Writing

Looking at Summer 2015

Things on my librarian brain:

  • Our library team is working on our MOU (Memo of Understanding) in response to the program review we recently had (where outside folks come in and evaluate us). [Side note: in my previous life as an Access Services manager, an MOU was the first step in the disciplinary process of an employee. Not so with this MOU, this is just a normal response with a 2 and 5 year plan to address each item where needs were noted.]
  • Sort of related to the above, the 2015 ACRL Immersion Program has begun! Though I won’t head to Seattle until the beginning of August, the Moodle course is up and running, our readings and pre-assignments have been posted. I’m hoping to leverage the Immersion program to inform how we want our information literacy program to evolve for a growing campus with semistatic resources.
  • A “freemium ” model of peer-review, where authors could pay for faster review of their articles, was pretty much unanimously shot down as privileging moneyed scholars over non-moneyed. It was a trial by Nature Publishing Group to outsource peer-review for authors who could pay the price and were interested in being published faster. What if research funded by private interests is able to pay Gold OA fees and expedited review fees, whereas researchers dependent on academic institutions cannot? Does it matter if research funded by private interests, or more well-to-do universities, can be published faster? There’s still a shred of equality left in peer-reviewed journal article publishing (note I said a thread; I know this area is also fraught with politics and foibles). Is this something librarians are keeping an eye on, and/or talking about?
  • I’ll be working on my Freedom & Justice Studies class in this summer’s GE (General Education) Design & Assessment Institute in early June on campus. Among other things in the day-and-a-half learning opportunity, I hope to better match my assignments to student learning outcomes (I find I can always learn more in this area!) and turn my major class assignment into one of the campus Signature Assignments. The program is limited to 12 slots, so I’m very excited for the opportunity.
  • Submitted a journal article to the Journal of Practical Academic Librarianship, but in re-reviewing it, I think I may have benefited from a more thorough literature review. I’m expecting that one to bounce back, but we’ll see.
  • Completed the preparation work for a new research project with a colleague in the Communication department, and will be bringing the IRB paperwork to my chair so she can sign off on it before it heads to the IRB committee.  We’ll be looking at whether supplemental information literacy material (in the forms of point-of-need tutorials and a discussion board with a librarian) have any impact at all on student research products.

Barreling Toward the End of My First CSUCI Spring Semester

In order of importance, the things going on as the semester careens to a close:

On the library front:

  • Finals are coming, finals are coming! Students are feeling the pressure, which means we at the library do, too. ALL OF THE PRINTING.  On an admittedly less-than-superior printing setup. And the last papers of the semester, so we’re seeing some hail-Marys at the reference desk;
  • This will be my first finals where I take lead on the end of semester feedback. We set up “graffiti” boards with giant post-it’s on whiteboards asking what we’re doing right, and what we can improve, and collect all that information. We also have a student survey, and a faculty survey. My colleagues all tabulate and organize the data, and we’ll see what we can do to improve for next finals season;
  • The 24-hour library. The week before and the week of finals, we stretch the library and its staff to 24 hours for our students. Thank goodness for the folks who work the overnight! I’m picking up some 6am shifts, but those are easier for me than the late evening or midnight shifts, now that I’ve apparently become an elder;
  • The Party of the Year is later this month: The Faculty Accomplishments Party. Cited by faculty as THE party of the year, and something that spurs them to get some research published or presented by the deadline, this bash is where the library celebrates our faculty here at Channel Islands. There are awards, faculty who have published or presented something in the past year get a spiffy poster of their work, and there is general merriment. And wine and beer. And laughter. This will be my first, and I’m excited, since when I was here for the interview, nearly everyone cited it as The Most Important Thing to Know About Being A Faculty Member Here.

On the personal/life front:

  • Lots of doctor appointments, since I’ve been feeling crappy. Turns out I’m gluten intolerant, and nightshade intolerant, and all-sorts-of-foodstuff-intolerant, so I’m going on the autoimmune protocol diet. A royal PITA in terms of food lists and preparation, but apparently it’s what I need, so. Hrmp. Think super-restricted Paleo-style. No grains/gluten (but corn! But rice!), legumes, dairy, eggs. nuts, seeds, sweeteners, nightshades (white potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.), modern vegetable oils, refined sugars,  and processed food chemicals. Since part of my reaction is histamine-related (a bad reaction and all of my tattoos actually raise up on my skin!), that also means no lemon, lime, kiwi, mango, processed meat (ONOES BACON), bananas, and strawberries, among other things. SAD. PANDA;
  • Fabulous Husband and I have gotten into the habit of walking the dogs to the dog park. There’s nothing quite so silly as a duo of basset hounds running a few laps, and then collapsing for the rest of the hour. Except maybe the sight of Fabulous Husband and I running, trying to encourage them to get up and chase us;
  • Fabulous Husband and I are signed up to do a 5k at the end of the month, right before our 2-ear wedding anniversary. Which I have not at all begun training for (the 5k, not the anniversary), and is the result of a New Year’s Resolution when I was feeling feisty. Oh, New Year Colleen. You were so optimistic. *pats self on head*

On the research front:

  • The magical and hard-working copy-editors at The Journal of Academic Librarianship have done their work, fixed my gaffes, and that article should be coming online shortly;
  • Today was the deadline for book chapter proposals from library directors discussion leadership skill lessons learned. 36 excellent proposals received (woohoo!), and now (well, likely next weekend) I have to go through them and do some selecting, and respond to the authors by May 1;
  • I’m finishing up editing the chapters for another book on contemporary women poets and mythology. These authors have been extremely patient with me as timelines were extended due to my health, the move, the new job, my health, etc. I’m looking forward to having these out of my hands, and this project out into the world;
  • I have a few articles in the works. One more coming out of the dissertation on leadership development at different levels of the organization (probably to submit to College & Research Libraries), one on using ritual theory to explore chronic illness (proposal accepted by New Directions in the Humanities), and one on intersections of myth, technology, and information literacy;
  • I’ll be presenting in mid-June at CaVraCon (California Visual Resources Association conference) on using digital images in information literacy instruction;
  • I’m waiting to hear back about my proposals to present at the internet Librarian conference in October. I think those announcements usually go out in late June or early July;
  • I have a full-length poetry manuscript out and under review at a few different small presses;
  • I have 3 manuscripts in-progress and one data-collection project that I won’t fool with until summer;
  • Oh, yeah, still working on that Ph.D. in Mythological Studies. Which reminds me to pack my reading for the first spring session.

And in teaching:

  • My last information literacy sessions are next week, early Monday morning and late Tuesday evening;
  • Which means it’s time to look back at the stats and see how we’re doing, and who we’re touching;
  • And I’m in super informal discussions with the chair of the Freedom & Justice Studies minor about the possibility of my teaching FJS 340 in the Fall semester. Titled Explorations of Freedom and Justice, it’s an opportunity to pick a wicked problem and look at it across time, cultures, and disciplines. I’d like to look at information access as the wicked problem, and am having a grand old time culling building a bibliography, structuring a syllabus, and thinking about how I can develop engaging assignments.
Possible sources for FJS 340 readings

Possible sources for FJS 340 readings (minus the 50+ journal articles under consideration). Do you have recommendations?

The Research and Writing Life: A Snapshot of March 2015

For those interested in the writing life of an academic librarian who is on the tenure track, you may be interested in what my research and writing schedule looks like. If you include all of my writing for librarianship, professional conferences, my Ed.D. work, and my Ph.D. work, it adds up to a lot. I usually don’t list it out this way, since it makes me want to hyperventilate, but it is helpful to see it in this form to (1) give myself credit for what I’ve accomplished, and (2) budget my time wisely for what remains.

Not much writing happened in January and February – largely my focus was polishing up the dissertation, and getting healthy after some wicked bouts of illness. Papers submitted for publication or a grade already this month (March 2015) include:

  • “The Relationship between Academic Library Department Experience and Perceptions of Leadership Skill Development Relevant to Academic Library Directorship” (submitted to peer-reviewed journal in academic librarianship)
  • “The Significance of the Stylistic Device of Repetition in Ritual” (Ph.D. in Mythological Studies paper)
  • “A Close Reading of Joseph Campbell’s Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal” (Ph.D. in Mythological Studies paper)
  • “An exploratory study of the relationship between academic library work experience and perceptions of leadership skill development relevant to the academic library directorship” (Ed.D. in Learning & Leadership dissertation)

Papers in progress that I intend to (read: am required to) submit before a March 31st include:

  • A yet-untitled because it is a yet-to-be-decided-topic paper for my Dreams, Visions, Myths class (Ph.D. in Mythological Studies)
  • “An Age of Abundance, an Absence of Control: The Intersection of Mythology, Technology, Discourses of Power, and Information Literacy” (intended for the peer-reviewed Journal of Mythological Studies)
  • “Same-Sex Marriage in America: Ritual and Claims in the Mythic, Psychological, and Social Realms” (Ph.D. in Mythological Studies)
  • “The Four Faces of Marvel’s Black Widow: A Model of Regenerative Mythmaking” – a book chapter for a collection on Black Widow
  • “‘Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing’: Empowering Students and Rebuilding the Freshman Literature Syllabus with a Focus on Critical Thinking, Mythology, Creative Writing and Library Research” – a paper to be presented virtually at the The Fifth Asian Conference on Literature & Librarianship
  • “Piety, Poetry, And the Pastoral Landscape: An Exploration of the Power of Place, Rhythm, And Religion in Maurice Manning’s Bucolics” – a paper to be presented virtually at the The Fifth Asian Conference on Literature & Librarianship

Projects in-progress that require my vigilance include:

  • Completing the paper “Academic Librarians Learning to Lead from the Middle? Not According to the Data” (intended for the peer-reviewed journal Academic Library Administration, probably before April 30)
  • Editing a book titled “Mythology and Contemporary Women Poets: Analysis, Teaching, and Critical Reflection” to be published by Mcfarland (full manuscript due September 1!).
  • I received a contract to edit a book for ALA Editions based on my dissertation research. The first chapters will be my research, the later chapters will be essays by library directors on their experience developing much-needed leadership skills in specific areas. I’ve already sent out the call for abstracts and have received some stellar pitches!

Not happening this month (thank goodness!) but on my to-do list for the coming months/year:

  • Redesigning the Library’s 3-credit course and co-writing that up for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Shoring up plans for a research project with a colleague in the Communication department on information literacy and research skill development that we’re hoping to complete in the fall and co-write up for publication in spring 2016 for a peer-reviewed journal
  • Continuing my research on academic library leadership (collecting more data, analyzing, writing up for publication)
  • Writing on the idea of chronic illness as liminal space as it relates to ritual theory for a peer reviewed journal
  • Re-/Self- publishing my three books of poetry (both small independent presses have folded, and I’d like for the collections to still be available)
  • Finding a publisher for another completed poetry manuscript
  • Completing a half-finished poetry collection

So, that’s my writing and research life in a nutshell (or a blog post).

How does it all happen? Well, a few nights a week and one weekend day per week are dedicated to writing/research/class doings. I do literature searches in brief breaks during the workday, between instruction sessions and at the reference desk. It helps that my husband is working on his Ed.D. and understands the need for dedicated reading and writing time, since most of that work, for me, happens outside of worktime (though I do like to go into the office to do research on Saturdays, when it’s quiet.)

Next time: a brief discussion of what my reading habits look like, given my weird and interdisciplinary work. For your amusement, a selection of a few of the textbooks for my upcoming Spring quarter at the Pacifica Graduate Institute:

Just a few of the textbooks for my Spring 2015 quarter for the Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology.

Just a few of the textbooks for my Spring 2015 quarter for the Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology.