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!

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