Monthly Archive for February, 2014

2014-15 CAL Leadership Institute!

Looking for ways to grow your leadership skills?  Look no further than the CAL Leadership Institute(CALLI).

The CAL Leadership Institute develops leaders within CAL and the Colorado Library Community.  During the year-long Institute participants engage in personal discovery and growth through a series of workshops, online discussions, relationships with peers, and mentors.  A recent graduate said:

“My experience in CALLI was a catalyst for professional growth.  The readings, activities, and discussions had a dramatic effect on my day-to-day work as a library team member.   The leadership training played a big role in my career opportunities.  Most memorable are the friendships and collegial connections I made statewide.  CALLI made me a better, and happier librarian.”

The Institute begins September 2014.  Applications are due April 11.

For more information and to apply please visit the CAL website or contact Elizabeth Kelsen Huber- or Joanna Nelson-

Give a Man a Fish or Teach a Man To Fish?

Submitted on behalf of Alejandro Marquez, Reference Librarian at the Fort Lewis College and recent ILEAD USA graduate.

There’s an old saying, usually attributed to Confucius that goes something like “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”  In other words, a teacher should instruct a person in the steps and principles that led to the answer and by doing so, the person will be able to create his/her own solutions in the future.   In a library environment, is it permissible to “know how” to do something or “know that” a resource even exists before using it?

Librarians are creating library guides and youtube videos about how to search through library resources.  Additionally, database providers such as Credo Reference are providing specialized topic pages.  How much information should we cultivate for patrons and how much should they learn to find on their own?

There has been much debate on the role of the librarian in the information literacy process.  The model of customer assistance is often dependent on the type of library (academic, special, public) and the teaching philosophy.  Anyone who has worked a public information desk has seen the lost look of a person who needs help.  Depending on the skill set of the patron and time constraints, they wonder if they should teach or give the answer.

Scenario #1:
The Librarian conducts a reference interview and finds the relevant information by sending the document to the printer or personally walking the patron to appropriate section of the library.  The patron receives excellent customer service and leaves stress free.

Scenario #2:
The librarian sits with the patron at a computer carrel and helps them navigate the website.  Although a potentially time consuming process, both information literacy and retrieval are part of a necessary skill set that everyone will need in the future.

As a final thought, the mark of a true professional is one who works toward the day he or she is obsolete.  Everyone who has interacted with the public has a story on this topic of a time they debated to teach or give a solution.  Please feel free to share your comments below.

The Dummies Guide to Online Portfolios

Submitted on behalf of Alejandro Marquez, Reference Librarian at the Fort Lewis College and recent ILEAD USA graduate.

Many large libraries receive 300 applications to fill one job.  Although many libraries will still require a resume or CV, an online portfolio is a great supplement to the application process.  An online portfolio is a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.  A portfolio gives you more control over the types of materials and how it is packaged.  Online portfolios also display parts of your personality.

An online portfolio can be a great way to keep track of your accomplishments, professional development, presentations, and activities.  Often an online portfolio can include more visual elements or a lengthier explanation that is not normally found on a resume or CV such as articles, reports, PowerPoint presentations and links to blog entries. Additionally, visual materials can be presented like photography, illustrations, handouts, and ad campaigns.  It is also a great place to describe in more detail your role and skill set within a project.

Many employers now Google their prospective employees.  An online portfolio is a great way to have more control of your online identity.  With the advances in technology, it is now easy and affordable (free in most cases) to create your own online portfolio.  To find portfolio examples, just Google the terms ‘portfolio’ and ‘librarian.’


  • Audrey Barbakoff – Adult services librarian
  • Ellyssa Kroski – Writer / Editor / Speaker / Librarian / Instructor / Consultant
  • Cristy Moran – Associate Instructor / Circulation/ Service Area supervisor of the Miami Dade College Medical Campus Library
  • Starr Hoffman – Academic Librarian

Further Reading
Punch Up Your Portfolio by Katie Dunneback –This article gives you tips and examples of what to include in an online portfolio.

Let’s Collaborate!

posted on behalf of Jacqueline Murphy


Colorado State Library launches Website 

This Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014, the Colorado State Library (CSL) is pleased to announce the launch of, an online tool to help Colorado-based community organizations and all types of libraries connect to form mutually-beneficial collaborations.  Think of it as for libraries and non-libraries!

SquareStateCollaborate is designed to connect libraries, nonprofit organizations, local governments and foundations who are looking for partners to join them on a project. It’s free and simple to join the website and set up a profile to attract organizations to collaborate with you; we encourage you to join, and to spread the word about the website to organizations in your community.

In the next few months, CSL will host a webinar series highlighting both libraries and community groups to illustrate ways they can work together for the maximum benefit of their customers.  The first webinar will feature Pikes Peak Library District ( and SparkFun (, tentatively scheduled for March 25, 2014.

Please contact Jacqueline Murphy with any with questions about SquareStateCollaborate or the webinar series, including if you would to participate to have your library spotlighted.

CSL in Session – Lead from Where You Are


Building upon leadership research, Sharon Morris will introduce a handy tool for identifying your unique leadership strengths. During this interactive session you will have the opportunity to reflect on leadership activities, share your thoughts, learn from others, and feel more empowered to use your natural abilities to lead – regardless of your position in a library.

Learn more about this leadership learning event at the CSL in Session website!