ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

TLA Conference – Thursday, April 12th, 2007 April 17, 2007

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2007 — ellie @ 7:46 pm

tla07.jpgI actually wasn’t planning on attending the opening author session until Pam said “see you there,” but I’m glad I did – smart and funny! Plus I ran into Saidah, found out we were going to be at a number of the same sessions and decided to get lunch together, eliminating yesterday’s feeling of not knowing anyone.

8:30 – 10:00 AM
General Session I with Isabel Allende

isabel.jpg Few authors today can so deeply infuse their work with the intimacy and complexity of family relationships as can Isabel Allende. An international bestselling author, Allende tackles both the broad discourse of human passions and the fine details of history in stories that are simultaneously personal yet stirringly universal. She is a recognized voice in women’s literature and an artist of cultural representation. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear this acclaimed author discuss her life and work.
Isabel Allende, author, HarperCollins Publishing Company. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

10:15 – 11:50 AM
TLA & You: Explore the Possibilities
Learn how TLA enhances librarianship and provides opportunities to address issues important to your library. Meet members who can help you become involved in TLA. Join us for light refreshments and the presentation of the Outstanding New Librarian Award and the Quality Books/NMRT Professional Development Grant.
Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, attorney-at-law, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP (Austin); Caroline Kienzle, library consultant (Coppell); RoseAleta Laurell, library director, Ingleside Public Library; Dana Rooks, dean of libraries, University of Houston; and Julie B. Todaro, dean of library services, Austin Community College. Sponsored by the New Members Round Table.

The NMRT had snacks, yum! Personally, you can just about always win me over with bagels. Being from the north east, I am appalled at the dearth of bagels out here. I was splitting my morning between this and another session thanks to Pam’s advice that it is perfectly acceptable to walk in and out of sessions. I got to hear three wonderful speakers though (all past presidents of TLA).

Dana Rooks, dean of libraries, University of Houston

  • TLA is unmatched in other states. It encompasses all types of libraries. Other state associations split by type of library. This dissipates their power.
  • Get involved. Step up to the plate. Go to committee meetings. Tell the chair you’re interested in being on committee. Volunteer.

Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, attorney-at-law, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP (Austin)

  • Meetings are open to all members. Very few are closed.
  • Structure of TLA
    • Round Tables are formed by members.
    • Interest groups are baby Round Tables. Interest groups need 50 members for a certain number of years to become a Round Table. They elect their own officers.
    • Committees are specified in the bylaws. Committee members are appointed. Serve 3 years, usually 12 people.
    • Executive board – 10 people – elected by all members. Things they propose must be approved by counsel.
  • Keep on top of what’s going on in the profession.
  • Make contacts you can call on throughout the year.
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Check out different units
  • Ask people. May be intimidating b/c big, but actually open and warm. We’re public servants, we like to help, we like to mentor.

Julie B. Todaro, dean of library services, Austin Community College

  • Gave us a handout (let me know if you’d like a copy) based on things she came up with when having to justify involvement in professional organizations.
  • Legislative activity – I saved you $ by being on a committee.” TexShare example.
  • Group of people with brains to pick. Network of experts.
  • TLA provides training and development. Can always learn things. Plus activities. Much delivered remotely. Web casts. Your organization can profit from your new skills without having to pay for it/provide it.
  • Commercial networking that provides benefit to your library.
  • Train the traine. Attend with the idea of taking notes for everyone. Brining expertise back. Example – ACRL looking at social networking track.
  • Handout section of TLA is very rich, has self-directed workshops.
  • Encourages people to be active in their districts. TX is divided into 10 districts.
  • Encourages activities throughout the year.
  • Encourages people to publish. Web pages for committee. Spokesperson for group.
  • Met some of her best friends, rich source of friendship.

Here’s where I left to catch the tail end of:

10:15 – 11:50 AM
Library 2.0: User-Centric Technologies and Environments
Social networking tools and Web 2.0 are reshaping libraries to be more user-centric. How do we optimize staff, money, and time as we move toward user centered services, resources, and spaces? Hear insights on hot technologies and successful projects.
Jenny Levine, “The Shifted Librarian” and Internet development specialist and strategy guide, American Library Association (Chicago, IL); and Michael Stephens, instructor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University (River Forest, IL). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

jenny.jpgWhen I came in Jenny Levine was speaking about being at the patron’s point of need.

  • Instant Messaging: The student is in their own workspace, and you’re there, in their buddy list, on their desktop. They don’t need to leave their workflow to go to the phone or the library Web site. With Meebo you can even leave a message. Jenny called it internet voicemail. While we may think, “Why not just send an email then?” She says kids say they only use email when they have to communicate with old people.
  • Make a one minute screen cast of how to place a hold, then embed it in the catalog.
  • Think about your presence on the web and try to be present where the user is.
  • Can make a Google gadget for your library catalog or Web site that the patron can add to their Google homepage.
  • Texting is becoming big. You can text Google (Google SMS). (Jenny didn’t mention it, but you can also use Google for your 411 needs and save the fee from your cell phone service provider.)

Other things mentioned:

  • Library Elf – tracks your library loans and holds and sends you messages
  • Twitter – A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!
  • A recommended article
  • Links at the end of slides (both of these last two should be posted on the TLA site and Jenny’s site sometime in the near future.)


michael.jpgHere Michael Stephens took over. My notes get a little sketchy as I was counting on referring back to his slides which should be up on the TLA site and his site (Tame the Web) soon. I guess I was jumping the gun to think soon would be immediate. Just goes to show you how close I am to being a millennial myself. Found them! And they’re really worth a look, even if you just browse through quickly.

He talked about the Learning 2.0 program, A discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies and reward them for doing 23 Things.

He mentioned 5 phrases he hope he never hears in libraries again:

  1. We’ve always done it this way
  2. He or she is a roadblock to anything new
  3. The IT department won’t let us
  4. I don’t have time for ____
  5. Our director doesn’t like technology

He also reiterated the idea of finding ways to meet users in the places they’re living. Showed the Ohio library news and said they have a podcast tour of the library – one narrated by a librarian and one by a student. He encouraged us to never stop learning and never stop dreaming. He shared his “10 Things I Know About Libraries.”

Interested in reading more? He’s made a Library 2.0 reading list.

They closed up with 5 things you can do now:

  1. Be a trendspotter
  2. Form an emerging technology committee – think about what’s good for your community and report to the library at large
  3. Try a Learning 2.0 program
  4. Create a “What’s New” (at the library) blog
  5. Explore presence – how can you put the library out at the point of need

In a nutshell (they had a great picture of a nutshell):

  • Learn to learn
  • Adapt to change
  • Scan the horizon

There was a good Q&A session at the end. One question related to dealing with resistance to change. They suggested that you document every time someone tells you no and every time you have to tell a patron no. Also, show that people (who are using these technologies well) are getting notice/awards to try to get buy in.

Sad I missed:

10:15 – 11:50 AM
Gaming in the Library – Play to Learn!

How are computer-based games “playing” in library instruction for Millennials? Hear about the relationship between learning styles and the virtual world of educational gaming. Examine seminal video games and how they promote learning.
Tina Buck, instructional design specialist; and Cynthia Yates, multimedia developer, Austin Community College. Sponsored by College and University Libraries Division.


10:15 – 11:20 AM
Last Chance Books: Rags to Riches

With a “lemons to lemonade” attitude, crafty bibliophiles can transform unwanted, discarded books into saleable art, fashion, and furniture. View samples and receive instruction on how to recycle landfill-bound volumes into altered books, purses, and bookshelves. A business meeting precedes the program.
Julia Ousley, lay advocate, New Braunfels Public Library. Sponsored by Library Friends, Trustees, and Advocates Round Table.

Next up I was off to:

12:00 – 12:50 PM
Knock Their Sox Off with Technology Integrated Lessons

Craft library lessons that will make students think creatively. Use the Internet, free drawing programs, and office applications to design integrated library lessons.
Mary Ann Bell, associate professor, and Holly Weimar, adjunct faculty, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University Huntsville). Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Librarians.

Which taught me the valuable lesson of reading the program more carefully. I scanned and saw the presenter was from a university and assumed the content would be relevant. I should have noticed that it was sponsored by the Texas Association of School Librarians. This was really for very young students. But thanks again for Pam’s head up on it being perfectly acceptable to dart between sessions, I re-evaluated and headed out to:

lindsey.jpg12:00 – 12:50 PM
But We Don’t Have Any Gay Students: Serving Hidden Populations

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students are not as visible as other minority groups but still have special information needs. Prejudice can prevent these students from finding critical information. Speakers address best resources and service strategies for this sometimes invisible and stigmatized population.
Ixchel Rosal, director, Gender and Sexuality Center, The University of Texas at Austin; and Lindsey Schell, women’s and gender studies bibliographer, The University of Texas at Austin. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Interest Group.

My notes:

  • Know the difference between terms. The language around gender is changing. Revisit titles and make sure they’re up to date.
  • LGBT persons may have conflict between their spirituality/religion/family/sexuality
  • Community (provided through library books) makes them feel not alone
  • Definitions
    • Intersex – preferred term to hermaphrodite – born with male and female genitalia (all about body, irrespective of mind and heart)
    • Transgendered – broader term (all about mind and heart, irrespective of body)
    • Gender queer – rejects the binary of man/woman
  • Book Woman – book store in Austin
  • Where to find book review
  • Q&A asked about labeling queer friendly books
    • Rainbow sticker
    • Pink triangle
    • but may have different connotations in different communities and may or may not be a good idea depending on the community
  • Intentional harm vs. unintentional neglect
    • hidden manifests itself by people don’t even think of it
    • we don’t know the size of the community
    • they all paid their fees and deserve the same respect and service as any other student
  • Another Q&A asked about Teaching Tolerance. The speaker steers away from that language. Tolerance implies there is something wrong with the person. She’d like to move from tolerance to acceptance to finally affirmation.

There was a handout from Nancy entitled “If I were a call number, I’d be HQ 75.5” and a selected bibliography from Lindsey including suggested titles, magazines and journals, literature review, and organizational resources. Please let me know if you’d like copies of either.As a side note if anyone from ACC is interested in this topic, ACC offers Allies Training through the workshop page.

Lunchtime! After a quick lunch I headed over to the Encore booth. Below is a repeat of the email I sent to the ACC librarians’ list-serv giving my impressions:

[RE: the McMaster Endeca Library Catalog] I do like the browse by subject feature quite a bit. Much easier than having to explain how to do a call number range search. I also liked on the left side bar all those ways to narrow your results easily by which library, by type of material, by availability, by popularity, etc. Obviously not something we can’t do now though advanced search (which I’d wager plenty of patrons never look at), but much easier and right there with your results rather than having to plan out the search ahead of time. Also, you can change the search more easily and without leaving the page. Do we know if those will be features in iii Encore?

I stopped by the booth and have checked out the YouTube video and the Web site. My favorite things:

  • Book covers – pretty, but also helpful
  • Federated search results – remind patrons they’re not limited to just books
  • Tags – I hear a lot of talk about “why would users bother.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But even without student adding content, tagging has a lot of great functions. Assuming there’s some auto generation of tags related to LC subject, this is a much more intuitive interface (at least in terms of being like everything else out there people are used to seeing) for seeing what else is related to your topic (related/broader/narrower terms). I also like the idea of being able to tag things from the reference desk to help other librarians. Is a book good for a particular common assignment? (e.g. the “read a history book covering something after 1870”) Tag it! Professors could tag reading lists or books for assignments. And if students do choose to get involved the availability is there for them. Recently added – seems like you could auto generate very pretty new books lists for the subject pages.
  • Search found in – you searched William Shakespeare? now you can select whether your results are by him or about him. Again, without having to know ahead of time to do an author or a subject search.

I wish they had a live version for us to play around with, but the rep said that the beta testers should be going live soon. He also said he had been talking with Melissa and that he would be happy to come give us a demo (of course). Another feature I don’t know if it has, but wish for, is to bring in outside reviews, like from Choice, Booklist, NYT, etc.

Related – an old post from LibraryThing – Is your OPAC fun? (a manifesto of sorts)

After lunch I did another splitting of sessions. First I was off to see the fabulous AJ:

2:00 – 3:50 PM
Walk the Talk: Active Learning for Student Success
Are you tired of lecturing to a room full of blank stares? Discover active learning techniques that help you assess your audience, engage students in the learning process, and improve your instruction.
Adrian “AJ” Johnson, information literacy librarian, The University of Texas at Austin. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

I worked with AJ at UT and he is an excellent instructor, librarian, and person. He also has a great attitude. So I had to go see him even though buzzwords like active learning make me cringe. I will also say, that despite my young age and the supposed learning styles that come with it, I personally prefer your typical lecture classroom style to any other. I enjoy class discussion, but hate breaking into groups, activities, etc. Thankfully, none of these seem as painful to me as a teacher as they did to me as a student. AJ did a great job of both explaining active learning and using it in his session. AJ has put all of his handouts online. He also gave the link to UT’s instruction clearinghouse.

My notes:

  • Active learning takes students beyond listening.
  • Generally people can only take in 7 minutes at a time.
  • People multi-task, or as he likes to call it quasi-tasking – not really giving any of the tasks enough attention
  • He likes to say, “This is going to free up some time this weekend so you can go do something else because you’re doing your research now.”
  • Students like to learn from their peers.
  • Lists of challenges
    • So much to say, so little time
    • Less control of the outcomes
    • But that’s not how I learned!
    • Outsider syndrome
  • Sometimes things will fail.
  • Do assessment, doesn’t have to be formal. Watch groups, stay engaged during activities.

At this point we were told to divide into groups and we’d have 15 minutes to plan an active learning activity, but 15 minutes took me up to the time I was leaving for the next presentation. I believe Saidah stayed for the rest if you want to find out more, and again, AJ has put all of his handouts online.

3:00 – 3:50 PM
Tomorrow’s Virtual Library Today: Designing the Web Presence

Web 2.0 technologies captivate users. Learn the process behind an awardwinning library’s website; receive tips and tricks as well as lessons learned.
Kristen Hewitt, manager of support services, Westerville Public Library (OH). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

I believe there was a last minute change of presenters to Jessi Crim-Weithman. She began by showing us a toy she had just encountered at the house of a friend. It’s a Webkinz, a stuffed animal with its own online community.

My notes:

  • First generation Web was static sites. 2nd – database driven. 3rd – community gathering place. Push content to them vs. pull them to us.
  • Web based software removes technology barriers.
  • Web 2.0 – publishing vs. participation. Give up control. Folksonomy vs. taxonomy.
  • Suggests dedicated web content developers. Librarians on staff dedicated solely to developing content for your Web pages.
  • A Web site without content is like a shelf without books.
  • Forget “field of dreams” (if you build it, they will come), think Dominoes Delivery.
  • Netflix vs. Blockbuster
  • Pushing content
  • Need to not measure by circulation stats.
  • (Note to self: with Encore can I make collections? Suggested shelf lists by topic.)
  • We have lots to learn from iTunes and Amazon
  • Amazon already does FRBR!
  • Library blogs – why? Tell the library story
  • The difference is the RSS feed.
  • Click here for… is a closed door. Try to pull the content forward.
  • MySpace? Keep it simple.
  • Can the library catalog (or site) go into the browser toolbar?
  • Use tagging.
  • Users don’t speak librarian-ese.
  • Just try it!
  • Tendency is to have lots of committee meetings. Just try it. See if it works for you. If it doesn’t, take it down. If it does, do 5 more!
  • She gave us another link to the Learning 2.0 program. I wondered whether we would like to incorporate that into our Tech Skills Level 2 project, but don’t think they’re really compatible. Still something to consider independently.

You can download the Power Point at Westerville’s site. This is another one I would definitely recommend taking a look at. Also, check out the Westerville Public Library homepage. They podcast their story time! How cool is that?

An aside. While I was in this session I received a voicemail from my dad. He wanted the number for his local Home Depot and the origin of the phrase “dunstil part” to mean a useless part. I opened up my phone, Googled Home Depot and texted him the phone number. I had less luck with Dunstil (we’re not sure how it’s supposed to be spelled and his only reference is a Star Trek episode). (I found more here later, as well as that prior link to the episode in question.) While I found this incident amusingly related to the conference content I would be remiss to omit that my dad doesn’t actually use text messaging, so I was just hoping he’d see it and in fact, he didn’t. But I called him after the session and we had a good chuckle about my being able to answer him from the middle of a conference session on new Web technologies. [Update: Turns out my dad checked the Home Depot site on his PDA after he couldn’t reach me. I love my family. And he doesn’t get text messages because his work shut off the feature after complaints of “joke of the day” messages.]

Next up:

4:00 – 4:50 PM
How Should We Teach Adults?
How can you teach both employees and library users faster and better? This interactive presentation examines instruction on policies, procedures, and software interfaces; and offers tools for training adults.
Pat Wagner, library consultant, Pattern Research, Inc. (Denver, CO). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

Pat was particularly interested in having the group steer the content, so we spent the first part of the session talking about what we hoped to cover and problems we were experiencing.

My notes:

  • Adults learn better in context.
  • Behavior change doesn’t happen in a classroom.
  • Formal classes are one of the worst ways to try to sell an idea.
  • Behavioral changes don’t happen without consequence.
  • Author – Ruby Payne
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences
    • A healthy view sees a future, picks a goal, goes back to the past for info and takes action in the present.
    • The idea of working for a better future can be a motivator. Her mom’s answer to why she couldn’t have an extra dress when young, “Because you’re going to college.”
    • Timeline psychology. Timeline therapy. How do you develop that “future” method?
    • Plan for the future and be able to deal with disappointment vs. irrational optimism
    • Realists who only have the present tend to be negative. Optimists are more accurate about tomorrow. See possibility.
  • Middle class knows how to sit in a classroom. Has a stable enough life to know if they have time for something. Lower class has a more chaotic life.
  • People have to trust you and see you as an equal. You have to believe they are an equal.
  • Who’s voice is heard first? “What do you want?” Set the agenda. You tell me what I should be talking about. (Aside: this is something I’ve seen AJ do in class also.)
  • Adults aren’t learning theoretically. They want to use this in their life.
  • Gifts of time, energy that you bring to them (and food).
  • Access success – start with what they know well so that people experience immediate success in your class.
  • Humans are hard wired to associate embarrassment/loss of status with life and death. Revealing your own failures shows they don’t lose status by failing.
  • Individual learning is artificial. Have to work in groups as adults. Joke about people who show up to work looking for the gifted and talented room.

She had a handout on “Why Adults Don’t Learn Faster” that I can share with anyone who is interested. It includes 5 items in particular teachers should work on and she suggested picking a buddy and working through the sheet together. I also picked up her handout from a previous session on Solo Management – Why Even Solo Librarians Need to Think and Act Like a Manager, which looks like it has some good ideas for everyone who has to work on multiple projects.

I finished out the day with the book cart drill team competition and dinner with a friend from library school.

5:00 – 6:00 PM

Thought you knew everything you could do with a book cart? Not so. Your imaginative and gifted colleagues will show you a trick or two on choreographing around this tried and true library tool. Book carts are good for more than just books! Come and cheer your favorite team to victory in the Second Annual Book Cart Drill Team Texas Championship. The winning team will be invited to compete nationally at ALA 2007.


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