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A 2014 recipient of the ProQuest Innovation in College Librarianship Award, Tish Hayes is the Information Literacy Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College.

1)    You were recently awarded the ACRL 2014 ProQuest Innovation in College Librarianship Award for your work on the “One Book, One College” program. Tell us about the project.

During the Fall semester of 2013, the Moraine Valley Community College Library implemented, “World War M: Moraine Valley's Zombie Apocalypse”. The rules of the game were intended to simulate the spread of an infectious disease. Over a seven-day span, the zombie virus spread through the students, faculty, and staff by infection cards, and the infection was tracked from a website built by our campus IT. Our zombie pandemic connected the curriculum, the library’s cultural programming and student activities. We designed the game in a way that made it easy for faculty members to integrate it into their classes where students could build projects to meet their course outcomes. This project was incredibly fun, took many months of planning, and required a lot of teamwork and collaboration. I feel incredibly lucky to have colleagues and co-conspirators like Troy Swanson and Terra Jacobson.

2)    How did the great idea for this program originate?

This project was inspired in part by the book World War Z by Max Brooks. We were able to draw themes from the story that spoke to disciplines across campus. We also wanted to incorporate the really popular Humans vs. Zombies games that have spread across college campuses. Our goal was to capture the fun of those games, but still connect to the curriculum.

3)    What inspired you to pursue a career in library and information science?

I was a bookseller for a lot of years in my 20s. It was a job I loved, so it seemed like becoming a librarian would be a natural career progression. Once I got into my Masters program, what surprised me was that my knowledge of books and publishers wasn’t the resource I called on the most for my coursework. Instead, it was my experience in the bookstore connecting people with the information they needed. It’s what I loved about my job then, and what makes being a librarian so satisfying now.

4)    What do you find most exciting about the future of library and information work?

The opportunities we have to connect to our communities, whether that be through maker labs, databases, book groups, or even zombie games.

5)    What do you see as the main issues facing librarians and library staff today?

Communicating our value. I believe that people generally value libraries, but still don’t really understand how libraries can be a useful part of their lives.
6)    Do you have any other projects or plans in the works and if so, can you tell us about them?

I’m really excited about a project we’re planning for the upcoming fall semester. The library will be hosting a graphic novel symposium to showcase the academic value of graphic novels. During this celebration of comic book culture, local comic shops will set up booths and we will feature faculty speakers and a cosplay contest during an afternoon of gaming.

7)    What advice can you share with other librarians or students that might motivate them to be more innovative?

I think that the important factor is surrounding yourself with smart and creative people that inspire you and make your ideas better. Our library does innovative things because of all the people who contribute to our projects. I think that kind of energy is infectious!

8)    Finally, what can you tell us about yourself that we might never guess?

All of my interests are all embarrassingly stereotypical for a librarian! Although I do still find people who are surprised when they discover that I’m a huge sci-fi fan. I love anything by Octavia Butler or Ursula Le Guin, and I try to get to WisCon as often as possible. Which is an amazing annual convention focused on exploring gender, race, and class in science fiction.

22 Apr 2014

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