Friday, December 9, 2011

Power to the Patron: Panel Presentations

Lisa Carlucci, Director of design think do, put together this year's Library Journal Virtual Tech Summit "Power to the Patron". The event included a keynote, three panels, and a tweet-up #ljtechsmt. I was the twitter moderator for the keynote, first panel, and assisted with the tweet-up. This entry is focused on the first panel and the tweet-up.

The first panel, moderated by Cody Hanson, was Mobile Apps: What Do Users Need? 
Nate Hill, Web Librarian doing design and development work at the San Jose Public Library, talked about the project. Scanjose is a walking tour of San Jose using images from the library collection. It is best experienced when using it on a mobile device or a tablet in San Jose, CA. For this project, Hill had to decide if they wanted to create a native mobile app or just have it work in a web browser. Working in  a browser meant they can could do what they already knew what to do. HTML5 and Drupal 7 were used, and jQuery mobile was also used for easy to use buttons. This project allows the library to engage people in a new way

Rebecca Ranallo, Internet & Media Services Manager for the Cuyahoga County Public Library, talked about CCPL Mobile. The library decided to go moble to support its mission: be most convenient public library. CCPL mobile is partnership with Boopsie. The app was also developed because the current library website is pretty inflexible. A great thing about the CCPL app is it allows you to check out materials via mobile device right there in the stacks. CCPL stopped security stripping materials as they found it was cheaper to replace missing items than security tag everything in their collection. Since implementing the app, they've seen a significant increase in use of digital materials. Approximately 4300 customers (predominately iPhone and Android) are using the app. Popular uses: catalog search, self checkout, digital media, library locator, my account. CCPL advertised the availability of the app via library website and social media: purchased Google ads and created QR codes.

Michael Whitchurch, chair of the Learning Commons Department in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young, was the next panelist. Whitchurch started by asking participants where they've seen QR codes. Next he ask when should we use QR codes in libraries? What is the Value Add? Value add included things like event details (lecture announcement poster), independence (audio tour, activity that allows for participation flexibility), an actionable task (reserving a room). Where should you put QR codes? Point-of-need, location specific information. Sign positioning is key, near signs with similar information. Why use QR codes? Convenience (quicker), simplify a task, url duplication. Have a purpose beyond "hype" for your QR code, use when and where appropriate for the reason. Whitchurch also suggested visiting the Library Success wiki on QR Codes.

Dan DeSanto, Information and Instruction Services Department at the University of Vermont, was the final panelist. He discussed the Long Trail digital collection. He created an app using USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) headings. GNIS provides standardize latitude/longitude points to create graphical access point. The app is still very much in development. Building/designing using Xcode 4, and  collaborating with the Computer Science department on its development. DeSanto likes working with apps because: extensibility, ability to put multiple collections in one app. He also likes working with apps because libraries create acces to digital collection at "point of interest".

After tweeting this session, I took a break to get away from the computer and eat lunch. I popped back later to catch the end of the final session and participate in  the tweet-up.

For me, one of the true "power to the patron" things mentioned was CCPL no longer using tattle tape in their print materials.

During the tweet-up, one of the best questions I saw asked was posted by Stephanie Chase @acornsandnuts:
For the post-#ljtechsmt crowd: if you could point a non-librarian to one bk/blog/wbste/resource dscr what libraries are about, it would be...
I'd be really interested in what titles you'd suggest.

Overall this was a pretty thought-provoking event. I appreciated the opportunity to interact with others around these topics and services. As always, I learned many new things.

Also check out: LJ Virtual Tech Summit Explores How Libraries Use Tech To Connect with Patrons

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Power to the Patron: Keynote by Bryan Alexander

Lisa Carlucci, Director of design think do, put together this year's Library Journal Virtual Tech Summit "Power to the Patron". The event included a keynote, three panels, and a tweet-up #ljtechsmt. I was the twitter moderator for the keynote, first panel, and assisted with the tweet-up. This entry is focused on the keynote.

The keynote was presented by Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, which provides outreach, communities of practice, research. Here are some highlights from Alexander's keynote based on my tweets.
Emerging technologies: thinking about multiple layers that overlay each other, as well as what they expose and reveal. What strata haven't been revealed?

Extrapolation: use it to assess larger fields, rising fields and declining industries.

Environmental scanning: multiple sources, overtime, pattern glimpses. OCLC does a good job of this. Environmental scans are helpful for seeing trends, but be careful to to see things that do not exist. Alexander talked about one of his favorite environmental scans from Kevin Kelly: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing, generating.

Premise of social media is that we make stuff, and that making stuff keeps going.

Construction of scenarios: creating small narratives about the future. These are not predictive, but allow you to explore ideas.

Futures market: pretend market (a game) in which players buy and sell shares in a future event. These are often applied for example to the stock market, sports (my love of fantasy football!), predicting who will win the U.S. presidency. Alexander ran futures market on how many institutions would participate in Flickr's Creative Commons project by 3/26/09. Whenever you try to predict the future, there are wild cards aka Black Swans.

The Horizon Report: used Delphi process, asked five questions. Time to adoption horizon: one year or less.

Technologies to watch for: ebooks, gaming based, gesture-based computing. We don't talk about social media, it's already taken over. Social media example: blogs being used in education (courses, scholarship), podcasts still huge, wikis for coursework. Social media tools are being used in a variety of mainstream ways. According to Alexander, "It's simply gone wild in education."

Private closed-door spaces are now accessible via social media.

Media permeable classrooms changes the way we teach.

Ebooks: Project Gutenberg goes back to the '70's. Format variation and diversity one of the problems. However, the presence is enormous. We might see new ways of reading and sharing as a result of ebook growing pains.

The ecology of devices: multiple devices competing and reinforcing each other. What do we already use? Laptops, mp3, clickers, cameras, netbooks. Devices are offering us with ways to interact with content, such as smart pens, tablets, etc.

Augmented reality (AR): instead of creating a virtual world, push the virtual into the actual world. Example: Beatles "Abbey Road" experience with smartphone. Role of the gaming world in AR. Alexander discussed games and gaming, mentioning Angry Birds, Farmville, and others. Gaming in libraries.

Gamified reality: games seeping out into everyday life, they are connecting more directly in literal practical conceptual levels. Airlines create gamification experience with levels in rewards programs think of it as a leader board. Gartner Associates felt mouse was on it's way out with touch screen, hand-held, or hands-free (video capture) operation/interaction are coming in.

1. Storytelling. 2. Critical literacy. 3. Going around the web. Storytelling in social media. Digital storytelling allows you to remix content. Storytelling example uses 5 Flickr images (examples from groups here). Only text is the title. The pictures tell the story. Alexander mentions We are the 99% tumblr as an example of digital storytelling.

Information literacy is needed more than ever. Alexander cited Ann Blair's Too much to know. The problem isn't abundance, we haven't developed good lenses. - Clay Shirky. Alexander feels librarians are heroes in this (information literacy).

Alexander read an except from Long Live the Web and encouraged attendees to read the entire piece.
From the Q & A:
Alexander noted librarians have wonderful voices to advocate for standards. He is a self-confessed "librarian fanboy".

What should librarians be aware of with regards to privacy in libraries? Users are very happy to share their private lives, sometimes we even pay for the privilege. Library world has critical role in advocating for patron's right to read and consume media on their own.

There is a huge recognition that we need more information literacy. Libraries may need to to make more opportunistic alliances.

Reframing and rethinking = what libraries can do to help with the importance and existence of digital storytelling.

People's love of diversions = different devices. This goes back to the discussion of the ecology of devices. More is better. Libraries when planning for technology should keep in mind that diversion devices could be made available.

A question was asked about archiving the digital world. Alexander noted the Library of Congress tweet archive and internet archive are good, but how do we capture someone's Farmville progress? Emulation can be another good way to archive. Actual physical archives still have a role to play in this process.

Gaming in libraries: thematic, casual games (think tetris, mindsweeper). Alexander suggested Jay is Games for additional ideas.
 You can follow Alexander on twitter: @bryanalexander

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Academic Library Symposium: Bridging the Gaps

I attended the LJ/Temple Academic Library Symposium in Philadelphia. The theme was "Bridging the Gaps". The keynote and panels for the day were great opportunities to identify, acknowledge, and begin exploring ways to close those gaps. Several attendees tweeted from the event using the hashtag #futurelib11.

The morning started with a keynote by Kristin Antelman from North Carolina State University. She talked about some of the cultural gaps in academic libraries. One of th gaps is everybody vs IT. Angelman argued communication style and differences in decision making are major components of this gap. She also mentioned everybody vs administration is another gap, "citing some of the controversy over the Taiga forum statements as an example of library culture clashes" (tweeted by @hadro). Antelman noted the commonalities of these gaps are the preconceptions, and when she added trust as a major contributor it strengthened that concept for me.

Cultural web slide

Antelman spent a good amount of time on the Competing Values Framework and how it can aid in revealing gaps with an eye towards bridging them. One of my favorite quotes was "Organizational culture should never be viewed as static." I think that this is often a contributing factor to culture gaps in academic libraries. Strategies for bridging these gaps include assessing them as an organization and setting goals around actionable specifics. Antelman asked "Can there be a shared vision if there isn't a shared understanding of the culture?" I don't think I was the only person in the room who had an "a-ha" moment when she asked that question. She closed the keynote by showing the video "What are our future library leaders thinking?"

Immediately following her keynote, Antelman facilitated the first panel of the day "Innovation: Freedom vs Control". Laurie Allen (Haverford College), Damon Jaggars (Columbia University), Bill Mayer (American University), and Jessica Rossi (Community College of Philadelphia) introduced themselves and told us why they were invited to be part of this panel. The majority of the time was spent answering questions from the audience. Those questions included:
  • How do we keep communication flowing in both directions despite the organizational layers?
  • How do you leverage individual effort and excellence for institutional benefit?
  • What do we do about the idea that libraries are just books? Is it the administration's job to correct this misconception?

Antelman facilitating Q&A for Innovation: Freedom vs Control
Kristin Antelman facilitating the first panel.

I facilitated the second panel "People: Strengthening the Culture". I gave a very brief introduction:

This segment is a conversation focused on the people in and related to academic libraries. My colleagues who make up today's panel each bring a difference voice to our discussion. They will speak frankly about this pivotal gap in our culture.
Valeda Dent, Erin Dorney, Andy Burkhart, and Diane Skorina responded to the questions I wrote to frame the discussion.

  1. What are the major misunderstandings in academic libraries? How do those misunderstandings manifest?
  2. We've cited a number of "diversities of workforce" (generational, experience, students, status, user needs, etc.) and their associated misunderstandings that make academic libraries look very different, particularly moving forward.

    • How do we deal with resistance to current and future changes?

    • How does that resistance impact our library missions? College/university missions?

    • What effect does all this have on our ability to both recruit and retain the very best?

  3. In 30 seconds or less what is the most important gap to bridge and why?
I left time for questions from the audience. The questions and comments were very good and helped to expand the conversation. An audience member noted that in many academic libraries a large percentage (65% was cited for the speaker's library) of employees are support staff, but most of the responses were focused on librarians. One audience member noted that a gap related to ethnic and racial diversity of academic librarians was something the panel did not directly address. Challenges related to mentoring, retention, and having more frank and direct conversations about this topic were also identified.

Jody Condit-Fagan and Beth Bernhardt highlighted their experiences with the "Discovery Services Ignite Staff Collaboration and Empower End Users" session.

Discovery Services panel
Beth and Jody answer questions.

After lunch, Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches-Johnson, principals at Influx Library User Experience Consulting, introduced the afternoon session on the User Experience. It was noted to close the user gap, need to know what to change and have the ability to change it. To know more about people, we need to study them. Focus groups and surveys are better for learning people's opinions. Contextual inquiry as a great way to see how people are using the library. Schmidt ended with the useful reminder that "user research is cyclical."

Do you know?

Schmidt and Etches-Johnson asked a group of Temple students (three undergraduates, one graduate) a series of questions about their experiences using the campus library as well as electronic resources. The process was then repeated with four faculty (three from Temple, one from Drexel). Here are my observations based on my session tweets.


  • students use the library to check out books, especially textbooks that are "overpriced", to do high volume printing, and find a quiet space to study away from their apartments. It is also a place to get help, Internet access, synergy of research process tools.I found it particularly interesting that quiet space was cited as a motivator to use the library.
  •  One student wished the library were prettier and there were more libraries on campus so she could "library hop" to get a change of scenery. 
  • Students wished there were more outlets, better seating arrangements and seating options, better lighting in the library. 
  • Students did not use library when they were hungry or when they wanted to socialize and work. Certain coursework was cited as being okay to complete when hanging out with friends.
  • 1 out of 4 students had a digital textbook required for class. Two of the three indicated they preferred print textbooks.
  • An undergrad just said he "doesn't really know what the qualifications to be a librarian are."
  • Despite not really using the library or librarians, student felt it would be a negative to the campus if the library closed.
  • Undergrad indicates there could be a circulation based determination (no circ for 2yrs) for converting a book to e-copy.
  • Most panelists using library in role of teacher as opposed to for their own scholarship.
  • Faculty want students to use the print, browse shelves. 
  • Panelists use their librarian for course related instruction. One faculty member said "Using experts is part of research process."
  • One faculty member allows multimedia assignments, but most students choose to write a paper. 
  • One faculty member noted "digital literacy is a limited literacy".
  • Students need to experience primary source research in archives.  
  • Faculty asked how they think undergrads can evaluate sources. One faculty member cites inability of students to have the skills to begin to evaluate resources. Hard for undergrads to recognize scholarly literature as a conversation. Source evaluation skills lacking for print probably also laking for electronic.
  • Faculty using research guides for their discipline as a starting point for student research.
  • Future library would be a collaborative physical space for interdisciplinary scholarly interaction. Future library could be semi-intimate space: comfy chair, cup of coffee, book. 
  • As a student said earlier, one faculty member feels the library is real heart of university, necessary on campus.
  • Curricular initiatives on campus need to be integrated with the library, such as internationalizing online teaching.
Steven Bell said a few closing remarks. I particularly liked when he said "We really need each other if we're going to do great things." He thanked everyone for attending and participating in the symposium. There was a lovely reception after the event.

Steven Bell

I had an opportunity to eat the most delicious hand drawn noodles with Josh Hadro, Aaron Schmidt, and Lindsay Sarin before driving back to Pittsburgh.

Noodles with ox tail

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ALA Executive Board fall meeting 2011


After a full day of travel, also known as MRY-SFO-IAD-PIT-ORD, I arrived in Chicago for the ALA fall board meeting. Although I tried to limited telling my epic travel saga, I always ended it by making the point that I was still upright and smiling.

Friday morning was the traditional board effectiveness session led by ALA's professional Parliamentarian Eli Mina. I always find this session useful and learn something new. I must admit it was kind of exciting to realize that I've learned a lot about being an effective board member and know what strategies we were talking about when. The first time the "two hats" idea was presented I was a bit confused, but I'm happy to say I now know it inside and out.

The afternoon was spent at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel for the Joint Boards meeting. The boards/executive committees of the ALA Divisions and the ALA Executive Board have lunch and meet together, usually in a facilitated session. This time we worked through the transforming libraries goal area of the strategic plan. The goal statement is

ALA provides leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment.
During the first breakout session, we focused "on what short-term and longer-term changes we see happening within libraries in order to respond to the external challenges and opportunities libraries are facing."
The areas we explored included:
  • Physical space
  • Virtual space
  • Library workforce
  • Service portfolio
  • Customer expectations
  • External relationships
  • Library Leadership expectations
We were assigned groups and each group was to consider the following questions based on one goal area:
  • What are the key factors influencing/driving change?
  • How do you see your area (breakout topic) transforming libraries in the short-term (1-3 years)?
  • How do you see your area (breakout topic) transforming libraries in the longer-term (4+ years)?
In our second breakout session we focused "on what we believe are the implications for future programs and services offered by ALA and its Divisions" and considered two questions:

  • What are the implications for collective ALA's programs and services (membership, partnerships, advocacy agenda, education programs, support to Divisions, etc.
  • What are the implications for Divisions (membership, education programs, partnerships, networking, etc.)?
I think we had a productive session and ALA Executive Board and Division leadership are getting a better handle on how to work towards transforming libraries and the Association. Hopefully the round tables will be folded into these conversations.

After the session was over I walked back to my hotel via Michigan Ave. I noticed that Lush products were being sold in Macy's, so I popped in for a bottle of The Olive Branch body wash. I also looked in various store windows and people watched.

That evening the majority of the board went to dinner together. I sat at the end of the table with Eli Mina and his lovely wife whom I'd met in D.C. in 2010. We enjoyed a good meal and lively conversation.

Saturday and Sunday were packed meeting days. We had very full agendas, check them out here. We heard several informative reports and had really good discussion. I thought ALA President Molly Raphael did a really great job getting us through everything and keeping us effective as a board.

I had a late flight back to Pittsburgh. I picked up a bag of Garrett's popcorn at the airport. I'm not sure how I've not managed to buy some until now. It is delicious! I'm definitely picking up more the next time I head to Chicago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Internet Librarian 2011: Day 4

This morning's keynote was the "Internet 2020: TrendWatch Smackdown". Roy Tennant moderated the panel featuring James Werle, Liz Lawley, and Stephen Abram.

James Werle gave a brief formal presentation, where he noted bandwidth will drive libraries ability to use and consume information online. He also thinks in/ability to keep up with bandwidth needs is approaching a dangerous level. Finally, he asked everyone to visit this url:

Then we got to the more smackdown portion of the session:
 What is the role of lightweight tech that has same utility of broadband heavy tech?

Lawley asked about freemium use products: those you use for free then shift to using for a small fee. This is tied into people's willingness to pay for a good experience. "Context trumps content."

One of the most thought-provoking things said during this session was by Abram: "seamless frictionless experiences with technology will fundamentally shift our behaviors."

For a change of pace, and knowing I had to leave early to catch my flight back to Pittsburgh (only to turn around and fly to Chicago), I attended two CyberTours. I did this at Computers in Libraries and found it to be a great way to learn a little bit on a variety of topics. I tweeted both presentations.

The first CyberTour was "Streaming Media for Libraries". Cyrus Ford from UNLV led the tour. We've started providing streaming media at Penn State, with Filmmakers Library Online being the most recent acquisition. With video quality getting better as bandwidth increases, streaming media will likely take hold in libraries, especially academic libraries. Ford highlighted various free streaming media sites including: Academic Earth, America Rhetoric, Bio Interactive, Merlot, Oyez, Research Channel, Teacher Tube, YoVisto, and EDU YouTube. It was noted libraries should remember to work with companies to obtain cataloging records for streaming media, creating an additional access point to these resources. I also found it helpful to learn the subject heading is "streaming media". While we're often talking about streaming media as films and documentaries, Ford highlighted a more internally produced streaming media libraries could be involved: streaming as a benefit for instruction. Course lectures can be streamed and made available via a library streaming site. As the number of courses available online or remotely spikes, this may very well be a new complement to electronic course reserves.

The second CyberTour was on Google+ presented by Miles Kehoe (@miles_kehoe), president of New Idea Engineering, Inc. His tour was titled "Not your kid's social network." Kehoe described Google+ as "an interest network and information network" drawing on elements of twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, and social interests. He asked how many of the attendees were using Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. There was definitely a stronger showing for Facebook, then Twitter, and finally Google+. There are three steps to using Google+:
  1. Create your profile.
  2. Decide who to follow.
  3. Interact!
One point Kehoe made was "Google+ is best when you're honest." He also indicated "If nothing is happening in Google+ you're not using it right." Google+ hangouts seems to have some interesting features. These included the ability to bring up a video (ex. YouTube) and it watch together, and collaborate on a GoogleDocs. Currently only individuals can set up profiles on Google+, so you would not be able to set one up for your library or organization. I thought that Kehoe's most important point of the session was "Remember you're not the user, you're the product."

After these CyberTours, I enjoyed a fantastic buffet lunch at Ambrosia India Bistro with Michelle Jacobs and Chuck Gibson, then headed to the airport. I had the nicest cab driver from Yellow Cab Co. He was looking for his usual classical music station that had seemingly disappeared overnight and shifted to a new music format. He finally settled on a light rock station and ended up talking about one of his and my favorite musicians, George Benson.

Before I left Monterey, I tweeted this: Thank you #il2011 for creative ideas, inspiration, and fun with old & new friends. The best time a first time attendee could experience. :)

Unfortunately my flight was delayed and I missed my connection in San Francisco. Not to worry, I've been pushed to a red eye headed to Washington, D.C. From there I'll fly back to Pittsburgh with just enough time to go to my car, switch suitcases, go back through security and catch my flight to Chicago. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Internet Librarian 2011: Day 3

Slide from Lee Raine keynote.

Lee Raine was today's keynote speaker. Video of the presentation and his slides are here.
Here are my notes from the session, mostly based on my tweets.

5 questions for librarians as they ponder learning communities:
  1. Future of knowledge?
  2. Reference expertise?
  3. Public technology?
  4. Learning spaces?
  5. Community anchor institutions?
Volume, velocity, and valence/relevance.
65% Internet users are on social networking sites, 13% using Twitter. This sharing is content creation story.
84% of people use mobile phones.

Importance of PEW data for librarians is we have to serve all users and the digital divides are real (my interpretation)

Social networks are more influential and differently segmented and layered.
Librarians as nodes in people's networks. Libraries as anchor institutions.

Cited Shanna Ratner (1997) Emerging Issues in Learning Communities.

Embedded librarian model: librarian as scout for relevant material, reviewer and synthesizer, organizer and taxonomy creator, on-call for just in time information.
Librarian as teacher of social media.
Librarians will be asked to recommend what analytics work, increased role with regards to "big data".
The phrase "new normal" was mentioned as a part of this talk. For me, this is not new, it is my normal. I've been engaged in social networking and participated in my community as an embedded librarian. The learning communities idea is very much a part of the knowledge commons concept. While much of this is a no-brainer in my mind, it is a good reminder that there are still a lot of librarians and educational professionals for whom these ways of thinking are new.

For the second day in a row, I decided to stick with Track D: Tools of Engagement facilitated by Jim Tchobanoff.

Track D: Collaborating: Students & Librarians.
Michelle Jacobs, Pepperdine University, had a high energy presentation chock full of information. Highlights from her session:
  • Go where students are to find out what they need for their complete educational experience. Jacobs would attend student group meetings to learn from and about her students.
  • They implemented a study room reservation system software as a result of student interest.
  • A Library Ambassadors program was put in place for peer to peer general assistance and service triage (reference, IT, etc.). Also used Library Ambassador to help decide where you really need signs. They're students so they know!
  • Student generated LibGuides: students gave feedback on what they felt would be most helpful.
  •  Captive library audience in the bathroom = opportunity to install newsletter with useful student focused information.
  • Pop up lounge concept: students proposed ways to create new student spaces with flexible non-traditional furniture.
  • "Research support: more than reference."
  • Use google style beta to assess how new configuration for academic excellence area.
  • Collaboration with units on campus also means getting students involved to teach skills. For example, students wanted to teach a class on a particular software functionality (creating colorful tables and graphs, working with images to create slides, etc.). Allow students to be expert and share their knowledge.

Lisa Kurtz, University of Nevada-Reno presented on the @One project. They borrowed the Apple model for this project because they "design experiences". Developed @eReader Bar and a LibGuide based on their eReader experience. The project launched in April 2011.

Track D: Repositioning with Tablets, Social Media, & Outreach
Tim Donahue, Montana State University offered an interesting presentation on tablets in libraries.
  • Tablets as combo of personal computer and smartphone.
  • Donahue notes he did not find a standard definition "what is a tablet".
  • Tablets employ new technologies, are app culture driven, and have a non-textual thrust.
  • "You don't need language to use a tablet."
  • Implications for libraries?
    • Ownership by our users will likely increase.
    • Size may also increase popularity.
    • Tablets interface better with mobile information (QR codes).
    • Do libraries need to develop tablet-specific web sites? Mobile versions aren't always the solution.
    • Are databases, online catalogs, and other popular library resources going to take advantage of tablet features such as rotating screen to move through results?
Allan Cho, University of British Columbia, highlighted the "Chinese Canadian Stories" project. This digital project is community driven. Members of the community provide the metadata to make the digital objects useful. A major challenge is that ancient village script is difficult to read. Elderly community members have been called upon to help translate. the resources contained in the project and giving it a digital life. Uses CONTENTdm, Drupal, and Dspace.

Arlene Keller, Multnomah County Library talked about "Using Facebook for your library." Her main points included
  • You want your patrons to engage with you where they spend the most time online.
  • Must monitor your Facebook wall for spam. The spam is not always negative information.
  • All posts from the library should be on topic and match library mission.
  • The Facebook fan place is a growing space to provide readers advisory to your community.
In the evening, I attended the "Great Web Tools Face-Off". Six speakers panelists, including the talented Lisa Carlucci, Michael Porter, Amy Buckland, and Blake Carver, were organized into two teams and had to represent their selected online productivity software. Web tools you expected to be covered were mentioned: Dropbox, Prezi, Doodle, Zotero. A tool that was new to me was Gliffy, an online diagram and flow chart software. The best quote of the night was Lisa Carlucci's proclamation "Go Prezi or go home!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Internet Librarian 2011: Day 2

IL2011 badge

The conference kicked off this morning with the keynote speaker John Seely Brown. His presentation was streamed, so if you missed it or weren't able to attend, you can check it out here. Here are my raw notes from his presentation.
Creating entrepreneurial learners -- want to continue to learn.
Reinvent social practices
Driven by computation -- evolve around technological infrastructures
Find new ways to pick up new skills: libraries and communities are at the center of these new ways

Moving from Stocks to Flows
 - Stocks: protect/deliver authoritative assets
 - Flows: participate in the knowledge flows
Quote by Carla Hess: "moments of encounter"

Are we prepared? Are we preparing our students to be entrepreneurial learners?
Requires new dispositions; dispositions cannot be taught
 - cultivation of disposition: curiosity (technology amplifies curiosity), questing, connecting
We need new approaches to learning.
"We participate, therefore we are."
Make knowledge personal.
Content and context are more fluid.

Blogging as joint context creation: intimate, improvisational, yet collaborative
 - Andy Sullivan
 - Forthcoming David Weinberger book Too Big to Know

Collectives: shared participation, site for play and imagination
My learning more and sharing makes the group learn more with makes me learn more.

Entrepreneurial learners are master makers and tinkerers
 - digital makes this even easier
Humans as makers of content and context
Imaginations role in shaping experience, context

Regrind our conceptual lenses
Homo Ludens: fail, fail, fail, succeed
Learning as riddles

And the last two pages of my notes as I took them:
tinkering, composed of knowing making and playing, leads to embracing change
networks of practice and communities of interest lead to action inspiring a networked imagination
I found Brown's talk very relevant to me and my library setting, particularly as I start moving forward with the idea of a knowledge commons for the campus library. The concepts of of tinkering through knowing, making, and playing leading to creating change really captures the direction I think we should move in to become a more 21st century library.

The room used for the keynote was also the room for Track D: Learning, Literacy, & Training. Bobbi Newman was the facilitator for those sessions. As a result, I attended some really good presentations and learned new things.
The first session was Bobbi Newman, Polly Farrington, and Emily Clasper. They focused on training librarians and staff. Newman highlighted 7 tips for training: know your stuff, make a connection, tell them why, set boundaries, admit defeat, listen, and reward. Farrington [slideshare] mentioned the importance of having safety nets for your training sessions and the importance of "canoe time" aka opportunity to do fun stuff away from learning. She also believes the most important thing is creating a culture of learning. Clasper [slideshare] noted using games for self-directed training and brought up an interesting question we should probably ask more often: are people asking for training or asking for learning?

Polly, Emily, and Bobbi
Polly, Emily, and Bobbi at Internet Librarian 2011

The next panel was "From training to learning: strategic community conversations" presented by Nancy MacKenzie and Lisa Hardy. They described the Future Action Think Tank project at Calgary Public Library. It was interesting to think about how the communities' strategic goals can interface with the library/organization strategic plan. Future Action Think Tank is using a blog to start the conversations about the future of public libraries, and they welcome your comments.

Nancy and Lisa
Nancy and Lisa at Internet Librarian 2011

For lunch I enjoyed an egg and cheese crepes at the Monterey Crepes Company. The shop's hot interior was literally a warm welcome after freezing in Track D at the Marriott. I really wish there were some way for me to have easy access to crepes as well as beignets in Pittsburgh.


After lunch I attended "Transliteracy & 21st-Century Skills for Library Users". Jennifer Koerber briefly presented on the "Learning for life online" project. Next, Bobbi Newman presented a micro version of her transliteracy talk. She shared deeply personal family stories to illustrate why she is so passionate about transliteracy in libraries. I really appreciated Bobbi reminding us that passion is important to reaching, educating, and empowering all users. Jamie Hollier followed and talked about the BTOP project, transliteracy and 21st century skills for library users. She highligted that "partnerships are paramount to success" and partnering with other organizations important to your community can increase multitudes of literacy needs (health, financial, etc.).
I was pleased to meet and see Willie Miller from IUPUI present on using iPads and mobile devices in undergraduate teaching.
  • Miller shared projects other faculty in other disciplines on campus are developing using iPad in instruction. 
  • Going to teach with an iPad? Your library should have a mobile site with links to all the mobile resources available.
  • Courses used iPads with news and media apps preloaded. Faculty designed assignments around those apps and had to consider where are audio, video, and text used in the course and assignments?
  • Miller used popplit app for collaborate content mapping.
  •  Miller also conducted study on use of iPad in classroom,  asking students if the device helped or limited learning class content. Size and portability of iPad meant students could collaborate better around devices. Computers and monitors can be physical barriers in collaborative learning. At the same time, app failures and time spent troubleshooting were viewed as time wasted.
  • Best practices using iPad for instruction: pay attention and test the tech, convey expectations, monitor actives, curate resources, cultivate mobile information literacy, and consider device limitations.
  • My favorite quote from Miller: you can't get "caught up in the iPadness of it all."
Follow Miller on twitter, @LibraryWillie. I really enjoyed his presentation and learning more about his work. Check out this short piece he co-authored in C&RL news. I look forward to presentations and publications about his projects in the future.

The Exhibit Hall Grand Opening Reception was a very nice event. It was fun to meet and greet attendees participating in other tracks. I was able to go to dinner with some new friends although the majority were twitter friends.

Oatmeal crusted brieLobster mac 'n cheese

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Internet Librarian 2011: Day 1

Monterey Bay

I'm finally attending my first Internet Librarian (IL) conference. A colleague and I submitted a proposal 5 or 6 years ago but it was not accepted. We did not give up, and ACRL accepted the proposal. We presented at the conference in Baltimore and were invited to participate in the ACRL virtual conference in 2007. I've been interested in attending IL ever since.

On my flight to Monterey, I sat next to a nurse (BSN) who trains RNs and LPNs. We had a really interesting discussion about the parallels in nursing education and library education, particularly with regards to preparing the profession and the impact of technology. She also happened to be holding a Kindle and told me how she had not originally been interested in the device but saw the utility after receiving it as a gift. She also mentioned how she was using it to do other things, mainly play Words With Friends. When I told her that libraries were working to allow people like herself to check out books to their ereaders she lit up. I suspect when she returned home to San Diego she'll be investigating her options at the public library.

I took a very early flight with a connection through Phoenix. One of my oldest librarian friends Chuck Gibson, director at Worthington Public Library, was on that flight. It was a nice surprise since I did not know he was attending the conference. We got lunch on the Fisherman's Wharf and walked around town a little while.

Chuck checks his cell phone

In the evening I attended the Gaming and Gadgets Petting Zoo. It was well attended and lively. I saw a few friends, and met some new people. My new friends and I ate a delicious meal at Maha's Lebanese Cuisine.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Planning for long week of travel

I'm getting ready for back to back trips. The first is Internet Librarian in Monterey. I'll be there Sunday to Wednesday. Thursday to Sunday I'm back in Chicago for the fall ALA Executive Board meeting. If my flights go as planned, I'll spend about 13 hours at home Wednesday night/Thursday morning. If I miss my connection on the way home (I land there at 3:30 but the flight takes off at 4:04), then things get complicated. So I'm madly packing for two trips and leaving bag number 2 in my car just in case. Hopefully that will be an uneventful leg of my trip.

I'm looking forward to learning new things and building on a my knowledge at Internet Librarian. I'm also looking forward to spending time with colleagues, not to mention meeting new ones. I've read up on Bobbi Newman's tips for IL. Actually it was her post that got me excited about the conference.

The board meeting should also be good and productive. It will be nice to see some of the ALA crew again and see board members. I've heard we have a pretty packed agenda. From the looks of all the documents I've received, it's going to be busy and informative.

I better get back to packing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Academic Library Symposium 2011

On November 11, 2011 Library Journal and Temple University are co-sponsoring the LJ/Temple Academic Symposium: Bridging the Gaps.

I'm excited to be facilitating Segment 2 - People: Strengthening the Culture.
“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.”

The segment panelists are Andy Burkhart, Valeda Dent, Erin Dorney, and Diane Skorina. I'm looking forward to a rich discussion for this segment, not to mention the rest of the event. Consider registering (it's free!) and joining us in Philly.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ALA BARC fall meeting 2011

This was my third trip to Chicago this year. I was able to kick it off by having dinner with Peter Hepburn at Yoshi’s CafĂ©. Peter is more than a regular at Yoshi’s. If you’ve followed his food and travel blog and photos on Flickr, then you more than likely have experienced some food envy.

Courtney's first Yoshi's dinner
Me with my Wagyu Beef Berger with Wasabi Blue cheese

I attended the ALA BARC fall meeting. This is my second year on BARC, and with these fiscal oversight matters also in the purview of the Executive Board, I work with this information a lot. It means that I am really starting to feel like I know what is going on and how the ALA budget and budget process work.

There is always an orientation for new BARC members on the first day before the committee begins its work. I decided it would be a good idea for me to attend that meeting. I felt it would be helpful in reinforcing my knowledge and I knew I would learn something new. I want to do my best to be engaged fully in the process.

Our meeting agenda included a fiscal year 2011 budget review, a final fiscal year 2012 budget review, a new business development update (closed session), and ALA Council referrals. We also discussed and assigned liaison assignments. I'm pleased to be the liaison to the new Games and Gaming Round Table. We met for about forty-five minutes as ALA-APA BARC, now under the leadership of Lorelle Swader, to discuss the budget.

We also discussed moving forward with four BARC webinars. These will be available by the end of the year. I hope these create opportunities for increased member engagement around the ALA budget process. They are a step in the right direction for what I proposed at our spring 2011 meeting.

I had the good fortune to eat breakfast one morning with Trevor Dawes. He was at ALA HQ as a member of a search committee. Trevor is also becoming well known as Mr. August from the Men of the Stacks calendar. All proceeds for the sale of the calendar go towards the It Gets Better Project™ project.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quiche recipe

I've had several requests from librarians on Twitter for a few recipes. One of them is my quiche recipe. I was able to tweet it, but I thought I would also post the full recipe here for librarians and non-librarians alike. Enjoy this any day of the week.

Saturday quiche

Spinach or Broccoli Quiche

3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (or heavy whipping cream for a a richer quiche)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 box frozen spinach or broccoli
2 cups cheese, shredded (mozzerella, any white Italian cheese blend)
1 pie shell

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Open and remove frozen spinach or broccoli from box, place in a microwave safe mixing bowl and cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain to remove excess water.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk or heavy whipping cream, and black pepper. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Stir in drained veggies . Stir in remaining cup of cheese

Pour spinach mixture into pie shell. Place filled pie shell on a cookie sheet. Bake 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Allow quiche to cool before slicing. Slices well with a pizza cutter.


Remember you can be as creative as you'd like with your quiche.

Quiche mosaic
spinach with bacon, broccoli with pepperoni, broccoli with shrimp

*Tweet version: mix 3 eggs, 3/4c milk, 1pkg froz spinach (micro 4.5 min), 1.5c shred cheese, 1/8tsp blk pepper. Pour in pie shell, bake 50 min 375 degrees.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Teaching International 2011-2012

Greater Allegheny has been doing the Teaching International program since 2004, and their library has played an active role in supporting this initiative. While I was a reference librarian at Beaver I had the opportunity to work with a faculty member to develop a resource website for Penn State faculty interested in Internationalization of the Curriculum.

This year's regional focus is the Middle East and the issue focus is the Millennium Development Goals. Today the library hosted an event for faculty and staff highlighting the University Libraries' resources. This includes the rich website I developed in collaboration with last year's LIS intern.

This afternoon during common hour, a no-conflict time from 12:15-1:35 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I hosted an event for campus faculty. They were able to view some of the materials from our print collection related to this year's Program, talk about upcoming events and assignment strategies, as well as enjoy a small selection of regional foods prepared by Housing & Food Service.

This year's LIS Intern did the layout for the cork board display.
Teaching International 2011

Reference materials

More reference materials and DVDs

Books from the circulating collection

Books from the circulating collection

Food display


Beverage display

Apricot coins

Eggplant caponata with pita


Monday, September 19, 2011

RNC IV Denver

I attended the REFORMA National Convention IV in Denver, Colorado. I arrived on the second day of the conference. It was my first time attending REFORMA. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to be a first time attendee at a few conferences over the past year. It helps me particularly in the context of ALA to understand what it means to be new and how important it is to reach out and welcome everyone who attends. While I knew even more attendees than I expected, there was still that new attendee feeling.

REFORMA conference badge

A session I got the most out of was "Why Libraries Matter: Empowering Community Voices" presented by Camila Alire, Molly Raphael, and Patty Wong. The program highlighted Alire's Libraries: The Hear of All Communities frontline advocacy initiative from her 2009-2010 ALA Presidential year and Raphael's Empowering Voices: Communities Speak Out for Libraries 2011-2012 ALA Presidential initiative co-chaired by Wong. There was a lot of audience participation for this session. While the focus was on Latino and Spanish speaking communities, the questions and strategies around community advocacy are applicable in any library setting and community.

Program materials
Folder of materials from the session.

Friday night a reception was held at a branch of Denver Public Library. It was a really nice facility and the food was amazing. I spent the majority of that time talking with Loida Garcia-Febo. She was REFORMA president the same year I was NMRT President and we collaborated on an excellent program, The New Professional Paradigm: Redefining the New Librarian", at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. She gets the majority of the kudos because she approached me about collaborating. I also spent time talking with Alex Villagran with whom I have the pleasure of serving on ALA BARC. I get to see him again in a few weeks for our fall meeting.

Saturday's highlights included delicious Mexican food at a lovely restaurant Alfredo took Em Claire Knowles, Patty Wong, and me. We also drove around the Denver area a bit to see the mountains.
Delicious Mexican food

Saturday night was the Banquet and Dance. We celebrated 40 years of REFORMA.

REFORMA in lights

With Camila Alire attending, I knew there would be lots of dancing.

Dancing at REFORMA

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Professional Travel for Fall 2011

It's that time again. This fall I'm heading to the following conferences and meetings.

REFORMA - Denver, CO
ALA BARC Fall Meeting - Chicago, IL
Internet Librarian 2011 - Monterey, CA
ALA Fall Executive Board Meeting - Chicago, IL
LJ/Temple University Academic Library Summit - Philadelphia, PA
Penn State Forum on Black Affairs event - State College, PA
Penn State University Libraries Faculty Retreat - State College, PA (canceled twice)

I'm excited to attend REFORMA and Internet Librarian. I'll be a first time attendee at both.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Class is in session

The 2011-2012 school year started August 22, so my fall semester is in full swing. I'm starting the semester short staffed, but we finally received approval in August to advertise for a reference librarian. I'll be working with the search committee on that process. I'm looking forward to welcoming a new colleague later in the semester.

With decreasing federal funding, our work study student employee pool continues to decrease. I'm excited we've recruited a few great first year students. I think this is one of the best jobs on campus for a student. I'm also biased because I worked at the college library for four years.

Once again my library is participating in the Pitt Partners program and hosting an LIS intern. Allison Gallaspy has joined us for the next three semesters. She has a B.A. in History from Tulane. Her primary interest is in technical services and is looking forward to developing her reference skills and networking.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Room for Debate

I was honored to be approached by an editor for The New York Times' "Room for Debate" to respond to questions related to a piece. That debated was published August 28.

My opinion piece appears here. There have been a number of really interesting comments on the piece. I also encourage you to read the other debaters responses.

I just found out from my boss the piece was published. Pretty cool to have her be the first to congratulate me.

My mother, were she still alive, would be incredibly proud.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 28 guest entry

Sarah Denzer has been the awesome LIS intern at Kelly Library since August 23, 2010. She graciously agreed to write a guest blog entry about her internship experience as a part of this week's Library Day in the Life project.

When I began my MLIS last August at the University of Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to get an internship position at the Penn State Greater Allegheny library, Kelly Library. Today happens to be my last day as an intern at the library and it gives cause for a great deal of reflection regarding my time spent here. My internship, in combination with rigorous study and a move across country has not always been easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

When I think back to my first day I recall the following: intimidation, anxiety, feeling lost and completely out of my comfort zone (those feelings most feel when they begin something new). And this was certainly a new experience for me—I had never worked in a library before and although I had done a brief internship at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, it had prepared me only a little for this. Those feelings felt at first speedily went away as the weeks went by. My co-workers were incredibly patient and very generous with their time and resources to make me as comfortable as circumstance would allow. I generally create strong ties in the work-place, so this was essential for me to feel at “home.” Routine provided opportunity to smooth out those essential skills needed in myself as a developing librarian.

Due to the small nature of the Kelly Library, I was fortunate to participate in a number of activities. My primary responsibility was to serve at the reference desk: this was initially the most stressful position for myself (an introvert), but certainly the most rewarding. There is very little that can prepare you for your first reference interview—and nothing that can perfect it better than practice, practice, practice! It was thrilling the first time I realized I was no longer intimidated by the process. In addition to reference, I was also able to participate in the following: circulation, receiving and shipping and adding/withdrawing materials. Furthermore, I was actively engaged in a few projects: organizing, writing up citation guides, assisting the Head Librarian in the development of a YALSA webinar, and compiling resources for a research webpage for the campus’ 2011-2012 Teaching International program. I was also able to attend some instruction classes taught by our Reference Librarian, learn how the cataloging system works, and even travel with the Head Librarian to the Penn State Harrisburg library to interview/meet with a few of their librarians. In all, there was a rich variety of activities/opportunities for me to participate.

What I feel today is almost 100% the opposite of what I felt on my first day as an intern. In sum, I feel comfortable. I feel blessed. There are multiple benefits that spring from my time spent here: knowledge, confidence, experience, networks, and friendships. It is invaluable. Although graduating with an MLIS is an essential foundation, my internship provided a practical application of everything I learned in the classroom. In combination, these two serve to prepare me for the professional workforce. I am sad to leave, but am grateful that I can look forward to the new horizon with a confidence that would not be possible otherwise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Library Day in the Life: July 27

The major focus for today was a lunch for our LIS intern, Sarah. Her last day is tomorrow. I'm sure the year she's spent in the Pitt LIS program and the Pitt Partners internship program have gone by very quickly. It's been great having her part of our library staff. It's also been great for me to give back to the profession and play an even more active role in a new professional's development.

A running joke I have with Sarah is that she's worked here longer than I have. She started at this campus in mid-to-late August. I didn't start my position here until a month later. We both learned as we went, with our fall semester road trip being one of the many highlights.

Lunch would not have been complete without dessert


and of course a gift.

Intern gift

One of our staff members made a blanket to make sure Sarah would not forget her experience at Penn State.

Sarah with her gift