On Carving Out Time for Reading

The Spring 2018 semester is in full swing. Every morning I spend about an hour trying to cull my email inbox back down to a manageable level and every time I leave my desk I return to find my unread messages, like a virus, have reproduced. As the specter of THE INBOX hovers over my day, I also have a growing pile of articles on my desk and a several browser windows full of stuff to read and listen to–eventually.

Between meetings and class prep and committee projects, I often I don’t read or write as much as I would like to during the work week. If I’m really honest with myself, I might never read some of the articles on my desk right now. Carving out time for reading is certainly as important to my scholarship and teaching as all of the other work that fills my day but it’s something that I continually need to re-prioritize.

This blog post is a pitch for carving out time to read.

So sit down, close your email application so you don’t get distracted by that little chime that means you have another new message, and read one of the many things that are likely on your desk or open in your browser at this minute.

Here’s what I’m reading (and listening to) this week:

Berg, Jacob, Angela Galvan, and Eamon Tewell. “Responding to and reimagining resilience in academic libraries.” Journal of New Librarianship 3.1 (2018).

Chatterjee, Piya, and Sunaina Maira. The Imperial University: Academic repression and scholarly dissent. University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Hicks, Alison. “I wish I had known that: Advice from the field.” The Librarian Parlor.  Feb 14, 2018.

Mountz, Alison, et al. “For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 14.4 (2015): 1235-1259.

Mudditt, Alison. “Breaking the silence: The #MeToo moment in Scholarly Communication.” The Scholarly Kitchen. Feb 12, 2018.

Roh, Charlotte. “Library publishing and diversity values: Changing scholarly publishing through policy and scholarly communication education.” College & Research Libraries News 77.2 (2016): 82-85.

Williams, Joanna. Academic freedom in an age of conformity: Confronting the fear of knowledge. Springer, 2016.


Bringing Yourself to Work with Baharak Yousefi.” Secret Feminist Agenda. 

Silvia Federici & Wages for Housework.” Audio Interference.

Librarianship The Script.” </RANT>

Reflections on LaGuardia Community College Library’s First Scholarly Communications Internship

This post was contributed by Kathleen Fox, Fall 2017 Scholarly Communicatons Intern at LaGuardia Community College Library and recent graduate of Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

In the Fall 2017 semester, I completed a Scholarly Communications Internship at LaGuardia Community College’s Library. I never thought that I could fit an internship into my coursework since I had always worked full-time while in graduate school for my Master of Library Science. When I looked at the class offerings for Fall 2017, my last semester in the program, there was a limited choice of electives that would fit my schedule. When I saw that Liz Jardine and Ann Matsuuchi were looking for an intern, I knew I had to throw my hat into the ring and if offered the position, to make it work.  

I recall having difficulty grasping the concept of scholarly communications when I was first introduced to the idea in Fundamentals of Library Science. Undoubtedly the textbook referred to scholarly communications as it is defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries, “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use”.  It is a simple definition but also a broad one. I wondered what scholarly communications looked like in practice.   

It wasn’t until a year later that I revisited the concept again through my work at the health sciences library of a teaching hospital. I became professionally interested in information behavior of clinical faculty and their pupils and their students. Information-seeking behavior gets a lot of attention in the library and information science literature, but there are other information practices too, like management, use, foraging, and dissemination.

The internship at LaGuardia allowed me to look closely at the information dissemination, research, and scholarship practices of a multidisciplinary faculty base. One of my projects was to review two years’ worth of copyright permissions of recent faculty scholarship to determine eligibility for inclusion in CUNY’s institutional repository. The database Sherpa/Romeo was essential to this process. As of Jan 29 2018, it contains records for 2,474 publishers’ copyright and self-archiving policies. You will be pleasantly surprised to know that out of the total publishers indexed in Sherpa/Romeo, over 81% allow some form of a manuscript to be posted on either a personal website or an institutional repository.

Speaking of institutional repositories, another one of my duties was to promote CUNY Academic Works. As I was writing for the Library’s bi-weekly Tumblr series Faculty Fridays, I plugged Academic Works every chance I could, tying contribution to the repository with scholarly communications related issues, like creative commons licensing and the open access movement. My last post in the series was inspired by Monica Berger’s beautifully written post, It’s Not Just Always About You: Thinking about Preservation and Academic Works.  “[W]hen you share your work in Academic Works,” Berger writes, “…you are making a major contribution to a sustainable scholarly future.” Not only did I become versed in scholarly communications issues myself, but writing for the Tumblr series was an excellent learning experience in writing for social media (brevity is key!).

In addition to my assignments, I was able to attend professional development events: the Open Access Symposium at SUNY Stony Brook and the CUNY IT conference at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  The morning of CUNY IT, the Office of Library Services Copyright Committee hosted an Open Mic/Unconference. Led by Nora Almeida and Ian McDermott, the librarians shared their local efforts at open educational resources and copyright programming:

    • Ian McDermott (LaGuardia) made a GIF about OERs to be shared on research guides and asserted “free to the student does not equal OER.” He also presented on behalf on Miriam Deutsch (Brooklyn) and shared Brooklyn College Library’s OER research guide.
    • Madeline Cohen (Lehman) discussed Lehman’s efforts at teaching faculty about proper attribution. She also shared this attribution builder, a tool supported by Open Washington which helps users appropriately credit openly licensed works.
    • Kathleen Collins (John Jay) designed a Prezi which championed the exercise of fair use and taking advantage of content.
    • Liz Jardine (LaGuardia) spoke about their recent launch of their Learning Matters! Assignment Library, in which all works must posses a creative commons license. “Creative commons works with copyright, it doesn’t replace it,” Liz has learned to tell faculty. Her takeaway for the audience was to contextualize open licensing as it relates to copyright.
    • Cailean Cooney, Nora Almeida, and Monica Berger demonstrated an interactive activity they conduct with their OER faculty fellows. The activity links to a variety of scholarly and artistic works from a variety of sources (the New York Times, Lumen Learning, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, CUNY Academic Works, Openstax.org, Proquest Ebook Central, etc.) The fellows are assigned one of the links so they can identify where on the spectrum of copyright permissions that work lies, so that faculty may begin thinking about the reuse of their own and other works.

The community of CUNY librarians are inspiring and dynamic. My supervisors, Liz Jardine and Ann Matsuuchi, took me under their wing. Together, we presented an Open Access Week event on creating and maintaining a digital scholarly presence. Liz’s background in drama/the performing arts really came through in her presentation—she was animated and engaging. Ann let me observe her during a bibliographic instruction session. From that session, I learned that one way to connect with undergraduates and to teach information literacy is to have a conversation. Liz taught me how to look for copyright permissions on a publishers’ website when there is no entry for it in Sherpa/Romeo. She made herself available to me at all times, both on campus and remotely. Whenever she saw a pertinent Tweet or email from a listserv, she sent it my way.

Thank you both.

The Scholarly Communications internship at LaGuardia Community College was an invaluable experience. Part of my grade was contingent upon a site visit from one of the professors in my program.  She asked me to reflect on my internship, and I told her that the experience reaffirmed the kind of environment I want to work in.  

I was also reminded of an article we read for one of our class meetings, Real Learning Connections. Bird and Crumpton assert that internships are reciprocal and experiential learning opportunities which utilize the strengths of all parties involved: the faculty educator, the library practitioner, and the student intern.

You can find an open access version of Bird and Crumpton’s article here.

Correction: This original version of this article incorrectly listed Maura Smale as the third person speaking about the OER interactive activity. This version correctly lists Monica Berger as the third presenter.

Editor’s Choice: What We Know and What They Know: Scholarly Communication, Usability, and Unusability

This excerpt, from an article by Dylan Burns, originally appeared on the ACRLog

Over the past handful of years, a lot of digital ink has been spilled on library responses to #icanhazpdf, SciHub, and, most recently, the #Twitterlibraryloan movement. This hit home in my life because  in recent discussion with students at my University, we found that students told us outright that they used SciHub because of its ability to “get most things.”


Faculty are not cynical monsters who actively search for ways to be “anti-library,” but make rational choices that fit what they need. They aren’t very often knowledgeable about the inner working of collection development or the serials crisis but they are knowledgeable about what they need right now in their academic careers.

This brings me back to the issues surrounding SciHub and #Icanhazpdf. The important thing to remember about our users is that they spend much less time than we do worrying about these things. For them, the ease of use of a for-profit profile or a pirated pdf warehouse is an issue of access and not a preference towards profits or not-profits. While each choice we make as actors is political, I do not believe that our faculty who use these platforms are willfully ignorant or disloyal to their institutions, libraries, or librarians. They just want what they want, when they want it.

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