Professional Development

In the 'NCLA Biennial Conference 2013' Category...

Molly at NCLA

Friday, November 1, 2013 1:40 pm

Despite living in North Carolina for my entire professional life (and barring one semester abroad, my entire life, period), this was my first time attending an NCLA conference. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, besides the opportunity to learn and network – and present! I was not disappointed in getting to do all three, and was especially happy to reconnect with friends from grad school whose career paths into non-academic libraries means we otherwise don’t usually connect. That alone would have made NCLA worth it to me, but fortunately it gave me much more.

Unlike other conferences I attend, there were very, very few scholarly communication-related sessions, so I took the opportunity to brush up on the latest happenings in other areas of librarianship that I often don’t have time to do: namely, liaison and instruction work. Other ZSR colleagues have already given reports on most of the following sessions, so I apologize if my take-away points are redundant.

Grumble Theory
Librarians at UNCG presented on Jackson Library’s ClimateQUAL survey administration and response in light of Grumble Theory. Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes that motivation is based on needs, and as certain needs must be met before others, needs are order-driven. In Grumble Theory, motivation needs are ranked as:
- low = complaints regarding biological/physiological needs, such as food, shelter, sleep, rest, etc.
- high = concerns over esteem/self-esteem issues, respect, dignity, praise, rewards, etc.
- metagrumbles = higher level complaints concerning value of human life, truth, justice, beauty, perfection, etc.

Metagrumbles arise when other needs are met; e.g., complaining about the color of the carpet, or the break room art. Once low and high grumbles are addressed, an environment is created for self-actualizers to be the best they can be. Using Grumble Theory to help people become more aware, confident, and in control won’t mitigate all problems or complaints, but can reduce them. Much like Ellen shared in her coverage, I feel that much of our work-life balance discussions during 2012 were addressing Grumble Theory needs, despite not using that identifier. ZSR has done well to address our low and high grumbles, and we are now able to begin addressing metagrumbles.

Taming the Hydra, renamed Library Guides: Content Creation to Management
Carol and Ellen were in this session with me, and shared much of UNC’s experience. For a very rare LibGuides user (I think I have 2?), key points that struck me were:
- users view the library as reliable, so our LibGuides must be kept up-to-date to maintain reliability;
- have a management plan for periodic updating;
- limit to one row of tabs (if you need more, perhaps you need two guides);
- create a subject guide with a specific need in mind;
- “something better than nothing” not actually true with outdated guides.

From Resources to Relationships to Reinventing
Carol and Sarah were in this early Thursday morning session on academic liaisons, and again have already reported. Here are my highlights:
- avoid the “let me explain this to you” scenario with faculty (a difficulty in my position as SC librarian!);
- have an elevator speech as to why liaisons are important;
- advocacy role is emerging, and critical;
- success of liaison outreach – increased BIs, etc. – has real impacts on other work areas, and should be managed/acknowledged.

Always Be Closing
Chelcie was in this session with me, but in a different small group for the fun interactive part, and she did a great job explaining the session. My takeaways, both as a liaison and as someone with a specialized position:
- formerly focused on products of scholarship, now focusing on production of scholarship (big ol’ YES in my SC job!);
- engagement is more than “reaching out,” it’s trying to discover problem and apply library solutions to solve problem;
- even if we know what solutions we want to suggest, need to not just toss those off without helping faculty identify the problems – if they can’t see problem, won’t embrace solution;
- useful for thinking through selling new library services.

Research Literacy
This was the first of only two SC-related sessions I attended, which Sarah also sat in on. A librarian and research office administrator from NC A&T shared their work to develop “research literacy” among faculty seeking grants. They took the principles of info lit to apply to grant application process. Key points:
- librarians have expertise in areas that might assist in grant discovery and application writing: search skills, citation structures, literature discovery, writing/editing skills (not often a strong suit for STEM faculty);
- most obvious place to assist is to help ground the application in literature, as the impact of the research proposal must be framed by published research to support application;
- research literacy is info lit with added focus on original discoveries and the needs of original researchers;
- answers needed are not yet known in literature – literature used as building blocks to plan for future investigation;
- collaboration being driven by NIH, NSF calls for increased openness of research outputs in a time when securing funding is increasingly difficult – need to be as competitive and strategic as possible.

How the Judge Got It Wrong
The second directly SC-related session was from a librarian who traveled up from Georgia to discuss the GSU fair use lawsuit. Her talk was based on a research project she did for her PhD coursework; she is not a copyright expert. As Chelcie can attest, I mostly kept my mouth shut, but offered additional insight and clarity when I felt I had to. Overall, her point was that the judge was too narrow in her definition of fair use, establishing problematic “bright line” rules around amounts appropriate for being considered “fair,” and that if the publishers are successful in their appeal – oral arguments will be heard November 19th – the 1976 classroom guidelines risk becoming closer to law; if GSU wins appeal, compels increased licensing by publishers. I don’t fully agree with her assessment, but I also didn’t think she was flat-out wrong. Definitely this is an appeal I will be watching…

My last day at NCLA was an in-and-out situation: I came downtown only to co-present on altmetrics and bibliometrics with Sarah during our session, “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis,” then dashed over to campus to help Hu and Roz in the library area of THE TENT during the capital campaign launch campus picnic. As Sarah shared, we had a small but highly engaged group for our presentation, and we’ve each received requests for our slides after the conference, so we’ve made an impact (pun intended).

In addition to the individual sessions, I greatly enjoyed the plenary sessions and WILR luncheon I attended, and overall had a very positive first NCLA!

Chris at NCLA 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 4:48 pm

This year’s NCLA conference was the first one for several years that I’ve attended in its entirety, and I was glad that I did. It was also good to have the conference back in Winston-Salem after it had been in Greenville and Hickory last, so in many ways it was like a homecoming and the chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends from across the state. Plus, I could say that I really did know the president! There were several memorable moments from the 2013 conference for me, and they made it a unique experience.

Sessions. I attended several sessions that are outside of my normal duties, and I was glad because they increased my understanding of areas of library work that I normally don’t see. I leaned about the history of the “Congressional Record of the United States”, the podcast “Let’s Talk Learning Spaces”, and a presentation for research literacy where the library takes a role in research and grant proposals at a university. I also enjoyed a presentation by Derrik and a panel about electronic resource management systems, learning more about some of the recent systems on the market.

Free beer vs. free kittens. In a session about receiving gifts and donations, the presenters told the audience about their experiences of dealing with items received as materials given to the library through various means. Their stories reflected tales in resource services over the years about what to do with these items, and I know that it has been raised in other libraries at various times. The presenters also referred to an article written by Rick Anderson called “The Myth of the Free Gift“, about how some donations can be easily absorbed with little effort (a “free beer”) while others bring unexpected concerns about care and feeding (a “free kitten”). If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Poster session. Although I’ve presented at conferences before, I had never done a poster session. As an attendee at NCLA’s Leadership Institute last fall, I was informed that participants would be expected to present at this year’s NCLA conference in some fashion and I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve been researching library services for first-generation students at Wake Forest as part of my research project for the Institute over the past year, and I turned some of my findings into a poster session that I presented on Thursday afternoon.

The session was supposed to last for half an hour, but I took questions for almost 45 minutes. The experience was a positive one, and now I don’t feel so hesitant about the next opportunity!

In all, this biennium’s conference was a good experience. I’ve started thinking about participating at the next conference in 2015; but in the meantime I’m going to look more into podcasting. A “Power of ‘Z’” show, perhaps?

 

MBL @ NCLA

Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:31 pm

My day at NCLA started with my presentation entitled “Two Roads to Offsite Storage: Duke and Wake Forest.” to a small but interested group who were there to hear about offsite storage solutions. In a straw poll taken at the start of the session, about half of the people that attended were from Special Collections, interestingly, and about a third of the audience already had offsite storage in place. Marvin Tillman and I shared our separate but parallel paths to Offsite Storage. The contrasting methodologies tends to give a greater perspective than either of us alone, and serves to educate those in the audience on all of the different decision points that are necessary to examine before accepting offsite storage as a solution for a crowded library. The session provided positive reinforcement that the problems in academic libraries are universal, even if the solutions are not.

After my session I stopped in to hear Mary Scanlon present along with Leslie Farison of ASU, and Debbie Hargett of Wingate who gave the presentation entitled “Economic Development in your Community: Become Mission Critical”. Their session was moderated by Jill Morris of NCLIVE. It was an entertaining look at all of the information available to people interested in starting a business. Using the various tools, they determined where in North Carolina a dairy farmer might want to start producing and selling his own ice cream. I had no idea that there was this much information available, and can’t help but think that if people who wanted to start a small business just talked to their friendly local librarian, no small business would fail!

The final presentation I attended was given by Jean Ells and Yvonne Allen of Wake County Public Library system and was entitled “Assessing the Look of Your Library”. They discussed the struggles of trying to maintain a uniform look across many different library branches that exist throughout the county. Since the county has many branches of all different sizes and ages, it is difficult to keep all of them equivalently equipped, but that is their goal. They have attacked the problem by conducting an annual walk through of every library in the county and assessing such things as their furniture, their signage and wayfinding, the repair of the building, etc. One very successful strategy they’ve adopted is to purchase most of their products, furniture, services and equipment in bulk and deploy them across all of the library buildings. This enables them to swap out furnishings from one library to another when needed if, say, one branch closes and another expands. They evaluate everything from displays and clutter, to general repair and layout of the library. After each walk-through a review with the library director is conducted, and a list of concerns generated. From that conversation they develop a list of purchases that can be made centrally to address issues where appropriate. There was an interesting and lively discussion following the presentation.

Ellen @ NCLA 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:15 pm

At this year’s NCLA Conference I was able to find sessions relevant to my service on the ZSR Marketing Committee as well as others which can be applied more generally to librarianship.

“Grumble Theory in the Workplace” with Michael Crumpton and Kathy Bradshaw from UNCG was the first session I attended. They referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which, in its most basic form includes three levels of need:

  • Low – These are basic creature comforts such as temperature of your surroundings, food, sleep, etc.
  • High – More complex interpersonal needs including dignity, respect and praise
  • Meta – Includes concerns for values such as truth, justice, and perfection.

The speakers talked about how to identify the concerns of a library staff and work through these levels of need. The process reminded me of the Strategic Planning Refresh initiative at ZSR in January of 2012 and was a good reminder of the importance of listening to concerns and making people feel heard.

Wednesday afternoon I attended “Taming the Hydra” with Kim Vassiliadis, Emily King & Chad Haefele from UNC. As Carol has already reported, they spoke on LibGuides management and maintenance. They likened the lifecycle of a LibGuide to owning a cat. The initial stage was a “free kitten” which, in its infancy has good information and is heavily promoted. “Middle age” LibGuides are quirky, with outdated designer themes and incorrect navigation. In their “old age” they don’t look good, aren’t correct and have dead links. The final stage was the “undead” which you swore you deleted but kept showing up again.

The goal for the UNC LibGuides was to have the users view the library as reliable. If the content is wrong, the users lose faith. Consistency, timeliness, and accuracy were the key factors to accomplishing their goal.

On Thursday I worked a morning shift at the Registration Desk, checking in attendees. I was then able to attend the session, “Upstairs Downstairs: Reaching our Patrons and Staff” with April Everett from Rowan County. This session was marketed as presenting “low-cost, creative ideas for marketing”. Since that is just what the ZSR Marketing Committee needs, I attended.

April emphasized that you need to know your market and discover what their specifics needs/interests are. The next step is to put inexpensive promotional material (webpage, Facebook, flyer, pamphlet, bookmark, community calendar) into the “hands of influencers” that can pass on the information. Immediately after an event she suggested that promotional material be taken down so your target market trusts your information.

That afternoon at the Ogilvie Lecture, ALA President, Barbara Stripling spoke about her initiative regarding the Declaration for the Right to Libraries document. She outlined the motivating factors behind each of the statements and encouraged participation in signing and supporting the Declaration.

Friday morning I attended another marketing session presented by Nancy Dowd, the author of the book “Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Over-Worked Librarian”, and Pam Jaskot, a Library Consultant.

Some suggestions from this session:

  • Think about your audience – “If you try to market to everyone, you market to no one.”
  • Messaging – Use key values of your audience to craft your message. (use “winning” when targeting athletes, etc.)
  • Communication Plan – For this audience, what is most effective? (social media, newspaper article with pictures, targeted newsletter)
  • Communication Blueprint – grid format showing what communication medium was used for which program. Do this before and after a program and use it for evaluation of the effectiveness of your marketing
  • Partnerships – Go outside your own audience to reach people that don’t come into your library or read your marketing material
  • Cross Promotion – Once someone comes in to your library, be sure they have the opportunity to learn what else they can find there.
  • Give away free stuff – This is where the presenters gave away promotional material for LibraryAware.com.

The last session I attended was, “Outreach to Faculty in the Digital Age” where academic librarians from UNC-G, GTCC, WSSU and Elon spoke about their personal experiences in supporting faculty which included:

  • Use of LibGuides and screenshots to communicate services and features to faculty
  • Attending meetings to raise awareness of library’s services
  • Understanding and supporting instructional needs of the faculty
  • Awareness of the format of courses to see how the library can fit in.
  • Identifying key, required courses to reach maximum number of students.

I hope to be able to put some of this information to use on the Marketing Committee and beyond. It was great to have the opportunity to attend.

 

Steve at NCLA 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013 5:27 pm

So, as you all know, the NCLA Conference was held here in Winston-Salem last week. Here’s what I did at it.

I served as a consultant to the Exhibits Committee this year, rather than chairing it, which was a big relief. I shared all the information with them that I could beforehand and visited Amy Harris and the rest of the Exhibits Committee often during the conference to see how things were going, be available for questions, and generally commiserate about what is a fairly tough job. They did fantastic work, in my opinion.

Since I could actually attend sessions at an NCLA Conference for the first time since 2003, not being tied down to managing the Exhibits or the Conference Store, I decided to focus my attention on seeing presentations by my fellow ZSR librarians.

I saw Roz’s presentation “‘New Research Shows’ – Or Does It? Using Junk Science in Information Literacy Instruction,” where Roz spoke about having students compare popular news reports of scientific studies to the studies themselves. Most popular reports of scientific studies get much if not most of the information wrong, from basic stuff like the number of study participants to the actual conclusions drawn by the study. In fact, many popular reports will say that a study concludes the exact opposite of what it actually says. Roz uses this exercise as a jumping off point for discussing the peer review process with students and well as the politics of publishing. The crowd was very enthusiastic about the presentation, with one audience member saying flat out that she’s copying the idea herself.

I also saw Hu’s presentation “‘Big Games’ in Academic Libraries.” I finally understood what happened to the video game nights we used to have a few years back. Turns out they were rather expensive and the attendance wasn’t so great, so they’ve been supplanted by Capture the Flag and Humans vs. Zombies. Hu talked about the good features of these two games, including that they are cheap to stage, popular, and get students into the library in a fun setting. His repeated statement that he has “the best library dean in the world” caused my friend from an institution that shall not be named to whisper to me jealously, “I hate you.” The crowd loved Hu’s presentation.

I saw Mary Beth’s presentation with the wonderful Marvin Tillman called “Two Roads to Offsite Storage: Duke and Wake Forest.” The audience, while somewhat small, was riveted and paid very close attention. These folks meant business and really wanted to hear about offsite storage options, in detail. Mary Beth and Marvin provided them with great detail. It was very interesting to get the perspective from two very different ends of the size scale, with Duke’s massive operation for their own enormous collections as well as storage from UNC-Chapel Hill, to our own more modestly-sized storage operation.

I also saw Megan’s presentation with Matt Reynolds of ECU, called “Stuff In Dusty Boxes: Connecting Undergraduates With Special Collections Holdings.” Megan spoke about her undergraduate history of the book class and its development, including how she was the one who initiated it. She spoke about the challenges involved in developing a new class, including getting approval from the curriculum committee, making logistical arrangements, recruiting students, and especially, course planning (she couldn’t find any other undergraduate history of the book classes to model hers on). Megan was enthusiastic about the class and drew lessons from the experience that included: be prepared, design the class around your collection strengths, keep your expectations realistic for undergrads, and have fun. The crowd really appreciated her presentation.

Unfortunately, my NCLA was cut a bit short by a cold that I was fighting all week, which led me to stay home of Friday, so I can’t speak about the last day’s activities.

Carol at NCLA 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:02 am

Since I live very close to the Convention Center, I volunteered for the Local Arrangements Committee. In addition to managing the bag-stuffing operation, I spent several hours staffing the Local Information Booth, from which I gave opinionated advice about local restaurants (and handed out restaurant guides prepared by Hu!). I was thrilled to leave my car at home for three days straight, but was mildly disappointed to discover that I didn’t win the short distance award. To my knowledge, that honor belongs to another ZSR librarian (ask around offline if you want to know who!) and a librarian from High Point U. who lives downtown.

Local Information Table
I still had time to attend some of the sessions. I’ll skip talking about sessions already discussed by other ZSR bloggers, and a few others where my main takeaway was confirming that I am already up on current trends. Here are more details on three sessions where I learned a lot of valuable new-to-me information.

Demystifying Fund Formulas in an Academic Library Setting

Lisa Barricella & Cindy Shirkey, ECU
ECU was looking for a different way to allocate the monograph portion of their budget. Their previous formula – based on factors like credit hours, faculty headcount, grad students, etc. – had several flaws. For instance, using credit hours earned in a subject would overfund areas like foreign languages where there is a lot of enrollment at the lower levels, but not a lot of need for library materials. Also their old formula – just for monographs – didn’t account for the journals v. books breakdown which is unique to each discipline. (There was also the procedural issue that the data, which came from sources external to the library, was sometimes very difficult to collect.) Their new formula relied heavily on two factors: how much the collection in, say, Art was used as a proportion of the entire collection and how many ILLs did Art generate in proportion to their holdings. Both of these criteria more closely map to the actual demand for monographic materials in that subject. (The ILL part was not fully implemented due to specific failures in ILLIAD reporting.) Finally the average price of books was considered. While I’m not looking to redo all the monograph budgets anytime soon, I will keep these ideas in mind in case we ever need to overhaul our monograph budget structure.

Taming the Hydra: A Strategic Approach

Kim Vassiliadis, Emily King & Chad Haefele, UNC
This presentation is about how UNC corralled a whole bunch of subject guide thingies all over their website, deleted about half of them, and got all the rest into LibGuides with an updated (and consistent) look-and-feel. Then they initiated a plan to make sure that each LibGuide gets some maintenance at least once a year. Guides that are not updated are given “unpublished” status (i.e. suppressed from public view) in LibGuides. I’m impressed that they were able to pull this off in the decentralized environment at UNC. One rule they implemented was that you can’t have more than one row of tabs. Also every guide has to have an intro paragraph that lists all the tabs. I actually disagree with the intro paragraph idea. More on that in a minute.

I Honestly Had No Idea: LibGuides Usability Assessment in an Academic Library

Randall Bowman, Teresa LePors & Shannon Tennant, Elon
LibGuides best practices is an area where a lot of folks (including yours truly) have lots of ideas but very little evidence. Elon conducted a usability test with some undergraduates to fill the evidence gap. In addition to asking students to perform tasks, they asked some subjective questions at the end.
Some of their conclusions:

  • Students go straight for the search box, any search box. That’s bad news on my guides since the only embedded search box is for “Search this Guide.” That’s also bad if the source with a search box is not the best place to go for that topic. For one task, the relevant guide had a JSTOR search box embedded (also with the pretty “J” logo). However, JSTOR did not contain the particular article that students needed to find.
  • Students don’t read the text on the page. They quickly scan for something that looks familiar.
  • Students ignore the tabs. (Paraphrased comment from audience: I’ve been to three presentations on LibGuides, and they all say that students don’t use tabs! However, LibGuides is built around tabs!)
  • Students were split (on both the tasks and the subjective questions) as to whether “Articles” or “Databases” was the best word for leading students to databases that contain articles. (My own guides hedge on this one by saying e.g. “Linguistics Databases for Finding Journal Articles”)
  • Students don’t scroll, which is bad news if you’re also not using tabs
  • Elon’s main LibGuides page prominently featured the tag cloud. Students didn’t use it, and on the subjective questions they Xed it out as an unnecessary element.
  • Students liked the librarian profiles, which include an embedded chat window. A significant percentage of their chat questions are referred by the research guide pages.

Based on what they learned, Elon is going to lose the tag cloud and have the front page of each LibGuide list all the tabs (like UNC). I disagree with this “intro paragraph” approach since it was also established that students don’t read the text! When I have time, I’m going to edit my LibGuides so that the #1 resource is a search widget, preferably with a pretty logo. If there is no pretty logo, then maybe I’ll add the “Best Bet” star like we use on the database pages.

Chelcie at NCLA 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:01 am

The NCLA 60th Biennial Conference was the first conference I attended in my first professional library position – and what a great time it was! I enjoyed meeting lots of North Carolina librarians, including those who are doing similar work to me right now and those who like me are just starting out.

Most of the sessions I attended fell in the broad category of digital projects – North Carolina’s contribution to the National Digital Newspaper Program; social media strategies for special collections and digital projects; and the new NC ECHO, which harvests the metadata of digital collections across the state of North Carolina and provides simple keyword searching across the collections whose metadata was harvested.

But two of the most memorable sessions I attended were those that fell just a little bit outside my comfort zone but nevertheless still touch on my work.

Always Be Closing: Liaisons As Sales Force

Nathaniel King and Jacqueline Solis of UNC led this session. Drawing on both Karen Williams’ Framework for Articulating New Library Roles and Neil Rackham’s SPIN selling techniques, Nathaniel and Jacqueline argued that engagement requires offering library solutions to solve user problems – in essence, being a salesperson.

Applying the SPIN framework to liaison work looks something like this:

  • Situation questions
    • How long have you been in this department?
    • What are you working on now?
    • What kind of data do you collect in your research?
  • Problem questions – Get the customer to talk about difficulties or dissatisfaction with their current situation.
    • Do you have data sets without a way to easily store & retrieve?
  • Implication questions – Take the stated problem to its logical conclusion. How is the problem affecting the research/teaching/productivity of the customer?
    • How does not easily accessing data affect your research?
  • Needs-payoff questions – Customer describes the benefits of solving the identified problem and tells you the payoff they would receive by solving it.
    • How would it help your research if you had one secure place to store all your data? We have an IR…

Nathaniel and Jacqueline used role playing to demonstrate the framework and encouraged participants to practice during the session, as well. This framework gave me a lot of food for thought about strategies that I’d been using implicitly when engaging with humanities faculty at new faculty receptions, but having an explicit framework within which to place my strategies will, I’m sure, help me to close the sale more frequently in the future.

Telling Your Story with Data

Joyce Chapman and Beth Hayden of the State Library of North Carolina led this session, which focused on using data to support arguments. Joyce was the person behind the beautiful digitization progress charts for a collaborative digitization project among Duke, UNC, NC State, and NC Central so I was excited to attend her session. Most of the data sources Joyce and Beth highlighted were targeted towards public librarians, but the framework they provided for substantiating either claims of need or claims of excellence in service is applicable to all library contexts.

For me, the most useful exercise from their presentation was to take an anonymized example paragraph from an actual grant application and consider how its argument could be strengthened with data:

“This type of special collections materials is frequently accessed by users. The papers of X, Y, Z are among our most requested. The papers of A, B, and C were recently processed and therefore have been accessible for only a couple years. Nonetheless, they have seen growing research interest during that brief time.”

A reviewer of this grant application might ask “Well, how frequently are these materials requested or accessed by users? How do you know research interest has grown?” so it would be helpful to incorporate evidence into the claim. One might say a collection is among the top 10 most requested each year, or that it has been requested more than 40% of other collections. The most important takeaway was to contextualize your data – not to provide numbers in isolation but to answer the question “compared to what?”.

Attending this session gave me food for thought about how to track our digitization stats in such a way that we have data at the ready when we sit down to make an argument – either when reporting on the strength of our services or applying for a grant.

Derrik at NCLA 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013 12:13 pm

Here’s my summary of last week’s North Carolina Library Association conference. Overall, I thought it was a great conference, and I was glad I attended.

E-books

Christopher Harris, editor for the American Libraries e-content blog, gave a very good update on the e-book industry, although it was mostly geared toward public libraries. Some of my favorite sound bites and key concepts:

  • Don’t stress out about change. “Stuff is constantly changing; let it flow.”
  • The last disruptive technology we saw was the iPod and mp3′s. Experts (audiophiles) hate mp3′s because of the lower sound quality, but for the average user, an iPod & earbuds sure beats walking around with a phonograph or boombox. Librarians need to avoid being the nay-saying experts.
  • If all we’re doing is providing e-books, we’re in trouble because it can be outsourced at a much lower cost. Libraries can be filters and help users avoid “analysis paralysis,” like shopping at Trader Joe’s, where much of the selection has already been done for you.

Harris encouraged us to be willing to experiment with new models of purchase and access, and to think with our “math brains” instead of our “emotional” brains. For example, we all got up in arms when Harper Collins announced a 26-loan maximum, but Harris pointed out that for a $20 book that amounts to about $0.72 per loan. “How much per loan does a print book cost?” (in labor and building/shelving costs), he asked. Harris reviewed the current license models used by some of the “Big 6″ publishers. He pointed out that Macmillan does not sell to library consortia, and said (almost angrily), “That’s where we should plant our flag!” because resource sharing is much more important than a 26- or 52-loan limit.

Harris’ parting advice:

The next day, I attended a panel discussion and found out that NC LIVE is already working on a new model for shared e-books. I confess I didn’t understand all this very well, and it’s all still in Beta, but I’ll try to keep this general in hopes that I won’t go too far off track. NC LIVE has been working with Wake County Public Library to develop a shared platform for library e-books. Note that it will be the platform technology that is shared, not necessarily the e-books. It will be up to individual libraries to implement the platform (developed by NC LIVE) on their own websites. The vision is that each member library will be able to purchase e-books and place them on the NC LIVE platform, either shareable or private to the purchasing library. NC LIVE has started negotiating with several NC publishers to make their e-books available on the platform. It wasn’t clear to me whether those are e-books that NC LIVE will purchase, or if they’ll simply be available for member libraries to purchase. Target launch date for the platform is January 2014. There will be some content from one publisher (John Blair, based in Winston-Salem) available at that time, and NC LIVE hopes to have additional content from other publishers available by July. For now, the only access model for these e-books will be single concurrent user.

 

Digital/Digitized Library Collections

I went to a couple of presentations on digital collections available via the State Library. See http://digital.ncdcr.gov/. There’s a lot of good stuff available for NC historical research, such as family bibles, wills, property records, cemetery photographs, a Civil War Roster index, an index of the Raleigh News & Observer covering 1926-1992, and an archive of all NC government websites. I also went to a session that gave an update on NC ECHO [http://ncecho.org/], which searches across the digital collections of various libraries, museums, and archives in North Carolina (including Digital Forsyth, for example). NC ECHO uses the OAI-PMH standard to gather metadata from the various collections, then builds a searchable index of all these collections.

 

Electronic Resource Management Systems

I formed and participated in a panel discussion about E-Resource Management Systems (ERMS). Our panel included librarians using an open-source ERMS (me, talking about CORAL), a ILS-vendor’s ERMS, and a content-vendor’s ERMS. It was fun (in an e-resource-managing-geeky sort of way) to see how the strengths of the systems varied according to provider. The presentation was well attended, and I received some positive feedback afterward.

 

Keynotes

I won’t try to summarize the keynote addresses, but here are a couple of my favorite highlights:

In speaking of our responsibility to present readers with all sides of a controversial topic, ALA President Barbara Stripling pointed out that in a print environment, libraries could place all the relevant resources together on the shelf, so readers have to “at least trip over” other points of view on their way to the books they’re looking for. But in an online environment, it is too easy to limit yourself to resources that you already agree with, so libraries have a responsibility to teach users to look for those other points of view.

I’m sure others will offer a better description of ACRL President Trevor Dawes’ address, but the point that stood out the most to me was his explanation of why Financial Literacy is one of his main areas of focus. Dawes said that student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt in the United States. (Actually, that happened in 2010, but Yikes!)

 

Vendors

If you’ve read my past conference summaries, you won’t be surprised that I had some productive conversations with vendors in the exhibit hall. I talked with the Gale rep about the Cengage bankruptcy, and was again assured that it’s “business as usual” for Gale; she compared the bankruptcy to refinancing a mortgage (yeah, I know it’s more complicated than that, but I still thought it was a good analogy). The Reference USA rep gave me a heads up on a new data visualization feature, and told me to contact our sales rep about it (I think it’s available at no additional cost, waiting to hear back). I got an update on the new Alexander Street Press platform for streaming music & video, which is scheduled to be released later this week (but they’ve already had to push it back once). And I had another license-unjamming conversation with a publisher (like happened at ALA earlier this year). I had gone months without hearing a reply, then talked to the sales rep at the conference on Thursday, and I heard back from the license contact within a day!

 

Susan’s NCLA Conference Experience

Sunday, October 20, 2013 7:47 pm
Wanda Brown Opens the NCLA Biennial Conference

Wanda Brown Opens the NCLA Biennial Conference

The return of the NCLA Biennial Conference to Winston-Salem provided the perfect chance to become reacquainted with the organization and all the dedicated library professionals from across the state that work hard to plan and put on the conference. As we are all aware, Associate Dean Wanda Brown has been the NCLA President for the past two years. Working in the ZSR Administrative offices some 20 feet from Wanda guaranteed that I would be encouraged to participate in some fashion! I was delighted when Wanda asked me serve as the conference photographer. Armed with a photo schedule covering Tuesday’s pre-conferences through the closing session on Friday, I was off and running. Between the photo assignment, the two concurrent session presentations I gave and a stint on the local information booth, by Friday afternoon, I had a full immersion conference experience.

Lessons Learned: Through a Librarian's Lens from Susan Smith

What ZSR Library Does to Build Value/Sage Value Research from Susan Smith

Networking is always a highlight of conferences and I enjoyed reconnecting with many colleagues from around the state (and many locals who I don’t get to catch up with as often as I would like). It was gratifying to see the large number of young librarians who attended and overall the quantity of people who came (over 900).

Here is the slideshow of my photos that played during the first part of the closing session on Friday:

ZSR at NCLA

Thursday, October 17, 2013 5:47 pm

On Wednesday, I spent the day at the NCLA Biennial Conference at Benton Convention Center. Today, I stayed in the office so everyone else could go. What made the biggest impression on me was the ZSR presence. Since it is being held in our home town, it makes sense that lots of people would be involved and they are!

Wanda is NCLA President and she did a great job at the Opening Session. Susan is the official photographer, so she was everywhere.

Presenters include: Roz, Hu, Kyle, Susan, Megan, Mary Beth, Molly, Sarah, Mary Scanlon, Derrik and Chris

Conference Committee members include: Wanda, Mary Scanlon, Carol, Steve

If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive and correct me in the comments. Thanks to all ZSRites for making it the best NCLA conference yet!


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