Sara Williams assumed a new position as Head of Academic Outreach this fall semester. She will shape a program of creative academic outreach to the Monroe Park Campus. In addition, she will lead a group of faculty librarians to expand their connections to their disciplines and students and faculty. Working collaboratively with faculty colleagues, she will ensure that VCU Libraries is at the center of new and evolving modes of pedagogy and scholarship.
Academic librarians for many years have not been limited to sitting behind their desks waiting for researchers to come to them with questions. VCU has a tradition of activist librarians--embedded in schools and programs to which they are assigned, serving on university and research committees, and working closely with faculty to identify their discipline-specific research and teaching needs.This new position is a step-up from previous work.
Williams brings a strong foundation of education and experience to it. Her most recent professional experience includes four years as Assistant Director of Public Services at the Carrier Library at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Prior to that, she served in several leadership and liaison roles at libraries at the University of New Orleans and Tulane University. She began her professional career at the University of Georgia. Ms. Williams holds the B.A. in English literature from The University of Alabama and the M.L.S. from Louisiana State University.
Explaining her thinking about this new role on campus, Williams said: "Academic outreach describes both the naturally evolving process and the deliberate extension of library services beyond traditional collections, tools and communities. Today's effective librarians respond creatively and dynamically to our users' needs for information and data. We continually experiment, monitor and assess new tools, skills and collaborations to help researchers find, analyze, evaluate, share, interpret and use documentation and evidence.
"One of the most exciting parts of this user-centered approach will be in applying our already excellent information skills to new types and formats of materials: everything from data sets to artifacts to published and unpublished research from non-western areas and minority cultures."
"Outreach is all about understanding, and staying on top of, the changing responsibilities of researchers, learners, and anyone who wants to be best-informed in a world of global information."
In addition to the appointment of Williams, the new initiative also will be led by Bettina Peacemaker, a librarian who has taken on many outreach responsibilities, first as a social sciences and business librarian, and later as Assistant Head for Research and Instructional Services. She has been named Assistant Head of Academic Outreach. Ms. Peacemaker will continue her deep relationships as a discipline-specific liaison and build on relationships of many years' making. Previous to her 10 years service at VCU, she worked at the University of Maryland University College. Ms. Peacemaker holds the B.A from the University of Mary Washington and the M.L.S. from the University of Maryland.
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This new department head will provide leadership for outreach and engagement with upper-level undergraduate and graduate students and faculty throughout departments, school, colleges and interdisciplinary programs. She will work to:
- Create and implement a program for creative academic outreach, with responsibilities for academic outreach librarians to the Monroe Park campus to undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty in humanities, arts, business, sciences, engineering, social sciences and public affairs.
- Take strategic responsibility for the development, promotion and delivery of research support, enabling all University members and external partners to locate, access and organize information using the most appropriate tools.
- Collaborate with teaching faculty to develop course content.
- Paticipate in assessing and designing student learning outcomes.
- Lead outreach programs to the campus and appropriate local communities.
The Open Access movement is a worldwide effort to provide the public with unrestricted, free access to scholarly research--much of which is publicly funded. While Open Access promises to accelerate scientific research efforts and allow authors to reach a larger number of readers, it also raises a number of questions and concerns.
VCU Libraries has organized a series of free and open programs designed to begin an in-depth conversation at VCU about Open Access publishing models during International Open Access Week.
Planned are an open forum on Open Access and sessions geared to researchers who manage data, NIH grantees and faculty and graduate students considering or wanting to learn more about Open Access publishing.
"In organizing these sessions and working with faculty on both campuses, I've discovered how complex this topic is for scholars and researchers," said Nita Bryant, Ph.D., a research librarian who is chairing the project for VCU Libraries.
"We expect these sessions will serve as a learning exchange that will bring forward concerns and questions that will help librarians--on the front lines of scholarly communication--learn what our faculty and graduate students need from us in terms of resources, support and further education."
- Open Data
Oct. 22, 3-4 p.m., Cabell Library, Room 250
- Open Access Publishing
Oct. 23, noon to 1 p.m., Cabell Library, Room 250
- What NIH Grantees Need to Know about Public Access
Oct. 24, noon to 1 p.m., Cabell Library, Room 250
- Open Forum on Open Access
Oct. 24, 4-5:30 p.m., Cabell Library, Room 250
VCU Libraries will present Advance Your Research on Tuesday, Oct. 15, a full day of walk-in workshops for graduate students and faculty designed to help make their research process better, faster and smarter. Sessions are free and open to all. First come, first seated. Details
- Academic publishing
- Google for scholars
- Grey Literature
- Online scholarly materials
- Literature reviews
- Elevator pitches
- Impact factors
"We know from the conversations we have with graduate students and faculty that VCU researchers need these kinds of sessions," said Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head for academic outreach. "They want to streamline their research process, and we have resources that will make their work easier. So, we designed a day filled with the kind of information we've been providing in one-on-one consultations or in classroom settings."
Schedule of Workshops
8:15 a.m. Check-in opens.
8:30 a.m. Resources for Your Research: Enjoy a light breakfast, network and discover research resources around campus.
9:30 a.m. Make an Impact: Finding the Right Journal for Your Research: Understand what a journal impact factor is, what it is not and how to use it. You'll discover other techniques and resources to find just the right journal for your research.
10:30 a.m. Three-Second Thesis: Practice Your Elevator Pitch: Think about how to explain your ideas to others. Learn to reel off your research plans and proposals to grant administrators, potential collaborators, bigwigs and your grandma.
11:30 a.m. Better Reference Management through Technology: Save time, toil and trouble by organizing your sources and references using RefWorks, Zotero and other online resources.
12:30 p.m. Lunch with Your Librarian: Join us for lunch and informal conversations about your work with library colleagues. Please email or register if you plan to stay for lunch so we can prepare for everyone.
2 p.m.: Learn to Love Your Lit Review: Learn how to locate the important literature on your topic, track down citations and organize them effectively.
3 p.m. Let Me Google That for You: How to Make the Web Work for Your Research: Leverage common web tools to find so-called "grey literature" and online scholarly material, understand key players, stay up to date and put yourself out there.
4 p.m. Can I Publish That? Working with Images and Media: Become more familiar with the parameters of copyright for images and media and the procedures for using these materials in academic publishing.
More about Academic Outreach at VCU Libraries
Have questions? Want to schedule a one-on-one consultation? VCU librarians specialize in your fields. Please call or email us. We're here to help you succeed in your academic pursuits:
Moving materials is a critical component of planning for the new library on the Monroe Park Campus. As part of preparation and clean-up in advance of construction (beginning spring, 2014), librarians are analyzing the collection for essential deaccessioning.
Today's academic libraries are no longer warehouses for books but workplaces for people. Construction will renovate some parts of the existing Cabell Library as well as add 93,000 square feet of new space. In order to meet the needs of the 32,000-member VCU academic community, 90 percent of the new space will be for researcher study space and workstations. This renovation will reduce the library's capacity to house physical volumes, which even in the ebook age, are still growing by 20,000 to 25,000 volumes per year.
"VCU librarians are carefully assessing the needs of the VCU community by analyzing use and circulation patterns and by studying how other research libraries manage their print collections in light of the burgeoning growth of e-resources," said John Duke, senior associate university librarian. He is overseeing what Cabell's librarians are calling "The Big Shift."
Books with a history of low use will be moved into VCU Libraries' off-site compact shelving storage facility at 500 Academic Centre.
VCU Libraries also will reduce the size of the print collection in these five ways.
- The reference collection on Cabell's first floor will be reduced. Legal and reference sets and indexes that have been superseded by e-resources or that are no longer appropriate for VCU will be withdrawn. Remaining volumes will be made available for circulation.
- Government document use has been shrinking because most titles are available electronically. Obsolete volumes will be withdrawn.
- JSTOR collections provide high-quality digital images to replace print journals. In the 2010 renovation, most printed bound volumes replaced by JSTOR were moved into storage. An analysis of use shows only two articles were requested over two years. Librarians have reviewed these print journals: About 860 can be safely withdrawn without affecting scholarship or the classroom because the VCU Libraries holds the electronic version.
- Duplicate copies of books with low circulation and obsolete books without curricular or research value to VCU will be withdrawn.
- In some cases, print volumes for which permanent ebook versions exist will be withdrawn, especially if the print version is worn and at the end of its useful life.
Deaccessioned volumes will be sold or offered to other libraries or recycled.
Faculty or researchers who have questions about the collection calibration plan will find additional information and are invited to contact
- Collection librarians responsible for your subject area
- Head, Collection Analysis and Investment Department Karen Cary, email@example.com
- Senior Associate Librarian John Duke, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alderman, Swem, Cabell, McConnell, Wilder, Johnson, Newman, Tompkins-McCaw, Boatwright, Lyman Beecher Brooks and Claude Moore are among Virginia academic libraries.
Now, they share a new commonality.
Any member of the VCU community--student, faculty or staff--can walk into any of these participating libraries and others, prove affiliation with VCU and enjoy immediate borrowing privileges. This convenience might prove particularly helpful for traveling researchers or students visiting their hometowns on school breaks.
The pilot program for the 2013-14 academic year is through the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) consortium.
VCU borrowers at other participating libraries will be asked to login to
Central Virginia author Dale Brumfield is set to launch his latest book this month. And on September 4, he'll be giving a VCU Libraries Presents talk sponsored by Special Collections and Archives at 1 p.m. at James Branch Cabell Library.
The library is a familiar place for Brumfield, who relied heavily on VCU Libraries collection of independent and alternative newspapers, weeklies, zines and magazines to research "Richmond Independent Press: A History of the Underground Zine Scene."
According to publisher notes on Barnes & Nobel website: "During the political and cultural upheaval of the 1960s, even the sleepy southern town of Richmond was not immune to the emergence of radical counterculturalism. A change in the traditional ideas of objective journalism spurred an underground movement in the press. The Sunflower, Richmond's first underground newspaper, appeared in 1967 and set the stage for a host of alternative Richmond media lasting into the 1990s and beyond. Publications such as the Richmond Chronicle, the Richmond Mercury and the Commonwealth Times, as well as those covering the African American community, such as Afro, have served the citizens of Richmond searching for a change in the status quo. ... Brumfield explores a forgotten history of a cultural revolution."
Brumfield draws clear distinctions between the monopolistic mainstream press (The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Richmond News Leader) and the jaunty, nimble underground papers.
Some observers of the journalistic scene, he says, "may recall the underground press of the '60s and '70s only as a temporary deviation, choosing to emphasize the papers' divisions and their failures while de-emphasizing their successes. Richmond's 1960s underground press may have been short-lived but it did not fail. It achieved its purpose of giving a voice to radical criticism and social change.
"The legacy passed on by those gritty, early papers was the alternative press that rose in the mid-70s and the '80s, leading the way for longer lasting publications such as STYLE Weekly, now in its 32nd year."
Brumfield contributes to STYLE Weekly and the Austin Chronicle. He is the co-founder of ThroTTle Magazine, a Richmond indie publication. A VCU alumnus and MFA graduate student, he also worked on the Commonwealth Times. The book, "Richmond Independent Press: a History of the Underground Zine Scene," is published by History Press of Charleston, South Carolina.
Eric D.M. Johnson has joined VCU Libraries as Head of Innovative Media, a key initiative of the libraries.
Johnson will take an immediate role shaping a state-of-the-art innovative media studio for the new library building on the Monroe Park Campus, which is scheduled to open in 2015. In addition, he will establish strategic relationships with faculty and staff at VCU to design services and educational programs to support students' curricular requirements in creating, disseminating and using all forms of media.
"Working collaboratively with faculty colleagues in the VCU Libraries and throughout the university, Mr. Johnson will ensure that VCU's library system is at the center of new and evolving uses of media for course-related and research needs," said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider.
Said Johnson: "I'm excited to have the opportunity to help build a community of diverse producers and users of media from across campus, welcoming them to a new space in the library in which they can explore creative ways to tell the stories--through sound, image, animation and more--that they want to tell."
The idea? To collaborate on an innovative, born-digital project called British Virginia, a series of peer-reviewed, open-access editions of colonial documents and printed books. VCU scholars would identify, edit and prepare for publication new documents and books, and VCU Libraries would publish these editions through its digital repository for scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Three years later, at the end of spring semester, VCU Libraries launched British Virginia. The inaugural digital publication is the first of the "Virginia Company Sermons," which William Symonds preached in London in 1609. The importance of this and the other little-known, early Virginia Company sermons lies in their purpose: to encourage colonization of the Virginia settlement and to instill the ideology of the endeavor in listeners who had heard much criticism of the colony.
Working with the Virginia Historical Society, Eckhardt edited, described and contextualized the copy of Symonds' sermon. Then, with the images of the rare book that the VHS produced for British Virginia, he designed a second edition of the same sermon, a searchable photographic facsimile.
For VCU Libraries, British Virginia marks a significant contribution to a dialogue about the future of academic publishing and how libraries can assist faculty and researchers to find, use, and re-interpret obscure or previously inaccessible documents.
Librarians historically have been on the vanguard of new and emerging technologies and four librarians collaborated to develop the publishing model for this significant digital initiative. The team was: Sam Byrd, Digital Collections Systems Librarian, John Duke, Senior Associate University Librarian, Kevin Farley, Humanities Collections Librarian, and Jimmy Ghaphery, Head, Digital Technologies.
"VCU Libraries is confident that British Virginia will inspire and influence how academic libraries and faculty collaborate to create exciting, innovative digital scholarship," said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. "Projects like VCU's British Virginia represent the best of the future of open-access, digital publication for the 21st Century."
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British Virginia is a series of scholarly editions of documents touching on the colony. These original sources range from the 16th and 17th-century literature of English exploration to the 19th-century writing of loyalists and other Virginians who continued to identify with Great Britain. British Virginia editions appear principally in digital form, freely downloadable. The editorial offices sit appropriately at the research university nearest both the falls of the James River and the site of the first English college planned for this side of the Atlantic Ocean, Henricus Colledge.
To contact VCU's digital publishing program: John Duke, email@example.com, (804) 827-3624.
Like the forever stamp, one of your library services stays with you, at the same price (free) forever.
One of the many tools VCU Libraries provides students is RefWorks. This web-based citation management tool stores citation and reference information in personal databases. The individual can manage references in folders for individual topics, courses, grants or collaborative projects. It automatically generates bibliographies in various formats (MLA, APA, Chicago).
All VCU-affiliated users who have VCU and/or MCVH-VCU email accounts may set up free accounts.
If you have a RefWorks account, your references are yours forever. Whether you go onto graduate school at another institution or go into the workplace, you can still have access to your references via the RefWorks Alumni Program. You can continue to use RefWorks to manage research materials of all kinds--whether you are in school or on the job.
Members of the class of 2013: Remember to set up a RefWorks Alumni account before graduation to continue to have this benefit of your VCU Libraries relationship.
Details about the RefWorks Alumni Program
Students, faculty and staff with RefWorks accounts who leave VCU may continue to have access to RefWorks through the RefWorks Alumni Program. As a participant in the program, you receive:
- One free RefWorks account
- New updates and feature releases
- 200 MB of file attachment storage
- Use of RefShare to share your folder(s) or account
- Free Web-based training
- Technical support from RefWorks staff
To request participation in the RefWorks Alumni Program, submit an Ask Us email or contact your RefWorks administrator:
Arendt and Roseberry will work closely with science departments in the College of Humanities and Sciences, the School of Engineering, VCU Life Sciences, and colleagues on the MCV Campus to meet teaching and research needs of faculty and students in the sciences and engineering. They will collaborate with teaching faculty and colleagues in the VCU Libraries to develop and deliver course-integrated instructional content, as well as extend research consultation services and provide customized, discipline-specific research assistance. They also will help develop the print and digital reference collections supporting the sciences and engineering, and will work closely with colleagues at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences to meet the needs of faculty and students in sciences and engineering throughout the university community.
Arendt (right) brings a foundation of experience to her new role with the VCU Libraries. As science and engineering reference librarian at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, she was liaison to several departments including mechanical engineering and energy processes, chemistry, physics and psychology. She provided specialized reference services, discipline-specific information literacy instruction and online content. Arendt also taught a course on information literacy and use of the library. She holds a B.S. in chemistry and psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Science in Information from the University of Michigan.
Roseberry (left) brings strong background in science to her new role with the VCU Libraries. Her experience includes co-authoring an article published in the International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos and work as a research assistant as part of the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates. While working at a practicum at Oberlin College's Science Library, she produced an extensive collection of subject guides as part of a transition to Subject Plus and assisted with library instruction for biology students. Roseberry holds a B.A. in physics from the College of Wooster and Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University.