Professional Development

Susan @ the Charleston Conference: Talking About Providing Value

Friday, November 16, 2012 9:13 am

Earlier this year ZSR Library participated in a research study. The six month study was commissioned by SAGE and conducted by LISU, a national research and information center based in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University. It sought to study how libraries show evidence of value to research and teaching staff and we were one of 8 case studies from the US, UK and Scandinavia. A final report with findings and recommendations was published last summer.

I was invited by SAGE to come to the Charleston Conference to co-present on the results of this study. My co-presenter was our old friend and colleague, Elisabeth Leonard, who now works for SAGE. Elisabeth reported on the results of the study and my job was to show the practical side of how we demonstrate value at ZSR Library. (My part of the presentation starts on slide 29)

Working Together, Evolving Value for Academic Libraries/Examples from One Library from Susan Smith

 

I was disappointed that home-front obligations on either side of our presentation schedule meant that I didn’t get to the conference until late Friday and so missed most of it. I’ve heard about The Charleston Conference for years, but since it isn’t in my area of responsibilities, I’ve never attended. I still didn’t get to attend any concurrent sessions, but I got the opportunity to see the energy of the conference and enjoy the final general session, a debate on the proposition that “the traditional research library is dead.” Arguing “yes” was Rick Anderson, Interim Dean, Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah against Derek Law, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde, who emphasized his “no” position by wearing a traditional kilt! It was a spirited debate sprinkled with good-natured humor. My favorite line was delivered by Rick (note to all my cataloger friends, don’t shoot me!): He referenced the growing view that cataloging is dead by disagreeing. Instead, he said, catalogers are the “walking undead.” (laugh here). Twenty-first century polling was included as part of the session. Before the start of the debate, attendees were invited to text their yes or no position on the issue. At the end of the debate, a second poll was conducted to see if the debaters had changed peoples’ view. The end result was that the majority of attendees agree that “the traditional research library is dead.” The Conference Blog has a detailed report of what Anderson and Law had to say to support their positions and how the vote went. It was a fun session and makes me want to figure out a way to justify coming back next year.

I did manage to get in a little photography time (it was CHARLESTON after all), so I dragged myself out before dawn Saturday morning so I could watch the sunrise. My morning photo efforts are available on my flickr site.
Sunrise 6

Digital Forsyth: There is Still Interest Out There!

Friday, November 4, 2011 5:17 pm

During the past two days the North Carolina State Archives and the State Historical Records Advisory Board sponsored a conference in Raleigh: “From Theory to Practice: Accessing and Preserving Electronic Records and Digital Materials.” Originally, Audra was lined up to talk about Digital Forsyth in the cultural repositories track session on “Economics: The True Costs of Managing a Digital Project.” When she headed west, she asked me to step in for her, which I was happy to do, having managed this grant budget for the three years of the project. Here is my presentation if you are interested:

Digital Forsyth: A Partnership/Budgeting in a Collaborative Grant from Susan Smith

Unfortunately, between ZSR obligations and school commitments, I wasn’t able to take advantage and attend the conference except for the session where I was presenting. I did share the session with Jane Blackburn, who is director of Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount. She talked about a project they started 9 years ago that involved a very unique collection of 500,000 photographic negatives (from 1948-2001) by a local photographer (Charles Killebrew). The images span his career as a photographer and primarily were taken in Nash and Edgecombe counties of North Carolina. Her presentation was a cautionary tale, as they took it on without a plan, a budget or staff and in spite of local politics, restrictions from the donor and no funding. However, the collection was in danger of being lost through improper storage and preservation. To date, they have successfully digitized and described over 100o of the images and you can tell how fabulous the Killebrew Collection is. Now that the donor (Killebrew) has died, the gift stipulations that were in place are removed and they can finally look for the right grant to move the digitization forward.

EDUCAUSE Southeast: A Quick Trip to Atlanta

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 8:36 pm

Atlanta Skyline
Atlanta Skyline from the 55th floor of the Westin Hotel

Those of us who aspire to be active professionals are regularly looking for conferences where we can submit proposals to present on the interesting projects we are involved with at ZSR Library and Wake Forest University. This was the case with the EDUCAUSE 2010 Southeast Regional Conference held June 2-4. Its theme was timely: “Higher Education IT in Today’s World: Making the Most of the Economic Reality.” Erik and I had spotted the call for proposals late last year and submitted one under the “Teaching and Learning” track about our use of social and mobile technologies in last year’s Social Stratification South Course. I give this background because it sets the scene for what follows. We received notification that our presentation had been selected as a “backup presentation.” Translation: we were wait listed in case someone else had to cancel (a much more common occurrence these days with the current economic landscape). Fast forward a couple months and we received word that, indeed, there was an opening in the schedule and we were in!

It’s close to the end of the fiscal year and by the time we knew we would be going, funding was tight. However, library administration (yea, Lynn) was supportive of the opportunity. So we examined the possibilities and decided to register for one day of the conference and just go down to Atlanta the night before. This meant that we had enough time to doing a little walking tour of the immediate downtown area Wednesday evening and catch a couple sessions Thursday morning before we gave our presentation, “#socstrat: leveraging social and mobile technologies in experiential courses.”

Susan and Erik at EDUCAUSE Southeast

Briefly, I’ll recap the two sessions I attended. The first one was “Social Media and Strategic Communications: forming a New partnership in a New Medium,” with the presenters hailing from University of Florida. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting as the presenters talked about the importance of having a strategic communications plan for social media including consistent branding, guidelines and policies. Although that seems to be counter to what social media stands for, it was understandable when you consider that UF has over 22,000 employees and they all could initiate social spaces that represent the institution. A strategic approach may be the best way to maintain effective branding (branding is everything about your institution).

The second session was a case study of the use of the Thayer Method to engage science students at Georgia Gwinnett College. In this method, students are responsible for their own learning, they prepare in advance for class so they already have questions ready for what they don’t understand. The instructor is the facilitator, the approach is problem-based and small class size is the model.

Our presentation was well attended with about 40 people in the audience. We found out later that a few attendees actually tweeted about our talk during the session. More surprising was the man who waited patiently to speak to me after the session to tell me that he had texted a mutual acquaintance (Tommy Jackson, previously with IS) during our talk and had discovered that Tommy had just sold my husband a pickup truck! Small world these days…..

Here is a slideshare version of our presentation:

Susan and Giz at LAUNC-CH

Friday, May 7, 2010 3:32 pm

Giz and I were invited to submit a presentation proposal for the LAUNC-CH Research Forum that was held on May 5, 2010 at UNC-Chapel Hill. LAUNCH-CH is the Librarians’ Association of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The afternoon event consisted of several poster sessions and 3 “paper presentations.” Giz and I talked about our current collaboration with Forsyth County Public Library to educate local non-profit organizations and county citizens about how to preserve, organize, describe and make accessible their cultural heritage materials. This project was made possible through an LSTA Outreach Services Grant.

We enjoyed telling the audience about our project, and, on a personal note, it was great to be on the podium once again with Giz! He is always an energetic speaker and we both thought the audience showed interest in the project! We did our visuals in Prezi, which you can see below:

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