Erin Dorney

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ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference, Friday

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Please consider completing this evaluation for any of the virtual sessions you attended at the ACRL: You can fill it out as many times as you want for different sessions and it will be very helpful to the Virtual Conference Committee for future planning as well as presenters who would like to improve their skills. Thanks in advance!

9 AM: Harnessing Your Projects: Using Project Management Techniques and Basecamp in Libraries, featuring Barbara Lewis (Coordinator for Digital Collections at University of South Florida).

  • 105 audience members
  • Audience Poll: What experience do you have with project management? 49% I have managed many projects, 30% I have managed one or two projects
  • A project has a specific beginning and end, doesn’t go on and on forever (that would be more a program). There is a defined scope of work at the beginning to avoid project creep. It often requires multiple participants, skill sets, and resources to provide a deliverable.
  • Project management = skills, techniques and tools
    • Planning – what is the end product going to be? Put together a project team. What specific things need to happen? List of tasks to be completed along with schedule. What are the milestones? What are the risks?
    • Tracking – identify completed tasks, ensure quality, recognize and resolve bottlenecks.
    • Reporting – communication with your team, boss, and end-user/customer/client.
  • Work breakdown structure – list of tasks and sub-tasks
  • PERT chart (Program Evaluation Review Technique) – a visual graphic of the dependencies
  • Gannt chart – project task and schedule
  • Product breakdown structure – list of components for the deliverable
  • Project Management Tools – Microsoft Project, Open Proj, Trac,, AceProject, @task, Basecamp, Omniplan
  • Audience Poll: Have you ever used project management software before? Majority = no
  • Basecamp:
    • You can set up and RSS feed for updates
    • Not different levels of permission – you have access to the project or you don’t
    • You can customize your colors/settings
    • Can assign tasks and due dates to a specific person
    • You can have reminders sent to people before their tasks are due
    • You can track how long you spend on tasks – good for time management/tracking
    • Limitations – no calendar, tasks can only be assigned to one person, no view only users, search doesn’t search the Writeboards, can’t globally change users assigned to tasks (as when a student worker leaves), can’t covert a To Do list to a template.
  • How does Basecamp ensure user privacy? Not sure. Each institution has separate and secure space on their servers.
  • How steep is the learning curve? About an hour, then a few random questions. Very intuitive. Good video tutorials on the Basecamp site.
  • Can you archive files outside of Basecamp? You can do an XML output.

10:30 AM: Humanities by the numbers: evaluating usage data of collection areas, featuring Arianne Hartsell-Gundy (Humanities Librarian at Miami University), Masha Misco (Catalog & Slavic Librarian at Miami University), and Jeffrey Hartsell-Gundy (Miami University).

  • 101 audience members
  • Talking about their research project
  • Audience Poll: What areas of responsibility do you have? 74% Collection Development, 70% Public Services, 46% Subject Specialist, 44% Technical Services, 35% Administration, 35% Acquisition
  • Areas evaluated include folklore, communication, linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and theatre; Russian orthodoxy, history of Russia, political science, slavic literature
  • Research questions:
    • How close are we to the 80/20 rule?
    • Which call numbers in our collection circulate the least/most?
    • Break down numbers of materials in call number ranges.
  • Something happened to my computer at this point and I wasn’t able to follow the rest of the presentation 😦

12 PM: Integrating the Library into Online Courses, featuring Susan Thompson (Coordinator Library Systems at California State University San Marcos), Thoreau Lovell (Head of Library Information Technology & Media Services at Leonard Library, San Francisco State University), Hillary Kaplowitz (Instructional Designer at California State University, Northridge), Danielle Skaggs (Coordinator of Online Instructional Design at California State University, Northridge) and Christina Mayberry (Science and Engineering Librarian at California State University, Northridge).

  • 132 audience members
  • Online classes are increasing at their universities (classes only online AND hybrid with significant online component).
  • Changing assumptions of how students interact with the library – they expect to find their resources in the course container. Faculty may bypass library for course reserves and upload them directly into the CMS.
  • We can’t expect students to proactively come to the library – instead, we need to go to them. We have also lost control over what the student sees in the CMS, the professor has that control. We can’t provide a consistent set of information that we want students to have access to.
  • So, how can librarians participate in a meaningful way?
    • Independently contact and collaborate with individual instructors – takes a lot of time and is inconsistent.
  • Change in course management system = several campuses switched to Moodle due to funding. This allowed customization.
  • Audience Poll: What LMS does your institution use? 15% Moodle, 42% Blackboard, 12% Desire to Learn
  • San Marcos:
    • 7-year-old library building with solid technology infrastructure
    • Planning for Moodle required collaborative planning with library systems, web development librarian, reference/instruction librarians, access services staff and campus IT.
    • Things they wanted to offer: access to reserves, video, improve and simplify back-end processes, ability to contact librarians, search catalog and databases, ability to renew items, ILL…
    • Ended up offering 3 primary services: Reserves, Video on Demand, link to the library homepage.
    • 2 methods to add content: dedicated reserves role (campus IT/library controlled) librarian role (faculty controlled)
    • Reserves & Video on Demand = Convenient access for students at point of need, easy for the library to comply with copyright.
    • Future: want content to be automatically generated based on course subject & a “sticky” block to group all library material.
    • Audience Poll: Who manages the course management system at your institution? 52% Central IT, 32% Academic Technology, 10% Other
  • Northridge:
    • Site level block – includes link to library webpage with information about course resources (a pared-down page with the essentials). Appears in every course in Moodle, instructors cannot opt out. Sticky.
    • DIY embedding – actions instructors can take on their own without a librarian to embed the library into their course. Instructions within Moodle and on the library website.
    • Librarian role – similar to teacher role. Added by instructors within courses, can push resources, create activities, interact with students and provide assessments. Target instructors who are already using the library, who are already collaborating with you. It’s an easier sell and can spread visibility and create library advocates among faculty members.
    • Import librarian-created content.
    • Librarian-run Moodle sites – librarian in the teacher role. Library research site – classes can enroll. Having students view the lessons before an in-person instruction session made them more engaged. Could be stand alone, could be in addition to.
    • They have 1,800 (34%) courses with a Moodle component & 30,000+ student accounts
    • They wanted front-end enhancements not back-end modifications (hosted by vendor).
    • Multiple options for different levels of integration. Many opportunities available for collaboration.
    • Outreach to campus community = faculty retreat presentations, teaching and learning bytes, Moodle training workshops, and Library Message in a Minute (you tube videos on different topics).
  • San Francisco State:
    • Displaced due to a protracted library renovation project (I NEED TO CONTACT THEM RE: OUR PROJECT AT MU).
    • Are working from tent annexes (looks awesome).
    • Moodle re-branded as iLearn, managed by academic technology.
    • 2,400 courses using iLearn
    • Got a phone call at this point so I missed a large portion of this section 😦
    • Three tiers of integration: top-level, course level and instructor level.
    • Future: Want to improve article search, move eReserve system into iLearn, explore what student bookshelves would look like (instead of faculty bookshelf), add librarian role, and better understand how faculty and students would like to see library resources integrated into iLearn. More outreach, too.
    • Lessons learned: cross unit collaboration is always hard, it feels like losing control but the relationship is KEY!

1:30 PM: Listening to users…. Closing the feedback loop: Just do it! featuring Meg Scharf (Associate Director for Public Services at University of Central Florida) and Lisabeth Chabot (College Librarian at Ithaca College).

  • 120 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Does your library have a suggestion box? Electronic or print? How do you respond to questions?
  • Ithaca College – Ask us or Tell us – invites feedback, scolls FAQ with REAL answers right next to it. Librarian who answers has photo posted near response. Awesome idea! They use Subjects Plus.
  • Within 24-hour turnaround time.
  • Popular topics = heating, cooling, cell phone usage, comfortable seating, requests for food, need for outlets.
  • Central Florida gets more paper suggestions than electronic. 5 boxes are located throughout the building. Best questions come from the box in the staff lounge. Very interesting! Answered electronically on the website.
  • Also have a guestbook – look up article by John Lubbens (L&M Magazine). Sometimes this grows to a running commentary with students replying to one another. Using a homegrown form that feeds to their intranet for a response.
  • Interesting to look at the words that are being searched for on the library website. This can help in the development of FAQs and website design – give them more obvious options if they miss the drop down menu.
  • Dealing with inappropriate comments – skip over the curse words, don’t publish derogatory remarks. Very little misuse, more just emotional or dramatic. Kill them with kindness in the response to fight this.
  • Closing the loop with webpages – web is a customer service medium. Table with slips of paper with magnets on the back with categories/topics from webpage. Then students arrange them as they see fit. They take digital photographs. Do this with faculty as well. Also have red dots to indicate what is most important to them on the library website. Also a visibility thing – looks like a game, attracts attention.
  • Tell faculty members that you need their comments electronically or physically to use as evidence when trying to bring about change to services/resources.
  • Get rid of library-speak! Articles, not journals.
  • Tailor description of resources to course outcomes within course guides.
  • Mystery Shoppers – not used to “catch” your staff, but to reveal design flaws. They got some from human resources at their university (CHECK INTO THIS). Found out students were struggling with a consistent greeting when answering the phone. Easy to remedy.
  • Complaints – we all get them. A complaint not resolved or answered leaves the patron feeling they have been ignored on purpose.
  • Community dialogue about cell phone use in the library on the web. Identified different perspectives. Comes down to community ethos. Asked for student perspectives on how to address this. Distilled the comments and came out with some “best practices” and signage indicating “Phone friendly” areas.
  • When framing a reply, pause. Don’t escalate the situation by answering quickly. Get the whole story. Take your time, ask them questions. Give them your full attention. Make them think you have all the time in the world to devote to this. Even with email complaints. Then they know that this is important to you.
  • Librarians should aspire to surprise and delight their customers.

3 PM: When Nontraditional is the Norm: Shifting the Instruction Paradigm for Adult Online Students, featuring Erin Brothen (Education Librarian at Walden University), Erika Bennett (Information Literacy & Instruction Librarian at Capella University) and Kim Staley (Reference Librarian and Liaison to the School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University).

  • 120 audience members
  • Their courses are all online, asynchronous, libraries is completely online.
  • Audience Poll: 71% regularly work with adult learners
  • Origins of adult learning – 70% of adult learning is self-directed and highlights practical applications (Tuft).
  • Malcolm Knowles – Andragogy (adult learning theory, as opposed to pedagogy) 6 assumptions:
    • The need to know. It’s not enough that it’s just on the syllabus.
    • The learner’s self-concept. Adults want to be self-directed within the classroom.
    • The role of learner’s experience. Wealth of experience can enrich and impede classroom learning.
    • Readiness to learn. Best when there is a need for the learning.
    • Orientation to learning.
    • Motivation. Internal motivation drives adult learning.
  • Limitations to andragogy – it’s a model not a theory, not a lot of empirical evidence, is it exclusive to adult learners?
  • Constructivism vs. Instructivist/Objectivism.
  • Andragogy in the library – Ingram 2000 – Immediate need for practical help, fear of looking stupid (don’t underestimate this! It’s not enough to say call the library, say there’s no shame in calling the library. It’s not their fault), desire to become independent (crossover between millennials and adult learners).
  • Adult online students come with diverse technology skills. They don’t necessarily choose online because they like technology – convenience is one of the main factors.
  • Professional experiences seem very important e.g. business professionals (used to reaching trade journals) v. nursing professionals (are more familiar with continuing education). This can impact their experience of the library.
  • Conflict between need for practical help and desire for self-actualization. Time crunch dominates because things are DUE.
  • Audience Poll: Does your institution have standards or guides for publication or tutorial creation? 56% no, 31% working on it 13% yes
  • Design best practices:
    • Inclusion of level (basic, intermediate, etc) so that learners can pick and choose.
    • Have objectives to help situate students in the learning process.
    • Tutorials should be problem-based. Focused to solve immediate need.
    • Time – keep tutorials short and to the point, let them know how long it’s going to take. Break it into pieces for they don’t have to sit through the whole thing each time.
  • Accessibility concerns – font size, color, audio (pacing/narration and word choices), personalization (adjustable screen size, close captioning), format (text, video, printable version).
  • Example: Joyner Library –
    • + You can change size of screen, close captioning, pauses for you to review and volume control.
    • – Graphics make it hard to load on different connection speeds and screen readers.
  • Example 2: Syracuse University Library –
  • Example 3: Capella University Library –
  • All examples were PRIMO from ACRL.
  • Make sure your tutorials are findable!
  • Continue the discussion:

4:30 PM: Checklist Manifesto for Electronic Resources: Getting Ready for the Fiscal Year, featuring Lenore England (Digital Resources Librarian at University of Maryland University College), Li Fu (Digital Services Librarian at University of Maryland University College), and Stephen Miller (Associate Provost at the University of Maryland University College Library).

I was pretty much shot at this point in the day, so I am planning on viewing this webcast at a later point in time since they were all recorded (stroke of genius, ACRL!).

Written by Erin Dorney

April 1, 2011 at 4:57 PM

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ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference, Thursday

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(As a reminder, all of these sessions were streamed live and recorded, so if you missed them, anyone who registered for ACRL can log into the virtual conference website and watch them in a few days)

9 AM: On the Front Lines: New Opportunities for Embedded Librarianship, featuring Jenny Dale (First Year Instruction Coordinator at UNC Greensboro) and Lynda Kellam (Data Services and Government Information Librarian at UNC Greensboro).

  • First virtual session: 110 audience members
  • Part of these efforts were to increase retention, “mandate” from the UNC to work on this.
  • Audience Poll: How would you describe your institution? 28% large public university, 25% small private university/college, 23% medium public university
  • Librarians are tenure-track, 90 staff members.
  • Living Learning Communities = students work together in the same classes and live together in (sometimes) themed dorms (e.g. leadership, service). Usually smaller groups/cohorts of students to help them develop a community they feel comfortable with.
  • They have librarians embedded in academic courses, in academic departments, and in learning communities (focus of the presentation today).
  • Audience Poll: Are  librarians on your campus embedded? Yes in online classes (12%), Yes in traditional face-to-face classes (20%), Yes in some other way (14%), Yes in a combination of the above ways (54%), No (24%)
  • Case Study: Warren Ashby, oldest living-learning community in North Carolina. Started by doing select outreach events there (on-site), but that developed into more (office hours, curriculum development – helping faculty create assignments that integrate research and the library, library instruction in the dorms). Attended a lot of events there as well (e.g. student unconference).
  • Library First-Responder – A student was trained for about 15 hours. In the dorm who has familiarity with the library services, contact info., and could help direct students in the right direction to get help from a librarian. Library ambassador. Student volunteered for the job (and is paid based on time she spends answering questions). They advertised her dorm room and chat/IM name (with her permission). She decided that whenever her dorm door was open, she could help.
  • Create a LibGuide specifically for a living-learning community was very popular.
  • Audience Poll: Does your campus have learning communities? 55% yes, 42% no
  • Best practices:
    • Identify potential partners
    • Define your relationship with your assigned unit. Could be hands off approach is best.
    • Balance outreach with other responsibilities
    • Redefine the library’s role
    • Connect with the institution’s strategic goals

10:30 AM: Personal Branding for New Librarians: Standing out and Stepping up, featuring Bohyun Kim (Digital Access Librarian at Florida International University), Erin Dorney (Outreach Librarian at Millersville University Library) and Kiyomi Deards (Assistant Professor at University of Nebraska Lincoln).

This was my first virtual presentation ever! I think it went well judging from tweets? Perhaps someone will blog about it and I can link to their coverage here. If you attended, thanks! There were more than 107 audience members.

12 PM: Depending on our Users: Collecting User Feedback to Assess and Improve Research Consultations, featuring Carrie Forbes (Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian at University of Denver Penrose Library) and Erin Meyers (Student Outreach Librarian and Research Center Coordinator at University of Denver Penrose Library).

  • 134 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Do you offer reference or research consultation services? 90% yes
  • Noticed a decrease in number but increase in complexity of research questions at the reference desk.
  • Wanted to offer consultations in a visible, dedicated space – essential element, enclosed by glass walls, first floor for referrals.
  • Audience Poll: Where do you offer these services? 53% in librarian office, 18% at reference desk, 15% in another dedicated library space
  • Need to assess interactions – length, type, #.
  • Data from Sept. 09- Sept. 10 from surveys following the consultation. Demographic information, service awareness, satisfaction & open-ended question designed to get at learning outcomes.
  • Needed buy-in from all reference faculty and GAs who worked at the research center for this feedback survey. It’s online and built-in survey monkey. Worked together on wording (verbal and written). Tweaked it as they went during the first quarter.
  • They average about 300 instruction sessions/workshops for the size of their university (10k students)
  • Instructional assessment – they asked: What was the most important think that you learned in the library workshop? If you were to attend a follow-up workshop, what topics or resources would you want us to cover?
  • Research sessions are one hour in length, sometimes 1-1, sometimes 1-many
  • Social Work, International Studies, LIS, Business & Clinical psychology (top 5 graduate majors seeking help in the research center). Important data for marketing the services.
  • Satisfaction rate: Out of 938 individuals surveyed, 93.8% would recommend to a friend or classmate
  • When did students seek help? How far before due date did you seek help – 5 or more days before the due date (66%)
  • 7 faculty reference librarians who are liaisons as well. 10 grad students working at the research center consultation room. Very robust training program including shadowing librarians.
  • They have the ability to have 4 consultations going on at the same time.
  • They work with faculty to market the service via faculty, campus events, orientation, liaison advisory group (faculty across campus who attend 2 meetings per year).
  • Some students like to tell their professors that they sought extra help at the research center.
  • They have written a more complete article about this service (“The Research Center…” in Reference Services Review Volume 38, Number 1, 2010).
  • How did you hear about the research center? From a professor, in a library instruction session, new student orientation.
  • Audience Poll: How do you assess your reference services? Counting reference questions (on-going) 79%, counting reference questions (sampling) 17%, user surveys/feedback 6%
  • Graduate students are staffing on weekends.
  • They want to modify some of the learning outcomes questions (due to low response rate), work on assessment of non-students (community, faculty), talk to faculty about the quality of work they are seeing & look for correlation, follow students over a period of time to determine long-term impact.

1:30 PM: Training Volunteer Library Teachers: Novice to Professional in a Few Painless Steps, featuring Suzanne Julian (Library Instruction Coordinator at Brigham Young University).

I took a break for this session to work on some homework due tonight for my poetry class. If I find someone who blogged it, I will post the link here for you.

3 PM: Benefits and Challenges of Academic Librarians in Virtual Worlds, featuring Robin Ashford (Reference & Distance Services Librarian at George Fox University), Beth Kraemer (Information Technology at University of Kentucky), Diane Nahl (University of Hawaii) and Denise Cote (Associate Professor at College of DuPage).

  • 112 audience members
  • Audience Poll: Have you created an avatar in a virtual world? 50% yes 50% no
  • Many virtual worlds are used by young children
  • Virtual worlds are currently in the trough of disillusionment (according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle)
  • They found that the primary responsibilities of academic librarians in second life were pretty much evenly distributed among the various areas of library work.
  • Used social media to get the word out about the Google Docs survey. Was out for about a month.
  • Successes = library events and traditional reference work, collaboration, professional development and content creation.
  • Texas Wesleyan University Genome Island
  • Challenges = technical difficulties, steep learning curve, insufficient value and unknown application.
  • Their study represents a sounding taken 5 years after academic librarians began working in second life.
  • 62 respondents to their survey.
  • Second life is open source so other virtual worlds use its code.
  • We can’t replicate traditional library work in the virtual world environment.

4:30 PM: Digital Library Interdependence: Building external partnerships with cultural heritage organizations, featuring Darren Poley (Outreach Librarian at Villanova University).

  • 87 audience members
  • Geared towards external partnerships developed.
  • To have a trusted digital repository is really at the heart of what a library offers to an institution.
  • Audience Poll: Do you have a trusted digital repository? 38% in development, 38% growing for some time, 24% not yet
  • Factors: (RLG-OCLC Report, May 2002)
    • Scope of collections (looking for a fit for what you’re already building in your collection). What special collections do you already have? What subjects are descriptive of your institution? What associations does your library already have?
    • Preservation and life-cycle management (in order to be trusted, needs to be able to migrate and be preserved)
    • Wide range of stakeholders (most important factor to creating interdependence. Library has a commitment to look outside of itself to see who would have a shared stake in preserving this heritage)
    • Ownership of material and other legal issues (proper documentation, owner and copyright permissions). Make friends with the legal department. Discuss real situations you can envision.
    • Cost implications
  • Institutional latitude – Do you think your institutions gives you the latitude to build digital partnerships?  Are digital initiatives, technology development, and public affairs handled inside or outside of the library?
  • VuDL –

Did you attend ACRL on-site or virtually? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

Written by Erin Dorney

March 31, 2011 at 5:26 PM

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ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference

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ACRL Virtual Conference Banner

Due to the unexpected passing of a family member, I will not be attending the ACRL 2011 Conference on-site in Philadelphia this week. However, I will be attending the virtual conference in full force, including blogging about the live webcasts and even presenting online. While I am disappointed to miss the in-person interaction with my academic library colleagues over the next few days, I look forward to participating electronically and connecting with many of you over Twitter, Facebook, and the virtual conference website.

As a reminder, the virtual conference website is open to anyone registered for the virtual conference AND everyone who is attending on-site in Philly. Conference material will be archived there for up to a year later, so face-to-face attendees can go back at any time and watch the webcasts they may have missed. Slidecasts (recorded PPTs with synched audio) from every contributed paper, cyber zed shed presentation, invited paper, and panel session presented in Philadelphia will be posted to the virtual conference site a few days after ACRL wraps up, so they can be accessed as well. Handouts can already be downloaded, for attendees to preview before sessions.

I want to thank my co-chair Scott Vine from Franklin & Marshal College as well as our entire ACRL 2011 Virtual Conference Committee for their hard work on organizing an excellent slate of online programming for Thursday and Friday. I am honored to be presenting “Personal Branding for New Librarians” with Kiyomi D. Deards ( / @kiyomid) and Bohyun Kim ( / @bohyunkim) on Thursday at 10:30 AM EST. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

What are your plans for ACRL? Is this your first time attending?

Written by Erin Dorney

March 30, 2011 at 3:03 PM

ACRL OnPoint Chat: Proposal advice for ACRL 2011

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I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this extensively yet, but I’m on the Conference Planning Committee for the 2011 Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) conference. Specifically, I’m a co-chair for the Virtual Conference Committee (along with Scott Vine, Deputy College Librarian and Reference Services Librarian at Franklin & Marshall College). It’s my first time working on an ACRL Committee (I joined ACRL when I graduated from library school back in 2008) and 2011 will be my first time attending an ACRL conference.

On April 8th, I’ll be participating in an ACRL OnPoint Chat about the conference. Here’s the blurb from the website:

April 8, 2010: Maximize Your Chance of Success:
Advice for Writing a Winning Proposal for ACRL 2011
12:00-1:00 CST/1:00-2:00 EST/11:00-12:00 MST/10:00-11:00 PST

The deadline for National Conference proposals is fast approaching! Our presenters will help you think more strategically about your presentation options, writing, and content. This is an excellent opportunity to tap the experience of seasoned ACRL national conference leaders and organizers who can help you understand the art and science of developing a successful proposal.

Join us on Thursday, April 8, for an OnPoint chat moderated by Steven Bell, co-chair, Keynote Speakers Committee; Trevor Dawes, co-chair, Poster Session Committee; Erin Dorney, co-chair, Virtual Conference Committee; Marie L. Radford, co-chair, Contributed Papers Committee. The moderators have written winning proposals and served on previous National Conference committees responsible for selecting proposals.

If you have any questions about the ACRL 2011 conference or the virtual conference, I strongly encourage you to attend the chat! It’s free, open to the public and takes place in a Meebo chat room. Keep in mind that only 80 people can join the chat on a first-come-first-served basis.While most of these library celebs will be talking about how to write a winning proposal, I’ll be on hand to answer any questions about the virtual conference and explain what the committee is looking for and hoping to achieve with the virtual conference this year. I am also willing to take any feedback or suggestions you have back to the rest of the committee.

If you’re thinking about sending in a proposal, you have until May 10, 2010 to submit contributed papers, panel sessions, preconferences, and workshops. You have until November 1, 2010 to send in submissions for cyber zed shed presentations, poster sessions, roundtable discussions, and virtual conference webcasts. Check out the full call for proposals at the ACRL 2011 website.

So, what are you going to submit for the conference? I have a few random ideas rolling around in my head… If you have any questions about the ACRL Virtual Conference, please let me know!

Written by Erin Dorney

March 29, 2010 at 9:07 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