It is a good thing librarians are organized because you really needed to be organized to choose from the hundreds of programs available at ACRL today.
I started off at 8:00 am with a session on Return on Investment (ROI) and other ways to demonstrate the value of a library to its community. Jim Neal of Columbia likes to poke a finger in the eye of the latest library fads, so he took off on the insanity of ROI and focused instead on the need for new qualitative measures of academic library success. He posits it is foolish to put library value in economic terms and prefers qualitative measures to embrace human objectives like happiness and satisfaction. Interestingly, the next two speakers in the panel attempted to demonstrate the quantitative ROI that Jim railed against. The University of Colorado tried to demonstrate the value of their collections as they support campus initiatives and George Mason University discussed new metrics for engagement. (Engagement is a hot buzzword here. I wonder if it showed up in the word cloud that Roz did of ACRL topics.)
I attended my first instance of an “unconference.” I’ve read about them but never experienced one. I like it. At ACRL, they call it IdeaPower. What impressed me most was the give and take with the audience. There were 6 minutes each for presentation and feedback. My favorite session was on the therapy dog project during exams at St. Louis University (Tufts did one too). They both said they got better feedback on this from students than anything else they had ever done. If we are careful to keep them contained in one room for those with allergies, I’d love to do it at Wake. Pet the puppies!
I attended a session done by former colleagues at Wayne State on “Cultivating the fully engaged librarian.” There’s that engagement thing again. Seems like every liaison program has the same issues: time management and the need to creatively engage on all fronts with academic departments.
Roz did a great job on QR Codes at the Cyber Zed Shed (ACRL needs to lose that session name). She didn’t just do a how-to, but analyzed the current state and looked ahead to the future. Way to go, Roz.
I got some ideas on the session where Western Michigan discussed VuFind vis-à-vis their Summon installation. I’m starting to warm up to Summon.
A late entry to the program was “Google Book Search: What Comes Next?” after Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement last Tuesday when we were celebrating our ACRL award. Jonathan Band’s “March Madness” chart has been updated for you copyright junkies out there (I know it’s a little fuzzy. Susan has promised to give me photography lessons before I go to Liberia):
Coming up tonight: dinner with my niece who works in Philly and then Joe Lucia from Villanova and his musical group “MARC Fields and Bad Data.” I am not making this up.