Professional Philosophies

I needed to update my CV, and in doing so, I added some professional philosophies.

Information Ethics

I support the Library Code of Ethics, the entirety of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and the public’s Freedom to Read and Freedom of Information.

Diversity and Inclusion

Hatred and intolerance have no place in libraries or education; we serve all who have a need, and strive to represent and expose the sum of humanity’s experiences and perspectives. Open dialogue that includes a multiplicity of voices — and which combats the systemic social and cultural barriers that have historically excluded and currently excludes voices from that dialogue — is crucial to our shared humanity.

On Teaching and Learning

All of higher education is a classroom; or, the smallest part of higher education is the classroom. The places where a person’s boundaries are challenged are the places where they learn, and those places can be classrooms, offices, libraries, dining halls, study rooms, playing fields, places of worship, and on the streets of our communities. So long as curiosity and inquiry can flourish, people can and will learn.

Professional interests

My current professional interests all revolve around the intersections in higher education — the places that classroom learning, student identity, libraries, the internet, scholarly communication, and authentic experiences collide.

Come work with us: two Technical Services positions

We’re hiring, and the librarians agreed that 2017 was a good time to try hiring differently. We rewrote our job descriptions and ads from scratch, with a different focus on who we are, and what we require in colleagues. We’re excited. This is a new approach to hiring, for us — and we’d like to work with you. I hope these job ads make that seem exciting to you, too.

The College Libraries at SUNY Potsdam are reorganizing our technical services functions, and hiring two librarians: A Technical Services and Metadata Coordinator to help futureproof our services, and an Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian to support the core functions of discovery, access, and management of information resources.

Who are we?
SUNY Potsdam has defied expectations since 1816, focusing on teaching, learning, and creative innovation through the nation’s first school of Music Education, a proud tradition of teacher education, and a remarkable school of Arts and Sciences. We are simultaneously one of SUNY’s most-watched creative campuses AND second-best in SUNY’s comprehensive colleges for students enrolled in STEM fields – and we’re chasing down first place.

To support this amazing community, the College Libraries have adopted a mission focused on forging dynamic partnerships, empowering our vibrant and diverse academic community to do thoughtful research, explore new ideas, and collaborate effectively. Our goals align with The Potsdam Pledge, http://www.potsdam.edu/about, which focuses on our community goals of vital teaching and learning, freedom of thought, belief and expression, respect and responsibility, safety and wellness, diversity and inclusion, and integrity in all we do. Because we are aware that we are a historically white and historically regional college that has an increasingly diverse population, we are working to understand our differences as we integrate students from beautiful rural upstate New York with students from the vibrant urban environments of downstate New York, preparing all of our community members to live global lives.

With full support from our new Provost hired in 2016, the College Libraries are responding to these changes. These librarian positions are ideal opportunities for librarians interested in the blend of tradition and experimentation in an increasingly diverse, inclusive, transparent, and flexible environment. They will join 9 library faculty and 6 support staff who include a mix of “lifers” who have settled in Potsdam for the foreseeable future, and new folks who will learn from us, do good work here, and move on in their careers better for the experience – and we welcome the diversity of perspectives that both kinds of professionals bring to our campus.

What are the positions?

Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian
The librarian will have faculty rank of Senior Assistant Librarian, in a tenure-track faculty position subject to criteria for reappointment, promotion, and continuing appointment as established by the SUNY Board of Trustees and the Personnel Policies of the College Libraries, with a negotiable minimum salary of $48,000.

As a part of our team and community, the Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian will provide expertise in managing the libraries’ electronic and print subscriptions, and the technologies necessary to maintain and access those resources. The librarian will report to the Technical Services and Metadata Coordinator, as a part of a department that also includes two library clerks working in acquisitions, cataloging, serials, discovery, and digitization of local collections. We expect that the librarian will be involved at varying levels of responsibility in the following projects or types of projects:

  • Migrating in 2018 from a local implementation of ALEPH 500 to a new consortial LSP hosting all SUNY campus bibliographic files, including review of all technical services processes and workflows during and post-migration
  • Maintaining and optimizing our use of software services that provide discovery and access to electronic resources
  • Engaging our campus with Open Educational Resources and developing a sustainability plan for OERs
  • Establishing infrastructure and processes to support student research initiatives – in many varied formats – and to showcase the campus’s research output
  • Supporting technical services staff in purchase, cataloging, and maintenance of materials for the F.W. Crumb main library and the Julia E. Crane music library

Specific responsibilities will be refined in coordination with the Technical Services and Metadata Coordinator and the Director of Libraries, building on the strengths and interests of the successful candidate. As a holistic member of the library staff, the Librarian’s responsibilities may include face to face or online research assistance, information literacy instruction, and/or collection development – again, building on the strengths and interests of the successful candidate. Library faculty are also expected and encouraged to engage with the academic and student life of the campus through committee, teaching, or other service opportunities, and current library faculty have built a strong reputation as valued members of our community through these kinds of service engagements.

Our qualifications are simple:

A master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master’s level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country, per http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/employment/foreigncredentialing/forjobseekers), earned by the proposed start date.

and we prefer that you have

– Sufficient experience in libraries, at any level, to ensure the candidate can achieve continuing appointment at the rank of Senior Assistant Librarian.
– Sufficient experience with library technical services principles to allow for confident participation in the life of the department.
– Demonstrated experience working with, doing research with, or teaching under-represented groups.

AND

Technical Services and Metadata Coordinator
The Coordinator will have faculty rank of Associate Librarian in a tenure-track faculty position subject to criteria for reappointment, promotion, and tenure as established by the SUNY Board of Trustees and the Personnel Policies of the College Libraries, with a negotiable minimum salary of $60,000.

As a part of our team and community, the Coordinator will provide leadership and vision for the Libraries’ management of content in all formats, and will be responsible for access to library materials, including metadata creation in support of print, digital, and Open Access collections. Technical Services currently encompasses acquisitions, cataloging, serials, and discovery, and will expand to include digitization of local collections. The Coordinator will supervise one librarian and two Library Clerks, and will be a key member of the Management Team of the Libraries. We expect that the Coordinator will provide leadership for the following projects or types of projects:

  • Migrating in 2018 from a local implementation of ALEPH 500 to a new consortial LSP hosting all SUNY campus bibliographic files, including review of all technical services processes and workflows during and post-migration
  • Engaging our campus with Open Educational Resources and developing a sustainability plan for OERs
  • Establishing infrastructure and processes to support student research initiatives – in many varied formats – and to showcase the campus’s research output
  • Supporting technical services staff in purchase, cataloging, and maintenance of materials for the F.W. Crumb main library, and the Julia E. Crane music library
  • Mentoring the professional development of a new Electronic Resources and Serials librarian, and participating in skills and professional development for library staff
  • Integrating patron-driven or purchase-on-demand processes into current acquisitions, ILL, and cataloging environments

Specific responsibilities will be collaboratively refined with the Director of Libraries after hire, building on the strengths and interests of the successful candidate. As a holistic member of the library staff working in a leadership role, the Coordinator’s responsibilities may include face to face or online research assistance, information literacy instruction, and/or collection development – again, building on the strengths and interests of the successful candidate. Library faculty are also expected and encouraged to engage with the academic and student life of the campus through committee, teaching, or other service opportunities, and current library faculty have built a strong reputation as valued members of our community through these kinds of service engagements.

Our requirements are simple:

A master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master’s level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country, per http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/employment/foreigncredentialing/forjobseekers).

And we prefer you have:

– Experience working in academic or research libraries.
– Sufficient experience in libraries to ensure the candidate can achieve continuing appointment at the rank of Associate Librarian.
– Sufficient experience with library technical services to allow for confident leadership of the department.
– Demonstrated experience working with, doing research with, or teaching under-represented groups.

Both positions require that you submit very particular application documentation.

1. Submission of a detailed cover letter that explains your interest in the position and what you have to offer our institution, and describes how you will approach the key projects listed in the job description.

2. Submission of a one page statement detailing how your previous work and/or service has supported the success of students from diverse/underrepresented backgrounds, or contributed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. Applicants with no prior involvement with such processes should indicate how they will advance SUNY Potsdam’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

3. Contact information for three professional references.

Applications can be found here:

Technical Services and Metadata Coordinator

Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian

The Freedom Series

Jenica   January 20, 2017   2 Comments on The Freedom Series

Over the last two years, I have felt a developing sense of unease about what our current college students do and do not understand about their freedoms and rights — and the freedoms and rights of their fellow citizens. We’ve been working through racial tensions, a campus hate crime, with the social and emotional fallout of the presidential election tossed into the mix. And I’ve been able to follow a thread through it all, one that I think separates my generation from this one in a real, meaningful way.

I don’t think they understand the First Amendment, and their First Amendment rights. I think that the media free-for-all of the 24 hour news cycle mixed with the media diaspora of type-and-click internet publishing platforms mixed with our Everyone Can Be Famous entitlement culture has led to a world in which we have a dangerous number of young people who feel the freedom of social media and the firehose of information but don’t understand the consequences of trying to drink that in.

I had challenging conversations about the right to free speech, and what a state college’s role is in first amendment issues. About why students are allowed, nay, encouraged! to protest. About fake news and the price of sharing it. About the social consequences of exercising freedoms in a socially unpopular way.

And each of those conversations felt important, and meaningful, and was held one-on-one. I can’t talk to the whole campus. I can’t reach every student. But I can reach several thousand of them by using my library as a platform to support age old library philosophies of practice, professional ethics, and information literacy goals. So that’s what we’re doing. In spring 2017, the College Libraries at SUNY Potsdam will be hosting The Freedom Series, a web-and-print exhibit on the core academic and learning freedoms of Information, Inquiry, Speech, Press, and Assembly. I’ll be sharing them as we go, but for the start of classes we began with an approach at awareness raising about fake news. If this looks useful for your library, please steal it. The original powerpoint is online here, and I consider this to be licensed for any non-commercial adaptation. Go forth and help our communities be smarter.

“It’s just libraries, nobody dies”

“It’s just libraries; nobody dies.

I’ve been saying that since 2001, when my first Director said it to me when I was freaked out that I missed a deadline. I was a brand new professional, and that missed deadline seemed like a pink slip. Nope, Karen said. Not a crisis. Just fix it.

I’ve lived my whole professional career balancing between my own high standards for performance and the awareness that it’s just libraries and nobody dies. And for the last 6-8 weeks I’ve been suffering through some writer’s block on two new job ads. We decided to nuke our job ads from orbit and rewrite, reflecting the personality and reality of our libraries more effectively to the job market. I wanted to have them posted last week. They aren’t written yet, because I’m blocked. But it’s just libraries. Nobody dies.

Except then I got news from a friend writing to share the story of a family medical challenge, saying, “Sincere gratitude to all the medical researchers who post their works open-access and to hell with the rest of you. Pubmed is great. But I don’t have the kind of library access that lets me read all of this stuff and the stakes are pretty damn high for me right now.

One of the ads I’m writing is for a Coordinator of Technical Services and Metadata. The other is for an Electronic Resources and Discovery librarian. Know what those two positions do? Among other things, they are the library staff who ensure easy access to information, promote open access, and advocate for better vendor-user relationships.

Nobody dies, huh?

I’m going to go write, now.

Welcome to the Absurd Zone

Welcome to the Absurd Zone

Welcome to the Absurd Zone

I hate December. December is the Absurd Zone. December is when we wrap up classes, enroll students for the spring, prepare for winter break, have major cultural holidays and family obligations, and also wrap up a financial quarter. December is when academics break into tiny pieces.

In May, when the stresses hit, you know you have the summer to rebuild yourself. In December, we stare down the same stress points and recognize that there’s a light at the end of tunnel, for sure, but there’s still five months of trains coming before we get there. In December we know we’re going to make it… but only by embracing the absurd.

This week started with a toddler meltdown because overalls are CLEARLY torture, PARENTS, and the Tyrant Without Offswitch would like to know why we do not recognize this fact despite her 100 decibel shrieks informing us of it. Fine, kid, lie on the floor and scream while failing to remove overalls over your shoes. You do that. You still have to wear pants.

Then Monday proceeded into 11 hours of meetings. Eleven. Hours. Of. Meetings. The last one was a campus dinner, but it was professional conversation with students, colleagues, and the President and her wife. So… still a meeting. After 10 prior hours of meetings. I was grateful I wore leggings and a sweater dress, because that, at least, is sort of like pajamas. I can pretend I’m happy and comfortable if I’m wearing sort-of-pajamas. Then I went home and battled through bedtime with a super-restless toddler, then laid awake with an annoying hacking cough of undetermined origins, because of course.

At 8:05 this morning I woke up thinking “I just heard the kitchen door close, so that means Kyle went to work. OH SHIT IF KYLE WENT TO WORK I AM LATE”, because I had an 8:30 meeting on campus. Which I made it to about 3 minutes late, because I’m a goddamn superhero who can embrace the ludicrousness of a messy bun and good jewelry as a substitute for ACTUAL PREPARATION. Then three more hours of meetings, endless gratitude that the library cafe sells bananas and coffee, and… oh man, the email. I can’t with the email yet.

I’m typing this on my “lunch break” as an exercise in stress reduction because holy crap what the fuck, during which I’m listening to The Beatles “Blackbird” and trying not to obsess about the data requests I got yesterday which I’m getting texted reminders of today. Of the grant report due two months ago that I have not done, which needs to be followed up with another report in two weeks. Of the job descriptions that need to be posted ASAP and are not done. Of the all-faculty email I need to edit and send out ASAP. Of the Cuba Winterim travel course which keeps throwing up details to be dealt with. Of the four more hours of meetings on my calendar today. Of the list of un-registered students we need to cross-reference to our student employee roster to contribute to eleventh-hour retention efforts. Of the million other details which pile up because December.

Bob Dylan just shuffled up. “How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?” And I’m thinking about the four years straight that I’ve sworn up and down I would begin a lunchtime mindfulness meditation practice for myself. You know what I won’t be doing in December? Starting that. Maybe January.

Because January is coming. IT IS. January has a few weeks with no classes in session, and is on the upside of the darkest time of the year — past the solstice, and into the spring semester — and is a cultural touchstone for change and renewal. 2017 is coming, and until then… I’m going to embrace the absurd. These stresses are impossible to manage. I’m going to do it anyway, with liberal application of manatees and whatever else makes me smile. Because Everything Will Be Okay.

Right?

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