Monday, September 29, 2014

Information Therapy: Decluttering for Mental Health and Personal Productivity

I recently had a disappointing exchange with one of our graduate students. She had been calling the library nearly every day (sometimes more than once a day) eventually talking to everyone who had ever been on duty. After talking to her a few times myself, I asked her to come in with her laptop so we could talk face-to-face. Everyone has different learning styles and I thought it might help to have us work side-by-side using her personal computer.

When she came in and got connected to the library’s Wifi it became apparent that her problem had more to do with poor information management practices than technical skill or library competency. That is, she was disorganized.

Librarians learn reference interview techniques to help patrons identify and articulate their real information needs. It is common for people to start asking for help with one thing and then discover that what they really need to accomplish is something else entirely.

Before becoming a librarian I worked as a social worker in the juvenile justice system and with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. In both fields, I had been trained in "advanced interviewing skills" to get people to reveal information that they hadn’t necessarily planned to expose. Teenagers going through legal troubles and their families often had things to hide from well-meaning social workers. Potential "Big" brothers and sisters need to be carefully screened before matching them with a vulnerable young person. This kind of interview requires keen observation and listening skills as well as the ability to ask direct questions in a non-threatening manner. Then, sometimes, harsh decisions or directions have to be communicated. I have had to tell people that they have to do something I knew would be hard for them or that they could not continue doing a certain activity if they wanted to succeed.

This is what happened with this student. After an hour of working with her re-focusing her attention and drawing pictures to demonstrate visually the difference between two different library related accounts - admitting that this was, in fact, confusing - I told her that when she calls the library from now on, she should talk only to me so we can continue to build on the progress we made in my office. I would instruct the rest of the library staff to transfer her to me to avoid giving her the run-around and to save time. I could tell she was very discouraged. Although it was not my goal, so far, she has not called again.

This exchange got me serious about researching a topic that has been on my mind for several years; Personal Information Management (PIM) as it relates to storing and retrieving information for personal productivity and efficient work habits. I see people struggling with mental anguish under the load of the immense information coming their way. As an information professional, I have dutifully studied to try to manage it myself but it is overwhelming both personally and professionally. How can I help people navigate the information landscape if I can’t manage my own personal information?

I have read a number of articles from a variety of perspectives, listened to some relevant TED Talks, and am reading a book that addresses the need to get organized spiritually. My goal is to equip myself for what I call personal information therapy and to help others gain proper perspective on the information cluttering up their worlds and to feel less paralyzed and more productive. (Not to be confused with the healthcare term of information therapy.)

Over the next few weeks or months I will be writing about decluttering and managing personal information for personal productivity. It will be as much an exercise for me personally (as I am currently in the process of moving from one apartment to another) as well as professionally. Join me as I learn to apply principles toward making information management as painless and productive as possible.

Robin Hartman is Director of Library Services at Hope International University. She is curious about how the organization and communication of information shapes society and is committed to equipping students to impact the world for Christ.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome Intern Number Two!

As mentioned in a blog post earlier this month, the Darling Library offers an internship to masters students in Library and Information Science at the San Jose State University School of Information. We normally have one intern at a time but now we have two!

Katie Zeeb has just five classes to complete the MLIS degree. When she is done, she wants to work as a Young Adult Librarian in a Public Library. For now, she is helping us with the Reference Collection.
Reference books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, and directories, are generally referred to for bits of factual information and are not usually intended to be read cover to cover. With the transition of reference works to digital formats, it is often worth asking why we continue to have print books.

This is one thing that Katie will help us determine. After painstakingly reading the shelves for accuracy - making sure the books all there and in order on the shelves - then she will evaluate them one title at a time to find out which ones are available online, through means and for what cost. She will employ what she has learned in her Collection Management course about assessment of print and electronic collections.

This is one of the best things about having library science interns. We seasoned veteran librarians get the benefit of learning from these developing professionals what is being taught today and get a fresh look at the latest thinking in information management.

Welcome and thank you, Katie!

(Fun fact: Katie's grandfather, Joe Watson, is our cataloger!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Introducing Appy Hour!

The Darling Library is hosting its first "Appy Hour" for faculty to focus on various apps used in classrooms. Jennifer Rich, Systems and Technical Services Librarian will facilitate discussion with a show and tell introduction to a few apps of interest. Faculty are invited to meet in the new Collaborative Student Innovation (CSI) Lab on the second floor of the library, Friday, September 26, 2014 at 1:00pm.

The next Appy Hour is planned for Friday, November 14, 2014.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Camino on Hold

The Library has put its participation in Camino on hold. Tradtional Interlibrary Loan services will continue as before.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Codex Sinaiticus Explained

Professor David Matson took just seven and a half minutes to succinctly describe the Codex Sinaiticus (facsimile edition, 2010) for a group of about twenty-five people gathered in the library between classes on Tuesday, September 9th. See the event in pictures on the Darling Library's Facebook Page and view the presentation on YouTube.

The Codex is on display in a locked cabinet on the second floor of the library thanks to the support of the Treasures N Beyond board. Read more about it here.

Come by anytime the library is open to take a look for yourself.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Welcome Library Intern!

Hope International University Library has an internship available to masters students in Library and Information Science at the San Jose State University School of Information. Over the years we have had several SJSU students serve on a short term basis to gain library work experience.

This semester, Liz Romero, in her second semester of the MLIS program, is working with us on a systems/archives project. Archives and systems have become intertwined over the years since digitization provides both preservation solutions for the library and greater access for patrons. Liz will be transfering old audiocassette recordings of chapel and convocation messages from analog to digital formats, adding pertenent metadata to enhance searching (and finding), and uploading the recordings to a digital collection management software (CONTENTdm) in the cloud.

She is starting with our oldest recordings first (from the mid-1970s) in hopes of rescuing the content before the inevitable disintegration of these magnetic tapes.

Check out the growing digital collection of chapel messages in our Digital Archives.

Liz gains experience and we gain capable assistance with the production of an important resource. Her developing understanding of the principles of information storage, preservation, access, and retrieval gives her a foundation for adding meaningful value to our collection. The result is a unique product accessible to the the university community, alumni, and the public.

Thank you, Liz!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Labor Day Holiday Hours

The Darling Library will be open modified hours on Monday, September 1, 2014 in observance of the Labor Day Holiday.

All Hope International University offices will be closed. However, evening classes will meet as scheduled.

Labor Day Hours: 2:00pm to 11:00pm

Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, September 2nd.

See a complete calendar of library hours.