Professional Development

Susan at LITA National Forum

Saturday, October 6, 2012 3:12 pm

Columbus Skyline View

Columbus Skyline

As most of you are probably aware, I am the chair of this year’s LITA National Forum Planning Committee. What that has meant for me is that I’ve been working with the planning committee (and I might add, it has been a strong, effective group of people!) for over a year to put together the programming for this year’s Forum that is taking place this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Some of you who know me also know that I have a long-time issue of “hostess anxiety” so you can imagine that I’ve been working to make sure that everything goes off smoothly and as planned! So far, so good – we are hearing positive feedback about the keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, the meeting rooms, the food (it is really good thanks to Melissa from the LITA staff), and the city of Columbus (it is really a cool town). In addition to coordinating the planning, I’m the self-appointed photographer to document the conference (no surprise there) so I invite you to see what’s happening this weekend via the Forum pictures.

Ben Shneiderman, Saturday Keynote Speaker

Ben Shneiderman

Thomas has already reported on yesterday’s opening keynote address by Eric Hellman. Today, we opened the day with a second keynote speech, delivered by Ben Shneiderman, who is a professor of computer science at University of Maryland, College Park. Many of you might recognize him as the author of the seminal book Designing the User Interface, now in its fifth edition.

Ben talked about three main themes: visual analytics, social discovery and networked communities. His talk is available on LITA’s UStream channel: Ben Shneiderman’s Keynote Speech. If you want to see the “short” recap, take a look at his presentation slides on ALA Connect. There are an abundance of interesting concepts and exciting projects that I’m looking forward to exploring when I get back home and have some quiet reflection time.

Now it’s time to get back to work moderating concurrent sessions and orchestrating network dinners!

Susan’s Straight Shootin’ Report #1

Saturday, January 21, 2012 5:41 pm
MB Heading to an afternoon session in the Convention Center

MB Heading to an afternoon session in the Convention Center

For me, ALA Midwinter has become mostly about committee work. I am on two LITA committees currently – Top Tech Trends (the committee is responsible for putting together the Top Tech Trends program that is held at each ALA conference) and LITA National Forum Planning Committee (I am chair of this committee this year). This means I have two business meetings this weekend and will help at the TTT program tomorrow morning. I also have become more appreciative of the great networking opportunity that the Friday evening LITA Happy Hour provides. It is a first chance to renew face-to-face connections with people you have been working with virtually the previous 6 months, and meet new faces who are interested in becoming more involved in LITA.

As Lynn reported, I also manage to rustle up (when in Texas, use Texas cliches) some sort of athletic activity. This year, ALA brought back the 5K Fun Run that I had loved years ago, but that had been on a 8-year hiatus. Lynn and Mary Beth were good sports and joined me on a 6 am shuttle bus to the race site which was held in Reverchon Park. I am sure that MB and Lynn were glad it was dark when a sprint coach led the racers in warm-up exercises because it was too dark for me to snap pictures of us as we did stretches on the cold ground! The group was small but enthusiastic and the course was a nice flat one that included a long staircase at the beginning and end (that was a first in my racing experience).

My morning meeting today was the Top Tech Trends Committee Business Meeting. There were a few members who were unable to attend Midwinter, so I had scheduled a WebEx meeting so they could be there virtually. ZSR now has a traveling WebEx kit that contains a camera, speakers and a mic and this was the first chance to test it out. Giz got it all configured earlier this week and volunteered to attend the meeting and handle the technology and facilitate the participation of the virtual attendees. It all turned out very well and I appreciate his willingness to take this on. It freed me up to take minutes for the meeting (we didn’t choose to record the meeting). We will be replicating this for our Forum Planning meeting on Monday morning.

Following an EBSCO luncheon where many ZSR colleagues showed up (and the sales speeches lasted a full hour!), Mary Beth and I headed to the Exhibit Hall to meet with Crowley, the company that sold us the Zeutchel scanners. She wanted to discuss the long promised Illiad-friendly driver and I wanted to see if they might have an appropriate book scanner for Special Collections. Then she headed off for an afternoon session (as pictured at the beginning of this post). As I write this, sipping on a Starbucks, I am building up the energy to head back in the Exhibit Hall to ferret out other scanner vendors so I can bring home some comparative products.

I’m sure I’ll have more to report tomorrow!

 

Evolution of an ALA Attendee

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 1:26 pm

My last ALA post was about programs and how I didn’t get to see too many, so this post is about the reason why and it’s the leadership post. (One more post to go!)

One of the neatest things about ALA is that it is a conference for anyone with any interest in libraries or information. There’s something there for everyone. You can go to learn, share, network, contribute to the work of the association, and/or participate in governance.

I started going to ALA because of an interest in the work of the association. I wanted to work on committees and productively contribute to what the organization does. And I really like that work. In fact, I wrapped up service on the LITA Web Coordinating Committee at this conference.

The Emerging Leader program, as well as conversations with people I think of as role models, helped me realize that I wanted to get more into the governance side of things, and that’s what most of this ALA was about for me. For example, first thing on Monday I was in a Council meeting until noon, then after a fast lunch, I was in a LITA Board meeting until 5:00. These are seriously long meetings. And at this conference I clocked about 11 hours of Council and 9 hours of LITA Board meetings in addition toauxiliaryCouncil and LITA activities. I can totally understand that’s not for everyone, but it really is something I enjoy and feel that is a good use of my energy. So here’s the rundown:

ALA Council

ala councilThis was my second conference as a Councilor-at-Large. This means that I do not represent a specific body on Council, but rather the people who voted for me. Since I campaigned on a platform about helping ALA adapt to future expectations, I feel I represent people especially concerned with keeping ALA relevant. This conference was ripe for discussion relevant to the constituency most interested in that platform. We discusses the Future Perfect Task Force, the Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content report as well as a Council Effectiveness Task Force. Despite my shyness, this was my inaugural conference for saying something from the floor and I did it twice! My comments were along these lines:

People speaking against the Future Perfect report (notice the fun name… future perfect is “will have been”) seemed to be focused a lot about how we’ve done things in the past or how our current members might not like what it proposed. I suggested that though these comments might be true, this report might have ideas that would make us more appealing to those who have chosen not to join or those who in the future would not find the current model relevant to them.

My other comment was about communicating out. There was a suggestion in the Council Effectiveness report that suggested councilors communicate more with the membership about who they are and what they find important as well as find ways to listen to their constituency. Again, completely in line with the folks who voted for me based on my video or Twitter activities. Several people were saying they didn’t want to be so public or take the time to make videos and that people knew who they were and how to get in touch with them. I suggested that we hear from people who know how to find us but we don’t hear from the many that just think of ALA as a conference for programming with no idea about who is on council, why, or what we do. This doesn’t mean they don’t care about the issues. I suggested we follow the recommendations so that people can learn more about how council works and what issues we are discussing. Anything you want to know? :)

So my first foray into speaking on the floor was basically two comments on the same theme, but I was compelled to speak to the issue twice since we kept coming to the same place.

ALA Council covered a lot of other ground as well: a resolution supporting a UN Report, a resolution to share all council documents via ALA Connect (the Facebook/Acad1/wiki/discussion list/etc of ALA), and others. I was really disappointed that I had to leave early. My flight was cancelled and the only way to get out on Tuesday was to switch airlines and leave several hours early. On the upside, after this conference I feel much more confident of my role and how to function as a councilor.

LITA Board

My LITA Board terms actually begins today, so I just attended LITA Board meetings as a guest at this conference. The main distinction I picked up was that whereas ALA Council focuses on governance and policy, LITA Board appears to be more about strategy and planning. For example, there is a Treasurer of ALA and a Budget Review Committee, so anything financial that comes before Council has been thoroughly vetted and has little discussion. LITA doesn’t have these bodies, so the Board spent much of its time on topics related to budget and membership. LITA’s been working on a strategic plan since I’ve gotten involved, so in addition we’re seeing the implementation of that now.

I also learned about different roles I’ll have to take on as a board member. I’ll have to give up my seat on a committee (makes sense, it allows for broader participation), but will have to take on liaising to a committee to share information from the Board. I joined a subcommittee of the Board charged with dealing with a few issues specific to the budget as well as how to generate more revenue. So at this point I’m ready to dive in!

I think the LITA work will be a nice thing to have in parallel to Council. In LITA, we’ll see concrete results of actions–and fast–where sometimes the work of Council–though meaningful–doesn’t have the same obvious high-impact to the membership.

If you think you’d like doing any of this type of work, and don’t mind learning a few procedural/cultural ways of having conversations (we use Sturgis, for example), I’d love to talk to anyone who thinks they might want to run for office. ALA tends to propose slates of candidates, but any member can run if they get enough signatures. Those candidates are not distinguished on the ballot from slate candidates, and many times they win!

And it’s not all work. We know how to have fun, too!

ala councilors at work

(cross posted to laurenpressley.com with a few modifications)

Susan at ALA in the Big Easy: Just Getting Started

Sunday, June 26, 2011 1:23 am

It Gets Better Message

Dan Savage: Opening General Session Keynote Speaker

This is my fourth trip to New Orleans, and the first one in the past three where I didn’t arrive by bus! However, it is my first ALA here and that really makes for a different experience. The city is back to bustling, and you add in several thousand librarians loose in the Big Easy…..there’s no telling (What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans!)

Seriously, we hit the ground running once we arrived. Within ten minutes of unpacking our suitcases in our hotel, roommate Carolyn McCallum and I met up with Roz Tedford (who had been here vacationing for a few days already), and hopped the shuttle to the Convention Center to catch the opening keynote address by Dan Savage. We had to sit through an hour of intro activities (welcomes, awards, introductions) that included brief speeches by New Orleans mayor MItch Landrieu and Melinda Gates (virtually).

It was worth the wait when Dan finally got on stage. I was not familiar with him, but he talked about his “It Gets Better” project, a YouTube video campaign that solicited videos from GLBT adults so they can talk directly to teenage gays to tell them that things do get better. I have a feeling that you will be hearing more eloquently from Roz about this talk, but it was one of the most powerful ALA general session speeches I have ever heard.

The picture above shows Dan during his presentation, but I included the image for a second reason. I just happened to notice last week on ALA Direct that they were sponsoring an “ALA Photo Scavenger Hunt” throughout the conference. You might not be surprised that this caught my attention. By 8 am each day between last Thursday and next Tuesday, a list of items to be photographed is posted on ALA Connect. Each image is assigned a different point value, depending on how much ALA wants to showcase it. The items are a variety of places, people and events. Contestants post the images on their Flickr accounts and then add them to the ALA Annual 11 Flickr group. I’ve found they put many more items on the list than it would be feasible to find each day, and the assortment is varied. The benefit for ALA is that they increase their chances of getting images on their ALA Flickr group that highlight the events they want. The outcome for me (besides the fun of taking the shot) is that it has facilitated my exploration of areas of the conference which I would have never done under my own steam. I talked with comic book artists, the membership pavilion ALA staff, and vendors, as well as visited the cooking demo area, the copyright help desk and made a contribution to the Spectrum Scholar program! It is actually very energizing to expand my conference experience using a tool that I love. The picture of Dan was my entry for the item on Friday’s list: “Make your own “It Gets Better” message photo.”

Friday evenings are always the beginning of the networking portion of the conference. As usual, I attended the LITA Happy Hour. Now that I’m on two LITA committees, I enjoy getting the opportunity to touch base with all the people I’ve been working with virtually during the previous half year.

I finished the first day off over dinner with my ZSR Library colleagues (Roz, Mary Beth, Ellen, Steve, and Roz’s sister) at a very good restaurant (there are tons of excellent restaurants in NO), the Palace Cafe. I behaved myself, but several of our group gave in to temptation and had a New Orleans specialty, bananas foster.

Making Bananas Foster at the Palace Cafe

Lauren P.’s ALA Midwinter, part III: LITA and a bit about Council

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 2:09 pm

My big lesson this ALA: conferences are for lots of things. In the beginning, for me at least, it’s a big mix. Over time, I’ve started attending a more specialized conference. ALAs can be about programs, vendors, meetings with individuals from across the country, committee work, governing work, and networking. For a few years, my ALA had evolved to primarily be about committee work. Now it’s looking like my ALA is evolving to be mostly about governance. And it’s really interesting! I’m going to do a series of posts over on my blog about council, my experience, and my votes if you’re interested in the details. We’re in the final session of Council at the moment. Today’s session is scheduled for about 4.5 hours and I’m blogging in the breaks.

As for LITA, I’ve really scaled back my LITA involvement for last annual and this conference. I’m about to ramp back up, though, as I’ll start doing conferences normally (without the family), but for now I’ve just had a few obligations. I did the panel on the first day, Sunday I participated in LITA’s Web Coordinating Committee, and yesterday I was there for most of the Town Hall Susan described.

To keep your ALA reading to a minimum, I’ll just focus on the Web Coordinating Committee. It’s sortof like the ZSR web committee for LITA. In the past year we’ve broken into two subcommittees: technical and communication. I’m on the communication end of things. We’re looking at how to redesign the site and to consolidate all of our web presences. My role is to head up a small sub group to make recommendations on how to consolidate the web site, wiki, blog, ala connect space, and all the social networks. I also am serving on a small sub group focused on redirecting the blog to be more about information sharing and less about the organization itself.

It’s really interesting to be part of the organization at a time when our web presences have matured to a sprawling organization. It’s something I think every organization will deal with at some point, but bigger ones with more web content generators will first. I also think it was brilliant to conceive of web work as two distinct roles: the technology (servers, upgrades, new tools, etc) and the communication (content generation, information architecture, etc). I look forward to where the web presence will be in a few years.

As it turns out, Council just ended! Here is the big news:

  • Resolution for encouraging job ads to specify if provide domestic partner benefits: passed
  • Resolution from COL on open access to government information: passed
  • Resolution on notifying conference participants about “do not patronize” lists: denied
  • Resolution encouraging congress to reintroduce and vote on the dream act: passed
  • Resolution on the removal and censorship of artwork from Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery: passed
  • Resolutionon Wikileaks and federal agencies: tabled
  • Resolution in Support of Wikileaks: tabled
Now, off to find the family!

Susan’s Final Day of ALA Midwinter 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 2:00 am

This morning I completed my participation in the 2011 ALA Midwinter. Most years, I have headed home on Monday morning since my committee obligations are usually done by Sunday. However, because I am getting more involved with LITA, I needed to attend the LITA Town Hall Meeting. This is a breakfast session for LITA members to have discussions about “about how LITA responds to and involves its membership in the larger information, association, community-building, and technology-related landscape.” Last year LITA finalized its Strategic Plan and specific goals and objectives from this plan were assigned to each of LITA’s committees. At this morning’s meeting, each committee chair reported on their group’s activities and accomplishments as they related to their assigned objectives. It was the first time I’ve really heard specifics about what each committee does (which is very useful to understand). As in other years, some time was spent in breakout discussions to generate suggestions and ideas for future direction of the organization. Each table captured their discussions and the results were given to the leadership group. Learning all of this has become somewhat important as I was asked to chair the 2012 LITA National Forum Planning Committee and accepted. I need to gain a better “big picture” view of the structure and culture of LITA if I want to be successful (which I do!). To that end, following the Town Hall meeting, I met with the LITA President-Elect Colleen Cuddy to start brainstorming about potential committee members for the planning committee. I’ve served on the committee two different years, but it’s much different being a member than being the one responsible to lead the entire endeavor. It felt good to get a bit of a jump start and learn more about the time table for keeping the conference planning on track.

Hotel del Coronado

I finished up by noon, but our flight doesn’t head us home until tomorrow (and I am crossing my fingers that all goes smoothly!). So this afternoon, we took advantage of the weather and the fact that I’m a strong believer in the educational benefit of travel to new places. We hopped a water taxi and headed over to Coronado, which is on the ocean side of San Diego Bay. Once we arrived, we walked over a mile to the ocean side to visit Hotel del Coronado, which was built in 1888. At that time it was the largest resort hotel in the world, and the first to use electricity (Wikipedia). It was the location used in Marilyn Monroe’s movie “Some Like it Hot.” It was a perfect afternoon and a wonderful way to recharge in anticipation of a grueling travel day tomorrow :-)

Susan’s Day 2 @ ALA Midwinter: Top Tech Trends

Sunday, January 9, 2011 6:41 pm

Top Technology Trends
I am on the LITA Top Technology Trends Committee this year and the main purpose of this group is to put on this popular event at each Midwinter and Annual ALA Conference. Top Tech Trends took place this morning with a panel of “trendsters,” who discuss current technology trends and often predict future trends. The panel this year had some familiar faces and some new ones, including our own Erik Mitchell! The other panelists were:

  • Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Strategist, OCLC
  • Rachel Frick, Program Director, Digital Library Federation
  • Monique Sendze, Associate Director of Information Technology, Douglas County Libraries, Colorado
  • Jeffrey Trzeciak, University Librarian, McMaster University

This year each panelist presented two trends and then the audience interacted with questions and comments. Being such a techie group, the committee did a live feed of the session (which was watched by about 40 viewers and recorded it for later viewing. My job this morning was to monitor the twitter feed in case questions were posed for the panelists. My “mopup” assignment is to view the recorded session and work up a list of URL’s and websites cited by the panelists to share over the LITA site.

Immediately following the conclusion of the event, the committee met to start planning for the ALA Annual event, in New Orleans in June. I got an assignment I can sink my teeth into: find a restaurant for the committee and panelist to meet and get acquainted the night prior to the session. Having visited New Orleans three times now, and having never eaten in the same place twice, it will be a fun assignment!

Right now, I am writing from the LITA emerging technologies interest group meeting. I was hoping for some new and exciting ideas, but the talk is centered around technologies that we are already working with: QR Codes, augmented reality, location based services, Evernote, Dropbox, etc. It was nice to see folks get introduced to these handy technologies, but, for me, the real new tech ideas came in this morning’s Top Tech Trends session.

Susan’s ALA Midwinter, Day 1 in San Diego

Sunday, January 9, 2011 2:01 pm

San Diego Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center

After arriving in San Diego in late afternoon Friday, I jumped right into conference mode first thing Saturday morning. Roz and I attended a Serials Solution breakfast and heard a very interesting talk by Carol Tenopir about “Beyond Topic: How Readers Choose What Articles to Read.” Roz did an admirable job explaining the context of the talk, so I won’t repeat here, but I’ve linked to what looks like a very similar slide presentation of the topic by Carol.

My focus for the day was distance learning. Since offering support to online education students will be new for ZSR Library and I’m chairing the work group to formulate a plan, I attended the LITA Distance Learning Interest Group meeting (Lauren P. used to chair this group). It was an informal gathering and there were two of us whose institutions are starting down the path of online education. The experienced people in the group were quite willing to share their expertise. We discussed issues including how to get books to remote students and whether it’s a good practice to have one set of policies for off-campus support and another for on-campus students. The consensus was that it is best to try not to have the “if….., then…..” type of policies (IF you are an online student, THEN this is the policy for document delivery, but IF you are on-campus, THEN…..). It’s becoming much more common that there are blended models of course delivery and an on-campus student might well take an online class as part of their overall program. Users shouldn’t have to figure out which services they are eligible for.

My second free meal of the day was courtesy of Ebsco and we got to see a comparison (from Ebsco’s view) of the value of their discovery product compared to Serials Solution’s Summon product. It ran a bit long, cutting into the next session time period, and when I rushed to the next hotel to arrive late, the sun came out. I did a U-turn and took a bicycle tour break to see the city up close and quickly :-) Following this much needed mental health break, I dove right into an evening of social networking (the face-to-face kind). I attended the Distance Learning Section reception and the University Libraries Section social prior to attending a dinner with my Top Tech Trends Committee members and panel speakers. It was most helpful to have a chance to meet with several distance learning librarians to exchange ideas and business cards. As we proceed to develop our plans to support the new counseling program, I expect to turn to these folks for input and feedback!

Today will be one focused on LITA and Top Tech Trends, so look for another report later today!

Kevin at LITA National Forum

Friday, October 8, 2010 9:46 am

Here are a few notes from my first LITA National Forum:

  • Subjective perceptions. From the opening keynote (an epistemological discussion of Wikipedia), a couple questions resonated with me – one in particular. How do we know how to resolve conflict when we don’t really agree on reality?
  • Legitimate peripheral participation. “Through peripheral activities, novices become acquainted with the tasks, vocabulary, and organizing principles of the community.” [1] Growth depends on access to experts, on observing their practices and, through time, understanding the broader context of effort and community.
  • Interface design. Small changes in user interface can equal big changes in user behavior.
  • Cloud computing. From Saturday’s General Session, Roy Tennant discussed how the cost of innovation is approaching zero, that the model “easy-come-easy-go” enables a greater flexibility and lower risk to experiment, and cited Erik and his Code4Lib article.
  • Scrum. An iterative, incremental methodology for project management and software development. You work in a timeboxed sprint with a focus on speed and flexibility as part of your development process.

Of course, Erik, Jean-Paul, and I presented on our move to the cloud. As others have said, it went very well. Erik gave an introduction and overview of the project and service models, JP talked about the opportunities and challenges of cloud computing, Erik discussed IT service management, and I finished with our migration and production process and lessons learned. There was an exciting amount of interest following the talk. Overall, a great conference – small in size, big in ideas.

Susan at LITA National Forum 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010 9:57 am

Welcome to LITA National Forum

This year’s LITA National Forum is being held in Atlanta. There are 5 of us here from ZSR Library, probably the largest representation we’ve ever had at a single Forum. One big impact of this fact is that we were able to take advantage of the new library van to transport all of us down the road. There is nothing better than a road trip that starts in the back parking lot behind ZSR at 4:30 am!

I am on the conference planning committee again, so most of my weekend is involved with introducing speakers, helping with logistics and hosting a networking dinner tonight. Giz is attending his first Forum and Erik/Kevin/JP came to do a presentation on our cloud project.

We arrived in time to settle in and be ready for the opening keynote by Amy Bruckman, who talked about “How Wikipedia Works and What This Means for the Nature of Truth.” She talked about Wikipedia in terms of being a constructionist learning environment but said it has produced a epistemology crisis. With a source that is collectively created, how do we understand what to believe, what is objective or subjective? She believes it is through social agreement, or peer review. And this is what Wikipedia does through its framework of authors, editors and administrators. She offered several interesting perspectives in support of the value of Wikipedia and it was a great start to the weekend.

Q & A's Following the Presentation

I was fortunate to be the one to introduce our cloud experts for their session (OK I admit I arranged to do it!). I’m sure each of them will give their perspectives, but the 70 minute talk was well received from a room that had standing room only. Often, the real test of the success of a presentation is how many questions are generated, and how many people hang after to talk to the speakers. Using those criteria, the talk was a resounding success with plenty of thoughtful questions posed (and good answers returned) and plenty of post-session conversations.

Today promises another full day with a keynote by Roy Tennant and concurrent sessions. So more to come!


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