Resource of the Week – Reference Shelf

The Federal government provides historical and cutting edge information on just about everything and make an effort to make that information available to everyone.  The portal has created a Reference and General Government resource page that allows you to delve into specific topics and set up accounts and feeds to be kept aware of information as it becomes available.  No matter what your role in academic libraries, I’m sure you will find something personally and professionally useful at Reference Shelf:

Find U.S. government common abbreviations, calendars, contact information, forms, gadgets, photos, maps, news and more.

  • Government Photos and Images 
    A large collection of photos and images made available by the U.S. government
  • Historical Documents 
    Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, Constitution of the United States, Declaration of Independence…
  • Laws and Regulations 
    Business laws, code of federal regulations, database search of laws and regulations…
  • Libraries 
    Local, federal, and national libraries; online library databases; grants and benefits for libraries…
  • Maps 
    Local, national, world, and specialized maps from multiple government agencies…
  • News 
    Federal press releases, news, foreign news service, government e-mail newsletters…
  • Publications from the U.S. Government 
    Consumer publications, educational resources, federal agency publications, Government Printing Office…
  • State Photo and Multimedia Galleries 
    Find photos from the U.S. states.


Resource of the Week – ACRL Professional Tools

It doesn’t look like much, but the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Professional Tools page leads to a lot of valuable information for anyone working in academic libraries. 

You can use the site as an introduction or overview of ACRL, exploring the diversity and opportunities of the Association ( AzLA’s CULD is a recognized Chapter of ACRL).

You can also home in on practical information like Standards or Toolkits that have been devised to guide you through common issues in academic libraries and provide examples of best practices devised by colleagues who have faced similar challenges before you.

And you can network and expand your knowledge and experience by connecting with colleagues through publications, conferences, and social media. 

There is a lot of information and opportunity out there if you know where to look.  The ACRL Professional Tools page is a good place to start.

Resource of the Week – Library Webinars

Simply put, Library Webinars is a one-stop shop for…Library Webinars!

Created by the NorthEast Florida Library Information Network (NEFLIN) for its members, this site provides access to webinars from over 40 organizations from ACRL to WebJunction.  While it’s not geared specifically towards academic libraries, many of the organizations offer items that may be of interest and, except where noted, the webinars are free!

You can also subscribe to an RSS feed or get blog postings emailed to you so that you have time to decide and prepare for the sessions.

ASU Librarians Bridging the Gap

The following post is the first of what we hope to be a continuous stream of information highlighting what’s going on at academic libraries in Arizona. What’s happening at your library? Let us know!

In August of 2008 Ann Ewbank, subject librarian from ASU and former AzLA President, was approached to do a presentation about college readiness to the English teachers in the Scottsdale High Schools at their fall In-Service day.  Ann willingly agreed but proposed that she invite several colleagues and turn it into a panel presentation on how university librarians and high school librarians and English teachers can collaborate to help their student be better prepared for college-level research. The other panelists, some of Ann’s colleagues at ASU, were Melissa Guy, Bianna Ine, Julie Tharp and Ellen Welty.  Our first presentation was well received and was followed by an invitation to develop a similar presentation for the AzLA conference the following year.

While developing our presentation for AzLA, we discovered that the annual conference of the Arizona English Teachers Association would be in October of 2009, a couple months before AzLA.  Submitting our proposal to AETA seemed like a good opportunity to target English teachers from all over the state and would give us a trial run for AzLA.  Our colleague Bianna had moved out of state by this time, so we had four panelists.  The presentation at AETA was scheduled at the same time as a couple of popular local authors at the conference so it wasn’t well attended.  Nevertheless, the teachers who were there expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to exchange ideas with us.  In contrast, the presentation at AzLA was well attended and produced a lively discussion.  By this time, we were receiving invitations from school librarians to visit their schools and present to their teachers.  In order to maximize our time, we decided to apply for an LSTA grant and produce a couple of all-day workshops to which we would send invitations to all the teachers in several school districts in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  The schedule would consist of a keynote speaker who has done extensive research on the “12-13 gap”, a deconstruction of a typical freshman writing assignment and a hands-on workshop using the databases provided to Arizona residents by the State Library.  The panel discussion followed by closing remarks would round out the day.

The first of these two workshops was October 16, 2010 at ASU’s West campus.  We had 65 teachers in attendance and the response was almost uniformly positive.  We will repeat the basic program at a second workshop scheduled for April at the Tempe campus.  We have taken the show on the road three times this winter as well; once in Blue Ridge district in Pinetop, at Tolleson Union High School district and Tempe High School.  One thing we are hearing at every presentation is that the outreach needs to begin with the junior high school teachers; waiting until the students are in high school doesn’t give them enough of an opportunity to develop the information literacy skills that college faculty assume they have.

In concluding, I would urge all of us in the library business to keep the conversation going.  Any opportunity we have to engage with teachers is golden – take advantage of it!

Ellen Welty, Associate Librarian
Arizona State University Libraries

Things I wish I Learned in Grad School

By Dana Shreve

$24,000 spent on graduate course work at a four year university. In three years, I learned the history, theories, current practices and upcoming technologies for my profession and a second degree.

What I did not learn was how to survive on internships, part-time work, minimum wage and a car that always needed repair. The professors warn you at the beginning of the program that the job market is fiercely competitive and that we students would not be raking in piles of money. So where was the class that provided feedback on job searching, resume building, and the like? Some professors would allow for meetings to help with such topics, but they were usually trying to finish their research, grade assignments and eat lunch.

Why not give students recipes on how to be creative with Ramen noodles or where to find the best deals on Red Bull? Or how to un-jam a stapler, copier or printer? How about tips on how to get toner out of khaki pants or ink out of a blouse? These are the life skills that should be taught before graduation.

With that, I propose the following coursework to be taught concurrently with the Final Project or Practicum. 16 week course, two days a week

Weeks 1-7
Computer Basics
Turning on the Computer
Locating the Volume Button

Office Basics
Jams: Staplers, Copiers, and Printers
Refills: Paper, Toner/Ink, Paperclips

Wardrobe Basics
Stains: Toner/Ink, Coffee, Lipstick
Casual versus Professional

Dental Hygiene
Coffee Drinkers and Smokers: Breath Mints Please!
Removing Food from Teeth: Tooth Picks, Not Pen Caps

Email Etiquette
Grammar, Punctuation, and NO CAPS
How to Reply, Reply All, and Forward

Telephone Etiquette
How to Answer and Transfer
Volume Control

Break Room Etiquette
Eat What You Bring, Not Others People’s Food
What Not to Heat Up in the Microwave (e.g. fish)

Week 8: Midterm
1000 word essay on Ramen noodles and pizza

Weeks 9-15
Job Searching Tips
Where to Find a Job
How to Apply Only Once

Resumes and Cover Letters
One Page or Two?
How to Give Them What They Want

Interview Basics
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
What to Do With Your Hands

Online or Notebook?
When Is Too Much?

Associations and Affiliations
How to Join Before Graduation
No, Webkinz Does Not Meet Requirements

Difficult People
When it’s Your Boss
When it’s Your Cubicle-Mate

HOV hours
How to Dress the Dummy

Week 16: Final
1000 word essay on how to keep your job

For supplement information on how to live in the real world, workshops would be available, each a 2 day session.

Car Repair: Duct Tape and Coat Hangers
Ramen Noodles and Pop Tarts:
How to Survive in College
How to Crank Out 10 Pages in Two Hours
How to Survive on Minimum Wage:
Get Another Job
When 24 Hours Are Not Enough:
Surviving the Deadline

Yes, if only some of my college tuition had gone to this coursework or workshops, I would be a better employee. No longer would I have to call for maintenance, computer help desk or my mom.

(Dana is currently the Electronic Resources Librarian at Grand Canyon University, and she loves her job, really.)