Interested in 3rd year of “Assessment in Action?” Website updated now; application available mid January

Assessment in Action LogoACRL will be seeking applications for an additional 125 teams from all types of higher education institutions to participate in the third year of the ACRL program “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA).” The website describing how to apply for the third year of AiA, which will run from April 2015 – June 2016, is now up to date. The online application itself will be available in mid-January and due in early March 2015.

During this 14-month program, which employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network, librarians will each lead a campus team in developing and implementing an action learning project which examines the impact of the library on student success and contributes to assessment activities on campus. They will be supported in this work by a professional development program with sequenced learning events and activities at key junctures. The AiA program, made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is undertaken by ACRL in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. AiA is a cornerstone of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative.

Stay tuned for an announcement in mid January when the online application is available. In the meantime, contact ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara Malenfant with questions at or 800-545-2433, ext 2510.

Your Examples Needed of Circumventing DRM for Instruction or Research

Below is a request for community input from Carrie Russell of the ALA Washington office. Send Carrie any examples at or call 800.941.8478. Feedback sent by January 15, 2015, will be most useful.

It’s that time again when the U.S. Copyright Office accepts proposals for exemptions to the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and we need your examples to make the strongest case possible.


The DMCA (which added chaff to the Copyright Act of 1976) includes a new Chapter 12 regarding “technological protection measures” which is another name for digital rights management (DRM). The law says that it is a violation to circumvent (=hack) DRM that has been used by the rights holder to protect access to digital content. One cannot break a passcode that protects access to an online newspaper without being a subscriber, for example.

Here’s the problem: Sometimes DRM gets in the way of actions that are not infringements of copyright. Let’s say you have lawful access to an e-book (you bought the book, fair and square), but you are a person with a print disability, and you need to circumvent to enable text-to-speech (TTS) functionality which has been disabled by DRM. This is a violation of the circumvention provision. One would think that this kind of circumvention is reasonable, because it simply entails making a book accessible to the person that purchased it. Reading isn’t illegal (in the United States).

Because Congress thought lawful uses of protected content may be blocked by technology, it included in the DMCA a process to determine when circumvention should be allowed- the 1201 rulemaking. Every three years, the Copyright Office accepts comments from people who want to circumvent technology for lawful purposes. These people must submit a legal analysis of why an exemption should be allowed, and provide evidence that a technological impediment exists. The Copyright Office reviews the requests, considers if any requests bear scrutiny, holds public hearings, reads reply comments, writes a report, and makes a recommendation to the Librarian of Congress who then determines if any of the proposals are warranted. (The whole rigmarole takes 5-6 months). An exemption allows people with print disabilities to circumvent DRM to enable TTS for 3 years. After that length of time, the exemption expires, and the entire process starts over again. It is time consuming and costly, requires the collection of evidence, and legal counsel. The several days of public hearings are surreal. Attendees shake their heads in disbelief. Everyone moans and groans, including the Copyright Office staff. I am not exaggerating.

Ridiculous? Undoubtedly.

One would think that rights holders would just say “sure, go ahead and circumvent e-books for TTS, we don’t care.” But they do care. Some rights holders think allowing TTS will cut into their audiobook market. Some rights holders think that TTS is an unauthorized public performance and therefore an infringement of copyright. Some authors do not want their books read aloud by a computer, feeling it degrades their creative work. This madness can be stopped if Congress eliminates, or at least amends, this DMCA provision. Why not make exemptions permanent?

In the meantime…

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), of which ALA and ACRL are members, participates in the triennial rulemaking. Call us crazy. We ask, “What DRM needs to be circumvented this time around?” This question is hard to answer because it is difficult to know what library users can’t do that is a lawful act because DRM is blocking something. We solicit feedback from the library community, but response is usually meager because the question requires proving a negative.

For the last couple of rulemaking cycles, LCA focused on an exemption for educators (and students in media arts programs) that must circumvent DRM on DVDs in order to extract film clips for teaching, research and close study. To be successful, we need many examples, from you, of faculty and teachers who circumvent DRM to meet pedagogical goals or for research purposes. Right now, this circumvention allows educators to exercise fair use. BUT this fair use will no longer be possible if we cannot prove it is necessary.

For those librarians and staff who work with faculty, we ask for examples! We want to extend the exemption to K-12 teachers, so school librarians: we need to hear from you as well. Heed this call! Take a moment to help us survive this miserable experience on behalf of educators and learners.

Contact Carrie Russell at ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy at or call 800.941.8478.  Feedback sent by January 15, 2015, will be most useful.

(P.S. Additionally, colleagues at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic of American University Washington College of Law, are seeking examples related to higher education and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). If you can help them as well, please do.)

Top Outstanding Academic Titles Picks for 2014 Announced by Choice Editors

The Choice subject editors recognize the most significant titles reviewed each  calendar year by compiling the “Outstanding Academic Titles” (OAT) list, which is published each January in Choice magazine and on Choice Reviews Online.  As a special preview to the full 2014 list, which will appear in the January 2015 issue, the Choice subject editors have selected from among the 2014 list their favorites for the following “Top 25 Books” and “Top 10 Internet Resources” lists.

Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles, 2014:  Top 25 Books

Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids, by Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero. Columbia, 2013. 411p bibl index afp ISBN 9780231153201 <>, $29.95. Reviewed in CHOICE April 2014.

American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century, by Robert E. Gallamore and John R. Meyer. Harvard, 2014. 506p index ISBN 9780674725645 <>, $55.00. Reviewed in CHOICE December 2014.

Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History, by Trevor Bryce. Oxford, 2014. 379p bibl index ISBN 9780199646678 <>, $50.00. Reviewed in CHOICE November 2014.

Aristotle: His Life and School, by Carlo Natali and ed. by D. S. Hutchinson. Princeton, 2013. 219p bibl index afp ISBN 9780691096537 <>, $29.95. Reviewed in CHOICE March 2014.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. Delacorte Press, 2013. 254p bibl index afp ISBN 9780553804645 <>, $27.00; ISBN 9780440423294 ebook <>, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty and tr. by Arthur Goldhammer. Belknap, Harvard, 2014. 685p index afp ISBN 9780674430006 <>, $39.95. Reviewed in CHOICE August 2014.

Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State, by Shira Robinson. Stanford, 2013. 330p bibl index afp ISBN 9780804786546 <>, $85.00; ISBN 9780804788007 pbk <>, $24.95; ISBN 9780804788021 ebook <>, $24.95. Reviewed in CHOICE September 2014.

Climate and Human Migration: Past Experiences, Future Challenges, by Robert A. McLeman. Cambridge, 2014. 294p bibl index ISBN 9781107022652 <>, $99.00; ISBN 9781107606708 pbk <>, $39.99. Reviewed in CHOICE December 2014.

Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, by Benjamin Ross. Oxford, 2014. 249p index afp ISBN 9780199360147 <>, $29.95. Reviewed in CHOICE December 2014.

The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context: American State Papers, Petitions, Proclamations & Letters of the Delegates to the First National Congress, comp., ed., and introd. by Barry Alan Shain. Yale, 2014. 750p bibl index afp ISBN 9780300158748 <>, $125.00. Reviewed in CHOICE December 2014.

The Dream of the Great American Novel, by Lawrence Buell. Belknap Press, 2014. 567p index afp ISBN 9780674051157 <>, $39.95. Reviewed in CHOICE August 2014.

Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian: The Crime That Should Haunt America, by Gary Clayton Anderson. Oklahoma, 2014. 462p bibl index afp ISBN 9780806144214 <>, $29.95. Reviewed in CHOICE September 2014.

Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World, by James MacGregor Burns. Thomas Dunne Books, 2013. 388p index ISBN 9781250024893 <>, $27.99; ISBN 9781250024909 ebook <>, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in CHOICE October 2014.

From X-Rays to DNA: How Engineering Drives Biology, by W. David Lee with Jeffrey Drazen, Phillip A. Sharp, and Robert S. Langer. MIT, 2014. 233p bibl index afp ISBN 9780262019774 <>, $30.00. Reviewed in CHOICE October 2014.

History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, ed. by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber with John Robert Alderman et al. Yale, 2013. 698p bibl index ISBN 9780300196146 <>, $80.00. Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life of Sciences, by Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden. Chicago, 2013. 228p bibl index afp ISBN 9780226039657 <>, $75.00; ISBN 9780226039794 pbk <>, $25.00; ISBN 9780226039824 ebook <>, contact publisher for price. Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

Pagan Britain, by Ronald Hutton. Yale, 2014, (c2013). 480p index afp ISBN 9780300197716 <>, $45.00. Reviewed in CHOICE October 2014.

Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama, by Matthew C. Whitaker. Nebraska, 2014, (c2013). 393p bibl index afp ISBN 9780803246935 <>, $75.00; ISBN 9780803249646 pbk <>, $30.00. Reviewed in CHOICE July 2014.

Political Emotions: Why Love Matters for Justice, by Martha C. Nussbaum. Belknap, Harvard, 2013. 457p bibl index afp ISBN 9780674724655 <>, $35.00. Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, by Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr. with Juhn Ahn et al. Princeton, 2014. 1,265p afp ISBN 9780691157863  <>, $65.00. Reviewed in CHOICE May 2014.

Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945-1965, by Michael Burleigh. Viking, 2013. 587p bibl index ISBN 9780670025459 <>, $36.00. Reviewed in CHOICE February 2014.

Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection, ed. by Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hysop with James G. Barber et al. Smithsonian Books, 2013. 368p index ISBN 9781588343895 <>, $40.00. Reviewed in CHOICE February 2014.

Society Explained: An Introduction to Sociology, by Nathan Rousseau. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. 281p bibl index afp ISBN 9781442207103 <>, $75.00; ISBN 9781442207110 pbk <>, $26.99; ISBN 9781442207127 ebook <>, $25.99. Reviewed in CHOICE November 2014.

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain, by Patricia S. Churchland. W. W. Norton, 2013. 304p index ISBN 9780393058321 <>, $26.95. Reviewed in CHOICE April 2014.

What Unions No Longer Do, by Jake Rosenfeld. Harvard, 2014. 279p bibl index ISBN 9780674725119 <>, $39.95. Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles, 2014: Top 10 Internet Resources

American Indian Histories and Cultures. Adam Matthew. Contact publisher for pricing (based on Carnegie Classification and Jisc); includes nominal hosting fee, payable annually. Reviewed in CHOICE March 2014.

BiblioBoard. Brepols BiblioLabs. Tiered pricing based on library size, starting at $500.00 per year. Reviewed in CHOICE May 2014.

CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology. Reviewed in CHOICE May 2014.

Dictionary of American Regional English, Online Version. Harvard. Purchase price is $5,500.00; subscription is $1,200.00/year (perpetual access conferred after 6 consecutive years). Reviewed in CHOICE June 2014.

Emily Dickinson Archive. Readex. Reviewed in CHOICE May 2014.

Europeana, 1914-1918: Untold Stories & Official Histories of WW I. Reviewed in CHOICE September 2014.

IMLS Digital Collections and Content, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Reviewed in CHOICE September 2014.

Pew Research Global Attitudes Project, from the Pew Research Center. Reviewed in CHOICE April 2014.

Pronunciator. Pronunciator LLC. Annual academic subscription begins at $1,425.00, based on 1,500 FTE. Substantial discounts via LYRAISIS. Reviewed in CHOICE August 2014.

World Newsreels Online, 1929-1966. Alexander Street. Contact publisher for pricing. Reviewed in CHOICE January 2014.

SPARC/ACRL Forum at ALA Midwinter on Open Education Resources

Please join SPARC and ACRL for a joint forum during the ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, January 31, 2015, 3:00-4:30pm, on the topic of “The Integration of Open Education Resources into your Library.” The program, part of ALA’s News You Can Use series, will take place at McCormick Place West, Room W183a.

Dialogue around Open Education Resources (OER) has been on the rise over the last few years and increasingly so from within the academic library community. Academic libraries are a natural fit to be leading in this space on campus, and this forum will directly address ways in which you and your library can enhance and encourage the development and usage of OERs on your campus. This forum will aim to address many questions including the financial implications of and cost models for OER, how library’s can be the creators of OER and how OERs are being perceived by faculty and students.

Forum speakers are:

  • C. Quill West, Open Education Project Manager, Pierce College District
  • Kristi Jensen, Program Development Lead for the eLearning Support Initiative, University of Minnesota Libraries
  • Shan Sutton, Associate University Librarian for Research and Scholarly Communication, Oregon State University
  • Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, SPARC

The forum will also include ample time for discussion with the audience. SPARC and ACRL look forward to seeing you there!

ACRL Seeks New “Assessment in Action” Facilitator

Assessment in Action LogoACRL is seeking applications for a new designer/facilitator of the program the “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA). Applicants wishing to join the design/facilitation team will have engaged with the AiA program during the first or second year in some capacity (e.g. team leader, team member, library dean/director, researcher, etc.). Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Central on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

In September 2012, ACRL was awarded a National Leadership Demonstration Grant of $249,330 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this three- year project, undertaken in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The grant supports the design, implementation and evaluation of a program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy. Year 1 of the grant included 75 institutions, in Year 2 there were 73 institutions selected, and Year 3 – which begins in April 2015 – will serve up to 125 institutions.

The current five member design/facilitation team (see biographies) seeks to add one additional member to participate in Year 3 of the AiA program as well as assist in planning future programs. The design/facilitation team works virtually and in person in designing and facilitating the 14-month long experience for each of the cohorts.

Scope of work
Serving as a member of the curriculum design/facilitation team is a continuous year-round commitment of approximately 2-5 hours/week with more concentrated time before webinars and in-person sessions. The work involves regular planning calls and in person design meetings, developing materials (i.e., exercises, handouts, and presentations), being active in the online community, aiding in the development of regular webcasts, and participating during the in person events for the AiA librarian team leaders.

Under the terms of the grant, ACRL reimburses curriculum designer/facilitators for a portion of their travel costs to extend the time we anticipate they would already be spending at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, ALA Annual Conference, and ACRL 2015 Conference. Additional travel funding may be available for non-librarian designer/facilitators. ACRL will provide an honorarium that takes into account the full range of duties: curriculum design, virtual participation, and year-long facilitation responsibilities. The specific terms and responsibilities of both parties will be articulated in an annually renewable contract with ACRL.

While Year 3 of AiA is built on the first two years and the foundation is in place, we are looking to adjust the curriculum based on the new facilitator’s experience as a participant and to plan future programs.

Most of the work involved in facilitating the efforts of participants in the AiA learning community will take place virtually (online asynchronous classroom, webcasts). However, members of the curriculum design/facilitation team must be available to attend in person events for librarian team leaders, which are held in conjunction with the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conferences. A full-day meeting will be scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday June 25, 2015, 1-5 p.m. and Friday, June 26, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: San Francisco, CA. Cohort 3, first meeting.
  • Thursday January 7, 2016, 1-5 p.m. and Friday, January 8, 2016, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Boston, MA. Cohort 3, second meeting.
  • June 23-28, 2016: Orlando, FL. Cohort 3, poster sessions.

In addition to the above meetings for selected AiA librarian team leaders, the full design/facilitation team meets separately as follows:

  • A full-day planning retreat March 25, 2015, in conjunction with the ACRL National Conference in Portland, Oregon.
  • Preparation/debrief meetings are scheduled at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference before and after the events for AiA librarian team leaders. Additional planning meetings may also be scheduled.
  • Final program/wrap-up in conjunction with ALA 2016 Annual Conference.

The successful curriculum designer/facilitator must be conversant with issues and challenges of libraries in higher education. They must possess:

  • Willingness to participate throughout the length of the AiA program (in addition to assisting in rollout of follow up programs), virtually and in person, in designing and facilitating the 14-month long experience for each librarian cohort and institutional team members.
  • Experience serving as a convener and facilitator of educational activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and deliver events, activities, and modules that are experiential, support action learning, and foster reflection among learners.
  • An ability to foster connections and create learning environments where teams can exchange ideas and share experiences and information.
  • Rich knowledge of the dynamic nature of higher education assessment, including a keen awareness of the forces outside the sector driving for greater accountability.
  • A nuanced understanding of how individual units on campus can collaborate to best demonstrate and communicate their contributions to the overall goals and missions of their institutions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to work with diverse group members, and commitment to developing strong, collegial relationships with curriculum design team members and the participants in the AiA learning community.
  • Working knowledge of the issues and challenges of libraries in higher education.

Candidates should highlight additional qualifications in areas such as:

  • Experience designing and delivering curriculum for an audience that includes librarians as well as other campus stakeholders.
  • Experience facilitating learning over time and in multiple formats (i.e., beyond the one-off workshop).
  • Demonstrated knowledge of multiple assessment methods, both quantitative and qualitative, data collection strategies, and analytical techniques. A deep appreciation of the integral relationship between assessment questions, data acquisition, and analytical methodologies.
  • Experience analyzing existing administrative data which emanates from different campus units (i.e., libraries and office of institutional research).
  • Experience designing protocols and gathering new data through questionnaires, semi structured interviews, and focus groups.
  • Adept at communicating and presenting assessment project results.

The success of the applicant’s own AiA project is not a determining factor in the selection. Many projects did not fully reach their goals. The team seeks a new designer/facilitator who learned from their project, analyzed results for cultural, strategic, and assessment challenges, and is helping their library move forward with assessment.

To apply, please prepare the following materials. Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document that includes:

  1. A letter addressing the following questions (two pages maximum).
    1. Why you want to become a member of the team for ACRL’s Assessment in Action program?
    2. What was the role you played in the AiA project on your campus?
    3. What contributions could you make to this program that align with the qualifications?
    4. Are there relevant experiences of which you would like us to be aware?
  2. Your resume.
  3. The names and contact information for two references who have direct knowledge of your qualifications for this role, including one with direct knowledge of your skills as a facilitator/teacher.

The single PDF application must submitted via email by 5 p.m. Central on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, to ACRL Program Coordinator Chase Ollis at

ACRL has formed a small review team, which includes member leaders and staff, to consider applications. The process includes checking references and a telephone interview. The group will make selections and notify all applicants of their status by Friday, February 20, 2015.

If you have questions about this position, the Assessment in Action program, or ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, please contact Kara Malenfant, ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives, at or (312) 280-2510.

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