Upcoming ACRL Webcast –Google It or Go Elsewhere (9/4)

Join ACRL for the e-Learning webcast, “Google It or Go Elsewhere!,” on Thursday, September 4 (1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Central).

Google is at the tip of our tongues when it comes to searching, but alternative tools such as Bing, WolframAlpha, DuckDuckGo, Blekko are often overlooked, even though they can provide more useful results. This interactive webcast will provide an introduction to a variety of alternatives to Google, cover the strengths and weaknesses of competing tools, and the search techniques each one requires. Participate in real-time comparisons of the output of various tools, explore differences in search results, and practice the specific techniques required to search within different tools.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Explore and compare search results provided by Google and other search tools.
  • Understand when a different tool may provide more targeted searching.
  • Discover how to utilize basic and advanced search strategies in alternative search engines.

Presenter(s): Amanda Izenstark, Associate Professor, Reference & Instructional Design Librarian, University of Rhode Island

Registration materials and details on the webcast are available on the ACRL e-Learning website; group registration and other discounts are available.  Contact mconahan@ala.org or call (312) 280-2522 with questions.

Add your voice to FCC public comment on network neutrality

From the ALA Washington Office District Dispatch blog:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has heard from more than 1 million commenters on proposed rulemaking to Protect and Promote the Open Internet, including from the American Library Association (ALA), Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). But it’s not too late to add your voice in support of network neutrality.

September is a perfect time to add more voices from the library and education community. Working with EDUCAUSE, ALA has developed a template letter of support for our comments that you can use to amplify our voice. Click here (doc) to open the document, customize with your information and follow guidelines for submission to FCC.

ALA is meeting with FCC officials, and there is definite interest in our perspective as advocates for intellectual freedom and equity of access to information for all. Please consider strengthening our presence as a community in the public record.

The formal “reply” comment period of the FCC proceeding will close September 15, but “ex parte” comments will be accepted until further notice. The FCC hoped to deliver a new Order on network neutrality by the end of the year, but this could be delayed as the commission considers the broad public input and a range of proposals and perspectives.

As always, more background and related news can be found online. Stay tuned!

It’s Good to Give Back…To the Kick Start the Future Campaign

One of the things that make me most proud to be a member of ACRL is that we care about our own and we try to help them succeed professionally. One of the ways our association does that is by providing scholarships to academic librarians so they can attend our biennial ACRL Conference. In 2013, ACRL provided 75 scholarships for deserving individuals. The challenge is that there were over 250 applications for the scholarships, so too many of our colleagues could not receive the assistance that can make the difference between attending or staying home. We can do better – and we will.

In conjunction with ACRL’s 75th Anniversary, our association leadership has announced the Kick Start the Future Campaign. According to the official fundraising website for the 75th Anniversary celebration, ACRL seeks to raise $50,000 by December 31, 2014, to provide 75 additional scholarships for these members to attend the conference to be held March 25-28, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. Members have already raised more than $33,000 during the advance phase of the campaign. This is great progress but we still have a long way to go to reach the goal over the next few months. The good news is that our ACRL division-level committees and Communities of Practice groups have made commitments and begun to raise funds for named scholarships.

As chair of the Kick Start the Future Campaign, I am encouraging every ACRL member to take this opportunity to give back to the association and profession by making a personal contribution – or joining with others for a group donation – that will enable a deserving colleague, whether it is an early career academic librarian, support staff or library school students, to experience ACRL 2015. To further encourage and inspire you to make this commitment I wanted to bring your attention to two donors worthy of recognition for achieving a distinguished “first” as a contributor to the campaign.

Stephanie Davis-Kahl, the Scholarly Communications Librarian and Associate Professor at the Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University was the first ACRL member to submit a donation during the public phase of the campaign and is also contributing to the College & Research Libraries Editorial Board named scholarship. Flora Shrode, the Government Documents Librarian and Subject Librarian for Sciences at the Merrill-Casier Library at Utah State University, was the first ACRL member to submit a donation as part of a section (STS) named scholarship contribution. I’d like to share some insights from Stephanie and Flora on why they were eager to make a pledge.

Why did you decide to contribute to the campaign?

Davis-Kahl, Stephanie 2009-02Stephanie: Last year was a banner year for me professionally, and when you have those good moments in your career, you definitely stop and think about the people who supported you at the beginning of your career and throughout. Colleagues at my previous positions at the University of Southern California and the University of California – Irvine, played a huge role in encouraging me to attend ACRL and, more importantly, showed me through their own involvement that ACRL was a wise investment. As I became more engaged with ACRL committees and task forces, ACRL members helped me find role models and connected me to a larger community of colleagues, peers and friends. So when the campaign started, I couldn’t not give back. ACRL has been my professional home, and my hope is that new librarians will find their professional home in ACRL as well.

Flora Aug 2013Flora: I gave money to the ACRL Kick Start the Future Campaign because involvement with the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) and attendance at ACRL conferences have been among my most rewarding professional activities over the years.  The ACRL conference’s size and themes are both more manageable and relevant to my work as an academic librarian than the larger ALA meetings, although I attend those too in order to fulfill committee membership and chairperson duties (which have mostly been with ACRL STS).  This is my 25th year in the profession, and I’m celebrating that by donating to scholarship and other career development funds.

What are your aspirations for the members who get these scholarships to the 2015 conference?

Stephanie: Learn and participate! Attend sessions outside of your usual work to broaden your horizons and get a new perspective, go to the reception to meet new colleagues, and ask questions – especially ask questions!

Flora: I hope that scholarship recipients find ACRL to be a valuable organization to belong to and that the conferences enable them to learn from other librarians’ ideas, research, and programs. Some of the most meaningful personal relationships within librarianship that I’ve formed over the years have resulted from chance meetings, conversations, and follow-up contacts after ACRL events. I wish for scholarship recipients to have similarly positive experiences.

What would you say to other members to encourage them to contribute to the campaign?

Stephanie: There’s power in participation – contributing to this campaign in the short-term helps one person attend, but long-term, we will all gain from sharing our expertise and knowledge with one another. Whether we each give a little or a lot, it’s helping our new librarians become our colleagues and leaders.

Flora: If many of us give a little money, we can develop a fund that will go a long way to assist people who may not have the financial means to pay their own way to conferences like ACRL and/or whose employers’ budgets cannot support many professional development opportunities. I would ask STS members to consider the benefits they have enjoyed from participating in the section, and I’d remind them that a way to give back is to donate to the scholarship fund so that others may benefit as well.

Thank you Stephanie and Flora for sharing your stories and inspiring others. I hope it will encourage them to join in and support the campaign. For more information on how to do that, see ACRL’s Kick Start the Future FAQ.

- Steven J. Bell is ACRL 75th Anniversary Campaign Chair

ACRL Program Proposals for 2015 ALA Annual Conference Due September 1

As a reminder, ACRL program proposals for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco are due September 1, 2014.  The ACRL Professional Development Committee will review proposal and select 2015 Annual Conference programs, with notifications issued in October 2014.  ACRL invites its committees, sections, interest groups and individual members to consider submitting program proposals.

More details about the Annual Conference program process are on the ACRL website. Contact ACRL Program Officer Megan Griffin at mgriffin@ala.org or ACRL Manager of Professional Development Margot Conahan at mconahan@ala.org with questions concerning the program proposal process.

Member of the Week: Britt McGowan

Britt McGowanBritt McGowan is Coordinator of Library Instruction at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Britt has been an ACRL member since 2009 and is your ACRL member of the week for August 25, 2014.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Laughing, caring, dreamer.

2. What are you currently reading?  I just checked out Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I read Housekeeping last year, and I think it will be one of those books that I read over and over again.  So, I’m excited to start this one.

3. Describe ACRL in three words:  Supportive, dynamic, community.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value the connections with other librarians that I’ve been able to make, as well as the professional development opportunities.  I appreciate that ACRL supports a culture of information-sharing and mentoring, which has been so useful to me since I became a librarian in 2009.  I have served on the Instruction Section Program Planning Committee and have been a mentee through both the Instruction Section and the Literatures in English Section. Being able to form relationships with people and rely on their expertise has been extremely helpful.

5. What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? As the Instruction Coordinator and Information Literacy Librarian, I try to find new ways to teach and assess instruction classes while also sharing and streamlining this process for the rest of the librarians. I work hard to coordinate with our Composition and First-Year Experience Programs to ensure the library is a vital part of first-year students’ academic and personal experiences.  I am fortunate, too, that the size of my library allows me to work on a number of tasks, including staying active in collection development and marketing, among other things.  I have to say that my favorite parts of the job are connecting one-on-one with students and writing our silly bathroom newsletter, The Stall Street Journal.

6. In your own words:  New initiatives and projects are great, but what I have loved about working in libraries since I started as the Reserves Coordinator about 10 years ago are the people.   I am motivated by helping and getting to know the students and the faculty, and I could truly never say enough about my co-workers.  Our library is full of interesting, funny, and whip-smart people who take ownership in what they do.  We draw upon each other’s talents and value each other’s opinions.  And? We cut-up.


Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at mpetrowski@ala.org for more information.

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