Conference Day 1

The official conference proceedings began with a panel of keynote speakers. The four speakers came from all over the world, including: Canada, the United States, Singapore, and Sweden. Each speaker focused on one segment within the conferences theme, which was “Institutional Change: Voices, Identities, Power, and Outcomes.” I really appreciated the quote that Joy Mighty, one of the speakers, made about inclusivity. She stated, “no decisions about us, without us” meaning that all voices and identities should have a seat at the table when it comes to policies, programming, and other decision-making processes. Another speaker touched on how identity can influence the amount of power or lack-there-of some people or units may have; he challenged faculty and education developers to think of their identity as a strength and to use their abilities to benefit a wide variety of people.

After the keynote session and lunch, I decided to attend a breakout session about supporting effective mentors of undergraduate research. This session provided very practical guides for incorporating undergraduate student researchers, which is one of the initiatives put forth in IU’s strategic planning. I will continue to think about how this frame work could be included in areas that librarians touch. The next session I attended was about inclusivity. The presenter started the session by introducing herself and the various identities that she carries. She described how our identities consisting of academic backgrounds, job position, career path, and personal identity can provide opportunities for powerful change or disadvantage. She also included real-life prompts that allowed participants to think through how they would handle certain situations through the lens of their own personal identities. Overall, I would consider the first day of the conference a success; although the conference is not for librarians, the theme is overarching and transferable to all disciplines. I am excited to see what tomorrow brings.

Arriving in Atlanta

The flight to Atlanta was a breeze. I had to deal with the awkwardness that ensues when traveling with a giant poster tube, but other than that it was smooth flying. We arrived in Atlanta around 1 p.m. and after a hotel mix-up and two taxis later, we arrived at the correct destination. Shannon and I checked in at the hotel and conference. I looked through the program and tried to pick which sessions I wanted to attend. ICED has concurrent sessions, which lumps similar topics into a one-and-a-half-hour chunk of time. To my delight, there was a session all about academic librarianship, which included the dissertation of Lauren Hays. It also included three other presenters whose topics ranged from information literacy to inquiry-based learning. After unpacking and taking a look at the conference program, Shannon and I decided to stretch our legs and go across the street to the mall. We walked for a bit and grabbed dinner before calling it a night.

Preparing for the Conference

The conference is a little less than two weeks away and I have been working on finishing the final details before flying to Atlanta. This is my first time presenting at a poster session and I am really excited to share the work I have done at Indiana University Bloomington with a wider audience. I think presenting at the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) will be a unique experience because I have the opportunity to talk about how librarians can collaborate and enhance their field of work. I know that there will be one PhD student at the conference who is presenting her dissertation on SoTL and academic librarian identity, so I am eager to hear what she has to say. I have been following her on Twitter and communicating briefly. I just need to print out my poster, but other than that I feel more than prepared. I had the opportunity to present the first draft of my poster at the CEWiT Poster Competition back in March, which allowed me to practice talking about the database in a lower-stakes setting. It will be interesting to see how other faculty and education developers react to the idea of partnering with librarians to achieve similar goals.

Introduction to SoTL Internship

My name is Amy Minix and I am in my final semester as an Information and Library Science student. I completed my first internship last fall at a RPS Library managing the Music, Media, and More. However, this semester I am switching gears and focusing on honing my professional development skills at my other job. I currently work at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as a graduate assistant. SoTL is both a place at IU, as well as a type of scholarship and area of research. Faculty who conduct SoTL research are interested in assessing and evaluating their teaching and learning. One key component to SoTL work is disseminating your research in order to improve your institution, discipline, or education as a whole. SoTL and librarians often share overlapping goals; both units care about providing access to scholarly resources, planning programming and outreach to their respective audiences, and using assessment to evaluate efforts and improve outcomes.

This past fall, I worked on creating a dynamic, searchable database that allows IU Bloomington faculty to search and browse SoTL research that is unique to IUB. After completing the database, my supervisor Shannon Sipes, suggested presenting this work as a poster at the International Consortium for Educational Development conference this spring. In addition to the conference, we will also work on a couple of publications-one will talk about how collaborative efforts between a faculty developer, a media specialist, and a librarian student were used to improve SoTL at IU and the other will discuss an exploratory research study about how SoTL is perceived at IUB. I am really excited to work on all of these projects over the summer!

Wrapping Up the Semester

I am very pleased with my time at the MMM and my SAs. I finished filling out their mid-term evaluation forms last week and I quickly realized how great of a group I have. I had no negative feedback for them and lots of positive notes to end on. One thing I learned through this experience is to listen to your staff: their suggestions, problems, and successes. Managing the MMM has had its trials and errors, but it’s promising to know that it’s okay to try new ideas or programs if you have the support of your staff to help. I am really enthusiastic to see what the new year/semester will bring! I have a new SA to train because one of the SAs from this semester is studying abroad in Spain; I have no qualms or anxiety about bringing someone new in because everyone seems to really work well together and get along. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

Spreading Holiday Cheer

There are two kinds of people: the ones who put their Christmas trees up before Thanksgiving and those who wait until after the fanfare of turkey day to fully embrace the holiday season. I am the latter; while I love the songs, lights, and movies surrounding the holiday season, I always feel like I am jumping the gun if I participate in any of those activities before Thanksgiving. Transitioning from pumpkins to pine trees is almost ceremonial in my eyes. So it should come as no surprise that I waited until everyone returned from break before jumping into all things merry & bright. What better way to embrace the holidays than planning some classic holiday movie nights? I contacted the Hoosier Den in November and established 4 movie nights with corresponding movies: December 1st–Elf, December 2nd–Home Alone, December 8th–Frosty & Rudolf, and December 9th–A Christmas Story. We had the first two movie nights this weekend and the turn out went really well! The attendance rates tripled compared to the Halloween movie event, which was an improvement. I think painting the vinyl banner with chalkboard paint and using it to advertise the movies has been extremely helpful. I plan on using it to display new arrivals and other events. I updated the sign with information for the movies next week and I hope it will draw in another crowd (perhaps students procrastinating with studying or finishing up final projects).

Final Staff Meeting

Tonight we had our final staff meeting and I kept it short, sweet, and to the point! With finals week approaching (and my own project deadlines looming in the distance), I figured we all could use a little break. I brought in some cookies and we talked about how well the Renter’s Reward program went, plans for next semester, and any titles we should think about adding to our collection. I was really pleased because one of my SAs mentioned that he was really pleased with the types of movies coming in, especially the film “Band Aid”; this is a HUGE compliment coming from someone who studies film, watches a lot of movies leisurely, and is well-versed in all things related to cinema. I have been trying to do research within all the film genres before each order to make sure that I am adding diverse titles to the collection. The value in having a wide breadth of materials can be very beneficial and I have noticed an increase in checkouts within the “New Arrivals” section. Overall, the meeting went really well and I hope that finals week goes well for everyone!

October Staff Meeting

We had our second staff meeting of the semester tonight. All but one of the SAs (who wasn’t feeling well) were able to attend, which means the date and time planned fits well in all of their schedules. I also brought some chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and they all seemed appreciative of that.

I started the meeting by complimenting the work that all the SAs have been doing. The center has looked great, there haven’t been issues with scheduling or finding substitutes, and the ideas they generated during the last staff meeting have gone over well. One SA said that they thought moving the Renter’s Rewards to a more visible spot has improved the amount of sign-ups we have. Another SA, who worked at the MMM last year, commented that this month had the most Renter’s Reward participants that they have seen since they started working at the MMM. It felt good to listen to their feedback and trust that they have valuable insights that are worth considering or implementing.

Next, I talked about housekeeping things. I reminded the SAs about the use of musical stickers and foreign film stickers to help locate and shelve specialized items. I also attended a Community Council meeting, where I talked with other figureheads within Read about issues we have with visibility. I explained to my staff that the Community Council helped brainstorm ways to bring more attention to the MMM. The Center Manager offered a vinyl sign that she saved from a previous event and suggested painting it and use it for advertising. I thought this was a great idea because many residents are swarmed by a large number of flyers that are placed throughout the hall. I reminded the SAs to make sure their shift reports are complete and sent to all of the appropriate recipients.

Finally, we talked about programming and items to order. Since the Halloween movie night was a bit of a flop, Kyle and I decided to focus on Study Buddies events on alternating Tuesdays and wait until December to plan a Holiday Movie Night event. One SA suggested a two-for-one deal for Renter’s Rewards (two stickers for each checkout) to encourage patrons to check out items and sign up. I thought this was a great way to keep the SAs to ask each patron to sign up, as well as get items checked out. It will be interesting to see how this works out. The SAs shared a few titles that patrons had asked about that the MMM didn’t have, so I jotted those down as well. Overall the meeting was very productive and I am hoping our efforts are fruitful later this semester!

Part of the Community

One of the challenges of working in the MMM in the Read Residence facility is location; it is confusing and difficult to navigate in the basement as it is, let alone when you are actually trying to find a specific location. I have gotten lost a handful of times while trying to find the computer, lab, a water fountain, and the restrooms. This issue was discussed during the first Community Council meeting within Read. The meeting was composed of a variety of folks who accomplish many duties around Read, including: the Residence Manager, the head of maintenance, the head of food services, the president of residential government (I’m not sure if that is his official title), the main chef within the eatery, and a representative from the Global Living Learning Community (LLC). I expressed how difficult visibility and access are to get to the MMM. The head of maintenance, Mike, mentioned that the halls in the basement used to have a color coded line along the wall, which indicated the part of the basement you are currently located in. Unfortunately, the interior designers decided to go for a more “polished” look and the lines were removed. Peter, from the Global LLC, suggested a permanent directory to display the various services located within Read. I thought this was a great idea, but procuring the funds and getting the sign put up can take quite a bit of time, especially when dealing with the bureaucracy of administrative budgets. Dee, the main manager, suggested using a sign that she had tucked away from a “Stop, Drop, & Roll” event, by jazzing it up with chalkboard paint. The sign could be displayed on the railings right by the main entrance, which would be more eye-catching than the typical paper flyer. I think this will be a fruitful project for me to work on and I am planning on adding the materials needed to update the sign in my next material order. I am really grateful to be included in this forum and that others within Read are willing to help the MMM.

Halloween Movie Horror: How Communication and Planning are Your Friends

I thought I finally found my groove with the MMM–the staff is communicative and proactive for covering shifts or making suggestions, Kyle has been bringing tours down, and feedback has been positive. However, it can’t be rainbows and sunshine all the time. Kyle and I planned on having two Halloween Movie night events on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween. We picked out the films, planned to start the movies at 9 p.m., and created and displayed flyers near the Hoosier Den. The Hoosier Den is a space within Read where there’s a projection screen and lots of seating, which is a great asset to both the residents as well as the MMM; we lack the space to host events, so partnering with them makes a lot of sense. All seemed to be going well and I was excited to see what kind of turnout we would get. Earlier on Friday, Kyle and I both attended a Community Council meeting. We briefly talked afterwards and I asked if he had everything set up with Hoosier Den. Nope. He thought I had set up the events with Hoosier Den. Also a nope. Luckily the Read Manager checked out the schedule and said there wasn’t anything planned at the Hoosier Den. I contacted the Hoosier Den and they were nice enough to accommodate both movie nights and sent me a form to fill out for future events. We ended up having a few people stop by and watch Hocus Pocus and Halloween. However, a greater lesson was learned on my end: assume nothing, plan everything, and communicate clearly with all parties.