Meet Joe Easterly

Joe Easterly

Joe Easterly, Milne's Electronic Resources and Digital Scholarship Librarian

With Library service expanding deeper into the realm of digital scholarship – the new Digital Media Lab, open-source publishing, Digital Thoreau, etc. — could a matching librarian be far behind? Of course not, and he has arrived in the person of Joe Easterly, who became Milne’s first Electronic Resources and Digital Scholarship Librarian on October 24.

Joe is here to act as the primary human resource for faculty and students working on (or hoping to begin) scholarly projects with a digital focus. It’s what he’s been doing, more or less, at the University of Buffalo for the last four years where he was a media specialist and coordinator of the Media Resource Center, serving as the Visual Resources librarian to the university’s visual arts faculty. The skills he’s acquired through his coursework (he earned his master’s degree in library science in 2007, with an emphasis in digital media information systems and retrieval) and professional experience will serve him – or, more accurately, the Geneseo campus community – very well.

Among the projects Joe has been involved in is UBdigit, the University of Buffalo’s digital library collection. He managed and directed the Visual Resources Collection portion of that resource, from scanning the images to creating the metadata, working closely with faculty and supervising a team of student assistants. Joe is used to collaborating with faculty, having conducted workshops, developed image digitization standards, facilitated licensing and consignment of digital images, and helped write grants. He also has experience digitizing images for exhibitions and scholarly publication, and he’s done digital preservation consulting for UB Galleries and museum curators in the Buffalo-Niagara region. He was a charter member of UB’s Digital Humanities Initiative. Safe to say, Joe knows his way around the digital scholarship landscape and is prepared to lead others through it.

One of the first projects Joe has joined here at Geneseo is the Digital Thoreau Project, headed by English professor Paul Schacht and other faculty from the English department and Milne Library. Digital Thoreau aims to bring the works of Henry David Thoreau – beginning with a TEI-encoded scholarly edition of Walden – to scholars, students and general readers around the world.

Joe’s ease and expertise with digital technology and his commitment to librarianship are built on a solid humanities foundation. He received a BA in linguistics, has studied French extensively and is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in social anthropology. He is also a classically trained pianist. Lately, he says, he’s “really into” wine and photography, and when the weather’s fine he likes to go sailing.

The folks at Milne are very glad that Joe decided to join the faculty, and the feeling is mutual, he says. “I was really impressed by how committed and talented the library faculty and staff are … it was a big motivation for me to join.” Aesthetics played a (small) part, too, in his decision to come to Geneseo. “I was expecting the dreary early-70s late modernist architecture you sometimes see at [SUNY] campuses,” he says. “I had no idea how beautiful the town is, or the campus, until I came to visit.” Joe is not the only one who is optimistic about his future here at Geneseo, and about the future of digital scholarship.

Take time to read, and discuss, a good book

Dear student, is your overworked brain screaming for a break?  Do you miss reading just for yourself, just for pleasure?  Maybe you have a list a mile long of all the great books you’re going to read when you “get the chance”?  Well, now’s your chance! Geneseo’s Book Club invites you to a discussion of their first book of the semester, Walter Moers’s The City of Dreaming Books, on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. beginning this Sunday (Oct. 23) in Milne 104.  A copy or two may still be available in the stacks at PT2673.O293 S73 2008.

Publisher’s Weekly calls The City of Dreaming Books “a delightfully imaginative melange of Shel Silverstein zaniness and oddball anthropomorphism a la Terry Pratchett’s Discworld … a wonderfully whimsical story that will appeal to readers of all ages.”

City of Dreaming Books

Geneseo's Book Club's first pick of the semester

Student organizer Chelsea Pullano and Milne Library have partnered to sponsor the book club, intended to give students the opportunity to round out their lives a bit with regular, lively discussions of good books in a friendly and relaxed setting.  The Club plans to spend a few weeks on Moers’s book, and then decide on what to read next.  Milne Library will purchase copies of the books to loan, but it’s first come, first served – so join the group this Sunday and claim your spot around the table!  Refreshments will be provided.  Contact Chelsea at clp11@geneseo.edu for more information.

Kim Davies Hoffman: Profile of a Milne Librarian

Kim Davies Hoffman bringing theory into practice

Kim Davies Hoffman bringing theory into practice

Kim Davies Hoffman is a tireless instruction & reference librarian, a valuable team player, a careful mentor, and, as of last spring, Coordinator of Instruction & Reference Services at Milne Library. Kim has risen through the ranks fairly quickly during her 12 years as a SUNY librarian (nearly all that time at Geneseo) and was promoted to Full Librarian on Sept. 1 this year. Of her professional growth in that time, she says, “There has definitely been a shift from learning and doing to guiding, mentoring and leading.”

With her extensive list of college committee memberships and outreach efforts, it’s a fair bet that Kim is familiar to many people on this campus, especially the faculty and students in the academic departments she serves as liaison – Anthropology, Sociology and Foreign Languages.  She has taught hundreds of information literacy and research skills classes over the years, but perhaps her most important and fulfilling contribution has been in collaborating with individual professors to integrate long-term, intensive and progressive library instruction within their courses. Her collaborators have included Ellen Kintz (Anthropology), Elaine Cleeton (Sociology) and Cristina Rowley (Spanish), to name just a few.

Kim’s professional reputation extends well beyond Geneseo, through the many presentations she has made at local, state and national conferences, as well as through articles she has written (or co-written), committee memberships and positions she has held, and programs she has been instrumental in creating. It is possible to list only a few here.  “My preference for professional committee work is on a local scale, she says.  “I have been able to make much more of an impact on my fellow colleagues and the profession overall than I would serving as a mere number within a larger national organization.”

In the SUNY Librarians Association (SUNYLA),  Kim served  for five years as Chair of Membership Development Committee, from which sprang MEOW (Membership Enthusiasm and Outreach Workgroup) which Kim helped formSUNYLA  logo with a few other librarians who were frustrated with the lack of participation in SUNYLA. She also served as Chair of the Working Group for Information Literacy and in that capacity worked with fellow Milne librarian Michelle Costello to design and host a one-day interactive workshop entitled Library Instruction: Teaching Tips from the Trenches, in January 2009. That workshop led to a similar one hosted at the University of Albany plus a follow-up pre-conference workshop at the SUNYLA annual conference, also in 2009. The program evolved, with the help of a $3,500 grant, into LILAC, the acclaimed Library Instruction Leadership Academy. For their work, Kim and Michelle were recognized by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) with its 2011 Instruction Section (IS) Innovation award.

Kim with LILAC co-creator Michelle Costello

Kim with LILAC co-creator Michelle Costello

Among the several other awards Kim has received are the Friend of SUNYLA award and the (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Librarianship.

So where did she come from?  Shortly after she was born, in England, Kim and her family moved to Canada where she lived for the next ten years before moving permanently to the U.S. (she has dual British-U.S. citizenship). She has lived for two years in France, as well – studying abroad in Dijon for a year, and, soon after, for another year as a teaching assistant in Paris. She earned a BA in French and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire and, after receiving an MLS from the University of Buffalo in 1997, took off for New Orleans, working first in the public library system and then at the University of New Orleans.  When NOLA’s heat and humidity drove her back north, Kim found a part-time librarian position at SUNY Fredonia (which she supplemented as a barista at Starbucks), until she landed a full-time job as a librarian at UB’s Health Sciences Library. By late summer 1999 Kim was hired by Milne Library as a reference & instruction (with a side of government documents) librarian.  She hit the ground running and hasn’t slowed down since.

As for where she is going from here, her priorities lay, as usual, with finding new and creative ways to increase information literacy among the students – and faculty – at Geneseo, in an increasingly online world.  As Coordinator of Instruction & Reference Service, she will work to refine assessment of the library’s instruction program, not only to prove what she and many others already know – that it IS effective – but to enable it to become even better.  And plans are well underway for LILAC2, which will help empower a fresh crop of new library instructors to “teach it forward.” Citing a commitment to lead by example as one of her greatest strengths, Kim says “The opportunity to co-teach with novice librarians allows me to share my understanding of pedagogical theory and practice without appearing lofty and without exposing their insecurity or uncertainty about teaching.”  She adds, “My fearlessness in the classroom opens the door for others to experiment with new ideas and technology.”

Ed Rivenburgh Awarded National Recognition for IDS Project Work

Former Milne Library Director Ed Rivenburgh is the winner of the 2011 Virginia Boucher/OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award, a recognition of his vision and efforts in creating an improved system of resource sharing among libraries in New York State.  The IDS (Information Delivery Services) Project, whose aim is to increase efficiencies in interlibrary loan, has become a model for libraries throughout the state and nation.

Since his retirement from SUNY Geneseo in December, Ed has been able to devote even more of his time, talent and energy to his position as IDS Project Director.  He will receive the award at a ceremony this June during the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans. Read the full story here.

County Bells Toll to Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War

On Tuesday, April 12th at 10:00 a.m., churches, schools and individuals in every corner of Livingston County will be ringing bells for two minutes to mark the solemn anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. The campus bell in Sturges tower will join in the commemoration. All are encouraged to to stop, listen and reflect as the bells sound throughout the county.

Image design by George Lucas

No one could have predicted the horror and desolation the Civil War would bring.  More than 3000 soldiers left Livingston County to serve the Union, placing a tremendous burden upon the shoulders of the men, women and children on the home front. Livingston County citizens worked tirelessly throughout the four year ordeal to support relief efforts while laboring to keep farms and local industries alive.

Over the next four years, the County Historian’s Office will honor the memory of county residents who endured the many sacrifices demanded by the Civil War.   A series of special events and projects is being planned to raise awareness of the significance of this era and its impact on the home front.

A Better Way to Collaborate on Projects

You may have already noticed, but in case you haven’t … a new, big, shiny collaboration station has been added (on a trial basis) to the glassed-in study area on the Library’s main floor. Designed by Steelcase Furniture, which specializes in business and educational solutions, the MediaScape station can accomodate up to six different laptop computers simultaneously, and it’s easy to switch among them to display on the large flat-screen monitor. 

With so many papers and projects coming due this month, students working in groups should find this new workspace a timely addition.  Hurry in and give the MediaScape a whirl — we’re trying to gauge student interest in it before mid-April, when the trial ends.

Make a Paper Crane, Help Japanese Victims

The Japanese Culture Club and friends are raising money to help victims of the  earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Stop by the Milne Library this Tuesday through Friday (March 29 – April 1) between 4:30 – 8 p.m., donate $1, and learn how to make a paper crane.  The JCC has teamed up with an organization that will donate $2 for every crane made. It’s a great way to help people who have been affected by these tragic events.

Humanities II at Walden Pond

Want to spend a few weeks this summer walking in Thoreau’s footsteps, studying and discussing great ideas like he did?  Want to get those HUMN credits under your belt before the fall semester starts?  Then apply for Humanities 221 at Walden Pond, a 4-week course taking place in Concord, MA (minutes from Boston) June 19 – July 16, 2011.  The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 23.

To learn a little more about this unique course offering, stop by Milne Library and check out the display in the lobby.  Just look for the poster of Mr. Thoreau.  Or contact the course instructors, Profs. Ed Gillin and Mary Gillin, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  But hurry!  There’ll be plenty of time to smell the roses in Concord, for as Thoreau himself wrote, “Nature will bear the closest inspection.”

Science Librarian Bonnie Swoger on Maternity Leave

Bonnie Swoger

From now until about mid-June, Milne Library and the Geneseo campus community will have to excuse Bonnie Swoger while she leaves to have a baby and to attend to all that comes with the momentous event.  It’s not like Bonnie hasn’t done this before — this is her second child — but she would like everyone to know that there are people and resources that can help out in her absence.

For book purchases, journal subscriptions and databases questions relating to the sciences, folks can contact Kate Pitcher (pitcher@geneseo.edu or 245-5064); questions concerning IDS, or Information Delivery Services, can be directed to Tim Bowersox (bowersox@geneseo.edu or 245-5589); and Kim Hoffman (kdhoffman@geneseo.edu or 245-5046) is the librarian to contact with questions or requests for science-related library instruction.

Of course, Library Guides  are also available for the sciences Bonnie covers — Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Physics & Astronomy, Mathematics and Computer Science.  Students and others needing research assistance can always request a research consultation or simply stop by the service desk and ask to speak to a reference librarian.

The entire staff at Milne Library wishes Bonnie and her growing family a happy, healthy and restful (?) time!

Librarians Hoffman and Costello Earn Prestigious ACRL Award

Kim and Michelle at LILAC

Kim Davies Hoffman, left, and Michelle Costello

The Association of College and Research Libraries has selected Milne Instruction Librarians Kimberly Davies Hoffman and Michelle Costello to receive its 2011 Instruction Section (IS) Innovation award for their work in developing the Library Instruction Leadership Academy (LILAC). The award is given each year in recognition of a project demonstrating “creative, innovative or unique approaches to information literacy instruction or programming.”

The LILAC project, which ran from January through May 2010, was a regional effort that provided intensive training, observational experiences, reflection through writing, and teaching practice to K-12, community and college/university librarians.

Hoffman and Costello will receive a certificate and $3000 prize at the the American Library Association’s annual conference this summer in New Orleans.