In April I attended the annual meeting of the Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD) on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
ABLD is a small association of librarians from most of the top 50 business schools in North America. During the past year, I served as chair of the board of directors of the group. The Vanderbilt meeting marked the end of my term as chair and I will now serve one more year on the board as past chair.
ABLD holds its meetings on the campus of a member school. Doing so allows the members of ABLD to become familiar with other business schools and the libraries that serve them. Among ABLD schools and their libraries, there are many organizational models and no two schools and libraries are exactly alike. Vanderbilt’s business school offers only graduate degrees and its library is a full-service branch of the main library.
The conference began on a Tuesday afternoon with a campus tour led by Vanderbilt’s landscape architect. He pointed out the many exotic species of trees found on the campus that allow the entire campus to be designated as the Vanderbilt arboretum. After the tour Vanderbilt’s Interim Dean of Libraries, Jody Combs, hosted a reception in the main library.
Most of Wednesday’s program consisted of a variety of presentations by ABLD members. I was interested in a presentation by Meg Trauner of Duke who described the experience of the Duke business school library with an e-book program from Overdrive. Overdrive allows library users to borrow e-books and audio books from libraries and access them via the Overdrive app on a smartphone or tablet. Meg reported that business school library users much prefer this means of access to accessing e-books on a computer.
After a lunch at Vanderbilt’s on-campus University Club, the members spent some time with the seven vendor representatives who had been invited to showcase their products at the meeting. I learned more about BCC Research, a company that provides full text market research reports on industrial (rather than consumer) products. It’s a database to which we would like to subscribe if the price is right.
Later Tuesday afternoon the group visited the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in downtown Nashville. Michael Burcham is a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt and he founded the Entrepreneur Center as an organization to foster entrepreneurs in the city. It’s an impressive facility that is home to many companies that are just starting out. It provides office space, training and opportunities for mentoring and networking.
Thursday’s program contained more presentations by ABLD members along with a couple others by faculty from the business school. Professor David Owens spoke about the topic of innovation and Professor Kimberly Pace spoke about communication skills.
Among the topics discussed in member presentations were library space, teaching classes for credit and library support for classes in entrepreneurship.
Two guests from abroad attended the meeting: Andy Priestner of Cambridge University and president of the European Business School Librarians’ Group (EBSLG) and Gina de Alwis of Singapore Institute of Management and representing the Asia Pacific Business School Library Group (APBSLG) both made presentations. Andy spoke about his experience using ethnographic techniques to study library users and Gina spoke about the plans for the 2016 joint meeting of ABLD, EBSLG and APBSLG in Singapore.
The meeting concluded with a Thursday night visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville and a dinner on the site. After dinner, some of the members continued the fun on Nashville’s famous Honky Tonk Row.
More photos from my trip to Vanderbilt and Nashville are located here.