As promised, the long delayed overview of what I saw at the CARL conference. These notes are an extended version of what I brought back to my department. Please scroll to the end of the post if you’re interested in a brief recap of what I saw at the conference.
One of the things I’m currently struggling with coming back from this wonderful conference is how to apply what I’ve learned to the job when for the past few weeks I’ve been bogged down in my job. I shared my notes with my coworkers and my supervisors are supportive but I’ve heard very little back from my partners in crime. I may not have made a case for just how fun and existing the ideas or maybe we’ve just gotten to the point where we’re working so hard at the way we do things now we can’t take a step back and add more in or make adjustments.
I love the beginning of the quarter because I see it as a fresh start to change up some minor things with how we do things in the department. However, the last procedural change we made with our student worker’s way of processing materials petered out after a few months. I don’t blame the students for this, but rather inconsistencies between staff members when we tell them what is and is not important in their work flow. For example, banding books to go out has been treated as a make-work project rather than a central student worker job. This has had several unintended consequences. The first is that when the students do get around to making bands they do so slowly and while talking because they don’t view it as time sensitive. Another is that the processing staff has had to regularly band material in the evening to process books for the next day. Since I’m banding books every evening, I can’t work on the article tutorial or the stats project or other long-term projects.
How do you work with coworkers to get (and keep) them excited about possible changes to procedures? Getting the support of supervisors is not enough if not enough people on the staff commit to it as well. My department is staffed with great people but while we all seem to warm up to new ideas, our department seems to have a problem with the follow through.
Thursday, April 5th
Incorporating Instructional Design Approaches into Library Instruction
This talk was mostly about how to best teach material using a combination of online and in-person teaching of library material. It was interesting but not applicable to much of what we do in ILL. Dominique Turnbow did recommend two books on information literacy and learning theory that looked interesting.
Creating your own peer-learning community
This was an extended version of the presentation given at the SLA conference I went to in October. The presentation improved in the extended format because we were able to network with people in the room. The theories presented by the AULs made more sense when they walked you through the World Cafe model they used to implement discussion.
How a learning management system improved training and communication for library student assistants
California Lutheran College has been using Blackboard to help train their students for basic circulation desk encounters. This lets the students learn much of their training material in a self paced manner, allows for consistency between trainings and give the students a chance to go back and review procedures for activities they do not do often. They included quizzes and grades to help the staff keep an eye on which students needed to review material. From the training module they included a link to their scheduling system so they students could go to one place to be trained, locate their time sheet and if needed switch shifts with another student.
Food for fines
I’d love to do this here, maybe at the end of the spring quarter since that’s when students get ready to move and would be cleaning out their fridges. I don’t know what the logistics of the fine end would be but I’ve worked with the Second Harvest Food bank for a drive before and they were very helpful. The presenters were from Pasadena City College, so they are dealing with a smaller population, though.
Friday, April 6th
Keynote speaker: Saying yes: building innovative libraries by killing fear and getting the job done
Jenica’s speech was very interesting and she had a lot of good general ideas about trying to meet patrons needs using creative imagery. I nice speech that I think was recorded for the virtual conference. I’ve been following her blog for a while (www.attemptingelegance.com) and she usually has something interesting to say.
#doesthatreallywork? Transforming the traditional, rethinking and letting go
This was the talk was the most access services oriented of the conference. Sally Bryant and Michelle Jacobs-Lustig of Pepperdine shared a number of things they’ve done to make their space more inviting for their patrons. I particularly enjoyed their points about using different marketing techniques for different audiences in the library. I like some of their suggestions for training and using student workers. Many of their suggestions are little things that seem to have paid off. For example, they have their students wear name tags when they are in the stacks so patrons know who to ask questions of – an added benefit was complaints about unhelpful student workers went down and productivity among the students went up.
They are currently using LibAnalytics, one of the statistics packages we are looking at to replace our stats system. The highly recommend LibCal for scheduling student workers and desk hours for the reference librarians. It seemed to be a great way to schedule students who could put in which hours they are available and when they’d want to work and the program has built in reminders about putting in double shifts if the person requested one, and other common scheduling difficulties. (LibCal product overview here: http://www.springshare.com/libcal/tour.html)
So you think you can handle an institutional repository
This was a presentation given by two librarians from CSUSJ – it was a good introduction for me on what an institutional repository and I found some ideas I could borrow for my class.