Professional Development

Author Archive

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.

Mary Beth at ALAMW in Philadelphia

Monday, February 3, 2014 12:37 pm

My ALA Mid-Winter meeting this year was different from any other midwinter I’ve attended before. The Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) for ALA was just approved to become a Roundtable a year ago and as such there’s still some organizing and introductions going on to get started on some of the initiatives we’d like to pursue. As a result of my early involvement in SustainRT I was given the appointment to represent the round table to the Planning and Budget Assembly of ALA. (PBA). As a result of this appointment I had a number of meetings I had to attend to learn as much as I could about how planning and budgeting works for ALA. In conjunction with this appointment was the obligation to attend meetings that were held by the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) as well as PBA itself. The Budget Analysis and Review Committee meeting provided an opportunity for those on that body to get an update and ask questions about the state of ALA’s budget.
Here are a few things of interest I learned during the course of attending these meetings:
· Publishing has been a significant drain on ALA’s finances in the last year.
· Some of that drain has been due to the acquisition of Neal Schuman by ALA
· There is a great deal of confusion about how “good will” is translated to a balance sheet. (My graduate classes in Business came in handy here.)
· The Annual Conference is “pulling its weight” as far as generating revenue for ALA. Midwinter Conference continually loses money for the organization.
· The number of attendees to ALA Mid-Winter is actually rising over the last few conferences. Dallas was the low, with ~ 4200 attendees. Seattle saw a rebound to over 5000. Philadelphia had over 7000 attendees to Midwinter this year. Costs still outpace attendance, however.
· BARC makes available videos on their website called the ALA Financial Learning Series. Those produced thus far include:
Organizational structure and decision making
Budget Cycle and Process
The Long Term Investment Fund
Round Tables Financial Orientation
In addition to all of these budget meetings, I also had time to actually attend the Sustainability Round Table meeting on Monday morning before flying back to Winston-Salem. The attendance was spare, (only 6 people, 4 of them there just to find out what the round table was about.) We discussed plans for the Round Table including an initiative taking shape to encourage ALA to divest itself from any fossil fuel interests. There was some discussion about whether we would devote our efforts to helping libraries become more sustainable, or whether we were going to focus on encouraging ALA itself to become more sustainable. Since the measure of the sustainability of any effort is determined by the nexus of people, planet and profit, it was suggested that SustainRT might also begin an initiative to eliminate Mid-Winter and just have an annual conference. The group, though small, was very engaged and I look forward to working with them in the coming conferences, and through online channels.

MBL @ NCLA

Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:31 pm

My day at NCLA started with my presentation entitled “Two Roads to Offsite Storage: Duke and Wake Forest.” to a small but interested group who were there to hear about offsite storage solutions. In a straw poll taken at the start of the session, about half of the people that attended were from Special Collections, interestingly, and about a third of the audience already had offsite storage in place. Marvin Tillman and I shared our separate but parallel paths to Offsite Storage. The contrasting methodologies tends to give a greater perspective than either of us alone, and serves to educate those in the audience on all of the different decision points that are necessary to examine before accepting offsite storage as a solution for a crowded library. The session provided positive reinforcement that the problems in academic libraries are universal, even if the solutions are not.

After my session I stopped in to hear Mary Scanlon present along with Leslie Farison of ASU, and Debbie Hargett of Wingate who gave the presentation entitled “Economic Development in your Community: Become Mission Critical”. Their session was moderated by Jill Morris of NCLIVE. It was an entertaining look at all of the information available to people interested in starting a business. Using the various tools, they determined where in North Carolina a dairy farmer might want to start producing and selling his own ice cream. I had no idea that there was this much information available, and can’t help but think that if people who wanted to start a small business just talked to their friendly local librarian, no small business would fail!

The final presentation I attended was given by Jean Ells and Yvonne Allen of Wake County Public Library system and was entitled “Assessing the Look of Your Library”. They discussed the struggles of trying to maintain a uniform look across many different library branches that exist throughout the county. Since the county has many branches of all different sizes and ages, it is difficult to keep all of them equivalently equipped, but that is their goal. They have attacked the problem by conducting an annual walk through of every library in the county and assessing such things as their furniture, their signage and wayfinding, the repair of the building, etc. One very successful strategy they’ve adopted is to purchase most of their products, furniture, services and equipment in bulk and deploy them across all of the library buildings. This enables them to swap out furnishings from one library to another when needed if, say, one branch closes and another expands. They evaluate everything from displays and clutter, to general repair and layout of the library. After each walk-through a review with the library director is conducted, and a list of concerns generated. From that conversation they develop a list of purchases that can be made centrally to address issues where appropriate. There was an interesting and lively discussion following the presentation.

MB’s ALA Annual in Chicago

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:46 pm

On Friday, June 28, I attended the day long “preconference”, the Proquest User Group. Proquest was interested in identifying what challenges libraries face so they can build products and services that will help us succeed. They weren’t trying to sell products, and in fact tried hard not to suggest solutions. They were just there to ask questions and listen. It was really fascinating to listen to the others around the table at other (mostly academic) institutions and hear the challenges they face that were similar and different from our own.

First session I attended was on “Communicating Library Impact & ROI”. Impact and assessment is essential to demonstrating value. The value of the library was always measured by metrics like gate count, number of circulations, and number of books the library owns. With those measures libraries could demonstrate how important they were to the enterprise. Now that we are no longer warehousing books and simultaneously developing services that get the information to the user without ever needing to come into the library, how can we demonstrate our value? Aside from “branding” our online services so that people become aware that when they are clicking on a service it is actually brought to you because of decisions made at the library, there are no easy numbers that one can apply to demonstrate how impactful we are on campus. Some ideas discussed included:

  • demonstrate how quality of papers improved after interactions with librarians
  • capturing usage by students to see if they then graduate within 4-5 years might be a valuable statistic (but it would tread all over patron privacy).
  • did the size or breadth of the library’s collections impact the ability to get grants?

Existing metrics require that we take important new data and pound them into statistical categories that may or may not really work anymore. We could and should focus on student and faculty outcomes. Librarians in one institution were referred from the Writing Center as “Research Coaches” and that made the librarians seem more approachable, and their referrals shot up! New methods of demonstrating value to our users could include:

  • how students are affected by services
  • mining information in bibliographies and citation analysis to show that students are using material available through library collections
  • putting the actual cost of information on a receipt at checkout, or when accessed through a database. (If you’d purchased this book, it would have cost you $98. Or: If you weren’t a Wake Forest Student, this article would have cost you $35.)
  • Articles ILL’d and the cost for each article, (not that they’d have to pay, but just what was the SAVINGS to them for using their library)
  • A dashboard that identifies how many new journals/ebooks/how many more buildings could be required to house them if they were actual books. (I love this idea)
  • How many articles are added through the course management system
  • Research consultations and referrals from other departments on campus (ie writing center)
  • Library resources that were helpful for getting grants

We’d need to have methods to demonstrate the value of our e-resources, our physical resources, and our buildings. This was a very interesting conversation and generated many good ideas, as well as identifying how much is not captured in our statistical gathering.

The luncheon speaker during the Proquest User Group meeting was Roger C. Shonfield from Ithaka S&R who discussed the “Ithaka S&R Faculty Survey.” “Conducted every three years, these large-scale surveys of thousands of academics examine changes in faculty member research processes, teaching practices, publishing and scholarly dissemination, the role of the library, and the role of the learned society.”

The survey asked faculty such questions as: “When conducting your research, where do you typically start? A specific electronic research resource/computer database? A general purpose search engine on the internet or worldwide web? Your online library catalog? The library building?” and “When you try to locate a specific piece of secondary scholarly literature that you already know about but do not have in hand, how do you most often begin your process? Visit my college or university’s libraries website? Search on a specific database or search engine? Search on a general purpose search engine? Ask a colleague? Ask a librarian? Other?”

“How do you “keep up” with current scholarship in your field?” The top two: 71% attend conferences, 67% read material suggested by other scholars indicate that peer resources are very important to scholars.

Interestingly, 26% of respondents said they were very frustrated by having to use a variety of different tools and databases to find materials they need. While that may be a small number, that is fully one quarter of our most influential users who are potentially VERY FRUSTRATED by the tools we provide for them.

Another result the survey identified is that 50% of the faculty, when they can’t easily find a known item, give up! I asked Mr. Shonfield during the Q&A if it would be possible to use this survey to give to WFU’s faculty, and he said that there has been discussion about all ASERL institutions utilizing it. I’d love to see how our faculty are using us and what they find frustrating about our services.

In the afternoon I attended a session on Marketing your Library. Because Proquest can only be successful if libraries are, they are interested in helping us succeed. They highlighted many of the PDFs that are available through their website that were previously unknown to those of us around the table. They are customizable and highlight generally good practices for how and where to start research.

We also discussed how difficult it is to show how valuable libraries are to users now that we can’t dilute down our “value” to the number of volumes added, now that users can get their information from so many different places and information is everywhere. One idea that we discussed was making the library “dark” for a day, as Wikipedia did not long ago. Since good libraries are like electricity, you really value both when you don’t have them anymore. The Proquest people really liked that idea. The conversation returned, time and again to how we can demonstrate our value to our constituency. It was a sobering and exciting interaction.

I also attended the “LLAMA President’s Program: Standing on Marbles: Ensuring Steady Leadership in Unsteady Times.” The presentation was given by Karol M. Washlyshyn author of Behind the Executive Door: Unexpected Lessons for Managing Your Boss and Career and Standing on Marbles. She identified 3 factors that go into making a successful leader: education, experience and behavior. Leaders don’t need to get smarter to lead, and they get to leadership positions by virtue of their experience. Where leaders fail most often is that they don’t always get the behavior right. She identified three kinds of leaders: remarkable, perilous and toxic using 3 measures.
– Total Brain Leadership (left/right brains)
– Emotional intelligence (awareness of emotions) and the 4 dimensions SO SMART: (Self Observation, Self Management, Attunement to Others, Relationship Traction)
– Productive Narcissim– described as one who is confident about decisions but get it right because their focus is on the business, not their personal advancement.
Remarkable leaders are those that are able to engage on all levels with subordinates and pull, push, and prod them on an intellectual as well as an emotional level. They have a clarity of purpose, and are committed to the organization. She identified Mother Theresa as a Remarkable Leader, as well as John Keating, the teacher in Dead Poet’s Society. Perilous Leaders are those that may be great leaders, but incite fear and uncertainty in those they lead. Leadership is based on providing the “what” but they take no time to describe the “why.” Steve Jobs and Richard Nixon were categorized as Perilous Leaders. Toxic leaders are those that bully to get the job done. Steve Jobs (again) and Bobby Knight were in this category. If you are working for an organization that has a toxic leader, plan your escape. There is no way to win.
Some tips for being a Remarkable Leader:

  • Be mindful, especially when decisions have to be made. Be sure to consider facts and people.
  • Establish emotional resonance with others.
  • Nurture productive narcissism.
  • Develop reciprocity and, create an atmosphere that ensures reciprocity.

The last session I attended before leaving ALA was “The Myth and Reality of the Evolving Patron” which was attended my many in ZSR and has been mentioned in other posts. Here is the entire presentation. It was very engaging. We do love our Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project data! It provides fascinating insight into what is really going on in American households and their digital lives.

MB’s Most valuable ACRL

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4:26 pm

The sessions I attended focused primarily on Collection Management (aka Weeding and e books), and assessment, with a selection of other interesting tidbits along the way.

Assessment: At Georgetown in the library, the staff took photos, every hour on the half hour from 8:30am to 11:30pm of highly used study areas. Utilizing this information they could see where students chose to study first, they could tell how long they studied in those areas. They found clear location and furniture preferences and identified when the lines developed where the printers were. They also discovered that individual carrels were used less often than group tables. When asked in the Q&A about the need to get permission before taking pictures of studying students, the librarian responded, “We are in DC, so we are among the most surveilled people on the planet…so, no, no one was concerned.” A second library in the same panel discussion created seating charts putting similar characterized spaces, then tracked the use of each throughout the day. Then they coded the usage and determined what furniture to remove and what to purchase to replace it. The third panelist decided to do surveys that asked questions like, Why did you choose to use this space? With answers like: quiet, computers, comfortable, outlets, space for group work, near materials, other. My brain is abuzz with assessment options that will make use of all three of these. Best quote from the session: “Statistics should be used like a drunk uses a lightpost: more for support than enlightenment.”

In the Collection Management arena, I learned of an initiative started at the University of Michigan to evaluate the use of e-textbooks over print textbooks and why students might choose one over the other. Their initial assumption was that students would choose based only on cost. But in fact, students chose based on many factors. They liked the portability of an ebook, but found that some faculty were not willing to allow them to use them for open book tests. They like the ability to mark up e texts, but found it difficult to concentrate, and were distracted by Facebook. The researchers asked the question: “If there were no difference in price, what would you prefer?” Their study showed that students would choose print over e unless e was much cheaper. But there does seem to be a change in acceptability. In 2010, 3% of students said that ebook only is preferred, in 2011, the number went up to 6% and in 2012, the number went up to 14%. (Another assessment methodology they used was to put out sheets of paper throughout the library that said “My ideal textbook is…” and had students fill out the sheet, and take pictures of themselves with the sign, posting it to their instagram account. The responses ranged from “good old fashioned textbook” to “free and online” to “reads to me.”) (Ahh, the library instagram account is another thing we should do…)

Perhaps the best session that I attended was entitled “A Data-driven Deselection Approach for Managing Low-Use Print Materials.” It was a panel discussion with three college libraries in Michigan, (including my alma mater, Wayne State University), that had utilized SCS, Sustainable Collections Services, to create a “Disapproval Plan” of materials that were eligible for weeding. They each used slightly different approaches, but the goal was to take the emotion out of the weeding process and provide a series of tools that made it easier to weed titles than to keep them. I look forward to utilizing such a service soon!

I also attended a session on the ACRL Value Project in which ACRL is going to provide training to librarian team leaders in how to assess the value of their proposed programs to the larger institution. ACRL received funding through and IMLS grant to train up librarians because they saw a need to fill the gap in our ability to demonstrate value. The session updated all in the audience about the need for the Project, reviewed the criteria for submitting a proposal, and announced the first 75 successful libraries. The second round of grant submittals will be next Spring, and ZSR is planning to submit a proposal, so get ready for that. The Project will run for three years, and ACRL hopes to provide this training to librarians in 300 libraries in total.

In a session that was at the room farthest from the center of the conference as you could be, during an unappealing just after lunch timeslot, James Neal, Dean of Columbia University Libraries spoke enthusiastically about defending our right to fair use to a completely packed room. There continues to be a lot of interest in this subject. Additionally, a session on Library Ambassadors discussed a pilot project where in the University of Southern California had a program, providing a thousand dollar stipend for each library ambassador. They used them for peer-mentoring and trained them to provide information on library services. They hired one for each residence hall and the library ambassadors were the point of first contact for all of the students.

Finally, the closing keynote with Maria Hinojosa an NPR host and journalist, was an education on the plight of the undocumented in the United States. During her introduction it was mentioned that Maria Hinojosa had worked to eliminate the term “illegal alien” from being used by journalists in stories about undocumented workers. She was amusing and moving and energetic and enlightening. She was a terrific story teller, and she heightened my sensitivity to the issues surrounding the immigration reform debate today. I left feeling more energized, even after three pretty long days of sessions. Now, to implement!

MB @ ALAMW in Seattle

Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:57 pm

ALA Midwinter in Seattle was about making connections (and sometimes missing connections). I had an endless travel day on Friday, along with Carolyn McCallum (the result of a missed connection) preventing me from attending sessions on the Future of the University Library, a disappointment. I focused on sessions related to assessment and building planning. The ACRL Metrics User Group Meeting provided a forum to discuss the capabilities and limits of using ACRL Metrics. The demonstration highlighted key capabilities including peer group comparisons, built-in report templates. Utilizing data supplied through NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), ALS (Academic Libraries Statistics) and IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) the demonstration focused on how utilizing these metrics would help demonstrate value to our institution in ways that no single group of statistics can.

Roz, Susan and I all a session with the Medium Sized Library Discussion Group, that had the tantalizing discussion topic of “Giving up the Old to Do the New.” One library reported that they had stopped providing electronic reserves services, and instead just gave the responsibility over to faculty to scan documents directly into their Course Management System. She said that usage was declining precipitously. When I brought up how everyone was managing the transition to ebooks from print books, (if they were) there was a general belief that slow and steady was a wise pace to adopt. I exchanged email addresses with one librarian who had been doing a pretty consistent job of tracking the acceptance of ebooks by having focus groups with users over a period of 3 years. She shared her procedures and questions with me after the conference and we hope to do something similar soon. That was a very valuable connection.

I always enjoy the Speakers I hear at ALA conferences. While I found Steven Bell inspiring, I was entranced by Caroline Kennedy. She related a story of a public library in New York that was devastated by Superstorm (Hurricane?) Sandy. After the storm, the library opened in a makeshift building because their building was full of 4 feet of mud and filth. Their only collection was from the material that had been lent out to patrons during the storm that had since been returned. The hearty librarians soldiered on. I also attended a speech by Temple Grandin, prolific author and professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State. Being the most famous adult with autism in the world her talk enlightened me not just on what she thought about the differences between visual and auditory learners, but also on HOW she thought. It was fascinating, and a little disorienting.

Lastly, I spent a good deal of time going to sessions related to Academic Libraries and how users use them. Not surprisingly, everyone recognizes the same need for more outlets, the same constrictions of space, the same desire to have spaces that are very flexible. Themes include: Information Commons, retractable cords, a certain level of acceptable messiness, variations of group study space (small, large, group, silent), group study v. individual study. More relevant to public libraries than academics was the idea of a Maker Space, that are flexible activity spaces that allow for continuous programming. The idea of Maker Spaces added to my “to do” list for what else the library has to become!


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