Professional Development

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Roz @ ALA 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:51 pm

The majority of my time at this ALA was spent carrying out my duties as the Chair of the Law and Political Science section of ACRL. I attended ACRL Leadership Council, LPSS Executive Council, our program, our awards breakfast and our general membership meeting. The big news from our section is that after the ACRL Board of Directors voted, we are now going to be the Politics, Policy and International Affairs Section (PPIA). It will take a while for the name to trickle down through official channels, but that was a big part of what I had worked on over this last year. We are also going to begin the process of adaption our IL Standards for Politics to the new framework for Information Literacy model. That will be a big task.

I did squeeze in a couple of programs. The ACRL President’s Program was on Data curation in libraries. Nothing earth-shattering there but does seem like an approaching storm for libraries over the next 5 years. I also attended the Top Tech Trends panel that LITA puts on for each conference. The final program I went to was the most useful and it was a discussion group sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) of ACRL and was about the process they, and the Communications Committee of the Educational and Behavioral Science Section (EBSS) have undergone as they approach translating their IL Standards to the new Framework model. They have approached it differently but I got good ideas to pass on to our committee once it has been formed. A formal procedure is coming soon from ACRL so we want to be ready to go with it.

Aside from my duties for LPSS and the sessions I attended, I managed to visit a few vendors that I needed to see in the exhibits area. There was lots of chatter about Proquest’s purchase of Alexander Street Press and unless I missed it, ASP did not have a booth at Annual. I visited with Gale, Sage/CQ Press, Proquest, Springshare among others and Mary Beth and I visited most of the furniture booths to start getting ideas about what is out there for new public spaces at ZSR.

I have to admit that ALA in Orlando was not as bad as I had expected, logistics wise. It was hot – but the hotels, shuttles and convention center seemed to be fairly well located and organized. I give it two thumbs up but admit that this conclusion is helped, perhaps, by the fact that our hotel had a lovely pool area that included a lazy river – perfect for unwinding after hectic conference days. Also helped by the fact that Mary Beth and I had a spectacular day before the conference began at Universal visiting Harry Potter. It was truly magical.

NC-LITe Round-Up

Friday, June 24, 2016 9:57 am

On Thursday, June 9th, we (Sarah Jeong, Kathy Shields, Meghan Webb) attended the Summer 2016 NC-LITe meeting at Duke University in the newly designed commons for Research, Technology and Collaboration– called The Edge. What Follows is a brief overview of this meeting and our take-aways!

In step with previous NC-LITe meetings, after some initial mingling and settling in, the group shared Campus Updates with information about recent and/or upcoming changes at each institution’s library. The meeting was well attended (approximately 20 attendees) and included representation from UNCG, Elon, NCSU, NCCU, Central Carolina Community College, UNCC, UNC-CH, East Carolina and Duke University libraries.

Next, the group broke out into small group facilitated discussions. Each attendee was able to select two discussion sessions that centered around the following topics:

Engagement Outside the Classroom (Meghan)
It was wonderful to hear all of the creative ways that our neighboring institutions are promoting library resources and services through outreach efforts. Some ideas that stuck with me include:

  • “pop-up library instruction” or “pop-up exhibits”: attempts to market research services and/or special collections materials through a more informal set-up in a public, more heavily-used space in the library (or even outside the library). I really like the idea of “pop-up library instruction” outside of the library/classroom. It could offer an opportunity to reach underserved students or students that are less aware of resources/services available to them. Just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
  • low maintenance book club: One librarian has had good results with introducing a low-maintenance book club for undergraduate students, faculty and staff. They have experimented with various selections (short story collections, various titles selected around a similar theme or discipline, etc.)
  • digital outreach efforts: A few of the librarians were working with campus populations that are more commuter-based and have to design methods of engaging these patrons in an online environment. They are working to develop and improve upon online portals to encourage engagement with their community members.
  • walking club: an attempt to build community, network with campus affiliates, and promote health and wellbeing– one librarian shared her efforts to develop a walking club with planned routes around campus. She used this time to informally check-in with campus walkers and share library resources.

Assessment (Sarah)
Emily Daly (Duke) led a discussion of assessment of library instruction sessions. At some universities, it is up to each individual librarian to assess their library instruction. Some librarians refer to the Claremont Colleges Library’s “Start Your Research” Tutorial Quiz for pre-class instruction. Some librarians use the “3-2-1 Assessment” approach as a Qualtrics survey associated with a course:

  1. What are three things you learned?
  2. What are two things you still don’t understand?
  3. What is one thing you’ll do differently when you research? (Alternatively, some librarians assess the affective learning domain by asking: How do you feel at the end of this class?)

If students would like to ask questions privately, ask them to write their email address.

Curriculum-mapping (Kathy)
Hannah Rozear (Duke) shared a curriculum map that she created for her liaison department, Global Health. She was inspired by the curriculum maps that Char Booth and the Claremont Colleges libraries created and have made available through their institutional repository. Curriculum maps have numerous benefits, including helping to visualize connections between courses and research initiatives, to identify opportunities for outreach, and identify shared goals between the curriculum and library instruction. As a new liaison, I am really interested in how they can help me gain a better understanding of my departments. Hannah used Mindomo to create her map and had to purchase a pro account (although a free program called LucidChart was suggested as an alternative). She used the course catalog, departmental websites, and course syllabi to gather the content for her map. What I thought was really interesting was that she also added clubs and organizations that were related to the major, as well as research labs, initiatives, and other projects, as these are all potential targets for outreach. Hannah recognized that this wasn’t a giant checklist – there was no way you could provide outreach to every single group or course, but what it did do what help her see the areas where she could have the greatest impact. Hannah will hopefully share the map she created, but in the meantime you can take a look at the Claremont Colleges maps I’ve linked above for more info.

Critical Pedagogy (Kathy/Sarah)
Kelly Wooten (Duke) led a discussion of critical and feminist pedagogies for librarians. Our group was small (just 3 total) so we mainly discussed why were interested in it, what we had already done, and what we were hoping to do with #critlib. Kelly showed us how to make zines and shared some zines that she had created (Sarah and I grabbed the ones on Beyonce and Taylor Swift, if you want to see them). Zine creation is a fun activity to start off an instruction session and students get to take something with them that isn’t a traditional handout but still gets the message across. Kelly works in Special Collections, and she shared some ideas for how to get students engaged in using primary sources in a more critical way, which I’m hoping to incorporate in LIB210 this fall!

Support of New Literacies (Meghan)
Kim Puckett (Duke) led this small group discussion and participants shared a wide-range of instructional content areas/literacy needs related to library instruction. Common literacies discussed included:

  • digital content literacy: knowledge and appropriate use of digital content, including open access, open-education materials, and how to use media effectively in the classroom.
  • intersections of scholarly communication and information literacy.
  • project management: we discussed the observations of students, even graduate students, sometimes struggling with team-based projects or working together in research teams.

After the small group facilitated discussions, attendees were led on a tour of the Duke Library teaching and learning spaces (a full layout and more detail about the space can be found on the Duke University Libraries site):

The Fischer-Zernin Family Help Desk at The Edge.

The Fischer-Zernin Family Help Desk at The Edge.

View of available seating in the Lounge. Notice the writable wall space along the partition.

View of available seating in the Lounge. Notice the writable wall space along the partition.


The enclosed booths located in the Jones Open Lab area of the Edge are one of the most popular study spots for students (so much so that each booth was occupied and I was unable to steal a photo as the booths were turned to the windows).

The enclosed booths located in the Jones Open Lab area of the Edge are one of the most popular study spots for students (so much so that each booth was occupied and I was unable to steal a photo as the booths were turned to the windows).

This is one of the structural columns at The Edge, which doubles as a writable surface for student use. It was impressive to see spaces used in a very efficient, creative manner.

This is one of the structural columns at The Edge, which doubles as a writable surface for student use. It was impressive to see spaces used in a very efficient, creative manner.

Students (and university faculty and staff) can use stand alone touchscreens at the entrance of each meeting space to reserve the rooms (and check on availability). Project spaces can also be reserved online in advance.

Students (and university faculty and staff) can use stand alone touchscreens at the entrance of each meeting space to reserve the rooms (and check on availability). Project spaces can also be reserved online in advance.


Lightning Talks: What We Can Learn from Our Failures

After the tour, a Lightning Talk session on the F word (that’s right: failure) was held and colleagues had opportunities to share the shame *and lessons learned* from a teaching sessions, outreach events, technology demos or other work events gone awry. Here are some quick take-away lessons from these shared stories:

  • Communication matters and feedback transforms.
  • Students need to know WHY – context matters!
  • Good to plan for students’ individual differences.
  • It’s okay to let go of a project that’s not working out. (And learning from the mistakes makes it worthwhile!)
  • Every project needs a champion! Technology can’t solve every problem– owners/stakeholders need to care if a project is to succeed.

Bob at ABLD in Singapore

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 2:30 pm

In May I attended an international joint meeting in Singapore of three groups of business school librarians. The group to which I belong is the North American-based Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD), which is a small group of librarians from most of the business schools that are generally ranked among the top 50 in North America. Our international counterparts are the European group (EBSLG) and the Asia-Pacific group (APBSLG). This meeting was the fifth time since 2000 that ABLD took part in such a joint meeting (previous meetings have taken place at INSEAD in France, the University of Virginia, Copenhagen and Stanford).

This meeting took place on the campus of Singapore Management University, which is situated in the heart of this crossroads city in Southeast Asia. Though it is a relatively new institution (founded in 2000), SMU has quickly matured into one of the leading universities in Asia. It has about 10,000 students and 370 faculty studying and teaching in the subjects of business, law, information science, economics and other social sciences. It grants degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels.

The city-state of Singapore is the business center of Southeast Asia. As my photo below suggests, it is a large, prosperous and modern city. It is a former British colony whose residents are now made up of a majority of ethnic Chinese with significant minorities of ethnic Malay and Indian people. There is also a large contingent of British, European and American expatriates. English is widely spoken. As a travel destination, Singapore is known as a mecca for food and shopping and as a jumping off point for visitors to the other countries in Southeast Asia.

Our meeting began with a visit to the National Library of Singapore which is within walking distance of SMU. The National Library contains an impressive collection of colonial-era documents and maps documenting the founding of the colony of Singapore and its founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

After the tour we boarded buses and traveled to the suburban location of another well-known business school, the Asia campus of INSEAD, a highly ranked international business school located near Paris in Fontainebleau, France. We enjoyed a tour of INSEAD Asia, a reception and music provided by an Indonesian gamelan group.

The main part of the conference started the next morning with a thought-provoking talk by the Belgian-born president of SMU, Prof. Arnoud de Meyer. Prof. de Meyer has extensive experience in teaching, research and administration in top business schools in several countries. His career is a good example of how the “industry” of business schools has evolved into a truly global industry during the last few decades.

During the first day of meetings I participated in a panel discussion on the topic of “Thinking about work: what issues keep you awake at night.” Though I noted that work issues don’t keep me awake at night I talked about a trend that does concern many of my ABLD colleagues, i.e. the downsizing or elimination of a significant number of business school library facilities in North America.

I pointed out that many business school libraries have coped with downsizing by eliminating print collections and evolving into business information centers similar to our own Business Information Commons in Farrell Hall. My advice to my fellow business school librarians who have not yet experienced a big change in their physical facilities was to embrace the downsizing trend and to become advocates of the information commons model of the business school library.

There were lots of individual presentations over the course of the meeting, most of which are listed and linked on an SMU site here. We also had time for visiting a room set aside for the 18 vendors who attended the conference. They were available to demonstrate their products and answer questions.

One of my favorite aspects of the meeting was the way the local organizers wove cultural activities into both the presentation schedule and the social events that took place during the evenings. For example, a group of Malay SMU students performed traditional Malay drumming during a meeting break one morning.

During the dinner at the famous Raffles Hotel on the last night of the conference a local group of Indian dancers provided a colorful Indian dance demonstration.

During our evening at Raffles we also enjoyed a talk about the history of the hotel by the hotel’s resident historian and a demonstration on how to make a Singapore Sling, a drink invented by a Raffles bartender.

Another highlight of the meeting was a workshop on negotiation led by SMU Professor Michael Benoliel.

The best part of a meeting like this is the opportunity to meet and get to know lots of people whose jobs resemble mine. Despite the fact that the members of the three groups work in a diverse group of institutions in lots of different countries, we have so much in common, including many of the same budget and space challenges, similar faculties performing similar tasks, similar students pursuing similar degrees and vendors whose information products are sold worldwide. Here are photos of everyone from the three groups and some of the attendees from North America.

The rest of my meeting photos can be seen here.


Steve at 2016 NASIG Conference

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 5:23 pm

On June 7th, I flew out to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the NASIG Conference, and for my last NASIG Executive Board meeting as Past President–completing my three year stint as Vice President/President/Past President–even though the conference-proper ran from June 9th to 12th. My duties as Board liaison to our Conference Planning Committee and as fundraising coordinator (a job that goes to the Past President and involves soliciting sponsors and vendors at our expo) meant that I was often too busy to attend conference programs, but I did manage to make it to a few interesting sessions, which I will highlight.

T. Scott Plutchak, the Director of Digital Curation Strategies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, delivered the conference’s initial plenary address (or as NASIG calls it, a Vision Session) entitled “Dialectic On the Aims of Institutional Repositories. Plutchak talked about two articles about institutional repositories (or IRs), one by Raym Crow from 2002 and the other by Clifford Lynch from 2003, to frame his discussion of how IRs have developed over the intervening decade-plus. In Plutchak’s reading, Crow is interested in using IRs to challenge traditional models of scholarly publishing and to use IRs to demonstrate the importance of faculty research. Lynch, on the other hand, wants to use IRs to provide access to new types of digital scholarship, to preserve material that might be lost, and is primarily interested in transforming scholarly communication, not scholarly publishing, per Plutchak. In the years since these articles were published, IRs have grown to host a wide variety of content, and there is increased awareness in academic circles of the importance of preserving data. Traditional peer review has continued in various publishing models, including Green Open Access models. Crow’s concern about using IRs to demonstrate the importance of faculty research has fallen by the wayside. Plutchak points out that this was a good idea at the time, but it hasn’t really held up, and that IRs are not necessarily a good way to showcase faculty research. However, IRs can be very good as research management systems that provide metadata about and general preservation and management of faculty research. Plutchak then addressed what he sees as the inner contradictions of the Green Open Access model, which he argued is parasitic on traditional non-open access journals, because it relies on a robust environment of peer-reviewed journals. Accordingly, it is not an effective transition model, because the OA models will always be outnumbered by the non-OA journals. Furthermore, he argued that it is intellectually dishonest for librarians to tell publishers that embargoes aren’t needed to protect their business interests, when we know that a lack of embargoes threatens their business model. Plutchak further criticized the Green OA model by noting that OA journals may not provide the best version of an article for the users needs. It may provide an acceptable version, but not the version of record. With these considerations in mind, Plutchak argued that we need to reassess the role of open access in institutional repositories (which may be better suited to managing research and data).

Another interesting session I attended was “The Canadian Linked Data Initiative: Charting a Path to a Linked Data Future,” presented by Marlene van Ballegooie, Juliya Borie, and Andrew Senior. They discussed how, in September 2015, the five largest research libraries in Canada (University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, Universite de Montreal, University of Alberta) formed a joint initiative to develop a path toward linked data. They were inspired, in large measure, by the American group Linked Data for Production, or LD4P, which consists of six large institutions. The Canadian libraries realized that they were somewhat behind the curve and needed to catch up, while recognizing that such an large undertaking cannot be accomplished by one institution on its own. The group has developed a number of cross-institutional working groups to coordinate their activities, which primarily are focused on educating and training their staffs about linked data issues. They also have a BIBFRAME Editor Working Group, which is investigating how to make practical use of the BIBFRAME Editor tool developed by Library of Congress as well as the BIBFRAME Scribe tool developed by Zepheira. The presentation got more technical than I can really get into here, but my big takeaway from this session was the importance of collaborating with other institutions to facilitate learning and training about linked data, because the members of the initiative are right: this is too big a think for any one institution to tackle.

Overall, the conference seemed to be well received, and the worst management issue I had to tackle as Past President and liaison to Conference Planning was a recurring struggle with the hotel management to keep the bar open later than 10:30 pm. I’m relieved to have rotated off the Executive Board, but I’m not quite out of the woods yet, as I’m going to chair the Program Planning Committee for next year’s conference. Out of the frying pan, etc.


Molly in Cambridge for Copyright

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 4:36 pm

Last week I escaped the extreme heat of NC for the gorgeous weather of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to attend a two-day meeting about all things copyright. This was my second year attending this small, intimate gathering of copyright experts from across the U.S., and I loved it. Our group operates under the Chatham House Rule, so details of our discussions are confidential. But I can tell you that we touched upon everything from recent court rulings to legislative updates to rights statements to model publishing contracts to ereserves to take-down notices to career paths to activist scholarship. Discussions were lively, thoughtful, and well-informed, and I was privileged to spend two days geeking out on copyright.

A few key takeaways:

  • Yoga poses, recipe compilations, and chicken sandwiches are NOT copyrightable – but cheerleading uniforms may be (awaiting SCOTUS ruling)
  • Attribution of CC-licensed materials is no different than scholarly citation
  • The Batmobile is a copyrightable character
  • Madonna, Led Zeppelin, and Disney (now there’s a combo!) are all – individually, not jointly – involved in some manner of copyright litigation
  • Half of all pre-1950 films and approximately 90% of all nitrate films are gone, as the Library of Congress has no “body of record” on file (sad!)
  • When collecting activist scholarship (e.g., tweets, photographs, record, etc.), libraries are not neutral, so if we can’t protect, maybe we shouldn’t collect; also, preservation trumps access

This year’s meeting was jointly hosted by the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication and MIT Libraries, and we met at the Harvard Law School Library. In addition to being a lovely library (hello, it’s HARVARD!), we got a chance to see their spiffy high-speed scanner in action. And when I say high-speed, I mean high-speed: averages 230 pieces of paper, or 460 pages, per MINUTE, and 2.5 MILLION pages per MONTH. It was a marvel!

Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall

Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall

Reading Room, Harvard Law School Library

Reading Room, Harvard Law School Library

Super spiffy scanner!

Super spiffy scanner!


Amanda at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Professional Development and Pedagogy

Monday, June 20, 2016 11:51 am

Summer Institute for Intercultural Professional Development and Pedagogy

What is the Summer Institute?
On Wednesday, June 15th and Thursday, June 16th, Mary Beth and I attended the Summer Institute for Intercultural Professional Development and Pedagogy. This was a two day and one night retreat at Graylyn, sponsored by the Office of the Provost. There were 32 participants from all parts of the university — 17 faculty members from the College and Divinity School and 15 staff members from various offices on campus. In terms of goals, the retreat was an opportunity to examine ourselves and to develop inclusive practices in our own work to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus.

My Reflection on the Experience

My personal goal in attending the retreat was to focus on developing inclusive pedagogy in my classroom. Halfway through the first day, faculty with teaching responsibilities were separated to discuss the possibility (and the impossibility) of developing “best practices” around inclusive and complex communities. Some of my takeaways from this discussion were:
“Re-framing” teaching topics to be more inclusive. For library instructors, this might mean taking the time to develop inclusive search examples and discussing issues like the digital divide or the inherent bias in systems of information organization
When encountering student resistance (or apathy) to discussing difficult topics, it may help to “name your intention” in teaching that particular thing
Consider the disconnect between asking students to embrace ambiguity while also asking them to write papers with thesis statements (or other projects in which students feel compelled to demonstrate no ambiguity)

At the end of the first evening, we were given a book called What if I Say the Wrong Thing?: 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People (I’m happy to loan this out if you want to read it). We were challenged to choose one or two of the habits to focus on for the coming year. The first one I chose is “If You See Something, Say Something” which focuses on speaking up when you witness microaggressions (and macroaggressions, too) or implicit bias. The second habit is “Learn to apologize,” (which I find ironic, because I’m also continually working on not apologizing so much). We also talked a lot about accountability, so I’m leaving those personal commitments here for all of you to read and I’ve added “check-ins” on my calendar to remind myself of to check-in on my progress going forward.

On the final day of the retreat, we were tasked with creating personal action plans. My action plan involves engaging more deeply with pedagogies that are more inclusive and applying these pedagogies in my classroom. I’ve set out a timeline with specific tasks to achieve throughout the summer — these include finally getting around to reading Teaching to Transgress and locating readings (for myself and my students) on writing biographies for people whose cultural background is not one’s own. All of this will culminate this fall, when my students will develop Wikipedia entries/biographies of underrepresented persons from North Carolina’s history. I’m really excited about this project, so please ask me more about it if you see me!

Throughout the retreat, we were partnered and grouped with others to explore complex issues. I learned so much from my colleagues, and for me the opportunity to meet and learn from like-minded colleagues was an irreplaceable experience. I hope that we will develop communities of practice around these issues going forward.

I have a strong hunch that this summer retreat will become an annual event. I highly encourage everyone to apply and attend. I’d be happy to talk with anyone about the experience.

Kyle’s instruction conference roundup: Three birds with one stone

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:30 pm

If you’ve ever considered attending three conferences in three different states in the same week, you’d better be prepared to be inundated with new ideas, new contacts, and challenges to your practice. Here, I’ll attempt to find the overarching themes from my experiences at LOEX in Pittsburgh, The Innovative Library Classroom conference (TILC) at Radford University in Virginia, and at NCBIG Camp at UNCG. See also: Joy at LOEX, Amanda at LOEX, Joy at TILC and NCBIG, and Kathy at NCBIG. They’re much quicker at their writeups than I am.

Pittsburgh has bridges, baseball, and for a short weekend in May, some of the best librarians

Challenging structures and practice

It’s a really exciting time to be involved in library instruction. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy has sparked countless conversations about IL and the role of librarians in the teaching and learning missions of their institutions. The most dominant conversation, I think, has been that surrounding critical pedagogy in libraries, which Amanda so thoroughly covered in her post. I’ll save you the rehash of Amanda, but I will say that I’m really excited to see these conversations becoming more mainstream in the instruction world (although some might react to this with some indie rock skepticism). Some have suggested that information literacy can be considered a discipline in its own right; I think #critlib is definitely the strongest evidence of a move in that direction. Eamon Tewell’s LOEX presentation “The Practice & Promise of Critical Information Literacy in Library Instruction served as both a good introduction to the topic and as an interesting snapshot of current critical infolit practices and attitudes. One finding that rang true from my own experience is that integrating critical information literacy concepts has made my instruction much more engaging and meaningful, both for my students and for me as an instructor.

Other challenges had less to do with what we mean by information literacy and more to do with how we teach it. I found the LOEX presentations “Rhetorical Reinventions: Rethinking Research Processes and Information Practices to Deepen our Pedagogy by Donna Witek, Mary Snyder Broussard, and Joel Burkholder, and “Mixing It Up: Teaching Information Literacy Concepts Through Different ‘Ways of Learning‘” by Lorna Dawes to be particularly interesting. The former investigated IL through the lens of rhetoric and composition theories, finding very relevant connections to the work of our colleagues in the writing program; the latter looked at how we might apply Davis and Arend’s “Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning to IL instruction, especially in light of the Framework.

Keeping awesome sustainable

One refrain of all three conferences was how we might create more sustainable instruction practices and avoid becoming victims of our own success. I think we face this challenge on two fronts at ZSR: our LIB series only continues to grow and evolve (looking forward to new additions to the RIS team soon!), and one-shot sessions, embedded librarian collaborations, and personal research sessions show no signs of letting up. We’re pretty psyched when we get an invite to do a one-shot for a new professor who’s willing to make it more of a collaboration than a babysitting session, but we all know that with more classes comes more student consultations.

Librarians at James Madison University shared how they use asynchronous online instruction as a scalable way to reach the 60 sections (1000+ students!) of the foundational course of their First Year Writing program, requiring just one librarian (!!!) for support, using online tutorials created with Guide on the Side and LibGuides. At the University of Virginia, they employ multiple techniques to make their one-shot instruction program more sustainable, such as focusing their efforts on specific courses, collaborating to ensure consistency across sessions, sharing resources so as not to reinvent the wheel, and setting limits on the number back-to-back sessions and the total number of one-shots taught each day. The instruction program at UVA is much more centralized: they have a standalone Teaching & Learning Team, separate from and equivalent to their two teams of subject specialists on their really interesting organizational structure. Finally, our friend Katy Webb at ECU delivered an amazing lightning talk at LOEX on how she implemented a sustainable method for reviewing and weeding their garden of LibGuides on an ongoing basis. Lots of info here in a ZIP file.

Maybe the best session I attended at any of the conferences was a session at LOEX called “Steal This Idea! Getting from Awesome to Action.” (For slides, handouts, and suggested readings, visit Appropriately, this engaging session fell at the end of the conference, when everyone was saturated with awesome ideas. As we all know, actually remembering and enacting those ideas is the trick, because inevitably we all come back to flooded inboxes and quickly forget about or feel that we have no time to do the things we swore we’d do during the conference. A few things I brought home from this session:

  • Keep a list of your ideas in a system that works for you. I keep mine in Trello. It’s now full of ideas from all of these conferences.
  • Separate “dreams” from more actionable “ideas.” You might not be able to accomplish the Big Thing yet, but you might someday when you have new resources or insight.
  • Schedule regular meetings with yourself to review these lists and check your progress. These meetings should be free of self-judgment! Weed out ideas that no longer work, and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Often enacting big ideas requires big (and complicated) change in an organization. Understanding what elements of a project you have, and what elements you need, is crucial to managing this kind of change. I think this slide is super amazing:

Building bridges and dismantling silos

If you’re still reading, you’re awesome! Here’s a reward for you.

Lots of the work I do involves making connections to faculty as they kick around ideas related to digital pedagogies or information literacy. Sometimes that’s just helping them find a tool or some content that will work for what they want to do in their classroom. Sometimes that’s delivering a synchronous webinar after hours to teach online students about research. But sometimes these connections result in bringing together a team of people, including Molly Keener and legal counsel, to update the university’s copyright policy, devise a system for fair use evaluations, and create a workaround for our lack of a streaming media service using the tools already at our disposal, Apollo 13-style. (More on that later, probably, but suffice it to say that Molly Keener is a steely-eyed missile (wo)man.)

What I’m getting at is that my work, and the work of many of us in ZSR, finds adjacencies to the work of various units on campus, such as the Teaching & Learning Center, Information Systems, and Online Education, to name a few. But far too often, I think, we tend to operate in our own little silos, unaware of how the work these other units are doing might overlap with our own.

So I was pretty thrilled to find there was a thread running through TILC and LOEX that spoke to dismantling those silos and building more meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with (specifically) centers for teaching excellence. One session in particular highlighted how libraries and campus partners can both “buy” and “sell” resources, personnel, services, and spaces in our shared mission of supporting the teaching and learning missions of our institutions. The presenters–a librarian and a director for the CTE at Indiana University of Pennsylvania–discussed how they’ve shared each other’s assets to their mutual benefit: co-marketing events, providing classroom spaces, and promoting services, collections, and expertise. For example, the library has used LibGuides to help the CTE organize handouts and workshop materials, and the CTE regularly sponsors faculty lunches in the library in which librarians facilitate workshops on information literacy or using library resources in their classes. A win for the library, a win for the CTE, and a win for the faculty.

Other cool things

I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Amanda on not one, but two stellar presentations during this whirlwind week. Our talk at LOEX about our LIB100 course redesign was well attended and lots of fun, and her lightning talk at TILC about using learner personas to design instruction was the best of all of them.

Required presentation selfie.

Required presentation selfie. I am not skilled at looking at the camera lens.

Finally, LOEX was a great opportunity to visit my in-laws in Pittsburgh and relax for a couple of days. Sam and I went on a hike; he checked the bridges for trolls.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor here about building relationships with faculty or something.


My trip to ALADN

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 9:54 am

Last week Stephen Edwards and I attended the annual ALADN Conference in Boston. ALADN stands for Academic Library Advancement and Development Network and it was the first time either of us have attended one of their meetings. The primary audience is library development and communication staff, but many deans and library leaders attend as well. And as many of the attendees are public relations professionals, I have to say it was the friendliest first-time conference I have ever attended. It was hard to quietly slip into a corner to check your phone during without six people stopping you to chat!

The opening keynote speaker was Lynne Wester, a donor and fundraising expert who advises numerous universities and got her start as a chef at Disney. Her talk was like nothing I have ever heard at conference — at different times I was annoyed, offended, amused, and by the end had learned a lot. The best way to describe Wester is that she is the Roseanne Barr of fundraising. I never drifted off during her talk! Here are some of my take aways:

  • Donor retention is key — should have multiple contacts per year
  • Donors are over-solicited — not all contacts should include a giving request
  • Don’t print donor lists in publication
  • Keep track of your “ask” to “thank” ratio; NEVER mix a thank-you with a request for funding
  • Tell the donors what you did with their gift — more likely to give again
  • Communicate with donors in their preferred mode — if they contact you by email, respond with email; if they donate online, send them an electronic receipt
  • If anyone at Disney ever tells you “Have a Magical Day,” you have done something stupid or annoying

I went to several interesting sessions and especially enjoyed learning about Purdue’s student video contest. My favorite example was this one. I also went to a session and learned how the UC-Davis Libraries was using their archives to connect with alumni. This was especially gratifying to me as I had served as a consultant for their archives in 2013. The University of Kansas gave a great talk about their use of social media. They shared this hand-out (which I can’t seem to rotate):


The closing keynote was Kenneth Feinberg, a UMAss Amherst library donor and expert legal mediator who administered recovery funds for the Boston Marathon victims, the 9/11 Fund, Sandy Hook victims and the BP Oil Spill — just to name a few. He talked about his experience working with victims and then described his experience working with the UMass Amherst Libraries to donate his papers, fund an archivist and later a media center.

Stephen and I didn’t spend all of our time locked in conference sessions. We meet with regional donors and Stephen got to Fenway Park while I met with colleagues from Harvard and MIT. Great meeting and very helpful!

3rd Annual Paraprofessional Conference – TALA 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 4:40 pm

May 18, 2016 at Wake Forest University

Here is a compilation of comments from attendees of the 2016 TALA conference:

I had a great experience attending the TALA Conference here at ZSR on May 18th.

I found one session in particular very useful and I will share some notes from that session.

I attended the session on “Perspectives on Library System and Catalog Transitions (for TALA Paralibrarians) led by Terry Brandsma of UNCG, Mike Ingram of High Point University and our own Thomas Dowling.

At UNCG and High Point University both of their libraries have already moved to next generation library systems while we at ZSR are beginning the process to transition to a new library system.

New technology needs new systems and a discovery tool is a very important tool in a new system.

Also, being able to synchronize the old and new systems is of particular importance, especially if two different companies are involved. Both Brandsma and Ingram felt it was advantageous to use the same company since the old vendor may not be cooperative if switching to a new vendor and the migration is smoother if the same company is extracting data. For example, the next generation system from OCLC WorldShare Management Services uses WorldCat records instead of individual localized records.

Also, a URL resolver is often included for free with these systems which is a very useful feature.

With the OCLC system it was mentioned that all libraries on the same system will update together to help limit downtime. In conclusion, there are positives and negatives to any library system and one must not rush into a decision in choosing a next generation system. Bradley Podair


I facilitated the Networking Hour Table Talks “Working with student workers.” We discussed how to minimize the price of non-conformance to training, expectations, policies, and procedures. A supervisor should communicate clearly, mentor, and recognize quality work performance to help the student worker succeed. I discussed how a supervisor should be the leader and listed two sets of qualities of a good leader. Listens Educates Accepts Develops Empowers Remembers as well Laughs Excites Associates Dreams Entertains Rejoices. Travis Manning


I attended the morning session on Managing Stress and Finding Balance. It had some useful tips for distressing at work and home. I found the idea of “being in the moment” for tasks we don’t like as well as those we do interesting.

The other session I attended was Perspectives of Library System and Catalog Transitions. Knowing that we will be transitioning to a new ILS in a couple of years it was nice to hear others talk about their experiences of making a similar move. The common takeaway seems to be that there is no perfect system for everyone or everything. Everyone will get something they like in the new system but will, most likely, loose something they like in the old system also.

As always, it’s nice getting together with the other local libraries and hosting it here at ZSR made it that much nicer. Tim Mitchell

I attended the Strategies for Communicating about Change session hosted by Cindy Conn from Elon University.

There was a lot of great information in this session, but some of the highlights are:

Communicate with Others about Change in Positive Ways

Be part of the change process

Communicate productively

Practice saying yes

Voice objections and/or concerns in the right way

Suggest creative, realistic solutions

Adjust your Thinking and your Attitude about Change

Talk to yourself differently

Think differently

Talk to co-workers differently

I enjoyed spending time with my colleagues from the ZSR Library and meeting new people. Kristen Morgan

I especially enjoyed leading one of the ZSR Tours. I always learn something new. It was nice working with John Walsh again! Mary Reeves

The 2016 TALA Conference this year had a great range of topics.

Our opening speaker was Dr. Joel Harter, Associate Chaplain for Protestant Life from Elon University. He offered four practical tips for Managing Stress and Finding Balance in your life.

  1. Learn to cultivate and appreciate silence.
  • Unplug- no electronics (TV, Radio, phones, computers) commit to a specific time of day where there are no electronics allowed.
  1. Find your center or focus.
  • This could be your family or whatever you’re passionate about in life and make sure you have time and energy for those things.
  1. Learn to say NO.
  • Don’t over extend yourself when scheduling activities. You’ll find more enjoyment in doing one or two things really well than a multitude of things with very little time.
  1. Find what works for YOU.

The second session I attended was a networking table talk facilitated by Wanda Brown from WSSU on shifting staff responsibilities. The first thing you want to do is be proactive. You don’t want to let change happen around you. YOU need to determine how you can be a part of the change happening around you. Talk with your supervisor about the possibility of you learning some of the tasks thereby increasing your skill set and you become more valuable to your department. Communication is also key. When you hear about possible changes happening talk with your supervisor to make sure your voice is being heard if the changes directly impact your work.

The networking table talks are always an interesting part of the TALA Conference. Linda Ziglar

I found the TALA Conference enriching because I got to interact with staff librarians from other libraries who work my same position. I found it interesting to learn about how they go about checking out items and how they handle replacements of items. I also liked hearing about the digitization of fading media such as VHS tapes, 8 tracks, and audio cassettes. Peter Romanov

The best part of the conference for me was “Perspectives on Library System and Catalog Transitions”. I learned a lot about the new system and procedure that will be taking place for our new catalog system. Tara Hauser

Shortly before Wanda moved on to her new role at WSSU she asked if I would step in as the TALA representative for WFU and help plan the 2016 Paraprofessional Conference. Since I have done conference planning in the past, it was a challenge I was ready to take on. Through emails and in-person meetings with representatives from several of the TALA institutions, the planning committee was able to bring this conference to ZSR. I would like to give a big thanks to the ZSR people who assisted and volunteered to lead discussions, make presentations, give advice, wrangle paperwork, post signs, lead tours, haul furniture, wrestle technology, and direct our visitors. We couldn’t have done it without you! The committee will be meeting soon to look at the survey results and we hope to learn how we can continue to keep this conference relevant and worthwhile. Ellen Makaravage

1st Annual Wanda K. Brown Staff Development Day

Friday, May 27, 2016 11:10 am

On Thursday, May 19th, ZSR held our first annual Wanda K. Brown Staff Development Day. The all day event was open to the entire staff, and was well received, despite the frigid conditions in the Auditorium.

The day began with a wonderful two-hour session by Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Director of Diversity Education at Wake Forest. Her program, “Unconscious Bias: Is It Saving or Sabotaging You?,” discussed the problem of unconscious or automatic bias and how it can over-ride our more rational, thoughtful mind.

Shayla’s session was followed by a series of eight short, 15-minute presentations by the staff and faculty of ZSR. Every team was represented by at least one presentation. Before lunch, we heard from Mary Reeves about the Criterion Film Collection, from Thomas Dowling about beacons, a new technology that pushes information out to mobile devices, and from Mel Rutledge about his work creating digital biographical files in Special Collections. After an all-library pizza lunch in the Staff Lounge, we continued with sessions from Barry Davis, who spoke about the multimedia equipment that is available in the library for check-out and use, Chelcie Rowell, who spoke about the task management application Trello, Hu Womack, who talked about his work helping to develop a First Year Experience course at WFU, and Carol Cramer, who gave tips about how you can manage your email with an inbox zero philosophy. The short sessions concluded with a one-act play by the Resource Services players called “Code REaD,” a comedy-drama that illustrated how a rush e-book purchase is processed.

The day concluded with a very fun Wake Forest trivia contest called “Wake, Wake Don’t Tell Me,” which was ably and entertainingly MC’d by John Champlin, the Assistant Director of the PDC. The contest included a scavenger hunt round that sent the attendees scurrying around campus.

The Staff Development Committee welcomes your feedback on this event so that we can improve it in the future.

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