, if it is a PDA record they are usually prompted to click on a link (this is presented in the 856 field) that will send the request to the acquisitions department where they will then order the item. This form of collection building helps secure that the purchases (physical or electronic) for the collection are direct requests of the patrons.

Libraries spend a great deal of time and money on building their collections however it is vital that they also spend money on insuring the safety of their collections. They can do this by investing time in ensuring safety of the collection is also related to managing the facility, preservation of material, security of items against theft or crime, and having a disaster plan in place.

Libraries can ensure the safety of the collection by implementing RFID tags in items, security systems in entrance gates, locking down computer towers and securing the system. This will help minimize the possibility of acts of theft to the collection.

The agreement on the preservation of material will prove itself to be difficult as departments may have different ideas of what should and shouldn’t be a priority. Another instance that took place while I was working in an academic library was developing and implementing a new policy on serial subscriptions and binding policies. With electronic resources becoming ever more prevalent and accessible through database subscriptions libraries looking to be e-preferred libraries will look to eliminate print subscriptions, primarily dealing with serials. During this implementation policy there was discussion on which serials in the collection we would for sure continue the subscription to in both print and electronic format; it took several meetings before the decision was made. “A further challenge for managers is the changing nature of collections and service patterns and the accelerating rate of change” (Rubin, 2007, p493).

One of the most important aspects and often last on the list in collection maintenance is what to do in the event of a disaster, natural or not; “Developing such a plan requires time and effort, but is essential” (ibid, p489). Very few libraries have in their budget to maintain a perfect facility; disaster planning and facility management go hand in hand. Keeping the facility in good working order will help avoid unnecessary disasters such as water leaks during hard rain storms because corners were cut in repairing the roof.

When it comes to collection maintenance, development of the collection is priority. It is important to keep in mind the focus of the collection, the purpose of the collection and the quality of the collection. Having a collection of 1.2 million items where 60,000 or more items have not circulated in over 10 years does not maintain the aspect of quality. Weeding, sometimes viewed as a bad word in the library world, is essential is collection maintenance. Having policies in place specifically for the collection development will help make this process less painful and more rewarding for the library.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I chose to include is a discussion post on the [Disaster_Plan_Cornell]. I briefly reviewed and linked to Cornell University Library’s disaster plan. This piece of evidence shows my understanding of the importance of a disaster plan and having a policy in place as well as my ability to evaluate this policy in strengths and weaknesses.

My second piece of evidence I chose to include is a [Millennium Record Updating Procedures for Serials sent to stacks] I worked on when implementing a new policy into the collection dealing with serials management. This policy work was a collaborative effort with colleagues. I chose this piece of evidence to show my understanding of implementing new policies for collection maintenance. This policy required significant changes in how staff and student workers handled incoming serials as well as processing serials that were being sent to the stacks or removed from the collection based on a retention policy. This also shows my understanding and ability to work with other staff members to coming to an agreement on a policy for maintain the collection.

My final piece of evidence I included is a set of work from my Libr298 special studies course. This evidence includes: metaverse-library-sci-fi-exhibit-may-2013, a list of completed books that I created in the InWorldz Community Library science fiction collection and a list of authors and notations on their published works [ Science Fiction Books]. The magazine highlights the science fiction collection that was created for this particular exhibit. In the magazine on page 50 includes an excerpt about my work with InWorldz and the library collection I helped build. The excel worksheet shows my knowledge of adhering to specific collection standards: science fiction, open access, and if the book was digitized or had audio with it. This project required me and one other student to develop the collection for the library. We researched popular science fiction authors and listed works that either satisfied the criteria for the collection or were main contributors to science fiction and thus should be included in the collection. The word document is a listing of the authors I submitted for approval and the works I recommended we included in the collection.

Conclusion:

Understanding the basics to maintaining a library’s collection is knowledge every library professional should have. The collection is the heart of the library; it is what brings in funding, what brings in patrons, and why the library exists at all. Collection maintenance, development, weeding, preservation, and protection, is an ongoing process that takes precious resources however as the library’s heart, just as our bodies, without it we will cease to exist.

References:

Haycock, K. and Sheldon, B. (2008). The portable MLIS: insights from the experts. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Rubin, R. E. (2010). The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Evidence:

Disaster_Plan_Cornell

Millennium Record Updating Procedures for Serials sent to stacks

metaverse-library-sci-fi-exhibit-may-2013

Science Fiction Books

completed books

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Demonstrate understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and of the evaluation and synthesis of research literature.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

When we think about research we think of the study of materials, articles, data, charts, images, survey responses etc. to help establish a conclusion of a previous unknown fact or to solve some sort of problem. Research is systematic, meaning there is a method of conducting research with an organized plan. This basics of this plan is to start with the development of a question or a problem followed by conducting primary research and secondary research of quantitative and/or qualitative data and analysis of this data. Research methodology in libraries takes this systematic approach.

Once the problem or topic has been settled upon by the researcher the next step is to decide the type method the research (primary and/or secondary) will take. Of course, research rarely uses just one method but rather a combination; common research methods are basic research, applied research, evaluative research, quantitative research and qualitative research.

I want to first discuss the difference between primary and secondary research. Primary research is where the researcher collects original primary data through surveys, experiments, focus groups, etc. instead of using data sets already developed. Secondary research is the synthesis of existing research rather than primary research. Secondary research is conducted by gathering material on the topic at hand through databases and literature. Secondary research can also involve surveys and experiments but this data was not collected directly by the researcher. It is important to understand that primary and secondary research is the process in which the information is gathered for basic or applied research methods.

Now I want to discuss the different research methods that one can approach a problem or topic of interest with. Basic research often aims to answer questions based on curiosity and for the sake of gaining more knowledge; “Basic research is used to explore the fundamental bases of behavior, without regard to how those bases are manifested in the real world. Basic research aims to explain, predict, and describe” (Price & Oswald, 2006). Basic research tends to follow the scientific method approach of research.

Applied research, unlike basic research, is more concerned with solving real world problems and practical applications. This form of research is very common in libraries today as programs and services are evaluated, collections are maintained and funding is obtained. Applied research can take the form of evaluative research where surveys are conducted and data is gathered for evaluation, “it is increasingly common and important for librarians and other information professionals to assess the quality and effectiveness of their organization’s resources and services” (Haycock & Sheldon, 2007, p170).

Each of these forms of research, basic and applied, takes on a quantitative and/or qualitative approach to gathering information. A quantitative approach will deal primarily with numerical data or data that can be quantified. If a quantitative approach is taken specifically in a library setting, the researcher will work heavily with departments that gather statistical data such as access services and collection maintenance. This approach is well suited for creating generalized results. A qualitative approach focuses on observation of actual events, such as behaviors of users in their environment, engagement in activities and less on numbers. This approach aims to understand the how rather than the what.

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

My first piece of evidence I have included to show my understanding and master of this competency is a [Data Analysis] I did for Libr285. I selected this work because research is about gathering information, whether through primary or secondary research and analyzing this information. In this assignment I selected a data set that was published by The U.S. Department of Education, National Center of Education Statistics, Academic Libraries Survey. I chose this piece of evidence to show my understanding of analyzing quantitative research and developing conclusions based on the findings.

My second piece of evidence is a literature review I wrote on [Environtmental Scanning] for a strategic plan for Libr204. I chose this piece of evidence to show my understanding of conducting research and analyzing secondary resources in a basic research method. The literature review includes a summary of what current literature says on environmental scanning and includes information on the goals, principles, considerations and barriers of an environmental scan.

My final piece of evidence I have chosen to include is an [Annotated bibliography] I put together for an assignment in Libr204. I selected this work to show my ability to conduct professional research, gathering a list of resources for a specific topic. I chose to include an annotated bibliography because it shows my ability to evaluate sources and summarize their pertinence to the topic at hand.

Conclusion:

Research is vital to the growth of our profession; without primary research we would not be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our programs and services. Studying what our colleagues have learned, experience and published helps us grow and expand our knowledge of current professional topics; “We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills” (ALA, 2008). Secondary research would not exist if we do not participate and conduct primary research. It is important to understand the methodology of the research we conduct allowing us to improve to the development of ourselves, colleagues and the library as a whole.

References:

American Library Association, (2008). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

Haycock, K. and Sheldon, B. (2008). The portable MLIS: insights from the experts. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Price, Dr.  & Oswald, Dr. (2006) Basic vs Applied Research. California State University, Fresno. Retrieved from: http://psych.csufresno.edu/psy144/Content/Design/Types/appliedvsbasic.html

Evidence:

annotations

Data Analysis

Literature Review – Environtmental Scanning

Competency I: Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.

Component 1: Statement of Competency

Disclaimer: The terms librarians and information professionals are used interchangeably in this statement of competency. I use them to mean of persons working in the librarianship profession Also, the terms patrons and users are used interchangeable in this statement of competency. I use them to mean of persons who use services of the library.  

Service is at the core of our profession; “We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests” (ALA, 2008). This value, service, has been the primary responsibility of librarians since the beginning of the profession. Reference services exist in all aspect of librarianship, whether you are a librarian in reference services, systems & technology, special collections or access services; we are the means of connecting users with the information they are wanting.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks library defines reference services as “disseminat[ing] the information the library has acquired” (UAF). How this information is disseminated is up to us, the information professionals. The Ryerson University Library & Archives states the general goal of their reference services is “to meet the information/research needs of library users (faculty, students, staff and other patrons) accurately, efficiently, and pleasantly” (RULA, 2001). Reference services take place through a handful of methods including answering reference questions, information literacy or reference instruction or reader’s advisory services. The difference in each of these methods is the form of interaction you have with the patron and how you present the information to them. With the growth of remote users and technology these reference transactions can take place in person, by telephone, instant messaging, email, or social media posts like Twitter or Facebook. Reference services continues to be a highly valued service by library users.

The success of our reference service is dependent on the quality of the reference interview. A reference interview; “The reference interview is more an art than a science, an ever-changing practice that requires responsiveness to context rather than just the application of a predetermined set of skills” (Cassell & Hiremath, 2009, p15). The reference interview is key to making sure we connect with our patrons and understand what they are asking. Cassell and Hiremath (2009) explain that there are several parts to a reference interview and these parts include:

  • Establishing rapport with the user
  • Negotiating the question
  • Developing a strategy for a successful search and communicating it to the user
  • Locating the information and evaluating it
  • Ensuring that the question is fully answered – the follow-up
  • Closing the interview

It is important to remember that although there are elements to a reference interview that how the interview is conducted will be a case by case situation. Reference questions can vary from just wanting circulation policies or library hours to needing primary resources for a research paper they are writing on a topic they know nothing about.

When conducting in person interviews it is easier to tell if a patron is satisfied with the amount of information you have provided or if you are on the right track for what they are looking for; we can see this in their body language and hear it in their tone. However, as I have mentioned the increase in remote access and virtual reference services it is important that we, the information professionals, ask the right types of questions. It is suggested that asking neutral or open ended questions are most successful in reference interviews. These types of questions allow the user to provide information that will help us understand the true nature of the question. However, closed questions, questions that usually have a yes or no or one worded answer, help narrow the search and eliminate unnecessary ‘bantering’.

Beyond asking the right questions the primary responsibility, in my opinion, is that the librarian is approachable; this is of same importance whether the services are provided in person or virtually. If a user does not feel like they can approach the librarian to ask a question no matter the simplicity or the complexity the mission of the library is lost. Ways to make oneself approachable in person is being aware of your body language while you are available to patrons; this is often referred to as non-verbal signals.

Whatever the circumstances, the user must feel that the librarian is interested in his or her question. The librarian can accomplish this by facing the user and maintaining eye contact with him or her. The librarian signals his or her understanding of the user’s questions by responding verbally or by nodding. (Cassell & Hiremath, 2009, p18).

In a virtual setting, librarians can maintain the approachability through verbal assurance. How they word their response to the users will impact how comfortable the user is; “a well-written response not only answers a question eloquently but it also tells the user about the importance that the library places on the question” (Straw; 2000, p379).

Component 2: Justification of Evidence and Evidence:

For my first piece of evidence I have included an [Exercise1] that was assigned in Libr210. The exercise includes a set of reference questions both simple and complex. The point of the exercise was to answer these questions as I would if they were asked to me and includes an explanation of the process I took in finding the answers and providing the information to the user. This piece of evidence demonstrates my understanding of reference services and my ability to use the resources and knowledge I have and present them to a user to satisfy their need.

The second piece of evidence I have included is a course resource guide [HIS 328redo] I created for an assignment in Libr210. I have chosen to include this piece of evidence to show that reference services take place in many forms including resource guides such as the one I created. This resource guide answers the reference questions about where to find resources on a specific topic. The assignment required selecting a college level course and developing a resource guide tailored specifically to the topic the course was on. The requirement was to provide a sample selection of resources in a variety of formats including sample subject headings. The piece of evidence shows my mastery of connecting users with information they are seeking.

My final piece of evidence I have included is a discussion I wrote for Libr210 on using the [internet as a reference tool]. The discussion addresses using live digital reference services (Chat or IM) and whether they are worth setting up and using in a library. I expressed that I felt they are worth the hassle to set up and discuss my experience with using these services as a student and the benefit they have. I close the assignment by saying that these forms of reference services should not replace in person reference services but should be an added form. I find it important to mention that I took this course in the Fall of 2012; we can see today that Chat and IM as reference services are very common in libraries today and that have indeed been added a supplement to traditional reference services.

Conclusion:

Whether in person or virtually, reference services are the core to our profession. We are the keepers of information; we are also the teachers and advocates of learning. It is our duty to disseminate the information we have meticulously acquired. This is done through reference services. It was a concern as the digital age bloomed that traditional reference services would be replaced with computer and virtual help. Instead of replacing these services, virtual reference services has allowed libraries to collaborate and work together to provide a better service to patrons. One example of this is the Ask a Librarian 24/7 chat. Most libraries are not open 24/7 however with virtual reference and time zone differences reference services have become more readily available than ever before.

References:

American Library Association, (2008). Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

Cassell, K. A. and Hiremath, U. (2009) Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: an introduction. Second Edition revised. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

RULA (June, 2001). Reference Service Policy. Information Retrieved from: https://library.ryerson.ca/info/policies/refpolpublic/#goal

UAF Libraries. Reference Services and Sources. Information Retrieved from: http://library.uaf.edu/ls101-reference-services

Evidence:

HIS 328redo

Exercise1

internet as a reference tool

Facebook. The form of reference/advertising/reader’s advisory AIO

While perusing through posts on Facebook checking insight stats etc. I found myself spot in the middle of a fantastic reference opportunity. Conversation went as follows:

Patron (name not given for lack of permission): I wish you guys would have more audio books!!! I loved listening to the help while I cooked dinner and cleaned house!! Audio books are such a joy!

SCCL (me at the time): Have you checked out the OverDrive service or OneClick Digital? You can check out audiobooks there. http://www.sccl.org/browse/ebooks-and-econtent/eaudiobooks /Whitni

Patron: Yeah. That’s where I get the audio books from. I really really wish they would order Gone with the wind!!!

SCCL: Tessie Garcia the Saratoga Library & Woodland Library have audiobook copies available for checkout for Gone with the Wind.http://sccl.bibliocommons.com/… You can place a hold and pickup it at your home library. /Whitni

Patron:  Thank you!!! I’m going to go order them right now!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

SCCL: You are most welcome. I hope you enjoy the book! Come back and let us know how it was. Make sure you get both parts, there is a part one and part two. /Whitni

Patron:  I most certainly will!!! How do I submit an application for a book order request? Gone with the wind has a sequel called Scarlet. I would love for Santa Clara County Library to carry it! It would be greatly enjoyed by those who love Gone with the wind as I do!

SCCL: [patron] you can suggest a purchase here: http://www.sccl.org/node/95944/Whitni

Through this conversation we went from complaint > resolved complaint > advertising of services > hearing the patron > helping the patron find what they need/want > use of services by patron.

This conversation had so many elements to it, I would soundly say it was the “perfect” librarian conversation. Best part, it is public. Others will see the Q & A interaction (positive feedback) and learn from it and I didn’t have to repeat it 20 times to reach them.

Facebook served a great purpose and allowed for this interaction to take place.

Keeping Track of Resources

As you work your way through courses you will come across so many fantastic resources you just won’t know what to do with them. A great way to keep these resources manageable is the use of a browse folder or bookmarks. Unfortunately, we all use different browsers and sometimes we access material on computers with only certain browsers.

My answer to this is: Diigo

What can I do with Diigo?

  • you can bookmark pages and add personalized tags
  • you can highlight pages and save them
  • you can share your bookmarks
  • you can categorize them
  • you can add notes to links, pages, posts, and many other resources
  • webpages are archived so you can still view it later even if the original link is now broken

Get it Diigo now!