Back to School Training

Yes it’s almost Halloween, and in fact the kids around my neck of the woods started Fall break today but it’s never too late to be introduced to certain databases. Tuesday I attended a training session encompassing some of the databases that we have that are good ones to know when it comes to helping students of all ages with their assignments. Dealing with academic research I’m kind of use to a good set of databases that are my go to, Academic Search Premier being the number one favorite. I liken it to Wal-mart when I introduce it to anyone (a good analogy I got from one of my librarian friends while doing my practicum), it’s got a little bit of everything you could possibly want but not much variety on any given topic. And then you have those subject specifics that are great for when you get stuck in the general databases, like ERIC and PsycINFO.  But sometimes those databases aren’t ideal for someone doing a 5th grade report on the planets.

I’m really glad I was able to work in this training into my schedule and that my supervisor encouraged me to go. We covered five sources in the training.

MAS Ultra-School Edition

Why: Recommend to High School or Junior College Level students seeking magazine articles or historical documents

What: Includes magazines, original historical documents, including The Bill of Rights, the Constitution, The Federalist Papers and the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Charts, tables, and graphs.

How: EBSCOhost search, can limit search to full text articles only, and sort by “date descending” for most recent .


Why: Recommend to students or adults seeking test preparation materials (SAT, PSAT, Algebra)

What: Includes test preparation for all age levels,eBooks and practice tests


Why: Recommend to students seeking information on countries or states (for all school levels)

What: Includes all of the information students need for their country report

Live Homework Help

Why: Recommend to students who need help with homework- free tutoring through chat

What: Provides tutor help online from 3pm to 11pm everyday

Gale Cengage Learning

Why: Great overall online encyclopedia.

What: Gale holdings will be growing exponentially for literary resources, to include short stories, novels, poetry, criticism.


The best part is that these sources are available 24/7 to our customers and most people in North Carolina. And if you aren’t in my neck of the woods call your public library today and ask if you have access to them. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind showing you how to get the most out of them.


Cloth Bound Book Repair: Spine Attaching

Now return to our for our last lesson in book repair. I hope you’ve had fun learning these last three days…no? Oh well =P to you!
At any point today we’re going to attach the “new and improve” spine back to our desecrated book. First let’s grab a book. This book was fixed two days ago…it’s the first book I fixed. Which means it’s not perfect!Before you attach it make sure you’ve orienting it the right way. Now insert the edges under the lifted covers. You might want to bend the bristol so it wraps around the book better. Match up the edges as best you can.

Now gently place the book on it’s back without moving anything. Lift the cover of one side so you can start attaching it.

Glue it out with PVA in a thin even layer on the bottom side. Just on the cardboard part of the cover. Press the spine to the board and burnish it with the bone folder. Use the edge to get the crease of the book as well, so it bends and opens easily. Repeat the step on the top with the original cover and burnish it. You can do this with the bone folder or a waded up piece of paper towel to get the glue that might squeeze out.

Repeat on the other side. Almost done.

Now use some glue to close up the cuts on the top and bottom of the book. We don’t want that to get frayed.

Guess what you’re done…almost…Grab a book press like this one. Wrapping the book in wax paper for the glue that will seep out, push it in backwards to the end of the mental brackets.

So that it looks like this. Those metal brackets should fit in the crease of the book.

Why? To reinforce that crease…like this? Tighten the screws just enough to apply pressure, not as tight as it’ll go. Now set it aside for 24-48 hours and you’ve fixed your first cloth bound book.

Celebrate by doing it again and again…remember the first shot of all those book waiting. A preservationists librarian work is never done.

Cloth Bound Book Repair: Spine Removal part 2

Time for part 2 of my adventures in book repair. If you haven’t read part one go do so now then come back. If you have then this image should look familiar to you. Yes? Great. Last time we left off we had just attacked a slip of bristol paper with PVA glue.

Now place the bristol slip on the back of the book cloth to make a backing for the new spine.

Then miter the corners of the book cloth to take away some of the material. Cut a central cut all the way to the edge of the paper.
Glue that edges down.

Now glue out the book’s spine and attach it to the front of the book cloth. An easy way to make sure you are centered bend the cloth over the edges of the bristol on the back.

Then guess what you’re done! Now place the finished product in between to sheets of wax paper, and place it under something heavy to flatten and squeeze out any excess glue. Let over dry for 24-48 hours.
That’s the end of part one of fixing a cloth bound book’s spine. Tomorrow? Attaching it back to the book.

Cloth Bound Book Repair: Spine Removal

As promised here’s the photos and process break down from my time in Preservation.

This is just a section of all the books waiting to have their spines fixed. On most modern books the spine is the first thing to give out after years of usage. The newer textbook like books with paper covers and glued in papers can’t stand up to excessive usage.

I choose the small black book because it seemed like the easiest to fix and the cover was still attached to the text block.

See the spine is coming apart from both sides of the book, this one wasn’t the worst but it could quickly become worse.

Tools of the trade: PVA glue, scissors, Ruler, exacto knife, bone folder (this one is plastic, there are some made out of real bone), mini spatula, artist brush,cutting mat,  and scrap paper.

Now it’s time for the fun part, after using the ruler and exacto knife to cut the cover about an inch away from the spine, take the spatula to lift up the cover. Lifting back the cover, do this on both sides of the book.

Now switch and start taking off the spine, be careful you just want the cloth spin. Don’t cut the cover board away from the book.

After taking the spine off, clean up the spine by cutting away the edges.

Now cut some book cloth, leaving about an inch and half of cloth on both ends of the spine. If the color matters to you than choose one that either matches or complements the original color.

Take time to enjoy the scenery. xD

After measuring the spine cut a strip of bristol paper to match. The large paper cutter isn’t really needed…I just wanted to use it. =D

Cover the bristol paper with glue, make sure you cover the entire strip in a thin even layer.

So I don’t overload the post with images I’m going to break up it up. Come back tomorrow for part 2.

Thoughts on Instruction

With the end of my practicum coming to an end and teaching my last class I thought I would write down my thoughts about instruction. When I first sat down with the Assistant Director of ZSR Reference dept. we talked about me teaching a class or two. I was both interested and intimidated at the same time. All I could think about was I had decided to go to Grad school because I didn’t want to teach. You see back then I was convinced I didn’t have the patience to teach nor did I have the understanding needed. I wasn’t confident in my own skills.

What changed? I did basically I think in the last two years I’ve done some major growing up. While I still have some issues with tooting my on horn (but I’m getting better) I now know I’ve skills to share. As the semester continued I went along collecting information from the librarians about their jobs and journeys. But in the back of my mind I knew the time was coming when I would have to stand in front of a group of students not munch younger than me. In all honesty I think it was the support of my supervisor and the Instruction Librarian I co-taught with that helped so much. They were both critical in my preparation and they were very eager to share their thoughts with me.

Class One

My first class was on Zotero. I was nervous and using a new tool, Prezi. I started the class with an introduction then walked the class through download and install of Zotero in Firefox and the Word Plug in. With a few hiccups we moved on to me showing how to pull in material. I had a whole lesson worked out to show different materials, what to do when it didn’t automatically pull in the information and then making a citation and bibliography using Zotero in Word. Unfortunately I ran out of time. I didn’t take into account the speed and level students would catch on. For future reference I would cut down on the introduction and just jump into the download and install.

Class Two

My second class was another big one as I had to lead the class alone, as my co-teacher was away at ACRL. So I was extra nervous and again I was using a new tool. I was using power point with the clickers. Which involved learning a new program…TurningPoint. I joked with one of the other librarians that I wondered if the whole class would show up. Of course the whole class showed up and we went through Scholarly Journals fairly quickly. Most students know about journals, well they know they exist. They might not know how much the library pays for them or why they should use them but they know there’s something called Journals. What surprised me, although it shouldn’t have, was that no one had used the Journal Finder tool and I don’t think any of them had used a database really. So the tips I shared was to not start in Journal Finder as it would just make life harder. For future reference I would have had them do an activity to show that they understood. Since I knew we would be talking more about them the next class I let them go a bit early.

Class Three

Scholarly databases and citing journals. By this time I thought I had the hang of it. I was focused on timing and making sure I got the lesson across in whole. I think I made my co-teacher proud. This time I didn’t do a presentation I used the library webpage to give examples. By showing how to do searches using their topic search terms I think I engaged them better. I made sure to stop and ask for answers to questions and asked if I was loosing anyone. I should them general and subject specific databases and had the general citation format written on the white board. For an activity I asked them all to find a relating article and pull it into Zotero for the next class. It was interesting to see those who used the databases I talked about and then to see them use the boolean searching and truncation tips I shared. None of them knew about these two things before hand. I felt proud of myself.

Class Four

The last class was a major challenge. But by this time I was more comfortable talking about sources, the weakness and strengths of sources. So I told them about a million times websites as sources was a tricky thing to master. Citing them would be even harder. I made a point to look at what others were saying about the subject, ZSR has a page about website sources and links to two other college’s thoughts. This helped a lot on pulling my own thoughts together. For the class I again relied on actual examples…but I felt it wasn’t as interactive as I might have wanted. For future reference I want to come up with better ways to communicate something that I’m not as skilled in.

My Overall Experience

I think between shadowing and actually teaching my experience has grown 100%. I’m more comfortable in front of the class than I thought I would be. And I enjoy it immensely, which is a great surprise to me. There’s a lot of things I still need to learn about, like timing, engaging the students, and communicating a tricky subject matter.

I would love to hear about other people thoughts on Bibliographic Instruction. How did you feel the first time you taught a class? Any tips you would like to share?

My Time in Special Collections

Me working in Special Collections

I realized that I never spoke about my time in Special Collections. If you’ve read my blog doing the early months then you probably know that I entered grad school believing I wanted to work in Archives or Special Collections. It soon morphed to me not really knowing where I wanted to fit it and only recently have I felt like I’ve found my calling in the Reference department.

When I got a chance to tour special collections and archives at ZSR, I took it as a chance to get some hours and experience in. I still love special collections and archives because at heart I will always be a history geek. One day I hope to be able to combine reference and archives but that’s for another day. Today we’re going to talk about my three weeks in Special Collection, specifically Rare Books.

While there I started an inventory project. ZSR Rare Books is basically built around the library of one man. Charles Lee Smith, a professor, university president, publisher, bibliophile. He donated his entire collection in 1941. The inventory project came about when they noticed that some of the books where not showing up in the catalog. While some books are in multiples and housed in different departments it was important to note the ones in Rare Books.

My part in the project was to check each book against the catalog. Note the ones that weren’t in there and any strange occurrences. Thinking that I would find one or two in a section. Imagine my surprise when only one or two on the shelf WAS in the catalog. Here’s some snapshots I took.

The Alcove where I worked

Shelf full of old books

One of the books protected by a wax paper cover

Showing the catalog card Charles Smith created for his library

The call numbers, the collection is organized by this system

In the end I was able to handle the rare books and learn from the librarians about rare books. Even though this wasn’t the point of my practicum I’m still glad I was able to fit this in. It was a great experience and now I can say I’ve handled rare books and have knowledge of special collection management.

There was cake!

My first day at my practicum started with two hours on the reference desk. Since it was the beginning of the semester we didn’t have many students needing help, so I was able to engage one of the librarians in conversation about general reference things and explore their catalog as well as the access they have to journals and databases. Which differs a bit from UNCG’s. After lunch I observed one of the librarians teach a LIS100 course. The topic of the day’s class was information needs in the 21st century. After the class was over I was able to talk to that librarian about how she prepared for her course. I ended my day getting introduced to the LibGuide program in preparation for my first project.

I thought I would be extremely nervous going into my first day but I wasn’t. The whole staff was very welcoming and everyone I met took the time to engage me in conversation and offer a chance to complete a project in their department for extra experience. Sitting at the reference desk wasn’t so bad and I can’t wait for the speed to pick up as the semester goes by. Talking to the librarian after the class was very interesting as it was her first course teaching by herself. She didn’t have any instructional experience before starting there a year ago so she understood how I felt.

I think what I took away from the first day was learning about LibGuides, I didn’t know what one was before I started but I am confident that I could create one on

my own now. Plus in reference to my title there was cake. My site had been one of the recipients of the 2011 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries so Award and in congratulation their dinning service had baked an HUGE (It was a foot thick two layer cake) cake. It was yummy!


Booklist Webinar: Let’s Get Graphic: Kids’ Comics in Classrooms and Libraries

This past week I was able to attend a webinar on graphic novels and reading. It was presented by Booklist.

I grew up in an household with a man who loved comics, my dad was a serious comic collector and whenever there wasn’t a chance for me to get to my local library he would let me read a few of them. I am one of the biggest advocate for graphic novels and comics used for reading materials. I’ve started my own little collection of graphic novels. I was really excited to get to participate in this webinar and I thought it would be interesting in light of the diversity research I was hoping to do.

One of the panelist was Françoise Mouly, who is the wife of the writer/artist of the great graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman. I first read Maus in one of my European history classes and it affected me so much, more than any other book about the holocaust. It really is a must read.  She herself is one of the founders of a program called Toon Books – Toon into Reading. The goal of the program is to create a bridge to literacy from kindergarten to 3rd grade; from picture books to chapter books. The website can be found here.

Roger Rosen, the creator of Rosen Publishing was there to talk about their new lines of non-fiction graphic novels: Rosen Graphica. Many of their titles are based on the curriculum and have won awards.

I won’t give away the whole webinar but it was very educational.

Here’s the archived video: Let’s Get Graphic video archive

Internship: Working on the Catalog

My internship started off with finishing the Textbook Search Project. It didn’t take long because I had made great progress the last time. So I was able to finish that one project and send it to my director.

And then I started a second project that is the precursor to a major project I will be starting this summer. It includes working with special collectable books. I’m really excited. The project I did today involved me going through the catalog and looking for certain books that were published by the Limited Edition Club, I had to pull some of these books that hadn’t been pulled yet from the shelves. And then I created a list of every book that was published from this company and send it to the Archivist Librarian.

After lunch my director invited me to attend a webinar with her. From working with her on the interview and the needs assessment I have learned that many people do not like their online catalog. After doing that mini project I can see their grief with it. Before lunch she had me look up some libraries who were using two different catalog software and wanted me to compare and contrast them and tell her what I liked and what I didn’t like. The webinar was on Worldcat Local, which is a service UNCG uses. I looked at both Sirsi’s E-library and Enterprise and I have to say I still like Worldcat Local better. Sirsi’s products were good and they most definitely better than what they have, but neither one has a way for the user to search for the book worldwide and integrate the ILL function to get those books. For anyone doing major research on broad or very narrow subjects that’s essential.