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There’s always something more : farewell to Chicago

How did the conference fly by? ALA is always too packed and too short. For Monday, I relaxed a bit went over to the MCP Center later in the afternoon.

Part of the fun of attending a conference in person is the connections made with people you otherwise wouldn’t meet. The Annual Library Camp session fosters round table, small discussion for whichever topics interested the attendees. In a way, it is very similar to an unconference. Due to the smaller size of the group, we decided on four tables and split up to discuss either multiculturalism, mentorship, community engagement, and social media. After a while, we shared with the room and swapped tables to start another round. The social media table morphed into cataloging and metadata with the four others and myself, no surprise there, who came to that table. I met a variety of librarians that I wouldn’t have otherwise and learned about topics concerning other librarians.

For my final session of ALA Annual 2013, I went to a talk about altmetrics. At Conversation Starters: Altmetrics, the decoupled journal, and the future of scholarly publishing, Jason Priem, co-founder of ImpactStory, described altmetrics and the various impacts that the web now affords scholars. This is where ImpactStory becomes an exciting possibility of capturing the variety of online connections and interactions between scholars in order to document meaningful impact in their field, beyond print journal citation as in the past. There are other alternatives out there and more will arise since altmetrics is up and coming, and worth being involved in or at the very least watching it develop.

Jason Priem’s graphic from his presentation:

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After these final two sessions, Steve and I had a quiet dinner together at an awesome sushi bar. Most librarians had left already, if not Sunday evening. I did bring too much SWAG back–I’ve learned to truck through the exhibit hall at a good pace, a feat in itself as you’ll agree, and managed only to be coming back with two books and a can cosy. I’d rather enjoy sessions than collect SWAG but that’s just me.

While there are always too many sessions to attend, and more worth sitting in on, it’s good to not try to pack all day, everyday full, especially if your hanging out in the evenings too. I find it hard adhering to this myself. But I loved ALA Annual in Chicago this year, and even though I’m tired, it was worth it since I met great people, saw friends, learned a lot, and became more involved.

Thank goodness it is 4th of July weekend! Beach time is way overdue. Enjoy your long weekends–I sure will!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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“Lascivious librarian story time” : nightlife fun in Chicago with librarians

“Lascivious librarian story time” : nightlife fun in Chicago with librarians

My Sunday morning began with a presentation in the ALA job placement center. The state of academic library jobs : what you need to know to be competitive in the current job market by Penny Beile from the University of Central Florida talked about the academic librarian job market and the breakdown of job postings and their statistics. She addressed the infamous study that we all know about as librarians, that claimed LIS master’s was the worst degree. Her concluding advice was to gain as much experience pre-degree as well as during the program and to set yourself apart and impress people so that you can set yourself up for being hired. I attended this talk in order to hear what kind of advice is being given to current graduate students. As is expected, it was well attended.

Then I headed over immediately to the BibFrame session. Library of Congress BibFrame update forum did not fit everyone in the room even though we were seated in a large auditorium. The session itself was recorded and will be posted on the LC website fairly soon. Roberta Schafer from LC described their overall vision and plan for the future, which also included BibFrame as a connector for all of their initiatives and future consolidation of services and reading rooms. Her portion showed the possibilities and potentials that such a framework for metadata could provide. Next Eric Miller of Zepheria covered what BibFrame community profiles, how they work, and the broader implications not only within the library community but within the Internet itself. The two next speakers highlighted their BibFrame projects. Jeremy Nelson from Colorado College gave a technical yet approachable explanation of the BibFrame Redis data store that he works on at his library. The files are on GitHub if you are interested in looking at the code. Vinod Chachra from VTLS showed how BibFrame can make metadata and the next generation catalog a visualization within a browser. This is such a cool idea to me and that makes a lot of sense especially as touchscreens and smart phone tablet devices are taking over Internet usage. Chachra argued for using ISAD over FRBR as well, since it is more flexible and malleable. The KCPL will unveil a Civil War collection using the website navigator technology from VTLS so watch for that in the late summer. Finally Jean Godby from OCLC finished the session by discussing OCLC’s projects with schema.org and BibFrame. The work is in its beginning phases but it sounds very promising and OCLC is trying to incorporate the library terminology and needs within the vocabulary and goals of schema.org so that we can truly have metadata that is of the Internet instead of being on it. I enjoy hearing about the progress that is being made, especially the early experimental projects that are trying to figure out the best ways to use and apply and incorporate BibFrame and library metadata in the wider Internet community.

An area of librarianship that is still fairly new but developing really rapidly is Digital Humanities and in particular Digital History. Digital History : new methodologies facilitated by new technologies covered both the practical and theoretical aspects of this topic. This session was also recorded but it wasn’t mentioned when or where it would be posted. The first two speakers enumerated the various tools and online resources useful for Digital History collections and projects. Anne Flannery and Adam Strohm, The Newberry Library, segmented their talk into different areas: access, content creation, identifying narratives, interaction with materials, and new modes of authorship. Michael J. Kramer and Josh Hohn, Northwestern, discussed the importance of Digital History and showcased their work with the Berkeley folk music festival collection. Kramer conducts research within the online collection for himself as well as creating and teaching a course with Hohn as a means to engage and convey new ways to analyze history by the students. Not knowing much about this topic of librarianship, I found this session very fascinating and useful.

As with most ALA conferences, there are various social events throughout the entire time there and it can be hard to choose what to go to in the evenings. Steve snagged an invite to the Thompson Reuters reception, getting a +1 for me. Light appetizers and drinks along with the outdoor patio made for a great start to the evening. We chatted with his rep and a couple of others ones, carrying on conversations about travel that they do, places worth going especially for food, and other fun topics. As Steve likes to say, vendors are people too–a joke I like since I work for ProQuest!

After the reception, we hopped onto a city bus with a librarian friend to go see a librarian-themed burlesque show at The Backroom, which usually has live bands but also puts on private events. Before we arrived, we didn’t realize that it was themed! How fun though. A new librarian friend, met at this ALA, told us about it the day prior and met us there. The place was packed, with librarians, so someone spread the word about the theme. They even provided ALA flags for name tags at the front desk! The show included lots of glasses, hair pulled back in buns or swept up, skirts and blouses, the Reading Rainbow theme song, the use of a scanner as a prop, a sexy male puppet show, book props, along with a librarian lemonade drink. Good drinks and food in a room full of fun librarians made for an awesome night. The show had lots of humor tailored to the crowd (i.e. book humor, etc.) and was tasteful. If this is what Chicago offers, I can only imagine what someone will put together for Annual in Las Vegas next year!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Annual 2013 : it’s not just librarians doing the spotting!

Before heading to the conference center this morning, we stopped at a local coffee shop and while ordering, the baristas asked if we were librarians. Yes, we all were. He said he’s been playing “spot the librarian” downtown yesterday. Clearly librarians aren’t the only ones who play it! They loved talking to us and one said that the world needs more libraries, so make sure you go stop by the Overflow coffee bar if you’re near State and 16th and say hi to these wonderful guys and gals, and grab an awesome cup of coffee.

Like all days at ALA, today was jam packed. Since it’s always hard to pick and choose what exactly to attend, I began my morning a bit later so that I could attend more sessions this afternoon. My day began with the 10:30 Cataloging Norms Interest Group that I co-vice chaired this year. Despite the room being in an odd location in the conference center, but then again what’s not, we had an awesome turn out for our session. The speakers covered a range of topics all centered around metadata and cataloging, and how to help users best find exactly what they’re looking for as well as how to be successful with their use of information and images. One speaker talked specifically about defining accuracy and completeness of cataloging records, which can be expanded to metadata in general and so the topics made for a cohesive and interesting panel this morning.

Next, I headed over to Library Code Year IG at the Hilton Chicago, a fairly short bus right away but with so many people waiting in the line for it, I wasn’t sure that I’d make the first bus. Thankfully I did. This group had put on the Python preconference all day session that I wasn’t able to make yet I heard that the people who did attend really enjoyed it. At the interest group session, a lot was discussed as this is still a new group being formed and deciding how exactly to provide useful opportunities for attendees in the future, the goal is to facilitate librarians learning how to code. I will be co-chairing this group over the next year so watch for various announcements on listservs to find out more about it. It is a joint LITA/ALCTS interest group which encourages interested librarians from both areas of ALA.

The final session of my day was Multiple identities: managing authorities in repositories and digital collections. A librarian From Hong Kong University spoke about cleaning up name authorities and creating a research and researchers digital repository that was useful for the entire university. The second talk was given by three librarians from the University of Notre Dame who are working with the Gates foundation to create a database for malaria research to help with the eradication of it. Although they are both bigger institutions and the grand scale truly makes the efforts worthwhile, it was still good to hear about the process and what kind of software they are using and the things that they had to consider when going about these projects. Once again this topic ties back to accuracy and completeness of information, from my first morning session today, while also begging the question of what information best serves users. For example, at Notre Dame, various people use their database for the research and so they have included more indexing than might normally be done since they want to ensure that people doing searches will find what they intend to look for even if the term searched isn’t exactly the MeSH heading.

Throughout the day, I ventured into the exhibit hall a few times. It’s always a jungle in there, it seems!

I kept this evening a little quieter, going out to dinner with a few friends and then heading back to my place to write these blog posts to keep track of what I’ve done the past couple of days here. Although it can be difficult sometimes to make time to get these posts up on the same day, as seen with my Friday post that showed up earlier this evening, they give me the chance to reflect on the sessions that I attended today and make connections between them, my prior knowledge, and generate ideas and thoughts for the future. I find that the best part of ALA is the inspiration and food-for-thought that the sessions, conference interactions, and networking provide me.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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#ala2013 : hash tags and socials

#ala2013 : hash tags and socials

The first day of ALA Annual in Chicago and already the conference is busy and in full swing! Even before it began this year, hash tags on Twitter were flying by with excitement, though not always the “official” ones. It’s always humorous to see the variations on Twitter but we do want consistent use so that everyone can find all the relent Tweets–a priority of mine anyway as a cataloger! Lets agree on metadata, especially for hash tags. Maybe next time ALA can add them to the session info in the book, scheduler, and placard for the rooms…and make the conference one a part of the logo!

Even though it was Friday, the conference had many regular sessions, in addition to the majority of all-day pre-conference events. I was surprised to see the conference center was full and buzzing that morning already.

First up was the Annual Unconference, which was completely packed and standing room only by the time I showed up. Clearly the room was too small and more people showed up than they had expected but the discussion was really fruitful: user expectations versus reality for content, access, and search result; check out history and recommendation systems versus user privacy; circulation and count of items, especially print material; and the role of the library, what it is and should or can be. That’s as much as I caught before heading to the Networking Uncommons to look at the schedule again for the rest of the weekend.

Despite the size of the conference, I always run into friends, co-workers, and librarians that I met at other Annuals and Midwinters. Lunches, dinners, coffee breaks, hallway chats are one of the highlights of these conferences. But then there are the times when I cannot seem to connect with someone due to different schedules. You can’t see everyone, even when you plan to sometimes!

Competencies and education for a career in cataloging IG turned out to be exactly what I tried to find out at MidWinter: how LC conducted their training program internally for RDA. Melanie Polutta works at LC and was an internal trainer, and even an early tester when RDA first came out. She discussed how LC conducted training at the various stages of testing and adoption within LC, the challenges, and some of her lessons learned in hopes that the attending librarians could take away something to help them with training at their own institutions. Most of her advice revolved around understanding the standards and concepts inside and out. That includes terminology, the structure and content of the documentation itself, the theory and purpose, how to apply the standards versus when to use cataloger’s judgment, and deciding what cataloger’s judgment means for local policies. Time and practice are also the obvious other take aways. That and to divorce RDA from MARC when learning and talking about it with others; use publication information instead of referring to the 264 (previously 260) field. Her recommendation was for everyone to learn RDA, and FRBR, at least somewhat since whether you catalog in it or not, there will be hybrid records from here onward along with RDA elements in some AACR2 records.

For the final official ALA event of the day, I attended the Emerging Leaders poster session. One of my friends was a part of this great program this year and so it was exciting to go and hear about her project but also see what everyone else was doing this past year. People are split into various groups surrounding topics of interest and they conduct research and then present their findings at poster sessions. It’s a great way to hone project management skills and develop professional rapport within ALA. The topics vary and this year they included assessing the value of the Emerging Leaders program, assessing the retention rate of first year ALA members, and looking into the funding of the ALCTS journal.

And then came the most fun part of the day, hitting various receptions and happy hours around the city. UMich SI put on a get together for alums. I caught up with many fellow classmates from grad school that I haven’t seen for a few years and met many people who had graduated before me. It is always fun to hear about what people are doing now and the cool projects that they’re working on. Next we met up with other friends at an Irish pub, although we got caught in a bit of rain just as we were almost there. That meant waiting it out and drying off a bit, which we were happy about just staying put and hanging out. To wrap up the evening, we headed to the President’s Reception on the terrace of the Hilton Chicago overlooking Millennium Park. Midnight on a balcony with champagne networking with librarians as the red-orange moon glowed over the lit up city–not much could be better. Walking back to our place, a fat rat scurried by us as if to remind us all that we were in fact in an urban setting; the guys on the sidewalk joked that it must be New York not Chicago.

Also, the AirBnB that I’m staying at with my husband and our friend is a great walkable location and perfect for the conference. There’s even another librarian here too!

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ALA MidWinter 2013 Movement Monday

Today was about moving forward and ensuring that the future is better and more useful and effective than anything now or in the past. A refinement, if you will.

That said, my day began early with the 8:30 session PVLR (Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations) Interest Group Forum that focused on the topic of enhance ebooks. This is of great interest to me since I catalog ebooks, and have seen a few “enhanced” with links out to other material but that’s it as far as enhanced. Jake Zarnegar from Silverchair Information Systems gave the most comprehensive explanation of the myriad of different types and levels of ebooks, along with the some challenges and benefits. Susie Stroud from Credo Reference demoed their enhanced ebooks, which are more like interactive websites with immediately playable embedded videos and interlinking to other relevant articles and research materials. It’s a great way to think about content and the learners, meeting them where they are and chunking the information up (you’ll see the next tie-in shortly!). Nancy Gibbs from Duke University Library focused on the challenges of faculty by-in and how hard it is to get the library involved. On her campus, different professors created one-off ebooks solely for a class. One professor had the grad students create the content to be bundled at the end as an ebook but then the professor merely deleted it at the end of the semester, finding no future value in it and wanting the next year to do their own, possibly on a different topic. Even for just preservation reasons if nothing else, how can they convince a faculty member to involve the library to save a copy if the professor himself doesn’t value the end result of the students creating an enhanced ebook? It’s tragic but if they create the project on their own and don’t include the library, it’s a huge hurdle to get involved later on in the process, or at the end; this is something to work on. Andrea Twiss-Brooks from the University of Chicago science libraries discussed more of the hurdles with enhanced ebooks, concerning use, pricing, and support. Ebook apps, while a great idea and cool, aren’t sustainable for libraries and check-out or reserve shelf, etc. Questions around ILL, upkeep, cataloging, and acquisitions were also discussed. While it brought up more thinking points than it resolved, this session truly stimulated the room and myself into considering what is out there, what’s to come, and what do we do about it?

My final session of ALA was Taking a New Look at Training and Learning that centered around small group discussion that filtered back into the larger group. People from Web Junction facilitated the event and kept an agenda and plan going to keep us in the time limits. But with all the great ideas and comments, the time literally flew by, with most of us wanting to continue on talking. What do learners need? What motivates people? How do we apply these lessons to training to better serve the learners? Despite not teaching or supervising in my cataloging role, I have taken webinars for software and helped teach my grandparents and parents about the iPad, and my uncle about his Windows laptop. From these experiences, I could relate and project these take aways into future situations to ensure the best learning environment for me or others. I dropped into this session last minute and loved it, learning a lot too. That’s what ALA is great for an can be really fun–stepping outside your usual bounds and seeing what you can learn and apply later. Ideas abound!

Lastly, I walked the exhibit hall one last time. Besides following Steve around on his booth business, I peeled away to explore on my own. One of the best stops was at the LC booth. At the RDA update, Beecher Wiggins discussed the training that they are wrapping up for all of their staff, including overseas. At the Learning session, one lady asked me about assessment tools for those RDA modules online–yes, she was a cataloger too! I didn’t know but thought it a great questions so I headed over to LC to get an answer. No one there could give me one at that point so they put me in touch with a couple of people in their training office, so hopefully in the next week or so I’ll hear back from them. Being able to talk in person can really get the ball rolling, if not work things out.

And since I avoided all of the swag, I just couldn’t resist those darn cute mini read tote bags and a call number tea mug!

ALA tote and mug

And, of course, our shot glass for each new city that we visit.

Seattle shot glass

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ALA MidWinter 2013: Solidarity Saturday

Sitting in Seattle right now, it is still hard to believe that ALA MidWinter is upon us–even having spent the day conferencing all around the city. Though enjoying seafood and 50 degrees, despite some drizzle, is enjoyable!

This is my first MidWinter but it is just as crazy and bustling as Annual, it seems. As co-vice chair for the Cataloging Norms Interest Group, I helped with our panel this morning and it had 60-some people attend. And that’s for MidWinter. It amazes me that thousands of librarians turn out for this mid-year event, though it shouldn’t because it seems to be gaining in size and clout each year.

Today, I attended four sessions, though two were closely related. That is a lot in one day for a conference. Cataloging Norms IG started off my day with two distinct presentations that dovetailed each other nicely. The first speaker, Harold Thiele, gave an in-depth look into the history and beginnings of cataloging, starting with Mesopotamia and Sumer up through RDA. He discussed how title main entry slow progressed and evolved to the form that we know in AACR2 and how with RDA the approach is more with its lack of main entry as we know it. Maura Valentino discussed the 21st century, focusing on metadata beyond that of description and how it affects workflows and process. Though very different, the two talks paired well together and truly gave a complete picture of how far cataloging and metadata have come.

The Catalog Management Interest Group focused on managing catalog workflows, content, metadata, and prepping for RDA field displays. This ended being a more practical session that I first anticipated. Sherab Chen spoke about his new role as an e-resource manager, focusing on personnel tips and his lessons learned so far. He balanced his talk well between a no-nonsence, realistic approach and having an optimistic, can-do attitude despite all of the work and problems that such a job entails. Next, Jessica Hayden covered demand driven acquisitions within an consortial environment. Not having worked in such a setting, I am fascinated by all of the collaboration and discussions that must go on in order for a consortium to function well, and yet there are myriads of benefits to such a arrangement. Also, the distinction of what is done at the consortial level versus local can create either more roadblocks or paved ways, depending on the situation. Sarah Beth Weeks, however, gave my favorite presentation due to her topic of using Google Refine to clean up data in the catalog. For a cataloger, the chance to provide more access and an easier search for the patron to find what they are looking for is the main goal that we all strive to achieve. At their college, rather than amend specific MARC fields to make them all uniform, they added the most common form of a term as a 9xx field for better access. Finally, Roman Panchyshyn closed off the session with his testing of RDA catalog display and how to best make it work for the patron. The 3xx, no surprise, were the oddest and trickiest to work with of the new fields. Since the 264 has a 2nd indicator to help define it, those were easier to display, as were the 502 field labels after a wording tweak. Next month, he will send of his recommendations, basically what he presented at the session, to Innovative in order to get their ILS to display RDA records and fields how they want them, and ensure that they are included in indexing for search results.

After a great lunch break–ALA plans out 1.5 hours over the lunch hour, thank goodness, for no sessions–a back-to-back linked data two part session began. The first hour was informative. Some of it I had heard in Anaheim at Annual but it was a good refresher and parts of it were new information, or said a different way. Eric Miller, president of Zepheria, discussed linked data, tying git in a little bit to Bibframe. Mainly he covered the underlying structure of linked data and why it is an important task to take on as a library community. If all of our libraries were linked data, search engines would include our books and items in the top results pages, allowing users more access especially if they begin their research in the web. Next, Richard Wallis from OCLC talked about all the different projects that they are a part of concerning linked data–mainly VIAF, FAST, Dewey Classification, and now WorldCat linked data. They hope to create a large, more prominent presence on the internet with library data, and are setting an example for member libraries. It is true that if all of the libraries work together, we could make a huge splash in online metadata and set president for all who are part of the web; we have the specialized knowledge and wonderful data, so we just need to make it accessible openly on the web through links that bring users back to the library websites and catalogs.

During the second part of the linked data session, two librarians showed the small-scale projects that they completed using linked data. Both approached the idea differently and created two unrelated yet amazing projects. Violeta Ilik linked her universities math department in Viewshare, allowing for new connections and analysis to be done on the faculty itself, including gender ratios and research areas. One of the coolest part of her data ended being the PhD. location of all the faculty, which displayed on a map. Jeremy Myntti used Viewshare for an entirely different purpose with a whole other type of data. His institution has an online collection of animal sounds recorded in several states. To get even more out of the data, he loaded certain information into Viewshare and was able to display not only a map of locations for the sound recordings but to show pie charts that broke down the kingdoms and genus. The link to the recordings for each animal was included so that a person could click and follow the link to the website with the player on it. Both Violeta and Jeremy said the from start to finish, their projects took no more than 1 hour to create the linked data. Though these were fairly small scale, the implications and ease of linked data are amazing to consider.

What a day! I love attending sessions that sound interesting and I always yearn to learn more while at a conference. That’s why I am here! However, there gets to be an overload point if you pack too much in, especially if you aren’t used to it. Thankfully MidWinter is slightly shorter in the sense that there aren’t as many sessions, so I can conference a bit harder today and tomorrow knowing that Monday will be fairly sparse and Tuesday I fly out before the crack of dawn.

So far it’s been a great conference. Let’s hope tomorrow can live up to today’s standards! We will see that that huge RDA afternoon session brings…

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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ALA Anaheim: Stuffed Sunday

Appropriate title but also reminiscent of a subject heading that I discussed months ago!

Today, again, was jam-packed with sessions but that’s the general point of conferences. Three is the magic number for me because that’s about all I can max out for intact of information.

Session 1) ebrary: Strategic E-book Acquisition for Academic Libraries provided a breakfast before their talk about PDAs (patron driven acquisitions) with actual libraries to tell their stories and experiences. Hearing from others attending, it’s the best conference food, and it was good. Even though ebrary is a part of ProQuest, hearing the concerns for librarians in the room as well as their wonderful stories. Plus, several higher ups from PQ also attended, including CEO Kurt Sanford. As of right now, apparently choosing the short-term loan option has a fee that doesn’t go then towards the purchase of the book later so some of the libraries just select the PDA option. Maybe this will change in the future. Feedback is always taken to heart at ProQuest, from experience, but not always acted on.

Lesson learned: Sessions with food are well-attended and it’s great when presentations by vendors that address topics rather than just a product pitch are much more interesting and useful.

Session 2) Responsive web design: get beyond the myth of the mobile web showed just how easy and necessary it is to make library websites that adjust to the size of the device accessing them. The cool thing about this is that it’s one website with extra code that has different tweaks based on the screen size of the device, using percentages instead of pixel widths. The example website is LOL Library by presenter Matthew Reidsma that as you view it on a computer browser, resizing it will show you all the variations, the rearranging of the same content for all the different devices. He’ll put everything up online, including the code at GitHub for the LOL Library website.

Lesson learned: Everyone needs to do a single website that is built with responsive web design. There are lots of resources on the web and Matthew posted his slides and presentation so when you have time, watch it and make use of it!

Session 3) Learning Styles: Fiction, Nonfiction, Mystery? taught me all about what  learning styles are and how to use them in instruction–there are 21 different types so it varies greatly. The three panelists were wonderful and it was more informative than practical which for me was perfect since I was new to the idea coming in. Oddly enough, there was a turn-and-talk discussion with the people next to us, and since I don’t teach or do instruction, I listened a lot to my neighbor and spoke of my husband Steve’s stories of his teaching that he’s shared with me; the librarian I spoke with was very skeptical about the presented information and told me about what his alternative views are on what’s important and affects instruction to make it more meaningful and useful for students. Lots of food for thought!

Lesson learned: Though people are presenting on a topic, sometimes it’s good to be a skeptic and think about different ways to approach the issue and other creative solutions. Plus, my discussion partner mentioned What best college teachers do as a great practical book–so look into it if this is important to your work!

Exhibit Hall for some is the essence of the conference but for me I avoid it. One, lots and lots of people make it overwhelming. Yet what it really comes down to is that I don’t need or want to collect books, plus I have no scope for talking to vendors or other companies that provide equipment and software to libraries. It’s weird working for ProQuest in that sense but it also means that I don’t have to wait in lines for book signings or pack/ship tons of books home. During some down time between sessions, I did wander though out the whole hall during a fairly quiet time, so I literally got handed books that got immediately singed by the authors and illustrators. Thank goodness my friend Addie is a school librarian and happily took the handful that I collected. I did get registered for a chance to win two Kindles, and finally found the booth giving out free Brave tickets.

Dinner with friends and then watching Brave for free in a theater full of librarians was the highlight of the day, though. Seriously, it’s a great family movie and a really fun daughter/mother adventure so ladies go with your moms!

Tomorrow morning begins at 8 a.m. yet again–what is with such early morning sessions? Start early, end early to give people an evening for other stuff, I guess! Full plate yet again. How about you?

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy National Library Week!

This week was National Library Week. To celebrate, ProQuest offered free access to some of their most used databases and resources, along with giving away donations to libraries. Sweet deal, for sure!

My blog post proclaiming libraries were a stable necessity in society embraces the spirit of NLW. Twitter, blogs, and local library webpages have commemorated this week as well, encouraging people to use their libraries and enumerating how they celebrated this week.

However, next week Harvard Library Strategic Conversations will host a debate to determine if libraries are obsolete. Who knew we needed this debate? Although, some people must think that it’s about time. After my previous blog post, we all know which side I fall on–I’m just amused that I made my post last night before I saw the information about this debate. It should be good and I hope they post a full video afterwards! If you do visit the above site, the embedded clip there is from a 2007 debate and not the Harvard one, which is scheduled for April 18, 2012; if you are around there, you should go and listen then vote!

Libraries definitely need more attention and use, which essentially comes down to the librarians themselves and marketing plus providing wanted services. Many libraries already do a super job but it is now more than ever that we should all be much more vocal about libraries and their great offerings.

On that note, I’m learning to love RDA, a way to be vocal within libraries as catalogers. I blogged about looking past RDA not long ago, but having looked into it, while not perfect, it’s definitely an interesting turn for cataloging that could be spectacularly beneficial. An official member now of the RDA-L listserv, RDA issues will certainly be on my mind from here on. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of a new standard. Since I won’t be retiring any time soon, as the RDA joke goes, I’m ready to get acquainted for the start of what will likely be a long-lasting cataloger-cataloging standard relationship. Bring it on!

Also, if you didn’t catch my photo post earlier, I am a librarian with Pearle Vision glasses, thank you very much.

And show your libraries some love this week: stop in and say hi to the staff and use those resources and services! Happy National Library Week!

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Libraries as foundational necessities: a stable service for society

Today this thought hit me because it was trash day. I stood in the kitchen making my oatmeal when the garbage truck rumbled by, collecting the trash from each house on the block. Right then I thought, libraries are like garbage collection.

Garbage collection, same as mail and package delivery, is a service that will always have a place in American society. Going door to door to remove, or deliver, things needs to occur to keep our neighborhoods and society flowing. Though many communications are now digital and mobile, the Internet, I’ll wager, has increased package delivery since wonderful websites with let you chose and pay for items online but the goods still need to be physically brought to you. These services won’t go away, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Same with jails, churches, and public parks/swimming pools. All are physical spaces that service a societal need that cannot be replaced with a virtual system or interface. Some people need to be locked up for wrong doings. Many enjoy attending a location at the same time each week for spiritual and religious, as well as social, reasons. Not everyone lives in a place with a yard or a pool, so communal ones not only offer those possibilities to those who don’t have them but also act as another communal spaces to come together.

Like all of these services and places, libraries join the list. As librarians, we aren’t really the “gatekeepers” now that the Internet and online information are used by the public. But the physical space and responsibility remains. Even if all works in the future are “born digital”, physical books will remain and last as they have for centuries. In fact, if people only buy ebooks on devices, perhaps the library will be more valued with all the academic and pre-ebook works. While I’m not trying to describe a museum or archives, it seems my description has taken me there, though that’s not what I mean to imply. To the contrary, libraries are and will continue to be a hub for knowledge and advancement, a learning commons for individual and group work.

It’s really the librarians that make all of that possible: structuring the space, providing help and instruction, connecting people with information. Whether or not you believe reference is dead, people want to connect with other people, and need to, for the services that began this post. Anyone can and does search Google but who is there to help when the search isn’t turning up what’s desired? Librarians. Who puts on programming at libraries that include video game tournaments and teenage book clubs reading vampire novels? Librarians. Geeks don’t need to take over the library because they are already there! Librarians are on all social media and use technology–some more than others, but it’s an ever increasing trend. Why? Because libraries need to stay on top of these things to provide the best service to society as it grows and changes. As it’s been said, librarians usually lead the way when it comes to technology and online services. Plus, now with the current Pearle Vision sexy librarian commercial, patron use is bound to up-tick; alright the ad may use “naughty” and stereotype us with collecting late fees, but hey, if it brings more users in…

Regardless, libraries remain a foundational necessity and stable service to society no matter what comes our way.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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