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Feedback for Crash Course in Library Management

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Crash Course in Library Management, taught by Debra Lucas-Alfieri. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Preparing to Program, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Preparing to Program, taught by Tony Castelletto. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Research Data Management, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Research Data Management, taught by Jillian Wallis. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Writing for the Web, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Writing for the Web, taught by Nicole Capdarest and Rebecca Blakiston. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Student Staff Development, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Student Staff Development, taught by Jeremy McGinniss. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Introduction to XML, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Introduction to XML, taught by Robert Chavez. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Patent Searching, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Patent Searching, taught by Martin Wallace. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Game-Based Learning for Library Instruction, August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed August 2014 session of Game-Based Learning for Library Instruction, taught by Scott Rice. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Interview with Jessica Moyer

Jessica E. Moyer is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Literacy Education and MS and CAS degrees from the University of Illinois, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Moyer has taught reference and readers’ advisory courses for the LIS programs at the University of St. Catherine, San Jose State, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well and continuing education courses for the American Library Association. She is scheduled to teach some courses in Readers’ Advisory with Library Juice Academy coming up. Jessica agreed to do an interview here to give people an idea of what they will get out of her courses, and a bit about her in general.

Jessica, thanks for agreeing to the interview. I’m happy to expand our course offerings to cover readers’ advisory topics, and you are one of the best-qualified people out there to teach on the topic. I’d like to start by asking you what librarians need to know about readers’ advisory that they may not know before taking a class in it?

Probably the most important thing to know is that readers’ advisory is an active and growing part of information services in school and public libraries and is a service that meets the needs of all age groups, from babies to seniors.

After that I’d say, the excuse of “I don’t read much” isn’t a professional or valid excuse for not providing RA. Today there are so many great tools and resources that librarians who read only a few books a year, can and do provide great RA services. It’s far more important to understand the role and value of reading, and how to talk to readers than it is to know lots of books.

So, other than knowing lots of books, what knowledge is involved in RA? Is it a case where “There’s knowing books and there’s knowing books?” I would imagine you can learn a little bit about many books, for RA purposes, in the time it takes to read one book deeply, if you have the right techniques. How much is RA a matter of knowing about books and what are some of the other skills involved?

There are four areas that I think are important for providing good RA. I cover the first three in the Intro to RA class, and the fourth is the subject of my next two classes for Library Juice

First, know your tools and resources. There are so many great resources out there for busy librarians, from subscription databases like Novelist to free websites like my favorite, “What’s Next” from the Kent District Library.

Second, understand the basics of how readers connect with and talk about books. The two most common models are the Doorways approach by Nancy Pearl and the appeal factors approach by Joyce Saricks.

Third, learn how to do a good readers’ advisory interview. So many techniques can be translated from the reference interview that this should be easy for any librarian to get started on, but I know it can be very intimidating. Above all, stay professional and treat RA queries with the same level of service and seriousness that a reference query gets.

Finally you do need to know something about the most popular types of books. A genre study is a great way to do this, whether through a class like mine, through a work based group, or even on your own. It’s very eye opening to expose yourself to new genres and areas of popular reading, especially if you keep in mind that you are reading these to try and understand just what makes them so popular with library patrons.

So right now you’re teaching your Introduction to Readers’ Advisory course, which I gather would cover the above topics. What classes are coming next?

Next are two genre studies classes, on romance and fantasy. I’m starting with these since they are two of the most popular and can also provide some challenges to librarians who haven’t read or kept up with the changes.

For each genre study participants will learn about the genre through lectures, readings about the genre, and experiencing the genre by reading two books that are representative of the genre as it is today.

Sounds very good. I’m glad you’re teaching these classes. We haven’t done as much for a public library audience, but we want to do more, and I think this is a good way to move in that direction. As a final question I’d like to ask what other classes you would want to teach for Library Juice Academy, given total freedom. What would you want to teach?

I’d love to teach more genre studies classes – science fiction, crime, young adult and nonfiction are just a few of the many possibilities. I especially like teaching librarians about science fiction so I’m hoping that’s in my near future.

I’m working on a book project this fall about crossover readers’ advisory: adult genre fiction for teen readers, and teen fiction for adult genre readers. I’d love to teach a workshop or even a series of workshops in this area. I think it has a lot of potential as an under-recognized area of readers’ advisory.

Outside of readers’ advisory topics I’m a dedicated reference librarian and always enjoy teaching classes about reference interviews, selecting and evaluating sources, and reviewing reference material.

That sounds great. Thanks very much for agreeing to be interviewed.

My pleasure, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to teach classes for Library Juice and I’m excited about our continued work together.

Interview with Jason Bengtson

Jason Bengtson is the Head of Library Computing and Information Systems at the University of Oklahoma’s Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library. A co-editor of the Technology column of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship, he is also a member of the NN/LM South Central Region Technology Advisory Committee and ASIS&T. Jason’s work can be seen in publications ranging from Library Hi Tech to the Journal of Library Administration. His list of accomplishments goes on, and now he is adding to it by teaching a number of courses for Library Juice Academy. He agreed to do an interview here to tell people about his classes and what they can expect to learn from them, as well as a bit about himself.

Jason, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I’d like to start by asking a little about your background. What got you into computing and libraries? And I know that you have an MA as well. What is that in?

Hi Rory, it’s my pleasure! I’ve been interested in libraries from as early on as I can remember. Growing up in a bit of a run down neighborhood, going to the library was like opening a door to everywhere I wanted to be. As far as computing, I was playing with Commodores and Apple IIEs as a child, writing programs in BASIC (I’m really dating myself with that statement!). I didn’t really get back into writing computer code again until college, when I took a couple of computing courses. Things started to take off more for me in Library school, where I got my first real introduction to web code on both the server and the client side. But it wasn’t until I moved to New Mexico, and became the Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Health Sciences Library there, that I began to have both the latitude and the drive to develop more expansive web coding skills. These skills aren’t just useful for building web sites. I’ve also built apps and games, XML and database driven apps, search tools, revamped the interface to an academic research database, and built data wrangling scripts to reshape data so that systems not designed to talk to each other could exchange information. To me, this kind of work is the essence of Information Science.

My second MA (which I completed just last year) is in English. This has led to a significant interest on my part in Digital Humanities. I’ve also been accepted into the University of North Texas’ Information Science PhD program, which I’m currently scheduled to start next year.

Ah, congrats on beginning your doctoral studies. I hope it doesn’t mean we will lose you as an instructor. Shifting gears a little bit, would you say something about the classes you’ll be teaching for us? Last month was your class in HTML and CSS, which I hope you will teach again. Coming up you have courses that are essentially about Javascript, right?

Yes. The first course will be an introduction to Javascript’s basic concepts (many of which are portable to other programming languages). This will include an introduction to jQuery and a discussion of what it is in relation to Javascript and how it can make client-side scripting easier. Students will learn how to create loops, store information in variables, make decisions using javascript, and create interactive web pages and apps. The next course covers some more advanced topics, including things like javascript objects and AJAX.

The courses really are a logical progression, designed to link the various languages and their application together meaningfully within the framework of the Document Object Model. Of course, a month long course isn’t going to create an expert, but these courses will give students a solid set of fundamentals including a grounding in some of the most useful Javascript tools.

In case someone is interested in these courses but missed this month’s class on HTML, how much background knowledge is required for the Javascript classes?

Not that much. There will be more discussion of the Document Object Model in the Javascript courses. Anyone with the ability to build a basic website with HTML and CSS should have the foundation they need to start adding Javascript to the recipe. Hopefully, besides teaching people useful skills, these courses will help people look at web code in a new way. I’m hoping they help cement the conceptual foundations of client side web coding, so that building upon the skill set learned is easier to do and more intuitive.

Sounds great. Could you say some more about what you will cover in each class?

The Introduction to Client Side Web Scripting course will be all about the fundamental elements of programming in Javascript and how to wire that programming into the structure of a webpage. These fundamentals include performing repetitive tasks using loops, managing user input and changing information via variables, breaking programs up logically using functions, things like that. Of course, writing Javascript is only so useful by itself. You need to be able to use it to make changes to a web document if you want the Javascript to accomplish something useful. Javascript is a bit like the brains and nervous system of a web app. Without healthy interaction with a body, provided by the HTML and CSS of a web document, it’s pretty ugly, and can only do so much.

In the advanced topics course we will discuss other features of Javascript that aren’t commonly used by novices, but which can be very useful. Using AJAX, a web app can read data files, for instance. However, there are restrictions to this ability. If you don’t understand things like Single Origin Policy, using AJAX becomes very frustrating. Similarly, object-oriented Javascript isn’t used that much; mostly Javascript is written with an imperative or declarative syntax. However, there are times when using objects is a much more useful approach than trying to juggle a constellation of variables. Those are the kinds of topics that, while more challenging, will give the Advanced Topics students the grounding to help them take their Javascript to the next level.

That is mostly over my head, but I trust that if I were to take the class I would be brought up to speed without any trouble. I’d like to ask you something that some readers might be wondering. In your experience in libraries, what are some of the library applications for these programming skills?

These skills give us the chance to reimagine what we do and how we do it. A couple of years ago, when I was at the University of New Mexico, we were discussing free NLM resources in a faculty meeting. One of our faculty, Dr, Gale Hannigan, made an observation that many people would probably make more use of the many great NLM database resources if they knew about them. She discussed building a site with links to those databases. I took her idea and built upon it, creating the La Puerta app, which UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC) is now leveraging. La Puerta provides a dynamic user interface that allows people to find a database that works for them and initiate a search right from the app.

At the same institution, we had a home grown database: The Native Health Database. This was an amazing resource, built by HSLIC’s terrific web team. However, it had an interface that was not only showing its age, but one that lacked many of the features needed in a research tool. The search capabilities were limited, lacking even a full boolean search. Users had no way to save the results of their searches. When queries failed users faced a terrifying looking error message. I was given the opportunity to rebuild parts of it as part of an upgrade of ColdFusion at HSLIC. I rebuilt the search, adding capabilities for boolean operators, nesting, and fuzzy logic, all afforded by ColdFusion’s upgrade to the Solr search engine. I added the capability to export references to reference managers and changed the error message (after making the search a little more error-resistant). Some of that was accomplished via ColdFusion, of course, but a lot of the interface improvements were built with good old client-side web code. And an Information Science perspective is what drove the project.

Here at the Robert M Bird library, one of my recent projects was an attempt to apply a strategy of gamification to outreach. My game, Zombie Emergency!, is built entirely on the client side, and is designed to be an engaging way to teach visitors to our booth at health fairs or other venues about the value of higher quality health information sources.

Those are only a few examples. These skills open the door for librarians and informationists to build tutorials, games, search apps, and dynamic web sites capable of drawing people in and showing them what we have to offer.

That sounds great. I think this sounds like a really useful series of classes. I know people are enjoying the one currently in session. Thanks for the interview. I think it is helpful.

Thanks, Rory! I’m certainly enjoying this opportunity to teach for Library Juice Academy. Our discipline and our profession are both changing rapidly and those in Information Science are having to become the epitome of nimble in our skill sets. Together we can, and we will, build the future.

Two new instruction related courses just listed

We’ve just listed two six-week courses for next year, both related to instruction:

Backward Design for Information Literacy Instruction: Fostering Critical Habits of Mind through Learning Outcomes, Scaffolding, and Assessment
Instructor: Andrea Baer |
Credits: 2.25 CEUs |
Cost $250

Online Instructional Design and Delivery
Instructor: Mimi O’Malley |
Credits: 2.25 CEUs |
Cost $250

Feedback for New Directions in Information Literacy: Growing Our Teaching Practices, July-August 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed July-August 2014 session of New Directions in Information Literacy: Growing Our Teaching Practices, taught by Andrea Baer. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

New from Library Juice Academy

August 2014

We’ve been offering classes for close to two years now, and we’ve been learning as we go what kinds of classes people are most interested in taking, and which instructors are the most successful as teachers. We are continuing to experiment with new classes whose success it is hard to predict.

This Fall we are running a new selection of technology classes, including a four-course series in Python that just started, a class in HTML and CSS, a couple of classes in client-side scripting using Javascript, and a pair of classes on PHP, one that focuses on MySQL and the other on APIs. This is in addition to our classes on digital library technology – the XML/RDF series and the metadata classes.

At ALA in Las Vegas, we got some feedback from people who would like to see more classes that are appropriate for public libraries, so we are beginning to experiment more with this type of class. This Fall we have three different classes on Readers’ Advisory. Many of our other classes, especially the management ones, work fine in a public library setting.

Earlier this year we had the misfortune of having to cancel a robust series of classes on cataloging that we had planned. I am pleased to say we have recovered and now have two cataloging classes again on offer, using an instructor who has been very good for us in the past, Melissa Adler. She will be teaching Introduction to Cataloging and Introduction to RDA this Fall and periodically going forward. We hope to add a broader selection of cataloging courses over time. We have a selection of other classes that are useful for technical services staff, which you can see here: http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/courses-techserv.php

We have a partnership with Library Journal to announce, where customers in their Lead the Change workshop series can get a generous discount on LJA courses that are tied to their workshop topics. We hope that this will be the start of a collaborative relationship with Library Journal.

As a last bit of news, we’re planning a major website redesign in the coming months. We look forward to an improved presentation of our offerings. Further down the road we foresee some improvements to our Moodle implementation as well.

Thanks for your business and thanks for your time,

Rory Litwin

Library Juice Academy
P.O. Box 188784
Sacramento, CA 95818
Tel. 218-260-6115
Fax 916-415-5446

inquiries@libraryjuiceacademy.com

http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/

Testimonials:

http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/testimonials.php

Check out our jingle:

http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/news/?p=139

Feedback for Evaluating Service Quality and Patron Satisfaction, July 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed July 2014 session of Evaluating Service Quality and Patron Satisfaction, taught by Jennifer Sweeney. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!

Feedback for Embedded Librarianship in Online Courses, July 2014 session

We would like students to leave their public feedback, or reviews, for the now completed July 2014 session of Embedded Librarianship in Online Courses, taught by Mimi O’Malley. Participants’ feedback will help us know how we can improve, and also to give others a sense of what our classes are like. Thanks!