Professional Development

Carolyn’s Sunday and Monday at ALA

Friday, July 17, 2009 7:12 am

Sunday at ALA was a busy day for me. It started off with me attending a program sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL titled “Chicago’s Ethnic Mosaic: Cultural Identity and Neighborhood Change”. Although I only stayed two of the four hours program, I heard and learned much on the history of European immigration and in-migration of African Americans and Mexican Americans to Chicago as well as the history of Chicago’s public housing.

Next, I went to the exhibits to attend Lauren Pressley’s book signing and to visit vendors’ booths to pick up any interesting free stuff. I stopped by the Library of Congress’ booth and picked up several informational booklets on MARC and FRBR records. Afterwards, I went to Au Bon Pain in the conference center to purchase something for lunch ($6 for a small bag of chips and a bottled water–outrageous) and spotted an escorted Judy Blume trying to make a decision about lunch. I loved her books as a young girl.

The afternoon session I attended was called “New Selectors and Selecting in New Subjects: Meeting the Challenges”. Linda Phillips, Head of Scholarly Communication at the University of Tennessee, began the panel session by likening selectors to entrepreneurs. We need to be client-centered in providing content and services to faculty and students. She said selectors must:

  • approach collection development in a digital library framework
  • take an active role in creating scholarly publications
  • assert professional principles for free and unbiased access to knowledge
  • understand and fully exploit the potential of the local and the immediate

She went on to say libraries need to complete the migration from print to electronic collections. Her library embarked on a reorganization where the emphasis is on liaisons and their academic departments, the expansion of unique local digital publications, and adding freely accessible web content to collection (e.g. Directory of Open Access Journals and OAIster). Her advice for new selectors is:

  • learn the library’s explicit and implied collection policies and practices
  • talk with colleagues
  • know the library’s budget and expectations; understand recordkeeping and encumbrances/expenditures for accountability
  • learn library’s strategy for managing cost increases
  • get to know clietele (i.e. faculty) and their search preferences; build trust; collaborate with faculty–this is the key to enhancing research and instruction on campus
  • get acquainted with vendor materials
  • be knowledgeable in intellectual property issues, creative commons, SPARC, NIH open access–this will increase your credibility with scholars
  • learn about your faculty’s discipline–how are they involving students
  • participate in at least two disciplinary related programs each semester
  • encourage researchers to consider open access publishing

Supervisors should lead discussions about research practices and discipline culture and encourage liaisons to include these things in yearly goals.

TRACE (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange) is the University of Tennessee’s digital repository.

Arro Smith of the San Marcos Public Library spoke on and showed attendees resources on the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) web site for new selectors. By clicking on “Conferences & Events” which appears on the lefthand side of the web page, one can discover webinars, workshops and web courses available. The Collection and Management and Development Section (CMDS) of ALCTS has recently started publishing a new series of monographs called the Sudden Selectors Guide and they are available through the ALA Store. These monographs are designed to address niche topics. Business resources is the only guide so far to be published. Mr. Smith said forthcoming discipline guides to be published include biology, English, art, chemistry and GLBITQ.

Next on the panel to speak was Jeff Kosokoff of Tufts University. He feels libraries shouldn’t take possession of things not needed. We should think about information in terms of having access not about having it sitting on shelves or owning it. Information, as a service, becomes ever more dominant from a user perspective and needs to be delivered in a way people would use it, otherwise it won’t be used.

My last session of the day was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. At our meeting there was an Alexander Street Press representative who reported that the vendor is looking to develop a streaming video database of anthropology films that would be transcribed and text searchable. He was seeking input on what types of films should be included in the proposed database. One person suggested to the rep. that the product should be marketed to anthropology and area studies. Serials cancellations was another topic on the agenda. Several attendees said they were having to make decisions about cutting dual formats of journals and expressed concerns over how some electronic anthropological journals sometimes don’t contain illustrations that accompany the print format. From this discussion, I felt that Wake is ahead of the curve in eliminating dual formats of anthropological journal titles. I really enjoyed going to this session and talking with other anthropology librarians. I believe I was the only cataloger in the room.

On Monday, I attended “Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant” which Kaeley has already summarized in her ALA Annual 2009 day 4 post. I also went to the ALCTS sponsored “President’s Program: Who owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage” in which James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, discussed whether museums should return ancient artifacts to their country of origin. Mr. Cuno has written and published a book with the same title as his talk. At the conclusion of his talk, it was time to make my way to O’Hare Airport to go home.


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