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New Beginnings

Wow! I can’t believe it’s the first day of class already. I hope everyone had time to decompress over the summer. Summers at CSUSM are relaxing and fun, and also a time for learning and reflecting.

What we got up to this summer:

Remodeled our 3rd floor

Oh my gosh. It is awesome — I love it. There is so much space for group work and active learning. No more quiet stacks of books blocking the librarian offices!! I can’t wait to see students lounging, studying, and working in the library.

Library Remodel group space
Lots of space for group work — bring your friends and laptops!
Library Remodel chairs
Comfy space-age chairs with a view of the new Student Union
Couches in the library remodel
Look at our new couches!

Learned more about Critical Pedagogy

Fascinating stuff. A colleague and I took an online class called “Changing Lives, Changing the World: Information Literacy and Critical Pedagogy”. The main takeaway for me was that it’s important for us as educators to elevate students to the level of experts. They aren’t necessarily experts in what we’re trying to teach them, but they are experts at some aspect of their lives — whether it’s searching the web for memes, balancing a heavy work/school/family load, or knowing everything possible about a particular video game. Acknowledging that academia is a construct (and not the only thing that allows you to be an “expert”) and just another “language” that they have to learn allows them to have ownership over their learning. The “because I say so” mentality doesn’t really work. I’d been incorporating a lot of critical pedagogy into my instruction already, but this gave me a name for what I strive to do and more of a structured framework. Honestly, it takes the weight off your shoulders as an instructor when you approach teaching as an “expert learner” rather than an expert.

Want to learn more? Teaching to transgress : education as the practice of freedom by bell hooks is a good place to start.

Started working on our research

One of the things about academia is…you have to publish! I started working on an article this summer with a colleague in the Information Literacy Program. It is in the nascent stages, but hopefully we will have it submitted by Fall. We’ve been looking into the use of team teaching as a professional development tool for librarians. I have had fantastic experiences with team teaching and want to examine how/why it has worked so well.

Fun stuff!

I took a bit of vacation this summer, too. It really is great to take some time for yourself to spend with family and do what you want to do — and never answer a single email! My family and I took a trip up the California coast, which was fantastic. You really are driving along the edge of the world. And, like any good librarian, I took a photo in front of every library we encountered 🙂

CA Road Trip
Visited lots of libraries in the Bay Area. Even our cabin at the bed and breakfast was library themed!

I also attended 2 days of Comic Con. So fun! Libraries get a lot of love there, as is evidenced by the poster I bought from one of the artists’ booths. I didn’t do anything crazy like wait in lines for hours and hours, but I did get a chance to see some interesting panels and geeked out while browsing through all of the independent press booths.

San Diego Comic Con 2013
San Diego Comic Con 2013. In line with Dr. Stephen Tsui (CSUSM Physics) to see a panel on movies from 1983. Faculty have fun, too!
Love your library poster from Comic Con 2013.
Got this sweet poster from an artist booth at Comic Con 2013. It’s nice to see the library love 🙂