ACRL – Association of College and Research Libraries, 30 March – 1 April Philadelphia in the Summer. Bitter, cold and damp while I was there. Wonderful city to walk around with stunning architecture, old side by side with cutting edge new architecture and a rich historical heritage.
Monumental train station, third world taxis,
The conference was held at the Philadelphia Convention Centre and adjoining Marriot hotel – three floors. The venue was enormous. The distances between rooms made moving from session to session difficult unless moving to a room on the same floor. The conference started between 8.00 and 8.30 am each morning. A snack (no tea or coffee) was provided at 9.30 then again in the afternoon – basically a lure to get us into the exhibitors’ hall. At lunchtime we ventured out to sample the delights of Philadelphia cuisine – usually at the Reading Terminal Market next door.
Reading Terminal market – fabulous, crowded place with every conceivable foodstuff except healthy with a few exceptions.
The virtual conference. Possible for people not attending in person to participate through the Virtual conference – a number of podcasts, webcasts, slidecasts and speaker handouts are available, and if you have a Second Life account you can have another experience of the conference, plus of course the blog and Twitter. A number of people are still tweeting and sharing their experiences on their return.
City Hall, Philadelphia
The exhibition hall was stuffed full with vendors and organisations. Some useful conversations and demonstrations. Impressions – many print publishers, a whiff of religion (one vendor was selling customised illuminated bibles for your college library, religious publishers, the Association of Christian Librarians and one brave vendor giving away copies of the Koran). Nothing that I hadn’t seen already at Online or VALA
Topics included: Wikileaks, War and the web: where do academic libraries fitLibrarianship in For-Profi, Career Colleges,Help! Creating Balance, connection and services for newbie Sci_Tech librariansSupporting your institutions research missionFighting Library Sessions boredomAcademic librarians reach out to High School studentsMentoring in a cross cultural environmentThe privacy bag: students, Web 2.0 and the future of Personal privacyToo many choices – at the same time as poster sessions, papers and vendor presentations BUT a great idea
Very interesting short presentations – in a number of instances first time presenters. Very practical.
This Cyber Shed session was presented by librarians from Stark State College (I so enjoy the names of American universities and colleges)
The IdeaPowerUnconference is designed to be an exercise in the dynamic presentation of powerful ideas. Presenters volunteer to share an idea that has the power to transform the academic libraries in a six-minute presentation. Attendees should engage with presenters, offer feedback on the ideas and presentations, and initiate collaborative projects with like (or unlike) minds.The Zombie's Guide to Information Literacy: Reaching College Students through Pop Culture ResearchSign InPresentationLibrary AdministrationPublic ServicesReference & InstructionAll Experience LevelsLogistics Day: Wednesday Time: 3:45pm Room: Parliament 1 Computer: I can use the Podium PC (with Windows) Co-presenter(s): Carrie Strodtman-Flaspohler, Information Services Librarian, Central Methodist University How better to convince a student that research is important than to make his life depend on it? We admit, that's an exaggeration, but this program will share how to use pop culture hooks (including fighting off faculty zombies) to get students interested in research. Zombie wars, urban legends, superheroes and slang are the focus of creative instruction sessions, assignments and events used to build information fluency skills. This session will give practicaexamples, assignments, and tips on holding your own zombie war. Librarian, Central Methodist University, Smiley Memorial Library located in Cupples Hall
I attended two of these papers.Raj Patel spoke about food justice – an inspirational speech but he freely admitted that he wasn’t sure what connection there was between academic libraries and his topic, other than suggest we play a role in promoting awareness of the inequities that exist when it comes to basic things like access to food and clean water. He highlighted the extent of American food consumption and contrasted this with communities in the Third World. He was very polite but a number of people walked out – had to catch a train?Jan Lanier in his paper “The Bi-Polar Library: How Humanizing and Digitizing Must Both Be Advanced” stated that knowledge is power - the more accessible the information, the more democratic the society.. The open access movement in libraries and publishing is acting on the principle ‘Knowledge is power’. Advances in new technology challenge the notion of the democratic society. There are vast amounts of information freely available on the web but what happens with that information,the power now resides with companies such as Google, Amazon and others that have systems to compile and analyse vast amounts of information, and then they sell this analysis to companies and corporations who use them for profit and influence.He contented that “A person who uses Facebook, Twitter, and other social media is not ultimately their customer, but their product, or at least the raw material out of which is created the analyses that are really profitable. In the long term, the combination of open access to information and private re-packaging and selling of information is tending to destroy individuality and initiative.”Lanier does not advocate the shunning of technology. Rather he believes there is a need to humanise technology, to celebrate individuality The solution to the dehumanising effects of too much information is not to shun technology, but to humanize it–to celebrate individuality and the importance of the person over aggregated data. Lanier described his experience with reference librarians who were ‘folk artists’ of their subjects–they were able to respond personally to his questions and guide him to unlikely resources that led to unexpected–and better–results. This kind of virtuosity is something that automated search engines do not have. Lanier’s advice to librarians is to promote this virtuosity, to re-romanticise libraries and librarians.Libraries can also help solve the problem of private re-packaging and selling of information, by serving as a neutral ground for providing access to data analyses that are now private. This is a very familiar role for libraries; in the days when information was power libraries provided free (or, largely free) access to information regardless of ability to pay. The reality of course is that libraries are not able to fulfil this role because of the requirements to lock down access to University staff and students but the open access movement is challenging this.I had to leave before the end of Lanier’s speech. Apparently he concluded by playing a musical piece on a Laotian instrument called a Khaen.
A small part of the venue for the keynote speakers – room could accommodate 3,500 + Librarians
No knockout papers but here are a few interesting ones.flawed but interesting observational study attempting to ascertain if the gender of the librarian on the reference desk influenced interactions. During the study the desk was staffed by two similarly aged librarians – one male, one female. The results indicated a preference to be helped by the female librarian particularly by clients from African American/Black, Asian American/Asian, and Latina/o backgrounds. The results also showed that location (sitting on the left side of the desk as opposed to the right) also influenced results and for some reason the female librarians usually gravitated to the left (the busier side). Flawed study but worth some consideration given the number of La Trobe students from Islamic backgrounds. Wonder if gender is important at all in online interactions such as chat.
One of the venues used for papers. This paper reported on the use of QR codes in orientation tours. Interesting.
Bell used a subset of questions related to service used in the ‘Study of Great Retail ShoppingExperiences in North America,, a survey of over1,000 shoppers in the United States and Canada. This survey which was last conducted in 2009, provided retailers with insights into what goes into creating a WOW experience for customers. The survey respondents pointed to 28 different elements of a great experience. The study team learned that a typical WOW experience consists of a mix of at least 10 of those elements all in one retail transaction. They concluded that there are five major areas that contribute to a WOW experience. They are:1. engagement: being polite, caring and genuinelyinterested in listening and helping;2. executional excellence: outstanding knowledgeof the products and ability to explain them;3. brand experience: appealing design andatmosphere making customers feel they are special;4. expediting: helping speed the process to savecustomers time and sensitivity to their time constraints;5. problem recovery: efficiency in resolvingproblems and compensating customersBell’s paper describes a research study that sought to explore both student and academic library worker perceptions about the library user experience. The researchobjective was to determine if students would describe their library experience as a WOW experience,as defined in the Study of Great Retail Shopping Experiences in North America, and to learn howlibrary workers would perceive the students’ experience.The results of the survey indicated that the two Temple University libraries outperformed retail when compared side by side. This was a surprise to library staff who under-rated their WOWness. The survey results highlighted that students care about: Acknowledgement (retail practice to always acknowledge customers), engagement: being polite, caring and genuinelyinterested in listening and helping and appreciated recognition of time limitations and the library developing strategies to speed up processes.
This paper describes the Executive Research Service, a reference and research service for the university’s executive officers. For a large research institution like the University of Michigan, this means a large clientele of potential patrons, including the university’s highest officers such as the President, Provost, and Vice-Presidents (along with their support staff), the offices of the General Counsel, the regents of the university, the Development Office, the Government Relations Office, etc. The ERS is also offered to the Deans of the many schools and colleges that comprise the university’s academic departments. There are 12 different schools and colleges for undergraduate study alone, along with additional graduate programs. In all, approximately 60 executive officers comprise the ERS clientele. Queries included: requests for corporate financial information or statistics, literature searches on higher education topics, or verifying sources for quotations used in public speeches; research pertaining to their teaching, publications advice. The service is run by three librarians but is only part of their overall jobs.
The paper discusses the process of the planned abandonment of a ILL application – E_ZBorrow. The authors stated that many services recently abandoned in academicLibraries include physical reference desks and onlinereserves programs, but these cannot be truly described as abandoned as the services continued to be offered, just in differentformats or by varying methods. They argued that “The true test ofplanned abandonment of core library services may becoming in the future, and will be the result of an increasedneed to focus on activities that truly make ouracademic libraries distinctive.” They quoted Scott Walter who arguesin his guest editorial for College and Research Libraries,the “21st century will be marked by different, butequally valid, definitions of excellence in academiclibraries, and that the manner in which individual librariesdemonstrate excellence will be distinctive to[each institution’s] service needs.”16 The authors conclude that “ If the culture ofevidence gathering and the kinds of communicationtools discussed in this paper are developed, makinghard choices to focus on distinctively excellent localservices may be just a little bit easier for librarians.
Best part of the conference. Morning and afternoon time scheduled for participants to view posters and talk to the author. Fascinating snapshots of activities, challenges, innovations, ideas.
The Brigham Young University First-Year Writing library instruction program approaches the First-Year Writing instruction sessions as a partnership between the Writing faculty member, the library instructor, and the library undergraduate teaching assistant. The undergraduate teaching assistant or peer mentor is hired by the library to provide assistance during library instruction sessions. First-Year Writing Program Support Peer mentors help with formal class presentations. Set up the room prior to the session Consult with the instructor on class needs Demonstrate the databases and skills on the overhead screen while the instructor teaches Teach a database or skill when requested by library instructor Peer mentors partner with the library instructor to provide research consultations during class sessions. Provide individual research help to students in the class Facilitate referrals to the library instructor or other specialists for challenging research questions Peer mentors provide research assistance in a drop-in research lab. Assigned one evening a week for three hours Work individually with students on their research projects Peer mentors work on instruction related projects such as new student orientations and online tutorials Students form project teams and take the lead on projects with their supervisor’s support Students provide the manpower for major projects uthors. Posters changed twice a day. Approximately 50 posters per session.
The Library has the support of various departments across campus that offer tutoring in their subject areas (math, biology, chemistry, etc.) because we have agreed not to tutor during the hours they offer services, theirservices complement what is already happening around campus.
Penn State University Libraries conducted three climate surveys (1996, 2000, & 2007). An analysis of the data highlighted the necessity to provide targeted training and focus on civility in the workplace. Charge The PSUL Civility Team was charged by the Dean, Associate Deans, and Assistant Deans. In partnership with the PSUL Diversity Committee, the team focused on civility issues as an universal concern for library faculty and staff. The team’s timeframe for this work was one academic year (2009-2010). Metrics A series of data collection and analysis processes (i.e. surveys and discussion groups) were employed to weigh the measureable impact of the Civility Team’s activities. Programming Seven events were offered to all employees including sessions on business etiquette, non verbal communications, and author events with Dr. Robert Orndorff, Dr. Dulin Clark (co-authors of The PITA Principle) and Dr. Robert Fuller (leading expert on “rankism”). Results A civility statement was created to ensure that civility and respect becomes ingrained into the PSUL culture. With encouragement from the PSUL administration, the statement was distributed throughout the PSUL community.
Interesting poster from the University of Maryland
Some tidbits picked up from posters, conversations. Thank you for the opportunity.
Roundtable discussions• 8.30 – 9.30 am and lunchtime – held on Friday• 50 tables each session – range of topics
Cyber-Zed Shed• Micro-presentations focusing on technology related innovations• 8.00 – 8.20 am and in 20 minute slots here & there.
Cyber Zed Shed• Change is Possible: Migration to Koha, an open source library catalog• Don’t Settle for Normal When There’s XtraNormal!• Gimlet: Mixing the Perfect Public Services Assessment Cocktail• Lightning Fast Interlibrary Loan• Putting the free back in library subject guides: Assessing open source alternatives to LibGuides• Reserve It with Google• Mobilize your Library: Making a Mobile Enhanced Website• QR Codes: Looking for the Tipping Point• LibAnswers: We Bought It- Now What?• Experimental iPhone and Android Apps at the University of Illinoishttp://www.learningtimes.net/acrl/2011/slidecasts/cyber-zed-shed-presentations-slidecasts/
IdeaPower Unconference• Library Orientations Using Location Based Mobile Apps• Therapy Dogs - Stress free fun for everyone• Video Game Collections in Academic Libraries: Its not all fun and Games!• Collaboration with Teaching Faculty: The Five-Step Program• Using music to explain the importance of citing your resources.• Reaching for the Treetops: Digital Projects That Go Beyond the Stacks• Feeding your Subject Guide• Sharing the Wealth: Providing Library Data for Campus Mobile and Web initiatives• The Zombies Guide to Information Literacy: Pop Culture Hooks for Reaching College Students http://www.signupgenius.com/go/ideapower
Keynote speakersNot a Librarian amongst them!• Tiffany Shlain – Filmmaker, artist, internet pioneer and activist (watch her paper) http://www.learningtimes.net/acrl/2011/opening-session/• Raj Patel – author, academic and activist (watch his paper) http://www.learningtimes.net/acrl/2011/keynote-with-raj-patel/• Jaron Lanier – computer scientist, composer, visual artist and composer (author of ‘You are not a gadget’)• Clinton Kelly – Fashion expert, author, co-host of ‘What not to wear’Find out more about the speakers at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/national/201 1/program/keynotes.cfm
Papers• Are All Reference Interactions Created Equal? : How Gender Might Matter to Our Patrons by Beth Strickland and Jennifer Bonnet, The University of Michigan libraryhttp://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/ national/2011/papers/are_all_reference.pdf
PapersDelivering a WOW User Experience: do academic Librarians Measure Up? By Steven Bell, Temple Universityhttp://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/ national/2011/papers/delivering_wow.pdf
PapersHelping the Hand that Feeds You: Supporting the Research Needs of Campus Executive Officers by Karen E. Downing, Shevon Desai, and Pamela MacKintosh, University of Michigan.http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/ national/2011/papers/helping_hand.pdf
PapersWhen Interdependence BecomesCodependence: Knowing When and How to LetGo of Legacy Services by Mary Evangeliste andKatherine Furlong, Lafayette Collegehttp://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/national/2011/papers/when_interdependence.pdf
Reference on the Move: Using an iPad to Market Library Services and Conduct Outreach for Students and Faculty Joanna Gadsby and Shu Qian Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Roving Reference Unit The Roving Locations Allow us to take the library reference services to other busy locations on campus iPad 32G Laptop Stand Roving Wi-Fi + 3G Sign Open Space Outside of the Library, The Commons, University Roving Reference Center, Math & Psychology Building, Public Policy Building, Academic IV Building Marketing Bookmark We are sponsored byGraduate Student Association StatisticsOffice of Undergraduate Education & Log PosterDepartment of Off-Campus Student Services Events We AttendedUMBC Women’s Center Undergraduate Research Spotlights Event Events Good Morning, Commuters New Students Orientation
Bits &Pieces• Open source versus vendor products - chat, virtual help desk, communicator, equipment bookings• Open source - use of networks, technical support to find solutions• Abandonment of virtual desk in favour of chat, SMS• Libguides - divided opinions. Not flexible enough. Many libraries using open source - eg Word Press• Many libraries reducing face-to-face help desks or phrasing out altogether in favour of combined inquiry desk• Enhanced subject guides – video, Web 2.0, embedded chat, animation, etc.• Innovation - great examples of using web 2.0, developing apps, mobile services• Recognition to question sacred cows and legacy services• Equal parts of uncertainty and excitement about the future of our profession