Create a Successful Staff Retreat

Denise van Zanten of Manchester City Library, Dianne Hathaway of Goffstown Public Library, Amy Lapointe of Amherst Town Library and Marilyn Borgendale of GMILCS, Inc. led this presentation about a successful staff retreat that GMILCS libraries had in February. GMILCS is a consortium of 12 public and academic libraries in New Hampshire.

Shared documents on the retreat –
Shared readings on our retreat –

Continue reading

Discussion Group: Library Lifelines

This discussion group was led by Diana Comer (dean) and Louise Motta (librarian) from the Dorothy Salter Library at Salter College.

Louise describes herself as a non-traditional librarian (3rd or 4th career) serving mostly non-traditional students in a non-traditional library.

She described this project as a “Field of Dreams.” They started the library with a vision to turn a small for-profit post-secondary career school into a two-year degree granting college with a small academic library. Not everyone could see the dream. A few librarians did: Terry Plum (Simmons College), Jerry Miller(Simmons College), Carolyn Noah (CMRLS) and Margaret Cardello (CMRLS). Continue reading

State of the States

Funding is an issue in ALL New England States, but grant funds are responsible for the success of projects ranging from getting a toilet put into a small library in VT to hooking up with WebJunction for professional development needs. Representatives from all six New England States were on hand to detail some of their successes:
CT: 80% success rate on database access via IP address, Continuing Education via WebJunction
MA: funding for new library construction/renovation
RI: New chief librarian
VT: $38,000 in grant funding

Jim Retting from ALA spoke about some library trends, such as the graying of the profession and the large percentage of librarians hitting retirement age. He also spoke about how ALA has responded to member requests for advocacy assistance by creating the Advocacy Resource Center.

Leading in a Multigenerational Organization

This talk by Maureen Sullivan was truly invigorating. I chose to attend this session because my own department boasts members of probably every generation discussed here:
Traditionalists (born before 1946),
Boomers (born 1964-1964),
Gen X (born 1965-1980, and
Millenials born 1980-2000. DISCLOSURE: I was born in 1981. 🙂

The presentation initially tackled some of the more obvious issues that arise when discussing generational differences: what are some stereotypical characteristics of each generation in the workplace, how do we define what a “generation” of people is (for the purposes of this talk it was defined as a group of people born within a span of about 20 years whose display similar values, preferences and behaviors), and Ms. Sullivan was careful to note that obviously every person within a generation can deviate from the stereotype for one reason or another.

We soon broke into groups of three to discuss some basic generational characteristics of the four generations described above, and after reconvening the larger group, Ms. Sullivan asked for some characteristics of each generation that could be considered assets in the library environment. The rest of the session offered the following concepts:

For the 1st time in U.S. history, there are 4 different generations working in together in the same environment

Capitalize on different characteristics of each generation to achieve “generational synergy.”

The stage of adult development an individual is in affects intergenerational interaction.

Important to remember distinction between bias and stereotypes. Stereotypes can sometimes help us to communicate more effectively, but must take care on how we act on these stereotypes.

It is important to recognize that every employee is a self-directing adult.

We should strive to create a workplace that allows for each individual to grow and development.

Mentoring goes both ways, between more experienced employee and less experienced employee.

Organizations should move from being rigid and over-structured to open and fluid, with staff work not bound by job descriptions.

Must get to know and recognize each individual’s work style, strengths, and expectations.

Focus on creating an inspiring, engaging vision for the future.

Give attention to how we build commitment of individuals and groups to achieve that vision while focusing on individual strengths.

Meet needs of each person to some extent (not necessarily all needs).

Build shared commitments to vision!

Meeting Academic Library User Needs

Two Pilot projects at S.I. Newhouse School for Publishing:
1) Pilot project (02/2007-04/2007)
3 months time frame
Interview questions:
Resources and tools
describe typical course assignment for you and student
how do faculty stay current in field
and how do they collaborate outside of school

Data Processing and Analysis:
Will recordings be transcribed?
If not, what doco will be used as found. for analysis?
Group analysis through “co-viewing or co-listening?”
Develop and test protocol early in the process

“You may not know this, but people who teach journalism often suggest that the worst possible thing is to tape it,…”
“I don’t quite understand the process here… having two of you talking to one of me is awfully labor intensive and I don’t know what we’ve gained from it.”
-recommendation for interviewer training.
“I am huge believer in using the library… so much so that I am evangelical about it.”
“Collect a lot of data, see what’s happening elsewhere.” -journalistic research.
“I don’t see it as my place to teach them how to [do research].”

Further questions:
What does research mean to librarians and then to the school?
What does library mean?
Are we talking the same lanaguage?
Is the library “culture” in sync with other academic cultures on campus?

Project 2: Patterns of Culture: Re-aligning library culture to meet user needs.

Add students to mix
Conduct observations in addition to interviews
Appply same ethnological methods to the library (staff and culture)
Distill the data in ways that allow for comparison

Research with human participants:
If your project qualifies as “Research” and involves human subjects, it may be subject to review by an institutional review baord.
-Exempt research?
-Expedited review?

What we learned: before and after:
No training
No testing of instruments
No IRB interview
3 month time frame
little group analysis
little forethought on analysis and documentation


Questions to ask:
Method relev. for research q’s?
Is admin and project team in agreement about goals and outcomes?
Do you have time and reseources?

POSTED ON web site.

How Graduate Students Work on their Dissertations (GRANT at U. of Rochester).

Backgrouns and past satudies
initial findings

Studying Users
New webmaster hired (Xerox PARC researcher) Brought methodogies from there.
Discover real, rather than perceived, needs of users
Hired anthropologist (thru grant funding)
3 phases of study
1st study faculty
2nd study undergrad students
3rd study grad students

Phase 1:
1 year ILMS grant
Study faculty work practices
Focus on digital tools used by faculty in order to
Align institutional repository with the user expectations- easier to change technology than people). create authoring doc mgmt. system.
D-Lib mag, Jan 2005.

Phase 2:
2 year library-funded study
Writing papers black box (that exists between assignment and handing in of a student’s paper)
Holistic view of studetn life, to find info on what’s in the black box
Align services, facilites and web preseence to this black box activity. Students input heavily on re-design of bldg., massive web re-design underway
ACRL book- Studying Students

Phase 3:
2 year IMLS grant
Based on first IMLS study
Holistic view od disseration research and authoring
Align servoces, build tools
Porject in process, finish September 2008.

Nancy Foster:
These methodolgies are appl. to public libs too.

(see slide)

( Examples of data gathered from comm.)

Video: Work Practices, Versioning,

Results of braingstorming: What grad students are doing
getting help from peers via aim email
convert from word to pdf
save old stuff and go back to it
use tech to stay connected
thinking about future careet in terms of preparing portfoilo

plus 90 others!

Brainstorming as a good project development tool.

Prelim findings:
need doc mgmt system
lots of co-authoring with facutly supervisors
overloaded with pdfs paper articles, citations
problems synving documents from on computer ot another
struggling to learn literature in their fields- not confident that they have always found every imp. article.

Autoring tools-
version ctrl
citation mgmt.
Shifting role of the library
Open source product, due Sept. 2008
Changes to library services
need for grad student orientation (profs assume students have these skills already)
better marketing of existing resources
librarian expertise
alert systems, rss feeds
Info about grad students
wrappingup interviews and surveys over next few months
observations conclusions etc will be avail. in spring

Studying Students:

Grad Project

Forming Community Partnerships

Link to conference powerpoint:

Collaboration between Keene State and Keene Public Libraries in Keene NH.

Can an Academic and Public library work together?

A tale of 2 libraries (in walking distance of each other).

Keene State:
est. 1929, 180,000 titles, 5,235 students.

Keene Pub.:
est. 1828, 121,500 titles, approx. 22,500 residents

What is a library partnership?
Consortium model- multiple libraries work together
Joint-use library model- 2 libs sharing space
Academic library & public library model- one-on-one relationship

Consulted Librarian’s Guide to Partnerships.
Collaboration between community college and public libraries (joint use model) do exist.

Academic/public relationships are rarer, this is not a joint use case.

Examples of Academic & Public Library Partnerships (Joint-Use)
2001: first private/public library partnership (Nova Southeastern Univ. and Broward County
Board of County Commissioners)

2003: 1st large state/major metropolitan public library partnership (San Jose State Univ. and San Jose Public Library)

Academic & Public Library Partnerships (separate buildings)
Pioneer Library Consortium (Oregon) : seventy libraries (academic, public, school/community colleges)

Cedar Valley Library Consortium (Iowa)- four libraries

Middlebury College and Middlebury Public Library (Vermont)- 2 libraries

Automate the Catalog!
1988, Keene State and Pub. faced this same task with big price tag
Public lib to join with state lib, but money ran out.

At same time, city of Keene began downtown revitalization project:
more attractive downtown
more incentives for commerce
local businesses formed a special committee
public library is in this area of revitalization

College Town Woes (Town/Gown issues):
Disruptive students
loud parties
police and fire dept. must handle false alarms and ruckus
complaints from community members
A library partnership helps town/gown relations

Turning a corner:
KSC & KPL become partners in a joint automation project
KSC hires systems lib who works at KPL
Applied for grant to automate

system selection involved both librarys’ staffs and admins, city council members, college president and dean.
selected Triple I- because it handles 2 classification systems, and easy to use OPAC (patrons, students)

KSC paid 2/3 cost, towards good will for town.

diff. overdue fines, loan periods, classifcation systems, overall cost.
high school students checking out entire subj. areas (imposed 3 item limit for each library, now abolished)
commnity members soured on college’s overuse of town services

lib directors attend town metgs
articles in college and town newspapers
when city could not pay, college covered for cost.

Keene-link established:
Libraries inKeene linking together
online iun spring 1991

Benefits for each partner:
access to pop works, fiction, child lit,
staff and facutly can check out kpl itmes even if they live out of keene
retun at aiehter loc.
public-access to scholarly research, dvds/vids

Staff benefits:
collegiality btwn staffs
broadened perspective and understanding of each library’s needs
re-evaluate procedures and policies
overcome differences and resolve issues

More benefits:
now have 2 systems librarian (dual back up coverage)
regular ongoing mtgs betwen 2 depts. in each libraries
colleagues in your area with expertise

Each lib’s work affects the other
Issues from III system to resolve
Different missions and patrons with different needs

Examples of challenges (cataloging):
Agree on which MARC fields to load from new bib records, and regular review of III load tables
Sharing of Create list review files
running a review file (can step on other library’s toes!)

Examples of challenges (circ):
book jacket image OPAC feature (KPL wanted it)
10 digit phone number in patron records
patron fines-KSC purges patorns, can’t with KPL fines on them (under $5 can pruge)
holds feature- special settings from iii to allow kpl to do holds but ksc to not do it. turned on holds feature at ksc, were not overwhelmed by holds contrary to expectations

Other partnership ideas:
work with local non-profits like Vigo County Public Library (IN).
-project to create and maintain websites for nonprofits in community

Mountain Area Information Network (NC)
-community network provides low cost email, web sites, tech support and training, chat rooms.

More ideas:
comm outreach programs
info literacy projects
grant collaboration
-partners for Monadnock History project
shared bibliography creation
joint programming
joint program advertising
promote local businesses and arts

Summarizing KSC/KPL partnership:
improved town/gown relationship
great potential for ongoing future projects
commitment to work together for better or worse
brings together the community, the college, the patrons and staffs of both libraries

See also articles:

Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship: An Academic Library and a Public Library Form a Community Partnership
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 624-629
Kathleen Halverson and Jean Plotas

A Further Perspective on Joint Partnerships: A Commentary on Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 630-631
Veronica Smith

Discussion Group: Get Involved with NELA

NETCRL– Teen and Children’s Librarian round table.

NETSL– sponsors conference at Holy Cross every spring. November will see another conference co-sponsored by NELINET, focused towards cataloging, but something for everyone.

ITS– Information Technology section. New chair of ITS section present, Rick Taplin. He was also the founder of this section. The IT section originally dealt with topics related to A/V issues, but now the scope has expanded to include many technological topics. Meets bimonthly, typically in Shrewsbury. Spring program yearly. Held an open source program (successful) this past spring. Programs at Annual yearly as well. Looking for new members interested in involvement at any capacity! Good to meet people from other states and see what they’re doing.

This last statement holds true for all sections, for exchange of ideas.

Kris Jacobi, president-elect of NELA, introduced.

NELSSA– Support staff section,VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

HQ76.3– LGBT library employees.

Membership committee (Ann Connolly)- lots of email, bimonthly board meeting attendance, needs new ideas for recruiting new NELA members, things that would be beneficial to NELA members. In touch with new members and thank them, in touch with members to renew. NOT A LOT OF DATA ENTRY!

Public relations committee– need chair, help. Open for submissions for chair. Contests, brochures, booths/tables at NELA and other conferences.

Educational assistance committee– Grants and scholarships to MLS students, continuing education. Meetings flexible.

Conference committee– plan annual NELA conference, open exchange of ideas to plan program. Pooling of shared resources of speakers, etc. Includes inviting authors, etc. Cmte. works with other comtes. as well to development program.

Intellectual freedom committee– John Barrett was past chair, need new chair. Keeping up with news on issues with intel. freedom.

Publications section– collaborates on newsletter and website- new initiative to make both synchronous.

Nominating committee- pulls slate together for elections

Bylaws committee– chaired by Joanne Palko.

Joining a group can be a path to becoming an officer in NELA.

6 state reps in NELA- represent each state interests. Sometimes reflects political climate of state.

Please contact Ann Connolly if you have any questions about NELA or join any of the sections of NELA.

New members brochure, sections info on

NELA Executive board has treasurer, secretary, senior and junior director (junior director advances to senior director).

There are 800+ members of NELA.

Suggestion: run NELA membership drives at same time as state membership drives.

NELA sponsors 1 program at each state association conference, NELA President attends every state conference.

NELA also holds bi-annual NELLS (New England Libraries Leadership Section) conference. Four day conference on leadership and planning,. Besty Bray and Cheryl Bryan are co-chairs of NELLS. Communication via NELA listserv, virtual meetings. No live meetings as of yet, but it may come.

Suggestions: Possible permanent job board online? Need to pump up mentoring program, job sharing, posting, etc. Mentoring committee!

Wants: reinvigorate NELSSA, more activity with HQ76.3

Conference planning committee is comprised of both independent people who only serve on that committee and also representatives from other committees.