Professional Development

Molly at NCLA

Friday, November 1, 2013 1:40 pm

Despite living in North Carolina for my entire professional life (and barring one semester abroad, my entire life, period), this was my first time attending an NCLA conference. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, besides the opportunity to learn and network – and present! I was not disappointed in getting to do all three, and was especially happy to reconnect with friends from grad school whose career paths into non-academic libraries means we otherwise don’t usually connect. That alone would have made NCLA worth it to me, but fortunately it gave me much more.

Unlike other conferences I attend, there were very, very few scholarly communication-related sessions, so I took the opportunity to brush up on the latest happenings in other areas of librarianship that I often don’t have time to do: namely, liaison and instruction work. Other ZSR colleagues have already given reports on most of the following sessions, so I apologize if my take-away points are redundant.

Grumble Theory
Librarians at UNCG presented on Jackson Library’s ClimateQUAL survey administration and response in light of Grumble Theory. Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes that motivation is based on needs, and as certain needs must be met before others, needs are order-driven. In Grumble Theory, motivation needs are ranked as:
- low = complaints regarding biological/physiological needs, such as food, shelter, sleep, rest, etc.
- high = concerns over esteem/self-esteem issues, respect, dignity, praise, rewards, etc.
- metagrumbles = higher level complaints concerning value of human life, truth, justice, beauty, perfection, etc.

Metagrumbles arise when other needs are met; e.g., complaining about the color of the carpet, or the break room art. Once low and high grumbles are addressed, an environment is created for self-actualizers to be the best they can be. Using Grumble Theory to help people become more aware, confident, and in control won’t mitigate all problems or complaints, but can reduce them. Much like Ellen shared in her coverage, I feel that much of our work-life balance discussions during 2012 were addressing Grumble Theory needs, despite not using that identifier. ZSR has done well to address our low and high grumbles, and we are now able to begin addressing metagrumbles.

Taming the Hydra, renamed Library Guides: Content Creation to Management
Carol and Ellen were in this session with me, and shared much of UNC’s experience. For a very rare LibGuides user (I think I have 2?), key points that struck me were:
- users view the library as reliable, so our LibGuides must be kept up-to-date to maintain reliability;
- have a management plan for periodic updating;
- limit to one row of tabs (if you need more, perhaps you need two guides);
- create a subject guide with a specific need in mind;
- “something better than nothing” not actually true with outdated guides.

From Resources to Relationships to Reinventing
Carol and Sarah were in this early Thursday morning session on academic liaisons, and again have already reported. Here are my highlights:
- avoid the “let me explain this to you” scenario with faculty (a difficulty in my position as SC librarian!);
- have an elevator speech as to why liaisons are important;
- advocacy role is emerging, and critical;
- success of liaison outreach – increased BIs, etc. – has real impacts on other work areas, and should be managed/acknowledged.

Always Be Closing
Chelcie was in this session with me, but in a different small group for the fun interactive part, and she did a great job explaining the session. My takeaways, both as a liaison and as someone with a specialized position:
- formerly focused on products of scholarship, now focusing on production of scholarship (big ol’ YES in my SC job!);
- engagement is more than “reaching out,” it’s trying to discover problem and apply library solutions to solve problem;
- even if we know what solutions we want to suggest, need to not just toss those off without helping faculty identify the problems – if they can’t see problem, won’t embrace solution;
- useful for thinking through selling new library services.

Research Literacy
This was the first of only two SC-related sessions I attended, which Sarah also sat in on. A librarian and research office administrator from NC A&T shared their work to develop “research literacy” among faculty seeking grants. They took the principles of info lit to apply to grant application process. Key points:
- librarians have expertise in areas that might assist in grant discovery and application writing: search skills, citation structures, literature discovery, writing/editing skills (not often a strong suit for STEM faculty);
- most obvious place to assist is to help ground the application in literature, as the impact of the research proposal must be framed by published research to support application;
- research literacy is info lit with added focus on original discoveries and the needs of original researchers;
- answers needed are not yet known in literature – literature used as building blocks to plan for future investigation;
- collaboration being driven by NIH, NSF calls for increased openness of research outputs in a time when securing funding is increasingly difficult – need to be as competitive and strategic as possible.

How the Judge Got It Wrong
The second directly SC-related session was from a librarian who traveled up from Georgia to discuss the GSU fair use lawsuit. Her talk was based on a research project she did for her PhD coursework; she is not a copyright expert. As Chelcie can attest, I mostly kept my mouth shut, but offered additional insight and clarity when I felt I had to. Overall, her point was that the judge was too narrow in her definition of fair use, establishing problematic “bright line” rules around amounts appropriate for being considered “fair,” and that if the publishers are successful in their appeal – oral arguments will be heard November 19th – the 1976 classroom guidelines risk becoming closer to law; if GSU wins appeal, compels increased licensing by publishers. I don’t fully agree with her assessment, but I also didn’t think she was flat-out wrong. Definitely this is an appeal I will be watching…

My last day at NCLA was an in-and-out situation: I came downtown only to co-present on altmetrics and bibliometrics with Sarah during our session, “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis,” then dashed over to campus to help Hu and Roz in the library area of THE TENT during the capital campaign launch campus picnic. As Sarah shared, we had a small but highly engaged group for our presentation, and we’ve each received requests for our slides after the conference, so we’ve made an impact (pun intended).

In addition to the individual sessions, I greatly enjoyed the plenary sessions and WILR luncheon I attended, and overall had a very positive first NCLA!

2 Responses to “Molly at NCLA”

  1. You covered a lot of ground during the conference. Glad it was a good experience for you!

  2. Good post, Molly. I’m anxiously awaiting the oral arguments on Nov 19th, too.


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