Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘emerging leaders

PaLA 2009 Schedule (draft).

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Here is a draft of my schedule for PaLA in Harrisburg next week. Hope to see some Pennsylvania colleagues there, let me know if you want to meet up for anything!


5:15-6 – New Members Reception (I’ll be staffing the CRD table, so come check out our poster, get some candy and learn more about what you can do as a member of the College & Research Division!)


8-9 – SCC Hospitality Suite ( I’m staffing the hospitality suite as a member of the South Central Chapter)

9-10:15 – Putting the Wow in to Your Library Using Nonverbal and Merchandising Principles (Larry Nesbit, Library Building Consultant, Mansfield University, retired Joyce Seno, Architect, Larson Design Group Julie Brown, Furniture Representative, Brodart Co.)

10:30-11:45 – PALS: PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (2009 PALS Graduates)

12-1:30 – CRD Board Meeting

1:30-2:00 – SCC Hospitality Suite

2:30-3:30 – iPrimer: Using the iPod Touch and iPhone in Library Reference and Education (Corrine Syster, Instructional & Information Technology Librarian, Central Pennsylvania College Misti Smith, MLS Technology Literacy Specialist, Mount Aloysius College)


9-10 – Emerging Leaders Showcase: Pennsylvania Librarians Leading the Profession (Come see me present with Jen Jarson and Rebecca Metzger about the ALA Emerging Leaders Program!)

11-12 – When Students Go Mobile: The Effects of Smartphones on Information Literacy and Academic Library (I’m moderating this session featuring Kristen Yarmey-Tylutki, Digital Services Librarian, Weinberg Memorial Library, The University of Scranton)

12:30-2:15 – College & Research Division Luncheon Rethinking the Copyright Wars and the Role of the Academic Library (James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian for Columbia University)

4-5:30 – PaLA Annual Business Meeting


9-11:45 – Got Game? BRING IT! : Gaming in Libraries (My second panel, featuring co-panelists Greg Szczyrbak, Learning Technologies Librarian, Millersville University, Curtis Datko, Access Services Librarian, Alvernia University and Ryan Sittler, Assistant Professor / Instructional Technology/Information Literacy Librarian, California University of Pennsylvania. This is an interactive session where you will be able to play games!)

12-1 – Closing Luncheon The Joy of Censorship (Joe Raiola, Senior Editor, MAD Magazine)

Written by Erin Dorney

October 15, 2009 at 6:06 PM

Things you need to know about.

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Many things have been happening as of late. Some of them are culminations of projects I’ve been working on for a long time, some of them are new discoveries, and the worst of them is my annual reappointment process which is a major time-suck. Here are some of the fun ones:

LACUNY InstituteOn October 23rd I’ll be part of a panel addressing “Issues in Next Generation Librarianship” along with Jason Kucsma and Emily Drabinski. If you’re in the area, please come out to support us and join the discussion regarding inter-generational workforces, among other things. Our panel is going to be moderated by Dr. Marie L. Radford from Rutgers University and the Institute will also feature keynote speaker Stanley Wilder. I feel honored to have been selected for the panel and am looking forward to my trip to NYC, which includes a weekend with the one and only Miss Ashley Rath who will be in town working on The Apprentice. Holla!


I don’t know how I found out about this blog, but I sure am glad it happened. Swissmiss is a design blog and studio run by Tina Roth Eisenberg out of NYC. Charming design. Fun and inspiring posts. People, this is the blog I purposely mark as unread in my Google Reader so that I have something to look forward to during those random rough spots throughout the day. You really need to check it out.

PaLA Annual Conference

During the 2009 Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) Annual Conference I’ll be participating in two panel discussions. You can see me on Tuesday, October 20th for “Emerging Leaders Showcase: Pennsylvania Librarians Leading the Profession” with Jennifer Jarson (Muhlenberg College) and Rebecca Metzger (Lafayette College) and on Wednesday, October 21st for “Got Game? Bring it! Gaming in Libraries” with Greg Szczyrbak (Millersville University & my mentor!), Curtis Datko & Miroslaw Liwosz (Alvernia University), and in a last minute lineup change,  Ryan Sittler (California University). Let me know if you’re going to be at the conference, and we can meet up or share a meal! And as always, I appreciate your support at the sessions :) There are a lot of interesting sessions scheduled, and in particular, I’d like to point out “PALS: PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies” on Monday (The exceptional inaugural class of PALS talking about their experiences and projects), and “When Students Go Mobile: The Effects of Smartphones on Information Literacy and Academic Library Service” on Tuesday (which I’m moderating and sounds awesome).

So what have you all been up to lately? Anything fun and exciting?

Written by Erin Dorney

October 5, 2009 at 9:58 AM

ALA 2009 – Monday & Tuesday

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Monday morning started bright and early with an 8AM meeting of the ACRL 
Component Committee. We hashed out a bunch ‘o stuff, including some basic track/theme thoughts and the possibility of some kind of unconference/lightning talk/lightning question/battle deck type activity at ACRL 2011. Then I worked with my co-chair for a little bit on some of the basics we need to work on over the next few months.

Following the meeting I took the bus back to the conference center and met up with the rest of my EL team. We did a brief presentation on our millennial survey to the ALA Chapter Relations Committee. I think it went over very well, and the audience asked lots of great questions. I am really hoping that we can answer some of them when the team puts together a white paper regarding the survey outcomes. I think the results will be useful to ALA, state library associations and probably even any professional association that is dealing with the influx of “millennials” into their organization.

Then I had the opportunity to staff the New Members Roundtable booth in the exhibit hall. It was a different experience to be on the “exhibitor” position in the exhibit hall, instead of walking around talking to vendors. I liked explaining NMRT to the people who stopped by the booth, and met a lot of library school students who were interested in joining up (it’s only $10!).  Then it was back to the hotel and off to dinner. We went to Joe’s Seafood and Steak House. It was pretty fancy! I tried Joe’s Famous Scallops with a side of asparagus and Melissa let me try some of her stone crabs. They were pretty good. I would have to say that this was one of the disappointing dinners we had – it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe I ordered that wrong thing. The food was just too heavy for me.

Tuesday was our last day in Chicago, but it was one of the best! I got to sleep in, volunteered at the NMRT booth again for another hour, and walked through the exhibit hall to see all of the attendees scrambling for the best book deals. Melissa met me at the conference center and we walked to a place nearby and had some Chicago deep dish pizza! I honestly don’t remember what else we did during the day…  until we hit up the Chicago Diner (do you see a pattern here? Food, food, food! But lots of walking, too!). It’s vegetarian and mostly vegan. I had a peak organic pomegranate wheat ale and the asian sesame salad with marinated tofu. It was superb! Melissa had the avacado tostadas and a slice of the chocolate chip cookie dough cake/pie. She kindly shared lots of tasty bites!

Asian Sesame Salad

After dinner we walked over to Metro to see Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. It was such a great show! Last time I saw Oberst he was playing acoustic in Rochester, and this show schooled that. So much jamming and singing! A most excellent way to end my first trip to Chicago. I got a poster and lugged it all the way back on the plane with me. It’s sitting in the corner waiting to be framed :)

The flight home was fine and then I spent  four days camping to detox from all of the library-ness. This is why I am just catching up on email and blog posts now – these were the boring ALA ones. I plan at least one more going more in depth about my overall thoughts/experiences at my first ALA Annual. So keep a lookout!

Written by Erin Dorney

July 22, 2009 at 9:41 AM

ALA 2009 – Saturday

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On Saturday we started early with an OCLC-sponsored panel discussion about digital rights management (DRM). “To be or not to be… DRM free” consisted of three panelists talking about their experience and thoughts on DRM. I initially decided to attend the session because I don’t know much about DRM and thought it might give me a good introduction. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed. Although the panelists talked about some of the barriers DRM presents (including visual verification systems, printing caps, multiple levels of authentication, and software downloads), I didn’t get a sense that everyone was fully prepared. An employee from Facts on File (FoF) made a decent bookshelf analogy: When we sell you items in print, we don’t tell you what kind of bookshelves to put them on. So why is it different when we offer you content electronically? However, then he basically went on to say that FoF does require DRM measures to protect their profit margins, negating the great analogy. Psh. He did make a good point later on – that both publishers and libraries want their content to be used. It was a nice reminder that at least some of our organizational goals are similar.

There was also quite a bit of talk about how students are putting content online. Really? I know a lot of people who get music online but I haven’t know anyone who has illegally downloaded their textbook from Pirate Bay. But I guess it must be happening somewhere, because apparently companies are employing people to surf around on illegal downloading sites to track leaked books/electronic content (anti-piracy screeners). That would actually be a fun thing to do all day, and you would get to know all the good sites backwards and forwards. Errr – not that I condone illegal downloading…

I think that the OCLC representative was actually the best speaker on the panel. She called for a standardized, industry-wide set of DRM guidelines. Seems like a step in the right direction so that all of our content would be on the same playing field. It would be easier for our users to understand and utilize even when crossing over different interfaces. She also brought up the issue of the gap between a decrease in print revenue and what amounts to pennies for digital content. The gap is going to force new business models for content-providing companies in the future.

My second Saturday session was “Academic Libraries and International Librarianship,” sponsored by the ACRL International Relations Committee. Consisting of four panelists, this was the second letdown of the day. I thought that this session might give me a taste of what international librarianship might be like, along with some tips about how to get started, etc. The first speaker did not disappoint. Robert Wedgeworth is a past president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)and a current librarian/professor emeritus at University of Illinois. Wedgeworth got involved in international librarianship not through ALA or IFLA, but while he was working in acquisitions. This was an important distinction for me, and starting off with it may have influenced my preference for his portion of the discussion over the other three panelists. I think that the most beneficial experiences are those that come organically, so I was cheered to know that his introduction to international librarianship was through personal connections rather than a structured international program. I hope that someday I am able to experience what it’s like to be a librarian outside of the United States. But back to the session, my notes are below:

  • What is international librarianship? Under the umbrella of the US foreign policy, Opportunities can be at any level – federal, institution, personal & Same issues are at hand internationally, including politics, culture, economics
  • UNESCO uses IFLA as a consulting body on library related matters
  • Lots of ways to get involved including LIS Fulbright Scholarships
  • So who pays? Governments, associations, employers, and individuals
  • Global fears and limitations include literacy, haves and have nots, intellectual freedom, copyright & intellectual property, security and filtering.
  • What are the benefits? Skills, knowledge, exposure to culture, building a global network
  • Be prepared (second language), assess all opportunities for the right one, consult experienced internationals

The second panelist was Jay Jordan, President and CEO of OCLC. I was highly unimpressed with his discussion as it was basically a big marketing pitch. Next up was Beverly Lynch, a past ALA president and Professor/Director at UCLA. Lynch is the Chair of the ACRL International Relations Committee, of which there are 65,000 members (!!!). She gave a history of ALA/IFLA and brought up the fact that University libraries abroad are fairly similar to our libraries here in the US but public libraries are in a different state altogether, sometimes even unrecognizable.

The last speaker was Winston Tabb, Dean of Libraries at Johns Hopkins University. Tabb discussed the impact of international librarianship on research institutions. One of the things he brought up really hit home for me: international recruitment. Not only would I love to be recruited for an international position, but I think it would be absolutely  amazing to bring more people abroad into our libraries here in the U.S. It’s a bit more complicated at the beginning, but I think it would be beneficial for everyone in the long run. One step towards a global community for libraries as well as their users.

Then Melissa and I met back up and has a horrible lunch in the conference center. Her sandwich was disgusting and soggy. I ate a thing of yogurt and some unripe fruit. Blech. Next on the days agenda was the Emerging Leaders Salon. The Salon is a time for members of all three years of the ALA ELs to gather and discuss the future of the program. I was surprised by the low turnout, as it was pretty packed at Denver. However, this might be because there are starting to be some more formalized ways of sharing feedback on the program. One of the 2009 EL projects was the creation of an EL Special Interest Group, which anyone can join. Another group created an EL Facebook page. There is also a sub-committee working on the program and from what I understand, anyone can attend those meetings. So there are a few ways for people to get their thoughts out there and have their questions addressed. At the Salon we worked on our personal action plans. Four priorities came out of a web survey to all ELs:

  • More transparency about the ALA structure
  • More cross-over among units; interdisciplinary sharing of work to accomplish shared goals.
  • More work would get done between conferences; ALA should not just be about the conference. More opportunities for virtual involvement in ALA.
  • More partnerships with other organizations to engage on issues of mutual interest, literacy for example.

The priority I want to work on for my personal action plan is more virtual involvement opportunities in ALA. The step I am taking to do my part is volunteering for a committee. At the conference I began my two year stint as the ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference Co-Chair. I am so excited to be in this leadership role, and hope to make 2011 the best ACRL virtual conference yet! I’ll be talking more about it in future posts, I’m sure, but if anyone has thought/experiences regarding the 2009 ACRL Virtual Conference (or any other virtual conference ideas), please contact me! I need all the feedback I can get.

My group at the Salon discussed the same priority and we came up with a few ideas on making ALA Connect a more robust toolkit as a virtual workspace. One thing I thought of was the addition of a sandbox area where members could experiment with creating their own Drupal-based modules. Hopefully I’ll be passing the idea along to Jenny Levine for further consideration. Something else that came up was the extremely positive impact of using the phrase “without the expensive travel” when soliciting virtual participation. Apparently another group/organization found that that phrasing really resonated with people, and resulted in increased interest.

After the Salon I headed to the “Leadership Development in Transition” session. Jill Canono, Leadership Program Consultant at the State Library and Archives of Florida started of the session with an overview about leadership. She recommended  a yearly purging of rules and regulations, encouraging experimentation, taking calculated risks, sharing information and plans, and breaking down your own communication barriers. Canono encouraged the audience to seek new answers. We typically approach people within our organizations who will give us the answer we want (I am guilty of this myself, in both personal and professional capacities). Instead, we should as ourselves who within our organization thinks very differently than us and try to figure out why we resist having deep discussions with them. We can’t remain comfortable if we want change.

Another great suggestion from Canono was to approach staff meetings by going in and saying “Here is the problem that we will spend today solving cooperatively” instead of just providing updates all around the table. She also brought up the question “What are you hoarding?” We need to use all of our resources, not hoard special skills and talents. We should share our knowledge, time, and expertise and encourage others to do the same.

There were a few comments in Canono’s presentation that really made me feel put off. For example she talked about learning to use wikis (aren’t we a little past that by now?) and creating a Facebook page for internal communications (probably the worst idea I have ever heard, demonstrating  huge misunderstanding about this tool). But I do have to credit her with introducing the phrase “RIP = retired in place” which got more than a few giggles out of me. I’ve seen it in action!

The next speaker was Olivia Madison, Dean of Libraries at Iowa State University and then Nanette Donohue, ALA Councilor and Technical Services Manager at the Champaign Public Library. Donohue talked about how leadership is often self-selected by those who volunteer first, that we don’t do ourselves any favors by building fortresses, and that we should be analytical rather than reactionary, making a case for the change we want to see.

After a bit of relaxing, we headed off to the ALA/ProQuest Scholarship Bash at The Art Institute of Chicago. I have to agree with librarychan; it felt a bit stuffy in there. But we met up with Janie from Library Garden and saw some famous paintings:

Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884"

Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884"

Monet's "Water Lilies"

Monet's "Water Lilies"

O'Keeffe's "Sky Above Clouds IV"

O'Keeffe's "Sky Above Clouds IV"

I also bought some postcards for postcrossing, my favorite new game. We ate some gross overpriced food at the restaurant in our hotel lobby once we got home from the Proquest Bash. All in all, a busy day.

Written by Erin Dorney

July 20, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Welcome to Chicago!

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Today was the first day of ALA Annual for me, which consisted of the Emerging Leaders workshop & poster session. I am happy to report that everything went well and it was a pleasure to see my peers graduate from the program. Although I have been talking virtually with many of the 100+ 2009 ELs (via Twitter, Facebook, email, etc), it was nice to see everyone in person again. It has been a while since Midwinter in Denver!

We did some more leadership analysis and had lots of discussion/feedback regarding the program overall. I find it very encouraging that the program planners are asking for our feedback and seem to be dedicated to improving the overall experience for everyone. The poster session drew many more people than I thought it would, which was awesome! Thanks to everyone who came out for it. Here is a picture from when we were setting up. There should be more online soon with our whole team and stuff, so I will post when they are uploaded by various people.

2009 EL Team L

Our project information can be found on the ALA Emerging Leaders wiki here: We’re hoping to work closely with ALA to put out a more formal report in the near future – something like a white paper or article.

So far I have met lots of people, reconnected with others, and enjoyed some amazing food! Last night we went to MK The Restaurant where I tried the pommes frites with truffle cream (my first time tasting truffle cream – amazing!), seared Maine diver scallops with English peas, pickled breakfast radishes and minted pea purée, and a delicious dessert consisting of licorice-flavored ice cream and strawberries. Tonight we visited Mana Food Bar where I had grilled asparagus with spicy miso mustard and sesame roasted peppers, and grilled eggplant served with sweet miso sauce. Mmm! You can probably gather that I’m rooming with a foodie, Melissa (Librarychan). She’s teaching me all sorts of Mac tips & dinner/taxi etiquette. I would be lost without her!

Tomorrow is a super busy day so I’m off to bed!

Written by Erin Dorney

July 11, 2009 at 12:55 AM

2009 ALA Annual schedule (draft!).

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So… I finally got around to planning my ALA conference schedule. Busy busy! Let me know if you want to try to meet up – I have lots of meal times open for friends. If you see me at the conference, say hello and don’t be offended if I give you a blank look. It will pass. I think everyone should wear their avatars on their name badges so that I can recognize them. That or their twitter names. All in all, I am very excited for my first Annual conference and my first visit to Chicago!


12:46 – Flight arrives

5 – Dinner with my Emerging Leaders group

7:30-9:30 – Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!


8:30-3 – Emerging Leaders workshop

3-5 – Emerging Leaders poster session in McCormick Place W-185 (come see what I’ve been working on with my team for the past 6 months! A survey of millennial librarians/library workers relating to professional associations)

5-7 – YALSA Happy Hour and Fashion Show


8-10 – OCLC To Be or Not to Be…DRM-free

10:30-12 – Academic Libraries and International Librarianship

(or) What does Gaming have to do with Books, Anyway? Justifications for Games in Libraries

(or) Washington Office Breakout Session I: The Future of Libraries

12-1:30 – EBSCO Academic Library Luncheon (maybe, I haven’t registered for this yet, so who knows)

1:30-3 – Emerging Leaders Salon (

3:30-5:30 - Leadership Development in Transition: Steering the Ship from Helm and Deck

(or) Collection Development 2.0: The Changing Administration of Collection Development

7 – ALA/ProQuest Scholarship Bash at The Art Institute of Chicago

10 - ALA Facebook Meetup at the Billy Goat Tavern (


8-10 – Listening to the Customer: Using Assessment Results to Make a Difference

11-12 – PRMS Swap ‘n’ Shop

12-1 – Lunch @ Au Bon Pain

1:30-3 – ACRL

3:30-5:30 – ACRL Popular Culture & Libraries Discussion Group

5–8 – OCLC Blog Salon (

6:30-8:30 – Syracuse University Alumni Reception at Bin 36 Restaurant


8-12 - ACRL 
 (I’m the 2011 Co-chair for the ACRL Virtual Conference Committee!)

1:35-1:50 - Chapter Relations Committee II (presenting Emerging Leaders project to the ALA Membership Committee)

1:50-3 – Ban those @#$*%! Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Censorship

3-4 - Staffing the NMRT Booth in the exhibit hall

5:30 -7:30 – Reception for the ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Awards for Excellence in Humane Literature


11-12 - Staffing the NMRT Booth in the exhibit hall


11:40 – Flight departs

Written by Erin Dorney

June 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Random ALA Annual Conference & Emerging Leader Stuff…

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An assortment of random things that I want to share:

ALA Virtual Conference Sessions: ALA is going to offer 10 sessions from the 2009 Annual Conference online. The bad thing is that you have to pay, but if you’re already registered for the conference, it’s included. Why this is good for me: I seem to have developed a very busy schedule for Annual with meetings and such, so I am looking forward to being able to access these virtual sessions after things calm down (“All full registrants for the ALA Conference will have access to these sessions after the conference.”). It seems like a good step in the right direction as far as virtual participation options go. But we can do better than 10 sessions in the future! I would encourage anyone who is presenting at Annual to set up their own recording (use your flip cam, your mac cam, some free online tool which I’m sure there are tons of) of the session and make it available (for free! ::gasp::) once the conference is over. It could just be your friend in the first row recording onto their ipod, audio is better than nothing! Share, share, share :)

Emerging Leaders Poster Session: There will be a poster session at Annual on Friday from 3-5 PM (McCormick Place West – Rm W185) where all of the 2009 ALA Emerging Leaders will present their projects. If you are wondering what everyone has been working on, you can find a list of this years projects on the Emerging Leaders wiki.

Speaking of Emerging Leaders, there has been lots of discussion about the program lately, fueled by Kim Leeder’s post at another one of my favorite blogs, In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Good stuff, and I think all of the feedback that’s being shared can only help to make the program stronger and more applicable to everyone. If the organizers and coordinators are willing to listen (and change), that is. If you are interested in checking it out for yourself instead of taking our word for it, applications for the 2010 class of ALA Emerging Leaders are being accepted now on the ALA Emerging Leaders wiki with a deadline for July 31, 2009. Start looking at the application ASAP because you need recommendations and you can’t just spring that on people! Also, if you are from Pennsylvania and are interested in applying for sponsorship by the Pennsylvania Library Association, they will be participating again this year. A call for applications will go out soon over the PaLA listservs and once the information is posted on the PaLA website, I will also post it here on my blog.

I’ll be posting more about my team’s Emerging Leaders project (the survey of millennial librarians’ association needs/wants) in the near future, but for now I want to point you to one of my teammates blogs: Karen used the answers to one of our survey questions (“Are there other services not specified in question 16 that you would like to see ALA offer?”) to create a word cloud that is very interesting! It gives you a little taste of the kind of information we’re looking at. Come to our poster session at Annual to learn more (shameless plug!).

Written by Erin Dorney

June 3, 2009 at 10:16 PM

In the hopper…

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I have quite a few things going on at the moment, including:

  • Emerging Leaders team project. I’m working with 3 other ELs from Kansas, New York & South Carolina on a survey for millennials regarding association (ALA) wants and needs. Once our survey is ready, I’ll be begging you all to take it and/or forward it to your library friends. Thanks in advance! We will be sharing the results during a poster session at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.
  • Peer-reviewed academic outreach article for the 2009 scholarly print edition of NMRT Footnotes. I just got my reviewer comments back and have until the end of March to rework and send the article back to the editors. It’s my first shot at peer-reviewed, so we’ll see!
  • ‘Locally made’ encyclopedia article for the SAGE Green Consumerism reference project. Basically I have to describe ‘locally made’ in 1,500 words by May 1.
  • SSHELCO meeting panel discussion. I’m coordinating a panel discussion for the 2009 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Library Cooperative (SSHELCO) meeting on academic library outreach. We’re going to be sending out a survey shortly to ask about your outreach questions, which will then be addressed during the session. Stay tuned for more!
  • My first ‘Job of a Lifetime’ column for C&RL News. The first interview will be conducted shortly with publication sometime this spring if everything goes as planned.

I’m also working on an additional tab for the top of my blog where I’ll be posting examples of some of my print design work, just for the sake of having it all collected somewhere for future reference. Maybe others will be able to learn or draw inspiration from my work. I know I like to see other designs when I’m working on a project of my own. I will eventually be holding up my end of the bargain with a post about Harvey Milk (for the Dorney/Rath blog bash – See Ashley’s post in the meantime).

Tickets have been ordered to see Neko Case, New Found Glory & Bayside, and The National this spring (different shows, of course)! On that note, I’m out! Tell me, what are you currently working on?

Written by Erin Dorney

March 5, 2009 at 4:01 AM

2009 ALA Midwinter schedule (draft!).

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On Thursday I get to go to Denver! I’m very excited because it’s my first trip to Colorado and I am looking forward to meeting my fellow Emerging Leaders. If you want to get together, let me know. I am including my preliminary schedule below. Because it’s my first Midwinter meeting, I probably won’t get to go to all of these (I probably planned WAY too much). But I want to! I will probably be lurking about trying to meet some of the “big library people” whose blogs I read. :)

2009 ALA Midwinter Schedule
Bold = Going, locked in
Italics = Up in the air, still deciding

1:00 PM – Arrive in Denver & check into hotel
10 – 11:30 PM – Emerging Leader Reception

8 AM – 5 PM – Emerging Leader Workshop
5:15 – 7:30 PM – Exhibits Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony & ALA/ERT Opening Reception
7:30 – 8:30 PM – NMRT Meet & Greet
6:30 – 8 PM – Feminists’ Night Out

8 – 10 AM – NMRT Conference Orientation
10 AM – 12 PM – ALA Website Focus Group

1:30 – 3:30 PM – Emerging Leaders Town Hall Meeting/Discussion Group
3 – 4 PM – What Do Library Staff Want President Obama to Know: Special Membership Town Hall Meeting
6 – 7 PM – Emerging Leader Project “L” Team Meeting
7 – 10 PM – Pattern Research Social

8 – 10 AM – LITA Tech Trends
10:30 – 11:30 AM – ebrary session
12 – 1 PM – Visit exhibits?
1 – 2 PM – NMRT Resume Review Greeter
2:30 – 3:30 PM – Marketing Academic & Research Libraries
4 – 6 PM – Progressive Librarians Guild Meeting

5 – 6:30 PM – ACRL 2011 Brainstorming Discussion
5:30 – 8 – OCLC Blog Salon

8 – 10 AM – Undergraduate Libraries Discussion Group
10:40 – 11:10 AM – eBrary Technology Showcase
1:30 – 3:30 – Dialog with Directors

Nothing planned, got any ideas?


Written by Erin Dorney

January 20, 2009 at 10:34 PM

My first PaLA Annual Conference.

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A week from today, I was out in Valley Forge attending my first Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference (PaLA). I tried to briefly organize my thoughts below utilizing the classic “bulleted list.” I’ll probably be posting later about my poster session.

  • Location: The conference location has got to be one of the most confusing buildings, ever. From my observations, it is essentially three different entities all joined together (in a very ramshackle manner): the Radisson Hotel, the Scanticon, and the Convention Center. I give the signage committee major props because directions were plentiful, clear, and concise. If not for those big white signs, I would have spent the majority of the conference lost in the bowels of the employee only entrance (seriously, it’s scary down there). Overall, I did not think the place was all it’s cracked up to be (or maybe it’s not, I don’t know, I’m the neewbie here). In more than one session, the drop ceilings were missing panels, you could hear other presenters (even though the Scanticon website touts “Acoustically designed space”), and the provided food was not very good. I suppose certain things have to be sub-par with such a large group, but it’s disappointing to pay $50 or $25 for a meal and not be able to eat it (I was able to enjoy at least some portion of each meal, mainly dessert, but some of my colleagues found theirs entirely inedible). I am very excited about the 2009 conference at the Harrisburg Hilton and even more so for the 2010 conference which is being hosted by the Lancaster County Convention Center at the Marriott Lancaster!
  • Sessions: I enjoyed most of the sessions I attended. My favorites were Supervisory 101 (which I hadn’t initially planned on attending and am now glad that I did) and Creating a Brand Identity for Information Resources (I mean, come on, it blatantly screams my name). Highlights below
    • State Award Winners Share Their Marketing Success Stories - So much can be accomplished with dedication! Two of the three winners coordinated award winning outreach events & services with less than five full time library staff members (Matthews Public Library & Village Library of Morgantown). The third designed a promotional campaign that invited patrons as participants, making it wholly successful (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh).
    • Reading People: Successful Advocacy for Savvy Trustees - “It’s all about who you know” – Janice Trapp, James V. Brown Library… ’nuff said.
    • Ourselves and Our Colleagues: Librarian, Faculty and Administrator Relations in a Changing Academic Setting - The number one threat to higher education is resistance to change. Attributes for success include ability to innovate, sense of mission, and executive leadership. “Expectation shapes reality” – Terence Mech, King’s College. What does a “desk lunch” say about your institution? Think about it.
    • Help! I’m in Charge!: Supervisory 101 - Help them see how their piece fits in to the overall organization, give sincere praise and recognition, facilitate open communication, and allow participatory decision making. Power is often confused with leadership. When there is an issue, “listen more than speak” – Tracey Carey, Public Library for Union County.
    • Navigating the Future in Libraries - I tried to attend this, but the room was literally full! No floor sitting or standing room. I tried standing outside the door but then I couldn’t hear. It’s telling that so many of us were interested in hearing Norma Blake (Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year 2008) speak about upcoming changes in libraries and how to stay motivated in the midst of change! I’m betting it was good!
    • Creating a Brand Identity to Market Information Services - Refocus vs rebrand, see it from the customer’s perspective, characteristics of a brand identity are memorable, noticeable, unique & purposeful. Why is it important to have a brand? Because we’re in a changing marketplace, we have competition, differentiation is more and more challenging, and choice is informed by belief as well as emotional values – Betty Jo Hibberd, Thomson Scientific.
    • Academic Library Reorganization - The first library (Villanova University) changed “departments” to “teams” and replaced “reference” with “academic integration.” Academic integration includes collection development, liaisoning, research support & instruction. Research support = most librarians do consultations in their offices. The second library (Bucks County Community College) showed some awesome pictures of their new library spaces (I totally want to take a trip there and scope it out) and mentioned that they will be closing their library on Sundays this winter to cut down on fuel costs but will be having someone monitoring IM from home. Interesting!
  • Other (?): On Tuesday I had the chance to meet and hear Joe Janes speak. He was wonderfully motivating! And an SU alum like me! The best quote from his talk: “I don’t teach reference, I teach interrogation.” I also got to attend the Annual Awards Banquet where I watched “statebrarian” Clare Zales receive the PaLA Distinguished Service Award. She’s the Pennsylvania State Librarian who recently testified for Congress regarding the importance of libraries. She’s done a lot of other amazing things too, and it was great to see her accept this honor. At that very same banquet, I ate some delicious chocolate raspberry chambord cake and heard author Mary Doria Russell speak about how libraries have impacted her life and writing. She is an amazing speaker! Tuesday was a busy day; it was also when I spoke briefly about being selected as the PaLA sponsored ALA Emerging Leader at the annual PaLA business meeting. Of course, I couldn’t figure out the microphone (again), I hate those things! But it was great to say thank you to all of the PaLA members who made this sponsorship possible.
  • People: The best, best, best, BEST thing about the conference was the people. As a newcomer to Pennsylvania, I know practically no one here, let alone library people. But the conference allowed me to meet so many bright PA library people from all over the state and from all kind of libraries. I feel like I had a strong introduction to what could easily become a very positive and supportive base of peers, colleagues, coworkers, and collaborators. Thanks to everyone who gave me a warm welcome! I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and look forward to working with you in the future!

Some other thoughts about the conference can be found at Open Sesame by Nicole C. Engard, Library Alchemy by Leigh Anne Vrabel, the PaLA South Central Chapter blog, It’s Academic! by the PaLA College & Research Division, elizabeth in libraryland by Elizabeth Davis, & Sellers Library Teens blog. Next year we have to get an official tag going so it’s easier to find all of these!

Written by Erin Dorney

November 17, 2008 at 2:06 AM


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