Western Heads East: A Community-Engaged Learning Opportunity for FIMS Graduate Students

Panel Presentation, with: Jacqueline Gratton, MLIS student; Dr. Pam McKenzie, Acting Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral, FIMS; Maria Rodriguez, WHE Program Coordinator

This session will introduce the Western Heads East (WHE) internship program, which is also an international learning opportunity eligible for course credit. Western Heads East is a collaboration between Western staff, students, faculty, and African partners using probiotic foods to contribute to health and sustainable development. Jacqueline Gratton, a recent MLIS graduate, will share her summer 2022 experience of doing a virtual internship and pairing it with an Individual Study course to receive related course credit. 

Jacqueline Gratton was a Western Heads East intern in the Summer 2022 term and did an individual study on “Culturally Sensitive and Relevant Information Management” alongside the internship. Professor and Associate Dean at FIMS, Dr. Pam McKenzie, supervised Jacqueline’s MLIS Individual Study project related to her Western Heads East internship. Maria Rodriguez, the WHE program coordinator works with interns before, during and after the experience and as a mediator with the local community partners. 

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Kairos Blanket Exercise – Thurs. Jan. 12th 1:30-4:30pm

At the Wampum Learning Lodge, adjacent to the Faculty of Education at Althouse College

In partnership with Danica Pawlick-Potts’ LIS 9370 course, hosted by the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) and facilitated by an Indigenous Elder, FIMS students, faculty, and staff are warmly invited to participate in a Kairos Blanket Exercise (KBE), an experiential learning exercise that takes “participants through the history of the colonization of Turtle Island to better understand the ongoing impact of Canadian government policies, institutions, and colonial ideologies, and their intergenerational effects on Indigenous Peoples and communities”. The session will be offered in the newly opened Wampum Learning Lodge, adjacent to the Faculty of Education at Althouse College. Space is limited, so registration in advance is required.


N.B. If you are unable to attend this program offering, another KBE for the FIMS community will be offered in the spring.

The FIMS Grad Library Presents: The Borrow-Me Book Collection

by Bree-Anna Green

As we all know, items in the FIMS Graduate Library usually do not circulate but are available for use in the library to read, copy or scan. Other items in the collection are available for loan for our graduate community, such as our board games, comics and graphic novels, children’s materials, Indigenous authors, and DVDs.  

Recently, the FIMS Graduate Library started working on a new project titled the “Borrow-Me Book Project” – for this project, we were fortunate enough to receive second (or third) copies of some of the most popular books in our collection, and the result is the introduction of our new “Borrow-Me Book Collection”.  

This new collection will be found intermingled with books from our core collection. In order to make it easier for students to find the items they are looking for, the “Borrow-Me” version of certain books will be placed right beside the original copy from our main collection. To distinguish books in the “Borrow-Me Book Collection”, we have added the words “Borrow-Me” below the book’s call number highlighted in yellow. Additionally, we have added a sticker on the front of the “Borrow-Me” books to further distinguish books in the “Borrow-Me Book Collection”.  

This sticker indicates that a book is eligible for loan!

To sign out a Borrow-Me book, simply bring the book to the service desk and we will sign it out for you. We hope that students will get some good use out of the new collection – let us know what you think! 

This flyer will be posted around the library to remind you of our new Borrow-Me collection

Game On! A Workshop on Collecting Games and Developing Board Game Programming in Libraries with Carlie Forsythe 

by Sara Clarke

On March 22 we were very lucky to have Carlie Forsythe join us for a workshop on collecting board games and developing board game programming in libraries.  Carlie recently completed an MLIS at Western and currently works as a Reference and Research Specialist at Fanshawe College. At Fanshawe, Carlie is responsible for developing the board game collection for Fanshawe’s Library Learning Commons and has also developed board game programming for the college community. In addition to having a wealth of professional expertise in the area, Carlie is an avid gamer and is always enthusiastic about talking about games and gaming. 

During the workshop, Carlie made a very compelling case for why recreational play is so important to include in library spaces. Carlie’s research on the topic demonstrates that there are more benefits to board game collections than many of us may realize, including social benefits, skill development, and valuable opportunities for community-building.  

Drawing on their experience developing the Library Learning Commons’ game collection, Carlie shared great tips for: pitching the idea of a games collection to management (hint: highlight the ways that adding the collection will align with the library’s core values) and establishing collection development criteria. While the benefits of creating a collection have outweighed the challenges in Carlie’s experience, they noted that creating a game collection and hosting game programming can be difficult when you’re working with limited resources and a lack of volunteers. Although Carlie touched on the potential for libraries to pivot to virtual gaming programming during the pandemic, COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a significant disruption for in-person gaming in libraries. 

Another highlight of Carlie’s presentation was their discussion of the different genres of games and the considerations to be aware of when collecting games from each genre. This led to an interesting discussion about the problems with colonialist board games and recommendations for anti-colonial games (Carlie recommended the game Spirit Island as one which challenges the colonialist underpinnings of other games).  

Additional Resources from Carlie  

Carlie has been very generous to allow us to make the slides from their presentation openly available, as well as their fantastic Board Game Toolkit. This toolkit contains information about collecting different genres of boardgames in libraries, a resource list, and a “Build Your Own Gateway Collection” tool for those who are unsure where to start in developing a new game collection for their library. If you plan on using or citing any of Carlie’s materials, please be sure to credit Carlie as the creator of these materials.   

Carlie has also written two articles on all things related to board games and recreational play in libraries for Emerging Library and Information Perspectives (ELIP), the MLIS journal published through the FIMS Graduate Library: Game On! Recreational Play in the Library: Reflections of a Board Game Librarian and Roll for Initiative: A Librarian’s Primer for Collecting Tabletop Role-Playing Games.  

Board Games in the FIMS Graduate Library 

The FIMS Graduate Library recognizes the importance of recreational play in libraries and has developed a collection of over 60 games. This collection includes a varied assortment of games, including everything from classic games and card games (e.g., Love Letter), to a new Inuit-designed strategy game, Nunami, and the all-to-timely cooperative game Pandemic. A list of the games in our collection can be found on our website.  FIMS Graduate students, faculty, and staff are welcome to play these games in the library or to borrow them to play at home. Please email us at fimslib@uwo.ca or visit us in the library if you have any questions about these games.  

textures of your pandemic experience

by Kawmadie Karunanayake

Zines (from ‘fanzine’ or ‘magazine’) are mostly short, self-created, self-published little books. They often have themes, include collage and writing, and can be highly collaborative. In their origins they were traditional media, made by hand, delivered through mail or in person. In their current iterations many of them are online or multimedia publications. They cover topics from computer science and queer advice to fermentation and preservation. Zines can be about most anything the heart desires. I’ve personally made ones which are quite academic and include citations and essays, as well as ones which are just a collection of vibes and images.

In the Grad Library we came up with an idea to create a collaborative zine about the FIMS community pandemic experience. There’s been lots of work done around archiving this “unprecedented time” and we thought it could be interesting and useful to have a zine which captured the more personal, felt experiences of these years. The theme was textures: sensorial, emotional, mental, the embodiment and feeling of living through these years. The participants all approached the theme from diverse perspectives and created pages which captured their own internal sense of this shared time.

The workshops to create this zine took some finagling; the shift from online to in person was the push that was necessary to make it come to life. The sense of collaboration created through in person collaging and creation was much more within the sphere of zine making as a whole, rather than a zoom affair. (I do however want to give kudos to people who did manage to organize and run zoom based creative workshops, because I truly understand the amount of effort it must have taken.) Overall I personally enjoyed the process of creating both the workshop and the zine. In the true essence of a zine it ended up being a project created through the efforts of many people and with a final product which is a combined aesthetic of everyone’s ideas.

FIMS Graduate Library’s Statement on the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus

by Paul Hickling

When Art Spiegelman’s Maus was originally published, it was a revelation for the western comics industry and expanded the possibilities of the medium. Spiegelman used his talents as both a writer and an artist to share a deeply personal narrative. Through conversations with his father, Spiegelman not only provides an unflinching look at the horrific realities of Jewish life in Nazi Germany, but also documents the lived experiences of his own family during the Holocaust and the subsequent intergenerational trauma that is inseparable from these events. It is for these reasons that Maus continues to resonate so deeply with readers today. 

This is why we are disappointed by McMinn County School Board’s decision to ban Maus. While the School Board claims that they do not object to teaching students about the Holocaust, there is something lost by only providing students with materials that provide a broad historical overview or take a quantitative approach to measuring the devastation caused by the Nazi regime. Maus reminds us of the importance of documenting the personal experiences of survivors, and the role these stories play in educating future generations about the realities of genocide. 

We have both volumes of Maus in our collection, and we highly recommend borrowing them if you have never experienced them before: https://www.librarything.com/work/6046473/book/82648171

And here is a link to our complete listing of our graphic novels: https://www.librarything.com/catalog/WesternFIMSLibrary

Part I and Part II of Maus
Volumes I and II of Maus A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman.

Bookbind to Unwind at the FIMS Graduate Library:  A Project to Support Collection Development and Literacy in Institutional Libraries 

by Sara Jessica Clarke

In “Outside and In: Services for People Impacted by Incarceration,” Chelsea Jordan-Makely and Jeanie Austin point out that although “access to reading materials is a lifeline for people who are incarcerated,” the reality is that “the needs of people in jails, prisons, and other detention centers often go overlooked” (para. 2). While their article focuses on the various library services offered for people detained in American correctional facilities, the need it highlights for information professionals to support the information needs of people within these facilities is equally relevant in the Canadian context.  

Although the challenges encountered by institutional libraries to provide information access to inmates often goes under the radar, this is an issue that many LIS professionals and LIS students are aware of and often feel passionately about. This became evident to me while I was working on my MLIS at FIMS when discussions arose about ethics and information rights in various classes and when some of my peers undertook projects related to institutional librarianship. For example, in the most recent volume of Emerging Library and Information Perspectives (ELIP)Erica McKenzie wrote about a books-to-prison initiative that she undertook independently, and which was inspired by her desire to engage in a hands-on project that would support literacy within correctional facilities.  

A recent workshop in the FIMS Graduate Library: Bookbinding for Inmates, with Regional Librarian Kelli Jerome 

In October, we had a great student turnout to a workshop that was led by Regional Institutional Librarian, Kelli Jerome. In this workshop, Kelli, a recent graduate of FIMS’ MLIS program and a past Student Library Assistant at the FIMS Graduate Library, spoke about her work and the unique considerations that arise when developing collections for institutional libraries. 

Kelli Jerome assisting students with bookbinding in the FIMS Graduate Library
Kelli Jerome assisting students with bookbinding in the FIMS Graduate Library

Institutional library collections are subject to regulations related to both the content and physical form of their materials. In terms of the physical materials, there is a requirement for hardcover books to be rebound with soft covers in order to eliminate pockets or gaps where contraband could be placed. Unfortunately, rebinding books takes time and resources that are frequently in low supply for institutional librarians. Due to the need for help rebinding in-demand books and the high-interest amongst LIS students in assisting with this work, a mutually beneficial partnership has come to fruition between Kelli and the FIMS Graduate Library. 

A group of students learning how to bind books for institutional libraries.
A group of students learning how to bind books for institutional libraries.

During the workshop, Kelli instructed participants on how to properly remove the hard covers from donated books and rebind them with soft covers so that they can be added to institutional collections. By the end of the workshop, all in attendance were fully trained in the bookbinding process and had successfully rebound an entire cart of books! In addition to supporting institutional libraries, the workshop was a wonderful opportunity for FIMS LIS students to gain some hands-on volunteer experience and to work collaboratively in the library. It was lovely to be able to meet a number of new students for the first time and we truly appreciated everyone’s enthusiasm for helping with this project!  

A group of students holding up the books they finished binding in the FIMS Graduate Library. 
A group of students holding up the books they finished binding in the FIMS Graduate Library. 

Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved and “Bookbind to Unwind” at the FIMS Graduate Library 

We received excellent feedback from students after the workshop and we plan to host regular bookbinding meet-ups in the library. Our next session will take place on Friday, November 12. All members of the FIMS Graduate community are welcome to attend. If you are interested in attending, please email us at fimslib@uwo.ca so that we will know how many participants to expect. All bookbinding materials will be supplied. 

A cart of materials for book binding
A cart of materials for book binding

We have also prepared a Bookbind to Unwind Cart with all of the needed bookbinding supplies for students to use during library hours. If you need a break from course work and want to log some volunteer hours, just contact staff at the library’s service desk about using these materials. The cart is equipped with bookbinding instructions and library staff are also happy to answer any questions about this work. 

Works Cited  

Austin, C. J.-M. and D. J. (2021, September 8). Outside and In: Services for People Impacted By Incarceration. Library Journal. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from https://www.libraryjournal.com?detailStory=Outside-and-In-Services-for-People-Impacted-By-Incarceration 

How to get library help virtually

At the FIMS Graduate Library, we try to answer your questions as quickly as possible. We monitor the inbox (fimslib@uwo.ca) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. But what if you need an answer immediately or outside of our service hours? 

For those occasions, we recommend using the Ask a Librarian chat service.  

Ask a Librarian is a collaborative virtual reference service, offered in English and French, that connects students, faculty members, and researchers with real-time library and research assistance through chat. The service is offered by Scholars Portal, the digital service arm of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). 

Chat operators are librarians from universities all over Ontario and are equipped to answer questions about all participating university libraries. This means you won’t always get an operator from Western, but your operator will have training in and access to Western’s library website, and resources.  

FIMS Graduate Library Student Assistants even participate in Ask a Librarian chat. Despite being librarians-in-training, our M.L.I.S. student assistants are valuable members of the Ask a Librarian team.  Being students themselves, they bring a unique perspective and sometimes a better familiarity with student needs than even the working librarians. And if the operator doesn’t know the answer to a chat question, they can reach out for help to our dedicated Virtual Reference Team for real-time assistance. 

What kinds of questions do people ask, you might be wondering? Rest assured, we receive every type of question. Right now, many are about library services affected by COVID: can I study in the library right now? How do I pick up the book I just requested? What is the turnaround time for digitization requests? Other questions include: can you help me find this article? Can you help me formulate a search strategy for my assignment? And the strangest question I personally received is: Can you come tell the student beside me that their food is too stinky? So, please don’t be shy. There are no dumb questions.  

But maybe you’re worried that chat operators will blab to your professor about your question. Good news! The personal information that you provide in order to use this service will be protected in accordance with FIPPA, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We will not disclose any personal data we collect from you to any party in a manner that would identify you, except to fulfill your service request or where required by law. 

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to find an answer, consider using Ask a Librarian virtual chat. Operators are kind, understanding and eager to help. Even if you just need a pep talk to get you through your exam, Ask a Librarian is here for you.

Chat conversation with patron asking for exam pep talk
Pep talk via chat

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic further, don’t hesitate to email us at fimslib@uwo.ca.

How to Request Materials from Western Libraries + Other Omni Libraries

To request a physical item from Western Libraries: 

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Find the item you are interested in and select the title to open the full record display. 
  1. Select Request from the Get It area of the record. 
Catalogue record for Brave New World by Aldous Huxley with red arrow pointing to Request button
  1. Select a Pickup Location.
Pickup location drop down menu
  1. Select Send Request. 

To request a physical item from another Omni Library:

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Find an item marked Not available locally, click for more options and select the title to open the full record display. 
  1. Select Get it from another library.
  1. Select your Preferred Local Pickup Location. The other fields will usually be pre-populated, but if not, fill out as many fields as possible.
Select pick up location - field on request form
  1. Select Send Request.

Digitization – Article and Chapter Requests 

All Western University and Affiliated University College faculty, students, and staff can request portions of eligible physical library materials to be scanned and delivered to their inbox, subject to certain limits defined by copyright. 

Digital delivery is limited to one chapter per book, one article per journal volume, or an excerpt of 10% of a total work. 

To request digitization:

  1. Sign in to My Library Account in the top navigation bar on the far right or select My Library Account from the yellow ribbon.
Sign in to get complete results and to request items
  1. Select the location of the item you would like to request an article or chapter, etc. from.
Select a location
  1. If you do not see the volume or year you require, you can select the funnel icon and then select “Description” to filter to the year you require.
Select other volume
Click the funnel icon to find publication year and volume
  1. Once you have found the year/volume you require, select “Digitization” beside the volume and year or book chapter you require: 
Select the year and volume that you need and click Digitization
  1. Check the box next to “Select for additional request fields” and complete the form with the citation information for the specific journal article or book section: 
Check the box next to Select for additional request fields
  1. Accept the Copyright Agreement by checking the box.
  1. Click “Send Digitization Request” 

Things to note

  1. The FIMS Graduate Library is a non-circulating library. Books and other items are for in-library use only unless permission is obtained.
  2. FIMS is not a pickup location for physical requests. Please select your next nearest library location.
  3. Requesting materials from other omni libraries is currently limited to physical items only. If Western Libraries does not have an electronic resource, such as a journal article, please request it from another institution using Interlibrary Loan (RACER).
  4. There is no guaranteed turnaround time for physical or digitization requests. Staffing issues, high volumes of requests, and items missing are some of the reasons fulfilment of your request might be delayed.

If you have any questions about requesting materials from Western Libraries or about a specific request you’ve made, feel free to email fimslib@uwo.ca.

Emerging Library and Information Perspectives 

by Aarushi Mohan

Emerging Library & Information Perspectives (ELIP) is the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) student-run, peer reviewed, open access journal at Western University. This journal is supported by the FIMS Graduate Library and hosted by Western Libraries on a local instance of Open Journal Systems. ELIP was established in 2013 and has published four issues so far. You can view our past issues here:  https://ojs.lib.uwo.ca/index.php/elip/issue/archive 

ELIP uses a double-blind peer review process, which means that the identities of peer reviewers and authors are kept confidential. We hope to offer empathetic and constructive peer review feedback that assists authors in sharpening and clarifying their arguments. Our peer reviewers are students in Melissa Seelye’s Scholarly Communication & Open Access Publishing course. Being an ELIP peer reviewer is an exciting way to gain hands on experience with the principles and practice of the academic publishing cycle. 

Another exciting aspect of ELIP is the range of formats we offer for our authors to present their scholarship. We accept five main categories of submissions: Articles, In the Field, For the Field, Reviews and Interviews. In short, articles are longer research and scholarly papers, while In the Field pieces are reflections on the author’s experiences in the Library and Information Science (LIS) workplaces, and For the Field pieces include suggestions for other professionals in the field. Reviews are short reviews of materials (including books, databases or board games) pertaining to LIS. As the name suggest, interviews are conversations between MLIS students and peers, mentors or LIS professionals. For more information on submissions, you can consult this page:  https://ojs.lib.uwo.ca/index.php/elip/about/submissions 

ELIP’s team comprises the Managing Editor, the Editorial Team Advisors, the Editorial Advisory Board members, and our production volunteers. Speaking to my experience on the team, the Managing Editor’s role is a dynamic and multi-faceted. My favourite part has been finding ways to virtually connect with our authors, volunteers, Editorial Team Advisors and Editorial Advisory Board members virtually during the pandemic. As the 2020-21 Managing Editor, I have learnt so much about flexibility, project management and clear communication. It has also been exciting to join a relatively new academic journal since we get to improve our workflow with every iteration.  

For potential authors  

One way to decide whether your submissions are a good fit for ELIP is to read our past volumes. For example, our current issue includes publications about public library responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the failures of bibliographic description in meeting the needs of Indigenous patrons, and the creep of commodification in library makerspaces. Publishing your reflections from your co-op experience, a strong final paper from a class you loved or an interview with a mentor or peer in ELIP can be a great way to share your unique insights with the LIS community. For a small journal, ELIP has a pretty large reach with over 55 submissions published to date. For example, Jim Seale and Nicole Schoenberger’s ELIP publication “Be Internet Awesome: A Critical Analysis of Google’s Child-Focused Internet Safety Program” was cited in a New York Times article, and has been downloaded over 1100 times. 

We also accept multiple styles of submissions because we know that the boundaries around disciplinary knowledge production can be rightly drawn, and we hope to support you in presenting your ideas in the form that best fits your voice, subject and vision. We also encourage multimedia submissions are happy to talk through the logistical details with potential authors.  

Any MLIS student at Western who is currently enrolled, or was enrolled in the Summer or Winter term before the Fall semester when the publication cycle begins,is eligible to make submissions to ELIP. For example, current students and any student who was enrolled in courses in either the Winter 2021 or Summer 2021 semester can submit to the Fall 2021 Call for Submissions.  

Our submission deadline opens later in the fall, usually around November or December. But please feel free to reach out at any time of the year if you would like to get started early on refining your submission.  

Are you interested in joining our team? 

We usually send out a call for volunteers around late February, and our production process usually runs between March and May. Our production volunteers work on copyediting, APA formatting, and fact checking. This work is invaluable and can serve as great experience for those interested in the behind-the-stage world of academic publishing. If you’re worried about being unprepared, we provide a training for our volunteers, and these are all tasks you have done for your own research papers. Additionally, your work will be credited in the journal, and you can include it on your resumé! 

We are also always looking for library and information science professionals to join our editorial team, so please reach out to elip@uwo.ca if you are interested! 

ELIP Vol. 4
ELIP Vol. 3
ELIP Vol. 2
ELIP Vol. 1