In the Spring 2016 semester, I took on the task of “renovating” D’Amour Library’s Information Literacy libguide aimed toward faculty. The library had recently moved to Libguides 2.0, and a total university website revamp gave us a reason to evaluate the library’s web presence. It seemed like an opportune time to revisit this guide, which had grown large and unmanageable over time (as Libguides tend to do).
My main objective with the revamp was to take the good things the guide had to offer and streamline them to make the page more usable, and even more importantly more appealing, to the faculty visiting it. Having 13 tabs with often repeating content wasn’t cutting it. Working off of principles from Jason Puckett’s Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides, I added simple images, reworked jargon and language, clustered like information, added context to any links, and removed instances of over-informing. The statistics provided by Libguides proved useful as well; knowing that our page on creating innovative research assignments was by far the one faculty most frequently visited was instrumental for making decisions about content to prioritize. I believe the final product highlights the best of D’Amour’s IL instruction program and makes the concept more approachable and less overwhelming to non-librarians.
After the first year at WNE, whether or not students get additional info lit instruction issolely up to the discretion of their individual professors. I wanted to provide channels through which all students could get extra guidance from the library if they wanted to. I also wanted to put the library on the map as a place of learning for faculty and staff as well and felt the library had a lot to offer this population of patrons. Thus Do More at D’Amour was born. I created a series of workshops modeled of the SkillfUL technology workshops at UNC as well as the comprehensive suite of research and technology workshops offered at UIUC. The goal was to form “a series of workshops designed to help students, faculty, and staff explore new technologies in conjunction with resources and services at D’Amour Library. Through sessions on technology tools and research strategies, the program aims to empower members of the university community to make the most of the learning opportunities offered at Western New England University” (from D’Amour website).
The weekly series was my pet project for the Spring 2016 semester, and it kept me busy with planning, organizing, promoting, and teaching. From taking on this project I became more confident in my project management skills; coordinating a large number of moving parts required a good deal of time management and communication between myself and my colleagues both in and outside the library. I even got an opportunity to work with Student Disabilities Services and bring a representative in to talk about a study tool that can be an asset for all students, which was a great experience. Though I am leaving this position at WNE in mid-June, the series has support from my colleagues and should continue on. I’m lucky to have had the support of my supervisor and coworkers in making the series a reality. It wasn’t a perfect first semester, but I think it certainly has room to grow into something truly valuable for almost everyone at Western New England University.
D’Amour library sends out a newsletter to Western New England University faculty and staff once or twice a year to share what we’ve been working on. The job of coordinating and editing the newsletter went to me (though my director graciously let me postpone that task until the end of my first semester in the position to let me acclimate a little). As editor, I brainstormed story ideas and solicited more from others, called for writers and assigned stories, contributed to the newsletter myself, set the layout, and coordinated printing and distribution of the final product. This was the first full-color edition of the D’Amour Newsline, and I received a ton of positive feedback from many WNE employees. See a PDF of the Spring 2016 newsletter here.
This was really my first taste of project management, and I found myself actually enjoying the process. Delegating tasks is something I’ve been uncomfortable with in the past, but realizing that my colleagues had greater institutional knowledge as well as strengths complementary to mine really helped me feel good about letting go of the reins and serving primarily as a facilitator of other peoples’ ideas. Setting deadlines and keeping everyone to them (including myself) and making sure everything was where it needed to be down to the last detail was like a fun puzzle to solve. Though a relatively small project, through taking this on I developed some organization and leadership skills that I’m sure will come in handy in the future.