Saturday, November 11, 2017

#NYLA2017 : Recruit, Retain, Repeat...Again

Barbara Stripling and Jill Hurst-Wahl

This was a continuation of the discussion begun last year at the conference on recruiting people - especially K-12 teachers - who would like to become school media specialists (a.k.a. school librarians).  In NYS, there continues to be a shortage of school media specialists.  Every school media students is able to get a full-time job as a school librarian before graduation!  The question is how can we (the LIS/school media graduate programs) attract more students who are interested in this career option?  The answers are complex.

After a lively discussion, we invited each person to decide what s/he would do over the next eight months (in other words, before fall 2018) to recruit someone into the profession.  We asked that when a person does what s/he promised to do, that the person post the "what" and the result (if appropriate) on the NYLA/SSL Facebook page.

By the way, the need to recruit more people to become school librarians exists in other U.S. states. 

#NYLA2017 : "Nevertheless, She Persisted," Women's Leadership Panel

Leadership panel photo by Rebecca Rodd
Leadership Panel
Panelists were:
  • Lauren Comito, Queens Library
  • Carol Anne Germain, University of Albany
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl, Syracuse University
  • Mary Fellows, Upper Hudson Library System
  • Sandra Echols, College of New Rochelle
This was a Q&A session on leadership with  discussion of leadership, the work environment, inequality in pay between men and women, and micro-aggressions.  The Twitter hashtag for the session was #NMNWomen. 

After the session, one person said that the session had been depressing.  Yes, going through a situation can be depressing.  Yes, recognizing that these problems still exist in 2017 is depressing.  However, we each need to feel empowered to:
  1. Work on our own situations and make them better.
  2. Work on changes that will improve the situation everyone. Start with your own institution and work from there.
I once met a librarian who had worked in the same library system for a several decades and admitted to not liking that work environment.  It saddened me that the person had not worked to change employers.  It also saddened me that the librarian didn't speak of efforts to change the environment.  This person had persisted in an environment that the person didn't like.  Don't do that! Take matters into your own hand. 




I'm sure there were questions from the audience which were not addressed.  I hope those people will contact the panelists and setup a time to get the needed answers.

#NYLA2017 : Listen Like a Librarian

Elena Falcone and Hannah Ralston

They begin with a two-minute listening exercise.

Your body language can have a big impact on how well you listen.  Recognize that there can be cultural and situational differences.  Keep in mind that your body language also changes you and your outlook.

Use cows as a model: they are curious, no judgment, focus, and are serene.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.  They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.  They’re filtering everything through they own paradigms, reading their autobiography in other people’s lives.” - Stephen Covey

What am I bringing into this situation which will change how I listen?

Your feelings affect you as the listener.  The feelings of the speaker will affect that person.


People don’t always want solutions, they want to be heard.

H - halt whatever you are doing and offer your full attention.
E - Enjoy your breath.
A - Ask yourself if you really know what they mean.  If needed, ask for clarification.
R - Reflect back to them what you heard. Use their words first, then, if needed, reframe to move toward a solution.

We all have equal opportunity to pause, marvel, and smile.

Additional resources
Additional Resources

Friday, November 10, 2017

#NYLA2017 : Big Question, Big Data, and HathiTrust

Mike Furlough

HathiTrust shows how libraries can collaborate.  Over 130 members - academic/research libraries. Member fees support 100% of operational expenses.  Fees begin at about $9500 in 2018.  They do not see themselves as a subscription service.

HathiTrust has a portfolio of work:
  • Collection development
  • Preservation
  • Use
  • Rights management
  • Collection management
  • Computational research 
15.8 million digitized items
  • 7.8 book titles
  • 430k serials
  • Over 1 Million federal government documents 
  • 5.96 million open for reading
Some materials are not fully viewable outside of the U.S. due to differences in  the public domain.

Access in a nutshell
Anyone anywhere can search
Anyone can read public domain works
Can engage in text mining

Members can replace lost or damaged works from the collection (Section 108 exemption).
For someone who is print disabled, member institutions can make any work available.   There is not direct access for students currently.        

Collection Action: Copyright Review
Systematic manual review of copyright registrations to determine status of portions of the HathiTrust a collection, supported by IMLS.  Trying to work 10-15 minutes per item.  Have reviewed 700K items over 8 years. Over time, 100+ people at 30 Institutions have down this work.

Shared Print Monograph Program
Just launching this year.  Phase 1.
49 retention libraries proposed over 16 million commitments.

U.S. Federal Documents Program 
The goal was to digitized as many as possible.
Are creating a federal documents registry of documents since 1776.
They are beginning to do gap analysis and target collections for digitization.
They have set priorities.

“Non-consumptive” Research: The HathiTrust Research Center
Non-consumptive is text mining or data mining.
Indiana University and University of Illinois are cohosting this center.
Analytics portal
Dataset distribution 

HathiTrust has gone through six stages beginning in 2002. They worked on infrastructure first.  
What is different now?
Membership diversification
Organizational maturity
Mass digitization is assumed and non-controversial 
Legal challenges have ended, but questions remain 

Don’t mess up what you do well.
Keep building the collections and do it faster.
No strong impetus to expand collecting focus. 
Quality is important.


#NYLA2017 : The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Library Director

Cassie Guthrie 

Guthrie discussed these five rights of the library director:
  1. A Fare Wage - Finding and retaining the right library director means attracting the right candidates, which means providing a fare wage.
  2. Feedback - You need to give regular positive and negative feedback.  You should give an annual evaluation.  However don’t wait for the annual review to give feedback.
  3. A Unified and Loyal Board - Board members need to respect the collective decisions of the board.  When a library director makes a mistake, the board needs to remain loyal.
  4. Freedom from Meddling - Two most difficult: special treatment requests and overstepping bounds (micromanaging).  For example, the board should not manage library staff.
  5. A Free Hand in Personnel Management - Trustees supervise only one person: the director.  Trustees need to be careful in talking to staff about the library director.  Trustees should not undermine the director’s ability to manage the staff. Recognize that when you (board member) walks into the library, you are not an average patron.  Be careful with how and when you give feedback or input.
The Library Trustee’s Declaration of Expectations:
  • A Hard Day’s Work - In return for a fare wage, the trustees expect the director to do the work.
  • Effective Personnel Management - Trustees should support professional development requests to receive more training in Personnel Management.
  • Options, Not Ultimatums - Give the board all of the available options they need in order to make strategic decisions.
  • Loyalty - The Director needs to be loyal to the decisions of the trustees.
An idea is to have library board training as a part of the monthly board meeting.
If necessary, bring in a third party to help with specific situations.

The Pyramid of Public Library Transformation
  • Traits of trustees who transform 
    • Curiosity
    • Courage
    • Aspirational
    • Politically aware 
  • Good and honest communications
  • Trustees and director understand their roles
The board governs, the director manages.

The Regents see the role of the trustee to be care, loyalty and obedience.


The director is the chief executive officer of the library.
Trustees are the chief governing body.
Trustees do not do operational work.
The trustees plan for the library’s future, development policies.

Recorded webinar “The critical partnership” - Jerry Nichols (handout)

The library Board President is the liaison between the board and the director.  The library board meeting is key for communications. 

The library director should update the board at the board meeting.  Send in advance, so the board can read it and be ready to ask questions.

If the board does not like how the director is doing his/her job, that conversation  needs to happen in a board meeting.

Hold board meetings when the community can attend.
Adhere to the open meetings law.
Be open and honest with the community.
Be fair and consistent with your policies.
The board should understand the library’s policies.  The policies need to be good. The policies need to be followed.