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Research & Scholarship

What Do Librarians Do All Day?

November 29th, 2016 by Stephanie McReynolds

One of the books that my daughter (who is not quite three years old) likes quite a lot is Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? After reading the title, before my daughter and I begin to look at the pictures and the descriptions of the many and varied types of work, I often pause for a moment and think, What do people do all day? What did I do today? What does anyone really do all day?

It’s easy to get caught up in the many small, yet essential tasks (answering that panicked email from a freshman who is having trouble finding resources for his final project, participating in yet another committee, team, or department meeting, doing a quick run-through of an upcoming instruction session, writing and editing a blog post, deciphering an Adobe Accessibility Checker report to make changes that ensure the document will be accessible to all library users) without a sense of the shape that these small actions form over time.

The highlights below of the work of several of the librarians in the department of research and scholarship serve as examples of how many small daily tasks build upon one another to produce notable accomplishments. Take a look at those accomplishments, along with the context provided by the annual report published by the Syracuse University Libraries, and the shape of the work that librarians do will begin to emerge.

So, what do librarians do all day? Librarians present, publish, serve on University committees, and participate in professional associations, while also providing guidance on resources and search strategies to students and faculty, developing the Libraries’ collections, and answering lots and lots of emails, along with a myriad of small tasks that will never be highlighted as accomplishments or noted in an annual report.

Librarians Present:

  • On November 3, 2016, Anne Rauh, Scott Warren and Jennifer Hill (customer consultant, Elsevier) presented at the 2016 Charleston Conference. Their presentation, From One to Many: Creating a Culture of Research Reputation Management, outlined ways that libraries and vendor partners assist individual research and institutions with their research reputation.
  • On November 3, 2016, Scott Warren and Darby Orcutt and Mira Waller (both from North Carolina State University Libraries) presented at the 2016 Charleston Conference. Their presentation, “What are subject liaisons when “collections” and “subjects” don’t matter?,” focused on the intertwined and still ongoing evolution of the role of subject librarians, how libraries practice collection management, and emerging trends in supporting the full research lifecycle.
  • On October 20, 2016 Patrick Williams presented a short talk entitled “Libraries: Lab & Labyrinth in the Digital Humanities,” at a dinner for the Syracuse University College of Arts & Sciences Board of Visitors. Also speaking at the event were the Dean of the Libraries and Amanda Eubanks-Winkler (Art & Music Histories).
  • On October 4, 2016, Patrick Williams presented a lightning talk at the Central New York Library Resources Council Annual Meeting entitled “The Machine Stops: #critlib & First Year Student Experience” about his experience teaching a first year orientation seminar through the lens of Critical Library Pedagogy.
  • On September 16, 2016, Patrick Williams presented a short talk entitled “Libraries: Lab & Labyrinth in the Digital Humanities,” at a joint College of Arts & Sciences and SU Libraries Orange Central event for alumni. Also speaking at the event were the Deans of the Libraries and of Arts & Sciences, Chris Hanson and Chris Forster (English), Jane Read (Geography), Amanda Eubanks-Winkler (Art & Music Histories) and Brett Keegan (Composition & Cultural Rhetoric).
  • On August 21, 2016, Anne Rauh presented an invited talk entitled, “Altmetrics in the Library” at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. This talk was part of the symposium, “Beyond Citations: Challenges & Opportunities in Altmetrics” organized by the Division of Chemical Information Division. Other speakers in the symposium included Todd Carpenter, executive director, NISO; William Gunn, director of scholarly communications, Mendeley; Stuart Cantrill, chief editor, Nature Chemistry; Matthew Hartings, associate professor of Chemistry, American University; Antony Williams, National Center of Computational Toxicology at EPA; and Jeff Lang, assistant director of Platform Development, American Chemical Society.
  • Patrick Williams attended the Digital Humanities 2016 conference in Krakow, Poland in July. With colleagues from dh+lib and the ADHO Special Interest Group Global Outlooks: Digital Humanities, he led a workshop entitled “Translation Hack-a-thon!: Applying the Translation Toolkit to a Global dh+lib,” in which participants designed workflows for lightweight translation and engaged in collaborative translation activities intended to encourage broader linguistic diversity among DH communities.
  • Patrick Williams returned to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC on May 16 and 17, 2016 to participate in a joint session of both NEH Office of Digital Humanities Early Modern Digital Agendas program cohorts.
  • Mary DeCarlo and Paul Bern participated in the Graduate Research Skills Seminar for graduate students from all disciplines.  The event was hosted by the Graduate School on March 25, 2016.  Mary gave a presentation entitled, “Choosing and Using Citation Management Tools” and Paul gave a talk on “Managing Your Data.”
  • Rachel Fox Von Swearingen co-presented “Can Your Students Get Jobs? Library Help for Music Students’ Career Preparation” at the annual meeting of the Music Library Association (March 2-5, 2016) in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She also provided leadership for the association’s Music Industry and Arts Management Round Table, serving as the coordinator for 2014-2017 and chairing the annual round table meeting at the conference.
  • Patrick Williams presented on a panel entitled “Gaming the Archive: The Challenges of Games Collections in Libraries, Archives, and Institutions,” at the Society for Screen and Media Studies conference in Atlanta on Thursday, March 31, 2016. The panel included Chris Hanson from the SU English Department, Jennifer deWinter (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Ken S. McAllister (University of Arizona, Co-Director of the Learning Games Initiative Research Archive),and Judd Ruggill (Arizona State University, Co-Director of the Learning Games Initiative Research Archive). Patrick received a professional development grant from the Central New York Library Resources Council to support his attendance at the conference.

Librarians Publish:

  • Patrick Williams’s poetry chapbook Hygiene in Reading was awarded the 2015 Chris Toll Memorial Prize and was released by Publishing Genius Press in February 2016.
  • Stephanie McReynolds’ book review of the Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management: How Top Companies Assess Risk, Manage Exposure, and Seize Opportunity was published in Volume 20, Issue 4 of the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship.

Librarians Serve on University Committees:

  • Michael Pasqualoni and Tasha Cooper represented the Libraries at a September 22, 2016 meeting at Bird Library with an external review team evaluating Newhouse School Public Relations Department’s Certification for Education in Public Relations (CEPR).
  • Two department of research and scholarship librarians are serving on Syracuse University’s Middle States accreditation self-study teams. Lydia Wasylenko is serving on the Team 2: Ethics and Integrity. Rachel Fox is serving on Team 3:Design & Delivery of the Student Learning Experience
  • Patrick Williams was invited to join the Humanities Center Faculty Advisory Board for the 2016-17 academic year.
  • In February 2016, Paul Bern, Marianne Hanley and Angela Williams were elected to serve on the Syracuse University Senate as the new library senators. Stephanie McReynolds will continue to serve the second year of her two-year term during the 2016-2017 academic year. Library senators Sophie Dong, Lesley Pease, and Bonnie Ryan completed their two-year terms in spring 2016.
  • John Olson was invited to serve as a member of the Tigris-Euphrates project, a joint working group of researchers and faculty from SU and RIT using GIS and geospatial data to analyze the current social and political situation in the Middle East, in 2016.

Librarians Participate in Professional Organizations:

  • Janet Pease was invited to join the EBSCO STEM Advisory Council in 2016.
  • Anne Rauh has been invited to join an OCLC Research Library Partnership working group on Research Information Management Systems. The project will include a survey of research information management in North America and vendor-agnostic resources to support institutions as they begin planning for such a service.

Librarians Organize and Attend Conferences and Events:

  • Lydia Wasylenko organized a very successful Syracuse Symposium event, a Visual History Archive workshop, on October 10, 2016.  This was co-sponsored by the University Libraries and the Humanities Center, as well as by several other entities (i.e., the School of Education and its Holocaust & Genocide Education Program; the College of Arts & Sciences and its Department of Languages, Literature, & Linguistics; the Maxwell School and its Department of History; and the Newhouse School-Maxwell School Documentary Film & History Program).
  • Anne Rauh attended the 123rd Annual Conference & Exposition of the American Society for Engineering Education in New Orleans, LA from June 26 through June 30, 2016. At the conference, Anne concluded her term as the chair of the Engineering Libraries Division (ELD) and assumed the role of chair of the Nomination Committee of ELD. In Anne’s year as leader, the organization underwent a strategic visioning process and developed a set of recommendations to address the shortage of STEM librarians. At the conference, Anne also moderated a panel entitled “The Move from Subject to Functional Roles: What Does It Mean for the Engineering Librarian?” This panel was made up of members ELD who serve in leadership roles at their institutions and discussed strategic reasons for changes to the liaison librarian role at four different institutions.
  • On May 18 and 19, 2016, Patrick Williams attended the Library Publishing Coalition’s third annual Library Publishing Forum in Denton, Texas.
  • On May 23, 2016, Patrick Williams attended the ENY/ACRL Annual Conference, where he began his second term as the organization’s membership chair.
  • With Amanda Winkler (Art & Music Histories and chair of the Digital Humanities Faculty Working Group), Patrick Williams hosted Syracuse Symposium Networks speaker Lori Emerson’s (University of Colorado Boulder) visit to campus February 25, 2016 to deliver a lecture entitled “Other Networks.” Patrick also participated in Dr. Emerson’s “Internet, Darknet, Alternet // The Past, Present, and Future of Cooperatively Run Networks” workshop the following morning.
  • With Patrick Berry (Writing Program), Patrick Williams hosted Syracuse Symposium Networks speaker Clay Spinuzzi’s (The University of Texas at Austin) visit to campus February 10 and 11, 2016. Patrick gave introductory remarks at Dr. Spinuzzi’s “Three Networks Walk Into A Bar…” on Wednesday and participated in the Qualitative Data Modeling workshop the following morning.

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