NMRT Member of the Week Spotlight: Ashley Hoffman

Ashley Hoffman

Kennesaw State University

eLearning Librarian

What’s your job like?

Support student success by creating virtual instructional materials, videos, tutorials, learning aids, and research guides for students. Market library services and resources to online teaching faculty. Maintain library presence in the LMS.

What are some things you like about your job or working in libraries in general?

I like my job because it’s completely a moving target. When I was first hired last year, my official title was Distance Learning Librarian. However, we discovered that every tutorial I made or every outreach effort I made benefited more than just distance students. At our university, most courses have a presence in the LMS, even if they meet exclusively in person. So now we’ve realized that we can better reach ALL students on campus if we target our materials to their course homepage in D2L. This is completely the opposite of our prior emphasis on LibGuides. I love that my job is constantly evolving and I love that I can use technology to help reach students where they need us most.


What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?

I am so excited about a series of asynchronous library instruction modules we are working on. In the process of working on them, I discovered that there may be a way to directly embed LibGuides into our LMS, D2L. This is amazing because it means that all of our librarians (who are already familiar with LibGuides) can help create content to be shared through D2L instead of just me being the gatekeeper of All Things LMS. Now we can leverage our subject guides and course guides directly through a course’s homepage in D2L instead of trying to coax the students to the library homepage. We think this is going to increase our LibGuides traffic exponentially!

What got you interested in libraries?

I’ve worked in libraries throughout my whole education. It was always a part time job “on the side” as I was going through college, and then later grad school. I had this idea that I was going to pursue a career through the state department or international business, but when it came down to applying for jobs I realized that I had already found a career I was excited about – librarianship.

What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?

I like that there’s no pressure to be an expert immediately. I love being able to connect with other new professionals and exchange ideas and advice without feeling embarrassed about my lack of knowledge or inexperience. It’s a safe learning environment!

Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

Become involved in professional associations!! I wish someone had told me that before I started applying to full time positions. The best recommendation you can bring to a job application is from other professionals who have worked with you through professional organizations. If someone can say “Oh yeah, I know her from X committee. She does good work!” about you, you are going to be a stand out candidate.

NMRT wants to feature YOU in our NMRT Member of the Week Series. Nominate yourself or one of your amazing NMRT colleagues here: ow.ly/1umy30deke0

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NMRT Member of the Week Spotlight: Jenny Cole

Jenny Cole

Burlington Public Library

Teen and Adult Services Librarian

What’s your job like?

As a librarian in a small library I do a bit of everything, but I spend most of my time preparing and presenting programs for teens and adults that run the gamut from book clubs to STEM programs to community festivals. I also develop and maintain several of our collections including teen fiction, movies, and music.

What are some things you like about your job or working in libraries in general?

When I started my MLIS program I thought I would be a children’s librarian but my career hasn’t moved in that direction – and now I’m actually happy about it! I enjoy the variety of opportunities that working in a small library offers, which has allowed me to discover that I’m really passionate about teen services. Working with teens means that sometimes I’m listening to them talk about their friend drama or their favorite anime; other times I’m suggesting books based on their favorite YouTuber or hosting fandom events. There aren’t a lot of afterschool opportunities for teens in my community, so I work to make the library a safe and welcoming space where they can be themselves.

I am also lucky to work in a library with great colleagues and a supportive administration. My library director encourages us to experiment with new program and service ideas, which allows me to take risks and try new programs that sometimes really take off, such as our fabulous Quidditch Fest.

What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?

I collaborate with one of our children’s librarians to put on Quidditch Fest, which is a Harry Potter-inspired festival that invites Muggles of all ages to play Quidditch and attend Hogwarts (in the form of a carnival). What started as a simple Quidditch demonstration has grown into a festival that drew 2,000 attendees last year, which is huge for our town of 8,000.I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd (Slytherin librarians represent!) so plotting ways to make Hogwarts come to life hardly feels like work.

What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?

I love the instant sense of welcome and the opportunities open to new librarians in NMRT.

Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

Taking on projects outside of your comfort zone can be scary but it is one of the best ways to grow! Before planning Quidditch Fest I had never managed such a complicated project, but every year I learn from my mistakes and the process gets a little less intimidating.

NMRT wants to feature YOU in our NMRT Member of the Week Series. Nominate yourself or one of your amazing NMRT colleagues here: ow.ly/1umy30deke0

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December NMRT Online Discussion Board Article: Brainstorming Proposal Ideas & Collaborating with Colleagues

By: Jessica Kiebler

Hello readers, my name is Jessica Kiebler and I am writing as a member of the NMRT Online Discussion Forum Committee to provide you with an update from our December discussion, hosted on the NMRT-L listserv.

December’s discussion topic was about the best ways to brainstorm an idea and collaborate with colleagues for a conference proposals. 

The discussion questions focused on how librarians make time for conference work, gather their ideas and see it through to a proposal or accepted session:

1.  What are the most effective ways you brainstorm and select ideas for conference proposals?
2.  How do you find time to work on proposals outside of your daily library work?
3.  How do you find someone to partner with if you don’t want to submit alone?
4.  What are some tips you have for working with existing colleagues on submitting proposals?
Write about what you do

 A theme in the responses that were received was to find inspiration in your daily work for conference proposals. This can be done two ways:  review your recent projects to find ideas or create projects within your position that both fill a need in your job responsibilities and would also be beneficial for other librarians.

Collaborating with Colleagues

In terms of collaborating with colleagues, there are a few ways to get the most out of proposal partnerships.

Focus on your curiosity.  If you want to learn about a specific topic, you can reach out to a colleague who knows that area and brainstorm a proposal that blends your work and theirs.  You both learn something new from the experience!

If you are on any committees at your library, those partnerships with fellow committee members can be a great source of conference inspiration. This can also apply to committee work with state or national organizations where your work with colleagues could provide unique ideas for proposals.

Get Accepted!

There were some practical tips to take away from the month’s discussion:

  • Start by submitting a proposal to smaller local conference or consortium as opposed to a national or international conference. The experience is just as valuable by could increase your chances of acceptance.
  • The previous year’s conference brochure can provide information on what types of proposals are accepted.
  • If the conference has a theme, that can lend itself to ideas for potential proposals and ideas for titles.
  • Sometimes a small idea can transform into something more complex and conference-worthy after some reflection or discussion with colleagues. Don’t discount any ideas!
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NMRT January Live Chat: Managing Stress and Creating Work/Life Balance

It’s January, which means you likely already have a New Year’s resolution or two in mind for 2018. Maybe, like me, you’re seeking to strike a balance between your work and personal life, and manage the stress that a LIS career can create. With this chat, we’ll discuss and share with others in the library profession our tips, techniques and best practices for keeping calm despite the pressures and stressors we encounter at work.

This chat will be happening on Twitter. To join and follow the chat, follow Laura Birkenhauer @LMBirkenhauer and/or follow the hashtag #nmrtchat

You can follow the tweets by typing #nmrtchat into Twitter’s search box or use a tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to filter the tweets. The most important thing is to include #nmrtchat in all of your tweets to make them visible for all participants.

When the chat starts, send a tweet to introduce yourself! It’s always helpful to know who everyone is.

Laura, the chat moderator will be asking 4 questions in the Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 format, and followers will use the #nmrtchat and answer in the A1, A2, A3 and A4 format.

Feel free to retweet any comments you like or agree with, and share any articles or blogs of interest.

Look forward to seeing you all at #nmrtchat !


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NMRT Career Mentoring — Mentors and Mentees still needed!

Do you have over 5 years of librarian (library) experience and looking for new ways to engage with other librarians? Use your wealth of knowledge to connect new librarians to their career path by applying to be a mentor!

NMRT Committee is seeking both Mentors and Mentees for Career Mentoring from December 2017 to July 2018.

Membership in ALA is required, and NMRT membership is encouraged. Emails of interest are due ASAP, with the committee aiming to match pairs in early 2018. If interested, please contact alanmrtmentoring@gmail for more information. Thanks for your interest!

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RSVP for New Members Round Table Social @ ALA Midwinter

RSVP to New Members Round Table Social

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Congratulations to Jewel Davis, NMRT’s 2018 Emerging Leader!

NMRT is pleased to sponsor Jewel Davis as a 2018 Emerging Leader. The sponsorship consists of a $1000 award towards attendance at ALA Midwinter in Denver and ALA Annual in New Orleans.

Jewel Davis currently works as the Education Librarian in a PreK-12 Curriculum Materials Center at Appalachian State University’s Belk Library and Information Commons. She works with pre-service teachers, education faculty, and practicing K-12 teachers on teaching with diverse youth literature, incorporating STEM and emerging technologies into classroom practice, and developing practitioner-based research skills. She received an MA in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Previously NMRT-sponsored Emerging Leaders include Megan Hodge in 2011, Heidi Steiner in 2012, Margaret Howard in 2013, Kate Tkacik in 2014, Stacey Nordlund in 2015, and Mandi Goodsett in 2016.

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NMRT Online Discussion Forum – November 2017 Recap

Hello! Laura Birkenhauer here, writing on behalf of the NMRT Online Discussion Forum Committee. I wanted to fill you in on a productive November discussion, hosted on the NMRT-L listserv.

This conversation focused on managing your professional image and networking online. Participants shared thoughts and resources in response to two questions:

  1. Do you prefer to use certain platforms for personal vs. professional conversations and sharing? If so, how do you make and maintain this distinction?
  2. Name a few of your favorite methods of connecting online with others in the profession. Share links, listservs, Twitter hashtags, etc!

Twitter and LinkedIn

While the idea of distinguishing certain platforms for professional connections was new to some, participants generally agreed that Twitter and LinkedIn were the go-to networking sites for engaging with others in libraries.

LinkedIn – a platform allowing users to create the equivalent of an online resume, build a network and even job search – seems a clear choice for job hunting LIS students, professionals or employed folks looking to stay connected. But, what about Twitter? How does one navigate such a site for professional purposes?

While Twitter certainly hosts personal content, it is also a mine of library subject matter. On Twitter, you can find announcements from professional organizations, jump into discussions on topics you care about, read messaging from influencers in the field, and much, much more! For those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of Twitter as a professional tool, here are a few strategies worth sharing:


  • Create Lists 
  • Participate in Chats 
    • Hashtags also allow users to join in on live conversations through the platform, called Twitter chats. There are a number of chats relevant to librarianship, including #LISprochat and #critlib. Find other chats of interest here.
    • Save the date for the upcoming January 2018 NMRT Twitter chat! We’ll be discussing managing stress and work/life balance. Participate in the one-hour chat – hosted by me, @LMBirkenhauer – using the hashtag #NMRTchat at 2 pm EST on Tuesday, January 16.


Facebook, though popular for personal interactions and sharing, didn’t receive a thumbs up from all NMRT discussion participants as a professional forum. However, Facebook groups such as Library Think Tank and Library Support Network were noted as useful for connecting with others in libraries.

An easy way to find Facebook groups of interest is to view the groups your colleagues on Facebook have already joined. Performing a search in Facebook for keywords such as “library” or “librarian,” and then looking through the Groups results, works well, too.


Non-Social Media Options

Participants utilized methods beyond social sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, discussing specific websites, listservs and webinars as means for connecting professionally online.

  • Feedly
    • A platform for aggregating content of interest, customizable by the user. Includes sharing features, with Feedly Pro (paid subscription required).
  • Webinars
    • Attending webinars of interest is a great way to connect with others in the profession. You’ll find those in attendance often have similar interests and you will likely have the option to interact with the experts presenting the webinar.
  • Websites
    • Search the web for websites or blogs relevant to your research interests or job description. Take a look at websites for professional organizations you’re a part of or interested in joining. These sites typically include contact information – social media handles or email addresses – for group leadership or content authors.
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NMRT Member of the Week Spotlight: Laura Birkenhauer

Laura Birkenhauer

Miami University Libraries, in Oxford, OH

Academic Resident Librarian

What are some things you like about your job or working in libraries in general?

The best part of my job is working with our students. I gain so much satisfaction assisting them in navigating the Libraries: doesn’t matter if I’m leading a tour, helping un-jam a printer or stapler, teaching a class, or walking them through using our research databases. No matter the situation, I find joy in creating a safe space for them to ask questions, grow and learn. Sharing a smile and receiving a thank you after an interaction like this makes my whole day!

What’s a project or committee you’re working on right now that you’re excited about?

As someone passionate about outreach and event planning, I’m excited to be co-hosting with another department on campus a late night breakfast event during finals week in my library. This event will bring together students, staff, faculty and administrators. I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate our students in a big way and wish them luck as they complete their finals and fall semester.

What got you interested in libraries?

Before I was employed at Miami University as a full-time employee, I attended the university as an undergraduate student, majoring in English with a focus on creative writing. I’m a long-time patron of libraries, but I’d never thought seriously about a career in the field. In my final year as a Miami student, I attended on a whim an on-campus “job talk” session presented by two librarians from the MU Libraries. In that talk, I learned about the profession and about Kent State University’s MLIS program, where I shortly after applied and gained admission as a graduate student. The presentation piqued my interest, and the rest is history.

What is one of your favorite things about NMRT?

NMRT is such a fantastic and friendly gateway to ALA, it’s difficult to choose. I think I most enjoy reading the listserv discussions on topics relevant to me, as an early career librarian.

Do you have any advice for other new librarians?

Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Sometimes, especially when you’re new to libraries, it feels like you must be everything to everybody in order to make it in this profession. I urge you to resist adopting that as your philosophy, speaking as someone who has been there, done that! You’re no use to anyone if you’re exhausted and unable to give your 100% to your commitments. Carefully consider each “yes” and also know that occasionally a “yes” will become a “no.” You’re not a flake or a failure if that happens.


NMRT wants to feature YOU in our NMRT Member of the Week Series. Nominate yourself or one of your amazing NMRT colleagues here: ow.ly/1umy30deke0

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Volunteer with the NMRT Resume Review Service at Midwinter!

The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee is recruiting volunteer resume reviewers and booth greeters as well as taking resume review appointments for the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting!  This is a free in-person service that will be located in the ALA Job Placement Center on Saturday, February 10 & Sunday, February 11 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days.  Visit our informational website for more details, to access volunteer forms, or to sign up for an appointment: https://sites.google.com/view/nmrtresumereview2018midwinter

If you have any questions, please contact NMRT Resume Review Service Committee Chair Hannah Buckland at hannah.buckland@lltc.edu or Assistant Chair Jillian Hayes at jillian.k.hayes@gmail.com.  Thank you!

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