Learn about Memorial Day

The website from the Library of Congress called America’s Story states that the first Memorial Day took place in 1868.  If you are curious about the origins of Memorial Day, then there are many great government resources that you can consult. The Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs has an extensive collection of resource links listed on their Memorial Day website for helpful information.  Also, the Consortium Library has numerous reference and government sources having to do with Memorial Day. Some examples include The Encyclopedia of War and American Society, and American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. To search for sources from the main Consortium Library homepage, type “Memorial Day” History into the QuickSearch box. You can then, for example, select Reference listed under Content Type on the left side of the screen. Feel free to ask a librarian for assistance in locating additional resources.

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Journey Mapping

dvd

The Library Assessment Team recently conducted a Journey Mapping exercise.  This project — based on the work of librarians at University of Montana — was designed to enhance the student experience of using the library by assessing our services from their point of view.  Journey Mapping is a methodology that analyzes the point at which a student comes into contact with a library service to understand how the services are being used and if they are benefitting students.

Journey mapping and service blueprinting have been used in medicine and business for many years as a model for analyzing customer pathways to identify difficulties in service provision, and the model is making its way into higher education.  This report serves as a basis for a new way of looking at the academic experience; one that reimagines educational offerings and services from the student’s point of view. Further, it partners with students to learn about and eliminate student pain points.

scenario

Journey mapping plots a process or service to produce a visual representation of a library transaction — from the point at which the student accesses a service to its final resolution. Service scenarios are identified, and maps are produced that reflect the journey from the student’s point of view. The map is then used to develop an “ideal” journey and to explore changes that would improve the service experience.

Follow the links to read our full report, and view the twelve journeys we analyzed during this pilot project.  We will continue to use this methodology to assess library services and improve the student experience of using the Consortium Library.

JourneyMappingReport-CL

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Rules of Thumb

I have a few simple rules of thumb and arcane tricks that can make use of the library and its resources both more pleasant and more effective. I’ll cover three of them today.

The first truly is a rule of thumb. When you look at the small white label on a book that shows the call number (the spine label), it will often have a prefix to indicate a physical location in the library. For instance, if it says REF, then the physical home for the book will be in the Reference Collection near the Reference Desk, while ALASKA means the book will be in the Alaskana Collection on the second floor. If you only see the call number itself without a prefix, then that book belongs in the General Collection. That’s all fine, but what if you find a book you really like in the Reference Collection, for example, and you’d like to find similar books that you could check out?  Place your thumb over the part of the spine label that says REF and make note of the call number underneath it. Go find that call number in the General Collection, and while you probably won’t find the exact same book (it’s too expensive for us to purchase multiple copies), you will find other books on the same and similar subjects. It’s an easy way to find an interesting area to browse without having to stop at a computer and use the catalog.

Another rule to keep in mind is 15 minutes tops. If you come to the library and are having trouble finding what you need or where it’s located, or a database just isn’t working for you, then come see us at the Reference Desk after spending 15 minutes tops. As simple as we try to make the library, it’s still a very complex place. We understand the organization of the library and of information, we know how the databases work, and we have a lot of experience in answering research questions and addressing other concerns. In fact, the real reason for having a reference librarian at the Reference Desk is not to clear printer jams, but to interpret the library to you and to help you find the information you need. I once had a student come to the Reference Desk who was vibrating half a foot off the floor from sheer stress. She had been searching for something for three hours without success, and she finally came to me. She never deserved to have that much frustration, but at the same time, her accumulated frustration made it all the more difficult for me to help her. So honestly, 15 minutes tops — after that, please come and talk to us, and we’ll do our best to connect you with what you need and get things straightened out.

Last is what I call the passive-aggressive nature of publishers, because they did something really wonderful and then never told anyone how to use it. Many books have gilt lettering on the spines, which quite often makes the titles and authors of the books as illegible as if they had been printed with invisible ink. This happens most frequently on the bottom shelves, which can be especially frustrating since it’s so much harder to get near the floor to get a good look at them; add bifocals for Those Of A Certain Age and it’s a recipe for disaster. Well. I happened to discover one day that if you take a scrap of white paper and hold it against the book spine just below the gilt lettering, the light reflected from the white paper will make the gilt lettering glow; it’s literally revelatory! Not only can you actually see what the darned book is, you no longer need a three-year-old to help you with the bottom shelves. You can use the palm of your hand for this, too, but it won’t reflect light quite as well as paper does. A great set to try it out on is the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography at REF E176 .N27, a set of green books that occupies two bottom shelves near the Reference reshelving cart. Give it a try; this one trick alone, simple as it is, can make your library life so much easier!

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Consortium Library Prize!

 

The Consortium Library Prize lauds an exemplary undergraduate research project from any discipline which demonstrates evidence of significant scholarly investigation and utilization of library resources, print and archival as well as electronic. The selected student will be officially recognized university-wide and will be honored with a $500 award.

Deadline: The fall 2016 deadline is December 9th at 5:00pm.

To Apply: To apply, complete this cover sheet and submit, with your project, following instructions from the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Eligibility: Applicants must meet the following criteria:

Research projects can be submitted by either December 9, 2016 or March 21, 2017. Projects must have been completed in the Spring 2016, Summer 2016, or Fall 2016 semester. Research projects completed in Spring 2017 are eligible for the award as long as the final project can be submitted by the spring deadline.

To learn more about this prize, you can visit the Consortium Library Prize guide.

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Affordable Care Act — 2017 Enrollment Information

If don’t already have coverage for 2017, you may be eligible to sign up for health insurance through ACA’s Health Care Marketplace.  Open enrollment runs from November 1 – December 15, 2016 for coverage starting January 1.

If you miss the open enrollment deadline, January 31, 2017 is the last day to sign up to receive coverage for 2017.

There are many types of plans, so to help you decide, check out this helpful guide on the Affordable Care Act and Insurance Exchanges, kindly compiled by Sigrid Brudie, Alaska Medical Library.  Alaska-specific information is included there as well.

Despite election promises to end ACA, experts say to go ahead and sign up since laws prevent your policy from being cancelled during 2017.  If Congress ends the subsidies before the year is out, you can drop the coverage without penalty.

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