Professional Development

During June 2008...

Monday: Susan’s Final Day at ALA Anaheim

Monday, June 30, 2008 10:18 pm

Today was my last day of the conference, although it continues until Wednesday for some of the higher echelon of ALA Division and committee folks. It has been my most action packed ALA conference to date and it’s been worth it (but I’m ready to head home!).

My first meeting of the day started at 8 am. I have been assigned to a new committee for the next 1 1/2 years – the LITA National Forum 2009 Planning Committee. This was our first chance to meet each other and start the planning process. Unfortunately, it conflicted with the Lexis-Nexis breakfast where I was receiving the award (for the second time). So, I rushed in to the committee meeting, introduced myself, sat in for 10 minutes, then had to leave. I hated being unable to fully participate, but what are you going to do?

I enjoyed the Lexis-Nexis breakfast thoroughly, and even more after I had finished my remarks upon receiving the award. There was a very big crowd there and it was a bit intimidating to have to stand at the podium and talk for even a few minutes. But, it helped that I knew that several of my ZSR colleagues had come to the breakfast to support me (I know it wasn’t the free food that pulled them in). Thanks to Sarah, Cristina, Carolyn, Lauren, Lynn and (non-too former colleague) Mary Horton, for coming and providing me moral support! I also really enjoyed Dana Milbank’s talk about Homo Politicus and the Potomac Man. It was fun to be sitting right next to him at the podium and be able to watch him move through his notes as he spoke. He sounded as though he was talking completely from memory but had nicely structured content to present. I liked the fact I was presented with a copy of his book too!

It was back to the exhibit hall mid-day and I was able to catch Lauren P.’s third poster session of the conference. This time she repeated presenting the poster she created about her student assistant training tools. She had lots of interest and visitors while I was there.

I attended the ACRL President’s Program in the afternoon (already reported upon by Lynn).  I attended even though I was feeling a bit worn out, thinking that, if it wasn’t  interesting, I could slip out. Instead, I was totally engaged listening (on the floor, since it was packed) to Dan Ariely talk about how irrational most people’s reasoning and decision-making is. He gave many intriguing examples of irrational reasoning, but one concept that caught my attention was his observation that we work in two different worlds: a social one and a financial one. He maintains that when these two mix, things get ugly. His example was of a friend who has a flat tire. As a friend, you are willing to help him change it. What happens when, instead, he offers you a few dollars to help him out, instead of calling on you as a friend to do it for nothing? Suddenly it’s become a financial transaction, replacing the former social relationship. And, as a financial transaction, $2.00 isn’t worth the trouble. It colors how you think of each other, and it’s hard, if not impossible, to return to the social relationship afterward. It something I’ve observed happening many times through my life, but had never really considered why things got sticky! I so enjoyed his talk that I did something I’ve never done before. When I walked out of the presentation, I headed right for the table that had his book for sale, and bought a copy. I hope it’s as good as I think it will be.

I ended my conference day by visiting Sarah at the ALA Welcome Desk at the Membership Pavilion. As a part of the  Ambassador program, Sarah volunteered to staff the desk this afternoon. You can see there are many ways to participate at the ALA Conference.

Susan’s ALA Sunday

Monday, June 30, 2008 6:53 pm

Yesterday, I started out bright and early at the Alexander Street Press breakfast. Lauren had told me they typically have a dynamic speaker, and this year was no different. The subject focus was the Pentagon Papers, with a performance by actors from LA Theatre Works of a scene from Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers. At the end of the scene, Daniel Ellsburg came up to deliver the main presentation and talked about his views on the state of the current government and their (Bush, Chaney, et al.) interpretation of the Constitution in regards to the crafters’ intentions on whether the new country would be a republic or a monarchy. He believes the current President believes in a “monarchy” with executive power to do whatever they deem necessary and appropriate. He didn’t mince words in delivering his opinion that they are “domestic enemies of the Constitution.” He was the most radical speaker I’ve listened to since my college Vietnam War days!

My second session of the day is a new “near and dear to my heart” topic: What’s the Future of Face-to-Face Reference? This program was presented by RUSA MARS (Machine Assisted Reference Service!). Speakers from three institutions talked about innovative approaches they are taking to extend their reference services beyond the traditional way. The speaker who most caught my attention was Sara Davidson from UC Merced. She explained that since they were a brand new campus (in 2005), they were able to start their services up exactly how they envisioned they should be. A new campus meant no listening to “this is how we’ve always done it.” They had no legacy systems to deal with. Their motto: “Not What Other Research Libraries Are But What They Will Be.” There is no physical reserve system and basically all journals are electronic. There is a One-Stop-Shop information desk that is staff almost excusively by student assistants as they believe that sitting behind a desk may no longer be the best way to provide quality service.

Their stated values are very futuristic compared to our realities:

  • An environment in which in-person ref and instruction are exception rather than the rule. (They want a transparent environment resulting in less need for these).
  • Persistent, asynchronous, multi-user forms of communication.
  • Librarians as managers who work on broad solutions. (“just in time ref, not just in case”)
  • Providing services that reflect their current information and technological environment and the diversity of their users.

The afternoon started at the ACRL-Instruction Section program where I was presented with the IS Innovation in Instruction award. This was the first of two presentation ceremonies, and it was a bit amusing that Tim Fusco, from Lexis-Nexis, handed me the certificate but then took it back so it could be presented again at the Lexis-Nexis breakfast this morning.

Lynn talked a bit about the speaker at this event, Jeff Liles. He did spend some time talking about learning theories: behaviorism, cognitive theory and constructivism. He introduced two “new” proposed theories (the jury is still out on whether these are theories or pedagogical approaches): Connectivism and brain-based learning. Connectivism was developed by George Siemens to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. Brain-based learning is an approach to instruction based on how current research in neuroscience suggests our brain learns naturally. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the theories were working for me, as I had to sit in the front row and stay attentive for the entire two hours. I think it blew my brain out of whack :-)

The final session of the day was the LITA President’s Program, Isn’t it Great to Be in the Library? (Wherever that is), where panelists addressed the issue of the physical vs. the virtual library.

Carolyn and I met up at day’s end and rode the shuttle to the Disneyland Hotel to attend the combined library school reunion reception. It turns out that Jim Carmichael is the only faculty member still at UNCG since I graduated in 1993. It was enjoyable to meet Lee Shiftlett, who is the current head of their program, and chat about what they are doing with their accreditation effort and what plans he has for developing continuing ed classes for practicing librarians.

From there, we headed to the ExLibris reception. Although I don’t know anyone there anymore, I do know they always throw a lavish party at ALA. They didn’t disappoint this time either. They took over an entire restaurant, Jazz Kitchen, and had tons of good food and free beverages. Now I know where some of our maintenance money goes. We met up with Elizabeth, Sarah and Lauren and had a fun evening on ExLibris!

ALA Monday with Lynn

Monday, June 30, 2008 6:21 pm

Monday started with the second celebration of Susan’s ACRL/IS Innovation Award, this time at the Lexis-Nexis breakfast and this time a bit more grand.

Susan gave remarks after accepting the award and was very kind to mention a number of Wake Forest people who supported her in the Embedded project, including Professors Smith and Hattery, her entire tech team whom she named by name, and her director, for letting her go in the first place. The program portion was also infinitely more interesting than yesterday’s as Dana Milbank presented very amusing tidbits from his book about life in Washington, DC, “Homo Politicus.”

ACRL President’s Program “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions,” Dr. Dan Ariely

Ariely’s investigation in this area began when he was a long-term burn patient, subjected to excruciating pain at the hands of well-meaning health care personnel. After a series of demonstrated optical illusions, he said the human vision system is the strongest system we have but it is still subject to big mistakes. Other systems that are not as well developed are even more subject to error. He proceeded to give an interesting and amusing set of decisions that people make that seem to contradict their best interests. The most interesting was the rule of three. If presented with a choice between A and B, the choice may be random or obvious. It a third choice is introduced and is a lesser version of either A or B, then the corresponding more desirable version will attract much stronger appeal than the third unrelated choice. This can be used as a force for good or for manipulation. You choose. A panel of librarians then asked a series of questions about the presentation.

The conference is winding down. Tonight: Anaheim Angels v. Oakland Athletics

Lynn’s ALA Sunday

Sunday, June 29, 2008 6:25 pm

Sunday started out with an early morning breakfast with Kate Nevins on SOLINET business. She is thinking of taking me up on my offer to host the spring SOLINET meeting at Graylyn. That would be terrific!

Next I attended a program of the ACRL Science and Technology Section (to which I belonged many years ago) because it was called “The Embedded Librarian: New Role or New Title?”

Marianne Stowell Bracke, Purdue University
Nancy Deegan, Central Arizona College
Martin Kesselman, Rutgers
Sarah Watstein, UCLA

I wanted to know how closely the experiences of these science librarians were to our ZSR Embedded Librarian program. As one of the speakers said, while the situations varied greatly, the positive outcomes were remarkably similar. One speaker was embedded in a three year soil science research grant, and another was embedded as a Teaching Assistant in several Blackboard courses. The positive outcomes cited by all were closer ties to both faculty and students, a change in the view of faculty toward librarians from instructional support staff to peers, and a re-thinking of traditional roles because of an ability to “think like them.” Kesselman and Watstein have just finished a research paper on embedded librarianship that will appear in Journal of Library Administration. I will definitely look for that!

In the afternoon, I got an upfront seat to the presentation of Susan’s award from the ACRL Instruction Section. It came as the first part of their annual program entitled, “Creating Change: Teacher Librarians and New Learners.”


Susan was presented with a huge certificate and a check for $3,000 by a representative of Lexis Nexis, which sponsors the award. Great job, Susan! You honor ZSR with your energy, enthusiasm and teaching/learning/technology skills!

In the program portion, Dr. Jeffrey Liles from St. John Fisher College endeared himself to the audience by introducing himself as “non-librarian” faculty. His title was “You Can Lead a Dog to the Fridge but Can You Make Him Think?” What he meant was the need to align teaching and learning methods to achieve an effective outcome. Instead of merely reversing the focus from teacher to student, he advocated putting the subject in the middle along with both teachers and students. Good advice.

My last event of the day was the ACRL Excellence in Libraries Award celebration.  Jeff Trzeciak, my friend and former colleague from Wayne State who is now the University Librarian at McMaster University in Canada, won the award for the university library category. Jeff also served as our Digital Forsyth Consultant during the planning grant phase.  Way to go, Jeff!

Susan’s ALA Saturday

Sunday, June 29, 2008 8:52 am

I had a full conference packed day yesterday, attending programs and my committee meeting, touring the exhibit hall and finishing the day at a dinner party hosted by Lexis-Nexis, relating to the Innovation award.

As Lynn said, there are so many programs to choose from on Saturday that I lined up 3 in each time slot so I could have alternate options if one didn’t pan out.

I started the day with a LAMA program “Shift Happens: Aligning Financial Decisions with Strategic Directions.” It was a panel discussion with three library directors sharing their experiences linking their organizations’ strategic directions with resource allocation. Each answered predesignated questions including “what was the catalyst for change?”, “what is your budgeting process?”, “what is the strategic planning process at your organization?” and “what were the results of the planning process in regard to staff and resource allocations?” It was interesting to hear their responses, because many of them echoed what we have been seeing happening at WFU and ZSR over the past two years: changes in leadership, budget constraints, and changes in the budgeting process were just a few. I came away from the session with an appreciation of what our library administration has accomplished, having implemented many of the same decisions that I was hearing about.

They wrapped up with some general advice, many with which we are familiar:

  1. Find your story and tell it.
  2. Play nice with others. Align your strategic goals with theirs. End up building rapport and collegiality.
  3. Be creative and flexible.
  4. Know the structure of your organization and understand its view.
  5. Get broad input into your decisions, keep accountability narrow.
  6. Within constraints, make sure every dollar goes to work for you and doesn’t sit idle.
  7. Develop the ability to say no and realize that some of your decisions will not make everyone happy.
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  9. Question everything that your staff does and consider whether there are legacy systems that you can retire or retool.
  10. For every job vacancy, re-examine what do do with it.

When my afternoon committee meeting (IS Instructional Technologies) ended ahead of schedule, I leafed through the conference program book to find another program close by that I could slip into for the final hour.  I ended up at an ALSC program titled “How to Influence Your Director with Skill and Finesse.” How could I resist that? Unfortunately, I can’t share what I learned or I might lose my edge in my next attempt to wow Lynn with a new idea!

I also attended the SPARC-ACRL Forum  that Lynn reported about, so I won’t rehash  the details here. It is a topic that I have followed casually, so was very helpful in bringing me up to date on the latest Open Access issues.

At the exhibit hall, I continued my history of being overwhelmed by the size of the venue. I cruised up and down all the aisles to get an overview, with the intention of return to visit specific vendors today or tomorrow. The one booth I did stop in caught my attention because it had a huge banner proclaiming “Happy Feet.” And mine haven’t been since arriving here. So the salesman talked me into “therapeutic massaging insoles” that I slipped on top of my custom orthotics. Even if my relief was purely in my own mind, it gave me the energy to finish looping100% of the exhibit hall aisles!

I was invited to be a guest for dinner by Lexis-Nexis, the sponsors of the IS Innovation Award. I joined them, along with Jean Casper, the ACRL Instruction Section Committee Chair, at the Anaheim White House, one of the nice restaurants in town (most appear to be chain restaurants. Rounding out the dinner party group were 3 GODORT members, one of which was another L-N award winner. That was a bonus, as I can use some good contacts for gov-docs questions! It was a great meal, good company and a nice way to finish a busy day.

Wanda @ ALA

Saturday, June 28, 2008 8:59 pm

Wanda @ ALA

As President of the Black Caucus of ALA, Friday was filled with orientation and executive meetings. During board orientation I encouraged new members to; take personal responsibility, maintain trust and credibility, remain true to their convictions, know what their assignments are, seek clear communication, be reliable and competent, take initiative, point out challenges and then suggest ways to meet them. Mutual trust and respect is built upon good communication and remains key to effective board member service.  During our executive board meeting I was pleased to announce that several of my presidential platforms have come to fruition.  Necessary steps are in place for hiring an organizational assistant, both web and newsletter oversight committees have been created, a survey of BCALA members is underway, guidelines have been created to govern board elections and committee appointments, a review of our constitution and bylaws has been scheduled, the site of our 2010 conference has been confirmed and lastly the proceedings from my townhall meeting will be instrumental in devising BCALA strategic priorities.  Programs on Sunday and Monday are all that remain, as my term as President ends with this conference.

You may remember that back around 2004 I graduated from the Association of Research Libraries Leadership and Career Development Program. Annual marked the 10th anniversary of this program. In this years’ closing program each graduate created a poster showcasing details of their research project.  During the program OCLC relayed details concerning their newly created minority fellowships. This long overdue program is their attempt to change the face of OCLC so it reflects more the image of America and its’ customers.

Saturday for BCALA began with an early morning President’s program. We were all afraid the 8 a.m. start time would render many empty seats. So we were pleasantly surprised when our program topic “The Black Male Librarian: an Endangered Species” drew an overflowing standing room only crowd. Panelists detailed alarming statistics that indicated a downward slump of African American males entering the profession . Of the 5200 current African American librarians, only 570 are males. Possible recruitment strategies were offered by the five panelist. When we look at the complete picture surrounding African American males entering college, we see these numbers have also decreased significantly. So the problem is actually more complex. Representatives from NCCU LIS program boasted encouraging numbers and IMLS funded grants will make it financially possible to address this concern if we can step up our recruitment efforts to attract minorities both male or female to our profession. I am particularly interested in recruitment so I look forward to working with UNC- Greensboro Librarians on their IMLS grant funded project to recruit minorities.

Speakers Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham coeditors of the African American National Biography published by Oxford University Press, shared stories of African American contributions to American society that renewed my pride of my race and for my profession. Their stories dispelled rumors that African Americans have little or no significant history. I was equally proud of Librarianship for the roles we as Librarians have played in documenting, creating and sharing such a biography.

More later..

Wanda

Saturday at ALA with Lynn

Saturday, June 28, 2008 8:26 pm

I started the day with a quick visit to the exhibits. Here is a picture of my favorite vendor.

Bill Kane at Alibris boothBill Kane at the Alibris booth

Foregoing an opportunity to hear a discussion on Information Commons, I chose instead to hear Vernon Jordan in the “Auditorium Speakers” series. He started by telling the obligatory story about his first experience with libraries. His was more poignant than most because his public library in Atlanta was the “colored” branch of the Atlanta Public Library. Even in 1960 when he graduated law school, the library system was still segregated. His second book is about public speaking and will be published in the fall. His public speaking experience began with the AME church in Atlanta. He talked about working with Thurgood Marshall (another hero of mine) and then changed topic to talk about the 2008 presidential election. He said you cannot appreciate the Hillary Clinton candidacy until you understand Abigail Adams’ petition to her husband John Adams “Remember the ladies” when they were writing the Declaration of Independence to say “all men are created equal.” To understand Barack Obama’s journey as a candidate, he cited three legal cases regarding black suffrage. As for John McCain, he recalled his years of imprisonment in Viet Nam and third generation military service. Any of these candidates, he said, would help a country that has lost its moral authority in the world Vernon Jordan is one of those people you would listen to even if he were reading the Yellow Pages out loud. It was a pleasure to hear him.

Saturday from 1:30-3:30 is probably the single most popular program spot for the annual conference. Out of four semi-finalists that I wrote into my schedule, I picked “Tomorrow’s Library in Today’s Space,” sponsored by Library Administration and Management Association/Building and Equipment Section

Jay Schafer, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, DuBois Library Learning Commons

DuBois Library has the distinction of being the tallest academic library building in the world. Their building program considered characteristics of today’s undergraduates: always on, multiple communication modes, noisy, combining social, academic and food values. They resolved to consolidate service points, provide near 24×7 access, and flexible spaces. They debated whether to call the new space a learning commons or information commons. They decided on Learning Commons, which to them meant integration of learning services, from the library or other campus units with ties to student success, retention, and inclusion of diverse populations. The process lasted from 2003 to 2005, with an expansion in 2006. They visited University of Arizona and Indiana University Bloomington as part of the planning process. Their expansion was 25,000 sq ft with new paint, carpet, electrical (but it wasn’t enough for laptops) and furnishings. It now includes 200+ workstations, the Writing Center and Academic Advising & Career Services. They selected Herman Miller Resolve furniture for workstation pods and Herman Miller Ethospace system for glassed-in group study rooms. They set aside 2nd and 3rd floors as quiet space with cell phone booths. Their cafe is called the Procrastination Station (student-named). Staff were initially nervous and thought the library was being given away. They were instantly converted upon the opening of the space. The rule is: create a space for students, not librarians.

Susan Gibbons, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

4125 undergraduates
2900 graduate students
2.5 million volumes
Mix of original library and wraparound addition

Goals of the project were to improve aesthetics, improve access to library, and convert 23,000 sq ft from staff space to student space (cold, drafty, ugly). They used their now-famous undergraduate research project to ask students what they would like to see in the space. The only means of advertising was a sign saying “$5, Free Food, This Way” and then they invited students to draw their ideal library space. Themes running through the student visions were: natural light, flexibility, comfort in seating, importance of food and drink, power outlets, integrated technology, and all-purpose staff support.
Ayers/Saint/Gross was selected as the architect, mostly because they had already done the Campus Master Plan (sound familiar?) They used a“Future Pull” process, developed by Herman Miller, to design the space. The idea is to envision yourself in the future, imagine a future state wherein problems are already solved, and used that instead of traditional building program process. They went to furniture showrooms to get ideas of group work spaces. Total seating for the project was 330, including a Media Lounge with two 60” flat screens, 8 group study rooms (with one wall of whiteboard) and a wall of windows instead of a plain brick wall.

Camas Public Library was the third project, which had less relevance for ZSR except that they solved the addition problem with a new wing that connected to the old with a grand atrium. (Just like us!)

SPARC-ACRL Scholarly Communications Forum

“The Harvard OA Experience” Stuart Schieber, Director, Office for Scholarly Communication, Harvard University

At heart, the issue is not the cost of serials but a reduction in access because of the cost of serials. What “gives” is reduction in monograph purchasing and access to serials. Even at Harvard, it is just not possible to keep up. This is a market failure with the cost per page from commercial publishers six times higher than non-profits. The cost per citation is sixteen times higher from commercial publishers. In 2005, Harvard’s Provost set up a committee to make recommendations on remedies for this situation. A report was submitted in February 2006 on possible things that Harvard could do to help: 1) Open Office of Scholarly Communications, 2) Faculties to institute open access policies, 3) University to underwrite reasonable open access journal charges.

Harvard Open Access Policy

Faculty grant permission to Harvard to post articles in repository
Waiver is available upon written permission
Articles to be deposited in Harvard repository (when it is established)

When faculty sign a publication agreement, they are supplied with an Addendum to Publication Agreement to send to publisher. The other option is to request a waiver from the University.

Advantages of the policy:

• Make a collective statement of principle
• Systematically provide article metadata
• Clarifies rights situation
• Allows university to facilitate article deposit process
• Allows university to negotiate collectively
• Opt-out versus opt-in may increase rights retention

The policy was discussed thoroughly with various faculty groups. On February 12, the Arts and Science Faculty voted unanimously to support the policy. The Law faculty have followed suit and the medical faculty may be next.

Kevin Smith, Duke University, “Campus Open Access Policies: Legal Considerations”

Open Access is a negotiation between producers (faculty authors) and distributors (publishers) NOT between libraries and vendors. Questions that come up:

Who owns faculty copyright? Default answer is “the author,” unless it is considered a work for hire. Most universities have policies that specify copyright remains with the faculty. Ironically, most faculty routinely give it away to the publisher without compensation and are reluctant to share it with their own institution.

What is the impact of other open access mandates, for example NIH’s requirement for inclusion in Pub Med Central or disciplinary repositories? How is the hybrid publishing option addressed? Are both necessary?

Licenses should be non-exclusive, automatic and give the institution right to authorize others to use the work. Waiver provisions like Harvard’s may be necessary. Publishers need to be informed up front about prior license at the institution.

Catherine Candee, “Its Not About Open Access,” University of California

It’s about research, teaching and learning, and building a sustainable publishing and communication system to optimize them. A publishing system needs to spur innovation in research and scholarship, meet expanding information and publishing needs, enhance communication of knowledge to scholars, students and the public, and bring results of research to bear on the challenges of modern society. At California, faculty saw that the tenure and promotion system impedes changes in faculty behavior, but think that the problem affects others more than themselves. California is also considering an open access policy mandate like Harvard’s, but has yet to pass it.

Friday at ALA: Gearing Up

Saturday, June 28, 2008 8:50 am

Lauren's Poster Session
I learned that Friday at ALA Annual is a day where a bit is going on, but unless you have paid to attend a preconference or your committee is meeting, there is little “official” to attend. So I tried to combine a little productivity with experiencing the conference by setting up in the Convention Center Hallway to work. I was able to catch up on email, plan my itinerary for the rest of the conference, people-watch and visit the various ALA Marketing exhibits, as well as the ALA Editions book shop. I found a few new titles that might be helpful for the new RITS group, but will wait to come home to buy them; I’m not hauling home any more than I have to!

After lunch at nearby Downtown Disney (the only part of Disneyland that doesn’t appear to require an entry fee), I attended my first official event, Lauren’s Emerging Leaders Poster Session. I’ll let her give you all the details, but she and her partners had put together a good presentation on their project and plenty of people were gathering around to learn about it.

Friday evening, things start to happen – social events to welcome conference attendees into their various ALA membership groups. I attended a “soiree” held by the Instruction Section of the ACRL. It gave me a chance to meet the person who I have been corresponding with about the Innovation award, as well as many others. Elizabeth Novicki was there also and we set off afterward to pick up Mary Horton (who I’m rooming with), and then meet up with Lauren at the LITA Happy Hour. We all had dinner together – Friday is the one night that none of us had specific dinner obligations so it was fun to have a chance to chat and find out what everyone has planned for the weekend.

Today, the conference moves into full gear and I have an itinerary that is full and takes me until 10 pm tonight!

Susan At ALA Anaheim

Thursday, June 26, 2008 10:37 pm

It was a long day for me, as I’m sure is the case with all of the ZSR’ers who traveled all the way to Anaheim, CA for the 2008 Annual ALA Conference. Luckily, I took an early flight that was almost enjoyable: on time, no luggage charges, breakfast served, *early* arrival! I didn’t think that happened at all anymore. Kudos to Continental Airlines.

I arrived in my hotel room by noon Pacific time. This left plenty of time to check into the conference to get my badge holder and “home depot colored” bag (think bright orange). Exhibits were just beginning to be set up, the only activity was preconferences and I imagine some committee meetings. So I set out to explore Anaheim by foot (my first big walk in months). The weather was great but the entire area focuses on DisneyLand. I found plenty of chain restaurants and hotels to support the large quantities of visitors to this attraction. If there is more to Anaheim, I didn’t find it today.

Tomorrow, there are a few programs and more preconferences and committee meetings. I’ll do my best to find some worthy activity in the morning, but starting in the afternoon, things will pick up with Lauren’s Emerging Leaders Poster session, an IS Soiree and LITA Open House.

Heather and Bobbie at Metrolina Library Association 2008 Information Literacy Conference

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 12:49 pm

Thursday, June 19 was a beautiful day to attend the Third Annual Information Literacy Conference. Heather and Bobbie represented ZSR at the one-day conference that was held in the downtown Charlotte campus of Johnson and Wales University. The conference was well organized and allotted ample time for each breakout session. All of the sessions were in one building at Johnson & Wales except for the registration and continental breakfast which was held in the Johnson & Wales Library.

The morning session featured an interesting presentation on “Learner-Centered Approaches to Instruction.” During the session, the instructors (Susan Whyte and Beth Woodard) incorporated several interactive learning activities into their presentation. Both Whyte and Woodard are ACRL Information Literacy Immersion instructors and based many of the active learning exercises on the 2002 work by Maryellen Weimer, entitled Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice, which ZSR has available for checkout (call # LB2331 W39 2002).

At the beginning of the session, Whyte passed out crayons to the audience and asked us to draw a picture of our best and worst learner. We shared our drawing with another conference participant and talked about characteristics of each type of learner. Some drawings were mere stick figures with descriptive words while other participants really honed in their creativity. My favorite example of a worst student was from one of the conference organizers who depicted Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. During a brainstorming activity with the entire audience, Whyte and Woodard recorded the audience’s responses to some of the characteristics of our best and worst learners. My favorite morning activity was analyzing 8 quotes about learner-centered instruction from different authors and discussing what struck us as important and what we felt was lacking. Due to the fact that our instructors kept us engaged with other learning activities, the morning flew by very quickly.

Even thought there were over 100 people who attended the conference, the catered lunch line moved very quickly, and we were given ample time to enjoy our lunch and to talk with individuals from other institutions. It was also interesting to meet face-to-face several online classmates from the LIS program at UNC-Greensboro and discuss their take on the conference.

After lunch, we could pick two breakout sessions to attend in the afternoon. One of the breakout sessions introduced SchoolPad, which is a hand-held mini version of the Smart Board. The SchoolPad, currently being used by Information Instruction Librarians at UNC-Chapel Hill, allows the instructor to access computer files, surf webpages, mark-up documents, and paint without being confined to the front of a room or a stationary computer terminal. I volunteered during the presentation to give it a test drive and found that, which much practice and steady hand precision that it was really quite easy and fun to use. Although this was an interesting educational tool, Bobbie decided to stick with the clickers.

The second part of this breakout session was the most entertaining one. David Weeks at Winthrop University discussed his approaches in adapting to needs and opportunities in a constantly changing IL program. He said Winthrop has a long history in providing library instruction to students but have never been officially a part of the Freshmen Orientation Week program. In 2007, though, University Administration asked the Library to participate in the Freshmen Orientation program, providing their event last no more than 30 minutes and it must not be held in the Library. So, given these restrictions the library staff at Winthrop developed an 18 minute movie based on the structure of the t.v. show, 24. The plot for their movie, entitled 24/7, was based on a freshman student needing to find sources for her paper due in 4 hours. Her friend, who just happens to be a student library worker, suggested she go to the Reference department for assistance. Following a very funny bit involving a “Wikipedia alert” and the acting ability of the Dean of the Library, the movie was quite effective in getting their point across while still engaging the students. Their first showing had 22 students in attendance, but with word-of-mouth advertising their next showing had 95! He showed some clips from the movie including outtakes and a gag reel, and the audience found it to be both entertaining and informative. I have contacted Mr. Weeks and he has agreed to send us a copy in case we want to try something similar.

The last breakout session that Heather and Bobbie attended was a panel discussion that focused on “Librarians: Teaching Partners across the Curriculum.” Steve Cramer was one of the speakers, and he discussed his experiences partnering with business faculty at UNC-G. Susan Keely (NC School of the Arts) shared her experiences working with ESL instructors. All in all, it was a very productive and informative conference and it did show that the Library Instruction here at ZSR is quite unique with offering course credit. Many people that I talked with were very impressed that ZSR offers 11 sections of Library Instruction and they are always full.


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