Information Literacy + Service Learning = Social Change (WLIC Lyon 2014)

9 Dec

In the evolution of information literacy from a competency based set of standards to one that is more holistic and reflects current trends in higher education, it is critical to evaluate the role of information literacy in social change. One of the key purposes of a university is not only to help students gain critical thinking and applied skills for the workplace but also to instill a sense of responsibility and desire to make a difference in the world around them. More than just focusing on data collection, it is important for academic libraries to, “shift our thinking to include affective (emotional) learning outcomes that address self-efficacy, student confidence, attitudes, motivation, and valuing what is being learned.” (ACRL Standard Review ACRL AC12 Doc 13.1). These key areas are all embodied within the learning outcomes of a service learning curriculum. The focus of this paper is two-fold: to examine how information literacy complements a service learning focused curriculum and how service learning projects can be embedded in any course regardless of the discipline.

Full Conference Paper Available in the IFLA repository:

Skinhead Havoc

9 Dec


Love the primary documents…

Originally posted on standupandspit:


Poems from Skinhead Havoc ‘zine, #4, Edinburgh, 1984.

View original

The Dirty Little Secret about Prop 47.

1 Dec

Yesterday I sat in various courtrooms in the Orange County Superior Court in downtown Santa Ana. The first was Court 60 which previously had been where all the felony drug convictions were handled. I have spent many hours in this particular court. I watched my son start a moderate outpatient program that consisted of random drug testing and attending self-help meetings.

I attended again when he was arrested for his first, then second, then third and finally his fourth probation violation. I listened to the sob stories of reformed addicts and those, like my son, who failed miserably no matter which program they were given by the Commissioner. All of these people had one single thing in common: a drug addiction and the need for consistent help to get out of their endless loop of petty crime and drug use.

While I sat in court time after time,  one thing i knew for sure is that the tax money I paid for our judicial system actually had a few safety nets for those that fell. Whether it be Drug Court or court ordered in-patient treatment, the State could help these people who could not help themselves. Yes they spent time in Jail, yes many didn’t take advantage of the hand extended to them but i always left Court 60 feeling like all was not lost.

Enter Prop 47. Endorsed by virtually all politicians and touted to be the way to spend more money on schools and less money on prisons. The opportunity for my son to have his charges reduced from felonies to misdemeanors was appealing. The promise of more money for drug treatment rather than the harsh jails (believe me I have been to all three of the Orange County Jails so harsh is actually a nice term) sounded almost too good to be true. Well guess what voters of California it was.

I watched the dirty little secret of Proposition 47 play out yesterday in my day long journey to three different court rooms in the OC Superior Courthouse. First in Court 60, I watched as the public defenders handed out goldenrod forms to petition for Prop 47 reclassification of a drug conviction. People who were high on methamphetamine as they stood there were terminated from drug programs and given informal probation. No more drug tests, no more probation officers and no more mandatory drug programs.

On to Court 57. More of the same. All felonies reduced, formal probation terminated, drug program requirement terminated. In Court C5 it felt like Groundhog Day as more and more inmates were released and given informal probation and drug treatment orders terminated.

“The new law also derails drug court, where felony charges were set aside for offenders who completed treatment regimens. Those who succeed have a high success in staying sober, but without the threat of jail, there is little incentive to participate, said Mark Delgado, executive director of the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, which runs those programs.”

Los Angeles Times

Perhaps the saddest example of the fraud that is Prop 47, was a female inmate sitting behind the protective glass in Courtroom 57. Frail and hauntingly beautiful she plead to her public defender that she needed to be out to hug and kiss and support her two year old child. But the sad fact was that she failed three different drug tests and was arrested (yet again) for being with another probationer who had drugs on his person. She had her felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and drug program requirement terminated.  It wasn’t for her that I felt bad, it was for her child who would have a mother with no reason or money to seek treatment. The safety net that existed previously from Prop 36 and PC1210 has been torn and in its wake I foresee destroyed families (As parents who have been through the same ordeal as me know- the threat of jail is sometimes the only thing that will persuade addicts to try out sobriety- even if for a little while) and a rise in petty crimes. As long as the addict can stay under the $950 dollar threshold, they will be free to continue to steal bikes and cell phones and get just enough money for that next fix.

I voted for Prop 47. I selfishly wanted my son to have a reduced sentence and a chance to correct his youthful indiscretions. I admit I didn’t really care what happened to anyone but my child. But now i see that the dirty little secret behind Prop 47 is freeing people and offering zero help towards redemption. My son is lucky. He has a family that will support any attempts by him to get out of addiction and I have the health insurance that will fund his recovery. The others like that pretty girl in Courtroom 57 will not.

So i have to ask the authors of proposition 47: When exactly will all this money be used to help the thousands you have released from any sort of supervision or accountability for their drug use? Where is the help for those that need it now? Can you explain this to my son’s grandmother between her pain and tears? This is the last hope for so many lost souls and what do you do? Put them on the streets with nothing but a chance to use again without the threat of consequence.

Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery (Review)

21 Jun

Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of SlaveryBeen in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery by Leon F. Litwack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had to read this book for a US History course at Cal Berkeley. The only thing more magical than reading this book is having Dr. Litwack read the primary documents contained in it. I have never been more mesmerized in a large lecture with only a podium and a man speaking.

His mastery of mixing text with primary sources is amazing and even more amazing when you realize this title was published before the days of the internet.

Great book- an awesome textbook for history courses and a must read for anyone that wants to get an accurate portrayal of slave life and the reconstruction.

View all my reviews

Boring Library Screencasts meet GoAnimate: The intersection between information literacy and humor

21 Mar

In my quest for using new technologies to convey library concepts I started integrating GoAnimate ( with Camtasia video captures. This is my first attempt. More info soon!

My Review of Open All Night by Ken Miller

12 Apr

Open All NightOpen All Night by William T. Vollmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is awesome. It is very Diane Arbus-esque examining the underbelly of the Haight Ashbury District of the 1980s. I personally love this book for its documentation of Skinheads in the early 80s (SF Skinz) which was rarely done pre-Geraldo/Oprah.. If you are a collector of subculture you should definitely check out this book and William T. Vollmann’s book Rainbow Stories based upon the same groups of people.

View all my reviews

Meeting Joe Strummer

23 Dec

I posted this on MYSPACE a few years ago (lmao!!) so i thought i would repost it here:

The Clash has always been one of the major soundtracks of my life. I never got to see them play live so when the chance to see joe strummer and the mescaleros at the house of blues in anaheim came about i was down. Seeing joe strummer on stage with all the same energy of clash footage from years past was awesome..but i never thought we would run into an old friend of Boxer’s that would take us backstage. I have met and know alot of people in entertainment so i have never been one to get starstruck but being inches away from joe strummer left me speechless..he and boxer were talking about some tour they were on together in italy while i stood listening to them. Joe strummer saw me and asked boxer: “arent you going to introduce us?” and then he politely shook my hand. we stayed backstage drinking beers and hanging out for what felt like hours but was probably just an hour and a half. forever etched in my mind will be joe strummer listening (no really FEELING the music- eyes shut head shaking) to music blaring out of a boom box, drinking a glass of red wine..talking about the magic of reggae. Feeling the sweat soaked wetness of his shirt as he handed it to me and asked me to put it under the chair i was sitting in…how fucking NICE and down to earth he was. no attitude no rock star persona- he was just chillin listening to some nobody girl’s demo tape and tripping on the fact that manic hispanic would do a cover of one of his clash songs..he was amazing in the few minutes our paths crossed and i am so glad i had the privelege of meeting him that night..

Later that summer i took my little boy to the hootenanny and it was so cool to watch him recognize the clash songs and sing along..his first show he was able to see joe strummer- how awesome is that? esp. when a few months later joe passed away. my kid doesnt know it now but he is one of the few 6 year olds that when he is older can say he saw a legend perform.

You will be forever missed.

The Reason I love what I do

28 Oct

Every once in awhile between the half listening slackers and the “I already know this” students you get the kind of student that becomes THE REASON I LOVE WHAT I DO. This semester it was a petite Latina girl in a college sweatshirt with a carefully made up face and waves of black hair. A typical freshman.

She never told me her name but she was attentive and engaged. She waited until class was over and all the students were gone before she asked her questions. She was doing her first college paper on global warming. She was planning to become an engineering major but the College of Engineering doesn’t accept “pre-bac” students (the ones that don’t pass the writing requirement). She was clearly stressed about passing this class. I HAVE TO DO REALLY WELL ON THIS PAPER. And after talking to her for a minute it became clear why.

“I am the first person on either side of my family to go to college. NO ONE at home can help me. My mom is a single mom and my dad was never around. My mom and grandparents came from Mexico and I am the first one.” I could feel the magnitude of her situation in her tone of voice and body language: This is a BFD.

I could feel the weight on her shoulders however, she wasn’t like a typical stressed student. While she was overwhelmed at the enormity of her accomplishments she was still determined to succeed. I could see an inner strength in her that you don’t always see in freshmen or first generation students.

I wanted to give her a hug.

Instead I gave her the most heartfelt advice of my life. I told her everything I wished I had done to take advantage of support programs in college. I told her about my other first generation students and assured her that others did it before her and she could do it too. She didn’t know it but she brought tears to my eyes. She left the classroom with a renewed sense of confidence and told me she would “see me around”.

So thank you for reminding me of why I teach six classes in one day. why I never dread coming into the office. Why I smile even though I have worked more than 10 hours straight. I hope I see her in a cap and gown within the next five years.

Because you, dear student, are a big fucking deal.

Designing Low-Cost Mobile Websites for Libraries

14 Oct

Aaron Tay and I wrote an article for ASIS. Check it out!

IFLA 2011: Slides for presentations

24 Aug

I had a wonderful time at both the satellite meeting in Havana Cuba and at the full conference in San Juan Puerto Rico. Many thanks to the IFLA Social Science Libraries Section and Library Theory and Research Section with Statistics and Evaluation for allowing me the pleasure of attending my first IFLA Conference. Please find both my presentation slides. While my co-presenters were unable to join me, they are equally responsible for the ideas and content- many thanks to  Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Aaron Tay. Handouts and link to other materials will be added soon.


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