Professional Development

In the '2008 ALA Annual' Category...

More ALA from Wanda

Monday, July 28, 2008 10:57 am

“Counting Opinions” (CO) is an instantaneous, continuous customer feedback system designed specifically for libraries. It provides libraries with innovative, comprehensive, cost-effective ways to measure and manage their customer satisfaction and performance data, including open-ended customer feedback, trends, benchmarks, outcomes and peer comparisons. ZSR Library has just become a beta partner for the product. Susan, Lauren P. and Kevin are soon to be in product install mode. To learn more about the product, I attended the CO Users group meeting held during ALA this past June. I must admit they had me when the discussion began comparing feedback forms and how they are distributed or left lying on the counter and how we hope someone will take one complete and return it. Mounted on our website, the CO survey lets the patron know continuously how interested you are in hearing their opinions. Patrons are prompted at random times to take a survey or offer input on a particular topic.  You can create categories such as staff, services, facility and collections. The categories are created by each individual library. Feedback reports are available and searchable by categories. You have the ability to create notes, clarify comments, or track what you did in response to a comment or suggestion. You can tag comments by categories and rank them as positive, neutral etc. The feedback can be ranked as either high or low priority.  However you can’t deliver a response to an individual because the survey is anonymous. I think CO will be good for us!

With all the focus lately on ergonomic assessment, the LAMA sponsored session entitled “Ergonomics in Libraries: Human –Centered Design for library Facilities” was of particular interest to me. Ergonomists seek to apply the knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to the design of facilities, workstations, equipment, tools and job. The design of our work space and the furniture we use affects our health, our safety and our productivity. How can we best manage all of these factors? Is it possible for workers and planners to speak the same language? Then, how can we afford to implement and redesign our workspaces? These are questions that all of participants in the audience seemed to be seeking answers for. The primary goal of human-centered design is to develop a workspace that “fits” the worker. Conducting a task analysis to understand current process and risks is essential to the evaluation. Here at ZSR, I think we would benefit from a refreshers course on ergonomic do’s and don’ts. I also believe it a good idea to incorporate some ergonomic training within our student orientation. Here’s a summary of some of the known activities that increase pain and the likelihood of injury:

• Handling heavy books 32%
• High repetitions 25%
• Using computers 18%
• Shelving books 18%
• Handling books co tenuously for more than 2 hours 15%

In June I was appointed for a two year commitment to the ALA Advocacy Committee. We held our first inaugural meeting during ALA even though our committee didn’t become official until the close of the 2008 conference. During our first meeting we spent much of the day deciding on a definition for advocacy. Here’s what surfaced: “turning passive support into educated action” or in other words, empowering people to take action on behalf of their libraries. Our committee’s charge is to support the efforts of advocates for all types of libraries; to develop resources, networks and training materials. I just may come looking for ideas so feel free to share any thoughts you may have on advocacy initiatives for today’s libraries. — Wanda

Lauren C.’s ALA Annual

Friday, July 11, 2008 4:09 pm

One session I attended had possible practical application for us and is summarized immediately below. Following that are summaries of my committee work, which formed the main focus of the Anaheim conference for me.

“Institutional Repositories: New Roles for Acquisitions”

This was a panel discussion on Monday, June 30, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm, with three speakers describing implementation of D-Space, but I did not hear any mention of traditional acquisitions staff playing a new role. It was more about which materials the represented institutions are adding to their repositories (mostly electronic theses and dissertations) and the organization and accessibility of the materials, so to me the focus was more cataloging-oriented. The speakers were: Peter Gorman, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Maureen P. Walsh, Ohio State University; and Terry Owen, University of Maryland.

Peter Gorman (Wisconsin-Madison) discussed the importance of copyright and mentioned using Circular 22 for investigating copyright status and said that the first half is “scary” and the second half is a “good resource.” He mentioned that Stanford has an online database of copyright renewal records and suggested looking at flowcharts from Bromberg & Sunstein LLP and from Cornell.

OSU calls its D-Space implementation “Knowledge Bank” and Maureen Walsh talked about metadata. Knowledge Bank materials are “findable in Google, Google Scholar and DOAR.” OSU has a Metadata Application Profile available on the Knowledge Bank home page and is using only Dublin Core. Maureen emphasized the importance of thinking how your metadata will appear when harvested outside of your institutional repository (IR) and showed an example of how a title didn’t appear in OAIster followed by an illustration of the manipulation of the record in Knowledge Bank to address the problem. She mentioned the problem of browsing by author when there is no authority control and that often the self-entry of keywords by the depositor is simply repetition of words in the title, which is not helpful enough for discovery. She also noted that students doing data entry of metadata make typographical errors that must be corrected. A final step in the workflow is a license agreement for archiving (and a Creative Commons license is an option). The license is attached to the item, but suppressed from public view.

Terry Owen (U. of Maryland) spent some time talking about the embargo period choices that students can make when submitting an electronic thesis or dissertation. This addresses concerns related to publishing an article in a journal or seeking a patent (typically a 1 year embargo is satisfactory for these) or writing a book, where a 6 year embargo is allowed. Six years is the same period of time for faculty to reach tenure. The University of Maryland (UM) uses a dark archive for the embargo but allows access to the record of the item. Using the Closed Collection option would not have worked as well for UM due to the way it would substantially increase the structure of their sub-communities. In a description field, UM adds a note indicating the restricted access and a hotlink to get the date that the document will be out of the embargo.

ALCTS Budget & Finance Committee

This is my first year as the ALCTS Continuing Resources Section Representative to the ALCTS Budget & Finance Committee. I’m learning about the revenue streams (primarily continuing education, publications, and membership dues) and problem areas. The increase in postage resulted in a need to raise subscription prices for Library Resources & Technical Services. Being a section representative to an association committee means double the meetings due to attending meetings for the work of the committee plus attending the executive committee meetings of the section in order to convey information. With ALA’s new proposed schedule changes (again!), sections are discussing the possibility of reducing meetings and shortening the conference.

Acquisitions Managers and Vendors Interest Group

I completed my tenure as co-chair of the ALCTS Acquisitions Section Acquisitions Managers and Vendors Interest Group (IG). This IG has one chair who is a librarian and one who is a vendor. My co-chair, Rick Lugg of R2 Consulting (and formerly of YBP), and I orchestrated 4 panel discussions over the last 2 years and reports are published in the ALCTS Newsletter Online (aka ANO). The report from Anaheim is not yet published but should be available in the August 2008 issue (go to ALA ALCTS homepage and on the right under Online Communication will be a link to the current issue). The topic for Anaheim was the complexity of relationships and levels of expertise now required for interactions between vendors and libraries relative to acquisitions. If interested, please also see the three previous brief panel discussion reports:

Catalog Debate at ALA

Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:05 am

At ALA, I attended several sessions on cataloging and the future of the catalog. The liveliest session was a debate titled “There’s No Catalog Like No Catalog: The Ultimate Debate on the Future of the Library Catalog.” Below are some of the questions Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer for OCLC Programs and Research, posed to debaters, Stephen Abram, Karen Coyle, Joseph Janes, and Karen G. Schneider as well as the debaters’ responses. The debate has been made available as a podcast on LITA’s blog.

1. What are library catalogs good for and not good for? As expected, views and responses varied. Negative comments included library catalogs are rotten for patrons, they don’t enhance learning, they don’t create good user experiences, and there is no sense of community. The catalog is a dead end repository; it is the beginning of where data starts, but it shouldn’t be the end. One person used the analogy of the old Raid bug spray commercials that it’s a roach motel, lots of easy ways in, but no way out.
One person posed the question with the catalog as an inventory manager, should it be helpful to users as a tool? It is this for library staff, but maybe something else is needed for our users. We should be trying to figure new ways to get users what they really want, not what we have in our collection that may or may not meet their information needs.
Another comment made was that we were better off with the card catalog. If one failed, one could turn around and get help. If one’s in the middle of nowhere using a digital library, getting help is not necessarily an option; there maybe nowhere obvious to go.
Start with Wikipedia or Google even though libraries have these enshrinements of what they own.
The catalog is an 18th century metaphor. How can it be stretched to fit the 21st century meaning.
2. Could one big catalog do it for everyone (i.e. World Cat)? Some of the comments generated by this question included that’s nonsense to libraries shouldn’t be place oriented, but information oriented. Making a catalog bigger doesn’t necessarily make it more desirable. Libraries have to let people do things with data even though we may not like it. Free the data; stop locking it up in arcane proprietors. There was two opinions about World Cat expressed; one, it is not a catalog, but a registry file for data, and two, it is so a catalog.
Google is taking catalogers and they’re making information usable as opposed to catalogers taking information and making it useful for OPACs. A new set of ideas is needed to connect people in a thoughtful way with the resources they want, and the MARC record may be incapable of doing this. Librarians should ask themselves is what they are doing serve us today? Give up the idea of a system and sameness; look towards experimentation. We need to bust data out of silo and move seamlessly across a data network. The usability and value of local enhancements added to a catalog record, are they worth the time and cost?
Any transition must make sense to librarians and our users. Some of our users are proficient at using our systems. Because we are hemmed in by past traditions, change may annoy some of our users/supporters and thrill others.
Two questions were posed by one debater; how does a book get better every time it’s read and how does a library get better every time it’s used? This somehow should be traceable without compromising users’ privacy concerns. Catalogs should have something like Netflix cues in them; people add value with personal comments and reviews. Libraries need research on where does metadata help users be better discoverers. We are behind in approaches with collecting and using data.
3. Do open source solutions offer a compelling option, either now or in the near-future? Libraries should be helping to design systems they use. Librarians need to look at what open source software does and its quality; it must be good and needs to be auditable.
4. What changes do you see coming in the library software market and how will those changes affect options for libraries? Mergers with ILS vendors was one response.
One person mentioned the economy and budgets. These two factors will affect how people get books in our libraries. With gas at an all time high, purchasing a book on Google for $.99 may become an alternative option for some. With times being tight, this is also when people turn to libraries as an alternative for entertainment; it’s a good opportunity for libraries to shine. Are we going to have a marketing campaign? We should be clear that we’re not the choice for bad times only, but for good times as well.
Print on demand. With the many options of technology, what is the cost in relation to the benefit must be determined. Can libraries quantify the benefit of cataloging? Cost will ultimately show things need to work differently. If ILL costs $30, why not purchase the book on Amazon used books for $5 and ship to the patron?
Libraries need to be statistically literate and evidence-based as opposed to barking dogma said one debater.
5. If you could snap your fingers and do one thing to the current library software market, what would it be? Everything will be open source. Get on cycle of normal technology profession; don’t get behind six generations by not upgrading software.
Separate library management systems without hindering good user services.
Larger library software market; a sense of greater demand may merit major software companies wanting to develop software products for libraries.
Libraries can provide people the intelligence of other users.
Everybody gets their own personal Nancy Pearl.

Some final thoughts expressed included:
1. A tremendous amount of information can be learned by new graduates and the expertise and tradition of those working in trenches.
2. Give up dogma, reanalyze our practices. Some are based on older technologies. If you don’t want to kill dogma at least put it in a kennel long enough to reanalyze practices.
3. Engage with non-librarians who are creating bibliographic records; let them into our environment.
4. Trust our users and make use of them.
5. Marriage of traditional metadata and tagging.
6. Take advantage of leaner times to market what libraries do.

Elizabeth Experiencing ALA for the First Time

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 9:27 am

I attended my first ALA Conference weekend before last in Anaheim, CA. Before arriving I tried to keep an open mind without any agenda or pre-conceived expectations. I just wanted to “experience” this annual librarian event. Turns out I wasn’t the only one thinking about experiences. If I could select one word (and obviously I am) to describe the conference, the state and future of the library, and my personal perspective, “experience” is the word that keeps popping into my mind.

I attended several LITA programs – on Distance Education, Social Showcase, and the President’s Program. (for more details on these programs see Lauren’s blog, seems silly to repeat good summaries) I found them all informative, but even more so I found people who inspired me with their thoughts, ideas and passions for the library and its users. Throughout these three programs we talked about the library not as just a place or service, but also as an experience. One LITA member used the Harley Davidson Motorcycle’s website as an example. The website’s not about buying a motorcycle, but about the experience of owning a motorcycle and all the things you can do with it. Isn’t a library similar? We have tangible resources and services, but maybe it’s the intangible experience of finding and using those resources and the services offered that makes the library unique. As the library moves more and more outside its traditional brick and mortar walls, the experience is central to the users. Whether they are at a remote location chatting via IM with a reference librarian, searching a database or sipping coffee with their friends in the cafe aren’t they “in” or “experiencing” the library? I wonder if this would be something to incorporate into the marketing of the library or designing the website?

I also attended a COSWL program on care-giving and librarians. (again, see Lauren’s blog for details if you’re interested) The speakers were excellent, but there seemed to be more focus on caring for the elderly and not so much on childcare, which is the issue for me. Turns out I wasn’t the only one going through this and to know that it’s not just a personal issue, but a social and political one as well helped empower me, both personally and professionally.

I also attended programs on “Energize Your Instruction” and “Collaborative Digital Initiatives”, both of which were not what I expected. The instruction program wasn’t about things you can do to energize your instruction or pedagogy specifically, but more broadly about energizing yourself, thereby energizing your audience. We took a personality test and the speaker, Andrew Sanderbeck, gave a lively and entertaining slide presentation on keeping your passion, asking for help, taking a day off, and other “tid bits”. Although I would have liked more specific information on classroom techniques or pedagogy, I did come away with a renewed vigor in my step toward teaching.

The digital program included the South Carolina Digital Library, the PALMM project of Florida and the Eastern North Carolina Digital Library. As I have been working with Susan and Erik on the Digital Forsyth Project I had hoped to learn more about the metadata aspects. Turns out they were just showing their websites and explaining their processes, although not in enough detail for me. Quite a few of us left early (only program I did that).

Other experiences I had were catching up with my MLIS Information Literacy professor, Elizabeth Leonard, talking with the former library director at UNCG, and meeting with colleagues for lunch, dinner or wine tasting. I also met librarians who knew librarians here at ZSR (at the IS Soiree, I met Carol Cramer’s college roommate, Ann Brown, a librarian at George Washington University!).

I attended the Lexis-Nexis breakfast where Susan received her award (for the second or third time during the conference?). The speaker, Dana Milbank, is a political reporter for the Washington Post and gave a witty and satirical speech on his new book, Homo Politicus (which I won a copy of!).

Overall, my “experience” as a first time attendee at ALA was quite positive and fortunately not as overwhelming as some had warned it could be. I understand the 2010 conference is scheduled for Las Vegas – now that should be an experience!

Carolyn at ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2008 11:05 am

This was my second ALA, and I am so glad I went. I attended several sessions on cataloging and the future of the catalog, as well as a session on information literacy standards for anthropology and sociology students.

Below are insights gained from attending sessions by and for sociology and anthropology librarians and information literacy standards for these disciplines.

Before heading out to California, Roz informed me about an ALA session in which ANSS (Anthropology and Sociology Section of ACRL) librarians were meeting to discuss the new “Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology” that had recently been published in the June 2008 issue of College & Research Libraries News. Roz, Bobbie and I are currently planning and developing the LIB210 class Social Science Research Sources and Strategies.

Key insights from this session include:
1. The standards document is a library document, not something you would pass out to faculty. Possibly start with one faculty member and together pick out key things in the document that resonates with him or her and start with incorporating those items into the department’s curriculum.
2. The learning of information literacy skills should be integrated into discipline specific classes, not separate. A comment was made that this is an easier sell to faculty if it’s integrated rather than as an add-on. Having a basic information literacy course may make some faculty feel they don’t need information literacy in other courses; there is a difference in basic skills vs. specific disciplinary skills.
3. Special guest Edward L. Kain, Professor of Sociology at Southwestern University, suggested that faculty and librarians think about strategic places in sociology assignments where information literacy goals can be incorporated.
4. Departments are looking for ways to assess what they do. Librarians will gain points with faculty by providing guidance on assessment to faculty.

After the session, I spoke with Patti Caravello, Librarian for Anthropology, Archaeology, and Sociology and Director of the Information Literacy Program at UCLA as well as one of the authors of the document, and she told me of her experiences teaching information literacy in a Sociology class alongside the professor. She commented that the professor was convinced that student papers were better written. She has published an article about her experience and feels strongly that information literacy should be integrated into discipline specific classes rather than being taught as a separate class altogether. She also invited me to come to the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group the next day, which I did, and I learned much there as well.

At the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group, a goal of the group is to create a repository of teaching materials (e.g. syllabi, homework assignments, instructional materials) to post on the ACRL ANSS section’s website. Included material in the repository must tie into the newly created information literacy standards. Best practices for graduate students’ instruction programs were also discussed. Even though WFU no longer has a graduate program in anthropology, I believe some of the “best practices” could be applicable or tweaked to fit undergraduate classes. Some of the “best practices” include:
1. Subject specialist or liaison has office hours in department. Usage varied among librarians, but all agreed one-on-one consultation is popular.
2. Have a wine and cheese social in the library’s graduate student lounge. Make this a no-sit-down function so that people will have to mingle. Acquire a list of student names at the social.
3. Conduct workshops throughout the year in Endnote, RefWorks, and how to submit one’s dissertation.
4. There is a need for data literacy skills (i.e. How does one make sense of these data charts/graphs?).
5. Conduct a graduate student workshop at orientation. Have an introduction to the library as well as a citation workshop on academic integrity (i.e. Do students really understand plagiarism?). The citation workshop can be adapted to any discipline and can be an active learning experience; provide short 2-3 sentences scenarios of plagiarism examples.
6. Ask professors to send librarians their graduate students’ subject specialties/research topics. This will aid in collection development and predicting future topics in emerging areas of the discipline.
7. In bibliographic instruction classes, demonstrate citation management program and use students’ topics when demonstrating databases.
8. Audit or take classes in discipline; become an embedded librarian.
9. Offer scanning as a way to see what students are working on.
10. In course management software, ask professor to add your name into specific class. That way one is able to jump into discussions, offer tips on anthropology sources, but unable to view assignments submitted.

The question how does one teach students how to find scholarly articles and which databases to utilize was posed? One person’s comment was to limit to the top three best starting places for the discipline, and if this proves unsuccessful, one can drill down even further.

Both sessions were immensely informative and helpful and because of them, I plan on joining ACRL’s ANSS section. With proposed changes to WFU’s liaison program, I realize I have much to learn about the field of anthropology. I made some great contacts with Anthropology Librarians, especially Patti Caravello of UCLA who was willing to answer my questions and share her knowledge and experience of working as an Anthropology Librarian. After expressing concern to Patti about not having a degree in anthropology, she recommended some titles for further reading and stated that having a desire to further my knowledge and understanding of the discipline and its lingo will go a long way in becoming a better liaison to the Anthropology department at WFU.

Later this week, I will post reflections on the cataloging sessions I attended.

Cristina at ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2008 9:53 am

I got to attend the 2008 ALA conference after several years of hiatus.   I had forgotten the excitement and the hustle and bustle of it all.   It was a very good conference and I got to attend several interesting and informational sessions.

“Sustainable Libraries: Shades of Green” discussed how libraries can be built using recycled materials, natural sunlight and new technologies to conserve energy, but at the same time,  inviting.   In the Santa Monica Public library, they have a reserved staff shower to encourage employees to ride their bike to work.

“ILL Data Collection, Definition, & Analysis; why don’t MY data match what i get from various systems?” kind of answered the question those of us in the ILL land have had in years.  Unfortunately, there is no standard regarding when a request is being counted, therefore there is quite a bit of confusion in the reporting of ILL traffic.  What I got from the session is not to worry about the discrepancy between the systems and to monitor the trend of the ILL traffic in our department.

I also attended several copyright related discussions.  As much information as I have received, I am still as confused as ever.   One the one side, the librarians and teachers are encouraging to take advantage of the “fair use” rule, with the lawyers being more cautious on the other side.   However, the best part of these discussions and the ILL copyright poster session is that I walked aways with lots of handouts.  I hope they will come in handy for the new person, who will take on the copyright issues.

The breakfast provided by Lexis/Nexis was nice, and Susan gave a very nice speech about the project for which she won the award.   She thanked everyone involved, Lynn, Caroline, Erik, Giz, Kevin and Tim.  It was nice to hear Wake Forest and those familiar names mentioned in a national forum.

The exhibits are the highlight of the ALA conference for me.   I spent a significant chunk of time at the exhibits learning about the new products.   Since the Access Team has been talking about self-checkout, I made a point to talk to many vendors, and several of them are interested in doing a demo.   I also happened upon an author signing a panda poster and her panda picture book.  Panda is my thirteen-year-old’s favorite animal.  Guess what she is going to have for her birthday?

Overall, this has been a great experience, other than the part about getting up at 3 in the morning to catch a flight.  It was  exhilarating, informative and educational.

Sarah at ALA Annual

Thursday, July 3, 2008 2:58 pm

This year, I chaired the ACRL-Science & Technology Section(STS) Research Forum at the ALA Annual Conference. Our guest commentator, Patricia Kreitz from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and who currently serves on the Editorial Board of Science & Technology Libraries, provided insightful commentary on the two selected papers:

“Library-based Bioinformatics Support: Who and How? An Exploration of Librarian and Scientist Perspectives,” by Michele R. Tennant, Health Science Center Libraries and UF Genetics Institute, University of Florida. As the use of bioinformatics databases becomes prevalent in biological research, libraries are stepping into the role of bioinformatics support providers.

Where are Bioinformatics Support Specialists employed?

  • 45% in university or college health sciences library
  • 25% in university or college sciences library
  • 5% in university or college “main” library
  • 5% corporate library


  • A number of bioinformatics support specialists reside in libraries; models of employment and activities vary
  • Researchers, Bioinformatics Support Specialists, and directors believe that a degree in science and laboratory experience are important for Bioinformatics Support Specialists
  • All groups surveyed indicated that bioinformatics support can appropriately be provided through the library

“Subject and Bibliographic Access to Sci-tech Electronic Theses and Dissertations via Digital Institutional Repositories (IRs) and Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs): Perspectives from US and UK Science Librarians,” by Sophie Bogdanski, West Virginia University Libraries; Susan Copeland, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland; Anne Christie, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Over 90% of US institutions provide electronic access to some portion of their theses and dissertations collection. In the survey, one US librarian expressed frustration at not being able to do a topical search for ETDs across institutions and also about not being able to search the IR and OPAC together. The survey results indicate the on-going development of ETD programs in the US And UK.

I also attended the Scholarship Committee meeting of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). The Scholarship Committee awards $1,000 scholarship to a student who is currently enrolled in a graduate program in Library Science. I also attended the ACRL-SPARC Forum on Open Access (already reported upon by Lynn). Overall, this program was great, and I thought that Kevin Smith’s presentation on “Campus Open Access Policies: Legal Considerations” was very informative.

On Monday morning, I attended Susan’s award ceremony, which was one of the highlights of ALA Annual. In the afternoon, I went to the Exhibits and volunteered at the Welcome Desk for the ALA Ambassadors Program, which provides orientation for first-time conference attendees. Although I was busy with STS Council meetings and committee meetings, I was able to attend the ExLibris reception and saw Disney’s fireworks with Susan, Carolyn, Lauren P., and Elizabeth N. Overall, ALA Annual was productive, informative, and enjoyable this year, and the weather was great (always a plus!).

Lauren P. at ALA

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 10:25 am

This ALA was a particularly good one for me… in fact, I think it was the best one I have attended!

The Convention Center

I was involved with two programs, both of which went well. I presented a poster on my microtext/govdoc student supervision system twice, and got great responses from the people who stopped by. The Emerging Leaders program has concluded, and it was nice to be able to show the Intellectual Freedom Round Table the project we had worked on for them, to tell the LITA Board about my experiences, and to see the others in the program again. The meetings that I attended were well run and we accomplished things that needed to be done in person. I was able to attend two vendor breakfasts and see Susan win her award. Virtual participation is a hot topic, and is beginning to seem like a potentially viable option. And I met many, many people who before I only knew online.

I know I tend to go into detail, so I’ve spared you that here. If you want to see more, here are my posts:

Though a few hotels were far out, most of the things I did were pretty close together. The things I had responsibility for went well, and I was still able to go to a few extra things. The thing that really set this conference apart, though, was my Twitter network. Before showing up, I knew people. People saw me and knew who I was before we were introduced. Twitter kept me in the loop for programs I wasn’t able to attend. It let us arrange impromptu meet-ups, and meant there was always an option for something to do. Blogging started this trend. From my first ALA, I’ve been keeping tabs on programs by reading others’ reports, and I’ve known a few people because of this. But Twitter expanded on this exponentially. Meebo chat rooms provided another conference back channel. Many very good programs were scheduled at the same time. I was able to attend one, but watch the Meebo chat room discussion for another one, to know what technologies were being discussed in the Top Tech Trends panel or hear quotes from Cory Doctorow (one of my heroes) on privacy– all in real time. It was like being able to attend two conferences at once. Twitter and Meebo aren’t for everyone, but for me they really enriched the conference experience.

So it was a great conference. Things are afoot with the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship, the Women’s Studies Section of ACRL, and the LITA Distance Learning Interest Group. Social Networking is becoming a useful professional networking tool. The big theme of the conference (that I picked up on) is that we’re transitioning from “library as place” to “library as experience.” (That idea was mentioned in at least three sessions that I know of.) People are talking about virtual participation. If you want to chat about anything I posted on, just let me know! :)

Update: I had to change the title of this post when I realized that both of us Laurens went to the conference! :)

Lynn is going home

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:05 pm

I am sitting at LAX airport, waiting for my flight to Charlotte and reminiscing on ALA Anaheim. My expectations were pretty low, based mostly on the other horrid Disney/conference experiences ALA has had. I thought this one was not bad, in fact, near idyllic. The programs and meetings were the most compact I have ever seen at ALA Annual. I only had to ride the bus once! The weather was pluperfect – sunny, low 80’s, no humidity, no bugs – unlike other cold, dreary California Junes I have seen. It may have helped that I had no committees or official obligations this trip. I was free to attend the programs that interested me. What luxury! At some ALA’s I have not seen one program, being locked into committee meeting after committee meeting. Except for the lack of non-chain restaurants and non-souvenir stores, it was very, very nice. And what other convention center is lined with palm trees at the entrance?

See you all tomorrow!

Monday: Susan’s Final Day at ALA Anaheim

Monday, June 30, 2008 10:18 pm

Today was my last day of the conference, although it continues until Wednesday for some of the higher echelon of ALA Division and committee folks. It has been my most action packed ALA conference to date and it’s been worth it (but I’m ready to head home!).

My first meeting of the day started at 8 am. I have been assigned to a new committee for the next 1 1/2 years – the LITA National Forum 2009 Planning Committee. This was our first chance to meet each other and start the planning process. Unfortunately, it conflicted with the Lexis-Nexis breakfast where I was receiving the award (for the second time). So, I rushed in to the committee meeting, introduced myself, sat in for 10 minutes, then had to leave. I hated being unable to fully participate, but what are you going to do?

I enjoyed the Lexis-Nexis breakfast thoroughly, and even more after I had finished my remarks upon receiving the award. There was a very big crowd there and it was a bit intimidating to have to stand at the podium and talk for even a few minutes. But, it helped that I knew that several of my ZSR colleagues had come to the breakfast to support me (I know it wasn’t the free food that pulled them in). Thanks to Sarah, Cristina, Carolyn, Lauren, Lynn and (non-too former colleague) Mary Horton, for coming and providing me moral support! I also really enjoyed Dana Milbank’s talk about Homo Politicus and the Potomac Man. It was fun to be sitting right next to him at the podium and be able to watch him move through his notes as he spoke. He sounded as though he was talking completely from memory but had nicely structured content to present. I liked the fact I was presented with a copy of his book too!

It was back to the exhibit hall mid-day and I was able to catch Lauren P.’s third poster session of the conference. This time she repeated presenting the poster she created about her student assistant training tools. She had lots of interest and visitors while I was there.

I attended the ACRL President’s Program in the afternoon (already reported upon by Lynn).  I attended even though I was feeling a bit worn out, thinking that, if it wasn’t  interesting, I could slip out. Instead, I was totally engaged listening (on the floor, since it was packed) to Dan Ariely talk about how irrational most people’s reasoning and decision-making is. He gave many intriguing examples of irrational reasoning, but one concept that caught my attention was his observation that we work in two different worlds: a social one and a financial one. He maintains that when these two mix, things get ugly. His example was of a friend who has a flat tire. As a friend, you are willing to help him change it. What happens when, instead, he offers you a few dollars to help him out, instead of calling on you as a friend to do it for nothing? Suddenly it’s become a financial transaction, replacing the former social relationship. And, as a financial transaction, $2.00 isn’t worth the trouble. It colors how you think of each other, and it’s hard, if not impossible, to return to the social relationship afterward. It something I’ve observed happening many times through my life, but had never really considered why things got sticky! I so enjoyed his talk that I did something I’ve never done before. When I walked out of the presentation, I headed right for the table that had his book for sale, and bought a copy. I hope it’s as good as I think it will be.

I ended my conference day by visiting Sarah at the ALA Welcome Desk at the Membership Pavilion. As a part of the  Ambassador program, Sarah volunteered to staff the desk this afternoon. You can see there are many ways to participate at the ALA Conference.

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2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
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