Friday, June 29, 2012

The E-book Elephant in the Room: Determining What’s Relevant and Effective for your Patrons & Making Effective Decisions for Your Future E-collection

ALA Conference Seesion
Anaheim, CA
June 22, 2012

The E-book Elephant in the Room session discussed different approaches libraries (both academic and public) are taking in response to the changes e-books are bringing to libraries.  The presenters were
 Anne Silvers Lee, Free Library of Philadelphia;  Arlene Moroni, King County Public Library, Heather A. McCormack; Linda Di Biase, Collection Development Librarian, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle; and  Sue Polanka, Wright State University. This session began with a challenge to librarians. Is the goal of your e-book collection to build a comprehensive collection, or to provide the most access to the most people? Most libraries are now moving to a hybrid model. King County’s experience has been the high demand has led to an increase in ebook purchases. They have been able to accommodate this increase by decreasing their database budget by 50%. They were able to weed out those e-resources not being used, and to help their patron’s transition to what was available by creating scripts. The University of Washington has been piloting different was of purchasing ebooks over the past several years.  The researchers were able to access the materials online. After so many activities, the ebook would be purchased.  Working in an academic consortia environment, the current pilot provides 10 short-term loans after which five virtual copies are purchased which may be used by members of the consortia. Ms. Silver Lee from the Philadelphia Free Library made a very interesting point- that their print book budget was roughly divided  with 60% to adult materials and 40% to juvenile. When they reviewed their ebook spending, 88% went to adult fiction and nonfiction,  and only 12% to juvenile and YA materials.  She also discussed ebooks and the digital divide implications. In Philadelphia, 40% of the households do not have internet access, however, more and more low income people are purchasing smart phones, causing the library to make sure their eresources address mobile access.

ALA Annual 2012: Empowering Staff To Learn

ALA Annual Conference
Anaheim, CA

Program attended: Empowering Staff To Learn: Self-Directed Learning Models

Description (from ALA):  Do those you train resist learning? Is formal training not yielding enough return? Join this program to learn successful methods for empowering your staff to seek learning, develop informal learning goals, and create a culture of growth and learning in your library

Reflection: I was hesitant to attend this session at first because I didn't feel like the description matched the environment here in the western MD panhandle. I rarely encounter resistance to learning from my colleauges and when I have encountered it I've found that there is almost always an underlying issue and that the resistance is a defense toward that underlying issue and not necessarily toward learning itself. Does that make sense? 

However, I attended anyway because it was sponsored by the Learning Round Table and they usually provide time-worthy programs and I'm 50% glad I attended because although it wasn't an A-ha! kind of program (I didn't leave with any big, inspiring ideas), it was a tool-kit building program and I'll share some of those tools that I acquired with you here.
  1. This first take-away is more of a reminder to myself: if you're gonna talk the talk you better walk the walk. I was disappointed in the presenters' presentation techniques: poorly designed PowerPoint slides, not having set up and checked the microphones before starting, the speakers kept interrupting each other. This is just me sharing my pet peeves. As a trainer/staff development librarian I'm almost too aware of my own and other trainers' presentation styles. If I'm going to stand up in front of a group of peers and impart knowledge as an effective teacher/trainer, etc then I better darn well be modeling those behaviors during my presentation. I felt these two trainers were missing that in this presentation.
  2. A book to read: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't. Author: Jim Collins.
  3. The presenters recommend this Learning Styles web site as a free and easy way to identify your learning styles and to learn more about what they mean: If you are familiar with evaluating websites then I hope you'll take a look at this site and share my concerns - or feel free to disagree with me; I'd love to have a discussion about this. Sure, it's a free site and sure you can take an online Memletics Learning Styles Inventory but what I want to know is, who created this site? Who created the inventory? Who are these people that wrote the testimonials? It raised more than one eyebrow with me and I'm surprised that other librarians are recommending sites like this to their peers. I understand why they did it but if they had gone directly to the source of this Memletics learning style ( they'd find a dead site. Hmm...
  4. New word/concept: Andragogy. Andragogy is (according to Wikipedia), "learning strategies focused on adults." It differs from Pedagogy in that the focus there is on children.
Final Thought: if you recognize a resistance to learning in yourself or want to know how you can learn more about your learning styles, let me know. I'd be happy to talk with you or - if this is something that many folks are interested in region-wide then I can work on scheduling some workshops.