Dr. Barba visited Virginia Tech last October, 2017, for a series of 3 speaking events. This post is about the third event.
“Gender and Diversity in Engineering”
Student Feedback Forwarded from Susan Arnold-Christian, Associate Director – Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Tech, College of Engineering
Lorena’s third event was not only well attended, it was moving. In the student comments below, although result-oriented (as one would expect from VT engineers), one detects the emotional impact Lorena had on the students. I was there and observed her effective teaching through some serious moments of emotional student engagement that revealed her compassion for her students and mastery of the classroom learning environment. It was clear to all that Dr Lorena Barba speaks from the heart.
- This event enhanced… my knowledge on how women engineers in real life are impacted by gender bias… I immensely enjoyed my experience, so much so I stayed around with the speaker and graduate students about thirty minutes after everything was over. Thank you for reaching out to me and have a great day.
- This impacts me as an engineer because in the field of engineering [there] is a huge difference between men and women. Women have to work to get a higher post while men have it much easier because they look like stereotypical engineer. This discussion overall brought to my attention that women are not the only people that are suppressed in the engineering field. People of color are often not thought about and need to be thought of when creating new innovations.
- This event will help me… remember to think of any biases I have before interacting with other members in a team project, so that hopefully I won’t act based on those biases.
- I found Dr. Barba’s event to be very interesting and pertinent to my professional development as an engineer. Being a female, many of the topics that Dr. Barba spoke about, such as walking a tightrope between being assertive and remaining feminine really struck a chord with me… Understanding the inequalities that Dr. Barba spoke of, being a female in a male-dominant work place, better prepares me to be confident and assertive in my professional work. I also was inspired to persevere despite any hardships that may come my way and professionalism comes with allying with one and other to get rid of these inequalities.
- I very much enjoyed hearing Dr. Barba speak and thought this was a good event. The reason that I think this event helps my professional development is I know what other women in my career are facing and what I may have to be prepared for. This impacts me because women and minorities are treated differently in the workplace and I need to stick up for myself and everyone else who is discriminated against or nothing will change.
- It was very interesting to hear from Dr. Barba and others about their points of view on the topic. The topic of gender equality in the work place is very important because we are woefully uneducated about it and try to avoid conversation on the subject whenever possible… what Dr. Barba said about needing a few strong willed men to step up and challenge the gender biases that are present… was interesting… [and] that not only are human[s] biased in the way they look at people, but they are inadvertently training AI to think the same way. It is horrifying and enlightening that these things are occurring and we need to be educated more on ways to prevent our natural social biases. When researching some more about hidden biases, I found a website created by a group called Project Implicit. This site asks you a series of question as well as flashes symbols and word[s] across the screen to determine your hidden biases.
- I am really glad I attended this event, as it taught me about the importance of reaching out and being inclusive with everyone. Moving forward in life as a colored woman in engineering, I will be mindful of those who are affected by the same problems as well as those who can help make a change to the problems.
- I think this event will help my professional development because I am now aware of how important allies are in improving the workplace environment concerning diversity. A more inclusive and diverse work environment will yield better results, especially in engineering.
- How and why this event impacts me academically is that it teaches me how to work with other students who may not be exactly like me. This event also helped me realize what types of bias on women in engineering there are and how to either stop them or even help tell others that what they are saying to someone else is wrong. This event does resonate with a lot of the female engineers or even international students because we are the minority. It is obvious we were all intelligent enough since we all got into VT.
- I think the biggest way it will help me is having a better understanding of these topics, allowing me to be more aware of what is happening around me. I will also now take the time to try and focus and notice when I am biased. The discussion really made me reflect on what I see around me and how I handle my own day to day situations. That same day after the talk I went to my friends and shared what I learned. It is definitely a great conversation starter into a more difficult topic.
- I think this event impacts my professional development by learning and understanding what challenges I can face as a woman in the workplace, and to [beware] of that. This topic affects my professional development because these are issues that affect everyone that isn’t a straight white male, and it’s important to realize the value of diversity in engineering.
- I think this topic impacts [me] as an engineer because many of my peers are women/minorities and one needs to be able to understand things from their perspective. This will also impact it by having knowledge on the subject, I can have conversations with them about topics like sexual harassment and misogyny which they might face in the future.
- I completely side with Dr. Barba on the fact that this whole Gender and Diversity in the workplace topic and the problems associated with it aren’t just a women’s issue; it’s a world issue and as such, we should all, men and women, strive to find solutions by being vocal and exposing acts of racial and gender-based harassment (or any type of harassment). This will directly impact me as I am someone who in no way fits the ‘ideal’ stereotypical picture of an engineer. Not only am I [a] woman, I am also an Arab, veiled, Muslim woman. And so in my professional career, I am likely going to experience some sort of judgment based on bias. However, this discussion made me more aware of my own biases as well. It also encouraged me to address and expose these issues whenever I encounter them, for example, I was inspired by… Dr. Barba’s [story about when she] confronted her director about even thinking of linking the word ‘flattery’ with her sexual harassment incident. Further, as a professional in the field of engineering, I plan to take into account how diverse our planet is and so when designing products, I will make sure that it meets the demands and is fit for the entire consumer base and not just [for] one specific category and neglect the rest (unlike the Apple Watch as discussed today).
- This event helped to broaden my understanding of the situations and emotions others face that I am unfamiliar with. This will help me to better interact and work with my peers as I continue my academic career.
- Though I had to leave early for class, I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion-style event today with Dr. Barba because I learned very valuable information about the world around me in terms of gender and diversity issues like inequality and biased behavior. I was most intrigued by the comments made in the discussion around the room by my peers because they brought in facts and accounted experiences that I have never taken the time to learn or think of myself. I see what I learned from this event as Academic Support for my future as an engineer because it not only teaches me about the business world around me but also pushes me to work harder in the classroom, empowering me to prove myself as a capable student to my classmates no matter what race or gender I am.
- The concept of diversity in engineering is a big one. I think its important to hold everyone [to] the same standards, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. This impacts my pro dev as an engineer by helping me respect everyone in and out of the workplace because it’s solely the right thing to do. I look forward to using the things I learned at today’s seminar to help me be a better engineer and a more accepting engineer.
- Attending this event truly did impact me and I enjoyed discussing with Dr. Barba and the other Engineering students about the Gender and Diversity Issues in engineering. Being a minority in the Engineering area is definitely something I realize, and there are some days where the fact of me being a minority stands out more than others. I think the topic of Gender and Diversity Issues impacts my professional development as an engineer because it does have the impact of determining how you work as an engineer, whether you are accepted as a minority or not or discriminated against. I think it is very important to vocalize the issues with diversity and gender issues in engineering because everyone who wants to do engineering, or any other career in fact, should have the same fair advantage as the “majority.”
- I believe the topic of Gender and Diversity helps [me] as an engineer because it better equips me to handle situations where I am working with people who are different from myself. This event gave me a better understanding of how to support people who are different from me, and, after attending, I feel more confident in my ability to handle a situation where I may be discriminated against.
- As far as academic support, the topic of gender diversity (and general diversity because that came up a lot this morning as well) is important because it is almost impossible to work and be stressful in a highly stressful environment, like the one that is created when people are insensitive to issues and situations that arise surrounding those topics. You can’t learn if you can’t focus on learning. It was nice to [be] reminded that I’m not the only woman in engineering who walks into a room full of engineers and thinks about this, and that there are men, [although they are in the majority], who see it and will try to speak up.
- I think this topic impacts m[me] as an engineer through knowing and understanding factors influencing women and minorities in engineering. It is important for everyone to recognize that different people come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, and one should think about how others will perceive things that they do in a professional environment, and be aware of others’ point of view.
- WOW! I hope you enjoyed this event as much as I did. It was really eye opening to hear other people’s perspectives and listen to how small, overlooked details can largely impact people in society. I think this event aided [me] as an engineer because it covered Gender Discrimination in a classroom setting and how to deal with this problem. Mrs. Barba did a wonderful job doing this by sharing ideas on how to interact with people who may be a little judgmental based solely on being a woman. Also, I gained a valuable tip that men are part of the solution to greater women involvement in engineering. I know this event will help me both share my experiences with others to educate them and personally aid in my academic development by supplying me with these interactive skills.
Thanks to the following folks who made it possible for Lorena to touch the lives of our students:
- The DAGGS Collaboration
- Pamplin College of Business: Gina French, Svetlana Filatreau, Jennifer Clevenger
- University Libraries:
- DAGGS Committee: Gail McMillan, Yi Shen, Jonathan Petters, Peter Potter, Paul Hover
- Scholarly Communications: Anita Walz, Philip Young
- DSO: Elizabeth McVoy, Trevor Finney, Alec Masella
- Ellen Krupar, Sita Williams, Brian Mathews, Robert Sebek, Larry Thompson, Carol Sinclair (and many more)
- Pamplin College of Business: Gina French, Svetlana Filatreau, Jennifer Clevenger
- College of Engineering: Glenda Scales, Kim Lester, Susan Arnold-Christian
- OIRED Women and Gender in International Development: Maria Elisa Christie
- University Relations: Tracy Vosburgh
Open Doors for Research, Learning, and Creativity: the Second Iteration of DAGSS
From: Alec Masella, Digital Strategy and Outreach, University Libraries
On October 26 and 27, the University Libraries and Pamplin College of Business will team up with the College of Engineering for the second iteration of the Destination Areas Global Speaker Series (DAGSS). The speakers in these events are invited to campus to inspire faculty researchers in Virginia Tech’s Destination Areas to approach challenging topics in their fields with new ideas from around the world. Guest speaker Dr. Lorena Barba, Chilean engineer and associate professor at the George Washington University, will offer insight into open education efforts and emphasize the importance of reproducible research.
DAGSS welcomes Barba to the university to share her knowledge and experience with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. An internationally recognized engineer and professor, Barba has a wealth of advice and encouragement for both young and seasoned Destination Areas researchers. Her awards and credentials from Caltech and fellowships with Zonta International Foundation and NVIDIA Corporation highlight her as a role model in the STEM field. Barba’s wisdom and drive, however, transcend science— her ability to communicate the importance of open research influences scholars in all fields and redefines the ways in which we should conduct interdisciplinary research.
This iteration of DAGSS will emphasize the need for open educational resources (OER) in research. OER consist of research and other digital information, including learning and teaching materials, that are free to the public. By making scientific findings more widely available, researchers around the world can both connect with and build off one another’s work— in this way OER efficiently advances research in the STEM field and beyond.
Three DAGSS events offer the opportunity to learn from and interact with Barba during her visit to Virginia Tech: “Teaching in STEM Disciplines: Open Source Methods,” “What Savvy Open Scholars Know and Do,” and “Gender and Diversity in Engineering.” The purpose of these components is to recognize the versatility of research as well as the importance of open research practices. As Open Education Librarian Anita Walz puts it, DAGSS provides “a chance to talk with other academics doing top-notch and really interesting work, including teaching.”
DAGSS attendees will gain practical knowledge of open and reproducible scholarship and learn the value of open source philosophy. Through contact with renowned scholars at the event, they will also get a sense of direction for future research and how it should impact future researchers. Further, this event will inspire diversity and inclusion across the business and STEM fields.
Barba’s academic stance is that open source material is essential to furthering research. In her 2016 Science article “The Hard Road to Reproducibility,” she reflects on a moment in her Ph.D. studies when she had to run a pre-made computer code but had no way of contacting the original coder. Consequently, Barba spent nearly a year workshopping the code until it became reliable. The frustration she endured distracted from initial research goals and procedures.
Since then, Barba has dedicated her attention to open science practices: “Whenever [my research team and I] publish a paper, we create a ‘reproducibility package,’ deposited online, which includes the data sets and all the code that is needed to recreate the analyses and figures. These are the practices that work for us as computational scientists, but the principles behind them apply regardless of discipline.” Barba’s research in computational fluid dynamics is interdisciplinary, crossing into the realms of computer science and biomolecular physics. Since research within these fields relies on similar computations, she has found that there needs to be consistent, well-explained, and open source information for it (see the Lorena A. Barba Group’s philosophy on sharing code).
This speaker series is open to all and stitches together the cross-disciplinary, international, and philosophical aspects of open research to benefit a wide scope of students and educators. Additionally, Dr. Barba’s personal outlook on conducting meaningful research stands out in this invaluable and engaging experience. The University Libraries, Pamplin College of Business, and College of Engineering look forward to bringing the Virginia Tech community these unique and inspiring events.
Information on Open Access is to be found on Philip Young’s Open@VT: Access to Information at Virginia Tech, and more information on Open Source Methods is available in Anita Walz’s Research Guide Open Educational Resources: OER Overview.
(Photograph above) Presenters at the SOCRS program are (left to right): Ming-Yueh Tsay (Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, Republic of China), Robin Kear (University of Pittsburgh, United States), Stacy Konkiel (Altmetric LLP, United States), Shima Moradi (National Research Institute for Science Policy, Iran, Islamic Republic of), Afsaneh Teymourikhani (National Library and Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of), and Ifeanyi J Ezema (University of Nigeria and University of South Africa, South Africa).
Encompassing Scholarly Communication, SOCRS Redefines its Reach in Wrocław
Encompassing Scholarly Communication, SOCRS Redefines its Reach in Wrocław: The IFLA Section on Serials and Other Continuing Resources (SOCRS) has always concerned itself “with all issues which make serial publications unique in both the print and electronic environments.” Experience during the last few years creating IFLA WLIC programming, however, has shown us that our mission and scope is actually broader, more accurately “at the intersection of scholarly communication (SC) and continuing resources.” SC topics reflect an emerging redefinition of our areas of expertise, and our main publications—even our jobs—are reshaping themselves to include them. Our Standing Committee took action, requesting from IFLA’s Professional Committee a name change to “Scholarly Communication and Continuing Resources.” (Details in our 2017 minutes.)
SOCRS Open Session Program and Satellite Meeting: The 83rd IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), held in Wrocław (/ˈvrɒtswɑːf/), Poland, was themed “Libraries. Solidarity. Society.” Accordingly, we created our programs to explore solidarity with emerging, alternative forms of evaluating contributions to scholarly knowledge, and to the Open Access (OA) movement. Here is a list of our Open Session Program’s titles of guest speakers’ presentations, with links to their papers:
Session 080, Altmetrics: It’s Time to Take Action – Serials and Other Continuing Resources
- An Introduction to Altmetrics, Stacy Konkiel (Altmetric LLP, United States)
- Measuring Research Impact of Library and Information Science Journals: Citation verses Altmetrics, Ifeanyi J Ezema (University of Nigeria and University of South Africa, South Africa), Cyprian Ugwu (University of Nigeria and University of South Africa, South Africa). Paper in English
- Exploring Values-based (Alt)Metrics to Enhance Library Services, Stacy Konkiel (Altmetric LLP, United States), Rebecca Kennison (K|N Consultants, United States), Nicky Agate (Modern Language Association, United States), Christopher Long (Michigan State University, United States), Jason Rhody (Social Science Research Council, United States), Simone Sacchi (LIBER, Netherlands). Paper in English
- Web-based Citation: A New Metric for Evaluating Scientific Journals, Afsaneh Teymourikhani (National Library and Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran, Islamic Republic of). Paper in English
- Altmetrics and Library Publishing, Lauren Collister (University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, United States), Jessica Kirschner (University of Pittsburgh, United States), Michelle Bradbury (University of Pittsburgh, United States), Timothy S. Deliyannides (University of Pittsburgh, United States), Robin Kear (University of Pittsburgh, United States). Paper in English
- Developing an Academic Hub with Data Synchronization: Altmetrics Display and Added Value Information for Promoting Scholarly Communication Performance, Ming-Yueh Tsay (Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, Republic of China), Chih-Ming Chen (Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, Republic of China). Paper in English
- The Altmetrics of Retracted Articles in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Shima Moradi (National Research Institute for Science Policy, Iran, Islamic Republic of). Paper in English
Satellite Meeting: “Open Access: Action Required:” The Acquisition and Collection Development Section teamed up with SOCRS to co-sponsor a satellite meeting at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, Poland. Huge thanks are due to Zuza Wiorogorska and Matylda Filas for their work on the Satellite, the content of which was excellent with a good mix of papers. (Details here.)
Attendees of the second meeting of the of the Standing Committee are (from left to right, top): Meg Mering, (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA), Secretary and incoming Chair; Gaëlle Bequet (ISSN International Centre, France), incoming Secretary; Andrea Wirth (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA); Ted Westervelt (Library of Congress, USA), blogger and incoming Information Coordinator; Beata Katrincova (University Library in Bratislava, Slovakia); Smita Joshipura (Arizona State University, USA), Facebook; Sharon Dyas-Correia (University of Toronto), outgoing Chair; Ezra Shiloba Gbaje (Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria); Fatmeh Charafeddine (American University of Beirut); and Zuzanna “Zuza” Wiorogorska (University of Warsaw, Poland). (From left to right, bottom): Karolina Minch (University of Warsaw, Poland); and Paul Hover (Virginia Tech, USA), Blogger.
SOCRS Committee Meetings: We had two section meetings during the congress. After electing our new officers (meet them in the photograph above), we discussed our current program, the mission and scope of the SOCRS Section, and the Satellite meeting. During the second meeting we talked about IFLA’s Global Vision, the importance of membership commitment, the SOCRS action plan, and our continuing welcome to new members. The fun part was helping to design a new logo for our shiny new (hopefully forthcoming soon) section name!
Planning for IFLA 2018 in Kuala Lumpur: We also discussed possible topics for the SOCRS open program at the 2018 conference, and tried out a few titles incorporating Scholarly Communications and Kuala Lumpur’s key theme of “transforming society.” Libraries-as-publishers is currently a topic of general interest, partly due to the fact that we had already organized a 2016 satellite meeting around it entitled “Libraries as Publishers: Building a Global Community” in collaboration with the Acquisition and Collection Development Section. We are also planning to collaborate with the Science and Technology Section to co-sponsor a program on bringing Open Access to a new level.
Wrocław: Where History Becomes Art
The Polish Art encountered around this beautiful city, nestled on islands in the Oder River, affected me on several levels. On my first jet-lagged sortie, 100 meters from my hotel, I came across perfectly lifelike statues of ordinary people descending into the sidewalk at a crossing of two busy avenues. From their demeanor one knows immediately that they are taking a tragic detour in their lives, some never to reemerge on the other side of the street. Known in English as “The Anonymous Pedestrians,” Przejście (literally “passage, transition”), by Polish artist Jerry Kalina, leaves no doubt in the observer’s mind that something sinister drove those people underground. Looking it up later, I found it refers to a deadly period of martial law that occured only a couple of decades ago.
Gripping Portrayal of the “1997 Flood of the River Oder” a Foreshadowing of Tragedy in Texas? I was still in Poland six days later when my heart sank on hearing that Hurricane Harvey had made landfall on August 26 at Rockport, Texas. A small town of shrimp boats and tourist shops, nobody has ever heard of Rockport, but I have—it’s where my Postmaster Dad’s “two-horse” U.S. Post Office is (was) located. Had the Opening Ceremony dazzled us only days earlier with a combination of theater, light, and dance, all performed before a giant screen playing historical clips of heart-wrenching scenes of watery misery? Entitled “Short Story of Wrocław: A theatrical show which presents the history of Wrocław,” I remember how the stage was engulfed in shades of deepest blue as our eyes took in the immensity of the disaster, so vast it was also known as the 1997 Central European Flood.
Thanks to the wonderful people of Wrocław for a memorable, artful, and friendly conference, and for heaps upon heaps of delicious pickles!
Submitted to the ALA ALCTS by Paul Hover
By HaveLanguageWillTravel • 1. International Students & Faculty, 2. Strategic Global Collaborations, 3. International Events, 4. Global Opportunities, 5. International Librarians, 9. Classes & Workshops • 0
Our “Marooned Librarian” Hokie in South Africa has written an informative and delightful blog post about his experiences and work since his arrival May 2nd. Here’s an excerpt that will make you feel like you are there with him:
His photos range from “painted murals on some of the buildings” to the protea, a beautiful South African flower” to “the daredevils that paraglide from mountains over towers to the beach” (below).
Fulbright Specialist serves as consultant in Open Education (OE) and Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian
Library Liaison to Economics, Mathematics, and Legal Studies
firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 540-231-2204 | Fax: 540-231-7808 | Newman Library 422 | Twitter: @arwalz
Open Educational Resources Guide http://guides.lib.vt.edu/oerVirginia Tech
University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Veliswa Tshetsha, VT’s second visiting South African librarian scholar, hosted by Research & Informatics / Scholarly Communication Department
Ms. Veliswa Tshetsha, Research and Scholarly Communication Librarian from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa, presented on South Africa on Thursday, October 20, 2016 in the MuntiPurpose Room. Her presentation began with discussion of the eleven official languages, the South African freedom movement, public holidays, and heritage sites that were established as a result of political movements. She spoke of South African political history, student movements in the 1970s, and the current turmoil in higher education in South Africa. Veli explained her strong motivation to visit VT, which, besides being her first visit to the USA, is also based on CPUT’s need to advance library research support necessary for the expansion of scholarly communication (SC) in the university. Veli’s talk was wide-ranging, covering topics Open Journal System (OJS), editors, students, coding opportunities, Open Educational Resources (OER), Copyright, Creative Commons, Researcher profiles, SC, Open Access (OA), Impact/Altmetrics, and SC Literacy Curriculum.
Professor Gail McMillan, Director of Scholarly Communication, designed an intensive program for Veliswa to experience every aspect of our program. Gail mentors our South African visiting scholar several times a week. Members of the team got together and threw Veli a “covered dish” lunch, an American custom in which every participant brings a favorite food to contribute to a communal meal. Many folks have extended a heartfelt Hokie welcome to Veli, such as Jana Doyle for making her downstairs apartment available again this year, Inga Hausen for sharing her office, and Anita Walz for making arrangements for Veli to attend the Open Education Conference in Richmond.
(Photo above) Presenters at the Serials and other Continuing Resources program are (left to right) Sofie Wennström, Stockholm University Library; Anjana H. Bhatt, Florida Gulf Coast University; Clément Oury, ISSN International Centre; Gayle R.Y.C. Chan, University of Hong Kong Libraries; and Gaëlle Béquet, ISSN International Centre.
IFLA 2016 Serials and Other Continuing Resources Section Report: Program in Columbus, Ohio
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Section on Serials and Other Continuing Resources (SOCRS) “concerns itself with all issues which make serial publications unique in both the print and electronic environments.” We met twice during the 82nd World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). Working within the congress theme, “Connections. Collaboration. Community,” we organized Session 114, “The Role of Stakeholders in the New Serials World.” Here follows a list of titles and authors of our guest speakers’ presentations. For links to the authors’ papers, please check the SOCRS URL listed above for updates. (Gaëll’s paper is already linked below.)
- Open Access Collections: Current Scenario in American Academic Libraries and a Sample Work Flow, by Anjana H. Bhatt, Florida Gulf Coast University, United States
- Questionable Practices in Scholarly Publishing: The Stance of the ISSN Network (Paper in English), by Gaëlle Béquet, Director, ISSN International Centre, France
- Revising the ISSN: involving stakeholders to adapt a bibliographic standard to its ever-changing environment, by Clément Oury, ISSN International Centre, France
- Managing the Transitional Impact of Open Access Journals, by Gayle R.Y.C. Chan, Libraries, and Allan C.S. Cheung, Department of Chemistry, University of Hong Kong., Hong Kong
- Stockholm University Press – for researchers, by researchers – but what does the library publisher add? By Sofie Wennström and Birgitta Hellmark Lindgren, Stockholm University Library, Sweden
Satellite meetings: SOCRS also co-sponsored two satellite meetings this congress:
- “RDA in the Wider World:” SOCRS, along with the RDA Board, the RDA Steering Committee and the IFLA Cataloguing Section, sponsored this satellite meeting at OCLC’s headquarters.
- “Libraries as Publishers: Building a Global Community:” SOCRs co-sponsored this meeting with the Acquisition and Collection Development Section at the University of Michigan. Ann Okerson, our co-sponsor Chair, is working on forming a “Libraries as Publishers” special interest group.
Good Guy Buckeyes treat International Librarians to “Dime-a-Dogs” at a Columbus Clippers Game
International librarians: Michael Dowling, Director of the American Libraries Association’s International Relations Office, asked me to help Delin Guerra, Program Officer, and Beth Cramer, International Relations Round Table Chair, to “explain American baseball” to about 70 international librarians. He had tickets to a Columbus Clippers vs. Durham Bulls game! The librarians I met that night were amazing, some of whom, I realized, would become friends for life. Outside the stadium, I pointed to a sign announcing “Dime-A-Dog Night.” Try explaining THAT to a non-English speaking, first-time visitor!
After finding our seats, I decided to invest in a couple “dawgs.” Making my way to the epic-sized concession stands, I was taken aback by equally epic queues waiting for the bargain-priced, American iconic culinary delights. But did you ever notice how waiting in line can be a great opportunity to meet people? The two “Buckeyes” (Ohio residents) who were standing in front of me were father and son baseball fans, and after I mentioned I was at the game with a group of international librarians at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, they busted out some good ol’ American hospitality. Norm explained that he and his son Joey always used to get 2 hot-dogs each, but since the stadium had initiated “Dime-A-Dog Night,” they had upped that to 3, which was plenty, even though the maximum allowed per customer was 5.
To my surprise, when we got to the front of the line, Norm ordered 15 hot-dogs! They wouldn’t let me pay a dime, and turned over most of their booty, mustard and all, to share with our international librarian guests. By the way, did I mention I am a Buckeye, too? Well, I am now.
SOCRS Committee Meetings Read more…
New Strategy Emerges to Expand Second Year of International Librarian Collaboration between Virginia Tech’s University Libraries and CPUT in South Africa
We welcome Veliswa to America, Inga is heading for The Western Cape, and Angela, Keith, and Collin are working with South Africans online in a new virtual collaboration strategy. This brings total new research projects to 5 this year.
Virginia Tech’s University Libraries is widening its collaboration with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Libraries through an innovation taking advantage of experience gained in identifying useful research projects. This is a result of the first year’s iteration of the exchange, and it represents an opportunity.
Kick starting research: an unforeseen opportunity flows out of our Librarian Exchange procedures
The VTUL’s International Outreach Committee had 4 South Africa strategic exchange project proposal applications this year, a modest amount but nevertheless double the first year’s number. They were all excellent, all built on solid needs at both academic libraries. This was in part due to the process we underwent: the project proposals are the result of several steps designed to identify “areas of strength” at each institution and match them with “areas of need” at its counterpart, as follows:
- Phase one: Directors and Department Heads submitted “Areas of strength,” descriptions of current departmental progress on advancing goals of modernization.
- Phase two: Janine and Paul reviewed the lists and consulted with the Deans and others with institutional knowledge, and published possible project areas in a CFP in a first attempt to focus on matches that would improve operations at both libraries.
- Phase three: Joanne and Robert, our first two exchange librarians, provided specific feedback addressing needs to match existing advances at counterparts after their return home. This was a topic they were asked to keep an eye out for during their stay.
- Phase four: International Outreach Committees and Deans/Directorates select their estimated most-useful collaborations for awarding funding for the second year of the program.
Vetted twice or more
The remaining 3 applications were all therefore also grounded in real experience, vetted twice or more. Because of the process, we discovered we had more good shots at improving mutual operations than we bargained for. Should we ignore the uncovering of good ideas, or put them off until next year’s cycle of applications? Some of the technology involved in the project proposals moves fast, so why shouldn’t we?
Why not “kickstart” it virtually, now while the idea is fresh?
High tech and traditional library service
This is an opportunity to start collaborative research on each and every one of the proposals. Director Chiware of CPUT and their Directorate reviewed them and accepted all 3. South African professionals have already been assigned to each VT librarian/staff member. Collin and Keith turned in high tech project ideas, and these young engineers’ proposals are guaranteed cutting edge in their fields. Angela’s proposal, a more traditional library one, is spot-on in an urgent need of ours here at VT, namely how to handle the needs of a highly diverse global community. We have a growing international student and faculty body, and it will be great to see this project also get traction and develop further. South Africa is writing the book on diversity, and we most certainly can learn from CPUT on serving a diverse clientele.
For successful academic results to be achieved by these individuals, many of them collaborating for the first time, some specialized research guidance will be needed, but that’s what librarians do. We are awash in research expertise!
This amounts to an expansion on our collaboration that maximises our successes to date in the furtherance of international librarianism, as well as improving the nuts and bolts efficiency of library services. And who knows, if the projects result in useful research articles or presentations, it will be a good way to lay the foundations for “kicking” the collaborations “up a notch.” Proven projects may be chosen to cross the Atlantic physically in our own Librarian Exchange program next year, or our collaborating teams may find resources under the auspices of other funding agencies.
More details about the 5 research projects, 2 physical and 3 virtual, are forthcoming in future posts on this blog.
The University Libraries joined TEAM Malawi when the call for library expertise went out after the tragic loss to fire of the Mzuni Library (see photo above and story below). Anita R. Walz, Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian, noticed the initiative on social media and directed it to International Outreach in our Learning Division.
TEAM Malawi is a multidisciplinary program with the theme “every activity can be mapped back to a Community Wellness model of healthcare that incorporates interests of … Technology–Education–Advocacy–Medicine [in] Malawi… Current partners include Engineering, Public Health, Education, Urban Affairs and Planning, Medical School, Small businesses, International NGOs…” The team has several education abroad service opportunities for VT students, and has been in operation for a number of years.
Brian Mathews, Associate Dean for Learning, shares experience garnered in ongoing Newman Library innovations and current thinking about “Learning Spaces” with Head Librarian of Mzuni
Brian emailed Dr. Felix P. Majawa, University Librarian of Mzuzu University, a folder of resources that includes “some info about learning spaces… I also included a short doc that has our philosophy and characteristics…. [and] assembled a handful of docs about active learning environments and libraries that might be of interest.” Brian also offered to Skype with Mzuni librarians to answer any questions that might arise in the process of rebuilding their library.
Dr. Ralph Hall, School of Public & International Affairs, who is leading the VT initiative, wrote to Dr. Majawa that “Our hope is that these documents will enable you to consider a number of strategies that may help enhance the learning environment in your new library.”
University Libraries disseminates global call for action in Mzuni Library crisis through American Libraries Association’s International Relations Round Table (ALA IRRT)
The IRRT’s Executive Board “earnestly endorsed publicizing helping the Mzuzu fire relief effort,” and not only published the story in International Leads, but also wrote about it on their Facebook page and blog.
Margaret Merrill, retired VT librarian, has found a home for some Agricultural print resources she stored in her garage after saving them from the discard bin
VT University Libraries, like most academic libraries, has largely migrated to electronic resources, and has been discarding print materials for over a decade. We of course only discard what we can get in the more convenient form of e-resources. We still have print resources, but most are earmarked for retention.
That said, we located a source of materials for the Agriculture Department of the new Mizuni Library. Our much-missed and esteemed retired Agriculture Librarian, Margaret Merrill, has some discarded materials stored neatly in her garage , including some runs of journals that the University Libraries had replaced with the same e-journals. This material will provide a depth of research history in a country where e-resources are hard or impossible to get. It makes you wonder if there is more out there like Margaret’s?
How to help
Donations and books have started pouring in and are being stored in offices on the VT campus. More information about exactly what resources are most urgently needed and how you can help can be found on VT’s TEAM Malawi blog here.