Sunday, February 22, 2009

On February 20 and 21, 2009 I attended the 2009 Lilly Conference on College & University Teaching with Amy Harris and Mike Crumpton. They may submit their own summaries, but as we went to different sessions, I’ll hit just a few highlights. Lilly is a series of conferences and institutes held all over the country to promote excellence in college teaching. The Lilly South conference is hosted by a consortium of local universities, colleges and community colleges. The UNCG Teaching and Learning Center coordinates most of the UNCG efforts. I had never been before but I’ve always heard good things about it. UNCG faculty qualify for a mini-grant to cover the cost of registration (about $400), so you shouldn’t let the opportunity pass you by. Most of the materials will be available from the conference site.

The theme of the conference was Millennial learning, but many of the sessions were focused on technology or active learning techniques (not specific to millennials). While little of the tech was innovative or new, the sessions were good about exploring possibilities a bit more in-depth. For instance, I attended a session on using clickers in the classroom to encourage deep and critical thinking. Most of my exposure to clickers had been at a superficial assessment level. This session explored ways to encourage deep engagement with the material by combining the use of clickers with small and large group discussion. For instance, before doing a demonstration, the instructor could have students predict what would happen using the clickers to vote. Then they could ask students to pair up and discuss their predictions, vote again, and finally do the demonstration. I love this approach because it transfers intellectual authority to the students before being claimed by the professor.

I also attended two sessions on theories of teaching. Barbara Millis from the University of Texas, San Antonio discussed cooperative teaching techniques, such as think-pair-share and other forms of group work. Todd Zakrajsek from UNC discussed various theories of social psychology and their relation to teaching. Both were wonderful speakers. My favorite factoid from Zakrajsek’s talk was a chart in Bligh’s What’s the Use of Lectures demonstrating that as the time of a lecture increases student heart rates decrease significantly. The reinforces the reality that people can only take about 15 minutes of lecture at a time. Zakrajsek gave suggestions for classroom activities that can engage students with the material and promote student learning, such as various forms of pair-shares.

Finally, I attended a session on classroom communication and immediacy in teaching given by Kim Cuny and Erika Lytle of UNCG’s Speaking Center. Immediacy is the perception of closeness both physical and psychological. Teachers with higher immediacy tend to have increased student learning. Although environmental factors in a room can interfere with your immediacy (too hot, too uncomfortable), there are nonverbal techniques a teacher can adopt (good eye contact, pleasing facial expressions) that can increase your immediacy. I hope Amy will invite Kim to come over to our library and give a workshop. All teaching librarians could benefit from these techniques and reminders!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ALA Midwinter 2009 Summary

Lucky me, I flew into the Denver area early and got to enjoy the 70 degree weather for hiking and visiting with Colorado friends. But when Friday arrived and ALA midwinter officially began, it was the usual cold, snowy January Colorado day, a good time to be inside attending sessions on various topics. Here is a summary of some sessions I attended:

RUSA/STARS ILL Hot Topic Discussion

Many libraries are having major budget crises in their library - from 50% budget cuts to full time staff layoffs. Several librarians from U of AZ, U of OR , Colorado State University, Baylor, LC, etc. discussed their issues and ideas for dealing with budget problems:
  • Generate income streams/revues. (EX: rights and reproductions of special collections materials)
  • Use RAPID.
  • Use other people from various areas of the library (tech services folks esp good for searching) Put ILLiad software on computers in reference and spec collections and train others to use it. Night staff does ILL requests at night. Note: 30-40% of ILL work is NOT from ILL dept. (U of AZ)
  • Everyone ILL dept is cross trained.
  • Students are trained in all areas of ILL, more so than staff – they are easier to train, pick it up faster, esp technology. And they use ILLiad - not just pulling books or mail. (CSU)
  • No physical reserves! (U of AZ) Video streaming is used esp for DVDs. Doc delivery for all physical books.
  • Hired back retired staff to work part time, is very reliable, but costs less than fulltime staff.
  • Only borrow from IFM libraries.
  • Went through every possible procedure and cut back on any unnecessary task and paperwork to save time. (U of OR)
  • Don’t worry about overdues - waste of time for staff for what $5.
  • Stacks does the pulling for all lending (they are quick and know the stacks well) and this benefits both b/c the stacks folks then are needed more and less likely to have positions cut.
  • Reserves Dept does the scanning and doc delivery - works well, since their busy time is not same as ILL busy time of semester. Also, ILL and reserves processes are similar and was a nature combo.
  • Using technology to train staff such as a wiki of info everyone can post to (ex: how to fill a difficult request), youtube videos on how-to do a task, post resources and help on blackboard … staff can use this as a reference instead of always needing an actual staff person to go to - especially relevant at night for ILL work. (Baylor)
  • Mobile scanning station - take it with you around stacks instead of gathering print, bringing down to ILL, scanning and taking back up again to stacks. (someone actually calculated this saved 40 hours a week )
  • Supporting borrowing side with lending revenue; take revenue to fill staff/student positions; or some us it for UPS costs.

LITA Distance Learning Interest Group Session
  • Check out their blog:
  • (regis) Library does a 2 week faculty orientation to library course via blackboard. Reach out to adjuncts and new faculty. Usually 15-20 people each time.
  • Text from catalog to cell to find your book in library stacks (included call #, title, and location in library. (WFU)
  • Screen capture tools/tutorials: Captivate (regis) - you can track stats via google analytics (shockwave flash embedded) including how far user has gone, buttons clicked, etc. Can do this in Viewlet Builder as well (VB is best for multiple buttons in tutorials) set resolutions at 800 x 600. Also using Jing and Wink for quick, on the spot chat references.
  • Ants projects: - Canadian project, librarians can post tutorials that all can use and edit if needed. Also turn them into a tutorial on Bliptv (better resolution than youtube)
  • Check out the Horizon report to see whats coming down the road in tech -- this time mobile and cloub computing
  • - see many presentations here from conferences or just someone sharing a presentations.
  • LibX toolbar - recommended by many libraries.

ACRL Distance Learning Section Discussion Group

After running my committee meeting as co-chair of the Bibliography Committee, we all met as a large group and discussed two reports on scholarly communication - Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication Nov 2008 by Marion and Smith; Ithaka’s 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in Digital Transformation in Higher Education (PDF) August 18, 2008 by Housewirght and Schenfeld. Then discussion shifted to budget issues and paper vs electronic journals. Most libraries are getting rid of paper copies of ejournals (esp JSTOR) – some say they get initial complaints to hold on to them, but most faculty are okay after they are removed from the collection. Someone suggested that we have to push back to get more support and realization to faculty that of what we do and offer. Most libraries goal is to make things seamless as possible. What about an embargo and the currect copy is not available? Then go directly to ILLiad to request it. Someone mention if we all get rid of everything paper, then who can we borrow the embargoed copy from? As long as one library keeps it we'll be alright :>

Task Force on the Environment (SSRT)

I also attended a working group session of TFOE. We discussed a program for ALA Annual in Chicago with the hope to have some brief presentation but mainly focus on attendees forming into groups to discuss small, practical, things they are doing or could be doing in their libraries, offer this chance for networking with others, and to share and work collaboratively on greening your library ideas. Also discussed was next year 2010 will be 40th anniversary of Earth Day and 10th anniversary of ALA's Libraries Build Sustainable Communities, so some good green planning should be started now to make it an ALA wide event in 2010. Join the listserv and stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Here's a really long post to go along with a brown bag presentation scheduled for Feb. 18. It's my report on Reference Renaissance: Current and Future Trends held August 3-5, 2008 in Denver. Almost all of the presentations have Power Points online and there are some podcasts as well.  

Some of the presentations that I found most illuminating were those of David W. Lewis, Dean of the University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis “Reference in the Age of Wikipedia, Or Not... “ Lewis discussed the idea of disruptive innovation stemming from the works of Clayton Christensen. We have several of these at UNCG and currently all except a brand new one are checked out.
  • Christensen, Clayton M. Disrupting class : how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns / Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson. New York : McGraw-Hill, c2008. Jackson Library In process, LB1027 .C4662 2008 (c.1)
  • Christensen, Clayton M. Seeing what's next : using the theories of innovation to predict industry change / Clayton M. Christensen, Scott D. Anthony, Erik A. Roth.  Boston : Harvard Business School Press, c2004. HD30.28 .C54 2004 (c.1)
  • Christensen, Clayton M. The innovator's solution : creating and sustaining successful growth / Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor. Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press, c2003. HD53 .C495 2003 (c.1)
  • Understanding consumer behavior / [contributors, Stephen Brown ... [et al.].  Boston, MA : Harvard Business School Pub., c2002. HF5415.32 .U5280 2002 (c.1)
  • Christensen, Clayton M. The innovator's dilemma : when new technologies cause great firms to fail / Clayton M. Christensen. Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press, c1997. HD53 .C49 1997 (c.1)
Here are some quotes from Lewis’s talk:
  • “One bedrock finding from our research is that companies innovate faster than customer’s lives change. In other words, what people are looking to get done remains remarkably consistent, but products always improve. Thus, products eventually become too good.” 
  • “Don’t ask you customers what they want, rather watch what they do.” 
  • “When a profession has been created as a result of some scarcity, as with librarians or television programmers, the professionals are often the last ones to see it when that scarcity goes away. It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence.”
It’s particularly interesting to find out what’s going on right down the road – so I attended a presentation by some fellow North Carolinians. Night time virtual reference (VR) collaboration between the libraries at Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This “Night Owl” chat collaboration began in 2003 and allows the libraries to offer their virtual reference services later in the night by sharing the task of staffing it. During the day, each library staffs its service separately, only answering questions from its own patrons. Librarians and a software developer have produced Library H3lp – to help them manage a chat service staffed at multiple points. 
  • Josh Boyer, Associate Head, Distance Learning and Research & Information Services, D.H. Hill Library, North Carolina State University. 
  • Jean Ferguson, Head of Research and Reference Services, Perkins Library, Duke University. 
  • Eric Sessoms, co-developer of Libraryh3lp, is Executive Consultant for End-to-End Data Operations and for the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory. 
  • Pam Sessoms, co-developer of Libraryh3lp, is Electronic Reference Services Librarian, Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
  • Amy VanScoy, Ph.D. Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  Associate Head of Research & Information Services, D.H. Hill Library, North Carolina State University. 
This was another session I really liked: “Traditional" vs. "Hipster" Librarians: How can we alleviate tensions and reconcile the differences between old-fashioned, “traditional” librarians and tech-savvy “hipster” librarians? This presentation takes a look at the paradigm shift from “system-centered” to “user-centered” librarianship in order to understand how and why these differences have arisen, and anticipates the next paradigm shift to “knowledge-centered” librarianship. Presenter: Hannah Kwon, Ph.D. Student, Rutgers University, SCILS, NJ

Another presentation I enjoyed, reminding me that students see Facebook as their domain and don’t necessarily want to be was: 
“Okay, This is Just Too Weird: Identifying Outreach Opportunities in Facebook” (Panel) Elizabeth Edwards, and David Bietila, Gelman Library, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Social networking sites like Facebook offer libraries unique opportunities for reaching students. We present the findings of our mixed-method study, which examined students' use of Facebook and library resources, and made recommendations for our library's Facebook initiatives.

One of the most interesting talks was the plenary panel including R. David Lankes of Syracuse U, Jamie LaRue of Douglas County Libraries, Marie Radford of Rutgers and Carla Stoffle of Univ. of AZ . It’s available on the site as a podcast, and I’ll have to say that Dr. Radford is one of the most dynamic speakers I’ve ever heard! There was universal agreement by panelists that reference staffing and service provision models are changing radically and that librarians should be ahead of the curve in anticipating what patrons will need for the future. One study quoted says that 85% of questions don’t require librarians – based on this, what staffing patterns should we follow? Shift in Reference to more and more paraprofessionals at the desk – in academic libraries, often more emphasis now on working with faculty and classes.

In the end, all of the different ways to provide service and reach our audience confirmed a strong desire to connect people with information in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Mary Krautter