LITA Kitchen Table Conversations

LITA is beginning a series of informal discussions to let members voice their thoughts about the current strategic goals of LITA. The first couple of these “kitchen table talks,” lead by President Rachel Vacek and Vice-President Thomas Dowling, will take place online in September and October (details to follow), and will be followed by in-person dinners at the 2014 LITA Forum in Albuquerque.

The kitchen table talks will discuss LITA’s strategic goals – collaboration and networking; education and sharing of expertise; advocacy; and infrastructure – and how meeting those goals will help LITA better serve you. The talks also align with ALA’s strategic planning process and efforts to communicate the association’s overarching goals of professional development, information policy, and advocacy.

So if you’re coming to Forum (and you really should!), come have a bowl of green chile stew with Rachel or Thomas and let your voice be heard.

Interview with LITA President, Rachel Vacek

What are your responsibilities as LITA president?

The president is the chief spokesperson for LITA and works closely with both LITA’s executive director and the board of directors in identifying and promoting information technology issues that are of interest to the association in all kinds of libraries, both nationally and internationally.

The president leads the board and executive committee meetings, and works closely with the 20-plus committees that serve the association, such as membership development, education, web coordinating, program planning, publishing, and financial advisory, to name a few.

The president also coordinates with the appointed representatives to groups and associations outside LITA, keeps the board informed, and is a proponent for advocacy of library technology issues. The president, in conjunction with the board, also determines the strategic direction for the association and is able to create task forces as needed to put initiatives in motion.

What are your goals for your presidential year?

Accomplishing impactful goals within a one-year period can be a daunting task. It becomes essential to coordinate efforts with the president-elect and past president to keep the forward momentum going. I am focusing on member experience and financial stability.

As someone who has worked in the systems and web librarianship field for years, the concept of user experience has always had special meaning for me. The ability to look at a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about being a member of LITA is especially important when examining and improving member experience.

When answering the question, “Why join LITA?” I have to evaluate the hard benefits like educational and conference discounts or being able to participate in leadership roles, as well as the softer benefits like opportunities to expand one’s network. I believe that people join LITA because they want to learn something new, help their colleagues, grow their network, and advocate for librarians working with technology.

I will work with many of LITA’s committees, primarily Membership, Education, and Publications, to:

  • Involve enthusiastic, active members who have embraced LITA’s mission and values in making new members feel welcome.
  • Recognize more frequently the outstanding contributions of LITA members.
  • Emphasize that a major benefit of joining LITA is about expanding one’s network and circle of influence, and having fun in the process!
  • Consider the goals of current and potential members. I think the best way to engage LITA members is to help them participate in meaningful and relevant activities that will further their goals and those of the profession.
  • Offer more virtual events and mentoring opportunities that help potential or new members learn more about LITA and establish connections and lifelong friendships. Being able to make these connections virtually is essential, since conference travel can sometimes be financially challenging.

The other goal I mentioned was financial stability. The LITA Financial Strategies Task Force presented a report to the board last year that is packed with timely, practical, and creative solutions for helping to address crucial challenges that all ALA divisions are facing. LITA also recently established a Financial Advisory Committee, and I believe that their work, in conjunction with the efforts of other LITA committees, are crucial to ensuring that LITA remains viable and relevant for years to come.

What are LITA’s goals?

In accordance with ALA’s goals of information policy, professional development, and advocacy, LITA’s four broad goals are:

  1. To foster collaboration and networking among LITA members.
  2. To offer education, publications, and events that inspire and enable members to improve technology integration within their libraries.
  3. To advocate for meaningful legislation, policies, and standards that positively impact the current and future capabilities of libraries that promote equitable access to information and technology.
  4. To improve LITA’s infrastructure in order to serve, educate, and create community for its members.

How will your role as LITA president benefit your own library and institution?

I work at the University of Houston Libraries in Houston, Texas. National recognition is one of the University’s priorities, and one of the Libraries’ strategic directions. Being the president of a national association is both a huge responsibility and an incredibly rewarding experience. With that comes an increase in press, interviews, and open doors, all of which are opportunities to highlight the UH Libraries and UH as outstanding organizations doing amazing things.

Also, because I have established an incredible network both within LITA and now with the leaders of the other divisions, I am able to help my colleagues make connections with others in the profession. I’ve become quite familiar with ALA’s structure and look forward to offering advice on getting involved, connecting colleagues with relevant skills and interests to appropriate groups, and being a sounding board for ideas.

What have you learned about yourself through this experience?

I’ve grown a tremendous amount in just the past year since becoming LITA’s vice-president. I realized that my previous experiences in chairing the UH Libraries’ Strategic Directions Steering Committee, being Chair of the Librarians, and leading numerous other committees, coupled with being a department head, have all prepared me for this endeavor. The experience of leading a board of directors, strategic and budgetary planning, collaborating with other divisions, and driving the organization’s vision is also preparing me for the next stage in my library career.

Jobs in Information Technology: August 20

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Information Technology Specialist, Texas Library Association, Austin, TX

User Experience Librarian, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville,  AR

Web Services Librarian, University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Summary of the LITA Board Meeting on August 15, 2014

The LITA Board met on Friday, August 15th for their first board meeting after ALA Annual in Las Vegas and under the new leadership of LITA President Rachel Vacek. Three major topics on the agenda were 1) the 2015 Budget; 2) the creation and disbanding of some LITA committees; and 3) an overview of the upcoming LITA Kitchen Table Conversations.

The revised 2015 LITA budget and accompanying summary were well received thanks to the great work of our new Financial Advisory Committee. Special thanks goes to Andrew Pace, Susan Sharpless Smith, Mary Taylor, and especially FAC Chair Zoe Stewart-Marshall for all their hard work. The vote to accept the budget passed.

Jason Griffey, the Bylaws and Organization Committee Chair and who serves as an Ex Officio member of the Board as our Parliamentarian, provided the Board with updates from the Bylaws Committee. The Board voted to disband both the Technology & Access Committee and the International Relations Committee due to this work being done now at the ALA level, which wasn’t the case when these two committees were created years ago. Also, because of the delay in which the draft charge was presented to the Board, the discussion and vote for the creation of the Communications Committee will take place online in ALA Connect for the week after the meeting. The charge has to be reviewed from the Bylaws Committee since it is a standing committee. However, the LITA 50th Anniversary Task Force doesn’t require a Bylaws approval, just a vote from the Board. (LITA will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016, so be on the lookout for fun times ahead!)

Finally, Rachel Vacek, President, and Thomas Dowling, Vice-President, presented to the Board an overview of a series of virtual and in-person informal conversations they will be having with the LITA membership over the remainder of the year. This will be a great opportunity to let members voice their thoughts about the current strategic goals of LITA as well as ALA’s goals and their overarching strategic planning process.

Board member Aimee Fifarek recorded action items from the meeting and will also be sharing those in Connect and on the Board’s listserv. We also discussed several other topics for the next board meeting which will take place in either September or early October. And I’m pleased to say we even finished the meeting a few minutes early.

For more details, here is the agenda and the accompanying documents from the meeting, all of which are available on ALA Connect:

New LITA Staff member Mark Beatty took notes and those will be approved and posted soon to ALA Connect, too. We also have an audio recording of the meeting if you care to listen.

If you have any questions about the meeting, the work of the Board, or about LITA in general, feel free to contact me at vacekrae at gmail dot com and I’m also on twitter. I’m always happy to talk with anyone about how to improve the LITA member experience.

Rachel Vacek, LITA President 2014-2015

Jobs in Information Technology: August 6

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Project Director, National Archive of Criminal Justice Data(NACJD), University of Michigan/ICPSR,  Ann Arbor, MI

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Plan to Attend 2014 LITA Forum, Albuquerque NM, Nov. 5-8, 2014

2014 LITA Forum
Albuquerque, NM
November 5-8, 2014

Registration Now Open!

Plan now to join us in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Hotel Albuquerque for the 2014 LITA Forum, a three-day educational event that includes preconferences, general sessions, and more than 30 concurrent sessions.

Registration is limited in order to preserve the important networking advantages of a smaller conference. Take advantage of the informal Thursday evening reception and Friday evening networking dinners to get to know LITA leaders, Forum speakers, and your colleagues.

2014 LITA Forum is the 17th annual gathering of technology-minded information professionals and is a highly regarded annual event for those involved in new and leading edge technologies in the library and information technology field. Comments from past attendees:
“Best conference I’ve been to in terms of practical, usable ideas that I can implement at my library.”
“I get so inspired by the presentations and conversations with colleagues who are dealing with the same sorts of issues that I am.”
“After LITA I return to my institution excited to implement solutions I find here.”
“This is always the most informative conference! It inspires me to develop new programs and plan initiatives.”

This Year’s featured Keynote Sessions:

AnnMarie Thomas, Associate Professor, University of St. Thomas, School of Engineering
Ms. Thomas co-founded, and co-directs, the University of St. Thomas Center for Pre-Collegiate Engineering Education, and served as the Founding Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative where she worked to establish the national Maker Corps program.

Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC Vice President and Chief Strategist
Lorcan Dempsey oversees the research division and participates in planning at OCLC. Previously he worked at JISC in the UK, overseeing national information programs and services, and before that was Director of UKOLN, a national UK research and policy unit at the University of Bath.

Kortney Ryan Ziegler, Founder Trans*h4ck
Dr. Ziegler is the director of the multiple award winning documentary, STILL BLACK: a portrait of black transmen, runs the GLAAD Media Award and is also the founder of Trans*H4CK–the only tech event of its kind that spotlights trans* created technology, trans* entrepreneurs and trans* led startups.

The Preconference Workshops include:

Linked Data for Libraries: How libraries can make use of Linked Open Data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users
Led by: Dean B. Krafft and Jon Corson-Rikert, Cornell University Library

Learn Python by Playing with Library Data
Led by: Francis Kayiwa, Kayiwa Consulting

2014 LITA Forum sponsors include:

for registration and additional information.

Join us in Albuquerque!

LITA Board invites you to join this meeting online – Friday, August 15, 2014

The LITA Board invites you to join this meeting online on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Summary:  I will be in the room and available 30 minutes prior to the meeting start to ensure that you can hear and see the room working properly on your equipment.

Please note:  It is strongly recommended that all attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during an Adobe Connect session. Attendees can also use a mic with headphones or earbuds if headsets are not available. The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo.

Join the meeting by clicking the following link:
View the meeting agenda:

If you have any questions, recommendations, or wish to discuss any of this, please leave a comment or contact the LITA office, lita (at)

Call for writers

The LITA blog is seeking regular contributors interested in writing easily digestible, thought-provoking blog posts that are fun to read (and hopefully to write!). The blog will showcase innovative ideas and projects happening in the library technology world, so there is a lot of room for contributor creativity. Possible post formats could include interviews, how-tos, hacks, and beyond.

Any LITA member is welcome to apply. Library students and members of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Contributors will be expected to write one post per month. Writers will also participate in peer editing and conversation with other writers – nothing too serious, just be ready to share your ideas and give feedback on others’ ideas. Writers should expect a time commitment of 1-3 hours per month.

Not ready to become a regular writer but you’d like to contribute at some point? Just indicate in your message to me that you’d like to be considered as a guest contributor instead.

To apply, send an email to briannahmarshall at gmail dot com by Friday, August 15. Please include the following information:

  • A one to two line brief bio
  • Your professional interests and how they could relate to the blog
  • 2-3 topics you would be interested in writing about with a one line summary of each
  • If possible, links to writing samples, professional or personal, to get a feel for your writing style

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Brianna Marshall, LITA blog editor

Call for Proposals, ALA Annual 2015

Conference programs and preconferences for Annual 2015!

The LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC) is now accepting innovative and creative proposals for the 2015 Annual American Library Association Conference.  We’re looking for full day pre-conference ideas as well as 60- and 90-minute conference presentations. The focus should be on technology in libraries, whether that’s use of, new ideas for, trends in, or interesting/innovative projects being explored – it’s all for you to propose. In 2014, we received over 60 proposals, resulting in 20 great LITA programs at the 2014 Annual Conference, all of which came from contributions like yours. We look forward to hearing the great ideas you will share with us this year.

When/Where is the Conference?

The 2015 Annual ALA Conference will be held  in San Francisco, California, from June 25th through 30th.

What kind of topics are we looking for?

We’re looking for programs of interest to all library/information agency types, that inspire technological change and adoption, or/and generally go above and beyond the everyday.

Some successful topics in the 2014 included: Practical Linked Data with Open Source (Full-day preconference); Technology Priorities for the New Library Reality; Building Gorgeous Responsive Websites with Twitter-Bootstrap. Some topics we are interested in are: library hackathons; data management & curation; responsive web design; homegrown technology tools, especially projects that adapt popular technologies in use outside libraries, for library use.

When are proposals due?

September 2, 2014

How I do submit a proposal?

Fill out this form

Program descriptions should be 75 words or less.

When will I have an answer?

The committee will be reviewing proposals after September 2; final decisions will be made by October 1.

Do I have to be a member of ALA/LITA? or a LITA Interest Group (IG) or a committee?

No! We welcome proposals from anyone who feels they have something to offer regarding library technology. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial support for speakers. Because of the limited number of programs, LITA IGs and Committees will receive preference where two equally well written programs are submitted. Presenters may be asked to combine programs or work with an IG/Committee where similar topics have been proposed.

Got another question?

Please feel free to email Deb Shapiro (PPC chair) (

Jobs in Information Technology: July 30

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

Deputy University Librarian and Director of Library Technology, University of Georgia Libraries,  Athens, GA

Librarian (Library IT Systems),  IMF,  Washington, DC

Supervising Programmer/Analyst, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting

The Library and Information Technology Association