Sunday, July 20, 2008

Information Commons at Joyner

Mark Sanders has asked to form a task force to study the creation of an information commons or a collaborative learning center in the Joyner Library. This is an exciting prospect; as you all have heard from me repeatedly, I am especially unhappy with the way the first floor of Joyner looks and is organized. Our entrance is cave-like—and many of our public service points are hidden and/or ill-designed. Last December, working with the Facilities Planning folks on campus, we chose an architectural firm to do a space study for the entire library, but so far we have not been successful at getting them on campus—I continue to hope that I will be able to announce any day now that the space planners are on their way. Meanwhile, the Task Force will compile and share information about the design and use of information commons an help us solicit input from students, staff, faculty and the community. Information commons have been around more than a decade, so it is not a new concept, just new to us. I just finished reading Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester and I recommend it as good place to start your reading about information commons and the information needs of our current undergraduate students. One of the most fascinating chapters in the study is “Library Design and Ethnograpy,” which describes how the librarians at Rochester went about engaging the students in design of a proposed research space—it is an experiment that might bear repeating here at Joyner. The study also includes a thought provoking article by Nancy Freid Foster, whose tile is Lead Anthropologist, in which contrasts students and librarians concepts of service: "The Mommy Model of Service." A real eye opener for all of us baby boomer librarians servian millenial students.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The latest issue of Educause Review just came across my desk, and unlike most times, I had the opportunity to do more than just glance at it. I am glad I did—this issue focused on cyberinfrastructure (CI), which refers to the “infrastructure based upon distributed computer, information and communication technology.” ALS and HSL are trying to do their part to enhance the CI on the ECU campus by creating and launching ScholarShip, ECU’s Institutional Repository. In all truth, the ScholarShip pilot has not progressed with the speed that we had hoped, but we are now aiming for a live pilot sometime early in the Fall 2008 semester—so stay tuned. But back to Educause—I would recommend the entire July/August issue, but there are two articles which particularly spoke to me—Things to Do While Waiting for the Future to Happen and Games for Education: 2008. The former sets forth many of the basic issues facing the Academy and the creation and maintenance of a “cyberinfrasturcture,” including, of course, the disconnect between open source, digitally available scholarship and the fact that “tenure is still tightly tied to print monograph publication.” The latter clearly makes the case for libraries to host game nights and to collect games, noting that “games are digital objects from which learners can learn and that can be duplicated.”

Friday, July 11, 2008

Joyner Library SPA Fellowship

It was so exciting to pick up C&RL News for two issues in a row and see an article by some of our Joyner Library colleagues. The July/August 2008 issue features “A different kind of fellowship: Joyner Library’s SPA fellow program,” co-authored by David Durant, Cynthia Jones, and Stacy Baggett. I am very proud of the fellowship program and glad that we can share our ideas and success with the library community. Providing staff growth and development opportunities is a high priority for this library. We have so many talented and creative people on the Joyner Library staff and the fellowship program is but one way of providing some of those needed opportunities. Are there others that we are missing and should try?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Faculty Outreach

I was catching up on my reading perusing the June 2008 issue of C&RL News. First, I hope everyone has read Matt & Dale’s “Engaging undergraduates in special collections through English composition;” it was well written and gives Joyner & ECU some good exposure.
There were also a couple of other pieces that provided some food for thought. The article by Nancy Courtney on “Paying faculty to use library resources,” outlined Ohio State University Libraries grant program which encourages teaching faculty to incorporate library electronic resources in their course. The author concludes by saying that the library “has come to view the grant program as a valuable incentive for bringing together faculty and librarians and maximizing the use of our resources.” Would this be something we might want to try? What funds could we use to do something similar; OSU set aside $50,000 to support the program and gave $2,000 faculty grants?
In the same issue, Maria Anna Jankowska provided “A call for sustainable library operations and services.” Are we here at Joyner doing our part to be more sustainable in our operations and services? Would anyone be interested in a task force?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It is embarassing and humbling to note that it has been more than seven months since I contributed to this blog--but I have now been moved to begin this process once again, primarily because I want to get back on track with communication regularly. Emailing can be effective for pushing information, but I am looking to develop some dialog.

Thanks to all of my Joyner colleagues who participated in the Verona Lee Joyner Langford celebration. Mrs. Langford's extraordinary generosity has meant a lot to this Library and to the ECU Community and by creating an endowment she provided the gift that keeps on giving. I am including the remarks I made at the ceremony, and when Joe provides his pictures, I will share those:

Happy Birthday Verona Lee!
Thanks to all of you for coming today to help us celebrate the Life and Generosity of Verona Lee Joyner Langford. Thanks especially to her niece, Emily Davidson, who helped us organize this celebration. You will hear more from her in just a few moments.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Langford, but I surely wish I had so that I could thank her and her husband in person. Their endowment enables the Joyner Library to serve and enrich the lives of our students, faculty and community in so many ways.
At the time of the gift, July 2001, the News and Observer Newspaper said “Fred and Verona Joyner Langford shared a prudent life in Eastern NC, where he was a high school agriculture teacher and she taught home economics. And the couple had a knack for investing that now has turned into an $8 million windfall for ECU.”
Verona Lee’s family had deep roots in the soil of eastern North Carolina, and as a 1935 graduate of East Carolina Teacher’s College, she wanted to give something to her alma mater that would help the students and the community directly. Although the University originally wanted her to support a merit scholarship program, she decided that giving it to the Library would benefit more people. We are certainly glad she did. That $8 million has grown to more than $10.5 million and it will continue to grow & benefit the Library and the University over time.
Since the original gift, the endowment has been used to add books and manuscripts, especially to our NC and Special Collection. These acquisition have very often been treasures which we would be unable to buy without the endowment. Just recently we purchased an exceedingly rare 1585 Latin edition of DeBrye’s A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia – a seminal work in American and NC history.
Moreover, the Langford gift has also been used to enhance our students’ education by allowing us to create two wonderful, state of the art Library Instruction Classrooms. And soon the entire first floor of this building will be transformed into a Collaborative Learning Center filled with the most up to date computers and technology, media authoring labs, practice presentation rooms, and comfortable, flexible areas for consultation, study and group work.
Yes, thank you and Happy Birthday Verona Lee!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A New Academic Year

It continues to be harder than I imagined to keep up with this blog, although the events of the past couple of weeks have provided a plenty of grist for the mill. Our RTF colleagues provided us with a values list, distilled from our retreat deliberations. I really liked them and the way they were enumerated:

Here at Joyner Library we value…

Respect for others
Life-long learning
Information access
Robust collections
Open communication

They will soon be distributing vision and mission statements—again reflecting on the retreat discussions. Once these documents are distributed we will have a library wide discussion about making these documents an integral part of our strategic plan.

I also wanted to thank everyone for attending the “ALS Opening Meeting” this past Monday. As usual the food and camaraderie were excellent. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity of sharing our bragging points with all of you. We had a full and exciting 2006-2007, and this new academic year is already off to a great start. September 1 is my official one year anniversary, although as you will probably remember, Sue & I took the month of September to visit Guatemala and study Spanish. I truly cannot believe that it has been one year already.

For those of you who missed the presentation, but want to review the presentation, you can check out my new personal website, The presentation can be accessed at the ALS 2007 tab.

Friday, August 10, 2007


At our retreat last week, I was intrigued and fascinated by the list of roles and expectations of leaders the group came up with. For me it seems a perfect report card, especially in measuring interpersonal skills, although I have added one. I plan to take it out and look at it on a regular basis, and at the end of this year ask the Library to grade me on these:

Set an example
Have an open door
Solicit different perspectives and listen to understand
Be approachable
Give me your full attention
Focus on me, why I’m there
Offer feed back
Have a pleasant, open expression
Follow up
Provide positive reinforcement
Recognize that it’s a reciprocal relationship
Be willing to be led
Be open to feedback
Get to know your colleagues-their preferences, styles, etc.
Respect their differences and those with you
Don’t assume, know what you know
Communicate what, how, and why if decisions, let staff know why
Seek to motivate others
Provide development and training
Mentor others
Set clear and attainable expectations
Don’t ask others to do what you aren’t prepared to do
Practice ethical leadership
Make decisions, take timely action
Solicit input from those affected, expected to implement
Set clear priorities for work
Be proactive, anticipate problems, be ready to act
Accept new ideas and methods
Ask for help
Have fun!