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.