Posts filed under ‘ALA’

A New Role at ALA Annual

I’m in Chicago in order to attend what must be my 20th American Library Association annual conference. I have lost count of how many annuals I have attended. My first was Los Angeles in 1983 when my family began accompanying my mother, who is also a librarian, to the conference for our summer vacation. LA was just the first of many other conferences. I also went to Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco (a couple of times), Chicago (also a couple of times) and several others that I have since forgotten.

ALA meant only one thing to me when I was growing up: free stuff. I looked forward to the seemingly endless rows of exhibits that promised loads of goodies to bring home. At first one of my parents would accompany me up and down the aisles but I was eventually allowed to walk through the exhibits by myself. As long as I met my parents at the previously established meeting time, I could spend as much time as I wanted looking at all of the books. At the time, it never occurred to me that I might one day attend the conference as a librarian.

Not long after I started library school in 2002, I asked my mother (as I did every year) if she was going to attend the annual meeting in Toronto. After she replied that yes, she was planning to attend, I remember imagining yet another experience of walking up and down the exhibit aisles filling my bags with swag. Then it slowly dawned on me that the upcoming conference would be an entirely different experience–I would be attending ALA as a soon-to-be-librarian. I would actually have to go to meetings and presentations!

My experience in Toronto was completely different from any of my previous conferences. I spent a lot of time walking or riding the bus from one meeting to another and I barely had time to go to the exhibits. People sometimes say that they find ALA overwhelming and before attending my first conference as a librarian, I didn’t really understand what they meant. How could a place full of free books be overwhelming? Toronto thoroughly disabused of this idea. Just figuring out which meetings and presentations to attend can take quite a bit of time and energy.

Now I am once again attending ALA in a new role. As a doctoral student, only a few of the meetings mesh with my particular research interests. This means that I feel quite a bit of pressure to attend all relevant meetings even when they are scheduled at the same time. I am constantly looking at my printed schedule to make sure that I don’t miss anything. The exhibits are, of course, secondary.

Before becoming a librarian myself, I had no idea that there were many librarians out there who were quite disappointed with ALA and its work. My mother always seemed recharged and energized for her work after attending a conference. Of course, this is the essence of some librarians’ problems with ALA. What does one get out of being a member other than the conference?

For me, being a member of ALA reminds me that I am part of a larger community. Before returning to school, I worked in a small theological library — a setting that is very different from a public library. By reading through my American Libraries every month, I was reminded that even though my library had a specialized mission, we were still part of the wider library world. Now that I am a student again, I feel even further removed from librarianship. Attending this conference has helped me remember why I am in a library and information science doctoral program. When I am in the McCormick Center, surrounded by 27,353 other librarians, I recall that my research is not just for my own edification but that it will also aide the profession as a whole.

By attending the conference, I am reminded that even though I no longer work in a library I am still a librarian. I still have one more day of running around the conference center to attend meetings and racing through the exhibits. And, like my mother, I hope to return to New Jersey from this conference recharged and energized for my classes in the fall.

July 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm 5 comments

Unconference? – Pres4Lib – A Review

Ok, I will admit it—when I heard the term ‘unconference’ I groaned. When I read the definition, I groaned even louder. I mean really, how could you not groan when the words “jam-session” are used to describe a conference. I assumed it was just another Boomer driven conceit—an excuse to navel gaze instead of doing real work. I wasn’t much more interested in attending camp. Yet, when I heard about the Pres4Lib unconference, I wanted to go.

Why? Because the topic—a camp for library speakers or trainers is of great interest to me. Plus it was being organized by fellow LibraryGarden bloggers—Pete Bromberg, Janie Hermann and Amy Kerns (along with John LeMasney) and would take place at Princeton Public Library, MPOW. Still despite my faith in my friends and fellow-bloggers, I was a bit dubious—could something without structure really hold my interest for an entire day?

My concerns were unfounded—Pres4Lib was easily one of the best training days I have participated in since becoming a librarian. The topic was relevant to my job—I teach and give presentations. The speakers were experienced, informative, and entertaining. Best of all, the lightening talk format insured that no speech would run so long that it could become dull or even mildly painful. The break-out sessions, in the birds-of-a-feather format, were a bit more hit-or-miss, but still quite good. All in all, I met a number of interesting people, learned a great deal, and had a good time in the process.

What made Pres4Lib work in a format that I am still not convinced would work most of the time? For starters, this was not a completely unstructured conference. By using a wiki and the free on-line survey tool Zoomerang (one of the best take-aways from the conference), when the camp began an agenda was already set. While it could change—that’s a primary rule of an unconference—the basic outline for the day was set. This was a good move—participants told of the first hour at other such events being spent hashing out the day. Wow, dull, dull, dull—for me, my ego doesn’t need to drive things and my patience wears thin watching others vie for dominance.

The other critical factor—the participants. This was a diverse group with only one thing in common—the train and they speak-in-public. That diversity meant the message was not the generic this is how to present. Participants are the conference, so if you have a group that lacks skills and experience, or without much personality, I could see an unconference being a really tedious event. Finally, the day ended with a Battle Decks session that was funny and goofy and the perfect way to end a long day at a conference focused on presentation skills.

For me the highlights of the day were Pete Bromberg’s lightening talk and John LeMasney’s birds-of-a-feather session on Creative Commons. Both really made the best use of the ‘unconference’ format.

Pete was funny, informative, and engaging. His tips and advice were really spot-on—both quantity and quality were higher than I anticipated. It was an amazing ten-minute show–Pete really raised the bar for PowerPoint presentations. He is in his own league. Check out the video.

John did not have a scripted presentation for his session. In fact, it was not ‘his’ session. His job was simply to get things started and generally keep an eye on things if they needed a nudge. He was perfect—his knowledge of the topic allowed for immediate Q&A. More importantly, he kept things rolling as the topic strayed from where to find CC items to how to use them, how to attribute them, and how to share your own work. The one hour session flew by and I found several tools I will start using immediately—FireFox, Zemanta, and PhotoExpress. All my breakout sessions were good, but none had as much information that was immediately beneficial to me.

While I remain skeptical that all unconferences would be as worthwhile, I will consider attending another one. I know what to look for—how well organized is the unorganized event and who is attending. Thank-you to the organizers and the participants. It was a day I will not soon forget. But be warned—next time I encounter Battle Decks, I will be a participant!

June 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm 1 comment

ALA Council Passes Resolution Defining Core Competences for Librarianship


Core competences for librarianship were finally defined at the very recent Midwinter Meeting in Denver, where the ALA Council passed the resolution, and this Tuesday, ALA sent out a press release summarizing the resolution and providing links to the core competences site and a pdf. The document defines the basic knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from an ALA-accredited master’s program in library and information studies.

The core competences “stress the role of library and information professionals in promoting democratic principles and intellectual freedom, knowing and applying the legal framework guiding libraries and information agencies – including laws relating to copyright, privacy, freedom of expression, equal rights and intellectual property – and identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations.”

I especially enjoyed reading from their press release the “identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations” phrase above myself! ;)

Do take a look at the entire core competences doc for all of the details when you get a moment.

-Robert Lackie

Technorati Tags: ALA, core competences, emerging technologies, librarianship, Library Garden

February 26, 2009 at 8:03 am 4 comments

Speaking of Nominating

There have been dozens of posts made over the last few months reminding everyone to nominate their favorite Mover and Shaker from libraryland for the annual Library Journal supplement. I myself am in the midst of polishing my M&S nomination for submission before the deadline on Monday November 10th, so I thought while everyone was in nominating mode I would post a reminder that nominating season need not end on Monday!

There are lots of ALA professional recognition awards that you can nominate your colleagues and institution to win — and many of the awards given by ALA have a December 1st deadline, giving you three weeks to put together your nomination!

I spent the last two years serving on the ALA Awards Committee and this year I was appointed the chair of the jury for the ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award. This is not only a really prestigious award but a really cool one too — as is evident by the list of past winners. Look over the requirements, then think about what your library is doing and how you might possibly qualify:

… to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Criteria should include the benefit to clients served; benefit to the technology information community; impact on library operations; public relations value; and the impact on the perception of the library or librarian in the work setting and to the specialized and/or general public.

I know, for a fact, that there are many libraries with innovative, forward-thinking and amazing technology-focussed programs that are deserving of this award, so step forward and nominate yourselves or your colleagues.

November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm

New Library Blog: CEBuzz!

There’s a new library blog that might be of interest to Library Garden readers: CEBuzz. CEBuzz is a group blog brought to you by ALA’s Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange Round Table, aka, CLENE. (I’ve been active in CLENE for years and am currently coordinating the new blog.)

The mission of CEBuzz is to provide a thought-provoking resource for those interested in and responsible for Continuing Education (CE) and staff development in libraries. To that end, the the blog will:

  • Provide coverage of trends in learning theory and practice
  • Provide links to online learning resources
  • Provide coverage of “hot topics” in CE and staff development
  • Announce learning events of interest

I think we’ve put together a great team of authors, who’ve already generated some wonderful posts. So if you’re interested in continuing education and/or staff development check us out. Or just pop our feed into your reader: http://feeds.feedburner.com/CeBuzz.

Oh, and if you’re an ALA member and interested in joining CLENE for a mere $20 (and getting a free preferred professional membership in the American Management Association thrown in) you can add us to your membership right online.

September 11, 2007 at 11:41 am 1 comment

We ARE Change Agents!

Man, this is cool!

Helene Blowers got it at the ALA conference!

June 26, 2007 at 8:26 am 2 comments

Not Attending ALA? Here’s an Alternative…

This is posted many places but I want to be sure that no one misses it!

Not able to attend ALA but still want to find out what’s going on in cutting edge technology and social software!? Well check out the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase…

From their page:

The Social Software Showcase is an online unconference occurring around and during the time of ALA Annual 2007.
On this wiki, you will find eleven wonderful presentations on cutting edge technology and social software by librarians and leaders in the field. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will have the opportunity to discuss the presentations here in this space.
We will also be having a face to face roundtable discussion with some of our presenters at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 23rd, from 1:30-2:30 in the Renaissance Mayflower Cabinet Room. If you are in D.C. please come and join us.
This wiki will be a work in progress as we iron out a few things, including the embedding of the presentations. But we’ll be ready and running before ALA! [end]

This is a revolutionary way of presenting information! Please do check it out.

The presenters include the VERY excellent:

Michael Casey – Library Crunch
Michael Porter, aka Library Man! – Library Man blog
Jessamyn West – Librarian.net blog
Karen Schneider – Free Range Librarian
Her post on this.
AND MORE!

You can read another excellent post on this for some more information on the Information Wants to Be Free blog here.

The Bigwig Social Software Showcase is here .

Check it out! :-)

Happy Weekend!

June 15, 2007 at 7:53 am

Change and Growth – Amendment

Immediately after I posted that bit about “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional,” right before the Futures Conference, I realized it needed an amendment. It needed me to add that I am such a hypocrite!

I am a huge advocate of using “2.0” things for libraries – blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc… and not being AFRAID of CHANGE and of doing some different things. And here I am, NOT blogging really! I posted that post and then went off to take a shower and it was there that I realized that I have to admit and face up to MY fears and issues if I am going to be talking to others about CHANGE – FEAR – GROWTH and their issues.

My fear is of not being perfect; not being good enough – liked – accepted; etc…. That is why I have been avoiding blogging. This is a true soul-baring admission. I want to blog. I often think of things to blog. Yet, I allow my fears to hold me back.

Well, no more! I am realizing my fears, admitting them, and challenging them. Just as I want to be able to challenge everyone else to do! So, as I go forth and blog and challenge you (hopefully) you can know that I do so with a clear conscious having admitted this and having started to face my own fears!

At the conference Robert said to me that people appreciate honesty and that’s what is most important. Well, consider yourselves warned . . .

[Thanks to Robert and Pete for discussions surrounding this topic at the conference! It helped a lot!]

May 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm 16 comments

5 Things I learned @ Conference

5 Things I learned @ Conference

  • Helene Blowers is sooooooooooooooooooooooo cool!
  • Running the NJLA Podcasting Station w/IT was even more fun this time around!
  • If you’re going to ask a speaker to come to said NJLA Podcasting Station, it’s best to be prepared, or they might just walk away!
  • If you go to a luncheon at Ocean Place, don’t order the vegetarian meal (or so I heard).
  • Pete is a snappy dresser!

    PETE!

If you went to conference and want to share “5 Things” on your blog then, “Tag, you’re It!”

April 27, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Great Preconference! Creating A Staff Development Plan

Don’t miss this great CLENE-RT Preconference at ALA annual!
Creating A Staff Development Plan

Friday, June 22, 2007,
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sponsored by the CLENE Round Table
[CLENE: The Continuing Library Education Network and Exchange Round Table]

DESCRIPTION
In today’s environment, library staff have to work harder than ever to stay informed and keep up with changes. How can libraries encourage all staff to continually develop their skills? A systematic staff development plan can address the learning needs of library staff and increase their effectiveness on the job.

This half-day session is a step-by-step introduction to the process of addressing the issue of staff development from needs assessment through planning. Do you need a staff development plan?

Speakers: Cal Shepard, SOLINET
Tickets: CLENE-RT Member: $110; ALA Member: $130; Non-Member: $180
Registration: http://tinyurl.com/yq4gst
————————————————————————–
NOTE: If you plan on coming and you’re not a CLENE-RT member, why not take this opportunity to join? It’s only $20 to add CLENE to your ALA membership, and joining CLENE gives you many benefits including… wait for it… preferred professional membership in the American Management Association!

Interested? Click here for details: http://www.ala.org/ala/clenert/clenemem/membership.htm

February 9, 2007 at 3:40 pm 3 comments

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