Library Happenings: February 2020


Photo of the Powerhouse in recent snow
Snow falling on the Snoqualmie Building. Photo taken by Johanna Kiciman.

In December 2019, I stepped into the role of Interim Director of the UW Tacoma Library and Interim Associate Dean of the UW Libraries. One of the perks of my new job is that I get to learn about amazing work happening across the Library and see the ways that Library staff, spaces, events, and resources have impact the whole campus. To get the word out about some of these things, I’m starting what I intend to be a monthly blog post about recent Library happenings.

Selection of design build team for Learning Commons project

I participated in the selection process for the design-build team that will guide the campus through the first phase of the Learning Commons project. After reviewing proposals and interviewing design-build teams, the group identified the contractor Sellen paired with McGranahan architects as the preferred team to guide us through the renovation of the Snoqualmie and Tioga Buildings to create a Learning Commons. I am excited to continue working with McGranahan, who did a fine job integrating the needs of Learning Commons partners into the pre-design report. In the next few months, more details will be shared with campus about how to stay informed and participate in this project.

Personally, I found the selection process a valuable way of beginning to explore how the Center for Equity and Inclusion, the Library, and Teaching and Learning Center can together envision the Learning Commons, which will be a new student-facing space on our campus. Other participants included leadership from the partner units: James McShay, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, and Bonnie Becker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success. Melony Pederson, Project Development & Construction Manager, organized and led the selection process.

Release of Telling Our Stories Project

Cover for telling

The Library collaborated with Dr. Sonia De La Cruz’s Television Criticism class (TCOM 347) to create an outstanding digital publication called Telling Our Stories: Student Experiences at UW Tacoma. In this project, “Students worked in teams to document and produce short digital stories highlighting the experiences of other UW-Tacoma students with regards to one or various aspects of their identity, whether related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, disability, place of origin, etc.” Marisa Petrich, Instructional Design Librarian, and Erika Bailey, Data and Digital Scholarship Librarian made significant contributions to developing this project. Projects like this offer exciting examples of how the Library can partner on emerging forms of pedagogy and scholarship.

Offering Outstanding Events & Trainings

The Library offers a wide range of events for students and faculty to come together to learn, and I enjoy seeing how the connections made on campus through these programs lead further programs. I’d like to highlight just a few things happening this quarter.

Real Lit[erature]: A group of students and staff are reading and discussing The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo in this group that is co-sponsored with the Center for Equity and Inclusion. In conjunction with this event, the Library hosted a Skype conversation with the award-winning author, made possible by collaboration with Lincoln High School. Students from Lincoln High School and Mt. Tahoma High School attended. Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman, Instruction and Research Help Librarian, recently posted about this.

Staff reads: In partnership with the UW Tacoma Staff Association and the Center for Equity and Inclusion, the Library is also hosting a book group that is reading and discussing The Diversity Bargain by Natasha K. Warikoo. This group is co-facilitated by Alaina Bull, First Year Experience Librarian, and Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman.

ShopTalks: In this series of information sessions on tools and techniques for teaching, learning, and scholarship, we recently offered sessions on password managers and oral history. Keep an eye on our calendar for future ones.

Upcoming workshop on Data Management: On March 5, 12:30-1:30, Erika Bailey, Data and Digital Scholarship Librarian, will be collaborating with Chris Fuentes, IT Project Manager, as part of the Office of Research Faculty Development Series.

Promoting and new faculty publications

The Library is proud to be able to gather and reflect back to campus the outstanding scholarship being produced here. Earlier this quarter, we posted:

I did receive some questions about why certain articles have the orange unlocked symbol [insert image] and have links, while others do not. In our effort to promote Open Access (OA), we are using this internationally-recognized symbol for OA. In this list, we link to works that meet the SPARC definition: “free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” With the passage of the UW Open Access Policy, faculty members may now easily share published work OA. If you wish to do this, please sign up for the Unlocking UW Tacoma Scholarly Work pilot project.

Library student staff involvement at Unity Breakfast

I attended the 2020 MLK, Jr., Unity Breakfast, an annual event organized by the Black Student Union to recognize and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event was very inspiring on many levels. I especially enjoyed seeing so many Library student employees. Among them were:

  • Urshula Dunn, who serves as the Marketing Director for the BSU and presented a Dream Award to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) at UW Tacoma. 
  • Fatuma Hassan, Vice President of NAMI, who along with other members of this organization accepted the award. (By the way, NAMI has an excellent display in the Library right now near the circulation desks in Snoqualmie and Tioga.)
  • Dennis Adjetey, attending as an ASUWT Senator for Urban Studies.

“We need a declaration of interdependence,” said Dr. Denise Fairchild’s powerful keynote talk on earth and climate justice and the unfinished work of Dr. Martin Luther King. I left the event reflecting on these and many other words spoken that morning and am grateful for all the work that went into organizing this important event for our campus.

Librarian Alaina Bull Contributes to Algorithm Study

"Life in the Age of Algorithm," a graphic created to accompany Algorithm Study.
“Life in the Age of Algorithm,” a graphic created by Project Information Literacy to accompany the Algorithm Study. CC-BY-SA.

Alaina Bull, First Year Experience Librarian, is also a Research Analyst for Project Information Literacy, and in this role, she conducted interviews and focus groups, coded interviews and participated in collaborative content analysis of data for the new study “Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms: Student Experiences with News and Information and the Need for Change.” This research study held focus groups with 103 undergraduates and interviewed 37 faculty members and investigated how “students conceptualize and navigate volatile and ever-changing information landscape, and proposes programmatic ways to prepare them to contend with this new reality.” I look forward to learning more about the implications of this study and discussing it with Alaina and other library staff to promote critical thinking about information.

Featuring UW Tacoma Oral History: Founding Stories Project

The UW Tacoma homepage recently featured a story about the UW Tacoma Oral History: Founding Stories project. Oral History Project Manager Joan Hua, Professor Charles Williams, and I are collaborating on this project to gather around 50 interviews from faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders about the founding and development of campus. Together, we’re creating a record that will show multiplicity of perspectives and shed light on little-known circumstances that shaped campus history. 


These are the Library Happenings for February. Since the campus community interacting with Library staff, spaces, and resources every day in many different ways, there are many other happenings I could have shared. I guess I’ll save those for next month. If you want to learn more about any of these, please reach out to me.

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