Friday, December 10, 2010

Final Day: Assessment of Learning Experiences

As part of my practicum final submission, I wrote an assessment of learning experiences. I have decided to include it here as a final note on my practicum blog:

I had an educationally rich experience during my practicum this semester at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives. Though my goal before the practicum began was to gain experience in cataloging, I am happy with the decision I made to conduct my practicum with a different ambition at the Rock Hall and thankful for the experiences the practicum has provided me.

Before applying for this practicum, I had been quite interested in gaining experience in cataloging. I had planned on doing so at the Rock Hall library, but as the semester approached, the Rock Hall still did not have a need for such a practicum student (the library’s projected opening has been postponed until after 2011). Since I had been cataloging as a graduate student assistant at the Kent State University Library, I decided to continue pursuing a practicum with the Rock Hall, in the hopes of finding another interesting project to conduct. The Rock Hall’s Library Director, Andy Leach, and I were able to decide on a few small projects for me to work on for the semester.

First, I was to continue the work I had been doing as a volunteer for the Rock Hall Library, which was to develop a list of videos recommended for the library’s future collection. I was also to begin creating a list of biographies and other books about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees. Finally, I set out to help the library research and develop a policy to shape the library’s patrons’ user experience.

The two collection development projects have been an excellent learning experience, especially since I was also taking the Selection and Acquisitions of Library Materials course this semester with Dr. Belinda Boon. The two experiences coincided to provide me with the best experience I could have imagined. You will find a detailed account of this process on my blog at

The policy and procedure project also allowed for an interesting experience, as I was able to conduct a wealth of research to shape my recommendations for a brand new library. In addition to reading many peer-reviewed articles and reviewing many libraries’ policies, I conducted a survey that included public, research, academic, and special library professionals. Not only did the survey provide valuable information on how other libraries are run, but it also provided me with the opportunity to communicate and form relationships with library professionals across the country. I am very thankful to Mr. Leach for providing me with contact information for so many helpful people.

All of the research and development for these projects can be found on my blog and wikis. I created a wiki that contains all of my practicum documents (, another wiki that contains my draft of a recommended policy for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives (, and a blog ( that includes my activities and what I have learned throughout the semester. Although there is an overwhelming amount of information included on these sites, I encourage you to read them to learn more about my amazing experiences.

Now that my practicum is nearly finished, I am completely satisfied with my decision to take this experience rather than look for a cataloging practicum. I was able to learn so much more, and I now also have the option of doing some cataloging volunteer work for the Rock Hall; I may even apply for a cataloging position there in the future. Not only did this practicum provide a valuable experience, but it also allowed me to make important connections in the professional world that will be extremely important as I begin my career. Overall, I am thankful for and excited about the experience I gained during my practicum this semester at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives.

Coming up next: Who knows?! It's time to begin applying for jobs, so wish me luck in this treacherous venture. As always...

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 21, Hour 105

This morning, I applied the revisions suggested by my Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials professor, as well as some revisions of my own, to the policy I created in Wikispaces. The tone of the document now seems much more professional and representative of the institution. If you would like to view the policy, please contact me and I will send you a personal invite, as it is private.

Today marks my 95th on-site hour, but I will continue to work here on collection development through December 9. I am really enjoying seeking out interesting and valuable materials about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's inductees. As I mentioned at an earlier date, if you would like to see a list of the materials I have suggested, please contact me and I will provide that information for you.

Coming up next: I will begin to work on the assessment of my learning experience, which is required as part of my final practicum submission. I do not think it will be difficult to provide examples of what I have learned, since I was able to chronicle most of my journey on this blog.

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 19, Hour 95

As you may know, in addition to policy and procedure, I have been working on some collection development for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library + Archives. This is not exactly what you might have in mind when it comes to collection development, as there is no collection yet to analyze; rather, this is the building of a collection. This is my first experience with this, and I think it's been a great experience. I have gotten the opportunity to work on my research and selection skills, which are vitally important to the education of the future librarian. Here are some things I have learned so far:

1. It is very easy to go off on a tangent when searching for materials. In the instance of building a collection, though, tangents can be great! For example, I was searching for some books on The Rolling Stones and came across quite a few Beatles books that I had not yet discovered. I wrote down the titles to go back to later. The danger with tangents, though, is that you can lose your place or forget where you were going. This is why it's so important to keep a notepad in front of you at all times! Do not drop what you are doing; simply jot yourself a note, finish your task, and then revisit your new and interesting find.

2. There is no point at which you are finished with collection development. This can be a tough concept to wrap your head around, especially if you are a goal-oriented person. I could work for countless hours on the books and DVDs lists I am compiling, and as long as materials continue to be created and released and reviewed, I would never be done. As someone who, in the past, has relied on goals in her professional career, I have come up with a solution to this: Create small goals for yourself within a larger project. For instance, each day I hope to find at least three books for each inductee. Sometimes there are less, often there are many more. But at least I know that I have accomplished something I set out to do. Plus, I'll have this awesome list of titles to show for all my work in the end!

(Sidenote: I should have heeded my own warning about losing track of your place after a tangent. Now where was I? The Temptations? But what about that other Beatles book I read about? Did I finish looking into Rolling Stones DVDs?...)

3. Use multiple sources when searching for materials. This is something I have learned from experience. When there are bands that have hundreds of titles related to them, there must be some way of determining which materials are valuable and which are junk. The process I use begins with researching the inductee in The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Omnibus Press, 2007) and The Mojo Collection: the Ultimate Music Companion (Canongate, 2003). These books have suggested "further reading" lists for most of the individuals with entries. Sometimes The Encyclopedia of Popular Music will have a very long list of titles, but will suggest four or five of the best (according to the editor). After this initial inquiry, I conduct a search for the inductee on (narrowing by "books" or "movies and TV," depending on what I am looking for) and on I cross-reference the lists from the two books and from the websites and see which titles seem really valuable. has reviews, and I take these into consideration. I also search reviews on and on After weighing all of these factors, I create the list of books or DVDs I would suggest for addition to the collection. (As I compile the Excel spreadsheets, I make sure to record title, author [with authority control from the Library of Congress], publisher, release date, copyright date, ISBN, OCLC record number, series, edition, notes, URL [usually to], and price. This is all in the hopes that the catalogers will be able to purchase and create records for these items quickly and efficiently.)

I am going to end the list here for now. I am sure I will come up with other things I have learned about collection development during my time at the Rock Hall Library, so if you are interested, stay tuned.

Coming up next: Since collection development is my focus for the next couple of weeks, I will possibly not create another blog entry any time soon. Of course, if I come across something interesting or learn something that I think adds value to my practicum experience, I will blog about it.

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 18, Hour 90

Today I did most of my work in collection development. Since most of my policy research has been collected and compiled, and can start to focus on a great monograph and video collection for the library. I am going to continue working diligently on this until my final hours here!

My policy wiki has been graded, and though the content was thorough (for the most part) I seem to have missed the mark on the tone of the entire document. Many of the writing choices I made were not particularly what my professor was looking for, and I understand that. I wish I had thought more about this before I completed it. However, Andy is still interested in the wiki, so I will make some changes to give the document more of a professional tone. In general, however, it is mostly finished.

I think I will soon email my off-site practicum adviser, Dr. Roland, about my final project. I want to inform him of all of the research and collection development I have been doing, and to ask him how exactly it would be best to submit the work. As of now, documents of my work are included in the wiki I created for this practicum. Hopefully this will be a sufficient record of all of my work here.

Coming up next: I would like to continue with collection development (I have moved on to 1989, when there were only 9 inductees), to revise my policy wiki, and to begin work on the "Assessment of Learning Experience" paper, which is a reflection of my practicum that is due as part of the final project. Time is winding down...

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 17, Hour 85

Thanks for hanging tight while I had another at-home work day on Tuesday. I have been feeling a bit under the weather lately and decided it might be best to work on collection development and my final practicum project at home.

With only 25 on-site hours left here, I have begun to look at my practicum folder and what will be involved. I have also been compiling all of the documents, reports, and research I have worked on so that I will be able to submit it in my final report. I have broken my practicum project into two parts: Collection development and policy/procedure. This will be the final project combination that I will submit at the end of the semester. It is amazing to look back at all the work I have done in what seems like only a short period of time.

I received one more survey response this week, and added important information into my survey response report. I also submitted a new report to Andy on the research I have been conducting since we last met. The new report focuses on survey responses, membership/registration options, in-house use tracking options, and collection development. Hopefully we will be able to meet and discuss the report; I am especially interested to hear Andy's thoughts on Clevnet and whether joining the consortium would be a good option for the Rock Hall Library.

I finished out my day with some collection development. I have been using more tools for comparison of resources (like reading reviews from critics and other readers), and I feel like this is helping with the quality of materials I have chosen. I am also including more titles for each inductee as Andy expressed that he would like to have as many options as possible. In order to differentiate stand-out materials from materials with less-remarkable reviews, I am including much more bibliographic information for the sources I really recommend. This way, the library will have more options and will be able to make its own decisions.

Coming up next: Now that I have a pretty solid idea of what my final projects will look like, I would like to be able to complete a lot more in the way of collection development. I am really interested in trying to create great go-to title lists for the inductees and videos. I am imagining the lists as a sort of "thank you" to the Rock Hall Library and Andy for allowing me to complete such an interesting practicum here!

Thanks for reading, and have a good one!