My Welcome Vision: An Update

Last year’s Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference was held virtually, and I had the honor of being one of the event’s invited presenters.  My talk, titled, “Creating an Open Vision for 21st-Century Libraries and Archives,” shares my philosophy of Welcome and how I have been applying it and believe it could be implemented in contemporary libraries and archives of all sizes and/or at all employee levels. 

In April 2021, when I offered the talk, I’d been at my place of work – and in my first formal leadership position (Dean) – for just under a year. Additionally, due to the Pandemic, I’d only been working on-site with all of my library/archives co-workers for about two weeks or so.  At press time, I’ve been at my current place of work for 19 months, working in-person with my library/archives organization for 10 months of that time.  That being said, academic timing is something else entirely, and I’m well on my way to completing my second academic year.  Along with my mission, my vision of welcome guides my daily leadership work. To that end, my three Department Heads (Diann Smothers – Content Services; Jackie McFadden – Public Services; and Gina White – Archives/Special Collections) and I identified and shared Dacus Library and Pettus Archives’ activities connected to my Welcome vision, which has four areas of emphasis:

  • A Sense of Place (e.g., leveraging campus/student life lens; improving facilities; neutralizing silos; highlighting marginalized voices; inclusive policies)
  • A Sence of Purpose (e.g., honor history, mission, and creed; confirm collective goals; strategic and succession planning; critical GLAM practice)
  • A Sense of Value (e.g., budget oversight; resource evaluation; creativity; communities of practice; engagement with spaces, resources, & people)
  • A Sense of Belonging (e.g., evaluation organizational culture; organizational & resource representation, inclusion, and mobility).

Following is a short list of activities completed and/or anticipated for completion during my tenure so far (July 2020 – May 2022).  The listing is by goal area, and keyed as follows:

Content Services (CS); Public Services (PS); Archives/Special Collections (ASC), and Office of the Dean (OD)

A Sense of Place

  • Revise and update Collection Development Party (final draft to be completed Spring 2022). This revision demonstrates that the library serves as the primary source for seeking resources that support curricular and research needs. Inclusive language provides a sense of place and belonging.  (CS)
  • Updated and refined user policies and procedures – (User Access Policy, User Code of Conduct Policy, Food and Drink Policy, Group Study Room Policy) (PS)
  • Refreshed general collection stack labels with library branding. (PS)
  • Provided enhanced customer service and Inter-Library Loan training to students and Circulation staff to better integrate departments and build staffing efficiencies; (PS)
  • Coordinated and directed an oral history project “Being LGBTQIA+ at Winthrop”. Virtual exhibit and oral history interviews added to Digital Commons is in planning stage. (ASC)
  • Gathered material, wrote content for a Black History Month 2021 virtual exhibit “Stepping Into Winthrop: Finding and Forming the Black Family on Campus(ASC)
  • Revised and updated Archives User Access policy (ASC)
  • Began implementing consistent library branding on website, social media, and other communique pathways (OD)
  • Quiet Floor signage designed and installed on Lower Level (OD)
  • Wayfinding signage for all floors designed and included on building visual communication system (OD) 
  • Ongoing: reimagining services for expanded employee mobility around campus and community (OD)
  • Expanded library resource exhibits and promotions to multiple areas around the library and via the visual communicaton system (OD) 

A Sense of Purpose

  • Implemented OpenAthens for more streamlined and secure access to electronic resources  (CS)
  • Cataloged a total of 58 master theses and MLA capstone projects (CS)
  •  Held 125th anniversary celebration of Dacus Library’s participation in the FDLP  (PS)
  • Ongoing: Providing laptops for students during the pandemic (PS)
  • Implemented phased reopening plan during Covid-19 pandemic following university guidelines and safety standards (PS)
  • Established new partnerships and continued existing partnerships to offer the campus community access to material and information for research and personal enrichment. (ASC)
  • Work regularly with other campus departments (e.g., Alumni Office, Office of New Student/Family Programs, Admissions, History Department, etc.) (ASC)
  • Ongoing: Supported/approved the professional development goals of library and archives employees (OD)
  • Successful bid for streamlined library hours of operation for Academic Year 20/21. (OD)
  • Share Dean’s Desk update monthly emails to Library and Archives employees (OD)
  • Offer virtual and/or in-person office hours for library/archive employee open communication opportunities (OD)

A Sense of Value

  • Create and manage collections budget, make recommendations for selection and deselection.  (CS)
  • Improved discoverability and remote access of library subscriptions in Google Scholar (CS)
  • Held Open Educational Resources (OER) training and information sessions throughout 2021 and 2022 (PS)
  • Completed the library section of the SACSCOC Decennial Review compliance certification report.  (PS)
  • Restructured Electronic Reserves service to emphasize use of library-licensed or owned resources and empower instructors to make informed decisions regarding their own course materials. (PS)
  • Applied for program/event grant funding (PS, ASC, OD)
  • Lead discussions with Fine Arts and other departments to create academic internships in Archives (ASC)
  • Partnered with History Department and Biology Department faculty to create an oral history project titled “Project 2020: A Collaborative Oral History on the Coronavirus Global Pandemic” (ASC)
  • Established foundation for updated Budget model – connected to accreditation and better transparency (OD)
  • Restructured programs/events to project management-focused planning cycle (OD)
  • Created and implemented data-gathering protocols from all departments on various services, resource, user, and space usage; share selected monthy statistics with campus community (OD)
  • Spoke to Faculty Conference about key findings of low morale (OD)
  • Began work on new Challenged Materials Policy with Content Services and Public Services Department Heads (OD)
  • Create, design, and distribute monthly restroom newsletter (OD)
  • Led Symposium/Semester Kick-Off Welcome session with colleague in the campus Counseling Office: “Reflecting with Empathy, Leading with Compassion” (OD)
  • Planned Spring 2022 Library Dean/Department Head retreat (OD)

A Sense of Belonging

  • Developed list of onboarding needs for new hires  (CS)
  • Added inclusive images to the web site (CS)
  • Representation on South Carolina academic library consortium committees  (CS)
  • Developed a process for alumni library access (PS)
  • Increased access to library services for community users (PS)
  • Representation on the QEP Topic Selection Committee (PS)
  • Identified and offered staff more opportunities for professional development (ASC)
  • Exhibit and Cultural Event – Exhibit of some pieces from the Salazar Latin American Artifact Collection (“Preserved in Clay and Stone: Celebrating the History of Ancient Latin America”) and a lecture about the pieces in the collection by Dr. Brent Woodfill (Assoc. Prof. of Anthropology, Winthrop) and Prof. Megan Leight (Asst. Prof. of Art History, West Virginia University) (ASC)
  • Continued efforts to collect memorabilia from marginalized Winthrop campus groups and individuals (ASC)
  • Created, designed, and facilitated  Dacus/Pettus Tenure Track Forums, a four-part series highlighting aspects of faculty tenure and promotion guidance and preparation. (OD)
  • Started adding creating and adding dynamic content (Reels, carousel posts, reposts, etc) to the Dacus Library social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) (OD)
  • Worked with Public Services to create a new meditation room (OD)
  • Conceptualized, designed, collocated, and distributed content for the following events (OD): 

This list seems long – and it comes from a much longer listing of activities, including ongoing activities connected to programs and services that we are still adjusting as the Pandemic continues – for instance, the  “Walk and Talk” reference service discussed in the 2021 presentation has morphed to something new while we work to decentralize our reference desk (stay tuned!).

As I work towards the vision, I recognize that the Pandemic has both expanded and limited our ability to do more in some areas.  To that end, I also keep in mind the fifth law of library scienceand in any case, I hope you recognize some things you may be doing – or can do in your library – to solidify welcome. 

If you have questions or would like to learn more about other activities we’re doing (or share what you’re doing at your organization), please let me know!


#hurrayoftheday: 81

Over the weekend while on Twitter, I came across this tweet thread:


Y’all – my work is now sound!!! My research is an art! Also, this data physicalization project is one that calls after my Digital Humanities and Communities of Practice heart.

Learn more about the project and/or hear the data.

종현 생일이야! /It’s Jonghyun’s Birthday!

It’s April 8 in the Republic of Korea, so that means we can start celebrating Kim Jong-hyun’s 31st birthday (32 in Korean age).  Last week I watched SHINee’s first concert following most of the members’ completion of their mandatory military service (except Taemin, who is preparing to go). For three hours they sang live, covering Jonghyun’s sections, and also displaying definitive, yet subtle ways to include him in their performance. True to SHINee style, they were professional, positive, and electrifying; authentic and ethereal. 

There are several hallmarks to SHINee’s style/brand – one of them is their ability to fill in – with seemingly minimal effort – for other group members. This ability was on display during the concert, and simultaneously,  the role of Jonghyun’s presence and vocal color in the group was clear.  What is also clear is that they miss him, as a brother, very, very deeply – a fact, emotion, and void they share with SHINee World (Shawols) (for the record, I’m with Minho: SHINee is five.)

SHINee ended their explosive and emotional performance with Jonghyun’s masterpiece ballad, “Selene 6.23,” which, as I mentioned last year around this time, has special meaning not only due to Jonghyun’s physical transformation, but his dedication of the song to SHINee’s global fandom. 

Today, I’m sharing the last video he created for a song from his posthumously released album. The song, “빛이 나 /Shinin’ ” is a fun word play that highlights his affiliation with SHINee and his nickname – BlingBling.  I hope you enjoy it!

To The Poet, The Artist, The Soul of SHINee, and the Moon in SHINee World – you are profoundly missed and thought of so often, by so many – including me.


#hurrayoftheday: 80

Today I received a notice from Norene Erickson, the Editor-In-Chief of Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, that my article on public librarians’ low-morale experiences has won the journal’s Partnership Award for the best article of 2020! She noted, ” Articles were nominated by the editorial team, and an awards committee made the final decision based on:

  • Originality
  • Relevance/timeliness to the profession
  • Contribution and impact on the profession
  • Quality

She also shared that despite the short publishing time of the article (it was published in January 2021), it is tracking as one of the most popular viewed/downloaded articles of the year (at announcement time, it had 4,964 abstract views and 7,753 downloads).

I’m so honored that my work is being recognized in this way. UPDATE: Read the announcement.

#hurrayoftheday: 79

I’ve been at my new gig for about 8 months now. Last week state employees were recalled – with very little notice –  to return to their in situ workplaces.  As a result, I’ve just this past week finally met all of my team members in person. 

In my new role, I’ve  had a uniquely challenging first year — doing what I can to navigate and stay healthy during a global pandemic, learning a new job, bridging the gap between my experience of my alma mater as a student and now, as a leader, and trying to get to know my library/archives team members and campus leadership colleagues via Zoom/Google Hangout/Teams.  I am a Classic Introvert,  so, while I’ve been enjoying the opportunities that remote work allow me to recharge from social interaction, I still feel at a significant disadvantage since in the virtual/online world, I cannot fully use my talents to bridge interpersonal gaps. That being said, I’ve been doing all I can to apply my morale research data and my own experiences to show my empathetic leadership style, which is evident in my mission and which inform my What I Wish Had Been Done For Me protocols.  I’ve not been sure at all if what I’m doing has been working.  And yet, today, I received the following email from one of my team members:

It feels very nice to be appreciated. I was just telling someone yesterday that you make us feel appreciated and how much that meant to me! I’ve only been back [one] week and you have shared joy with me AT LEAST 3 times. Thank you so much for lifting our spirits around here.

Again, thank you so much! Your kindness is appreciated more than you know!

Later when I went to visit them (physically distanced and masked), they also said, “I can tell that you’re trying. It really means a lot to us.”

It is really really nice as a leader for your team members to give such encouragement. As I often sign-off – I will keep going.

#hurrayoftheday: 78

Today we have a two-fer, both research related and speaking to the empowerment that I always hope and wish to come of my work.

First up,  this tweet about my low-morale work:

Then,  LaJuan Pringle, a librarian at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library System (we also worked together on the Metrolina Library Association Board), shared with me a post he wrote on the rare joy of being – and working with – other Black male librarians. He cited my 2009 study of the history and career motivations for African American male librarians. 

These messages keep my spirits up and I’m very thankful to know that my current and past work makes a positive difference in a profession I care a great deal about.

#hurrayoftheday: 77

ACRL has invited me to present at this year’s ACRL virtual conference! The line-up was announced today. I’m so thankful to be in the number along with Jennifer Ferretti (founder of we here), Jennifer Brown (I presented with her at the 2019 ARL Meeting), and Charlotte Roh.  I’m also particularly tickled that this year’s ACRL keynotes are scholar Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom and data journalist Mona Chalabi. Learn more about this year’s program.

#Recognize: Jamia Williams, M.L.S.


Jamia earned her M.L.S. from North Carolina Central University. Currently she is Liaison Librarian at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where sheworks with seven departmental disciplines — including pharmacy, cardiology, and internal medicine — in their clinical and academic endeavors.

Finish this sentence: “A challenge that I face as a librarian of color is…”

…Staying consistent with my self-care.

Describe a current project or idea that you’re working on or have recently completed.

I am a co-host of the LibVoices podcast.

What music/artist/song are you currently into?

Afro B.

Finish the following sentence: “I am happy when I…”

…am home with my family.

Share a book that you’re currently reading, have recently read, or would like to read.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby