Professional Development

Author Archive

Mary Beth @ ALA16-Orlando

Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:59 pm

My ALA conference was focused on two primary objectives: begin work related to the Sustainability Round Table, (SustainRT, to which I was just elected Member-at-Large) and get as much information on diversity and inclusion through ALA’s diversity programming as I could squeeze into my schedule. The work of the SustainRT board started early as I was representing SustainRT to the Round Table Coordinator Assembly on Friday morning. Since no other member of SustainRT arrived in Orlando early enough to attend, I was invited to represent the group. This group was made up of all of the chairs or coordinators of the round tables in ALA. The agenda was mostly about issues related to round tables’ functions within ALA, (like how to archive the born digital meeting minutes, and how libraries are using the ALA “Libraries Transform” media campaign.) I was rather surprised at how many Round Tables ALA has. (Disappointedly, we actually sat at rectangular tables.)

I am also SustainRT’s representative to The Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services in ALA. This office supports libraries in their efforts to expand Equity, Access and Diversity. I participated in a SustainRT panel discussion called “Planting the Seeds: Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability in Their Communities,” which happily also got a mention in the American Libraries Magazine blog. I discussed ZSR’s efforts to reduce waste generated during our semester’s end Wake the Library events.

It was quite serendipitous that John Lewis, fresh from his sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington DC, was scheduled to speak about his graphic novel series called “March”.

ALA president Sari Feldman introduced John Lewis, his co-author, and his illustrator to a very full ballroom. His words were moving, heartfelt and inspiring. My favorite quote when talking about the influence public libraries have over youth was when he said “Encourage kids to get into trouble, necessary trouble, continue to do just that!” He and his co-authors earned several standing ovations. Earlier that morning, I also attended a memorial service for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. John Lewis also made a brief appearance there and offered words of support. The memorial had speakers Sari Feldman along with members of the GLBT Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere around me.

The most helpful Diversity and Inclusion session I attended was one entitled “No Room at the Library: the Ethics of Diversity” in which the programmers offered, through skit form, four different situations related to marginalized people and had us react to the question “how would you handle that situation?” The members of the audience then got up and gave their reactions, based on library policy, or sometimes just on what they thought was right. One situation discussed how to handle a request for a community room for a group who wanted to have a meeting that excludes white people so they can have a frank discussion about racial inequality in their community. Another was about whether it is important to intercede in a conversation between a youth and his mother when his mother is committing a microagression to a staff member wearing a hijab. The reactions to these important questions were fascinating as we frankly discussed options. Everybody’s position was “right” even if they were very different. Such is the nature of ethical dilemmas.

ALA Annual in Orlando will go down as one of the best, and certainly one of the hottest ALA’s I’ve attended. (The humidity even made it feel as though it were hotter than Vegas to me.)

Also, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Member-At-Large of SustainRT if I didn’t encourage you to join the round table. The cost is just $10 per year and you can add it to your ALA membership at any time!

Social Justice and Disability Workshop

Monday, April 4, 2016 9:46 pm

On Thursday, March 31, the Learning Assistance Center/Disability Services office sponsored a day long workshop entitled “Reframing Disability and Creating Inclusive Environments”. The meeting included interested parties from all across campus, from facilities, to athletics, to student services, and many representatives from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Amanda Krause, a faculty member from the University of Arizona and an advocate of the disabled, was the dynamic speaker who kept us engaged and challenged our perceptions, expectations, and beliefs throughout the day.

Through lecture, discussion and small group work, we uncovered much of the bias that has existed that kept disabled individuals as “special” cases. Using historical images and images from media, she discussed how people who are blind, deaf, wheelchair users, etc have always been made to seem “less than” and pitied, requiring extra help and service. Even charitable works like telethons and penny drives, while well-intentioned, still had, as a consequence, perpetuated that notion that those people are “separate” and “special”. The real problem she identified is that environments are not built to be inclusive enough to all people. In fact the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 resulted in a cultural shift whereby those responsible for the built environment sought out just what is the least that needed to be done to be compliant, undermining the spirit of the law entirely. In actuality, using the principles of Universal Design, no disabled individuals need accommodation. If everything is designed to account for the challenges of those that are in a wheelchair, blind, hearing impaired, or otherwise disabled, then no special accommodations would need to be made. Accommodations are made for individuals to fit into a poorly designed system. It is expensive and requires many special inputs to make these fixes. Creating environments that are inclusive will repair existing limitations and provide equality for everyone. (The attendees from Disability Services mentioned that they are constantly working to put themselves out of a job!) If you are interested in the topic, I encourage you to review her powerpoint, and I’ll be happy to discuss it further with you. It was an enlightening day.

 

 

MBL’s ALA MW 16 in Boston

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 12:22 pm

My ALA Midwinter Experience was one part presenter, one part attendee and one part tourist. I was selected to do an Ignite session at this Midwinter, which is a 5 minute quick presentation with 20 slides that advance automatically. My topic was on our creation of the ZieSta Room in the library. I shared the stage with people who were telling their brief stories of introducing gaming in their public library after school program, finding grants to support a speaker series, and using (young) students to lead workshops and explorations on new technology. The room was packed, as the Ignite sessions frequently are. When I returned to that room on Sunday to see the next day’s Ignite offerings, the room was so full and spilling out into the hallway that I couldn’t get in to hear them. But, I understand that the sessions were all video recorded so hopefully, I can find them and view them soon.

On the attendee front, I listened with interest at a session that was led by Jason Griffey called “Measuring the Future“. He talked about his frustration with the current library practice of measuring the use of a library in ways that are not actionable. Just knowing how many feet came in your door or how many books circulated last year does not allow you to figure out what you can do to increase any of those things next year. With a grant from the Knight Foundation he created a Google Analytics style dashboard that allows one to follow library building usage, using “scouts” that upload to a “mothership” with cameras that track heat stamps in a way that ensures patron privacy. The hardware is open and the software is all open source. Once you know how people are actually using your library building, you can determine how you might change it to make it even better for users. His demonstration was very interesting. A future iteration of the system will also measure temperature, humidity and noise in a space. I hope we can join this movement!

I sat in on the Circulation Services Interest Group open discussion where there was some sharing of ways that we can use student assistants in new ways because physical circulation is declining. There was some more discussion of SUMA to track library usage. Penn State talked about their work in copyright clearing orphan works. In another library where Circulation and Reference have combined, they were discussing how they’d taken over Virtual Reference and were maintaining their Knowledge Base. More libraries have included Makerspaces in their suite of offerings and things like maintaining 3-D printers have been added to Circulation services, (yikes!). It was an interesting discussion to hear how Access Services departments are growing in different ways. Ultimately though, the conversation moved to who is charging overdue fees, and how effective are they, really. (It always ends this way.)

I attended the best ever Alexander Street Press breakfast with speakers Tamar Rogoff and Gregg Mozgala who are in the new film Enter the Faun. Ms. Rogoff is a choreographer who worked with Mr. Mozgala, an actor with cerebral palsy, to bring this dance to life. Her unusual teaching and training methods and study of movement have actually given the actor/dancer new control over his body and many of the limitations he’d learned to live with have diminished or disappeared. The pair have been bringing these new training techniques to students of physical therapy and their impact is expanding much beyond the world of dance.

On the tourist/networking end of things, I caught up with Lauren Pressley, visited the McFarland booth on the ALA vendor floor and took a picture next to the book I edited, enjoyed the ExLibris/Proquest night at the Boston Aquarium, and had an interesting view of history at the Boston Tea Party Museum.

 

Three Conferences = Busy Autumn

Monday, November 23, 2015 5:47 pm

I attended three different conferences this fall, Designing Libraries IV: Designing 21st Century Libraries at North Carolina State University, NCLA in Greensboro and the Access Services Conference in Atlanta, GA. In order to be most succinct, I’m combining posts for all three, though the subject matter ranged quite extensively.

The Designing Libraries conference was chock full of libraries telling the stories of what they did to be prepared for the academic library’s reinvention as place. The presentations are all available online. Story after story of how each library made significant changes to their space that had historically held books. Library leaders, planners and their architects conducted panel discussions from “Creating the Vision,” to “Designing Great Library Environments for Staff,” and “The Role of Makerspaces in Academic Libraries.” Thematically, all of the various speakers identified the importance of making spaces that are flexible, making space for the study and collaboration needs of today’s student, and the need to hire experts to ensure that you will do it right. Renovation is not for the faint of heart.

At NCLA, I presented in two different sessions. The first one on “Developing and Entrepreneurial Library Culture” along with Mary Scanlon and Mary Krautter (of UNCG) was delivered to a very full room. The presentation was one we pared down from the fuller workshop we’d delivered in Abu Dhabi last spring. The audience participated in a lively discussion after the presentation was done. The second session I participated in was one entitled “A Library for the Whole Student: Creating a Multidimensional Culture of Health & Wellness at your Library” along with Meghan Webb, Susan Smith and Hu Womack. We discussed the 9 dimensions of wellness described by our Thrive office, and how the library has partnered in creating initiatives to help. Interestingly, one of the questions asked was about how our “Cans for Fines” program works wherein students can bring in canned goods to eliminate overdue fines from their record. I am continually surprised how things that are so embedded in our culture here are ground breaking ideas elsewhere.

It is rare when one goes to a conference wherein every session is relevant, but that is actually true with The Access Services Conference, held in Atlanta, GA from November 11-13. The featured keynote speaker was Peter Bromberg, a very dynamic speaker with a terrific message about how difficult it is for us to continue to adapt to the pace of change when change is increasing exponentially. He used this great and very funny video to illustrate his point entitled “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.” Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch it. Other sessions I attended were focused on staff training to maximize customer service, creating a reserve textbook collection, and on using student feedback to redefine library spaces. Much of what was related were ideas we’ve already implemented, so that at least reassured me that we are on the right path. Ellen Makaravage and I took a field trip to tour the Georgia Tech Info Commons. That space was actually highlighted as one of the examples in the first conference and takes me full circle back to that designing 21st century libraries idea.

MBL at ALA15 in SF

Thursday, July 9, 2015 5:17 pm

This ALA Annual in San Francisco marked a high water mark in my ALA going experience. I was happy to present a poster session as the final assignment as chair of ZSR’s Assessment in Action team, and I did so along side of Meghan Webb, my fellow AiA team member. Assessment in Action is an ACRL grant funded program whose purpose is to build capacity in Academic Libraries to conduct high level assessment projects that will demonstrate the value of the library to the larger institution.

Our project focused on finding out how students define a successful year, and determining if the library was truly helping them to meet their goals. (Since our mission is to help students, faculty and staff succeed, this seemed a logical question to pursue.) The poster session was very busy. Many of the attendees, admittedly, were either past or future participants in the Assessment in Action project. (Assessment in Action is a three year project, and I applied for and was granted the opportunity to participate in the Year 2 cohort.) I heard positive feedback about our process, namely our decision to have students define success themselves, instead of using some academic definition like their position in class, or their GPA. We also heard positive comments of our use of graphics on our poster. Many of the year 3 Assessment in Action participants made note of the infographic we used to define our conclusions, and found it a powerful way to create meaning while minimizing text. Year 3 participants hoped to use such a method in their own poster a year from now. I appreciated having had the opportunity to chair such a vibrant and engaged team that included Meghan Webb, Le’Ron Byrd our former ZSR fellow, John Champlin of the Professional Development Center, Ryan Shirey of the Writing Center, and Glenda Boyles from the Bridge.

In attending sessions, my experience was better this year than previous years, either because I’m better and sussing out what will be the most helpful sessions to attend, or maybe sessions were just better overall. The sessions were quite varied, though, so “themes” are difficult to identify. I’ll give my biggest takeaways here.

Gems from Gloria Steinem’s opening keynote:

Gloria Steinem started her speech by reading a segment from her book My Life on the Road. She spent most of the time with the attendees answering questions that they posed. Among her best quotes:

–“The truth will set you free–but first it’s going to piss you off”

–“The single greatest stimulus to the economy our country could ever have is equal pay.”

–“The paradigm of ‘most violent societies’ is also the paradigm of strict heirarchy.”

–“The voting booth is the only place on earth where the richest people have no more power than the poorest people.”

–“Laughter is the only free emotion. So don’t go anywhere you can’t laugh. In fact, libraries should put up signs that say ‘No talking/but laughter is OK!'”

In responding to someone who said “I’m humbled to be in your presence,” she said “But I’m here to make you not humbled!”

She also recommended two books Sex and World Peace (which ZSR owns as an ebook) and The Mermaid and the Minataur (which ZSR owns in print.)

Assessment:

Whenever I am at ALA or ACRL I always seek out opportunities to sit in on any session that Lisa Hinchcliffe (form ACRL president, AiA team leader, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois) is giving. This conference she presented as a part of a panel discussion entitled “All the Data: Privacy, Service Quality and Analytics.” Her co-presenter was Andrew Asher from Indiana University. They each had strong but different perspectives of the amount of data we keep about our users and what we should do about it. Lisa’s position was that we should be open and honest with users about what we keep and why, but not actively keep no data, since the recognizing patterns in the data allows us to improve services. Andrew was of the opinion that libraries should keep the absolute minimum data about users, even if it means we sacrifice the ability to improve services. Both interesting perspectives! The one point both agreed upon is that academic libraries, in order to ethically manage data and be responsible to our patrons, need to investigate and contractually agree upon exactly what data our vendors are keeping about our patrons every time they use information in one of their databases. “If you can’t control it, disclose it” became the mantra. Also, only track that information which you might care to analyze. If you won’t be analyzing data to improve services, don’t track it at all.

Merging public services desks:

Another very interesting session I went to was entitled “To Merge or not to Merge?” Three libraries gave their perspectives on the success/failure of a merging operations that had been in separate desks into a single service point. I’ve been to many of these sorts of sessions over the years hoping to gain some insight into what could be a very difficult transition in co-locating disparate services, even in such a friendly place as ZSR. This one was refreshing in its candor. Here are some of the takeaways from the different libraries’ presentations:

–Planning starts at least a year before the actual change with input from all sides about what exactly will take place at the desk, what will take place away from the desk, and how those operations will coordinate.

–When two groups of people are serving the same function at the same desk but are at two different pay grades, morale will decline.

–Communication is the key to making over the transition, and continues after the combining. It is an ongoing struggle to communicate enough.

–Deciding in advance that the new desk is not a merger of two different desks, but instead is a whole new service, might help ease the transition. Be clear and obvious about how and what you decide will happen at the desk.

–The most successful model (by that I mean, the desk with the happiest staff) moved reference librarians off of their desk, did training with the circulation staff to give them the ability to triage the easiest questions and provided methods to pass along the harder ones without judgement. Reference librarians used their former desk time to increase liaison contacts, do more teaching, embed in instruction, etc.

I don’t know what ultimately our flavor of “merger” will take, or how soon it may happen. There are as many options as there are libraries merging desks. Every time I attend a session on this topic I get more comfortable with the idea, and more aware of the responsibility to make sure we do it right because it is fraught with opportunities to do it wrong.

Finally, because it’s ALA at San Francisco, a few photos: Chinatown, Pride Parade, and a vendor visit with an awesome booth!

 

 

MB’s March Conference travels (or From Abu Dhabi to Portland in 78 hours) in pictures and words

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Mary Scanlon, Mary Krautter (from UNCG) and I had the astute pleasure of presenting at the 21st Annual Conference and Exhibition of Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter. The three of us did both a workshop on Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture in Libraries, and a presentation on Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Transforming Library Services. We were approached last July by email in what, I admit, I initially thought of just trashing because it was just so extraordinary to get an email from a representative of this conference across the world asking us to do them the honor of presenting at their conference. But after doing our due diligence, we began to prepare for this amazing opportunity. The representative who invited us, Mohamed Mubarak, was a most gracious host, and was anxious that everything be perfect for our presentation and our stay.

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

The workshop, held on Monday, March 16, was a pre-conference session attended by just 6 people. However, the small size allowed for a great deal of engagement and conversation. They were very interested in our presentation. All of the attendees were from special libraries, and interestingly, all of them did work related to tourism, either from post secondary schools that had programs that emphasized in tourism and hospitality, or from the government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. (We did note repeatedly that they take their hospitality very seriously in the United Arab Emirates.) While we carefully constructed our message owing to what we perceived as a more restrictive environment, we were delighted to learn that great strides had been made to increase transparency across the UAE. Their’s is a model that will go through growing pains for awhile, but there were definite signs of a relaxing of the rules to allow more entrepreneurial ideas and methodologies to take root.

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

The next morning, at the opening keynote, the themes of the conference became apparent as Dr. Essa AlBastaki, the President of Dubai University spoke about the need for expanding the economy beyond one that hinges entirely on the availability of oil. He mentioned the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting it several times in his speech. We listened to this, (and other keynote speeches) through a simultaneous translator. This was also an interesting experience, and was again indicative of the hospitality extended to non-Arabic speakers. They were well prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary to make us feel welcome.

Our presentation was the afternoon of the first day. The session started a little late (we learned of what we termed the “elasticity of time” in the UAE) but the session was well attended and again they expressed a great deal of interest on advancing entrepreneurship in their libraries. Many people after the presentation came up to gather business cards and the questions posed in the Q&A indicated a deep understanding of the content. It was thrilling!

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial  Librarianship

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial Librarianship

Other presentations I attended included one with Rick Anderson from Utah University on e-books and the challenges of PDA models for ebook acquisition, and Lisa Hinchcliffe, from the University of Illinois on assessing the impact of information literacy education. I also caught up with former colleague Vanessa Middleton, who now works in Abu Dhabi in the Petroleum Institute, and she presented on how to develop better relationships between libraries and vendors.

Mary Beth and Vanessa Middleton

 

So aside from the occasional use of a translator, the issues in libraries are much the same the world over. That, I think, is the best takeaway of all.

Interested staff members from ZSR will be able to see many more photos (including non-conference photos) at a staff development session coming soon.

After a very brief turn around time, (arriving home Saturday morning at 3am and then leaving for the airport on Tuesday morning at 9am) I went to nearly the opposite side of the globe to attend ACRL in Portland, OR. The time difference between Abu Dhabi and Portland is 11 hours, so it is very nearly the opposite side of the world and the opposite side of the clock. (I can’t tell you how important coffee is to one’s body in this situation.) I attended the Ithaka S+R session that Roz already ably blogged about. I also was in the very enlightening and, frankly, inspiring session on Wellness and how libraries can impact wellness on campus that Susan wrote about.

I went to a session with three different library perspectives on emergency planning where I picked up this gem which unites my desire for simple signage, humor, and emergency planning.

In Case of Fire, Exit Building Before Tweeting About It

 

I attended two other sessions that were all about ebooks and their influence on researchers. One, entitled “STEM Users Prefer Ebooks. . . Or Do they?” provided a qualitative and quantitative study conducted at a large academic library which challenged the assumption that ebooks are welcomed, or at least not held in disdain, by the hard Sciences and Math researchers. Their assessment was very thorough and raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is that more assessment is needed. I had a meet up with the other “Assessment in Action” project coordinators who were at various stages of completing the research leg of their 18 month long assessment. Our final presentations are due at ALA in San Francisco. That is when I will be blogging next.

It was quite the whirlwind, (21 days of travel total) but now I’m glad to be back on Eastern time and home for a while. While I wouldn’t recommend it, neither would I give up the opportunity to do it again if the opportunity presented itself!

 

 

 

 

MBL at ALA-MW

Friday, February 6, 2015 2:42 pm

The start of my ALA Mid Winter experience was spent attending two days of pre-conference meetings for the participants in ACRL’s “Assessment in Action” (AiA) project. This is the second year of the grant funded project meant to build capacity for doing assessment projects in academic libraries, allowing libraries to better tell their stories and demonstrate their worth to the academy. ZSR’s project involves investigating how students define success in their own lives, and identifying ways that the library can assist in helping them reach success. Since ZSR’s mission, as we all know, is ‘to help students, faculty and staff succeed,’ it is going to be very interesting to discern how the students define success, and then to develop programming and spaces that will help in that effort. ZSR’s team includes: Meghan Webb, Le’Ron Byrd, Ryan Shirey (Writing Center), Glenda Boyles (the Bridge) and John Champlin (PDC). The first of the two days was spent getting each participant caught up on where all of the other participating libraries are in our cohort, (there are over 70 libraries participating this year,) and identifying ways to either help them through difficulties or learn from their successes. On the second day we learned of techniques and methodology for analyzing and reaching conclusions about our data. We now know what we need to do, and what elements we’ll need to include in our follow up reports to ACRL. We all need to have completed some form of our assessment by ALA Annual in June as we will all be expected to present a poster session there.

After the two Assessment in Action days, I also attended the ARL Space Assessment session with Susan reported on so ably. Since our Assessment in Action investigation also will have a component related to space use in the library, it was a helpful session. One of the presenters described a focus group study wherein students were shown photos of different types of study spaces, (high soaring ceilings and heavy wooden tables, comfy couches, individual study carrels) and asked which kind of space they would prefer for different activities and what words would best describe those spaces. They used this information to inform future furniture purchases and renovations. I thought this was a powerful exercise and we might pursue that here as well.

I also attended the Sustainability Round Table discussion group. SustainRT is a very new group in ALA, just established last mid-winter meeting and it’s just now finding its legs. Primary among the topics discussed was promoting a Sustainable Libraries Resolution similar to the one just approved by the New York Library Association. This resolution will be modified in the ensuing months, and then be presented to Council at ALA Annual. One big success of the SustainRT group was the inclusion of places to recycle ALA badges at the end of conference. If you saw one of those “recycle your badge” containers in the Conference Center, you can thank the members of SustainRT.

The great Chicago Blizzard of 2015 interrupted the conference and both of the sessions I had intended to go to on Sunday, (as well as the SustainRT ice skating social) were cancelled. But I did manage to make it to the vendor floor and visit McFarland, Atlas Systems, and Agati my favorite library furniture company before the big storm hit. I expected to visit others too, but the number of attendees to the conference, and the number of vendors on the floor seemed to me to be way down. Which brings me to another point raised by the SustainRT group…will MW continue to be necessary much longer? Indications are that many of the sections do their planning for Annual by email and conference calls before they even come to midwinter.

And now for the obligatory snowmagedden photos: both taken from the hotel window. The first just as the snow started to fall Saturday night, the second mid-day on Sunday when nearly white out conditions were present. It was an impressive snowstorm!

“Jumpstart Your Preparedness” workshop

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:48 pm

On Monday, January 26, 2015, most of the Safety and Security Team attended the workshop entitled “Jumpstart Your Preparedness” held at the High Point Museum. In addition to the attendees from ZSR, which included James Harper, Thomas Dowling, Meghan Webb, Craig Fansler and Mary Beth Lock, the workshop was attended by representatives from 20 other triad area cultural institutions, (museums and libraries) all of whom were interested in learning about increasing preparedness for the inevitable emergency. The morning’s conversation started with a recounting of the fire that took place in one of the historic buildings on Mendenhall Plantation in Jamestown, NC. The fire, (determined to be arson) took place during Thanksgiving week, while the director, Shawn Rogers, was out of town visiting family. The story he related was a gripping account. Both he and his assistant Shirley Haworth noted the importance of establishing relationships in advance with vendors who you can call on in an emergency. Their experience with the more nefarious workmen who show up the night of the event offering to assist with securing the property as a “service to the community” only to afterward submit a bill for services served as a lesson for us all.

The balance of the morning was spent discussing the services available through North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and their “Connecting to Collections” IMLS grant. The grant has afforded creation of burn workshops which enable individuals to get boots on the ground training on how to recover from a fire in a cultural institution or library. They also discussed the importance of creating an Area Cultural Resources Emergency Network, or ACREN for our region. There is already an ACREN that exists on the coast of North Carolina, one in the Triangle, and one in the Mountains, but there isn’t one that serves the triad. At the end of the discussion, a sign up sheet was sent around to indicate who was interested in starting up such an entity. Several members of our Safety and Security Team signed up.

Following lunch, the group of us were invited to visit the site of the Mendenhall Plantation fire and see first hand the recovery after the fire. We had an opportunity to see the methods for removing soot with a soot sponge and learn of the additional plans on recovering the space while still honoring the age of the building. As it was mentioned, when you have such a situation in an historic building, you can’t just rip up the floorboards and lay down laminate. The workshop was very instructive and illustrated how much more there is to learn to be really prepared. There is yet more to do!

Adrienne Berney demonstrates how to use a chamber to remove smoke odor from books

Adrienne Berney demonstrates how to use a chamber to remove smoke odor from books

Meghan Webb and Mary Beth Lock "get their hands dirty" using a soot sponge. Not really though. We were wearing gloves!

Meghan Webb and Mary Beth Lock “get their hands dirty” using a soot sponge. Not really though. We were wearing gloves!

MB’s ALA in LV

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 2:52 pm

The first two days of my ALA Vegas experience were spent getting training on being a Team Leader for the Assessment in Action cohort, a grant funded competitive training program offered through ACRL. Assessment in Action trains librarian leaders to lead campus teams in conducting assessments that demonstrate the value of academic libraries to the academy. The training was intensive and included instruction from “writing a good Outcome statement that aligns with institutional and library values” to “how to lead your team” and “resolving conflict”. I’ve shared the information with the Assessment in Action team (consisting of Meghan Webb, Rachel Weaver, Ryan Shirey and John Champlin) who will be helping to assess spaces and services in ZSR this next year helping to identify and quantify how we help students succeed.

ALA proper started on Saturday morning with Jane Fonda’s session on her new book “Being a Teen“. She spoke about the difficulty young people face transitioning from childhood to adulthood and the influences that cause them to lose their identity. She didn’t reference it, but it is very like the message in the “Run Like a Girl” video that has been getting attention in the last few days. Her talk indicated that it is just as difficult for boys growing up and maintaining identity as it is for girls.

I had the opportunity to present at the conference in the 4th annual FEAST (it stands for “Future and Emerging Access Services Trends”) and I presented on our ZSRenews service. Other topics presented in the hour included “staffing for staying open 24/5″, “moving to offsite storage” and “utilizing ILLiad for scanning requests”, all of which we’d already done, so I’m confident that ZSR is staying ahead of the curve. MB @ FEAST

Prior to attending the conference I entered into a lottery for some one-on-one time with a space designer from Demco and I won. So, I spent an hour discussing our atrium space renovations and took away some great design and furniture ideas.

As usual, or perhaps more than usual, I had great opportunities to build and strengthen relationships with librarians I work with here in ZSR, know throughout North Carolina and Michigan, and meet through the conference. Vegas, even in the heat of summer, (it was 119 degrees at the Hover Dam!) was a very fun place. No need to go to a show, the whole town is a show! (And, I won $10 at the roulette table.) More photos are available here.

 

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.


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