March 7, 2014

30 Minutes for 30 Days

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 2:46 pm by melissaautumn

I’m working on two books at the moment, neither of which is moving very fast. My usual mode of writing has been to set aside a few substantial chunks of time each week, allowing me to really dig into what I’m doing. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been working as well as it did in the past, in part because of the difficulty of finding those chunks of time in my schedule.

Inspired by my writing partner (She Who Keeps Me On Track), I’m going to try the “30 minutes a day” approach. The goal isn’t to produce great work everyday, but to build the habit of writing regularly. As part of that, I realized how much I enjoy writing for “fun.” I occasionally write Ares the Beta Fish, but it is self-limiting since I need to borrow the neighbor’s beta fish to blog on his behalf. I just took over Loki the Frog and in addition to being fun, it is pushing me to write consistently and to craft my actual words and sentences carefully. As part of writing 30 minutes a day, I’d like to use that blog and this one as warm-up exercises.

The 30 days seems like an appropriate amount of time to commit to building a new habit. It also coincides nicely with my physical therapist suggesting I try anti-inflammatories for 30 days to combat a worsening frozen shoulder. So, there you go – I’ll be popping the pills and gluing myself to the computer for the next month. Let’s hope that by this time in April, I’ll have at least a partial book, if not a pain-free shoulder.



May 12, 2011

Volunteer for a GSLIS Committee

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:56 pm by melissaautumn

Note: This post is for my Illinois readers.

If you’ve been following the GSLIS general forums for the last few weeks, you’ll know that the School had a town hall on April 20th. One of the issues raised was that the School needs to do a better job of creating an inclusive environment for students of color. As a follow-up, the School had moderator-led conversations and town halls on May 5th and 9th; as a result of those meetings, the School has formed multiple committees to work on areas such as curriculum, cultural competency, faculty recruitment, and support for students.

The committees are looking for volunteers – including students and alums! – to help with this work. I strongly urge you to consider volunteering. This is important work – you have an opportunity to improve the culture and curriculum of the School for future students. Although the conversation is currently focused on race, I also see an opportunity to increase awareness of other forms of diversity within our profession and our patrons – socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, etc.

In addition to making your voice heard, serving on a committee could be great professional experience. Some of the committees are dealing with issues of curriculum and pedagogy – if you are interested in instruction, this is a chance to get experience with curricular and pedagogical change. For those of you going into academic librarianship, this is a chance to get experience serving on a committee (you can put it on your vita! you can talk about it when you interview! you can learn important skills for effective committee service!).

If you have questions, I’d be happy to talk to you. If you’d like more information on the committees, please see the Town Hall forum available on the main LEEP Moodle page.

May 10, 2011

Take Me to the Mall

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:54 pm by melissaautumn

We have a really lovely outdoor, three story mall near my home. The first two floors are primarily restaurants and shops, along with a skating rink, and part of the third floor is a large movie theater. There’s also a large fitness center that takes up two floors at one end of the mall; a preschool, again at one end; and numerous offices for doctors, a nail place, and an investment firm, primarily on the third floor and at the ends of the mall (there are some second and third floor spaces that are near the parking structure and don’t open directly onto the “mall” space).

At first it seemed like the diversity of tenants was a reflection that a large mall couldn’t find enough shops to rent space, but I’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of having so much in one area, as well as how one set of tenants can drive traffic to another set of tenants. Our kids’ dentist moved in and now we’ll stop in a shop to run an errand or grab a snack after appointments (when our son got a tooth filled, I was able to go straight to the toy shop as a reward). Our kids went to preschool there for two years and I loved the convenience of being able to run an errand or grab dinner before I picked up the kids – in fact, the ease of not having to make an extra stop encouraged me to try new restaurants and stores that I otherwise would have ignored.

All of which is to say, I would love it if the library were there, too. Not only would it be convenient for me, it would be good for both the library and our local businesses. On some days, a planned trip to the library would easily result in an unplanned stop for ice cream or coffee, while other days running errands would result in a stop at the library. Now granted, I’m a regular library user already, but I do wonder about our non-users – could location be part of attracting non-users? And if so, where do we need to be in our communities?

September 29, 2010

ACRL e-Learning Scholarships

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:34 pm by melissaautumn

More scholarships available! These scholarships cover registration in an ACRL e-Learning webcast.

August 25, 2010

LA area internship

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:56 pm by melissaautumn

Former students – if you have taken reference, live in the LA area and are interested in a fall internship at an academic library, email me. A former colleague suddenly has an opening. It is at a great school and you’d learn a lot.

April 26, 2010

Call for Proposals – Environments for Student Growth and Development

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:06 pm by melissaautumn


Environments for Student Growth and Development: Libraries and Student Affairs in Collaboration

Over the past few years, awareness of the importance of outside-of-class learning has continued to increase, as well as concern for whole student development and integrative learning opportunities. The emergence of learning commons and other collaborative ventures demonstrates the power of partnering to address student learning and development.

Partnerships between libraries and academic departments or academic services are often treated in the literature. This book fills a gap by exploring how librarians and student affairs professionals can expand their reach through collaborative programming and other joint efforts. The book will explore the opportunities to create stronger campus environments for student growth and development inherent library and student affairs collaborations.

This book will include two parts.  The first part will be a critical introduction and three chapters providing an overview of the student affairs/library collaboration. The second half will be devoted to case studies of successful collaborations. We seek submissions from writing partners/teams for the second half of the book. Writing partners/teams will be composed of at least one student affairs professional and at least one librarian. All authors should be able to speak equally and with experience about their collaboration. We hope that the chapters in this book will demonstrate the potential for shared vision that can be used to further the value inherent in such collaborative approaches. Our goal is a book with appeal to student affairs professionals and librarians.

Proposals for this book should examine both the practical and theoretical aspects of the collaboration.  These include (but are not limited to)

* student development philosophies and their role
* creation and shaping of best practices through collaboration
* assessment models that have emerged in the collaboration
* involvement of students as program leaders
* establishing boundaries and sharing responsibilities
* the theoretical and historical underpinnings for the collaboration
* campus politics and strategic positioning for collaboration
* staffing models
* power relationships
* evidence of effectiveness and specific program outcomes

If you are interested in contributing to this book, please send your proposal to the editors, Melissa Wong ( and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe  (, by June 1, 2010.

Your proposal should include

* the names of the writing partners and their titles
* the name of your institution with a brief description (e.g., size, public, population, comprehensive)
* a brief (250 words or less) description of your collaboration.

We will notify you of the status of your proposal before July 1, 2010. The deadline for completed submissions is October 1, 2010.

About the Editors

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe is coordinator for information literacy services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and associate professor for library administration. She is also an adjunct instructor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois and a member of the Immersion Program Faculty of the Institute for Information Literacy. Lisa is the current Vice-President/President-Elect of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).  Lisa is widely published and her most recent publication is “The Future of Information Literacy” in The Information Literacy Instruction Handbook (ACRL, 2008).

Melissa Wong is a library consultant and adjunct faculty member in the library and information sciences schools at San Jose State University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Melissa formerly served as Library Director at Marymount College, California, a private, liberal arts college in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She is the author of “Encyclopedias” in the forthcoming Reference and information services: An introduction, edited by Bopp and Smith.

Lisa and Melissa co-developed and co-teach a course entitled “Higher Education and Information Professionals” for library and information science program the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and are co-developing an ACRL e-learning web course on librarians collaborating with student affairs professionals.

September 27, 2009

Tips for Success in Distance Education

Posted in School Success, Uncategorized at 9:03 pm by melissaautumn

Last fall I had a group of new students struggling to adjust to the unique demands of online education. Since fall is here again and I have a lot of new students, I thought I’d post some basic tips for success.

The most important thing is to have self-discipline. Since you aren’t “going” to class every week, it may feel like nobody will know if you don’t keep up and it becomes very tempting to fall behind. But, if you fall behind, you hurt your own learning and cause yourself even more stress. You must have the discipline to keep yourself on track.

  • Set a schedule for schoolwork and stick to it. Most students are balancing multiple responsibilities, including work, family and school. You need to be sure school doesn’t become your last priority and that you are realistic about setting aside the time needed to do well in your studies. In addition, setting a predictable schedule can help you manage the expectations of your family. For example, I try not to work on Saturdays, which is a day to rest, run errands and spend time with family. But, I do work much of Sunday, something my family knows to expect.
  • Devote two or three big chunks of time every week for concentrated study – reading, working on assignments, etc.
  • Put all your school-related due dates on your main calendar – you want all your important dates in one place. Having assignment due dates on your calendar will also keep you from making mistakes like volunteering to chaperone a school event the day before a big paper is due.
  • I find it helpful to print syllabi and schedules and check things off as I get them done – it is an easy way to keep myself organized and not miss anything, plus I have a visible reminder of what I am accomplishing. A former student created a weekly “to do” list of readings and assignments, including an item for mandatory forum participation – this ensured she kept up with participation, since she had to check it off each week after she posted a contribution.

 I invite those of you who are more seasoned distance education students to share your ideas as well. Just as someone helped you, this is your chance to help someone else!

August 7, 2009

Essential Technology Skills

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:08 pm by melissaautumn

A student post about the desire to learn more technology while in library school has gotten me thinking about how I foster technology skills in my own courses.

So, I’m throwing the following questions out for comment:

  • Current students – what skills would you like to learn while in library school?
  • Recent grads and experienced professionals – what skills do you think grads need to have? what skills could they develop to make themselves more competitive on the job market?

Thanks for your ideas!

April 14, 2009

Request for Agenda Items

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:41 am by melissaautumn

It seems only sensible to use the first post on my new blog to explain the purpose of the blog (I feel compelled to be orderly and logical in all things, which is probably why I became a librarian).

I am an adjunct faculty member in two library schools (UIUC and SJSU for the curious). My work combines two things I love – teaching and librarianship. It also gives me the opportunity to work with graduate students in LIS, which is absolutely the best job I can imagine having. My students inspire me everyday – their love of libraries; their enthusiasm for delivering high quality services that connect people and information; their passion for information literacy, new technologies, books, intellectual freedom and a multitude of other things – they are the future of my profession and it is in good hands.

In addition to covering the course content I am expected to teach, I enjoy talking to students about the practical aspects of being a librarian – what journals to read, what to expect on an interview, how to find a mentor, and so on. I have these conversations with current students, sometimes as a planned course topic, other times as a result of a student’s forum post or a course discussion that veers into unexpected territory. I also receive email from former students seeking advice on the same topics (for the record, I love hearing from former students, so drop a note and tell me what you’ve been doing). Often times, my replies to these conversations, forum posts and emails duplicate ones from another course or a previous semester.

Eight years into teaching LIS, I had the “a-ha” moment that this could be blog-worthy, especially since a blog would get me outside the confines of any one school’s system or a single course space and into the public sphere where I can talk to all my students at once. I hope my current and former students will visit this blog on an ongoing basis and join me in conversations about success in library school and the profession. At the very least, this will be a place to archive thoughts and resources on these topics for easier access by future students. 

I have some thoughts about future posts, but I’m also interested in hearing from you, my current, past and future students. Class is over, whether for the day or the semester, and now you can set the agenda for our discussions – what would you like to talk about?