Speedy Mentors Needed for Speed Mentoring at MLA/DLA 2014

The Development of Emerging and Aspiring Librarians (DEAL) Interest Group of MLA is looking for volunteer mentors for their speed mentoring session at MLA/DLA 2014.

The session is Friday, May 9, 2014 from 9:30-11:00am.

Contact Lindsay Sarin (lcsarin at umd.edu) if you would like to volunteer.

Not sure what “speed mentoring” is?
If you’ve ever heard of the concept of “speed dating,” this program is similar, but instead of finding a prospective date, mentees will be in search of a prospective mentor to guide them in their budding career in the library and information profession.  Participants will hear a brief talk on the importance of networking, be introduced to the prospective mentors, and then, will then have a number of 3 minute discussions with various mentors.

Mentees and mentors are encouraged to continue the discussions after the session, but this is not formal requirement.

Call for Proposals: ACRL MD’s “Library Secrets”

Did you have great plans, that didn’t quite pan out the way you expected? Have you taken time, money, and effort and pushed it toward something that wasn’t nearly as successful as you’d hoped? What did you do in response? ACRL MD’s “Library Secrets” program is looking for presenters that will be able to share how they overcame an unsuccessful program, event, or other library initiative.

Interested in sharing? Submit your proposal now!

For first consideration, please submit your proposal by Tuesday, October 15th.

Help break the process and mindset of failures kept as secrets and begin to re-imagine failure as a learning moment on the road to success.

Find out more about ACRL MD’s “Library Secrets”, including how to register.

Registration Open for “Discovery: It’s What Patrons Crave”

Register now for ACRL-MD’s 2013 Unconference – “Discovery: It’s What Patrons Crave”.

Lately, if you say the word “discovery” to a librarian, many of us immediately think of discovery services, the elusive “one box to search them all.” But this is just one incarnation of discovery for us.

magnifying lens icon

Our patrons use all sorts of tools and techniques to uncover the information they need. From learning how efficient a well-crafted Boolean search can be to realizing how much you can find in ten minutes spent looking at the right section of shelving, discovery takes a variety of forms. What are your users discovering? How are they finding it? What are they missing? What tools are you providing them with? What tools are they finding and adopting themselves?

Engage in roundtable discussions, hear lightning talks, and contribute a participant-voted talk. Join us, and share what’s being discovered (or not) in your library – and how! Bring your questions, ideas, and experiences and help shape the discovery conversation. The unconference will kick off with a series of lightning talks, which will be followed by roundtable discussions and talks chosen by you and other attendees.

Date: Wednesday, July 24th


  • 9-9:30 Registration/Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 Lightning Round Talks
  • 10:30-11:15 Round Table Discussions
  • 11:15-11:30 Break
  • 11:30-12:00 Vote on Show & Tell Demos & Micro-Workshops
  • 12:00-1:15 User Voted Talks
  • 1:15 – 1:30 Wrap Up & Evaluations

**Continue the conversation at lunch following the unconference**


UMBC on the 7th floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery (1000 Hilltop Cir  Baltimore, MD 21250). Directions and a campus map found athttp://aok.lib.umbc.edu/directions/

Registration Fees

  • MLA Members: $30
  • Non-MLA Members: $45
  • Students: $25.50

Registration deadline is Wednesday, July 17th. Register at https://www.mdlib.org/happenings/register.asp.

Stop Learning, Start Thinking!

That title is probably a bit counterproductive coming from someone who is involved in an organization that spends a fair amount of its time planning professional development programming (ACRL MD, that is). But, I stand by the statement, inspired by a pretty amazing TEDxTeen talk given by Jacob Barnett, a “child prodigy and mathematics genius“.

Stop learning. Start thinking.

It’s not that I think we, as librarians, shouldn’t learn. In contrast, our profession values the importance of life-long learning – a value with which I undoubtedly agree. However, I think this desire to learn often inhibits our ability to act.

I am reminded of my own experience as an undergraduate student learning the craft of music composition. I used to spend copious amounts of time trying to “learn” how to write music – reading textbooks about music theory, harmony, and instrumentation; learning about the thought processes and practices of other composers; and, of course, listening to a lot of music, waiting to discover the secret to it all. I am sure these all contributed greatly to my ability to actually write music, and I would strongly suggest intense study to anyone interested in such endeavors, but they also greatly inhibited my ability to actually compose. I was hindered by information overload, disproportionate expectations related to my years of experience, and a general lack of confidence in my ability to emulate my idols. I was in school, so I’m pretty sure I was still learning something, but I remember a distinct moment where I threw aside the entire musical canon, made peace with music theory as a “means for understanding” rather than a set of rules, and entered my most prolific period of writing music (none of it good, in retrospect). By thinking about what I had learned, I was able to put that knowledge to work in a way that satisfied my needs rather than attempting to appease the lofty expectations of my exaggerated idols.

So much of the way we are raised and educated emphasizes learning, sometimes at the expense of thinking. We learn to walk, learn to communicate, learn to be polite, learn (or attempt to learn) math and science and the arts, learn to play a sport, learn to drive, learn to catalog (or not), learn to research, and learn best practices for ‘x’ variety of tasks. Now, how often were you encouraged to think about the effectiveness of your communication methods, what it means to truly be polite, or whether accepted cataloging practices were really the best way of doing things? Learning is part of us, regardless of whether or not we think of ourselves as someone who enjoys learning, and learning how things have been done often overshadows the importance of considering why things are.

The same thing happens in our libraries. Why is it that the majority of academic library websites have a tabbed search box and why hasn’t Google caught on to this? Why do so many of our professional position titles end with the word “librarian” and why don’t corporations end their professional titles with the word “businessman” (gender implications aside)? How many times have you been asked to “find out how other libraries are doing ‘x'”? Now, compare that to how many times you have been asked to “sit at your desk and think about ‘x'”. It’s probably pretty imbalanced, yet the latter is crucial to new developments and breakthroughs in academic librarianship. This imbalance isn’t without cause, though; most of us are already working long hours, juggling too many priorities, and dedicated to the sound approach of following best practices. And, it’s much more difficult to justify taking a nap as an exercise to boost your creative thinking than it is to justify time spent researching best practices. As a profession, we need to reclaim our “thinking time”. The next time you embark on a mission to learn how other libraries are doing something, mark your calendar to devote equal time to think about what you have learned, claim ownership of that knowledge, and explore your instincts.

Jacob Barnett isn’t telling us to stop learning and make uninformed decisions. His own work is definitely informed by the learning he has done. Rather, he’s telling us to take control of our learning, prioritize what it is we actually need to know in order to do what we want to do, and create the time to think about what we learn.

So, in addition to learning opportunities (which are important!), I hope that ACRL MD and other library organizations and institutions will take on the task of facilitating thinking, creating opportunities to share and develop ideas that will cause truly remarkable breakthroughs in the profession. I think we’re taking a step in the right direction by creating opportunities for individuals to network with each other – both around topics in librarianship and more informally managed discussions. Talking with each other is an important component! I would love to hear any ideas you might have about how ACRL MD can provide a balance between thinking and learning in the profession.

ACRL MD Research Methods and Statistical Analysis Workshop Announced

Join us on November 16th for “Stats Amazing! Research Methods and Statistics for the Busy Librarian” – a full-day workshop covering research methodologies and statistical analysis techniques 3D Pied Chartrelevant to academic libraries. Led by faculty from the University of Maryland iSchool, this workshop will help you identify appropriate research methods and make sense of all that data you’ve collected. Register now and get on the fast track to unlocking your inner researcher.

Details and registration information: http://bit.ly/statsamazing.

Space is limited! Registration closes on November 1st or when room capacity is reached.

Business Meeting: August 29th at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library

ACRL MD will hold its next business meeting on Wednesday, August 29th in Room 259 of UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library from 1-3 PM.

Directions to the library can be found at http://aok.lib.umbc.edu/directions/. Please send your name and mailing address to Joanna Gadsby at gadsby@umbc.edu for a free parking pass no later than one week prior to the meeting date.

Agenda items will include:

  • Fall Program planning progress report and discussion
  • MLA/DLA Conference Updates
  • Online journal club progress report
  • In-person meetups progress report
  • Instructor-Observer network progress report
  • Overview and discussion of social media strategy

We will also allow time for attendees to share significant projects and initiatives at their libraries that are underway or being planned.

If you would like to have an item added to the agenda, please contact David Dahl (ddahl@towson.edu).

Virtual Attendance
To cater to those who may not be able to attend in person, ACRL MD offers the option to participate in the meeting virtually via the Wimba platform.  The Wimba meeting URL is http://mdlib.wimba.com/launcher.cgi?room=md_meetingMLA. After clicking the link, enter md_meetingMLA as the Room ID and type your name in the Name field. You will need speakers or headphones connected to your computer for audio. A microphone is strongly recommended for full participation, but Wimba also provides a chat feature that will be monitored.

Business Meeting on July 30th at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library

Please join ACRL MD for our upcoming business meeting on Monday, July 30th from 1-3pm. The meeting will be held in Room 353G in the Albin O. Kuhn Library at UMBC. If you’re looking to get involved in ACRL MD this is a great meeting to attend.

Directions to the library can be found at http://aok.lib.umbc.edu/directions/. Please send your name and mailing address to Joanna Gadsby at gadsby@umbc.edu for a free parking pass no later than one week prior to the meeting date.

Tentative agenda items include:

  • ACRL Chapters Council report from ALA
  • Fall Program planning
  • Update on and discussion of  planning for ACRL MD programs at the 2013 MLA/DLA Conference
  • Discussion of other programming opportunities (both online and in-person)
Additional agenda items will be announced closer to the meeting date. If you would like to add something to the agenda, please contact David Dahl (ddahl@towson.edu).

Virtual Attendance
To cater to those who may not be able to attend in person, ACRL MD offers the option to participate in the meeting virtually via the Wimba platform.  The Wimba meeting URL is http://mdlib.wimba.com/launcher.cgi?room=md_meetingMLA. After clicking the link you will need to enter md_meetingMLA as the Room ID and your name. You will need speakers or headphones connected to your computer for audio. A microphone is strongly recommended for full participation, but Wimba also provides a chat feature that will be monitored.

MLA/DLA 2013: ACRL MD Call for Proposals

Are you spending your summer working on a new program or initiative at your library? Did you try out a new instruction method this past year, read something that changed your whole outlook, or thought about what the future of academic libraries might be? If the answer to any of these questions (or others) is yes, then you should consider submitting a proposal for an ACRL MD sponsored session at this year’s Maryland Library Association/Delaware Library Association conference!

ACRL MD, the academic libraries division of MLA and the state chapter of ACRL, invites you to submit a proposal for the 2013 MLA/DLA Conference held in Ocean City, MD from May 8-10, 2013. Conference sessions are typically 75 minutes long (though there are some shorter and longer time slots available) and are scheduled throughout the day on Thursday and on Friday morning. Wednesday is reserved for full- and half-day pre-conference workshops. Sessions may cover theoretical ideas, reports on (un)successful and innovative initiatives, and/or practical skills relevant to librarians.

Submit your proposal now!

Proposals for concurrent sessions are due by 11:59pm on Saturday, September 1, 2012. Proposals will be peer-reviewed through a double-blind review process. If you have any questions about the conference or the call for proposals, please contact ACRL MD Vice President Joanna Gadsby (gadsby@umbc.edu | 410-455-2358).

Need inspiration?

Consider (but don’t limit yourself to) one of the following suggested topics.

  • Assessment – demonstrating value; assessment methods for instruction, reference, collection development, etc.; communicating data
  • Collections – ebooks/e-resources; discovery tools; print collections
  • Instruction – new pedagogical practices; assessing student IL skills; curriculum design
  • Reference – supporting distance learners; virtual reference services; new approaches to research support
  • Technology – mobile devices; web design; social media; tech trends
  • The Future – strategic planning; trends in academic libraries; new roles for librarians

For information on recent topics, please take a look at the 2012 and 2011 conference programs: http://www.mdlib.org/conference/2012/default.asp

Virginia Chapter of ACRL Spring Program

Many of you may be interested in attend the Spring Program for the Virginia Chapter of ACRL (VLACRL).  Information about this program is below:

What:  The Virginia Chapter of ACRL (VLACRL) invites you to our annual Spring Program “Starting at the end: Rethink your instruction based on student bibliographies.”

When: Monday, April 9th, 2012

Where: Sweet Briar College, Florence Easton Inn & Conference Center

Registration: Register online http://tinyurl.com/7kca4vu (on the confirmation page you will be directed to PayPal):

$45 for VLACRL members (qualification: membership in ACRL or in VLA);

$55 for non-VLACRL members

Program Details

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Registration and coffee

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Keynote Speaker Sandra Jamieson, Director of Composition, English Department, Drew University, “Struggling with Sources: Rethinking the Research Paper.”

Dr. Jamieson will discuss the findings of the Citation Project, a multi-institutional study of student source use in 174 papers from 16 US colleges and universities (http://site.citationproject.net/). Data findings reinforce some of the findings from single-institution studies, but also offer broader insights into the ways students select and use source material in researched papers.

11.15 a.m. – 12.15 p.m. – Reverse Engineering Workshop “How would we teach differently to get different results in student bibliographies?” facilitated by Candice Benjes-Small, Coordinator, Information Literacy and Outreach, Radford University and Luke Vilelle, Public Services & Social Sciences Liaison Librarian, Hollins University.

12.30 p.m.-1.30 p.m. – Lunch (included in registration fee)

1.45 p.m. – 2.45 p.m. – Shaunna Hunter, Public Services Librarian, and Liz Rand, Head of Rhetoric and Writing, Hampden-Sydney College, “Empowering Students as Researchers: Faculty/Librarian Collaboration.”

2.45 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. – Wrap-up.

For further registration questions, please contact Meridith Wolnick at mwolnick@virginia.edu