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MY VISION FOR

NIGHTINGALE
COLLEGE LIBRARY


By Aaron Nelson
Introduction

Running a career library is often overlooked by most library professionals. The mission of most
career colleges is the transfer of specialized knowledge and skills needed for entry-level
positions to students wishing to enter a professional field. For instance, the college I work at is a
nursing school. There are career colleges for an assortment of different careers. These might
include culinary arts, graphic design, information technology, and movie production. For the
most part, these colleges are proprietary or for profit, meaning they are businesses that provide
education, rather than traditional institutions.
The focus of the library will always be limited to the subject matter the career college focuses on.
In many cases, the library isnt eligible to belong to an academic consortium, adding a facet of
professional isolation to the job. In most cases, the librarian works alone. Often, accreditors
require an MLS librarian. Understandably, the focus of administration, faculty, and staff isnt on
librarian. On a large academic campus, the library is divided into its own division. In many
cases, the library is the largest expense for a large academic campus. This often causes confusion
and misunderstanding. A career-library is unlike any other. Below, I will lay out a blueprint that
will explain the role of librarians at Nightingale College, along with a vision that will guide
future librarians in the role.
Currently, I run a circulating library of about 100 titles and I manage a database library titled
LIRN (Library Information Resource Network) made up of 10 databases, including a collection
of articles. We also prescribe to four academic journals. Our current student population is
approximately 150 students. I am the only MLS librarian for our campus. To be successful I have
to do some cataloging, acquisitions, collection development, circulation, and reference, and be
reasonably proficient in all of them. It is a challenging and rewarding position. I believe it is
necessary to think differently than librarians at larger academic institutions and public libraries.
I have more opportunities to help undergraduates learn very basic college success and
information literacy skills, those we assumed they learned in high school, and less opportunity to
serve graduates in high-end research opportunities. From talking to other college librarians in my
state and from my experience, I can say that many college students today do not have a working
knowledge of a library, and some have never even personally known a librarian. When I thought
about it a librarians duties boil down to (a) collecting and organizing information, (b) being
relevant to our community, (c) making our services known through advertising and service, and
(d) innovating to bring patrons things they didnt know were possible.

Organize Your Library

Its very difficult not to have a library thats not organized. When I first arrived at my library, I
had to purchase a cataloging system (Readerware), organize a circulation system, and convey my
plans for the College to the CEO. This included a large white bookshelf that was built along a
wall of the library. Once the bookroom was operating I was able to focus on reference and the
library itself. I weeded books that were clearly obsolete and reordered titles that we should have.
Judging by the property and book stamps, many of the books were from a former massaging
school that the College owned.
With the open-source ILS movement, my colleagues assure me there is open-source software
that works as well as the one I use. Acquisitions are done much differently than in a public
library. Most often a textbook is chosen by committee or by a dean, and the librarians
responsible for shelving the original textbook. In our case, most of the students access their
books using Pageburst by Elsevier. Helping the students access these materials is also part of my
duties.
Eventually, my goal is to have a small library similar in size to a hospital library such as Primary
Childrens Hospital Library or other proprietary institutions. The library will include around
2,000 titles, computers, a printer, a copy machine, a fax machine, and other necessities for
Nightingale students. I would also prefer to have a space for students to studyalong with
another space where students are able to socialize, eat lunch, and meet for group study. All
spaces should be welcoming.
Engage Your Students, Advertise Your Services, and Join the Community

One thing thats surprised me the most since becoming the campus librarian is the rapport that
Ive built with most of the student body. Simply by being friendly and helpful can get you a long
way with the students. Developing a rap with each one will help your cause. Answering
questions concerning learning tools, computers, databases, general reference questions will help
build credibility for you and your library.
Look for ways to increase service to your students. For example, adopt e-books through state
library services such as Pioneer on your campus and give students instructions on how to use
them. I regularly tell students about this great service thats available for any student living in
Utah. For those that live outside the state, I investigate other public library programs that aid
students in their education. I have also made it a goal to become ACA (Affordable Care Act)
certified (as have all Utah librarians). While I might not advertise this service at my own library,
it will aid me while volunteering at a public library.
Just like the public library, you should have a presence on your campus website. Be sure that
your library is prominently listed online. Request an Ask the Librarian button for your
colleges home page or the librarys site, if you have one. It helps if your PAC is searchable
online, but some smaller systems have limited functionality in this area.
As mentioned before, being a solo librarian can be at times lonely, but rewarding nonetheless.
Becoming involved in statewide and national associations (Utah Library Association and
American Library Association) can ease the loneliness. These associations have been especially
helpful for me when it comes to learning about new products, movements, and even websites.
Also, volunteering at a local public library can keep you in the loop with current library news.
Be Willing to Adapt

Part of being a solo librarian at Nightingale College is learning to adapt to changes within the
organization. When I first became the College Librarian, my main efforts were proctoring
students, LMS administration, and teaching databases. After a few months, those jobs morphed
into many responsibilities including survey administration, educational tool support, and
technical reference. Even though we have a small student body, the time spent on proctoring and
LMS administration alone was impressive. Fortunately, with the hiring of three proctors and the
separation of proctoring into another organization, I was able to devote more time to
informational services, educational tool research, and helping create the interactive modules.
As you can see, the time element in the librarian position is important. Manage your time well.
Its critical to your success and the success of your library to be as effective and as efficient as
possible. Once you have determined your goals, be sure you leave enough time each week to
achieve them.
Do the most unpleasant tasks of the day first. Everything else will seem easy by comparison, and
who wouldnt like a day full of easy tasks? When we put off unpleasant tasks in favor of
something we like to do better, we procrastinate. A few days of procrastination lead to missed
deadlines and catch-up days full of difficult, unpleasant work.
Develop a routine. Many people find the word routine loathsome, but I find it liberating. I find
that things are easier, more orderly, and more efficient if I stay current with them every day. I
arrive at work, break, and leave at the end of the day at regular times, and this forces me to stay
focused and in touch with my department. It does not allow for many nonimportant items to
make their way onto my workload. When proctoring, for instance, I always made sure that codes
went out Monday at 2:00 PM.
Librarian 2.0

Like all careers, librarianship has taken a different direction during the past twenty years.
Library 2.0 arrived years ago. Transition in the library world on how information is delivered
has changed the role of librarians. Increasingly, knowing educational technology tools,
databases, and Web languages and tools has become paramount to the profession. Researching
and using different computer tools is an important part of the job.
Often, the librarian is one of the first people that faculty and staff go to for computer help. While
that seems obvious the most daunting part for some people is that you are your own technical
support. Some librarians approach the technical realm with care, while others are intrepid. I
believe a healthy balance of both is in order.
During my time at Nightingale College, I have learned a tremendous amount about IT and
educational technology tools. While some computer aspects have gotten easier, there are new
wrinkles that you have to stay current with or you risk being left in the digital darkness. Heres
what I mean: most everyone has to use a word processor like MS Word in their daily work life,
so knowing Word is no longer a bragging point; its a necessity. Likewise, knowledge of various
e-mail systems is required. Consider these more advanced situations that, not long ago,
required special intervention:
Know how to find and edit your IP address or DNS server.
Know how to reset your librarys router.
Install virus checker and adware/spyware removal software.
Know how to deal with a virus when one is detected.
Know the features, benefits, and drawbacks of the major web browsers.
Know how to delete cookies and your browsing history, configure your browsers
security settings, and turn off pop-up windows.
Have a familiarity with the current crop of wireless devices. As more people try to
access library services with smartphone applications, librarians should be aware of their
basic functionality. Sometimes the new technology will work seamlessly with the older
in-place technology, and at other times they will not work so well together. More
portable devices are sure to spring up every year or so, and librarians should at least be
aware of what the devices do.
Know your desktop applications. In this list include Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Paint,
Adobe Acrobat, basic Excel operations, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Learn to
identify RSS feeds and the tools used to read them. Troubleshoot a laptop computer that
cant connect to your wireless network. Become fluent in the use of your ILS or OPAC
and any reports it generates. Library uses for Microsoft Access, SQL, and HTML/XML
applications may be explored by the more adventurous librarians.
Learn to reboot your computer properly and to fix a paper jam or replace print toner.
As you can see, many of the technical aspects of the job require knowledge and experience. This
is especially true when it comes to using online tools that students and faculty use during the
course of a year. Transitioning our library into a Library 2.0 will make our school stand out
among other traditional school.
Further Your Knowledge

Finding a librarian who is trained in information sciences, educational technologies, interactive
design, kinesthetic technology, data organization, and collaboration tools is a difficult task. I
decided to continue my education out of a desire to help faculty learn these different educational
tools that are imperative to online courses and the growth of the school. I also felt that the
library and librarian was an excellent resource where faculty or students could come to be trained
or receive information on how to use technology tools.
A few of the tools that I have heard of or been taught while in my Master in Educational
Technology program are listed on the following page. Many of these tools have been passed
onto faculty and staff. (By the way, we need to talk about all of the information shared to
faculty and students that I have received from my degree. If I do research on
informational and technological tools that also pertain to my degree while at work, I
consider it a win-win situation. Is knowledge and training I have received for Audacity,
Adobe Premiere, and interactive tools really a negative or deficient aspect?)
Learning new tools has become an important part of being a librarian. The more information
shared concerning these tools, the better our nurses will be. Investigating new technological
tools should be a major part of being a College librarian at Nightingale College.
Conclusion

When I go home each day I know that I have used all of my skills, as a librarian, to bring the
world of information to our students. Three years ago I never thought I could accomplish as
much as I do in a single work week. The position has evolved and changed. Today I continue to
innovate, grow, and serve my librarys population, and its an awesome responsibility. As a solo
librarian, I get the chance, single-handedly, to show such students what todays librarians can do,
and how much we can help them in all stages of life by connecting personally with them. This is
my vision. Let me know, what you think.