Faculty/Librarian Partnership Profile: Stephen West and Kourtney Blackburn

After catching up on Winter break visits with family and some pointers on how to survive a variety of daycare-induced plagues, Stephen and Kourtney sat down to have a conversation about their collaborations over the last year, which have largely revolved around developing content and information literacy related to literary magazines within creative writing courses. To stay true to their preferred flavor of collaboration, they wrote together in Google Docs: Stephen typing furiously while sipping too much coffee in the Village Bakery while Kourtney tapped away at her desk in Lavery, listening to a “Happy Folk” Spotify playlist. [For an inside look at how Kourtney and Stephen work together in all of its meandering, inefficient-yet-generative glory, here is a link to the Gdoc they worked on together to create this post.]

Stephen and Kourtney

Kourtney: How did we even meet—I think we met virtually at first? You were requesting items you wanted for developing a class, and I reached out to suggest we buy some of the materials for our collection. We then met face-to-face in the English Major’s Seminar on grad school in the Spring.

SJW: Yes! That’s right–and I remember being very, very excited to meet someone at Fisher that was gung ho about purchasing texts related to creative writing… and working to purchase subscriptions to literary magazines! I knew you were an ally right away, and that I would be pestering you for help with relaunching The Angle, as that was a big project I had in mind at the time.

Kourtney: I remember being really excited about how gung ho YOU were, actually! We have some really cool and edgy literary magazines that are available to campus now, like Granta, Black Warrior Review, and DRAFT. I have really enjoyed working together in starting some subscriptions for the library and in your classes.

SJW: Yes, I think it is so wonderful that we have a growing collection of important literary magazines. I know I refer students to them all the time for assignments and inspiration! Another real challenge and rewarding experience that you helped SO MUCH with was when I developed a 7-week online flash fiction course in Spring 2016. I had never taught online before, so to translate a creative writing course with a workshop component into an online forum was tough. While Katie Sabourin helped me with the technicalities of course construction, you were so important to how I made information literacy a crucial part of the learning that course now offers students. I feel like it was a strong collaboration, not only in design, but in the actual teaching, with how integrated you were into that class. You were always chiming in the discussion threads and helping students to see how the knowledge practices connected with the work they were creating and how they were responding to one another within their critiques.

Kourtney: I so enjoyed that course, and I think it was extremely successful. I had never imagined a creative writing course moving online, but you made it a really natural fit! That was my first time being involved in a course where I wasn’t doing just a single session on library resources, but instead being present throughout the length of the course, like you said. It was a strong collaboration, and I think being integrated within the course was good because we learned so much about how the two of us can work together, but it was also valuable for the students—the more I was able to interact with them, the better I could tailor the help I gave each of them in their research and assignments.

SJW: I think it worked exceptionally well, and I wonder how campus-based courses might have faculty and library staff work as collaboratively. The nature of online teaching just allows more consistent “presence” by both faculty and librarian, whereas this is an obstacle in a traditional classroom.  

Kourtney: I think you’re right—it can be difficult in a face-to-face format, but working together throughout your face-to-face Editing and Publishing class last Fall was a good example of how it can be done! 🙂

SJW: Yes, I agree. A lot of that was on your willingness to adjust your schedule to come and sit in class with us. I remember how neat it was to have you there participating in class when the students discussed the aesthetic trends they observed after reading through the representative examples of The Angle across its many decades that Nancy Greco put together for my course. Beyond being game and present in those conversations, your contributions to the resuscitation and redesign of The Angle into ANGLES, Fisher’s new web-based literary magazine, have been and will continue to be vital!

Kourtney: I loved visiting the class! It helped me better get to know the students and how I could help them find and use materials like the lit mags we have in the library. Familiarizing myself with the course from the beginning helped me to expand the information literacy components already present in your course content: the “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” threshold concept relating to the creation of an Editor’s Manual and the “Scholarship as Conversation” threshold concept relating to the direction of ANGLES’ literary focus.  

SJW: Yes, you helped me understand how the students’ creation of the Editor’s Manual was related to information literacy. Our collaboration in designing that assignment helped students see how the work they were doing in creating both ANGLES and the manual that future student-editors will use was related to key knowledge practices. And as we move toward the eventual launch our first new issue, I see many ways that we will continue to collaborate, from updating the Editor’s Manual, to figuring out how to integrate ANGLES into Lavery’s archive in an effective way. If you’re willing, of course. 😀 

Kourtney: Of course, I can’t wait!

SJW: Thanks, Kourtney! We’ve done a ton, and I’m excited to see how these various projects continue to take shape. Off to get a coffee refill…

Kourtney: Me too! Enjoy your caffeine, and see you on the first day back!


Library Newsletter

 Spring 2017 Lavery Library Newsletter

Fisher Scholarship Celebration 2016

Dr. Joellen Maples receives the 7th Dr. Mark Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award from the Provost, Dr. Railey.

On October 25th Lavery Library held the annual Fisher Scholarship Celebration, recognizing the work done by Fisher faculty and staff during the prior academic year.  As in past years, the Dr. Mark Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award was also given out, this year to Dr. Joellen Maples.
Over 65 people submitted approximately 50 works for this event. At that time, over 1800 works had been added to Fisher Digital Publications, and there had been over 400,000 downloads of Fisher scholarly work throughout the world. By now, that number has only grown.  At this event, many Fisher faculty and staff were given the opportunity to share their research with the campus as a whole.

Welcome Stacia Maiorani

Stacia Maiorani

This November we said goodbye to Kathi Sigler and welcomed Stacia Maiorani onto the staff here at Lavery Library. An alumna of Fisher, Stacia has lived and taught in both Vietnam and Milan, and most currently worked as the librarian at Honeoye Falls-Lima CSD.  Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from Letters from Lavery containing an interview with Stacia!

Coming Soon

There will soon be weekly drawings held at the Research Help Desk. Any student who comes to the desk will be entered for a

The Cardinal visits the Research Help Desk!

chance to win a weekly prize. More information coming soon, so keep an eye out! This is a great opportunity to help students see what a wonderful resource the  librarians at the Research Help Desk can be.


New Database

Dynamed Plus: Clinical, point-of-care reference tool for healthcare professionals. Includes clinical criteria, decision trees, statistics calculators, and more.

Questions? Contact Michelle Price, mprice@sjfc.edu.

Book Recommendations from the Blogging Team

With all the new books that have been purchased for our collection, it’s hard to pick out only a few, so members of the blogging team have selected some of their favorites.

Christina Hillman: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

Kourtney Blackburn: Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned: Enchanted Stories from the French Decadent Tradition edited by Gretchen Schultz

Kate Ross: Russia in World History by Barbara Alpern Engel

Come checkout these books and more here at Lavery!

And finally, some fun facts

  • Since June 2016 we have ordered 134 items requested directly by faculty, students, and staff
  • We have also ordered over 240 items that were put on hold for someone
  • We have added over 1500 items to our collection, in all areas, since June 2016
  • So far this academic year there have been over 600 questions at the Research Help Desk
  • Librarians have taught over 147 groups sessions since June 2016
  • The library had 116,997 total visits last semester
  • Hourly headcounts are at record highs, especially during Tuesday afternoons around 1:00pm and on Monday evenings



Welcome Back!!!

Welcome Back

Hey students, we are so excited you’re back; it was getting a little too quiet in the library. Over break we caught up on a lot of work . . . answering email, attending meetings, ordering new books, reading email, coming up with great new displays, answering email, processing new books, oh, and did I mention the email?

Empty Library
We are excited for you to fill the empty spaces.

Remember, when research assignments start rolling in over the next few weeks, make your life easier and stop at the Research Help Desk; for hours check the library homepage or here. New this semester: weekly prize drawing for students who use the Research Help Desk services. Ask a librarian for details!!!

But really, we did miss all of you, especially the energy you bring to the library. So, welcome back and have a great semester!!

Wrapping up . . .

book-warppedWe at Lavery Library hope all of our Fisher Family had a great fall semester! The library saw one of its busiest semesters yet–hosting nearly 200 people during our peak hours. We love seeing you here, getting the chance to help you learn and grow, and, most of all, we love how you  make the space come to life every day.

Check out some of the highlights from fall 2016 at Lavery Library:

We can’t wait for your return in January!

Final Exams . . . wait, wasn’t it September last week?


Every year Lavery Library is bustling during the week leading up to finals and finals week (Lavery hours). We see record-setting numbers of students at our Research Help Desk, and finding someone hunkered down with their laptop and notes in a quiet corner is common. It can get noisy on the Main Level with students finishing up group projects, late night study sesskearney2ions, and the breaktime chatter. But fear not, the quiet floor is still quiet, and if you desire even more solitude, you might  be able to score a study room. My favorite spot on the Upper Level in L316 — it has a great view of Kearney!

But if you already have your spot picked out and are just wondering what we are offering this year in the way of snacks, here’s a look at the list: finals-week-post

  • Apples
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Drinks

Lest we forget, stress relief:

  • Coloring
  • 10-minute Chair Massages (Tuesday & Wednesday night)!

And if none of these are for you and you just want to use the space and bring your own snacks and drinks, we don’t mind. Just remember, bring enough to share (at least with the library staff).

Original: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vqbp9


Lavery Exhibits: Learning Through Displays

In making my way to the back offices of the library, I always pass a table that tells a story with books. I tend to only notice them once: how they’re arranged, what the theme is, and a good look at the covers (I don’t judge the books by that). I’ve never really appreciated the creativity involved in curating these displays until a few weeks ago when I was told that the library received some feedback on them, so I found out who made them, and asked her a few questions.


Our library staffer, Jenny Bigenwald, is the one who takes charge of our displays, and I asked her a few questions about them and her process in putting them together.

K: What is your favorite part about curating them?

J: My favorite part is pulling items (photos, books, etc.) from our archives and creating a whole display around them.  I also love working with other departments and clubs on campus, and creating displays to highlight events they may be holding.


K: What is your hope/goal after you make the exhibits?

J: Depending on the type of display it is, I hope students will either become informed, either about a cause or event on campus, or enjoy learning a bit more about the history of this great college.

K: Where do you get the inspiration to make the displays?

J:  Nancy Greco and our collection in our College Archives have been a great resource.  Searching for ideas online.  Professors, like Tim Madigan, or Yantee Slobert in the Multicultural Affairs offices have contacted me to do various displays for them, and some of my ideas are just passed to me by colleagues in the library.


K: Do you have a favorite display that you’ve made?

J: I think my favorite display I worked on was the one highlighting the life of Tom Way, which was on display during the Fall of 2013.  Tom Way was a 1966 graduate of Fisher who fought in Vietnam and was Fisher’s first casualty of the war.  He died in Vietnam on October 9, 1967, five days after his 23rd birthday.  I had met with his sister and brother-in-law and used personal photos, letters Tom sent home from Vietnam, and other memorabilia that the family loaned us for the exhibit.

K: What can we look forward to seeing in the library next month?

J:  It will be hard to top last year’s display of the 5-foot Christmas tree treemade out of books, which took 367 books to create!  Maybe we will create a smaller tree this year.   I am working on a display for this year’s Day of Celebration, which is held on December 3rd.  I may set this up on the table by the elevator.  I am also in the beginning stages of planning a display for the glass case for next semester, and I’m thinking about doing one on the history of SJFC’s Glee Club (we have some great artifacts in our archives).

I certainly look forward to seeing the exhibits and hopefully learning something from at least the subject of the display. Whether it’s basketball, march-madnessfeminism, or a local hero in Rochester history, Jenny puts these displays out so that we are more informed and the subject matter is even easier to get to and learn about.


If you’re in the library and happen to pass one of the exhibits, take a second to actually look at and appreciate it. And if you see Jenny in the library, make sure to tell her thank you for all the hard work she does in putting the displays together. Thank you, Jenny!

Until next time Fisher Fam,


Kyle Cataldo, SAB President and internet meme enthusiast



Interview Post: Christina Hillman


Name: Christina Hillman

Current job: Assessment and Online Program Librarian

How long have you been at Fisher? 3 years

How Do You Work?

What is your office/workspace like? I work in a cubicle, I have two desks set up: one with my computer, which has two monitors; and one for writing/projects (somehow it’s always covered with papers). Also there are lots of postcards of the places loved ones have visited; thank you notes from students; and copies of the library’s strategic plan, information literacy instruction plan, and college-wide learning goals.

What is a typical day like for you? I live by my Outlook calendar because no two days are the same. Sometimes I may have a class to teach; others I may have consultations with doctoral students.  I cover hours at the Research Help Desk, and usually there is a meeting or two I will need to attend.

Librarian Barbra Gordon (AKA Batgirl)

What are you reading right now? I’m re-reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I also read a lot of academic articles, most recently focusing on library assessment.

What do you appreciate most about Fisher? How, regardless of who I come into contact with, be it student, faculty, or staff, everyone has been welcoming. Oh, and the food! Lackmann is awesome!!

What do you want the students to know about you or the library? As cheesy as it may seem, the best part of my job is getting to work with students. I love working through research projects with students. It’s especially fun  when it ends in the student not only learning something new about library resources, but also when they leave ready to move on to the next steps of their project.

Fun Facts

What is your favorite word? Appreciate — it’s a much better way to say thank you.

What is your least favorite word? Moist — it makes my mouth feel gross.

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt? Set Designer — I was part of tech crew in high school and it was so much fun!!

What profession would you never want to attempt? Anything in health (e.g., nursing, doctors) — I do not like bodily fluids. I respect these professionals and everything they do for their patients; they are amazing human beings, and it’s a job I know I could neverapparate-meme try.

What superpower do you wish you had? Is it a superpower if I choose apparate? I guess it’s the same as teleportation. I think it would be fantastic to be able to travel wherever and whenever without having to brave a plane ride.

What are you most proud of in your career?      You might think it was my first conference proposal acceptance, but it was (or is) when a student tells me they set up a meeting with me because their classmate told them how helpful I was for their research project, and suggested they come see me.

When you aren’t at work, what are you likely doing? Well, I just bought my first house….so, trying to finish unpacking and setting the place up has been taking up a bunch of my time. But I also love crafting and DIY projects, so when I have time, I’m usually tinkering with my latest project. Right now it’s an upholstered headboard and a set of baby blankets for a friend who just had sweet little girl.

We are Thankful . . .

Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s time to think about what makes us thankful. It’s hard sometimes to think about what we are thankful for, especially when life is moving so quickly we don’t have time to reflect on the good parts. So in this post I want to list a few things for which we at Lavery Library are thankful.


  • #FisherFamily members that hold the door when they see you a few steps behind.
  • Our beautiful campus and the people that work so hard to make it a home away from home.
  • I’m grateful for having a position that allows me to contribute to a population about which I care deeply.
  • I am thankful for my #FisherFamily, who will ask me how I’m doing and mean it, and then listen to me on my best day and my worst day.
  • I am grateful for an extended family who accepts me, and my beliefs, irrespective of their own.
  • I’m thankful for the kindness of the Fisher community and hope for the future represented on campus.
  • I am thankful for all of you!  We have a very special team and I am very grateful to be a part of it.
  • I am especially thankful for Britta who feeds us:)
  • I’m thankful for the wonderful picture books in our Curriculum Library that I can share with my new grandson when he comes to visit!
  • I am thankful for the energy and creativity of young people addressing the gravest problems with courage and hope.
  • I am grateful for this beautiful campus I walk through every day and for the team that I have the opportunity to work with once I am at my desk!
  • I’m thankful to have a wonderful place to come to every morning for the last 25 years:  Lavery Library — where I feel secure, valued, and useful – and part of a larger family.
  • I am thankful that Anne Bezon stuck by me on my quest for the perfect office desk and chair.
  • I am thankful that my Mother takes wonderful care of my babies so I can concentrate when I am spending time with my Fisher Family.
  • I am thankful that the Cyber Café folks know my order before I even ask.
  • I am thankful that my family supports me in my quest to learn Chinese.  Xiexie.
  • I am thankful for Ward-Haffey Pan Asia. If only I could convince my family to have scallop tikka masala for Thanksgiving!
  • I am thankful for my student workers who teach me new things all the time.  Some work-related, some life-lessons, always entertaining!
  • I am thankful for the continued good health of my parents and family.

So to you, our Fisher Family, we ask: What are you thankful for this year?


Lavery Library Staff

Voting with an Absentee Ballot

Don’t forget your Absentee Ballots are due soon!

If you aren’t able to vote locally, you can still vote with an absentee ballot!!! Make sure they are postmarked Nov. 7th!

How to vote with an Absentee Ballot in New York State: http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html

Absentee Ballot for New York State: http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/Absentee06152010.pdf

VOTE 2016 Design by Kevin Adams and AIGA Get Out the Vote
Image by Kevin Adams for AIGA Get Out the Vote. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/