Professional Development

During May 2014...

TALA Paraprofessional Conference – 2

Friday, May 23, 2014 11:22 am

As you know the Triad Academic Library Association (TALA) held its first conference of library paraprofessionals last week. Let me share just a little more history behind the conference. The idea for the conference came from Rosann Bazirjian, Dean of Libraries over at UNC-G back in 2012. Rosann enlisted support from our Dean and Joan Ruelle Library Dean over at Elon. They both agreed that the idea was one most worthy or pursuing and these three subsequently ended up financing the entire conference. They then took their idea to the other TALA deans and directors where it received support as well. So in late 2012 representatives from most of the TALA libraries started work planning for the event. Anna Milholland and I were the initial representatives from Wake Forest. Of course this was prior to Anna’s leaving for Salem College. Committee members met for about once a month to begin and increased with frequency as the conference date grew closer. We owe a special thanks to Craig Fansler for designing the conference logo. In the early stages of planning our targeted number for attendance was around fifty, but we were pleasantly surprised to see that number escalate to more than a hundred. The day was a spectacular one in that it met our expectations. We wanted our library paraprofessionals to have a day of their own; one with workshops, presentations, discussion groups and networking opportunities. Captured below are a few takeaways from the day.

On Tuesday May 13th I attended, along with many from ZSR, the first TALA Paraprofessional Conference held at UNC-G. After a great keynote given by three separate deans, Lynn, Rosann Bazirjian from UNC-G, and Joan Ruelle from Elon I attended a session called Staying Relevant: The New Technical Services. I chose this to gain a better understanding of the different tools available to our Resource Services department in doing their day to day job. After lunch which included a high energy Career Branding presentation by Patrick Madsen from UNC-G, I attended Mary Beth’s and Craig’s presentation on Emergency Procedures. They both did a great job and many questions and conversation followed. It was a good day and even though I did not connect with my counterpart from any other libraries I enjoyed the fellowship of all the other paraprofessionals of the TALA committee. – Tim

Of all the sessions I attended at the TALA Conference I particularly enjoyed the session led by Patrick Madsen of UNCG, on Career Branding. Madsen is the director of Career Services at UNCG and I found his approach and energy level very unique especially for a library conference. His main thrust was that we as individuals control our brand and success and failure in the workplace can be determined not just by our level of skill in our work, but in our social connections with co-workers and our attitude. Since ZSR is such a service focused workplace I thought this was very relevant session. – Bradley

I attended the session, Staying Relevant: The New Technical Services, because it was mostly out of my area of work and I wanted to peek behind the curtain. The speakers didn’t get “technical” but rather addressed common concerns we have in all areas of academic libraries. They pointed out that their staff (both librarians and paraprofessionals) is shrinking so it’s important to demonstrate the value of the work they’re doing. I appreciated their support for training and professional development and they gave good examples of where those opportunities are available. (see speaker slides) Shannon Tennant from Elon University pointed out the importance of visibility in making the needs and value of your department known within your institution. I think ZSR does a good job of letting people know who we are and what we do but it was an encouraging reminder. Both the lunch speaker, Patrick Madsen, the Director of the Career Services Center from UNCG, and Shannon Tennant encouraged the attendees to identify our strengths and apply them to our work. I hope to do some personal reflection on this point to better target the intersection of my interests and the needs of my ZSR team. I thought the conference was a great opportunity to see how other libraries confront common challenges. If this conference continues, I look forward to opportunities for more interaction between the attendees to discuss specific concerns. – Ellen M.

I really enjoyed the conference. The information was useful in the sessions I attended. I wish there was more time to talk to others who catalog. – Beth

The highlight of the conference for me was being able to spend the day with my ZSR Library colleagues who I don’t get to spend time with outside of the library. My favorite presentation was “Dealing with Different Types of Patrons” by John Champlin (WFU). It was good to be reminded that each patron is unique and helping each one based on their uniqueness and need gives the best service (students, staff, faculty, parents). – Kristen

The session of most interest to me was Technology, presented by Michael Vaughn from Elon. It was exciting to hear about new technology. The group was especially captivated about 3D printing. We actually got to hold an octopus he had printed! – Mary Reeves
Technical Services operations are changing from print based to digital. It is very important to have cross training within the department. We need to engage in more metadata clean-up services. - Doris

Students face many challenges during their college experience. Some are stressed, some relaxed. Some are prepared, some unprepared. Some are on the road to success, some sidetracked. Whatever the circumstance may be, we have many opportunities to make a difference in the students’ experiences at WFU. Helping them obtain the knowledge needed and serving them with kindness and smiling faces will set the stage for a successful study. Hopefully the ZSR library will not only impact their lives academically but be a place where they made many friends with students and staff. Technology continues to change the future of the library. Embracing this change and incorporating past successes will create new opportunities and new challenges. Our vision and attitudes could be the difference between success and failure. Being prepared for disasters before the event happens could be the difference between life and death. Preparedness reduces the amount of time for the actions that need to be taken. – Mark

I thought the conference gave us a great opportunity to meet and establish new relationships. There was a lot of emphasis on accepting change. The lunch speaker pointed out a lot of things that we do, but don’t realize they affect others. I think making people aware and just the realization that we sometimes do things without knowing will definitely make me more conscious of the energy that I give off. – Monesha

Providing quality service for internal and external patrons requires a balanced approach of discipline and empathy to minimize the price of non-conformance to library policies and procedures. To meet the needs of our patrons, libraries need to adapt and be flexible with ongoing trends in e-resources and non-traditional events and activities. – Travis

I found the TALA Paraprofessional Conference quite informative. The session on email and technology were of most interest to me. In the email session, one of the more vocal participants was my counterpart from the UNCG library. She brought up several of the same email issues I deal with concerning communicating with vendors. The session presenter gave excellent points on how to email vendors without assigning blame yet helping to initiate actions by the vendor to resolve the issue. – Prentice

Who knew this would be such a great experience meeting other third shift Paraprofessionals from across the Triad! Can’t wait until next year’s conference! Thanks so much to everyone that worked so hard in planning this year’s conference. – David

Steve at NASIG 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014 11:06 am

Since Chris and Derrik have already written their accounts of the 2014 NASIG Conference, I figure I better get on the ball. This was an unusual conference experience for me. As Vice President of NASIG, I was very involved with the planning of this conference, as well as having to do a lot of organizational business. That organizational business included planning for next year’s conference, which will not only have a special celebration for our 30th anniversary, but will also have NASIG’s first ever joint programming with another organization, the Society for Scholarly Publishing. With all the meeting and talking I had to do, I’ll confess that I didn’t attend as many conference sessions as I normally do, but those I did attend were very interesting.

Chris and Derrik have given nice descriptions of the three vision sessions, which were all quite good. I think the most interesting break-out session I attended was “Acquisitions and Management of Digital Collections at the Library of Congress,” given by Ted Westervelt from LC. I’ve known Ted for years, but didn’t know how truly impressive and cool his job is. He manages the eDeposit program at LC, which acquires e-resources for the Library of Congress’s permanent collection. The Copyright Deposit section at LC is charged with preserving material for the life of the Republic, which is quite a long-term commitment. Since 2009, the Copyright Deposit section has required publishers to present two copies of every source deposited, but an exception was made for electronic material. The exemption was eventually dropped and now electronic journals and electronic books have to be given to LC for the Copyright Deposit program. In addition to deposited material, the eDeposit section acquires material through purchase and gifts. They currently have 116 million unique files in inventory with 2.74 petabytes of content. They are also providing web archiving for 8.6 billion files. The digital material acquired includes historical newspapers, web sites, reference works, e-serials, e-books, GIS data, and more than 60 other flows. The section’s operating philosophy is that preservation=access, or, as Ted said, you can’t serve what isn’t preserved. To that end, LC has developed a set of format specifications for electronic materials to be preserved through the eDeposit program (LC has not officially released these specifications yet, but Ted gave us a sneak peak). LC uses a wide range of digital tools to store and manage their digital content. He said that the repository is being built in stages, and that it is important to think of repositories as a suite of tools and services. That is, a repository isn’t a single thing where you stick e-resources and then they’re preserved forever, a repository is a process that relies on a number of tools. Ted also emphasized that you need to think of the entire lifecycle of a resources in a repository, which I think is very important. He pointed out that LC has a system in place for taking in materials, but that they need to scale it. They need to develop more digital collection breadth and depth. LC is currently demanding 230 e-serials via eDeposit, but they will quadruple the number in the next few months. They need more capacity, both for storage and for processing of materials, and they need more standard and automated workflows. They also need to develop their collection development, preservation, metadata and access policies. Even though that work still needs to be done, I find the scale and ambition of this project to be truly amazing and I look forward to hearing more about this work in the future (I’ll certainly be grilling Ted about his work when I see him again).

I also attended an interesting session by Rachel Erb of Colorado State University, who talked about how her library’s Technical Services department used NASIG’s recently published list of Core Competencies for Electronic Resources Librarians as a guide for reorganizing their department. Essentially they found that they had too few people working on electronic resources and that there were needed skills that the department was lacking. Using the Core Competencies as a guide, they were able to justify changing job descriptions (a hard task at their school) and to craft a justification for a new position to bring in the skills they needed. And I saw Richard Wallis from OCLC discuss linked data. The main thrust of his presentation was that libraries need to expose their data to the wider world, which is where linked data comes in. He used the pithy phrase, people want “things not strings.” That is they don’t just want entries, they want entities, entire data sets about a topic.

In addition to the sessions, I did a lot of great networking, and had good conversations about developments in the world of cataloging, serials management, and the future of NASIG. Speaking of the future of NASIG, we’ve got some exciting projects in the works that I can’t quite talk about yet, but I’ll share when I can. Oh, and at this conference I was inaugurated as president of NASIG, and I confirmed the fact that, despite my tendency to be a chatterbox in private conversation, I am the world’s worst public speaker. Ah well, they didn’t elect me to give speeches.

Derrik’s takeaways from NASIG 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:45 pm

The 2014 conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) was a good one, from my point of view. A wide variety of topics and some very good keynote addresses gave me lots to chew on.

Since I started attending NASIG conferences 12 years ago, one of my favorite aspects has been the vendor involvement. NASIG is not just a librarians’ organization; subscription vendors and publishers are also encouraged to join, serve on committees, and be otherwise involved in the organization. Each conference usually includes sessions in which a vendor/publisher perspective is offered. I attended four such sessions this year, including “Vendor Lightning Talks,” a new conference feature in which six different content providers each took 5-7 minutes to tell what’s new with their products. I heard a panel of publishers (Nature, American Chemical Society, and IEEE) describe what they are doing in the Open Access arena, and a subscription vendor and a library consortium officer described their negotiation processes. My favorite vendor-related session was one in which a vendor sales rep, a consortium officer (the same from the previous presentation), and a librarian sat together on the stage and discussed a set of ethical questions (e.g., “Is it fair for a library to write an RFP so narrow that it is obviously customized to a specific vendor?” or “Is it fair for a vendor to go over the head of an acquisitions librarian if he/she says no?”). The probing into gray areas was a good exercise in seeing the other side’s point of view.

In other practical areas, I heard presentations about

  • results of an availability/usability study, in which students were able to successfully locate full text only 41% of the time, sometimes due to system errors, but in many cases, the students simply did not click on the right link, or missed key information that was presented on the screen;
  • survey results regarding methods of tracking perpetual access to online journals, which reminded me of the need to distinguish between post-cancellation access (usually on the publisher’s website) and archival access, meaning access when the publisher no longer provides it (often via Portico or LOCKSS)
  • updates on some emerging NISO standards – PESC, a communication standard for transmitting serial content; KBART, related to vendor knowledge bases; PIE-J, which has to do with how e-journals, especially title changes, are presented on vendor websites; ODI, for sharing metadata for discovery systems; and OAMI, a new metadata standard for open-access content, which includes the wonderful (IMO) feature of not referring to an item as “open access” but rather as “free-to-read” (yes/no).

What really made this year’s conference stand out for me was the amazing slate of “Vision session” (i.e. keynote) speakers. Katherine Skinner’s opening address on “Chance, Choice, & Change” made two particular impressions on me: (1) “Frontier” depends on your viewpoint-you may see empty space ready for development, but “empty” space is never truly empty, and there will often be people who see your pioneering as encroaching on their territory; (2) The cultural processes of production, distribution, and reception “always, always, always” depend on networks of people, not the lone genius.

Chris described Herbert Van de Sompel’s thought-provoking address very well. This address got me wondering to get the broader scholarly communication world to see the problem of “reference rot.”

In the closing keynote address, Jenica Rogers talked about how often she hears people say “I could never do what you did” (i.e. cancel the library’s ACS package), but she said she believes what they really mean is they would like to, but … (“but our faculty would riot”; “but I don’t want to rock the boat”; etc.). So Rogers presented a list of actions/habits that would help prepare us to make life’s tough decisions. Here is the list as I captured it:

  • Know thyself – know why you do the things you do
  • Claim and demonstrate your expertise & authority – know your reputation and how to leverage it
  • Gather data – evidence can shout when you can only whisper
  • Make friends
  • Start now, immediately
  • Find common ground – insisting that everybody else thinks X is important will only frustrate & annoy the people who don’t
  • Communicate effectively
  • Embrace serendipity
  • Evolve, even when it’s uncomfortable
  • Release fear – “Fear doesn’t make smart decisions, fear makes safe decisions.”

 

 

NCICU Library Purchasing Committee Meeting 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:09 am

On May 14, 2014 a large (possibly unprecedentedly so) contingent of ZSR Resource Services folk traveled to the annual NCICU Library Purchasing Committee Meeting in Buies Creek, NC, hosted by Campbell University. Chris, Derrik, Lauren, Linda, Monesha, and myself made the two-hour drive in the library van for a day of vendor presentations and panel discussions.

First, Grant Powell from Kanopy showed a short video highlighting some of the lesser-known offerings in his company’s streaming collection. I now have reasonably convincing proof that the company actually exists: it was nice to have Grant put a human face on a company we’ve been talking to at length in recent months via web demo, email, and phone. There was clear interest around the room in the company’s streaming collection, their pricing models, and the mechanics of their PDA program. Lindsey Schell from EBL then talked about her company’s demand-driven ebook options as well as their purchase by ProQuest and merger with ebrary.

After lunch the afternoon kicked off with an NC LIVE update from Tim Rogers, including information on their cool “Home Grown eBooks” pilot project. NC LIVE plans to offer ebook versions of around 1,000 titles from several small- to medium-sized North Carolina publishers, mainly targeting books on NC-specific subjects. Tim is clearly excited about the possibilities; several publishers have signed on, and the ebooks will be available to all NC LIVE libraries (with funding of the project split amongst them). If the pilot is a success, Tim hopes that the project might eventually be expanded.

Next came two panel discussions. The first, on the subject of ebook DDA, featured ZSR’s own Derrik Hiatt. Flanked on his right by counterparts from Campbell and High Point universities, Derrik talked about some of the thinking that went into ZSR’s decision to adopt a DDA program; what criteria we used to create our profile; how we handle triggered purchases; and, more generally, what has worked and what hasn’t. All panelists agreed that these programs have been great boons to their libraries. Derrik named the opportunity to add a wealth of subject matter we might not normally select as one of the main benefits. He described how ZSR’s DDA expenditures rose sharply in year two then began to plateau in year three. To illustrate this trend visually he produced a handy graph, magician-like, from a manila folder, throwing down a gauntlet which it would have been nearly impossible for the other panelists to pick up at this point in the day. I hope that if we venture into streaming video DDA (or “PDA” as Kanopy calls it) we find the same kind of success as we’ve had with ebooks.

The second panel discussion of the day covered the topic of streaming video and libraries’ developing use of it. Davidson College’s library started out by primarily selecting streaming videos whose corresponding DVDs were used by instructors for class. The three panelists agreed that discovery is key: does the vendor provide good MARC records? Is their platform readily navigable? Campbell promotes streaming video at faculty orientation in order to encourage awareness and use; library liaisons promote it as well. I came to appreciate the fact that owing to our great tech team we at ZSR have the ability to stream our own videos where Wake owns the content; some libraries would like to do the same but lack the necessary support to do so.

Afterward, irresistibly drawn to the giant bronze statue of Gaylord the fighting camel, we stopped for a group photo before leaving Campbell’s rather lovely campus (possibly-doctored photo provided by Monesha):

And, finally, the fighting camel:

 

Joy, Kyle, and Amanda at The Innovative Library Classroom Conference

Monday, May 19, 2014 3:46 pm

radford.JPG

(McConnell Library at Radford University)

On Tuesday, May 23th, Kyle, Joy, and Amanda had the opportunity to attend the first ever Innovative Library Classroom Conference at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. We joined 75 other instruction librarians interested in new, creative ways to teach information literacy. May is a conference-heavy month for instruction librarians, so we thought we’d give your inbox a break and combine posts.

Keynote Address: Design Thinking (Joy)

The keynote address was given by Lori Anthony, Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design & Fashion at Radford University. Her topic was “Using the Design Thinking Process to Address Today’s Unique Educational Challenges.” I am sure that many of you are familiar with design thinking, but I had to do a little reading on this to catch up with what she presented at the conference. Designed thinking is usually discussed in relation to what is referred to as wicked problems. Wicked problems are “problems that are difficult to solve because they are incomplete, requirements are constantly changing, and there are various interests related to them. Solutions to wicked problems often require that many people are willing to think differently on the issue and change their behavior…there are no true or false answers, but rather good or bad solutions” (Rittle & Webber, 1973). Design thinking differs from ordinary problem solving because the design does not aim to solve a problem with an ultimate answer, but rather it contributes to the current state of affairs. In design thinking, people are seen as actors who can make a difference. There are three stages to the design thinking process: inspiration, ideation, and implementation. This is non-linear approach, and there is no predetermined manner to navigate. Lori emphasized the need for empathy in the process. When design process is used, the people represented need to come from a variety of backgrounds. One of the themes of this process is “fail early, fail often” and they encourage using prototypes to test the ideas. She gave a detailed example of how she worked with a team to use design thinking with at Spotsylvania Middle School to work with their special education classes. The five special education classes at this school were self-contained with very crowded classrooms. The design team helped them deal with a variety of identified problems including issues related to: social skills/communication; space limitations/conflicts; and attitudes/behaviors. They used core principles of free ideas and no judgment, and they were able to radically transform and help this special education program (they used 350 Post-it notes in the process!).

I think that most of the time librarians deal with tame problems such as finding classroom space for our instruction sessions (though Roz may disagree that this is a tame problem!). Tame problems are more like puzzles that have clear solutions. I think that wicked problems for us are things like Summon where there are many players involved and the answers are not so clear. I read an article that talked about the introduction of eBooks as a wicked problem (unlike the introduction of DVDs which was a tame problem). As a Library, I believe the upcoming renovation to the Library (specifically combining service desks) would fall in the category of a wicked problem. Design thinking is one possibility for working through the endless variables and coming up with a workable model that you are willing to change as needed. By the way, I believe that if we went with design thinking for talking about combining the service desks, we would need to order a case of Post-it notes to facilitate the discussion!

Design thinkers must be: optimistic, collaborators, experimenters, integrative thinkers, and empathic. Interestingly enough, these concepts were woven throughout the conference, although I think this was mostly unintentional. Overall, this was an interesting choice for a keynote address and I believe that when the next wicked problem crops up, I’ll know one possibility for approaching it.

Courageous Conversations (Joy)

One of the breakout sessions was presented by Carroll Wilkinson who is the University Librarian at West Virginia University and she was an invited guest speaker. The title of her presentation was, “Courageous Conversations Worth Having (To Strengthen Instructional Practice).” She talked about David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney’s Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change. Appreciate inquiry seeks to bring out the “positive core” of an organization and to link this knowledge to the organization’s strategic change agenda and priorities. She then talked about The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Ronald A. Heifetz who defines courageous conversation as, “a dialogue that is designed to resolve competing priorities and beliefs while preserving relationships” (Heifetz 304). She then talked about the relationship between courage and vulnerability and encouraged us to listen to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability and recommended her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. If you watch this Ted Talk, I believe you will agree that Carroll’s talk was about much more than Instruction Practice. When I was at Immersion in 2004, one of the required readings for the week was Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. In Parker’s book, he talks about good teaching coming from our inner ground and from the community of our fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft (141). Carroll talked about Parker’s book, and while at first glance, vulnerability does not seem like a topic to discuss in relation to instruction, when you realize that teaching comes from within, you realize that it has everything to do with instruction both in and out of the classroom.

Carroll gave a couple of other quotes related to courageous conversations and encouraged us to have courageous conversations in our libraries. She also noted that courageous conversations help create a culture of courageous conversations within organizations. We then spent some time as a group brainstorming ideas about when we could use these conversations in libraries. I believe we at ZSR have had some very courageous conversations in our Library such as those around salary and work load/work life balance, and thanks to our administration who has been open to these conversations, we have seen progress and preserved relationships in the process!

Overall, this was a very inspiring presentation!

Data Literacy (Kyle)

This was far and away the best session I attended. Our good friend Lynda Kellam from UNCG presented on some pedagogical strategies she uses to teach data literacy to her undergraduates. The session challenged us to think of and teach data in the same way we teach information in its more packaged forms (books, journal articles, and the like). And this is true–data tell a story, and one can manipulate data to tell almost any story they want. Lynda reminded us that datasets and infographics require the same evaluation skills that we already teach. We looked at some of the infographics published by USA Today and ran one of our choice through the same kind of evaluation we might teach during a website evaluation exercise. I feel that this exercise is perhaps even better than the standard website evaluation lesson, as the websites many librarians typically use as examples are often ridiculous, inauthentic, or intentionally misleading. These infographics, on the other hand, have some authority attached to them. After all, they’re on the front page of a national newspaper. Stephen Colbert calls out one infographic in particular to drive the point home.

Library Instruction and Instagram (Amanda)

One librarian from the University of Montevallo also presented on using Instagram in library instruction. This program is similar to other scavenger hunt-like library orientations you may have seen that utilize iPods or iPads to have students explore and take photos of various library service points and resources. What Instagram brings to the table is the ability to make the connection between social media hashtags and library controlled vocabulary. Students also happen to like Instagram a lot and have a lot of fun coming up with creative photos and hashtags.

Concept Videos for Library Instruction (Kyle)

The crazy-busy folks at the undergraduate library at UNC-CH presented on a new strategy for creating library tutorial videos. Usually tutorial videos are designed to be used in one context, and are often very specific with regard to the tools they are designed to demonstrate. UNC decided to divorce the info literacy concepts from the specific contexts in which they’re taught, making their videos reusable by librarians, faculty, and students at the point of need or any other context. They’re great! Check out their first two: Developing your Topic and Building your Knowledge Base.

Lightning Talks (Amanda)

There were also several wonderful lightning talks in which librarians shared innovative ways they were using technology to connect with their students and faculty. One librarian collaborated with a faculty member to create LMS-embedded Camtasia videos. ODU Libraries presented on their incredibly creative One-Minute-Tips videos made with iMovie. University of Maryland presented on using Twitter as a metaphor for scholarly discourse. We were also introduced to the idea of using the Denzel Washington Venn Diagram as a way to explain Boolean Operators.

Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians (Joy)

The last breakout session that I attended was “Reframing the Standards: A Call for a New Approach to Defining Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians” led by Candice Benjes-Small from Radford University and Rebecca K. Miller at Virginia Tech. I have been an instruction librarian for 14 years, but I never knew that ACRL had a list of Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators. This list has 41 proficiencies for instruction librarians and coordinators have an additional 28 proficiencies listed. Candice and Rebecca proposed that we rewrite the proficiencies and place them in a new framework. After looking at the list, I will say that I completely agree that a new framework is needed. For one thing, these proficiencies are based on the one-shot model. It was definitely worth going to this session, just to learn that this document exists!

Assessment (Amanda)

Instruction librarians from Radford University presented on their new assessment efforts, which include applying rubrics to student’s works cited pages. This method of assessment was also done at my previous institution, Coastal Carolina University. While each method of assessment does have it’s drawbacks, this particular method is generally considered to be a more authentic assessment than the more common post-session surveys. This is because it allows librarian to assess the research portion of an actual assignment to see if learning outcomes were met, rather than rely on 3-2-1 reflections or multiple choice questions. If LIB 100 were ever undertake a large-scale assessment of all our sections, applying rubrics to student’s research outputs would certainly one method to explore.

Overall, we all really enjoyed this conference and look forward to attending next year!

National Library Legislative Day

Friday, May 16, 2014 4:29 pm

On Monday May 5th I met up with some really cool people from across North Carolina and headed to Washington, DC for National Library Legislative Day. This year NCLA selected 12 students from an essay contest on the importance of libraries to also attend. Each winner was accompanied by one of their parents. State Librarian Cal Shepard, NCLA President Dale Cousins, and both chairs for the Advocacy Committee were also on board. The students were wonderful and their stories will make you “Happy” about the work of Librarians across our great state. You may meet the students and read their essays here.

This was indeed a tightly packed trip as we arrived just in time to join Librarians from all of the 50 States for the opening reception at the Hart Senate Building. The NC delegation was recognized for the second year in a row for having the most supporters attending. During the reception Rebecca Morris, choreographer for the “Happy Dance” and UNC-G LIS faculty member, taught the dance steps to all of the audiences willing participants. It was a lot of fun! Afterwards it was back to the bus for a late 9:00 pm dinner.

The next morning we were off to meet with NC Representatives and Senators. My group met with aides for Walter Jones, Jr. (3rd District), George Butterfield (1st District), David Price (4th District) and Senator Richard Burr. Our advocacy conversations focused on the Library Services and Technical Act (LSTA), the Innovative Approach to Literacy (IAL), and Workforce Development. New in format this year, we allowed the student winners to have a voice in our advocacy efforts. It was good to hear them plea for books so they wouldn’t have to stare at computer screens for extended periods of time and for more reliable broadband reducing the frequencies of which their work is lost. We were on the steps of the Capital preparing for our photo op with Senator Burr when we were suddenly TOLD to leave the area because a dignitary was arriving. It turned out that Vice-President Biden was the star of the moment coinciding with a scheduled press conference concerning the extension of unemployment benefits.

Our final event was the rally for libraries which we organized. It was held on the lawn across from the Capital. ALA President Barbara Stripling, ALA Legislative Day staff, as well as a few of the Librarians who learned the “Happy Dance” the night before, all joined in with our group giving speeches and holding signs. Each of the students shared their views on the importance and value of libraries. And of course the finale was the “Happy Dance.”

 

 

TALA Paraprofessional Conference

Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:31 pm

On Tuesday, May 13, the first (and possibly annual) TALA Paraprofessional Conference was held on the campus of UNC-G. The conference, co-sponsored by the libraries at Wake Forest, UNC-G, and Elon was created specifically to give an opportunity for professional development to the paraprofessionals who work in the Triad Academic Library Association. Those in attendance at the conference from ZSR included: Ellen Makaravage, Tim Mitchell, David Link, Prentice Armstrong, Doris Jones, Mark Boger, Travis Manning, Craig Fansler, Linda Ziglar, Tara Hauser, Kristen Morgan, Bradley Podair, Beth Tedford, and Monesha Staton. If it seemed inordinately quiet around ZSR on Tuesday, now you know why.

The opening keynote was given by the three deans, Lynn Sutton, Joan Ruelle (Elon) and Rosann Bazirjian (UNC-G) who gave an inspirational talk on the future of academic libraries, the changing roles of paraprofessionals, and the skills needed to be ready for those changes. Throughout the day, the remainder of the conference provided two concurrent sessions for those in attendance to choose from. The first session I attended was a workshop given by WFU’s John Champlin of the PDC, entitled “Serving Different Types of People” (which was originally called “Dealing with Different Types of People” until he realized how judgmental that sounded.) He discussed the importance of understanding the unique place that the patron is coming from, and utilized M&Ms to spur discussion in a most unique way. He also managed those that took issue with using the word “customer” in relation to users of library services. This has never been a real sore point with me personally, but John managed to handle it pretty well, even changing slides in the middle of the presentation when he could.

In the afternoon, Craig and I co-presented a session on Disaster Planning to a packed room. The session was part “how we did it”, part “how and why you should do it too”, part “resources” and part “hands on training”. We provided visuals of what to include in a “to go” kit, and where you might buy the resources you need. We included tips on getting buy in from administrators and the importance of having the authority to implement a plan. And, being good librarians, we included a bibliography of resources. We had some good conversation and input from others in the session that had done a similar exercise in disaster preparedness but arrived at a different result. The session was well received overall. We also gave away door prizes which kept them interested all the way to the end.

The day was successful and there seemed to be universal interest in repeating it. In the next iteration, there may be more opportunity for the “birds of a feather” to compare notes, as that was one thing that the day lacked. Prentice, however, found another accountant, and David identified the “overnight guy” at a neighboring institution, so there was plenty of opportunity for networking going on. Congratulations to the visionary TALA leaders who identified this as a worthwhile conference to pursue. Initial assessment would indicate that it was.

Joy at LOEX 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 3:19 pm

As Amanda said in her blog, LOEX was a wonderful experience this year! It is always energizing to be surrounded by instruction librarians, but it was twice as fun this year because Amanda was with me. This year’s LOEX Conference was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. What a great place for a conference! This historic hotel is located in the heart of Grand Rapids, within easy walking distance of numerous shops, bars, and museums including the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We took an early flight to Grand Rapids and we spent the afternoon as tourists visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House as well as the Presidential and Art museums. It was a magical day where everything went right including our flights, the cab ride, and they even had a room ready for us at the hotel at 11:00 a.m.! That evening we attended the LOEX Hors d’oeuvres Reception where we met many wonderful librarians from across the United States and even bumped into Steve Cramer who provided some great tweets over the two day conference.

Since Amanda has reported on several sessions from the conference, I will try not to repeat what she said. Here are some of the sessions that I particularly enjoyed and found helpful:

Friday Morning Plenary Session – Terry Doyle

The conference kicked off with a great presentation by Terry Doyle who is a Professor of Reading at Ferris State University. The title of the presentation was, “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” (which also happens to be the title of a book he wrote that was published in 2013). Doyle’s expertise is neuroscience as it relates to teaching and learning, and for this session the focus was on creating the best conditions for student learning. He presents the idea that the burden of creating these conditions falls mostly on learners (if teachers could fix the problem alone, they would have fixed it years ago!). He started off by showing the Gardio Sarducci 5 Minute University video which is totally worth five minutes of your life if you would like to add some humor to your day. He laid the groundwork for his talk by stating that by 2018 57-67% of all jobs will require a four year college degree and that many of the future jobs do not currently exist. Students must learn how to learn. He dispelled a couple of theories such as the idea of right or left brain learners, and the idea of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. He stated that learning creates a change in the neurological patterns of the brain. It is the “ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and it is the ability to use the information to solve problems that arise in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally taught.”

He stated that “it is the one who does the work who does the learning.” He then proceeded to describe the conditions needed to learn. He talked about the importance of paying attention and how we do not have the ability to multitask. Multitasking interrupts learning and decreases mental resources. At this point, he focused on five things all learners need to be prepared for the learning experience: oxygen, hydration, diet, exercise, and sleep. Here are just a few of the things he said:

Physical activity is a reliable way to increase blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain.

  1. Water is essential for optimal brain health and function. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. Even mild levels of dehydration can impact school performance.
  2. Glucose is needed for fuel your brain and since neurons cannot store glucose, the bloodstream provides a constant supply. Glucose comes from carbohydrates you consume in the form of grains, legume, fruits, and vegetables. Too much sugar or refined carbohydrates can actually deprive your brain of glucose and deplete your brain’s power to concentrate, remember, and learn. Glucose enhances learning and memory. Recommended foods for healthy brain function include: blueberries, avocadoes, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and wild salmon.
  3. In order for our brains to function optimally, we required regular physical activity. Research shows that movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to: strengthen learning, improve memory and retrieval, and enhance motivation and morale. I like this line, “regular exercise, even walking, leads to more robust mental abilities beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.” Exercise also erodes stress (stress disrupts the process by which the brain collects and stores memories).
  4. While we sleep, our brains flush out neurotoxins through the spinal column. Sleep also plays an important role in the formation of long term memories. The final two hours of sleep from 6-8 hours are crucial for memories to be laid down as stable residents in your brain. Your brain also prepares for learning during the “second half of the nights, so if you sleep six hours or less, you are shortchanging yourself and impeding your learning.” Sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. Sleep also helps us produce new and creative ideas. If a person is sleep deprived, even though they are fully awake, the neurons used for important mental tasks switch off. Doyle said that humans are supposed to nap daily and that 20-30 minutes is ideal. Resting after learning improves your chances of remembering (more Starbucks time?).

Terry Doyle has a website titled “The Learner Centered Classroom” filled with fascinating links such as “Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment,” and “The Learner-Centered Classroom.” I think LIB100 does a great job of helping students develop several of the essential skills he says they need including: Learning how to learn on their own, and taking more control of their own learning.

Sculpting the Mind, Shaping the Learner: Mindfulness Practices in the Classroom

My first breakout session segued perfectly with the plenary session, where Jill Luedke from Temple University and Deborah Ultan Boudewyns at the University of Minnesota introduced the idea of incorporating mindfulness practices in the classroom. Jill is a yoga instructor and Deborah practices yoga, and our session started with a two minute meditation exercise. They explained the benefits of mindfulness practices to foster more productive learning experiences with greater awareness, patience, and focus. I must say that these presenters completely had my attention when they talked about us creating a collective body to be more aware and present in the moment. They showed an image of the constellation Orion and they said that they encourage their students to find the brightest start for their research. They defined mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment.” They talked about loving kindness and bringing that to the classroom. These presenters are both art librarians and I found their presentation to be completely authentic and genuine. I have never taken a yoga class, but after this session, I’m ready to give it a try!

ACRL Information Literacy Framework (Roundtable Discussion)

Amanda did such a great job talking about this, that there is no need for me to say much about this discussion. I will reiterate the fact that the overall theme of this discussion seemed to fall under the category of uncertainty and perhaps skepticism. One of my personal goals for this summer is to spend some focused time on the Framework so that I can be up to speed with what is happening. I am hoping that Amanda, Kyle, and I will have the opportunity to lead some discussions about this with the Research and Instruction team. This is still a work in progress and a second draft is scheduled to be released in early June. The next draft will include even more threshold concepts and scenarios that will provide ideas for how to incorporate the concepts into instruction. In order to understand the differences in the documents, you can start by looking at the different definitions of information literacy:

Information literacy as defined by the 2000 Standards: Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” [Note: there is more, but this is the first line and summarizes the rest.]

Information literacy as defined by the 2014 Framework: Information literacy “combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship.”

More to come in the future on the new Framework!

Unifying Ideas: Building For-Credit Information Literacy Courses Around Themes to Optimize Student Learning

In this break-out session, Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson, both from Murray State University talked about their experiences teaching a one-credit course using themes. One of the instructors used the theme of “Digital Footprints” and then she had the students research the topics in light of their majors. For example, “How do privacy issues affect us psychologically (or sociologically)?” “What are the financial risks related to privacy breaches?” She touted the approach as helping students analyze sources for their usefulness. The other instructor used the theme “Is Google Evil?” which sounded very intriguing to me, especially since my husband just purchased a Chromebook this weekend!

Saturday Morning Plenary Session – Lee Van Orsdel

Lee Van Orsdel is the Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Her presentation was about the new $65 million main library on their campus which opened in the fall of 2013. She showed numerous pictures and explained the “social/student centered” approach. The layout and philosophy are very similar to the NC State’s Hunt Library‘s. Here are a few things that she said that stood out for me: there is no signage in the building; furniture is only moved by the staff at the beginning of the semester, the rest of the time students are free to rearrange furniture as they desire and they do this frequently with tables and chairs going up and down elevators; only students work at service desks; students do their “Peer Consultant Experience” consultations (the equivalent of our PRS’s); they track a lot of data about their consultations; and they provide quiet study rooms (the opposite from our stated purpose of study rooms). My impression is that it is a beautiful library, but I don’t think I’m ready to turn ZSR into a social-centered instead of an information-centered library.

Zombies, Pirates, and Law Students: Creating Comics for Your Academic Library

This presentation was a lot of fun and presented a range of ways that comics have been developed and used in academic libraries. Jennifer Poggiali at Lehman College and Matt Upson at Oklahoma State University both used artists to create original comics based on actual people in their libraries. Jennifer worked with her college’s art department and Matt hired a nontraditional student assistant who happened to be an artist. The part of the presentation that I got most excited about was Katy Kavanagh’s (East Carolina University) presentation on how she used ToonDoo to liven up their LibGuides. Evidently there are several options beside ToonDoo for creating comics, and maybe if I get some extra time this summer, I’ll explore some of them! Wouldn’t Hu Womack make a great super-hero librarian?! I I think this concept has a lot of potential.

Conclusion

Overall, LOEX was simply wonderful! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend this great conference.

 

 

Chris at NASIG 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 3:49 pm

The 29th annual NASIG Conference was held this year from May 1-4, and it was one of the most exciting and thought-provoking conferences I’ve attended in several years. There was a great sense of enthusiasm from members of the group during sessions as well as social events, whether they were first time attendees or more seasoned attendees. This was also my first conference as a committee member. I’ve served for the last few months on the Communications and Marketing Committee (formerly the Electronic Communications Committee), and it has been a privilege to serve the greater organization while increasing my own knowledge. In addition, this has been an opportunity to see the inner workings of one level of the organization, and it has been a pleasure to work with professionals who aren’t afraid to take a newbie like me under their wing.

The vision sessions featured three leading professionals both in and outside the field, who spoke about the Big Idea while keeping their thoughts grounded in an approachable reality. On Friday, Dr. Katherine Skinner (Executive Director, Educopia Institute) spoke about “Critical Moments: Chance, Choice and Change in Scholarly Publishing”. Dr. Skinner took a sociological-cultural approach to the history of scholarly publishing as it has moved from the pioneer settlements of the print environment to the infrastructure of a megalopolis in the 21st century for online connectivity. Dr. Herbert Van de Sompel (Prototyping Team Leader, Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory) gave a talk on Saturday morning on the topic “From a System of Journals to a Web of Objects”. Dr. Van de Sompel’s talk contained both words of warning as well as a call to action about the disappearance of scholarly articles and resources from the digital realm. Alarmingly, this includes “reference rot” and content drift, which are items that cannot be countered by current web crawling technology and sites like the Internet Archive aren’t scoped to capture. Finally, Jenica Rogers (Director of Libraries, State University of New York at Potsdam) presented on “Reaching New Horizons: Gathering the Resources Librarians Need to Make Hard Decisions” on Sunday. Ms. Rogers, notable for pulling her library out of the American Chemical Society’s journal package almost two years ago, shared her thoughts and experiences about the difficult decisions that can be made in the profession and the undergirding that should be done before taking the first few steps. One observation she made about building resources stuck with me: “There’s no such thing as too early, but too late is real”.

I also had three takeaways from the conference that had great possibilities:

  • Licensing, licensing, licensing. This was a particular area of interest to me, as the skillset for licensing becomes even more important for continuing resources. I attended two valuable sessions about the licensing lifecycle and license negotiation, and as one new-to-the-craft it was helpful for me to learn not only about the pitfalls of licenses but also the successes that libraries have registered. All of this has energized me in my day to day work, and I look forward to the next challenge.
  • The ORCID identifier. ORCID is an emerging community: a registry to link researchers and their work with a unique identification number that can be linked to publications, presentations, and other scholarly output. Molly touched on it from her blog from Midwinter 2014, and it’s interesting that several institutions have jumped on board with the concept, assigning IDs to faculty, grad students and other researchers as a method to receive credit for their work, especially in circumstances when a variant of an author’s name is used on a particular work.
  • Memento for Chrome. During his talk, Dr. Van de Sompel mentioned a new extension for Google Chrome called Memento that his team at Los Alamos had been working on along with developers from other institutions. When installed, Memento allows one to go back into the history of a webpage via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine with a right click. You can learn more about Memento and download it here.

Finally, this year’s conference hotel, the Hilton Fort Worth, occupies an important place in American history. In November 1963, this hotel was known as the Hotel Texas, and President John F. Kennedy stayed there for two days before he took his fateful flight to Dallas. A small memorial, the JFK Tribute, is adjacent to the hotel with an eight foot statue of President Kennedy at its center.

Carol at the International Medieval Congress

Sunday, May 11, 2014 7:47 pm

Thanks to a fortunate alignment of events, I got to go on an all-expenses-paid (by me) trip to the International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, MI at Western Michigan University.

Most sessions were 1½ hours long and included three presentations around a common theme. I attended the following sessions (WFU faculty who presented are listed in parentheses):

  • In Honor of Dolores Warwick Frese I: Medieval Mothers and the Mother Tongue
  • New Research in Old High German Literature and Linguistics (Tina Boyer, German & Russian)
  • Gothic Language and Linguistics
  • In a Word, Philology: Etymology, Lexicography, Semantics and More in Germanic (Heiko Wiggers, German & Russian)
  • Crusades
  • Hanse Realm: Trade, Culture, and Exchange
  • Late Antiquity II: Late Antique Italy
  • Rethinking Reform II: Councils as Context, Catalyst, and Communicator of Reform
  • Philosophical Texts and Traditions (Michael Sloan, Classical Languages)

Since several of the papers were about the history of translating certain texts, I managed to touch on all five of my liaison areas in a single conference. Gale Sigal (English, co-chair of the WFU Medieval Studies program) invited me to attend dinner with her and four WFU students who were there. Lunches were in the school cafeteria. Mealtime conversations with WFU faculty led to five discrete requests from three different WFU faculty for me to buy a book, check up on a standing order possibility, etc. At one lunch, Michael and Tina discussed how they’ve used my instruction services, and they each pledged to use them more often. I almost never get PRS’s unless I’ve visited the class, so I mentioned the possibility of a 10-minute class drop-in, which is mainly a commercial for the PRS service and the relevant Research Guide. (Fortunately I give Classical Languages and German fairly even attention – if I didn’t I would’ve been busted!)

A few observations on this type of conference in comparison to librarian conferences:

The exhibit hall. My stereotype…

Ask Your Library to Subscribe Today!

Ask Your Library to Subscribe Today!

There was only one booth like this. This booth was more typical…

One of many booths selling individual books to attendees

One of many booths selling individual books to attendees

There was basically no vendor swag. The vendors were more focused on selling a single book today as opposed to selling $50K worth of product six months from now. This conference also featured sellers of “medieval sundries.”

Drinking Horns for Sale

Drinking Horns for Sale

They didn’t say, but I’m assuming these drinking horns are not dishwasher safe.

During the presentations, PowerPoints were relatively uncommon, and Tina was the only presenter I saw using Prezi. Much more typical was a paper handout. Usually the handout had a few paragraphs of medieval text that the presenter was going to analyze. In one case, the speaker handed out his entire paper! It was also not uncommon for a presenter to read a paper verbatim – something I almost never see at a library conference.

The sheer number of sessions was overwhelming. There were 565 sessions total, including as many as 54 in the same time slot!

The attendees seemed to be much more international (or at least European) than the crowd at library conferences. I either saw a presentation by or ate a meal with someone from South Africa, Germany, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Canada and the UK. Since church history is a significant aspect of medieval culture, there were several monks, nuns and priests in the crowd and among the presenters.

One similarity with the Charleston Conference that I attend annually: This conference is held in the same place every year, and a significant number of attendees go year after year. This situation leads to social groups forming and re-forming each year, as well as certain annual rituals like visiting the same restaurants.

Come talk to me if you’d like to hear more details about all the presentations I saw. Be forewarned: I might go on and on about two Old Norse words for “word” if you do.


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