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TLA Conference – Saturday, April 14th, 2007 April 18, 2007

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2007 — ellie @ 5:47 pm
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tla07.jpgLast day! And it definitely started off right with coffee and bagels at the Automation and Technology Round Table Business Meeting (8:00 – 9:50 AM). I got to meet the officers, talk about how this conference had went and what we might want to do next time. The Net Fair was a great success. Richard’s Keeping Up with Technology was particularly well attended.

12:00-12:50 PM
Keeping Up with Technology: New Trends and Terminology

This is the third year in a row that we have examined the top library technology trends in the nation as well as Texas specifically. Learn what these top trends are and how they might impact your library. In addition, we will discuss some of the various terms and acronyms that have entered our technical vocabulary during the course of the past year.
Richard Wayne, UT Southwestern Medical Library.

But the Technology Showcases were more problematic. There were (ironically) issues with the technology and getting internet connections. We also discussed how we might get more turnout, though it was thought that even very small sessions were good since the vendor could do individualized pitches.

I mentioned how good the search engine presentation had been and that I would love to see her back. I also said I would like to see a program more geared to specific uses of Web 2.0 technologies. I’ve heard a lot about how we need to use them because our patrons are using them, and about how cool they are, but not as much about the wonderful information opportunities they present. There still seems to be a certain amount of “it’s all so much glitter.” I’d like to see more examples of putting specific small things to really good use (like creating custom search engines and adding them to your subject page). I’ll be the first to admit that I thought, “Why would we need a library podcast? And who would listen to it?” But I was answered by my visit to the Westerville Public Library home page where I saw that it podcasts its story time. I would love to see a collection of these small adoptions of Web 2.0. I may have volunteered myself.

The business meeting ran long. I popped over to:

10:00 – 11:50 AM
Library Technology for New Generations with Marshall Breeding
Welcome to a new phase of innovation in library automation that responds to growing demands from Web-savvy users. The speaker reviews business and technology trends and offers his thoughts on the future.
Marshall Breeding, director for innovative technologies and research, Vanderbilt University Library
(Nashville, TN). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

It seemed awfully back-end, so I then headed to see our very own Julie at:

10:00 – 11:50 AM
Applying the Power of Personal Persuasion to Market Academic Libraries with Julie Todaro

Academic libraries are reassessing, rebranding, and re-marketing. This program introduces techniques and strategies for all levels of professionals to use in advocating for their library’s mission. Attendees will receive ACRL’s new toolkit on personal persuasion. A business meeting follows the program.
Julie B. Todaro, dean of library services, Austin Community College. Sponsored by the College and University Libraries Division.

The pdf of the ACRL toolkit is available online. I also have a copy of the handout. Both were so thorough that I didn’t take many notes.

My notes:

  • Answering the phone, “What can I do for you?” Positioning yourself as support and for reciprocation.
  • This is what we have for your discipline.
  • Position self as resident expert.
  • Be part of the social network.
  • Ask to be on department list-servs for subject area. (I don’t think Julie said this one, but it came to mind as something I might want to do from something she said.)

After Julie’s presentation I stayed for the CULD membership meeting. We talked about programs for next year, perhaps covering free and open source tools and the possibility of doing a hands on pre-conference at a computer lab in a school or public library. I mentioned that ATRT also wanted to do something hands on and would probably love to co-sponsor something like that. Another program I would love to see is one on teaching technology to underexposed users, people who are new to computers in general.

After the meeting I headed back to Austin for the Zilker Park Cactus show. It did not disappoint!


TLA Conference – Friday, April 13th, 2007

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2007 — ellie @ 4:52 pm

tla07.jpgDid you know I was born on Friday the 13th? July, not April, but it gives me a special warmth whenever the day and date line up.

Friday I spent much of the day fulfilling my obligation to volunteer 4 hours as part of the condition of my ATRT stipend. ATRT hosted the Net Fair and Technology Showcases in the exhibit hall. I helped set up internet connections, passed out some hand outs, and manned the booth a little. The Technology Showcase had 2 stations of vedors and I was going back and forth between them and the booth, so I didn’t get to see much. The Net Fair was only one booth, so I got to see a bit more there.

I do have some suggestions for organizing the volunteers next year. I wasn’t really sure who to report to or what I was supposed to be doing. This wasn’t a big deal as there wasn’t much going on, but a sheet of paper at the main booth saying “Welcome, thanks for volunteering, here’s what we need you to do (In this case, set up the laptops, here’s the DNS info), here’s who to call if you need help (someone with ATRT and someone with TLA or the convention center).” I also recommend having a flyer about what ATRT is, what we do, why you should join, something like that. Being brand new and a volunteer, I didn’t really know what to say when people asked me about the organization.

12 – 12:50 PM
What Can the Library of Texas Do for You: Federated Searching and Associated Service Enhancements for TexShare Libraries

Kevin Marsh, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Want to simplify commercial database searching for your patrons? Want to find resources in nearby libraries as well as online resources? Want to include local subscriptions as well as TexShare content? Considering a commercial federated search service? Wish it were all easier? Come see how the Library of Texas service can meet these needs and more at no cost to your library.

This was a look at the federated search feature at the Library of Texas provided by the Texas State Library. I have a one sheet handout on this which includes logging in, setting up collections and groups, ILL, and some features in the works.

On my lunch I took a whirlwind tour of the exhibits. Is it just me, or was about 90% of it for school libraries and/or children?

After lunch I was back to volunteering. This time I got to see Diane Neal present on usability.

2 – 2:50 pm
Through the Patrons’ Eyes: Library Web Site Usability

Diane Neal, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman’s University.
Your library’s website is a “virtual branch,” and you can’t always be there to help patrons navigate it. So, it is important for your website to be as easy to use as possible. Learn simple, inexpensive methods for determining whether your library’s website and OPAC are easily usable. Find out how to improve your library’s website based on their opinions.

She had a bibliography handout if anyone would like a copy. Her Power Point won’t be available until after some journal publication, but she suggested many easy ways to set up simply usability tests. She suggested focus groups of 5-10 people and questions such as “How often do you use the library Web site?” and “Did you find what you were looking for?”

My last session for the day was one I had been looking forward to:

3:00 – 3:50 PM
New Developments with Search Engines

Learn what’s new in the search engine world and what exciting changes are ahead. What new features are they offering? How have they changed their search functionality?
Nancy L. Buchanan, director, content development, Questia Media. Sponsored by the Automation and Technology Round Table.

And I was not disappointed! Nancy was a fabulous speaker and I was sad to hear she doesn’t have a personal page or blog. I have a handout with all the URLs she mentioned. Hopefully her presentation will wind up on the TLA site.

My notes:

  • The Big Guys
    • Google news archive – has NYT, so you can use it as a more detailed index. Can search by price – limit to free.
    • Google has a new notebook feature.
    • Ask is playing with the ideas of narrower/broader/related terms (see the left hand column after a search).
    • Yahoo shortcuts lets you select information by type.
    • Yahoo mindset lets you use a bubble scale to switch your results between shopping and researching, along with an indicator of where each result initially fell in the list.
  • Specialized, Automatic, and Human Intervention
    • Kosmix forces the reference interview. Interesting and useful view of results, currently limited to specific categories.
  • Visual Search Results
    • Grokker categorizes for you, clustering your search results.
  • She likes to search words to confuse the computer to see how it handles items like – “woods” (forrest vs. Tiger Woods) and “IRA” (finances vs. army)
  • Swiki – “Swikis are a cross between search engines and Wikipedia – the community can add, delete and improve the results. Please play around with the Harlem Renaissance Pathfinder Swiki created by Fullerton Public Library. What a great use of a new technology!
  • Google now also lets you make a personalized search like swiki.*
  • Like.com – shopping site that is completely visual, showing like items. Do a search and play with the features by adjusting which aspects are most important: color, shape, or pattern.
  • Retrievr will bring back images similar to the one you sketch. Try going for blue sky and snow. (Draw blue on the top of the drawing area.) It does better with simple queries.
  • There was also a list of places to compare search engines and keep up, including Search Engine Showdown and Search Engine Watch as well as checking in on Google Labs, Google’s blog and Librarian Central.

Sad I missed:

10:00 – 11:20 AM
Geeks Bearing Gifts: Unwrapping New Technology Trends

Attend this fast-paced and informative introduction to today’s hottest technology trends. Learn to identify and integrate them into traditional library services. A wide variety of technologies including instant messaging, podcasting, open source
software, blogs, and wikis will be demonstrated.
Michelle Malizia, public health outreach coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (Houston). Sponsored by the College and University Libraries Division.

10:00 – 11:50 AM
Immerse Yourself in Academic Library Instruction
Whether or not you have attended an
Association of College and Research Libraries Immersion program, you can benefit from its approach to teaching information literacy. Panel members discuss their experiences in Immersion and how they applied its concepts to their instruction programs, including both successes and ongoing challenges.
Celita DeArmond, instructor and reference and distance learning librarian, San Antonio College Library; Michelle Millet, information literacy coordinator, Trinity University (San Antonio); David Rankin, social sciences reference and government documents librarian, Texas A&M University-Commerce; and Linda A. Reeves, reference and instruction librarian, Northwest Vista College (San Antonio).

12:00 – 12:50 PM
What’s Driving Open Access?

This non-technical overview of the open access movement addresses progress with federal legislation, institutional repositories, and open access publishing, presses, and higher education projects. The speaker also covers how the open access movement may reshape academic library services.
Dorothea Salo, digital repository services librarian, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee.

12:00 – 12:50 PM
Take the Cloak of Invisibility Off Your E-Collections

To draw patrons past Google, we need to revolutionize how electronic resources are promoted. Making ‘E’ Visible author Lesley Williams suggests how librarians and vendors can “uncloak” electronic collections, such as TexShare databases.
Lesley Williams, head, information services, Evanston Public Library (IL). Sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Electronic Resources and Serials Management Round Table.

While I missed this one, I did look up the presenter’s paper, “Making ‘E’ Visible” ahead of time. Worth a read, though the biggest push seems to be to make vendors market to users directly.

2:50 PM
Mentoring Students Through Student Group Organizations

Connecting with student organizations at the University of North Texas is discussed as an alternative means of teaching library skills to students.
Randy Wallace, librarian II, University of North Texas.

At the end of the day I met up with a friend for dinner. We stopped by Half Priced Books and I picked up a few treasures. Did you know that Half Priced Books offers a 10% discount to librarians? It’s good to network!

* In relation to the search engine session, I updated my Astronomy subject page to include a Google specialized search. I plan on doing this for each of my pages as I do the rounds of updating them.


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.


TLA Conference – Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Filed under: Conferences,TLA 2007 — ellie @ 3:03 am

Welcome to my TLA 2007 Annual Conference experience – day 1. I believe Wednesday was technically a pre-conference day, but there were some conference events. It was also an adjustment day for me. I hadn’t made arrangements to meet up with any fellow librarians and I didn’t run into anyone I knew while I was there. So being the shy-in-new-situations person that I am, I ended up heading home after the sessions rather than have dinner (alone) while waiting to head off to the welcome party (alone). Lesson learned: If, like me, you’re one of those people who hates to venture out to new social situations alone – plan your down time ahead of time, especially for pre-conference.

Wednesday I went to a two part session:

1:00pm – 2:50pm
Invigorate Collaboration with Gary Hartzell, Part 1
Collect strategies for “closing the deal” with reluctant colleagues to develop successful partnerships and collaborative initiatives at your school. Attend Part 2 (follows immediately) to learn how to develop a plan for stronger working relationships.
by Gary Hartzell, professor emeritus, Department of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee and Professional Rights, Responsibilities, and Recruitment Committee.

3:00 – 4:50 PM
Invigorate Collaboration with Gary Hartzell, Part 2
In a continuation of the “closing the deal” discussion from Part 1, learn how to develop a successful action plan for becoming an influential player at your school.
by Gary Hartzell, professor emeritus, Department of Educational Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sponsored by the Conference Program Committee and Professional Rights, Responsibilities, and Recruitment Committee.

Gary Hartzell was an engaging and entertaining speaker. Apologies if I cause any age offense, but he reminds me of my dad in that older businessman ease and affability. So I immediately liked him. The presentation was definitely geared to K-12 school librarians, but I tried to keep my mind open to ways to apply the information to a Community College setting. We were told that handouts will be available on the TLA site. I’ll try to remember to link to them when they become available.

My notes from the session:

Part 1:

  • Watch out for the vehicle eclipsing the goal. That is, keep in mind the goal of benefiting students rather than focusing on collaboration for collaboration’s sake.
  • Concentrate on quality collaborations. Don’t judge your results by quantifying the number of collaborations.
  • Schools are cellular. This structure affects the culture. Norms of isolation and autonomy. “I don’t want to share my kids.” “I decide what my kids are going to do.” Collaboration decreases autonomy and increases scrutiny. Teachers are not used to being watched by another adult. Sense of being judged. This violates isolation and privacy norms.
  • Librarians see library as academic center. Teachers see classroom as academic center.*
  • Teachers do not see librarians as teachers or colleagues. Teachers see librarians as support staff.
  • These threats can be reduced by showing the rewards. Publicize how collaborative projects have helped students.
  • Have concrete attainable goals and objectives. Start from the end – What will this look like when it’s done? How will we know it worked?
  • Ask for training on how to deal with other adults – communication and conflict resolution.
  • You cannot collaborate with everyone. Use volunteers only, avoid mandated collaboration. If you are approached, choose carefully – top people only. Why? Successful experience begets success. A recommendation from a non-respected teacher doesn’t help you. Other teachers will listen to a respected teacher. “Social proof” Your first line targets should be the best/most innovative/excited teacher on staff.
  • Adapt your teaching style to work with/accommodate the teacher. Flexibility is paramount.
  • When research is presented on teaching techniques, ask at what level it was done. Kids are different at different ages.
  • You must treat teachers with difference amount of experiences differently. (Someone fresh out of school vs. about to retire.) Consult the research on work/life cycles of education. Also be aware of sub-cultural considerations. Vocational vs. academic.
  • Think of all these parts as a kaleidoscope – that’s the flexibility you have to pursue. Many parts shifting into place, different in different circumstances, each beautiful.
  • Start small, remember you’re a threat, the whole experience is a threat. Small wins encourage people and open the door to other small wins. Based on the idea that your first task should be something they can easily accomplish and you work up from there.

10 minute break.

Part 2:

  • Strategies for action plans:
    • A high ability/high confidence teacher is more likely to trust a collaborator.
    • Make what you do obvious/visible.
    • Look up their association – see what the buzzwords are. You will be more respected.
  • Trust is a 3 legged stool: competence, integrity, commitment.
  • Competence buys personal indulgence. Visibly do your job well.
  • Tie what you do to what they do. Show how you can make them do their job better, that your success contributes to their success.
  • An implementation dip WILL happen. Change is hard. Performance will go down until the adjustment period is over.
  • Relationships are based on what others:
    • think we’re like
    • sense we can give
    • think we need from them
  • Attributes of successful collaborators:
    • likability
    • expertise
    • integrity
    • energy and focused effort
    • sensitivity to context
  • Stress shared concerns, talk about student needs.
  • Humans are vulnerable to flattery. Compliments say you are worthy. In our culture your job often defines you, so a compliment to doing your job well is big. Praise the teacher to the principal and cc the teacher. This increases your reputation with the principal (for being able to spot good work) and the teacher (for the praise).
  • Be aggressive in establishing ongoing relationships.
  • Technical expertise vs. systems expertise. We offer systems expertise. Learn enough technical to relate.
  • Don’t say “Call me if you need help.” That makes them admit failure. Instead say “I can help you with that. I have these things in the library. I can show you and talk about how we can use them.”
  • You won’t draw people in by positioning yourself as the expert.
  • Convince them that you know their work pressures. Context of their lives.
  • Get involved. Ask questions. Make and take the opportunities to observe people.

*Here he joking proposed an idyllic school with the library literally at the center and all the classrooms encircling it, but said, no, the library is always down at the end of the hall, sectioned away. That just made me remember that in my elementary school the library was at one end of the building, but with all of the 4th and 5th grade classrooms forming an outer circle around it.