Thursday, March 31, 2011

ACRL 2011 Day 2

Today I took some time to get through the exhibit halls. I talked to some vendors, picked up some free stuff, and attended the Sage Reference Online product demo. I attended the Ebsco luncheon with a few friends. We scored a VIP table in the very back corner of the room where we enjoyed salad, manicotti, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Leaving the vendor lunch

My afternoon was spent at a focus group sponsored by Sage regarding some product innovations. They definitely have some great resource ideas in development. It's always an honor to be a part of their process.

The evening was packed with various social events. I heard Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter speak at the ACRL Chairs Reception which took place in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Next up was some serious dancing at the event Bibliodiscotheque! Donations were collected  in support of the ALA Presidential Initiative for Spectrum and Books Through Bars.The place was definitely packed. I ended the evening talking with new friends in my hotel lobby. Good times!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ACRL 2011 Day 1

This morning I flew to Philly for ACRL.

Philly arrival at airport

It was a nice quick trip. The drive would have taken 5 hours and with the cost of fuel and parking it ended up being cheaper for me to fly. Plus after a busy and event filled conference, not having to face the five hour drive home sounded good.

I was lucky to have an afternoon tea with Peter. We sat in the lobby of the Marriott where Jim Rettig visited us and later we were joined by Aaron, LJ Lafleur, and Trevor. Mario also stopped by for a few before his room was ready, and we had our first Camila sighting. The start to the an excellent conference!

I attended the opening of the exhibits. Aaron and I explored the food offerings and had a wine sample courtesy of Credo Reference. We also ran into a lot of people. Aaron had some real vendor business to do, so wandered around the show floor while he talked shop with a few vendors.

The highlight of the evening was being the host of ACRL's 1st Battledecks. I dressed for the occasion in a sequined top. It was very shiny and added to the evening's fun. The real stars were all six participants who impressed the audience and the judges with their ability to relate the random decks to the conference themes. The winner was Nancy Sims from University of Minnesota. She won an iPad 2. It was a great night and we got done thirty minutes early.

BattledecksView from the stage

More Battledecks
Another view from the stage

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Computers in Libraries, Day 5: Postconference

I signed up for postconference workshop "Engaging, Interesting, & Practical Presentations to Capture Your Audience". Anna Creech, Amy Buckland, Cindi Trainor, and Maurice Coleman (via Wimba) were the presenters. The workshop goals were to discuss and demonstrate "a wide variety of very practical tips and tricks you can use to more effectively connect with audiences and help them engage with you and the information you present. It covers everything from how to increase the efficacy of your slides, images, multimedia and design down to concerns people have about how they look and sound when speaking to a group."

Cindi presented first. She talked about the importance of preparation and brainstorming when putting together a presentation. One of the reminders that got a little laughter was not building a presentation around "how many slides" or "how many bullet points" are needed.

As expected, Cindi highlighted the need for knowing your audience and deciding what your participants should take away from your presentation. It was nice to be told directly the purpose of slides for a presentation: to amplify your point and add value to what you have to say.

Postconference trainers

Amy talked about slide design. One of her great reminders was the fact that you don't need to have a logo on every single slide. I think it's easy to forget this, particularly when you're working with a work template. She also took us through what was possibly the worst presentation ever.

Maurice talked about pre-recorded sessions versus live sessions. He presented a variety of best practices. His great reminders were to remember to look at the presentation from the participant's point of view and and to know your limitations (technology, space, etc.)

Anna was the final presenter. She offered tips for engaging the audience, what to do when your technology fails, and reminded us the presentation is part of the communication process, not the entire process.

They added a twist and asked a couple of participants to participate in a 2 minute battledecks session. I was one of the volunteers. I didn't get through all of my slides, but I definitely was engaging and entertaining. I also had a lot of fun.

I'm glad I participated in this postconference. I picked up some tips that will come in handy in the near future. It was also nice to be reminded that I do many of these things pretty well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Computers in Libraries, Day 4

Today was the last day of the conference, but it may have been the best. The keynote was delivered by Lee Rainie, and the slideshare is here.

I was pulled into the "NCompass Live: Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: Live from Computers in Libraries!" It was a great opportunity and I'm thrilled to have been in the right place at the right time. I learned a lot from the other participants as well as met people I look forward to spending time with at future conferences. We ended up having lunch together after the recording where we indulged in an amazing dessert of grilled cupcakes.

Grilled cupcakes

The "Planning & Realizing the Fourth Place" session was of particular interest to me. Jill Hurst-Wahl, Maurice Coleman, and Paul Signorelli led a session on the ways "people are using space differently in order to engage in learning." A few Penn State locations have worked through and begun implementing a Knowledge Commons concept for their libraries, and my library is the next logical location. Soon I'll put together a committee on campus. I have a superb road map courtesy of head librarian Val Lynn at Hazelton. Combining it with the "Fourth Place" session made this session a must attend. I think that many of us, myself included, will think about "how a library can create a fourth place using existing or recycled space", but need to be actively reminded about "the library services and resources that would support fourth place activities."

Speaking of those resources, Skype and Twitter were mentioned as tools useful in creating the fourth place. Ironically, this became very important to the session. Paul was joining the panel via Skype, but due to some technical difficulties Maurice was unable to bring him in. As Maurice started presenting Paul's portion of the session, I tweeted "Listening to @baldgeekinmd present Paul Signorelli's session on the fourth place". Paul saw this tweet, and he was alerted to the technology disconnect. Paul started tweeting to me and Maurice, and they were able to incorporate Paul via chat. Maurice told the audience "librarycourtney created the fourth place." It was pretty cool.

"The Fourth Place" panel
The "Fourth Place" session gave me additional food for thought not only for the library, but also for the campus. At the March campus faculty meeting, there was significant discussion regarding quiet spaces and student study spaces on campus. These discussions revolved around the limited number of places for students to work and an even smaller number of true quiet spaces on campus.

My last session of the day was Brian Hulsey and Gretchen Caserotti's session "Transliteracies: Libraries as the Critical "Classroom"".

Closing slide - Libraries and Transliteracy

Gretchen talked about the role of transliteracy in working with children. Gretchen mentioned "kids are learning leaders" and "flexibility is key". She noted library staff training is important to success of transliteracy making it everyone's job. Brian focused on transliteracy in higher education. One of my favorite parts of Brian's presentation was when he channeled Rhianna and invites everyone to stand under his transliteracy umbrella (ella-ella-A).

Transliteracy panel Q&A
It was a useful, engaging and thoughtful session.. Be sure to check out the Libraries and Transliteracy blog.

That evening Boyhim Kim organized a tweet-up. Attendees included Bohyun Kim, Tiffini Travis, Jacob Berg, and Greg Hardin. I finally had the opportunity to meet David Lee King in person during the gathering.
CiL tweet-up

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Computers in Libraries, Day 3

Today I'm going to take a cue from the sessions I attended today. Many of them were driven by pictures and by sound.

Today's keynote was Michelle Manafy, who talked about "Engaging Digital Natives: Strategies, Services & Satisfaction. The link is archived at CILlive.

Marshall Breeding talked about "Learning from inspirational libraries." He shared photographs and his experiences visiting amazing libraries around the world.
Marshall Breeding's session at CiL.

I attended Lisa Carlucci's Cybertour session "Capturing Attention: Design Tips". She talked about the double rainbow video and the responses it spawned. "The double rainbow inspired mashups, made it personal, inspired sharing." She left us with "Think social, think emotional, think customizable." It was a very engaging and thoughtful session. It would have actually made for a great full session in one of the tracks. After the session, Lisa and I had lunch.

In the afternoon, I attended NMRT Secretary Janel White's session in Track D on "New Alignments, Structures, and Services". An interesting piece of their session was how they used what they do best, audio, to set the tone for their talk. Various clips from NPR programs were played to demonstrate the ways the broadcast library contributes to programming. She and her colleague went on to talk about how their department adopted service level agreement (SLA) to add accountability to chart their course. They also adopted a pilot mentality, and this low risk tool has allowed for buy-in, and become the model for other groups within the organization. It was great to see Janel.
Courtney and Janel

Tuesday night is a "famous evening of fun and learning" at CiL. The Adding value in our communities: Dead & innovative tech session featured a full panel of library who's who.

Tuesday night panel
That blurred hand is actually concealing one of delicious cookies available before the session. Really.

Tuesday night panel

Monday, March 21, 2011

Computers in Libraries, Day 2

The welcome & opening keynote was a thoughtful impromptu panel moderated by Roy Tennant and featured Marshall Breeding, Stephen Abram, and Richard Kaser. After the opening session I ran into Sue Polanka. It was wonderful to talk with her and wander the exhibits until the Track sessions began.

James Crawford delivered his keynote remarks in the afternoon once his delayed flight arrived. His session was also streamed live and archived.

My twitter stream for the morning was filled with posts from Tracks A: Information Discovery & Search, B: Web Presence & Experience, and E: Internet@Schools. I tried to complement by attending and tweeting Track C: Communities and Collaboration. Highlights from the tracks morning sessions included Madeline Barratt, Libraries Strategy & Performance Manager for the London Libraries Consortium. She talked about the challenges and opportunities of providing library services to users as a consortium in London. These included the geographic and financial challenges and opportunities related to staff training and development. I found it interesting when Barratt mentioned they were working to improve use of their electronic resources before cutting them for non-use. Generally we look at the (often unreliable) use statisitcs for a database and decide it should be canceled. On the flip side, we also cling to the notion that an academic library (in my case) should have resource X because that's what you do. I found it interesting to turn that concept on its head and consider the lack of use may be a failure on our part to make our users aware of its availability. I'd actually take that a step further and say that we fail to make library faculty and staff aware of its availability and potential application for library instruction, reference, etc.

Barratt noted that one of the goals of this consortium related to the notion that libraries provide a vital lifeline and by joining together libraries would remain vibrant and central to community and lifelong learning. I found the London Library Consortium presentation interesting as it reflects the challenges and opportunities at my current institution, Penn State. Penn State is "one university, geographically dispersed". We are not a consortium, but the challenges of delivering materials across a large state, negotiating reasonable and affordable database licenses, serving a diverse population, and training were very familiar. Barratt's discussion of stakeholders concerns with lending their materials across libraries leaving their shelves empty has not materialized. No one library has ended up without books and the collections still remain more or less balanced. A few Penn State campuses are experimenting with floating collections. In this scenario a book sent to a campus library upon return is not shipped back to the owning library but stays at the library it is returned. It is going to take us a while to really understand what this might look like and how it will affect our collection, but I have a sense that the London model may be an indication that everything would be okay.

The other session I was very interested in was on on faculty collaboration: Digital Commons@ILR – Cornell University by Jim DelRosso. I particularly enjoyed his Prezi slides and learning more about his project. One of the gems from his presentation was the notion that "assessment is critical." While it is important we "don't overvalue anecdotes", we also need to be sure we "don't undervalue stories." At one point Jim indicated a key to faculty collaboration success has been making it so the faculty do nothing. I wondered how this was collaborative, so I asked Jim to clarify this statement after the session. We had a great conversation about how there are always faculty who will not be interested in this type of project and it is a success if you at least get them to provide you with a CV listing publications. As we talked further about the liaison approach to building the repository, I interpreted the approach to collaboration to be very similar to the approach development officers take: building the relationship, creating the comfort level, then doing the ask. Once you've been successful in developing that relationship, the donor will often bring their friends, or offer to throw parties or sponsor events so others can give. This is where the true collaboration comes in. I'm glad I asked my question.

Turkey club

I ate a quick lunch (turkey club) at the hotel restaurant. A librarian dining alone kept talking to the librarian also dining alone at the next table. At one point librarian A tells librarian B that she is anti-ereader because she prefers to touch and smell the books and they are yet another thing to contribute to her bad eyesight.

After lunch I had a call with a colleague about an upcoming ACRL event at the conference in Philadelphia. An hour later I also participated in the ALA Executive Board's monthly conference call. Our spring board meeting is in about two weeks. I'm looking forward to a full agenda and maybe even an outcome or two.
In the evening I attended one of the Dine-Arounds. Seven of us went to Ruth Chris Steakhouse. Although our prescribed conversation topic was "Trend Watching & Environment Scans", we talked about the conference, Washington, D.C., and our local libraries.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Computers in Libraries, Day 1

I'm attending Computers in Libraries 2011. It is my first time at CiL. I decided this year in my new role as head librarian it might be interesting and useful for me to attend. I also signed up to blog the conference, so they made the snazzy QR code above for my blog.

I flew to D.C. early this morning. The conference is being held at the Hilton Washington. I did not sign up for a pre-conference, but I was sure to get here in time for the "Gaming & Gadgets Petting Zoo". There were tables set up for people to talk about a variety of gadgets including smart phones and tablets.

I spent the majority of my time gaming. I won two games of Wii Bowling, and I think I had the evening's first perfect aka flawless victory against Andy Woodworth on the gladiator game for the PS3 and Playstation Move.

Library Renewal provided copies of their posters as door prizes. Jason Griffey, member of the Library Renewal board, presented the posters. Two very lucky librarians each won a poster.

I was happy to see some familiar faces including Jason Puckett. I also got to meet Sarah Houghton-Jan and Maurice Coleman. I'd say it was a good start to the conference.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Professional Travel for Spring 2011

The ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego was over two months ago. Must be time for me to get back on the road!

March 20-25: Computers in Libraries, Washington, D.C.
March 30-April 2: ACRL, Philadelphia
April 7-11: ALA Executive Board Spring Meeting, Chicago
April 25-26: ALA BARC Spring Meeting, Chicago

Then I start the University's Mastering SuperVision course and go to the Penn State Erie campus:
April 27-29
May 18-20
June 1-3
June 15-16

By that point, I'm practically to the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 22-29.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Library Journal's Movers and Shakers 2011


I'm speechless, happy, trilled, and giddy. I'm even happier than I was at the photo shoot.

Thank you to my colleagues for nominating me and Library Journal for recognizing me as a Change Agent -- Driven to Diversify.

p.s. wait till you see the cover!

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Librarian Flashback

One of the fun things about moving is unearthing forgotten stuff. One of the many items I've found during my latest move preparation cleanup is the 1998 Simmons College GSLIS catalog. I was featured as a recent graduate. I am actually impressed with what I wrote. It is also longer than the rest of the featured alumni's blurbs that year, but I'm sure that comes as no surprise.


I think they should feature me again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Three cheers for Rachel

Today was my reference librarian's last day. Rachel is headed to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Business & Downtown Library. Just in time for tax season! We'll definitely miss her here at Kelly Library. She did not want a big party or send off, but we compromised and had a late morning tea with muffins on March 3, 2011.

I was responsible for the muffins. Rachel approved.
Chocolate muffins three ways | Blueberry muffins

Of course there was a big "Congratulations" card and gifts.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to work with Rachel, although five months was simply not long enough. I'm glad I've gained a good colleague and a friend. Now she just has to put up with me socially, where we'll probably continue to talk about librarianship, shoes, and pop culture.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Job Hunting Simplified : Tips and Tricks to finding your dream job!

Check out the ALA press release for the YALSA webinar I'm presenting April 21. The session title is "Job Hunting Simplified : Tips and Tricks to finding your dream job!" I'm very excited to partner with YASLA and offer strategies and a perspective to new graduates and early career librarians.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

There will be madness

March has arrived. Evaluation season is in full swing. In addition to getting my own evaluation materials in order, I'm preparing to be on the other side of the process. There are plenty of resources and people to ask to make sure the process goes smoothly. I can also see how it can be a rewarding experience. To think I've only been here five months.

Although I haven't done any work or conference related travel since Midwinter (shocker!), I've kept myself busy. On a personal note, I received an offer on my house and will be closing on the 14th. This makes me very happy, but my new housing search has been challenging. I'm happy to report I have found a place to live closer to my new job. I'll sign the lease and move next week. It's been a tight window since my realtor advised me to wait until we had a final commitment letter from the buyer. Thankfully it came through on Friday, a week earlier than anticipated. Fingers crossed I pull off the shortest move of my life.

After spring break (next week) and the students return, I'll be back on the road. Conferences and meetings await. Thank goodness for a move to break up the monotony!