Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ALA BARC spring meeting 2011

I attended the ALA BARC spring meeting. During this meeting we worked through the ALA budget and requests from all units (divisions, round tables, offices). A significant portion of this information I'd worked through during the ALA Executive Board's spring meeting two weeks ago. I'm glad it was somewhat fresh in my mind, This made what is still a somewhat new to me process a bit easier.

Another great part of being on this particular committee are the academic library leaders with whom I've had the privilege to serve. Committee members Winston Tabb, Joan Giescke, and ALA Treasurer Jim Neal are three of the most highly regarded deans in academic libraries. They really know their stuff.

I encouraged the committee to consider moving the Budget session to an online event. There is clearly a need for this type of training and refresher for all division and round table members with budget responsibilities. We noted some of the challenges included conflicts due to the compressed midwinter meeting schedule, a perceived lack of new information for experienced divisions/round table treasurers or budget administrators, and travel constraints (especially budgets and time) for members. As a result, I'm working with ALA Finance Office staff and the Treasurer to put together some modules we hope will be available by the fall. In my mind this supports the Association's 2015 strategic plan goal area of organizational excellence.

ALA BARC day two

Friday, April 15, 2011

Join me for a YALSA Webinar

There's still time to register for "Job Hunting Simplified : Tips and Tricks to Finding Your Dream Job!"

Description from the YALSA monthly newsletter:
YALSA’s April Third Thursday webinar is free for all YALSA members! Tackling the job search process can be a daunting task so let YALSA help. Join Courtney Young at 2 p.m. Eastern on April 21 for a discussion of practical job hunting tips for new graduates and early career librarians. Courtney will walk participants through the job application process from start to finish. Participants will learn tips on where to look for job postings, how to write an effective cover letter and resume and how to choose suitable references. Participants will also learn how to use social media to help their job search and how to start building their professional network.
This webinar is free for YALSA members; if you are a YALSA member who would like to register, please contact Eve Gaus at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433 ext. 5293. Not a YALSA member? Register through ALA registration: $29 for student members who are not members of YALSA, $49 for all other individuals who are not members of YALSA.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ALA Executive Board Spring Meeting 2011

I had a whirlwind weekend at the ALA Executive Board meeting. Our meeting had a very different flow to it than in the past. By "in the past" I mean the one spring meeting I've experienced as a seated board member, and the year before as an observer.

Before all the board stuff started, I spent a little time with Jenny Levine on Thursday. We were on the same wavelength. I brought her two packages of Reeses white chocolate peanut butter eggs. However, she totally outdid me with this amazing star shaped brownie with gold. Not a bad way to start my trip!

Gold star from Jenny (@shifted)

Friday morning featured the ALA Staff Awards. This is always a nice event. There are a lot of people that get things done at ALA. It's nice to attend their breakfast and see them receive their employment milestone awards and the two staff achievement awards. Of note is Jenny Levine's five years at ALA recognition. Congrats Jenny!

After lunch, the meetings began. The agendas, as always, are on the Meeting Agendas site. I'll highlight some of the interesting discussions.

Our conversation related to social media and the executive board was interesting. From my perspective I think it barely scratched the surface. We are at a point professionally and technologically where we need to be engaged in dialogues where they're taking place. There is a time and a place for a press release and a unified response at the top, but other times it makes more sense to have a one-on-one interaction in whatever the appropriate venue might be.I understand that this takes a lot of time and there are so many hours in a day, but I think we owe it to our members (and to ourselves) to make every best effort to connect, collaborate, and communicate.

Sunday morning after our closed session was the strategic dialogue on transforming libraries. It was facilitated by Paul Meyer who has worked with ALA on a variety of projects. I think it was the good start of a dialogue. One of the items we talked about what we thought the library of the future looked like. My contribution to this part of the discussion was the notion that the future library, and librarian, would be completely new and reconceptualized. A number of the challenges and issues facing libraries are augmentations of what we might refer to as historical or traditional services, particularly lending materials, reference and instruction services. While we've made some really great modifications to how we provide these and other services, it's becoming clear that emerging and innovative services simply cannot be based on their traditional counterparts. If success breeds success, then change breeds change. Just imagine what we get with successful change.

Not all of these shifts are driven by changing technologies. Over the past five years I dramatically shifted my approach to providing reference and instruction services. The amount of one shot course related instruction I delivered went down, but my one-on-one or small group reference consultations spiked. The faculty I regularly worked with often felt their students were not as well prepared as in the past and needed every possible class to foster learning. At the same time, they valued research and what I brought to the table as a reference librarian. They found it useful to meet one-on-one with me, so perhaps their students would as well. My previous experience with their courses and my experience as a reference librarian gave me an opportunity to reinvent my approach to working with students and, in turn, information literacy. These successes led to these students coming to me for help with other coursework, and that sometimes led to referrals from peers. Were reference and course related instruction still major components of my job? Absolutely. The way in which those activities are carried out have shifted in response to the curricular, teaching, and learning needs of students and faculty.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are degrees of change. What may not look like much of a shift to some of us is a major departure from librarianship for others. There's room for both during this period of transition.

National Library Week 2011

It was my pleasure to be a part of two videos for National Library Week 2011.

Quotes about libraries.

What isn't great about libraries?

How are you celebrating?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My workplace wellness

In 2008, one of ALA President Loriene Roy's initiatives was workplace wellness. I received this June/July 2008 issue of American Libraries and read it with interest. You see, on April 1 of that year I decided it was time to get healthy. I was pretty sure I would be granted tenure. I received the good news May 14 and was tenured effective July 1, 2008. That meant it was time to focus on me. The tenure process was a great excuse for why I didn't get any exercise, why I ate so much fast food, why I had such high blood pressure, and why I was gaining so much weight. There would be no more excuses.

April Fool's day, I used elliptical machine for 5 minutes.

Five. Agonizing. Minutes.

Slowly I got better. Five minutes turned into seven. Seven turned into twelve. Towards the end of the month I found Sparkpeople and signed up on April 28. I began tracking my foods and exercise. I incorporated basic workout DVD's and online videos to add variety to my exercise. By the time I went to the Annual Conference in Anaheim, I'd lost 12 pounds.

I slowly but surely made progress.

People didn't start to mention my weight loss until 2010. During the ALA Inaugural Banquet, an ALA member who'd just seen me at Midwinter asked if I'd lost weight. Soon everyone noticed. I suppose I was finally at a point where it was hard to ignore.

2007-2011 January photos of weight loss progress1/07, 1/08, 1/09, 1/10, 1/11
-70 pounds

I'm very proud of where I am three years later. I still have my copy of American Libraries with the articles I found inspiring. What I no longer have are high blood pressure and sixty-five pounds. 65 pounds and counting.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

ACRL Day 4

Today was the last day of the ACRL conference. I attended one panel presentation and the closing keynote.

Sue Polanka was the moderator for the panel featuring Marilyn Billings, Michele Sordi, Eric Frank, and Steve Acker. It was a thoughtful discussion regarding electronic textbook access from a variety of perspectives. Given many of the fund raising efforts for student books at the campus where I'm currently employed, I'm curious how this might shift those fund raising efforts. For example, owning a computer or mobile device with internet access would become even more important. Will this mean more electronic and wired classrooms? Are faculty and librarians ready to embrace this change and shift the way we teach?

ACRL digital textbook panel

The closing keynote was from Clinton Kelly. It was a great way to end the conference. I found his presentation refreshing, and really appreciated how much time he spent taking questions from the audience. Surprisingly there was a real balance between the number of men and women asking questions.

Clinton Kelly at ACRL

I waited in a very long line and had two copies of his book "Oh No She Didn't" signed. One is for my good friend Kristen who is certain Clinton and Stacy will show up at her classroom after one of our friends and I nominate her for crimes against fashion. One day it just might happen. I wonder if they offer a finders fee?

with Clinton Kelly

Friday, April 1, 2011

ACRL 2011 Day 3

April Fools Day at ACRL!

I spent much of my morning going over my notes for my panel session in the afternoon. I did manage to get to the end of the Art of Presenting workshop. It was really good and I hope they are able to present again at future conferences.

The highlight of my day was being a panelist for "Stepping up the ladder: Succession planning in libraries". Maud Mundava and Angiah Davis were kind enough to invite me to speak alongside Camila Alire, Peggy Johnson, and Ravi Sharma. I was the final speaker, and asked by Maud and Angiah to speak about challenges in moving up, how my association involvement related to my moving up, and what advice I would offer for others interested in stepping up the ladder. The title I gave to my section was "From Professional Leadership to Leadership Professional." I talked about my internal and external barriers for moving, as Camila Alire characterized it, from level four to level three in the organization. Next I discussed the networking, mentoring, leadership, and organizational understanding opportunities that involvement in professional associations have provided for me. Finally, I offered the pieces of advice for those on all rungs of the ladder related to succession planning in the profession.

A summary of our program is here. I think my presentation was well received. I am glad I was invited to participate in this session. It was a great opportunity for me to think about where I am in my career right now and what I've learned along the way. It's been useful to contextualize my goals in the profession and understand just how I got here. I definitely think this is the start of something for me.

Aaron, Roberto, and Camila

Aaron Dobbs, Roberto Delgadillo, and Camila Alire before the session.

I enjoyed a great dinner with several people at The Continental. The highlight of dinner was playing "two truths and a lie". I actually did pretty well guessing the false statement. The food was tasty, but the company was better.

Round one

Dan likes cotton candy

American Gothic cotton candy

After dinner we went to the all-conference reception at the National Constitution Center. On our way to the reception we had the nicest taxi driver. He was almost done with his shift and had picked up a gift for his girlfriend's birthday. I held the big Macy's box on my lap while I rode in the front seat. The cab driver spoke so fondly about her and hopeful she'd enjoy the gift. All of us approved.