The persistent myth of the digital native

Digital native ≠ digitally competent. Librarians who work with college students in the classroom and at the reference desk are likely to understand this. Unfortunately, the assumption that today’s students naturally take to technology still persists in higher ed.

Today’s traditional-age students are digital natives. Google and Wi-Fi have been available for as long as they can remember; the first iPhone came out when they were in elementary school. But there’s a difference between familiarity and understanding. Quickly finding information online doesn’t mean you know how to evaluate its trustworthiness. Growing up using apps doesn’t mean you know how to build one. Some students are digitally savvy when they begin college. But others are not. How can a college ensure that all of its students graduate with the digital skills they will need to thrive in their careers and beyond?

Beckie Supiano, How One College Helps All Students Gain Digital Skills [paywalled]

For one, colleges can scaffold digital literacy competencies throughout the curriculum, or adapt already existing critical thinking or information literacy competencies to accommodate digital modes of existing and creating. Additionally, academic affairs units could strengthen their support (i.e. $$ and staffing) for academic libraries and the librarians that are doing this work all the time.


Vacation mode: enabled

West Fork Trail in Sedona

Taking some time off email, off projects, and (mostly) off the grid to reflect, reconsider, and reconnect.


2014 Westerly Côte Blonde (Santa Ynez Valley)

2014 Côte Blonde

I’ve had this bottle in my cabinet for a few months now and though I’m glad to finally get around to opening it (I mean, what else is wine for?), I wish I had waited just a few more years. The tannins rake the tongue and it feels a bit unbalanced. So it’s a good thing I bought two bottles!

Blood-red, clean and clear with shades of purple in the glass. The nose is strong, hot, well-peppered with notes of blackberry and… Wrigley’s Big Red chewing gum. Light-bodied on the tongue, with more pepper, tart cherry, and something floral I can’t quite place. The finish gets a tad bit sweeter with a hint of unripe strawberry.


My ACRL 2019 schedule

ACRL 2019 banner image

I made it to Cleveland for the 2019 conference of the Association of College & Research Libraries. I did not expect to see so many people wearing gloves and hats.

Despite not having adequately prepared for lake weather, I am excited to be here. ACRL is perhaps my favorite conference to attend (it’s a close tie with LMCC). Everyone here speaks the language of academic libraries and archives. All the topics feel relevant. It’s an immersive experience that happens once every two years and I am here for it.

I will be alongside Jodie Borgerding, Jennifer Peters, and Joyce Garczynski presenting on “Recasting the Parentative: Seeking Balance Amidst the Busyness.”

Abstract: When you think of academic librarian parents, what comes to mind? Many people stereotype parents and unfortunately university, local, and national leaders make policies impacting them based on these false assumptions. This presentation will extend previous work-life balance conversations by sharing the results of a survey about librarian-parent stereotypes, providing attendees with the opportunity to discuss how these stereotypes have impacted them and work together to develop an agenda to change the policies resulting from these biases.

Thursday, April 10

  • 8:40a: Let’s hear it! Reimagining the library’s teaching and learning program through cross-campus conversations
  • 9:40a: Academic Library Impact: New Research from ACRL Grant Recipients
  • 10:55a: Keynote: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • 2:00p: Empathetic Marketing in the Library: A Fresh Approach to Outreach
  • 3:10p: Guided Mediation break
  • 4:00p: “Must be comfortable with ambiguity”: How Outreach Librarians are navigating their new roles to better engage with scholars in the 21st century

Friday, April 11

  • 6:30a: Yoga
  • 8:30a: Recasting the Parentative: Seeking Balance Amidst the Busyness
  • 10:30a: Reading Without Walls: Beyond the Common Read
  • 1:00p: Diversity and Inclusion Planning: Fostering Culture and Community in Academic Libraries
  • 3:00p: Reconceptualizing the Conference Experience: Employing Grassroots Efforts in Conference Planning to Promote Inclusivity and Accessibility
  • 4:15p: When Roles Collide: Librarians as Educators and the Question of Learning Analytics

Saturday, April 12

  • 8:30a: Creating an Outreach Story: Assessment Results, Strategic Planning, and Reflection
  • 11:00a: Closing Keynote: Alison Bechdel

I’m looking forward to learning, seeing old friends, and making new ones. Have fun at #acrl2019!


Cherry tomato harvest 2018

cherry tomatoes
The tomato plants are falling over under the weight of their own fruit.


My ALA Annual 2018 schedule

It isn’t my intention to be anti-social at Annual, but I have a few looming deadlines and a number of projects that I would like to start mapping out. The energy and distance that ALA Annual provides might just be the best environment to make that happen. Hopefully, I can find a late-night cafe near my hotel where that can take place.

When I’m not buried in my laptop, here’s where I plan to be. Hope to see some of you there!


Arrive in New Orleans. Get settled into hotel. Maybe meet up with some friends for a drink.


8:30a – 4:00p: Assessment in Action: Demonstrating and Communicating Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success

4:00p – 5:30p: Opening General Session featuring Michelle Obama 


10:30a – 12:00p: ACRL President’s Program: Beyond Resilience: Crafting a Caring Organization

1:00p – 2:00p: What Every Librarian Should Know about Young News Consumers

2:30p – 3:30p: Libraries and Learning Analytics: Identifying the Issues 

4:00p – 5:00p: Studying and Spirituality: Prayer and Meditation Spaces in Academic Libraries


8:30a – 10:00a: Current Topics Discussion Group (ACRL ULS)

10:30a – 11:30a: Whiteness in LIS: Tracing its Impact, Mapping Resistance

1:00p – 2:00p: We’re All in It Together: Focusing Outreach & Assessment to Your Institution’s Strategic Goals (I’m presenting with colleagues at this one!)

2:30p – 3:30p: ACRL 2019 Panel Sessions Committee Meeting (ACRL) 

3:00p – 4:00p: Emerging Leaders Mix and Mingle or LITA President’s Program with Kendra Albert

4:00p – 5:00p: Escape the Library: Escape Room Design Workshop


Pack up my stuff. Grab a ride to the airport. Head back to Los Angeles


ALA Annual 2018: Focusing Outreach & Assessment to Your Institution’s Strategic Goals

ALA badgeIf you are one of the tens of thousands of people attending ALA Annual 2018 in New Orleans next week, I hope you will join me and my colleagues for a presentation Sunday, June 24 at 1:00 pm in Morial Convention Center, room 393. We are hosting a panel session for ACRL entitled “We’re All in It Together: Focusing Outreach & Assessment to Your Institution’s Strategic Goals.” Here is the summary:

“Assessing, evaluating, and articulating the impact and value of library outreach work is a growing trend among academic librarians engaged in marketing and outreach. In order to assess and determine the effectiveness of this work, it is important to plan and align efforts with both library and campus strategic goals. Four academic librarians who are members of ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach Interest Group (LMOIG) and the ACRL University Libraries Section (ULS) Academic Outreach Committee (AOC) will share their experiences aligning their outreach efforts to institutional strategic goals. The panelists will also discuss their assessment methods in relation to these goals. Attendees will be able to ask questions and have time to identify organizational or institutional goals to align with future outreach, along with possible assessment approaches to implement at their own institutions.”

Hope to see you there!


The education they desire and deserve

“When we, as educators, allow our pedagogy to be radically changed by our recognition of a multicultural world, we can give students the education they desire and deserve. We can teach in ways that transform consciousness, creating a climate of free expression that is the essence of a truly liberal arts education.”

–bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom


I would settle for seven hours

bacon-shaped pillow
My office companion. His name is Kevin.

I have been a user of GTD fairly consistently over the past decade. As those familiar with the task-management system know, the “weekly review” is an essential step in the workflow. My review process is augmented significantly: there are 15 subtasks in my weekly review and I reserve the last 1.5-2 hours of my work week to accomplish it. One of those subtasks is to write down one thing I’ve learned.

Last year, the “outreach team” at mpow was upgraded to the “outreach department” with me at its head. The transition has been protracted and I am still working on the finer details, but I’ve learned much along the way. I’m in the midst of writing my annual review and so I thought I would share some of my lessons learned from last year. As you’ll notice, there’s an overarching theme. Each one of these below represents one week of the academic year.

Things I’ve Learned This Year

  • I have skills and resources to offer. Don’t forget that.
  • Sleep makes such a difference (need to remind myself of this every day).
  • Planning ahead works. Really works.
  • Get some sleep.
  • Two weeks of late nights will run me down by Thursday or Friday.
  • I need to delegate more.
  • You will never “win” as supervisor/admin (even if you think you do). Deal with it. And then be clear about what the next steps should be.
  • I need to start the planning process and get details outlined sooner.
  • Working late into the evening sucks. Let’s never do this again.
  • I can get more done in a shorter amount of time when I have sleep. Seriously. How hard is it to remember this?
  • There is much I can do to be a better leader. Specifically: passing along information sooner; giving staff/team members the freedom to pursue projects; recognizing strengths; being thankful. The responses to what motivates people and the type of recognition they crave is useful information to track.
  • Getting sleep doesn’t reduce stress, but helps with managing it.
  • If I do things quickly, or as soon as they arrive, I get more done in the week… just not always what is most important.
  • Energy wins the day.
  • I don’t have to make decisions on the spot. It’s OK to say “I’ll think about it.”
  • People can surprise you – expect the best.
  • I have to build workflows and constantly remind people of them if I want to have control over the aspects of my job that require my attention.
  • I can get by with working 9-12 each evening, but the hangover sucks.
  • I have to give people options. If you want to help them make a decision, give them options.
  • Keep quiet. Be discrete. Wait for the right moment.
  • Don’t get caught unprepared.
  • I can be a leader when I try to be. Take the lead.
  • Delegated works needs to be followed up on.
  • I can get a shit-ton of work done if I don’t check email all day.

I’ll work on that sleeping part. 😉


2013 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany)

caparzo wine labelHow long has it been since I posted a wine review? Honestly, I don’t usually go for italian wine. I don’t have anything against it. I just don’t always reach for a bottle when I have other options. But this weekend I felt like picking up a brunello and this 2013 Caparzo did not disappoint.

Aged two years in Slavonian oak, this fire brick red wine has subtle notes of tar and cassis on the nose (even after decanting an hour… it was still hard to find!). Once it hits your mouth the first thing you’ll notice is the taste of roasted meat (and charred rosemary?) and raspberry. Clean, light berry finish. I picked up an extra bottle to save for 2-3 years.