Monday, October 15, 2012

Media Commons workshop and tailgate

October 12th I attend the Penn State's Media Commons' Tailgate 2012 pre-conference workshop, "Using Mobile Media to Tell Engaging Stories". The workshop was facilitated by Stefani Sese, East Coast Region Director at the Center for Digital Storytelling CDS. It was designed to give an introduction to the CDS process and introduce attendees to the use of iOS devices in digital storytelling. The CDS workshop usually last three days, so our one day session scratched the surface. It still provided a good foundation and allowed attendees to gain "new perspectives, iPhone/iMovie skills or tips, and ideas for implementing digital storytelling."

October 13th I attended the Media Commons Tailgate 2012 themed "Rediscovering Our Roots." The tailgate "is a highly interactive event focused on exploring the possibilities for digital media in teaching and learning."

Media Commons Tailgate

The day started out with an amazing keynote by Susan Russell,  artistic director of Cultural Conversations and assistant professor in the School of Theatre. The rest of the day was "an opportunity to creatively explore and dig into the role of new media in the classroom and the many new innovations the Media Commons is supporting this year."

I attended a number of the breakout sessions designed to highlight  faculty's use of new media in the classroom and others "designed to engage the audience in conversation." These included learning about the University's plan to implement Wordpress for its blogs and the one button studio.

There was a lunchtime activity where participants were asked to take photos on their way to and back from lunch and capture some aspect of the day. My best shot was of an instructional designer showing another faculty member the movie he created during the pre-conference.

Media Commons Tailgate

Other images from the day's events and the videos we created during the pre-conference can be found on the Tumblr.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Candidate for ALA President

I am running for President of the American Library Association. The press release information is available from American Libraries. I am honored and excited for this opportunity. More information will be coming soon. If you are on Facebook, please be sure to like my fan page.

Stay tuned and vote for me!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Support EveryLibrary

My friend and colleague John Chrastka has launched EveryLibrary. Its mission is to help "public, school, and college libraries win bonding, tax, and advisory referendum, ensuring stable funding and access to libraries for generations to come."

Currently "EveryLibrary is seeking initial funding resources to become established as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work exclusively on local library ballot initiatives. The organization will be registered in Illinois after reaching our funding/pledge goal from individual, corporate, union, and foundation donors. We will work in partnership with local library campaign leaders and independently to advocate for specific library initiatives among the voting public."

Consider joining me and hundreds of other library advocates in supporting the establishment of EveryLibrary.

Friday, June 29, 2012

ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim: Orange County

My ALA Annual Conference experience was definitely a whirlwind. I was constantly on the run but accomplished a lot. This was definitely a conference of getting things done.

I attended the Library Journal Movers & Shakers luncheon at The White House. The highlight of that event was seeing William Kamkwamba speak. He was engaging, informative, and funny. I look forward to reading my signed copy of his book The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

I also had the opportunity to go on the Queen Mary with my Sage Reference colleagues. The 40 minute drive to Long Beach was definitely worth it. It was also the only sightseeing on my trip.

The Queen Mary

My two back-to-back presentations went extremely well. I was the keynote for the New Members Round Table President's Program. I had the pleasure of presenting at the RUSA MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Forum. I was asked to talk briefly about technologies that may have a future impact on virtual reference service. I particularly enjoyed the discussion following my ideas and generated from the round table discussions. A very positive write up of this session was posted by Library Journal.

On Sunday morning I introduced author Sapphire. That evening while at a reception hosted by Oxford a few people said hello to me and they recognized me from introducing Sapphire that morning. It was nice to meet new people and get positive feedback. I also ran into a bunch of people I know at Oxford's reception hosted at Bowers Museum. I'm always thrilled when that happens.

This conference also marked the conclusion of my term on the ALA Executive Board. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience. I am still incredibly grateful to the members of the board nominating committee and ALA Council for giving me the opportunity to serve the Association in this capacity. I have worked hard, taken this responsibility seriously, and had so much fun.

distinguished service

Monday, June 18, 2012

ALA Annual 2012 Preparations

I'm getting ready for the ALA Annual conference in Anaheim. It's hard to believe this will be my last conference as a member of the ALA Executive Board. My schedule is still shaping up, but here are some of the highlights for what will be a very busy (and hopefully very good) week. Note that I have back-to-back presentations on Saturday -- 1:30-3:30pm and 4-5:30pm!

Wednesday, June 20

Thursday, June 21
Special reception honoring Library Champions, Major Donors, and Legacy Society members
distribute executive board liaison talking points to ACRL, COL, COD, TOLD

Friday, June 22
ALA Executive Board I
ALA Opening Ceremony and ribbon cutting for Exhibits Opening

Saturday, June 23
ALA Council orientation
Visit the exhibits
Lunch - thanks EBSCO!
Lead Presenter: NMRT President's Program
Lead Presenter: RUSA MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Forum
Scholarship Bash
#ala12 After Hours / LibrarianWardrobe Walkoff Contest

Sunday, June 24
Breakfast - thanks ebrary!
ALA Council I
Introduction for Auditorium Speaker Series: Sapphire
Planning and Budget Assembly
Division Leaders/BARC joint meeting
executive board liaison visits:  CORS, Membership

Monday, June 25
ALA Council II
ALA Executive Board II
executive board liaison visits: OITP, LLAMA

Tuesday, June 26
ALA Council III
Closing General Session: JR Martinez
Inaugural Brunch
ALA Executive Board III

Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28

Monday, June 11, 2012

NMRT Annual Program: Professional Networking for New Librarians

The 2012 NMRT Annual Program took place online. Professional Networking for New Librarians covered the who, what, when, where, why, and how of networking. The session presenters included Ned Potter, Loida Garcia-Febo, JP Pocaro, Pat Hawthorne, and me. I covered "Professional Networking Tips for New Librarians: Where to Network". I learned a lot from my co-presenters. I am also happy I had the opportunity to think about this topic in a more organized way. Do check it out, and please let me or any of the presenters know if you have any questions.

Thanks again to NMRT and the committee for a useful, timely, and accessible program.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Empowering Diverse Voices

I was asked to participate in the video series for the "Empowering Diverse Voices" initiative. This is part of ALA President Molly Raphael's Diversity Leadership Initiative and "seeks to expand and enhance leadership development opportunities for our more diverse workforce, ensuring that the library leaders of tomorrow, at all levels and in all types of libraries, are as diverse as communities we serve." I encourage you to watch all the short videos in this series.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ALA BARC spring meeting 2012

I attended the Budget Analysis and Review Committee spring meeting at ALA Headquarters in Chicago. This is my second year as one of two Executive Board liaisons to the committee. In this role, I am a liaison to one division, LITA, and four round tables, NMRT, RMRT, GGRT, and SORT. Our meetings were very productive and we finished up more or less on schedule.

One of our agenda items was the Financial Learning Series webcasts. I am proud of the start we've made to educate the Association membership on ALA finances. The question now is what should be added next? What other financial webcasts should BARC plan and create? If you have ideas, please send them my way or comment below. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take the ALA Membership Meeting agenda topics survey

The ALA Committee on Membership Meetings is asking members what topics they would like to see addressed during the 2012 Virtual Membership Meeting on June 6th.  Your opinion is important, and we invite you to reply to a short survey of agenda topics at In addition to the topics selected here, the Virtual Membership Meeting agenda will include presentations and question-and-answer sessions with ALA President Molly Raphael, Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, and Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) chair Clara Bohrer.  Members will be invited to submit resolutions after registration opens on May 7th.

The survey will be available through April 9th, and all responses are anonymous.  Thank you for taking a moment to help set the agenda for this important ALA membership event.

Loida Garcia-Febo 
Chair, ALA Committee on Membership Meetings

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Library Thought Leaders Q&A

I am thrilled to be featured as part of the Library Thought Leaders Q&A on the Text A Librarian blog. I really enjoyed the opportunity to think about and respond to some great questions. Check it out, as well as the Q&A with some other great librarians.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hack Library School: Advice from a hiring manager

On November 4, 2011, I had the opportunity to speak with MLIS student Ashley Wescott about my experience in academic libraries. One of the requirements for Ashley's Academic Libraries course was to interview an academic librarian. I'm very glad she picked me. We had a lively conversation via Skype that lasted almost two hours! It probably would have gone on longer had her dog not started giving her "the look".

In mid-December Ashley contacted me about writing a blog post for Hack Library School based on the job hunt portion of the interview. My response was "of course!" That post went live today. Ashley is a great writer and an enthusiastic University of North Texas MLIS candidate. My thanks to Ashley and the Hack Library School team for the opportunity, and I look forward to collaborating with Ashley again in the future.

Follow Ashley on Twitter @2TheLibrary and on her blog, which documents her journey through children’s and young adult literature.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Coming soon: ALA Elections

The ALA Governance Office has put together "Your Guide to the 2012 Elections". This guide is also available as a PDF. It includes information about this year's ALA Presidential candidates, the role of ALA Council, and a link to all the candidates for councilor-at-large.

I am one of the candidates for councilor-at-large, and hope you will consider voting for me.

The ALA polls open on Monday, March 19 at 9 a.m. Central time, and close Friday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m. Central time. All individuals with ALA memberships in good standing will be eligible to vote and should receive an email notification with a link to the ballot and a unique passcode.

I hope you will vote in this year's election.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Library Day in the Life: February 3

Friday! My calendar was pretty open, so I spent a lot of time working through the VHS collection spreadsheet my LIS intern has been putting together. A frustration of trying to format modernize the film collection at my library is the surprising number of titles that are not available in DVD or BluRay. I was amazed to discover that The Spirit of Crazy Horse is not available on DVD. Don't even get me started on recordings produced by local historical societies. It's an interesting process.

I also spent some time reading though tweets and blog postings by other Library Day in the Life participants. It's always fun to get a glimpse into other library professional's lives. It is inspiring and encouraging. Best of all, it's an opportunity to start a dialogue with others. I'm all about making connections, collaborating, and learning. This project provides me with a real opportunity to have that experience in a new way.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Library Day in the Life: February 2

This morning my full-time staff member and I met with University Libraries administration via conference call for our mid-year budget review. The meeting went well. Our agenda included the give back deadline (if we anticipated having any funds left over by the end of the budget year), additional resources needed, and "tactical initiatives as they relate to strategic plan and cost implications". We are on target with our budget although things might get a little tight to close out the year. We'll have a conference call sometime in late April to plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

During the afternoon I did some ordering for the circulating collection at my campus as well as the Diversity collection for the University Libraries. I am the selector responsible for the diversity fund for materials that are primarily housed at the University Park campus. Those purchases are funded through the Paterno endowment.

I also worked on revising the form for circulating digital equipment. I revised the form for our (limited) circulating laptop collection. The old form had a lot going on which meant it was confusing and took a long time to complete. The revisions I made to make the form easier to complete and streamline the process were well received by my staff and users, so I decided to use it as the template for the digital equipment form. Hopefully it will be met with the same positive response.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Library Day in the Life: February 1

I don't have very much to report about my day. I did meet with my full-time staff member to plan for a budget update call tomorrow. We took a look at our budget and did some projections for the remainder of the year to make sure we stay on track financially. This is my second year going through this process and I'm happy to report it makes a lot more sense to me this year. Budgets are not as scary as you think.

I also participated in the ALA Committee on Legislation's (COL) monthly conference call. I am the ALA Executive Board liaison to COL, so I try to learn more about their work via their listserv, calls, and retreat. Today's agenda included discussing the Legislative Agenda, an overview and discussion of Midwinter, and any updates on legislation.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Library Day in the Life: January 31

Today was a much busier day than yesterday. I had my monthly telephone meeting with my boss. She actually has a cold and sounded miserable. On the plus side she wasn't at the office, but she was trying to keep up with work from home. We had a productive meeting. I caught her up on my Midwinter and things in general at the campus library.

I met for a little while with my LIS intern. We touched base about a project I have her working on to evaluate the library's VHS collection. By comparing holdings with other campuses in the system, alternate physical formats (DVD, BluRay), streaming video services (such as Filmakers Library online,), and circulation statistics I'll make some collection development decisions. I will also have to consider the impact shifting to other formats will have on accessiblity including access to closed captioning and and subtitles.

My afternoon was spent covering my regular Tuesday afternoon virtual reference shift. I've been staffing our virtual reference desk on Tuesdays 12-3pm since September 2004. It's really hard to believe I've been part of our team for that long. Where does the time go? I really enjoy virtual reference, it can a rewarding learning experience and I can honestly say that the frustrations have been minimal.

In case you missed the announcement, National Library Legislative Day will take place April 22-24, 2012 in Washington, D.C.. Registration is now open.

Throughout the day I chipped away at email. I provided some feedback regarding an LIS curriculum review from the standpoint of an employer. That was an interesting process for me particularly as someone who has been mentoring more and more LIS students and graduates and my work within ALA. It is also a reminder that LIS education is indeed interested in providing students with the skills necessary to be successful in the workforce.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Library Day in the Life: January 30

It's my first day back at the office after the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. Thankfully, things were pretty uneventful at the library while I was away. I caught up with my full time staff member Ruth. It was great to see her, she stays on top of so many things and makes my job that much easier. I was also greeted by this stack of mail. The overwhelming majority of them are book catalogs addressed to different librarians who have worked here.


I spent a lot of time getting through email and trying to respond to the really really important messages. One of those messages was from faculty wondering if I could help find impact factor information and article acceptance rates for a journal. I was happy to highlight our access to Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and highlight some of the data it provides for journals it indexes. Not all journals are indexed, which can be really problematic for interdisciplinary researchers. Article acceptance rate information is getting harder to nail down, especially with open access and e-only journals on the rise. Thankfully we can send emails to editors and ask these questions. I wonder at what point these "measures" are reconsidered.

Tomorrow and Wednesday will be the really important messages.

I had a really decent day, although it sounds somewhat boring. As in previous libday cycles, the week starts off slow but usually picks up.

January 30, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Midwinter in Dallas: Day 2

I split my time today between the retreats of the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Committee of Legislation (COL). While both of these groups do a fair amount between Midwinter and Annual, it's always nice to be a part of their face-to-face discussions. Interesting discussions I heard included:
digital inclusion versus digital divide: linguistic shift reflects getting access to the technology is only part of the process; skills needed also important

Molly Raphael visited the retreat and spoke about the Digital Content in Libraries Working Group. She noted the need for coordination across the issues and a big picture look. She also said there is a need to make whatever the decision is association policy, particularly as this is what the Association's President must speak to.
I gave the Executive Board liaison report. The main question had to do with ALA's budget. It was a nice opportunity for me to talk about the budget, the resources available from the Treasurer's website, and highlight the creation of the Financial Learning Series.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Midwinter in Dallas: Day 1

I've arrived in Dallas and am getting ready for a crazy busy week. One of my more important roles is as a member of the Executive Board and doing liaison visits to a variety of units. Here are some highlights from the talking points that are compiled by ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels.

School Libraries
  • Advocating for school libraries is a top Association priority this year. Between local budget cuts and the anticipated re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the urgency has never been greater.

    President Molly Raphael has appointed a special Task Force on School Libraries, with membership from all the divisions, to lead ALA efforts to strengthen, and preserve school libraries.

    AASL President Carl Harvey has initiated a White House petition on school libraries, which specifically petitions the Obama administration to “ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program.” 25,000 signatures are required in order for this petition to reach the President Obama’s desk, no later than February 4, 2012. It is a step towards creating awareness about school libraries, specifically for the need for an amendment for school libraries within the Early and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), due to be reauthorized this year.
E-Content and Libraries
  • Dealing with new digital content is one of the most pressing concerns facing libraries of all types, and is a big part of the transformation referred to in ALA’s strategic plan. A 25 member Digital Content and Libraries Working Group has been appointed by President Molly Raphael. Sari Feldman (Cuyahoga County Public Library) and Robert Wolven (Columbia University) are the co-chairs and President Elect Maureen Sullivan is the Executive Board Liaison. The Working Group began its work online and will meet in-person for the first time during the Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. Preliminary talking points on ebook lending and principles for digital lending were developed in the fall. These will be reviewed and revised by the Working Group.

    Drs. Stanley Besen and Sheila Kirby are developing a white paper for ALA on e-book economic models and licensing. This study will be released in the near future.

    American Libraries established a new blog on e-content issues to provide a mechanism for rapid response. Christopher Harris, a school librarian and member of the Working Group, serves as the editor of this blog. If you have topics you'd like him to write about or want to write about yourself, please let him know.  American Libraries has also created a dedicated section on E-content issues in AL Direct. Materials related to digital content and libraries will be on the Transforming Libraries website, managed by the ALA Library.
 Virtual Membership Meeting 
  • Mark your calendars!  ALA’s second virtual membership meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 5th, from 3-4:30 CST. Last year’s first Virtual Town Hall meeting was a great success, with 528 members participating. Real time member polling allowed participants to select the questions they thought most important for discussion. 
  • ALA membership in November 2011 stood at 59,824, slightly lower (-2.69%) than November 2010.  In the organizational member categories, increases were tallied for medium and large libraries and decreases for very small, small, and very large libraries.  On the personal member front, membership increases were seen in the support staff, retired, non-salaried, international, friend, and continuing member categories while declines were noted in the regular, student, and trustee categories.   For the first quarter of the 2012 programmatic year, seven round tables and three divisions had membership increases, while twelve round tables and eight divisions had decreases. 
Midwinter Facts and Highlights
  • Advance registration for Dallas is 4823, compared to 5180 for the 2011 Meeting in San Diego. There are 3269 exhibitor personnel registered, representing 430 exhibiting companies and organizations.

    Over 1200 separately scheduled meetings & events are planned. The number of committee meetings is lower, while the number of discussion group meetings has increased.

    Meeting includes an array of new events, including “Dine Around Dallas,” the Masters Series, the Midwinter Conversation and Think Fit @ ALA (aka, The Fun Run).

    The Midwinter Conversation, led by ALA President Molly Raphael and Dr. R. David Lankes will provide an opportunity to engage with colleagues in open conversation around “Empowering Voices: Transforming Communities”. These two conversations, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, will use a “world cafĂ©” process.  The conversations will lead into the ALA President’s Program, with Rich Harwood.
Election Year Dos and Don’ts 
  • During an election year, which is defined as beginning January 1 of the year in which the election will be held, ALA and its members must avoid any action that could give the impression that the  Association — rather than you as an individual private citizen — is engaging in “political speech” (“the support of or opposition to a candidate for public office”) or that ALA resources are being used for that purpose.
  • ALA, because of its particular tax exempt status, is expressly, absolutely prohibited by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code from engaging in “political speech.” The consequence is revocation of tax exempt status. There are no “intermediate” or “warning” consequences, and the “zero tolerance” enforcement policy of the IRS has been upheld by the courts.
  • “ALA resources” would include any use of ALA titles (like councilor, chair of…, president of...); ALA discussion lists, blogs or wikis (including those of ALA divisions, round tables and other groups that are part of ALA); stationery; publications or websites; headquarters or conference meeting rooms; or, staff time.
  • “Political speech” includes activities such as soliciting or making campaign contributions, providing a forum for a candidate (in print or at a conference, for instance), expressing “support for or opposition to” a candidate or political party.
  • Political speech” is different from “lobbying,” which seeks to influence legislation or regulation. Even during an election year, ALA continues to lobby for legislation and regulation that will benefit libraries and the public. There are regulations and limitations on lobbying by organizations like ALA, of course — and ALA works within the applicable laws.
  • A number of background documents have been developed to guide ALA leaders and staff through a complex legal environment. Four such documents are available as PDFs: ALA Legal Framework, Election Year Rules, Election Year Rules – Additional Notes, and Lobbying and ALA: Fact Sheet.
  • ALA has acquired Neal-Schuman publishers. Neal-Schuman will become part of ALA publishing, and operations will be moved to Chicago, they will continue to exist as a separate imprint. In reviewing the potential acquisition, ALA conducted extensive due diligence and developed a long term business plan, as well as an independent valuation. The purchase plan involves financing the acquisition through a bank loan, which will be repaid over a period of 5-7 years out of the proceeds from the operation. Under the terms of the agreement, information on the acquisition will be shared by Treasurer Jim Neal (not the Neal in Neal-Schuman) on Monday as part of his report to Council. This information will be available to the membership following his report. We are committed to total transparency, and will be answering any and all questions that are asked. This is a great opportunity for the association that supports our mission and goals.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Midwinter Preparations 2012

It's that time again! Tomorrow I'm headed to the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. As usual, my calendar is pretty full. I'm actually looking forward to all of my meetings in addition to seeing many great colleagues and making new friends.

Highlights from my schedule include:
I'll be doing the introduction for the Special Masters Series: A Library occupies Occupy Wall Street.
I'll talk very briefly (5 minutes!) to the 2012 Emerging Leaders class about getting involved in round tables.
 Attending all meetings of the ALA Executive Board, ALA Council, and the Budget Analysis & Review Committee (BARC).
Liaison visits to a variety of ALA divisions and committees.
And, of course, talking to people in the hallway of the convention center and at social gatherings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Coming soon: Library Day in the Life 8

I've signed up to participate in the Library Day in the Life Project: Round 8.
The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.
 It's a great way to get to know other library people from around the world and learn something new.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program

Carl Harvey, 2011-2012 American Association of School Libraries president, has initiated a White House petition on school libraries, which specifically petitions the Obama administration to “ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program.” 25,000 signatures are required in order for this petition to be viewed by White House staff, no later than February 4, 2012.

Please take a few seconds to sign this petition, spread the word to your member groups, ask your colleagues and library supporters in your circles to sign on, and spread the word via Facebook, Twitter and other channels!

* We’ve heard that the petition software is temperamental. If you cannot sign in on your  first attempt, please log out and log back in. Or, try a different web browser, or as a last resort, try a different computer.

* White House petitions must be authored by individuals, not any association. Therefore, Carl has introduced this petition as an individual, not as a representative of AASL or ALA.

Thank you,

Marci Merola
Office for Library Advocacy
American Library Association
800.545.2433, x2431