We would like to thank the sponsors of the 2014 New England Library Association conference held in Boxborough, MA. Without your support conference would not be possible.
Archives for October 2014
Our conference bloggers have been working hard to submit their notes from the programs they attended. Miss a session? Lost your notes? Check out the conference blog for the latest in conference program summaries and updates at http://nelib.org/category/nela2014/.
On Monday, October 20, 2014, the New England Library Association announced Mary Ann List as the recipient of this year’s Emerson Greenaway Award. Deborah Kelsey, NELA Past President presented the award with the following speech:
In 1998 the New England Library Association President established the “Great Librarian Award” to recognize the contributions of exceptional librarians. The first recipient to be honored for his outstanding achievements was Emerson Greenaway, an innovator in library organization and practice in the mid-twentieth century. Two year slater this regional tribute was renamed the Emerson Greenaway Award to honor the memory of its first recipient.
Mary Ann List is the Emerson Greenaway Award recipient for 2014. Mary Ann exemplifies all that the Greenaway Award means to New England librarians. She is the consummate professional.
A New Hampshire Library Trustee Association’s New Hampshire Librarian of the Year, Mary Ann List has always been an advocate for intellectual freedom and strong library service at the local, state, and national levels.
As a dynamic library director for the Andover Town Library and the Portsmouth Public Library, Mary Ann encouraged professional and educational development for both staff and trustees. She developed strong budgets and defended them ably to municipal leaders and citizens. Mary Ann just as ably mentored library staff, brainstormed new program ideas, and worked the circulation and research desks. Under her direction, patron and circulation numbers grew significantly, programming became more popular, frequent, and diverse, collections expanded, staff became better trained, and reference services became well-known for excellence. She led fearlessly through the technology revolution taking place in our libraries.
Mary Ann was a founder and the driving force in the Greater Manchester Integrated Library Cooperative System, Incorporated, the only consortium in New Hampshire at the time. With her hard work and tireless service GMILCS now has twelve members, public and academic, and services nearly a quarter of the state’s population.
Under her guidance, the City of Portsmouth built a new library, New Hampshire’s first municipal building to receive the prestigious LEED certification, becoming a model for all subsequent library building projects in the state.
Mary Ann is an exemplary mentor. She has added polish and sophistication to our profession in how she comports herself. Her advice is sought, listened to and followed even if at times it was not what we wanted to hear. She has taught us to stand up for what is right and how to do it with dignity and grace. She is a natural born leader. She has charisma and vision and is just fun to be around.
Mary Ann’s calm and steady guidance was key to getting NELA through the very difficult years following the recent economic downturn that jeopardized the Association’s future. She dedicated a tremendous amount of effort, energy and time to ensure that the organization she left when her term was completed, was a better, more stable and forward-looking one.
Mary Ann has the qualities that make her a “great librarian” and that was, after all, the original name of this award. She has had an impact on the libraries she has worked in, surely, but beyond that she has been a model of leadership in New Hampshire and New England.
We all are humbled to be able to call this wonderful person a friend and colleague.
Presented by Deborah Kelsey, NELA Past President, Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library Director
Nominated by Amy Lapointe, New Hampshire Library Association Representative to NELA, Amherst Town Library Director
Letters of support from:
Don Holden, Andover Town Library Trustee 1990-2014
Robin Julian, Andover Town Library Trustee
Krista I. McLeod, Massachusetts Library Association Representative to NELA, Nevins Memorial Library Director
Denise M. van Zanten, GMILCS, Inc. President, Manchester Public Library Director, NELA Treasurer
Michael York, New Hampshire State Librarian
Stand Up and Shout: The Youngish Leader on Changing Direction, Zach Newell and Peter Struzziero (Monday, 4:30pm)
Peter and Zach presented a polished talk on some of the challenges of being a young leader in libraries. Peter is the director of the Winthrop Public Library (MA), and Zach is the Humanities Librarian at Salem State University (MA). In addition to their experience in NELLS (the New England Library Leadership Symposium), both have been involved on several committees at the local, state, and regional levels; this is one way to acquire leadership experience as library staffs shrink and the middle management level disappears. With little or no middle management, the route to the top is quicker, but people aren’t always excited to step up; they may fear they’re underqualified, or they may not want a different job than the one they have. However, Zach and Peter pointed out, younger/newer librarians can use other experiences and committee work as leadership training, and they can learn on the job by listening and observing.
Being a library director is “a different job from librarianship” – you’re removed from the “front lines,” and have to deal with things like union negotiations, staff issues, the budget, statistics, old buildings, new websites, and new programs. As Zach said, “We never stop to admire a job well done, because it’s never done.” (While it’s true that we’re always working toward our goals, I do think there’s time to appreciate progress and achievement.)
- Building relationships is essential; communicate with staff and with others in the town and community, even/especially when you don’t need anything from them.
- Get involved in the community. Be a familiar friendly face. Go to Town Hall meetings.
- Take risks to make positive change.
- Recruit good Trustees, and build a Friends group if there isn’t one (or if they all quit on you…)
- Get involved in your town library board (if you live in a different town than the one you work in)
- Collect before-and-after stats to illustrate progress; “the proof is in the pudding.”
- Consider the future of libraries, but also YOUR future.
- Look at job postings for library director jobs, even if you don’t feel ready yet. See what skills and abilities are required. (“You may be ready now, even if you don’t feel ready. You never feel ready.”)
- There are lots of places to acquire MBA skills without actually getting an MBA. Try edX, lynda.com, and TED talks; ask for informational interviews. There are also NELA and ALA (ALSC, YALSA, NMRT) mentoring programs.
Tweets from the session:
Citations and references:
- Jordan, Mary Wilkins. “Developing Leadership Competencies in Librarians.” IFLA, 2011. [PDF]
- McChrystal, Stanley. “Listen, Learn…Then Lead.” TED Talk, 2011.
- Sinek, Simon. Leaders Eat Last: why some teams pull together and some don’t. New York, Portfolio/Penguin, 2014.
Mixing It Up for Millennials: Library Programming for 20- and 30-Somethings (Monday, 11am)
In this panel presentation, three librarians shared their experiences creating library programs to attract that elusive 20s-30s age group. Carol Luers Eyman from the Nashua Public Library (NH) presented “A Night Out for 20-Somethings,” an after-hours event at the library where 20-somethings could meet each other and see what the city’s community groups and organizations had to offer. The event was from 6:30-8:30pm on a Friday night (after work, but “before the real parties started”). There was no alcohol, but library staff made the space look less “institutional” with tablecloths, (fake) candles, couches and chairs, a piano player, and refreshments. To promote the event, they went above and beyond the usual press release, contacting new teachers, young journalists, personal acquaintances, young library employees, older library employees’ kids, etc.; they also extracted patron e-mail addresses in the 20-29 age range and sent one e-mail notification. The “Night Out” attracted 62 attendees (not including the 39 who just wanted to get into the library, not there for the event).
“Make programming social.”
Sarah Moser is in charge of programming for adults at the Haverhill Public Library (MA), and she said, “You never really know what is going to attract this group.” Art and music programs have done well; a Scrabble tournament and a community writers program flopped. The most successful regular program is the monthly book club, Get Lit. The library established a partnership with a local restaurant, the Barking Dog Ale House, where the group meets one Thursday evening each month. Holding the library program outside the library removes preconceptions about the library, and creates a looser social environment. Moser has had success in reaching out to authors on Twitter, where they are happy to re-tweet about book club events, and the group regularly attracts 10-15 people.
Kelley Rae Unger (Peabody Institute Library, MA), a former YA librarian, brought the concept of the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) to the realm of adult programming; she organized a 15-person focus group and created an Adult Programming Advisory Board, which meets 3-4 times a year; there is a mix of ages, interests, and genders. There was less enthusiasm for one-time or one-shot events, and more interest in multi-week or repeating events. Everyone on staff at Peabody runs some programming, in line with their interests (“teach what you know”), which include coffee roasting and beer brewing; volunteers from the community run programs also. They are active grant writers, and have funded many programs through grants. They have offered book clubs, programs about budget travel, a film discussion group, and cooking classes; in their Creativity Lab makerspace, they have offered silk screening, 3D printing, computer programming, Arduino, and woodworking. People register for events online, and events are promoted through a Constant Contact newsletter and the facebook page. Instruction is always free, though attendees may need to provide their own materials.
“If you own this story, you get to write the ending.” -Brene Brown
Not every program intended to attract people in their 20s and 30s will do so, but that doesn’t mean libraries should give up on this demographic. Involve community members in brainstorming, planning, and teaching; reach out and form partnerships with organizations and businesses in the community; and advertise creatively.
Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) Keynote: Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, Rebecca MacKinnon (Monday, 8:30am)
MacKinnon pointed to many excellent resources during her presentation (see links below), but I’ll try to summarize a few of her key points. MacKinnon observed that “technology doesn’t obey borders.” Google and Facebook are the two most popular sites in the world, not just in the U.S., and technology companies affect citizen relationships with their governments. While technology may be a liberating force (as envisioned in Apple’s 1984 Superbowl commercial), companies also can and do censor content, and governments around the world are abusing their access to data.
“There are a lot of questions that people need to know to ask and they don’t automatically know to ask.”
MacKinnon noted that our assumption is that of a trend toward democracy, but in fact, some democracies may be sliding back toward authoritarianism: “If we’re not careful, our freedom can be eroded.” We need a global movement for digital rights, the way we need a global movement to act on climate change. If change is going to happen, it must be through an alliance of civil society (citizens, activists), companies, and politicians and policymakers. Why should companies care about digital rights? “They are afraid of becoming the next Friendster.” The work of a generation, MacKinnon said, is this: legislation, accountability, transparency, and building technology that is compatible with human rights.
It sounds overwhelming, but “everybody can start where they are.” To increase your awareness, check out a few of these links:
- Consent of the Networked (website for the book)
- “Let’s Take Back the Internet” TED Talk
- “Hugs for YouTube” video
- Age of Internet Empires (a map illustrating the most visited website by country)
- The Economist’s Democracy Index (2013)
- Freedom on the Net (2013)
- The Web Index: “Designed and produced by the World Wide Web Foundation, the Web Index is the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations.”
- International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (Necessary and Proportionate)
- Big Data and Civil Rights ( )
- Global Voices Advocacy: “We seek to build a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists dedicated to protecting freedom of expression online.”
- Research on youth and privacy by danah boyd
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Human Rights Watch
You’ve been in the same position for years, and it’s time for a change. — You’ve been working in a field other than librarianship and need to make yourself marketable. — You’re fresh out of library school and looking for your first professional position.
You see the posting for your dream job. You have to update your resume. Ugh.
Fortunately, NELA can help. The Job Center will host several resume review sessions on Sunday and Monday. This is a great opportunity to receive advice from experienced hiring managers in the library field. Sessions will be held Sunday 3:30-4:30 and 5:45-6:30 and Monday 10:00-11:00, 12:30-2:00 and 3:30-4:30. Sign up for a 15-minute time slot at the registration desk. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume and arrive at the Boxwood Room at your scheduled time.
What could be more fun than catching up with colleagues after a day of conference over BBQ and ice cream? Spinning the Wheel of Fortune for a chance to win and enjoying The Giant Game Co.’s oversized games like Scrabble, Connect Four, and Jenga!
Join us Sunday evening at 7pm for a BBQ dinner! Meal tickets can be purchased along with your conference registration for $25.
As dinner winds down, all conference attendees are welcome to join in the fun at 7:30PM for the NELA After Dark Games, a night of food, networking, games, and the chance to take home new ideas for library activities that involve all ages. Admission to the games is free though we’ll be charging for game tickets ($10 for 10 tickets). A cash bar will be available. All game ticket sales benefit NELA Educational Assistance which funds our scholarships and grants.
Whether you can make our Sunday night BBQ dinner or are dining out, be sure to come back at 7:30 PM for our NELA After Dark Game Night & Fundraiser. Admission to the games is free and open to all though those wishing to play the games will need to purchase tickets (1 for $1; 15 for $10; 25 for $20). Game tickets can be purchased anytime on Sunday and during the festivities. Spin the Wheel of Fortune for a chance to win prizes and enjoy The Giant Game Co.’s oversized games like Scrabble, Connect Four, and Jenga!
This event is a fundraiser for NELA’s Educational Assistance Program which funds scholarships and other continuing education opportunities for NELA members for their professional growth.
Think it’s just public librarians that get to have all the fun? Not so! The Academic Libraries Section is proud to host Professor Mary Wilkins Jordan’s session on “Library Corps of Adventure! Looking at Libraries Across the Lewis & Clark Trail.” This presentation will detail her experience as a modern day explorer of libraries (both public and academic) along-you guessed it-the Lewis & Clark trail. Professor Wilkins Jordan focuses not only on data and research, but the diverse services and programs that librarians across our country provide each day. Not only will participants get to hear from a Simmons faculty member, but since much of Professor Wilkins Jordan’s research focuses on public libraries and improvement of their services, this should be a session of interest for both public, school and academic librarians.
“Library Corps of Adventure! Looking at Libraries Across the Lewis & Clark Trail” will take place on Monday, October 20th from 2:00-3:15 PM.