Bill Baker: Profiles of Milne Library Staff

If you are in the library in the evening, you may have seen Bill Baker in the Information Delivery Service (IDS) Office.  Bill has held this position for over ten years here at Milne Library and his areas of responsibility include supervising borrowing, lending and document delivery.

Bill states that it makes him happy when he can “go the extra mile” by sending an email or making a phone call to get materials for a patron.

Ask Bill to see the picture of his son with General Petraeus!

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.

5th Annual Library Assistants’ Day

5th Annual Library Assistants’ Day

Syracuse, NY

On October 25, 2011, Donna Hanna, Tim Finnigan and I travelled to Syracuse, NY for the 5th Annual Library Assistants’ Day.  This event began in 2007 and was co-sponsored by CLRC and Nylink.  This year’s event was hosted by CLRC, SCRLC, RRLC and WNYLC.

The day began with “Keynote Presentation on Social Media” by Anthony Rotolo, Assistant Professor of Practice and Social Media Strategist at Syracuse University.  Professor Rotolo addressed the group on the fact that social media has been with us for a long time in more of a “gate keeper” format and went on to explain how the current, less restricted Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube are affecting our lives.  He showed a picture of one of his classes, where everyone had a laptop open, and stated that Twitter is live on the screen during class. He finds he has much more class interaction by using this format.  Professor Rotolo’s presentation was extremely engaging and I found it interesting that he also has a class on Star Trek at Syracuse University!

After a short break, Nora Hardy, South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) presented “e-Books and e-Readers Panel Discussion” with input from Caitlyn Lam, Yale University; Heather Urtz, Mid-York Library System; and Charles O’Bryan, Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES.

Ms. Hardy described what an e-Book and an e-Reader are and how rapidly the technology is changing.  She discussed on content sources, formats, and the devices.  Some of the considerations a library must make are whether to buy or lease a title, can it be lent, how many times and how many simultaneous users can it support.  Ms. Hardy also described some of the options available on an e-reader and suggested sites to research to select the best options for you or your library.

As a Staff Supervisor at the Service Desk in Milne Library, I was especially interested in attending Ben Hogben’s workshop “Supervising Students and Volunteers.”  Mr. Hogben is the Manager of Access Services at Ithaca College.  Not only did he impart a great deal of knowledge but delivered it with a sense of humor that kept us all engrossed and involved.

Mr. Hogben began with the Hiring/Recruiting process including identifying the skills needed, the learning outcomes for the applicant, what career building skills they would acquire in our employment, advertising the position and interviewing techniques to gain the information needed to hire the appropriate applicant.

The second topic covered was Training.  Mr. Hogben quoted a Chinese Proverb, “Tell me, I’ll forget…Show me, I’ll remember…Involve me, I’ll understand.”  He discussed learning styles, being clear on what you want, accessible training guides, methods of communication and evaluating performance.

Mr. Hogben then moved on to Retention and stressed three premises that organizations are built on; communication, respect and trust.  He impressed upon us the importance of personally thanking and congratulating employees who do a good job to re-enforce a positive attitude.  On the reverse, he discussed the need for a Disciplinary/Termination Policy.  There should be documented information that is given to the employee when they are hired so that they know exactly what will not be tolerated in your workplace and how the organization proceeds if one of the policies is violated.  Mr. Hogben states that discipline should always be handled in a non-personal manner.

As a follow-up Mr. Hogben recommended that we become “coaches” for our student employees and suggested reading material.  He also supplied us with other resources for supervising students and volunteers.  Last but not least, he stated the importance of having Emergency Procedures available online AND a hard copy in the department as emergencies don’t just happen on the day shift!

My final event of the day was “Local History:  Folklife in a Public Library” by Todd DeGarmo, Founding Director of the Crandall Public Library Folklife Center, Glens Falls, NY.  The Folklife Center manages the Special Collections and Archives of the library by researching and presenting the cultural traditions of their area.  Mr. DeGarmo described his background and how he began the Center and how he and his staff continue to fund it.  He stated that we are all “folk” and have our stories, our crafts, our beliefs, and our music passed down for generations and occurring now.  He suggested ways of promoting a library’s collections to be an on-going part of life in our own region.

As in the past, this event was an excellent learning experience and we came home with numerous ideas to share with the Milne Library Staff.

Coleen Hopkins

Donna Ayers: Profiles of Milne Library Staff

Donna Ayers is a Keyboard Specialist II and the IDS Lending Manager.  Donna has worked in Milne Library for six years and began in the Acquisitions and Government Documents departments.  She has been in Information Delivery Services for four years and her duties include managing IDS lending operations and working with our IDS Manager to train and supervise student workers.  Donna also selects locations, provides backup assistance with borrowing requests and provides backup for the IDS Manager.

Donna states that she enjoys helping people and working with the students here at Milne.  She can be found in room 108 on the library’s lower level.

Halloween Storytime this Friday at 6 pm!

On Friday, October 28th, Milne Library will host a Halloween Storytime Celebration for children and their caregivers! Any age is welcome, though these mildly scary stories are geared toward ages 10 and under.

Storytime (performed by Milne Library’s Mark Sullivan) will last from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, with refreshments provided. The event will take place in the Teacher Education Resource Center, located on the lower-level of Milne Library. Costumes are optional.

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.

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!

Ed Rivenburgh retires as Milne Library Director

Ed Rivenburgh

After more than 15 years as the Director of Milne Library, Ed Rivenburgh has retired from that position, leaving it in the capable hands of Associate Director Cyril Oberlander, who has been appointed Interim Library Director by Provost Carol Long.  Ed will continue to work part-time, however, as the IDS Project Director from his office in Millne 221.

“Under Ed’s leadership Milne Library has become one of the most successful and innovative small campus libraries in the country,” noted Provost Long in her announcement to the campus this week.  Cyril, she said, “is a remarkably insightful, energetic, innovative and creative library administrator, and we are extraordinarily fortunate to be able to benefit from his talents.”

Cyril Oberlander

The staff at Milne congratulate Ed on his stellar career, his well-earned retirement, and his new role as IDS Director.  And we look forward to working with Cyril as he leads the Library toward an exciting future!

We bid adieu to three excellent librarians

Barbara Clarke, Donna Howe, Paul MacLean and Diane Johnson

When you stepped into Milne Library this semester, did you notice something missing?  Three of our librarians are retiring, having logged their last days at Milne before the year’s end.  They represent, collectively, 100 years of exeperience at SUNY Geneseo — Barbara Clarke, the Head of Milne’s Teacher Education Resource Center, retiring after 35 years here; Paul MacLean, Head of Information Technology Services, 31 years; and Diane Johnson, Head of Serials, 34 years.  Donna Howe, Secretary to the Library Director, also retired last semester but has returned to Milne on a part-time basis until May.

Be assured that, while Barbara, Paul and Diane and all their excellent work will be missed, the folks at Milne are endeavoring to transition as smoothly as possible and will continue to provide the same high level of service our users expect and appreciate.

To read more about these librarians’ careers and retirement plans, see the front-page article of the Fall 2010 Milne Library Infobits .