The 2013 ALA Annual Conference begins this week and I’ll be on my way to Chicago in the next few days. As is customary among Libloggers, I’ve posted my schedule below. Safe travels to everyone traveling this week. I hope to see you there!
Friday, June 28
02:20pm: Arrive at Chicago Midway
03:00pm – 10:00pm: Check in, Registration, Opening events, etc.
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!
The elections for ALA Council begin March 19 and once again this year I’ll be running for member-at-large. Those of us who participate in the Facebook group ALA Think Tank have been answering questions on FB and Twitter. Since not everyone participates in that group, I wanted to share my responses to those questions below. If you are a member of ALA, I encourage you to (1) vote; (2) to vote for me; and (3) to additionally vote for my colleagues: Erica Findley, Mel Gooch, Lynda Kellam, Viccy Kemp, Kate Kosturski, Chris Kyauk, Coral Sheldon-Hess, Manya Shorr, and Patrick Sweeney.
UPDATE:For ALA President, I endorse Courtney Young. I cannot recommend her enough. Courtney was one of the first people I met at ALA and since that time she has continually served as a model of professionalism: the type of model that I think we all should work emulate in our own lives. Her passion and her experience will lead our organization well. For more information, please see her candidate page.
My Official Statement of Professional Concern
I am primarily concerned with building communities and creating opportunities that help young professionals bridge the gap between graduate work in library science and professional employment. I’m particularly interested in running this term because ALA will be formulating its new strategic plan, in preparation for the sunset of the 2015 plan. I believe it’s important that we have a strong coalition of young professionals involved in the planning process: librarians who would think beyond the horizon and imagine the myriad of possibilities that contemporary technology will bring to our profession.
Question 1: What is the first thing you plan to do on Council?
One of my personal/professional agenda items in Council is to have a role in the strategic planning process for the organization. Libraries, like many service professions, have a strong tendency to default to being reactive to the world around us, but strategic planning and future thinking can help us to define our own future and create new opportunities. So one of my first actions on Council will be to identify those committees and ad hoc groups (official or otherwise) that are most interested in writing their own future for libraries in the 21st century.
Question 2: Many in the ThinkTank-for-ALA caucus referenced young members/new professionals in their platforms. What is one concrete step ALA can take to engage this demographic? And, if elected, how will you ensure Council pursues it?
One concrete thing we can do is work more with student members and create more opportunities for involvement. Programs like Emerging Leaders and Student-to-Staff are a good start, but are limited in their reach. ALA could sponsor student projects and research by helping to bring collaborators together, providing a [virtual] work-space and scaffolding, and offer funding. Creating more mentorship opportunities is extremely important. I don’t think we lack for interested mentees, but over the years I’ve noticed many groups in ALA struggling to find enough mentors to support the number of interested mentees. So finding incentives for mentors is a challenge that we should address.
Question 3: What is one thing you plan to learn more about before being elected to council?
Getting to know the structure of the Council (both formally through its by-laws and informally through its committees, constituencies, etc) will be a challenge, as I see it. It will take some time to get the lay of the land, but it is on the top of my priority list prior to taking office. Every organization has a unique culture of communication and knowing how that is so for Council is, in my opinion, indispensable in order to make things happen.
Question 4: How do you plan to connect with ALA Members while on Council?
In addition to Twitter, FB, personal blogs, and ALA Connect, I plan on reaching out to my local community. As one of the largest urban areas in the country, we have both a city-wide and county-wide library system, two large universities (not to mention a number of smaller institutions, both public and private, as well as the community college system), and the LAUSD. By creating opportunities for networking and fellowship (something which I am passionate about and help bring about though the “Librarians in La La Land” social group), I hope to connect with librarians in their daily lives.
Question 5: What are 3 reasons people should vote for you?
1. I will step forward. I’m willing to raise my hand and stick out my neck. Call it drive, call it passion, call it what you will, but I’ll be among the first people to volunteer for a task, to take the lead on a project, and to risk my time and attention. I’ve often been told that in large organizations half the battle is simply stepping forward, so my strategy is to get that part out of the way as quickly as possible and get to business.
2. I will listen. I’m willing to admit when I don’t know enough, which means I’ll be reaching out to you as members of ALA to keep me informed of your needs, your desires, and your hopes for the organization. My door (virtual and IRL) is always open. Likewise, I hope you will feel comfortable coming to me with your concerns at conferences or online.
3. I will be transparent. I hesitate to use that word, given it’s one of the many overused buzzwords of our time, but I think it best describes my philosophy toward leadership. I make no effort to hide my intentions and I am perfectly comfortable laying my cards on the table. Through my personal blog, Twitter, ALA Connect, FB, etc. I will make my goals as clear as possible so that you can understand my actions and trust my decisions. Concurrently, I hope you will feel the same openness toward me in letting me know what you need from your ALA Council.
If you any additional questions about me, why I’m running for ALA Council, or my goals, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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.
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!
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.
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.
ALA Annual begins this week. Tens of thousands of librarians will be making their way toward Anaheim over the next few days. I’ve just about finalized my schedule (see below). If you’re planning to be there, please don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello. Safe travels!
What exactly is the purpose of a job description? How does it relate to your day-to-day work as an academic librarian?
The ACRL New Members Discussion Group (NMDG) is seeking speakers for our up-coming ALA Annual 2012 panel discussion where they will discuss job descriptions for academic librarians. If you’re interested in speaking please fill out the this form.
The panel will take place Saturday, June 23, 2012, from 10:30am-12:00pm in DIS-Monorail B & C.
I’m running for ALA Council. Beginning March 19, ALA members will receive the 2012 ballots and I would appreciate your support.
Council represents the membership of ALA and serves as the governing body for the organization. It sets policies and establishes priorities, laying the groundwork for the future of the profession. Each division, state, provincial, and territorial chapter can send one elected member to Council. Round tables that meet certain criteria can also send elected members to Council. Additionally, 100 Councilors-at-large are elected by ALA members. Councilors are elected to 3-year terms. This year, I will be on the ballot for ALA Councilor-at-large.
I’m particularly interested in running this term because ALA will be formulating its new strategic plan, in preparation for the sunset of the 2015 plan. I believe it’s important that we have a strong coalition of young professionals involved in the planning process: librarians who can think beyond the horizon and imagine the myriad of possibilities that contemporary technology will bring to our profession.
If you would like to know more about how ALA works, you can read the By-Laws (only 15 pages). It may not give you a complete view, but you’ll be well on your way to a better understanding.
I’d be happy to answer any questions you have for me. Again, voting begins on March 19 and continues through April 27 (more election information). I would appreciate your support.
Did you know that ALA’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan has a section entitled, “Big Audacious Goal”? Have you read the strategic plan recently? No? Go ahead. It’s only a few pages. Done? Ok.
What is this goal? To “[build] a world where libraries, both physical and virtual, are central to life-long discovery and learning and where everyone is a library user.”
Through this, ALA seeks to transform libraries into the backbone and nervous system of the information age; to transmogrify librarians from information professional into information demi-gods; to transform every person from consumer to user (read: literati, maker, citizen, participant).
For the next 5 months, I’ll be working with five young library professionals on a project for ACRL’s Instruction Section to assess the professional development needs of librarians teaching online courses. While we haven’t finalized the format of our end product, it will most likely manifest as a set of recommendations for ACRL IS and, if possible, a game plan for development should we decide there is a need (and we generally agreed that there probably was).
Here is a summary of how my day with Emerging Leaders went. Kathryn Deiss spoke to us about leadership: how it arises and why it flourishes. Some of the wisdom she imparted included:
The shape of yesterday does not prefigure the shape of tomorrow
The direction of change in an organization is ultimately a result of competing desires
Be an intentional leader, not a drifter
Shape the future with others, not for them
To determine how much people will give to an organization, you have to know how/what they feel about it
As a group, we then talked about the types of situations that create leaders. Kathryn also spoke about the basics of project management and ways to be an effective group member, including:
Own your decisions
Know how to balance divergent and convergent thinking
Determine ahead of time what success looks like
After a few hours of brainstorming, Jenny Levine came to show us how ALA Connect could provide a professional space for project development. We also heard from Laurie Borman, the new editor of American Libraries, Gina Perechini, ALA Councilor for Idaho, Larry Neal, director of the Clinton-McComb (Mich.) Public Library, Mary Ghikes, Senior Associate Executive Director, and Courtney Young of the Executive Board.
Before leaving for the day, we determined our team name. Earlier in the day, we had a discussion about using smileys in professional emails. Hence, we are The Emoticons. =)