Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spring Semester Book Discussions

We are pleased to announce the schedule for the Spring 2014  Friends of the UNCG Libraries Book Discussions.  We invite our Friends and other interested community members to join us as we discuss books from past and present.  Each discussion will be led by a UNCG faculty member.  To reserve a spot at one or more discussion, please register on our website, or contact Barry Miller at 336-256-0112.

All book discussions will meet on Mondays in the Hodges Reading Room

Monday, February 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Ron Cassell, History. 

 In 1929, Robert Graves published his memoir of World War I. Now remembered more perhaps for I, Claudius and his poetry, Goodbye to All That was an instant best seller--running "through some 30,000 copies within the first few weeks of its publication," according to the Times  of London.  In his introduction of the book, historian Paul Fussell notes "one thing that makes Goodbye to All That so permanently readable is its happy management of the literal by imposing on it such devices of fiction as suspense, surprise, and irony."

Abe Books produced a great video review of the book, which you can see here

Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm: The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Keith Cushman, English.

Rebecca West was a renowned journalist, critic, and novelist. Her first novel, The Return of the Soldier, was published before the war ended.  An early review in  The New York Times sums up the plot,"Since the outbreak of the great war all sorts of situations have entered into hitherto peaceful and commonplace private lives, situations many of which are full of dramatic and tragic possibilities. And although the case of amnesia upon which Rebecca West founds her novel would not have been impossible in time of peace, it is far more probable in time of war. It was shell-shock which made Christopher Baldry lose his memory, forget all that had taken place during fifteen years, and go back to the time when he was a boy of 21. . .  It is of what happened after he came back home to the wife, whose very existence he had forgotten, that the book tells."

Open Road Media has produced a brief video to introduce readers to West.

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm: Serena by Ron Rash.

Faculty Discussion Leader: Dr. Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, English.

The Washington Post's review sums up the novel well: "Serena, the Lady Macbeth of Ron Rash's stirring new novel, wouldn't fret about getting out the damned spot. She wouldn't even wash her hands; she'd just lick it off. I couldn't take my eyes off this villainess, and any character who does ends up dead. Alluring and repellant, she's the engine in a gothic tale of personal mayhem and environmental destruction set in the mountains of North Carolina during the Depression."

UNCG Librarian Counsels ENT 300 Student Team

Each UNCG department and program has a librarian assigned as a liaison to work with the faculty and students in that discipline.  Here is a story about one such liaison relationship.

Business Librarian Steve Cramer
Steve Cramer, the UNCG Business Librarian, is the co-teacher for Entrepreneurship 300: Ideas to Opportunities: The Feasibility Analysis. This is a class required of all Entrepreneurship majors and minors. The required follow-up class is ENT 336: Opportunities to Action: The Business Plan. Our entrepreneurship program has won several national awards under the leadership of Professor Dianne Welsh, the program coordinator. There is background information about ENT 300 on Steve’s professional blog, and a follow-up after his first semester serving as co-teacher.

Student teams in ENT 300 are charged with creating a detailed (40-50 page) feasibility plan for a business or nonprofit idea that interests the students. Each semester a few of the business or nonprofit ideas are developed on behalf of community members, making this a community-engaged class. Most of the teams are assigned a SCORE (“Service Corps of Retired Executives”) counselor, but in Fall 2012 one team researching the feasibility of a specialized fitness center decided to forgo that option.

Halfway through the semester, the students on this team decided they could indeed use some guidance. Professor Welsh asked Steve if he would be willing to counsel this team. Steve said yes, and the team welcomed him to their weekly, early evening group meetings. He also assisted the team in class (as he does for all the student teams on their in-class work days) and monitored their work via Blackboard. Finally, Steve attended a run-through of their comprehensive final presentation and provided feedback. He enjoyed getting to know the five students on the team well.

At the end of the semester, Steve received a thank you note from the team:

What's a Library Liaison and What Do They Do?

For over twenty years the University Libraries have assigned liaisons to all UNCG academic departments and programs. Liaisons provide essential services to their departments by conducting research consultations for faculty and students, tailoring solutions to their particular research needs, collaborating on developing research assignments, creating online tutorials and providing information literacy sessions for students. In addition, they work to build print and electronic collections essential to research and teaching in each discipline. This liaison program allows librarians to become more knowledgeable about the research and curriculum of those departments to which they are assigned. In many cases, librarians have very close ties and function as teaching and research partners with faculty in their liaison departments. Liaisons also serve as a communication link between the Libraries and academic units.

Over the past two years the Libraries examined the roles and responsibilities of our liaisons in order to enhance service to the campus community. We wanted liaisons to spend more time on information literacy and working closely with faculty and students on their research and scholarly communication issues. At the same time we sought to refine our collection management operations to ensure that we’re purchasing what our community needs in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. To begin the process we appointed a task force, chaired by Business Librarian Steve Cramer, charged to examine liaison responsibilities and provide recommendations for a new organizational structure. Other task force members included Beth Bernhardt, Michael Crumpton, Amy Harris, and Nancy Ryckman.

The task force submitted its report in September 2012. The major recommendation was to move to a team structure with subject and functional teams. Three subject teams (humanities, social sciences and sciences)were formed to group liaisons with similar discipline responsibilities. Functional teams work on activities related to the most essential tasks for liaisons: instruction, scholarly communications and collections. Reference Desk services are coordinated by a functional team which oversees the chat service as well as working with users in the library. In-depth research help from subject liaisons is also available, matching users more closely with the expertise of individual librarians.

By encouraging librarians to develop close ties with faculty and students, the new liaison structure allows librarians to take the library to the students and faculty, both in person and electronically. Working with librarians who fully understand disciplinary conventions and research priorities is an effective way to facilitate student learning and faculty research. We are in the process of implementing the team structure and will evaluate its effectiveness after one year.