Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I attended the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) conference October 17 - 20. My primary motivation for attending was to facilitate an ALA Planning Forum the afternoon of the 20th. It is not a conference I attend on a regular basis, so it was a good opportunity for me to find out what my colleagues across the state are doing, learn something new, and visit vendors.
I attended a number of sessions. The first was a session called "Communications Among Library Staff: When NOT to Be Quiet in the Library" presented by Tricia Richards of This session emphasized that for communication in the work place to be effective it must be viewed as a shared responsibility.

The next session was "Avoiding Certain Doom: Integrating Information Literacy Through Collaboration" presented by Alison S. Gregory. I really enjoyed this session. It was shaped by three key questions including why collaboration is important, examples of collaboratively-creted research assignments emphasizing information literacy, and how a librarian can begin collaborating with other faculty at their home institution. She provided a really nice literature review, examples of assignment design and assessment from her campus, and employed some active learning techniques to get us talking with each other on ways to improve "doomed" assignments on our campus. I took a lot of good ideas away from the session, but also left feeling like I've been doing the right things in my library instruction. I have been fortunate to collaborate with other faculty on campus to improve and refine assignments as well as see more of those assignments once completed.

An interesting session was "iPrimer: Using the iPod Touch and iPhone in Library Reference and Education" by Corrine Syster and Misti Smith. It was described as an "overview of the devices and their features, while discussing their relevance to libraries. Significant applications (“apps”), such as “Kindle for iPhone” and catalog app from the Washington DC Public Library will be introduced along with current projects and research into library and classroom uses." The session was rounded out with discussion of the "practicality, challenges, and future of these technologies." Their presentation is available from Syster's site.

The iPrimer session got me thinking more about the future of mobile reference from a collection development standpoint. App recommendations, both free and fee, will be key to providing effective mobile reference. The same skills used to evaluate and assess "traditional" reference tools can be applied and expanded on for reference and productivity apps.

I was very interested in attending a session on the ALA Emerging Leaders program presented by Pennsylvania librarians who were selected as part of the 2009 class. Erin Dorney, Jennifer Jarson, and Rebecca Metzger discussed their experiences in the program, working in teams, their continued service to ALA and PaLA, and how the associations can continue to grow new leaders.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trips Galore

I have several trips this fall, all right around the same time. There will be about 4.5 weeks where I'm on the road, with a day in between to unload my suitcase, do some laundry, pack my suitcase, and get back on the road. The trips include:

Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) Conference - Harrisburg
ALA Executive Board Fall Meeting - Chicago
National Collegiate Honors Council Conference - Washington D.C.
Penn State Commonwealth Campus Libraries Fall Meeting - University Park/State College
NEH - Washington D.C.
Penn State Honors Consortium Fall Meeting - University Park/State College

Did I mention these trips are all between October 17 and November 16? It beats being bored. Hopefully all this travel and a fair amount of time in airports and hotel rooms will motivate me to update my blog more. I should also attempt to take more photos.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back in the classroom

My work life has been heavily focused on ALA. With the start of the new semester rapidly approaching (um, I didn't get my summer), I'm shifting gears to add on to that work load. The opportunity to teach a 3 credit independent study presented itself in late spring. A student in our campus' Letters Arts and Sciences program is interested in a career in libraries. Her advisor and a good colleague of mine incorporated this into her degree proposal and made a library studies course part of her capstone project. So I've been working on the independent study form and syllabus to fill that academic need. I'm very excited about the project and looking forward to doing more teaching.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NMRT President (so far)

I've started my term as NMRT President. The committee appointments are pretty much done. I have written my first short article for the August issue of Footnotes. I've even started working with the chair of the President's Program committee about my program idea for the 2010 Annual Conference. The term is up at the end of June (a short year compared to 2008-2009) and I know it will fly by.

Speaking of the 2008-2009 president, Laurel Bliss noted that AL Direct highlighted a resume review service video featuring Sarah Johnson. Johnson was one of the speakers at the NMRT President's Program on July 11.

We're trying something new this year and hosting our orientation sessions for new board members and new committee members online. I'm almost done capturing the content from previous orientations in the session slides I'm creating. We'll do the training using Opal, the software ALA has made available for this type of work. Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 17, 2009

ALA Chicago 2009

This was my longest and busiest ALA ever. I arrived in Chicago on July 9 and did not return home until July 16. Here are some of the highlights of my week.

I answered a total of four reference questions on the streets of Chicago. Three of them were directional. Only one required a reference interview. I was actually able to answer all of them. Correctly. Definitely a highlight of my conference.

ALA Meetings: I attended all of the Council meetings (I, II, and III), ALA-APA Council, and the Council Forum on July 13. I attended the second ALA Membership Meeting on July 13. I staffed the Resolutions table in the (surprisingly conveniently located) ALA Office area on July 10, and attended the committee meeting on July 11.

NMRT Meetings: I attended part of the TOLD committee meeting the morning of July 10 before running to the other end of McCormick Place to attend the Round Table Coordinating Assembly meeting. I attended the Orientation bright and early (8-10am) on Saturday, July 11. That afternoon, Laurel Bliss and Amanda Roberts, and I represented the round table at the "Conference for a Day" luncheon. Tracie Hall was the featured speaker and is always a treat to listen to and hear. The Conference for a Day was one of Jim Rettig's wonderful Presidential initiatives. On Sunday evening, I attended the NMRT Awards Reception and took several photos. July 13 at 8am I finally arrived at the NMRT Board meeting (despite leaving my hotel and hour before due to some shuttle bus traffic) where I posted about the meeting from the NMRT Twitter.

NMRT at Membership Pavilion

Executive Board Events and Meetings: I was introduced as a new board member at the Inaugural Banquet on July 14. I was officially seated on the board at their third meeting the afternoon on July 15. We were scheduled to meet from 1:30pm to 4:30pm. We did not adjourn until 5:30pm, but it was an enjoyable meeting.

When I was not or running between meetings, there was time (although not enough of it) to connect with friends and colleagues. I also made some new friends. After the Scholarship Bash, Amanda and I wandered around Millennium Park. I'm glad she dragged me along.

Millennium Park

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Road Scholars Tour

Penn State offers a really great program at the end of the semester for new and recently tenured faculty called the Road Scholar Tour. It alternates between the eastern side and western side of the state and gives faculty an opportunity to learn more about what the University is doing in different parts of the commonwealth either through agricultural extension, outreach, the campuses, or by alumni. I took advantage of the bus tour again as a recently tenured faculty member. We worked our way around the western part of the state May 11-13, 2009. The agenda was full and included the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, U.S. Steel Corporation Mon Valley Works, and the H. J. Heinz Global Innovation and Quality Center.

Here are some photos of places we went (where cameras were allowed).

Penn State Altoona

South Fork Dam, origin of the Johnstown Flood

The "World Famous" Horseshoe Curve

Horseshoe Curve museum

A train going around the Horseshoe Curve

Sunday, April 26, 2009

ALA HQ: NMRT and Executive Board Observer

The great thing about being onsite in Chicago is the opportunity for face time with the people I know and work with at ALA. I used my post orientation time to meet with staff in HRDR on New Members Round Table (NMRT) work. This included selecting and placing orders for NMRT ribbons to be available at Annual, get an update on our fund raising efforts for the 2009 Awards Reception, and preparing for my work as President for 2009-2010. Much to my surprise I spent a lot of time working!

When I was not in an ALA staff member’s office generating a to do list to execute when I returned to Pittsburgh, I was observing the Executive Board 2009 Spring Meeting. The current Board met on Friday morning to hear a presentation by Jenny Levine on ALA Connect. The presentation got me excited about using Connect more to do just that, connect with members in the association. It has a great deal of upside particularly for committee work. I hope NMRT will use it, especially those committees currently working with googlegroups and yahoogroups. I also learned about new developments with the at your library Web site.

Saturday's agenda very full. This included a membership update, development office report, research survey results, several reports related to finances, and closed executive session (I could not observe). There's a lot going on at ALA. The meeting agenda and documents are available from the Executive Board page.

Friday, April 24, 2009

ALA Executive Board Orientation highlights


Patricia Hogan, Steven Mathews, I spent April 22 and 23 at the ALA Headquarters for our new ALA Executive Board member orientation. The three of us will be seated on the board at the end of the Annual Conference and serve a three-year term for 2009-2012. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of information we need to know as future board members. Check out the robust itinerary.

April 22
8:15 - 8:45 Welcome and Governance Office Overview
8:45 - 9:20 Budgeting Process
9:30 - 11:00 Memorial service to honor Judith Krug
11:15 - 12:00 Public Information Office / Campaign for America's Libraries
12:15 - 1:30 Open House Lunch with ALA Unit Managers
1:40 - 1:55 Member Programs and Services Overview
2:00 - 3:15 Division Update (with Division Executive Directors)
3:15 - 4:30 Offices and What They Do
4:30 - 5:00 Strategic Planning / Organizational Culture and Change

April 23
8:30 - 9:00 Board Operation and Logistics
9:00 - 9:30 Development Office
9:30 - 10:00 Information Technology & Telecommunication Services
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 11:15 Communications and Member Relations
11:15 - 11:45 ALA-Allied Professional Association
11:45 - 1:15 Lunch with Executive Director
1:15 - 1:45 Publications
1:45 - 2:15 Conference Planning
2:15 - 2:45 Washington Office
2:45 - 3:00 Division Update
3:00 - 3:45 Building Tour

I loved every minute of it. It was definitely more information than I could handle, but I took good notes, met so many wonderful people, and am thankful for the nomination to run and my Council colleagues electing me to this position. It will be a lot of work, and at times hard work, but worth it. It is also a reminder that our Association is all about the people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Library Bar

I was invited to attend Pitt's ALA Student Chapter networking night. It was an evening of "library themed food, fun, and networking" held appropriate at the Library Bar. It was a lot of fun. I did not get to meet everyone, but I stayed for the entire event. It was even more fun to have someone I'd never met before, upon learning my name, be thrilled to meet me because of my roles in NMRT and ALA.

I wonder if I'll win something from their raffle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

ACRL Seattle

As you can see, ACRL ended on a sweet note. These delicious conference themed cookies were served at the All Conference Reception. The venue was Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. I saw lots of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia, a documentary, AND danced.

It wasn't all cookies, music, and dancing. As a member of the Scholarships Committee (despite the fact that all the printed material at the conference did not have me listed as a committee member), I attended the Scholarship Breakfast on Friday morning. The room was on the 35th floor of the Sheraton and had an amazing view. The keynote speaker, Richard Sweeney, led an interesting discussion about the millennial library generation. For me it was a thought-provoking way to begin the conference.

ACRL Scholarships Breakfast room view Richard Sweeney - ACRL Scholarships Breakfast Keynote SpeakerACRL Scholarships Breakfast ACRL Scholarships Breakfast

I also attended a colleague's Round Table Discussion on Saturday. "Social Technology Lessons Learned From The Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign" was facilitated by Alexia Hudson, Penn State Abington Library.

ACRL Round Table Discussion

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ACRL Chair's Reception at the Columbia Tower Club. We were lucky enough to have a clear night, so the city view from the 76th floor was breathtaking. It was also an opportunity to check out what is probably the coolest ladies room in the Pacific Northwest, if not the time zone or the country.

View from the Columbia Tower Club Ladies Stall

Ladies Bathroom at the Columbia Tower Club Ladies Bathroom at the Columbia Tower Club

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Amazing Midwinter Meeting

Also known as a long week in Denver.

I observed the ALA Executive Board meeting on Friday morning. As a candidate for the EB, I wanted to get a sense of what was currently going on. It gave me a bit more to stress about until the Candidate Forum on Monday morning.

Friday evening was the NMRT Meet & Greet (photo right). It was nice to see familiar faces and meet new people.

Although I was the NMRT Councilor from 2005-2008, my Vice-President hat kept me much busier. Lots of business cards to collect of librarians and library students I hope get involved in the round table. Also meetings to attend, like the Round Table Coordinating Assembly. I worked a lot, learned a lot, and met so many new people.

Remainder of the conference included the Resolutions Committee, Task Force on Electronic Member Participation, and ALA Council (as a Councilor-At-Large). By Wednesday afternoon I was exhausted and ready to go home, but very happy.

I was elected by Council to serve as a member of the ALA Executive Board!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A full schedule

aka my ALA Midwinter Meeting schedule. We'll see how the best laid plans really work out.


8A – 12P: ALA Exec Board Mtg (observe)

10:30A – 12P: Round Table Coordinating Assembly

12P – 2P: lunch with colleague

7:30P – 8:30P: NMRT Meet & Greet


8A – 10A: NMRT Meet & Greet

8A – 10A Data Dashboard

10A – 12P: Exhibits & Lunch (we'll see about this)

12:15P – 1:15P: Task Force on Electronic Member Participation

1:30P-3:30P: Resolutions Committee

1:30P-3:30P: NMRT All Committee

4P – 6P: JCLC Fundraising Reception

5:30P – 7:30P: NMRT Midwinter Social, Crocs Restaurant

9P – 10P: Council Reception

10P – 2A: Facebook Librarians Social, The Corner Office - 1401 Curtis Street


8:30A – 10:30A: iFactory Focus Group

9A – 10A: Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session

10A – 10:30A: ALA-APA Information Session

10:45A – 12:15P: Council I

3P – 4P: Greeter, Resume Review Service

4P – 5:30: Task Force on Electronic Member Participation

5:30P – 7P: President's Reception

Dinner with Laurel Bliss

(note double booked all morning)

8A – 10A: NMRT Executive Board Meeting

8A – 12P: ACRL Scholarships meeting

10:15A – 11:15A: ALA/APA Council

11:30A – 12:30P: ALA Executive Board Candidates Forum

Dinner with Kate Corby

8P – 9:30P: Council Forum


9:15A – 12:45P: Council II

2P – 3P: Resolutions Table, ALA Office

4:30P – 6P: Council Forum

Dinner with Matt


8A – 12:30P: Council III