Professional Development

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Access Services Conference 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 4:34 pm

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the Access Service Conference in Atlanta, GA with Mary Beth Lock. As she pointed out in her post, there were many relevant sessions available. I mostly attended those relating to Course Reserves. The keynote speaker, Peter Bromberg, was an engaging speaker with a positive attitude. My favorite quote of the Conference: “It’s not failure, it’s data!”

It’s always interesting to see how other libraries handle the same challenges we have here at ZSR. There was a follow-up session from last year about UTSC‘s self-service model for Course Reserves. They had just implemented the service last year and came back to report on lessons learned. By providing self-service they estimated a 54% increase in circulation of Course Reserves material. They also reported a 90% drop in Circulation Desk traffic which resulted in having to repurpose that staff. Fines were charged for overdue items at $.50/hour and it sounded like they strictly enforced them. Only 4 items out of 1300 have gone missing since they adopted this model even though they allow Course Reserves books to taken out of the library. While this model is not practical for ZSR ($31K (CAD)), it does demonstrate that some security concerns could be reevaluated.

Peter Bae from Princeton University Library began his presentation by showing us one slide that he said summed up the entire presentation: “Consider more Ebooks for Ereserves and do your math. It may save you time and money”. While he was basically correct, we all stuck around to learn more. Factors used to evaluate an available Ebook included: instructor preference, multi- or single-use access model, price, quality of printing options, the print format (pdf, html, etc.), and whether additional software was need to view the books. We currently use Ebooks for Course Reserves whenever possible but there may be opportunities to be more proactive in finding an Ebook that meets the instructor’s needs.

Textbook cost was addressed as it has been in other conferences lately. Sewanee‘s Library made a decision to purchase every class text and place them on Course Reserves. They felt these books would be more likely to be used than many of the other books that were being purchased by the library. With the assistance of the bookstore they identified and purchased over 600 books ($24,500) which resulted in a 2,284% increase in circulation statistics. They also charge fines for overdue Course Reserves materials ($.75/hour) and reported that they were taking in quite a bit of money. They did not include course packs on Reserves, instead, offering supplemental course materials through SIPX.

Other presentations on circulating technology items (cameras, iPads, GPS, and microphones) and marketing library services had similarities to what we’re doing here at ZSR.

Our self-guided tour of the Georgia Tech library was a fun adventure (included a trolley ride) and the weather, the facilities and the fellowship were great.

NCLA Textbook Talks

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 10:05 am

Textbook costs were a popular topic at the NCLA Biennial Conference this year. Since this concern affects so many aspects of Access Services, I was particularly interested in seeing how other academic libraries have tried to help their students and faculty deal with the high cost of textbooks.

At the beginning of every semester in Interlibrary Loan we get a barrage of requests from our students and other libraries to borrow and lend textbooks. Having used ILL for textbooks in grad school myself, I can sympathize. In Course Reserves, we have instructors tell us that they are using readings in place of costly textbooks. At the Circulation Desk we are trying to determine the best balance between providing costly, highly-used textbooks and not buying “required readings” that end up not being circulated.

At the Conference, Johnson & Wales presented a poster session on their textbook program. They keep about 150 textbooks on a shelf where students can access them without assistance. Most of the books are donated and are non-circulating. I spoke to Justin Herman, a reference librarian at Johnson & Wales and he said that only a very few had gone missing. He also pointed out that there was a 71% increase in library usage in the last few years and they attribute some of that increase to the textbook program.

I also attended the presentation by UNC-Greensboro on open educational resource (OER) textbooks as reported by Susan. A good list of OER projects was included and will provide interesting further research.

UNC-Charlotte’s library presented a session on collection management that included information about their ebook program for textbooks. They enter into licensing agreements with publishers with stipulations including unlimited access, freedom of digital rights management (DRM) and retention of archival rights. I’m interested in exploring the costs involved and how that compares with copyright permissions in Course Reserves.

Further research into these textbook ideas could help us guide our students and faculty to quality resources that may help mitigate the cost issues.

OCLC Member Forum 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015 2:58 pm

On October 13, Jeff Eller, Leslie McCall and I attended the OCLC 2015 Member Forum at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.

Our first session was about resources and developments at OCLC presented by Meryl Cinnamon, OCLC Member Relations Liaison. Of particular interest was the development of an ILL cost calculator. Other links of interest included:

In addition to learning about OCLC products and developments, we had the opportunity to break into groups based on our roles in libraries and later on, our library “type” (academic v. public or special). I chose to attend the “FirstSearch and Discovery” session to see if I could learn how to better navigate the new WorldCat interface called WorldCat Discovery (formerly FirstSearch) to which ZSR recently migrated. As it turned out, many of the represented libraries now use WorldShare Management Services (WMS) which is OCLC’s Integrated Library System (ILS). I learned that the WMS interface does permit access to the MARC records for the OCLC record but the Discovery interface does not. I voiced my concern over the need for this additional information to facilitate research by some of our faculty members who have effectively used FirstSearch for many years. These sessions were productive in that many of the library representatives were frank in their feedback regarding OCLC services and were able to have their concerns heard by a high-level representative.

The last session of the day was led by Drew Borda, Vice President, Management and Customer Operations who spoke about the “purposeful” culture shift at OCLC with a focus on responsiveness and accountability.

Ellen & Tara at NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference

Thursday, August 13, 2015 2:12 pm

On Thursday, July 30, Tara Hauser and I headed for Chapel Hill and the annual NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference. This year the pre-conference and the conference were held at the UNC School of Law. We have combined our efforts to report on our experience.

Tara won the opportunity for ILLiad training at a casino night at the ILLiad Conference last March and James Harper negotiated with Atlas Systems to offer the pre-conference to ILL/Document Delivery representatives from North Carolina academic libraries.

On Thursday we attended the pre-conference, “The DIY ILLiad Tune-Up”, which was presented by John Brunswick with Atlas Systems. The ILLiad Tune-Up is needed to keep up with new enhancements that could improve services and productivity.

Different topics that were covered include routing rules, email routing and templates, Printing processes, the Database manager, Client layout customizations, Web page customization and shared servers. All of which was very helpful. All those who attended were able to get a six month subscription to the Atlas Video Training Library.

On Friday we had about 70 representatives from Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery departments across the state. Almost all were from academic institutions with one governmental librarian. The day started with some lightning round/discussion sessions about relevant topics. They were supposed to be limited to 5 minutes each but that guideline pretty much went out the window in the Q & A/discussion phase but that’s the best part about this conference; sharing discoveries, frustrations and innovations with other libraries.

Discussions included “green” and cost-saving options for packaging and the advantages of using “purchase on demand” for some items instead of ILL. Mailing and delivery options are always important in ILL departments so the UNC courier system was discussed as well as free tracking for USPS packages (even at library rates). James led a discussion on the importance of using statistics to demonstrate how ILL supports faculty as well as a session speculating on The Future of ILL and Document Delivery. After lunch there was a free discussion time. One of the main topics of the afternoon was thefts in our libraries and we found that ZSR is certainly not alone in having these problems.

This get-together is always a highlight of the year. Given the collaborative nature of ILL it’s a good time to meet with the people we depend on to help us demonstrate that ZSR Delivers.

2014 Access Services Conference

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 12:18 pm

This was my first time attending the Access Services Conference in Atlanta, GA. This is the 6th year of the Conference and there were over 300 attendees.

The Keynote speaker was Trevor Dawes, the 2013-14 President of ACRL. Citing recent reports, such as the NMC Horizons Report, he spoke on the future of libraries and the skills needed to meet new trends.

Sessions and highlights included:

Assessment of an ILL Buy Not Borrow program

  • The presenter from Northern Illinois University concluded that their program did not save time or money but still considered it a success because they were able to fill requests for items that were difficult or impossible to obtain through ILL. Items purchased were sent to the subject specialist to determine if it would be added to the library collection. 72% were added.

Opening Course Reserves for self-check out

  • If we have a spare $31K (CAD), we could set up open shelves for students to retrieve and check out Course Reserves material on their own. This includes a security gate and a self-service check out machine. The library at the University of Toronto Scarborough was circulating Reserves books at a higher rate than the rest of their collection so this plan freed the staff to focus on other tasks. They saw a 30% increase in the use of the Reserves books. Food for thought.

Orienting Access Services staff to other library service points

  • Rob Withers of Miami University shared how they changed their training by beginning with a staff-initiated list of questions about other services in the library. Rather than inundate new staff with a building-wide tour using local acronyms, they invited staff from other areas of the library to come to meetings to tell Access Services about their role in the library. In addition to an improved retention rate, they reported that the staff was better informed and could provide better service.

OERs and Open Textbooks

  • This session reported on the efforts of libraries to help deal with the cost of textbooks. At the University of South Carolina they initiated a reserves textbook program in 2008. They have over 1,000 in their collection and do not de-accession in case an older edition will meet a need. The cost is $20-25K per year and the circulation of the textbooks accounts for 20% of their total circulations. At Valdosta University the library is encouraging faculty to develop OERs (Open Educational Resources) in place of textbooks.

Marketing a new library service

  • When the University of Maryland joined the Big 10 Conference the library gained access to an expedited delivery service called UBorrow. This session outlined the process of promoting the service to the campus community. One of the first steps was to create an adorable mascot named UBot. The others steps were: Plan, Define message, ID audience, Use data to plan, Execute campaign. Because this service duplicated some OCLC ILL services, the library saw a 47% decrease in OCLC requests which they calculated as saving $100K.

A library storage facility’s success

  • At the University of Syracuse they have a storage facility that is similar to ours so I wanted to see how they operated. The setting up process was very familiar probably in part because they were working with Chris Brennan from GFA who helped us set up our facility and was at this presentation. Like ZSR, they use ILLiad to process requests but differ in that they purchased a satellite license for ILLiad at the storage facility.

To Boldly Go: E-Reserves from Home-Grown to Standalone to CMS

  • So I attended this session thinking I would hear about a new approach to electronic course reserves using a course management system. Instead I learned that the library at the University of West Georgia no longer manages electronic reserves for their faculty. They abandoned their plans to use Ares as a course reserves management system. Citing the Georgia Board of Regents’ policy that faculty are personally responsible for copyright compliance, the faculty use their CMS (Desire2Learn) to post articles. The remaining related services offered are scanning and copyright consultation. They reported that there had been no negative feedback regarding this decision. I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts on this.

In conclusion, I certainly appreciated the professional relevancy of almost all of the sessions. This was my favorite aspect of the conference. The Atlanta traffic was not. (I live in a town with 1 stoplight.)


Ellen M. at OCLC Member Forum

Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:14 pm

Along with Monesha, I attended the first regional OCLC Member Forum at UNCG on Tuesday, October 9. The forum is a new idea for OCLC and this was only their 3rd in the country. At this time they hope to hold these forums annually.

The forum began with a short history lesson on OCLC (16,857 member institutions and 72,035 library collections with 321 million records) and an update on WorldCat Discovery and the “sunset” of FirstSearch (December 2015).

Next there were Breakout Sessions. The sessions were divided into groups discussing resource sharing, discovery and cataloging. I attended the session on resource sharing with Alisa Whitt, an OCLC Product & Services Consultant. She said her job is to sell iLLiad to libraries so she was familiar with the inter-workings of iLLiad and WorldCat. Several people in my session use OCLC’s WorldShare ILL to process their interlibrary loans so it was helpful for her to be familiar with both. While most of the enhancements that were discussed were in WorldShare ILL, she also introduced a British Library add-on that will be available in iLLiad to make those requests easier. My session had approximately 10 people so we were able to share our ideas/concerns/gripes and it certainly seemed as though the OCLC representatives there were taking notes and considering the comments made. In the past, most of my contact with OCLC has been on the receiving end of a sales pitch so it was a good change of perspective. One enhancement that was mentioned often was OCLC’s Knowledge Base which, among other things, would enable library e-journal holdings to be displayed when another library is requesting an article (thereby cutting down on time spent on cancelled requests).

I’d recommend a future Member Forum to anyone in the library who uses an OCLC product who would like to network with fellow users and have the opportunity to meet with a specialized OCLC representative.

ILL goes to Asheville

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:27 am

On Friday, July 25 the ZSR Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery department headed to Asheville for the annual NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference. Tara and I shared the ZSR van with our ILL colleagues, Anna Milholland at Salem College and Angie Hobbs from the WFU Professional Center Library. Our half of the Conference was held at Western Carolina’s facility at Biltmore Park. The other half of the Conference was being held simultaneously at UNC-Wilmington.

Here’s Tara’s report on the morning session:
The morning session was about Best Practices in ILL. Our session was led by James Harper and JoAnn Marvel from Western Carolina. Also presenting was Brooke Andrade, from the National Humanities Center conferencing in from UNC Wilmington, NC. The session was about pros/cons in Interlibrary Loans/Document Delivery Services. We were given a lot of helpful knowledge as they discussed the ALA Interlibrary Loan Code, and the responsibilities of the Borrowing & Lending libraries. Also discussed were the dos and don’ts of how to package Library materials.

Here’s my report of the rest of the day:
After exploring Biltmore Park restaurants and shops during the lunch break we headed back to the Conference. The afternoon session options were based on the ILL system that we use in our library. Anna and Angie attended the OCLC WorldShare session with Tony Melvin of OCLC and Tara and I attended the ILLiad session with Genie Powell, Chief Customer Officer from Atlas Systems, Inc.

Some of the ILLiad updates that may be helpful here at ZSR are custom “flags” and auto mode for Odyssey Helper. I’m familiar with the flags because they’re used in Ares to mark requests that need a particular action. When a request needs attention it will appear in its own flag queue as well as its original queue until you remove the flag. This way you can take care of the action needed without changing the status of the request.

Our current workflow involves having to open a stand-alone version of Odyssey Helper to upload the article scans we’ve made and deliver them to our patrons and borrowing libraries. With the next upgrade of ILLiad, Odyssey Helper will be incorporated into the ILLiad interface and will automatically send documents that are in the proper status. We’re hoping this works as well as it sounds as the stand-alone version requires patience.

The committee for this Conference was headed up by James Harper who did a great job of coordinating all the technology involved in trying to make the Conference geographically accessible to all interested North Carolina libraries. He was one of the presenters in the morning, he coordinated the audio and video from Asheville to Wilmington, the audio and video from Wilmington to Asheville, the guest speakers who were virtually joining us from Ohio and Virginia, and managed to throw in some humor along the way. James’ day reminded me of a plate spinning act on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Conference was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and share/vent with ILL colleagues. On the way home we encountered this new NC resident on the freeway

and Tara artfully avoided the chicken cage that had apparently fallen off a truck and was in the middle of our lane on I-40.

Ellen @ NCLA 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:15 pm

At this year’s NCLA Conference I was able to find sessions relevant to my service on the ZSR Marketing Committee as well as others which can be applied more generally to librarianship.

“Grumble Theory in the Workplace” with Michael Crumpton and Kathy Bradshaw from UNCG was the first session I attended. They referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which, in its most basic form includes three levels of need:

  • Low – These are basic creature comforts such as temperature of your surroundings, food, sleep, etc.
  • High – More complex interpersonal needs including dignity, respect and praise
  • Meta – Includes concerns for values such as truth, justice, and perfection.

The speakers talked about how to identify the concerns of a library staff and work through these levels of need. The process reminded me of the Strategic Planning Refresh initiative at ZSR in January of 2012 and was a good reminder of the importance of listening to concerns and making people feel heard.

Wednesday afternoon I attended “Taming the Hydra” with Kim Vassiliadis, Emily King & Chad Haefele from UNC. As Carol has already reported, they spoke on LibGuides management and maintenance. They likened the lifecycle of a LibGuide to owning a cat. The initial stage was a “free kitten” which, in its infancy has good information and is heavily promoted. “Middle age” LibGuides are quirky, with outdated designer themes and incorrect navigation. In their “old age” they don’t look good, aren’t correct and have dead links. The final stage was the “undead” which you swore you deleted but kept showing up again.

The goal for the UNC LibGuides was to have the users view the library as reliable. If the content is wrong, the users lose faith. Consistency, timeliness, and accuracy were the key factors to accomplishing their goal.

On Thursday I worked a morning shift at the Registration Desk, checking in attendees. I was then able to attend the session, “Upstairs Downstairs: Reaching our Patrons and Staff” with April Everett from Rowan County. This session was marketed as presenting “low-cost, creative ideas for marketing”. Since that is just what the ZSR Marketing Committee needs, I attended.

April emphasized that you need to know your market and discover what their specifics needs/interests are. The next step is to put inexpensive promotional material (webpage, Facebook, flyer, pamphlet, bookmark, community calendar) into the “hands of influencers” that can pass on the information. Immediately after an event she suggested that promotional material be taken down so your target market trusts your information.

That afternoon at the Ogilvie Lecture, ALA President, Barbara Stripling spoke about her initiative regarding the Declaration for the Right to Libraries document. She outlined the motivating factors behind each of the statements and encouraged participation in signing and supporting the Declaration.

Friday morning I attended another marketing session presented by Nancy Dowd, the author of the book “Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Over-Worked Librarian”, and Pam Jaskot, a Library Consultant.

Some suggestions from this session:

  • Think about your audience – “If you try to market to everyone, you market to no one.”
  • Messaging – Use key values of your audience to craft your message. (use “winning” when targeting athletes, etc.)
  • Communication Plan – For this audience, what is most effective? (social media, newspaper article with pictures, targeted newsletter)
  • Communication Blueprint – grid format showing what communication medium was used for which program. Do this before and after a program and use it for evaluation of the effectiveness of your marketing
  • Partnerships – Go outside your own audience to reach people that don’t come into your library or read your marketing material
  • Cross Promotion – Once someone comes in to your library, be sure they have the opportunity to learn what else they can find there.
  • Give away free stuff – This is where the presenters gave away promotional material for

The last session I attended was, “Outreach to Faculty in the Digital Age” where academic librarians from UNC-G, GTCC, WSSU and Elon spoke about their personal experiences in supporting faculty which included:

  • Use of LibGuides and screenshots to communicate services and features to faculty
  • Attending meetings to raise awareness of library’s services
  • Understanding and supporting instructional needs of the faculty
  • Awareness of the format of courses to see how the library can fit in.
  • Identifying key, required courses to reach maximum number of students.

I hope to be able to put some of this information to use on the Marketing Committee and beyond. It was great to have the opportunity to attend.


Ellen M. at 2012 ILLiad International Conference

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 3:30 pm

Braving a hail storm on our way, Anna Dulin and I attended the 2012 ILLiad International Conference in Virginia Beach, VA on Thursday, March 22 and Friday, March 23. The conference is held by Atlas Systems, the company responsible for ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery) and Ares (Course Reserves). This was their 15th anniversary so Wednesday evening there was a Birthday Bash complete with a conga line of librarians. (No worries about stray pictures on Facebook or Flickr, we abstained.)

On Thursday morning, the keynote speaker was Jay Jordon, President and CEO of OCLC. He has been president since 1998 and gave an overview of the history of the growth of OCLC. I myself started working in ILL in 1999 so I could relate to the stages of development and how the OCLC interface has changed. On the subject of change, he gave examples of corporations that were not able to quickly adapt such as Kodak and Polaroid. He spoke about taking risks and quoted Wayne Gretzky saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Citing the book, “The Age of the Platform” by Phil Simon, Mr. Jordon introduced OCLC’s next big venture, the WorldShare Platfom. The book tells how Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have entered into partnerships with companies that could be perceived as competitors. Mr. Jordan described the concept as coopetition. The WorldShare Platform will incorporate an “App Gallery” of applications built by OCLC, libraries and OCLC partners (EBSCO, Ex Libris, Google Books, etc.) with the web services, databases and infrastructure of OCLC. Overall, it was an interesting perspective of where Mr. Jordan plans to take OCLC.

Next, I attended a session about the development of Harvard’s electronic document delivery program, “Scan & Deliver”. Because Harvard has so many libraries, they decided to create a program that would provide scanned articles and chapters to their patrons rather than sending books between libraries. Requests are placed through a “Scan & Deliver” link that appears in their combined OPAC next to eligible items. (Eligible items would include those items not checked out and not on hold for course reserves.) Clicking on the link opens a pre-populated form that is then sent to the appropriate library through ILLiad. They use the borrowing feature in ILLiad as opposed to document delivery because each Harvard library has its own OCLC symbol. The article/chapter is then delivered directly to their patron via e-mail. While many of the features of this program are similar to what we do here at ZSR the main differences are that the link is located right next to the item so the correlation and option is obvious, the service is available to students as well as faculty and staff, and they do not charge for the service.

After lunch we attended, “Taking Cloud-based Delivery to New Heights: The future of delivery from OCLC,” which was presented by Katie Birch who oversees WorldCat Resource Sharing at OCLC. Following up on the keynote presentation and with Jay Jordan in the audience, Ms. Birch solicited ideas for the WorldShare Platform App Gallery. There were many “wish-list” suggestions. One of the apps that has already been submitted maps the location of a book in your stacks guiding you there with a line to show the path to take. Another one compares your library holdings to the NY Times Best Seller List and then creates an Amazon order for missing books. It was an interesting glimpse of the possibilities of the App Gallery.

The last session I attended was, “Juggling the 3-Ring Circus of Student Employees”. Dianne Davenport of Brigham Young University spoke about her experience supervising student employees in an ILL department. While much of the advice was common sense it was good to be reminded that taking extra time to train the students well, ultimately saves time. She recommended 3 “main ingredients” to having effective student employees. 1) Quality training. 2) Feeling empowered. 3) Supervisor follow up.

On Friday we had the privilege of presenting a program outlining the communication efforts between Interlibrary Loan and Special Collections & Archives here at ZSR. Our program was entitled, Preserving and Sharing: Bridging the Gap Between ILL and Special Collections. We were pleased with the audience engagement and hope our presentation was an encouragement to other ILL departments.

Ellen’s Tuesday at NCLA

Friday, October 7, 2011 6:28 pm

Tuesday I was able to attend the Pre-Conference Workshop, Everybody Teaches! Creating Effective Online e-learning Experiences, at NCLA presented by Lauren Pressley, Amy Archambault (UNCG) and Beth Filar Williams (UNCG).

The outline for the workshop centered on the ADDIE instructional design principles. (I was very glad that I had attended the recent Teaching, Teaching class and my group had been assigned this principle to explore!) We split into groups with similar teaching goals and discussed how we could apply the phases to our projects. Because there were different perspectives (public, academic, government) and different goals (online classes, tutorials, enhancing face-to-face teaching) the discussions were lively and helped spark ideas that we probably wouldn’t have thought of on our own.

The workshop gave me some good ideas for incorporating technology into upcoming face-to-face LIB 100 classes as well as thinking about how to create engaging online classes. I’m looking forward to playing with some of the tools that were suggested to inspire even more ideas.

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