For the insatiably curious…

Karen Munro
Photo by James Newman

I’m the Head of the University of Oregon Portland Library & Learning Commons. We support the academic programs of the University of Oregon in Portland, with an emphasis on architecture, digital arts, product design, journalism, and law.  Together with the library staff I teach classes, answer reference questions, create and maintain web pages, buy books, and do the hundred-and-one other things that make a library run.

Before I started this job in 2008, I was the E-Learning Librarian at the University of California at Berkeley.  I think I was what John Shank and Steven Bell would call a “blended librarian.” Basically that meant I was a teaching librarian with a concentration in educational technology and new media.

And what does that mean?

I taught classes, did digital and in-person reference, created online tutorials, managed a website, and kept abreast of what’s going on in instructional design and emerging technologies. I worked with our campus educational technology services unit on ways to provide library services in the course management system. I tried to see the library through the eyes of your typical undergraduate–whoever that is–who spends part of every day on a cell phone and in Facebook, and who thinks of the library as a big book warehouse. Then I worked on ways to reach that student.

Before that I was the Literature Librarian with the University of Oregon.  I have a continuing interest in how the humanities are tackling changes in scholarly publishing and communication. I think the book is a wonderful technology. I’m pretty sure it will have serious competition from electronic formats within my lifetime. I worry about the consolidation of publishing houses and media outlets as much as I worry about e-book readers. (Actually, more.)

Want to know still more? You can check out my UO faculty page or become a fan of the UO Portland Library and Learning Commons Facebook page.

5 thoughts on “For the insatiably curious…

  1. Ginny Franklin says:

    Hi Karen

    I enjoyed your piece on facebook. I would like to subscribe to your blog but I cant seem to find the feed. Do you have one?



  2. scott says:

    Hey, Karen. I found your blog and your CV when I was researching a new position at my university: e-learning librarian. I did end up applying for it. I’d love to get your opinions about this kind of work, what qualifications are good to have, etc. Drop me an email if you have a minute to advise. 🙂

  3. Jezmynne Westcott says:

    I love your picture! That is so awesome! : )

  4. […] 2.0 model, with its facebook and twitter trappings, I thought I’d check in with a librarian. Karen Munro, head of the University of Oregon Portland Learning Commons, blogs frequently about her work as […]

  5. Honorio says:

    Hello Karen: we are a spanish group of librarians translating interesting posts and articles on the future of libraries into spanish. You will find your “Resilience vs. sustainability” in

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