Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘presentation

Student Panel at PaLA Lehigh Valley Chapter

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lvpala

Last week I got to facilitate a really fun session for the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association. For my breakout session I decided to copy a format I had seen Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches use back in November 2011 at the Library Journal Summit in Philadelphia.

We recruited students from four local colleges/universities and basically ran a live focus group, talking openly with them about why they use the library, how they do research, and how they use technology. I’m not going to name names to protect these innocent students who so kindly shared their honest opinions about libraries, but we had representatives from Northampton Community College, Widener University, Penn State, and Muhlenberg University. And guys, they were amazing. Everyone was professional and had great, well-articulated thoughts to share. It was really inspiring to work with them (thank you!!!).

In my introduction I shared a little bit about why I wanted to do a session like this instead of just talking to attendees about academic libraries. We talk a lot about initiating change from within (or outside of) our institutions and change-resistors. “User experience” is also a phrase that has gained traction in recent years. In my position, I’ve found that talking directly with users has provided me with the tools I need to initiate change in my library. I realized when we started our Library Student Advisory Board that when I talked with students about different projects or initiatives, they gave me actual evidence as in “yes this is a good idea” or “no, no one would use it like that” that I was able to leverage to bring about changes in the way things were done and the projects I pursued. I think it’s really important for us to talk to our users, to be open to what they have to say, and most importantly, to make changes accordingly. Sometimes it’s difficult to do this because there are so many things vying for our time but I think it’s critical in terms of designing the future for academic libraries.

I remember walking away inspired and excited from Aaron and Amanda’s session in 2011 and I hope attendees had a similar experience after participating last week. If nothing else, perhaps they learned one new thing about the life of a college student, or left feeling empowered to talk to the users at their own institution. Personally, this was one of the most fun presentations I’ve ever done.

A couple of people wanted to see my list of questions, so you can steal those here (no worries, I borrowed most of them from Aaron and Amanda and added some of my own—you have permission to steal this entire idea!). Mine are at the top—the numbers are the initial questions I started with and the indented letters are follow up questions that I asked on the spot based on student responses. If anyone has questions about how this worked, just leave a comment and I can share more details.

Sending huge thanks out to Aaron and Amanda for sharing their questions and advice for the student panel, to LVPALA for inviting me to present at the workshop, to Courtney Eger for being an excellent speaker contact and helping recruit students, to Tina Hertel and Muhlenberg College for helping recruit students, and of course to the students who volunteered their summer time to participate in what could have been a very uncomfortable experience (I hope it wasn’t too bad!). This was truly a session that couldn’t have happened with just me alone. Collaboration for the win!

I’m planning to do another post about things I thought were intriguing about the student responses but I have to transcribe the audio from the session first… stay tuned!

Written by Erin Dorney

May 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM

ACRL 2013 Conference

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ACRLlogo

I’ll be at the Association of College & Research Libraries 2013 Conference Wednesday through Saturday (April 10-13). Thought I’d share my tentative schedule here in case anyone wants to catch up before/during/after a session. I have lunches and Friday night dinner open if people wanna meet up! Comment, text me, tweet or DM @edorney to get in touch.

I’m presenting with some of the other Lead Pipe Editorial Board members on Thursday at 3 PM about #diylib culture. We’d love to hear your thoughts before the panel session so we can incorporate a variety of perspectives. Check out our recent editorial for all the details. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 10

8 PM – Battle Decks! – Imagine, Improvise, Inflict: Get Inspired or Die Trying

Thursday, April 11

8 AM – Building a Dream Team: Library Personas in the 21st Century Library

9 AM – Meeting with Lead Pipe Editorial Board members

10:30 AM – Library Publishing and Undergraduate Education: Strategies for Collaboration

1 PM – Hacking the Learner Experience: techniques and strategies for connecting with your instructional ecosystem

2 PM – Poster Session

3 PM – From the Periphery into the Mainstream: Library DIY culture(s) and the academy

4:20 PM – Henry Rollins Keynote

Dinner with Lead Pipe Editorial Board members

Friday, April 12

9:30 AM – Poster Session

11 AM – Contributed Papers: “The Mother of all LibGuides”: Applying Principles of Communication and Network Theory in LibGuide Design/Hidden Patterns of LibGuides Usage: Another Facet of Usability/The Unobtrusive “Usability Test”: Creating Measurable Goals to Evaluate a Website

1:30 PM – The Art of Problem Discovery

2:30 PM – Poster Session

4 PM – “Love your library”: building goodwill from the inside out and the outside in

8 PM – All Conference Reception

I’ll probably be blogging at some point since this is my first time attending ACRL. Anything you’re looking forward to?

Written by Erin Dorney

April 7, 2013 at 12:18 AM

How to improve your visual aids for presentations

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public speaking project

One of the things I love about my job is making connections. Sometimes it’s a connection between individuals and the information they need. Sometimes it’s a connection between two people who can help each other. Sometimes it’s a connection between a person and a unique opportunity. Recently, I was able to connect a two colleagues: a librarian from Mansfield University and a professor at Millersville University. The result was a chapter on visual aids for Public Speaking: The Virtual Text, a free online public speaking textbook.

I love this project—Creative Commons-licensed, well-written by authoritative speech professionals, an alternative for FAR too expensive communications textbooks. Really, what’s not to like?!

Anyone with an upcoming presentation who is considering using visual aids (Midwinter, ALA, and ACRL librarians, I’m looking at you) should take a moment to check out Chapter 13: Visual Aids. Sheila has great advice on:

  1. Identifying when and how visual aids will enhance a presentation
  2. Identifying the different types of visual aids
  3. Identifying effective and ineffective use of visual aids
  4. Applying basic design principles to slide design
  5. Identifying best practices to incorporating visual aids in a presentation

I’ll be keeping these tips in mind when I work on my upcoming presentations—no more crappy slide decks! Seriously, give it a read. You can download each chapter as a PDF in color or grayscale. Share this resource with anyone interested in public speaking!

Written by Erin Dorney

January 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

These are things that are happening

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globe

March

On March 12th (2 PM EST) I’ll be co-presenting “Stealth Librarianship: Creating Meaningful Connections Through User Experience, Outreach, and Liaising” with Kiyomi Deards and Bohyun Kim. We’ll be talking about relationship-building and how user experience research, outreach, and stealth librarianship can be used to create meaningful connections within the campus community. The class size is limited to 60 participants, so register now! And let us know if there is anything specific you’d like to see us cover.

April

I’ll be in Indianapolis from April 10-13 for the ACRL 2013 Conference. It’s my first ACRL and my first trip to Indiana. On the 11th I’ll be presenting on a panel with some my fellow Lead Pipe editors:

From the Periphery into the Mainstream: Library DIY culture(s) and the academy – In October 2008, In the Library with the Lead Pipe published its first article. Additionally, numerous groups have been hosting unconferences, infiltrating SXSW, and more. The culmination of do-it-yourself (DIY) activities points to a growing DIY culture that is permeating academic libraries. Find out from some of these DIYers what DIY library culture has inspired in academe, and how these innovative enterprises tie into our scholarship, instruction, and advocacy.

May

I was invited to present a session for academic librarians at the Pennsylvania Library Association Lehigh Valley Chapter Spring Workshop on May 23rd at Muhlenberg College. I’m trying something a little different (modeled on a session I saw Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches do in November 2011) and will be bringing in some students to discuss the library:

A Crevice or a Chasm? Investigating the Disparities Between Experience and Expectation – How wide is the gap between what students expect from the library and what they experience? Hear from four current college students about why, when, and how they use (or don’t use) the library. Audience members will have the opportunity to pose their own questions to the panel following this facilitated conversation.

June

My first conference abroad! A joint proposal I submitted with two colleagues was accepted for presentation at the 5th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries being held in Rome June 4-7 at “La Sapienza” University. Does anyone have international travel tips for me? I’ve never been outside the US, so this is big & awesome news!

One Website to Rule Them All: Meeting the Needs of Students, Faculty, and Librarians – Most academic library websites have three main audiences: students, faculty, and librarians. While there are additional audiences (including non-users, community members, staff, and parents), these three groups spend the most amount of time on our sites. Libraries risk losing credibility and customers if these three main audiences do not have a good experience on the site. While each of these groups has a different set of needs and expectations, many academic libraries do not have the freedom, time, or skill set to develop a distinctive website for each user group. Our challenge, therefore, is to create a single website that meets the needs of each of our individual user groups without sacrificing continuity of design, quality of information, or consistency of navigation for one group over another. This presentation will highlight the opportunities and challenges of building an academic library website for students, faculty, and librarians. Each speaker will address one audience and will highlight various qualitative measurements which attendees can recreate at their home institutions in order to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their websites to make targeted improvements.

How is your spring looking? Anything you’re looking forward to? If you’ll be at any of these events, make sure to say hello!

Image CC BY-SA 2.0 courtesy of fsse8info on Flickr

Written by Erin Dorney

January 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Help us speak at SXSWi 2013!

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sxsw logo

This year I submitted two core conversation proposals for SXSW Interactive. Acceptance at this conference is extremely competitive—over 3,200 speaking proposals were submitted for 2013, more than ever before. This is where I need your help! Public voting accounts for 30% of the decision-making process regarding which proposals are selected (40% of the process is the SXSW Advisory Board and 30% is based on the input of SXSW staff).

Anyone who creates an account on the SXSW Panel Picker is eligible to vote on the ideas they believe are most appropriate for the 2013 event (even if you don’t plan on attending). It’s a simple process that will only take a few minutes of your time. If either (or both) of my topics sound intriguing to you, I would love your support! It would be a dream come true to present at SXSW—I’ve never been to Texas, y’all!

Voting is open now through August 31st. Thanks in advance for your help! And if you’re a librar* aficionado, check out and vote for the other library, archives, and museum-related proposals (follow #sxswLAM on Twitter for details).

Proposal 1: Seriously Good Writing on the Web w/ @frierson re: @libraryleadpipe

Everyone’s got opinions. How do you make sure yours don’t stink? Join our core conversation for an engaging discussion about how to ensure your writing is taken seriously on the web. Team members from the award-winning blog In the Library with the Lead Pipe will facilitate and share tips on new, nimble, proactive forms of digital publishing which borrow editing practices from academia but add an idea-centric, action-oriented approach to content. Help us define a new genre of publication that leverages seriously good writing while at the same time encouraging commentary, discussion, and participation.

  1. How can I ensure my writing is taken seriously on the Internet?
  2. How do I structure an editorial/peer-review process?
  3. How can I get people to volunteer to create content for free?
  4. How can I maintain an action-oriented approach to long-form, scholarly writing?
  5. How do we define this new genre of publication?

Proposal 2: The SXSW Statements: Your Email is Killing Us w/ @lcsarin

Email drive you batty? “Reply All” make you want to scream? Lots of people have tried writing email manifestos and bills of rights, but the problem remains. It’s time for the thought leaders at SXSW to stand up and say NO MORE. At this participatory session attendees will create an collaborative digital public declaration that takes a stand against clumsy communicators. Once designed, this crowd-sourced manifesto will be shared around the globe, in the hopes that we can enjoy a little less work and a lot more play. Let your voice be heard!

  1. What are the “new rules” of email in the digital age?
  2. What does an effective email look like?
  3. What are the rules for “reply all”?
  4. How can I manage my inbox without having a mental breakdown?
  5. How can I teach my friends/colleagues/boss about proper use of email (without pissing them off)?

Written by Erin Dorney

August 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Future of the Academic Library Symposium

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I am super jazzed to be a part of Library Journal’s second Future of the Academic Library Symposium, coming up on November 11th at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Co-sponsored by Temple University Libraries, this event is FREE & open to librarians and library staff from academic institutions. At this point I haven’t heard anything about the event being recorded or streamed, but I will try to find out. It would be nice if this could be shared with academic librarians who can’t be in Philly in November.

Anywho, the morning program will be focused on “Bridging the Culture Gap” with two segments – Innovation: Freedom vs Control and People: Strengthening the Culture (I’m a panelist!). Then there will be a midday panel about Discovery Services (the symposium is partially sponsored by EBSCO, after all) and the afternoon program will focus on “Bridging the User Gap” with panels of non-librarians (faculty & students) speaking about their experiences. I am pretty blown away to be sharing this event with some of my library land blogging idols, including Jenica Rogers, Courtney Young, Andy Burkhardt, Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson. Fangirl much?!

Here’s the blurb from the segment I am speaking on:

“Why can’t my colleagues tolerate change?” Don’t these new librarians realize how we do things here?” “How come the deadwood always rejects my great ideas?” “Technology? That’s the new librarian’s job.” Our academic libraries can become fraught with misunderstanding and stereotypes about our colleagues, and when the gaps grow wide they lead to organizational dysfunction. To build better libraries we must confront these gaps. Doing so requires that we engage in authentic conversation focused on creating a better understanding of each other. Once we learn to appreciate our differences, and how our organizations thrive from the mix of skills we bring to it, we can begin to bridge the culture gap.”

Any readers out there who have thoughts on bridging the culture gap? Certain questions you’d like to see addressed or great answers to the ones posed above? If so, please leave a comment.

You can register and learn more about the event on the Library Journal website. Hope to see you there!

Written by Erin Dorney

October 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM

My first presentation – academic outreach panel

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In addition to attending the previously posted sessions at the 2009 SSHELCO Meeting, I had the opportunity to participate in my first library conference presentation, addressing the topic of academic library outreach. I was lucky that my first presentation didn’t have to be solo – I had a bunch of great colleagues from different PASSHE schools to alleviate some of the pressure. Here’s how we worked our panel session:

I contacted peers at other PASSHE schools who were obviously working with outreach/marketing/pr (I was able to tell from their job titles or previous communications). My goal was to have as many institutions represented as possible in order to gather different viewpoints. We ended up having six of the 14 universities represented (initially seven but one panelist had to drop out due to other obligations). We collaboratively wrote up the proposal and submitted it to the conference committee. After it was accepted, we talked via email until about three weeks before the session. At that point, I created a survey soliciting questions that academic librarians had relating to outreach, promotion, publicity and marketing. We got over 60 responses with 47 concrete questions. If you are interested, please view Outreach Questions, which includes the responses we received. It was cool how similar questions seemed to naturally fall into distinct categories, which can be seen with my headings in the document. It’s also telling that my (our) peers have so many questions about why, exactly, we need outreach/pr/marketing in academic libraries. I bet I could do something interesting with this data… hmmm…

After compiling all of the submissions, I forwarded the list to the group of panelists and had everyone rank their top three choices. I thought that it was important to let everyone decide which question they would be focusing on based on their different skills, job responsibilities and comfort levels. We also tried to touch on something from at least one of each of the main question categories. When we got together for the panel session, we had a very simple slideshow (basically stating the question, job title of the person who submitted it, and the name/title/contact info. of the panelist who was addressing it) and everyone talked about their question for approximately 9 minutes. At the end of the session we had time for questions and group discussion.

Overall, I think the panel went great. A few weeks ago I received the audience evaluations which were positive (comments included below) and gave me a nice little boost of confidence moving forward with other presentations/publications/research opportunities. Hopefully, this post will encourage other new librarians to try their hand at professional development – it’s not as bad as you might think! Panels are a nice way to start out because co-presenting helps distribute the workload, isn’t as nerve-wracking, and in the end provides you with a connected group of like minded colleagues (yay for networking!). Panelist Karen Wanamaker started the blog The Heart of the Campus as a follow up to our discussions at the conference, so check it out if you’re interested.  Thank you to the SSHELCO conference committee for giving us the opportunity to present and to my fellow panelists for a job well done!

Panel questions that were addressed:

“What unique partnerships are libraries taking part in to offer unique promotions (theatre, athletics, first year students, etc.)?” – from a Help Desk/Web Support Librarian, addressed by Kelly Heider, Education Librarian & Chair of the Library Events Team at Indiana University

“Is there value in outreach events that are not seen as academic but are more for fun?” – from a Science/Outreach Librarian, addressed by Catherine Rudowsky, Outreach Librarian at Slippery Rock University

“What assessment tools or data collection measures have you designed to judge the effectiveness of any of your outreach efforts?” – from an Assistant Vice President of Technology and Library Services, addressed by Matthew Syrett, Reference Librarian at Mansfield University

“Some institutions have newly-developed positions for outreach librarians; what exactly do their  job responsibilities include (and not include)?” – from a Science Librarian, addressed by Erin Dorney, Outreach Librarian at Millersville University

“How do you select which communication channel to use for outreach (Library Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Paper Newsletter,  Email Newsletter, etc.)?” – from a Systems & Electronic Resources / Web Librarian, addressed by Karen Wanamaker, Education Librarian & Library Public Relations Committee Chair at Kutztown University

“With faculty busy and bombarded by email, how do you reach them to share important library information?” -from a Collection Management Librarian, addressed by Linda Neyer, Reference Librarian, Science/Health Sciences Subject Specialist & Co-Chair of the Library Marketing Task Force at Bloomsburg University

Comments from audience evaluations:

What I liked most about the session:

  • Great suggestions and ideas about Outreach.
  • The panelists were well-prepared, and seem to be doing exciting projects at their universities.
  • Very inspiring – very knowledgeable; the format was nice too – culling questions in advance kept on task.
  • Practical advice.
  • Different perspectives on the topic, good ideas for marketing and outreach.
  • EXCELLENT SESSION!
  • Very informative topic & discussion; should continue each year or as a SIG or roundtable.
  • Liked the format w/each panelist focusing on a specific question; great ideas!!
  • Lots of good ideas on an important topic!
  • I really loved the panels ideas, suggestions and programs that are working for outreach at their campuses.
  • Interesting to see what various schools are doing.
  • It was an interesting way to start discussion by doing the survey ahead of time and then using the questions from the survey.
  • Couple of nice ideas.

What I liked least about the session:

  • Would have been great to have examples of many of the things they talked about i.e. newsletter, blog, twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • I liked the multiple-presenters set-up; it kept you engaged.
  • It would be nice to see pictures/examples of outreach efforts – but thanks for offering to send them along if we ask!
  • As a staff person, we see are very involved in helping patrons whenever we can.
  • Not very motivational, could not hear them at times.
  • Presentations were generally very good, one or 2 not as informative, did not focus on the question.
  • Not very overwhelming.

Other comments:

  • As an undergrad at our campus, I was very intimidated by asking a question of a librarian, and now they seem so friendly and helpful to all. Now  I am one of them. We all really reach out to help patrons and the community.
  • A+
  • Next year could we have a discussion of outreach techniques that have been successful & those that failed?

Written by Erin Dorney

May 15, 2009 at 6:40 PM