Professional Development

Wanda’s ALA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:07 am

This may be about the 4th ALA I have attended here in New Orleans. However, something was so very different about this one. It took me a while to figure it out, then it hit me, it was the loud noise and over abundance of people stumbling all around. My hotel was too much in the French Quarter district. One lesson learned. I have observed however on the other hand noticed that the face of the conference attendee has changed. Perhaps it is the location, but for sure the librarians here this week seem to mirror the evolving communities with which we live. My BCALA sessions were filled with younger new faces. It was a delight to see.

Saturday morning I heard a representative from the University of Miami discuss the road to their Summons installation during a Serial Solutions hosted breakfast. Their each subject librarian had to visit several Summon sites, conduct relevant research and then write an assessment. They convened and voted yes or no, it was an unanimous decision. Initial assessment numbers still indicate a preference to their catalog, even though these numbers have decreased significantly. However they also report a 40% increase in searches in their top 50 databases. Support during installation was great.

Serial Solutions also announced a new forthcoming WebScale management solution, not yet named, to be unveiled in phases beginning in 2012. They promise it will, manage all content in a single unified service, automate print management in a central highly accurate knowledgebase, simplify and automate selection, improve acquisitions have platform assessment and reporting.

During the ACRL Presidents program Jason Young, ex-manager of customer services at Southwest Airlines, shared his vision for culturetopia. Culturetopia he defines as the ultimate high-performance workplace. The power of relationships drives performance. The key to employee fulfillment and to employee productivity is the company’s culture. The humor present on any Southwest flight was also interwoven in Jason’s presentation. I brought the book, Culturetopia.” So if you like to borrow it, just let me know.

During the Springer lunch and learn I heard about a service I was not familiar with available at It is here that you may search and limit by institution and retrieve a list of articles published by your faculty. Springer also has an ebook service coming that will allow library patrons and faculty members to purchase any desired ebook after viewing it the Library subscription service for a mere $24.95. This would be a tremendous savings to the patron. Since these are personal requested and paid for items, the library saves.

ZSR Library was the recipient of Honorable Mention in the PR Exchange Best of Show awards in the programs promotional category for Craig’s promotional material he produced for the Ammons symposium we hosted in the fall. Yeah! There much have been 10 categories and at least 5 winners in each category. The winners and honorable mentioned all received the same certificate and button. They were a few libraries that won awards in several different categories. I believe our annual report would be an excellent candidate, as well as the book Susan pulled together reflecting our award ceremony. Also our faculty and student brochures could be other possibilities.

Each of the assessment sessions I attended had overflowing standing room only audiences. One featured NC States, Annette Day discussing the assessment they conducted comparing money spent on monographs, serials and databases relative to each individual academic department. Analysis of the departments took a look at the total number of faculty within the department, number of degrees awarded within that discipline and number of students in the program and grant money awarded to the department. This data was used to justify fund allocations.

During another session, virtual reference was the focus of the assessment. They appointed a project team, conducted surveys, held focus groups and analyzed the data. Using the data collected, they changed the hours they were offering IM, added more librarians to staff the hours and changed how they advertised the services. These IM stats show success. 2007 – 468, 2008 – 383, 2009 – 549, 2010 – 2293, 2011 through May – 1722.

Monday was spent at two very interesting LibQual sessions. The morning was a sharing session where members revealed what works, what doesn’t. The greatest take-away from the morning was from Virginia Commonwealth, who offered as an incentive one dollar to be donated to the local food bank for every completed survey. They donated $2,800. The University of South Florida offered an ipad to the winner with a not necessary to complete the survey disclaimer.

The afternoon was a five hour grueling look at statistic analysis using SPSS. Yes, it was to say the least way over my head. To me, a visual learning, it was a disaster to hear 4 hours of lecture and only one hour of actual hands on. I look forward to working with others J on this.

Winners announced during BCALA’s Literary Award presentation included, Bernice McFadden for Glorious, in the fiction category; Wes Moore for The Other Wes More: One Name, Two Fates, in the nonfiction category; Dolen Perkins-Valdez for Wench, in the first novelist category; Keith Gilyard for John Oliver Killens: a Life of Black Literary Activism, in the Nonfiction honor books category; Wilbert Rideau for In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance, also in the nonfiction honor books category; and Harold Battiste Jr. and Karen Celestan for Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man, in the outstanding publishing citation. Four of the authors were present last night for the awards. Most inspiring was Harold Battiste Jr. who must have been 90 plus years old. Battiste wrote songs that Sam Cooke and Sony Bruno later made famous.

I attended other sessions that I want include in this summary, but as always I am eager to share my handouts, notes and hold informal conversations.

3 Responses to “Wanda’s ALA”

  1. I LOVE the idea of the donation to the food bank for completing the LibQual survey! What a great incentive!!

  2. Thanks for picking up the Honorable Mention in the PR Exchange Best of Show for the Ammons Symposium.
    I enjoyed reading your analysis of the conference and the evolving face of the attendees.

  3. Jason Young’s program was so inspiring. I love how they wove fun into their work to bring out the very best in everyone, employee and customer alike.

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