Professional Development

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ALA Midwinter Wrap-up

Friday, January 27, 2012 5:54 pm

I wanted to post just a few closing thoughts on my first ALA Midwinter. First, for me, the smaller format of meetings and discussion groups gave me the time to meet people and learn amount various committees. Spending time at a variety of LITA events while assisting with WebEx programs and serving on a committee gave me a chance to engage in a way that I had not felt possible at the ALA annual meetings I’ve attended. At the LITA Town Hall Meeting on Monday I was in a group, led by Jason Griffey, that discussed LITA’s role in Technology Instruction. It was a fascinating conversation that improved my understanding of LITA. Susan has been incredible in helping me get more involved with LITA and Roz, Mary Beth, Carolyn, Lauren and everyone else from ZSR helped me navigate my first Midwinter. While I’m sure some of these meetings could have occurred in an online format, for me, this smaller more focused event really helped me get more engaged. And, as Mary Beth mentioned, I won the ZSR Library a free year of the new database “Gay and Lesbian Thought and Culture” from Alexander Street Press!

Giz’s First Time @ ALA Midwinter

Sunday, January 22, 2012 4:46 pm

This is my first ALA Midwinter conference! I’m fortunate to be serving on LITA 2012 National Forum Planning Committee chaired by Susan Smith. As an ALA Midwinter “newbie”, I’ve depended on my colleagues to steer me in the right direction and show me the ropes, and as usual they have come through for me! The different format of midwinter, focusing on meetings and discussion groups, is a nice change from fever pitch pace of ALA annual.

I began Saturday running a WebEx session for LITA’s Top Technology Trends Committee meeting on which Susan serves. By using the WFU installation of WebEx we were able to allow three additional committee members to virtually attend the meeting. I’m learning more and more about WebEx and discovering it helps to have a person dedicated to manage the WebEx meeting rather than depending on the person running the face to face meeting to also run the WebEx meeting. By focusing on the WebEx meeting I was able to ensure the video and audio were up to par add that the video always focused on the speaker.

While I enjoyed the EBSCO lunch on Saturday, the Alexander Street Press breakfast on Sunday was just amazing! Some of the new video products they are releasing are very impressive, including Anthropology Online and a second volume of Classical Scores Library ! The guest speaker was acclaimed filmaker Lynn Novick. She discussed the filmmaking process and her latest work “Prohibition“.

Mary Beth already gave an excellent recap of theLLAMA Interiors Discussion Group, all I can add is my favorite quote from the group “Libraries need to think of furniture as an operating expense, not a capital expense!” I thought this was a great way to re-think furniture expense to allow for more flexibility and frequent change! (I also fell in love with AGATI furniture!)

Rosalind and I attended a session on Reference Technologies and I was impressed to learn that Springshare, maker of LibGuides, also makes offers SMS/Texting tools in their LibAnswers product that the Library at Purchase College is using for text reference. I was surprised to learn that about 60% of their text reference questions come from users already in the Library!

As always, the LITA Top Technology Trends program was amazing! But my main focus for attending the event this time was to learn as much as possible about streaming video in order to stream the keynotes at the LITA 2012 National Forum! I learned streaming is not easy, but with some practice and equipment I hope we will be able to pull it off as successfully as Maurice York and Jason Griffey have in the past!

Some of the Top Technology Trends included: Frictionless transactions, Enterprise IT staffing, Death of the ILS (and what will replace it), Tools that free up librarians from service desks, personal curation services (think “GoodReads”), and 3D printing and scanning.

Now I’m off to an Alexander Street Press discussion group on “Gay and Lesbian Thought and Culture” and a discussion group on “Creative Learning Commons”. Tomorrow morning I’ll be running another WebEx meeting for the LITA 2012 National Forum Planning Committee!



ZSR Mentoring Committee Journal Reading Program

Friday, November 4, 2011 2:26 pm

On November 2, the Mentoring Committee sponsored a “Mentoring Skills Builder” program. The program was designed to provide an opportunity for assembly members and current mentees/mentors to meet and discuss two short mentoring articles. Committee members (Giz Womack and Bobbie Collins) volunteered to lead the discussion.

The articles chosen for the program look at both sides of the mentoring relationship. The first article written by Lois J. Zachary focuses on taking the time to develop yourself. Zachary offers “6 development conversations to have with yourself.” In opening up the discussion of this article, Giz asked the group to comment on the first conversation in the article, “Where do I see myself in five years?” This opened the floor to an active discussion by those attending of their various career paths. No two people had the same path, and hearing about the paths of others was both engaging and thought provoking.

It is interesting to note that several staff mentioned that serendipity played a role in shaping their careers. Career plans are sometimes altered when dual-career couples relocate to a new geographical area. There can be some fascinating possibilities in this situation. The key is to be flexible and be willing to try new experiences which can often lead to more career options. In addition to discussing career paths, we also discussed the roles mentors had played in our careers thus far.

Another key point mentioned in the discussion centered on being part of a supportive organizational environment like ZSR. Having colleagues and a library administration that support and assist you in professional development activities are critical components of the workplace.

The second article which appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of American Libraries discusses the benefits of mentoring and notes that sometimes “mentors need advice.” Years later after mentoring a library school student, the author found herself seeking help from her former mentee. Those attending the journal reading program agreed that networking can be beneficial in opening new avenues for a successful career.

Although just six people came to the program, the discussion was very lively. Participants were very willing to share experiences about their career paths. All in all it was a great mentoring conversation! (post co-authored by Bobbie Collins and Giz Womack)


Patron-Driven Acquisition: Radically Rethinking the Collection Part One (ALA TechSource Workshop)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 4:30 pm

On October 5th a group from ZSR participated in a webinar from ALA TechSource on Patron-Driven Acquisition, or as we call it at ZSR, Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA).

While Rick Anderson didn’t cover the radical ideas proposed by David W. Lewis in the articles we read to prepare for the webinar, he did make the point that we cannot continue building collections like we have in the past.

One very telling statistic Rick Anderson mentioned was that 4 out of 10 books selected by a librarian will not be circulated within 10 years of acquisition. We can’t afford to collect “just in case” when “just in time” is a viable option.

If you missed the program and are interested in learning more, check out these links:

“Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community” (OCLC)

“A Dialogue on PDA” (Rick Anderson and Sandy Thatcher)

“Reflections on the Future of Library Collections” (David Lewis),
“Print on the Margins: Circulation Trends in Major Research Libraries”(Rick Anderson)
Part two will be on October 26th from 2:30-4:30pm.
Thanks to Lauren Corbett for setting this up!

The 2011 LITA National Forum Wrapup – Giz Womack

Sunday, October 2, 2011 4:03 pm

Sunday at LITA began with a 7am meeting of the 2011 and 2012 LITA Planning Committees to discuss this year’s event and make suggestions for next year’s event. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the conference planning process and I now realize how much work lies ahead for our 2012 LITA Forum Planning Committee!

After the meeting I attended the last of the concurrent sessions, Making Waves: Library IT as a Disruptive Force, Erin White, Web Applications Developer at VCU. I had met Erin at the networking dinner the night before and wanted to see her presentation as a result of that meeting. She did not disappoint. Erin is a young energetic librarian who gave a great presentation on the best practices of working with other departments in the Library to work on a VuFind implementation, which actually led to using another solution other than VuFind! Once she had described her own experience at VCU, she spent the second half of her presentation time facilitating a discussion among the attendees of the relationship between IT and a library. This led to a lively discussion of how to leverage and/or improve those relationships to facilitate change.

The closing general session was “The Evolving Semantic World” by Barbara McGlamery of Martha Stewart Omnimedia where I learned all about the semantic web (I think I’m starting to get it now). I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara, like Erin, the night before at the networking dinner. She assisted in the development of a Semantic Web tool for Time Inc. called TOPICS, which uses ontologies and industry standards like RDF to create a semantically meaningful web of data, allowing for rich relationships that were used to improve the web experience.

I’ve discovered some cool new tools this weekend and can’t wait to get back to ZSR and continue working with Susan and our LITA committee to plan next year’s Forum!


LITA National Forum 2011: St. Louis, Giz’s Experience Thus Far

Saturday, October 1, 2011 3:28 pm

LITA National Forum 2011: St. Louis, Giz’s Experience Thus Far

On Friday, September 30th, Susan and I left out for the Greensboro airport at 4:30am. After a short layover in Atlanta, where we were able to catch up on email and grab breakfast, we were off to the 2011 LITA National Forum. Last year was my first LITA Forum (in Atlanta) and this year I’m fortunate to be on Susan’s planning committee for next year’s event (in Columbus).We arrived early in St. Louis and after a quick ride on MetroLink from the airport to downtown; we caught up with Erik Mitchell for a fast lunch before the keynote by John Blyberg. In addition to taking notes on presentations, I’ve been taking notes about the event, getting ideas for next year’s forum.

John Blyberg, the Assistant Director for Innovation and User Experience, at the Darien Library in Connecticut, gave a keynote entitled “Gathering the Sparks”. He began with a description of his background and how he came to computers and technology as the manager of a bbs before college and had his introduction to the web during his first year of college. He discussed the importance of incremental change, describing the origins of the steam engine and how it took those incremental improvements to make something great. He mentioned how IKEA is redesigning its famous “Billy” bookcase as it is no longer used by consumers to hold books! He also referenced the legend of instant (just add water) cake mixes which originally sold poorly until the manufactures determined how to make the cook more invested in the cake, thus increasing sales, was water only, (Snopes has an interesting post on this legend) He also discussed new technologies like Graphene, said to be the strongest material ever measured, and the most conductive material known to man, These one atom thick carbon sheets may be the next big thing. His most interesting statement came during the questions at the end when he stated: “We have fetishized books, we need to articulate the value of services and programs to others.” I thought this was an interesting quote.

After the keynote I moved on to Susan and Erik’s presentation, “Data visualization and digital humanities research: a survey of available data sets and tools.” As Susan posted, this presentation came out of their Summer Technology Exploration Grant. Thanks to Susan and Erik, I now understand what Digital Humanities means! I was very impressed with the tools they demonstrated, Google Public Data and Google Refine as well as JSTOR Data for Research. This presentation gave me some great ideas to share with the faculty of the Sociology Department at WFU.

Friday ended with an informal meeting of next year’s LITA National Forum planning committee arranged by Susan, our committee chair. It was a great way to end the day and a perfect way to get to know each other better as we move forward in our plans for next year’s forum.

Saturday began with Karen Coyle’s keynote, “On the Web, Of the Web: A Possible Future” She began by discussing linked data and I immediately realized I needed a definition of “Linked Data”. It is a sub-topic of the Semantic Web. The term is used to describe a method of exposing, sharing, and connecting data via dereferenceable URIs on the Web (from She also stated that the catalog is not the face of the library anymore and rather than work so hard to improve the catalog perhaps we just need to realize that. She stated that “find” and “use” are the key functions, not “identify” and “select”.

After the keynote I attended “Leveraging Student Data to Personalize Your Library Web Site” by Ian Chan Web, the Development Librarian at Cal State San Marcos. The coolest example of how they are personalizing the website involved making student’s reserve reading appear on the website if the student was logged into their account. He stated “If students are already going to log in, personalizing the library website can capture their attention & show them more tools.”

Next I attended “Google Apps For Your Library” by Robin Hastings. This turned out to be a description of a Library’s migration to Google mail that mirrored the experience of ZSR almost exactly.

More to come in my next post!


ZSR Presents at NCLA “Fabulous Fridays” Programs

Monday, April 11, 2011 1:01 pm

Barry Davis and I recently volunteered to give presentations on “New Technologies” at three North Carolina Library Association “Fabulous Fridays” programs for public library staff. These programs were held in Asheville, Winston Salem and Wilmington, giving NCLA members from all across the state the opportunity to attend.

Barry led the sessions in Asheville and Winston Salem and I led the sessions in Wilmington. Each “Fabulous Friday” included sessions New Technologies, Reader’s Advisory, Safety and Security and Teen Services. The keynote speaker for the program in Wilmington was Jane Bozarth, a trainer and coach. Her keynote, entitled “TGIM:Enjoy Your Life, Enjoy Your Job” really got the crowd motivated to learn from the rest of the sessions.

Barry and I led discussions on “New Technologies” and brought an iPad, Kindle, Sony e-reader, iPod Touch and an Audience Response System (clickers) in order to give the participants some hands-on experience with this equipment! We also discussed issues around e-books, new technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC). We had a great time giving the presentations, and the participants seemed to like our sessions

Giz ACRL Thursday

Friday, April 1, 2011 10:19 am

This is my first ACRL and I’m enjoying the size (smaller than ALA) and the focus (almost every program is relevant in some way!) I’ll try to convey the great energy at this conference in my blog post, but I’m sure I can’t do it justice.

I’ve always liked Roz’s theme approach to conference blogging, so I’ll try to frame my posts on a few themes. My first theme is “Doing it Better”. I started the day at the Poster Sessions and Exhibits Hall. Both offered me some new ideas. First, I saw several posters use QR codes (which Roz discussed in her Cyber Zed Shed program) that allowed me to quickly and easily gather information about the presentation in an electronic format. This came in very handy in a crowded venue where poster viewing was a challenge. I also saw some uses of LibGuides as a way to create mobile browser ready content (now I just need to figure out how to leverage that feature of LibGuides!) and I saw a new version of the ScanPro software for our microtext Reader that should make life even easier for our users of microtext. (I’ll be installing that free upgrade on our ScanPro station next week!) Throughout the conference I keep jotting down ideas to improve my teaching and technology skills.

Another theme was “The Embedded Librarian”. As I find more and more opportunities to be embedded in my role as an Instruction and Outreach Librarian, I’ve become more interested in this theme. One session in particular compared the virtual embedded librarian to the librarian physically embedded in a program at McMaster University. Both were very effective, but it was clear the virtually embedded librarian, available through a learning management system like Sakai or Blackboard, could reach far more students than a physically embedded librarian, thus reaching more students. What was unclear was if the physically embedded librarian was more effective based on the face to face contact. I think the real take away here is that no matter how you embed, the point is getting the users what they need when they need it in whatever format works.

“Outreach” was another theme that appeared (and is very appropriate for an “Instruction and Outreach Librarian” One presentation that was of particular interest to me was “Unraveling the Mystery of the Library: A ‘Big Games’ Approach to Library Orientation” Librarians at Lycoming College, a private liberal arts college held a library “mystery” game during freshman orientation that introduced students to the library as space and to some of the library’s services and collections, while staying fun and simple.

Char Booth’s “The Librarian as Situated Educator: Instructional Literacy and Participation in Communities of Practice” was a compelling session. She discussed the four elements of Instructional Literacy: reflective practice, educational theory, teaching technologies and instructional design.

Here is some Raj Patel video. Roz was right, he was an incredible keynote! Hearing him explain how a $1 hamburger has a real cost of over $200 was an “A-HA” moment for me!

The conference schedule and links to posted articles and presentations can be found here!

ACRL 2011: On Route, Discussing Tech Topics

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8:49 am

At 6am, Susan, Mary Beth, Roz and I loaded up the ZSR minivan and headed to Philadelphia. Now we are just north of Raleigh near Butner. We are using my iPhone 4 as a mobile hotspot to allow my ThinkPad and Susan’s MacBook Air to connect to the Internet. AT&T now allows iPhone users to enable tethering and use up to 4GB of data per month. While tethering requires users to give up their unlimited data plans, most users (like me) find that 4GB of data is more than sufficient.

One topic of conversation in the van has been the new Amazon Digital Music Locker and Cloud Player for the Web. Just released this week, a cnet article defines says “the Amazon Cloud Drive allows users to upload their digital music files–either AAC or MP3 formats–at their original bit rate to Amazon servers for storage and playback on any Web-connected PC, Mac, or Android device, wherever they are.”

Additionally, some recent articles are reporting that Apple will release a new $20 per year MobileMe service that will include “Locker” a service that, like the Amazon Digital Music Locker. will allow users to store and stream their music.

Now, courtesy of Susan, here is a photo of me writing this blog post!

Giz online in the ZSR Van

Giz at LITA National Forum 2010-Wrapup

Thursday, October 7, 2010 9:53 am

My first LITA National Forum was an excellent experience and I would encourage anyone interested to try to attend. I enjoyed how the theme of cloud computing carried on through the entire conference. Unlike some larger conferences with multiple themes, this focus on a primary theme at a smaller conference really gave the participants some time to think about cloud computing, the issues around it and its importance in today’s world. If you would like to see the general session by Roy Tennant or by Ross Singer, you can check them out online at:

2007 ACRL Baltimore
2007 ALA Annual
2007 ALA Gaming Symposium
2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
2007 ELUNA
2007 Evidence Based Librarianship
2007 Innovations in Instruction
2007 Kilgour Symposium
2007 LAUNC-CH Conference
2007 LITA National Forum
2007 NASIG Conference
2007 North Carolina Library Association
2007 North Carolina Serials Conference
2007 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2007 Open Repositories
2007 SAA Chicago
2007 SAMM
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2008 ALA Annual
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2008 Open Access Day
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2009 Big Read
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