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Welcome to CARLDIG-S (California Academic Reference Librarians Discussion Interest Group-South)!

CARLDIG-S is an interest group of the California Academic & Research Libraries (CARL). We hold meetings and programs to discuss current and developing issues relating to reference services.

2023 CARLDIGs Fall Program

Assessment: What is it good for? (Absolutely nothing?)

The 2023 CARLDIGs Fall Program will be hosted at California Polytechnic University Pomona (CPP) on Friday, December 1, 2023. This program will be CARLDIGs first in-person program since 2019 and our pilot hybrid program. Titled "Assessment: What is it good for? (Absolutely nothing?)", this program allows library professionals to share their experiences with all aspects of assessment for reference services.

Many of us may not know where to begin or encounter instances where the data we're gathering doesn't go anywhere and may "die" in our department(s). We know assessment is an important part of evaluating how our services are impacting our communities and a major part of growing and improving those services. Our 2023 Presenters will share their assessment stories demonstrating the importance of assessment, and how to find creative ways to advocate for change by telling our stories.

*Presentation slides are posted with presenter information. If slides are not available, please contact the presenter(s) with questions on their presentation topic.*

Presenter Institution Email Slides
Meghan Kwast (she/her) California Lutheran University PDF (with notes)

Presentation Title:

Finding & Building Your Story: Leveraging Microsoft Power BI in Reference Services

Presentation Overview

Academic libraries stand at the intersection of evolving educational needs, technological advancements, and the ever-expanding demands of faculty and students. Faculty members request new services or resources, often with the intention of improving the learning experience of their students; however, these requests may not always align with the specific needs and preferences of the students they aim to serve. In such instances, libraries face a delicate balancing act - how to respond to faculty requests effectively while ensuring that library efforts genuinely enhance the educational experience.

Assessment is the linchpin that holds this delicate balance together. It is also the bogeyman that haunts our dreams. Done well, assessment empowers libraries to move beyond anecdotal evidence or assumptions and make informed decisions. But for libraries with small teams and budgets, getting to this level of data mastery can feel like an insurmountable mountain. SpringShare RefAnalytics, as a comprehensive reference management tool, provides libraries with the means to collect and analyze reference transaction data. The story RefAnalytics data tells, though, does not necessarily translate well for a non-library audience. Using Microsoft Power BI, libraries can transform this data into actionable insights through interactive visualizations and in-depth analytics.

This presentation delves into the critical role of RefAnalytics and Power BI in assessing the cross-section of instruction work and reference work at California Lutheran University’s Pearson Library, emphasizing how these assessment tools can assist librarians in making informed decisions, ultimately enhancing the quality of our university collaborations. In an era where data is a valuable asset, librarians must harness the power of tools like RefAnalytics and Power BI to assess and enhance their reference services. Participants will gain valuable insights, practical guidance, and inspiration to transform their reference services and ultimately better serve their academic communities.

Presenter Bio

Meghan Kwast, California Lutheran University, Librarian - Head of Collection Management Services

Presenter Institution Email
Susan Klopper Emory University
Saira Raza (she/her or they/them) Emory University

Presentation Title:

A Data Assessment Journey: From Dreaded Chore to Impactful Storytelling

Presentation Overview:

Between 2016 and 2023, Emory University's Goizueta Business Library (GBL) undertook a project that transformed our assessment strategy.  What started out as a simple review to streamline our data collection process evolved into a deep dive that pushed the team to challenge how we define and measure success through assessment. We explored our key stakeholders and which stories would best illustrate our value proposition to them. We also examined the team’s pain points around collecting and sharing data and collaborated to design a simpler and more efficient process. GBL’s director and team assessment lead will present the resulting assessment dashboard and share their perspectives on GBL’s assessment journey. 

Presenter Bios:

Susan Klopper became Director of the Goizueta Business Library in August 2005; she started working at Emory in December 2002 as the Manager of Research Services. Prior to coming to Emory, Susan was the Director of Arthur Andersen/Anderson Consulting's Business Research Center for 18 years. Susan is a frequent speaker on business research and leadership topics at conferences and regularly contributes articles to industry publications, such as Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, Online and Searcher. She has written a book on conducting accounting and financial research, Introduction to Online Accounting and Financial Research, 2004. Susan is very involved in the Special Libraries Association, having served twice on the Association’s Board of Directors; she is also an SLA Fellow. Susan is the recipient of several industry awards recognizing her knowledge and experience in the areas of business research and leadership.

Saira Raza joined the Goizueta Business Library in 2015 and became the team’s assessment lead the following year. Prior to joining Emory, Saira worked as a research librarian at Lehman Brothers and King & Spalding and also enjoys helping entrepreneurs with market and industry research to support their start-up ideas and teaches. She is a frequent instructor with We Here’s Community School, designing courses to help fellow library and archives workers enhance their business research skills and develop their personal strategic plan and review process. Saira is an active researcher and participant in many diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in academic libraries and has contributed to publications at ACRL and IGI Publishing on the subject. Her creative work in music, performance, and installation art is deeply intertwined with her library practice.

Presenter Institution Email Slides
Jennifer Tirrell (she/her) Soka University of America PDF
Kelly Marie Wilson (she/they) Soka University of America  

Presentation Title:

Reference Data - It's Good for Assessing Services

Presentation Overview:

Our Reference Inquiry Form tracks data about the various reference interactions librarians and student workers provide to library users. In this presentation, we will be sharing how we use the data we gather from the form to adapt reference services, decide what topics to highlight in instructional sessions, determine what information literacy materials to create and/or update, encourage faculty to include in-class library instruction, and assess future iterations of the form. 

Presenter Bios:

Jennifer Tirrell (she/hers) is the Instruction & Assessment Librarian at Soka University of America. Her areas of interest are information literacy instruction, inclusive reference and library services, and AI. She has a BA in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a MLIS from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Kelly Marie Wilson (she/they) is the Reference & Instruction Librarian at Soka University of America. Her areas of interest include information literacy instruction, inclusive user services, and copyright/plagiarism. She has a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of South Alabama, an MLIS from University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Criminal Justice/Legal Studies from Grand Canyon University. 

Presenter Institution Email Slides
Daniel Wilson (any) Moreno Valley College PDF

Presentation Title:

Affective Assessment of the Impact of Virtual Reference

Presentation Overview:

This presentation will describe efforts made at a primarily online university to assess the instructional impact of virtual reference interactions. This assessment was conducted through affective surveys completed by students after the conclusion of email and messenger-based reference sessions. The survey questions focused on students' feelings of confidence in their abilities after receiving help from the library.

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Wilson has a Ph.D in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands and an MLIS from the University of Southern Mississippi. They have been working in academic libraries since 2004, across staff, administrative, and faculty roles. Assessment has long been a focus area for them, especially as they worked in library administration for eight years and volunteered as a part of the CORE Assessment Repository project. Currently, they are the Open Education Librarian at Moreno Valley College.

Presenter Institution Email
Amanda Kalish CSU San Marcos
Tricia Lantzy CSU San Marcos
Jerry Limberg CSU San Marcos
Lalitha Nataraj CSU San Marcos
Judy Opdahl CSU San Marcos
Torie Quinonez CSU San Marcos
Karen Tinajero Vazquez CSU San Marcos

Presentation Title:

Keeping our students close and our data closer: Remaking assessment with relationships at the forefront

Presentation Overview:

We will describe how collecting standardized instruction data in the name of “assessment” can be harmful to our students, how it can obscure information that would be more helpful in making value-aligned changes to our practice, and what we can do differently.

We challenge library workers to imagine assessment differently. To thoughtfully collect rich and detailed information and data that serves to improve the learning outcomes and experiences of students without the hidden pressures of “demonstrating library value” in higher education. To envision using that data to redesign information literacy curricula to be more inclusive and student-centered. To intentionally strengthen our relationships with our students and communities in the process of collecting their data, and making decisions with what to do with that data in conversation with the community themselves. To contemplate data that enhances rather than diminishes the stories and experiences of our students and our communities.

We argue that the practice of collecting standardized, quantitative library instruction and reference data as a single method of assessing (and demonstrating) value is damaging and harmful to students and librarians. Quantitative data may be useful to individual librarians or departments in making operational decisions; however, once these data leave the department (and the people who know the context in which those data were collected), they are in the control of what D’Ignazio and Klein (2020) describe as “strangers in the data”. These ‘strangers’ lack the context and knowledge of the community to make use of the data appropriately and accurately, and may therefore draw conclusions from it which should not be drawn.

We interrogate how power unfolds in data and ask: who is benefiting the most from standardized assessment methods? Who are these goals prioritizing? Who are they ignoring? We acknowledge the good data can do, but also recognize that privilege and power operate around data. Converting the learning experience of students into quantitative data obscures and reduces the value of experiential learning. As D’Ignazio and Klein put it “Before there are data, there are people.” The same applies to our students.

Learn how one Teaching & Learning Department is seeking to engage in qualitative assessment methods that align with their values and truly support student success.

Presenter Bios:

Amanda Kalish is the subject liaison for the School of Education and an instruction and reference librarian at California State University, San Marcos. She has both a BA in History and a Master’s of Library and Information Science from UCLA. Her research interest revolves around figuring out the best methods of effectively teaching information literacy that can cut through the deliberate disinformation spread through social media, foreign influences, and other bad actors.

Tricia Lantzy is the Health Sciences & Human Services Librarian at California State University San Marcos. She has a MS in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. Her current research focuses on investigating how students learn and experience their education in a variety of different learning environments.

Jerry Limberg is an Instruction and Reference Librarian at California State University San Marcos. She holds an MLIS from San Jose State University, MA in History from California State University San Marcos, and BS in American Studies from Utah State University. Her research interests include information literacy for military veterans and history students, assessment in librarianship, and first year experience curriculum. 

Lalitha Nataraj is the Social Sciences Librarian at California State University, San Marcos. She holds an MLIS from UCLA and a BA in English and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley. Her research interests include critical information literacy, epistemic justice, South Asians in librarianship, and relational-cultural theory.

Judy Opdahl is the Business and Economics Librarian for the College of Business and Department of Economics Department at California State University San Marcos. She holds an MLIS from San Jose State University and a BA in Speech: Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from California State University, Long Beach. Her research interests include practices of embedded librarianship and how the academic library can support ADHD and other neurodiverse students.

Torie Quiñonez is the Arts and Humanities Librarian at Cal State San Marcos.

Karen Tinajero-Vazquez is an Instruction and Reference Librarian at California State University, San Marcos and holds an MMLIS from the University of Southern California. She is an early career academic librarian with a background working in a public library setting. Her research interests include cultural validation theory and Latinx critical race theory.

Presenters Institution Title Poster
S. Page, E. Bowline, and A. Osuna-Garcia UCLA Migration Complications PDF | Screen Reader Friendly
S. Haren Cal Poly Pomona Asynchronous Tutorials as a Tool for Instruction and Assessment at Cal Poly Pomona PDF

2022 CARLDIG-S Fall Program

Title: Now You See Us, Now You Don’t: Shifting Away from In-Person to a Virtual-Only Reference Service Model

Abstract: Like many academic institutions, our private four-year university saw a drastic change in general reference needs and services during the pandemic. Even pre-Covid, our in-person Reference Desk usage numbers were quickly on the decline, while our virtual chat service saw a steady increase in usage. With the return of in-person classes and introduction of a hybrid class schedule, it was apparent that a change was necessary in order to meet the evolving needs of students, patrons, and the Libraries’ reference providers to build a sustainable reference model. Additionally, the Libraries experienced staffing challenges, which required liaison librarians to take on more responsibilities. These staffing issues, along with a continued need for flexibility with hybrid schedules, required that the reference committee reconfigure the general reference model. In Fall 2022, we piloted a virtual general reference model, driven by our reference user data. It was crucial that we received buy-in from libraries’ administration as well as our reference providers to build an impactful model for our diverse user communities. One component of our pilot was ensuring the awareness of our evolving services. We collaborated with our planning and communications team to design a marketing strategy to promote this virtual mode of access to our reference services. This outreach yielded varying results. This session will cover our pilot planning, preliminary findings, and future considerations for providing general reference services in a purely virtual capacity.

Title: Learning from Disruption: The Art of Matching Modalities

Abstract: Did the disruption of COVID-19 help us recognize some things we should have recognized far sooner?  Has the building-bound tradition of academic libraries held us in psychological thrall for far too long?  This presentation will argue, with evidence, how the answer to both these questions is a definitive yes.  The presentation combines an exploration of  the responses of reference services at Cal Poly, SLO, both through the pandemic experience and a pending re-closure for a major renovation.  It places these experiences in the context of a lightning-speed history of reference provision in academic libraries, ranging from the traditional Library as Book-Barn to the Library as Space, Information Commons, and Learning Commons models.  What emerges as a cogent response in light of this historical review is to deliberately match modalities: modalities of location (e.g., in person, online), modalities of information resources (e.g., print on paper, digital content), modalities of platform (e.g., shelves, electronic information technology), and modalities of time (synchronous, asynchronous). The trick is to conscientiously anticipate the most appropriate matching to place the providers, patrons, information resources, and platforms together productively at the best time. This has implications for reference provision, staffing, and training. And it all begs the hypothetical question: if academic libraries as historically established had never been built, would anyone build them now?

Several aspects of Brett's conference presentation receive more detailed treatment in a forthcoming Reference Services Review article, titled “Peer Reference and the Out-of-the-Building Experience.”  Reference Services Review will make the article available prior to final publication as an Early Cite article, DOI 10.1108/RSR-09-2022-0045 

About the Author

Brett Bodemer is the College of Liberal Arts Librarian at the Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly, SLO, and has served as the Coordinator of Reference since 2011.  He was a founder of the successful LibRAT program that leverages undergraduates for peer reference and instruction.

Abstract: Upon returning to in-person work after the COVID-19 lockdown, regular patrons were not immediately returning to the library. Many referrals for research assistance came from faculty partners or other librarians within my university. 
To increase engagement with students, I communicated three different ways to contact me to make reference appointments:
1). Maintain a calendar via Springshare’s Libcal that links with our University Libraries’ main landing page;
2). Used every one-shot class visit to instruct students on how to find my calendar and my contact information on our website;
3). Provided a link to my Libcal calendar in all my email communications with students and offered to work around their schedules, if needed.

Using these methods, I found it easier to keep my day-to-day schedule organized and helped bridge the gap from remote work back to in-person reference services. 

This process also gave students multiple options to choose from, making it easier for them to get into contact with me. In addition, this also helped them determine what kind service they needed (example: if they had an in-depth research topic or a simple question on how to find an article). 

Now that we are further in the endemic, I find myself needing to evolve with the times by offering options relating to students’ comfort levels. By providing them a choice between an in-person appointment versus a Zoom meeting, students feel more comfortable in making a reference appointment.

These simple yet essential steps have helped me re-connect with the students and increase awareness of the services available to them.
Erik’s Bio:
Erik Helton is a librarian at Pepperdine University. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from California State University, Northridge, and a Master of Library & Information Science Degree from San Jose State University.

As a thank you for joining us please enjoy the following Spotify playlists!

2021 CARLDIG-S Fall Program

2021 Fall Program Schedule of Events

Nailed It! Padlet

  • This Padlet is a free space to share thoughts, ideas, and comments relating to the 2021 Fall Program. Users may choose to include their name or post their thoughts anonymously. Conversation in the Nailed It! Padlet will not be regulated by the CARLDIG-S Leadership Team; however, it is expected that all sharing will adhere to the CARL Code of Conduct.