I had a great time at ALA this year. Because of my NMRT and other committee commitments, I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend many programs, but I did enjoy meeting lots of interesting folks and catching up with friends at my meetings and evening social events!
The one educational program I went to, “Riding the Publishing Rollercoaster: Practical Strategies from Research to Writing,” was amazing, and I’m so glad I found the time to make it to the program! It was later in the day on Monday when lots of folks had already gone home, but the room was still packed to a somewhat uncomfortable standing-room-only. It consisted of a panel of experienced authors and editors providing advice for librarians who wish to publish.
I’ve attached my notes from the program to this post. Please check them out!
My fiance cannot comprehend ALA. He’s a math professor and goes to lots of math conferences every year, but even the largest of them can’t hold a candle to ALA Annual. To give you some perspective, the biggest math conference of the year can fit in New Orleans at the same time two other academic disciplines (political science and religious studies) are holding their conferences in the city!
And then there’s ALA. We’re so big that there are only a few cities in the country that can hold us–20-28 thousand strong. (You can see past conference attendance figures here.) Local businesses put out welcome signs for us. You might not think it, but even without our conference badges on, we stand out. You put that many librarians together in one place, and there are going to be a lot of parties; my fiance still finds this hard to believe, but librarians are some pretty hard partyers. Even at my relatively smallish state conference, folks stay up until the wee hours of the morning at the one conference-sponsored social. You put this many people together who only get to talk in person once or twice a year and there’s bound to be some late nights. One conference guide I read actually recommends taking hydration tablets for when you’ve been up till 2 but have a meeting at 8am! And guess who’s taking him up on that?
What does all this mean? So many interesting sessions happening concurrently that my planned conference schedule usually has about 4 programs for every time slot. Free books. LOTS of free books. Vendors giving out booze and snacks in the Exhibit Hall (the fact that the Exhibit Hall alone takes 4-5 hours to get through is also a source of amazement).
And, oh yeah, the most important part: the sheer energizing giddiness of spending 4 straight days with people who are just as excited and passionate about the profession as you. Going to ALA is my absolute favorite part of being a librarian: it affirms all the reasons I became one, inspires me with ideas on how to become a better one, and going has always led to so many opportunities to get involved and connections that have turned into longstanding professional ties. And it’s just so much fun, even for an introvert like me–the book signings, the cooking stage, hearing literary heroes and professional crushes speak (I was in the front row for Neil Gaiman’s talk with Nancy Pearl last year!), all the amazing things other people are doing in their libraries.
I get on the plane to Anaheim tomorrow. I can’t wait!
Too busy to write a narrative, but here are my notes from the sessions I attended at VLA! I’ll add links to the session presentations once they’re posted on the VLA site.
- Motivation 101 with Nan Carmack (slides here)
- Motivation 3.0: doing a task for the love for the task
- In order to motivate your employees, you need to do 3 things: your motivational strategy must develop, involve, and validate your employees
- How to involve your staff?
- Think of things that would motivate you to be more excited about your job
- Think of things your department could implement that would help motivate
- No one can make you feel unmotivated without your consent
- Free Tech Tools for Better Library Instruction by Jennifer Whicker, Kathy Shields, and Amy Pace
- Teens Can Read, But What Comes After the Young Adult Titles (slides here)
- Display of adult crossover books in YA section
So, between preparing 2 posters and 2 presentations for ALA Annual and tying up loose ends at work–I’ve accepted a position as an assistant branch manager for a public library system–I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon.
The semester’s going well for the most part–everything is MUCH easier, having already taught it all last semester–and several of my students from the winter have dropped by to give me hugs and say hi. We just finished playing Jeopardy as a review for the take-home midterm, and I think in the future–if I ever have a small class again–I want to alter the format to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? instead. Jeopardy works great in larger classes, because most of the fun comes from the class being rowdy and smack-talking the other teams; my teeny Friday night classes are just too well-behaved. The WWtBaM format would be more dynamic with a smaller group, I think. “Ask the Audience” could be turned into “Ask Google”; 50/50 would work the same way; and I could have name their “phone-a-friend” (another classmate) before the game starts. I’ll have to do some research and see if anyone else has used the WWtBaM format.
If you’re going to be in New Orleans for ALA and want to meet up, I’ll be giving presentations/acting as hostess at the following programs/events:
Friday, 3-4pm @ MCC 271-273: Emerging Leaders Poster Session
Friday, 5:30-7pm @ Howlin’ Wolf Den (907 S. Peters St.) for ACRL-IS Soiree (I co-chaired the committee that planned this)
Saturday, 8-10am @ MCC 293-296: ACRL 101 (helping out as part of EL project)
Saturday, 1-2:30 @ MCC Exhibit Hall booth 2556, table 4: Congratulations! You’ve Landed an Interview: Now What Do Hiring Committees Really Want? (results of this survey)
Saturday, 4-5:30 @ MCC 271-273: LLAMA/NMRT New Leaders Discussion Group
Sunday, 12-1:30 @ ALA JobLIST Placement Center (in Exhibit Hall): Inside an Interview: Understanding What Hiring Committees Want (more detailed results of this survey)
See you in NOLA!
So I mentioned earlier this week that my lesson plan on plagiarism didn’t go too well–an introduction to plagiarism through an NPR piece, followed by an activity that had the kids each read a different newspaper article on plagiarism/copyright violations in different industries (fashion, publishing, news, etc.) and then summarize it for the class. Well, the NPR segment is interesting (to me!) but ten minutes is too long for my kids to listen to something without any sort of activity or visuals; it’s just a lecture, only not given by me! And as I mentioned Monday, the newspaper articles were too long and it just wasn’t an entertaining enough activity.
Well, in the interim, I had peer-reviewed a really quite engaging interactive tutorial on plagiarism for MERLOT. So after a brief opening discussion on plagiarism and how it relates to copyright (which was covered in the first half of class), I had them walk through the tutorial, which involves selecting one of four students majoring in various fields as your avatar, and going through the research process as it relates to plagiarism–with all of its dead ends and pitfalls–with that student. It included questions throughout the tutorial where the student had to choose which statement needed a citation, which one was plagiarism, etc.
The students seemed much more engaged with this than the NPR segment I played Friday, asking me questions about the answers they’d gotten wrong in order to figure out why they were wrong. Yay! I followed the tutorial up by having students partner up to complete the activity from the end of the Library Instruction book lesson that I hadn’t used on Friday. The activity quotes a two-paragraph section of an article, and then has three “student” samples that use this article, and asks whether each–or any–of the student samples show plagiarism, and if so, why. This was also an enlightening activity for my students; they all caught the sample that was blatant word-for-word, uncited plagiarism, but I had to explain that the sample which also quoted the original article word-for-word–but cited–was still plagiarizing. They don’t really understand what paraphrasing is or how to do it or that even re-working an author’s words into your own requires citation. I’m hoping to get one of the English instructors in at some point to help clarify this for them.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with how class went last night and think I’ll be sticking with this format–perhaps with some minor modifications–in the future!
I haven’t posted on here for a while because the semester wound down, I got a week off (yay!), and a new one has since commenced; it is now week 4 (out of 15) of the summer semester. I haven’t done much teaching so far as the first few weeks are spent doing housekeeping like going over the syllabus and creating an APA template (which, unbelievably, takes over an hour!). I did try a new plagiarism activity, though, that I got from one of those Library Instruction books I’ve mentioned. It involves giving each student a newspaper article that discusses how people in various professions (politics, fashion, music) have plagiarized and then gotten called on it, and then having them discuss the article with the class. This didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped–the activity is meant for a larger class; I only had 5 students last Friday, so each student got a different article. It’s also a lot of reading for first-semester students to handle in class; they aren’t quick readers. I’ll try something different when I teach my other section this Thursday.
I did attend a local workshop on patron-driven acquisition and e-book readers, though! I didn’t have much to take notes on since the information, while interesting, was much less applicable to my day job than I was expecting.
VLACRL Spring 2011 Program
May 9, 2011
Virginia Commonwealth University
Greg Raschke: “Clay Shirkey, Fantasy Football, and the Future of Library Collections”
• Economics are not sustainable
• Need to lower cost of overall cost
• Supply-side collections
• Print-based , unpredictable demand, and legitimate need for just-in-case
• Demand-driven collections
• Not just PDA, but a portfolio of approaches
• Reducing unit cost – data analysis
• Scope your titles: put enough money in budget
• Time-honored role as custodians of scholarship vs. enabling digital environment for
• Fantasy football: Meets a need, it’s fun
Program slides/materials (scroll down to 2011 ACRL Spring Symposium, May 9, 2011)