Category Archives: Workshops

Online Stories, Songs, and Stretches! Training Now Accepting Registration!

Do you want to build skills to confidently and competently integrate yoga-inspired movement and stillness into your work with preschool age children? Would you like to deepen your understanding of early childhood development in the areas of physical literacy, early literacy, and social-emotional learning? Are you seeking a high-quality professional development experience that will help you rejuvenate your passion for your work? Stories, Songs, and Stretches! is for you!

Katie Commercial2_v2 from Katie Scherrer on Vimeo.

Katie Scherrer is working with us to provide an asynchronous, online training experience for those unable to attend a live training. Here are the key details!

– Open to anyone who works with young children; recognized for CEUs from state libraries, several state early childhood education departments, and Yoga Alliance
– Participants complete three online training modules, each lasting 4-weeks
– 2019 Session 1 last January through April; a two-week break exists between each of the modules
– Cost is $175 per module or bundle all three for $450
– Training is provided through professionally-recorded videos, recorded lectures, readings, online discussions, group activities, and assignments

After completing the online training and a distance learning component, participants can become certified Stories, Songs, and Stretches! facilitators, gaining access to customizable and branded marketing materials, a private library of video demonstrations, and an online community of practice

This session will sell out quickly, so register today to reserve your spot!

Stories, Songs, and Stretches! Online Certification Launching Spring 2019

Press Release from Connected Communities and Library Juice Academy

Stories, Songs, and Stretches! Online Certification Launching Spring 2019

June 21, 2018
Lexington KY
Media contact: Katie Scherrer,

Katie Scherrer of Connected Communities and Library Juice Academy are teaming up to release Stories, Songs, and Stretches! This online version of Katie’s certification of the same name trains participants to enhance preschool early learning with yoga-inspired movement and embodied play. Whether you’ve spent a career in the classroom or are brand new to working with kids 3-6, are an experienced yoga teacher or have never taken a yoga class in your life, Stories, Songs, and Stretches! will meet you where you are. This training is designed to respond to the unique needs—and share the diverse perspectives of—library staff, early childhood educators, and yoga teachers. It provides professional continuing education credits recognized by Yoga Alliance, most state libraries, and several state governing bodies of early childhood education.

Online training entails the completion of three, asynchronous, four-week classes:

Part One: Science and Standards
Take a deep dive into the science of yoga, national preschool standards in three distinct areas of early learning (physical literacy, early literacy, and social-emotional learning), and how they work together.

Part Two: Stretches and Stillness
Learn specific yoga-inspired mindful movement poses, sequences, and activities appropriate for preschool age children.

Part Three: Stories and Songs
Learn how to combine movement and play to create engaging, intentional, and fun programs and classes for preschool children and their adult caregivers.

Upon completion of all three modules, participants can complete a three-hour distance learning component and become certified Stories, Songs, and Stretches! program facilitators. Certified facilitators gain access to a private library of video demonstrations; branded, customizable marketing materials; and an online community of practice.

Workshops cost $175 each; all three training modules can be bundled together for $450. A diversity scholarship open to any interested person of color is available for every training session, which includes full tuition and a package of starter materials valued over $100. More information and application are available at The first scheduled session of training will run March-May, 2019.

Katie Scherrer, MLIS, RYT is a library consultant and writer who worked for many years serving predominantly Latino communities as a bilingual children’s librarian. She has been teaching yoga to children and providing training to librarians and early childhood educators since 2012. The combination of these skills and passions led to the creation of Stories, Songs, and Stretches!, first as a book published by the American Library Association in 2017 and then as a certification program in 2018. Katie is also the coauthor of Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish and one of the cofounders of the Be Project, a trauma-informed mindfulness education curriculum. More information about her work is available at and

Library Juice Academy offers a range of online professional development workshops for librarians and other library staff, focusing on practical topics to build new skills. Emphasis is on student interaction with instructors and with each other, supported by a variety of class assignments and reading materials. The instructors are librarians and LIS faculty who have developed specialized knowledge in the subjects they teach. Students come from all types of libraries and library positions. Bringing online continuing education to a new level since 2012.

Grace Agnew talks about her Grant Writing class

We interviewed Grace Agnew a year ago, prior to the start of the first session of her Mechanics of Metadata course. Grace is Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems at the Rutgers University Libraries and has been an adjunct professor in the Library Information Science program at Rutgers University since 2005. She is teaching a different class for us next month, Grant Proposal Development for Libraries, as well as another round of The Mechanics of Metadata later. Grace sent me the following introduction to her grant writing class, which outlines what it will cover and talks a bit about her background for teaching it. Here is her intro:

I’ve been writing successful grants since the mid-90s, for public and academic libraries. I have played a substantial role in obtaining $8.4 million in grants over the course of my professional career, of which $6.9 million were in my current position over the last decade. In addition to being a principal or co-principal investigator for many grants, I have also reviewed grants for the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services and served as a site visitor and consultant to the National Science Foundation since the late 90s. I have obtained grants from federal granting agencies and from foundations.

My course is going to focus on the most critical aspects of grant development, as well as some of the most overlooked aspects. The first week will start with a frequently overlooked area, which is the readiness of the organization itself to undertake a grant. I have found that organizations (my own included!) frequently under-estimate the work and other consequences of a successful grant proposal to the organization. Receiving a grant is very much as if a giant chunk of concrete were dumped into a small and quiet pond. The amount of disruption is considerable and needs to be taken into account, since we are service organizations with many obligations and commitments on our time. My recent consulting and research have focused on the sustainability of digital initiatives, and a critical factor in sustainability is the commitment of the host organization to maintaining the new service or resource created through the grant for the long term, so employing a strategy to assess the readiness and support of the host organization is critical to a grant’s success.

Equally critical to a grant’s success is selecting the right granting agency, so that the organization’s needs and the granting agency’s needs are aligned.

Clear identification and understanding of the user–identifying the user, identifying the user’s needs, and building user support before, during and after the grant–are critical to developing a successful grant, and one that will have a sustained impact over time. Week two will develop strategies for identifying users, identifying their needs, and developing a fundable project that supports the user’s perspective.

Grant proposals must be innovative and impactful. Innovation often involves looking at a problem in a unique way–“mixing it up by adapting strategies from a different discipline, addressing a user need in a compelling way, or simply doing something no one else has done. But innovation is only half the story. The proposal must also have lasting impact, which involves serving a real need, being replicable within the organization and by others, and being sustainable over time. In week three, we will learn to add innovation and impact to a grant idea.

Week four will look at measuring impact, which involves being accountable to the user and the organization as well as to the granting agency.

This course works with a “real world” scenario involving a collaborating public and academic library. Participants can take either role. You will work through the four areas of a successful grant proposal for this real world scenario. This takes the pressure off of the participant, who is not worrying about the realities facing the actual organization, but is free to have fun and to learn. If the scenario is unfamiliar to you, that is excellent, because innovation frequently emerges when you step out of your own area of expertise and into someone else’s space. The final project is a 4-5 page prospectus for a grant, which I will critique.

In addition to written assignments each week, there will be small quizzes to help you understand some of these principles.

Not only will you learn how to make a grant proposal more compelling, but hopefully also some strategies to add user focus and creativity to any library project, whether grant funded or not!

2nd round of both certificate programs scheduled

Library Juice Academy has scheduled a second round of two certificate programs. Both will begin in February.

Certificate in User Experience (UX)

Certificate in XML and RDF-Based Systems

As before, if you enroll in the whole sequence of six courses in advance you get a 10% discount on the registration fee. Institutions registering five or more participants get an additional 10% discount.

It is also possible to take many of the courses in both of these programs without taking the full sequence.

We have found that the level of student engagement and effort varies quite a bit among the people participating. Those who are taking the classes for continuing education units or in order to obtain the certificate are expected to do passing level work in their classes.

Classes are four weeks in length and require about 15 hours of work. The work is done asynchronously, so you can fit it into your schedule or use your personal time. The courses are taught using the Moodle courseware platform, and there are no webinar-style presentations to attend.

Please read our FAQ page for more information. Thanks!

Certificate in User Experience (UX) – 6-course sequence begins next month

Certificate in User Experience (UX)

The 6-course sequence with Library Juice Academy starts next month.

In this 6-course certificate program, you will learn the fundamentals of user experience (UX) and how to apply user-centered strategies to library websites and beyond. The program begins by teaching you the key concepts of UX design and how to employ them in your website projects. Next, you will learn the ins and outs of information architecture: how to structure and organize your content so that it is both discoverable and navigable in the easiest way possible. The next two courses will give you the tools to continually get feedback on your website through usability testing and other research methods. You will then learn how to better write for the web so that once your users discover your content, they can both understand it and act on it. Finally, you will learn how you can create a website content strategy, so that from that point forward all your content will be useful, usable, and findable. All together, these courses cover a breadth of topics that will equip you with the skills necessary to create, manage, and sustain library websites that provide an excellent user experience.

Courses in the series:

Designing a Usable Website (Concepts of User-Centered Design)
Dates: June 2013
Instructor: Carolyn Ellis

Information Architecture: Designing Navigation for Library Websites
Dates: July 2013
Instructor: Susan Teague-Rector

Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing
Dates: August 2013
Instructor: Rebecca Blakiston

Beyond Usability Testing: Other Research Methods
Dates: September 2013
Instructor: Sonali Mishra

Writing for the Web
Dates: October 2013
Instructor: Nicole Capdarest and Rebecca Blakiston

Developing a Website Content Strategy
Dates: November 2013
Instructor: Rebecca Blakiston

Interview with Madeleine Charney, Instructor for “The Sustainability Movement on Campus: Forming a Library Action Plan for Engagement”

Madeleine Charney is the instructor for a two week course we have coming up next month called, “The Sustainability Movement on Campus: Forming a Library Action Plan for Engagement.” Madeleine, for those who aren’t already familiar with her work, is the Sustainability Studies Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2011 she presented at the national conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Getting Closer: The Librarian, the Curriculum and the Office of Sustainability,” and this past year she co-facilitated a 4-part webinar series called “Libraries for Sustainability,” which resulted in productive networking between people from public, school and academic libraries as well as first steps toward organizing a new Sustainability Roundtable in ALA. Madeleine has generously agreed to be interviewed about the sustainability movement and libraries, her activities related to it, and the class that we have coming up.

Madeleine, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. To start out, why don’t you sort of summarize what is happening right now in the sustainability movement in the context of academia, and how you see libraries being involved?

Sure. Let me start with some broad background. There are now 665 signatories of the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Why do I start by pointing to this document? Because it means the top leaders of our academic institutions recognize the dire need to create goals and concrete actions toward reducing the carbon footprint of the institutions as quickly as possible. The Commitment formally acknowledges the economic, social and environmental benefits of moving forward – what are also known as the three pillars of “sustainability” (not just the environmental aspect). Several sections of the Commitment emphasize the importance of integrating sustainability into the curriculum to prepare our students as responsible stewards in a thriving and ethical society. These top leaders need “buy in” from the whole campus community in order to reach very specific target dates — progress reports are a mandatory part of this process. As a result there is an increase in support for sustainability programs and related initiatives that involve an intersection of campus facilities and the curriculum. Along with the explosion of programs and courses across a multitude of disciplines, we see the hiring of a new position on campuses, someone to lead next phases of campus facility planning and management – the Sustainability Coordinator (or Officer or Manager). Some campuses have an Office of Sustainability as well.

Enter the Librarian. As teachers of critical thinking and sound reasoning, academic librarians are already primed to play a vital role in supporting sustainability across the curriculum. Library people tend to be natural systems thinkers and so keeping all three pillars in mind simultaneously comes easily to us. We are accustomed to engaging in conversations across disciplines. And so librarians bring a unique voice to sustainability committees and are forging partnerships between the Library, the faculty and Sustainability Officers. The library is a “neutral territory” as it creates space for cross-disciplinary conversation to happen. And our institutional repositories are virtual “places” where sustainability-related output can be showcased. We help others find common ground, we create new resources such as LibGuides and push out existing ones. We can serve as the “glue” in many cases to help move things along on the sustainability front. Green teams are also springing up in academic libraries – allowing the “heart of the campus” to serve as a model for the rest of a campus.

This sounds very interesting. Could you share a little bit about your own experience with sustainability-related activities at your own institution?

The past two years have proven to be very fertile for UMass Amherst, including the Libraries, in terms of sustainability achievements. Our campus received a gold rating as part of STARS, a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. There are only about 30 campuses nationwide with this high a rating so far. The campus hired a full-time Sustainability Manager who is open minded and good at relationship building. New programs are emerging such as a B.S. in Sustainable Food and Farming and an M.S. in Sustainable Science. Earth Day was a two-day extravaganza with a balance of curricular and co-curricular activities. Here was another sign that our administration is ready to put real money into advancing sustainability thinking and doing.

The actual gold star award hangs in the lobby of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library as an emblem of our partnership with the Campus Sustainability Initiative. We had a lovely ribbon cutting ceremony and reception after it was installed. We participate in the campus Green Office Program meaning that all staff areas in our 26-story building adhere to recycling and energy conservation practices. A very successful Sustainability Fund was launched and raised ample funds to be used for print and electronic acquisitions, exhibits, events, speakers, and trainings. One of the more significant payouts from the Sustainability Fund was to support a series of faculty workshops called “Mapping Sustainability Education at UMass.” As a member of the Education & Research Subcommittee of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Council, I was directly involved with planning and co-facilitating these sessions. The sessions which were held in the Library’s Teaching Commons, a space designed for collaborative work between faculty and librarians. The committee identified 120 faculty members actively teaching sustainability-related course across 27 disciplines on campus and invited them all. Imagine a room buzzing with conversations between professors of physics, history, chemistry, biology, business, hospitality, nutrition, agriculture and more. I presented a history of sustainability at UMass, the library’s array of sustainability databases and the institutional repository page on sustainability. I also had moments during these five sessions when I stepped back to simply witness the dedication these faculty have for their students and the role they play in offering pathways toward a healthier, more just and economically viable society. Outcomes of these sessions included: a set of campus-wide learning outcomes; identification of barriers and needs for support; a partnership with the Center for Teaching; and plans for grants (funded by the Sustainability Fund) to encourage development of new courses that use licensed library resources and tie into the STARS process and our campus Climate Action Plan.

So, for people who are interested in this, what can they expect to learn through your course with Library Juice Academy?

If this is all new to you, my course will help you jump start your engagement in the sustainability process at your institution. If you have been working at this for a while, you will be offered concrete ways to expand your reach and think beyond what is working (or not). You will reflect on your campus culture and its potential to begin or progress on the sustainability front. You will consider your relationships within the library and your campus network – and make real connections in ways that mesh with your professional style. You’ll come away with an action plan that fits within your comfort zone. You will also tap into a network of library people working on the sustainability front, find opportunities for collaboration and become part of the momentum for planning a new Sustainability Roundtable through ALA.

Thanks very much. I hope your class contributes to sustainability efforts on college campuses.

Thanks for the opportunity, Rory. I am looking forward to this experience.

Interview with Maria Accardi, Instructor for Our Course on Critical Pedagogy in Library Instruction

I’m interviewing Maria Accardi, who will be teaching an online classfor us next month titled, “Changing Lives, Changing the World: Information Literacy and Critical Pedagogy.” She is also the co-editor of a book published by Library Juice Press in 2010, Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods (a copy of which is given to each participant in the class).

Hi, Maria – thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. To start off, I thought people might like to know a little bit about you. What brought you here, what got you interested in the subject matter of the course
and what qualifies you to teach it.

Hi, Rory, thanks for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to teaching the course. I am Assistant Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction at Indiana University Southeast, a regional campus of Indiana University Bloomington. I have held this position I have held since August 2007. As the Coordinator of Instruction, I schedule, teach, and assess course-related library instruction information literacy sessions for undergraduate and graduate students. I develop information literacy learning outcomes for all levels of library instruction and design and implement outcomes-based instructional activities and strategies for the classroom and program. In addition to analyzing assessment feedback and implementing classroom and program changes as indicated, I provide professional development learning opportunities for teaching librarians, train and mentor new librarians in instruction program, keep up with professional trends and best practices, and introduce program changes accordingly.

Before earning my MLIS at the University of Pittsburgh and entering librarianship, I completed an MA in English and taught first year composition and tutored in the writing center at the University of Louisville. This is when I first encountered the concept of critical pedagogy, and I was intrigued by its possibilities. The tenets of this educational approach were in alignment with my own political inclinations and instinctive leanings as a teacher.

This interest was then reignited through reading the works of James Elmborg and Troy Swanson when arriving in librarianship and through discussing the concepts with my then-colleague, Emily Drabinski. Together with Alana Kumbier, we conceived of the collection that became Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods. In addition to co-editing that collection with Emily and Alana, I am in the process of writing another work on critical pedagogy and librarianship, Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction, a primer on feminist teaching strategies in the library instruction classroom.

For the benefit of readers who aren’t familiar with the critical pedagogy, could you briefly explain what it is?

Critical pedagogy is a theory and framework that envisions education as a site for social change. As originally theorized by Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), the traditional “banking method” of education, where students are passive vessels waiting to be filled with the instructor’s knowledge and wisdom, is rejected in favor of empowering students to play an active role in their own learning. The ultimate goal of critical pedagogy is for students to achieve critical consciousness about societal oppression and then become equipped to change the world.

Critical pedagogy has, in recent years, been brought into conversation with information literacy and library instruction theory and practice. Instruction librarians have been exploring how progressive pedagogical practices not only serve to teach students information literacy skills, but also to equip learners with an understanding of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression, and how they, as learners, can change the dominant culture that perpetuates these forms of oppression. This workshop continues and participates in this conversation by providing participants with an overview of critical pedagogy, contextualizing it in library instruction, and empowering participants how to enact it in their own educational settings.

Thanks, that seems like a good summary. So what will students in the class learn about applying these ideas to library instruction?

These are the learning outcomes for the course: At the end of the workshop, students will be able to:

  • Define critical pedagogy in order to identify implications for library instruction theory and practice
  • Identify ways in which critical pedagogy might be employed in the library setting in order to enrich instructional practices
  • Design critical pedagogical learning activities and assessment tools in order to deploy them in the library instruction classroom
  • Describe the importance and significance of liberatory, progressive, and critical approaches to education in order to serve as an agent of change in the library instruction classroom

As a way of achieving these learning outcomes, I attempt to model critical pedagogical tactics in order to show what they look like and how they might be used. For example, in the first week, rather than defining critical pedagogy for the group, I ask for the learners to come up with their own definition, based on the readings for that week. This decentering of the teacher’s authority can then be translated into the library instruction classroom. For instance, instead of relying on teacher demonstration of databases, the teacher can have students provide the database demonstrations while providing guidance along the side. Similarly, by empowering students in the workshop to collectively build a body of knowledge, this empowerment can then be enacted in the library instruction classroom through teaching students about keyword searching and controlled vocabulary. The librarian instructor can put students in charge of exploring the power of language to describe the world and people and their experiences.

It sounds like the way you teach this class, the lessons from it will always be a bit different, since participants are all bringing something different to it. You have taught the class before, so I am wondering if there was anything that you learned from the experience that you could share specifically, maybe something that gave you new ideas about the way critical pedagogy can be applied or interpreted.

Yes, everyone brings his or her own context to the learning environment, so the lessons from it will indeed vary from person to person. If I could identify one thing I’ve learned from the experience of teaching this before, I’d point out that while critical pedagogy sounds like this big, weighty concept with significant ramifications, it can be enacted in small, subtle ways with just as much impact. Something as simple as teaching students about the impact and power of language to describe–or marginalize–people or the world via a discussion of keyword selection can be critical pedagogy. So can using a female historical figure as a search topic in a library instruction session for a history class, rather than relying on the typical male standbys. The key is to help students achieve some sort of enlightenment or critical consciousness, or as Freire put it, conscientização, about the world and his or her place in it.

Interview with Christine D’Arpa, Instructor for Our Class in Archival Management

Christine D’Arpa is the instructor for the upcoming Library Juice Academy Course, “So Now I Am an Archivist, Too?! Introduction to Archives Administration and Management.” She is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She worked in the archives at UIUC. She graciously agreed to be interviewed for this blog.

Chris, the course you’re teaching is an introduction to archival management for people who have that as a job responsibility and want a better foundation for it. I wonder if you could tell readers, from your own experience, why you feel such a course is needed.

We’ve seen the boundaries between libraries (including special collections) and archives greying in recent years at all levels. Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland have all merged their national archives and libraries. There are examples at the state and local levels here in the States. Most are driven by budgetary concerns that often ignore the significant differences among these very distinct types of institutions.

That said, it is important to carry forward the knowledge and practices of each sector to ensure the integrity of the materials, the continued growth of the collections, and access to them. To my mind, archives are the most vulnerable to this transition. The more we can learn about archival theory and practice the better the prospect for that integrity being preserved.

This course is a step in that direction.

Makes sense. So what are some of the skills that participants will get out of this class?

This is such a short course but I am confident we can cover key aspects of archival theory and practice and explore where the profession and management of archives are headed.

What are the theories, methods and practices that guide archival administration?
How is that work different from what librarians, manuscript curators, and rare book librarians do?
What is records management and why should we care?

What are archives and manuscripts, and why are they important?
What principles and concepts guide the work of archivists and manuscript curators?
What are the basic components of an archival program?
How are archival records and manuscripts appraised, arranged and described, and made available for use?

The course will include information on resources that will allow practitioners to connect with the archival community for networking, continuing education, and information sharing. We will touch on the following questions:

What are the basic elements of a records management program?
How do I effectively manage an archival program?
Where is the archival profession headed?

That sounds great. I’d like to share a bit more information about you as the instructor. What are you working on in your Ph.D. program, and how did you get to this point?

My research interests seek to understand how archives, libraries, and other public information institutions can help reinvigorate public commitment to civic education and engagement, and participation in public policy development. My teaching builds on the knowledge and experience that students bring to the class and challenges them to engage and critically examine new ideas and perspectives. I firmly believe archives and LIS education need to focus on developing leaders with vision and skills to be advocates who are actively engaged in public policy development.

Cool. Finally, I’d like to ask about your dream course for Library Juice Academy. If you could design and teach any course here what would it be?

My heart is with communities and the voices of individuals in them. I have worked as an oral historian and I hold Studs Terkel as my model for that work. A course I think about and hope to teach someday is something along the lines of oral history practice as community engagement and community building in and for public libraries.

Sounds like an interesting course idea, and we should discuss it.

Thanks for giving us your time for this interview, Chris.

Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.

Interview with Rachel Bridgewater, Instructor for Exploring Fair Use

Hi Rachel. Thanks for taking the time for this interview. I’m thinking that some people might be interested in knowing more about you and more about this class that you’re teaching for Library Juice Academy: Exploring Fair Use.

First question is, what qualifies you to teach a class on fair use, given that it’s a subject that a lot of librarians know about? What is your background for teaching this?

Early in my career I became really interested in the ways in which copyright, as it has evolved, can come into conflict with core librarian values around access to information and the freedom to read. Though copyright, and especially fair use, is squarely within our balliwick, I feel that librarians too often defer to individuals with legal training rather than feeling empowered to value their own expertise and knowledge of professional norms within our communities of practice. It was from this perspective that I started presenting regionally about copyright issues. Later, I was fortunate to work with copyright expert, Carrie Russell, on her copyright class for ACRL. I helped her develop a version of the class and served as her teaching assistant several times and, ultimately, took over teaching the class. In my work, I serve as the copyright librarian for my college. In all of my teaching, presenting, and one-on-one counseling around copyright, my main goal is to help people think clearly about the copyright issues involved in their particular situations and not get bogged down in fear and uncertainty. For several years, I also led a great discussion group locally where librarians, lawyers, artists, computer programmers, authors, and others came together to talk about copyright.

Okay, good. So, who will want to take this course and what can they expect to get out of it?

I’ve tried to develop the course in such a way that it will be useful to people with a broad range of experience with and knowledge of fair use issues. When I imagine the participants in the class, I imagine a healthy mix of the following:

  • people whose jobs require them to make fair use analyses or to provide fair use counseling and who feel some combination of fear and uncertainty about it and are looking for specific answers or help with specific scenarios
  • people who get excited about information policy and about discussing copyright and want to engage with like-minded colleagues
  • people who are generally knowledgeable about copyright and fair use but who feel like they haven’t been able to keep up with all the latest developments (eg. the ARL best practices document, the GSU ruling, the HathiTrust ruling, etc)
  • people who are interested in advocacy around fair use

I’ve tried to design the course so that all of these people will get what they need out of it. Often librarians learn about fair use as part of a general class or presentation about copyright. By taking fair use as our subject for the full four week class, we have the opportunity to explore the doctrine more fully. One thing that I think participants will find especially valuable about my approach is that I really start from the historical and philosophical roots of the fair use doctrine. Too often fair use is taught fairly mechanistically and librarians are left feeling that they can’t confidently transfer the knowledge that they gained in purely scenario-based sessions to the specific cases that arise in their work. It is my hope that participants in this class will leave the class feeling confident and excited about their ability to conduct a fair use analysis, to discuss copyright with patrons, colleagues, and administrators, and to advocate for fair use practices that align with the original purposes of the doctrine and our own professional values.

What are some possible situations where librarians may find that they need to give advice about a fair use analysis? I think some new librarians haven’t encountered it yet, and some librarians probably haven’t been providing information about it where it may be needed.

Great question! I’m often surprised how many opportunities to talk about fair use arise when your community knows you have some expertise and are happy to have those conversations. Before I talk about specific situations that come up, I want to talk a little bit about the word “advice”. One thing that comes up whenever I teach about copyright is the concern that librarians have about providing advice that could be construed as legal counsel. While I don’t want to minimize that concern, it is absolutely the case that there is a lot of expertise that we can offer without coming anywhere near giving legal advice.

I work in an academic library, and have for most of my career, so many of the situations that come up in my work involve teaching and research. For instance, instructors will talk with me about questions they have about posting materials to their course websites or learning management systems. Instructors often have questions about converting material from one format to another. Both faculty and students regularly approach me regarding inclusion of copyrighted materials in books, research papers, dissertations and theses, and other course-related papers and projects. Also within the academic world, we deal with fair use issues around electronic reserves. Lots of the situations that come up, though, aren’t specific to the academic environment. Fair use can come into play when copyrighted materials are used in displays (both physical and digital), institutional/digital repositories, on websites and handouts, or in performances or programs.

Basically, anytime a patron or a colleague wants to do something with copyrighted material, there is the potential that fair use is going to be a component of the discussion. Knowing fair use inside and out allows you have some fascinating and useful conversations instead of just pointing people to some checklist or guideline.

What are some misconceptions that you find librarians often have about fair use?

You would be amazed by some of the misconceptions I have heard over the years. I think most misconceptions I hear have to do with conflations of local policies or guidelines with the actual law. For instance, I’ll often talk to librarians and library staff who have some set percentage of a work in mind that they believe is always fair and any more than that is never fair. Of course, no percentages are specified in the law and, in fact, there are times when using 100% of a work is perfectly fair and times where using very small portions is not fair. Most people laboring under the belief that there is some prescribed percentage do so because they worked somewhere that had a policy that laid out a percentage. The one that has driven me the most crazy over the years is the “first semester free” practice that so many academic libraries use in their reserves operations. That is, library staff will place a reading on reserve without seeking permission the first time an instructor wants to use it but in subsequent semesters they will automatically ask for permission. This is wrong on so many levels and yet it is a fairly common practice. We’ll talk about this one at length in class! Finally, there are a lot of what I would call “first factor misconceptions”. That is, there are those who believe that any educational use can be presumed to be fair and that any commercial use is automatically unfair. Again, I think these beliefs come out of a desire to reduce complexity but it is simply the case that fair use is a four factor test and all four factors matter and must be considered.

Finally, to give people a foretaste of what they will get in your class, what are a few of the specific points of information or interest that you will cover which they may not have heard a lot about in a campus presentation on fair use? Or, beyond that, what will they learn that will give them confidence regarding fair use that they didn’t have previously?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I think one real benefit that participants in my class will get is just the opportunity to explore fair use in depth for four weeks. Many people encounter fair use as just one part of an hour-long session on copyright. The structure of this class allows the content a lot of “breathing room”. Participants will have time to reflect on their learning in a way that isn’t always possible in a shorter, in-person session. I also really try to present the information in a way that discourages “checklist thinking” when it comes to fair use. Checklists have their place, and we’ll talk about that, but the beauty and power of the doctrine comes from the fact that it is not a checklist that can be applied mechanically. Instead, if we understand the historical and philosophical origins of the doctrine and we understand something of the ways that the courts have interpreted it, we can approach fair use analyses with nuance! Finally, I think participants will find a curriculum that situates fair use within our values and professional practices. I want participants to feel, after taking my class, that they aren’t somehow trespassing on the lawyers’ territory when they talk about fair use but that they are very much on home turf!

Sounds like a great class. Thanks for doing the interview and for being an instructor for Library Juice Academy.