Professional Development

In the 'NCLA' 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!

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.

 

Sarah at the NCLA Conference

Monday, October 28, 2013 11:46 am

This year at the NCLA Conference, I co-presented with Molly Keener on “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis.” I covered the history of bibliometrics, and Molly covered altmetrics. Each of us provided an analysis with regards to science information literacy and research assessment. I posted our presentation slides on the NCLA conference website. We had a small, but engaged audience with many questions afterward.

In addition to presenting at the NCLA Conference, I completed my 4-year term on the Women’s Issues in Libraries Roundtable (WILR) Executive Committee as Web Coordinator. B.A. Shapiro was an excellent WILR luncheon speaker about her book The Art Forger, a New York Times bestseller.

Since other colleagues have written good summaries of some of the programs that I attended, I will provide highlights of other programs that I attended:

“Strengthening Instruction Through Curriculum Mapping: A Collaborative Strategy for Targeted Teaching” by Katy Kavanagh, ECU; Amy Harris Houk, UNCG; Catherin Tinglestad, Pitt CC; and Heigdi Buchanan, WCU

  • Map learning outcomes (destination) to instruction — Where are we now? Where do we want to go? Look at gaps in instruction
  • Look at how students progress in major over time through core courses and capstone courses and map them from basic to advanced learning outcomes
  • Moving to subject LibGuides instead of courses
  • Tiered LibGuides for Communication majors
  • LibGuides need to be mapped to ACRL Information Literacy Standards and not just to courses
  • Think of ideal learning outcomes; what does the ideal graduate look like in terms of information literacy? Are there courses that address those outcomes?
  • Reflect on what learning outcomes did I teach? Continually evaluate and update along with changes in syllabi

Closing General Session
“Stronger Together: Sustaining Excellence in Our Libraries” by Trevor Dawes, ACRL President

Some of my takeaways from his excellent talk:

  • Libraries should not be complacent and rest on laurels
  • “Institutions that stand still get left behind”
  • As the needs of the users change, how does the library change?
  • Develop staff
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

 

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!

Derrik at NCLA 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011 2:37 pm

I just realized I haven’t yet posted a report of my attendance at NCLA. Should be a good test of my note-taking. As I had observed at ALA this summer, I found the presentations by and one-on-one discussions with vendors to be a very valuable part of the conference.

During a presentation by the Executive Director on NC LIVE, I learned about a “vendor showcase” immediately afterward, highlighting EBSCO e-books. So I skipped the exhibits and poster sessions (sorry Carol) and went to learn more about this successor to NetLibrary. Through this presentation and subsequent discussions with the EBSCO Steves, I learned much about this new product, and I have already been able to make some improvements to our service. For instance, I obtained the correct database-level URL to direct users to the EBSCO e-books home page. I also learned how to set up a “notify” option so that when an EBSCO e-book is in use, the user can have an e-mail sent when the e-book becomes available (before NCLA, our users simply got the NetLibrary equivalent of a busy signal). I also learned that users can share notes, citations, etc., by creating shared folders in MyEBSCOhost.

I attended an informative presentation by Andrew Pace of OCLC about their new product Webscale Management Services (WMS). WMS is a cloud-based integrated library system; my impression was that they had added Circulation and Acquisitions functions to WorldCat. Three WMS Beta implementers-a public library system, Davidson College, and High Point Univ.-spoke about their experience thus far with WMS. All three spoke favorably of the product and of OCLC (perhaps because they were co-presenting with OCLC?). One said that “the support from OCLC has been wonderful”; another said that students have taken to the product with little or no training; and the librarian from Davidson said “I hope I never have to do another ILS migration in my career.”

I also had a couple of good conversations with our EBL representative about managing our DDA title files. We didn’t solve any problems (yet), but I learned more about how the process is designed to work, and he learned more about how we want it to work.

Other sessions I attended:

  • e-book approval – this enlightening discussion of the e-book approval plans at NC State and Duke was previously described by Carol
  • providing access to online resources – this presentation turned out to be too basic to be helpful, with its tab-by-tab tour of LibGuides and its very rudimentary explanation of how a proxy server works.
  • authentication on public computers – staff from the WCU Hunter Library reported on their research into academic libraries’ practices for authenticating users at public computers

 

Mary at NCLA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:40 pm

I attended NCLA’s 59th Biennial Conference on Wednesday; my teaching schedule on Tuesday and Thursday limited my time at the conference, but it was valuable none-the-less. I attended a terrific panel discussion about LibGuides in which librarians from 7 different libraries shared their implementation processes, policies, and uses of this very useful tool. Most of the implementations were thoughtful and well-planned, but several were staged – class guides first, topical guides next, and so forth; and one library described a ‘shotgun wedding’ approach to implementation that was successful despite its rapidity. Like ZSR, most identified a person or small committee to plan and roll out their use. The main motivation for moving to LibGuides was the ease and speed with which guides can be created or revised. Several practices caught my attention: NC Central Law Library uses the LibGuide landing page as the home page for all of its public library computers. UNCG discovered that students don’t see the tabs along the top so they now place links to each tab in each guide’s welcome box. NCA& T adds a box in each LibGuide with links to related topics.

In the afternoon, I presented “Using the Economic Census to Support Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners”. I’ve long been a fan of this data-rich resource for business and economic research, having first discovered it when I was a business analyst with an investment firm. In its report “Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development” the Urban Institute describes how libraries support regional economic development by providing specialized resources and research services to entrepreneurs and small business people. In the current budget environment free, reliable resources are even more valuable and the Economic Census is one such resource. The interface to the data is challenging and, therefore, the Census remains an underutilized resource among non-specialists. In my talk, I tried to de-mystify the Census and demonstrate how librarians can turn data into information for their business patrons. The audience actively engaged with the topic and we had a lively conversation about using this and other government sources. We also mourned the loss of “Statistical Abstract of the United States” another valuable source of data, which will print its last edition in 2013, after which budget cuts will cause the GPO to cease its publication.

BLINC, Business Librarians in North Carolina, was actively involved in the conference. Mine was one of 8 sessions presented in part or entirely by BLINC members; in addition, BLINC librarians led several poster sessions. Following the vendor reception, BLINC held its post-conference dinner, hosted by two of our vendors. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and each other’s company at Carrabba’s.

The conference represented the close of Steve Cramer’s tenure as Chair of BLINC and the beginning of my two-year term. During the conference I held my first cabinet meeting with Vice-Chair Leslie Farison of Appalachian State and Secretary/Treasurer Sara Thynne of Alamance Regional Public Library. We developed ideas for future workshop topics and I laid out several initiatives that I plan to pursue during my term.

It was a full and productive day in Hickory; while I wish I could have heard other programs on other days, I appreciated the time I was able to spend at the conference. Kudos to Sarah Jeong for the great job she did organizing the conference store which was the busiest spot in the exhibit hall and to Steve Kelley for his very well laid-out exhibit hall.

NCLA According to Carol: E-preferred Approval Plans?

Monday, October 17, 2011 9:01 pm

NCLA marked my first experience as a member of a conference planning committee. I managed the poster sessions with my excellent co-chair and long-time friend of ZSR, Iyanna Sims. I didn’t get to attend that many concurrent sessions, since I frequently needed to help the next poster session set up.

The most relevant session to my daily work was about the e-preferred approval plans offered by YBP. In an e-preferred approval plan, you pay up front for the e-book instead of auto-purchasing a print book. The speakers were from NCSU and Duke. The main thrust of their presentation was about streamlining workflow for these orders as much as possible. Personally I was more interested in why rather than how they implemented it. Having heard their experiences, I’m still not convinced that an e-preferred approval plan is the way to go here at WFU. Since they are both significantly larger than us, it’s likely that many more books would pass the high-use threshold, and buying in advance is the best policy for them. From the WFU experience thus far, I believe that a school our size is better served by just-in-case DDA. It was notable that Duke has dropped DDA altogether, while NCSU wants to investigate integrating DDA and e-preferred approvals, two ordering streams which are currently completely separate.

Some of this goes back to one’s philosophy of an approval plan (or a standing order for that matter). Are we buying these books because we think a library like ours should have these imprints regardless of use, or is it because we “know” these titles will get used? If it’s the former, than an e-preferred approval plan is a good idea. If it’s the latter, then maybe our DDA set-up could someday replace most of our approval plan. This is not an academic question for the future. I’m working on a project (sidelined by the whole poster session thing, but I’ll get back to it soon) to identify cases where a book series is on auto-ship and also available DDA. We would need to decide if we want to buy the series as an e-book, or just turn on DDA and let nature take its course.

Other memorable moments from Hickory included a delicious dinner at the Olde German Schnitzel Haus (does that count as liaison work?) and a near-death experience caused either by the poster sessions’ proximity to a dog show or by a literacy program featuring live dogs. Thank God and Priscilla Lewis for Benadryl!


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