Are you passionate about academic libraries? If so, the ULS Current Topics Discussion group wants you! Check out their call for discussion group leaders/presenters for the 2014 ALA Annual Conference meeting.
Author: Tarida Anantachai, Resident Librarian, Syracuse University Libraries
With ALA Midwinter fast approaching, ACRL-ULS will be busy with plenty of meetings and discussion groups (for more information, check out this list of ULS Activities at ALA Midwinter 2014). Midwinter also kicks off another cycle of the Emerging Leaders (EL) Program, bringing together early career professionals from all walks of librarianship as they embark on a series of leadership trainings and a six-month group project, the latter of which is presented at a poster session at the following ALA Annual Conference.
Last year, I was honored be sponsored by ACRL-ULS to take part in the Program, and am still extremely grateful for the amazing experiences and connections that that came as a direct result of it. ALA Midwinter marks the official start of the program, during which ELs engage in interactive workshop discussions on topics related to leadership and collaborative work, and meet their project teammates to initiate the next six months’ worth of work. I was grouped with three incredible academic librarians to collaborate on an ACRL-sponsored project, which (as with a few other EL projects) was actually a continuation of a previous EL team’s work. For this iteration, our specific goals were centered on orienting new and potential ACRL members to their first ALA Annual Conference, as well as to ACRL as an organization. In addition to our eventual poster presentation, my teammates and I led two live pre-conference webinars via Adobe Connect in order to do so. As such, over the course of the next six months we engaged in activities including evaluating the previous EL teams’ contributions, conducting surveys and interviews with our target audience, implementing a communication plan, and, ultimately, producing and assessing our webinars in conjunction with ACRL representatives. My teammates and I worked extremely well together over the course of the six months, staying in close contact with each other and utilizing various virtual platforms to organize our documents and ideas, including e-mail, Google Docs, and even conferencing within Adobe Connect itself. At the same time, we also received incredible support from our team mentor and the ACRL officers involved. It really was a dynamic and collaborative process, and when it finally came time for us to take the stage, I think we all had a lot of fun!
Overall, I think our finished product(s)—not just the poster, webinars, and other deliverables, but also our collective growth throughout the process—was successful. And while most of our EL experience was amongst each other, it is worth mentioning that additional virtual trainings were also provided to the whole EL cohort between the two conferences, further supplementing our continuing education within the Program. Reuniting at ALA Annual after many months of work was rewarding yet bittersweet, as it marked the end of our formal teamwork. Yet as with any collaboration, the connections we made with each other and the other participants were just as valuable and have since been sustained; in fact, we have continued to stay in touch and even discussed working together in other future capacities. Since then, I have also been fortunate to work on some ALA committees, including those within ACRL-ULS; in many ways, I credit the Program for opening doors towards such committee involvement, and in general, for introducing me to so many inspiring and talented colleagues along the way.
I genuinely enjoyed being an EL, and am so excited for the next cohort as they begin their own EL journeys. I was similarly delighted to discover that ACRL-ULS would be generously supporting another participant this year: Nataly Blas, current Diversity Resident Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, MLIS graduate of Florida State University, Spectrum Scholar, and all-around fantastic librarian. But for more about her, stay tuned for her forthcoming blog post! ‘Til then, best of luck to her and the rest of the Class of 2014, and we look forward to seeing the amazing things to come as you begin your own “Emergence!”
If you are heading to Midwinter in Philly, please take note of our events and meetings that are happening.
For the first time ULS will be hosting an All Committee Meeting. Almost all the committees in ULS will be represented at the time slot. Some will be having a meeting which you are welcome to join (regardless of being on that committee) and some will just have a representative there to chat with any interested members about volunteering with ULS. (Learn more about ULS committees here & note that we are accepting volunteers for committees now too!) You are also welcome to attend the separate discussion group meetings and PLEASE come to our social on Saturday night! Details on all are below.
Beth Filar Williams
Chair ULS 2013/14
ULS All Committees Meeting
1/25, SAT 10:30-11:30, LOEWS-Congress A
Campus Administration and Leadership Discussion Group
1/25, SAT 3:00-4:00, PCC-303 AB, Topics: partnering with Grants & Contracts offices
Committee on the Future of University Libraries
1/26, SUN 8:30-10:00, PCC-118 C
Evidence-Based Practices Discussion Group
1/26, SUN 10:30-11:30, PCC-307 A
Mid-Level Managers Discussion Group
1/26, SUN 10:30-11:30, PCC-308
Public Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group
1/26, SUN 4:30-6:30, PCC-307 B
ULS Social (ACRL ULS)
1/25, SAT 5:30-7:00 at the Field House, 1150 Filbert St. 19107
Find out more here & sign up to attend on the ULS Facebook page (linked above)
Author: Cinthya Ippoliti, Head, Teaching and Learning Services, University of Maryland Libraries
Editor’s note: “Putting the “Learning” Back in the Learning Commons” is the fourth in a series of blog postings, “Tips from the Trenches,” by Cinthya Ippoliti.
Workshops are a natural extension of the services of the commons. These days there are a wide variety of offerings geared towards giving students the basic skills they need to either use the equipment and software in the commons or learn about basic tools such as citation management programs.
But is there more? This Fall in the Terrapin Learning Commons (TLC), we decided to try something different. We began in Fall of 2012 with an informal TLC Workshop Series in response to need for citation management support. There was no one library department who “owned” it, so we began with Endnote Web and expanded to include other citation management tools such as Zotero as well as additional skill-based sessions on poster printing utilizing our new printer. We had over 100 students enroll in these various workshops and the initial feedback suggested we should continue to offer these types of learning opportunities.
In the meantime, digital badges arrived and we wanted to see if we could formalize learning while offering students something a little extra. This Fall, students attended in-person workshops under four main tracks, taught by a variety of experts across the libraries:
1. Visual literacy/Primary Sources
2. Multimedia software and techniques
3. Citation Management
4. Production: Poster and 3d Printing
They had the option to enroll in a Canvas course comprised of matching modules which became available after the last workshop ended and access additional readings and videos as well as quizzes designed to test their learning of the in-person elements as well as the content for each module. Upon passing each module with a 75% or better, they could earn a badge for each of the four competencies. The opportunity to win an iPad was probably the main motivating factor-we will assess this for future offerings.
Five people enrolled, two finished the entire course. Their average scores at the end of the class were 91.7% and 97.5% respectively. What did we learn from this experience and what are our takeaways?
• The numbers of attendees has decreased, while our workload has increased especially with this new curriculum. It simply might be that students do not want to devote the additional time to another “course” outside of their classes
• Interest in some things like poster printing is no longer high-presumably students know how to use the equipment
• The workshops are not always held at a convenient time for students and in-person may not be the best format
• There is no disciplinary context for the content, so students might not see it as relevant
• How do we accommodate the just-in-time vs just-in-case needs? We need a more flexible curriculum
We are planning on gathering feedback from all those who attended our workshops (34), not just those who completed the course, to determine how we can improve. We will also determine if we can offer more online content for the workshops where appropriate. Finally, we will collaborate with specific campus-wide partners to see where in the existing curriculum a format such as this might best fit. For example, might a freshman orientation course benefit from having this type of online content tied to specific competencies that could be assessed for a badge? Or might this fit better in a broader academic setting where a campus-wide badge might be awarded?
We are still exploring all of the possibilities available to us, but the idea of creating an original curriculum that goes beyond offering independent workshops for students has intrigued us and is challenging us to discover what lies ahead.
Did you miss last week’s LITA Forum? Then be sure to catch next week’s free webinar!
WHAT: LITA Forum Lightning Round-Up!
A free webinar presented by the ACRL-ULS Technology & Libraries Committee. This post-conference online session will provide attendees with an overview of some of the best presentations from LITA in Louisville, KY. Speakers from a variety of university libraries will present overviews of what they learned at the conference in a lightning-round fashion.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 19, 1-2 pm Central / 2-3 pm Eastern
REGISTER NOW: Go to the Google registration form. You will be emailed the link to the live webinar as the date approaches.
Author: Cinthya Ippoliti, Head, Teaching and Learning Services, University of Maryland Libraries
Editor’s note: “Ebooks, ebooks everywhere and not a helpful link” is the third in a series of blog postings, “Tips from the Trenches,” by Cinthya Ippoliti.
With the increased presence of ebooks in our collections, the UMD Libraries are attempting to address the needs of our users by conducting an internal usability testing project to identify issues such as accessibility, discoverability and general functionality. This project will lead to the creation of a troubleshooting guide for users as well as accompanying programming slated for Spring in the Terrapin Learning Commons in the form of an open house where we will work with our campus community to get readers and devices ebook ready. This seems to be the most logical unit to provide this type of support as ebooks cut across subject areas and disciplines and present more technological issues as opposed to content-related challenges.
So what are the issues we’re encountering and how do we translate them into an opportunity to assist our users? For the purposes of this testing, we’re using data collected via our LibAnswers system, but this could easily be the subject of a needs assessment survey or similar effort. Most of our e-book issues have to do with discoverability and accessibility. Patrons simply don’t know what titles we have available. We have had very few questions regarding e-book downloading to a particular reader. Most users simply want access – we have not had too many questions regarding check-out or keeping permanent copies either. It seems that most people have a particular chapter or section they need and as long as they can get access to that content, that’s their priority.
We’ve also heard from liaisons that they are getting questions from faculty about how to use e-books and we don’t have a good system in place for referring them to additional support. While we can troubleshoot accessibility issues such as links to titles we should own, there is no one area of the libraries that deals with the other sets of problems, such as vendor imposed limits on checking items out, formatting/printing and self-service options for more advanced users.
Our testing consists of the following activities and equipment with a volunteer group of about 12 staff from a variety of units and departments:
o Specify what vendors and titles to test
o Have a good variety of devices
o Try to “break” each e-book and test all possible options
o Each person should be testing every title
o We will then combine results from those who are using the same or similar devices for a comprehensive look at all the issues based on vendors, platforms and readers
1. iPhone 5
2. iPad or other tablet (Dell tablet and Android)
3. iPad mini
7. Microsoft surface
We are also interested in asking the following types of questions regarding functionality:
1. Checkout and downloading options
2. File formats such as PDF’s or other
3. Capability to save, print and take notes
4. Necessity to use third party software
Testing is currently under way, and we hope to utilize the results of our study to create a troubleshooting guide and host an e-book open house in Spring 2014 based on a “petting zoo” approach to assist users who bring their own devices to get them set up, troubleshoot on the spot, and pre-load specific titles.
So what are the takeaways for this type of testing?
• This does not have to be a formal committee or initiative-we were able to purchase a modest amount of devices for those who did not already own one
• Internal testing is key-chances are if you’re having issues, so will your users
• There should be a unit or area that takes the lead in support and troubleshooting, otherwise users will not know where to go and there will not be a centralized effort
• Use existing or collect whatever data you need to help you decide where to start, as that’s often the most challenging aspect
Members-Only Online Discussion: Surveys in Libraries
brought to by the ACRL-ULS Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group
The ULS Membership Committee is pleased to provide a free online discussion for ULS members on Monday, December 2 at 1-2pm EST.
To register, go to: http://ala.adobeconnect.com/
Surveys in Libraries:
Want to know how well your library meets the needs of your faculty? Whether students understand how to navigate the library’s resources? Surveys are a great tool for learning about your patrons’ perceptions of your library services and how well your library meets their needs, but they can also be a waste of time for everyone involved if they are not done correctly.
Join an online discussion where four expert survey users will encourage discussion on how to get the best results when constructing your own survey OR using pre-existing surveys. This ACRL ULS online discussion is brought to you by the Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group.
Wendy Begay (Librarian, Tohono O’odham Nation) will explain the importance of actionable surveys to libraries.
Jason Martin (Head of Public Services, Stetson University) will speak on proper survey construction including the use of a blueprint and question types.
Rick Stoddart (Assessment Librarian, Oregon State University) will talk about the Counting Opinions survey as an alternative to LibQual.
Lisa Horowitz (Assessment Librarian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) will discuss her experiences adding a library-related question to a series of campus-wide surveys.
Author: Cinthya Ippoliti, Head, Teaching and Learning Services, University of Maryland Libraries
Editor’s note: “To 3D Print or Not to 3D Print?” is the second in a series of blog postings, “Tips from the Trenches,” by Cinthya Ippoliti.
To 3D Print or Not to 3D Print?
Part of the mission of the learning commons is to stay on the cutting edge of technology. So it’s no surprise that we’ve installed a 3d printer as a first and small step towards thinking about a makerspace in the Terrapin Learning Commons and the libraries as a whole.
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool because to date, we’ve received about 10 questions a day regarding its use and several students have printed some “fun” items. So what kinds of things did we have to consider when adding this tool? First, we had to decide what type of printer to purchase. Our IT partners were instrumental in helping us buy a MakerBot 2X-not so high-end that we couldn’t afford it, but cool enough to attract attention.
What about policies and cost? This was fairly simple as these types of printers are becoming more and more mainstream. But there are still some logistics involved. Charge by the length of time it takes to print something or by its weight? Should students have a file ready to go or would we help them create it? We decided to charge 20c/gram and provide technical assistance for the students who wanted it, while simply processing the job for those who didn’t.
Should printing require mediation or be more self-service? At first we wanted to retain some control over the printer given that we ourselves had to learn how to use it, so it is comfortably perched behind our TLC Tech Desk in full-view and garners at least a few interested onlookers who watch its systematic, layer by layer whirring each day.
Finally, what happens if a job goes wrong? For now we’re willing to re-print something if it’s our fault and we’re keeping things in a pilot mode. We’ve created a basic webpage with all of this information in order to assist students and give them an idea of what to expect: http://www.lib.umd.edu/tlc/tlc-tech-desk
So what’s next for us? A few hands-on workshops and continued publicity with the goal of reaching out to others on campus who might be interested in either using this type of tool or providing programming and additional activities revolving around makerspaces. We see a strong connection with those taking classes in human computer interaction, the sciences as well as the arts.
What are the takeaways if you are interested in setting up this type of service?
1. A recurring theme is collaboration-find out who knows about these tools and invite them to meet with you to identify potential partnerships and support.
2. Start small-we only have one printer for now and we’re going to strategically build up this model, but it will take time and we don’t want to rush into anything we can’t sustain.
3. It’s ok to make mistakes and learn as you go-that’s part of the process, just keep things flexible and adjust as needed.
Greetings ULS Community!
As the current Chair of ULS for this year 2013/14, I wanted to say hello and share some information to our over 4,475 ULS members! (# as of August 2013).
1) Celebrate our Accomplishments
Every year ACRL leaders of the sections, interest groups, and chapters report the activities and programs that their unit carried out in support of the ACRL Plan for Excellence. Check out the report for ULS for FY13 (June 2012-July 2013) by Past-Chair Stephanie Atkins on ULS ALA Connect site.
2) Join the Online Conversations
ULS is looking for more ways to engage our members – especially for those who may not be able to travel to conferences – and to continue conversations from conference events. We have folks in ULS leadership with experience conducting online learning sessions (like our TULScommittee’s lightning round ups!) who are helping coordinate with various ULS committees for content and topics. ULS Exec has decided to try offering at least two “Online Discussions” for our members to join in virtually this year. Details will be coming soon but hold the date Dec 2, 2-3 pm EST for the first ACRL ULS Online Discussion!
3) Network and Connect
Are you planning to attend Midwinter in Philly? We are trying a new idea this year for ULS committees. We will have one All-Committee Meeting (tentative) SAT JAN 25, 10:30-11:30am where most committees in ULS will represent. Those on these committees can meet up for a meeting, but other interested members can stop by and learn more. Some committees will still have their own timeslot at midwinter - especially those who do discussion groups: Campus Admin and Leadership DG, Committee on the Future of Libraries, Evidence-based Practices DG and Mid-Level Managers DG. (Find out more about all the ULS committees) Note: We also will not host an in-person meeting for ULS Exec at Midwinter but rather will be hosting an online meeting after the conference.
4) Network and Connect with ULS virtually
I’m excited about the possibilities this year and hope you all will find ways to get involved, network, learn, and share. Please contact me if you have any thoughts or ideas or questions!
beth filar williams
University Libraries Section Chair
Join ACRL for the e-Learning webcast, “The Publishing Rollercoaster – Writers Sound Off,” on Wednesday, October 9 (1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Central). Expand your knowledge of professional publishing from concept through research, submission, revision, and publication. Bringing first-hand experience of the writing and publishing process, the webcast panelists will share their experiences while presenting strategies and tips for those who are hoping to get published for the first time, or who wish to grow their skills.
- Develop critical skills to improve their writing process, including strategies for getting published.
- Gain a thorough understanding of the professional publishing world.
- Make connections with others around the country to expand possibilities for collaborative writing projects.
Presenter(s): Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College; Christopher Hollister, Associate Librarian, University of Buffalo Libraries; Angela Courtney, Head, Arts & Humanities Department/Head, Reference Services Department, Indiana University Libraries; Moderator: Melinda Dermondy, Syracuse University
Registration materials are available online, and group registration and other discounts are available. Visit the webcast site for additional details. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 280-2522 with questions.