Monday, January 31, 2011

ALA Future Perfect Presidential Task Force

ALA President Roberta Stevens has charged a task force to look at the following question: "If there was no governing body currently in place, what structure would you envision that reflects ALA's goal of an engaged and collaborative membership, the effective use of new technologies and the changes in outlook and expectations occurring with the new generation of people working in libraries?" This group has been asked "to undertake a "blue sky" approach to envisioning a governing body of the future. Their work is intended to be the starting point for "potential alternatives for the governance of ALA in the 21st century." The task force's draft report should be released in the spring so the ALA Executive Board, Council, divisions, and round tables have an opportunity to review.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 30

It's been a productive day of working from home. I read and sent a lot of work email, and queried colleagues on Facebook for a little help on a project. It's been nice to make progress on some projects and chip away at various tasks. There's still plenty more to do, but I definitely picked up some momentum this weekend. My to do list did not really shrink, but I'm definitely in a better position to cross some items off that list in the next couple of weeks.

Today is the last day of the Library Day in the Life project round 6. I had a really great week documenting my activities for others to read, see, and hear. I've also enjoyed the tweets, blogs, and video posts from others. Even when it seemed like people had similar positions or similar types of days, each one was really very unique. I learned a lot from documenting the experience and reading about others' experience. I still have quite a few entries to read, but I'm getting there.

Thanks so much for reading this week. I hope you'll continue reading. I already have some ideas for future entries. Plus you never know what else might come up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 29

It's Saturday. While I'm not at the office, I'm still doing the library thing. Today's work was mostly via email. I had plans to work on my part of a presentation for the upcoming ACRL National Conference in March, but did not get around to it. I also planned to do some ALA work. The planning counts as work, doesn't it?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 28

Friday! It's been a very productive day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 27

Stopped traffic

My commute to work was slow this morning. There was some issue getting through the Squirrel Hill tunnel. Over each traffic lane was a big red X and the traffic light was red.

None shall pass

After sitting for a bit that truck on the right made a u-turn, the lights turned green, and traffic was moving again.

Once I got in I logged into my calendar and email. I responded to a lot of emails, a pretty even split between work-related and ALA-related. I also spent some time talking with my LIS intern about her classes this week and a project for YALSA later this spring.

My afternoon was filled with meetings. I attended the campus' faculty senate meeting. One of the reports did duplicate a report I heard at yesterday's Library Faculty Organization meeting, but the rest was reports from standing committees and other business. Next was another quick check of email and then a meeting with my reference librarian about a campus event the library collaborated on last year. I offered advice on how to make our involvement better parallel the other units participating. It was a really good meeting.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 26

I started my morning viewing our Libraries Faculty Organization meeting via MediaSite Live. This type of participation is very important when you are at one university geographically dispersed. I am a member of the University Libraries faculty and that is my tenure home. Despite our multiple locations, it is important for my colleagues and I to participate as a member of the library faculty. The agenda included introduction of a new campus librarian (who happens to be filling the vacancy I created when I took this position), a report from the Dean (Barbara Dewey), reports from the University Faculty Senate, and some constitution and bylaws changes we'll vote on next meeting.

There were a number of campus tours on campus. I suspect students from one or two high schools were checking things out. I saw three or four tour groups go through the library. One of them was led by one of our work study students. She's actually interested in becoming a librarian, so I'm always excited to talk with her about the opportunities. She waved and said hello as she went past my office with her group, which meant that the generally disinterested groups of students looked into my office, smiled, and waved.

I spent most of my day in the office working on a variety of tasks. A meeting scheduled for the afternoon was canceled so we could use that time working on the subcommittee's task of recommending changes to our "Advice to the Untenured" document. I made good use of that time and worked through my part of the document. I also completed the agenda for Friday's Virtual Reference Team meeting. It's a bit more full than normal, but that's okay. It's nice to have a lot to talk about for the first meeting of the semester. By April we're all pretty worn out. I'll talk more about our meetings on Friday.

I also responded to various emails and made a couple of telephone calls. As a new supervisor it is expected that I will take the University's Mastering SuperVision certificate program. It will be offered this summer at a campus here on the western side of the state. The dates all actually fit into my schedule and I've confirmed my travel will be supported, so I'll plan to take that from late April to mid-June. I travel so much during the fall and spring semesters, not to mention the unpredictability of winter weather, it was hard to figure when I might take the course.

I did a little more unpacking of my office when I needed a break from the computer. I'm waiting for the order of hanging file folders to come in so I can finish. As I was flipping through some of my stuff, I found this note. Talk about a blast from the past. I also must have been in a hurry, that's some messy handwriting.

I'll recycle the original and preserve the photo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 25

It's damp and dreary today in Western Pennsylvania. Traffic this morning was terrible. I've been averaging a 45 minute drive to campus, today it took me about an hour and ten minutes. I wasn't the only librarian affected. A number of librarians on Twitter and Facebook noted their commutes were as bad and, in the case of one, worse (45 minutes turned into 3 hours).

Not far from the campus is a billboard. Since I started here in September there's been an attractive ad up for the campus. After the winter break, they changed it. A red light and this project motivated me to snap a quick photo.

It reminds me that as the head of the campus library, I need to keep in mind ways to tap into this selling point.

Once I got into the office, I spent some time reading and responding to email: agenda items for the Virtual Reference Team meeting on Friday, a collaboration with two student learning units on campus, and a request for a smoke detector in the building since we still have a smoking issue in the main stairwell.

Tuesday afternoons from 12-3pm ET I staff the University Libraries' Virtual Reference Service (VRS). I've been working this shift since I joined our VRS Team during the Fall 2004 semester. Statistically it is our second busiest shift. If memory serves me right, in 2009 we received 22% of our questions during this day/time slot. I also conducted 305 sessions that year. During a lull in my shift, a LIS student I recently became friends with on Facebook messaged me there with questions about his career path and attending ACRL. I find myself doing more and more mentoring, talking about the profession, and career goals via Facebook. I still do quite a bit of this via email as well.

Virtual reference and lunch this afternoon

I rounded out my day by meeting briefly with my reference librarian. We just checked in on two things. I'll meet with her on a more substantive topic later this week. I also went through more email, and was pleased to find a conference call scheduled for tomorrow was canceled so we could use that time to work on what we were planning to discuss. I intend to use the time precisely in that way.

A highlight of the day was to see a tweet from Spacesaver about their ALA Mid-Winter Wrap Up blog entry. There I am! I completely forgot they took a picture when I claimed my prize. I feel like a winner all over again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Library Day in the Life: January 24

I started my day off very early by responding to an email from the chair of an ALA New Members Round Table committee I serve as the supervising board member. A significant part of my work as a librarian is my involvement in the American Library Association. I strive to be timely in my responses to all email, so even at 1:01am I'm likely to write back. Why yes, one of my goals for 2011 is to improve my work-life balance. We'll blame my early email response on an eagerness to start off Library Day in the Life.

That is my library (taken about 3pm today). I've been here since September 20, 2010. I'm having a lot of fun in my current position. I get to deal with a lot of different things. In the morning I assisted our LIS intern, Sarah, with a student's reference question. It's always fun to collaborate with her and provide reference service mentoring. Sarah interns ten hours per week in our library and is here on Mondays and Thursdays this semester. She's going to be a great librarian.

This afternoon I spoke with a patron about an overdue lost item and associated fines. I had to gather information about the item from our circulation system and learn from my full-time library assistant how lost and replaced items have been tracked and dealt with in the past. I even found a little bit of time to unpack more boxes in my office. My new file cabinet and bookcase finally arrived last week, so I'm working on getting settled. I ate lunch at my desk but despite my intentions I did not really multitask. It did give me an opportunity to catch up on the #libday6 tweets.

This afternoon a candidate gave a presentation for an open position for an assistant professor of communications position. As a member of the faculty, I attended that job talk. Throughout the day I waded through lots of email. I even responded to some messages, including a request to be a reference for a scholarship applicant. I also spent some time talking on the phone with a colleague at another campus about some committee work and the upcoming ACRL conference in Philadelphia.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Library Day in the Life: Round 6

Round 6 image courtesy of Library Day in the Life

I'm excited to be participating in Library Day in the Life Round 6. It's coordinated by Librarian By Day. I'll post blog entries, tweets, and photos from January 24-30, 2011.

While I kind of randomly (and blindly) participated during round 5 on Twitter when I saw the hashtag being used by others, this year I'm official. I think it will be particularly interesting since I'm in this new management role, four months as of January 20. There are a few interesting items on my calendar for the week I hope make it interesting for everyone, including me.

I also plan to tell my library intern Sarah about the project so she can follow along to get multiple library perspectives, not to mention global perspectives.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feedback Needed: White Paper on ALA Midwinter Meeting

On December 30, 2010 Keith Michael Fiels and Mary Ghikas distributed the "White Paper on the ALA Midwinter Meeting". The background cover information notes "the combination of technological change and economic stress has caused many members to question the way in which ALA groups accomplish work. In particular, they have raised issues related to the continuing viability of the ALA Midwinter Meeting." It further notes "that Midwinter must be "repositioned" in our conversation and shared understanding to reflect the current, not past, practice and a new understanding of "the business of the Association"."

The document is available as a PDF from the ALA Governance Office website.

As a member of the ALA Executive Board and an ALA member, I am interested in your feedback on this document and the concepts presented. I encourage you to read the document and either post your comments here on my blog or email them to me, cly11 AT Thank you in advance for your input and assistance in helping me serve the membership and lead the Association.

Friday, January 14, 2011

So you want to run for ALA Council

I get asked about running for council on a fairly regular basis. People either come to me directly or are referred by someone else. In addition to my post from my first orientation session, I thought I should post some of what I've been sending to ALA members.

Council meetings are on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. In addition, there are two council forums, usually one Sunday afternoon or evening and one Monday night. Attendance at the forums is optional but they really are valuable and until Midwinter 2010 I never missed one. The forums allow you to get to know councilors and discuss upcoming resolutions, referred resolutions, or anything else that comes up as a result of council work. There are Council committees, and they can add to the workload. I served on the Resolutions Committee for a year, expertly chaired by Michael Golrick.

I must say one of the surprises for me when I first started was the ALA/APA Council. You would also be an ALA/APA Councilor, and it is going through some interesting times right now. ALA/APA is not too much of a time commitment per se, but it was never mentioned to me when I ran for council as NMRT Councilor. It has equally important work to do and it too has committees. As with what we do on a daily basis, there is no shortage of work.

My first time on as the NMRT Councilor I'd say it took me 1.5 years to really get my feet under me with regards to what was going on and the like. I sought out mentoring and there were lots of people willing to help me with the processes, understand the discussions, and understand the history. There are also great people on Council and I appreciate that I was able to build that network. I agree Council needs fresh perspective from new members from all walks of life. I think they
welcome that and you will find the majority of people extremely supportive and interested in what you have to say.

I wrote the NMRT Councilor Handbook entry. There was no description for this position before I was elected. It also includes helpful information.

As always, if you have additional questions please let me know.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday at Midwinter

Today's Schedule

8am-12:30pm Council III
1-5:30pm ALA Executive Board

Council managed to get through all of the agenda items that were moved from Council I and Council II. We even got done a little bit early. Not to worry, all of that time was filled by the Executive Board.

I know a number of people were stranded in San Diego due to the winter storm in the eastern part of the country. I am not looking forward to returning to the cold temperatures and snow. San Diego has been an amazing city for the Midwinter Meeting. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back either as a part of a future library conference or just for a vacation (I know and understand the concept of vacations, I just don't take them).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday at Midwinter

Today's Schedule
8-10am OITP Advisory Liaison Visit
10am-12:15pm Council II
12:30-1:30pm ALA Executive Board Candidate Forum
2-5pm ALA Executive Board
8:30-10pm Council Forum - did not attend

Despite spending a good portion of Thursday with OITP at their retreat, I delivered my board talking points at their morning meeting. They're a great group so it's always nice to see all of them.

Many of the agenda items from Council I that were moved to Council II were once again moved, this time to Council III. I think this is a result of improved communication about resolutions via the Council listerv and discussions during the optional Council Forums.

I saw most of the Executive Board Candidate Forum. Having been on that stage in 2009, I know how exciting yet stressful the process can be. As I posted to the Council listserv in December, I am thankful to all the councilors willing to stand for election to serve on the ALA Executive Board.

The rest of my afternoon was spent at the ALA Executive Board meeting.

Sunday at Midwinter

Today's schedule

9-10AM ALA/Council/Ex. Bd. Membership Info Session
10:30AM-12:15PM Council I
1-3PM Spectrum Luncheon (did not attend)
1:45PM Green Room
2:00-2:05PM Introduce Neil Gaiman and Nancy Pearl
2:30-3:30PM BARC/Division Leaders Joint Meeting
3:30-5:30PM ALA President's Program
6:30-10PM ProQuest’s Private Party Aboard the U.S.S. Midway
8:30-10PM Council Forum

Things are moving right along with my Midwinter. Council I ran a bit long so I didn't even attempt to attend the Spectrum Luncheon at Roberta Stevens' suite. I'm co-chairing a Spectrum subcommittee with ALA Past President Jim Rettig. We're working on ideas to get student chapters to participate in raising money for Spectrum. It is a pleasure to work with Jim on this initiative.

The highlight of the day was my opportunity to meet Neil Gaiman and Nancy Pearl then introduce them for the "An Afternoon with Neil Gaiman and Nancy Pearl" program. It was my first time meeting both, and they were incredibly nice. It was fun talking with Neil Gaiman while he and his publishing staff posted and read tweets @neilhimself.

Nancy Pearl, Neil Gaiman, Courtney Young

He also noticed my t-shirt and said that he liked it. When Jenny Levine asked me if I might wear it at Midwinter so many people would see it, I knew Sunday was the perfect day. This also made the shirt's concept originator very happy. You too can wear a shirt Neil Gaiman liked and support libraries, so go get one from the ALA Store! Size S | Size M | Size L | Size XL | Size XXL

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday at Midwinter

Today's schedule
7:30am-9am Focus Group
8-10am Council Orientation
10:30-12pm NMRT Executive Board
12-1:30pm Budget Analysis Review Committee
1:30-2:45pm Closed Meeting
2:45-4:30pm Exhibit Hall
5-5:15 ACRL Meeting - Missed due to member conversations at convention center, no worries
5:30-7pm Sage Reception
7:30-9pm Dinner, much to my surprise
9-10 Council Reception
10pm-2am Facebook After Hours Social

This was probably my most conflict filled day. I had too many places to be at once Can you say 5 meetings during the 8-10am slot?) which meant attending all were a physical impossibility. There were also a few events I couldn't hit (NMRT Orientation, RMRT meeting, NMRT Social). I just have to hope for more success at the next ALA.

I didn't make it to the Council Orientation until a little after 9 when the chapter councilors had gone into their own meeting, but was greeted by applause and cheers by the attendees still in the room. It was later noted that I was the only person who received that type of reception and that I should feel very special. I did and still do.

I stayed for most of the NMRT board meeting. I presented our slate of candidates, all were approved by the board. We also received a visit from Betty Turock, chair of the Spectrum campaign, asking for the round table's support of the Spectrum Presidential Initiative. We are halfway to our goal. I strongly encourage you to give to Spectrum.

I'm really pleased I was able to squeeze in a little time at the exhibit hall with my good friend and NMRT past president Laurel Bliss. She currently lives in San Diego, so I was guaranteed to see her at Midwinter. This was also a great time for me to thank vendors for their support of ALA and exhibiting at the meeting.

We enjoyed ice cream at the Council Reception. It was nice to sit down for a few minutes and talk to my fellow councilors. I think I managed to meet a few new councilors.

The Facebook Social was good fun as always. No issues getting into the venue like Midwinter in Boston. I saw many familiar faces and got to meet a number of Facebook and Twitter friends face-to-face. Great stuff.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday at Midwinter

Today's schedule
8am-12pm ALA Executive Board
12-2:30pm Budget Analysis Review Committee
2:30-4:30pm ALA Finances Best Practices Workshop
5:15-5:30pm Exhibits Ribbon
5:30-6:30pm Exhibits
6:30-8:30pm Sage Reference Advisory Board
9:30-11:00pm Emerging Leaders Reception

As you'd expect, I had a full day. This schedule does not include the meetings I was not able to attend (Committee on Legislation, Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development, Round Table Coordinating Assembly).

One of the highlights was the enthusiastic round of applause from the crowd when I was introduced as a member of the ALA Executive Board at the ribbon cutting. It made me smile a bit bigger and I think I even waved. I deeply appreciate the support and recognition by my friends, colleagues, and members. Working hard and having fun are just who I am. Now if only I can get more front and center in the photo in New Orleans.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday at Midwinter

I am the ALA Executive Board liaison to the Committee on Legislation (COL) and the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). They both had retreats today, so I bounced back and forth between both.

OITP discussed a variety of items. Time was spent on some of the offices' priorities including international copyright/WIPO, e-rate, net neutrality, and the OITP E-Book Task Force. Considerable time was spent on the Traditional Cultural Expression (TCE) document, which was described as an attempt to clarify the issues.

The other major component of the meeting was a guest speaker panel called "Libraries: Where SHOULD We Be Going? Libraries, Library/Information Schools, LIS Research, LIS Industry, and National Public Policy". Jorge Schement (Rutgers), Michael Porter (WebJunction and Library Renewal), and Roger Levien (OITP Fellow) each presented. Each added interesting ideas to the conversation, and all of their observations and insights dovetailed well. It was a rich conversation to set the tone for a productive Midwinter Meeting.

Michael Porter and Jorge Schement

Midwinter in San Diego

view from the Marriott Hotel & Marina

Greetings from the San Diego Convention Center!

My midwinter is already in progress. I've got two retreats going on at the same time. That's how I do conference. The most congested time slot has me in five places at once. Usually I'm double booked. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My meetings include all of the ALA Executive Board meetings (Friday, Monday, and Tuesday), BARC meetings (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), the NMRT Board meeting (Saturday), all ALA Council meetings (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday), and a bunch of liaison visits as a member of the ALA Executive Board and BARC.

The most high profile? I'm introducing Neil Gaiman and Nancy Pearl for the "An Afternoon with Neil Gaiman and Nancy Pearl" program during the ALA Midwinter meeting. I'm honored to have this wonderful opportunity.

The best part? Getting to see friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Arrival In San Diego

Me on my Chicago-San Diego flight.

I arrived this morning in beautiful, sunny, and warm San Diego. My flight left Pittsburgh at 6AM, but was well worth the early departure. There were several ALA staff members on my flight, including Cheryl Malden and Delores Yates from the Governance Office. It was really nice to see familiar faces in O'Hare Airport before the flight.

View from San Diego Airport

After checking into my hotel, I spent a little time getting settled into my room. The winter coat went into the closet. I think it will remain there for the remainder of the trip. I also went out and wandered around the Gaslamp Quarter. I'll probably get there a few times during the week, but most of my time will be spent running from meeting to meeting in one of the conference hotels or convention center.

It's great to be back in San Diego.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Midwinter Preparations

I'm headed to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego on January 5. My calendar is pretty full and still not complete. I'll post my calendar tomorrow, despite the fact that I'm sure it will still be incomplete. I'm really looking forward to the trip. I'll work hard and get to see a lot of great colleagues and friends, not to mention make new friends.

Not to mention I love San Diego and it's currently 58 degrees there versus the 30 degrees in Pittsburgh.

Two of the ALA Executive Board members will not be able to attend Midwinter due to illness and injury. I wish Linda and Pat speedy recoveries.