#2: why am I here [on wordpress]?

Greetings!

I’m using this as a place to compile ideas that I’m thinking about, products of my work, and give a sense of who I am professionally. You might notice on the page for my work, that I am personally interested in three broad areas of librarianship including user experience (UX) & design research methods, public services & instruction, and leadership. Of course, I have many varied interests beyond these areas (which I get to fulfill and is one of the reasons I love being in the library profession), but in the interest of developing a professional identity, I must attempt to focus my efforts.

One of the main areas of my public services work focuses on Therapy Dogs in Libraries, and I was able to start the Paws to de-Stress program at Montana State University Library in the spring of 2013 which is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job – seeing students interact with the therapy dogs and hearing their joyful comments is truly heartwarming.

One new area that I’ve recently gotten into and that I’d like to explore further is mindfulness, and how to integrate the concepts of mindfulness into my professional work, instruction, research, and publications in library literature. As a current hot-topic, finding ways to connect mindfulness with student success, as well as teaching and promoting the concepts through the library are very interesting to me, and something I’d like to build into any future position I may hold. Want to try it out for a sec? Check out my favorite mindfulness tool – an online breath metronome created by Stephen Gregory – which helps you focus on and slow down your breathing by watching a peaceful, geometric visualization. My favorite thing about this is that it can be used for any amount of time – for as little 1-minute, up to an extended meditation session.

Another idea that I’ve been pondering lately is how to help users at their point of need, without being available 24-7. I’ve mainly been thinking about this in the context of the common model of in-class library instruction (LI) sessions,  intended to give undergraduates an overview of library research methods & strategies, as well as other library services and resources. The content of these instruction sessions is no doubt highly useful to these students – however, we see students from these classes coming into the library and asking questions revealing the fact that the information did not stick, even if they were paying attention. I have a theory that if that information was delivered for the first time at the point of need, i.e. when the students actually attempt to use library resources to start a project for the first time, that the students would find the information more useful and therefore remember it the next time they need it. This is tricky however, because that point of need will be different for every student, and will happen at different times. Therefore, I’d argue that instead of delivering one-off LI sessions, that we should be developing short online videos which could then be embedded into the course curriculum as mini-assignments, in conjunction with and supporting larger  research projects. The videos could each be less than 10-minutes long, focus on a variety of topics/research strategies/library services, and be assigned at the stage of the research project when they are applicable. It’s just an idea at this point, but if I’m able to try it out, I’ll share how it goes!

Overall, while this site will personally help me to capture my work holistically, it will also (hopefully) share some of the knowledge gathered through the projects I’m working on, allowing professionals and librarians at other institutions to build upon these ideas. Contact me if you have comments, want to collaborate, or if you’d just like to talk more about any of this!

Cheers,

~J

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