And They Were There: ALA Midwinter Meetings Report

by | Feb 12, 2015 | 0 comments

ala midwinter 2015

by Against the Grain Contributor, John Riley

ALA Midwinter 2015 MeetingsTechnical Services in Academic Libraries Discussion Group
(MCP-W471  8:30-10:00)

Moderator: Amy Lana Chair, Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries IG

We broke up into six separate tables, one dealing with Demand Driven Acquisitions (DDA), another with the effect of disabilities legislation on technical services, and another with  acquisitions, amongst others. I chose the acquisitions section which was headed up by Forrest Link of The College of New Jersey.

Most of the discussions dealt with nuts and bolts problems in acquisitions. The first topic we covered was the use of credit cards or “P-cards”. Some members mentioned that they had numerous problems with their cards getting hacked. Hackers would charge an item for .99 cents just to see if there was money in the account and then charge even more. One solution is to code  the P-cards for select vendors, so that it can’t be used except for regular purchases. A number of librarians mentioned that they use Concur for their p-card management.

Another topic we covered was the growing use of streaming video. Some libraries will only purchase a video if it can be streamed. Most librarians said that they will not buy a DVD if it comes with extra performance rights charges. It is fairly common now for DVDs to be issued in a combo pack of DVD and BlueRay. As a side note there was growing demand for print books and ebooks ordered in combination.

One librarian drew our attention to a video from the Italian publisher Gruppo Editorial Mauri Spagnol  that spells out the true cost of producing an eBook:

The table topics and moderators/notetakers were as follows:

Table 1:  Library-vendor relations (moderator:  Forrest Link, The College of New Jersey)

Table 2:  Duplication of effort at libraries using a catalog and a discovery layer  (moderator: Nastia Guimaraes, University of Notre Dame)

Table 3:  The effects of ADA compliance on technical services work (no formal moderator; notetaker: Dana Miller, University of Nevada-Reno)

Table 4:  Linked data–is anyone using it yet?  (no formal moderator; notetaker:  Karl Pettitt, Northern Illinois University)

Table 5:  Marketing technical services (moderator: Shannon Tennant, Elon University)

Table 6: In-house collaborative work  (moderator:  Amy Lana, YBP Library Services)


ALCTS New Members Meeting  (MCP-W471 10:30-11:30)

Keri Cascio & Charles Wilt who were greeters at the ALCTS New Members Meeting.

Keri Cascio & Charles Wilt who were greeters at the ALCTS New Members Meeting.

We broke up into a number of separate tables dealing with such topics as “Publishing with ALCTS.” I chose “Networking for Beginners” Headed up by Genevieve Owens, ALCTS President and Director, Williamsburg Regional Library. We discussed various ways for new librarians to network as a way to aid them in career growth. One author that Ms. Owens recommended was Jennifer Kahnweiler, who writes extensively about  how the introverted personality can leverage that trait to work more effectively in groups.

Our group came up with several methods for beginners in the library world to start networking, including: volunteering, joining committees, becoming a reporter for other meetings, staying in touch with one’s Alma Mater and finally using vendors for networking. We discussed how vendors have much more information than just about their own companies and that they can be very helpful in making introductions and facilitating meetings. We concluded that librarians shouldn’t hesitate to meet with vendors for open discussions and they should not feel compelled to do business based solely on a meeting.


ALCTS Scholarly Communications Interest Group (MCP-W176A 1:00-2:30)

Beth Bernhardt (Assistant Dean for Collection Management & Scholarly Communications, University Libraries, UNCG)Kevin Hawkins(Director of University Publishing , U. Northern Texas), Jonathan Nabe (Collection Development Librarian, Southern Illinois University)

ALA 2015 037

Beth Bernhardt, Kevin Hawkins and Jonathan Nabe, (photo by John Riley)

The panel took turns addressing Open Access publishing at their respective libraries, Beth Bernhardt spoke first about her library’s use of the free software Open Journal Systems (OJS) in producing seven journals with two new ones in development. Each journal publishes around one or two volumes per year.

Three librarians help guide the production of journals that are authored and edited by faculty members. Beside their regular library duties these librarians assist in technical matters regarding OJS usage, cataloging assistance, and promotion and publicity for the journals. Faculty duties include authoring, editing, and contacting reviewers. One editor of each journal must work on campus to facilitate communication and production. Some of the skills required by the faculty editors include:  graphic design, web page design, copy editing, and layout. It is very useful to have grad student assistants contribute in these areas.

The next speaker, Jonathan Nabe, addressed the payment of authors of OA publications at his library. He told the group they have decided to award grants to faculty who choose to publish OA journals through the library.  Currently they have awarded sixty-three grants to twenty-six different faculty members for a total of forty-nine separate journals.

The library’s motivation for taking this course of action was to gain wider distribution and visibility for faculty authors as well as to gain a faster production time. Authors had complained that commercial publishers took a year or more to bring their papers to publication, whereas the library could publish in a matter of weeks. The speaker mentioned that it was very effective to get the faculty to act as proselytizers of the OA program rather than the library trying to publicize it on their own.

Kevin Hawkins spoke next. He addressed the creation of his post as Director of University Publishing, a stand alone job within the library. He has only held this post for eight months and in this time has defined a mission of supporting faculty OA and the publishing of archival materials from the library.

Some other trends overheard:

  • New Student Center building getting incorporated into new library;
  • Maker spaces in academic libraries including binding and rare book curation.


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