Friday, February 27, 2009

A quick introduction

The first post on any blog is always a momentous event. It can be hard to know what to say, so for today, I'll introduce myself and describe in a little more detail what this blog is all about.

My name is Jim McCarthy, and I'm an Instruction & Reference Librarian at Gallaudet University. I'm a Florida boy, born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. I was born deaf and grew up signing, speaking, and reading. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology (home of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf) in upstate New York for a Bachelor's in Professional and Technical Communication with a minor in art history, as well as a significant focus on world literature. After I graduated, I spent some time working for a deaf service center back in the Bay area before starting work on a Master's degree in Library & Information Science. I became a newspaper archivist during my last year of school, and then Gallaudet began advertising for an open position as a librarian a few months after I graduated, so here I am!

After a month or two here, I began to wonder if there weren't other ways for the Library to reach out to the various groups of people we serve, and as a twentysomething, a blog was the second thing that came to mind (the first thing was Facebook, of course!). The result is on your computer screen right now.

So what's going to happen here?

You'll see several different types of posts on this blog:

1) The collection: We'll spotlight different parts of our collection, including some surprising stuff, like kids' books or graphic novels (what your mom used to call comic books), or even the neat fiction books you can find in the Deaf Collection. You'll also hear a little about the Archives and all the weird things they have in their super-secret vault in the basement. Plus, of course, we'll point out any new books or movies that you might find interesting.

2) Policies: We'll explain a little bit about the way we do things here, so you at least know what to expect and why. In addition, we'll cover anything important you need to know about our policies that might have changed in the recent past. You'll be one of the first to know -- by reading this blog.

3) Resources: We have a ton of stuff here. Almost all of it is useful for something, while the rest is just for fun! We have style manuals if you're worried about APA or MLA format, movies (both deaf-related and general) for both education and pleasure (my favorite? Dark Knight. It's on the shelf right now), copiers, computers, a public copy of both Washington Post and USA Today, tons of research databases, lots of DVD/VHS players, TVs (including a giant one that's got cable), various rooms you can use, and more that will be detailed in future posts.

4) Librarians: Once in a while, we'll profile one of our own librarians. You'll get to see what they look like and learn a little about where they came from and get an idea of their individual personalities. We'll also include a little detail about their individual specialties, so you know who to go to when you need something for a specific class or discipline. You'll learn something new: we like developing relationships with students and faculty!

5) Events: You'll hear about different events we have planned, like FYS workshops or seminars or our Big Read panel discussion, coming up in April. Here's something you probably didn't know: we love it when a lot of people show up! We'll also mention other campus or DC-area events, like the monthly lecture series on Deaf history in the DC Public Library system.

6) Literary stuff: We'll get book recommendations from our librarians and talk about those books a little bit, like why the librarian thinks you should read the book he or she recommends, or interesting stuff in general (for example: what does a graphic novel have to do with ancient mythology?). We'll also spotlight any potential connections to courses being offered here on campus.

You're more than welcome to comment and contribute to each post, but there are two things to remember: First, we have a comments policy on the comment page (you'll see it when you click on the link to comment) which outlines what's okay and what's not; second, any inquiries about your personal account (like fees you don't agree with or questions about what's been checked out on your account) need to go to This is because your personal information is confidential according to library policy, while this blog is a public forum -- you wouldn't want your intimate details out on the Internet for the world to see, would you?

I think that about covers the introduction. Watch this space; it'll be updated every Friday!

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