Open Access Week 2013


It’s nearing the end of October now, which means that Open Access Week has rolled around. Open Access Week, you say? What’s that, you say? Well, here’s the skinny:

“Open Access Week, a global event now entering its sixth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.” (from: http://www.openaccessweek.org/)
October 21-27, 2013
Organized by SPARC, which is an “international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication.”

Open Access got some bad press a few weeks ago, but I hope you’ll take the time to read about a success story, or watch another example of how Open Access to scholarly information can truly change lives.


It’s Teaching Season at the Library!

The months of August, September, and October are some of the busiest of the year for academic librarians on the public services side of the house. We teach, you see, and this is the busiest of the busy teaching season.

If you had told me while I was in library school that teaching would be such a huge part of my job, I’m not sure I would have believed it; which makes it no surprise to find that my faculty colleagues, and indeed my family and friends, are usually surprised that teaching is really what I do (for a goodly portion of each semester). The conversation goes something like this:

  • Friend/Family/Faculty: What are you up to?
  • Me: Getting ready to teach a class (or two or three) tomorrow.
  • F/F/F: Really? What are you teaching?
  • Me: A composition class, and then a sociology class, and then…
  • F/F/F: Wait…what?! You teach sociology?
  • Me: Oh, no, I am doing a “one-shot” to teach the students how to find and use research resources.
  • F/F/F: Oh, you’re showing students how to use the library…how to check out books, tour, etc. Oh…right.
  • Me: Well, sort of…

And then I usually leave it at that, because yes…I am teaching students how to use the library, but also how to think through their topics, how to generate research questions, how to discover and use keywords that will work in library databases that don’t function like Google and why students need to think about those keywords because they could play a major role in why certain topics seem to only have articles on “one side” of the issue and why there really isn’t “one side” and the “other side” to most issues and…you get the picture. So, no, I’m not just showing students how to use the library, but I’m helping them learn how to learn, think about how to think, and give themselves the power and control that they need to find and use information that is going to help them create knowledge in order to help them build a better world. Amen!

Librarians teach, and we teach important stuff that is not just about how to check out a book…(which is still kind of important depending on who you’re talking to). If you’d like an idea of what librarians teach, please take a look at one of our fundamental documents, The ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. You’ll get the idea.

If I seem a little excited about this, well, that’s because I am. Teaching has become my favorite part of my job, and if you had told me that when I was in library school, I *really* wouldn’t have believed you. Here’s someone else who is excited to teach, and if you haven’t seen this before, please let it inspire you…(and please be warned that there is a little colorful language):

Taylor Mali, “What Teachers Make

…and the illustrated version from Zen Pencils 

Resources, Tips

Connect Google Scholar to your library

As our library instruction season swings into gear, inevitably the topic of Google Scholar turns up. Students, and often faculty, ask, “Should I use it?” and I always tell them it’s another tool to add to their research tool belt. If it does the job that you need it to do, great! If not, the subscription databases we offer through the library are there for you, too.

There are good points and bad points about using it, but one of the best things about Google Scholar is that it unlocks our collection for a whole range of students who may not be aware that we have a host of other tools available for them. It does this rather seamlessly while students are on campus. If they do a search in Google Scholar, and then try to access a journal article, they won’t encounter a pay wall (that screen that stops and asks them to pull out a credit card and turn over $25-$50 before they can actually view the article.) Our campus I.P. range is recognized and therefore our electronic journal content is simply available.

But what happens when those students go home to their off-campus apartments? Are they out of luck? No, not if they make one quick change to the Google Scholar settings. By clicking on the ‘gear’ icon, and then selecting ‘Library Links’ from the left-hand column, they can connect Google Scholar to CSU Libraries. Once that setting is in place, students will see a ‘FindIt@CSU’ link for articles that are available through our collection. No credit card required, only a quick login with their CSU eID and they are on their way to “free” full-text.

More information about setting this up is available here: libguides.colostate.edu/googlescholar.


Pinterest for Teachers

If you haven’t checked out Pinterest before, it may be time to stop and take a look at this hugely popular online tool. Why, I used it for a class just this morning! Check out my “board” for resources on the “History of Costume and Décor” and this collection of “pins” for primary source materials on American history. But don’t limit your imagination to simply collecting resources. For this week’s Teaching Tip, I encourage you to take a look at “37 Ways Teachers can use Pinterest in the Classroom.” The tips are grouped into themes, and they may just inspire you to starting pinning.
Pinterest app logo


Tracie McMillan, author of American Way of Eating

Mark your calendars!
Tracie McMillan, author of American Way of Eating, will speak on Wednesday, September 18 as part of the free author evenings series sponsored by the Friends of the CSU Libraries and the Poudre River Friends of the Library.

Wednesday, September 18
7-9 p.m.
Hilton Fort Collins
425 W. Prospect

The event is free and open to the public – no tickets are required. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. A book signing and sales will follow the program. For more information:

Resources, Services, Tips

Do you have a tablet?

If you have a tablet, our library has a new way for you to keep up with your professional literature. It’s called Browzine, and it lets you browse the table of contents of some of your favorite journals from your tablet (iPad, Android, Kindle Fire HD). 

You will need to download the Browzine App and then set it up to work with our CSU Subscriptions. For more information, check out this guide: http://libguides.colostate.edu/browzine

For a nice overview of this service, complete with pictures, please see this article from The Chronicle, “Browzine: Academic Journals on Your Tablet.”