Social Responsibility

The following was a group discussion post in response to a prompt on social responsibility:

Relating involvement with social issues directly to librarianship (i.e., meeting the information needs of the patron community, rather than promoting literacy) is not at all limiting. Additionally, librarians need not become actively engaged in the human dignity and social conditions in which human culture overall develops, but rather become actively engaged in the human dignity, social conditions, and culture of the local patron community. Therefore, librarians must devote themselves to advocating the views of the patron community on local effects of major social issues, such as gay rights, poverty, etc.

It is truly naive to think anyone can remain neutral and be divorced from the social context within which they operate. Even attempting to remain neutral is a politically biased act. When the needs of the community are in conflict, the organization and the staff can mitigate bias by doing its best to meet the needs of as many as possible, and act in a manner which causes the least amount of harm. Personal misgivings can be assuaged by focusing on quality information and engagement from all sides of an issue, especially those with which one personally disagrees. Simply staking out a position, no matter how ethically forthright, leads to organizational obsolescence, unless that position is in line with community needs.

The ALA’s Library Bill of Rights even directs itself to “all of the people of the community the library serves,” not society as a whole, human culture as a whole, or the general population of any specific country or state. If we are following its policies as they pertain to our communities, libraries cannot help become engaged in its social and political issues.

Reflection: 5.1 Represent and Organize Resources

The associated assignments demonstrate my ability to understand principles of representation and organization.  The FRBR catalog assignment required that I catalog several items on my shelf according to FRBR principles.  The Authority Control assignment required that I locate authority headings for various people, places, corporate entities and subjects.

In creating the FRBR catalog entries for titles on my shelf, I needed to understand group entities.  I was then able to offer descriptions for each group.  Within the Group 1 entities, I described the work, offered several examples of expression and manifestation of the work, and designated the item at the collection level.  Group 2 entities consist of names relating to the production of the work: authors, illustrators, publishers; individual names or names of corporations. Group 3 entities consist of keywords related to the subject of the work: concepts, places, plot-points, characters, tropes, etc., including those terms that fell under Group 1 and 2; anything that might somehow relate to the work that might provide a reasonable search term.  I thoroughly and completely utilized the principles involved in the organization and representation of recorded knowledge and information in this assignment, demonstrating mastery of FRBR cataloging, metadata, indexing, and classification standards and methods, earning 100% on the assignment, and an instructor comment of “Great work.  Well done.”

The Authority File assignment also demonstrates mastery of systems of cataloging, metadata, indexing, and classification standards and methods used to organize recorded knowledge and information, in this instance, from the opposite perspective, looking at the cataloged information to identify a work, rather than defining a work to create a catalog entry.  As I have successfully completed these assignments requiring developmental, descriptive, and evaluative skills needed to organize recorded knowledge and information sources both backward and forward, I feel I have demonstrated mastery of the “Represent and Organize Resources” program goal.

6.1 Execute Research Principles

These evaluative exercises from the Introduction to Research course demonstrate my understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as the principles and methods used to assess the actual and potential value of new research.

Operationalization allows abstract concepts to be made concrete and measurable, or quantitative.  In the “Operationalizing Neighborliness” assignment, I break down the process of turning the abstract concept of neighborliness into quantitative, measurable characteristics.  This process is one of the fundamentals of quantitative research.

The remaining documents demonstrate assessment of the actual and potential value of the research papers they discuss.  The “Hypothesis and Testing” assignment and the “Sex Sells Analysis” assignment require that I answer a series of pointed questions intended to teach students to recognize areas of focus for analysis in the associated research.  The final of the four included assignments, “Content Analysis: NFL Inclusivity” requires that I complete a research analysis on my own.  The final class assignment, which I chose not to include here as I’ve used it in other areas of the portfolio, was a complete literature review.

This course and these assignments have helped me perfect my ability to analyze complex problems and create appropriate solutions, not only in regard to formal, academic research, but also in regard to defining service population groups and determining community needs.  Appropriate solutions, then, in the form of programs and services to patrons, evolve from that analysis.  I regularly put these skills to use in writing service plans that require statistical analysis of the local community, and expect to continue to do so in the future.

7.1 Implement Information Technologies

This plan for implementing a makerspace in an urban public library demonstrates my ability to understand and act on national and international social, public, information, economic, and cultural policies and trends of significance to the library and information profession.  Makerspaces have become the standard in many community libraries for providing STEM or STEAM literacy education.  As this trend continues to build momentum it is important that it reach communities that might not otherwise have access to emerging technologies.

Within the plan, I apply methods of assessing and evaluating the specifications, efficacy, and cost efficiency of technology-based products and services.  Ultimately, the assessment recommends forgoing a makerspace in favor of other, more basic patron needs that were, at that time, unmet.  The budget for materials, however, comes in well under the $10,000.00 allotted, while still providing opportunities for technology education.  The extra funds can either be redirected toward early literacy, earmarked for replacing consumables, or directed toward bringing in technology presentations from partner organizations.  Yet, the materials to be purchased are well suited to matching the tech-literacy needs of an under-employed, adult service population as indicated by the evaluation of local population statistics.

Focusing the services and materials of the space toward this segment of the community, instead of toward children or teens who have more access to technology education through their public schools than do impoverished adults with little-to-no post-secondary education, represents the outcome of an impact assessment on current and emerging situations or circumstances related to the design and implementation of appropriate services or resource development.  This also demonstrates an appropriate response to diversity in user needs, user communities, and user preferences.

Theory and Hypothesis Testing

  1. What subject areas are covered by the literature review?

The literature review covered the subject areas of demographic, economic, and cultural characteristics of library users, correlation between these characteristics and level of library use, spatial accessibility of a library and its effect on library use, interaction between social and spacial influences on library use, in so much as that this final subject area was ignored in the literature.

  1. Why do the authors cite the literature they do?

The literature the authors cite defines the independent variables of demographic, economic, cultural, and spatial characteristics of libraries and their users.

  1. What gaps in the literature have the authors identified?

The authors have identified a lack of research on the interaction between social and spacial influences on library use.

  1. How are the gaps related to their study?

The gaps are directly related to their study, as the influence that the interaction between social and spacial community characteristics has on library use is precisely what their study attempts to determine.

  1. Name two terms are have been operationally defined. Describe how so.

Neighborhood: “‘a limited territory within a larger urban area, where people inhabit dwellings and interact socially’ [17, p. 13] or a geographic unit ‘within which certain social relationships exist’ [18, p. 15].”

Social capital: “refers to connections among individuals, such as social networks, norms of reciprocity, and social trust, that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit [20–21].”

  1. How is Central Place Theory used in the study design?

Central Place Theory is used to define the neighborhoods’ physical location, spatially limiting the data collected.

  1. Identify Dependent Variable?

The dependent variable is library use.

  1. Identify Independent Variables?

Independent variables include the demographic, economic, cultural characteristics of library users and neighborhoods, as well as the spatial characteristics of libraries and neighborhoods.

  1. Do the authors clearly state a hypothesis or is it implied?

The hypothesis is clearly stated.

  1. Where did you find it?

The hypothesis is found in the first sentence of the last paragraph of the literature, where the authors state, “we believe….”

  1. How does the hypothesis relate to the literature review?

The hypothesis is formed by considering the gaps in the literature in relation to the observations found within the literature.

  1. Discuss the relationship between research questions and hypotheses.

The researchers approached their literature review hoping to find an explanation for an observation: poor blacks and Hispanics are not using public libraries. Research provided some explanation, however, gaps were noted, leading to additional questions. These additional questions led to the formation of the researchers’ hypothesis. Therefore, research questions lead to hypotheses, which are affirmed, discredited, and/or explained by research, which leads to additional questions, and the cycle repeats. In this way, knowledge evolves.

Sex Sells Analysis

Question 1-9 are to be answered using the Introductory section.

  1. Why is the area of research important and worth funding?

This area of research is worth funding because the US “has primarily funded and promoted abstinence education despite the fact that “few randomized controlled trials have tested their efficacy.”  Trials are needed to determine if abstinence programs are having the desired effect.  If not, they are a waste of money.

  1. Why is it important to specifically study African American teenagers?

It is important to specifically study African American teenagers, because “60% of adolescents with HIV/AIDS (are) African American,” and rates of STIs “are the highest among African American individuals…particularly adolescent girls.”  Pregnancy rates have also been higher among African American girls than their Hispanic and white peers.

  1. How are the two major reduction interventions defined?

The two major reduction interventions are defined as “abstinence only” and “comprehensive.”  The comprehensive intervention includes abstinence and safer-sex instruction, including apropriate condom use.

  1. How have researchers traditionally operationalized abstinence reduction?

Abstinence reduction has traditionally offered “inaccurate information,” which “portray(s) sex in a negative light, using a moralistic tone, and risking adverse consequences.”

  1. In what ways are these authors asserting that they have improved upon the traditional operationalization of abstinence only reduction.

The authors assert their operationalization is “ideal,” incorporating “principles of efficacious…risk reduction behavioral interventions….draw(ing) on formative research…and behavior-change theory to address motivation and build skills to practice abstinence.”  They claim theirs is not moralistic, and does not “stress the inadequacies of condoms.”

  1. What is the first limitation of the study? (Hint look in the last paragraph of the first section.)

The first limitation of the study is that “efficacy…disappears at longer-term follow-up.”  Everyone is expected to eventually have sex.  Therefore, it seems the number abstaining for a set period of time might not be the best measure of effectiveness.  Rather, the age at which teens do finally have sex might better determine how effective abstinence education is.

  1. What is the primary hypothesis?

The primary hypothesis is that “fewer participants in the abstinence-only interveion than in the control group would report ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up.

  1. What is the secondary?

The secondary hypothesis “was that the intervention-maintenance program would enhance intervention efficacy.”

  1. Are we satisfied with the literature review?

Was there one?  Technically, lots of stats about teen sexuality and statements about the beliefs surrounding reduction methods obviously came from cited literature.  Resources were synthesized to make the introductory arguments surrounding the need for the research.  However, I would not say this amounted to a formal literature review.

Questions 10- 16 are to be answered using the first 3 paragraphs of the Methods section: Participants, Procedures, and Experimental Conditions

  1. Describe what we know about our participants.

Quoting the article, “The participants were 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7.”  They live in low-income, African-American communities, in the northeastern United States.

  1. What three approvals were explicitly stated as needed for each student to participate?

Students needed written parent or guardian approval to participate.  And the Institutional Review Board of the University of Pennsylvania and the Research Ethics Board of the University of Waterloo approved the study.

  1. What approval was implied but not stated?

The approval of the participating middle schools was implied but not stated.

  1. How do the authors define who is African American?

They don’t.  They simply state that their participants are African-American, and that they were recruited from middle schools that serve low-income, urban, African-American communities.

  1. What does it mean to stratify the study population by age and sex(gender)?

This means they separated the students into these categories, for the purpose of assuring that age and genders would be evenly randomized across all interventions.

  1. What is the importance of randomly assigning the students to the four experimental groups?

It’s important to randomly assign students to the four groups so that results cannot be attributed to the makeup of the group.

  1. What are the four experimental groups?

The four experimental groups were an 8-hour abstinence only, an 8-hour safer-sex only, an 8-hour comprehensive, and a 12-hour comprehensive.  The fifth group was the control, an 8-hour health-risk reduction program unrelated to sexual activity.

Questions 17 to 19 are to be answered using the next 3 paragraphs of the Methods section: Abstinence-Only, Safer Sex, and Comprehensive Interventions.

  1. What are the 3 main areas of education targeted by the Abstinence-Only Intervention?

The three main areas of education include increasing HIV/STI knowledge, strengthening beliefs supporting abstinence, and increasing skills to negotiate abstinence.

  1. Do you think this variable was appropriately operationalized?

I don’t.  The authors state that the program was not designed to meet federal criteria for abstinence-only programs.  If the point of the study is to determine if federal funding of abstinence education is justified by efficacy, then the efficacy of the programs meeting federal criteria need to be studied, not the efficacy of some other program the researchers created which would not likely ever be implemented.

  1. How do the authors feel that have improved upon the traditional operationalization?

I think the authors feel they have minimized the risks to participants of participating in the study, by changing the traditional operationalization.  However, in doing so, they aren’t actually researching the problem they set out to research.

Questions 20 to 23 are to be answered using the next three paragraphs of the Methods section: Health-Promotion Control Intervention, Intervention-Maintenance Program and Facilitators and Facilitator Training

  1. What the heck is a Hawthorne effect? Is Hawthorne Bradley’s friend?

The Hawthorne effect is also known as the observer effect.  It relates to the possibility that results can be affected by the participant’s awareness of being observed.  In this study, it relates to “the likelihood that effects of the HIV interventions could be attributed to nonspecific features including group interactions and special attention.”   Yes, the Hawthorne effect is related to the Bradley effect, as the Bradley effect also relies on the participant’s awareness of being observed when surveyed, and anonymity when actually voting.

  1. Why are the authors worried about the Hawthorne effect and are controlling for it?

They are worried that participants might perceive social advantages to participation in the program, and that this perception might influence their behavior, affecting outcomes.

  1. Why are the facilitators mostly women? How did the one Puerto Rican get selected? Why are the facilitators African American?

These questions were not answered in the article.  But because the authors state that they “hired facilitators with the skills to implement any of the of the interventions, it’s likely they recruited teachers from the participating schools.  The facilitators are African-American so that participants can better relate to and trust the provided information.  And also, probably, because they have recruited teachers from the participating schools, which are more likely to have many African-American teachers.  Teachers are also more likely to be female.

  1. Why have the facilitators been randomized and stratified?

Facilitators must also be randomized so that ages and genders don’t influence outcomes.

Questions 24 to 28 are to be answered by Outcomes and Social Desirability Response Measure

  1. How was the data collected in this study? One method was used in three different ways. What was the method and what are the three ways?

Data was collected by questionnaire before the program, immediately after the program, and at regular longer-term periods over two years.

  1. Over what period?

Between January 2002 and August 2004.

  1. What is the purpose of a pilot study?

The purpose of a pilot study is to ensure the validity of the questions.  In this case, to “ensure that (the questions) were clear, and that the phrasing was appropriate for the population.”

  1. What are the data collectors blind to? Why?

Data collectors were blind to which program each participant attended.  This is to ensure that the collectors’ biases don’t influence their collection methods and thereby the results.

  1. What is your assessment of the authors’ attempt to control for the Bradley effect?

I can’t imagine how their efforts could have any significant influence.  While certainly, if individuals are going to guess in response to research questions, of course they’re going to do so in a socially desirable manner, purely without intent.  However, I don’t believe it’s possible for people to self-report behavior honestly.  They simply don’t remember accurately, even if they’re certain that they do, unless the question addresses immediate single instances of behavior (did you have sex last night?) rather than multiple instances over a longer term, no matter how recent (how many times did you have sex in the last week?)  It just isn’t possible these answers are going to be accurate.  Visually defining the time frame with calendars, and stressing the importance of accuracy makes no difference.

Question 29 is to be answered using the section Sample Size and Statistical Analysis

  1. What reasons did the authors give for choosing these statistical methods? 

Honestly, I have no idea how to interpret the word salad that comprises this section.  But if I were to guess, it would have to do with “analyz(ing) attrition,” testing “intervention effects,” “the efficacy of the HIV interventions” and/or correcting for error, and deciding what results would indicate significance.

Questions 30 to 31 are to be answered using the first two paragraphs and Table 2 of the Results Section.

  1. What are the independent variables? What are the dependent variables?

The independent variables are the education sessions.  The dependent variables are the number of times the girls had sex afterward, and the behaviors that might have changed as a result.

  1. What are some of the reasons a student, average age of 12, would participate in this study? Remember this is Bookstein’s first concern of his three concerns related to surveys/questionnaires/volunteering for studies.  

Plainly, they were all paid to attend.   Participants were not highly invested in the outcome, beyond just showing up to collect the payment, and this fact might skew the results.  It’s possible, though unlikely, that the participants are interested in the information.  The subject is somewhat taboo, and that fact might compel their participation.  Pressure from parents and teachers might also compel participation, and also skew results, out of fear of observation.

Question 32 is to be answered using the final four paragraphs of the Results section.

  1. What are the primary outcomes or effects on the dependent variables (hint sexual behaviors) CAUSED BY the independent variables (hint the different types of intervention programs).

Per Table 3, abstinence-only intervention caused participants to delay having sex longer than other groups.

Per the last four paragraphs of the results section:

“Abstinence-only intervention participants did not differ from the control group in reports of multiple partners.  Participants in the 8-hour and 12-hour comprehensive intervention groups were significantly less likely to report having multiple partners than were those in the control group. No other differences were statistically significant.  None of the interventions had significant effects on consistent condom use or unprotected intercourse.”

In other words, abstinence-only intervention did not affect any of the of the other behaviors.  Comprehensive intervention showed a decrease in the number of partners.

Questions 33 to 34 are to be answered using the Comment section.

  1. Looking at the last sentence of the first paragraph, answering these two questions. What is the gap in the literature these authors are claiming to have filled? Why do the authors use the word “demonstrate” rather than “prove?”

The gap in the literature is the lack of randomized controlled trials.  The authors use the word “demonstrate” rather than “prove” because any self-reported response is not objective, and therefore cannot be considered proof.

  1. Looking at paragraph three, where dear reader would you have liked to have been provided with citations to other research studies to back up the authors statements?

I would have liked citations provided for the first and third sentences, “A common shortcoming of health behavior change is….” and “Although many trials have used booster intervention sessions, this one of few trials….”

Questions 35 to 40 are to be answered looking both at the final paragraphs of the Comment section and the NY Times (if it’s fit to print) Editorial.

  1. Does the Times piece mention the fact that this study would not meet the Federal criteria for the very abstinence program the President cut? 

The Times piece does mention that the program in this study differs from the federally-supported programs.  However, it does not mention that it would not meet the federal criteria.

  1. What do the authors say are the limitations of the study? Are these limitations mentioned in the Times?

The limitations include self-reported data, the “relatively small number of sexually active adolescents,” and the “limited generalizability of the results.”  The editorial does not mention these limitations.

  1. Does anyone else find it interesting that national policy could be influenced by a study that “MAY BE” generalizable only to African American students in grades 6 and 7 who are willing to participate in a health promotion project on the weekends? Who by the way don’t seem to that interested in sex in the first place?

The publishing journal, the Archiives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, ran an editorial cautioning against such policy setting, along with the article.

  1. What or who are the communities that support abstinence only approaches? Why do you think the authors do not mention who these mysterious communities are? Would you like to see at least some citations to other studies here?

Political organizations that receive funding for running abstince-only programs support these approaches.  They are not mentioned in the editorial because it is designed to sway public opinion toward their cause.  Of course, citations are always ideal.

  1. Why did the national press run wild with this story?

The press sensationalized this story because it goes against popular opinion, and they have an agenda to push.

  1. Did they run with it responsibly? 

You would imply there’s such a thing as a responsible press?  There might have been at one point in time.  No longer.  No, they did not run with it responsibly.  To do so, they would have had to reveal the flaws in the study, which they did not do.

  1. What role should librarians play in helping their constituents develop research literacy skills?

Librarians can assist in evaluating resources, and provide instruction on doing so.  I can’t imagine this being done on an individual basis very often.  Classes might provide a better opportunity, with examples like this one, to teach the subtleties of evaluating research.

Content Analysis: NFL Inclusivity

To analyse the commercials I looked at the number that utilized gender stereotypes, and how many commercials used each type.  Of the ten commercials, nine utilized socially established male stereotypes.  Six utilized female stereotypes.  Three included no women at all.

I also found the “bigger than the internet” commercial interesting, in that 14 things were named that the product would be “bigger than.”  Only two of these were introducted by women.  Of those two, one related directly to female sexual desire.  However the other 12 also played into male stereotypes, and one related to male sexual desire.

Four of the commercials had to do with behavior expectations.  Two of these required women to conform to male expectations.  One portrayed men indulging the bad behavior of women.  One portrayed a woman’s expectations for her husband’s behavior as negative, despite the fact that the man’s behavior was inappropriate.  Only one of the commercials could be said to be gender neutral.

So obviously, advertisers use socially established gender stereotypes in their commercials.  But I don’t think these numbers would support an argument as to how many of these commercials were targeted to women.  Both genders were portrayed stereotypically, with male stereotypes far outweighing female ones.  In fact, I would subjectively argue that probably only the brothers commercial and the hot-dog commercial were targeted to women, and these contained the fewest gender stereotypes.  Regardless, that amounts only to 20% targeted to women.

Collection Development Policy Part 2

  1. Statement of collection policy
    1. Scope of the Collection: The contemporary poetry collection consists of roughly 80 volumes in the 811 Dewey range, although there are a few other volumes scattered throughout the 800s. The 811 range is commonly designated for contemporary American poetry, and currently that is what the collection consists of. Those volumes of poetry found elsewhere in the 800s consist of works by non-American poets.  Most of the volumes are slim individual works, and often only one title by each poet is included.  A few large anthologies are included from very important poets, as well as a few anthologies covering specific years, important decades, or certain subjects.  Although the adult collection includes two audiobooks of poetry, and provides access to an extensive collection of poetry through the libfinder database, different formats are considered different collections at Redwood Public Library.  Therefore, this collection contains print titles only.
    2. Strengths of the Collection: Research has shown that poetry readers use the library to sample poets before purchase for their own collections. That being the case, they find small collections with limited choice a deterrent to use. (Conrad, 2015) Likewise, large anthologies are not often sought out unless researching a specific poet.  For readers like these, small volumes of individual works by a wide variety of poets is a developing strength of this collection.  The current collection is diverse, including works by well-known award winners with long careers, as well first publications by rising stars.  Poets included offer perspectives from a variety of backgrounds.  The collection has high turnover, having titles removed as soon as circulation drops off, to be replaced by the latest publications.  Appendix C shows that only nine of 76 titles has not circulated in the last two years.  This ensures the collection is new and fresh.
    3. Desired Strength of the Collection: The collection should continue to grow in number and diversity of poets. This growth should result in increased circulation. Local published poets have been supportive of library programs, and special effort should be made to include their titles in the collection, perhaps creating a subsection of local poets, an area in which the collection is currently lacking.  As Redwood Public Library moves toward eliminating the Dewey Decimal System in favor of a bookstore-model classification system, all currently-owned works of poetry will be moved to the 811 Dewey range in anticipation of the change, regardless of whether or not the poet is American, or even contemporary.  Additionally, all formats of materials should be curated by the same librarian for the range, rather than split according to format.  This will allow for cohesiveness of the collection across various formats. Ideally, additional audiovisual materials would be purchased, as there are currently few of these in the collection.  Ebooks and online formats are not a high priority, as research has found that poetry readers do not seek out online sources for poetry. (Conrad, 2015)
    4. Selection Criteria: Selection shall focus on contemporary poets bearing in mind diversity of poet backgrounds and perspectives. Poets should be recognized professionally based on review sources, websites, and poetry organizations. Anthologies should be avoided unless a specific need is warranted, i.e., academically important poets, anthologies often assigned by university professors, etc. Local poets included in the collection should be active and known within the local writing community
    5. Deselection or Weeding Criteria: Redwood Public Library depends heavily on the statistics in Collection HQ for deselection criteria. At last weeding, librarians were instructed to discard anything that had not circulated in the last four years. As of next weeding, librarians have been instructed to weed anything that has not circulated in the last two years.  Should any titles remain in the collection outside of these parameters, (at the librarian’s discretion) the CREW method should still be followed.
  2. Vendor Selection
    1. Formats: Spoken word is extremely important to the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry, particularly if read by the poet himself. Audiobooks of poetry on CD should be added to the collection along with the print materials. One of the difficulties of engaging patrons with the library’s poetry collection is the variety of other venues available to readers of poetry for accessing recitation of the material. (Conrad, 2015) Audio CDs can fill a gap that entices poetry readers to seek out other venues for engaging with poetry.  However, print materials are the preferred method of reading poetry and constitute the core of the poetry collection.
    2. Vendors: Baker & Taylor is the preferred vendor of Redwood Public Library, for all print materials. Baker & Taylor is the largest book distributer, in existence since 1828, and most likely to have any title desired. (About Baker and Taylor, 2015) This is particularly true in regard to poetry, as poetry can often be difficult to source elsewhere.
      Apart from Baker and Taylor, Naxos has a fairly large (in comparison to other vendors) selection of audiobooks of poetry on CD.  However, these were mostly classic poetry or collections, including almost no contemporary poets.  However, even Baker and Taylor only had one poetry CD audiobook title.  This indicates that Naxos would probably be the best source for audio CDs.
  3. Selection Resources: Redwood Public Library subscribes to several professional journals including review sources such as Kirkus Review and Publisher’s Weekly.  These review sources can identify new, up-and-coming poets, as well as new releases by established writers.  Additionally, professional poetry organizations can inform of recent award winners and identify career poets as their reputations grow.  Websites of local poets and writing community groups can identify writers of local importance.  All of these resources should be used in deciding which titles to include in the collection.
  4. Bibliography.

About Baker & Taylor. (2015). Retrieved October 31, 2015, from History&home=home_aboutus_details.cfm

Conrad, J. (2015). The Problem of Poetry Curation in Libraries, Unpublished manuscript, Department of English, IUPUI, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Appendix C

Author Title Last Use Date Date Added
wetmore, thomas h thomas hall indiana sesquicentennial poets : 07-30-1994 07-30-1994
updike, john americana and other poems : 08-31-2001 08-31-2001
simic, charles the voice at 3 00 a m :  selected late and new poems 08-20-2009 10-01-2007
hughes, langston poems : 02-18-2010 09-30-2008
koertge, ronald the brimstone journals : 05-09-2011 11-01-2002
plath, sylvia ariel : 10-02-2011 08-21-2008
schultz, philip failure :  poems 03-13-2012 06-11-2008
UNKNOWNAUTHOR good poems : 12-13-2012 04-24-2003
auden, w. h collected poems : 12-27-2012 08-31-2001
UNKNOWNAUTHOR the best of the best american poetry, 1988 1997 : 01-07-2013 07-19-1998
UNKNOWNAUTHOR american war poetry :  an anthology 02-23-2013 06-11-2008
UNKNOWNAUTHOR giving their word :  conversations with contemporary poets 04-20-2013 05-07-2003
pound, ezra the cantos of ezra pound : 04-22-2013 09-25-2001
rice, helen steiner mothers are a gift of love : 06-09-2013 07-01-2010
schiff, robyn revolver :  poems 06-24-2013 09-30-2008
olstein, lisa little stranger : 07-16-2013 07-16-2013
frost, robert early poems : 07-18-2013 09-12-2001
schutt, will westerly : 07-20-2013 05-15-2013
hicok, bob elegy owed : 07-20-2013 05-09-2013
seuss youre only old once : 08-08-2013 07-08-1994
longfellow, henry wadsworth longfellow poems and other writings : 08-30-2013 05-22-2001
seay, allison to see the queen : 10-15-2013 05-02-2013
orr, gregory river inside the river :  three lyric sequences 10-16-2013 07-22-2013
zepeda, gwendolyn falling in love with fellow prisoners :  poems 11-18-2013 11-18-2013
seay, allison to see the queen : 11-19-2013 11-19-2013
merwin, w s the pupil :  poems 12-11-2013 09-25-2001
collins, billy nine horses :  poems 12-11-2013 04-12-2003
krapf, norbert bloodroot :  indiana poems 12-26-2013 03-19-2009
kinnell, galway a new selected poems : 12-31-2013 01-25-2002
olds, sharon stags leap : 12-31-2013 05-08-2013
coen, ethan the drunken driver has the right of way :  poems 01-25-2014 08-31-2001
trethewey, natasha d native guard : 01-25-2014 06-11-2008
dove, rita on the bus with rosa parks :  poems 02-01-2014 06-24-1999
jeffers, robinson the selected poetry of robinson jeffers : 04-02-2014 09-12-2001
whitman, walt leaves of grass : 04-07-2014 06-03-2007
bishop, elizabeth edgar allan poe & the juke box :  uncollected poems drafts and fragments 08-06-2014 09-05-2007
kerouac, jack pomes all sizes : 08-13-2014 01-25-2002
ginsberg, allen collected poems, 1947 1997 : 08-13-2014 01-09-2008
frost, robert collected poems of robert frost : 09-02-2014 08-21-2008
herdman, john voice without restraint :  a study of bob dylans lyrics and their background 09-09-2014 07-15-1994
UNKNOWNAUTHOR poems of the american south : 09-17-2014 09-17-2014
janzen, rhoda mennonite in a little black dress :  a memoir of going home 09-27-2014 07-01-2010
bukowski, charles come on in :  new poems 10-02-2014 10-01-2007
collins, billy aimless love :  new and selected poems 10-13-2014 12-16-2013
ginsberg, allen collected poems, 1947 1997 : 11-06-2014 10-01-2007
bukowski, charles open all night :  new poems 12-17-2014 02-12-2001
eliot, t s collected poems, 1909 1962 : 01-27-2015 07-06-1994
szybist, mary incarnadine :  poems 01-27-2015 09-17-2014
collins, billy sailing alone around the room :  new and selected poems 02-07-2015 08-31-2001
UNKNOWNAUTHOR atheists in america : 02-09-2015 08-12-2014
doty, mark dog years :  a memoir 02-12-2015 05-09-2007
merwin, w s the folding cliffs :  a narrative 02-27-2015 11-19-1998

Collection Development Policy Part 1

Create a Collection Development Policy for a segment of a collection at a fictional library.

  1. Section 1: Describe Setting
    1. Redwood Public Library is a single-branch, stand-alone, city library serving a suburban population of roughly 32,000 people, outside a much larger city. The majority of the population is between 20 and 65 years old, with 30% below the age of 20 and 12% of the population over 65.  The population has been increasing in size over the last several years, with the influx of new immigrants, mostly of Hispanic and Asian descent.  As such, 5% of the population are not native speakers of English, and 11% of the population lives below the poverty line.  Median income of the community is about $50,000.00 (Greenwood Public Library, 2015).
    2. The Library’s collection consists of roughly 120,000 print books, 13,000 audio-visual materials, and as part of a consortium, 14,000 ebooks. The total collection is valued at one million dollars (Greenwood Public Library, 2015).
    3. The most significant sources of funding come from general property taxes and the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax. Additional sources, in descending order of significance include contributions from the Friends of the Library, funded through individual and corporate gifts, sponsorships, and grants; vehicle excise taxes; fines and fees; and refunds and reimbursements.  Occasionally bonds are obtained for specific purposes such as facilities maintenance.  Last year the Friends provided 100% of the Library’s programming budget (Greenwood Public Library, 2015).
    4. Redwood Public Library is a political division of the City of Redwood, governed by a Board of Trustees. The seven-member board, consisting of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three general members, is appointed by various local elected officials, including the County Commissioners, the County Council, the City Mayor, the City Council, and the Superintendents of the two local school districts (Greenwood Public Library, 2015).
    5. Responsibility for collection development ultimately falls on the Director, who may then delegate that responsibility to department heads to further delegate collection development responsibilities and tasks to librarians and other staff as appropriate. See Appendix A for organizational structure (Greenwood Public Library, 2013).
  2. Description of Subject Area
    1. The specific focus of this subset of the collection development plan will relate to the collection of works by professionally recognized, contemporary poets. In alignment with the Library’s Strategic Plan item number 5.3, to “provide education and literacy opportunities to all,” (Greenwood Public Library, 2012) curation and promotion of the poetry collection provides adults the opportunity to improve their literacy by widening their exposure to various types of literature.  Contemporary poets, in particular, offer relatable themes and varied perspectives on contemporary issues.  Professional recognition of the poet by her peers provides an educational aspect to the collection appropriate to an adult audience.
  3. Library’s Mission Statement
    1. The Redwood Public Library enriches lives and fosters personal growth through the promotion of information resources relevant to the community’s needs and ambitions (Greenwood Public Library 2012).
  4. Intellectual Freedom Policy
    1. Redwood Public Library is dedicated to protecting intellectual freedom. The Library endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.  Special consideration is given to the belief that “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view,” and that “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views” (American Library Association, 1996).  As a result, the Library asserts that it is the patron’s responsibility to choose or reject the use of library resources in alignment with personal beliefs, and to monitor the use of library resources by their own children. (Greenwood Public Library, 2013)
  5. Procedure for Requesting Reconsideration of Materials
    1. Should a patron have questions or concerns about any of the materials in the Library’s collection, the following options are available. Any staff member can address any informal questions, concerns, or complaints and will pass them along to the appropriate levels of administration.  However, a Department Head or the Director can make time for patrons to express their concerns directly.
    2. Formal complaints can be made through the submission of a Request for Reconsideration form (Appendix B). Upon receipt of the form, the Head of the relevant department will review the selection of the material in question, and respond in writing to the individual who made the request.  If the patron is not satisfied with the outcome of the review, she may address the issue with the Board of Trustees by first submitting her request in writing, and then addressing the Board at the appointed meeting date and time (Greenwood Public Library, 2013).

Appendix B

Request for Reconsideration

Please complete the following information and submit to staff to request a review of materials.




City, State, Zip:_____________________________________________________________

Are you a member of the library?______________________________________________

Title of resource you would like to have reviewed:_______________________________



What concern do you have about the resource? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Have you examined the entire resource?__________________________________________

Where might additional information be available supporting your concern? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Adapted from Hollins University (2013).


American Library Association. (1996) Library Bill of Rights Retrieved from

Greenwood Public Library. (2012). Strategic Plan 2013-2015.

Greenwood Public Library. (2013). Collection Development Policy. Unpublished internal document.

Greenwood Public Library. (2015). Annual Report 2014.

Hollins University. (2013) Materials Challenge Policy Retrieved from



Reference Observation

Professional resources offer librarians guidelines and direction in providing reference services to patrons.  When speaking directly of reference work, the Reference and User Services Association’s guidelines focus on behavioral performance.  However, Cassell and Hiremath, in their text, provide practical steps for the reference librarian to use to work through the reference interaction with the patron.  Yet, there is an argument to be made that traditional reference work, if it continues to exist in libraries at all, has taken a backseat to other forms of information service in the library.

Seeking to understand the relevance of the suggestions these resources provide, this paper will examine their application in the real-world environment by observing reference work at three library locations.  Location A is a small urban branch of a large, county-wide system serving a mostly urban population.  Location B is a somewhat larger suburban branch of the same system.  Location C is comparable to Location B is size and is situated in an adjacent suburb of the adjacent county, where the library system serves a more rural population overall.  The differences between the reference work provided at these three locations were surprising, especially between the two branches that were part of the same system.  The skills and application of guidelines varied significantly between each.

As stated, Location A served an urban population.  The building was small, old, ornate, and sat well above the street.  A very large and steep staircase provided the first obstacle to the approachability recommended by RUSA.  Upon entering the library, other physical barriers impeded interactions between patrons and the staff behind the desk.  While the semi-circular desk faced the door, the staff sat at each end, facing out into the wings of the building.  This arrangement makes a certain amount of sense, in that the staff is easily observed by patrons in the areas of the room that are in use, and could be directly approached.  However, various tables, shelves, racks, and other items were placed directly in front of the desk, directly in front of each staff member.  This forced patrons to walk around the desk to the unused portion and to approach staff from the side.  This physical arrangement left the impression that staff were busy with other things, and not available for help.

Additionally, there was a second desk behind the first, spanning the room horizontally.  It appeared to be taller than the first, elevating the staff-person who sat behind it, and removing him further from interaction with patrons.  Rather than face outward toward the rear portion of the room, he faced the center of the semi-circle, with his back toward patrons.  This staff person was dressed more professionally, as well, giving the impression that the two before him were clerks, and that he was the “real” librarian, unapproachable without first passing through his staff.

During the observation, there was no reference work performed as defined by RUSA as excluding “formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.”  Though the library was busy that morning, with patrons in every quarter of the room and nearly every computer and table in use, only seven interactions between staff and patrons occurred over the course of an hour.  Two of these were simple requests for computer passes, receiving nothing but a physical response from staff, handing the pass to patrons.  There was one request of an interlibrary loan for a book the patron had first sought out herself.  Though the woman who processed the request was friendly, she did not acknowledge the patron until the patron addressed her first.  The next patron to approach her seemed to feel the need to qualify his question.  “I’m not ready to check out.  But this isn’t BluRay.”  To which she simply replied, “It is.”

The next interaction came closest to a reference interview, as a patron sought computer help from the young man behind the desk.  When providing tech help, it can often be useful to categorize an answer, as Cassell and Hiremath recommend for reference questions.  “Sorting an answer into ready reference versus time-consuming is of immense help….Simplicity allows the librarian to think ‘within the box’ and allot relatively little time to finding an answer.”(36-37)  As he approached the computer, the staff person tried to categorize and visualize the answer by asking an open question, “Were you trying to…?” letting his question hang.  This allowed the patron state his need, and allowed the staff person to sort the need as simple or complex.  He then tested the waters, by stating, “You’re going to print.” Another interaction with the young woman required directions to the cookbooks, and included a discussion of planned library renovations and an elevator installation.  Finally, the young man helped a patron pay his fines and check out. Despite the fact that no reference work was performed during this observation, a few reference skills were observed in use with the technology question.  However, on the whole, staff at this library were not approachable and did not express interest while interacting with patrons.

Location B was part of the same system as Location A, but one would not be able to tell.  The library was full and patrons were engaged in their activities.  The staff at the reference desk were older than at Location A and behaved more professionally. They had no problem interrupting their other work to engage with patrons.  When one librarian was busy with a patron, she directed waiting patrons to her coworker. Thirteen interactions occurred throughout this hour-long observation.  Even the simple requests for passes and directional questions were given engaged responses including additional information.  Processes and procedures were explained at length, including several open and closed questions intended to gauge how much information the patron needed to know, beyond what the patron had indicated a desire to know.  These librarians were very approachable, and visible.  They expressed interest in patrons’ needs, and utilized the tools at their disposal to find quick and easy answers to questions such as, “What time does the game start?” (“Today, 1:00 pm, CBS.”)  The only lack of professionalism observed was a lengthy conversation between the two librarians about staffing and management issues at the location and within the library system.  However, as far as patron interaction is concerned, these librarians seemed to take professional recommendations to heart.

Location C was similar to B in many ways, in terms of size and patron population served, and the observation occurred immediately after the one at B.  However, this library was nearly empty.  A steady stream of patrons entered and exited the library, doing most of their business at the circulation desk, asking policy questions, returning books, placing holds, and requesting interlibrary loans.

The information desk sat apart from the circulation desk, in the stacks and near the computers, rather than in front of the door.  Again, no reference or reader’s advisory questions were asked.  Despite sitting directly behind the librarian at the information desk, she spoke so low that her remarks could not be heard.  Two patrons asked for computer assistance.  In the first instance, the patron went on at the length about the issues he was having and what he was trying to do.  During this, the librarian did little more than listen and nod.  She did eventually walk with him to the computer, but did not appear to question or explain as she worked through the problem.

The second request came from a teenage with a tablet.  Again, the patron explained the problem with little-to-no prompting from the librarian.  And when finished talking, the librarian took the tablet from the patron, worked out the problem on her own, then handed it back.  As she worked, her head was down over the tablet, and she did not appear to explain what she was doing.

As there was so little interaction with the reference desk during this hour, I approached and asked a reference question myself.  I wanted to know if there was any place in Indianapolis to watch Asian films.  Though the librarian’s voice was still almost inaudible, she did ask clarifying questions, at first asking, “Are you looking to rent?”  I went on to explain that I’d like to find theaters to watch them in, preferably with English subtitles.  She searched the computer, and though she was unable to find any resources for sure, she was able to refer me to theaters that might be likely to offer the content I was seeking.  She seemed interested in my question, and I walked away more than satisfied with the information I was provided.  Although, I did wish she talked me through her search as she did it, or was able to turn her monitor around so that I could see the results she was seeing.

Although the application of professional guidelines and skillsets varied from location to location, the one thing that seemed to be consistently missing from the interactions was actual reference questions.  Brian Kenny argues that patrons have other needs from libraries and that librarians should just let go of reference as a defining role.  “Clinging to an outdated reference mission has left many libraries struggling to meet these new expectations.”  However, many of the guidelines and skills used for answering reference questions can be applied as well to other roles within the library.  Librarians should be approachable, appear interested and engaged, and listen to patrons needs, no matter what those needs are, whether directing someone to the men’s room or assisting with specialized research.

This fact was most demonstrated by the librarians at location B, where every inquiry was treated with equal importance.  These librarians weren’t simply answering questions, applying guidelines, or fulfilling roles.  They interacted with each patron in a manner which suggested they were there to meet the patron’s needs, whatever those needs might be.  That is the sort of service I hope to provide and skillset I hope to employ when interacting with patrons throughout my career.

Though guidelines and practical advice can help new librarians work through reference interactions, patron needs must always come first.  And when approaching patrons with that mindset, meeting those guidelines, applying that skillset is almost a given.  Despite the lack of actual reference requests in everyday situations, those same skills can be applied across various roles.


Works Cited

Cassell, Kay Ann. Hiremath, Uma. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century. New York:Neal-Schuman P, 2011. Print.

Kenney, Brian. “Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library.” Publisher’s Weekly. 11 Sept. 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.

RUSA. “Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers.” ALA 28 May 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2015