PaLA 2011 conference notes (Sunday/Monday)

So if you didn’t attend PaLA this year, don’t worry!  I’ve taken a few notes on my short stay in State College, PA.  Since I got there a little later on Sunday, I only went to two sessions.  Then, on Monday, I went to three sessions and presented my poster: “Changing perspectives, building careers: library internships for undergrads” with Libscenester 🙂

Service Learning @ the University Library

  • The data shows: students take ownership of learning, it increases student motivation to learn course content, learning through point-of-need is most effective, and it’s a low-pressure way for students to transfer skills. how does this apply to Higher Ed?  Perhaps at HACC, the community college I work at, we could have our CSI (computer science and information) students teach computer literacy to non-traditional students.  This will then increase their ability to learn the material they have worked with in class and then transfer skills to students in need.
A safe space on campus to serve LGBTQ students and faculty
You can find the slides of this presentation here , but here are the basics:
  • ALA provides many places for libraries to get ideas for starting LGBTQ
  • Our universities need to provide a safe welcoming environment (either through collection development, or in my case, an online guide)
  • Guides should be electronic and should have a contact person and/or link to a student group on campus
  • Our reference librarians should be knowledgeable of terminology and where students can find the guide.
  • Outreach:  Connect with Allies group on campus, educate staff on ALA ethics, participate in safe-space training, GLBTQ history month is October (reach out!), try poetry readings, hook up with the Student Activities group, etc.
At HACC, we are collaborating to create a GLBTQ libguide for our students.  As it stands, there is a “Diversity” guide which provides excellent information.  However, in order to provide service to all students and to treat everyone as a WHOLE, we are collecting materials and working across campus’ in order to provide the best service for our students and community.
Marketing: a librarian’s field guide to NFC
Ever hear of Near Field Communication?  No?  Well, it is basically a new way to transfer information (data) between phones similar to a QR code.  However, this type of marketing will allow people to just “tap” their phone to an icon and have that information transmitted through a short field blue-tooth connection.
What does this mean for libraries?  How can we use this technology?

  • Obviously, Marketing – outreach
  • Provide a quick way for people to register to library events
  • Replace locks?  Possibly for 24-hr labs, dorms, etc.  Replace the student ID
This technology is very new and the iPhone4s does not support it YET.  The phones that do support the technology include: Nokia C7, N9 and the Google NexusX phone.  Perhaps this is something to look forward to in the near future – experts predict 2012 🙂
Get off the bench: Outreach initiatives
This was a fantastic presentation discussing some easy (and cheap) ways to get students and the university community into the library – who doesn’t want that??  Here are some things I gathered from the talk:
  • Try performances at the library – this helps get people into the library as well as bring awareness to other students about different campus events.  This is a fun way to integrate departments across campus
  • A college author reception: bring in the faculty to have a pseudo-fancy event to celebrate the work they’ve published.  Offer cheese and crackers and display the work (MU might remember the Showcase of Scholarship).
  • Offer free tea and hot chocolate on late hours (HACC-york is possibly working with the tutoring center to provide a 24-hr open access environment for students for finals – maybe we could try this).
  • Anything having to do with a birthday (famous in the library-world or not) will bring people into the library.  Cake = people.
  • Offer study breaks – legos, games, crafts
  • Book-truck decoration contests – maybe campus groups?
  • 1st Friday exhibits in the library – this could be fun.
  • Write Thank You cards to people on campus that have helped out the library.  Maybe use some photographs from special collections for the front of the cards!
Going Mobile with Lincoln
This session discussed mobile marketing of the library (at Gettysburg College).  I went to this session because I am preparing a QR code presentation for Millersville University and I got some good ideas about marketing here.  The problem is: how do we get the website to go mobile – how do we tell students that they can access the library at all hours even when the library is closed?
           First, we need to know what students are using, who’s the target, and what values are there?
Here are some ways to market to students:
  • Partnerships with campus community groups
  • Table tents (in library) and maybe in the study rooms
  • Digital signage
  • Newspaper/stall publication
  • Stacks signage
Promote the message “Wherever you are.”  I like this because for my instruction I use QR codes so students can access their libguides at any moment when they need help.  I have been following the QR codes to track data and to see if people are actually using them – we cannot forget to assess what we are doing, or we begin to assume what the students are doing – and we all know what ASSuming does to us 😉
Hopefully you can take something away from these notes – I look forward to spearheading new initiatives at HACC from what I learned at PaLA.  So, just like last year – Thanks PaLA!


  1. Thanks for posting these! I only attended on Tuesday this year so I missed seeing your poster. (Actually, I’d be interested in seeing your poster if you have it in digital format or if you have a handout … we had an undergrad intern in my library this summer.)


    1. I’ll post a photo. I am still managing the Flckr from the conference so I’ll be sure to post it. Thanks for asking 🙂


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