In-Service Project

Links to Project Pages

Internship at UNC-Asheville

Librarianship is…

  • Looking inward to examine oneself before looking outward to guide others.
  • Found in small actions we can take every day.
  • Something we should expect from ourselves and not be scared of the impact we can have in the lives of others.
  • About action and taking initiative.
  • Setting an example.
  • Cooperation and mediation.
  • Changing lives.
  • Giving encouragement.
  • Being the change you seek in the world.

Library Science Foundations in Action

Foundations of the Profession

All other seven of the core competencies relate back to the many foundations of librarianship.

Through my in-service project, I really wanted to convey the blanket statement I have created, derived from a compilation and analysis of the foundations listed below. This is the statement that librarianship is “Promoting community and learning through inclusivity and compassion,” because that is how I see myself in developing library services in my career.

Information Resources

What? Who? Where?

Information resources are all around us—especially in a library. These information resources are books, information resources are librarians, information resources are computers. All of this can be accessed through the reference & circulation desks, catalog computers, and public access computers as well as through simply browsing the stacks.

My project compiles several different types of information resources, specifically for the LGBTQ community at UNCA, into one central digital location.

Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information

To browse the stacks or to locate the physical item found in the computer, one must understand the organization of the library.

I have divided the topic of library organization into three different aspects:

The Physical Stacks: this is where the library’s physical books are shelved and arranged according to the LOC Classification System.

The Online Catalog: this allows patrons to find electronic and physical resources whether they are on or off campus.

Electronic Resources: these resources are available to students 24/7 and can be accessed from anywhere through the library’s website.

Although my project does compile lots of direct resources, it also gives advice for utilizing the library’s services to expand understanding and further personal research through understanding the organization of the library.

Technological Knowledge and Skills

Not only does my project display my own technological knowledge and skills through the creation of a website and LibGuide, but it also utilizes different technologies so that students can not only view the contents of the site, but also interact with it through the use of a (moderated) discussion board that even allows students to reach out privately to library staff.

The use of LibGuides will also introduce or reinforce the library’s organization and catalog navigation as well as supply students with research tips on LGBTQ issues.

Reference and User Services

The Library here at UNCA offers an extremely wide variety of services that are quite frankly very impressive such as the Video production studio, large format printers, sound booths, and media design lab. I feel these services complement traditional library services very well as it creates spaces for students to explore their creativity while being surrounded by librarians that are knowledgeable and inviting.

My project promotes reference services through information about how to research LGBTQ topics as well as creating a one-stop shop for all things LGBTQ in the library to foster a sense of community with this population.

Research

My site not only describes how to research but provides examples and some research excerpts that I have written on LGBT & gender studies subjects. Not only does this display my own research competency, but it provides students (especially visual learners and those that learn by example like myself) with sound examples of their potential.

Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning

Making the Library More LGBTQ-Friendly: A Lifelong Process

The first step to promoting lifelong learning is fostering a welcoming environment. This means EVERYBODY. Underserved populations are a big focus however, as these marginalized groups are often underrepresented.

As far as the South goes, Asheville is one of the most liberal cities you can find and I have witnessed first hand the inclusivity that goes on at UNCA, especially in the library.

I couldn’t have asked for a better location to complete this project. This is something I am passionate about and everyone was very supportive from Day One.

I think that a central LGBTQ website like this is something all college campuses need and I think UNCA is the college that can lead by example in increasing LGBTQ visibility for those of all ages, races, and backgrounds.

Administration and Management

After working with the organizational chart to include in my portfolio with this class, I was so happy I got to see all the different people that make the library operate effectively.

Through this internship and working on this project, I have been able to talk to many different people here and every person had something unique to add to my experience, and that is so with every person that comes through the doors.

Each person that works here is important in their own unique way, and this individual importance is obvious from the top down here.

Read my Reflection on the experience.

The Importance of LGBTQ Resources

The college years are some of the most life-changing and life-shaping years in a person’s life. I chose to focus on providing substantial resources to the LGBTQ community on campus at my internship site through the library. The choice to focus on LGBTQ resources had three major factors: my own interests, input from the university’s librarians, and research on the subject of LGBTQ resources in libraries.

I personally consider myself an advocate for LGBTQ rights and the opposition to restriction of access and censorship of these items in libraries. In my career, it is my goal to promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community in libraries and to highlight and develop available resources that will directly impact everyone in the LGBTQ community and its allies. I have focused on some aspect of the LGBTQ community as it relates to librarianship in each of my classes throughout the program and for my in-service project, I wanted to create an informative hub for students and patrons to access to educate them on the resources the library has available and how to navigate those resources, specifically resources for and about LGBTQ individuals. I think this project serves as an excellent capstone project for my time in the MLS program as well as an informative display of my skills, to jumpstart my career and solidify my career goals.

After discussing my ideas and intentions with different librarians at my internship site, I discovered that they had actually been discussing creating some kind of centralized resource guide for the LGBTQ community to promote diversity and inclusivity at the library. My idea for this project also was in the realm of their own interests as well and we all felt that this project would be beneficial to everyone involved: myself, the librarians, and the patrons.

There is not an endless amount of literature specifically on LGBTQ issues within libraries, but after researching through books and journal articles, I was able to discover the points that I needed to reinforce the need for a service like the one I created for my in-service project:

• Libraries are places where people from all backgrounds can coexist peacefully (Massey, 2016).

• “Encountering a book with queer characters and storylines can be a personal or academic milestone—a transformative awakening to self- knowledge,” (Adler, 2015).

• In one survey of an LGBTQ population, at least 75% indicated that they had sought refuge from bullying in a library at some point—this goes to show that libraries are extremely important, especially in more rural areas where LGBTQ resources are scarce (Day, 2013).

• Promotion and awareness of LGBTQ issues in each and every campus and community is important to change the ideas of those people and groups who think less of or look down upon LGBTQ individuals. As library and information science professionals, we have a unique position that allows us to promote these issues community and even worldwide in order to gain acceptance and understanding on behalf of our patrons in the LGBTQ community (Mehra & Braquet, 2007).

• Rochester boast one of the largest LGBTQ libraries in the nation and they started out making booklists and promoting LGBTQ materials to their patrons. Today they are a central location for those in the LGBTQ community and those wanting to learn more about it (Kramer, 2016).

In short, libraries are refuges and places of learning and information for those that are perhaps struggling with their own sexuality or gender identity and those that may know someone or just want to learn more about LGBTQ individuals in order to better themselves. It is clear that libraries can have a great impact on the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and therefore promote lifelong learning for everyone.

Why UNC-Asheville Will Benefit

When it comes to taking a look at the southern part of the US, and even more specifically at North Carolina, Asheville is a very liberal and LGBTQ-friendly city. However, a 15 minute drive out into the country can put LGBTQ individuals in places and situations where they are not welcome. This goes to show that while there are concentrated areas of acceptance, the rural south is still very much conservative and want nothing to do with the LGBTQ community.

Looking at UNCA, it is a very progressive community in the area and other colleges and schools in the area interact quite a bit with it. UNCA has the right focus, drive, and staff to encourage those in surrounding areas to research and learn more about those that are different. There are several LGBTQ groups on campus and as stated earlier, the librarians here have had aspirations of creating a hub specifically for this community to interact and to easier navigate the LGBTQ resources offered here. This project not only will allow the LGBTQ community on campus to easier find and use the library’s resources, but it will set an example for other schools in the community and even other schools around the region and state to follow suit and create LGBTQ informational hubs of their own.

Creation of the Website and LibGuide

In preparation of my in-service project, I started out with gaining access to UNCA’s LibGuides and began work on making booklists of different LGBTQ resources by exploring the stacks and seeing what materials UNCA currently had in their collection (physical and digital). I used different booklists from the American Library Association’s GLBT Round Table, other well-known LGBTQ literary awards websites, as well as my own knowledge on the subject as I make it a priority from a professional standpoint to keep up with what is being published on the subject. After creating the LibGuide, I moved on to create the central website for the library’s LGBTQ resources, which uses elements from the LibGuide such as the booklists. Where the LibGuide was limited, I expanded it with the use of the website. I used Google Sites as the platform for creation of my website as it is free to use, offers a wide variety of customizable features, as well as being extremely user-friendly for the creator and the users. I used different resources such as books and my own research knowledge to provide research tips specifically geared towards LGBTQ research topics as well as steps to making a more LGBTQ-friendly library environment.

In presenting my website and LibGuide to librarians and staff in the public services and outreach department of the library, I began with a Prezi showcasing the eight core competencies of the ALA and how they each were involved with my project. I think this served as a refresher for some and it also displayed each competency in action. After the Prezi portion of my presentation, I navigated through every section of the website and LibGuide, taking time to explain the purpose of everything there as well as how each element is used. For example, there is a section on the website for open community discussion through the use of a public (moderated) discussion board. This makes the website function not only as informational but as an interactive way for students to discuss LGBTQ needs and issues within the library and on campus in general. To conclude my presentation, I offered a chance for those in attendance to respond and ask questions and made it clear that I would be happy to discuss any element of the site individually with them at any time.

The Project’s Contribution and Continued Use

In creating this digital hub for LGBTQ resources at UNCA’s Ramsey Library, my intentions were to make something that could be of use for individuals in the LGBTQ community here and that could promote inclusion and acceptance of this community on campus and in the community as well as promoting the library and highlighting its wide variety of resources.

I also wanted to create something that the university could keep and continue to use, which is why I purposefully used a web domain special to the school that they could continue to direct students and staff to the site and even link to it from the library’s website itself. Our hopes for this site is that it can:

A) Help and encourage those in the LGBTQ community on campus,

B) Promote diversity and inclusivity campus-wide, and

C) Be an example for other schools, universities, and public libraries on how to promote diversity and develop LGBTQ resources.

References

Adler, M. A. (2015). “Let’s Not Homosexualize the Library Stacks”: Liberating Gays in the Library Catalog. Journal Of The History Of Sexuality, 24(3), 478-507. Doi:10.7560/JHS24306

Day, S. (2013). Libraries As LGBTIQ Venues. Gay & Lesbian Issues & Psychology Review, 9(1), 46-50.

Kramer, D. (2016). Rochester boasts one of the largest LGBTQ libraries in the nation. Empty Closet, (506), 15.

Massey, L. (2016). Checking Out Equality. Echo Magazine, 27(12), 68.

Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2007). Library and Information Science Professionals as Community Action Researchers in an Academic Setting: Top Ten Directions to Further Institutional

Change for People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities. Library Trends, 56(2), 542-565.