Personal Learning Network Updated

As a result of the Fall 2013 Hyperlinked Library MOOC, I formalized a Personal Learning Network (PLN). At the time I said I’d update my PLN under any of the following conditions:

  • Once a year in January
  • Whenever my job duties change
  • When pieces of the network die (i.e. if Facebook were to go under)
  • If I become bored with its output

My blog readership is light enough that you probably didn’t notice I didn’t change anything in January. That’s because back then I had rumblings that my job duties were going to shift. Things were quite fluid for awhile, but in July I was given a lateral reassignment. My previous position won’t be refilled. I’m actually pretty thrilled about the change.

As the new Internet and Technology Consultant for the Alaska State Library’s Library Development section, I’m doing less supervision, less bureaucratic infighting and more direct engagement with Alaska’s libraries.

So now that the change in job duties is official, it is time to update my PLN. Aside from dropping supervision of division IT management, some internal cat herding and liaising with outside IT agencies, many of my duties are similar to my former position. They’re just directed outwards instead of inwards. So I view my learning needs as similar. So the PLN is tweaked rather than redone wholesale.

The biggest change was probably in my Technology Skills section, where I wiped out a number of free sites in favor of my institution’s new subscription to It’s already helped me out in a few skill areas.

Another change of note is in my maintenance plan. I originally planned to follow a number of resources via NetVibes. While I still respect NetVibes as an excellent RSS reader, it turns out I didn’t need yet one more place to log into each day. So I’m sticking mostly with email, Twitter and Facebook.

I do plan to look at my PLN again in January 2015, after I have six months or so of library consultations and training under my belt. I may eliminate the staff development piece altogether since Library Development has a Continuing Education Coordinator. But I’d like to see how things play out.

If you were in the HyperLinked Library MOOC or regular SJSU course and did the Personal Learning Network project I’d love to hear how (or whether) you’ve tweaked your PLN since you finished the class.


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#ALA Conference Committee Discusses Future of Conferences, Expansion of Midwinter

This week the ALA Committee Report: ALA Conference Committee, 2013-2014 was posted to ALA Connect.  While I encourage all ALA members to read through the whole report, I wanted to quote two sections that I think will be of special interest (headings mine):

Future Directions for Conferences Based on Survey Results

  • Based on 2012 and 2013 survey results and other data, discussed future directions for ALA conferences. (ALA Conference Committee and 2014 CPCT)
    • Based on data reviewed, there was consensus that focus, simplification and increased clarity were desirable.
    • Considered limiting number of programs to be presented at AC; consider whether every subgroup MUST present a program as that is sometimes their only reason for being.
    • Considered holding some program slots for joint or collaborative programs that would be required to have 2 or more groups involved in planning and presentation.
    • Based on feedback, there must be attention to session times, session formats, session quality, alignment and timeliness.
    • A key objective should be an integrated conference experience.
    • ALA’s distinctive position is the “big tent,” crossing type-of-library, type-of-activity and special interest boundaries. There was extensive discussion on issues relating to both unified identify (“big ALA”) and individual group identity (division, round table, other group).
    • Specifically address the time-contention issue. One possibility would be to considered repeating high-demand sessions. (2014 CPCT)
    • Encourage collaboration in programming. (2014 CPCT)
    • Consider making video clips available in advance to encourage attendance and session participation. (2014 CPCT)
    • Require subject headings and tags. (2014 CPCT)
    • Build a “tag cloud” for each conference, as a way to illustrate focus. (2014 CPCT)

Note: CPCT stands for Conference Program Coordinating Team.

ALA Conference Committee Discussion of Proposal to Expand Midwinter

  • At the 2014 Annual Conference, reviewed a Council resolution on programs at the Midwinter Meeting, referred from the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee.
    • Reviewed a background document (MW Program Discussion – publicly posted on the committee’s ALA Connect site).
    • Invited Jennifer Boettcher (RUSA Councilor and proposer) to the meeting to clarify intent and to participate in the discussion.
    • Explored various options. Discussion indicated little support for any significant expansion of the Midwinter Meeting footprint, i.e., there is no desire for a second annual.  The policy as it exists allows for “limited” programming, with authorization of the ALA Executive Board.  That authority has, for instance, been utilized to add a limited number of “Auditorium” programs to Midwinter.  The ALA Conference Committee will continue this discussion over the coming months, with the intent to respond to the ALA Budget Committee prior to their Fall 2014 Meeting, so that BARC can, in turn, respond to the ALA Council.
    • Related to the discussion of programming at Midwinter, there was a discussion of Discussion/Interest/Member Initiative Group content – at both Midwinter and Annual. Discussion focused on the tug become agility/currency and planning/communication.  There was general consensus that the content provided by these groups is valuable, but still no consensus on an effective resolution to the question of how to best manage the conflict between agility/currency and planning/communication.

As I said, I think the whole report is worth reading for ALA members. If you have questions or concerns about what I’ve posted here, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

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#ala See You in Philadelphia for #alaac31

In a recent ALA Connect post to the ALA Conference Committee Connect group ALA staffer Mary Ghikas posted this* current schedule of Midwinter and Annual Conferences from 2012 – 2031:

Midwinter Fri-Tues Annual Thurs-Tues
2012 Dallas Jan 20-25 Anaheim June 21-27
2013 Seattle Jan 25-30 Chicago June 27-July 2
2014 Philadelphia Jan 24-28 Las Vegas June 26-July 1
2015 Chicago Jan 30 – Feb 3 San Francisco June 25-30
2016 Boston Jan 8-12 Orlando June 23-28
2017 Atlanta Jan 20-24 Chicago June 22-27
2018 Denver Feb 9-13 New Orleans June 21-26
2019 Seattle Jan 25-29 DC June 20-25
2020 Philadelphia Jan 17-21 Chicago June 23-28
2021 Indianapolis Jan 22-26 San Francisco June 24-29
2022 San Antonio Jan 21-25 Philadelphia June 23-28
2023 New Orleans Jan 27-31 Chicago June 22-27
2024 Denver Feb 9-13 San Diego June 27-July 2
2025 Not Set n/a DC June 26-July 1
2026 Not Set n/a Chicago June 25-30
2027 Philadelphia Jan 22-26 New Orleans June 24-29
2028 Not Set n/a Not Set n/a
2029 Not Set n/a DC June 21-26
2030 Not Set n/a Not Set n/a
2031 Not Set n/a Philadelphia June 26-July 1


Why do we plan conferences so far out in advance? I’ll let Ms. Ghikas answer with the note she posted with the spreadsheet:

Here is the current schedule of future sites, for your information.  We are showing you both ALA MW and AC and Division Conference sites.  Let me know if you have questions.

For those new to the ALA Conference Committee, sites for MW and AC are approved by the ALA Executive Board.  ALA Conference Services will bring proposed sites to the ALA Conference Committee, as well as the Exhibits Round Table board, for recommendation (or not) to the ALA Executive Board.

We are often asked why we select so far in advance.  It has to do with the size and complexity of the site the ALA requires.  We are (still) utilizing about 350 *concurrent* meeting rooms for AC.  That means we require not only a large convention center but hotels with significant “conference” facilities (meeting rooms) at a reasonable distance from the convention center.  We have historically had very minimal flexibility on dates — looking at holidays, school schedules, other conferences in the library space, etc.  All in all, it’s a tricky package to put together — and the closer we get to the year of a conference, the more likely that one or more critical piece of the package will no longer be available.  So we, like other large conference sponsors, book far in advance and then let other, smaller, conferences, work around us, instead of vice versa.

One piece of explanation, since you are all coming from different places in ALA:  The ACRL and PLA conferences are spring conferences; the AASL conferences are in the fall.  So the ACRL conference in 2015 will come between ALA MW and ALA AC; the 2015 AASL conference will come between the 2015 ALA AC and the 2016 ALA MW.

Let me know if you have questions.


My only comment at this time is to point out that when there are calls to boycott a specific city for various reasons, trying to shift an ALA conference is like steering a supertanker. It also means that if you love or hate a city, you should do your best to make your objections known a decade in advance. This sounds harsh, but as long as we have physical in person conferences, logistics is going to be our harsh taskmaster.


*I filled in “not set” and “n/a” where there were blanks in the original spreadsheet so that it would cut and paste properly. I also left out the Divisional conferences for the sake of focusing on Big ALA

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Code of Conduct Survey Results: Your Stories

Daniel Cornwall:

Some very creepy stories out of ALA conferences. This is why we need to keep our Code of Conduct.

Originally posted on The Magpie Librarian: A Librarian's Guide to Modern Life and Etiquette:

Welcome to my second post regarding the results of my Code of Conduct surveyPreviously, I shared the cold-hard numbers, which are certainly helpful, but do not reflect the entire story of Code of Conduct violations at ALA Conferences. I left ample room for respondents to talk about their experiences. Here, I will share the stories and anecdotes that respondents were kind enough to include.

Before others tell their stories, I believe it would be polite and only right to share two of mine. I have been harassed several times at conferences, but two main stories compelled me to create the Code of Conduct survey. We all respond to different situations in our own ways. Verbal harassment never bothers me for long. It just rolls off my back. I think my tough NY exterior has desensitized me to certain kinds of behavior. However, unwanted touching bothers me beyond all belief…

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#alaac14 ALA Council III

Dear Readers,

Here is my much delayed report on ALA Council III, which took place on Tuesday, 7/1/2014, 7:45am-9:15am. Despite the short time schedule for us, we had a full agenda. This session had a considerable amount of drama that started even before the session actually started.

Before I go into that, let’s talk about what was non-controversial. We adopted a set of memorials and quietly offered our respects as the following names were read aloud:

We also easily passed a tribute:

75th Anniversary of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), T-#2.

We also heard and in some cases acted on a number of reports:

A full listing of actions taken by Council during all sessions of the 2014 Annual Conference has been posted to the ALA Council website. Actions by by Council since 2008 can be found at

Now for the drama, which centered around the report of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) CD#19.3-19.17, which was presented by Chair Douglas Archer.

The bulk of IFC’s report was a bundle of 14 revised interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights that were to be inserted into the ninth edition of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual.

Lest you think I’m going to rant about being presented with 14 bundled documents to approve in a short Council, you should know two things:

  1. Council was provided notice on their listserv when the draft interpretations were made available on ALA Connect back in April.
  2. Chair Doug Archer gave us a heads up a day or so before that he intended to bring the 14 interpretations as a bundle in Council III. While I was uneasy at the time about voting on the package as a bundle, I held my peace at that forum. I kinda wish I hadn’t, but that’s water under the bridge.

I did read the interpretations back in April. For the most part, I think IFC should be commended for the work they did in putting them together.  But I was troubled by the interpretation on Labeling and Rating Systems. I also commented at the time, though in reviewing what I said, I did not offer what would be my core concern at Conference – that the Interpretation treated remote users of a library different from in-library patrons. Specifically in-library patrons could see ratings on packages, but someone accessing the library’s catalog from home or in another system library could not discover what a item was rated as.

I strongly believe in equal treatment in information. What I do remember expressing at the Council Forum where Chairman Archer announced the presentation of the Interpretations as a bundle was that the interpretation on labeling ought to be amended so that either a rating label could be removed and not shown to in-library patrons, or preferably that IF A RATING APPEARED ON THE PACKAGE, that fact should be noted in the bibliographic record. But as the interpretation stood, in-house users could not avoid seeing an item’s rating but remote users could not discover it through the catalog.

After sleeping on things, I resolved that even though Council III was a shortened session, I would try sponsoring a resolution to split the labeling interpretation off the package and send it back to IFC for more work. I asked for a second sponsor as required. Five people stepped forward. I also got a few e-mails insisting I was trying to lead ALA down the road to censorship and that libraries would be forced to insert all sorts of idiosyncratic rating systems into the bibliographic record. My replies that such demands could be thwarted by citing cataloging practice that only ratings actually printed on the item are entered into the bibliographic record fell on deaf ears, in my view.

This was actually the day before Council III. Along the way I’d find out that while the Interpretation on Labeling and Rating Systems had its troubling language for decades, ALA’s cataloging bodies had detailed instructions for entering ratings that appeared on a package in their Resource, Description and Access (RDA) rules. There’s even a MARC field (521) for this type of information. So not only was the labeling interpretation treating users differently depending on whether they happened to be in the library, but this interpretation clearly did not reflect an organizational consensus on what should be in a bibliographic record.

Evening came and I got an e-mail from Doug Archer asking if I’d meet with him before the final Council Forum which took place the night before Council III. I did meet with him and we had a frank and cordial conversation — considerably more cordial than some of my other interactions with some other current and former IFC members. He gave me reasons I found acceptable to stand down from my resolution to split the Labeling interpretation. As some of my would be cosponsors filed in, I let them know of my decision. The forum then had a lively discussion of the Labeling interpretation and from the people in the room, it was clear to me the document did NOT reflect a consensus within ALA.

Now it was the morning of Council III. Things moved along smoothly until the IFC report. Andrew Pace, one of the people I had approached about my resolution to split the Labeling interpretation, presented one of his own to do just that. Much discussion, some fairly heated on both sides, ensued.

Based on some of the talk and implications made by some of the opponents of referral, I wound up voting to refer the labeling Interpretation back to IFC. I felt it was important that IFC understand there was no real consensus for their view in Council.

The motion to refer failed 65 Yes, 70 No. But you have to understand that in normal circumstances, Council normally votes overwhelmingly one way or another. Close votes are NOT the norm. I commend Andrew for forcing a debate that clearly indicated Council’s discomfort with the document. As a result, Chairman Archer has promised a revisit of the labeling interpretation. It won’t be in time for the ninth edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual, but after Council approves it will go on the web site and be put in the 10th edition. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. As long as the treat in-house and remote users equally and show some sign they’ve consulted with ALA’s cataloging committees, I will be happy to move it forward.

And that’s the way I thought the Council sessions went in the 2014 Annual Conference of the American Library Association.


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#alaac14 ALA Council II

ALA Council II took place in Las Vegas at the LVH/Westgate hotel on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 8:30am. Once again we ended early, not fully realizing what awaited us in Council III.

One of traditions of ALA is the “Recognition of Retiring Councilors and Executive Board Members” that normally takes place at Council II at Annual. The ALA President reads the names of people with expiring terms. After Council they get a certificate honoring their service and take a group photograph. I mostly approve of this practice but found it odd that re-elected members of Council were also recognized as retiring members. Things have been done this way for decades in ALA. Although I find the practice of reading the names of the re-elected along with actual departing Council members odd, it’s not worth fighting over.

Along with the recognition of retiring Councilors, we received the following reports:

  • Policy Monitoring Committee (PMC) – ALA Councilor William (Bill) L. Turner, ALA CD#17.1
  • Committee on Organization (COO) – James (Jim) R. Rettig, chair, ALA CD#27.1 – This committee had two action items for Council to vote on separately. Item 1, which required ALA bodies to report to the Executive Director twice a year and Item 2, which established a sunsetting clause for Membership Interest Groups. Both items seemed uncontroversial to me, but Item 1 was subjected to a surprising amount of debate before it finally passed. The second item got more discussion than I was expecting but it too passed. I voted for both action items because of the increased accountability they offered.
  • Freedom to Read Foundation – Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., President, ALA CD#22.1

After receiving these reports, we started to consider the one resolution brought to Council II:

Resolution on Granting the District of Columbia Government Budget Autonomy to Allow City Services, including Libraries, to Remain Open during a Federal Government Shutdown, Councilors Christopher Corrigan and Jennifer Boettcher, ALA CD#45

Christopher Corrigan is the District of Columbia Chapter Councilor. Like me, he is finishing up his first year on ALA Council. He is a very earnest Councilor and was worried about his first resolution though he had done all of his homework. He brought his draft resolution to the Rules committee who helped him find every relevant ALA body that might conceivably have an opinion on his resolution. This is extremely important to do to the best of a Councilor’s ability. Otherwise your resolution will get referred to the relevant bodies, not to be heard from for six months to a year. You REALLY want to consult them first. Usually for good reasons.

He had to be reminded to slow down some in his presentation, but did a great job of making his case that he wasn’t asking ALA to urge extra funding or statehood for DC. He and the DC ALA Chapter simply wanted ALA to endorse the idea that the District of Columbia ought to be allowed to spend their locally collected tax dollars as any other city in the nation is allowed to do. He also brought statistics that showed the impact of library closures on DC.

Partly because Councilor Corrigan’s excellent preparation and partly because this resolution was obviously library related, his resolution garnered many favorable comments before being overwhelmingly approved. I voted in favor as did all but one or two Councilors.

And then after a few announcements we were done early.

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#alaac14 ALA Council I – Reports and Supporting Air Force Libraries

The 2014 Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA) ended on July 1, 2014. I didn’t do writeups during conference because the hotel I was staying at, LVH/Westgate did not offer free in-room wifi and I was unwilling to pay $15/day PER DEVICE for it.  Why haven’t I written anything since? I have a whole set of lame and semi-lame excuses I can offer if you care enough to comment or message me. Otherwise, I’ll just apologize and move on.

Council I took place on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 8:30am. We ended early.

We started off with a video greeting from Chairman Wheeler of the FCC. He thanked ALA for their support of e-rate reform and pledged more support for rolling out better wifi in libraries and schools. It was a very positive video and showed that the Chairman had a good grasp of library issues. I wish I could link to it, but it does not appear to be posted online. Since Council I, the FCC approved e-rate reform by a 3-2 vote. ALA applauds this move, as do I.

Most of the actual business of Council I focused on hearing reports. Some of the reports we heard included:

Presidential Task Force on Electronic Communication for the ALA Council, John C. Sandstrom, Chair, ALA CD#10 – We voted to accept the recommendations, with a few tweaks. I’m hopeful these new measures will give more access to more members of Council. – This report has not yet been posted to the 2014 Council documents page, but I hope it will be soon. If you’re really interested, let me know and I can send you a copy.

Review of Executive Board Actions Since the 2014 Midwinter Meeting, Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director and Secretary to the ALA Council, ALA CD#15.1 – This report has not yet been posted to the 2014 Council documents page, but I hope it will be soon. If you’re really interested, let me know and I can send you a copy.

Implementation of the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting Council Actions, Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director and Secretary to the ALA Council, ALA CD#9.1 - This report has not yet been posted to the 2014 Council documents page, but I hope it will be soon. If you’re really interested, let me know and I can send you a copy.

Digital Content and Libraries Working Group Sari Feldman and Robert Wolven, Co-Chairs, ALA CD#30.1 – Simon & Schuster will now sell full catalog to all libraries. CT State Library is leading a statewide ebooks project. – Sari Feldman is now ALA President Elect. She and Robert Wolven have stepped down as co-chairs, but the group will continue to work under the leadership of current DCWG member Erika Linke (Associate Dean of Libraries, Carnegie Mellon University) and PLA President Carolyn Anthony (Director, Skokie (Illinois) Public Library) as incoming DCWG co-chairs. It is my hope they will continue the constructive work the DCWG has done so far.

After the reports, we considered the resolution:

Resolution in Support of Stable Funding for Air Force Libraries ALA Councilors Vicky Crone and Larry Romans, ALA CD#43 - I spoke in favor of this resolution as a former Air Force intern librarian (Lackland AFB and Tyndall AFB). My fellow Councilor Karen Schneider spoke eloquently as a former Air Force patron. She pointed out that many servicemembers in training were not allowed off the base to use the public libraries. Several others spoke in favor. None were against, though a few questioned why were were singling out the Air Force for support. The resolution passed overwhelmingly and I voted in favor. We need to support the people we insist on repeatedly putting in harm’s way.

As I mentioned at the top of the post, we ended early and we were thankful. Little did we know of the controversy to come.

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