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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 Wrap-Up: About Time!

I feel the need to post some sort of wrap-up for ALA Annual in Anaheim, though tomorrow marks two weeks since I returned home from the conference. Already? Missed New Orleans but went to D.C. and made it last minute to Anaheim; each time that I attend Annual, I love it and keep learning each year how to get the most out of the conference. So without further ado, here’s the

Top 5 Ways to Get the Most from ALA Annual:

1) Go with a plan of what you want to attend and when. Simple but effective. Annual is overwhelming and even the paper program (who knows how much longer they will actually print those) is a lot to page through itself. Online, ALA had a cool Scheduler for the conference that allowed searching keywords and other things to find just what you are interested in and hone in on what you want to attend. I’m not one to go to the Exhibition Hall. In D.C., I was a grad student who wasn’t SLM or into YA so I perceived the Hall for merely grabbing kids/youth books or talking to vendors to work out deals for your libraries. This year, being from a vendor but attending on my own and not helping with the booth, I still felt the Hall wasn’t for me since I don’t currently work for a library and have buying power, and I still don’t need to pick up kids/youth books or graphic novels for my students/library. But I walked the floor and the author and illustrator signed books literally handed to me, I gave to my School Librarian friend for her library and students. Lastly, looking ahead at what was offered, I paid for the all-day workshop on linked data Friday so when I signed in, I knew at least what I for sure was attending first and it jump started my whole ALA because the workshop immersed me and allowed me to meet so many cool catalogers and coders and make new connections besides learning a lot and hearing about what some believe is the future for cataloging as well as the Internet.

2) Be flexible with your plan. The variety and options conferences offer truly make it a fun time. While you go with an idea of what you want to attend and do each day, allowing for change can give you the best experience. Once at the conference, I went to the first couple of sessions then decided to look through the program to see what else was offered. The workshop and session for linked data was very similar and it hit me that it’d be more valuable for me to attend sessions that would teach me something that I didn’t know and different topics would help with that. If you read my previous posts from ALA, or chose to go back now and read them 🙂 , you’ll see that I switched up my plan and went to a publishing, responsive web design, and learning styles session that each expanded me knowledge in library areas that are not usually my preference. I like seeing the library as a whole and understanding each part and aspect to know how they all work together.

3) Serendipity chooses you but you also choose it. Attended a session and hearing something that clicks an idea into place or gives you inspiration provides one way of looking at serendipity. Sitting next to the right person and being asked to talk to your neighbor to discussion a session topic initiates another side of serendipity (like my experience at the learning styles session). But I learned that serendipity is created as well; especially at a conference, people are chatty! Talk to anyone and everyone because you never know who people are or what they know or if you can help each other out. I met Nancy Pearl just by being friendly and introducing myself. I offered help and encouraged someone to e-mail me after the conference concerning the Safari product that I work on for ProQuest. Also, I met a Safari user, and a volleyball dad their for the tournament, in line at Starbucks and we both learned things from each other about the product and using it–I tweeted on June 24 that I catalog for him because I do think of the end user and what will best help them find this item and know exactly what it’s about. If a conversation is just small talk that’s fine but you never know when you might really help someone out by being open and friendly, such as when I explained cataloging and why MARC records are important to a small publisher who attended ALA and a metadata session to learn more. That was a favorite part of the whole conference for me and made the trip and costs worth it. Make the conference work for you while enjoying the ride as well! For more stories, read my other ALA posts. The point of a conference is to meet people so introduce yourself to others and especially panelists!

4) Take notes and write down what you learned at sessions and every evening. Though tired and wanting to hang out with colleagues, friends, and my librarian husband every night when the conference doors closed for the night, I made sure to post a summary of my day each evening to my blog before bed. It kept me thinking about what I attended and why, and if something didn’t work out well or I didn’t particularly enjoy something as much as I thought I would, it allowed me to be flexible for the next day and spurred me to page through the program to find more sessions that I would enjoy or learn about something that I could apply to my work or career. Writing notes and thoughts during sessions and workshops helps me make connections and remember things better. I hauled my computer along every day and could have just typed but I find that more distracting than just pen and paper, yet it turned useful when some sessions become interactive–such as the responsive web design one, and then it’s nice to pull slides or websites or code up on your computer in tandem.

5) Get involved. ALA is much more than just a professional organization run by a single board. Many committees and subcommittees make up ALA and offer tons of opportunities to get involved if you want. Most of the sessions are put together by these committees and subcommittees and even their meetings can include panels and talks about topics related to the group so it’s worth looking those over and attending them as well; as one person at ALA told me, unless the session/event/meeting is marked “closed”, anyone at ALA can attend it. Besides helping out with ALA itself, there are other ways to get involved such as finding out from editors and library journals if they have publishing opportunities. Also, there are related groups such as Spectrum Scholars and Emerging Leaders, and more. Prior to ALA Anaheim, I responded to a call for volunteers for an ALCTS subcommittee and can proudly say that I accepted the two-year position of Co-Vice Chair 2012-2013 followed by Co-Chair 2013-2014 for the Cataloging Norms Interest Group! This means I’m attending Mid-Winter and Annual for the next two years (four conferences!) to serve on the subcommittee and help plan their meetings and conference sessions. I can’t wait to be involved and see where this leads me next!

Finally, take 10 minutes and listen to the super awesome “Live from ALA Annual 2012” LiTTech episode #36 by Learning Technologies Librarian, and grad school friend of mine, Emily Thompson. The brief episode takes live audio clips that Emily got from ALA attendees–including a few famous authors who talk about the importance of libraries and the ALA conference. Definitely worth the listen, and check out the show notes to see who everyone is! I’m in there twice, once talking excitedly about my blog stats during the conference–I tweet and handed out lots of personal business cards with my blog and Twitter handle listed on them–and another time as the person who Addie tells the fire alarm story too–where you around for that? I think I was getting lunch then and missed the exodus of librarians from the conference center; listen to find out what cause it! Also, Emily and Addie have another episode up that’s there wrap-up from ALA, so at least I’m not the only one who’s had a lapse in posting it. I’ll listen to it tomorrow at work, since I have a well-deserved, and needed, day off today. Again, lesson number 4, write notes and blog that same day; this post was supposed to get done on the plane ride back and be up when I got home to my Internet but time can get away especially when you are recovering from at very packed five days of busy conference going, followed by trying to return to your normal work routine while still jazzed from all the cool people, sessions, and ideas from ALA Annual.

Hoped this helped and you picked up some great tips! I’m sure I’ll learn more tips and tricks when I attend Mid-Winter this year while getting involved. I’ve never been to Seattle and cannot wait! See you there? Or find me in Chicago next summer!

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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ALA Anaheim: Manic Monday

The title for this post is meant in a good way–as all days at ALA Annual, it’s always busy and full of good stuff and great people to meet. Although many seem to be taking off day. For me, the conference really is a marathon as I’ve done all day Friday through Monday and fly out tomorrow mid-morning; though I don’t sleep on planes, there is no way that I will stay awake for that 4+ hours flight, which I need/have definitely earned!

My plan of three sessions today turned into two due to cancellation which gave me an extra long and well-enjoyed break since I’ll be meeting with friends for coffee and catching up later this afternoon and hopefully getting free tickets to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, an advanced showing tonight!

Session 1) Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group had a panel of speakers made up of a representatives from Springer and Project MUSE, plus a couple of librarians (a cataloger and admin who used to be a cataloger) from the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). Being in another building likely kept the numbers down, plus being on Monday but it was still well-attended considering, with around 30 people there at 8 a.m. this morning. Since both are more publishers than vendors, it was interesting to hear about what they do to create their MARC records–usually machine generated initially then outsourced to OCLC/SLA for cataloging enhancements before going to the libraries with the e-books. The librarians obviously addressed the growing difficulty and frustration with editing and tweaking batch records that have various quality and consistency issues not only across multiple vendors but within a single vendor some times. Thankfully, the publishers said that they gather and want feedback for providing what libraries want. And the librarians, thankfully, called for action and accountability among libraries in order to share information and band together to approach vendors and publishers with their needs and demands for better MARC records as budgets, staffing, and work loads change rapidly. During the Q&A I did speak up and mention our (apparently special) department of full-time catalogers and that we do I-level records; I take it for granted because that’s where I work and my environment so it was shocking (but shouldn’t have been) to hear fro the panelists. Also, I piggybacked off of the comments about collaboration on everyone’s part to get better MARC from vendors and publishers and encouraged libraries to work together and approach them with their desires and needs. Another cataloger mentioned the BATCH List listserv that shares valuable information about record changes that are useful for all libraries.

Lesson learned: Vendors and publishers can and will provide better MARCs if it means more business for them by giving libraries what they need in an economically tight time for everyone. Just ask! We all are in it for the end users so why not collaborate and make metadata better, which is now more important than ever for discovery.

Session 2) CANCELLED Seeing is Believing: Understanding Data Visualization for Library Research didn’t end up happening but sounded very practical and would have been useful. But I won’t complain about having a longer break before my afternoon session, although now the tiredness is setting in the more I sit still and am left to my own devices rather than being stimulated by a session. Nap or upcoming session? Onto session 3 for the day, just because it will be cool and has great speakers! Sleep is for the plane tomorrow.

Lesson learned: Maybe 3 sessions plus other activities, the exhibit hall, and networking is too much. But I’m still plugging along and fitting everything in that I can to really squeeze the most out of ALA while I can!

Session 3) Riding the Publishing Roller Coaster: Practical Strategies from Research to Writing addressed the writing process through getting published. The panel had both authors and editors (who were also authors!) that gave great, practical tips and advice. It’s always refreshing to hear others talk about all the hard work and difficulty and challenges that go into writing and publishing. Too much to share but if you are interested in learning more, I could do a longer post delving into what was said. Most was common sense but needed reminding; I nodded a lot during the session, if that puts it into perspective. They all articulated their advice and tips eloquently.

Lesson learned: Reminded that writing is hard work so be humbled and respectful of your self and other’s works. Put yourself out there and be flexible when need to yet stick to your convictions but be able to explain why if you really don’t want a particular change made to your work.

After the last session, I meet up for coffee with UMich grad school friends and one of our professors to catch up! Soon after, we headed to get tickets for the advanced showing of The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Amazing movie with Emma Watson, by the way. How did I miss this book growing up? However, after the film, everyone got a free copy of the book and the author was there for q and a and book signing! It was a fun evening with good friends–a great way to wrap up ALA Annual!

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Go see the movie when it comes out and read the book until this! My new favorite movie!

Look for a post tomorrow, likely while at the airport, about tips and advice about attending ALA and what to do now that we are all still a buzz from the great sessions and people here. My friend and classmate, now Learning Technologies Librarian, Emily Thompson hosts a podcast called LiTTech with another friend/classmate now School Librarian, Addie Matteson that address libraries, education, and technology. Not too long ago, I spoke as a guest about cataloging with Emily, which is also available for download on iTunes as well. They were here at ALA collecting sound bites for their next upcoming podcast, so keep an eye out for that; I’ve heard some bits already and it’ll be great and fun to listen to!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 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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