Gender in/and/of academic libraries: questions?

May 23rd, 2013 § Comments Off § permalink

At ALA Annual in Chicago next month, the ACRL New Members Discussion Group will be hosting a panel on the intersections of gender and academic libraries. We’d like to know from you: what questions do you want the panelists to answer?

Our panelist include: Chris Bourg (Stanford), Lea Engle (Texas A&M), Melia Erin Fritch (Kansas State), Chris Martin (North Dakota State), and Bess Sadler (Stanford).

The event will be a moderated discussion about the intersection of gender and academic libraries. Topics for discussion could include: how gender affects library leadership; the relationship between gender and technological skills; personal experiences of gender-related issues on the job; the importance of gender diversity in library innovation, etc. The dynamics of the discussion will be driven by the unique experiences of the panelists.

Let us know what you want to talk about here in the comments or on our ALA Connect site!

ACRL 2013 Battledecks

April 16th, 2013 § Comments Off § permalink

I have more academic things to post from the ACRL 2013 conference last week in Indianapolis, but this is what most of you are waiting for, let’s be honest.

Battledecks Slides

ACRL 2013 Battledecks from johnxlibris

Battledecks Video

My ACRL 2013 schedule

April 8th, 2013 § Comments Off § permalink

ACRL 2013

Tomorrow I’ll be heading off to Indianapolis for ACRL 2013! Here is my tentative schedule which is, as always, subject to change. There are still a few gaps but I’ll figure those out later (need to leave some time for serendipitous discovery, right?)

I’d like to especially invite everyone to Battledecks on Wednesday night at 8pm. If you’ve never attended a Battledecks, you’re in for a delightful evening of laughs. Hope to see you there!



Arrive late afternoon



4:00-5:45: Opening Keynote, Geoffrey Canada (JW, Grand Ballroom 1-6)
7:00-7:30: ACRL 101 (ICC 104-106)
7:30-9:00: Battledecks (ICC 109-110)
9:00-11:00: ACRL TT Meetup (Slippery Noodle)



8:00-9:00: Building a Dream Team: Library Personas in the 21st Century Library (ICC 107-108)
10:30-11:30: Invited Paper, Alison Head (ICC Wabash 2-3)
1:00-2:00: Hacking the Learner Experience: techniques and strategies w/ instructional ecosystem (ICC Wabash 2-3)
3:00-4:00: From the Periphery into the Mainstream: Library DIY culture(s) and the academy (JW Grand Ballroom 9-10)
4:20-6:00: Keynote, Henry Rollins (JW Grand Ballroom 1-6)
6:00-7:00: Libertine Meetup
7:00-8:30: Reception



8:30-11:30: THATCamp (ICC Wabash 1)
12:00-1:00: Virtual webcast presentation
1:30-5:00: THATCamp (ICC Wabash 1)
7:00-8:00: HackLibSchool meetup (Ram Restaurant and Brewery)
8:00-10:30: All-Conference Reception (Indiana State Museum)



8:30-9:30: Think Like A Startup: creating a culture of innovation… (JW Grand Ballroom 9-10)

Leave for Los Angeles, early afternoon.

Follow up: Bringing professional organizations into professional life (at ALA Midwinter 2013)

February 15th, 2013 § Comments Off § permalink

On Sunday during ALA Midwinter this past month, the ACRL New Members Discussion Group hosted a moderated panel entitled, “Back in the Stacks: Bringing professional organizations into professional life.” If you missed the session, I’ve posted the session notes to our ALA Connect space. Special thanks to Elizabeth DeBold from UNC-Chapel Hill for recording the conversation. Without her, we wouldn’t be able to make these notes available. =)


Bringing professional organizations into professional life (at ALA Midwinter 2013)

January 15th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

ALA Midwinter 2013 logo

If you’re attending ALA Midwinter next week, I hope you’ll join the ACRL New Members Discussion Group for a moderated panel on the role of professional organizations in the professional life of academic librarians. The panel will be Sunday, January 27 at 10:30 in the Westin Hotel, Elliot Bay. Tyler Dzuba of the University of Rochester, River Campus libraries will be moderating a panel that will include:

  • Suzy Palmer, Dean of the Greenwood Library at Longwood University
  • Coral Sheldon-Hess, Web Services Librarian at the University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Nan Schichtel, Information Literacy & Outreach Librarian at Grand Rapids (MI) Community College
  • Gene Springs, Business Information Services Librarian at Rutgers University Libraries.

Panel description: 

Where is the common ground between our roles in organizations like ACRL and our day-to-day work as academic librarians? How can we translate our professional service into practical skills from 9 to 5? Join ACRL’s New Members Discussion Group in a moderated conversation about the relationship between our professional careers and our day jobs. A panel of four academic librarians will share their experiences, offer advice, and answer questions. We hope you’ll join us!

Link to ALAMW Scheduler

Call for Presenters: “Back in the Stacks: Bringing Professional Organizations into Professional Life”

October 22nd, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

Panel Title: “Back in the Stacks: Bringing Professional Organizations into Professional Life”


ALA Midwinter Conference

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10:30am-11:30am

Room Location TBA


Where is the common ground between our roles in organizations like ACRL and our day-to-day work as academic librarians? How can we translate our professional service into practical skills during the 9 to 5?

ACRL’s New Members Discussion Group is seeking panelists for our upcoming moderated conversation at ALA Midwinter 2013, which will discuss the relationship between our professional careers and our day jobs.

Topics may include leveraging organizational experience at work (or vice versa), balancing one’s job and one’s professional involvement, getting involved on a small budget, publishing or presenting about the workplace at conferences, maintaining a professional network to improve one’s work performance, and more. Be creative! The dynamics of the discussion will be driven by the unique experiences of the panelists.

If you are interested in speaking on this panel, please complete the submission form available at:

Submissions will be accepted until November 2, 2012 and all candidates will be notified whether they were selected by November 9, 2012.

Determining the professional needs of online instruction librarians: our poster at ALA Annual 2012!

June 19th, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

Emerging Leaders logo

Are you an academic librarian who teaches online or develops online tools for information literacy instruction? Are you interested in improving your skills through professional development? Then come to the ALA Emerging Leaders poster session at ALA Annual this Friday, 3:00-4:00 in the Anaheim Convention Center, rm. 303AB. The EL Team C (Andy Herzog, Megan Johnson, Rebecca Miller,  Diana Symons, Amber Wilson, Nancy Fawly, and myself) will be discussing the results of our survey of the professional development needs of online instruction librarians and our forthcoming recommendations to the ACRL Instruction Section.

If you have specific concerns, ideas, or opinions about online instruction, please stop by and speak with us. We hope to see you there! 

For those unable to attend, a full report is forthcoming. I’ll share the link here once it is published.

Project Description

Distance education is booming, but how do librarians best teach and engage students to find and evaluate information in an online environment, beyond using tutorials? The ACRL Instruction Section currently has committees that focus on online instructional materials (Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online), the impact of technology on instruction (Instructional Technologies) and face-to-face teaching methods (Teaching Methods), but the Section has no resources available for librarians looking to develop and improve their online instructional methods and class content. This project assesses what is needed for librarians to further develop their online teaching skills and explores the options of creating a new Instruction Section committee, or expanding the charge of an existing committee, to focus on resources and best practices for online information literacy instruction.

CARL 2012 Conference – Day 0

April 6th, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink


I’m in San Diego for the next two days for the California Academic & Research Libraries Conference. Day 0 was mostly preconferencing and connecting with colleagues.

Preconference #1 – Action research

The first preconference event was entitled, “Action Research: How to easily incorporate evidence-based research into your practice” and was presented by April Cunningham and Stephanie Rosenblatt. We began by defining action research and deliminating it from evidence-based research (i.e. action research is hyper-local and operates under different expectations of scholarship). You can learn more about action research at Stephanie and April’s blog, but here are a few takeaways that I found important:

    • With action research, your ultimate goal is not to publish, but to change or understand the efficacy of what you do, whether it’s reference, instruction, etc. Thus, the expectations (esp. as regards methodology and rigor) are not the same. This is not to say that the expectations are lower, but that you as a practitioner have more flexibility in your approach to assessment.
    • A mixed methods approach (qualitative plus quantitative) is the best approach. Moreover, you need to be aware of how one feeds or builds upon the other. For example, an “exploratory” approach would begin with qualitative analysis and use quantitative analysis to explain the results. An “explanatory” approach would do the opposite.
    • Understand your data before you begin your analysis. Depending on the type of data you have (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio), there are good and not-so-good ways of analyzing that data. Case in point: if you only have nominal data, determining the average or standard deviation may be of little value to defining the data’s meaning.
    • Finally, we explored a number of different tools for analyzing data, including Tableau Public, LIWC, textstat, and a number of rubrics.

I do recommend asking Stephanie and April to speak about assessment at your institution. As a non-numbers librarian (read: humanities background), I found it to be a gentle introduction to data-based decision-making.

 Preconference #2 – Peer learning

This turned out to not be what I expected (I thought we would be discussing a particular digital platform), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the session. First, I bit of background. During the economic downturn of the last few year, a group of University of California system AULs decided that they would begin to come together on a semi-regular basis to discuss their work environment. The design intent of these meetings was to understand each other’s leadership strengths and explore their shared leadership agenda. They asked of each other: what change do I want to see? to what level? and how?

One AUL listed the following as the benefits of the peer learning group:

    • sharing
    • creating a trusted peer group
    • accessing mutual strengths
    • having a mentor and being able to ask the essential questions

Another AUL listed the following as benefits:

    • the ability to reconnect
    • to retreat
    • to rethink & reflect
    • to access [human] resources
    • to finally tackle “that thorny problem”
    • being in a stress-free environment

Most of all, I was surprised at the level of “vulnerability” that was expressed. As an aspiring academic librarian, it was refreshing and empowering. We concluded the session with an open (but private) discussion about work/life balance, frustrations, and hopes about our current positions in academic librarianship.

The evening ended with friends, margaritas and Mexican food at a local restaurant. Day 0 = Success!

Your guide to the 2012 CARL Unconference

April 3rd, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

The California Academic & Research Libraries (CARL) conference begins this Thursday in San Diego. The theme of this year’s events is ”Creativity and Sustainability: Fostering User-centered Innovation in Difficult Times.” What better way to foster innovation and inspire creativity than through an Unconference!

As Fortune would have it, I will be co-coordinating the Unconference with the inestimable and talented Young Lee. While the unconference events will be mostly standard fare (see below), the format is a bit unorthodox. Rather than having a multi-hour block of time set aside at the beginning of the conference, the unconference will be broken into five, 1.25 hour blocks that run over the course of two days.

Here is our game plan:

Friday 10:15 am – 11:30 am: Speed networking and DIY round-table

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Kick off your unconference experience by getting to know your fellow attendees and perfecting your “elevator pitch”! We’ll briefly discuss what makes the ideal first impression and work on refining our own responses to the perennial question “What do you do?” Share and repeat. DIY Roundtable: A classic staple of unconferences, the round table brings everyone together as a group to discuss topics chosen on the spot. Participants drive the conversation according to their concerns and by their contributions.

Friday 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm: Solve For U

Taking a cue from the tech sector, attendees will have the opportunity to apply “moonshot thinking” to tackling problems. Utilizing prior submissions and/or discussions from earlier in the day, participants will select a single problem to tackle and work in separate teams to formulate competing solutions. Show and tell to follow.

Saturday 8:30 am – 9:45 am: Round Table, Part Deux

A classic staple of unconferences, the round table brings everyone together as a group to discuss topics chosen on the spot. Participants drive the conversation according to their concerns and by their contributions.

Saturday 11:45 am – 1:00 pm: Crowd-sourced Boot Camp

Each attendee brings a unique set of skills and experiences with them. Why not leverage that expertise for the benefit of everyone? Participants themselves will educate, explain, or demonstrate how to accomplish a task, create an item, or understand a concept. Topics will be based on attendees’ knowledge and interests.

Saturday 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm: DIY Think Tanks

Attendees will brainstorm possible topics for discussion based on interests, current events, or conference proceedings, with topics ranging from “improving customer service through mobile media” to “future thinking in academic libraries” (and anything in between!). Participants will vote and select the most popular topics then divide into separate “think tanks” to discuss. At the end of the session, each think tank will share the results of their discussion

If you are planning to attend CARL, I hope you will consider joining us for one or more of the Unconference events. Because the discussion is driven entirely upon the interests of the attendees who show up, you never know where it will lead!

Want to present a paper at ACRL 2013?

February 8th, 2012 § Comments Off § permalink

I wanted to pass this along. By the way, the ACRL 2013 Conference Innovations committee has some exciting, non-traditional events planned for the conference. More details on that later this year. In the meantime, please consider submitting a proposal!

Propose a Paper for ACRL 2013

ACRL invites Contributed Paper proposal submissions for the ACRL 2013 Conference to be held April 10-13, 2013, in Indianapolis. Proposals are due May 11, 2012, and can be submitted via the online form.

CRL challenges you to imagine, innovate and inspire your colleagues with proposals that explore the most dynamic and challenging issues and ideas facing academic and research librarians today. Tag proposals with up to three of the 40 keywords available in the Call for Participation. The tagging system will draw connections among the conference content and help participants sort through the wide variety of dynamic interactions that define ACRL conferences.

Complete details about ACRL 2013, including the full call for participation, are available on the conference website. Questions about the Call for Participation or ACRL 2013 should be directed to Margot Conahan at (312) 280-2522 or