Spring 2017 Issue

A message from Dr. Ling Hwey Jeng, SLIS Director and TLA President, 2017-2018

I confess.  

I was never a reader when I grew up. I enjoy reading but, more often, I read on a “need to read” basis. I read a lot because I have a lot of practical and philosophical questions, and I need to know the answers to quiet my mind. I’d be lying if I say I became a librarian because I love to read. 

The truth is I chose librarianship because of money. I thought librarianship could give me the knowledge and skills that would help me get a job so I could get paid. It didn’t matter whether I worked in a library or elsewhere, as long as I had the right kind of skills to do what I wanted to do: research, organization, technology, and writing. My goal was to build my skills and competencies. After three decades of my career in LIS education, I still believe in the same goal of lifelong learning. 

My vision is to have a profession of the best, highly skilled, most competent librarians who are deeply embedded and engaged in the community.  

When 96% of the funding for all public libraries in Texas comes from government budget, it means our success or failure is almost exclusively reliant upon the community’s relationships with us, the libraries and librarians. And this is the same in all other types of libraries.

We want the community to say clearly that they see libraries as a necessity, not a luxury. We want the community to believe that libraries are worth their public tax investment. We want the community to assume that every school deserves a certified, highly qualified librarian, to help children learn to read so that they can read to learn on their own. We want the community to loudly and affirmatively recognize the work of librarians, even before we tell them so. 

To get there, we must overcome the public perception that libraries are merely nice to have.  

How do we know we are visible in the community?

The best indicator is to hear the word “librarian” spoken by members of our community loudly and affirmatively, at every university strategic planning meeting, every school board hearing, every community development brainstorming session, and every discussion on innovative urban technology renewal projects. 

Over the three decades of my career in LIS education, I have enjoyed doing a lot of things: I teach courses, mentor students, work with employers many of whom hire our graduates, partner with libraries, and serve as officers or on committees of professional associations. The one thing that I love doing is volunteering with community non-profit agencies. For example, I serve on a board of a local non-profit agency; I co-chair the non-profit community needs assessment project, and I design curriculum for non-profit leadership development programs.  

I cannot tell you how many times I sit in a community meeting, listening to a speaker and asking myself:

  • How come he didn’t ask a librarian?
  • Why did she not mention that the librarian helped her with her research?
  • How can the libraries be included on this community coalition to achieve the strongest collective impact?  

I am convinced that our work as librarians is most meaningful when others see us as one of them in the community.  

Librarians have unique professional skills and competencies.  We are at the forefront of technology innovation. We have superior research skills. We have deep passion to help children succeed at school, to teach senior citizens technology to stay connected, and to provide resume workshops for the single mother to apply for the job she needs to support her young family.   

Let’s lean in into the heartbeats of the community, and make it an important advocacy tool to showcase our values and to raise our visibility in the community. 

Librarians use information and technologies to facilitate positive changes in the community. 

Ultimately we must build sustained relationships with our stakeholders, and embrace multiple perspectives and diverse frames of references to represent the faces of our community. We must be savvy in research and assessment to prove our value as librarians. We must speak the language of the community, be it a school, a college campus, or a neighborhood. And we must strive, with all our hearts, to deliver what T. Scott Gross calls “positively outrageous services*” to our community at all times. 

It’s about time we appoint ourselves to be the most important members of our community and demonstrate to the community that our professional skills and competencies are the essential asset they know they cannot live without. 

* Gross, T. S. (2016). Positively Outrageous Services: How to delight and astound your customers and win them for life (3rd ed.). New York: Allworth Press. 

A revised version of this article will be published in the Texas Library Journal, 2017 Summer issue.

Introducing the Community Informatics Specialization at TWU SLIS

Article Contributed by Dr. Kathryn Masten 

After over two years in the making, the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) is pleased to announce a new area of specialization in “Community Informatics,” defined as “the application of information and communications technology to enable & empower community processes” (Gurstein, 2007). Courses counting toward the specialization include LS 5043 Information and Communication Technology, along with several special topics (LS 5903) courses: Assessment in Practice, Communities in the Knowledge Economy, Community-Based Project Design, and Grant Writing and Management. Students seeking the specialization may also complete LS 5923, a Capstone project. We plan to offer additional courses about Trends and Issues in Community Informatics as the program grows. The goal of the specialization is to prepare students to use data and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within community-based organizations (including libraries) for the benefit of local communities.  

Classes offered in Community Informatics are open not only to students pursuing a Master of Library Science degree, but also to students pursuing TWU’s new interdisciplinary degrees in Informatics (see http://www.twu.edu/informatics/). Formed as the result of a collaboration between the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, the Health Studies Department, the College of Nursing, the School of Management, and the School of Library and Information Studies, Informatics at TWU emphasizes the use of technology and data analytics to derive meaningful information from data for data and decision driven practice in user centered systems.  

Funders are very interested in supporting Community Informatics research designed to address some of the more difficult problems facing communities. Dr. Masten is serving as the Principal Investigator for a study, entitled “An Interdisciplinary Informatics Approach to Address Health Challenges faced by those with Schizophrenia.” Funded for $10,000 by a grant from TWU’s Research Enhancement Program, with additional financial support from the College of Professional Education, students and faculty from four departments, including Dr. Carol Perryman and Dr. Will Senn from SLIS, will analyze a multi-year dataset about emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and discharge to the community of people with schizophrenia in North Texas. The ultimate aim of this research is to produce a predictive model for simulating outcomes for this population, based on changing types and levels of community-based support. Dr. Perryman and Dr. Masten have also been awarded funds from TWU’s Summer Research Initiative to write a grant proposal to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to support further research about community-based services for those with schizophrenia. TWU’s Center for Research Design and Analysis (CRDA) is assisting the Informatics research team with quantitative and qualitative analysis support, while the TWU Libraries are assisting with research data management for the project.  

Our two newest SLIS faculty members, Dr. Kathryn Masten and Dr. Will Senn are heading up the new specialization. Dr. Masten joined SLIS as an Assistant Professor in 2015, after serving since 2008 as the Associate Director of the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge at the University of North Texas. Dr. Masten earned her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Science from the University of North Texas, a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Arizona State University, and a B.A. in Psychology and French from Beloit College. She has over 20 years of experience as a technical writer, analyst, and coordinator in public, private, nonprofit, and academic settings. A community activist at heart, she helped launch two rural community networks and a community foundation, has served as a director on several nonprofit boards, and has a longstanding interest in community mental health. 

Before joining SLIS as an Assistant Professor in Spring 2017, Dr. Will Senn taught Data Science at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Prior to that, he had worked at Underwriter’s Labs, also in Nashville. He got both his Ph.D. and M.S. from UNT in Information Science and Library and Information Science. He is teaching Information and Communication Technology and will be teaching Information Organization and Community Informatics.  

For more information about the Community Information specialization, contact Dr. Masten at kmasten@twu.edu or Dr. Senn at wsenn1@twu.edu.

GLISA's First Webinar Series

Working Towards Inclusivity and Opportunity for Members and Beyond: A message from the 2016-2017 GLISA Officers

Since Fall 2016, the TWU student ALA chapter, GLISA, has worked diligently to provide a more inclusive association for the TWU SLIS community. In order to accomplish this hefty goal, GLISA made a few large changes to the program, such as offering free membership to current TWU students who are also ALA members, creating a forum where members within all fields of librarianship can communicate, and sharing each GLISA opportunity with all of SLIS from students to alumni. Since making these changes, GLISA has more than doubled the total number of members gained during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Of all GLISA’s accomplishments this academic year, the most time extensive yet collaborative and rewarding project was GLISA's first webinar series, focusing on professional development. The webinar series spanned three days and included the following topics, with the speakers listed below*:

Upcoming tasks GLISA will tackle from now until the end of the Spring 2017 semester include their Spring newsletter (which will be shared with all of SLIS via the Cassandra listserv, among other GLISA platforms) and officer elections to fill the positions of President, Vice President/President Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. If you are a current student looking to take on a leadership role and make a difference in the TWU SLIS community, please don't hesitate to reach out and inquire about any of these positions via email at GLISAatTWU@gmail.com or by visiting the GLISA website at http://glisatwu.wordpress.com/.

*To view the recorded webinar sessions, select the respective webinar title.

Dr. Moore Selected as Faculty Fellow for “Libraries Ready to Code” Initiative

Dr. Jennifer Moore, SLIS Assistant Professor, was selected to participate as a Faculty Fellow in Phase II of the ALA-Google Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative, as announced in the ALA press release.

The Ready to Code (RtC) Phase II: Embedding RtC Concepts in Library and Information Science Curricula is an extension of a year-long project building on work accomplished through the 2016 Libraries RtC Phase 1: Increasing Computer Science Opportunities for Young People project. Both phases are part of the ALA-Google Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative sponsored by ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and supported by Google, Inc.  

According to the fellowship application invitation, “RtC Phase 1 examined ways in which youth library staff currently integrate computer science (CS) learning experiences into their programming. It helped uncover the opportunities libraries have to extend the national and local investments already made in promoting CS opportunities for the nation’s youth. The RtC Phase 1 project found gaps in the depth and scope of coding activities among libraries and recommends focusing next step action on programs in Library and Information Science (LIS) schools for youth librarians.” RtC Phase II involves the recruitment of a cohort of Faculty Fellows who teach LIS courses in the technology/media area for students who plan to work with children and teens.   

As part of this year-long initiative, Faculty Fellows are required to re-design one of their courses to integrate RtC ideas, and to pilot their new courses in Fall 2017. They must also attend virtual meetings and an in-person workshop at the ALA 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago. Faculty Fellows will collaborate with each other and with the RtC team throughout the process to share ideas and synthesize and disseminate the findings of their work. For their contributions to the RtC initiative, Faculty Fellows will receive a stipend.  

Dr. Moore will be developing a course syllabus with RtC concepts embedded in the course.  The syllabus will serve as a model for other LIS educators, as Faculty Fellows will share the outcomes of their re-designed courses with other LIS programs via conference presentations and/or journal articles.  

Congratulations to Dr. Moore!

SLIS Faculty Accomplishments, Spring 2017

Dr. Lynn Akin is receiving the 2017 College of Professional Education (COPE) Faculty Award for Outstanding Teacher in SLIS.

Ms. Naomi Bates, SLIS adjunct instructor, has been nominated as an AASL Social Media Program Pioneer finalist. Ms. Bates is teaching LS 5633 Storytelling in Spring 2017.  

Dr. Aaron Elkins had two recent presentations: 

  • Hollister, J. & Elkins, A. J. (2017). Power up: Gaps in and opportunities for gaming in LIS Curricula, poster presentation at the Association for Library and Information Science Education conference, Atlanta, GA.
  • Elkins, A. J.  (2016). En-Twine-d in the Curriculum: Creating Non-Linear Digital Experience across Content Areas, presented at the Gaming As Meaningful Education conference, Rochester, NY. 

Dr. Gretchen Hoffman has received a TWU Faculty Development Leave for Fall 2017.

Dr. Hyuk-Jin Lee’s recent accomplishments include a journal article and a panel with a proceeding paper, which received “Best Paper” recognition:

  • Lee, H. J. (2016). New information behavior model: Life paradigm based. Journal of the Korean BIBLIA Society for Library and Information Science, 27(1), p.217- 235.
  • Lee, H. J. (2016). The role of virtual architecture, ARQUEOLÓGICA 2.0, 8th International Congress on Archaeology, Computer Graphics, Cultural Heritage and Innovation, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain, September 5-7, 2016. Selected as “Best paper.”  

Dr. Jennifer Moore was featured in the Fall 2016 Faculty Spotlight by the Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology, as the 2016 recipient of the TWU Distinction in Distance Education award. Dr. Moore is also on the TLA 2018 Program Planning Committee.  

Dr. Moore also has a recent publication: Moore, J., and Cahill, M. (2016). Audiobooks: Legitimate “reading” material for adolescents? School Library Research, 19.

Dr. Carol Perryman has been accepted into the competitive National Library of Medicine (NLM) Biomedical Informatics course hosted by the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library, Augusta University, Georgia. With attendance fully subsidized by Augusta University’s contract with the NLM, the week-long course brings together healthcare professionals and librarians to learn conceptual and technical components of biomedical informatics.

The second edition of Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science, which includes two chapters co-authored by Dr. Perryman, has now been published. Intended to support research in practice, the chapters detail basic methods readers can follow to investigate issues.

Ms. Patricia Peters, SLIS adjunct instructor, was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by the Decatur, Texas, Rotary Club for her contributions to the community, especially in the area of literacy. "Pat encourages others to expand literacy activities and going the extra mile.” Ms. Peters is the Director of the Decatur Public Library and a past Rotarian President.

Dr. Sylvia Vardell has several recent publications and other activities. She published a book for young people in January:  Vardell, S. M. and Wong, Janet. Eds. (2017). Here we go: A poetry Friday power book. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books.  

Dr. Vardell published two articles as part of her regular poetry column for ALA’s BOOK LINKS magazine:

  • Vardell, S.M. (2017). Books and authors: Pushing boundaries with diverse poetry. Book Links. January, 26 (1). 
  • Vardell, S. M. (2016). Books and authors: Talking with Jeannine Atkins. Book Links. November, 25, (2).  

Dr. Vardell’s other accomplishments include:

  • She initiated a new monthly feature (along with author Janet Wong) on poetry and science for the NSTA journal, SCIENCE AND CHILDREN. It launched in September and is called, "The Poetry of Science" and includes a poem each month on a science topic along with teaching activities for integrating science and literacy.
  • She was a keynote speaker at Western Washington University's poetry event, entitled "Poetry Camp," that featured nearly 40 poets who write for children (September 2016 in Bellingham, WA).
  • She presented at the biennial conference of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People in Auckland, New Zealand, on the topic, "Diverse Verse: Quick Crossings in our Global & Digital World."
  • She presented at the annual conference of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English, in Atlanta, GA, in November 2016 on the topic, "Voices in Verse: Exploring Literature through Performance," along with poets Jeannine Atkins, Patricia Hruby Powell, Janet Wong, and Margarita Engle.
  • She was interviewed for the radio program, "Worlds Awaiting," about poetry for children.
  • She began her time on the Caldecott Award Committee at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta, GA, in January.

Alumni and Student News, Spring 2017

Cynthia Alaniz (MLS 2015) has been nominated as an AASL Social Media Curriculum Champion finalist. 

Katrina Corral, current MLS student and 2016-17 GLISA President, was selected to participate in the ALA Student-to-Staff program for the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago in June. According to the ALA website, “The program allows 40 students, both ALA members and members of their school's ALA student chapter, to attend and participate in an annual conference in exchange for working 16 hours for ALA staff during the conference.”  

Colleen Graves (MLS 2012) has published two new books, with a third coming out this summer! Co-authored with her husband, Aaron Graves, The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create, and Learn (McGraw-Hill Education, 2017) is now available for purchase. Her other new book, co-authored with Aaron Graves and Diana L. Rendina, is Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace (ABC-CLIO, August 2017). Her third book, coming out in Summer 2017 and also co-authored with Aaron Graves, is 20 Makey Makey Projects for the Evil Genius (McGraw-Hill Education). More information about her books and other professional activities is available on her blog: https://colleengraves.org/. Congratulations to Colleen on her new publications! 

Deborah Hathaway (MLS 2016) has been selected to write 3 chapters for Sudden Guide to Acquisitions to be published in 2017 by ALCTS.   

Anna Hopkins, current MLS student, was appointed in December 2016 as Adult Programming Coordinator in the Springfield-Greene County Library District (Springfield, MO). 

Sammie Johnson (MLS 2016) has recently been selected as the Assistant Director of Research, Public and Information Literacy Services in the Learning Resources Center at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Normal, Alabama. In his new position, Sammie oversees all Public Service operations at the library.   

Tracy Jolivette (MLS 2016) has a new position in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office in Washington, DC. She is the Records Administrator for the Energy, Minerals, and Realty Management Directorate, and the Business Management Office of the BLM. This position was created based on the work Tracy did for the BLM in her summer 2015 internship, during which she created a file management plan for the Washington, DC, office of the BLM.   

Diana O’Connor (MLS 2004) received a grant from the Junior League of Dallas through its Grants for Innovative Teaching program. Diana is a library media specialist at the Dallas ISD Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School.  

Congratulations to Eula Oliphant (MLS 1976) for receiving the TWU 2016-17 Elizabeth Snapp Award for Excellence in Librarianship for her work at the TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas Center. Established in 2011, the award, named in honor of TWU Library Director Emeritus Elizabeth Snapp, who served at TWU for 33 years, recognizes the excellence of professional librarians at TWU.   

Allison Renner (MLS 2016) was selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) as its new member manager for the YALSAblog. Allison is a Teen Services Librarian at the Cordova (Tennessee) Branch Library. She started her one-year term as the blog member manager on December 1, 2016. In this position, she coordinates between the YALS journal, the advisory board, and the bloggers, and she also recruits bloggers and guest bloggers and edits blog posts.   

In Memoriam 

Clyta Verne Agee McAtee Gentry, age 96, died on September 9, 2016, in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 1943 with a degree in Library Science, which she used throughout her life. As a pastor’s wife, she started or enhanced church libraries in all the churches she and her husband served, and she worked as a school librarian for 20 years. She considered her library degree a blessing in her life.