Q&A with Library Staff: Zach McNay

FaceZach McNay joins the SPU Library staff as our new Access Services Specialist. Learn a little bit about him below in our Q & A interview:

What are some things you are responsible for in your new position?

I am the weekend opener. It is a committed and tired crew of patrons that drag their bodies out of bed and into the library on the weekend. I say crew: let’s be nice to each other, and drink our coffee before we meet at the front desk.

I help with various tasks throughout the library, be it updating the library’s website, working to keep the Summit loan program working smoothly, or contributing to an odd post here and there on this very blog.

I’m also responsible for overseeing and training student workers. I want to help them have a positive and memorable job experience—library work can be fun!

What’s your favorite thing about living in Seattle?

I love the neighborhoods of Seattle, and travelling through them, and it’s fun to snap pictures of interesting things one runs across. Usually I begin at my favorite nook, “The Crumpet Shop”, down at the Pike Place Market. If you visit (and you should), try the crumpet with almond butter, marmalade, and blue cheese—simply the best. From there it’s easy to hop a bus to another neighborhood – walking around Capitol Hill I’ve found what is now my favorite music store in the city (Wall of Sound Records). I also stumbled across the Northwest Film Forum cinema and home office (a smaller cousin to the more well known SIFF cinema in lower Queen Anne), which has become a favorite spot of mine for viewing classic and foreign films on the big screen.

I just like knowing where things are in the city. As the years go by my mental map keeps expanding, and that is immensely satisfying. One thing I’ve learned though on my hikes: always bring an umbrella!

Any new book or movie recommendations?

I would recommend anything directed by Whit Stillman. His films are modern comedies of manners (a la Jane Austen), set in the elitist yet charming world of youthful old-money American preppies. We have his first three films, “Metropolitan”, “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco” here at the library so check all of them out and have a marathon. If you’re in a more austere frame of mind, check out “Lancelot of the Lake” directed by Robert Bresson or “Stalker” directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

When it comes to books, some of my favorites concern the lives and philosophies of particular filmmakers. I am currently re-reading Andrei Tarkovsky’s filmic autobiography “Sculpting in Time”, but you should certainly check it out once I’m done. Another to devour is the excellent “The Kubrick Façade” by Jason Sperb, an impassioned investigation of the meaning of the films of Stanley Kubrick (my own favorite director). Our collection of books about film at the library is rich and varied so dive in deep!

Halloween Book List

DWCityWith Halloween around the corner, we decided to ask around the Library and see what the staff are recommending for a chilling read. If it’s classics you’re after, we do, of course, have options from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, to volumes by Edgar Allan Poe – but here are some outside the coffin box suggestions.

Snow White, Blood Red, by Ellen Datlow

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

— Christina Nofziger

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin

— Carrie Fry

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson

— Johanna Staman

All Hallows’ Eve, by Charles Williamspumpkin pumpkin

— Michael Paulus

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, by Jeane Titherington

— Natalee Vick

(More) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell

— Jo Krogh

Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories, by Michael Sims

When the Lights Go Out, by H.W. Wilson Co.

— Stephanie Rubesh

Also available through Summit:

Salem’s Lot, Stephen King

— Jake Crammer

House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski

— Kevin Kayahara

Last but not least, check out this book by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, for a real Halloween scare.

Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill

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Day of Common Learning

The 12th annual Day of Common Learning welcomed Dr. Thomas Maridada, director of National Education Policy, Practice, and Strategic Initiative for the Children’s Defense Fund, and a renowned leader in the world of education. This year’s theme was “Helping Youth to Flourish”, addressed by various afternoon showcases, a film screening of Girl Rising, and the keynote address “Transforming Our Youth – Transforming Our Nation: Partnering in Service to Invest in the Lives of Our Nation’s Youth”.  Forums covered topics from troubled youth to cultural backgrounds to volunteering to teaching.

This is what Maryann Shaw, Serials Specialist at the Library, had to say about Girl Rising:

Girl Rising was full of harrowing facts and statistics about life in developing countries for millions of girls, as well as personal first hand stories from the nine girls featured. But it also showed that by giving girls an education, their opportunities open up, and the change not only impacts them, but their families, culture and local economies as well. It reminded me how privileged I was to grow up in a community that values girls and supports their education. I loved that each of the girls were paired with a female writer from their country to help them tell their story, sometimes through song, dance, or poetry. Occasionally movies like Girl Rising can leave one feeling disheartened and powerless in the face of so much heartache and injustice, unsure of the best way to help. But Girl Rising shows how the gift of education for girls in the developing world—through advocacy and/or financial support—empowers the girls to be the agents of change in their own story, and in doing so create change for their communities.

The Library also sent out its first ever roaming Circulation Desk.  Related materials and a couple laptops were taken down to Royal Brougham to check books out to interested staff and students after the keynote address.

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If you are interested in more information regarding this year’s Day of Common Learning theme, our Librarian for Business and Education, Cindy Strong, created a reading list of available library resources and the book display on the main level of the Library will carry some of these books until the end of this week.

The View (from Downstairs)

Here is the latest message from Ryan Ingersoll, Head of Library Technology at the SPU Library:

As the Tech Desk continues to evolve, we want to keep you up-to-date on all the new services and products we’ve added.

Last year, the Tech Desk added multiple items for check out including iPod touches, audio recorders, Flip cameras, and MacBook Pros for use within the library. This year, we’ve extended the list to include a Canon Rebel T5i DSLR camera that is available for check out for three days at a time.

In addition, every study room on the Third Level is now equipped with a 46-inch LCD screen that connects to your mobile device (tablet, computer). They are perfect for collaborating on projects where everyone needs to see the screen. If you need HDMI or VGA adapters, they are available for check out at the Tech Desk. Each study room also has mobile furniture – feel free to configure tables and chairs to meet your specific needs.

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Our staff is trained to provide assistance with many of the technology tools we provide, and our knowledge base provides helpful tutorials and tips on these tools also. We are also here if you need help using the new printers (including scanning JPEG images or PDFs), or setting up wireless printing on your Mac or PC.

Visit our website for more information or schedule a one-on-one consultation by emailing librarytechdesk@spu.edu

Interview with a Librarian: Liz Gruchala-Gilbert on USEM and Information Literacy

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What is the Library’s role in the USEM classes?

In the USEM classes, we aim to address the concept of information literacy. Graduates need to be information literate, have critical thinking skills, and be lifelong learners – and the Library works with faculty to make that happen.

USEM is our opportunity to meet all the new students – we probably have interaction with 90% of the first year students through USEM. When they come here we have the opportunity to take them on a tour – it’s a good time for us to introduce the Library to students in a fun way. I like to find out more about their experience with libraries – how they used libraries in high school, or how they use the public library – and then kind of bridge that to how they’re going to use this Library.

That also makes our interaction with new students an introduction to academic culture. They’re spending their first few weeks getting used to being at SPU…but there’s also an academic culture that they’re entering into. When they come here we show them how they’re going to be using more scholarly resources then they ever did before, and some of the nuts and bolts of using the catalog, getting things that are on reserve, and we talk about study habits. We try not to overload them because they’re learning so much in their first few weeks.

What is Information Literacy?

That’s a good question – I don’t know that there’s an agreed upon definition by everybody. First of all, there are different facets to Information Literacy. There’s the technology part where they have to know how to use technology, there’s the tool part where they have to know how to use the catalog, the data bases, and the books. There’s the evaluative part in which students have to know what makes a good source, and why they would be using it. They learn how to make judgments as to when to use the catalog, the databases, google, etc.

Then there’s applying that…how do you take all this data, all this information that you found and actually synthesize it into your paper and then how do you share that. It’s a big process.

Why would you say that Information Literacy is important?

Well on the most fundamental basic level it helps students do their projects and papers better. There are certain requirements that they’re going to have for papers. For example, a student might need five academic journals – so our job is to help the student find those academic journals. Our hope then is that those skills are transferable so that the next assignment the student gets, the student knows where to go and how to get help.

Do you help students figure out which sources are credible and which are not?

Yes. Credibility is incredibly important – sources need to be as credible as possible. Sometimes what I do is I’ll do a google search for a topic and take the first ten results. I divide my class into groups, each group will take one result, look at it, and then report back as to whether they would use it as a source for their paper. Who wrote something, what was their motive for writing it, who published it, is it on the web published by an individual or is it in a book published by a university press, how old is it, does it matter how old it is, who are they citing, are they citing reliable sources, are they citing anyone at all – these questions are all part of the discerning process.

What is your biggest piece of advice from a librarian’s standpoint to freshmen starting classes at college?

It’s so hard, but don’t procrastinate. We all procrastinate, but even little steps of starting early really help. The earlier students start gathering those the better, because it gives them more time to read and understand sources. If someone’s having trouble finding things then, it also gives them time to ask for help.