Professional Development

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End of the Road

Friday, July 1, 2011 3:45 pm

My next session at ALA was titled, Making Information Literacy Instruction Meaningful through Creativity. A team of three speakers, Randy Hensley from Baruch College, City University of New York, Beth Woodard from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Dane Ward from Illinois State University took turns introducing elements which they felt impacted learning and facilitated creativity. A couple of their suggestions were:

Wonder – Try to engage the listener’s imagination. Randy Hensley advised to “start in an unusual place.” He illustrated this point by beginning this segment with a song (he CAN sing).

Empathy – Listen closely to who the listener is. It was suggested that teaching research should start with a class on Google because that’s what students use and then enhance the knowledge they already have.

Monday morning I attended, Copyright and Digital Media in a Web 2.0 World, with Dr. Rebecca Butler from Northern Illinois University. This session was packed with people looking for copyright guidance. Some of us sat on the floor and others stood. Dr. Butler suggested that copyright is the “convergence between law and ethics.” Her favorite phrase in answering copyright questions is, “it depends.” She talked about the vagaries of copyright law but used flow charts which were VERY helpful in mapping the options available for different scenarios. Dr. Butler answered many questions. Her insight and patience made for an appreciative audience. Her book, Copyright for Teachers and Librarians, is in our reference collection.

Monday afternoon I headed out with Susan, Mary Beth, Molly and Carolyn on the bike tour of New Orleans. Despite the thunder, lightning and rain, it was a great tour! Later that afternoon, Mary Beth and I headed home and again had the cooperation of the weather and automobiles until we got to North Carolina where we were greeted by a downpour. All in all it was a great adventure and a great conference.

New Orleans ALA, cont’d.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 4:27 pm

On Saturday I dropped in to see Susan take on the challenge of the Academic Librarian Lightning Round. She did a great job sharing the details of our Wake the Library 5K.


Next, I attended an Ares Users Group meeting put on by Atlas Systems. The speaker was Genie Powell, the Chief Customer Officer for Atlas Systems. She highlighted some of the upcoming changes in Ares. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Ares, it is our new Course Reserves system. It’s up and running the summer semesters. Mary Reeves and I are looking forward to this fall and really putting this system to the test. Ares 4.0 (Currently Ares 3.0) will be rewritten to be more similar to its sister programs, ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan) and Aeon (for managing special collections). This will allow upgrades and add-ons to be implemented across all their products in the same manner. Another change will be the option to view a patron’s record in the web interface through the staff client. This will allow the Course Reserves staff to know what the patron is seeing and we’ll be better able to talk them through any problems they may have. Also, we had asked Atlas Systems about needing a notification when a faculty member changes a loan period or takes a book off Course Reserves. The new release of Ares will have that notification. It’s good to know they listened!

That evening Mary Beth and I attended an Ares Customer Appreciation Dinner at the Bourbon House restaurant. We had an excellent dinner and got to meet fellow Ares users as well as the Atlas Systems staff.

Sunday morning we attended the Alexander Street Customer Appreciation Breakfast and were privileged to hear Stanley Nelson speak about his latest movie, Freedom Riders. Even the 10 minute clip that was shown moved me close to tears. It’s being added to our film collection and is an important movie to see. Mr. Nelson credited his mother, a librarian, as having a great influence on his career.

New Orleans or Bust!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 11:32 am

ZSR’s version of Thelma and Louise headed out last Thursday for the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The weather, the traffic, the car and the gas prices were all cooperative. Along the way we found interesting sights both large peachand small.turtle

We also stopped to dip Mary Beth’s toes in the Gulf of Mexico as they’d never been there before.


We arrived just in time to attend the Opening General Session. (see Mary Beth‘s and Roz‘s posts for excellent coverage of this event)

We started the next day with beignets and coffee at Café Du Monde and then got down to business. I attended a session called ACRL 101 which provided tips for first time attendees to ALA as well as information for new members of ACRL. Suggestions for participation in ACRL were given in graduated order from those taking the least time to involvement that would require a greater commitment of time. They included reading the ACRLog, following ACRL on Twitter, attending an ACRL webcast, attending a workshop at ALA, and serving on a committee. During the session there was an ACRL representative seated at each table and later we were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves and ask questions. I was at a table with the president of ACRL, Lisa Hinchliffe, who had just recently visited ZSR to present the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. I found the session helpful and have a better understanding of the scope of ACRL.

Next, I attended a Copyright Discussion Group sponsored by the ACRL. The discussion was led by Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The ARL is preparing a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. Mr. Butler reported that they will soon complete the first phase, interviewing librarians anonymously to determine, “how fair use comes into contact with practice.” He emphasized that the ARL does not seek publicity in this process and that the initial draft will not be made available for public scrutiny. The code will address fair use practices in areas such as ILL, electronic reserves, digital collections, and institutional repositories. Butler indicated that the Practices will be “affirmative”. The intent is to encourage librarians use their right to fair use and he stated that the Code’s “legal force comes from its use on the ground.” He said that there are some groups that want to “keep librarians in fear.” The ARL hopes to finish writing the Code of Best Practices by the end of 2011. It will be posted on the Center for Social Media website when it becomes available.

Public Speaking & Presentations, Pt. III & IV

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:44 pm

In the 3rd week of our public speaking class, Mary Beth and I were given the assignment of presenting a 5-minute informational or instructional speech.
Each of the class participants was encouraged to use note cards and a timer.
The speeches were recorded with a Flip video camera and e-mailed to each of us along with comments from our classmates who critiqued our presentations. Before the class we were given guidelines for offering constructive feedback to help us focus on the most important areas of public speaking. Those areas were identified as:

Content (the message)
Structure (organization)
Nonverbals (gestures, posture, facial expressions, pace & tone of voice)
Overall effectiveness (accomplishment of goal)

In the next class we did an exercise that was supposed to help with encouraging spontaneity. Dr. Oseroff-Varnell asked class members to name groups where we might be called upon to give a speech. Suggestions included church congregations, preschool children, coworkers and high school students. Each of us, in turn, was given a slip of paper listing an item (wheelbarrow, vacation condo, etc.). We were given one minute to prepare a 1-minute persuasive speech to a group we had suggested earlier. Some very impressive improvisation came out of that session. My assignment was to convince my coworkers that they needed a box of crayons. (Not sure you were convinced)

Public Speaking & Presentations

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 2:36 pm

Last Thursday, Mary Beth and I attended the first of 6 sessions offered by the PDC on preparing and presenting speeches and presentations. The class is taught by Dr. Dee Oseroff-Varnell from the Communications Dept.. There are 15 WFU employees in the class with as many objectives for taking the course. In our first class we were given a basic outline of elements to include in a speech and discussed mannerisms to avoid. Next we were given a randomly assigned topic and 5 minutes to prepare a speech using the elements. Our gracious and sympathetic classmates critiqued our presentations. Next week we continue to face our fear of public speaking with more immersion therapy.

Tuesday @ ALA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 11:34 pm

I made my way down to McCormick Place one more time to attend the closing session. The speaker was Steve Lopez, the author of the book, The Soloist, which was recently made into a motion picture with Jamie Fox and Robert Downey, Jr. I had only vague memories of hearing about the movie so the true story he told was new to me. Mr. Lopez is a columnist for the L.A. Times and about 5 years ago he was looking for a topic for his latest column. He happened to hear a homeless man playing a violin (with only 2 strings) and learned that the man had at one time attended Julliard. He went on to tell how he befriended the man and how that experience had touched his life. It was worth getting up for. He also mentioned that the Philadelphia Public Library is using the book for their One City/One Book program and have planned over 100 events involving The Soloist.

I then made one last run at the exhibits where I picked up some information about DVD security and entered a drawing to win an iPod. I didn’t win the iPod and now I’m outta here. Getting to go to the ALA Conference, in Chicago, with my sister….priceless.

Monday at ALA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 12:38 am

This morning I had another opportunity to browse the exhibits. Either I’m getting bolder or they were giving more “stuff” away as I managed to pick up some more bags and books. I also checked out the Summons product from Serial Solutions to see if it could help in ILL. Since she does most of the lending, I’m quite sure Cristina will want to look at it when she returns. Next I took a shuttle up State St. for lunch to escape the captive market lunch prices at McCormick Place.

After lunch I attended a technology session called “Has Library 2.0 Fulfilled its Promise?”. One of the panelists admitted that Library 2.0 hadn’t “promised” anything but he thought it was a catchy title. The panelists were Meredith Farkas, Cindi Trainor, David Lee King and Michael Porter(aka Libraryman). Starting with a question of how they would define Library 2.0 panelists suggested it is a space that ‘invites collaboration” and is “user focused”. Michael Porter said that users of Lib 2.0 care more about functionality than brand names.

While this was supposed to be a lively discussion of opposing voices, there was little dissent among the panelist when they were asked what qualifies as a Library 2.0 technology.Meredith Farkas suggested that it was technology that builds community. David Lee King emphasized that it needs to be technology that is understandable to the non-professional users. Cindi Trainor pointed out that all those who work in libraries are empowered to engage in sharing with Library 2.0 technology.

Barriers that were identified included faculty and staff that are reluctant to learn these tools, lack of time to learn how to use them, a lack of people that are willing/able to be in charge of the use of the applications, and administration that does not value the use of the tools enough to allot time to learn them.

At the end of the panel discussion the panelists were asked to emphasize one point each. David Lee King encouraged library managers to let their staff”go with it”. He suggested that failures would still be educational. Meredith Farkas reminded us that these technologies are not a”magic wand”. If a technology does not fit the culture of your library, stick with what works. Michael Porter said the library should focus on their present mission but look at it in light of new technologies. Cindi Trainor recommended a program such as “23 Things” to help library staff become aware of the options available. (I was instrumental in adapting this program for the PCL. While the program fizzled, I learned a LOT while setting it up.)

After the program ended I visited Grant Park and the silver bean. The evening was finished off with fish & chips at the Emerald Loop Bar & Grill and a visit to Ghirardelli’s by Water Tower Place.

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

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!)

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