Joyner Library team develops resource to improve student literacy skills

Two faculty members from Joyner Library have produced a new digital resource targeted to help students successfully complete research assignments.

Information Literacy Concepts, an open educational resource created by David Hisle, learning technologies librarian, and Katy Kavanagh Webb, head of research and instructional services, introduces high school, community college and college students to information literacy topics and gives them an overview of how to conduct their own research.

Open educational resources (OERs) are free to access and are openly licensed text, media and other digital assets used for teaching, learning, assessing and research. They also are commonly used in distance education and open and distance learning.

“By choosing to publish their textbook as an OER, Hisle and Webb have not only created a clearly-written, well-organized and thorough text that that can be used in multiple educational settings to teach information literacy concepts, but also one that can be freely customized or modified by other instructors to suit their teaching styles and their students’ learning needs,” said Jan Lewis, director of Joyner Library.

This openly accessible primer also provides learners with an overview of major information literacy concepts identified in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.

According to its introductory framework, “Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data and scholarship ethically.”

“We want to prepare our students for today’s rapidly changing information landscape,” said Hisle. “Information literacy skills are essential not just in the work they do as student researchers, but also as college graduates who will need to know how to find and evaluate information to meet their real-world information needs.”

Intended learners for this resource include students in their final year of high school as well as those in the first year or two of college. Specifically, these are learners encountering college-level research assignments for the first time.

Because these students are likely unfamiliar with many basic research concepts, this OER will guide them to fulfill the university’s expectations for conducting research and locating high-quality sources for their research-based assignments.

Content includes chapters stemming from navigating search engines, library databases and discovery tools, to evaluating source credibility and recognizing fake news.

“This freely available e-textbook will be a critical supplement for librarians at ECU (and beyond) to give a big-picture view of the skills that students will need to engage in to produce their own high-quality research,” said Webb. “We have tried to write the book in a way that it would be applicable to students in a variety of contexts, whether they are completing assignments for a writing composition course, in their majors or in a semester-long research skills course.”

Information Literacy Concepts is available at http://media.lib.ecu.edu/DE/tutorial/OER/Information_Literacy_Concepts.pdf.

For more information please contact David Hisle at hisled@ecu.edu or Katy Kavanagh Webb at kavanaghk@ecu.edu.

 

–Kelly Rogers Dilda
University Communications

“Beyond Bricks and Mortar” makes another stop on its community tour

“Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Revisiting the Sycamore Hill Community,” a Joyner Library photography project that shared a missing piece in the history of the displaced community, is continuing its traveling tour to reach local community members.

On display Sept. 1 through Sept. 30 at the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge, visitors and citizens of Greenville and surrounding areas are invited to visit the exhibit and learn about the predominately African American community that was displaced by a redevelopment project in the 1960s.

“We are thrilled by the opportunity to display this exhibition in various community locations,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement. “It is central to Joyner Library’s mission to not only help document and preserve regional history and culture, but to also make it publically available.”

Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1860 and was originally known as the African Baptist Church. The name was changed in the 1880s and referred to the sycamore trees surrounding the church’s location on the corner of First and Greene streets. The large brick church featured in the exhibit’s historical photographs was constructed in 1917 and was a Greenville landmark for half a century. When the Town Common Park was created in the late 1960s, both the church and the vibrant community that existed around it were forced to move.

With the support of a North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Grant and additional support from the Friends of Joyner Library, the Beyond Bricks and Mortar project began in late December, led by a team from Joyner Library including Charlotte Fitz Daniels, programs and events coordinator at Joyner Library, Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement at Joyner Library, and ECU graduate and professional photographer Michelle Butterfield.

“We were honored to help the Sycamore Hill community tell their story and excited about the possibilities with this project, said White. “It was overwhelming to have such a large participation in the portrait project, which speaks volumes to the strong sense of community and connection this group continues to feel even years later.”

On Dec. 27 and 28 of 2016, former Sycamore Hill community members and their descendants were photographed as close as possible to the sites of their former homes and church, many of which were located on what is now Greenville’s Town Common. Narratives from the former residents and family members about their memories of living in the Sycamore Hill community were collected by the Joyner Library team to accompany the portraits.

Historical images of the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church and the surrounding neighborhood from the Joyner Library Digital Collection are also included in the exhibition.

The exhibit illustrates that a community is much more than the bricks and mortar used to construct its homes. The photographs and narratives featured showed how the ties that bind are found in human connections.

Joyner Library Director Janice S. Lewis said, “Many of the people we interviewed were children or teenagers when their lives were disrupted by the destruction of their neighborhood. Their pride in their community, their church, their schools, and their families could not be destroyed, however. We are glad that we are able to preserve and share this small part of their history through the Beyond Bricks and Mortar exhibit.”

The traveling schedule for the exhibit includes one more location this year. From Oct. 3 through Jan. 31, 2018 the exhibit will be on display at the South Greenville Recreation Center.

The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge is located at 404 Evans St, Greenville, N.C. and open to the public on Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., on Saturday from 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.  For more information about the gallery please call (252) 551-6947.

For more information about this and other Joyner Library projects please contact: Heather White, assistant director for assessment & engagement at (252) 328-2870 or whiteh@ecu.edu 

Joyner Library celebrates excellence in student research and writing

Joyner Library announced the winners of its annual W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award for student research during an Aug. 23 ceremony held in the Janice L. Faulkner Gallery, located on the second floor of the library.

Sponsored by the Friends of Joyner Library, the W. Keats Sparrow Writing Award was named in honor of Dr. W. Keats Sparrow, professor emeritus of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes excellence in research and writing by students enrolled in English 1100 and 2201 composition classes during the summer and fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 semesters.

“Every August as the fall semester begins, we have the pleasure of recognizing three students whose English composition papers were selected for the W. Keats Sparrow Award,” said Jan Lewis, director for Joyner Library. “It is a wonderful way to start the new academic year and reaffirm the close connections between Joyner Library and the Department of English.”

Eligibility criteria required students’ papers to include a research component using Joyner Library’s resources.

Entries were judged on the quality of the research as well as the quality of the writing by a panel comprised of faculty from the Department of English and Joyner Library. Members of this year’s panel included: Dr. Tracy Ann Morse, director of composition/writing foundations; Grace Horne, teaching instructor, Department of English; and Meghan Wanucha, coordinator of instructional assessment, Joyner Library.

Winning the award for first place — and a $500 prize — was Jasmine M. Perry, in the department of Psychology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences, for “Homophobic Attitudes in Men.”

“This award means a lot to me,” said Perry. “In my life I have never been first place at anything, so winning this award shows how I have grown as a person, and it shows how dedicated I am to my area of study.”

Perry said the inspiration behind her winning paper came from personal experiences with friends and family members that are homosexual.

“I know that ‘coming out’ is a hard thing to do, and it requires a lot of confidence and a strong support system,” she said. “If people around you are homophobic it can lead to emotional turmoil and possibly suicide. I am so empathetic when I hear or read stories about people being bullied or abused due to their sexuality.”

Two additional award winners were:

Jenna M. Murdock, majoring in elementary education in the College of Education, in second place — a $300 prize — for “Motivating Students to Read.”

Carly E. Shomsky, in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance, in third place — a $150 prize — for “Sensory Processing Disorder.”

Second-place winner Jenna Murdock said the competition was the perfect opportunity for her to do more research on how to motivate students to read required texts. “I really enjoyed putting this paper together and it was more than just an assignment I completed for a grade,” she said. “I was able to learn so much new and valuable information that will help me become a better teacher in the future.”

“I think it’s wonderful that Joyner Library offers awards and competitions for students,” she said. “It helps further our writing skills and allows us to explore the many resources offered by the library.”

Carly Shomsky, the third-place winner, believes students really benefit from the opportunity to participate in Joyner Libraries awards and competitions. “It not only encourages students to receive good grades, but it also offers them the feeling of accomplishment,” she said.

“This award showed me how far I have come within my writing and as a person. Hard work and determination really do pay off.”

Also deserving recognition are the instructors of the English 2201 sections that produced the winners.  Dr. Tracy Ann Morse was Jasmine Perry’s and Jenna Murdock’s instructor, and Marc Petersen was Carly Shomsky’s instructor.

“This year’s award recipients clearly selected topics relevant to their lives and majors and used the assignment to improve their discipline-based research and writing skills,” said Lewis. “Congratulations to each of them for their outstanding work.”

For more information on how to participate in next year’s awards, contact David Hisle at 328-4978 or by email at hisled@ecu.edu.

Joyner Library exhibits photographic workings of environmental movements

Joyner Library is hosting the exhibit “Cry Ecology: Gibson Lemon and the Beeline Highway” in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library. On display from Aug. 8 through Oct. 8, the exhibit showcases a collection of photography based on two bodies of work by Linda Adele Goodine, Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor for the School of Art and Design at East Carolina University.

“Personally, I am drawn to her work because of its visual appeal as well as the deeper concepts that she explores in regards to how we manipulate land for our own ambitions and ideals,” said Charlotte Fitz-Daniels, programs and events coordinator for Joyner Library.

Goodine’s work has appeared in more than 40 solo exhibitions with a substantial national and international exhibition presence. She is also the recipient of 27 grants and fellowships.

“Cry Ecology is a conversation to be heard about the importance of our environment in which we live and why we should take better care of it,” Goodine explained. “The color and the inclusion of animals and plants were very calculated and constructed to talk about hierarchies and how we treat various aspects of living things, whether they are produced as a commodity or whether they are wild.”

“One unlucky rabbit became the impetus for my first still life,” she said of her Gibson Lemon series. “A click of the shutter, and an image emerged of a contemporary culture in transition, attempting to reconcile the cultivation of nature with the politics of production and eradication.”

In the New Zealand images, also part of the Gibson Lemon series, Goodine says she fashions a constructed still life in one frame, layering foreground, middle ground and background to create a relevant historical, social and cultural document.

“In New Zealand, as in the United States, nature is continuously manipulated for display and consumption,” she said. “My project explores the remaking of the contemporary material world through the metaphor of sustainable farming.”

In her Beeline Highway series, Goodine says she wants to investigate, present and create a dialogue about the loss of balance between technology, agriculture, commerce and conservation in the Everglades.

“The themes explored in Beeline Highway continue my earlier interest in America’s relationship to land and nature,” she explains. “As nature continues to be manipulated for display and consumption in many parts of the United States, the Florida Everglades represents a landscape at odds with the politics and challenges of production. It is my hope that these images of nature’s survival under the assault of modernity may inspire those who hope and work for its preservation.”

“We are excited to feature the work of Linda Adele Goodine, Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor at Joyner Library,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement. “Her exhibition of large, lush photographs is an impressive and exquisite display of work.”

Joyner Library will also hold a reception with artist remarks on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 5-7 p.m. in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery.

For more information contact Charlotte Fitz Daniels at fitzdanielsc16@ecu.edu or 252-328-0287.

 

 

 

Joyner Library celebrates twelve service award recipients

Joyner Library celebrated the 2017 Service Awards of twelve library recipients during a July 27 reception in the Faulkner Gallery.

The Service Awards Program is designed to serve as a sign of ECU’s appreciation towards the dedicated service its employees provide to the State of North Carolina and that of the UNC education system throughout their tenure.  Service awards are presented to each eligible employee at milestone dates in their career until retirement.

“Our honorees share a commitment to serving the public and making a positive difference through their work,” said Joyner Library Director, Jan Lewis. “Thanks to them – and to all of our staff members – for what they do every day to provide outstanding library services to the ECU community.”

Carolyn Willis and Ramona Okechukwu were each awarded for the longest amount of service at twenty-five years, followed by Hazel Walker with twenty years of service.

Celebrating fifteen years of service were Lisa Barricella and John Lawrence and with ten years of service, Chris Hodges and Tracie Hampton were also recognized.

Five-year service awards went to Katy Webb, Amanda Vinogradov, Brooke Tolar, Matt Clark, and Judith Barber.

On display now: “Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures”

“Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures” is on display in the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection on the third floor of Joyner Library.

Exhibited treasures include vintage advertisements and antique glass soda bottles, most of which were bottled in Greenville, North Carolina. Other items on display are letters, photographs and local memorabilia.

Visitors will learn how the famous soda brands and their local imitators got their start, along with the history of local bottling companies in Greenville and other successful regional enterprises.

The Cola Wars started long before Lionel Ritchie or Michael Jackson ever cut a record. Beginning in the late 1880s the success of Coca-Cola sparked a legion of imitators. Here in the Carolinas, Brad’s Drink proved the most successful on both a local and national scale.

Brad’s Drink, the original name for Pepsi-Cola, came from New Bern pharmacist and drugstore owner Caleb Bradham, who invented the concoction in the 1890s. In August 1898, Bradham named his creation Pepsi-Cola.

The national brands were originally delivered as syrups for distribution at an established soda fountain. Drugstores and other locations with soda fountains served as social hang-outs for all ages and classes.  As the idea of individual servings caught on, a franchise bottling system developed to distribute the national brands. The process encouraged the growth of local bottling companies all across the country. In the southeast, such companies were particularly numerous.

During the mid-1930s, the town of New Bern was home to four different bottling companies. At times, Greenville and Washington hosted as many as five separate bottling plants. It was not long before a host of local bottlers were trying their hands at crafting soft drink formulas.

The exhibit will be on display through October.

For additional information, contact the North Carolina Collection at 252-328-6601 or email lawrencej@ecu.edu or carpenterl15@ecu.edu

 

 

“Beyond Bricks and Mortar” exhibit begins community tour

“Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Revisiting the Sycamore Hill Community,” a Joyner Library photography project that shared a missing piece in the history of the displaced community, has started its traveling tour to reach local community members.

Now on display through August 23 in the EPPES Recreation Center Multi-Purpose Room visitors, and citizens of Greenville and surrounding areas are invited to visit the exhibit and learn about the predominately African American community that was displaced by a redevelopment project in the 1960s.

“We are thrilled by the opportunity to display this exhibition in various community locations,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement. “It is central to Joyner Library’s mission to not only help document and preserve regional history and culture, but to also make it publically available.”

Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1860 and was originally known as the African Baptist Church. The name was changed in the 1880s and referred to the sycamore trees surrounding the church’s location on the corner of First and Greene streets. The large brick church featured in the exhibit’s historical photographs was constructed in 1917 and was a Greenville landmark for half a century. When the Town Common Park was created in the late 1960s, both the church and the vibrant community that existed around it were forced to move.

With the support of a North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Grant and additional support from the Friends of Joyner Library, the Beyond Bricks and Mortar project began in late December, led by a team from Joyner Library including Charlotte Fitz Daniels, programs and events coordinator at Joyner Library, Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement at Joyner Library, and ECU graduate and professional photographer Michelle Butterfield.

“We were honored to help the Sycamore Hill community tell their story and excited about the possibilities with this project, said White. “It was overwhelming to have such a large participation in the portrait project, which speaks volumes to the strong sense of community and connection this group continues to feel even years later.”

On Dec. 27 and 28 of 2016, former Sycamore Hill community members and their descendants were photographed as close as possible to the sites of their former homes and church, many of which were located on what is now Greenville’s Town Common. Narratives from the former residents and family members about their memories of living in the Sycamore Hill community were collected by the Joyner Library team to accompany the portraits.

Historical images of the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church and the surrounding neighborhood from the Joyner Library Digital Collection are also included in the exhibition.

The exhibit illustrates that a community is much more than the bricks and mortar used to construct its homes. The photographs and narratives featured showed how the ties that bind are found in human connections.

Joyner Library Director Janice S. Lewis said, “Many of the people we interviewed were children or teenagers when their lives were disrupted by the destruction of their neighborhood. Their pride in their community, their church, their schools, and their families could not be destroyed, however. We are glad that we are able to preserve and share this small part of their history through the Beyond Bricks and Mortar exhibit.”

The traveling schedule for the exhibit includes two additional locations this year. For the month of September, it will be on display at the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge and then at the South Greenville Recreation Center from October 3 until January 31, 2018.

EPPES Recreation Center is located at 400 Nash Street in Greenville, NC and open to the public on Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. For more information about the EPPES Recreation Center please call (252) 329-4548.

For more information about this and other Joyner Library projects please contact:
Heather White, assistant director for assessment & engagement at (252) 328-2870 or whiteh@ecu.edu 

Intergalactic masterpieces now on display in Joyner Library

Joyner Library is hosting the exhibit “Ancient Photons” in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library. On display from June 9 through July 31, the exhibit showcases a collection of astrophotography captured by Tim Christensen, molecular geneticist and associate professor for the Department of Biology at East Carolina University.

“Tim is a prolific photographer, and I knew when I started working with him on the dataSTEAM exhibit that it would be an amazing opportunity to have Joyner Library host a solo show of his artwork,” said Charlotte Fitz Daniels, programs and events coordinator for Joyner Library.

Christensen says he’s mesmerized by the universe on radically different scales, from a fruit fly cell to the grand arms of a galaxy. And as an artist, Christensen believes he’s been heavily influenced by his scientific training.

“To a scientist, images are data,” he said. “Standing in both art and science worlds, I attempt to convey the art of the data. In capturing light from our galaxy and beyond, I stay true to the data while emphasizing the aspects of the image that inspire observers to think about the scale and beauty of our universe.”

He also says finding the path to his final images is a complex choreography of math, his sensibilities as an artist and scientist, and the subtleties of the subject.

“I love how he bridges the gap between art and science,” said Fitz Daniels. “His work is stunning.”

Growing up as the son of a school teacher, Christensen’s family vacations included camping trips and spending time outdoors. “That got me out in nature and under the skies and hanging out with bugs and plants,” said Christensen.

He once visited the high desert plateau with his family as a child, when his fascination with astronomy was born. Staring up at the dark night sky, he remembers seeing meteors and wondering what was up there.

Christensen also stated that telescopes are often perceived as time machines.

“The other aspect of astronomy I find interesting is this concept of time and that you look back in time when you look through a telescope,” he said. “Some of the photons I collect are 60 million light years away. That’s 60 million years old.”

Christensen’s referenced photon, on display and entitled “M109” is equivalent to 352 trillion miles away.

Christensen’s biggest challenge today is light pollution, and it’s getting worse. “I live just outside of Greenville in Simpson, and I can’t image anything in the sky to my west because of the lights in Greenville. I can only image things as they are in the eastern sky and as they rotate I have to stop and move to a different target,” he said. “The switch over to LEDs is actually a bad thing for light pollution. We now have generations of kids living in Greenville who will never get to see that night sky.”

The next goal for the artist is creating 48- and 96-panel mosaics of his works for large installations in science museums and centers. He hopes this will give more dimensionality to engage the audience in understanding the space and distance between objects within the image and believes it will take considerable time to complete. “My nine-panel mosaics take me 70-plus hours of night sky time to collect,” he said. “So you do the math.”

“We are excited to feature Tim’s work at Joyner Library,” said Heather White, assistant director for assessment and engagement. “His exhibition illustrates the power and necessity to integrate creativity and the arts in STEM initiatives.”

Joyner Library will also hold a reception on Thursday, July 20 from 4- 5 p.m. in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery.

For more information contact Charlotte Fitz Daniels at fitzdanielsc16@ecu.edu or 252-328-0287.

 

Marie and James Thompson Student Awards

Joyner Library announced this year’s winners of the James and Marie Thompson Student Award for outstanding student employees on May 15.

Established by James and Marie Thompson, both members of the Joyner Library Advancement Council, the $500 awards recognize two students employed by Joyner Library. Both winners will be given a chance to meet the Thompsons later this year during the fall 2017 Advancement Council meeting.

“We are extremely grateful for Marie and James Thompson, and their continued support of library student workers,” said Heather White, Assistant Director for Assessment & Engagement. “Joyner Library is so pleased to recognize student excellence and service because dedicated student employees provide a significant role in our mission’s success.”

Eligibility criteria required applicants to have worked in the library at least one semester while attending East Carolina University as a full time student, and be committed to working in the library for the 2017 fall semester.

In addition to completing the spring semester with a 3.0 or higher grade point average, students were required to submit a personal statement about the value of their work experience along with a letter of support from their supervisor.

Graduate students, John Dunning from the department of library science in the College of Education and Jacob Parks from the department of public history in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, were chosen by the Joyner Library selection committee.

“I enjoy working at Joyner,” said Dunning. “We are very fortunate that Joyner takes care of their student workers and offers opportunities like scholarships which help with the cost of our education.”

Some of Dunning’s work focuses on the Special Collections research room where he helps patrons access Joyner’s manuscript collections, rare books, and materials from the North Carolina Collection and University Archives. He believes by serving others and facilitating their access to information, he helps lessen the anxiety the search process can bring. He also hopes his assistance helps researchers to be better prepared and produce high-quality work.

Dunning plans to work as an academic librarian after graduating with his master’s degree from the library science program. “I value all the experience I am gaining as I work here,” he said. “I know that it will prepare me to work in the field and better serve the community where I continue my career.”

“The library is more than a hallowed hall of books,” he continued. “Joyner Library provides vital services to students, faculty, and the local community, and their staff is committed to serving those patrons and supporting the mission of the university.”

Parks, who works in the library’s preservation and conservations department, says the wealth of archival documentation in the special collections helped him shape his master’s thesis and future career ideas.

“My experience working with preservation and conservation within the library has shown me the complexities of archival management that go along with a state-funded archival repository,” he said. “After the conclusion of my master’s, I hope to become part of this community by finding a career in an archive or museum within the state.”

“Jacob is keenly interested in North Carolina history and in learning all things preservation,” said Tracie Hampton, lab manager and student supervisor for the department of monographic acquisitions and preservation & conservation. “He also has a knack for working with the materials, so he can personally address more difficult or tricky items, which is a tremendous help to our stewardship of Joyner Library’s collections.”

Hampton also says Parks’ enthusiasm is contagious to the other students, which raises the quality of their output and interest in Joyner’s collections.

“Jacob’s positive impact on Joyner Library far exceeds that of one single student.”

“I would like to send a special thank you to Marie and James Thompson for providing the funds necessary to make this scholarship possible,” said Parks. “The very existence of it shows that the students of Joyner Library are appreciated for their role in maintaining a quality library and university. It also shows that the ECU community will always be interested in facilitating a quality education for its students.”

For more information about student employment opportunities at Joyner Library please visit www.ecu.edu/cs-lib/about/studentemployment.cfm

 

 

Joyner Library’s 2017 Paraprofessional Conference

Joyner Library’s 2017 Paraprofessional Conference connects fellow institutions with community empowerment opportunities

GREENVILLE, N.C. (May 15, 2017) — Joyner Library’s SHRA Assembly held its 13th annual Paraprofessional Conference on Friday, May 12.

This year’s theme, Libraries and Community Empowerment, addressed the role played by libraries and librarians to help individuals and communities acquire knowledge about themselves and the world around them.

Joe Barricella, digital services production coordinator for Joyner Library, said, “Our Library and librarians interact with the community daily. We offer a variety of resources, including computers and books, which allow us to serve patrons. Although Joyner Library is often thought of as being a library for only the university, one of our key goals is also to serve the public.”

“The Beyond Bricks & Mortar: Revisiting the Sycamore Hill Community project is a perfect example of Joyner library partnering with the local community,” Barricella explained. “We were able to offer resources they might not have had readily available. These collaborative partnerships are the types of projects we hope to continue completing in the future.”

The one-day event was attended by more than 110 school, public and academic library paraprofessionals from at least 13 counties in North Carolina. In addition to a keynote presentation, attendees were offered four concurrent sessions for a total of 16 presentations about bringing positive change and growth to their home institutions.

This year’s keynote speaker, teaching assistant professor and graduate advisor in the Library Science Program for the Department of  Interdisciplinary Professions at East Carolina University, Dr. Lou Sua, presented a message on “Library as Place: Community, Leadership and Empowerment.”

Sua believes libraries are equalizers in their communities and more important today than ever.

“It’s our job to empower communities,” said Sua. “We are the people who can make a difference in the lives of so many people.”

With a percentage of the population unable to afford access to technology, libraries offer these resources and services for free. Libraries have also been a place where people develop citizenship skills.

“I think that we help shape our communities by providing an atmosphere for them to develop their own learning,” said Sua. “And with everything that’s going on now with fake news and alternative facts, it’s the libraries that can help people understand exactly what is real and what is not.”

She also thinks this conference gives attendees the tools they need to go back and do their jobs even better. “During this conference, people share their experiences and talk about what works well for them,” she explained. “Conferences like this help someone from a library that’s maybe struggling from budget cuts hear another approach to cost savings and inspire them to bring that back to their community.”

Facilitated by experts in the profession, attendees were offered a variety of session topics such as the role of free educational resources for community members, outreach to community groups and special populations, and citizen science community engagement.

Tammiika Krowner works in the Curriculum Learning Resources Lab at Fayetteville State University and attended a session on open educational resources (OERs).

These are free materials that can be used as an outreach tool for the public to gain access to work that might only normally be available through a paid educational institution or school. OERs can be used as supplements or core learning for homeschool families that are on limited budgets, for those seeking additional materials, as well as self-learning and discovery.

“I work with pre-service teachers and we are moving away from textbooks towards online information,” she said. “Building up those resources and the teachers’ knowledge about them and where to locate them is paramount for the future.”

Barricella says his biggest hope was for the attendees to enjoy themselves and learn something. “I believe this year’s conference was a big success,” he said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to has been enthusiastic about what they’ve learned today.”

Joyner Library offers special thanks to The Scullery, Great Harvest Bread Company, Dowdy Student Stores and Bagelman for their donations in support of this year’s conference:

For more information on this event or about Joyner Library, contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at rogerske@ecu.edu or 252-744-2232.