Feb 13 2017

Deadline to Volunteer for ACRL Committees is February 15

There’s still time to volunteer to serve on an ACRL committee! The deadline is this Wednesday, February 15th. Consider volunteering with ULS, the largest section of ACRL. To help you learn more about the opportunities available with ULS and the types of work you might contribute to, we’ve made these LibGuides:

We hope these guides help you find a volunteer opportunity that would be a fit based on your interests, available time, and professional goals.

A special thanks to Nancy Gibson and the rest of the ULS Procedures Committee for helping to put these guides together.

Find the ACRL committee volunteer form here: http://www.ala.org/acrl/membership/volunteer/volunteer

Thank you for considering becoming involved with ACRL ULS!


Feb 03 2017

2017 ULS Candidate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Nicole Sump-Crethar

Nicole Sump-Crethar is one of two candidates this year for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect. She is an Associate Professor and Head of Digital Resources and Discovery Services at Oklahoma State University. Read this interview to learn more about Nicole and what her goals would be if elected as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect.


Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.

My very first library job was in the archives. I absolutely loved it and even though I worked in a couple of different libraries in between when I finally landed at Oklahoma State University, I knew I was in the right place for me.





How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?

I joined ULS in 2008 shortly after arriving at Oklahoma State University. I was new to university librarianship. People who work in universities know that there are differences that aren’t always easy for a newcomer to navigate. My ULS colleagues were always patient and helpful.


In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?

For my department, linked data has been an important focus of our efforts. Technical services is seeing some pretty dramatic shifts in how we work and where to apply increasingly limited resources. There are so many wonderful things in our libraries, and we want to link them to the wider world. My state recently became a hub for DPLA and our institutional repository is a joint project with other universities in the state, but there is more that needs to be done and linked data is an efficient way to spread out more. Of course, anything that makes accurate information more accessible is critical in an age of alternative facts and fake news.


What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?

University libraries are in a unique position to lead efforts to save data from oblivion and educate people on filtering fact from fiction. ULS can help us better coordinate our efforts and leverage our resources. Continuing to build on the section’s work in professional development and networking to help us tackle the enormous challenges we face in the coming years is critical.


Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?

In recent years we’ve already made some great changes to become more agile in terms of committee make-up and charge as well as adding in more web-based discussions to help members feel connected throughout the year. I’d like to see us build on the work that has already started so we can stay nimble and responsive to our membership.


Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.

I was a copy cataloger and a storytime lady in my past life. I have been told my Tarzan yell is excellent.


Read our interview with the other candidate for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Kerry Creeland, here: http://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/2017-uls-candidate-for-vice-chairchair-elect-kerry-creelman/

Feb 03 2017

2017 ULS Candidate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Kerry Creelman

Kerry Creelman is one of two candidates this year for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect. She is the Coordinator of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach at the University of Houston. Read this interview to learn more about Kerry and what her goals would be if elected as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect.


Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.

I’m Canadian and have been living in Texas for the past 7 and a half years. I started my career as the English Librarian, and am now the Coordinator of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach at the University of Houston. I became interested in academic librarianship while I was completing my Masters in English Literature and teaching Freshman Composition. Collaborating with Instruction Librarians to teach information literacy concepts introduced me to a career option I hadn’t previously considered. The opportunity to work across disciplines with faculty and students, to conduct research and to impact teaching and learning in higher education through library advocacy was so exciting that I enrolled in library school with the goal of becoming an academic librarian.


How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?

I’ve been a member of ULS since 2012 and have served on the Academic Outreach Committee since 2012, becoming co-chair in 2013. ULS attracted me because of its comprehensive approach to university libraries issues. I was looking to engage in conversations about topics ranging from instruction and outreach to management and scholarly communications, through the higher education lens. ULS provides a welcoming, collaborative community within which I can consider these issues and learn from colleagues across the country.


In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?

I am excited to see the academic library’s role in the teaching & learning and research mission evolving within higher education. Academic librarians are engaging in teaching and learning conversations in innovative ways. Conversations around information literacy instruction and student learning assessment have become more exciting with the introduction of the ACRL Framework. Discussions of threshold concepts, critical information literacy, social justice in the library classroom and how all of this informs faculty collaborations are invigorating. These conversations provide great opportunities to share, debate, and learn from one another in ways that will lead to meaningful learning opportunities for our students.

University libraries are central to the evolution and success of scholarly communications initiatives as we are partners and leaders in the curation, production, dissemination, and preservation of scholarly output in a changing information landscape. And we are developing new systems to protect and disseminate research data and scholarship on evolving platforms. As the research lifecycles of our faculty and students change, we are adapting our spaces, services, technologies, and collections to meet and exceed their research needs.


What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?

As one of the largest ACRL sections, I want to ensure that ULS committees and discussion groups are meeting the needs of our members. Many university libraries are currently concerned with succession planning and leadership development. ULS just created a new Professional Development Committee and I look forward to the new online programming opportunities this committee will provide. I’m eager to continue to explore new ways to meet the needs of our members as well as to ensure they are aware of, and have easy access to, our existing resources and programs.

I aim to ensure committees and members are aware of the section’s charge, as well as its resources and opportunities for involvement. We offer a number of quality programs, discussion groups, listserv and social media discussions and other resources where members who face common opportunities and challenges can engage, share lessons learned, and support one another. I want to increase awareness of these opportunities with a renewed focus on marketing and promotion.

Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?

I see ULS becoming more relevant to academic librarians as we navigate an ever-changing role within higher education. We need to continue to evaluate the relevance of existing committees and discussion groups, as well as be flexible and proactive in revising priorities, charges, and activities in order to respond to the evolving challenges and opportunities facing academic libraries. As we identify new needs, or information gaps, we can create opportunities to engage and support our members.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.

I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, and yoga. I’m also trying to learn Spanish. I was a competitive swimmer throughout school and my varsity career, specializing in sprint butterfly and freestyle events. I now compete on a part-time basis for a Masters team, but it’s mostly social.


Read our interview with the other candidate for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Nicole Sump-Crethar, here: http://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/2017-uls-candidate-for-vice-chairchair-elect-nicole-sump-crethar/

Jan 17 2017

LLAMA Mentoring Program Now Accepting Applications

mentoring partners

The LLAMA Mentoring Committee is recruiting for both mentors and mentees for our July 2017-June 2018 year. The LLAMA Mentoring Program, http://www.ala.org/llama/llama-mentoring-program, pairs librarians who are currently in leadership positions with librarians who are interested in becoming leaders.

For mentors, it is a chance to pass on your experience and knowledge by working one-on-one with an enthusiastic colleague who is ready to learn and benefit from your experience.

For mentees, it is a great opportunity to learn from an accomplished leader how to:

  • Explore your leadership potential;
  • Demonstrate leadership in your current position;
  • Acquire the skills, attitudes, and relationships that you will need to move into leadership roles.

Participants must be ALA and LLAMA members at the start of the program, and must either attend the Mentor/Mentee orientation at ALA Annual or be able to participate in a virtual orientation at a time to be determined.

The deadline to apply to become a mentor or a mentee is February 10, 2017.

To apply to become a mentor, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F7Y67WS

To apply to become a mentee, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F7C52QM

For more information about the LLAMA Mentoring program, contact Mentoring Committee co-chairs  Melissa Ellen Bruecks at mbruecks@mcpl.info; or  Julene Jones at Julene.Jones@uky.edu.

Thank you!

Catherine Soehner
Sharon Epps
Richard Guajardo
LLAMA Mentoring Committee members

Jan 12 2017

Public Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group for ALA MidWinter 2017

digital scholarship framework

Workflow of Scholarship Framework presented by Scott McDonald and Ellyssa Stern at the PSU TLT Symposium session on “Digital Scholarship: How Digital Tools are Reshaping Academic Work” Posted on Flickr by Alan Levine CC-Attribution

Join us is Atlanta at the ALA Midwinter Conference for adDiscussion of issues of common interest to the senior public service administrators of large research libraries, and a forum for the exchange of information on new developments, techniques and problems in administering public services. We’ll kick start our conversation at Midwinter with a discussion of the following three topics:

  • Digital Scholarship Support
    How are you approaching digital scholarship support in your library? Where is this support provided? What services are offered and by whom? Do you have a digital scholarship centre? If so, how is it governed?
  • Liaison Roles, Responsibilities & Relationships
    How are the roles of your subject and/or functional liaisons at your library evolving? How do we track and assess the work that they are doing? How are you measuring the success of your liaison program overall and the relationships that are being built through it? What tools, if any, are you using to do this?
  • Open Education Resources/Open Textbooks
    What is your library doing to help students defray the increasingly high costs of their education? How are you engaging open education initiatives on your campus and beyond? What kind of partnerships with campus partners have you developed to support students and open education?

When: Sunday, January 22nd, 4:00-5:30 pm
Where: Westin, Chastain F

Add this event to your calendar: https://www.eventscribe.com/2017/ALA-Midwinter/fsPopup.asp?Mode=presInfo&PresentationID=232207

For more information contact Trish Rosseel trish.rosseel@ualberta.ca

This event is sponsored by the Public Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group


Jan 11 2017

Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group for ALA Midwinter 2017

discussion group

Join the ACRL ULS Evidence-Based Practices Discussion Group for an exciting session at the 2017 Midwinter Conference in Atlanta!  We’ll have two presentations with discussion and questions to follow.

  • Best Practices for Student Advisory Boards.
    Presented by Ameet Doshi, Director of Service Experience and Program Design, The Georgia Institute of Technology.
    Ameet will discuss strategies for identifying “lead users” at your campus, and provide examples of fun and productive board activities. We will also share best practices for sustaining engagement and attendance for your advisory boards over the long term.
  • Current Trends in Altmetrics.
    Presented by Ashley Lowery, Digital Scholarship Librarian, East Tennessee State University.
    Lowery will provide an overview of altmetrics with a focus on the most recent developments within the field. Topics will include types of altmetrics, tools used to track altmetrics, and applications of altmetrics.

When:  Sunday, January 22, 2017, 8:30 – 10:00 am
Where:  Westin Peachtree, Augusta Ballroom C/D-7th Floor

Please join us and share your ideas!

This event is sponsored by the Evidence Based Practices Discussion Group

For more information please contact Chad Pearson (c_pearson412@library.tamu.edu) or Jan Kemp (jan.kemp@utsa.edu)


Jan 11 2017

Atlanta bound for ALA Midwinter? Attend the ULS MidWinter Social

social gatheringMeet up with old friends and make new ones at the ACRL University Libraries Section (ULS) Midwinter Social on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

It’s a party on the patio of the Hudson Grille Downtown with free appetizers and a cash bar! Join us for great conversations and the opportunity to connect with new colleagues.

Start by adding us to your calendar – https://www.eventscribe.com/2017/ALA-Midwinter/fsPopup.asp?Mode=presInfo&PresentationID=232210

See you in Atlanta!

Event organized by the ULS Membership Committee.

Jan 09 2017

ULS Slate of Candidates Announced

vote scrabble tiles

The ULS Executive Committee is pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the upcoming ALA election.


  • Nicole Sump-Crethar, Associate Professor, Head of Digital Resources and Discovery Services, Oklahoma State University;
  • Kerry Creelman, Coordinator of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach, University of Houston.


  • Michelle Demeter, Distance and Outreach Coordinator, Florida State University;
  • Emily Frigo, First Year Initiatives Coordinator, Grand Valley State University.


  • Ryan Litsey, Associate Librarian, Texas Tech University Libraries;
  • Nancy E. Garmer, Acting Assistant Dean of User Experience and Learning, Florida Institute of Technology,
  • Bruce Henson, Associate Dean, Research and Learning Services, Georgia Institute of Technology Library.

For the full ACRL candidate list, please visit the the January issue of C&RL News (http://crln.acrl.org/content/78/1/36.full)

The ALA election cycle will run from March 13, 2017 to April 5, 2017.

Dec 15 2016

World War I and America: public programming initiative

WWI and America logo

Commemorating the 100-year anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War, WWI and America is a two-year public programming initiative of Library of America, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the NEH, and other partners.

WWI and America provides stipends of $1200-$1800 for public programming exploring WWI and its relevance today. The program brings veterans and the general public together to explore WWI through images and letters of soldiers who experienced the war firsthand.

Applications are open to all public, academic, and community college libraries, museums and historical societies, and nonprofit community organizations. A subset of sites will also be selected to host a traveling panel exhibition.

Applications are due on January 13, 2017. For more information and application instructions, please visit WWIAmerica.org.

Nov 28 2016

Interview with ULS Chair Rebecca Blakiston

Rebecca Blakiston is the 2016-2017 Chair of the University Libraries Section. Currently she works at the University of Arizona Libraries as a Team Lead for Web Design & User Experience. In this interview Rebecca talks about her involvement with ULS and what she hopes to accomplish as Chair.


Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be an academic librarian?

As an indecisive sociology major in college not sure of my future, I took an aptitute test my sophomore year to find out what type of profession might suit me best. The results pointed me to a career in librarianship! Not immediately sold on the idea, but intrigued by the possibilities, I soon got a job shelving books at the campus library. By my senior year, I’d worked the coordinated shelving students, worked the circulation desk, and collaborated with a number of librarians. I had a taste of the inner workings of the academic library and fell in love with it. I enjoyed helping other students while learning something new every day. Next thing you know, I’m applying for graduate school and working full-time in access services. After graduating, I was able to get my first librarian job in undergraduate services.

How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?

My colleague, Leslie Sult, was an informal mentor to me when I started working as an instruction and outreach librarian. She had been involved in ULS committees, particularly the Membership Committee, and encouraged me to volunteer within the section. She had great things to say about the people and networking opportunities. I was fortunate to be appointed to the brand new Technology in University Libraries Committee in 2010. I wasn’t disappointed, and found it was one of the most engaged committees I’d worked on – we organized online learning opportunities, shared content through social media, and landed a regular “Tech Bits” column for C&RL News. I was then elected as a Member-at-Large from 2013-2015. It’s been a great experience all around. I’ve found that people who work in university libraries share many of the same passions for teaching, learning, and the research mission of a university. It’s great to be around likeminded professionals to share challenges, successes, and lessons learned.

What do you think are one or two major issues academic librarians face today and how can ULS help address these?

Just one or two? It’s hard to know where to start. The landscape of higher education is changing and we struggle with funding, retention of students, balancing our teaching and research missions, and our very identity. The research lifecycle for faculty is changing: funding requirements, data management, digital publishing models, etc. Student expectations and challenges are changing as we hear about massive student debt, the high cost of textbooks, and concerns over the value of a university education. Not to mention trends towards more online education, an increasing global and non-traditional student population, and shifts in technology we can’t yet imagine. Not to mention the recent 2016 presidential election and upcoming shifts in priorities at the federal level. It’s a crazy time to live in.

As far as how ULS can help address these: ULS is 4,000 members strong – the largest section in ACRL. As a strong community of members, we can help drive some of these conversations and share creative solutions. We have an active email list, a strong presence on social media, and we put together speakers and other programming. Our program proposal for ALA 2017 was recently accepted and will bring together experts to talk through how to best navigate the evolving scholarly communication landscape. This is a collaboration with EBSS and ReSEC, and is a major issue for our profession. I encourage everyone to attend!

How did you come to serve in this ULS leadership role — chair of the section?

When serving as member-at-large, I became pretty familiar with the workings of the section. I was thrilled and honored when the Nominating Committee reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in running for Vice Chair. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

What advice do you have for members who are interested in taking on a leadership role within the section?

Start somewhere and get involved. Be open-minded and flexible. Build relationships with other members, and reach out to committee chairs and discussion group conveners if you’re interested in their work. As you participate in different committees, learn what type of work you enjoy most, whether it’s conference programming, seeking award nominations, facilitating discussions, or sharing content via social media channels. There are lots of opportunities and ways to get involved.

What goals do you have for the section during your term? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?

One of the new exciting things this year is our brand new Professional Development Committee. The goal of this committee is to provide members with opportunities outside of ALA conferences to learn, grow, and connect with one another. Jason Martin, Past Chair, is chairing this new committee and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I was innagural chair for a professional development committee for our state library association and it was incredibly valuable. I have no doubts this new committee is going to do great things, and other ULS committees and discussion groups are already contributing ideas, whether it’s topics of broad interest or potential speakers for programs.

Also, as a user experience librarian, I care deeply about how members (and potential members) access our valuable content on the web. So one of my big goals is to improve the content, architecture, and design surrounding our web presence. This includes our blog, social media, manual, best practices, and soon our LibGuides. I want current members to have easy access to content they need to get involved, do their committee work, and engage with the ULS community. I also want potential members to be able to easily see what ULS does and how they can get involved. If I can accomplish that this year, I’ll be super happy.

Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?

To stay relevant, we need to be flexible, agile, and proactive. Just because we’ve done something a certain way for ten years, doesn’t mean we should keep doing it for the next ten years. Let’s rethink how we do things, continue to question our assumptions, and evolve as a section. A good example was creating the new Professional Development Committee this past year – we realized that there was a strong desire to provide online opportunities, and we needed a group of people dedicated to seeing it happen. So when we see those gaps or a needs, we should address them. We need to be responsive to members and make sure we’re providing value through content, community, and professional development. And with the energy and dedication I’ve seen from our members, I’m confident we will continue to do just that.

What last words would you like to convey to ULS members?

Thank you for reading. I hope you get involved in our community if you aren’t already!

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