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Ellen M. at ALA 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:50 pm

Well, here I am at the Big Kahuna of library conferences, the ALA annual conference in Chicago. I arrived yesterday (Saturday) at the McCormick Place Convention Center at 1:25 PM hoping to attend a meeting at 1:30. Walking into the lobby outside the Exhibit hall (aka The Stacks) I tried to orient myself and find the proper room. Feeling a bit overwhelmed (it’s a HUGE place) I headed down a hall, in what I hoped was the correct direction, and I accidently came upon the place I needed to be. Beginning with that little victory, I’m getting around fine now. It’s great to be a part of such a huge conference. There are librarians all over this city and they’ve all been friendly and helpful.

The first meeting I attended was a presentation called “Leading from any Position: Opportunities to Contribute to Your Library’s Success,” by Maureen Sullivan, an Organization Development Consultant. It’s part of a series called “Who’s Da Boss: Leadership for Library Support Staff.” Ms. Sullivan suggested that organizations need to create opportunities for everyone to lead in some capacity. People need to be willing to lead and to also learn to be effective followers. She presented the concept of Resonant Leadership which includes elements of a relationship built on trust. Leaders implementing this style will bring out positive emotions, and thereby positive results, in those they are leading. According to the speaker, Emotional Intelligence is needed to be a Resonant Leader. The necessary elements of Emotional Intelligence are self awareness (recognizing your emotions and their effect on others), self-management (your ability to stay in control of your own emotions and responsibilities), social awareness (empathy and perception of mitigating factors), and social skills (ability to interact meaningfully). This was an interactive session where we were given the opportunity to share with a fellow participant how we felt we measured up and where we could improve.

As Lynn mentioned, this morning I had the opportunity to attend the SirsiDynix – ALA-APA breakfast at which Lynn was honored. Since this event was at 7:30 AM local time, I was grateful for the hour of time we gained here in Chicago. I was also grateful for the gorgeous weather and the quiet Sunday morning. It has been several years since I was here and it came back to me this morning how much I LOVE this city.

I didn’t get much opportunity to see the exhibits yesterday so I did more exploring today. I talked to the Marcive folks about gov docs, the OCLC people about their alternative to RAPID and their ILS plans, the Atlas rep about Ares (yes Heather, I remembered!) and Highsmith about ILL work room furniture (hoping to win the $500 gift card).

Later I attended a session about technology called, “Web 2.0: Meeting the Standards for 21st Century Learners.” This was a rapid-fire presentation about many Web 2.0 tools and how to translate what librarians are already teaching into new technologies. The speakers, Anita Beaman and Amy Oberts, spoke about using students’ fondness for online tools to open windows of learning. An interactive dimension was added by having a wiki for the presentation in which workshop attendees were invited to comment on the tools and ideas as they were being presented. Some concepts included:

Screen savers with pictures of book covers

Glogster for visual reading lists

Wordle to depict story highlights

Pageflakes to get video and audio widgets

Foto Flexer to edit images taken with cell phones

Phlogging (apparently a term for blogging using your cell phone)

Bitstrips to create comic strips to tell traditional stories

While the pace was a bit overwhelming the session certainly generated ideas that may prove to be useful.

The last session I attended for the day was about the history of libraries. “New Perspectives on American Public Library History” was a program which I attended out of curiosity and a love of history. Christine Pawley, from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke about how the move, 100 years ago, of the ALA from New York to Chicago led to the development of branch libraries. Tom Glynn related how public libraries changed from private funding to public funding and explored how that affected the public’s perception of the government’s role in providing libraries. Wayne Wiegand from Florida State Univ. spoke about rural Midwestern libraries and their place in upholding the ideals of democracy. Wiegand suggested that their real role was to be an “active agent in the construction of social harmony.” Each library seemed to have become unique to its particular constituency. The last speaker was Jim Carmichael from UNC-Greensboro who told about growing up in Marrietta, GA and how the library there had been crucial to social change in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960′s. He also pointed out that titles that appear in WorldCat many not be reflective of ALL of the people in a community but rather mirrors the libarians’ perception of the society they represent. He pointed to the lack of LGBT materials as an example.

I also had the opportunity to witness my first Book Truck Drill Team competition. The themes included Elvis, the Secret Service, Vikings and the cast of Grease. It was a lot of fun and I admire those with the chutzpah to do that.

This evening my sister (a reference librarian from Michigan who met up with me here) and I signed up for the opportunity to hear several authors of humorous books read passages from their books. Authors included Anita Renfro (William Tell Overture Mom), Jen Lancaster, and Paula Poundstone. Because the shuttle buses stopped running before this session ended, we topped off the evening with a cab ride along with three other librarians. (four in the back seat!) We had a very nice cab driver named Chubby who reported that he serves coffee and donuts in his cab in the morning.

Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 3:34 pm

I also had the opportunity to serve as a session timer at the Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration conference at UNCG.

The first session I attended/timed was “Going Green in the Library: It’s Not Just for Contractors”.

The speakers for this session were: Michael Crumpton, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Sarah Dorsey, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Beth Filar-Williams, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Mary Scanlon, Wake Forest University; Ameet Doshi, Georgia Perimeter Collegesion.

Several ideas were offered for reevaluating how we do business in libraries. An electronic poll was taken to evaluate the current participation levels of the attendees and their sponsoring insitutions.

Among the ideas:

Try to use environmentally-friendly cleaning products in your library and try to work with your maintainance department to order the best products. A cleaning product was introduced that was not only more “green” but had been produced in a factory that had used “green” techonolgy.

Paper use was another issue addressed. Attendees were encouraged to set their printers to duplex mode when possible.

We were advised that recycling containers are used most often when they are located next to a regular trash can. If someone needs to track down a recycling bin, they are less likely to try to recycle.

It was pointed out that laptop computers use less electricity than a desktop computer and old computers can be recycled.

This session was thought-provoking and hopefully will yield substantive results.

I was able to attend the next session without having to be the timer because they had enough assistance. The speaker was our own Mary Beth Lock. Having arrived at ZSR the Monday afterthe Wake the Library 5K, I was interested to hear the history of the project. A video clip from the other 2 scheduled presenters, Erik Mitchell and Susan Smith, added a nice touch of innovation in keeping with the conference. I’m looking forward to getting onboard this year and doing what I can to help bring about another successful race.

The last session I attended/timed was “Enriching the Academic Experience: The Library and Experiential Learning at Middle Tennessee State University”. I too found this presentation very interesting andwill defer to Patty Strickland’s description of the projects presented. The hands-on approach to the learning process seemed to contribute to the students’ dedication to their projects and the willingness of the library to be a partner/platform/guinea pig showed their genuine interest in the success of each project.

Ellen M. @ VA Beach – Day 2

Friday, March 20, 2009 12:21 pm

The second day at the 2009 OCLC ILLiad International Conference began with an update from OCLC about matters affecting ILL providers.Katie Birch, the Portfolio Director of Delivery Services and John Trares, a Product Manager were the spokespersons.They began with an explanation of the “perfect storm” that led to WorldCat being taken offline for a day in February.This unprecedented event was precipitated by an attempted authentication system upgrade.Advance warning was given that another attempt will be made later this year.We were also told that the ILL Policies Directory will have a new interface this summer and were given an update on WorldCat Direct.WorldCat Direct is a service that provides home delivery for ILL patrons with an option to purchase the book.This program is in conjunction with Better World Books, an internet used book seller and is currently being tested through a limited number of libraries.At ZSR ILL we have used the service (without home delivery) to borrow two books and exercised the option to purchase one of those books.A new resource sharing website has been established at resourcesharing.webjunction.orgto better enable collaboration in the ILL community.It is expected that this site will eventually replace the ILLiad Listserv.

The elective session of the day was Customer Service, LibQUAL & Resource Sharing presented by Doug Hasty of Florida International University.The speaker reminded us that there are customer service opportunities that come with: every complaint, every angry patron, every confused patron, every webpage, every mistake…., you get the idea.One concept/slogan I particularly noted was:When your customers have changed your policy, the policy has changed, you just need to catch up.I’ve been thinking about how that relates to what I may view as customers’ misunderstandings may actually be the way a procedure should be done (at least as far as what the customer sees)I get requests through ILL that should actually be directed to Document Delivery.We usually send it on to Document Delivery with an e-mail that we are doing so.Perhaps we should skip the e-mail, the faculty member just wants the book.(this can’t be done with articles because they need to be informed that the department will be charge).Food for thought.

The last speaker was Genie Powell of Atlas Systems, Inc. with a short preview of coming events.Next year’s ILLiad International Conference with be in the same place on March 31 and April 1 &2.She also announced that documentation forthe ILLiad software can now be found on a new wiki at Prometheus.atlas-sys.com

The weather on Friday was much cooler and windier but very sunny.All in all, it was not quite the weather some of the visitors from the north had hoped for but we did get a glimmer of it.There will be a box of salt water taffy in the Staff Lounge on Monday for all to enjoy (Heather, I didn’t forget!)

Ellen M. @ VA Beach

Thursday, March 19, 2009 9:50 pm

Yesterday I arrived in Virginia Beach, VA in anticipation of the 2009 ILLiad International Conference scheduled to begin bright and early on Thursday morning.A Pre-Conference Social was held last evening which provided a variety of mingling opportunities.Attendees could play tennis and go bowling on a Nintendo Wii game system or release your inner rock star on the X-Box game, Rock Band.If the virtual world wasn’t your style there was the futuristic opportunity to steer a Segway Personal Transporter.Of course, you could also just choose to talk to people.I tried a little of everything.

This morning’s Keynote Session involved a “Fireside Chat” format between Genie Powell of Atlas Systems, Cyril Oberlander of SUNY Geneseo and Anne Beaubien from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!).The topic was “The Future of Resource Sharing.” The consensus seemed to be that libraries should explore ways of establishing a seamless (to the patron) process of obtaining materials whether they are from our collection or through ILL, much like an Amazon search that ultimately arrives at your own front door.Offering cost alternatives to the patron such as free (but it will take at least X days) or cost (and it will only take Y days) was suggested to let the patron influence the delivery times libraries can offer. Given the ease of availability through internet sites, libraries may also need to explore whether purchasing a used book is more cost effective than borrowing through ILL.The current economic times were seen as an opportunity to redefine how we provide resources that are not in our collection including opportunities for more interlibrary collaboration and more patron initiated services.

The next session was an introduction to the next release of ILLiad, ILLiad 8.Slides were shown of the new interface which is reminiscent of the Microsoft 2007 products.The format will utilize “ribbons” to correspond to a selected function tab.The audience response to the changes seemed favorable.It is expected that the new version will be rolled out this summer.

I then attended a Copyright Round Table hosted by the Copyright Clearance Center.Most of the session was spent defining the “rule of 5″ from the Section 108(g)(2) of the U.S. Copyright Act.The number of questions clearly indicated a need for better clarification of the CONTU guidelines established to help comply with the rule. Most of the topics on the planned agenda were never presented.

After lunch and a sunny stroll down the Boardwalk it was back to an other session.This one was titled, “Finding the Hard to Find and Keeping Track of It.” The speaker was Tina Baich from IUPUI who advocated for social bookmarking services to organize links to resource sites. (such as delicious)These sites offer alternative borrowing options apart from WorldCat. Sometimes the holding are listed in WorldCat but the library does not lend via OCLC.I expect this to be the most practically applicable session I attended.

The last session was probably the most fun which is a good thing as it kept me from the usual afternoon slump.Two ILL staff members from the University of California-Fullerton offered suggestions for “Hiring, Training, Retaining and Motivating Student Assistants.” Their concept was to instill a sense of community in the ILL office as well as the library.They give t-shirts to their employees with ILL slogans such as “Licensed to ILL” and “You are Not A Loan…But We Are.” They have the students do reverse Trick or Treat where they pass out candy on Halloween so they get to meet everyone in the library.They have a bulletin board for post cards from anyone who goes on vacation. “Getting to know you” questions are posed to new students and the answers are posted in the ILL office for the other students to read.In the summer they hold Olympic Games with contests that combine fun and training such as a packaging contest and book truck naming (reported to reduce lost book trucks).The session attendees got to practice some of the get acquainted questions on one another as well as playing OCLC Jeopardy.Among the Jeopardy questions, no one in the room could tell them what ILLiad stood for.

There’s nothing like a conference like this to help you realize that you don’t know it all even if you’ve done it for years.I’m looking forward to two more sessions tomorrow morning.Now that it’s raining here and the temperature has dropped drastically, I’m calling it a night.


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