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Monthly Archives: November 2014

ALAO Celebrates 40 Years of Conferences

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.

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Elizabeth Bucciarelli’s slide exemplifies the culture of librarians working with people outside of the library, especially concerning resources.

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.

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All conferences have swag, but the session on Twitter even had their own: buttons!

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.

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Kalahari Convention Center lion statue stands steadfast, despite the snow flurries outside.

Thankfully, while the weather was cold and snowy, the Kalahari Convention Center was filled with the warmth of ALAO.

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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Snowy Sandusky: ALA-O Pre-Conference Ignites Conversation and Ideas

Despite the Kalahari Convention Center’s African safari theme, the Ohio weather decided not to coordinate for ALA-O. However, the active and engaged librarians keep the conversation hot and the session abuzz.

Char Booth, Director of Research, Teaching, & Learning Services at the Claremont Colleges Library, lead the ALA-O pre-conference event about library advocacy and outreach, covering the theoretical as well as practical, making it a fruitful session. Having seen Char speak before, she has a vibrant presence and fun yet wise presentation style that draws people to her talks; this was certainly part of the reason for some attending the pre-conference. Her slides are available on SlideShare.

To start off, Char defined advocacy as simply “making people care” and outreach as “making people aware”. These concise yet broad definitions allow for bigger discussions and ideas about what is possible. With libraries, what comes to mind first is promoting resources and services to users but there is so much more to consider and people to keep in mind. As part of the workshop, Char provided a worksheet to generate reflection and table discussions to learn from each other. To make it personal, the first activity was a mini SWOT analysis for a particular advocacy issue or idea. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is such a great idea because reasoning and logic guide the idea to help articulate not only the benefits but also consider any counters against it and prepare for them. This allows for strong and direct advocacy in any situation. As an alternative, some might prefer the quicker WIIFT method (What’s In It For Them?) in order to make the sell matter for the audience.

Part of advocacy includes data and assessment to show the value of your library and what it does. This might be driven by on-campus data collection and analysis. However, Char enumerated several great online sources for library data to replace or supplement your own data:
Ithaka S+R US library survey
NMC Horizon Report: Higher Ed Edition
EDUCAUSE ECAR (Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies)
Project Information Literacy

Outreach, then, makes use of the advocacy and Char certainly interrogated it from many angles and offered numerous possibilities. Two main approaches are DIY (Do It Yourself) and LSEDIFY (Let Someone Else Do It For You). For the benefits and concerns for each style, check out Char’s awesome slides at the link provided earlier in the post. Part of her comparison included the feel for particular audiences that each brings to the table, which is important to consider to ensure that the outreach resonates and is effective, such as a professional annual report. Whether fun or formal, non-scripted or instructional, on-the-fly or well-funded, there are great ideas going on at libraries no matter what the context. With its relaxed spirit and perfect weather, Claremont Colleges Libraries puts their mobile library cart and button maker through their paces constantly to go to their users and engage them. What fun, in the sun!

If that isn’t enough, Char offered more resources and reading for those who want to learn more and steep further in inquiry and ideas, check out the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report by Megan Oakleaf. Also, at the end of her slides, Char lists a few books of interest too.

As a first-timer at ALA-O, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds! Follow the conference action virtually on Twitter with #ALAO2014 and the numerous session hash tags.

 
Comments Off on Snowy Sandusky: ALA-O Pre-Conference Ignites Conversation and Ideas

Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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