SIS Alumna Rita King is our featured guest blogger. Rita shares her insights on the work of library vendors. She is the Children’s and Teen Services Manager, Western Region for Baker & Taylor.
After graduating Wayne State University in 2003, I never imagined I would be traveling the United States visiting public libraries helping them streamline their workflow or helping them strategize new ways to better serve their communities, but that is exactly what I am doing today. I am the Children’s and Teen Services Manager for the Western Region of the United States. I work to support children and teen librarians west of the Mississippi, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. I started working with public libraries as a youth librarian for Kent District Library in Michigan over 15 years ago. I became a Branch Manager at Muskegon Area District Library before joining the CATS team at Baker & Taylor in 2016.
Baker & Taylor is a premier worldwide distributor of digital and print books and entertainment products. I never thought working for a vendor would teach me so much. The company focuses on community outcomes which is in direct response to libraries reaching out to Baker & Taylor in need of products and services that will help them meet the growing needs of their community. The best way to describe what I do is that I am a librarian to the librarians for Baker & Taylor. If you were in Dr. Joseph Mika’s (now retired professor) Introductory to Library Science class you may remember him saying that you will never know everything there is to know about the world, but you will be the gateway to information as a librarian. When I meet with librarians throughout the country, I let them know that I am their advocate and gateway. If I don’t know the answer I will search for it and find it for them just like I would if I was working the reference desk.
I have learned that other various vendors including mine hire vast amounts of MLIS degreed librarians throughout their company. Some of us have worked in libraries before and some come to the company directly after graduation. Most of the degreed librarians work for the collection development department and currently require you to move to the city in which the company is based, but I have heard that may be changing! If you are looking for something different at any point in your career I would recommend it. It has been a beneficial learning experience visiting librarians all over the country for me and who knows what this experience will do for the journey I have ahead!
Crystal Jolly (MLIS ’12) is a former SIS Diversity Graduate Student Assistant. She is now is the Children’s Librarian at the Parkman Branch of the Detroit Public Library. She was interviewed recently by current SIS Diversity Graduate Student Assistant Allia McCoy.
Can you tell us about your professional journey since you graduated, what type of positions have you held? Have you had to relocate?
My journey has taken me all over the state of Michigan working in various librarian positions. I worked at Plymouth District Library as an intern while pursuing my MLIS and upon my graduation I became a substitute librarian there. It was at this library I gained valuable work experience such as providing reference and reader’s advisory services and executing youth and young adult programming. I also started working at Rochester Hills Public Library as a part-time children’s librarian. I was fortunate to have robust resources to take risks and try new programs such as a music story time during which I brought in my own guitar and played a song I made for families and opened a story time lab where kids used the My Story Maker by Carnegie Library of Pittsburg to make their own story to print and take home. I worked at Plymouth and Rochester Hills for a year and then was offered a full-time position as a children’s librarian at Lincoln Township Public Library on the west side of Michigan. I was responsible for everything related to children such as programs, youth collections, creating booklists and planning for the renovation of the children’s area. Although, I enjoyed my work, I desired to be closer to my family and moved back to Detroit and worked for a short period of time as a teacher until I was able to find work as a librarian. I then became a librarian at Hazel Park District Library working on various projects as needed such as developing the youth series collection. After about a year I was hired as a full-time children’s librarian for the Detroit Public Library at Parkman Branch and was recently promoted to the Assistant Manager. I am honored to be working in the city in which I was born and raised.
When you graduated did you find it challenging to find a position at DPL? What motivated you then? What motivates you now?
It was challenging to gain a position at DPL upon my graduation. At the time I graduated, there weren’t any DPL librarian positions open. However, I felt I needed to gain more work experience before I could successfully take on the role of a children’s librarian at DPL. I committed myself to gaining as much librarian experience working at 5 libraries in various positions and volunteering at 2 schools to revive their libraries. What motivates me to continue doing the work I do are the children and the impact I believe I am making on their lives. There are challenging moments but I remind myself why I do the work I do—to make sure children in Detroit gain more meaningful learning experiences and use what they learn to improve their lives.
Do you have tips for success for students who feel called to work in public libraries especially Urban areas?
This is great a question because I spent most of professional library life working in suburban or affluent communities until 2 years ago when I started working for DPL. I quickly realized when I started working at DPL the importance of building relationships with patrons, being resourceful to meet patron needs and flexible with programs and services. For example, many families with children in the Parkman community have inconsistent work schedules meaning offering story times at the same time and day might not work for them. However, story times are important because they help foster the love of reading in children while helping them practice reading readiness skills. I decided to informally read to children when I noticed them in the children area, talk with parents about the value of them reading, talking etc. with their children and visit schools to do story time and promote library programs.
How have the recent changes in Detroit had an affect on your job in the library?
The city is constantly changing but I believe my role remains the same. It is my job to connect our children to information by making it more accessible to them so they feel empowered to make their own future.
Are there any unique programs, services or features at your library that you’d like to share?
Wash and Learn- is a pop-up learning space for families at a local laundromat. Families gain access to technology and literacy resources while washing their clothes.
MSU University Outreach and Engagement Office- provides free transportation for Parkman families to participate in their events. So far about 70 patrons have benefited from this partnership.
Reading Teacher in the Library-certified reading specialists provide reading support to children during the summer to optimize the development of their literacy skills and combat summer learning loss. What makes this program unique is the commitment the library, teachers, and the children and their families demonstrated throughout program. Children received instruction four days per week for six weeks by the same instructor. There was a noticeable difference in the literacy skills of 6 six children by the end of the program.
What is your favorite memory from your time as Diversity Graduate Student assistant?
My most favorable time as the Diversity Graduate Student Assistant was speaking at a SLIS orientation to incoming students. I talked about why librarians are important and the need for increased representation of people of color in the profession. Recently a SLIS graduate who is an African-American woman listened to me speak during her orientation several years ago and reached out to me through LinkedIN to thank me for inspiring her move forward with pursuing her degree when she started to question if she should. It is a humbling experience to know that a speech I gave several years ago made a positive difference in someone else’s life
What advice do you have for current and future Diversity Graduate Student assistants?
If may be difficult to see the immediate impact of your work but know the work you do has impact goes beyond the time you serve in the position. Also take advantage of networking with students, faculty, and professionals you meet in the position. Don’t try do this work alone, someone else’s expertise can help you encourage someone to pursue a degree in this wonderful field or add a new perspective to the conversation of recruiting and maintaining a diverse field.
What common questions do you get from the youth patrons you serve?
The most common question I get from my youth patrons is “Do I have to?”
At Parkman we offer a lot of youth programs and we have developed relationships with parents of children who visit the library everyday it is open. Parents recognize the value in their children participating in educational and entertaining programs and give us permission to encourage their children to participate. The children may not want to participate initially but most of the time they are happy they did.
The second common question is “When is Roblox Play?”
Roblox is a very popular online game platform. Children across the country are playing Roblox games in libraries. In response to its popularity, the Detroit Public Library offered a Roblox tournament in March for kids to play in private game rooms together and compete for prizes. Over 400 participants participated during the tournament. At some point, I hope to offer a Roblox game development program for children to build their own games.
Hello Information Warriors,
It’s a great day here at Wayne State! Below is a job description of a cool job in Maryland. Check it out!
(And don’t forget, you can receive more jobs like this by subscribing to our Jobs listserv, SISJOBS: http://sis.wayne.edu/students/technology/lists.php
The Salisbury University Libraries are accepting applications for the position of Business/Instructional Librarian reporting to the Chair of Research/Instructional Services. This is a full-time, permanent status track library faculty position expected to begin January 15, 2019 or as soon thereafter as possible.
The Salisbury University Libraries comprise the main campus library and the Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture. Both are located in the state-of-the art Guerrieri Academic Commons which opened in August 2016. The Libraries also include the Curriculum Resource Center. The SU Libraries are user-oriented with relatively small collections but a dynamic staff with a deep commitment to meeting the information needs of our students and faculty. We seek a creative, dynamic, and collaborative applicant to join the staff.
Primary Job Duties: Serve as the librarian liaison to several academic departments in the Perdue School of Business. The librarian will be responsible for instruction, collection development, and other support for the liaison departments’ teaching and research-related information needs. Creative and effective instruction is especially important. Participate in providing face-to-face and electronic reference services, including some evening and weekend hours. Cooperate with other librarians in library-wide instructional activities, such as developing activities for and teaching sessions of freshman English classes. Serve on committees and task forces and be active professionally.
Minimum Qualifications: MLS from an ALA-accredited institution or equivalent degree from a foreign institution by start date. Related experience working in academic or research libraries. Demonstrated knowledge of principles and best practices in information literacy instruction. Demonstrated knowledge of business reference sources and best practices in reference services and information literacy. The ability to be flexible is absolutely essential. Must be committed to contributing to a culturally diverse educational and work environment.
Preferred Qualifications: Undergraduate or graduate degree in business. Reference and library instruction experience specifically in business. Excellent interpersonal, presentation, and communication skills.
Applications received by October 5, 2018 will receive first consideration. The position will remain open until filled. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Appointment will be contingent upon verification of eligibility to work in the U.S.
Applications and supporting documents are accepted only via Salisbury University’s Online Employment Application System. Please visit our websiteto apply online. See the FAQs of the Online Employment Application System for more information and instructions.
To be considered an applicant, you must apply online and submit the following in order for your application to be complete: 1) a letter of interest; 2) curriculum vitae; and, 3) the names and phone numbers of at least three professional references. If you have any questions about the position, please contact the search chair, Susan Brazer, at. Please do not send any documents via email.
This position is based in Salisbury, Maryland. Salisbury University is a member of the University System of Maryland. It is a regionally accredited four-year comprehensive institution offering 58 distinct graduate and undergraduate programs. Founded in 1925, Salisbury University features a beautiful campus close to ocean beaches and the Chesapeake Bay and 2-3 hours from the metropolitan areas of Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Norfolk. SU is consistently ranked among the nation’s top colleges and ‘best values’ by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other publications. SU has 416 full-time faculty members serving a student population of approximately 8700.
What does it mean to be a student or alumnus of the School of Information Sciences? Our new Information Warrior Manifesto shares the spirit of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff. The manifesto states:
“We are community builders. We create spaces where all are welcome. We build bridges that close the digital divide. We help businesses grow. We help individuals succeed. We offer books that build imagination, fuel dreams and give hope. We battle misinformation. We are armed with facts and we are fortified by our education. We defend the freedom of information. We make information accessible and we create information finding tools. We design websites. We develop apps. We fight for the protection of privacy. We create code. We wrangle big data. We teach. We ensure that knowledge and information are available to the masses. We protect history. We archive human knowledge and experiences. We prepare children for their future and we prepare adults to take on new challenges. We are INFORMATION WARRIORS.”
Download your Information Warrior Manifesto Printable and show your SIS pride!
This guest post by Mattie Dugan, SIS Student and Vice President of the WSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists, highlights recent work by a group of students as they digitize the Michigan Black History Bibliography for the Reuther Library. Their work was recently featured as part of a poster session and presentation at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018.
Wayne State’s Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists has spent the past year working to digitize the Michigan Black History Bibliography for the Walter P. Reuther Library. The Michigan Black History Bibliography (MBHB) is a one of a kind resource created in the 1970s that documents black history in our state. The index cross-references key players and events with books, articles, dissertations, theses, annotated bibliographies and other, more obscure, resources. This index has been available in the reading room at the Reuther for decades, but remains relatively unused. SAA Students have taken on the challenge of bringing this index out of obscurity and into the hands of researchers the world over.
Nathaniel Arndts, Sarah Conrad, Mattie Dugan, Lori Eaton, Ellen Gleason, Laura Kennedy and Natalie Piernak started this endeavor by researching potential workflows and digitizing over 3,500 index cards. Their original plan was to create a Drupal website and migrate it to the Reuther’s servers, but this plan missed the mark for a myriad of reasons. Among them were that the BibCite module they intended to use in Drupal had not been beta-tested and bugs could not be overcome. In addition, Drupal setup requires specialized knowledge, the learning of which, while required to maintain a site, may not serve future SAA members. The team has now reassessed their priorities, though, and is moving forward with an information-first approach. Students are now working to locate resources listed on cards while gaining bibliographic control of the resource through a metadata schema based in Dublin Core. They plan to import this information into Omeka to create a searchable, metadata-driven site.
It is hoped that the Michigan Black History Bibliography site will go live in January of 2018. Until then, members are presenting a poster on MBHB and the process of its digitization at the Michigan Archival Association Annual Conference and ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018.
The Wayne State University Library System is co-sponsoring the fourth annual Network Detroit Digital Humanities Conference on the campus of Wayne State University on Friday, September 21, 2018. The conference will take place in the African American Room on the ground floor of Manoogian Hall. The Library System has partnered with the DH@Wayne digital humanities faculty working group to bring together digital humanities speakers, practitioners, students, and those interested in learning more to an exciting day of presentations, lunch, and networking.
Wayne State School of Information Sciences students Alexandrea Penn, Laura Kennedy, Margaret Waligora, and Jodi Coalter will be presenting at the conference, joining many other students and professionals from the area.
ProQuest is sponsoring lunch for the conference, though you must register to have lunch provided. Registration is free- you can sign up here: https://forms.wayne.edu/5b686da5773e1
The conference schedule of events is here: http://detroitdh.org/2018-schedule/
Attendees – including SIS students and alumni – are encouraged to drop by any talks or panels that are of interest, or come for the day to learn about current research and practice in digital scholarship and digital humanities and meet some fine scholars from the region who do this work.
Christian-Jacob Johnson recently joined the SIS team as E-Learning Specialist. In this role, Christian provides support to SIS faculty and students as they use the various e-learning tools, including the new learning management system, Canvas.
Christian assists and supports faculty with online course design, development and delivery. He also provides instruction and training to SIS faculty, staff and students. Additionally, Christian assists in planning and managing the school’s Information Technology infrastructure; assists in the supervision of the SIS digital media projects lab; installs and tests SIS hardware and software.
Christian is a Wayne State Warrior, graduating in May 2018 May, with a Masters of Education in Learning Design and Technology through Wayne State. He also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications through Oakland University.
The School of Information Sciences is home to one of the largest online programs at Wayne State. The program relies heavily on the successful implementation of online learning methods and Christian will be active in ensuring a positive experience for students and faculty alike.
Welcome to the School of Information Sciences, Christian. We are glad you are part of our team!
This week Forbes Magazine posted (and subsequently removed) an article in which the author stated that public libraries could be replaced by Amazon stores. Many library professionals and library supporters wrote responses to the piece, including SIS alumna Michelle Williamson (MLIS ’02), a librarian at the Ferndale Public Library in Ferndale, Michigan.
Michelle wrote a Facebook post detailing a recent interaction she had with patron. The phone call was one of many she probably had that day, but it demonstrates the resources and customer service library users receive, the likes of which would be unmatched by an Amazon store. Here’s what Michelle wrote:
“In light of the very terrible Forbes article, I appreciated this interaction I had on the phone yesterday.
Patron: I’m looking on the catalog for this book but I don’t see it. I can’t imagine no TLN libraries have it.
Me: Ok, let me take a look…you’re right, I don’t see it at all. Let me check on Amazon to make sure we have the title correct.
(finds the book on Amazon in Kindle and hardcover formats)
Ohhh, this is probably why no libraries have it. The hardcover version is $91.
Patron: *flustered incredulity about ridiculous prices*
Me: You know, since there is a Kindle version, I can check and see if it’s available on Hoopla or Overdrive. Are you familiar with those?
Patron: I had Hoopla for a while, but I deleted it. It didn’t seem useful.
Me: Well, I will check for it, but it might take me a minute. Can I call you back?
A few minutes later-
Me: Ma’am, they do have it on Hoopla. Would you like to sign up for it again?
Patron: Yes! What do I need to do? How much will it cost?
Me: It’s free with your library card! It will take maybe five minutes.”
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this moment of your day and for providing an example of just why libraries are unmatched in the resources, services, and spaces they provide!
Shatha Baydoun is an MLIS student in the School of Information Sciences. Her projected graduation is May 2018. In this post, Shatha shares her recent experience in the ALA Student-to-Staff program.
There are few occasions in one’s career that are ground-breaking and being selected to represent WSU as a Student-to-Staff (S2S) at ALA’s annual conference was such an occasion for me. Between June 21-26, I partook in my first conference as an information science student at New Orleans. I was surprised that some ALA members did not know about the S2S program. Briefly, the program was designed in 1973 as an opportunity for students to network and interact with professionals in the field. I was assigned to the International Relations Office (IRO), a division of ALA, devoted to global communities and libraries.
True to its mission, my experience with the S2S program was very informative and productive. At times, the sheer breadth and size of the conference was overwhelming, but the adage about librarians being the most helpful bunch is true. I was supported, mentored, and directed by all the wonderful librarians at the conference who were happy to welcome a recently-graduated librarian to the fold.
Despite my short trip, I also saw and met amazing people. I witnessed Michelle Obama officially open the ALA ceremony and I met the newly-elects ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo. I also take part in some of ALA’s Job Placement workshops like the ones on salary negotiation and resume-writing. As a new MIS graduate, these workshops were very useful to me. On a personal note, I got to savor New Orleans’ local flavors such as the famous beignets and chicory coffee. I also got to party with my S2S fellow students. In short, I learned a lot but got to have tons of fun in the process.