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Archive for the ‘2014 Conference’ Category

Advocacy Advice from Conference Intern

Nicole Helregel, one of the library-school student interns at last year’s HSLI conference, was featured in an article from the latest edition of AL Direct. (The March 31 issue is available here.) Nicole, who contributes regularly to “Hack Library School”, a blog for MLS students, recently wrote a piece on strategies for reaching out to lawmakers regarding library issues. As she notes, doing so is becoming especially crucial with the release of the proposed federal budget for FY 2016. The budget calls for the elimination of federal funding for the Institute of Museum & Library Services. (I will put together a separate post on the potential impact of the cuts.) ALA President Courtney Young has already released a statement expressing her strong concern over the proposed cuts. The statement can be read here.

Nicole gives the following advice for researching legislative issues and then actually contacting lawmakers to advocate for libraries. (I’ve expanded on some of what she discusses.)

Research the situation. Reading the actual text of a legislation is crucial for determining just what it proposes, since news stories and other sources of information can be vague and, in some cases, inaccurate. In particular, if a proposal affecting libraries is part of a larger piece of legislation, viewing the text can make it more clear just what role library funding plays in that legislation.

Learn what stance other library and information science professionals have taken. It is important to know not just that librarians are supporting or opposing certain legislation, but why. This will help in putting together a uniform message that will make it clear to legislators just what impact proposed legislation would have on libraries and the people they serve.

Use online resources. These range from the national level (the American Library Association has had a Washington Office since 1945, the website of which can be accessed here) to the state and local levels. (The Illinois Library Association’s advocacy page is here.) These resources are useful not just for learning the background on an issue, but determining which legislators should be contacted.

Craft your message. Make certain that the message one sends to elected officials is as short and to the-point as possible, while still making it clear why an issue matters. Legislators can interact with hundreds of constituents on a daily basis; they won’t have time to read or listen to a long appeal, regardless of how well-written or relevant the message may be.

Call the lawmaker. Contacting the person directly ensures that he or she will receive the message. (There is always the possibility that an e-mail or letter will never make it to the lawmaker’s inbox or desk.) Also, that one took the time to call will make one stand out in the politician’s mind and could be the beginning of a long-term relationship. Of course, visiting in person is an even better option, although this may not be as feasible, particularly for meeting with federal lawmakers, except during organized advocacy events such as National Library Legislative Day (which is coming up soon, by the way).

Encourage others to act on the issue. While a positive interaction with a legislator can leave a lasting impression, he or she is unlikely to be moved to vote a certain way simply because of one appeal. (This is probably especially the case for library-related issues, since these matters are relatively low-profile, compared to policy affecting other institutions.) The more people who speak out on an issue, however, the better the chance that a legislator will take notice and perhaps think twice about voting against libraries’ interests, not just on this particular issue, but on future ones, also.

Thank you, Nicole, for taking the time to lay out strategies for advocating on behalf of libraries and the profession as a whole. And, congratulations on having your work featured in AL Direct!

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Articles from Bates Continuing-Education Session

For anyone who’s interested, here are the three articles that Mary Ellen Bates highlighted in her continuing-education session.

“What Are They Doing and What Do They Want: The Library Spaces Customer Survey at Edmonton Public Library”https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/1967/2633#.VHysVcmKLZg

This article discusses a survey, of patrons at the Edmonton Public Library, designed to determine how they use library spaces and what changes, if any, they would like to see. The consensus among respondents was that the library’s physical spaces were already integrated with the services and collection materials the library provides, and that any changes that are made to library spaces should be planned with patron feedback.

“Library Space Assessment: User Learning Behaviors in the Library” http://owl.li/Faq5N

This study evaluates the evolving role of academic libraries in helping students succeed academically. With an increasing number of library resources available online, libraries are finding it necessary to redefine how space in the library is used, with one alternative being to shift the focus of library space from collection storage to student interaction and learning.

“Looking and Listening: A Mixed-Methods Study of Space Use and User Satisfaction”http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21810/17133

The focal point of this study is measuring patron reactions to two redesigned library spaces, one having been turned into a study area, and the other having been transformed into a social-meeting place. The survey found that, even though most users preferred to use each space for its designated purpose, there were instances in which users would be willing to use the social area as a study space, and vice-versa.

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Silent Auction raises $265


10805692_10152466149117596_6658070348944853996_nLuggage, gift baskets, homemade jam, and other items were auctioned at Nancy’s Reception on November 13, 2014. The auction raised $265.00 to go toward the

Syed Magrabi Scholarship. This scholarship covers conference fees an lodging to allow as many people to participate in HSLI meetings as possible. If your institution no longer covers your travel, please apply for a scholarship.








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HSLI New Officers

Daneen Richardson, Western Illinois University, assumed the duties of President of HSLI at the close of the Business Meeting. Daneen has been at WIU since 2012 and was previously at Grahm Hospital. To offer congratulations, ask a question, or talk about HSLI, Daneen can be reached at D-Richardson2 (at) wiu (dot) edu.

Sarah Isaacs, Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse Librarian, was elected as the new HSLI treasurer. Thanks to out-going Treasurer Dianne Olson for her 4 years of service.

Congratulations to Daneen and Sarah!


Passing the Gavel: Daneen and Stacey


Sarah taking notes Friday morning.


















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Conference Report, Eric Edwards

I would like to thank the Scholarship Committee for awarding me a Syed Maghrabi Scholarship to attend the HSLI 2014 Annual Conference. I greatly appreciate HSLI’s generosity, especially given that I also received the scholarship to attend the 2011 conference. Being able to attend the 2011 conference allowed me to become more fully involved with the organization, first as a member of the Legislative Committee, and later as Secretary. Attending HSLI conferences since then, including the 2014 one, has given me the opportunity to continue growing professionally, both within the organization and in the field as a whole.

A session at this year’s conference that I found particularly helpful was Mary Ellen Bates’s “Information Alchemy: Transforming Information into Insight”. Although the presentation focused on a topic–providing information to library users–with which I was already familiar, the ideas and strategies that Ms. Bates discussed are forcing me to reconsider many aspects of my approach to serving patrons. While it may be obvious to us, as librarians, that we provide a vital service, our patrons may not think the same way, especially if other sources, such as Google and Wikipedia, provide information (albeit sometimes of a lower quality) more quickly. We have to show users, including administrators who make budget decisions, that the type of information we can provide, and the ways in which we can convey that information (through bullet points, charts, or graphs, for instance, instead of through simply handing them an article or sending them a link, as I have done), will help them reach their goals more quickly.

On a related note, Ms. Bates argued that we need to demonstrate to library users that, in providing them with information, we can play a significant part in their academic and professional success, and that we also have a crucial role to play in the larger organizations of which libraries are a part. Doing so requires building a long-term relationship with users, beyond just answering a question or retrieving an item. While I already do this, to some extent, by following up with patrons to make sure that they have been able to locate the sources they need, I have not gone further, as Ms. Bates suggested, by asking patrons how the assistance I provide fits into their long-term academic and professional growth and, more importantly, what the library can do to help users further their goals. Building these deeper relationships, especially with virtual users, while it may be a bit awkward initially, not only convinces clients to keep using a library, but also encourages users to inform others of the services the library provides, enabling the library to expand its client base further.

Another session that I found particularly useful was “Keeping a Professional Presence in Times of Change”, given by Faith Roberts. Her main theme, that resistance to change–particularly technological change–while presenting challenges, can also provide opportunities, seems relevant not just to staff within an organization, but also to customers. (By the same token, if an organization’s customers will not use technology, then its employees will be less inclined to see technology’s value and promote its use.) In the case of the library, many users, including those who may already be familiar with a particular technology outside of the library, may still be hesitant to embrace that technology within a library setting.

One instance I have seen firsthand, and that has proven frustrating at times, is a reluctance among users to embrace e-books. This is an especially-challenging issue because so many of my library’s resources are available in that format, and for some searches, e-books make up a large portion of the relevant results. Ms. Roberts’s suggestions of taking an incremental approach to solving the problem is one that I had not considered, but that I think would be extremely useful, particularly for students who may be new to an academic library and have a mindset about “doing things a certain way” that may not work as well in a college environment as it did in, say, high school. Explaining to students how to find print books, and then suggesting e-books as an alternative that can fill in the gaps in one’s research (instead of directing them to e-book results right away and expecting them to use those results), might be one of those incremental steps.

Again, I greatly appreciate having received a Syed Maghrabi Scholarship to attend this year’s HSLI conference. Being able to attend HSLI conferences and take advantage of the educational and networking opportunities has been one of my most worthwhile experiences, not just during my time with HSLI, but as a member of the library and information science profession. Also, as the recipient of this year’s Starfish Thrower Award, I am truly grateful to the organization for the acknowledgment it gives of its members’ efforts. Through providing financial assistance and recognition to its members, HSLI clearly values the individuals involved with the organization and considers their professional growth to be at the heart of the organization’s mission.

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Hungry in Urbana-Champaign?

Urbana-Champaign is filled with unique and delightful restaurants. Nationally acclaimed Black Dog features some of the best BBQ in the USA. For authentic Thai cuisine try Siam Terrace in downtown Urbana.Located in the heart of campus, The Red Herring serves up vegetarian dishes. If you’re looking to unwind in a modern atmosphere with creative cocktails and dishes, locally owned Radio Maria is waiting for you in downtown Champaign. The historic Courier Cafe is known for their burgers, milkshakes, salad bar, pasta, fresh fish, and welcoming staff.

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Explore Urbana-Champaign

While in town for this year’s HSLI conference, be sure to check out unique Urbana-Champaign attractions. Of course, no trip would be complete without a quick stop at the Library of Health Sciences Urbana A satellite campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School, LHSU is the number one stop for information by health professionals. Ryan Rafferty, Interim Director, is looking forward to meeting you! Next, the Urbana Free and Champaign Public Libraries offer a positive environment to work and unwind with a cup of coffee. Enjoy the fall colors on a scenic nature walk through Meadowbrook Park. For a fun evening out, catch a film at the Art Theatre in the lively downtown Champaign. Check out over 45,000 cultural artifacts at Spurlock Museum.

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2014 HSLI Conference November 13-14, Champaign Illinois

Mark your calendars for November 13-14, 2014 for the HSLI annual conference. The 2014 meeting will be held in at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, Illinois. The theme for the meeting is “Communicate and Advocate”.

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