Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 2017

This month, your BRCC Librarians have identified two new tools that you can use to find information related to your course. Both of these resources could be used to enhance your teaching and present your course material in a new and refreshed perspective. Finally, this month also includes a reminder about the upcoming book sale and a call to volunteer.

 What Works Clearinghouse is a new resource identified by your BRCC librarians. We have tested and played with this website and found some pretty useful information. It is particularly suited for research in the teaching/education related areas. 

The advantage of What Works Clearing House is that existing research is reviewed on topics like programs, products, and related policies within education. The stated goal of this clearinghouse is to make information available to educators in order to effectively make evidence-based decisions.   

Why not take a look and see what you can find?

 What Works Clearing House:


A recent article on Inside Higher Ed described a new feature available through JSTOR. The article by Barbara Fister is included below. 

By Barbara Fister

A quick note: I've been working with an intern to track some research down, but the keywords are slushy and the controlled vocabulary in the databases we're using just hasn't been cutting it. Mostly, we've been able to make some progress by seeing who is citing the articles that seem most relevant, but even that traditional citation-tracing method isn't producing quite as much as I hoped.

But then I happened on a nifty new tool today, the JSTOR Labs Text Analyzer, thanks to the kind of serendipty my Twitter community seems to promote. Basically, you upload a document (something you wrote, a text you're reading, an article PDF, a syllabus, even) and . . . something magical happens. The analyzer finds patterns in the text and looks for similar documents. The words used in the pattern appear on one side. There are sliders for how much you want to emphasize some concepts. There's a collection of keywords roughly sorted by type, and you choose which ones are most relevant to your interests or decide which ones aren't of interest. You can even add your own words.  If you want your results to emphasize current content, there's a checkbox for that. Results can be limited to the JSTOR content your library subscribes to, or you can search it all to see what you might want to obtain through interlibrary loan. It only surfaces JSTOR content, but that's a lot of good material.

Maybe it was the nature of the fuzzy, interdisciplinary topic I was trying (and failing) to capture through my usual methods, but this tool surfaced stuff I hadn't previously seen, and it was easy to scroll through and quickly browse and select the most promising results. The interface is clean and intuitive (which, I'm sorry to say, can't be said of library database interfaces generally speaking). I'll be playing with it and will see what my students think of it, but at first glance, all I can say is WOW. This is cool.

Now I need to explore the other projects that Alex Humphreys and the rest of the JSTOR Labs team have been up to. Fascinating stuff.

JSTOR Text analyzer:


If you are interested in volunteering at the book sale, e-mail Kathy Seidel at seidelk@mybrcc.edu. It’s great fun, and you get first dibs on the books!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 2017

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the idea of "Fake News." There are ways to determine the legitimacy of a news story, and librarians are here to help. Your BRCC librarians have composed a special guide that can be accessed by both students and faculty. The screen shot below illustrates what this guide looks like, and the kinds of information you can access while there.

BRCC Magnolia Library Fake News Libguide

A link to this guide can be found here.  It is important that we all understand how information, and news in particular, is transmitted. Please share this with your students.

The Baton Rouge Community College Magnolia Library will host a book talk and discussion with author and scholar, Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D, on his latest book, “A View from the Inside…Thirty-Six Years of Desegregation,” on Wed., Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Reading Room. The event is free and open to the public.
The Magnolia Library Book Talk is a 20 to 30 minute presentation, followed by a Q&A, refreshments and time for open discussion with the author.
When Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D. arrived on LSU’s campus in 1973 to begin work as a professor of sociology, desegregation was still a work in progress. The university had hired its first African-American faculty member only two years earlier. For the next 36 years, Dr. Durant was in a unique position to observe the effects of racial integration at the highest levels of education. 
“A View from the Inside…Thirty-Six Years of Desegregation” is based on documentation from the earliest days of LSU’s desegregation, and on Dr. Durant’s personal experience as a sociology professor for almost four decades. 
In the book, Dr. Durant provides a detailed account of his journey from a small racially segregated town in north Louisiana to a large predominately white university, where he became engaged in the racial desegregation movement, during his 36-year tenure as a professor. Based on personal observations, experiences, documents, and reports, the book reveals how desegregation policies, programs, and events, and the actions of African American students, faculty, and staff, shaped the course of desegregation, cultural diversity, race relations, and cultural transformation of the university.
“This book fills a gap in the history of desegregation of a historically white public university that has not, heretofore, been revealed,” said -Joyce Marie Jackson, Ph.D. - Director, African & African American Studies/Professor, Dept. of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University.

Thomas J. Durant, Jr., Ph.D. – emeritus professor of sociology at Louisiana State University – is an author, entrepreneur, scholar, speaker and a community volunteer. Preceding the aforementioned book, he has published three books: “Plantation Society and Race Relations: The Origins of Inequality,”  “Our Roots Run Deep: History of the River Road African American Museum,” and “The Charity Hospitals of Louisiana: A Story of Poverty, Politics, Public Health, and Public Interest.” He has also published numerous articles in various scholarly journals. A native of Mansfield, La., Dr. Durant now makes his home in Baton Rouge.

Your BRCC Magnolia librarians continue to provide quality services to all BRCC sites and activities. Recently Laddawan Kongchum made a visit to the Automotive Technology Center (ATC), and addressed BRCC courses at this location.

Librarian Laddawan Kongchum speaking to a class at ATC

There is a liaison librarian linked to your site. Please call the library if you are unsure about  your liaison contact (225-216-8555). We would be happy to help your courses at any of our 9 locations in any way that we can, including bibliographic instruction sessions, shuttling library resources and materials, or meeting with students one-on-one for library consultations.

In addition, the library is once again participating with the ALC for their Long Night Against Procrastination. The library will be open with extended hours, and librarians will be on hand to answer research questions or assist with finding library resources. 

Librarians Lauren McAdams, and Peter Klubek
assisting students during the Fall '16 LNAP

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 2016

Dr. Joshua Kim.
Director of Digital Learning Initiatives,


      Your BRCC Magnolia Library faculty librarians could not ask for a better spokesman. A recent article on Inside Higher Ed  by Joshua Kim, who is the Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, highlights the importance of teaching in teams and utilizing librarians in those teams. Kim emphasizes working with librarians in on-line learning, but what he discusses is applicable to all college learning models. Read the article below.

      Teaching is changing. What was once a solo pursuit has increasingly become a team sport.
I’m not talking about co-faculty taught courses. Rather, the team that I’m thinking about includes a mix of faculty and non-faculty educators. I’m here to make the case that a librarian is a key member of a course development and teaching team.

      First - before we talk about librarians - let’s talk about teaching teams. My experience with building a team of faculty and non-faculty educators to design and run courses comes out of online learning. I started my career as a faculty member, and for years I created, delivered, and evaluated my courses all on my own. Sometimes I would have teaching assistants, but mostly I was a solo operator. An educational sole proprietor. It wasn’t until I started to work on online programs - first as an online course faculty member, and then as someone managing an online program - that I was introduced to the team educational model. As a faculty member I started to work with an instructional designer. Later, I started working as an instructional designer - shifting my role from teaching the course to partnering with the professors to develop online courses that they would later teach.
Over the years I have been part of an effort to expand the membership, and the skills, of online course development and teaching teams.  We started to include media educators (visual instructional designers), assessment experts, developers (for simulations), and yes - librarians.
Recently, we have started to take the course team model developed (in my experience) for online learning to residential (and blended) courses.  This team model may not be appropriate for every course - but for larger enrollment introductory courses this team model works really well.

Let’s get back to librarians. There are 3 immediate and obvious reasons that a librarian should be included on every faculty / non-faculty educator course development and teaching team:

Reason 1 - Experience:  
      The reality is that librarians have been partnering with faculty on their teaching for decades. Long before the job of instructional designer was even created, librarians have been working with instructors on courses.  The role that academic librarians have been playing in course development and teaching is varied.  Sometimes, librarians worked with professors on developing the curriculum for the course.  Sometimes, the partnership was around assignments.  Often, a librarian worked with an instructor to design the research projects that the students would complete in the course - and would then spend time both in the classroom teaching research techniques - as well as working directly and intensively with the students in the class on their research projects. (More on this below). There are lots of ways that librarians have been partnering with faculty for decades on teaching.  The point is that librarians have a great deal of experience in this team model.  Librarians have strong relationships with individual faculty members.  Librarians enjoy the respect and esteem of their faculty colleagues.  New team members (the instructional designers, media educators, developers, etc.) can learn a great deal from the experience of our librarian colleagues in our efforts to improve the quality of our collaboration with faculty.

Reason 2 - Working Directly With Students:
      Librarians do something on course teams that instructional designers and media educators rarely do - they work directly with students. In my experience as an instructional designer I rarely had opportunities to develop deep educational relationships with the students who enrolled in the courses that I worked on. This is not true of librarians. A librarian will often work with the faculty member to design student assignments that require research - and then work intensively with the students in the class on their research projects.

      Many students report that their relationships with librarians, relationships developed in the context of doing research for their courses, is amongst the most important and formative of all their educational experiences. The opportunity to work closely with a librarian has many benefits for students. The librarian is usually not the person who is grading the student work. Rather, the only motivation of the librarian is to make the student as successful as possible. The librarian will take all the time that is necessary to make sure that the student has the tools, knowledge, materials, and confidence needs to succeed.

      Having a librarian on a course team is one way to connect the work of course development and teaching. A librarian is an educator who, along with the professor in the course, sees the whole course process through. They will learn first-hand how the course design translates into student learning. This knowledge can then be brought back into the process of course re-design, as a course is never really done.

Reason 3 - Content, Quality, and Open Educational Resources:
      The third reason that I want to call out as to why librarians are an essential team member for the creation / running of high quality (online and residential) courses is content.  Librarians have always played an essential role in partnering with faculty to  select, secure, procure, and make accessible (in every sense of the word) the content (articles, chapters, videos, datasets, etc.) that end up on the syllabus.  Librarians have always been a bridge between the teaching goals of the professor and the resources available through the institutional library that professors use to teach, and that students use to learn.  And of course, librarians have always worked directly with students on their class related assignments and research.

      What is different now is that in an age of information ubiquity, the opportunity to collaborate with an expert on information science (a librarian) is an essential ingredient if students are to create quality work.  In the age of Google, the value of a librarian has never been greater.  Students are good at finding information.  They are not good at judging the quality of the information that they find.  Learning how to evaluate the veracity of information is a hard-fought skill.  There is no better educator for this task than a librarian.

      The other area where librarians are becoming essential in the course development process is in fulfilling our growing commitment to utilize open educational resources.  We use open educational resources for many reasons.  We want to ensure that all of our students have access to the course materials.  We are concerned about the costs of course materials.  We think that learning how to do research is a lifelong skill, and we want to use materials in our teaching that is also accessible to learners once they graduate.  Librarians are the indispensable partner in the open educational resource revolution.  The extent in which we are committed to evolving our courses and programs to take advantage of open educational resources will determine the extent in which we invite librarians on to our course development and teaching teams.

      Can you help round out the story of how librarians are currently working - and should be working - with faculty and other non-faculty educators (instructional designers etc.) on course development and teaching teams? How have you seen the role of librarians change as teaching and learning has changed? Can you make an economic argument (productivity) in addition to a quality argument for investing in librarians as members of course teams? What do you see as the roadblocks and the challenges involved in integrating instructors, instructional designers, media educators, assessment experts, developers, and librarians into course development and teaching teams?
How do you make the case for librarians as educators - essential partners and collaborators in today’s high quality residential and online courses?

Kim, Joshua. Nov. 30, 2016. The Librarian on the Teaching Team. Retrieved December 1, 2016 from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/librarian-teaching-team?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=d0c8f0df63-DNU20161201&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-d0c8f0df63-197783033&mc_cid=d0c8f0df63&mc_eid=c59265f9be


      As the semester wraps up the library stands ready to help you with all of your research needs. We recently participated in the Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) put on by the ALC. We offered a "Research 101" at the LNAP event and were visited by 7 students at our workshop. Of course we were also on hand to answer questions on the fly during the library's extended hours for LNAP.

Librarians Lauren McAdams and Peter Klubek
leading the " Research 101" workshop
in the library. 
      We also set up an adult coloring station. Studies have shown that coloring reduces stress and increases relaxation. Adult coloring stations have appeared in libraries across the country. What better way to add to the experience at LNAP than by offering such a station at BRCC?

A student coloring during the LNAP event.

      Because final exams are a stressful time, we have extended the coloring station throughout the final exam period. Please enjoy the coloring as you de-stress.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 2016

      In support of the Board of Regents’ open educational resources (OER) initiative with Affordable Learning LOUISiana*, and with the help of the staff at LOUIS, the Magnolia Library is pleased to provide access to over 250 freely available eTextbooks from the Open Textbook Library.  These eTextbooks are discoverable through our online catalog search. 

      Through this search, you will find both electronic textbooks that BRCC was able to purchase through the Board of Regents initiative, and openly available textbooks that are part of the Open Textbook Library.  The advantage of having these open educational resources available through the library catalog search is that they are more easily found by students.  You can read more about the Open Textbook Library here:  https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/

To search the collection, click on the eTextbooks link to find the following screen:

A Keyword search for “Biology” yields the following results:

Clicking on the first title, and then to its Catalog Record, you will find the link to the book at the bottom of the record:

      It is important to note that the eTextbooks from the Open Textbook Library are not the textbooks currently being used in classes.  Right now these eTextbooks can serve as supplemental materials for your students.  If you are interested in creating an OER or using an existing one for your class, please contact us in the library.
If you are wondering what other libraries are doing to support affordable course content and open education resources, take a look at this SPEC Kit: SPEC Kit 351: Affordable Course Content and Open Educational Resources (July 2016)

*Affordable Learning LOUISiana, an initiative of LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network, works on a national, state, and local level to develop partnerships between libraries and faculty to reduce student expenditures for required course materials. This is accomplished through promotion of open educational resources and by leveraging the cooperative abilities of the consortia. 

      The Mid-City Magnolia  Library will be open until 10:00PM on Tuesday, November 29 for Long Night Against Procrastination. Students who need help finding scholarly sources for their papers can speak to the librarian at the second floor reference desk for expert assistance in finding the authoritative sources that they need for their research.

      The library will also offer an adult coloring station for students who want to wind down and de-stress as they complete projects and prepare for finals. Coloring sheets, markers, and colored pencils will be provided.

Coloring Station held at the White Light Night 2015.

More information about Long Night Against Procrastination can be found in the Online Learning Center Libguide.

      In October, your BRCC library was very pleased to host a book talk with Clint Smith. Smith is a writer, teacher and Ph.D candidate at Harvard University. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.

      Smith is also a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, a Cave Canem Fellow, and his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Guardian, and Boston Review. His TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America have been collectively viewed more than five million times. His first full-length collection of poems, Counting Descent was published in September 2016 by Write Bloody Publishing.

    The event was very well attended, as Smith shared his experience and wisdom with our students. Our next visiting author will be our own Dr. Ikanga Tchomba as he discusses African Governance. Dr. Tchomba will host an open dialog on Nov. 10th at 6:00pm in the library reading room.

In memory of Shereen Marx

       The Baton Rouge Community College Magnolia Library is pleased to offer the Shereen Marx Book Award to an eligible student. The award is for a value of $300 to be used for the purchase of textbooks at the BRCC Bookstore for Spring 2017. The requirements for the award follow:

* Minimum 3.0 GPA overall for all courses taken through Fall semester 2016
* Minimum of 12 credit hours completed at BRCC
* Must be working towards a Technical Diploma, Certificate or Associate Degree from BRCC
* One letter of reference from a BRCC instructor
* Description of your plans for completing your program at BRCC and how you will use your diploma, certificate or degree

Please email librarian@mybrcc.edu to request a copy of the application to apply for this award. The deadline is Monday, December 19, 2016.

      The BRCC Library Club is once again participating in the Toys-For-Tots program.

 "Toys for Tots" in an initiative of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, whose goal is "to deliver, through a new toy a Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens."

This year the drive will be taken to all BRCC sites. Look for the festive collection box on your campus and please donate new, unwrapped toys. The BRCC toy drive will run from November 6 to December 4, 2016.

Look for the collection point on your BRCC site similar to the one pictured below at the Acadian site. 

Acadian Toys-for-Tots collection point

Associate Dean Jaqueline Jones reading to the
Head Start Students at the Acadian site.

      The Library has begun a weekly reading session at the Acadian site. Above is a photo of one of Jackie Jones's reading visits with 3-4 year olds at the Acadian Headstart. They have been reading the "Lola" series. So far they have read, Lola at the library and Lola loves stories by author, Ann McQuinn. Jones said that she plans to read the entire "Lola" series to the children over the next few weeks.

   Your BRCC librarians all participated in the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival held at Capitol Park.

This is a great way to raise awareness of BRCC and its programs in the community and city of Baton Rouge.

Logo and banner of the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival
Jackie Jones with Curious George at the Book Festival

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 2016

      The BRCC librarians will be visiting all sites beginning in October. Library  Orientations were offered to each location in September, and the librarians connected with many students.

Welding student at Port Allen

      Please contact your visiting librarian if you need materials, a bibliographic instruction session, or other library assistance. We would be happy to help!

Kathy Seidel seidelk@mybrcc.edu ..........New Roads and Jackson

Peter Klubek klubekp@mybrcc ............Port Allen and Plaquemine

Laddawan Kongchum kongchuml@mybrcc.edu............ATC and Central

Lauren McAdams wadel2@mybrcc.edu............Frazier and Acadian

     At Mid-city, the library has witnessed very high demand these past few weeks. Students have been visiting the space to do research, utilize the study rooms, and consult with the librarians. A few faculty members have also stopped in to ask questions. Which you are highly encouraged to do!

Students using the second and third floor study areas.

   As a friendly reminder if you give a library assignment, be sure to include a copy for the library. It is helpful to have this information for accreditation purposes. We have seen all sorts of interesting assignments. Some have included locating a journal article that ties trigonometry to a student's major, an assignment that asks students to locate information about data management in the cloud, and an English assignment that looks at multiculturalism in entertainment. These are all fascinating topics, and we are always up for new challenges!

      The library offers tours of the space and all of the resources available. Students on the tour have often remarked that they didn't know the library was so large, that there were so many different types of material, and that they had so many study space options available to them. Highlights of the tour include the archives, the American Freedom Shrine, and reading room which often hosts student activities and events. There is a lot to see at your BRCC Magnolia Library.

Reference Librarian Peter Klubek leading a CSSK class on
 tour and highlighting the Freedom Shrine.

      The library continues to promote e-Books. Our displays are now traveling to other sites. Be on the lookout for these informative displays, and if you are curious about how to access the e-Books, or what is included with them, ask any of the librarians. We would be delighted to give you a demonstration!

e-Book display at Hooper

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 2016

     You may have seen some of our posters regarding the availability of e-books. Our collection of e-books has greatly expanded recently and we are heavily promoting this acquisition. We have new titles in history, nursing, and many others. Our promotions are not limited to posters alone. The 1st-floor display is also addressing electronic books.

1st-floor library display

    In this display, a computer is centered on the table. The monitor depicts a series of books coming out towards the viewer. There are also many wires linking the computer to a sample of e-book titles that are available in the collection. Be looking for other similar displays across all BRCC sites. The display is meant to elicit a response and raise awareness and interest in this collection as it is likely to continue to grow in the future.

The semester is off to a great start in the library. We have already met with a number of classes for library instruction, students have been utilizing the library and study space, and we have already begun to travel out to all the BRCC sites.

Technical Services Librarian Laddawan Kongchum
assisting a student

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 2016

Welcome to a new semester at BRCC!

Our thoughts go out to all the faculty and students affected by the recent flooding. Louisiana is a unique place, and we will get through this. Know that we are with you every step of the way.

The library hosted our semi-annual open house on August 25th.

The event was well attended and featured the opportunity for faculty to get to know their subject liaison librarian. Each librarian prepared a display highlighting new items from the collection related to specific disciplines. If you didn't get a chance to talk to your friendly subject librarian, stop by or give us a call anytime (216-8555). We are always delighted to hear your ideas, schedule a visit to your classes, or just have a casual conversation with you!

The open house was enjoyed by all of those that did stop in. There was information about the e-book initiative, as well as an introduction to OER's and how both of these options could help your students save money on textbooks. More affordable college costs is one way to encourage your students, and could positively impact a student's ability to return semester after semester.

We look forward to your visits in the future.

Another way to help save your students money on costly textbooks, is through the Reserves collection. This collection of high-demand items typically houses faculty provided copies of the textbook used in class. This option is very popular with students, and many have expressed a desire for more material to be put on reserve. We can't do this without your help, and we have streamlined the process of adding your textbook on Reserve. All you have to do is bring a copy of the item you would like to place on reserve, complete a short form that we provide, and you can be on your way. The confusing questions have been done away with, the Reserves are open and ready for you.

Don't forget about the services the library offers your classes. We can schedule a visit to your class, a tour of the library, or a consultation with you about your assignments and the resources we have available to help with them. We have already had a number of requests, but we are always looking for more!

Technical Services Librarian Laddawan Kongchum
speaking to Aviation students
during  a special library orientation session.

And, coming soon, the library is offering a professional development session on e-books and OER's! Be looking for this information in the future. You can earn professional development points for your attendance and it is a great way to get on board with this emerging technology.