Mary P. Key Diversity Residents

Author: Juleah Swanson (page 1 of 2)

Digital Research Services Librarian for the Sciences Mary P Key Diversity Resident Position

We are excited to announce that the Ohio State University Libraries is now recruiting for its next Mary P Key (MPK) Diversity Resident in the area of Digital Research Services Librarian for the Sciences.

This two-year residency program is designed to provide mentorship and support to an individual transitioning into a career in research librarianship and hands-on exposure to the operations in the University Libraries.

What is unique about this residency position is that the resident will engage with and connect the Libraries’ growing digital scholarship services to faculty and students, provide instruction that addresses scientific information literacy in the digital age, and partner with scientists to advance information management across the research life-cycle.

The formal job posting can be found here, but we thought we would share some additional insight about the Libraries and the MPK Diversity Residency from a few of us at OSU.

What was valuable to you during the Mary P Key Diversity Residency?

“I found the my residency as an Electronic Resources and Access Librarian to be an invaluable experience, but if I had to select only one thing that was most valuable it was the supportive colleagues who were truly interested in making the experience a development opportunity with the right mix of challenge and support.”

-Juleah Swanson, Acquisitions Librarian for Electronic Resources and former MPK Diversity Resident 2011-2012.

What is it exciting about OSU Libraries Research Services?

“In the Libraries we’re working with faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students to partner on projects throughout the research lifecycle. Since information is rapidly changing, particularly in the sciences, the Libraries are continually adjusting to meet evolving researcher needs.  One way we’re preparing revolves around supporting emerging research requests of data management and digital scholarship. Another exciting opportunity is that we’re developing a Research Commons, which will open in Summer 2015, and be focused around technology and expertise-enabled services focused on the research enterprise at Ohio State.”

-Meris Mandernach, Head of Research Services

We are thrilled about this new residency and hope you consider applying for this position or share with those who may be interested. The full job description can be found at the URL below. Preference will be given to applications received by July 11, 2014.

Mary P. Key Diversity Resident
Digital Research Services Librarian for the Sciences

Minnesota Institute Takeaways: Good Stress, Bad Stress. Eustress, Distress

Did you know there’s such thing as “good stress”? I didn’t either. Stress, apparently, comes in two forms: distress, what we most closely associate with the term “stress,” and eustress, or good stress.

At the Minnesota Institute, to help us understand eustress, we were asked to think about a time when we created something and then to consider the following questions:

  • Was it hard work?
  • Were you energized?

Creating something, whether it’s building a shed at your house or developing a new library program, is never easy. Work is work and deadlines must be met and things must get done. Yet, what makes the deadlines, the hard work, the hours of effort poured into creating something, not only tolerable, but even energizing? When one is in the process of creating, there is a compelling, desired end goal. The creator has a vision and all efforts are channeled toward that vision. Eustress is all that creative energy driving the creator along, in spite of the hard work.

Distress, on the other hand, is draining, emotionally and if sustained long enough, physically. And unlike eustress, which manifests when a person has a vision, distress is brought on in absence of a vision. If there is no compelling place to go, no vision of the future, then the absence of a vision breeds fear and distress.

As librarians, shouldn’t our work always be creating something, even if it’s conceptual? Creating better services, creating better systems, creating stronger libraries?

Work will require effort, it will be challenging, but if we are feeling emotionally and physically drained, symptoms of distress, then perhaps the answer isn’t necessarily to work “harder” or longer, but instead to step back, and refocus on the vision, the compelling, desired end goal in our work.


Live Work Create

This captures the intent of my post much more succinctly.

Minnesota Institute Takeaways: Emotional Intelligence Not just touchy-feely stuff

If you think about the qualities of a person whom you’ve interacted with and admire as a leader, does the person seem to have extra-sensory perceptions about everything? Do they know the right thing to say at the right moment? Do they seem to understand you when you bring forward a problem or issue? Do they inspire you to do better, to take on a challenge, because somehow, things are going to be a-okay no matter what happens?

It’s not that this person knows everything (no one does, not even us librarians), but instead it’s the result of a finely tuned capacity to recognize one’s own emotions and the emotions of others and to respond productively to these emotions, otherwise known as Emotional Intelligence.

The ability to work effectively with others through an understanding of emotions may sound like touchy-feely, Kumbaya type of stuff, but how we recognize, react and manage our own emotions is fundamentally rooted in brain science. In very, very rudimentary terms, when we’re in a situation where the part of the brain, the amygdala, triggers “fight-or-flight” cocktail of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, blood rushes away from our brain leaving our capacity to think, process and essentially respond reasonably is severely limited.

Emotional Intelligence is, in part, the ability to pause, slow down, and restore blood flow to the brain. It’s something that, with practice, can be trained in all of us. It’s the cool as a cucumber mentality even in the hottest of moments.

Cool as a Cucumber
by Vera Kratochvil retrieved from

Though Emotional Intelligence stems from research on leaders and leadership, the components of Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, are valuable to anyone who wants to be more effective in their professional and personal lives.

I think what’s great about Emotional Intelligence is that it’s something we can change, we can improve upon throughout our lives.

If you’re interested in learning more about Emotional Intelligence, I recommend starting with the following classic article:

Goleman, D. (1998). What Makes a Leader?. Harvard Business Review, 76(6), 93-102.

New Series: Takeaways from the Minnesota Institute

Washington Avenue Bridge at the University of Minnesota

Recently, I had the invaluable opportunity to participate in the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups (Minnesota Institute). This program, hosted by the University of Minnesota every two years, provides participants the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in grant writing, academic research, and most notably leadership training.

During the week-long Institute, I came across many insights, “aha moments” and thought provoking ideas that I kept thinking colleagues back at Ohio State would also find fascinating.

Because there is too much to share in just one post, I am breaking up the takeaways in a series of posts.

Over the next few weeks I will cover the following topics from the Minnesota Institute that I found personally and professionally valuable:

-Emotional Intelligence

-Good Stress/Bad Stress, Eustress/Distress


-Value of a Personal Network

-Crafting a Personal Vision

I hope you too will find a takeaway that is personally or professionally meaningful. As always, feel free to share your own experiences, “aha moments,” or insights with these topics in the comments.

Happy reading!

Innovation, Diversity and Technical services

In May, I had the opportunity to attend the Ohio Valley Group of Technical Service Librarian conference. In this intimate and localized environment, though I learned useful information about acquisitions and technical services, what I came away with that has resonated with me ever since was a greater understanding of what it means, in a long-term context, to be a diversity resident for Ohio State University Libraries, specifically in acquisitions and technical services.

Although I full acknowledge this is a non-scientific and only anecdotal perspective, I felt a sense of “sameness” permeate through the conference. Librarians of the same field, of the same geographic area (both a given for the conference), roughly the same generation, of the same gender and of the same race. To my surprise I actually felt as though there were more male librarians attending the conference than librarians of color. For technical services, addressing or not addressing this sense of “sameness” could have a long-term impact on the field.

Talking about diversity in the field of technical services is something that is important from a very pragmatic perspective. Changes in the information world whether it be modes of publication or technology used, or even how our users consume information all directly impact technical services work. Change, in any environment, doesn’t just require adaptation. Long-term success in changing environments also requires innovation.

About a year ago, I remember being interested in and reading articles about diversity and innovation in the workplace. Fostering a culture of diversity and diverse thought is said to influence innovation in teams.

For the Ohio State University Libraries, with a longstanding history of recruiting for diversity residents into technical services positions, this, I believe, has and will continue to drive innovation in the field of technical services. Perhaps we don’t see it in our every day work, but I would argue that where Ohio State University Libraries are today, as a leader in technical services (at least in my biased perspective), is a reflection of the culture of diversity and diverse thought that has been growing here over the years.

Attending this conference, was eye-opening, but in a completely different way than expected and made me appreciate the support OSUL has given myself and former residents who have entered into the field of technical services.

Electronic Resources and Libraries Recap

For me, part of the new experience of being an academic librarian is the encouragement to participate in conferences and engage with colleagues from other academic institutions. This past April, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and present at my first national library conference as a librarian, the Electronic Resource and Libraries (ER&L) Conference in Austin, Texas.

ER&L is a small conference with about 400 attendees. To me, it was evident that this intimate and focused conference, allowed for those of us who work with electronic resources (everything from ejournals, databases, ebooks, discovery tools, Electronic Resource Management systems, and even those engaged in library publishing ventures), being in the same space and engaging with others who do the exact same thing is extremely valuable.

I took a great deal out of the conference, both in terms of the learning experience of working on a presentation with librarians from other institutions, as well as how to engage in a conference as a participant. Though I saw numerous, fascinating presentations here are a few highlights:

All you can ERMS: Laying out the Buffet of eResource Management Systems

A two-session panel discussion with librarians from different institutions on how they implement and utilize their different ERMs. ERMs covered included Innovative (what we have at OSU), CORAL (open source), Worldshare (OCLC), 360 Resource Manager (Serials Solutions), and Verde (Ex Libris).

Take-away: Each ERM offers a slight different solution to the user and selection of an ERM is highly depend on the needs of each institution, however if all the functionality of all the different vendors’ ERMs could be rolled into one product, that would be awesome. That day will come, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The Textbook Affordability Crisis and the Academic Library: Exploring Alternatives (Monica Metz-Wiseman, University of South Florida)

A compelling argument correlating the rising cost of textbooks, total cost of a college education, and student loan debt, and a call to librarians to participate and support the campus discussion on textbook affordability.

Take-away: The total cost of a college education and discussion of student-load debt are issues that are not going to go away. Campuses must find creative solutions to help students with the lowering the total cost of a college education. Librarians have specialized knowledge on the copyright, the economics of information and publishing industry and may be able to offer valuable insight or creative solutions in campus discussions on textbook affordability

Ohio Librarian Get-together:

Although this was not a presentation, prior to the conference two librarians from Denison organized an evening social for those of us in attendance from Ohio. Buckeyes were served and it was a great opportunity to talk to other electronic resource librarians on what they are doing with statistics, ERMs, OLinks and other specific issues or questions I run across all the time.

Take-away: Whether it’s because of OhioLINK or not, there’s a lot of good camaraderie among Ohio librarians who are more than willing to share their experiences and help each other out with issues that may be experienced across academic institutions.

There were so many other fascinating presentations that I couldn’t cover here, but I have notes and powerpoint slides from many of them, so feel free to send me an e-mail if you’re interest in a specific presentation.

Upcoming Event: February 21st Annual Diversity Lecture

The Ohio State University Libraries’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee has announced this year’s Annual Diversity Lecture:

“By Any Means Necessary:” Malcolm X in Life, Death, and Historical Memory


Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of African-American History

The Ohio State University History Department

 Tuesday, February 21, 2012

3:30PM Thompson Library, 11th Floor

Forty years after the death of Malcolm X, his influence is still motivating and influencing individuals all around the world in their struggles for respect and human rights. In this lecture, History Professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries sheds some light on the life of Al-Hajj Malik Al-Shabbaz, better known as Malcolm X. His talk will include a discussion of the controversy generated by Professor Manning Marable’s book Malcolm X: A life of Reinvention and will feature audios of some of Malcolm’s most important speeches.

Check out the book here!

2012 Annual Diversity Lecture Flyer

A glimpse into our patrons’ perspectives–courtesy the UWeekly

UWeekly Cover from January 18, 2012

In spite of its presence everywhere on campus, out of the weekly newspapers in Columbus, I do not typically read the UWeekly (but this may change). I usually glance at the cover article and continue on my way thinking ok, I’m not the target audience, but last week’s cover article made me stop, pick it up from a table in the Tech Center staff lounge and read this one article in detail—twice. The eBook Revolution: When will it come to college campuses?

In Acquisitions, we talk about eBooks a LOT. What the publishers are doing (or not doing) with eBook publication, the user experience (or lack thereof) at platforms that provide eBooks, the discovery layer for eBooks in our collection, and the general incorporation of eBooks in academic libraries.

So, what do you mean “when” will eBooks arrive on college campuses? They are already here! Tens maybe hundreds of thousands of them in our collection.

There are many statements in the UWeekly article, that I would challenge, support with better data, or elaborate on, however, after finishing the article a second time, I realized none of that is important for us as a library. This is an article written by and includes interviews from likely OSU library patrons (mostly undergraduates). Regardless of your opinion on eBooks or on the data within this article, this article provides valuable insight into how some of our users view the notion of eBooks, the confusion and unfamiliarity that exists over e-Readers, tablets, and even eBooks versus eTextbooks (two different animals), and the one factor that is driving many people or organization either into or away from eBooks—money.

So, who else read this article? What does it mean for us? What insights does this bring to your work in the library? And what about the cost of e-Readers and tablets? Will there ever be a point where an e-Reader or tablet replaces the need to buy a laptop?

An Interview with Beth Black, Systems Librarian & Head of the Web Implementation Team

Recently, we visited Beth Black and the Web Implementation Team in the basement of SEL. We learned about the extensive work Beth Black, her team, and numerous other stakeholders at OSUL took on to redesign the library website from the ground up. We even took a trip on the Internet Archive WaybackMachine to see the former site.


Remember this?

For the blog readers out there we asked Beth Black two questions:

Question #1: If you had a magic wand that could resolve one issue in the next thirty minutes, what would it be?

[Working with the library website] involves so many diverse stakeholders. A truly magic wand moment would be to bring everyone together in one room and have a thoughtful conversation–a conversation with 200 or even 1,000 people, but in a way that is like having a conversation with 10.

Question #2: What’s the next best thing in web technology that will take America by storm?

“Flexible Design” or “Progressive Enhancement the ability to create content that will flexibly adjust to all devices. Creating content once that will work on all types and sizes of devices, smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, etc.

Thanks again to Beth Black for sitting down with us and sharing a few thoughts for the readers.

An Interview with Beth Warner, AD for Information Technology

As part of our residency, Brian and I have had the opportunity to meet with various functions, departments, and Associate Directors at OSUL in order to gain a greater understanding of the libraries as a whole.

This week, we sat down with Beth Warner, Associate Director for Information Technology. Under Warner’s direction, the Information Technology organization, though relatively small in staff size, has a large impact on the OSUL community through its support of the library website, content management system, catalog/ILS, and our intranet, in addition to a long list of special projects and collaborations.

During our meeting we asked Beth one question for the blog readers out there:

Question: If you had a magic wand that could resolve one issue in the next thirty minutes, what would it be?

Answer: “Our digital asset management strategy, specifically how do we manage digital asset storage. Do we use on-site storage, or do we use a cloud storage solution? How many copies do we retain? Do we have an archival copy and a working copy?

Digital asset management is not strictly an IT issue, it is a library issue. Digital assets are part of our collection, same as any book, so how do we manage our assets long term? By taking the same care and approach with our digital collections as we do with our physical collections.”

Thanks Beth for supporting our first blog interview and we hope to provide more interviews in the future.

Is there someone you would like us to interview? Is there a question you would like us to ask? Please feel free to write suggestions in the comments below!

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