A 40th anniversary is quite a feat and this year’s ALAO was no exception, complete with a cake with raspberry filling to represent the ruby milestone for the four decades. Congrats, and here’s to 40 more!
ALAO is the Ohio Chapter of ALA’s ACRL (American Library Association’s Association of College and Research Libraries division). Though the unifier is higher education libraries, the various topics of sessions show the range of interests and needs of academic libraries.
Courtney Young, current ALA President, opened the conference as the keynote speaker with her address focused on diversity and our ability as librarians to further diversity not only in our professor and materials in our libraries but also on-campus and even in the wider communities. Outreach is one of the means that can manifest in many different ways including, as she pointed out, working with campus study abroad programs.
For my first session, Ellizabeth Bucciarelli (Eastern Michigan University) in her talk Creating Tangible Connections Using the Intangible Library, walked through the entire process of setting up a new program collection. With such a unique opportunity, she reached out to administrators, faculty, relevant associations, and others touched by this new department program in order to create a strong, open-communication foundation to ensure future success and funding. Among the concerns discussed, inflation for eResources was an important one so that everyone involved knew how library vendors and publishers function so that the new digital collection could remain robust for years to come.
With Twitter still a vital tool for librarians, Diane Schrecker (Ashland University) and Kaylin Tristano (Brown Mackie College)’s session titled Engaging Tweets: Twitter as Personal Learning Network covered the basics as well as enumerated the different ways in which to participate on Twitter and useful tools. New to me were Twubs and Tweetchat, additional resources that make use of Twitter content but allow for more customization and monitoring of particular hashtags.
After lunch were a brief round of table discussions for half an hour. Empowering Communities through Collaborative Innovation: Doctoral Student Perspectives on Knowledge Navigation in the Academic Library caught my attention. Three Kent State University doctoral students presented their research and fielded a few questions, although more time would have been nice since they all had interesting topics. Shelley Blundell researches remedial undergraduates and there is not much about their information seeking needs and behaviors. Much more than motivation, hopelessness tends to be a main hurdle that remedial students face and most do not overcome. Omer Farooq discussed integrating scholarly communication in to information literacy instruction, which includes not only students but faculty as well. Heather Flynn wrapped up the round table with her research about serving the international students in academic libraries and considering ways to “internationalizing” the library.
Next up: poster talks and cake. What a great combination in the same room, to socialize and hear about all of the wonderful initiatives throughout Ohio and tips/tricks for working effectively.
Joshua Neds-Fox and Michael Priehs (Wayne State University)’s Informing Authors: Outreach Strategies for Engaging Faculty in Scholarly Communications Issues session articulated their efforts to engage faculty about scholarly communication and their institutional repository (IR), make it easy for the faculty to post their work into the IR, help develop an open access (OA) policy for campus, and provide opportunities of OA journals both for faculty and students. WSU is lucky to have a department dedicated to this issues.
As a final session, Tina Franks (OSU)’s Trusted Advisor: Borrowing Ideas from Corporate America to Build Professional Success shared her experience of building stronger relationships with her library users to serve their needs and add value for them. Her inspiration was drawn from a business book of the same title, which focused on earning trust, giving advice, building relationships, engaging new constituents, and changing from transactional to relationship service.
Thankfully, while the weather was cold and snowy, the Kalahari Convention Center was filled with the warmth of ALAO.