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