Professional Development

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Designing Libraries II Conference

Thursday, October 10, 2013 6:59 am

View Toward the Rain Garden Reading Room
View Toward the Rain Garden Reading Room, Hunt Library

I joined Lynn at the Designing Libraries II for the main conference on Monday and Tuesday. It was my first chance to see Hunt Library and all the buzz I’ve been hearing for months was not exaggerated. As Lynn said, it wouldn’t be right for our campus and our students, but it is one impressive space! They have so much interest in the building and so many tour requests that they have a visitor experience librarian! She gave us a fantastic, in-depth tour of all the spaces and services and both Lynn and I have mental lists (probably different ones) of the things we would love to try out here someday.

The conference was excellent. It lasted for a full (read 12 hours) day and a half and we listened to speakers talk on topics ranging from vision to planning to assessment to design to building to operation. We heard from deans/vice provosts, architects, designers, facilities, and faculty. It was very invigorating particularly because we are ready to embark on the capital campaign and have big plans for transforming ZSR Library. The timing was perfect because we are returning with much food for thought and big wish lists! I took plenty of notes and just am going to touch on a few things in this post but would love to share more to those who are interested more details.

The tone of the conference was set by Susan Nutter, Vice Provost and Director of NCSU Libraries. Since she first arrived at NCSU 25 years ago, she had planned for a new library, and developed a grand vision. Now she has results that are wildly successful. Some of the big points I took away from her talk:

  • They have a “just do it” environment rather than one where things are studied for years. Staff are encouraged to take initiative and do things. She referred to operating in “student time” meaning a quick turnaround time on implementation.
  • Staff was key and this was done by changing the kinds of people they hired – position by position. They sought people who brought skills from other advanced degrees instead of library degrees. They looked for digital library skills, sci-tech backgrounds and people interested in management and leadership. They hired an in-house architect and interior designer.
  • Their fellows program helped recruit and became a game changer.
  • Their faculty and students own the library.
  • They used a design contest to select their architectural firm.
  • They reached for the stars on their technology plan.

Hunt Library Game Lab
The Game Lab at Hunt Library

Joan Lippincott from CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) provided some challenges and opportunities for planning new learning spaces.

Challenges:

  • It’s not just about the spaces. You have to bring together spaces, technologies, services and content.
  • Many staff need new skills to provide services in learning spaces
  • Staff need to break out of silos and work in teams
  • Outreach and promotion is important

Opportunities

  • You will be creating something that will engage students in deeper learning and preparing them for the work of research, business, public service and the arts
  • You will be celebrating the innovation and creativity of your academic community
  • You will realize the potential of collaborations and partnerships

She also recommended actions to take when planning

  • Involve newly tenured faculty in the planning process. They are closer to today’s academic environment and have the pressure of tenure track behind them.
  • Develop use cases for specific areas of the facility
  • Think about how new library spaces can enable curricular change

I was introduced to the Learning Space Toolkit and want to explore it more thoroughly to see how we might use it as we move forward.

I’ll end back on one of the big themes of the conference and that is the importance of vision in the process. It should be bold, it should be formulated early in the process and the leadership needs to believe it, explain it, defend it and get it right! We have been working on developing a vision for ZSR Library over the past two years. The WFU community will see our vision shortly as it is unveiled in the next few weeks. What we have at this very early stage is this core concept that we believe is right for our community’s future needs from a 21st century library. This conference was timed perfectly as we launch into the process to turn this vision into reality. It’s an exciting time!

Lynn and Susan Trying out the Furniture

Lynn and Susan at Hunt Library (photo by Lauren Pressley!)

 

Report from Susan’s Favorite ALA Annual Conference Site

Monday, July 1, 2013 7:27 am

ALA Annual Conference at McCormick Place

ALA Annual Conference 2013 @ McCormick Place, Chicago

I always prided myself (not sure why, but that’s probably just another of my issues) on staying on top of daily conference posts on this professional development blog. I find that I am better able to relay information in short spurts (hmm, maybe it’s my newspaper background in play?). And, I will admit to all of you who know me well, that I experienced some small sense of failure when I saw Hu’s Saturday conference post and read Lynn’s comment “you win the prize for the first ALA post”! I think I have fallen victim to the pervasiveness of social media that makes it so simple to snap a photo while sitting in a session or visiting the exhibit hall and then posting it immediately to Facebook with a very short explanation. I have been much more active on Facebook this weekend in capturing what I’ve been up to.

As you know from Hu’s and Thomas’ posts, we jumped right into action Friday afternoon by attending the LITA 101 program. Even though I’ve been active in LITA for many years, this was my first time at this session which is designed to introduce people to LITA. Usually, my plane doesn’t arrive in time to attend, but we had an early direct flight on Friday so were able to be there. It was very well attended and lots of good information was provided to new attendees.

If I had to pick my “themes” for this conference, they would be renovating spaces and assessment. I focused on these types of programs because we are trying to hone in on how to make our 5 year building plan a reality. Part of this has to do with learning as much as possible about how our spaces might be imagined. Another important component of enhancing the probability of making progress on this plan comes with assessment. We need to figure out what data will best support our plan and then how to use that data the most effective way. Since I will be on the ZSR Assessment Committee this coming year, it was useful to sit in on sessions that dealt with that.

Renovating Spaces: I attended an session with the interesting title “The Culture House.” This is a term used to describe the expansion of libraries beyond their original purpose: “in response to a world that is increasingly interconnected, and at the same time, limited in its resources, libraries are being combined with complementary, or even seemingly disparate, functions.” The speakers talked about their particular projects/libraries. My favorite project was the Bozeman Pubic Library and Scupture Garden that was a superfund site because the building renovated was an old asbestos filled train depot. It was the first LEED building in Montana and it was designed to be very integrated with the community through its exterior space that includes a sculpture garden and an outdoor plaza that is used for community events. They also have an active art collection that has 112 museum quality pieces that rotate. Their website has a great interactive map that shows their artwork locations. Another interesting project came from the Pike’s Peak Library System that is located in a 100,000 square foot building. The library only needed 30,000 SF so they found innovative ways to fill the space including creation labs (maker spaces), performance spaces and business incubation spaces.

I attended two LLAMA/BES sessions: the first was a panel discuss by previous winners of the biennial ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award that recognizes projects that “demonstrate excellence in aesthetics, design, creativity, function, and satisfaction of the client’s objective.” The libraries in this program were Fleet Library at RISD (the 2008 winner for historical renovation; Office dA, Inc.),the Robert Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center (2012 winner of single space, here a learning commons; Shepley Bulfinch) and the Anacostia Public Library (Public Libraries under 30,000 sf). This project was done by Freelon, the architectural group that is working with us on our new atrium floor.

The second session was about planning digital collaborative spaces. I particularly liked Jeff Vredevoogd’s (Director, Herman Miller Education) presentation. He talked about an interesting term that is used by Herman Miller – hub zones. These are what they call collaborative spaces and they do research to determine what makes a space “hubbable.” In research to determine what types of learning, working and socializing needs are driving the need for hub zones, they found this breakdown:

  • 72% collaboration group work
  • 36% individual work
  • 36% interactions /socializing
  • 33% computer/technology access
  • 26% meeting space

They also do an annual student video contest and last year’s question for the contest was “where’s your hub?” This year’s question is a really interesting one: “What makes a great learning space? You have 5 minutes with the president. What would you tell him?” (No comment on the fact the speaker used “he” when referencing the president…). He closed by offering the audience his insights on planning for collaborative spaces:

  • One size does not fit all
  • Focus on the user
  • Test small, think big
  • Right mix of technology and furniture
  • Learn from others
  • Next big thing may not be for you.
  • Blurring lines with corporate spaces
  • Think differently about specialty spaces
  • When you can…future proof.

Assessment: I am already way beyond my self imposed posting length limit, so I am going to skip discussing my assessment theme. I’ll save all that information (which would make some eyes glaze over anyway) and share it with this year’s Assessment Committee. I got several good ideas for approaches we might want to take. OK I’ll just mention one, which was a methodology that was new to me: VOC (Voice of the Customer). A group at Emory used this method to ‘deep dive’, in other words to get in-depth information more than you might get from some other methods. They also found that these individual interviews were easier to schedule than trying to form a focus group.

Finally, as usual, I also carved out a bit of time to check out the exhibit hall (which continues to inhibit me with its very vastness).

Riding the Escalators at McCormick Place

Conference attendees at McCormick Place with Exhibit Hall in the background

 

Susan: ACRL 2013 Wrapup

Saturday, April 13, 2013 3:39 pm

SustainRT Group Walk Around Indianapolis

SustainRT Indianapolis Canal Walk Tour

Both Friday and this morning were filled with still more session opportunities than you could shake a stick at! Yesterday morning I decided to think about things digital, so started out at a session conducted by staff of Columbia University Libraries entitled “Building the future: Leveraging Building Projects as Platforms for Organizational Change.” Back in 2005-2006 they envisioned 3 different Digital Centers (Humanities, Social Science and Science) that would be aligned with research and graduate study. To that end they made it part of the strategic plan and funding was found (best quote was attributed to James Neal: “If you want to see a library’s strategic plan, look at their budget.”). The centers have been implemented and the presentation covered planning/assessment, understanding user needs, changes in staff roles, training, culture changes for IT, etc..One report they recommended is “Re-skilling for Research” (2012) that looks at the roles and skills of subject and liaison librarians needed to support the evolving research needs of researchers.

Next up was a panel discussion on data curation that brought together 3 organizations at different stages of providing data management services. The session was “Wading into the data pool without drowning: implementing new library data services” using the swim metaphor to talk about one program at James Madison that in its infancy (testing the water), one that is plunging in (Penn State), and one that is the most advanced (Cal Poly) and thus is in the water and “Learning to Swim.” All took a case study approach and shared the steps they are taking to support faculty. The overall message was is that providing these services is not a sink or swim proposition. Just consider where you are and where you’d like to be to build a program at the level and pace that works for your institution.

In the afternoon, I switched gears to the assessment track. I’ll let Mary Beth report on the update given on the ACRL Value Project which we hope to participate in during year two. After that session, I ended the day by attending a session on qualitative research methods (I love qualitative research, btw): “Inspiring Initiatives in Qualitative Inquiry.” I heard about 3 different qualitative research projects – a focus group study (OCLC), an ethnographic study using photo study and immersive observation (at UNCC by their anthropologist who works at the library but is not a librarian. The library is her fieldwork), and one that used the critical incident technique (Rutgers). This last methodology was one with which I was unfamiliar but it sounds like a most interesting approach. It is used to study effective and ineffective behavior and focuses on most memorable event/experience of participants. You ask just two questions: “What did you liked best about (fill in the blank) and can you tell me exactly why?” and then, “What did you like least about (fill in the blank) and and can you tell me exactly why?” (OK, maybe that is four questions if you don’t compound them…..).

After a full day of sessions, it seemed like a no-brainer to join in on Beth Filar Williams’ SustainRT walking tour of downtown Indianapolis. She organized it and arranged for a local public librarian to be our tour guide. I got a chance to see a few sights, take a few photos, and make some new friends, in spite of freezing in the brutally windy 40-some degree weather with no coat or gloves! The picture at the top of this post is the hardy group of librarians who braved the cold to see the sights!

Today, I closed out my conference by attending two future -looking sessions. The first, “Think like a startup: creating a culture of innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurialism,” was a panel discussion that offered case studies and “best practices” that included “fail faster” (don’t waste time on things that don’t work)! I heard a new term in this presentation: The T-Shaped Employee. The image showed uses a man’s figure standing in a T to illustrate breadth vs. depth of expertise. It also was the first time I’ve heard about the California Digital Library project, DataUp, where Microsoft developed an Excel addin/web-based way to help researchers manage their data. In the final session of the day, 3 more contributed papers were presented (and I’ll let you read them for yourselves!): Transformation Begins When Renovation is Done: Reconfiguring Staff and Services to Meet 21st Century Research Needs, Reorganizing the Distributed Library, and What Will Libraries Be When They Grow Up?: Responding to the Innovations of Technology and Imagining the Future.

I’ll also let another of our group tell you about the final keynote by NPR’s Maria Hinojosa because I’m sure they can do it more justice. But, as with the other keynotes from this conference, it was very powerful and thought-provoking. The gist of her message came (for me) in her question to us: Can you see yourself in me, and I in you?

 

Susan: Day Two at ACRL, Indianapolis

Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:26 pm

The original Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture

Original LOVE Sculpture by Robert Indiana, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

It is very refreshing to be at an excellent national conference with no obligations other than trying to decide which sessions to attend all day. There might be some small chance that this could be a bit stressful, simply because there were at least a dozen to choose from each time slot! The size of the conference is much nicer than at ALA (I heard the number of attendees is about 3500). They’ve done a good job of right sizing the rooms for each presentation, plenty of seating has been available and the only technology issues I’ve heard about are the slowness of the wireless. The weather has been rainy which has limited my usual new city exploration but really enhanced my focus on all the offerings of the educational sessions.

I began the day at a Serials Solution breakfast where ProQuest introduced a new web-scaled management solution, Intota. It “supports the entire resource lifecycle including selection, acquisition, cataloging, discovery, and fulfillment regardless of resource type.” Its goal is to replace the ILS.

My first session of the day was one of the contributed paper sessions. In these hour-long sessions, three people present papers they have submitted and had accepted for the conference. This first group was focused on three research projects that used different methods to assess the use of library spaces by students. The first was done at Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library, built in the brutalist architectural style (read: ugly). They conducted a photo study to discover how their library spaces were being used with a goal to gather evidence to make small scale changes. The paper, Beer Cans in the Stacks? Using a Photo Study to Reveal How Students Use Library Spaces provides the details of the methodology and results. The count data gathered was analyzed and presented using Tableau, a visualization tool. The second presentation described a study at Clark University that used a seating sweep methodology for finding the same sort data on space use. The final presentation, The Location-less Library: Examining the Value of the Library Building, examined how the loss of a library building (closed down for 2 years during renovations) affected user activities.

The second session had a panel (of 3 people from 2 institutions) that described initiatives they had going involving library publishing and undergraduates. In the first, at Illinois Wesleyan University, the library (Stephanie Kavis-Kahl) collaborated with an economics professor (Michael Seeborg)on the publication of a student peer-reviewed economics journal, Undergraduate Economic Review. The online open access journal solicits student submissions worldwide and is student managed including peer review and editorial decision-making. The library role includes advising, educating, and liaising. At Pacific University, Isaac Gilman, Scholarly Communications and Research Services Librarian, described an intensive 2 week scholarly journal publishing course that he teaches. The course objectives are: to understand and articulate the publication process, from initial manuscript submission to final publication, identify the process/resources necessary to establish a new publication, distinguish between and describe the relative benefits of different publishing models and to understand legal relationships.

In the afternoon I attended a session on Visual Literacy in Action. The presenters gave concrete examples of ways a library might incorporate the standards spelled out in the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

I was introduced to the Erial Project in the next session. This was a two year long ethnographical study of the student research process. Take a look at their website for details of the project. The findings have been published in the book College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know.

I finished out the day by attending the second keynote session where Henry Rollins spoke and then by going to an evening reception to learn about ArtStor’s newest product, SharedShelf (which was held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, thus the photo of the LOVE sculpture above!). As you can tell by the brief documentation of the second half of my day, it’s been a long one and it’s time to wrap up so I can rest up for another full day tomorrow! Good night……

Susan: Day One at ACRL 2013, Indianapolis

Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:16 pm

Indianapolis Skyline

Indianapolis Skyline

ACRL is always a great conference with 3 days of educational sessions focused on academic library issues and trends. We arrived in time yesterday for the opening keynote address by educator Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone. His speech was one of the most dynamic and thought provoking ones I heard in quite awhile. He was critical of our national social policy (which he called a national disaster) that ensures a cycle of failure that keeps children from becoming prepared to be productive citizens. One example he mentioned was the refusal to invest an extra annual $5000 at the front end of each child’s education yet a willingness to continue to build prison space at an annual cost of $45,000 per inmate for those who have failed to succeed at learning to be productive members of society. He called it a failed investment strategy. Another disturbing example he discussed was a report by retired military leaders, Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve. In the report it reports that 75% of high school graduates cannot qualify to join the military. The primary reasons are: failure to graduate from high school (25%), failure of high school graduates to pass the entrance exam (30%), felony records (10%), and physical fitness problems, including obesity (27%). The report is calling for action from policy makers to ensure the “most proven investment for kids who need help graduating from high school starts early: high-quality early education. It also helps kids stay away from crime and succeed in life.” In his opinion, there is no strategy to educate the nations children. He lambasted the US education business model where the customer can fail and it doesn’t matter and nothing has changed in 55 years to correct the situation. If you would like to hear him speak, look for this joint PBS/Ted Talk program on the high school dropout crisis that will be broadcast on April 16.

Keynote Speaker Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada’s keynote address at ACRL

 

Susan at ALFMO

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 10:06 pm

What in the world is ALFMO you ask? As did I when I first saw the call for presentations for its inaugural conference. What the acronym stands for is the “Association of Library Financial Management Officers.” As it turns out, this new association is being formed by Bob Kieserman, a professor of Business Administration at Arcadia University and a librarian. He has a business that includes forming “niche” library associations that are not necessarily covered by the big players like ALA and SLA. Along with this new association, he’s formed ones for communication and outreach, and human resource managers.

The conference was small in numbers but big in interest and enthusiasm. It was held at Kieserman’s institution, Arcadia University, outside of Philadalphia.

Grey Tower Castle

Grey Tower Castle on the campus of Arcadia University

To a person, all the attendees (who traveled great distances and were from both academic and public libraries) said that they were attracted by the opportunity to interact with other professionals who shared their passion for financial management in the library world. They looked forward to talking about their areas of expertise without having people’s eyes glaze over!

I became involved when contacted by our old friend and colleague, Mary Horton, who is Assistant Director of Administrative Services at Cooper Library, University of South Carolina. She thought people might be interested in how financial management varies between a public and private university. Her idea was accepted and so we gave one of the concurrent sessions at the conference:

Similarities & Differences in Financial Management Between a Small Private and A Large Public University from Susan Smith

Since I have only been working with the ZSR budget and finances for a bit over the year, I found the conference to be very helpful. Sessions covered forecasting, hidden costs in renovation, the connection between strategic planning and budgeting, cash handling (on a large scale), and managing the budget creation process through relationships. Because of its small size, there was ample opportunity to network with new colleagues and explore side areas of financial interests!

Saturday at ALA Midwinter 2013 in Seattle

Saturday, January 26, 2013 5:22 pm

Victor Steinbrueck Park
Victor Steinbrueck Park

It is wonderful to be back in Seattle, my third trip to this vibrant city. It brings back memories and not only because my first trip here was to attend my first ALA Midwinter in 2007. But what was also special about that first trip was that it was the inauguration of the ZSR Library Professional Development Blog. So, this week, we are celebrating 6 years of sharing our educational and professional activities with each other and the wider library world!

After a somewhat challenging trip west for group, Roz and I arrived early afternoon, before our rooms were ready. We checked in at the conference and then took advantage of the unexpected sunny skies and hiked to Pike Market Place. After 7 hours on a plane, it was a good way to stretch our legs and our brains so we were ready to dive into the conference!

Because we were delayed, my first event was the LITA Happy Hour which is a wonderful networking opportunity. I got to see old friends and colleagues and it sets an energetic tone for the other LITA events over the weekend.

Roz has already done a thorough report of our first presentation by Steven Bell this morning. So i’ll just point to some interesting resources that he mentioned during his talk:

This morning was my committee meeting (I’m on the 2013 LITA National Forum Planning Committee as past-chair). I attended the EBSCO luncheon where they once again focused on why EDS is far superior to ProQuest’s Summon. Since there is no official programming at midwinter, discussion groups are plentiful and I plan to attend a few of them this afternoon and tomorrow. One that is just wrapping up is considering the issue of how mid-size academic libraries decide about “Giving up the old to provide new services: Rethinking what you are currently doing to provide new services.” It’s been a most interesting sharing of approaches including withdrawing from the federal depository program, ceasing electronic reserves and discontinuing the digitization of little used archival materials. Very interesting!

More tomorrow!

 

CurateGear 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:27 pm

Yesterday, I attended an interesting day-long “interactive event”, CurateGear 2013, sponsored by UNC SILS in Chapel Hill. This year’s theme for the day was “Enabling the Curation of Digital Collections.” The format of the day was new to me. There were five tracks, but they ran one after the other. Each track began with a short overview to all participants by each speaker. The speaker gave a 2-3 minute teaser about what he/she would be talking about. Then, at the end of the overview, participants moved to individual breakout sessions to hear in-depth presentations on the topic. The themes encompassed the major areas involved in data curation: repository management environments, planning and assessment, characterization and ingest, processing and transformation, and access and user environments. Most of the speakers were developers who demonstrated specific applications or projects for which they had received grant funding. I attended breakout sessions on

  • ArchivesSpace, the next-generation archives management tool. This will replace Archivist’s Toolkit which we currently use. Its organizational home will be Lyrasis and they will be using a membership model to aid future sustainability. The intention is to release the full 1.0 version of the product by SAA this summer. The application is completely browser-based and they have made a commitment to migrate data from AT.
  • Preservation Intent Statements from the National Library of Australia. Establishing procedures for the long-term preservation of digital objects is quite complex, and this is one institution’s approach to a way to make it more manageble. Intent statements are developed for each digital collection that spell out the purpose of the collection, how it will be preserved, who is responsible, what the general intent for preservation is for that collection, and identifies known issues to preserving it. IT people tend to think about digital preservation in term of document formats while those in charge of collections think in terms of intellectual entities. The speaker, David Pearson, used the example of a Word document which is thought of differently as part of a manuscript collection than it might be in a map collection. The intent statements are developed in partnership between IT and the collection owner as a way to establish a common language and understanding about what needs to be preserved and how.
  • CINCH. This is a tool developed by the State Library of NC to assist smaller institutions in transferring online content (like what we capture via ArchiveIt) into a repository. The potential benefit over capturing strictly via ArchiveIt is that you get a local copy and it is free of charge.
  • Archivematica. This is an open-source digital preservation system. This presentation focused on its ability to do normalization upon ingest and to use their format policy registry to help with file characterization and analysis.
  • Bitcurator. This is a product that is used for digital forensics. Collections that come to the archives now might contain born digital materials on a variety of devices. Digital forensics is a field often associated with computer crime, but that can be valuable in our library world in that it encompasses “recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices.” One purpose would be to provide an automated way identify types of information within donated files that the archives would not want to collect (ie student grades, personnel records, social security numbers, etc.).
  • Viewshare. This is a browser-based application developed by LOC for ” generating and customizing views(interactive maps, timelines, facets, tag clouds) that allow users to experience your digital collections.” I saw potential for easy methods to engage our users with our digital collections. The product can pull data from dSpace to generate interesting views. That can be embedded into our existing web pages to provide our look and feel. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it! Trevor Owens, the presenter, gave a live demonstration to show how easy it is to use and made his slides available.

One of the reasons I attended this particular conference is that I’m trying to get a clearer sense of the skill sets needed by the person who will eventually fill the Library’s Digital Initiatives Librarian position. Digital curation is one of the areas that we plan for this person to coordinate, so I wanted to see the kinds of positions this type of conference attract. I hoped to learn what overlap and gaps there might be between those that self-identify as digital curators and the more general “digital initiatives’ professional. What I found was that there were two distinct demographics at the event: library archivists (the practitioners) and IT developers. I heard a familiar refrain that IT and archivists don’t speak the same language and have to work at building a common understanding of what is needed in these tools.

At the end of the day, a wrap up session was held, led by Helen Tibbo and Bram van der Werf. Their observation was that there is still a divide between library archivists and developers, but the practitioners are the ones that should be in the drivers seat because, data curation is part of maintaining and preserving their collections and thus is really their problem. The approach being put forwarded by Tibbo and the SILS program is modeled after CNI (where institutional membership consists of the library Dean and the University CIO). The idea is a data curation team that includes both camps, archivists and IT.

A final end-of-day observation of interest was that open-source is a business model, and the types of “light weight tools” demonstrated throughout the day don’t usually have a long life. They open up when there is funding, but often stop being developed once the funding ends. Everyone agreed that sustainability of these tools remains a big unknown.

Susan @ the Charleston Conference: Talking About Providing Value

Friday, November 16, 2012 9:13 am

Earlier this year ZSR Library participated in a research study. The six month study was commissioned by SAGE and conducted by LISU, a national research and information center based in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University. It sought to study how libraries show evidence of value to research and teaching staff and we were one of 8 case studies from the US, UK and Scandinavia. A final report with findings and recommendations was published last summer.

I was invited by SAGE to come to the Charleston Conference to co-present on the results of this study. My co-presenter was our old friend and colleague, Elisabeth Leonard, who now works for SAGE. Elisabeth reported on the results of the study and my job was to show the practical side of how we demonstrate value at ZSR Library. (My part of the presentation starts on slide 29)

Working Together, Evolving Value for Academic Libraries/Examples from One Library from Susan Smith

 

I was disappointed that home-front obligations on either side of our presentation schedule meant that I didn’t get to the conference until late Friday and so missed most of it. I’ve heard about The Charleston Conference for years, but since it isn’t in my area of responsibilities, I’ve never attended. I still didn’t get to attend any concurrent sessions, but I got the opportunity to see the energy of the conference and enjoy the final general session, a debate on the proposition that “the traditional research library is dead.” Arguing “yes” was Rick Anderson, Interim Dean, Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah against Derek Law, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde, who emphasized his “no” position by wearing a traditional kilt! It was a spirited debate sprinkled with good-natured humor. My favorite line was delivered by Rick (note to all my cataloger friends, don’t shoot me!): He referenced the growing view that cataloging is dead by disagreeing. Instead, he said, catalogers are the “walking undead.” (laugh here). Twenty-first century polling was included as part of the session. Before the start of the debate, attendees were invited to text their yes or no position on the issue. At the end of the debate, a second poll was conducted to see if the debaters had changed peoples’ view. The end result was that the majority of attendees agree that “the traditional research library is dead.” The Conference Blog has a detailed report of what Anderson and Law had to say to support their positions and how the vote went. It was a fun session and makes me want to figure out a way to justify coming back next year.

I did manage to get in a little photography time (it was CHARLESTON after all), so I dragged myself out before dawn Saturday morning so I could watch the sunrise. My morning photo efforts are available on my flickr site.
Sunrise 6

Susan at LITA National Forum

Saturday, October 6, 2012 3:12 pm

Columbus Skyline View

Columbus Skyline

As most of you are probably aware, I am the chair of this year’s LITA National Forum Planning Committee. What that has meant for me is that I’ve been working with the planning committee (and I might add, it has been a strong, effective group of people!) for over a year to put together the programming for this year’s Forum that is taking place this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Some of you who know me also know that I have a long-time issue of “hostess anxiety” so you can imagine that I’ve been working to make sure that everything goes off smoothly and as planned! So far, so good – we are hearing positive feedback about the keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, the meeting rooms, the food (it is really good thanks to Melissa from the LITA staff), and the city of Columbus (it is really a cool town). In addition to coordinating the planning, I’m the self-appointed photographer to document the conference (no surprise there) so I invite you to see what’s happening this weekend via the Forum pictures.

Ben Shneiderman, Saturday Keynote Speaker

Ben Shneiderman

Thomas has already reported on yesterday’s opening keynote address by Eric Hellman. Today, we opened the day with a second keynote speech, delivered by Ben Shneiderman, who is a professor of computer science at University of Maryland, College Park. Many of you might recognize him as the author of the seminal book Designing the User Interface, now in its fifth edition.

Ben talked about three main themes: visual analytics, social discovery and networked communities. His talk is available on LITA’s UStream channel: Ben Shneiderman’s Keynote Speech. If you want to see the “short” recap, take a look at his presentation slides on ALA Connect. There are an abundance of interesting concepts and exciting projects that I’m looking forward to exploring when I get back home and have some quiet reflection time.

Now it’s time to get back to work moderating concurrent sessions and orchestrating network dinners!


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