Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 


Trust Me, I'm a Black Woman
March 2021

Hosted by the Griffiths Leadership Society at the University of Missourimoderated by Emma Smoczynski, Programming Co-Chair; presented by Niki Harris, Ph.D. candidate at Azuza State University, studying leadership, identity development, and change.

While this is focused more on the individual and not specifically tied to work within the library world, Harris's presentation was important as it focused on understanding one's own identity before engaging with race and social justice. Her presentation emphasized being authentic to oneself, which other presenters, like Dr. Nicole Cooke, have also noted. Harris mentioned the stages of Racial Identity Development as described by Beverly Daniel Tatum, which notes that the consideration of one's racial and ethnic identity is just as important for whites as it is for people of color.

If a person's place of work is not engaging teams in deep conversations of race, identity and diversity, Harris's talk is a good place to begin considering one's own space in our society, and how our identity is seen and felt by others. During the question and answer session toward the end of the hour, she emphasized that yes, having difficult conversations with others about race is important, but be kind. Use qualifiers -- "I may be wrong, I might say this in the wrong way, this makes me feel" -- to be kind to other people while discussing such fraught topics. Accept that they may be defensive, but emphasize your perspective.

Creating Instructional Videos: A Lesson in Resilience and Adaptability
February 2021

Hosted by the North American Virtual Reference Online Conference; moderated by Sandy McCarthy, Faculty Librarian at Washtenaw Community College; presented by Aleksandra Blake and Sherri Sundstrom, both Research Support Services Librarians at MacOdrum Library, Carleton University in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada.

The librarians found that before a restructuring, there were no guidelines or a coordinator to manage videos posted to the Carleton University Library YouTube channel. Research tutorials were mixed in with marketing videos, and no one was reviewing content to make sure everything was up-to-date. (It was not.) With the restructuring, a new teaching and learning librarian took on the responsibility of coordinating the creation of new videos, writing guidelines and creating a workflow for video creation. The guidelines included the creation of a script and keeping the video at an optimum length, preparing proper lighting and sound for the recording, and keeping pedagogical approaches and educational objectives in mind throughout the entire process.

The library staff used such software as Kaltura's Personal Capture and MediaSpace, Camtasia, Zoom, and even iPhone cameras to record their videos. Because of the use of multiple softwares and with people working from home during the pandemic, production quality was uneven. The presenters showed some of the challenges librarians faced with particular softwares, particularly uploading video content from home and the creation of captions. The library is continuing to evaluate video creation platforms in the hope that they will find one that is easier for everyone on the staff to use.

Partnering With Black Students to Learn About Their Library and Campus Experiences
December 2020

Hosted by the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries; moderated by Elaina Norlin, Program Coordinator for Professional Development, ASERL; presented by Emily Daly, Head, Assessment & User Experience Department, and Joyce Chapman, Assessment Analyst & Consultant, both at Duke University Libraries.

This 60-minute webinar, available to watch above, focused on a report developed by a team at Duke University Libraries after questions from a comprehensive study about student experience in the libraries led to in-depth reports and studies of first-generation students, Black students, and International students at Duke University. The study sought to investigate 
three main areas: What it means to be Black at Duke, Systematic injustice perpetuated through the DU curriculum, and How spaces and services at Duke University Libraries help students feel supported. The webinar takes viewers through how the research was carried out, what the libraries learned from student responses, and next steps for the library to take in order to be more inclusive.

How to Champion Teaching and Learning in the Digital Humanities
December 2020

Hosted by Library Journal; moderated by Lindsey Gervais, Digital Learning Manager, Gale; presented by Emily Cox, Collections & Research Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences, & Digital Media at North Carolina State University, Catherine Nichols, Advanced Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies at Loyola University Chicago, and Sarah Ketchley, Lecturer at University of Washington.

[Image description: A screengrab of a student project about the Origins of the Ghost Dance created using Omeka, one of the assignments discussed during this webinar by professor Catherine Nichols.]

This 60-minute webinar used a panel of practitioners to discuss the team approach used in teaching and completing digital humanities projects. Ms. Cox emphasized the importance of collaboration with the library for these projects -- librarians can help professors implement DH projects in their lesson plans, doing one-shot instruction on the software or even becoming embedded in the class. Their support of these projects is a natural extension subject librarians' expertise; investing in DH projects and finding ways to promote them inside and outside of the campus community is good for both the library and the students. All three presenters advocated using open source and easy-to-use (and access) software like Omeka, as illustrated by the student project example above.

Gutoske, E. (2018). Origins of the Ghost Dance.

Video Creation and Editing for Instruction in Libraries
July 2020

Hosted by WeHere; presented by Carly Lamphere.

This hour-long webinar (which ran long to be an hour and a half) introduced users to the basics of video editing within the sphere of academic libraries and virtual instruction. Ms. Lamphere took attendees through the planning process, emphasizing the importance of running time (2 minutes or less for short videos; no more than 10 for longer ones), branding, and planning. She introduced several platforms for online editing and noted the differences between open source and proprietary options.

One of three presentations from the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table presented as an Afternoon of Social Justice on June 29, 2020; it was posted to the following week.

Moderated by Dr. 
Melanye Price, Endowed Professor of Political Science, Prairie View A&M, Houston, TX
Speakers: Dr. Carol Anderson, Chair, African American Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; 
David Daley, a journalist and the author of "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy,” Haydenville, MA; Mac Heller, Executive Producer of Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook; and Tomas Lopez, Executive Director, Democracy NC, Durham, NC

The 90-minute round table began with an excerpt from Mr. Heller's documentary on voter suppresion, showing how various states have disenfranchised voters, particularly Black citizens, and a discussion of voter suppression. Dr. Anderson gave examples of conservative leaders like Paul Weyrick publicly admitting that voter suppression benefits the Republican party, as well as how many conservatives use a variety of tools, including photo IDs and closure of polling places, to suppress voting. The contributors also discussed how political parties have tried to control district mapping and the distribution of representatives at both the state and national level.

After a tense discussion, the round table ended with the contributors asking the question, How can we encourage widespread voting this year? The panel encouraged attendees to register as poll workers in order to make sure that polling locations are open this year, particularly when many elderly people (who often work these spaces) should not be exposed in such environments. Finally, whether we're working in a university setting or a public library, the panel encouraged librarians to make sure that all patrons understand their rights related to voting, and to help them understand the process.

American Library Association. (2020, July 2). SRRT's Afternoon of Social Justice | Democracy in the Time of COVID [Video].

Keynote speech for the SCELC Colloquium 2020, hosted by the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium; presented by Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication, University of Utah

In this 30-minute presentation, Mr. Anderson argued that there is a moral imperative to increase open access to scholarship and to stop restricting access to scholarship behind paywalls. While he doesn't think universal open access will happen, at least at any time in the near future, he does believe that open access will and should continue to expand. He admitted that the outcomes of the expansion of open access are both positive (more access to scholarship, immediate reusability of scholarship) and negative (who is confirming the quality of this scholarship? who is paying for the publication?), and he discussed the impact of these outcomes on the future of libraries -- what new functions can the library support, in terms of data management, open scholarship, and more? How can the library evolve in order to avoid becoming irrelevant?

[Image description: Photograph of presenter Dr. Dipensh Navsaria. Available under CC by NC/SA.]

Hosted by DEMCO; presented by Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

This one-hour webinar was released as Texas was opening up and we were being told we needed to prepare to return to campus for a soft open. Like many people, I was anxious about returning to a space filled with people, and I knew that hearing what a doctor has to say about opening a library safely would be helpful. One of his most helpful statements was that "No activity is 100% safe, but calm, caring and confident comprehension and compassion for everyone around you is going to take us all a long, long way." It was also helpful to learn that our library was already planning to do several things that he recommended, like a staged reopening that includes curbside pick-up and rearranging spaces for when patrons are allowed back in. And he suggested a couple of resources to help in planning:

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria [image]. (2016). 

January 2020

Hosted by Junior Library Guild; presented by Angela Christianson and Drew Scott

This one-hour webinar was not related to the below webinar, which I had watched the week before, but the presenters reinforced many of the points from the first presentation, like making sure that diverse characters have diverse experiences, rather than always confronting oppression or discrimination. They also gave a great metaphor to consider when looking at your library's collection and asking whether you have multiple books on a topic: "One book shouldn't be the only book in your collection on a topic or reflecting diverse characters. Are you the box of 8 crayons or 64 crayons?" As librarians, we want to make sure students have access to the variety of stories and perspectives that the larger box of crayons (i.e., stories) would provide.

Hosted by WebJunction; presented by Dr. Krista Aronson, Dr. Andrea Breau and Andrea Jamison

This one-hour webinar discussed the reasoning and research behind diverse juvenile collections, and then it presented an analysis tool (hosted at to evaluate your library's own collection. The research was a convincing reminder that every library should have a diverse collection, and the presenters gave great advice on how to build your collection in a conscious and deliberate way. The presentation suggested a sample checklist to compare to all new purchases, as well as a long list of resource websites for diverse books.
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