Professional Development

In the 'ALA Midwinter' Category...

Chelcie at ALA Midwinter 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016 9:44 pm

For me the central happening of ALA Midwinter 2016 was kicking off my participation in ALA’s Emerging Leaders program. As part of this program, I’ll glimpse the sizable architecture of ALA, network with awesome people, and work together with members of a small team to solve a problem framed by one of ALA’s divisions or round tables.

Chelcie's 2016 Emerging Leaders team

Obligatory Emerging Leaders team selfie! From left to right: Melissa Stoner, Project Specialist for UNLV’s participation in the National Digital Newspaper Program; me; Harriet Wintermute, Metadata Librarian at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Craig Boman, responsible for the care and feeding of the ILS at the University of Dayton.

My team is AWESOME. We are tasked with developing an archiving policy for the Maps & Geospatial Information Round Table to deposit their materials with ALA’s Institutional Repository. (Sidebar — did you know that ALA has an institutional repository? We didn’t either!) We’ll figure out things such as roles & responsibilities (whose job it is to deposit materials), selection criteria, descriptive practices, documentation, and instructional materials for the deposit process. It’s an achievable and interesting project, and I look forward to working with my team members between now and ALA Annual in Orlando.

This Midwinter Meeting also offered strong programming on digital scholarship topics, notably the meetings of ACRL’s Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group and Digital Humanities Interest Group. The meeting of the Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group (newly formed under the leadership of Merinda Kaye Hensley and Steven Bell) centered around the research done by Alix Keener, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Michigan, on collaborative research relationships between librarians and (digital) humanists. You can learn more about her findings in her article in Digital Humanities Quarterly, The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities. Even if digital scholarship isn’t your bag, I highly recommend Alix’s article because it speaks to many tensions and opportunities librarians and scholars are embracing as the collaborative structures of the research process are re-negotiated. It’s an especially good companion read to Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists, now an open access monograph.

The meeting of the Digital Humanities Interest Group brought together a panel to discuss their experiences building DH communities of practice within their institutions (Amherst, Northeastern, and Boston University) and their region (the greater Boston area). I find the Five Colleges Digital Humanities model particularly intriguing for us here at Wake Forest because of its focus on undergraduate learning & research. Among other initiatives, they offer digital humanities micro-grants to undergraduate students and hire undergraduate fellows and post-bacs in digital humanities.

Some excellent programs, plus opportunities to catch up with some favorite colleagues and friends and compare notes about our work — my 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston was everything you could ask of a conference.

Midwinter 2016: A False Memoir?

Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:03 am

This year’s Midwinter was a bit unusual for me in that I didn’t find as many programs of obvious interest as I usually do, which led to my attending some sessions that I normally wouldn’t have. About this I have no complaints. It was fun, as was this outdoor section of the Brattle Book Shop (est. 1825):

The Role of the Professional in Technical Services Interest Group put on a program about the changing landscape of tech services (in our case Resource Services) departments as silos surrounding different functional areas continue to break down and collaboration and outsourcing of work to vendors become more common. Sally Gibson from Illinois State talked about “solution creators” as a distinct role within TS departments; these individuals excel at recognizing patterns and redundancies and at thinking creatively about workflows. Her emphasis on attitudes and behaviors (as opposed to technical skill sets) as essential traits is something we’re hearing more about lately in ALCTS-land.

After the meeting of my ALCTS-AS Organization and Management Committee got out early, having bravely crossed a windswept bridge leading away from the sea, I wandered into YALSA’s 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee’s annual review of YA fiction. This was not my usual scene. A lengthy procession of super-earnest Boston-area youths (some in middle and some in high school, I gathered) took the podium to provide one- to three-minute reviews of new works of YA fiction, recommending whether they ought to make YALSA’s final list of recommended books. What kind of kid wants to go present at a conference for librarians? The answer: good kids. Their enthusiasm and sincerity were infectious; I found myself remembering that protocol-obsessed adolescents were my favorite patrons in my early days working at the circ desk of a public library. I will always miss that.

On Sunday I learned a bit about the rise of the online scientific megajournal, a phenomenon about which I previously knew little. Two representatives from publishers of such journals (Springer Nature and Elsevier) as well as one from AIP led a very participatory discussion of the value of these online journals, which publish several thousand articles per year and have been accused of causing a proliferation of lower-quality scientific publishing. From the perspective of authors, the journals sometimes function as a backup plan to publication in the more prestigious traditional journals. Audience members expressed concern about the extent to which megajournals depend for their profits on Article Processing Charges (ACPs) paid by authors. This would seem a valid concern. The publishers make the case that their journals provide an important service by bringing more scientific findings out of the gray literature and into the main scientific corpus. “This can only be a good thing,” said one. My sense is that some commentators would disagree.

I enjoyed a presentation by two librarians from the coolest combination of colleges possible – Nurhak Tuncer from the City College of Chicago’s Malcolm X College and Reed David from the University of Alaska Anchorage – in which the challenge of cataloging self-published ebooks was discussed. This is something Carolyn has worked on here, cataloging the ebooks published by Bill Kane’s in-house Library Partners Press. The main emphasis of the presentation was on decisions the cataloger must make about Publisher, Place of publication, etc. In the same session, Karen Snow from Dominican University talked about ethical decisions involved in cataloging and/or re-cataloging “false memoirs” – books presented as fact but later shown to be largely fictional (think A Million Little Pieces, The Education of Little Tree). Some libraries choose to re-class and move these books to fiction; others leave them where they are with the addition of notes. Practices vary, and the right decision for an academic library might not be right for a public one. Ms. Snow encouraged establishing a consistent policy. I think I disagree: to me these need to be treated on a case-by-case basis.

We are nearing the end. At my ALCTS Planning Committee meeting, we discussed strategies for requiring more accountability from various ALCTS committees with regards to the alignment of their activities to the Strategic Plan we adopted last year. Expect a new reporting form, people! Finally, on Monday morning, Nancy Lorimer, Head of Metadata Services at Stanford, presented on her library’s participation in the Linked Data for Production project, in which attempts are being made at coming up with real-world workflows that incorporate linked data, for instance, the insertion of URIs into legacy MARC bib records and authority records. As entities (a somewhat far-ranging concept) become more important in a linked data environment, authority control becomes a central concern. The fact that we’re on top of this at ZSR is good to know. Thanks, Steve.

And now, the aforementioned earnest young adults:

Thomas – Hither and Yon

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 3:40 pm
Geographically, the weighted average location of Midwinter is a field northwest of Springfield, Missouri.

Histogram of TPD’s attendance at Midwinter. Geographically, the weighted average location of my Midwinter is a field northwest of Springfield, Missouri.

 

I’ve done so much travel recently, I must be just about as developed as Charles Atlas, but only professionally developed, which looks a little different on the outside. I’ll summarize, as each of these meetings had one or two “price of admission” moments.

I’ve also had oddly charmed weather karma, as noted below.

LITA Forum, November in Minneapolis

Light jacket weather.

LITA had one of its best forums in years, and it was great to see good attendance for such good programs. [The 2016 Forum will be great also and you should all come! Its secret location will be revealed Real Soon Now.]

There were two sessions in particular I wanted to highlight. One of the keynotes was from Mark Matienzo, Director of Technology at the Digital Public Library of America. No one quite knew what was coming, but his talk, To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community, and the Power to Name was a surprising and eye-opening look at social just aspects of metadata. I’d rather not even try to summarize—the session was recorded and will be posted within a week or two—but just to describe the major theme: The act of naming something has a power dynamic which, through maliciousness, ignorance, or indifference, can have a harmful effect on the people being named. This includes naming conventions like call numbers, controlled vocabularies, and authority files. I really invite you to watch this one when the LITA office can get it posted (they’re incredibly busy people).

The hands-down funniest session I can remember at any meeting was Does Anyone Even Click on That? by Bill Dueber from the University of Michigan. Aside from being outrageous and a little in-your-face—and energizing—it talked about some important points. Our capacity to do software development, web design, and UX studies (and bug fixes) is always a bottleneck in developing library services. Bill talked about assessment-based analysis of development priorities so that you can eventually say, “We’re going to fix problems A, B, and C, but problem D would take up more resources than it’s worth, so we’re just not going to fix it.” It’s an eye-opening response to a problem that otherwise just piles more and more to-do items on top of overworked tech staff.

CNI, Washington in December

Shirtsleeves and lunch outside.

This meeting has just plain outgrown its schedule, and there’s no way to see everything you’d like in the 26 hours from start to finish. Tim P. has posted about it. I’ll just say that he wanted to take in as much as he could about space planning and I wanted to hit the sessions on public and collaborative tech. We kept sitting together because there was a distinct theme of “space planning for public collaboration spaces.”

Aside from that, the winner for me was a session titles How Much Does $17 Billion Buy? Four presenters from UCLA tackled this question: journal publishers ask us to pay for published versions of an article even when open access pre-prints are freely available. Ostensibly, we should do this because the journal’s professional publishing staff add value to the final version in the form of proofreading, graphics, citation checking, etc, and this value is worth the subscription cost. So, does that hold true?

No.

This early report on research compared over a million articles by University of California authors that appear in both the OA physics repository arXiv.org and in commercial journals. Many details on how to do the harvesting, matching, and text comparison (fun for coding geeks). The big takeaway is that there is very little difference between the OA and published version of most of these articles.

However, there’s some sample bias here, that the researcher acknowledge and are working to correct. 96% of the articles they could retrieve from commercial publishers came from just one (Elsevier), and a disproportionate number of those came from one journal, Physics Letters B. This journal’s purpose is rapid turnaround of current research reports, so they emphasize speed over meticulous proof reading.

But still. If you’re paying a gazillion dollars for journals (or $17B for the University of California system), having essentially identical versions available for free might make you think about alternatives.

ALA Midwinter, Boston in January

One day of heavy rain and wind, but mostly unseasonably mild.

A little rummaging around in the twin disorders of my memory and ALA’s web site turns up this fact: this was my 25th Midwinter. From sea to shining sea, from the sun of San Antonio and San Diego to the day-long twilight of winter in Seattle, to some really impressive blizzards, and the fun of re-routing around earthquake damaged buildings and highways in L.A.

As with the last couple of ALA meetings, I got to attend very little in the way of programming, with the exception of Top Tech Trends, which others have covered. Just remember, even though the conference published the hash tag [https://twitter.com/hashtag/alattt]#alattt, this event comes from the good people of LITA.

Other than that…meetings. Eight hours on information policy, two hours on running effective meetings, a committee of committee chairs, and a committee of divisional presidents. And the five and a half hours of LITA Board meetings I presided over. And yet it all seemed like a very productive conference (okay, maybe the information policy meeting didn’t need the whole eight hours).

MBL’s ALA MW 16 in Boston

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 12:22 pm

My ALA Midwinter Experience was one part presenter, one part attendee and one part tourist. I was selected to do an Ignite session at this Midwinter, which is a 5 minute quick presentation with 20 slides that advance automatically. My topic was on our creation of the ZieSta Room in the library. I shared the stage with people who were telling their brief stories of introducing gaming in their public library after school program, finding grants to support a speaker series, and using (young) students to lead workshops and explorations on new technology. The room was packed, as the Ignite sessions frequently are. When I returned to that room on Sunday to see the next day’s Ignite offerings, the room was so full and spilling out into the hallway that I couldn’t get in to hear them. But, I understand that the sessions were all video recorded so hopefully, I can find them and view them soon.

On the attendee front, I listened with interest at a session that was led by Jason Griffey called “Measuring the Future“. He talked about his frustration with the current library practice of measuring the use of a library in ways that are not actionable. Just knowing how many feet came in your door or how many books circulated last year does not allow you to figure out what you can do to increase any of those things next year. With a grant from the Knight Foundation he created a Google Analytics style dashboard that allows one to follow library building usage, using “scouts” that upload to a “mothership” with cameras that track heat stamps in a way that ensures patron privacy. The hardware is open and the software is all open source. Once you know how people are actually using your library building, you can determine how you might change it to make it even better for users. His demonstration was very interesting. A future iteration of the system will also measure temperature, humidity and noise in a space. I hope we can join this movement!

I sat in on the Circulation Services Interest Group open discussion where there was some sharing of ways that we can use student assistants in new ways because physical circulation is declining. There was some more discussion of SUMA to track library usage. Penn State talked about their work in copyright clearing orphan works. In another library where Circulation and Reference have combined, they were discussing how they’d taken over Virtual Reference and were maintaining their Knowledge Base. More libraries have included Makerspaces in their suite of offerings and things like maintaining 3-D printers have been added to Circulation services, (yikes!). It was an interesting discussion to hear how Access Services departments are growing in different ways. Ultimately though, the conversation moved to who is charging overdue fees, and how effective are they, really. (It always ends this way.)

I attended the best ever Alexander Street Press breakfast with speakers Tamar Rogoff and Gregg Mozgala who are in the new film Enter the Faun. Ms. Rogoff is a choreographer who worked with Mr. Mozgala, an actor with cerebral palsy, to bring this dance to life. Her unusual teaching and training methods and study of movement have actually given the actor/dancer new control over his body and many of the limitations he’d learned to live with have diminished or disappeared. The pair have been bringing these new training techniques to students of physical therapy and their impact is expanding much beyond the world of dance.

On the tourist/networking end of things, I caught up with Lauren Pressley, visited the McFarland booth on the ALA vendor floor and took a picture next to the book I edited, enjoyed the ExLibris/Proquest night at the Boston Aquarium, and had an interesting view of history at the Boston Tea Party Museum.

 

41 hours, 6 hugs, and 1 hotel; or, Molly at Midwinter (sorta)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 4:39 pm

Last week, I made what might be the shortest ALA Midwinter trip in ZSR’s history; it certainly was in mine! I was away from home a total of 41 hours, and in Boston for only 32. But I packed a lot into my up-and-back trip, including several meet-ups with librarian friends (hence the hugs count), and strategic hotel selection so I could skip an early-morning walk in the cold!

To be clear, I did not technically attend Midwinter, as I was on my way to back to the airport when the conference officially began Friday evening. But as Midwinters–and, seemingly, all conferences–are blurring at the edges with tag-along meetings, I guess I was, sorta, at Midwinter. Maybe. My technical attendance matters far less than why I was there: to serve as an adviser to the group founding the new ACRL Data Management Roadshow.

As many of you know, I co-founded the first ACRL Roadshow, for Scholarly Communication, in 2008. Before “retiring” from the Scholarly Communication Roadshow presenter team, I co-led 10 Roadshow workshops. Given my experience in the logistics of both creating a day-long workshop, and in working with a variety of host institutions, I was invited to join the Friday planning meeting for the new Roadshow. A day spent with cool librarians planning a new Roadshow workshop, for which I merely get to answer questions and give advice but have no additional responsibility, in a neat city, with flights that worked out to allow a bit of sightseeing, too? HECK YES!

I am really excited about this new Roadshow, and selfishly hope to attend one someday, as I could always learn more about data management support. The librarians selected as the inaugural presenters are sharp, funny, intelligent leaders in data librarianship, and I am impressed by their workshop development so far. I am also excited that the ACRL Board sees value in the Roadshow model, and green-lighted the creation of a second Roadshow to offer librarians.

And although I wasn’t technically at Midwinter, it was nice to be back in the thick of ALA conference going, as I haven’t been to an ALA since Annual in 2014. Made me miss the big, unwieldy conferences a bit. It also made me excited that I will be returning to Boston in June for a copyright symposium (well, at least that’s my hope!), as there are many Boston to-dos that I didn’t have time, or ideal weather, to actually do!

Roz @ ALA Midwinter 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:02 am

The very first ALA Midwinter conference I ever attended was in Boston in 2005 when I was just looking for opportunities to become more involved in the association more deeply. Fast forward 11 years and I am now chair of an ACRL section and a nominee for ALA Council. What a difference a decade makes.

Before my conference began I was able to play a bit of the tourist (my favorite role in any city) and went with Mary Beth to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. My main interest was to see if my husband Patrick had indeed made it into their museum video – a film project he worked on over a year ago. And not only was he in the video he’s in the brochure!! So that was fun and actually educational. The museum has one of the only two tea boxes that were thrown overboard that have survived to the modern day.

On Friday afternoon my conference began with a meeting of the ACRL Leadership Council. ACRL is revising it’s Plan for Excellence that is approaching 5 years old. The major change that may be coming is the addition of a fourth goal area that may be concerned with the changing profile of staff that work in academic libraries. The association is interested in being useful to those with an MLS and the many people who work in academic libraries that do not have the MLS. I am sure more discussion will be happening on this before the ALA Annual meeting.

On Saturday I met with my section, the Law and Political Science section for our executive and general membership meetings. Lots of section-y stuff was discussed but the biggest news is that we are going to propose a name change for the section to better reflect our membership. We simply don’t have many if any law librarians in the section any more but have many public policy and international relations librarians. The final new name will be chosen this spring and will be sent to ACRL at the annual meeting for approval.

The rest of my conference was divided between the vendor floor and a few sessions. On the vendor front some great new things are coming. Alexander Street Press has a new Food Studies Online product that looks fascinating and relevant to many faculty on campus. I got a demo of LibCal from our friends at Springshare as we are looking for a more manageable way to schedule personal research sessions. The product was impressive and could solve that problem while also providing us alternatives for other scheduling things such as study room reservations, etc. I will schedule a demo for ZSR this spring. Perhaps the most interesting new product announcement came from the American Psychological Association and will be called APA Style Central. It will be a product that institutions can subscribe to that will give a range of tutorials, quizzes, and learning objects centered around APA Style. In addition it will allow students and faculty to store their source citations in the product and do collaborative writing utilizing the full APA style requirements. Will be fascinating to see in action and I am really curious about the pricing.

Among the sessions I found Cory Booker’s talk particularly energizing. LITA’s Top Tech Trends introduced me to the scheduling bot called Amy that now has me fascinated. The services to international students discussion group showed me that all libraries are trying to figure out where they can be of use to these students. Some schools have progressed further than others so there were some great ideas circulating the room. The ACRL update on the Value of Academic Libraries session was not what I expected but was a report from three libraries about programs they have in place targeting diversity. Of their examples a couple stood out – one was a project where the librarians worked to help in workshops that provided faculty with the tools they need to make their syllabi ‘transparent’ and to reduce the use of jargon and coded language that often frustrates first generation and international students who ‘don’t speak college.’ Another was a library that provided a whole range of workshops for their student workers on things from financial literacy, time management and career goals (not always taught by librarians, but facilitated by them) in an effort to help them develop as students and emerging professionals.

All in all it was a great conference and provided much food for thought!

Susan @ ALA Midwinter in Boston

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 8:10 am

ALA Midwinter

This ALA Midwinter conference was my first since I became a Director-at-Large on the LITA Board. This meant that the majority of my conference activities were meetings and the events sponsored by LITA. On the business side of things, the board holds two separate 3 hour meetings on Saturday and Monday afternoons. I used them to become more aware of the types of issues that are addressed at these and to get a feel of how my fellow board members function at the meetings. It was a pleasure to watch LITA president (and our own) Thomas Dowling lead both meetings. He kept everyone on track and on time. I understand it was one of the first times that all agenda items were addressed by the end of the two meetings. Way to go, Thomas!

At each ALA, LITA sponsors its signature event, Top Technology Trends. It is always a full house and the TTT Committee works hard to put together a diverse group of tech experts (which is no easy task). One thing I’ve learned about LITA members is that they are not shy on Twitter and as the program was in progress, people were invited to use the hashtag #alattt to make comments. What came across immediately was a voiced concern on the diversity (really the lack of diversity) of the panel. Of course, people don’t know the back story on what efforts were made to secure diversity. This time, one of the diverse panelists had a last minute emergency and couldn’t attend and 18 other females/persons of color/etc. declined to participate for various reasons. However, that didn’t stop one person from writing a long blog post about The Problems with the LITA Top Tech Panels. But what I think is great about LITA (and its new Executive Director, Jenny Levine) is that it embraces this sort of feedback and looks for ways to improve. At Monday’s Town Hall Meeting (a meeting with the best hot breakfast ever served at an ALA event), President-elect Aimee Fifarek invited participants to brainstorm about three major areas of opportunity for LITA – remote membership, information policy, and diversity and inclusion.

I ended the weekend having a new appreciation of my fellow board members and the work they have been doing and that I will now help them do!

Midwinter doesn’t give a board member much chance to attend non-division events, but I did take the opportunity to attend the President’s Program where New Jersey Senator Cory Booker spoke. He is a most inspiring speaker and you can read a summary of his main themes on the American Libraries Magazine website.

Cory @ Ala Midwinter

It was good to visit Boston in the winter when it doesn’t have snow, but there was a wide range of weather from winter rain to bitter cold/high winds. I did manage to eke out an hour or so to capture some of the sights of the city. And special thanks need to go to Chelcie who graciously let me share her room when my original plans to share fell through. It wouldn’t have been a good time of year to be homeless in Boston!

Wanda’s ALA Mid-Winterland

Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:28 pm

I absolutely love calling North Carolina home. This captured my sentiments perfectly as my plane landed to the NC bright blue sky and awesome sunshine. I guess that is to be expected after experiencing winter in Chicago. None-the-less, the conference as a whole was filled with lots of great engaging conversation. During the BCALA retreat on Thursday we began the work of strategic planning. Tracie Hall, Deputy Commissioner: City of Chicago-Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, led the group through an exercise using the Kaizen model. Kaizen combines Kai which means change with Zen which mean good or for the better. As an action plan, Kaizen focuses on improving specific areas within the organization. These strategies bring together and involve teams across the organization with a strong emphasis on linking managerial practice with and to direct services. As a philosophy, Kaizen is about building a culture where all stakeholders are actively engaged in suggesting and implementing improvements to the organization. The strategic planning process documents feedback from peer collaborating organizations, non-members, members, current and past leadership. I volunteered to work with the group of current and past leaders.

My LLAMA (Library Leadership & Management Association) obligation as chair elect of the Human Resources section was still way fuzzy. It wasn’t until my all sections committees gathering that I learned of an executive committee meeting was scheduled for later that very morning. As it turned out, the chair forgot to include me on the email invitation. At the executive committee meeting I heard program planning details for the 2016 Orlando conference. The Human Resources section has the following committees of which I get to appoint a chair by May 1st.

As a past participant in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Development Program, I was asked to partake in a focus group. We discussed our perceptions of value or lack of around leadership development programs for people from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. Our feedback will be used to inform the design of future programs.

Also of particular interest was the ACRL Personnel Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group conversations around employee engagement surveys. The question was asked, given everything that has happened specifically with regards to budget cuts in North Carolina over the last several years, is this a good time to conduct a climate survey? The answer was really isn’t a good time. ClimateQUAL was the most widely used tool, serving as a measurer for both diversity and employee engagement. Conducting a survey like this implies leadership’s commitment to doing something. It is most important to recognize the responsibility of department chairs and their role in improving the climate. It was stressed that leaders need to be deliberate about looking for the balanced picture both within strengths and weaknesses revealed in the survey data.

There were a few in attendance who had participated in the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. Attendees believed that this survey conveys a good picture of where the library stands in relation to the campus. We continued conversations around the “checking references” aspect of recruiting. Many chimed in that they had abandoned the written reference for the more personal phone conversation. The University of Delaware has started using the “Predictive Index” tool as part of the search process for non-exempt and IT positions. The focus of which is on work style preferences and behaviors. Not sure that I agree to using this as a deciding factor in the search process. I think anyone could manage to fake the attributes of a decent manager. Do you think applicants would answer honestly or would they base answers on what they think the employer wants to hear?

Some very interesting data surfaced from one of the ALA’s Diversity and Research grant projects that was showcased at midwinter. If my memory serves me correctly, it was one of the UC Berkley campuses that conducted the study. They surveyed Asian college students concerning their orientation to college life in America. How long was it before they felt comfortable on campus? What search engine did you turn to first? What did you find most difficult to navigate within college life? Just so I won’t misquote any of the numbers, I promise to post more on the survey results once I get my hands on the actual data.

 

 

Sarah at ALA Midwinter 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015 1:09 pm

The last time I went to Chicago during the winter, I came back with my first case of bronchitis. ALA Midwinter was the second time I experienced a Chicago winter, and I’m proud that I carried out my duties as Secretary of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) despite getting sick the day before the conference. I took an early Friday morning flight and attended the ACRL International Perspectives on Academic & Research Libraries Discussion Group Friday afternoon. There were three presentations:

  • “As a librarian at Salem State University, Zach Newell worked with a group of faculty to successfully write a grant to bring a group of Iraqi Fulbright Scholars to study at the University in the summer of 2014. Working with the group, he identified effective teaching strategies related to diversity, multiculturalism and social justice.
  • Thanks to special grant funding made available to campus units through University of Cincinnati’s five-year diversity plan, UC Libraries started special library programming for international students.
  • Laurie Kutner ran an ALA sponsored trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2014. The 13 librarians from all over the U.S. worked on 3 different library projects in the Monteverde area of Costa Rica and contributed a total of 200 hours to these projects.”

The convener’s notes and presenters’ PowerPoint slides are posted here at ALA Connect.

I started my term as Secretary of APALA after the last ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, and I have been meeting with the Executive Board virtually on a monthly basis. It was great to see the other Executive Board members at an in-person meeting on Friday evening, and I also met a couple of ALA Presidential candidates.

On Saturday morning, I participated as a member of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee meeting. It was great to catch up with other science librarians and plan the science librarians’ breakfast for ALA Annual in San Francisco. I am also serving as Co-Chair of the APALA Archives and Handbook Task Force, and I led the APALA Committees Working meeting on Saturday afternoon. The revision of the APALA Handbook is one of the President’s priorities this year.

On Sunday morning, I attended an informative program sponsored by the ALCTS Linked Library Data Interest Group thanks to Lauren Corbett. The first part of the program focused on VIVO, which is an open source semantic web application that enables discovery of research and scholarship across disciplines in an institution. Seven institutions originally participated in VIVO in 2009, and Brown, Cornell, and Duke are also current participants in VIVO, which aims to build a large web of data, greater than any one effort. If you’re interested to learn more about VIVO, go to vivosearch.org and Indiana University’s VIVO site.

Carolyn at ALA Midwinter 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 11:18 am

The first session I attended at ALA Midwinter 2015 was the ERT (Exhibits Round Table)/Booklist Author Forum which was a panel discussion featuring graphic novel artists, Cece Bell (author of El Deafo, a 2015 Newbery Honor Book), Jeff Smith (creator of the BONE comic book series), Gene Luen Yang (author of American Born Chinese), and Francoise Mouly who is the art director at The New Yorker as well as the publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. All discussed the important role comics played in their lives growing up. Today’s comics and graphic novel artists are willing to tell stories that we as a society may be uncomfortable discussing, and this in turn can contribute to kids’ understanding of diversity. Some comics are now being read in middle school classrooms where teachers are able to lead thoughtful discussions on issues such as stereotypes.

Francoise Mouly, who was born in Paris, shared her thoughts on the terrorist attack which killed 11 individuals and injured 11 others at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Are we going to skirt the issues because we’re afraid of reactions? The world’s reaction to this event demonstrates the recommitment of faith in the power of cartoons. With cartoons being a part of society’s visual culture, cartoonists have to go to the essence of things (e.g. stereotypes) in their art so as to visually communicate ideas, but cartoonists also have the ability to deconstruct these ideas as well. Cartoonists have the ability and a duty to bring to the table things/issues that are difficult to understand. They must be concise in words and back up whatever they draw on a page to communicate their thoughts.

Other sessions/events attended included:

  • Cataloging Management Interest Group – Two universities shared their experiences on having Backstage Library Works (BSLW) enrich their cataloging records’ data with RDA 33x fields. (Note: RDA enrichment of ZSR’s catalog data was performed by BSLW over the 2014 winter holiday.)
  • ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) social held at MingHin Cuisine.
  • MARC Formats Transition Interest Group – Librarians from the University of California at Davis and the National Library of Medicine discussed their library’s experiments with BIBFRAME, a new data encoding format that is supposed to replace the MARC record. Development of modular core vocabulary, mapping and conversion of legacy data to core vocabulary, and technical services workflow were issues touched upon by the presenters.
  • Cataloging Research Interest Group – Presenters discussed their individual cataloging research projects with which they are involved. Two Library of Congress (LC) librarians discussed LC’s Cataloging in Publication (CIP) E-books program. A Binghamton University librarian discussed cataloging of original screenplays using RDA and the challenges she faced such as lack of guidelines or examples, differences in librarian interpretation as to what is considered published and non-published which in turn affects the coding of a catalog record, and consistency in descriptive information.
  • OCLC’s WorldShare Metadata Users Group – McGill University librarians discussed their use of OCLC’s WorldShare Collection Manager and Knowledge Base to manage their library’s collections. Per an OCLC representative, Connexion (software in which catalog records are created and retrieved) will be replaced by WorldShare Record Manager, but no date has been officially given.

Additionally, I got a chance to catch up with my friend and former ZSR colleague Erik Mitchell; have breakfast with members of the editorial board of Technical Services Quarterly (Steve Kelley and I recently got appointed as co-editors of their book review column); speak with publishing representatives about receiving review copies of library monographs; and last but not least, enjoy watching the last half of the Super Bowl in my hotel’s Irish pub, Kitty O’Sheas, with Susan Smith.


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