So You Want to be a Librarian?

VanWylenAre you interested in a job that allows you to solve new problems every day? Would you like to have the opportunity to meet and help many different people find the information they’re looking for? If you answered yes to either of these questions, librarianship could be the field for you!

While you may not know right now if a career as a librarian is for you, that’s perfectly all right. Many of the librarians associated with Hope became interested in the field through experiences as undergraduate students.

“I had worked as a student in my high school and college libraries and loved it,” Gloria Slaughter, a technical services librarian at Van Wylen, said. “I had planned on becoming a history teacher but then decided I would be able to combine my love for libraries and teaching by becoming a librarian.”

“My interest in library work started as a work study student in the Special Collections (archives) at Gettysburg College, in 1986-1987,” Geoffrey Reynolds, director of the Joint Archives of Holland, said. “That experience stuck with me through the rest of my undergraduate education and tenure as a high school history teacher. I left to earn my [Master of Library and Information Studies] at Wayne State with an archival certificate.”

One of the best parts about being a librarian is that you have the opportunity to learn something every day, according to Colleen Conway, Catalog Librarian at Van Wylen.

“I love being allowed to learn new things every day,” she said. “Learning new things is fun.”

To be a librarian, most libraries require that you have a Master of Library Science (MLS), Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) or another equivalent master’s degree. However, as an undergraduate, you don’t have to be too worried what type of degree you are pursuing.

“Don’t be overly concerned what your undergraduate degree is in,” Todd Wiebe, Reference and Instruction Librarian, said. “That’s the beauty of librarianship – anything you bring to the table will be beneficial.”

Both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University have library science programs if you are interested in the field, offering Master of Science in Information and Master of Library and Information Studies degrees, respectively. Many other schools nationwide also offer American Library Association accredited master programs.

Interested in learning more about being a librarian? The librarians on staff at Van Wylen would love to help you.

“Talk to a librarian at Hope!” Jessica Hronchek, Reference and Instruction librarian, said. “We are happy to answer your questions about the field and give you a better idea of the types of librarianship that are out there.”

— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

FLIP Camcorders

Van Wylen Library recently purchased four new Flip UltraHD video cameras, which are available for checkout at the Media Services desk on the second floor. These hand-sized camcorders digitally record up to two hours of video with the push of a button. Any member of the Hope community can use one of these camcorders, though they are intended primarily for student academic projects. The camcorders can be checked out for three days at a time and have a $5 per day overdue fine for late returns. The cameras are available on a first come, first served basis, and they cannot be reserved.

Flip camcorders come with pre-installed Flip software that easily allows you to edit your video as needed after recording. For a demonstration of how to use the camera and software, check out the video below. TechLab students are also available to help during regular TechLab hours.

— BJS

Amazon Kindle DX

Kindle PictureVan Wylen Library now has an Amazon Kindle DX available for Hope students, faculty, and staff to use. It can be checked out for two weeks at the first floor circulation desk.

The Kindle DX, an e-reader designed by Amazon, can hold well over 3000 books in a device that is thinner than most magazines. Van Wylen’s Kindle currently has several titles similar to what you might find in the browsing collection, such as The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Dr. Rhoda Janzen of Hope’s English department.

“We want to stay abreast of new developments and be able to share them with the Hope community,” said Brian Yost, Head of Technical Services and Systems at the library. “We hope to get feedback from those who use it so we can purchase things people need or want to use.”

Colleen Conway, Technical Services Librarian, owns a Kindle for her personal use. She bought the Kindle for the sake of having a consolidated library.

“The idea of being able to put a lot of books on a little thing was very interesting to me,” she said. “It doesn’t require a computer, which is something most book readers before the Kindle required.”

Unlike a computer, the Kindle is not hard on the eyes if you use it for hours on end. The Kindle is designed to seem like reading off a piece of paper, complete with page turns. Because reading on a Kindle is supposed to feel like reading a physical copy of something, the Kindle is not backlit. This makes it possible to read the Kindle easily, even if you’re in bright sunlight. However, this does mean if you choose to read on a Kindle at night, you’ll need some sort of light. The reasonably priced books, fast download speed, and extremely long battery life more than make up for this.

Interested in trying out a Kindle? Come to Van Wylen and check one out!

— BJS —

Drop-In Writing Center

Van Wylen Library and the Academic Support Center have started a new program through the writing center. Between 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights, students can come to the project room on the first floor of the library (room 113) and have a tutor from the writing center help them with a paper.

The drop-in sessions, which began earlier this month, give you the chance to have your paper looked over by a student tutor without making an appointment through the Academic Support Center. While appointment sessions are still available Monday through Friday, drop-in sessions give you another option in case you can’t find an appointment time that works with your schedule. The drop-in sessions also add to similar options the Academic Support Center already offers, such as drop-in help sessions for math courses.

The student tutors at the drop-in sessions come from all sorts of majors, ranging from Chemistry to English. That way, if your tutor doesn’t know much about the subject of your paper, they can get you in touch with someone who does. These tutors can help you at any stage of your writing, from getting started to polishing your final draft.

“We’re trying to not just focus on grammar, but on how to make a paper look better,” said Erin Eddy (’10), one of the student tutors.

Amy Alvine (’12), used the drop-in sessions for Dr. Beard’s Intro to Global Politics class because the writing session’s one-hour appointments were all booked before her paper was due.

“It was nice having someone who knew what the teachers wanted and the flaws they would look for to proofread my paper,” she said. “The one-on-one with a fellow peer was a laid back and relaxing environment and made me feel very comfortable. It was so much easier to ask questions about things I was unsure of. I would definitely go back and use the drop-in sessions again.”

If you need help on a paper that’s due soon and aren’t able to schedule an appointment through the writing center, check out the drop-in writing sessions in the library!

— BJS

Library Book Sale Begins Oct. 28

Van Wylen Library’s fall book sale will begin on Wednesday, October 28 and last for approximately two weeks. The sale will include books that have become outdated, duplicates of what the library already has, and material that is now accessible online.

Materials at the sale are very affordable. Hardcover books will cost $2, while paperbacks will be $1. Items for sale will be located on the north end of the first floor where the study tables and newspapers are. The book sale follows the same hours as the library, which are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday. Proceeds will be used to help purchase books and update resources in the library, so be sure to stop by the library and check out the selection!

Open Access Week

open-access-week_usVan Wylen Library is participating in Open Access Week, which runs from October 19-23. Previously just a national day of action, the week is now an international “opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of open access issues and express support for free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research,” according to the movement’s website, http://www.openaccessweek.org/.

Proponents of Open Access believe that scholarly research, particularly research that has been publicly funded, should be freely available online. Currently, many scholarly articles–the type of articles you use to write your research papers–are only available by subscription. If you’ve ever tried to access one of Hope’s databases while you’re off campus, you’ve noticed that the library website has prompted you to enter your 1Hope username and password. That’s because the library has paid a subscription fee to the journal so students can have access to it. Once you graduate, though, you lose your access to this research. These costly subscriptions also limit what else the library can do with its budget.

Open access is a complicated issue and Van Wylen Library is getting involved in a number of different ways:

  • The Library Committee is studying open access so that it can better understand the issues and make recommendations to faculty and the library.
  • Hope subscribes to two Open Access databases, BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and will help pay for the author’s fees that are often associated with publishing in Open Access journals, if faculty choose to publish there.
  • President Bultman signed an open letter from over 57 Presidents of liberal arts colleges supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act (S. 1373). The FRPAA would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year, according to the letter.
  • There are two displays with information about Open Access located on the first floor by the Cup and Chaucer and by the circulation desk.

— BJS

Librarians Meet Freshmen

As of this morning, Reference Librarians at Van Wylen have met 770 incoming students as part of their First Year Seminar experience. While questions about using the library will come later in the semester for many, we want students to know that the library is here to support them. The goals of the brief meeting with a librarian are to help relieve library anxiety and increase a student’s comfort level when coming to the library and asking questions. The library and library resources should play a role in every student’s academic experience. We want students to know that there are lots of ways to get help; at the Reference Desk, via phone, ask-a-librarian email, and online chat. Students are also encouraged to make individual appointments. After meeting a librarian students received a certificate, the ever popular Ask a Librarian @ Van Wylen blue pencil and a coupon for a free cup of coffee at the Cup & Chaucer.

Librarians Meet Freshmen

Summer 2007 Brings Changes

Summer 2007 Brings ChangesThe Van Wylen Library staff was really busy this summer making a number of improvements to both the building and collections. Many of the changes were based on information gathered during student focus groups and faculty surveys.

One of the biggest changes is a face lift to the 2nd floor of Van Wylen to create a more open design.

  • The public computers were moved to create more workspace and so that two or three students can work together.
  • The video and DVD collection was moved to make more room for large study tables and casual seating on the 2nd floor. Many popular movies have been added to the collection.
  • The microform for the ERIC collection and the New York Times were relocated to the basement since these collections are now available electronically.
  • The library, CIT and the bookstore collaborated to introduce Copy Works, offering improved and convenient copy services to campus. The Media Services desk on the 2nd floor of Van Wylen will function as an arm of Copy Works, handling color copying and large format posters. Look for new lower prices on color copying. For your convenience several bookstore items will be available for purchase including CDs, DVDs, DV tapes, resume paper and more.

To create more workspace for students, eight project rooms were created throughout the building and equipped with white boards and work tables. Four are equipped with network connections.

The wireless access points were increased and upgraded to make wireless more reliable. Users should now be able to get a reliable wireless connection from most locations throughout the library.

On the 1st floor, the browsing collection was moved to make it more visible. The browsing collection now includes some popular music CDs. We will continue to improve our offerings of popular books, music and videos.

Several new electronic products were added, including the highly coveted Web of Science,as well as two new music databases, DRAM and Naxos.

Several students working at Van Wylen this summer collaborated to create a short video highlighting library services and the advantages of using the library for class assignments. You can view the video from the library’s website (requires QuickTime). Speaking of videos, we produced our first screencast, a brief tutorial on accessing databases from off-campus. Click here to watch this tutorial.

An upgrade to the Library Catalog software was installed and users will see additional improvements in the interface this academic year. You may notice differences in how the catalog searches and displays your results. Keyword searches are now ranked by relevance.

We would like to thank the Physical Plant and CIT staffs for all of their work that made these changes possible.

Library Acquires Book Scanner

Library Acquires Book ScannerScanning and copying large format materials is now possible at the Van Wylen Library using the new Indus book scanner.

The book scanner is different from other scanners and copiers because it scans with the book face up. Books don’t need to be flipped over to turn to the next page. This means that you can copy over twice as fast as a traditional copy machine. With a 17 x 24 inch scan area, you can copy or scan larger materials.

There are several other advantages to using the book scanner. It helps to preserve fragile library materials such as bound journals from the late 19th and early 20th century. Images can be saved to a USB drive or burned onto a CD and later incorporated into reports or presentations. Materials normally too large to scan or photocopy, such as artwork and maps, can now be preserved digitally. The scan software allows users to manipulate the scanned area and therefore create cleaner images and adjust for the curve of thick books.

While images can be printed in either black and white or color, we hope that library users will save paper by scanning images to a digital storage device. The book scanner complements last year’s installation of multi-function printers (MFPs) by giving users another option, particularly for large format materials.

The book scanner is located on the 2nd floor of Van Wylen Library. It is publicly accessible and instructions are posted near the scanner. Users however may want to ask for a quick orientation before using it for the first time.

New Journals List: One Stop Shopping

Users can now get information about all formats for all journals just by checking the new Journals List. In the past, determining if a journal was on-line or in the library required a user to check two places. You would check the library’s on-line catalog, to see print/microform holdings and the E-journals portal for access to all electronic holdings. Journals List now allows users to find both full-text on-line journals as well as information about what the library owns physically in print or microforms. For example, if you search the Journals List for Skeptical Inquirer, it shows that this journal is available electronically in a number of databases. It also shows a link to Hope College Journal Holdings. This clickable link goes directly to the matching journal record in HopeCat. In this example, the library owns both current and bound issues of Skeptical Inquirer.

New Journals List One Stop Shopping