The Student as Researcher

April 25th, 2016

Pedagogy is defined as “the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept” and, though the concept of students as researchers is not new, the adjustment of student as a collaborator and associate rather than the receptacle for knowledge is coming into its own.  Though student as an independent thinker and researcher is probably a more prominent tactic overseas, the shift towards research and inquiry has to be undertaken by all aspects of the higher academic community and, certainly, no one in this scenario would exclude the librarian.

Ultimately, whether this student-as-researcher curriculum results in internships, foreign exchange, original experimentation and data collection or in-depth subject area study, some type of documentation will have to be presented and that involves the fine art of scholarly writing and research into the hows of that.  Hence, the importance of the presence of the librarian on that leg of the journey.

For an instructive look at how this approach to teaching can bring about a whole new kind of “colleague” in the form of student researchers, read this paper from an approach in the UK.

Attendees at “Serving Special Populations” Learned From Multiple Speakers by Dave Schoen and Samantha Gust, Niagara University

April 21st, 2016

The Continuing Education Committee offered a program of lightning talks on Serving Special Populations on April 13, 2016 at WNYLRC headquarters

The passion of the presenters in their outreach to special populations was evident.

Mandi Shepp, librarian for the Lily Dale Assembly, did double duty with two talks. She presented on teaching technology to the elderly and serving a spiritualist religious population, including interesting background information on spiritualism in the United States.


Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks and Renee Masters from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library spoke on immigrant and non-native resources, which the audience found  interesting. The audience also learned that ENL is a term now—English as a New Language.


Karen Bordonaro described how she uses her background in ESL to better understand and serve that population at Brock University.


Jennifer Runco, Studio Support Program Co-Director, and Lindsay R. Masters, Life Skills Coach Supervisor of the Studio Support Program at Daemen College provided useful information on recognizing patrons on the autism spectrum. They also described strategies for aiding library staff in improving communication with people with autism.


Sara Taylor, Tech Trainer in the NIOGA system, discussed the digital divide being an issue not so much that people don’t have technology, but that they don’t know exactly what it can do and how to use it.


Thomas Vitale, Outreach Coordinator in the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System, described how his background in social work translates into working with homeless and re-entry populations. A notable take away: All public service librarians should be able to refer patrons to support in their communities and even be able to take on some of that support. He asked “Do we have a responsibility to go beyond the reference desk?”


Although each of the presentations lasted only 10 minutes, the audience members asked many questions and learned a lot.

An LJ Reviewer Interviewed

April 18th, 2016

We are always proud of our member libraries and their staffs so when there is reason to note a special accomplishment, we’re here to tip our hat to those who go above and beyond for their profession.  Such is the case for Niagara University’s Head of Acquisitions, Samantha Gust, who is featured in this months, LJ Reviewer Gazette.  

We at WNYLRC know of Samantha’s reviewing capabilities and are thrilled that the library world can take advantage of her experienced and objective book reviewing capabilities.  Any author would be privileged to have her go-ahead.

If you have a desire to review the genres you enjoy, visit LJ.

Library of Congress Makes a Much-Needed Subject Heading Change

April 13th, 2016

Societal change used to take generations but, in a few short years, we have seen rapid acceptance of roles and mores morph right in front of our eyes.  Still, there are so many holdovers even in innocent, seemingly unimportant, realms.  Our vocabulary often embraces new terms but hangs on to the old which can taint an opinion and form a bias.  To sanitize the language from these changes is often called political correctness but a concerted effort to change for a more equitable language to pass on to an always-younger, hopefully, more accepting generation, is sometimes an uphill battle.  Case in point–Dartmouth students began two years ago to lobby the Library of Congress to change the subject heading “illegal aliens” and replace it with something less inflammatory such as “non-citizens”.  This might not seem like much of a battle but it took two years and because an individual library cannot decide on its own to change its subject headings, the battle had to start at the epicenter–the Library of Congress.  The ALA had already signed on to such a change but, once the Library of Congress finally decided a change was in order, the angst of what to replace “illegal aliens” with became the order of the day. In the end, noncitizens and unauthorized immigration will be the replacement terms.  Though not ideal, the awkwardness of “aliens” can no longer be tolerated.  Read more.

When Books Meet Bikes

April 7th, 2016

Last summer, you may have heard about a local crowdfunding campaign for something called a “Buffalo Bookbike,” designed as a way to distribute free books to children during the summer. While the campaign on Indigogo didn’t meet its full goal, the project has still gone ahead thanks to the efforts, contributions and support of the local community. (Learn more at the Buffalo BookBike website.)

On Friday, I went to the unveiling party for the Buffalo BookBike at the Resurgence Brewery, along with Heidi Bamford, WNYLRC’s Outreach & Member Services Coordinator. The event brought together local activists, families, roller derby players, and reading advocates. Read on to learn what it was like.

Many local organizations took part in the event, including the Just Buffalo Writing Center. Volunteers for the organization took donations to write poems and short fiction on demand. How’s that for a great fundraising idea?







In addition, WNYBAC (the Western New York Book Arts Center) was on hand with children’s activities such as silk screening shirts.


We saw many local librarians there too, including WNYLRC members Kelly Lambert (Buffalo Public School Library System) and Steven Clancy (Buffalo & Erie County Public Library). We also caught up with BECPL director Mary Jean Jakubowski, pictured here with Mayor Byron Brown.


bookbike4               bookbike5

There was also a giant Jenga game available to play:



After everyone had time to mingle and check out the activities and food, the Mayor gave some opening remarks, and then the bike was unveiled. I was not able to get a good photo of the unveiling, but you can see it in this article from Buffalo Rising. Next was an adult tricycle race, which Mary Jean participated in.




With the funds raised at this event, the BookBike is scheduled to start operating this summer. Follow their Facebook page for future updates. And check out some event photos from BECPL’s Facebook page.