Professional Development

Metrolina Library Association’s 9th Annual Conference

Monday, June 16, 2014 1:25 pm

Last week, Kaeley and I attended the Metrolina conference in Charlotte. It was different from prior Metrolina conferences in that it was held on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College rather than at Johnson & Wales Univ. in downtown Charlotte. The conference center served as our venue and did so very well. The conference began with a keynote speech followed by 4 concurrent sessions that wrapped around a lunch and poster session. Kaeley and I have agreed to split our write-ups rather than submitting duplicate entries on the sessions we attended together.

During session 2, we attended New Frontiers: Rethinking Library Instruction in Online Learning Spaces. The speaker began by outlining the short-comings of one-shot library instruction sessions: there’s insufficient time to help students refine their topics, to encourage them to read and analyze sources, or connect different information sources in a meaningful way. He asserts that digital learning objects can overcome these short-comings.

A Digital Learning Object is an electronic resource with clear learning objectives that often has assessment tied to it. It can take many formats: lecture, tutorial, online game, interactive online exercise, or a video tutorial embedded in a research guide. It’s short and focused and the most effective ones contain interactive elements. Our toolkit videos were an early version of Digital Learning Objects.

The presenter’s advice for creating effective DLOs includes these design suggestions: start with clear objectives; use a combination of AV and text; break it into discrete sections so none is too long; include interactive elements. His process for producing an 8-module DLO on information literacy consisted of the following steps: define the objectives; assess the intended audience; write the script; design the visuals; record the audio; import captions; review, edit, finalize; distribute.

He used Adobe Captivate to create the modules, but there are many options for making DLOs. They can be embedded in research guides or in course management programs. Finally, he stressed that interactivity is the key to successful online learning.

For session 3, I attended Change Your Approach to Faculty Collaboration, the description for which read “This presentation will provide guidance on how to change approaches to faculty collaboration by playing a more integral role in academic writing and publishing teams” and she did exactly that. Ms. Sorrell provided suggestions for how librarians can move from supporting faculty research and writing to becoming co-authors with the faculty. This is especially possible when a faculty member is working on literature review.

Melanie Sorrell of UNC-Charlotte suggested librarians can play a more integral role in researching and writing lit reviews beyond searching for articles. First, she suggests, publicize your desire or intention to your faculty – let them know what you’d like to do. Publicize your own articles to your faculty so they understand you’re a published author. Approach younger, tenure-seeking faculty; they may be more open to working with you since their need to publish is great. Once you start working with a faculty member(s) negotiate with the primary author and make it clear you can do more than search for articles, such as identifying target journals or writing a section of the review. Establish author order. Once these items have been agreed upon, send an e-mail to the primary author documenting the conversation that includes you as co-author.

Once you’re established as a member of the research team, she recommends doing the following: establish a draft timeline and be sure to hit your deadlines; manage the citation management software; do some background reading on the topic; ask the lead author for a draft of the abstract; and establish a list of keywords, and share them with the author(s) to verify.

Ms. Sorrell recommends documenting your search strategy and including it in the methodology section of the article. Include keywords or subject headings, date range limitations, and any filters you applied. As the search evolves, document how you altered it, document synonyms, truncation or other changes you made. I had never thought of this before and it was a real ‘light bulb’ moment for me.

In the later stages, edit the 2nd draft, using the knowledge gained from the background reading to insure that the lit review reflects the articles’ content. Finally, help your co-authors understand the difference between subscription and open access journals as you decide where to submit it for publication.

Ms. Sorrell’s co-presenter spent the second portion describing open access and copyright issues for authors, but since Molly has covered these topics with us so thoroughly, I don’t feel it’s necessary to repeat that content here.

For session 4, I attended Crossing the Threshold: Threshold Concepts & IL by Kathy Shields and Jenny Dale in which they shared ACRL’s evolution from IL standards towards a set of threshold concepts. Threshold concepts are basic or foundational concepts without an understanding of which, a student cannot move forward or cross the threshold. Once one grasps a TC, one cannot unlearn it. Often TCs are so basic that they go unrecognized by those who understand them.

To qualify as a TC, an idea must be: transformative, integrative, irreversible, bounded and troublesome. They are often concepts that define a discipline and the way of thinking for professionals in that discipline.

Why switch from standards to threshold concepts? TCs are easier to explain to faculty in other disciplines, they offer a greater potential for collaboration, they help explain the ‘why’ behind particular practices and they’re more comprehensive – more than a matter of checking of boxes.

The threshold concepts being proposed by ACRL include: scholarship is a conversation; research is inquiry; format as process; authority is constructed and contextual; and searching is strategic. During the session, we broke into small groups and mapped the new TCs to the current standards. This made it easier to see the shift as an evolution rather than a sharp break with past practices.

Sessions 3 and 4 were the most interesting to me as the concepts are so relevant to my practice of librarianship. I’m already thinking about how I might integrate threshold concepts into my LIB230 and LIB235/ESE305 classes.

Susan: ACRL 2013 Wrapup

Saturday, April 13, 2013 3:39 pm

SustainRT Group Walk Around Indianapolis

SustainRT Indianapolis Canal Walk Tour

Both Friday and this morning were filled with still more session opportunities than you could shake a stick at! Yesterday morning I decided to think about things digital, so started out at a session conducted by staff of Columbia University Libraries entitled “Building the future: Leveraging Building Projects as Platforms for Organizational Change.” Back in 2005-2006 they envisioned 3 different Digital Centers (Humanities, Social Science and Science) that would be aligned with research and graduate study. To that end they made it part of the strategic plan and funding was found (best quote was attributed to James Neal: “If you want to see a library’s strategic plan, look at their budget.”). The centers have been implemented and the presentation covered planning/assessment, understanding user needs, changes in staff roles, training, culture changes for IT, etc..One report they recommended is “Re-skilling for Research” (2012) that looks at the roles and skills of subject and liaison librarians needed to support the evolving research needs of researchers.

Next up was a panel discussion on data curation that brought together 3 organizations at different stages of providing data management services. The session was “Wading into the data pool without drowning: implementing new library data services” using the swim metaphor to talk about one program at James Madison that in its infancy (testing the water), one that is plunging in (Penn State), and one that is the most advanced (Cal Poly) and thus is in the water and “Learning to Swim.” All took a case study approach and shared the steps they are taking to support faculty. The overall message was is that providing these services is not a sink or swim proposition. Just consider where you are and where you’d like to be to build a program at the level and pace that works for your institution.

In the afternoon, I switched gears to the assessment track. I’ll let Mary Beth report on the update given on the ACRL Value Project which we hope to participate in during year two. After that session, I ended the day by attending a session on qualitative research methods (I love qualitative research, btw): “Inspiring Initiatives in Qualitative Inquiry.” I heard about 3 different qualitative research projects – a focus group study (OCLC), an ethnographic study using photo study and immersive observation (at UNCC by their anthropologist who works at the library but is not a librarian. The library is her fieldwork), and one that used the critical incident technique (Rutgers). This last methodology was one with which I was unfamiliar but it sounds like a most interesting approach. It is used to study effective and ineffective behavior and focuses on most memorable event/experience of participants. You ask just two questions: “What did you liked best about (fill in the blank) and can you tell me exactly why?” and then, “What did you like least about (fill in the blank) and and can you tell me exactly why?” (OK, maybe that is four questions if you don’t compound them…..).

After a full day of sessions, it seemed like a no-brainer to join in on Beth Filar Williams’ SustainRT walking tour of downtown Indianapolis. She organized it and arranged for a local public librarian to be our tour guide. I got a chance to see a few sights, take a few photos, and make some new friends, in spite of freezing in the brutally windy 40-some degree weather with no coat or gloves! The picture at the top of this post is the hardy group of librarians who braved the cold to see the sights!

Today, I closed out my conference by attending two future -looking sessions. The first, “Think like a startup: creating a culture of innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurialism,” was a panel discussion that offered case studies and “best practices” that included “fail faster” (don’t waste time on things that don’t work)! I heard a new term in this presentation: The T-Shaped Employee. The image showed uses a man’s figure standing in a T to illustrate breadth vs. depth of expertise. It also was the first time I’ve heard about the California Digital Library project, DataUp, where Microsoft developed an Excel addin/web-based way to help researchers manage their data. In the final session of the day, 3 more contributed papers were presented (and I’ll let you read them for yourselves!): Transformation Begins When Renovation is Done: Reconfiguring Staff and Services to Meet 21st Century Research Needs, Reorganizing the Distributed Library, and What Will Libraries Be When They Grow Up?: Responding to the Innovations of Technology and Imagining the Future.

I’ll also let another of our group tell you about the final keynote by NPR’s Maria Hinojosa because I’m sure they can do it more justice. But, as with the other keynotes from this conference, it was very powerful and thought-provoking. The gist of her message came (for me) in her question to us: Can you see yourself in me, and I in you?

 

Susan: Day One at ACRL 2013, Indianapolis

Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:16 pm

Indianapolis Skyline

Indianapolis Skyline

ACRL is always a great conference with 3 days of educational sessions focused on academic library issues and trends. We arrived in time yesterday for the opening keynote address by educator Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone. His speech was one of the most dynamic and thought provoking ones I heard in quite awhile. He was critical of our national social policy (which he called a national disaster) that ensures a cycle of failure that keeps children from becoming prepared to be productive citizens. One example he mentioned was the refusal to invest an extra annual $5000 at the front end of each child’s education yet a willingness to continue to build prison space at an annual cost of $45,000 per inmate for those who have failed to succeed at learning to be productive members of society. He called it a failed investment strategy. Another disturbing example he discussed was a report by retired military leaders, Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve. In the report it reports that 75% of high school graduates cannot qualify to join the military. The primary reasons are: failure to graduate from high school (25%), failure of high school graduates to pass the entrance exam (30%), felony records (10%), and physical fitness problems, including obesity (27%). The report is calling for action from policy makers to ensure the “most proven investment for kids who need help graduating from high school starts early: high-quality early education. It also helps kids stay away from crime and succeed in life.” In his opinion, there is no strategy to educate the nations children. He lambasted the US education business model where the customer can fail and it doesn’t matter and nothing has changed in 55 years to correct the situation. If you would like to hear him speak, look for this joint PBS/Ted Talk program on the high school dropout crisis that will be broadcast on April 16.

Keynote Speaker Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada’s keynote address at ACRL

 

ACRL E-Learning: Successful Budgeting in Academic Libraries

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:15 am

Over the past few years, I’ve recognized an increasing need and desire to understand the ins and outs of how finances work in higher education. Our library’s ability to obtain the resources to meet our mission is tightly interwoven in the larger university financial maze! However, unless you have a position where finances are part of your responsibilities, it’s difficult to really get an in-depth look at how it all works. I’ve gotten the broad 20,000 ft. view in last year’s leadership program, and I’ve had the front-line introduction to managing a grant’s finances, but I haven’t had the opportunity to see how it intersects (and what goes on in between the big picture and the in the trenches budgeting).

Lynn knows I’ve been hoping to improve my knowledge in this area and brought this ACRL online class to my attention. ACRL offers a wide range of short term online classes that are reasonably priced and are structured to fit the needs of busy professionals. Successful Budgeting in Academic Libraries was offered this past spring as a three-week asynchronous class. Each week, the instructor provided a “lecture,” which was a document that covered the topic for the week. Week one was Introduction to Finance in Higher Education, week two was Understanding Library Budgets, and the final week was writing Persuasive Budget Proposals. Although all of the content was presented asynchronously, the instructor (Melissa Wong) held weekly synchronous chat session where students could ask questions and explore topics more fully. She also provided discussion areas for people to exchange ideas throughout the week.

The course was valuable in that it provided me a framework for what’s happening beyond the library walls (ie institutional revenue streams) and what we have control of locally (typical line items in a library budget). The most valuable part of the course was the result of our first weekly assignment which was to conduct an informational interview to find out about financial and budget processes on our own campuses. Of course, I asked Lynn to talk with me, and through the questions that were suggested by the instructor, discovered a wealth of new information and context to put it into! I also had my first look at the library’s operating budget and now have a much clearer picture of how our funds are allocated and spent.

As it turns out, one of my first UNCG “core” courses this fall is about finance. I feel certain that this e-course introduction will allow me to have a basic starting point for getting into the topic at a deeper level.

New Orleans or Bust!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 11:32 am

ZSR’s version of Thelma and Louise headed out last Thursday for the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The weather, the traffic, the car and the gas prices were all cooperative. Along the way we found interesting sights both large peachand small.turtle

We also stopped to dip Mary Beth’s toes in the Gulf of Mexico as they’d never been there before.

MB

We arrived just in time to attend the Opening General Session. (see Mary Beth‘s and Roz‘s posts for excellent coverage of this event)

We started the next day with beignets and coffee at Café Du Monde and then got down to business. I attended a session called ACRL 101 which provided tips for first time attendees to ALA as well as information for new members of ACRL. Suggestions for participation in ACRL were given in graduated order from those taking the least time to involvement that would require a greater commitment of time. They included reading the ACRLog, following ACRL on Twitter, attending an ACRL webcast, attending a workshop at ALA, and serving on a committee. During the session there was an ACRL representative seated at each table and later we were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves and ask questions. I was at a table with the president of ACRL, Lisa Hinchliffe, who had just recently visited ZSR to present the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. I found the session helpful and have a better understanding of the scope of ACRL.

Next, I attended a Copyright Discussion Group sponsored by the ACRL. The discussion was led by Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The ARL is preparing a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. Mr. Butler reported that they will soon complete the first phase, interviewing librarians anonymously to determine, “how fair use comes into contact with practice.” He emphasized that the ARL does not seek publicity in this process and that the initial draft will not be made available for public scrutiny. The code will address fair use practices in areas such as ILL, electronic reserves, digital collections, and institutional repositories. Butler indicated that the Practices will be “affirmative”. The intent is to encourage librarians use their right to fair use and he stated that the Code’s “legal force comes from its use on the ground.” He said that there are some groups that want to “keep librarians in fear.” The ARL hopes to finish writing the Code of Best Practices by the end of 2011. It will be posted on the Center for Social Media website when it becomes available.

Susan’s ACRL Day One

Friday, April 1, 2011 11:15 am

The first day of this conference was jam-packed from early morning to midnight. This year I took a more disciplined approach to the programming than I usually do, so I had charted out my day’s plan of action. The logistics of this particular conference location made it easy to execute since our hotel is connected to the conference center and all the events and programming are taking place here.

The day started with a Serials Solution breakfast (it was hard on my low carb diet plan). I left before the end so that I could attend my first session of the day, Mashup or Crashup? This session was about two projects, at Emory and Georgia Tech, to consolidate merged service desks. Both schools aimed to consolidate their circulation and reference service desks and it was interesting to hear the comparison between the two approaches. One interesting difference was the way they planned to staff the new desk. At Georgia Tech, a driving force was to get librarians off the desk, yet they also made a decision not to use student assistants, because they did not think this would assure a minimum acceptable service level. At Emory, librarians stayed on the desk for 3-4 hours weekly as they feel it is an important way to gather “customer intelligence”. They had different approaches to the actual desk. Emory did simulations to test various pre manufactured options, while Georgia Tech has selected a custom millwork solution. One of the interesting aspects of this session was their use of polling via texting using Polleverywhere.com.

Mashup or Crashup?

Both schools involved their students in the planning process through things like forums and surveys. They shared their training plan and implementation process. It was a good session to get ideas of how we might think of a consolidation project when the time comes!

ACRL has a track for contributed papers, and I enjoyed hearing two of them: ” Helping the hand that feeds you: supporting the research needs of campus executive officers” and “The Budgetary Importance of Building Relationships.” I’ve linked to both presentations so you can get the details. Both of these presentations have to do with the importance of politics and relationship building in creating value for the library and securing resources.

I have another vendor to thank for my next meal of the day, Ebsco puts on a big event (with another high carb menu). The product they were highlighting is the addition of Netlibrary to their lineup.

I had looked with anticipation at my first afternoon session which was a panel discussion about the recent ACRL Value of Academic Libraries report. I had studied the report last fall as I was doing some of my classwork at UNCG. The report aims to raise awareness of the need for academic librarians to become contributors to campus conversations on accountability and impact. The report “identifies the research documenting library impact that exists and where gaps occur in research about the performance of academic libraries”. The scope of the report is to provide

  • A clear view of the current state of the literature on value of libraries within an institutional context
  • Suggestions for immediate “next steps” in the demonstration of academic library value, and
  • A “research agenda” for articulating academic library value.

It strives to help librarians understand, based on professional literature, the current answer to the question, “how does the library advance the missions of the institution?”

During this session researcher Megan Oakleaf highlighted important areas of the report, particularly 4 specific recommendations out of the more than 20 in the full report:

  1. Define outcomes
  2. Where possible, use existing data (do a data audit)
  3. Develop systems to collect data on individual library user behavior, while maintaining privacy
  4. Generate data that “plays well” with assessment management systems.

Lisa Hinchliffe (ACRL president who recently visited ZSR for the award presentation) talked about what administrators can do to get positioned to make the paradigm switch from assessing use to assessing impact and outcomes.

  • Communicate assessment needs and results to library stakeholders
  • Use evidence-based decision making
  • Create confidence in library assessment efforts
  • Dedicate assessment personnel and training
  • Foster environments that encourage creativity and risk taking
  • Integrate library assessment within library planning, budget and reward structures
  • Ensure that assessment efforts have requisite resources

I think the report offers lots of food for thought in regards to helping determine what to do to assess our impact and to measure our value.

This image gives my impression of the post sessions. They are well attended, too well IMHO as I had trouble getting close enough to talk to the presenter or see the poster:

MB at the Poster Session

I’ve gone way past my self-imposed posting limit and have not finished sharing Day One. But it’s time to head to the next session, so I’ll post this and pick up another post later!

Susan Arrives at ACRL Philadelphia

Thursday, March 31, 2011 6:58 am

Curious Conference Goers in the Exhibit Hall

As you probably have read in Giz’s earlier post, we spent the day traveling in the library van from Winston-Salem to Philadelphia to attend the 2011 ACRL conference. It was a great trip, with computing productivity thanks to Giz’s wifi hotspot, frequent brainstorming for future library projects and just plain good conversation. If you are ever traveling, you can’t go wrong teaming up with Giz, Roz and Mary Beth.

But we didn’t arrive in Philadelphia until around 4:00 pm. By the time we checked into the hotel and found our way over to registration, we were too late to hear the opening keynote speaker. But we did manage to attend the opening reception for the exhibit hall, where we made a beeline to the Alibris booth to find Bill. We also rounded up Molly and then headed for an early dinner. We also managed to spend a block of time mapping out the sessions we want to attend so we all cover as many as possible. The programming at ACRL is very rich with a wide variety of topics and a wide range of time slots. I’ve got my calendar fairly well set for tomorrow, where I start with a vendor breakfast and then jump right into a full day of programs. I’ll report on them tomorrow evening, so look for it!

PS….At ACRL, you can depend on running in to old colleagues and friends. I’ve already met up with Sherry Durren (former Science Librarian at ZSR) and Debbie Nolan (former Associate Dean). They both sent their regards to the folks back at ZSR. Just to highlight how time flies…..Debbie told me she is now into her fifth year at Towson!

ACRL session on future scenarios for higher education libraries

Sunday, January 9, 2011 6:13 pm

In the afternoon I bounced around to a few sessions but wound up the acrl future of academic libraries session. The session was packed and focused on a report of alternate futures for academic libraries. In general active curation roles were popular as was the the idea that online learning could lead to virtual or non existent campus libraries.

The full report is at
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/issues/value/futures2025.pdf

During the question time there was an interesting discussion about the impact of global economics on US higher education. There was a comment made later in the discussion about the need for libraries to explore their value and relevance by following research and establishing their own research agendas as opposed to seeking funding in the role of academic support.

Lauren P. at ALA Part 1

Saturday, July 11, 2009 2:00 pm

ALA snuck up on me this year, despite falling later on the calendar. This year is also a big one for me, as I had both a pre-conference and a book-signing on my calendar.

Kaeley and I flew in and are rooming together. We ran into Elisabeth Leonard and Beth Bernhardt at the GSO airport, and found out we were all staying at the same hotel. We were able to put our heads together for a remarkably smooth and quick trip from O’Hare to the hotel, with an exciting train ride along the way.

chi-town

Once in town Kaeley and I checked in to the hotel and conference, walked around Millennium Park a bit, and practiced for our pre-conference. We got out for a late dinner at a cute grocery/cafe, and came back to rest up for the big day on Friday.

We practiced some more Friday morning before grabbing a quick lunch and heading over the the pre-conference hotel. We both agreed that a pre-conference is a long enough presentation that you really can’t practice very easily until you’re at the hotel with nothing on your calendar. Carving out three and a half workday hours would have been impossible, and running through a few times on a weekend would eat up a whole day! But once we were in Chicago, with nothing else scheduled, it was easy to fit in a few run-throughs.

We proposed our topic over a year ago, so it was nice that it was a more or less timeless one: Instructional Design for Librarians. We tried our best to model what we were teaching. We had a full house (we think 53) and the three and a half hours went by more quickly than we thought they might. The group was great and we got very positive feedback, which was really nice and rewarding.

Afterwards we headed to the LITA Happy Hour where we met up with Susan. It was a perfect way to unwind from the pre-conference, and we chatted with a few other LITA folks. After that we headed out from the LITA Happy Hour, had a leisurely dinner on the river, and came back for a fairly early night.

Saturday has been a big LITA day for me, mostly in the same hotel. First thing this morning was the Joint Interest Group and Committee Chairs meeting for LITA. The meeting is designed to keep LITA leadership in the loop for association news. I really like being at the table for the discussion. Some of the interesting news from the meeting: LITA membership is down slightly, but that is common when ALA raises dues (which it did). A majority of LITA membership is in the southeast. LITA’s working to “modernize the workflow” of program proposals, so this should get easier. If you have something techy to talk about, I bet there’s a way to do it with LITA. (Let’s talk if you do!) After the meeting I was able to connect with the person that needed to find out a bit more about my interest group for our renewal, so I was able to straighten everything out and we’re good for renewal.

After the chairs meeting, my LITA interest group met. This group is the Distance Learning Interest Group. Lauren Ray (of NC, but now in Seattle) co-facilitated and the discussion went really well. I bet we could have continued chatting if we all weren’t scheduled right away.

Now I’m sitting with REAL internet for the first time in days. I’m wrapping up a few things I needed to post online, and I’m headed to the LITA’s BIGWIG (Blogs, Wikis, etc, not actualBigwigs) group for the first time ever. Since it was formed I wanted to be part of it, but my calendar has always been packed so I’ve only participated virtually. It’ll be nice to actually be there. This evening holds a few receptions, so I’m hoping to cross paths with some ZSR folks at some point soon!


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