Presenting Empathy at Annual

I had a wonderful time presenting my Conversation Starter, “You Have My Empathy: What Does Empathy Look Like in the Library?” during Annual. I’m slowly becoming more confident at presenting. I spilt up my session into half overview in presentation … Continue reading

I Learned Things This Year

I have now officially completed my first year of doctoral work. Hooray! I am currently staring into the wide abyss of my second year.  This is as good as any time to pause and reflect on all the successes, missteps, and surprises I encountered during my first year. Entering my second year, I feel slightly more confident in my research, public speaking, and general intellectual capabilities. Note the slightly. Perfectionism is a difficult obstacle to overcome.


  • I made it through one year’s worth of coursework. This is both a success and surprise!
  • My writing skills are improving, especially after completing the doctoral seminar on Research Methods. The massive amount of writing that this course required will either make or break your writing confidence. It seemed that way for me anyway.
  • I completed my first entirely-written-with-publication-in-mind article as of last Tuesday! I can’t wait to submit it for publication in the very near future (like next month). My future publication track is moving along very smoothly. Two more written articles that need some minor edits, then ready for submission.
  • I’m improving my public speaking abilities. This is another success and surprise! It wasn’t until the beginning of the summer semester that I felt comfortable enough to join in on group discussions and speak up during class. Apparently, it takes 13 years of K-12, 4 years of undergrad, 2 years of grad school, and 1 year of doctoral work for me to speak in class willingly.
  • I have darn good time management skills. The importance of this skill was made very clear to me during Fall semester when the work was so overwhelming. The only way I survived was by carefully designing a work plan for every assignment, TA duty, and meeting.


  • I am not as tech savvy as I thought. After troubleshooting computer problems and other tech issues for six years in the public library, I thought I could do techie stuff. I was wrong. After talking with other doc students about computery stuff (See. That word doesn’t sound very tech savvy), I found out that these people know so much more than I do about the nitty-gritty technical world. They can speak a language that I am very confused by.
  • I need to learn that I am only one person and I can only do so much. Stress management is an area in which I could use additional tutoring or hand holding.
  • Much like stress management, assertiveness is a skill that I lack. At my former workplace, it’s necessary to be assertive, even aggressive. This is especially true when you’re dealing with funding, politics, or public support. It’s also true in academia. I’m not a naturally assertive person. I envy those who are. So this will be my next project: Be more assertive!
  • Initially, I used the word ‘failures’ instead of ‘missteps’ for this section. Probably a misstep in its own way. Obligatory quote on failure: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett


  • Apparently, I’m good at SPSS and statistics. Excelling in this area is more than a surprise to me. Frankly, it is astonishing. I was quite pleased when I walked out with a good grade. There may have been a happy dance involved…..
  • I love to write! I’ve never considered myself a “writer”. I’ve always been a compulsive reader, but writing was never something I’ve had much of an interest in pursuing.  After everything I slaved over this year, I’m looking forward to slaving over some more. (When I stack all my research papers up together, it forms an impressive pile!)
  • I’m surrounded by a group of very supportive and motivating doc students, colleagues, and committee members.  I’m not sure if this is the norm in other doctoral programs, but I’m very grateful that I have it.

What successes, missteps, and/or surprises did you experience last academic year (or normal world year)?

What does the next academic year look like for you?

lots of academic words

lots of academic words

The Information Researcher and The Librarian

While I was at ALA earlier this week, these questions appeared in my mind frequently whenever I tried to explain my research to librarians: How useful do practitioners see the work of information researchers? What impact do they perceive scholarly research as having on everyday librarianship? Are information researchers even thought of as librarians struggle with budget cuts, library closures, and other demands on their resources and time? I’m a relatively new academic, and I come from a public library background. I find myself trying to answer these questions drawing from my experiences on both sides: academia and library.

I hear myself saying this often (at least inside my head) that there isn’t enough scholarly research into public libraries. When I started the doctoral program I wanted to have more of a focus on public libraries, but I ran into a wall when trying to find literature I could work with. Mainly what I’ve found have been manuals, how-to guides, and marketing articles on library services, assessment, and design. I’m not entirely sure why this is so. From what I’ve heard (or made up/misheard/misunderstood), it’s difficult to find funding for research that isn’t focused on information systems, information management, knowledge management, and the like. The STEM fields seem to be getting the bulk of the research funding. More quantitative, less qualitative. I have leanings towards qualitative research so…..An example, I’m fascinated by library history research, but I wonder how difficult it would be to find a faculty position as a library historian and how worthwhile would others see my work. Is this why public library research is so difficult to find? Because funding and few potential faculty jobs discourage LIS researchers?

But would librarians see the value of research with the public library as the focus? Would professional librarians, who have been educated in LIS literature, relate what they are doing in their libraries to data-driven library research? To be honest, when I worked as a public librarian the concept of “scholarly literature” on information theory, information behavior, information access, and librarianship rarely crossed mind. Yet, if public libraries want to be taken seriously and seen as more than just book loaners by the public, libraries should engage in more research partnerships with iSchool or L-Schools. Am I on the right track here, completely clueless, or overly idealistic?

Random picture of Chicago

Random picture of Chicago. Because why not.

Some research ramblings…

A few things I’ve been I’m about as I work through all these readings for the lit review. These may seem a bit random:

  • Several of the articles I’ve read point out the bully/victim phenomenon that is a part of cyberbullying, but so unlike traditional bullying. Bully/victims are those individuals who have both experienced being bullied and being a bully. If my current interest to develop resources public librarians can use to support victims of cyberbullying, it seems that librarians would need resources for bully/victims. Cyberbullying seems like such a give and take, very reciprocal, while traditional bullying has (for the most part) a clear victim and a clear bully. But this bully/victim concept is part of the nature of social networking sites. Anonymity gives even the shyest, most non-violent users an open field in which to express themselves (for good or bad). On social networking sites it’s all too easy to strike out at someone who you feel has struck you first.
  • After reading the recently released Pew Research Center’s report, “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy” I find it curious that while teens commented on all the drama and parental inference occurring on Facebook, they are not abandoning the site. It seems like a site that teens feel required to use even though they have so many issues with it. Obviously, they are reaching out to other social networking sites to satisfy whatever need they have that Facebook is not fulfilling (creative, emotional, ?).
  • I recently read a paper by Marwick and boyd (2011) The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying, which has made me very curious about drama and how it relates to cyberbullying. The author described teens identifying certain behaviors as drama. Behaviors that adults would quickly label as bullying. Drama seems so ambiguous a label. Like cyberbullying, it seem hard to find a definition that will suit everyone. I look forward to read more about drama in general and how it relates to cyberbullying.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated! (Not that anyone is following this blog at the moment but there’s hope for the future!)

This is the beginning….

In an effort to create more of a online presence for myself, I have started this blog. I’ve never thought much about “branding” myself, but it is seems necessary to make yourself as marketable as possible. At the moment I am doing quite a bit of reading for my research collaboration with Dr. Marcia Mardis. Cyberbullying is a research area which needs more attention from the library and information studies world. One interesting aspect of cyberbullying and traditional bullying is the lack of agreed upon definition for both. It seems a bit like the unsolvable definition of ‘information’ within the LIS profession. It is my intention that my research in this area will be of use to school media specialist and public librarians serving young adults, particularly those who are victims of cyberbullying. I am aiming for producing research that is relevant to both the academic and professional librarian worlds.