Friday, April 24, 2015

Kathy C's ACRL report

After a month I'm finally getting to this! It was a great conference and certainly a wonderful venue in Portland.  I'd never been there before and definitely want to go back purely for vacation.  I hadn't been to ACRL in many years either and I was glad to attend again.

ACRL is pretty overwhelming with many choices every hour which makes it hard to decide what to attend.  As Steve Cramer mentioned, it's heavy on information literacy and I usually find that we are certainly up to speed with our program here.  I found some sessions and posters on student employees very useful and would love to try out some ideas here -- look out supervisors!

I also went to some sessions on digital sources and incorporating them into the curriculum.  We have really ramped up our work in this area and, again, I got some good ideas.

I attended Steve & Lynda's presentation on our liaison reorganization and they did a super job!  I had the pleasure of presenting on our work with high impact practices and felt proud to showcase everyone's hard work in this area.

The final keynote by  Lawrence Lessig was inspirational.  He's know for his work with Creative Commons and open access but the broader theme was on the haves and have nots and he had many people in tears,  especially when talking about Aaron Swartz. 

On a personal note I had a wonderful reunion with a friend I hadn't seen in almost 30 years.  Where does the time go?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Librarians visit Welborn Academy

Post by Kathy Bradshaw.

On April 17, Gerald Holmes and I were guests at a career fair held at the Welborn Academy of Science and Technology in High Point to discuss librarianship as a career choice. Welborn Academy is a middle school. The students were curious about what we do as librarians (many of them didn't know about libraries other than school and public libraries) so were we able to share information about different kinds of libraries. Gerald talked about the teaching that academic librarians do, and told them about all the support librarians give to students. We were also able to tell the students about volunteer opportunities in libraries for students which would allow them to learn more about what libraries do, or as places to work as college students.

The students were excited to learn more about libraries (although we did have stiff competition from the Honda Jet 18 wheeler outside) and they even gave us thank you notes.

Here's a thank you note we received:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Special Libraries Association Arabian Gulf Chapter Annual Meeting       


Conference title:  The Internet and the Positive Change to Librarians and Information Professionals:  Creating Real Future Impact

Report from Mary Krautter

On March 2015, I traveled to the Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to present a pre-conference workshop and also a conference presentation with Mary Scanlon and Mary Beth Lock of Wake Forest University Libraries (we have billed ourselves as the 3 Marys).  We were invited to attend based on the book on entrepreneurial librarianship which we co-edited in 2012 and most of our expenses were covered by the Arabian Gulf Chapter.    The Arabian Gulf Chapter includes members from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.  Many of the librarians working there are  expatriates from Canada, Great Britain and the United States or have received a library degree in one of those countries, but there are also many native to the region who are eager for new information and training.  Approximately 300-400 people attended the conference.

One of the particular challenges faced by libraries in this region includes the lack of a strong Arabic catalog that is equivalent to WMS.  Some of the libraries own large ebook packages, but they have challenges with discovery applications.  We particularly enjoyed seeing the library at the Petroleum Institute – which has nearly 2000 undergraduate and graduate students studying engineering and other fields related to the energy industry.  Vanessa Middleton, Head of the Library, is a former colleague of Mary Beth Lock when both were at Wayne State University Library. 

While a few of the presentations were in Arabic, almost all were either translated or were delivered in English.  There were many vendors present that we’re very familiar with – Thomson Reuters, EBSCO, and Springer, among others.  I particularly enjoyed meeting one of the representatives from Press Reader, a company with whom I wasn’t familiar.  They have a news database with strong international coverage. 

The three Marys were all impressed with the connections between our presentation and workshop and the themes in other conference presentations.   Keynote speakers included Dr. Eesa Mohammed Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai, and Professor Sherif Kamel Shaheen of Cairo University.  In both of their presentations the importance of higher education in their region was a central theme.  Dr. Bastaki in particular talked about leadership and innovation and the importance of human capital.   Creating an economy in which knowledge creation is an essential element was another theme that he stressed as critical for the region.  Keynote speaker Paula Kaufman spoke about translating ideas into action and creating an environment in which libraries in higher education collaborate  and build integrated services that support faculty and students.  Dr. Kaufman also participated in a second session on  ROI and assessment of the value of library services.    

One of the speakers whose presentation I attended was Rick Anderson, who was a reference librarian at UNCG even before I came here.  He has been at the University of Utah for many years, and  sent greetings to those he worked with – particularly Mark, Kathy Crowe and Nancy Ryckman.  He discussed PDA ebooks as essential to modern collections, which was a new concept for some at the conference.  He emphasized the need for patron driven acquisition, replacing the concept that libraries exist to preserve physical objects. 
Lisa Hinchcliffe, a very well-known expert on information literacy who has co-published with Amy Harris,  was part of a panel and presented on the Horizon Report on Information Literacy.  

Overall, I found many common themes and concerns among librarians from very different backgrounds and cultures.  The sessions were thought provoking and illuminating,  and the conference gave us plenty of opportunities to interact with others.  We were very grateful to the conference organizers for the opportunity to share our ideas of using entrepreneurial techniques in creating and promoting library services and giving us the chance to learn about librarianship in a different part of the world.  I’m also grateful to UNCG Libraries for encouraging me to pursue this opportunity. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ILLiad International Conference

March 18 and 19, I attended the ILLiad International Conference in Virginia Beach.  ILLiad is the software we use to manage Interlibrary Loan functions.  The conference is sponsored by Atlas Systems.

The key note speaker was Eric Miller of Zepheria. Zepheria and Atlas Systems are partners, with several other organizations, on the Libhub initiative which seeks to use BIBFRAME and the Linked Data in Libraries Movement to make library data integratable with the web in a way that makes it easy for search engines to find it.  An example used was an attempt to expose materials related to the Unsinkable Molly Brown owned by the public library in her home town.  Presently, the library’s holdings have no presence in the Google search results for Molly Brown.  Eric showed us the results of a test that used Libhub which put their holdings close to the top of the results and scattered them throughout.

Genie Powell, Chief Customer Service Officer for Atlas Systems, gave an ILLiad update.  Version 8.6 of ILLiad is due for release on May 26.  Version 8.4 support ends on 7/1. Fortunately, we are on 8.5. New features in 8.6 include the ability to customize the request statuses on the patron ILLiad accounts. For example, when we have requested that a book be sent to us by another library the patron account now says “Request Sent”; we could make it say “On Order” or something else that is more commonly understood.  In ILLiad, however, it would still say “Request Sent”.  Also in 8.6 patrons wanting notifications by text message will have to re-enter their mobile phone number into a newly provided mobile phone field in the Personal Information section of their ILLiad accounts.

One of more fun and interesting session each year is the OCLC Update given by Katie Birch.  Each year Katie presents the list of the top 10 requested ILL books from the previous year.  Of course, the audience tries to guess what’s number 1 on the list before it’s revealed…”Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades of Gray, Fifty Shades of Gray” has been the usual audience response for the past couple of years.  This year, Divergent was also a popular response.  We were wrong.  The most requested book was Dead Doctors Don’t Lie, which is about maximizing genetic potential for health and longevity.  Divergent made the list at number 8 with Allegiant and Insurgent at numbers 4 and 9 respectively. None of the Grey books were on the list…but everyone surmised that they will be back next year with the recent release of the movie!