Erin Dorney

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ACRL Conference Notes + Selected Tweets

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Building a Dream Team: Library Personas in the 21st Century Library by Lynda Kellam (Data Services & Government Information Librarian at UNCG Jackson Library), Jenny Dale (First-Year Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian at UNCG Jackson Library) and Lauren Pressley (Associate Director of Learning and Outreach at Virginia Tech)

  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (read this)
  • What do I do best that other people cannot do as well? Those are my competencies/persona.
  • What do I spend time on that other people could do or do better? Try to ignore, minimize, or outsource those things.
  • What is your professional persona?  How do you incorporate different personas into a future-forward organizational structure? Try to organize “functional specialties” in a diverse team approach.

Library Publishing and Undergraduate Education: Strategies for Collaboration by Stephanie Davis-Kahl (Scholarly Communications Librarian at Illinois Wesleyan University), Michael Seeborg (Professor of Economics at Illinois Wesleyan University) and Isaac Gilman (Scholarly Communications and Research Services Librarian at Pacific University)

  • Use students to peer-review submitted articles and write critical reviews of articles once they’re published to help them learn about scholarly publishing and become part of the process.
  • “silos belong on farms”
  • Teaching students how to package information will help them think critically about the information they encounter/consume
  • Gilman created a journal publishing for-credit course that was then expanded into a publishing minor program that explores both traditional and emerging forms of publishing (sounds awesome!)

Hacking the Learner Experience: Techniques and Strategies for Connecting with your Instructional Ecosystem by Andy Burkhardt (Emerging Technologies Librarian at Champlain College), Lauren Pressley (Associate Director of Learning and Outreach at Virginia Tech), and Brian Mathews (Associate Dean at Virginia Tech)

  • What do we need to start, what do we need to stop, and who do we need to work with?
  • William Perry, 1968, big in student affairs (look up)
  • Kolb, experiential learning, think about the cycle – where are you and where is everyone else in the room?
  • Think about who students are through information – make it personal and relatable.
  • Legitimately learn together – not sage on the stage but also not guide on the side.

The Mother of all LibGuides: Applying Principles of Communication and Network Theory in LibGuide Design by Carol Leibiger and Alan Aldrich (Associate Professors at University of South Dakota)

  • The average subject guide takes an experienced librarian between 8-20 hours to create.

Hidden Patterns of LibGuides Usage: Another Facet of Usability by Wendy Wilcox, Gabriela Castro Gessner, and Adam Chandler (Access Services Librarian; Research and Assessment Analyst; and Electronic Resources User Experience Librarian at Cornell University Libraries)

  • Studied 637 LibGuides using stats from Springshare and bibliomining to log user location.
  • 70% of guide usage was by non-Cornell affiliated users (who is using them – other librarians I guess? Are we all just looking at each others’ guides?)
  • Number of tabs in the guides they studied ranged from 1 to 19 (…WHAT!).
  • Is it even important to know who is viewing our guides (my opinion, yes).

The Art of Problem Discovery by Brian Mathews (Associate Dean at Virginia Tech)

  • If we just keep doing what we’ve always done but a little bit better, we miss out on growth opportunities.
  • What is our total landscape?
  • Don’t sell products or services – help people address the needs they have/their jobs.
  • What if we scrapped all existing library services (no legacy services), identified the tasks of our communities, and rebuilt new services around those needs? What would the library look like? (This was probably my favorite idea of the whole conference… I really wish I could do this somewhere. Maybe I should just do it conceptually and then see if I can get anyone on board with the idea).
  • Invest in other people’s problems.
  • We can’t just be louder (YES. I feel like this is always an issue with library marketing. People seem to think if we just put up more and larger posters around campus, an initiative will be successful, when in reality it has to be more strategic… and the right message).
  • Librarians as problem developers/problem designers.
  • Disrupt intentionally.
  • Just read the whole paper, people.

Love your Library: Building Goodwill from the Inside Out and the Outside In by Adrienne Lai (Emerging Technologies Librarian at North Carolina State University Libraries), Lia Friedman (Director of Learning Services at UC San Diego Library), Alice Whiteside (Librarian & Instructional Technology Consultant at Mount Holyoke College), and Char Booth (Instruction Services Manager & E-Learning Librarian at Claremont Colleges)

  • Cultivation, communication, collaboration, context, camogogy (camouflage + pedagogy) = outreach
  • Pull children’s books from your education section for stress-relief events
  • Sneak teach!
  • Special Collections pop up library in Art & Design building- bring it to them
  • When they opened a new building, had students take photos of library spaces and tag them on Instagram. A program fed the images to digital displays within the building (after moderation) and some will be preserved in the archives. Over 1700 photos already. Students like seeing the student-perspective (DO THIS AT MILLERSVILLE).
  • Put a Q&A board away from public service points for privacy and then post pictures of answers on social media.
  • Full-sized librarian cardboard cutouts for visibility when not at a desk/office.
  • Google outreach map with different locations for events, hanging things, tips. Helpful for student employees (yup, do this).
  • Slides / Handout (“steal with joyful permission” – Char)

Written by Erin Dorney

April 15, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Posted in Conferences, Libraries

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PaLA Conference 2012

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pala 2012 logoJust sharing some of my notes and reflections from the 2012 Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in Gettysburg earlier this week. It was great to see friends and colleagues from across the state. Unfortunately it wasn’t 100% awesome since I was recovering from a bad cold, the hotel wifi was terrible (almost non-existent!), and we couldn’t find a ton of great places to eat in Gettysburg. Health, the interwebs, and good food are apparently staples of my happiness. I did really enjoy the tours this year – a wine tasting at Adams County Winery (picked up a bottle of Turning Point) and a nighttime walking tour of the haunted Farnsworth House Inn and Cemetery Hill! I was running around a lot so I didn’t get to attend a ton of sessions (I co-presented a session on Monday, facilitated two focus groups, and ran three unconference sessions – thanks to all the volunteers!).

Unconference session notes

  • I thought the unconference sessions went really well. Some of the same people came to all three, but there were also new people at each one which made the group breakout discussions pretty unique. We tried to get everyone to do evaluations so PaLA can decide if it’s worthwhile to do again next year (in my opinion, yes!).

Playing for Keeps: Lifelong Learning in the Ludic Library by Barbara Fister (Professor, Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library @ Gustavus Adolphus College)

  • The Citation Project – great project coming out of the composition and rhetoric fields
  • Student approach to research is to find some quotes that work and rearrange them
  • Being really good at following the rules stifles creativity and discovery – how does this impact how we teach information literacy?
  • There is value in doing things, not just learning about things

Using “The Filter Bubble” to Create a Teachable Moment by Allyson Valentine (Instructor @ York College; Adjunct Reference & Instruction Librarian @ Harrisburg Area Community College) and Laura Wukovitz (Instructor @ York College; Adjunct Reference & Instruction Librarian @ Harrisburg Area Community College)

  • Panopticlick
  • “confirmation bias”
  • Peek You
  • My reflections:
    • “The Filter Bubble” by Eli Pariser might be a really fun pick for a college One Book, One Campus program to get students to think about this kind of stuff on a broader scale.
    • Filter bubble instruction might work well in Millersville’s COMM100 classes where students do public speaking and have to present both sides of an argument/persuade their audience.
    • I posed this question during the Q&A portion of the session. Are library database vendors picking up on the idea of the filter bubble? I know some systems have built-in recommender services (if you liked this article, you might like these) but what about federated search systems? Do we know if EBSCO is privileging its content over other provider’s content that has been integrated into the results? If we don’t know how the systems determine relevancy, then we don’t really know, right?

The Space Between: Valuing and Utilizing Empty Spaces in Libraries by Alica White (Head Librarian @ Penn State University Mont Alto)

  • If you look at the aerial view of botanical gardens, they are a lot like the floor plans of library buildings (never noticed this before, but true)
  • Sala Borsa in Bologna, Italy
  • My reflections:
    • We need to think intentionally about the space between and around things in our libraries and be strategic about that space. It’s like whitespace when you’re designing a poster or a layout. The eye needs room to breath in order to take it all in.
    • We could brainstorm some way to revitalize “stacks” as content goes more and more electronic. I was thinking maybe you could take out some shelves from the middle (leave end caps and shelves at the top/bottom – even leave some books on the top ones, maybe?) and then put in a row of hanging plants. This would bring some green elements into the space but also create a nice vertical line that’s not completely solid or blocking too much visibility – a way to section off some space without closing it in completely?

Moving Towards the Future: Three Applications of Cutting-Edge Mobile Technologies in Libraries by Carolyn Sautter (Director of Special Collections and
College Archives @ Gettysburg College), Jessica Howard (Reference & Web Services Librarian @ Gettysburg College), Eric Phetteplace (Emerging Technologies Librarian @ Chesapeake College) and Erin Burns (Reference Librarian @ Penn State University Shenango)

  • Write your search terms like a robot
  • Aurasma augmented reality app seems cool
  • The Gettysburg artiFACTS project is a great example of one area the library could be considered an “expert” at outside the building. There’s lots of artwork located in different buildings on campus and the library could “curate” QR codes with additional information (where the piece came from, history of it, etc) for an interactive exhibit.
  • My reflections:
    • Aurasma (or something like it) would be the perfect thing to incorporate into a poster session at a conference. You could put right on the poster which app to use (or, an entire conference like ALA or ACRL could make the decision to use one app) and then if you put your poster up but weren’t standing right next to it all the time, visitors could scan and see you do a pre-recorded video poster talk.

Written by Erin Dorney

October 5, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Computers in Libraries – Wednesday

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Innovation Success FrameworkJeffrey Phillips, VP of OVO Innovate on Purpose and author of Relentless Innovation: What Works, What Doesn’t – And What That Means for Your Business

  • If someone walked into your organization and asked you what the process was for managing a purchase order, there would be a clearly defined course of action with designated people working together to get things done. Why aren’t we work flowing great ideas in this same fashion? We need to make sure that there is a process for good ideas so that they don’t just die.
  • There are a lot of factors impacting innovation, including disappearing trade barriers, increasing rates of change, increased customer expectations, increased access to information, and decreasing cost of entry.
  • [New to me] idea of “skunkwork” – a working group completely outside the company culture. Does your library have something like this? Would it work? Does it?
  • To create an innovative business-as-usual model (as opposed to the this is how we’ve always done it mindset), we need to focus on communication, compensation, and culture.
  • Quotable moment: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
  • Companies (and libraries) have an unbalanced skill set. We have lots of training on efficiencies, but not so much on innovation. We need to learn more about trend spotting, customer insights, and prototyping.
    • Question from Erin: Are these skills reflected in current LIS programs? Could they be incorporated in the future?

Unleashing the Power of Your PeopleMichelle Boule, author of Mob Rule Learning: Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head (Track F – Library Issues & Challenges)

  • This session was awesome because it modeled the idea of an unconference/participant-driven event. The audience actively participated in brainstorming topics for discussion, voting on them, and sharing their experiences. Really the best way to learn something – by doing it – so I give major props to Michelle and the Track F moderators Jennifer Koerber and Michael Sauers.
  •  To do: Survey all staff of the library (including librarians, support staff, shelvers, student workers, interns, etc) to find out what they are passionate about/good at. These are opportunities to get your community engaged – they could teach a class or do a training session related to something they personally enjoy. You never know where (or who) the next great idea will come from.
  • How do you counterbalance the fear factor when getting people engaged in this kind of learning activity?
    • Question from Erin: Why aren’t we doing this sort of thing as library instruction? Why not take this approach with our users? Is anyone doing this?

Capturing, Sharing, & Acting on Ideas – Adam Shambaugh & Jill Luedke from Temple University Libraries (Track C – Inspiring Innovation)

  • To do: Look at literature from business, management, and organizational behavior about organizational innovation and idea development.
  • “Fuzzy front end” is a phrase used in the industry and literature to refer to the stage of ideas in their infancy. It’s often the most difficult stage because they are so nascent, with limited buy-in and being ill defined.
  • Ian Alam article on early idea development reveals 3 stages: idea generation, idea screening, and concept development.
  • Because of the random nature of ideas, capturing them in the moment is very important. Note from Erin: This is something I am very familiar with as a writer. I have ideas at the strangest times and if I don’t write them down, I lose them completely. This goes for everything from blog posts to letters to my friends to poems. So this session really resonated with me on multiple levels.
  • New ideas will be qualitative, informal, and approximate. At this stage, ideas have the potential to be successful or unsuccessful so you can’t automatically discount anything.
  • Temple did a “Capture And Idea” project, initially focused on improving user experience. They purchased and handed out idea notebooks to everyone in the organization and had them record ideas. Then, the TULibrary Experience Blog was created for employees to share ideas, which were discussed even further at retreats. From those discussions, a task force was developed to address ideas and issues (the “Fix It” Team).
  • Why would you want to capture ideas? So you don’t forget it, because you can’t share it with other people if it’s inside your mind, and to let things percolate.
  • What ideas would you capture? Problems you encounter (inside and outside the library), behaviors you observe (particularly unexpected), questions you’ve been asked repeatedly, complaints, and cool stuff. Note from Erin: This aligns really nicely with some usability/user observation stuff I’ve heard about. It would be a good way to get staff on board with a user-study sort of project.
  • To do: Look up Catch & Springpad apps
  • Advice for doing a project like this = suggest various platforms for capturing ideas based on comfort level, make it easy and inclusive, make sharing easy and accessible, give suggestions at the beginning to make it concrete, incentivize, and be inclusive.
  • This kind of project really intrigues me. I feel like I made decent headway with our brainstorming session a few months ago, but then I was thinking about it some more and that was probably only the first baby step. If you ask for ideas once, or twice, even, and then don’t necessarily take the suggestions or follow up, people could feel like they wasted their time or aren’t being taken seriously. They might not want to contribute again in the future. However, if you fostered this culture of idea sharing, and consistently asked for and acted upon feedback, there would be more buy-in. People wouldn’t necessarily expect that each and every idea they generated was amazing and will be implemented immediately on the spot. It would just be an understood baseline/course of action to regularly generate and share ideas. This goes for internal an external audiences for libraries – staff, users, donors, admin… ::nerd::
  • Both of these speakers were awesome. You could tell that they really knew their stuff and they were completely at ease in front of a room packed full of people. Very engaging with good content, tone, speaker presence, etc. Probably one of the most seamless and least awkward library conference presentations I’ve seen to date.

Written by Erin Dorney

March 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Charleston Conference (Sat)

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I had a fabulous time at the Charleston Conference this week. I decided to post my session notes from today while waiting for my airport shuttle. Should be back in PA by nightfall 🙂

Saturday session notes:

Jumping into the New Waters of Librarian Promotion and Appointment: How We Dove in and Survived

Bridget Euliano (Acquisitions Librarian, Duquesne University) & Carmel Yurochko (Serials/Electronic Resources Librarian, Duquesne University)

-They were a flat organization to begin with – considered non-tenure track faculty
-Pittsburg PA – private – 10,000 students – 12 FT librarians & 1 university librarian
-Wanted a tiered system for promotion for librarians
-Lots of waves: How do we create a system from scratch? Will we be reviewed fairly? Who will review us? Why should we do this?
-Timeline: took them 6 years (!)
-2002 – task force to develop documentation (looked at and cherry picked from other libraries
-2004- task force presents initial document (some people were happy, some people picked it apart)
-2005 – second task force to revise document (every task force had a different group of people)
-2007 – third and final task force (stumbling over certain words – RANK, for example)
-2008 – librarian tier process was implemented
-Initial process: everyone was considered Librarian 1 and you had 5 years to apply for promotion
-Had levels 1-4 with different requirements.
-After a year and a half, no one had applied yet
-So they created “The Expedited Process” – portfolios would be reviewed only by the University Librarian and Provost (removed intimidating aspect of traditional peer review by colleagues)
-Created informal positive peer review support group to make this a positive learning process
-2 options – initial process or expedited process
-All of the librarians except one decided to do the expedited process – all who applied were successfully promoted
-Euliano’s experience – was a new librarian there, had promotion experience from another institution, was told during the hiring process
-Yurochko’s experience – had never been through promotion process anywhere before, was told if she didn’t do this it would likely qualify as insubordination (!) because she was thinking she might retire before the application deadline, saw the organizational need for tiers so decided to participate
-Peer reviewed each others’ portfolios
-Was there a money incentive attached to tiered promotion? No guarantee at the beginning because it was new to the university and not yet, but it may come later.
-Administration didn’t know what librarians were doing, sharing the portfolios helped them learn about the publishing, presenting & research that was taking place
-Lessons learned: They want to revise the guidelines (use terminology to match that used at the university level; more clearly define which categories are appropriate for various accomplishments)
-Lessons learned: Importance of service opportunities (make them more widely available, particularly for newly hired librarians; actively seek new avenues of engagement at the university)
-Now in recruitment they can clearly delineate expectations for advertised positions
-More in line with other academic libraries

Tackling the Evolution of Libraries

Stephen Abram (Gale, Part of Cengage Learning)

-Major legislation is happening on copyright
-Moving from financial to information economy
-Google Editions – launching in the next 8 weeks – have built and algorithm to sell lower than anywhere else on the web
-What does it mean when all of the books are online? What happened when articles all went online? No one is begging for the paper copies.
-We should not be encouraging serendipitous browsing but immersive, targeted research skills
-We’re working in a non-fiction publishing space – you don’t read it from end to end (we don’t & student’s don’t)
-Each article has value on their own, but not really as a unit
-Format agnostic generation – they don’t care, it’s not helpful to them
-Geo-tagging on ads impacts what results you get
-They can contextualize ads based on the books you’re searching for/looking at
-Should we still be organizing our collection by format?
-If majority of learning is hybrid, what does your library team look like? What’s the depth of that talent when students’ primary access to learning is at the class level not the university level.
-We overwhelm them with how “smart” we are – i.e. offering 60 ways to cite instead of asking faculty preference and focusing on those three, creating widgets for their course guide
-FCC whitespace decision – people will be able to connect
-E-paper = more imagination, plasma screen = more experience
-Bloom’s taxonomy of learning – most librarians are probably text-based
-Universities are more full with more people with more learning styles
-How do libraries support this?
-Heart survey – which would make you feel better – I read the article last night OR I watched the video
-How can we support experienced based learning styles?
-15% of students at universities require some sort of adaptation
-Are we making decisions based on our end user preferences or our own preferences?
-They like to explore in layers rather than tabs (interface)
-We’re good at supporting text based learners, but how do we move beyond that?
-We have a smart generation – roe v. wade (every child is wanted), gaming, no lead paint
-Gaming changes the dynamics of how your brain works – spend 40 days to solve a videogame – this is episodic learning. This is reading.
-Print is a corpus that needs to be archived  preserved.
-How and why is library business, not who, what, where, when (that’s what Google is for)
-Most people are offended when you ask them if they need help – libraries can learn from this – connect with them as a person first
-We put our OPAC out there to show our inventory instead of inviting them to have an experience
-Do we know our top 10 reference questions? No business would ignore this – they would have the answers down pat.
-Someone looking for information about pregnancy – we can give them a better experience/better help if we know their gender
-Our value add – social dimension
-The people (librarians) are the value – how many pictures are there on the library website? How many links to Facebook are there? Are we saying we’re just a search engine?
-Social software – social institution (we can relate socially to our users)

Hyde Park Corner Sound-Off and Closing Remarks

Anthony Ferguson (University of Hong Kong)

-The Charleston Conference: “A Wonderful Place to Steal Ideas”
-Genius actionable ideas:
-Just in time print and electronic information killer APP: user initiated document delivery + purchase on demand/pay per view = you can save a lot of money
-Just in time collection development on steroids – Espresso Book Machine & Lightning Source
-Remote storage isn’t just a solution for homeless books – collaborate with other libraries for storage/access so that library as a place for study can be emphasized
-University of California’s e-scholarship program which cohesively packages Open Access components (
-Put discipline specific critical library information on flash drives and give them away to new students
-Catchy collection development motto: “Get it at Cal State Libraries”
-Hathitrust + Google Books = everyone can have a Harvard-like collection but without the stacks headache
-All collaborative projects should generate some income in order to be sustainable
-Avoid “free riders” in collaborative projects because they take up time and energy
-Mobile devices are growing – short treatments of serious topics are being sought. Condensed books.
-Support growing for bookless branch learning commons libraries (both inside and outside the field)
-Adopting a single discovery interface (Worldcat Local, Summon, EDS) is the most radical and potentially fruitful way of connecting readers to materials
-UC San Diego demonstrating the role of the library in providing stewardship for the scholarly record by giving away a single terabyte of memory to departments across campus
-Find out what it is about the library that your president values and build upon that
-Big concepts/no immediate application:
-Delivery speed is the single most important factor for cooperative collection development
-As a profession, when confronted with a lack of funding, where are our revolutionary ideas?
-It all comes down to trust, particularly in branding
-Look at the annual Edelman Trust Barometer for ideas on how to increase trust
-Some surveys show that people miss the ability to browse (then again, other surveys show different results)
-People want information, not formats
-Readers need help with information overload. They want it to be easier
-Look for the results of the European Community SOAP (survey of open access publishing) Researchers seem to want it, but funding is an issue

Written by Erin Dorney

November 6, 2010 at 2:28 PM