Archive for the 'Conference News' Category

MLA Annual Conference 2008

The Michigan Library Association just had its 2007 conference but already its necessary to plan for the 2008 conference. Presentation abstracts for the October conference are due at the end of the month. Dana and I -your MALC bloggers- along with 3 other librarians have already begun putting together a presentation relating to library management.

While I’m here I might as well sell this helpful book:

book picture

-John Potter


2007 MALC Fall Conference Notes

Nov. 30, 2007 | 9:30 – 4:00 | Lansing Holiday Inn South

I. Presentation by UM/WSU Library School/dean director

University of Michigan School of Information
Martha Pollack assumed the deanship position at the University of Michigan, School of Information (SI) in August. Dr. Pollack gave an overview of SI: its mission, history, student profile, curricular changes and upcoming initiatives. Coming from the U-M College of Engineering, Dr. Pollack is trained as a computer scientist. She views the Information Revolution as the final frontier which presents both opportunities and challenges for iSchools. The SI student and faculty body is diverse. The School is experiencing increasing enrollment and currently has the largest Masters class since SI was chartered. The School has 362 students: 317 MSI (Masters of Science in Information) and 45 PHD candidates. Students enrolled in the PHD program have fully funded tuition and stipends. 100% of 06 graduates are in professional positions or are pursuing a doctoral degree. The starting salary is $54,200.

MSI offers nine areas of specialization. The implementation of recent curricular changes has resulted in a new set of three required foundation courses: Information in Social Systems, Project Management and Contextual Inquiry and Networking Computing. The Practical Engagement Program (PEP) allows students to apply classroom knowledge to solve problems outside the classroom. The STIET Program, supported by a recently renewed 6.7 million dollar NSF grant, is a doctoral training program that focuses research on the use of incentive-centered design of modern information systems. Upcoming initiatives include a new interdisciplinary undergraduate program in informatics, hiring 6–10 faculty over the next four to five years, enhancing SI’s research presence, and moving to North Quad into a new university building in 2010.

Wayne State University Library and Information Science Program
Stephen Bajjaly assumed the director position at the Wayne State University, Library and Information Science Program in August. Previously he served on the faculty of the University of South Carolina, School of Information Science. Dr. Bajjaly emphasized that UM and WSU have complementary programs. WSU is a good fit for individuals already employed who are seeking a traditional library environment. WSU has one of the largest LIS programs in the country. 587 Masters students (400 FTE) are enrolled with 80% attending part-time. Most of their students are working and have families. 87% are female. 95% come from Michigan (50% of which come from Wayne and Oakland counties). Breakdown by interest area: 22% – school media, 22% – public libraries, 12% – archival administration, 10% – academic libraries. 19% of their graduates accepted positions in academic libraries. The median salary for their graduates is $39,000.

WSU has a number of initiatives in the works. By fall 2008 WSU hopes to move their full program online. Currently 12 courses are available online. A joint MLIS/MA in History degree allows students to complete their program in 57 credits instead of 71 credits. A recently approved Information Management Certificate (5 courses) is designed for individuals who working librarians who want to refresh their technology skills. WSU is also working on a Records Management Certificate. An IMLS grant is funding student digitization projects aimed at fine arts collections and institutions. This work could lead to special certificate option. The Program is also looking to renovate their current space.

II. Open discussion with Library School Representatives
Deans and directors brought up a variety of topics: the need for continuing education opportunities, the need for universal skills allowing librarians to function effectively in today’s library i.e. (analytical, problem solving, advocacy, leadership), training librarians on research methods to fulfill tenure requirements, and staying current on scholarly communication.

Because both Schools are hard pressed just to keep their Masters and PHD programs going they do not offer continuing education. In Michigan MLC has been filling the continuing education / training niche.

U-M is working on having close connections to employers. Their foundation courses incorporate problem solving, project management and data analysis. SI is a professional school that has a solid intellectual basis of librarianship. It is not a training school. The Practical Engagement Program enables students to do field work and apply classroom knowledge. Although U-M tries to develop students’ writing skills, the teaching of research skills is difficult to fit into a 2 year program. U-M offers courses on information economics which includes digital publishing and distribution, economics of the information world and scholarly publishing.

WSU also is not a training program. However, first year students are exposed to the job search, interview techniques and resume preparation. Students are exposed to many broad based skills in their foundation courses. The Practicum option prepares students to work in a library where they can apply and test their classroom skills and knowledge. Students pursuing a academic library track are encouraged to enroll in the Research Methods class.

Library deans/directors suggested that they had a responsibility to:

• Be proactive and encourage staff to get degrees
• Collaborate with and inform MLC and MLA of continued education / training needs
• Advocate and push their institution for professional development dollars
• Provide financial support and mentoring

III. Discussion on Accreditation and Assessment
To jump start the discussion, facilitator Cliff Haka offered some accreditation and assessment tips:

• Get in touch with the units that are up for accreditation. Ask: What can the library do to help you prepare for your site visit. (Is the library linked to what is going on? Often it is not.)
• Have someone in your library read the entire accreditation report prior to the team’s visit.
• Make sure you get the appropriate library people at the table when the visitation team asks library questions. (Often only 5 minutes is allocated for the library).
• Before conducting a survey, know what you are assessing.
• Assess when you have some idea of what you want to do.
• Don’t assess if people have already made up their mind – don’t waste their time.
• Assessment is an ongoing process. Make sure you have feedback tenacles out there.

Albion – Has used LibQUAL for benchmarking. Most valuable are the additional comments. Institution has made a commitment to learning outcomes – what are the information skills of your graduates; what should the skills be?
EMU – Did LibQUAL 5 years ago and using it as a benchmark. No point in collecting data if you don’t plan to use it.
Ferris – Assessment of outcomes is becoming embedded. They did LibQUAL in the spring. Assessment is helping them with accreditation.
UM Dearborn – They use the “What/So What/Now What method. LibQUAL is ok for some perspectives and gives you comparative data, but doesn’t get to the nitty, gritty stuff.
Kalamazoo Valley CC – Speaking from experience as an accreditation examiner, Jim Ratliff emphasized that the library has a very short window to make an impression during the site visit. Library outcomes are specifically connected to instruction, that has a much greater impact. When preparing information for the accreditation team, write something specific that gets to the macro level.
Northern Michigan University – The university uses AQIP for accreditation. Assessment has to be done on an annual basis. You pick what you want to measure and improve. The library should be mentioned in the academic support section within the AQIP Systems Portfolio. Northern has a strong information literacy assessment component in their Nursing Program. This has been a product of many years of the library working with nursing faculty.
Oakland CC – Offers a 1 hour information literacy course which is tied into a college wide information literacy rubric.
U-M Dearborn – They ask faculty, does the library make a difference? As a result of librarian efforts, has the quality of student work improved?

IV. Michigan Library Association Proposed Reorganization
Josie Parker, MLA President, discussed why MLA needs to change. After considerable debate and research, the MLA Board of Directors selected a strategic governance structure. In the new structure MLA Board members will be appointed by a nominating committee. Appointments will be based on individual expertise and skills needed to run a professional association.

MLA proposes to abolish the existing 30 different units (divisions, committees, roundtables) which have become unmanageable given a MLA paid staff of four with a ¾ million budget. This structure would be streamlined and replaced with six committees. Committee chairs would be appointed by the MLA Executive Director. The restructuring plan allows for fluidity with the creation of Communities of Practice which have worked well in Iowa. Anyone who wants to get a COP group together can do so with MLA support. The group can fade away when there is no longer interest. Josie and the current chairs of divisions, committees, and roundtables will comprise a taskforce to flesh out the Communities of Practice. Academic Librarian Day will continue, as will membership in the ARLD chapter. MLA members will be asked to vote on the restructuring plan in January. Election for the MLA Board will be held in May. The new structure would go into effect in July.

Library directors/deans wondered how the new structure would impact academic librarians relative to the new fee structure, continuing education opportunities, opportunities for academic librarians to fulfill tenure requirements, and MALC as a possible Community of Practice.

Constituent group break-out sessions
Each group was asked to identify their top choices for program ideas for the spring MALC membership meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00.

Respectfully submitted,
Elenka Raschkow (MCCL)
MALC Executive Committee

Questions regarding proposed MLA restructure

Josie Parker led an informative presentation at the Nov. 30 MALC (Michigan Academic Library Council) membership meeting. The MALC secretary is passing on some questions that have been raised by the membership regarding the proposed MLA reorganization. You may already be aware of these issues. Thanks in advance for listening to the MALC academic library deans / directors and trying to provide us with clarity during this time of transition.

1. What percentage of the MLA membership is comprised of academic librarians?
2. Based on current MLA academic librarian memberships, how many of their respective university/college libraries are also institutional members of MLA?
3. How many MALC members (academic library deans/directors) hold membership in MLA?
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed new MLA structure for academic libraries and librarians?
5. How will the new MLA dues fee structure be determined? What is the anticipated impact on academic librarians and libraries?
6. What opportunities will there be for academic librarians to fulfill tenure requirements i.e. publishing, conference/workshop presentations, elected to leadership positions?
7. Communities of Practice (COP’s)

• How will COP’s be structured, organized and funded?
• In the event that an independent organization decides to become a COP will it be required to join MLA?
• If the independent organization has an established institutional membership fee structure, by-laws and website, what happens to these in a COP?
• Can membership be restricted to a particular group within a COP?

An impressive MLA conference

Yesterday’s MLA conference offered many interesting seminars. Early on I attended the MLA unconference with Dan Lohrmann from the Michigan Department of Information Technology (a video interview with him) about IT security. An open discussion circle about library–IT issues followed (ie how Google is ‘flattening’ the value of institutional collections).

Next I attended “Using Blogs and Wikis for Staff Communication in the Reference Department”, informative and very well presented (though some of which was necessarily review).

The Lansing Center lunch featured Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of GVSU Libraries, speaking about scholarly communication issues (“Sense-Making in the Universe of Scholarly Communications”). Without reservation, this was the best powerpoint presentation I believe I have ever seen– issues were framed in a concise and helpful manner, graphics effectively used to present pro and con. In her words, the presentation sought to

“weave together some of the causes and effects that have created the present reality, and connect the issues to strategies that may give us the best chance to shape a more open and effective scholarly communications system”.

I’m hoping she will be able to email me a copy of this presentation soon (she has a very similar powerpoint presentation that you can view as well).

Next came Catalog 2.0, a look at how EMU, CMU, MSU and the Clinton-Macomb library are revising their online catalogs to become more user-friendly and interactive (ie tags, reviews, comments, rss, etc).
Some highlights:

-An open source ILS model that EMU reviewed was based upon VUFind (Villanova University’s catalog). Rationale for interface design discussed as well– seecatalog and note the Table of Contents links, Place Hold link, book cover jpeg, and location link to map

-The MSU speaker showed the impressive features found on Encore (now a feature on their catalog). Note jpegs, relevancy rankings, book summary, your results sidebar, and table of contents as features

-Since The CMU catalog had not been changed in 9 years, faculty and students formed a focus group to provide direction about selected features (still in the works(?)). Expected features shown include comments, book summary, and advanced search as main interface (minus keyword search if I remember correctly)

-The Clinton-Macomb Public Library is very user-friendly with many features too. Try a search to see what I mean (here)

Just recently, I gave a presentation about the need for new OPAC features–and now I find such changes have been occuring in my backyard all along

Next, I went to a very entertaining presentation by blogger Jessamym West (slides here). Her own blog posting about the event can be found here.

Last but not least came the momentous MLA board meeting where it was learned… MLA’s ARLD (ACRL division) will no longer exist. Nor will any other functional groups exist beyond what is deemed Communities of Practice (still to be defined organizationally). Instead, the organization is changing from a constituency model (which abounded in unrelated activities, separate groups) to a strategic model focused on mission, planning. Only 4 standing committees in this new model exist: membership, legislative, communications & marketing, and professional development. The transition, if changes approved in January, will occur from Feb to May.

I hate to see the old MLA disappear but realize that change is necessary. Its a bit disorienting actually– and I wonder how it will all play out. The presentation made clear that many hard choices and careful decisions were made by the recommendation task force. And what effect will these changes have upon the MLC and MALC? (the former still very much focused on functional workshops, the latter configured to serve those who self-define themselves as academic librarians).

MALC Spring Conference News Recap

Opening remarks
Margaret Auer, MALC Executive Committee Chair, began the conference by noting that MALC is gradually becoming recognized as the voice for Michigan’s academic libraries. She reported that the MALC Academic Library Case Statement is being used by MLA as part of its overall library advocacy strategy. Likewise, MLC has invited the MALC Executive Committee to start a discussion with the academic library community. Members are using the MALC listserv to share information and the MALC website continues to grow.

To support this progress (and ongoing MALC organizational costs), all Michigan academic libraries will be receiving a MALC membership invoice (at least twenty of the larger academic libraries have already committed $200 per institution).

The MALC website (at continues to evolve as a one-stop information portal that can be used to educate the public about the contributions and accomplishments of academic libraries. Links to library associations have recently been added and the annual report section now includes friends groups and automation systems. The website features a library employee award information as well.

The website is hosted at UOD Mercy but remains the responsibility of ALL 87 MALC members (15 COLD, 43 DIAL-M, 29 MCCL). Members are urged to contribute content and update information! It is especially important that the membership section on the website is kept up-to-date.

Conference Review: Taskforce Report Summary

Task Force 1: Academic Library Case Statement / MeL Case Statement
(Linda Farynk)
Information from the case statements is being used for lobbying purposes and to tell the library story. MLA is looking at a long-term legislative strategy to market and build a new image of libraries with the media. MLA also published information from the MeL case statement in its recent newsletter. LOM will be focusing on marketing MeL in the next year.

Suggestions for improvement included highlighting the ACT college-entrance exam and using current info as marketing messages. Other suggestions included collecting narrative comments from library surveys (i.e. the LibQual survey), adding a section to the MALC website with a link to testimonials provided by MALC libraries, and connecting with MLA’s Public Policy Committee to develop a larger advocacy toolkit.

The case statement may also prove useful for MALC members when they meet with their chief academic officer (ie the value of MeL), discuss library funding at the state and institutional level, or attempt to write grant proposals

Task Force 2: Statewide Initiatives
(Tom Moore for Tim Richards)
The charge of the taskforce was to identify key issues/themes which could serve as the foundation for a multi-type library conference, particularly statewide issues, aka the 1999 Preferred Futures Conference. The taskforce currently seeks to relay broad issues for discussion rather than to develop actions and tangible outcomes.

Commentators noted that the state has significant social and economic issues that libraries could impact, that academic libraries have a shared understanding amongst ourselves but not across library types, and that
urgent issues affecting global change may greatly impact our libraries.
Other members warned against chasing abstractions, seeking instead to focus group energies on one or two strategic issues–perhaps being able to achieve a ‘common understanding’ with other type libraries. Collaboration may be at risk however because “many libraries are not participating because they are hanging on just to survive”.

When reviewing the 1999 (multitype library) conference, Randy Dykhuis noted the extensive effort required. However, the event became a well organized large scale planning session with 200 librarians in attendance for solid day. Concrete outcomes that resulted: Access Michigan/MeL, PLFIG, Michicard, statewide document delivery.

Task Force 3: Shared Storage Facility
(John Kondelik)
Off-site storage is an incredibley more complex involving ownership, content, sharing, location, and funding considerations. Task Force members shared a desire to work with a larger group from MALC on this issue, possibly starting small with gradual growth. In lieu of seeking funding for a consultant to do a needs analysis, it was suggested that a no-frills survey to the membership asking if off-site storage is a current/future need for their library should be undertaken.

Also, someone on the taskforce should study various offsite storage models (match requirements in the field with capabilities).

Annual Conference

I’m looking forward to the MALC Spring Conference on April 27 at Ferris State.  Alot of planning has gone into this — hope those that can come will (success builds upon success!). 

Coffee and registration is between 9:30 and 10. In the morning we will be hearing about the progress of several taskforce reports (MALC is more than a social club).  We will also discuss possible 2008 goals for the organization.  In the afternoon I’ll be able to tour Ferris State’s new library — pictured here at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Users, please notice Comments link at top.  You can see previous comments about this post or post your own. Finally, graphics can be posted– but users must be careful about copyright (I’m not sure how fair use plays into a non-profit blog.  Maybe someone can ask Ruth Dukelow).

John Potter
(not sure if this blog can automatically post author’s name-  so be sure to sign off when posting).


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