Texas Library Association Conference 2013


This year is my first year attending the Texas Library Association annual conference, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and notes.

Prior to attending the conference, I learned that I was elected Chair-Elect of the College & University Library Division of TLA and I begin my official appointment 4/27/13. This means I am also the programming committee chair for next year’s conference, so it’s a good thing I met some wonderful people including past chair, Julie Leuzinger and incoming chair, Sian Brannon (thanks again for the steak). I am really excited to get to making a really engaging program for next year – who are some speakers you would love to see at a library conference?

I also presented my paper, “Course & Subject Guides in Academia: an Analysis of Student Usage and Librarian Perceptions” – so it was pretty busy. However, I did go to many sessions, so for those of you who couldn’t make it – I hope this post sparks some inspiration at your institution!

Library Learning Space Assessment Strategies by Kim Duckett (NC State Librarian & future classmate at the Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians)

  • Learning Space Toolkit – If you are thinking about redesigning some of the space in your library, this is a great place to start. It is broken up into 6 sections: Roadmap, needs assessment, space types, services, technology, and integration.
  • Methodologies for assessment: Usage data, observation, interviews, photo interviews, focus groups, surveys, mapping.
  • Suma – open source data collection tool. Could be used for reference transactions and for most other data-collection.
  • Create personas to gain stakeholder support. Often times we create personas for website usability, but think of using them for learning spaces. It helps people visualize real student need gathered from the aforementioned assessment methodologies.
  • Craft Journey Maps – “a visual representation of how a customer or user experiences a service over time.”

Transforming Libraries for Engagement by Gary E. Strong (Dean of Libraries @UCLA)

  • Be a participatory library – place for scholarly as well as collaborative “Mashup Space” that is user-driven & one that fosters relationships.
  • Library as laboratory
  • Islandora for digital projects: “open-source software framework designed to help institutions and organizations and their audiences collaboratively manage, and discover digital assets using a best-practices framework”
  • SIMUL8 software to rally students to create apps and content they will actually use.

Lib-Value: Determining the Value of Academic Libraries by Paula Kauffman (University of Illinois-UC)

  • Lib-Value project: Tennessee, Illinois, Syracuse, & ARL. The goal of this project is to provide assessment tools to help prove your library’s worth for the university community.
  • These are big picture values that do not consider the ‘value’ of staff.
  • It isn’t granular research. How can we put $$$ on teaching?

At the Intersection of Information Literacy & Adult Education by Diane Bruxvoort (University of Florida)

  • Pedagogy vs. Andragogy – how are we teaching our patrons?
  • “Adult learners don’t want to figure it out. They want someone to show them.”
  • Ultimately: we need to train staff

Reducing Service Points in the Academic Library  by Julie Leuzinger (University of North Texas)

  • You all know how I already feel about Reference Desks. Yes, Julie, spread the word!
  • “We spent most of our time playing pass the patron.”
  • Quality customer service is making the library more intuitive for our users.

Overall, this was a fantastic conference. I wish I could’ve stayed the entire time, but I had to come back to campus to judge our Student Research Conference participants (which did a wonderful job, by the way).

What are some inspiring conferences that you’ve attended? What are some programs that you wish you could see at your next library conference?

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