ACRL 2015: Portland!

I attended ACRL for the second time this year. The keynotes by Jad Abumrad and Lawrence Lessig were excellent. Abumrad gave an inspiring and wide ranging performance on personal change and transformation. Lessig’s talk on open access and political reform did an interesting job of connecting the two concepts.

I attended a session on Research Data Management with a great presentation by Nicole Vasilevsky from OHSU. In order to teach grad students RD principles, she does an amazing gummy bear project: she presents assets related to fictional research about gummy bears. The students got a packet with a gummy bear image and data. She had students crop and annotate the image, create a graph with the data, and then appropriately add metadata and citations. The student results were all different despite consistent instructions, and students universally left at least one thing out. Nicole also does a data management happy hour, which seemed like a good idea. Link: Slideshare.net/Nicolevasilevsky/acrl-march2015-final

Another session I thought was useful focused on maker spaces and programming. Megan Lotts, the Art Librarian at Rutgers, talked about her addition of a lego table to her library. She has students create their ideal library with legos — super interesting idea. She also leaves them out all the time as a source of creative energy and inspiration as well as a relief from writer’s block. Additionally, she’s sponsored a lego block party. She teaches a mini course and one of the assignments she does involves the lego table. She also works with a landscape architecture class. She has them observe everyone in he library and then build a model of what they observed.

Probably the best piece of advice from the lego presentation was that Megan doesn’t do a project without getting buy-in from at least one other department, which seemed like a great rule of thumb to try to employ when programming.

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