I finally made it to Jasper after almost four years in Alberta. An extremely long drive from the forgotten corner of the southeast, but well worth the trip. I attended the Alberta Library Conference for the first time and filled in as a last minute session presenter (while very sick, no less).
Our session was on the partnerships and projects in place in southeastern Alberta: Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat Public Library and the regional Shortgrass Library System, and three high schools. Once we started creating a list, it became clear that we have some amazing partnerships here. It’s small enough in Medicine Hat that all the librarians fit in one room – and since we have so many projects in place, it’s natural to involve each other as we develop new initiatives. We also are lucky to have enthusiastic staff that are willing to try new things.
Best conference takeaway: in one of the sessions, a managing librarian’s advice was to just refer to any change you want to make as “a pilot” so people would be on board and you don’t have to have an exact plan (or know much about how things are going to turn out). I’m pretty sure this has always been the college philosophy of project implementation. Another session from Edmonton Public Library made me cringe at the size of their system, number of employees and the earnest effort to put each of the 600+ employees through a rigorous training program. It’s nice to be nimble.
Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU) at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta
I haven’t written since my last conference report on the OLA Superconference…It’s now near July and I’m just starting to tackle my summer projects To-Do List.
The trouble with WILU for me is that instruction is really only one component of my job (though I do teach 60+ sessions/year), so it was quite overwhelming to be thinking of so many potential things I could/should/would be doing with more time/resources/staff. Instead, I wanted to take home one thing to work on at my library.
Two librarians from McGill presented a great session on ‘redirecting’ library instruction. This session really made me think about taking a big picture snapshot of our library instruction. We do so much instruction, and record our stats faithfully, but I’d love to develop a visual showing where our instruction is actually taking place within the college curriculum. Further, mapping ACRL standards to our instruction efforts is a tangible first-step in formalizing our instruction program and moving toward assessment.
I also really enjoyed the keynote by Dr. Michael Eisenberg and a session on Teaching Research Methods. I really want to get ‘out of the box’ in terms of my own instruction. I already avoid using library jargon as much as possible, but we really need to stop just demo-ing a database or other tools. At the end of the day I want my students to care about research and knowledge, and how even a small assignment fits into scholarly activity.
As Eisenberg stated, students know how to find stuff. And there is too much stuff. We need to focus on the research process.
Among my other summer plans: What to do with music scores, weeding the P’s (!), revising our APA documentation, weeding AV, finalizing plans for OBOC, revising policies, hiring student assistants, creating a research guide for addictions, planning a pilot assessment project for instruction in history, developing a library survey…
I had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Library Association Super Conference in Toronto Feb.1-4, 2012 and I’ve been wondering how best to ‘bring the conference back to work’. Besides being back in love with Toronto (though there’s not much to love right now, the weather was fantastic, and it’s such a change of pace from here in Alberta), the conference gave me A LOT to think about.
Thanks to this helpful post from Rebecca Jones, I’ve planned a session with my colleagues about a great presentation on Information Literacy for Faculty by Seneca College Libraries. I’m excited to try a few of their techniques. This session was the best one I attended at the conference, and was both inspiring and overwhelming (how can I do all of that at my library?!).
The biggest big-picture, take-home, reiterated issues that cropped up for me were:
- We are screwed if we leave things to Apple and Google
- We are screwed if we continue to licence content like ebooks (libraries need to vote with our wallets on ebooks)
- Outcome over output (who cares if our circulation was up 3% this year?)
- Importance of media literacy/critical thinking about technology (stop being a fanboy/girl of Apple, make social media purposeful rather than feed our worst instincts).
- “Return” the library space to the users (stop the collections “arms race” to have the most volumes)
I need to remember these.
Oh, and George Stroumboulopoulos closed the conference at the Gala Luncheon. I used to listen to George on CFNY Toronto radio way back in the 90’s…so great, and look where he is now. Oh, and libraries can’t rely on nostalgia either.
Last time I completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I has 28 ‘points’ for introversion and 2 points for extroversion. This was hardly a revelation for me. However, the process of exploring our results has led me to feel more confident in my ‘type’, accept it as a preference not a burden, and learn to work with my preferences.
Here are some resources I’ve come across recently on ‘surviving’ as an introvert. I’m sure lots of librarians are introverts. It’s interesting to realise that there is a difference between preference and behaviour. Introverts are able to display extroversion, it just takes more energy.
- Ancowitz, N. (2010). Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead.
- Dembling, S. (2009-present). The Introvert’s Corner [Weblog]. Retrieved from PsychologyToday website http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner
- Fine, D. (2005). The Fine Art of Small Talk. New York, NY: Hyperion.
- Laney, M. O. (2002). The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in a Extrovert World. New York, NY: Workman.
- Phelps, M. (2007-2008). Power Networking for Introverts [Weblog]. Retrieved from http://www.introvertscannetwork.com
Some of the above were posted in the discussion Best Resources (and Tips) on Networking for Introverts, a discussion forum from the LinkedIn Group LIS Career Options.
I also posted some resources on Strengths-Based leadership on the Re:Generations blog: http://clatoolbox.ca/regen/?p=683