A Letter from SLA NY’s Incoming President
Hello and happy New Year!
The beginning of a brand new year is always an exciting time. It’s a time full of hope, revived ambitions, and the courage to conquer new (and sometimes old) challenges. 2017 is going to be an exciting year for us. I want you to know how much I am looking forward to everything this year has in store for SLA and especially our chapter here in New York.
The New York chapter is one of the most active and diverse chapters within the entire association. Our board, advisory council and chapter committee members will continue to organize innovative professional development programs and social events. We will also be welcoming back the New York conference in 2017, which will be held at Baruch College on Friday, October 20th.
My theme for the year is “The Resilient (Not Resistant) Librarian.” With such professional variance in our chapter membership, I find that the only constant amongst us all is change, which can sometimes be challenging to deal with. I am hopeful that this theme will foster the advancement of resiliency and adaptability of information professionals in our ever-changing world. My objective is to devote some of this year’s programming to that theme, which I hope resonates with many of you.
It is a true privilege to serve as your chapter president, and I look forward to engaging with as many current and potential chapter members as possible during my term. I welcome you to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas, suggestions and/or concerns.
Finally, please be sure to follow us on our social media profiles to stay abreast of all of our upcoming chapter events and announcements. We are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
I look forward to talking with you during one of our many chapter events this year and wish you all the best for 2017.
SLA NY President
by Joy M. Banks
I had a revelation recently: Sometimes, I impede my own path to success.
I’ve had the great fortune of attending each SLA Annual Meeting since 2010. Each year, I review the conference schedule for sessions relevant to my current position and future goals. That has usually been relatively easy. I started my career as a catalog librarian at a medium sized private college. I later transitioned to a solo librarian overseeing a music library and historical archive in a garden/museum setting. Both were pretty standard positions with clear institutional goals and expectations.
This year was the first year I attended SLA as an independent information professional (IIP), and I found myself at a loss during many time slots, looking for something that seemed relevant to my current career path and goals. Invariably, though, when a time slot had one thing I found interesting, the same time slot held two (or three) things of interest. During one such time slot, I found myself walking what felt like a mile to arrive quite late to a session by Dr. Shelley Reciniello, author of The Conscious Leader. Continue reading
“You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” -Oprah
My mom died unexpectedly a little over a year ago, on August 10, 2015.
Keeping a promise to my mom, as soon as we heard the news, my sister and I flew down and relocated my then 90-year-old father who is blind and suffers from Alzheimer’s from Florida to New York to live near my family. And so began one of the most challenging years of my life so far. A year that involved adding even more balls in the air to my constant juggling act involving my family, work and volunteer lives. Continue reading
Sponsored Post: Why Our World Would End if Legal Librarians Disappeared
Pip Christie, Linex Systems, April 21, 2016
There is a common misconception that, as the online information age ploughs on everstrong, libraries are going to disappear forever. This sits in line with the perception that librarians require books in order to be needed and we are seeing the existence of print books steadily decline. Libraries and books are not one and the same. This concerningly common misconception is a manifestation of the lack of understanding of what a law librarian actually does – where they source their information from, how they manage and curate it and, ultimately, how it is delivered to their end users.
“Law librarians manage the risk within the organisation they serve, ensuring the organisation’s mission is met through the acquisition, management, distribution, and analysis of legal information needed for the organisation to perform its mission in a timely manner and at an appropriate cost”
The value of a law librarian is far more than meets the eye. A law librarian must know, at the click of a finger, what sources are most reliable and relevant for their lawyers, who needs what information when, how to access said information, and manage the library collection. All this must be done at and under budget. This is no mean feat.
Of course anyone can type a search term into Google and receive a whole host of results. But few people will know the exact search term needed to be entered, the specific sources to rely on, or where to access the best quality content (often behind the gates of premium paid publishers). Few are able to interpret the results given in a manner efficient enough to fit with the demands of the information consumer. Legal librarians make up these few.
Yet, despite all this, there is a concerning tendency for the value of law librarians to pass by unacknowledged. There are countless stories of lawyers and legal professionals who utilise the library department appropriately, as indeed one should, and subsequently progress further at work as they are able to quickly and easily access the information they so urgently require. It is this information that makes one firm stand out over a competitor; knowledge is the most valuable form of capital in our society today. However, law librarians still continue to be hidden away in the foundations of the law firm. One must not forget the importance of solid foundations, for without them the whole building would crumble.
When asked by a AALL study how to best assess the value of the library one interviewee responded, quite simply:
“Send all the library staff home for a day. Lawyers’ dissatisfactions with service do not remain unnoticed for long”
Whilst such an option might be a little extreme it certainly goes a long way to suggest the dependency that lawyers have upon legal librarians, even if they do not know it. To put the value in clearer statistical terms, the Australian Law Library Association found during one research piece that the ROI (return on investment) for information resources and services is $5.43 for every $1 invested. A 500%+ return on investment? That is value right there, clear and simple. Plus, they state that this is a ‘conservative estimate’. Their real contribution could well be exponentially higher.
Whilst the means by which law librarians work is continuing to evolve, the requirement for the product of that work will continue to exist. In 1930, George S. Godard, writing about “The Past, Present and Future of the Law Library” predicted the development of a form of book that was consumable anywhere at anytime. Today we know this as the ebook. The book still needs to be written, edited and so forth, it is still read but just in a different format.
In line with this, when considering the future role of law librarians we must emphasise the importance of evolving and enhancing one’s value in a new manner. Roles will develop in the same way that books have, and we should work within and around that. Indeed, law librarians are increasingly frequently being asked to analyse competitors, opposing clients and so forth. Law librarians will continue to source, create, curate and deliver legal resources. It is simply that the tools there to assist them in doing so will continue to develop.
So, would our world end if legal librarians disappeared? Absolutely.
Join Linex Systems and SLA NY at a happy hour on September 21st – full details and registration at http://www.linexsystems.
Attending the SLA 2016 national conference in Philadelphia is a very interesting process for an attendee still working on his or her MLIS. More often than not, one doesn’t know anyone else in attendance and comes to the conference alone. I was excited to attend my first conference, nervous about networking events, interested in the sessions I was planning on attending, and a little uncertain about how the whole process worked.
As an undergraduate I studied archaeology, classics, and maybe most importantly anthropology, where we learned about the liminal period and the term liminality. The liminal period is the in-between, where a person or group of people moves from one distinct position, rank, class, or status to another. Halfway through completing my master’s degree and a graduate assistant/paraprofessional working as both an archivist and reference librarian in the St. John’s University libraries, I truly am in a two year liminal period. Attending SLA during this period of liminality means feeling like I belong as a special librarian but with a sense of being an underqualified student without the connections to other SLA members others may have. Continue reading
Thanks to the generosity of SLA-NY, I had the opportunity to attend my first SLA Conference this year in Philadelphia. As a recent library school graduate in the process of a major career change, the experience was eye-opening. Everywhere I went, there was someone to meet and something to learn. People were incredibly warm and welcoming, especially to someone wearing a “First Timer” ribbon, and were generous with their time and advice. For me, this began even before I had left New York, at the SLA Happy Hour downtown. I got to meet a lot of people, some of whom I would see again at the conference, and received a lot of helpful tips (including making sure to wear that “First Timer” ribbon!).
Because of my educational and professional background, I am entering the library profession with different experiences and expectations than many of my peers. Continue reading
I started library school in the fall of 2014 and subsequently joined the student chapter of SLA at Pratt Institute during the Spring semester. I was fortunate to attend the 2015 SLA Conference in Boston where I met a lot of wonderful people and attended very interesting sessions. I wanted to repeat the experience this year and registered for the 2016 SLA Conference in Philadelphia.
I have always enjoyed visiting Philadelphia and throughout the conference I also realized that it’s an excellent location for librarians and archivists to meet given its rich history.
During the annual meeting of the Archival and Preservation Caucus, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania presented on its Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. This project aims to assist and increase access to important archival collections held at Philadelphia’s many small, primarily volunteer-run, museums and historical sites/societies. The organization discussed a few of the exciting collections they had identified during the course of this project, from big names like the Civil War naval engineer John Ericsson to nearly unknown individuals like Dr. Hiram Corson, an abolitionist and prominent advocate for women physicians. The group dispensed useful advice for archivists in small organizations, from posting Finding Aids online to creating a donation scope in order to outline what material can be accepted from donors. As a library reference and archives research assistant, I found their advice very helpful and illuminating, especially when they discussed the importance of not getting bogged down by item-level descriptions and focusing on the big picture. More information about this initiative and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s guide on how to create archives for small institutions can be found their website.
— C.Sal (@CSalinBklyn) June 13, 2016
#SLA2016: WORDS OF WISDOM
The 2016 Annual Conference & Expo is only a few days away! We want everyone to have an amazing time, so we asked Nick Collison, SLA HQ Board Member and SLA NY Chapter member, to share his best conference advice. Here’s what he had to say… Continue reading
Let’s Get Social at the 2016 Annual Conference & Expo!
Attending the SLA Annual Conference in Philadelphia? Interested in some great social opportunities? Here are a few of the many after-hours events planned.
SATURDAY, JUNE 11
5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Hosted by the Philadelphia Chapter, these informal pay-your-own-way dinners are a great way to meet new people. Head here for details and registration.
SUNDAY, JUNE 12
LMD’s 40th Anniversary Party
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Join LMD for food, drinks and fun at Time Restaurant. $20 gets you dinner and 2 drinks. Head here for details and registration.
9 p.m. to Midnight
Sing your heart out, or just come to marvel at SLA’s musical talent.
MONDAY, JUNE 13
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
This event is co-sponsored by SLA NY. It will be held at Field House (1150 Filbert Street) and we hope to see you there!
9 p.m. to Midnight
Also co-sponsored by SLA NY. Come dance the night away at this unmissable event.
TUESDAY, JUNE 14
6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Hosted by the Philadelphia Chapter, these informal pay-your-own-way dinners will be a great way to close out the conference and say goodbye to all the new people you’ve met. Head here for details and registration.
There are many other great social events planned for SLA 2016; this list is just a quick preview! Check out the full conference schedule here.
Siobhan McGuinness, guest contributor from SLA Europe, gives us a visual tutorial on creating the perfect presentation.
Please note: this slideshow contains audio narration. The Prezi App may be required to hear audio on a tablet or mobile device.
3 Reasons You Can’t Miss the 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia!
SLA’s Annual Conference is coming up fast. Since it’s in Philadelphia this year, we hope to see lots of New Yorkers there! In case the fantastic program isn’t quite enough to persuade you, we asked a few SLA NY board members why you should attend. Here’s what they had to say:
“Number one reason to attend the conference: expand your network of information professionals. By attending SLA Boston last year, I expanded my network of information professionals in NYC and connected with others who work throughout the US and internationally. I chose to attend professional development sessions that were interactive, allowing for discussion with those sitting near me. I had numerous opportunities to chat with fellow attendees over lunch, coffee or drinks. I even got to network with individuals from other planets—my personal favorite was meeting and dancing with Superman at the superhero-themed IT dance party.”
-Marcy Winkler, Past President
“For me it’s the social sessions and networking; the camaraderie found at SLA is the strongest I’ve seen across association conferences. Attending evening socials as a new librarian introduced me to colleagues across the country who continue to anchor me to the profession. Professional networks are crucial, and they are much more productive (and fun!) when shared among friends.”
-Kelly Johnson, Treasurer
“The best part of the conference is getting people from all different divisions and locations in one place and letting serendipity take over. I enjoy the chance to meet and learn from people who work in different kinds of libraries. When I went to SLA in San Diego, this was especially valuable because I was still in school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the profession. I got the most fun and the most use out of conversations and workshops that didn’t have anything to do with what I thought I was going to do professionally. I had dinner with taxonomy librarians, breakfast with food and nutrition librarians, and great conversations throughout by seeking out people in all kinds of libraries at different stages of their careers. I’m looking forward to more of the same in Philly…with less jet lag.”
-Elizabeth Willse, 2016 Board Mentee
Learn more about the 2016 Annual Conference here. Early Bird rates end April 30, so register today!
Along with “Tell us your strengths and weaknesses,” “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 (or 10 or 15) years?” has to be one of the most clichéd interview questions of all time. Yet the question does demand self-reflection and contemplation on one’s professional goals and desires. Interviews exist within a transitional space, a place in between, and they force us to think about our futures. Transitional spaces can be very hard places to negotiate – they make us feel vulnerable and unsure of ourselves. I wrote my book, Ace the Interview, Land a Librarian Job (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) to tell all librarians who are about to embark on the interview process – from recent MLIS grads to seasoned professionals – that interviewing doesn’t have to be scary. Interviewing well consists of a set of skills which can learned, refined, and perfected. Continue reading
By Ashley Curran
In October of 2012, when all seemed right with the world and the New York University Health Sciences Library was in the midst of strategic planning to develop new data management services and prepare for a much needed renovation, disaster struck in the form of Hurricane Sandy. The Health Sciences Library along with the entire NYU Medical Center was hit with a fourteen foot storm surge that completely flooded the lower level of the library and partially flooded the upper level. Virtually everything was destroyed in the library and in prioritizing patient needs the library came fairly low on the list of renovations, which explains why the expected opening is spring 2016, three and half years after the closing.
Almost immediately the faculty and staff set up shop across the road from the medical center and in order to maintain continued service, librarians went online. Within the space of two weeks the library became a virtual library, expanding already robust online resources and offering most if not all of the services it had been providing. Continue reading
Words from Outside New York contributor
At the Mid-Winter Meeting of the SLA Kentucky Chapter, one of the topics of discussion was the status of the Kentucky Student Chapter. In recent years, membership in the student chapter gradually declined until it became inactive. As the librarians of the Kentucky Chapter try to re-establish an active student chapter, they will face an increasingly common challenge: a growing number of distance-learning students.
Can you say for sure that you know exactly what this year will hold for you? I know I can’t. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and unexpected obstacles lurk behind every corner. Change doesn’t have to be bad, of course, so please don’t think me unduly pessimistic, although even good change can bring adjustments of its own. How about if everything stays on track and you successfully meet your goals – what then? A new set of goals of course, and the target moves once again. Continue reading
By Carrie Wardzinski
The Pittsburgh chapter is the fourth-oldest chapter of the Special Libraries Association in existence. Founded on December 5, 1922, it is only surpassed in age by the Philadelphia, New York City, and New England chapters. With such a lengthy history, the Pittsburgh chapter has come through a number of transitions over the years.
Even from the beginning, the librarians within the Pittsburgh chapter faced an extreme transition within their professional lives – the abrupt change from the Roaring Twenties to the single worst economic downturn the United States has ever experienced. Pittsburgh was widely considered to be the industrial center of the nation at that time. Companies such as Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, Koppers, Alcoa, and PPG headquartered themselves in the western Pennsylvania region. These companies, and their associated libraries, were operating with somewhat limited budgets due to the Depression. Despite these financial constraints, business and research and development continued as usual, which meant that information resources were still needed. One small way that the librarians within the Pittsburgh chapter overcame some of these constraints was by creating their first duplicate exchange list in 1932. This list facilitated the exchange of usable materials within this regional network. Another way was by updating and expanding their Union List of Periodicals, which was originally published by the chapter in 1924. The updated and expanded list came out in 1936, and allowed the librarians within the area to share resources widely and freely. These two efforts would not have happened without the Pittsburgh chapter, particularly since the Union List was funded by SLA’s headquarters.
I squeaked this submission for the Bridge to Excellence in just barely on deadline (thanks to the editors for being so understanding!) I had trouble getting it written, but not for any lack of material. The chance to write about transitions couldn’t come at a better time. It’s been quite a year so far!
The sheer number of transitions this year has included doesn’t feel huge until I have the chance to catch up with friends and fellow librarians I haven’t seen in a while. Or until I have to write them all down for a B2E article about transitions. Here’s a brief recap: Continue reading
“If it can’t be found on the Internet, it doesn’t exist.” As we move into the Twenty-First century, industries have transitioned to a social media platform to promote their products. With a click of a button, users can easily access information. Traditional cultural institutions, such as the Morgan Library and Museum, have embraced this revolution. Online social media platforms offer institutions an unusual opportunity to interact with patrons outside their physical walls. This facilitates educational dialogue and offers institutions a chance to showcase their programming to a larger audience.
The Morgan’s social media managers, Moriah Shtull and Michelle Perlin, offer their thoughts on promoting the library’s collections and educational programs and its transition to social media.
Q: The Morgan Library and Museum has made its transition to social media. What are some of the benefits?
A: The mission of the Morgan is “to preserve, build, study, present, and interpret a collection of extraordinary quality, in order to stimulate enjoyment, excite the imagination, advance learning, and nurture creativity,” and social media presents an unparalleled opportunity for outreach to a global audience. Continue reading
Davis Erin Anderson and Raymond Pun are co-editors of the upcoming volume titled Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2016. This conversation piece explores how they both decided to work on this edited volume that is focused on library career transitions. They will also share some insights they found in the chapters that were submitted for this volume.
Hello Ray! Thanks for conversing with me regarding our project to edit and publish a book featuring stories from librarians who are making transitions within the field. I remember when you and I met for coffee in June 2014 to talk about partnering on this project. How did you conceive of this project in the first place? We know from our publishers that a book of this nature hasn’t been produced before; how did the idea come to you? Continue reading