On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Poster for High Impact

Thompson Rivers University encourages professional development, offering many on-campus events on a wide range of topics. One annual event,  The Eighth Annual TRU Teaching Practices Colloquium held Monday, February 20, 2012, drew my attention.  I worked with two colleagues, Wendy Lehar and Melissa Svendson,  collaborating on a poster presentation aimed to raise awareness among faculty of SpringShare’s LibGuide product. We worked closely to write and submit an abstract, and design a poster and bookmark handout for the event.

Reflecting on processes taken, outcomes achieved, and audience reactions, I am  keenly aware we engaged in the practice of transliteracy, demonstrating several cross-platform and cross-technology skill competencies. We were participating in the environment of transliteracy as we created a poster and participated in the event.

Here’s how it went:

1)     Wendy and I collaborated when writing the abstract by each preparing a draft. I sent mine to Wendy and she combined the two. We edited it collaboratively and agreed on the final version.  Melissa finished by reviewing it then sending the final abstract with the application to the event coordinators.  The abstract was written using Microsoft Word and email, which we all deemed the quickest and most efficient way to accomplish our task.  While we might have used a more convenient collaboration program our mutual level of comfort with using Word won out.

2)     I created a Google Doc where we collaborated on the poster, adding our thoughts and ideas about content, colours, goals, and audience, and embedding relevant and evaluated objects, videos, images, and links to poster building standards of practice and examples.  Though we work together at TRU our schedules are so varied that we are rarely at the library at the same time.  Online collaboration with Google Docs was a good solution.

3)     I created a poster template in PowerPoint (40” x 40”). Wendy flowed in content and images as placeholders.  Melissa helped write much of the content, edited for parallelism, grammar, and spelling. Versions of the poster were exchanged via email with a final short meeting to review and complete in person. We evaluated the poster for clarity, alignment with purpose and intent, and whether it reflected what we believed to be our audience’s perceived information need. The poster was electronically uploaded onto the FTP service at the off-campus printer to produce a full colour draft. We evaluated that production, made changes, and sought feedback from colleagues. Revisions were few. A final poster was sent to the off-campus printer to their FTP for final full colour printing on high quality paper.

4)     I created a template design for a bookmark handout using PowerPoint.  This marketing / follow-up piece had a abbreviated information about the poster and included contact information.  Wendy contributed text for one side and Melissa for the other.  TRU’s print shop did a fantastic job producing a draft paste-up for us to view, evaluate, and edit and then the final printing.

5)     We had conspired to dress matchy-matchy with the poster on presentation day – red and blue!  We were a hit!

6)      Wendy and Melissa each used their own iPad and I used a BlackBerry Playbook to demonstrate the LibGuide platform and show examples of subject and research guides we had already created while discussing options to collaborate with faculty on others.

Incorporating digital media, visual media, social networking, and print outputs, we were able to pull together a great poster session and push out information to faculty increasing awareness for and interest in the LibGuide product where we design and create subject and research guides.

We are in a changing information environment where transliteracy competencies are flexible and developing. Crossing information delivery formats, sharing information in social collaboration programs, presenting information through both traditional (paper) and high-tech (tablets) demonstrated transliteracy competencies.

To round out the environment of transliteracy in which we work and play, I took a photo of the poster using my BlackBerry phone, uploaded it to Picasa, edited it in Piknik (so sad that will no longer be available after April 2012) applying a Polaroid frame effect, and uploading it as a picture here in WordPress.  The bookmarks are inserted below as a simple PDF.

I am honoured to know and work with Wendy and Melissa.  This small project was completed professionally, in good time, with creativity and easy collaboration much to the credit of both these amazing librarians.

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