NEWS from Washington State Colleges

Check out new publications, special events, and new buildings at libraries and by librarians throughout the state. 

Librarian in Print: Ro McKernan’s article on “Curating API Feeds to Display Open Library Book Covers in Subject Guides” will be published in More Library Mashups (Engard, Nicole. More Library Mashups. Medford: Information Today, 2014). You can review the contents here. Their description of the chapter reads:

“Building on a mashup which utilized a combination of an API from and Google Drive API to display book covers on a website, Rowena modified the CSS to create a horizontal book flow and added PHP to allow auto-links back to her library catalog as well as simplified to JavaScript to get only the information that the library users really needed. This mashup also includes using WordPress as a subject guide site and installing a plug-in that loads custom JavaScript/CSS on specific pages.”

Seattle Colleges Event: Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus of the University of Washington I-School, served as keynote speaker to the Seattle Colleges District Convocation event on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Eisenberg’s presentation, “Essential Understandings and Skills for Success in the 21st Century: Helping Students Learn to Transform Data and Information into Knowledge and Action”, helped raise the profile of information literacy and library services at the three Seattle campuses. The event is held annually and attendance is strongly encouraged for all faculty, staff and administrators in the district.

Eisenberg’s speech touched on the data overload problems faced by today’s students (and teachers) and on techniques for turning data into meaningful knowledge. He highlighted the role of librarians in supporting faculty and students in managing information problems, and his keynote was followed by an invitational breakout session attended by several dozen faculty and staff.

Submitted by Shireen Deboo (2014-15 College Council Chair), Librarian for BEIT/International Business, North Seattle College.

Whatcom Community College reports:
As a way to increase productivity, our library is investing in new book trucks for each librarian. They are colorful, the right size for any type of book, and they do not have squeaky wheels. Each is a different color (the librarians are color-coded!). The book trucks are proving very useful as we weed our reference collection in earnest. We have indicated in various areas throughout the reference collection where students might go for related online information by posting signs that provide website screen shots and QR codes.

Our newest database is the PBS video collection. We haven’t done much to market it yet, but we have received good responses from those who have used it. We rolled out Primo (as OneSearch) this fall but we have taken a “soft launch” approach and note that it is better for some things than others. Our library will soon be engaged in a major website overhaul, getting underway shortly after the new college site is launched next month. We are very fond of certain aspects of our existing site so we hope to not “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” but will be soliciting feedback for ways to improve.

Plans for Whatcom’s newest building, The Phyllis and Charles Self Learning Commons, are well underway. We have passed from the Schematic Design to the Design Development phase. We are very much looking forward to the day we roll our colorful book trucks across the street to new digs. Submitted by Sally Sheedy.

News from Highline Community College: Like other community colleges around the state, Highline College has added Bachelor of Applied Sciences programs to its offerings (this change also resulted in the new institutional name, changing from “Highline Community College” on July 1, 2014). With initial curriculum planning taking place in the 2013/14 academic year, we in the Library designated a full-time reference librarian to act as a liaison to each B.A.S. program. The librarians met early with program faculty, with the initial focus being on collection development. With additional funds allocated by the college administration to the Library to support these programs, we spent the last academic year building up a base collection of monographs for each program as selected by both librarians and B.A.S. faculty, as well as identifying possible database subscriptions. With classes underway in the new programs, we have already begun discussions with the B.A.S. faculty on integrating systematic information literacy into each level of the programs. Submitted by Deb Moore.

South Puget Sound Community College – The library and student life co-hosted a Maker Day event on December 5 at 1pm-5pm. Students, faculty, staff—everybody was welcome to participate. The event was based on the makerspace idea, which basically encourages people from all disciplines to meet up and make, build, or create something together in a place for creativity. Everybody at the event is encouraged to share their knowledge, learn from others, and create from what they learn.

Many of the activities blended art with science, computers, and math. Led by the Tomodachi Club, students learned to make origami cranes, one thousand of which will be hung on a kinesthetic art structure that the Maker’s Club will create in collaboration with the Math Club (we have hopes of installing this art piece somewhere on campus). Earl Dunning demonstrated how to design and build model ships with remote controls using inexpensive household items. The Christian Club manned a holiday wreath making station which used ornaments created by the Welding Club. Paula McMichen and Mandy McCullough provided a free beading station where Native American dream catcher ornament or beaded jewelry could be made. A 3D printer was also available for the curious to learn how to use.

We had a fantastic turnout and received wonderful feedback from students, faculty, and staff. Many of the participants commented that they would love to have another Maker Day event happen every quarter. Lily Kun, librarian, and Cindy Uhrich, student life, are brewing tentative ideas for a Winter quarter Maker Day. Submitted by Lily Kun.

Librarian News! New Librarians

Welcoming new staff, and celebrating staff changes at Highline, Whatcom, Grays Harbor, and South Puget Sound.

South Puget Sound Community College: New Adjunct Faculty — A warm welcome to Emily Waugh, our new adjunct librarian at South Puget Sound Community College. She grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, graduating with a BA in Anthropology and American Studies in 2003. In 2005, Emily moved west, first living in Seattle and then Vancouver, British Columbia, where she received her MLIS from the University of British Columbia in 2008. After graduation, Emily settled in Olympia where her husband had found work as a forester. She enjoys running, reading, traveling, and exploring this great state with her family. Emily also works as an Adjunct Reference Librarian at Grays Harbor College. Submitted by Lily Kun.

Grays Harbor College is pleased to welcome adjunct librarian Khyle Sutton! Khyle started with us in fall quarter, taking an evening shift, Saturdays and any other hours we can drum up! He comes to us from Northern California having received his MLIS degree in 2013 from the University Washington. Khyle jumped right in to the whirlwind of fall quarter, doing an admirable job adjusting to the nuances of a small community college library.

Looking back at the quarter, Khyle has been a great help with assisting students, collection development, and compiling information for our upcoming Bachelors of Applied Science degree.He can be reached directly at and has been known to lurk on the CLAMS list.

We are thrilled to have Khyle on our staff here at GHC and hope everyone has the opportunity to meet him in the future! Submitted by Adrienne Roush.

Highline College would like to welcome Christina Nilsen to our staff as a part-time reference librarian. She is recently arrived to Seattle from Canada, and brings a wealth of reference and teaching experience as well as numerous photos of her two new cats, Johnny Cash (all black fur) and Willie Nelson (grizzled gray). Submitted by Deb Moore.

Whatcom Community College library has had some changes in personnel. Director Linda Lambert retired effective end of the summer 2014. No new director has yet been installed. Librarian Jon McConnel has moved to a full-time position with the Whatcom County Librarian System – our loss, their gain. Heather Williams, formerly head of the library’s Technical Services department, earned her library degree while in Whatcom’s employ and is now our newest adjunct librarian. In addition to her being an all-around good colleague, she is a language nerd and Star Trek geek. Heather’s position has been filled by Brett Straka, someone new to us with both archives and library experience. We hope to develop a pool of substitute librarians so that we can handle the vagaries of people’s schedules – things have been a bit hectic for us this fall. Submitted by Sally Sheedy.

Image Credit: “Librarian” by Giuseppe Arcimboldo is in the Public Domain

AskWa update – Marketing that Works: Get your students to use Ask WA

by Nono Burling, Washington State Library

The AskWA Users Group online meeting on November 7, 2014 considered why some libraries have a high adoption of the Ask WA 24/7 chat service by their patrons.

Guest presenters Michael Rene Wood and Deanna Sukkar from Shoreline Community College shared the story behind a highly successful marketing blitz last spring quarter. Participants shared questions and ideas, and viewed materials from SCC’s Ray Howard Library “LibrarianChat” marketing campaign. Here is a link to the recording of their meeting.

During the meeting a few people also requested a copy the presentation slides that were used. If you download the files they will revert to how they are supposed to look. Mike and Deanna also have included their email addresses and are happy to answer questions. In Blackboard recordings any links placed in the chat box are live even in the recording so if you find something of interest click away.

Thanks to those who were able to be there live and in person and for those that watch the recording, enjoy…

Library as Open Education Leader – update

(image from Open Education Resources, by Louise Egan, 9 May 2014.)

Washington’s Community College Libraries have received a grant from the IMLS (through the State Library) to pursue Libraries as Open Education Leaders. The introductory meeting on November 7, 2014 was attended by 26 colleges. Guest Speaker Nicole Allen from SPARC talked about the need for an advocacy plan and organized approach as one tried to implement OER (or anything else) on a campus. Several college libraries have applied for a grant to develop an advocacy plan, and 16 of them will be working on this Winter Quarter 2015. Beginning Winter Quarter, schools which already have an advocacy plan for OER will be applying for grants to develop more Open Resources. Stay Posted!

The Library as Open Education Leader (LOEL) grant project is a collaboration between the WA Library Leadership Council and College Librarians & Media Specialists (CLAMS) with support from the E-Learning Council and State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC). The grant is funded by the WA Office of the Secretary of State and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Azerbaijan National Library

submitted by Andrea Gillaspy-Steinhilper

I suppose I collect libraries. Many librarians do. A librarian on a vacation is like a bus driver on a vacation – you just have to see how THEY do it. So, while visiting Baku, Azerbaijan, I contacted the Azeri National Library. They said I could visit — so I did.

I arrived at the library with only my drivers license and a business card. Generally, passports are required for non-residents, but as I only wanted to see the library, they allowed me in, and a very helpful and friendly librarian (do they come any other way?) gave me a tour. Adila Abdullayeva is the head of Methodical Support of Libraries Department. She spoke Azeri and Russian. I speak English and French, with a smattering of Spanish. It was interesting speaking without a real common language, but Adila was wonderful. 

The beautiful marble Azerbaijan National Library [Azərbaycan Milli Kitabxanası] sits right on Sahil Square, one of the many parks in Baku. Its three floors center around the staircase and courtyard covered with a glass skylight. The ground floor holds registration and some paintings by Azeri artists. The second floor has one huge reading room, reminiscent of reading rooms in the Biblioteca Nacional de España and the Boston Public LIbrary, but other reading and research rooms were smaller. The large one was for general work, the smaller ones for specific disciplines such as science, humanities, music.

One very interesting room was the room of antique books. They had items in Latin and Farsi, as well as Azeri and Russian. The books dated from the 18th century to the 15th century. The also had a collection of miniature books. (This seems to be an Azeri phenomenon – they also have a museum of miniature books near the old city.) In that room the Persian books and illustrations in Arabic script were so elegant!

The library had TWO music rooms. One was the room with many scores, of theatrical music and also orchestral and general music, half Azeri, and half Russian and European. However, there was also a listening room, where one could use headphones to hear recordings of different pieces of music.

We did go into other reading and research rooms, but I do not remember them all. I did notice their stacks, though. As with most large libraries, the books are not available for patrons to take off the shelves. Instead, patrons look up what they want in the catalog, request it, and it is brought to you in your reading room. They have both a card catalog and a computer catalog. The computer catalog must have been fairly new because over at least some of them was a sign that even someone with insignificant Russian could tell said “new computer catalog.” I’m afraid I didn’t pay enough attention to tell whether they used Dewey, the European system similar to Dewey, LC, or another cataloging system. And, the question would have been beyond my communication skills.

The periodicals/newspaper room was surprising, as they had many print items. I said that in the USA, and particularly at my college, we more frequently have periodical items on the computer than we do in print. Adila Abdullayeva said, while they do have computers, Azeri users still need print and have many items in print. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ask if that was because of their demographic, of the available material, of funding, or for some other reason.

It was a beautiful library, with many very friendly librarians. I love visiting other libraries!

The Cephalonian Method in Action

by Chelsea Nesvig, Bates Technical College

“How much will it cost me to print a picture of my cat, Florence Nightingale? I want to show my teacher and see if I can bring her in for show and tell.”

As the more than 50 first year nursing students giggled while their classmate read this question from a color-coded index card, I was sold. During the rest of my 30 minutes with them, other students asked preplanned questions on a range of library-related topics – including the one above regarding print costs in the library. They were while subsequently being informed by me about the library and information services available at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, WA. After two or more months of planning, the Cephalonian Method was finally in action!

Upon taking over for a newly retired librarian this past July, I was informed that I would be presenting an orientation session for a new group of practical nursing students on the first day of fall quarter. I was handed discs of previous PowerPoints used during previous sessions. As I glanced through a 42 slide file, I knew I wanted to try something different.

The Cephalonian Method had just entered my consciousness within the previous month, so the timing was fortuitous. It is an active learning technique that takes students from passive listeners to active participants participants in a library orientation session (or any type of orientation session, potentially). Originating in the United Kingdom at Cardiff University, it involves preparing color-coded index cards with questions that you want to answer during a library orientation session[A2] . This allows a randomly selected group of students to ask questions, while the librarian or presenter stands at the front of the class to answer them. During the library orientation session, I randomly distributed the twelve color coded cards. I then called for colors in the order that I wanted them read and prompted students to stand and read their cards when their color was called. I wanted to keep things light and humorous, so I asked questions like: After randomly distributing the twelve cards at the beginning of the session (and giving others blank index cards for note taking), I called for the colors in the order I wanted them read, then prompted that student to stand and read their card. The goal is to keep things light and humorous to keep their attention, so another question read: “My friend said that at his nursing school, the library website has a section that’s just for nursing class info. I dreamed last night that this was true at Bates, too. Do dreams come true?”

Some librarians let a student draw colors from a hat to keep the question order random, but I didn’t want to leave that much to chance for my first session and didn’t necessarily have enough questions for that to be necessary. Music has also been used as students enter the room and during breaks, if they happen. While the Cephalonian Method could be used without accompanying PowerPoint slides, I felt that my slides with the just-asked question at the top and illustrative photos* were very useful for students who are visual learners learn more visually. I took photos of library and campus locations to add to my slides, and kept text to a minimum.

The next challenge will be assessing the long-term effectiveness of this orientation method. I gave students a five minute questionnaire at the end of the session and got positive feedback by asking for the most useful thing they’d learned and what they still had questions about. I also assessed student retention about four weeks after the library session, which was not as successful. An attempt at assessing students’ memory of the material about four weeks post-orientation was not as successful, especially in terms of return of the surveys by students. Improving on that is my next goal. All in all, it was exciting to test this orientation method on the practical nursing students at Bates and I look forward to using it again when a new cohort begins this spring. It is appealing for its not only for its adaptability, but also its interactivity and ability to grab students’ attention.

In the end, if they remembered only one thing from my time with them, I wanted it to be that they could come to the library with questions about anything, so my session concluded with this question: “What if I only remember the picture of Florence Nightingale by the time I get home?” For that, I included library contact information and reminded them of the quotation commonly attributed to Einstein: “The only thing you absolutely need to know is the location of the library.”

*Special thanks to University of Washington iSchool professor Trent Hill for his emphatic instruction on effective slide design.

Curating Conversations: Why the Library?

Written by: Kelley McHenry @ Seattle College

Did you ever consider that your library is the perfect forum for discussions on social issues? It seems to be just the right place at Seattle Central College. Through our hugely successful discussion series, Conversations on Social Issues (COSI), we promote the library, intellectual freedom, and our collections. We see this series as an extension of our charge to promote freedom of information and the open exchange of ideas. In the spirit of the idea that none of us agrees with everything in the library, we provide this opportunity for the community to learn from a wide range of viewpoints. All points of view are welcome and we openly encourage students and staff to freely express their opinions.

The success of this series has been amazing. Every Thursday at noon, between 20 and 120 participants (mostly students) show up to learn about and discuss some social issue. The series brings students, staff, and faculty into the library that might otherwise not come here and, because of the focus on the diverse interests, knowledge, and experience of the entire community, the series garners broad support from across campus and often faculty will bring an entire class.
For faculty, COSI, as we have come to call the series, has been a great way to share expertise, ideas, and passions that don’t fit into their course offerings. Staff have taken the opportunity to share their talents and expertise in a way that their jobs may not allow. For students, COSI provides a forum for leading discussions on topics they care about with a community beyond the classroom. The enthusiasm for this project has come from all levels of the college and that is what makes it so special and successful. Topics have ranged from the environment to social justice to politics and law.

How Did It Start?

The series got its start when Occupy Seattle was encamped on the college lawn in the fall of 2011. A bunch of faculty got together and decided to organize teach-ins to give students more context about the issues that had led to the Occupy movement. I was involved in these planning discussions, and in the process, formed many new relationships, as well as strengthened old ties with faculty who were charged up over the attention to social justice that Occupy brought to our campus. Because the teach-ins were so well-received, I tried running a regular series for that following winter quarter. The library received so much positive feedback that we have been offering the series ever since.

How Does It Work?

COSI is a collaborative effort. At the end of each quarter I email everyone on campus, soliciting topics and conversation leaders for the next quarter. This fall the email brought more responses than we could accommodate. Within two days of sending the message, the schedule for winter quarter was full and more requests were coming in. Once someone submits an idea we confirm an open date and give a title for the discussion. After the schedule is ready I post it to the entire college. Each week we promote the next event with a flyer like the one above. Student Leadership prints the flyers and hangs them around campus where students will see them. Our reference assistant, Annina Wyss-Lockner, helps set up the room just before the discussion and puts up signage around the library to show people where to go. The media specialist, Jason Anderson, makes it a regular part of his job to film the presentation and discussion and post it to YouTube. Another librarian, Kimberly Tate, maintains a LibGuide with related books, the video of the event, and an image of the flyer that was used.

What’s Coming Up?

It is exciting to see what the campus collectively produces each quarter. For winter quarter we have offerings from students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

JAN 15
Protecting yourself! A Conversation on Personal Safety and Security at Seattle Central College / Director of Public Safety, Elman McClain
JAN 22
Segregation in South Africa and Its Repercussions and Parallels / Seattle Central Student, Nat Steiner
JAN 29
(2 hours)
Political Prisoners in the United States: The Case of the Cuban Five / ESL Faculty, John Martinez (12:00-1:00)
Cuba Libre: Gender and Sexuality in Cuba / English Faculty, Phebe Jewel and ESL Faculty, Marjorie Richards (1:00-2:00)
Lost in the Fine Print: When Signing Up for a Cellphone Threatens Your Basic Rights / Service Learning Coordinator,
Patti Gorman
FEB 12
“Look Ma, I’m Using My Hands!” The Cultural Appropriation of ASL / American Sign Language Instructor, Katie Roberts
FEB 19
“I Smoke Marijuana Every Chance I Get:” Legal Weed and the Tradition of Pot in American Poetry / English Faculty,
Arendt Speser
FEB 26
Check All That Apply: How We Use Race in Statistics, Data, and Reporting / Senior Research Analyst, President’s Office, Elizabeth Kronoff
“Cascadia Now! Radical Utopianism for Radical Change.” / Program Assistant Student Leadership, Max Shuman and  SCCC Alumni, Brandon Letsinger, Founding Director of Cascadia Now
MAR 12
Immigration Reform and What It Means to Citizens and Denizens in Washington State / Applied Behavioral Science Faculty, Dr. Valerie F. Hunt
MAR 19
Justice For Sale: How the For-Profit Prison System is Bankrupting Society / Seattle Central Student, Owen Salveson

Questions? Contact