Dec 11

Guns on Campus: Implications for Libraries


The University Libraries Section Campus Administration and Leadership Discussion Group presents a discussion about guns on campus and the implications for libraries. Led by Rick Stoddart, Head, User and Research Services, University of Idaho Library, this discussion will explore issues for libraries related to concealed weapons laws and how they are implemented, and other topics related to guns on campus. Free, open to non-members.

Saturday, January 31
3:00-4:00 pm
Sheraton-Chicago Ballroom 06

Nov 21

ALA Midwinter Meeting Schedule for ULS

meetingAre you heading to ALA Midwinter in Chicago? It’s never too early to start planning your schedule. We hope to see you at these ULS events!


Meeting Number Meeting Name Date Time Location
SUB52762 Academic Outreach Committee Sat Jan 31 10:30 am – 11:30 am SHER – Ontario Room
52705 ULS Social Sat Jan 31 05:30 pm – 07:00 pm Elephant & Castle, 185 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago 60601
SUB52744 Membership Committee Sat Jan 31 10:30 am – 11:30 am SHER – Ontario Room
52748 Public Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group Sun Feb 1 04:30 pm – 06:30 pm SHER – Michigan A & B
52763 Evidence-Based Practice Discussion Group Sun Feb 1 08:30 am – 10:00 am SHER – Michigan A & B
SUB52704 Committee on the Future of University Libraries Sat Jan 31 10:30 am – 11:30 am SHER – Ontario Room
52764 Campus Administration and Leadership Discussion Group Sat Jan 31 03:00 pm – 04:00 pm SHER – Chicago Ballroom 06
52761 All-Committees Meeting Sat Jan 31 10:30 am – 11:30 am SHER – Ontario Room
52747 Committee on the Future of University Libraries Sun Feb 1 08:30 am – 10:00 am SHER – Superior A & B


You can also take a look at the ALA Midwinter Schedule at a Glance at ALA’s web site, or see the full schedule with room assignments in this PDF.









Nov 20

Our Thoughts are with FSU

By now you have probably heard about the tragedy that unfolded early this morning at Strozier Library on the campus of Florida State University. Our thoughts and hearts go out to our colleagues at FSU Libraries and to all the university students, faculty, and staff. The University Library Section hopes for a full recovery for the students who were wounded, and for peace and healing to all involved.

Nov 06

Share Your Thoughts on “New Rules for the Road Ahead”

From ACRL:

As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, ACRL has released of an initial version of “New Roles for the Road Ahead:  Essays Commissioned for ACRL’s 75th Anniversary,” authored by well-known bloggers and thought leaders Steven Bell, Lorcan Dempsey, and Barbara Fister.

Pam Snelson, the chairperson of ACRL’s celebration of its 75th anniversary, asks, “Looking to find your way to that elusive sweet spot between the present and the future? The best map you will find to navigate the changing intersection of higher education and librarianship is the collection of essays in ‘New Roles for the Road Ahead.’ Bell, Dempsey, and Fister define the issues, ask questions, create new roles, offer directions, and challenge thinking. By framing the road ahead and positioning librarians in innovative roles, their essays offer compelling instructions for creating a new library landscape.”

In a series of twenty essays, Bell, Dempsey and Fister share their thoughts on the world in which academic libraries will thrive, ways libraries are responding to change, and new roles for libraries and librarians. The essays include reflections on ways academic libraries can succeed in a changing higher education environment, take advantage of opportunities, and think about the best ways to deliver both ongoing and innovative services to students and faculty.

A draft of “New Roles for the Road Ahead:  Essays Commissioned for ACRL’s 75th Anniversary” is now available for open public discussion through a CommentPress site at Your thoughts on this emerging publication will help shape the authors’ final work, so log in and comment now.  You’ll see sections entitled “Framing the Road Ahead”, “Shifts in Positioning”, and “Responding to Opportunity: Creating a New Library Landscape” with three thoughtful voices chiming in to shape an exciting vision for our collective future.  Weigh in with your thoughts though November 30!

Nov 03

Call for Proposals: ALA Annual Conference Poster Session

Share your best ideas and work with the national library community by presenting a poster session at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco!

The poster session committee encourages submissions from all types of libraries and on any topic relevant to librarianship. Submissions may include a description of an innovative library program; an analysis of a solution to a problem; a report of a research study; or any other presentation that would benefit the larger library community.

Poster session participants place materials such as pictures, data, graphs, diagrams and narrative text on boards that are usually 4 x 8 feet. During their assigned hour time periods, participants informally discuss their presentations with conference attendees. Titles/abstracts from previous years are available on ALA Connect. (Note: that this site is only serving as an archive for previous Annual Conference poster sessions) More information on this year’s posters.

The deadline for submitting an application is February 6, 2015. Applicants will be notified by the end of March, after a double blind peer review process, whether their submission has been accepted for presentation at the conference. The 2015 ALA Annual Poster Sessions will be held June 27 and 28, 2015 (the Saturday and Sunday of the conference) in the exhibits hall.

Start your application process now. You must create a username and password for the site before you submit your application, you must choose to submit a poster session proposal after you log-in, and you will receive a confirmation e-mail after you have completed your submission.

Questions about poster session presentations and submissions may be directed to:

Melanie Griffin, Chair of the ALA poster Session Committee

Candace Benefiel, Chair of the ALA Poster Session Review Panel

Website for More Information

Oct 27

Summary of April 23 Online Discussion

Academic Library Outreach: The Intentional, the Desperate, and the Serendipitous – Summary of April 23 ULS Members-Only Online Discussion

Author: Jennifer Lee, University of Calgary, on behalf of the ULS Membership Committee

On April 23, 2014, ULS held its second members-only online discussion.  About 60 attendees attended to discuss academic library outreach. The two speakers, Lizz Zitron and Matt Upson, offered two contrasting perspectives: intentional, planned outreach, and “on-the-fly” outreach. More information on the speakers can be found at

The discussion started with two polls. The first asked attendees whether there was outreach at their institution; most answered in the positive, though they would also like to do more. The second asked attendees what roadblocks to outreach they had; many reported the lack of human and financial resources.

Lizz Zitron started with a roadmap for intentional outreach:

  1. Create an outreach vision: library and institutional vision  statements are a good starting point because they provide terminology  that can be used in the outreach vision. Lizz reported great success  with her programs when using library and institutional vision  statements this way.
  2. Create goals: create specific, measurable goals that lead to observable behavior. Create some goals that can be measured quantitatively, and others that can be measured qualitatively. Qualitative measures provide invaluable comments and observations that  can be used in reflection and assessment (step 4).
  3. Form plans: these are courses of action based on the goals. For example, “to have [goal], we will do [plan]”. Start with a few manageable goals and plans.
  4. Reflect and assess: assessment helps administrators support outreach, especially if the goals reflect your mission or vision. Qualitative data helps “tell the story” behind the numbers of quantitative data. For example, while numbers tell how often an “Ask a Librarian” chat reference service is used, qualitative data can indicate whether users would recommend the service to others.

Lizz then gave examples of outreach activities involving students. Some connected students with the community by asking them to volunteer their time or expertise in a library event held for the community. Others connected students to the library through contests and use of library materials, including using weeded books to create poetry, and inviting students to create displays.

Matt Upson talked about co-creating a comic that served as an instruction, advocacy, and outreach tool. As a new library director with minimal staff, he realized that the traditional instruction methods formerly used at his institution were ineffective and that the library was under-used. Since his new library assistant had 20+ years of experience creating and illustrating comics, a library zombie comic was born (both digital and physical). It met instructional goals, but it was also an interesting outreach and marketing tool that re-defined the perception of the library. The comic incorporated stakeholders such as the faculty, student workers, and other community members. The comic was heavily promoted before its publication. For example, students who “liked” the library on Facebook got a chance to be drawn as a zombie; a teaser poster was put up on campus featuring the front of the library, which attracted many questions.

a few hundred hardcopies were purchased with a grant and the library held a pizza release party after both the digital and physical versions were published. Since there were close to a million downloads at the time of the party this was also announced during the print release.

The project morphed from an instructional resource to a tool for increasing engagement. It tied into things the library was already doing: they had a graphic novel collection, and were already trying to use the library for non-academic purposes.

In closing, Matt encouraged attendees to play to their strengths, and to involve the community in the planning process. This avoids the perception of “performing outreach for the sake of outreach”. The library zombie comic is available at: Other institutions with library comics include  Kansas State University Salina Library, Fresno City College, and Lehman College.

The session was then opened up for questions and comments, including:

Attendance and scheduling: definitely keep track of numbers, which may be low at the beginning. It is also useful to talk with other coordinators on campus (e.g. residence hall directors, student life staff) to avoid duplication of activities and scheduling overlap, and as another source for promoting outreach. Library events may also be hosted outside of the library with these same coordinators. Lastly, food, of course, helps attendance!

Other activities suggested as part of the planning process: work with students who are interested in planning, and meet regularly. Assess immediately after every program, including attendee comments, things that worked, or did not work. A student can keep track of comments and then they can be discussed at a weekly meeting. For some, planning may not be reflexive, but it results in better quality outreach. If it works at your institution, a general call for volunteers may attract those with complementary talents.

Tips on getting students excited or finding appropriate working opportunities for them: student workers are a big part of the community and the student population, so ask them what will get them in the library. This increases buy-in as well. If working with students on planning, it also helps to model what you want to see, and to give them a framework for planning and assessment; while this takes time to set up, it can save time in the long run.

ULS hopes to hold these discussions in the fall and spring to highlight ULS member work, to extend conversations beyond ALA Annual and Midwinter, and as a benefit to ULS members. ULS also hopes to briefly summarize these as an added member benefit.

*The next members-only discussion*, Thursday, November 20 from 3-4 pm EST, will be about student success. To register, go to:

*Interested in university libraries?* Join your colleagues at ACRL ULS, where you can find opportunities to participate in continuous learning activities like our lively and engaging online discussions, to volunteer on professional committees, to make connections with a great network of university librarians, and more! For more information on ULS, including an archive of past events and discussion forums, see also our Section website. To become a member, simply update your ACRL division memberships at and select the University Libraries Section under ACRL. Membership is free is you are not already enrolled in more than 2 sections and only an additional $5.00 if you are. We look forward to welcoming you as a member!

“See” you at the next discussion!

Oct 24

Members-Only Online Discussion: Student Success

Members-Only Online Discussion: Student Success
Brought to you by the ACRL-ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries

The ULS Membership Committee is pleased to provide a FREE online discussion for ULS members on Thursday, November 20 from 3-4 pm EST.  Registration Information

Assessing How Libraries Contribute to Student Success

Feeling pressed to prove that your library contributes to student success?  Are administrators demanding evidence that funding the library helps retain and graduate students?  While it may seem obvious  to librarians that students would not succeed without the library, demonstrating that can be a challenge.

Read short descriptions of ways three libraries have effectively assessed their contributions to student success, and then join this online discussion, where assessment librarians will encourage discussion of various ways to measure and demonstrate how your library helps students succeed.


Eric Ackermann (Head of Reference Services and Library Assessment, Radford University) will speak on how his library has tracked how the library’s participation in freshman orientation and core courses has affected retention.

Jennifer L. Jones (Assessment & User Experience Librarian, Georgia State University) will explain how her library followed three cohorts of undergraduates to assess the effect of using library workstations, study rooms, and research clinics.

Shane Nackerud (Technology Lead for Libraries Initiatives, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and Janet Fransen (Engineering Librarian, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) will discuss the big data model the library used in partnership with the university’s Office of Institutional Research to assess the library’s contribution to student outcomes.

The speakers have shared descriptions of their successful projects to help you prepare for this discussion. 

Oct 16

75th Anniversary of ACRL Scholarship Campaign

ULS is participating in the scholarship campaign for the 75th Anniversary of ACRL. Please consider donating what you can so that we can reach our goal of underwriting one full scholarship?

Note:  Be sure to click on ADD TRIBUTE at checkout and then IN HONOR OF on the next page. In the TRIBUTE NAME box, please put University Libraries Section.


Jul 25

Digital Humanities and Its Implications for Libraries and their Patrons: Part 3

An Interview with Harriett Green, English and Digital Humanities Librarian and Assistant Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Matt Conner, Librarian at the University of California, Davis, and author of a newly released book, The New Library: Four Case Studies (ALA)

Editor’s Note: This interview is the final post in a three-part series of interviews with Harriett Green, conducted by Matt Conner, about digital humanities.

PART 3: Promotion of Digital Humanities to a New Audience

Matt: Can you tell me about your liaison work with departments and how you promote digital humanities?

Harriett: My approach has been to take up embedded librarianship where you really try to get involved with the faculty and students in the department.

So, I’ve been reaching out with anything from email newsletters to showing up at department events. There were a couple professors who already have pretty strong ties to the library and came in a lot already. Sometimes just talking to them about the collection and their class needs has led to me saying, “I can teach a class. Or send your students in and I can have research consultations with them.” I think I’m beginning to build more instruction programming and outreach and finding different ways to support them.

Matt: What kind of instruction do you do?

Harriett: The 300 and 400 level classes are where I’m working because introductory writing is handled by the undergraduate library. I’m doing research sessions such as showing ProQuest Historical Newspapers, how to use primary resources, how to approach the research process. I also include MLA, ABELL, and the Literature Resource Center, and I show how to find secondary sources. It seems that in the lower level classes, the 100 to even the early 300, they’re mostly just using the primary text and doing close readings. It’s not until the 300s and 400s where they’re doing the research that the professor feels like I should bring them in. But a lot of professors do take students to the rare book and manuscript library as well.

Digital Humanities and Teaching Practices

Matt: Is there a sense of how digital humanities is changing instruction as opposed to research? Are they using these tools in class? I mean I guess they would informally but are there changes in instruction that you can speak to?

Harriett: Yes, definitely. I’ve read about it a lot more than I’ve actually done it. But there’s definitely this movement that they call digital pedagogy where they’re talking about using these kinds of tools in the classroom, teaching students how to code. Teaching basic tools like having students blog and document their thought processes and that way. There’s a blog on Chronicle of Higher Education called ProfHacker. It’s a group blog by academics, and several have talked about digital pedagogy and what they’re doing specifically to incorporate it into the classroom. There are several good examples of small digital humanities projects that bring students into the research process. For the past couple years, Kate Benzel, an English professor from the University of Nebraska at Kearney was using our Carl Sandburg Archive. We digitized a bunch of his letters and notes, and she and a student were marking up the digitallly transcribed Sandburg’s notes in TEI text encoding. In his notes, he writes marginalia referring back to classical texts and other texts that he used for his poetry. And they were marking up that marginalia, then going back and finding the source texts for those marginalia and linking it to his poetry. I think that’s the kind of digital pedagogy that people are doing which is having students use these digital tools to look at the text closely and do close readings.

Matt: So, it’s not just the passive reception on a screen of what tools can do. Students are actually getting in and doing it.

Harriett: Right and having students use these tools in different ways. And it’s becoming a larger and larger movement as digital humanities really kind of started as research. Now they’ve done research and they want to know how to bring it into the classroom.

Jul 09

ACRL-ULS Fostering Leadership through 2014 Emerging Leaders

Editor’s Note:  Nataly Blas, Business Librarian, Loyola Marymount University

The creation of the program Emerging Leaders (EL) has been one of several initiatives ALA has developed in order to foster the growth of leadership skills in early career librarians. ACRL-ULS has taken an active role in promoting leadership opportunities to librarians by sponsoring one participant of the Emerging Leaders program. This year, I feel very fortunate and am thankful to ULS for sponsoring my participation in the EL program. Emerging Leaders kicks off with a leadership workshop during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Afterward, it grows and develops in an online learning and networking environment. The program concludes with a poster session presentation to display the results of the project planning work of each group at the ALA Annual Conference.

The ULS sponsorship adds to the Emerging Leaders experience by providing insight to an ACRL section and allowing exploration among the various ULS committees. As an early career librarian, participating in an ALA committee can seem a bit intimidating — the ULS sponsorship alleviates the first-time jitters by extending a warm welcome. As the EL program approaches its end in ALA Annual, the Emerging Leader will participate in an ACRL ULS committee and is given the opportunity to further develop their leadership potential by networking with fellow academic librarians and collaborating in ULS projects.

The EL program has been a fulfilling experience that has sharpened my leadership skills and has given me the opportunity to network with other leaders in our profession. My team, Team L, was charged with developing a marketing and communication plan for ALA’s Learning Round Table. As part of our project, we surveyed its members in order to ascertain communication preferences and current involvement with the round table. Team L developed a plan based on the survey findings – the marketing and communication plan includes goals and objectives which encompass social media, website maintenance, branding, outreach, and assessment.

I look forward to the culminating Emerging Leaders poster session in the 2014 ALA Annual Conference and participating in ACRL ULS! I am also delighted to work with the former ULS Emerging Leader and talented librarian, Tarida Anantachai and look forward for the announcement of the 2015 ULS sponsored EL participant!

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