Online Surveys in Libraries: Tips and Strategies

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part guest post on survey use in libraries by Celia Emmelhainz.

Learning the Craft of Surveys

  • Learn the craft. Survey-building is a craft, so study up on survey design. Luckily for you, there’s a free Coursera course on Questionnaire Design that started on June 1, 2015. I can attest that the lectures are useful.
  • Don’t be afraid to start small and develop more nuanced surveys over time. You’ll learn what sorts of questions and approaches actually work for you.
  • Consider representative, quota, or cluster sampling rather than trying to get responses from everyone. Don’t know what that is? Take Solid Science: Research Methods for free on Coursera, starting this August 31, 2015. It’s well worth it for library research.

Continue reading Online Surveys in Libraries: Tips and Strategies

LITA at ALA Annual, give us your opinions

AC15_logo_FINAL_150px_revDid you attend the 2015 ALA Annual conference in San Francisco?

Thank you! There were loads of dynamic, useful and fun LITA programming at the conference. Now we want your opinions. Please complete our

LITA at ALA Annual conference survey!

LITA programs included:

  • 3 preconferences
  • Sunday afternoon with LITA inlcuding the Top Technology Trends panel
  • Rachel Vacek’s presidents program with Lou Rosenfeld
  • A total of 20 programs
  • LITA Interest Groups discussions and meetings

You can review the LITA Highlights page for information on LITA programs and activities at Annual Conference, with the link to the full conference scheduler, and check out the LITA Interest Groups special managed discussions list too.

We’re trying very hard to make sure LITA programming meets your needs. To help us we have an

Evaluation Survey for all LITA Programs at 2015 ALA Annual conference.

Now that you attended Annual we hope you’ll take the few minutes to complete the survey. The results can have a direct effect on future programming from LITA.

Question or Comments?

For questions or comments contact Mark Beatty, LITA Programs and Marketing Specialist at [email protected] or (312) 280-4268.

Jobs in Information Technology: July 1, 2015

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

Digital Systems, Training, and Support Coordinator, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR

Systems and Digital Services Librarian, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR

Digital Library Data Curation Developer, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

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

An Interview With Emerging Leader Isabel Gonzalez-Smith

Isabel Gonzalez-SmithTell us about your library job.  What do you love most about it?

I am an Undergraduate Experience Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Richard J. Daley Library where I focus on how the library can support the academic success of our undergraduates. It’s hard to pick a single thing I love about my job because it is really personal to me. As an alumna, serving UIC undergrads is like stepping back into my own undergraduate experience and constantly thinking about ways I can improve that of our current students. Collaboration is key to many of our library efforts and my current role at UIC Library allows me to meet campus partners with the same mission. It doesn’t hurt that I work with an inspiring team of librarians that constantly push me to be the best professional I can be.

Where do you see yourself going from here?

My greatest motivator is improving the experience of the communities we serve as librarians. It might be nerdy but I geek out about data-driven decision making, the iterative process of refinement, and holistic problem solving when it comes to both virtual and physical services. I’m hoping my next career move is in user experience and assessment.

Continue reading An Interview With Emerging Leader Isabel Gonzalez-Smith

ALA appoints Jenny Levine next LITA Executive Director

The American Library Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Jenny Levine as the Executive Director of the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the ALA, effective August 3, 2015. Ms. Levine has been at the American Library Association since 2006 as the Strategy Guide in ALA’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Services area, charged with providing vision and leadership regarding emerging technologies, development of services, and integration of those services into association and library environments. In that role she coordinated development of ALA’s collaborative workspace, ALA Connect, and provided ongoing support and documentation. She convened the staff Social Media Working Group and coordinated a team-based approach for strategic posting to ALA’s social media channels. In addition, she has been the staff liaison to ALA’s Games and Gaming Round Table (GameRT) and coordinated a range of activities, including the 2007 & 2008 Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposia and International Games Day @ your library. She developed the concept for and manages the Networking Uncommons gathering space at ALA conferences.

Prior to joining the ALA staff, Jenny Levine held positions as Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide at the Metropolitan Library System in Burr Ridge (IL), Technology Coordinator at the Grande Prairie Public Library District in Hazel Crest (IL), and Reference Librarian at the Calumet City Public Library in Calumet City (IL). She received the 2004 Illinois Library Association Technical Services Award and a 1999 Illinois Secretary of State Award of Recognition.

Jenny has an M.L.S. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a B.S. in Journalism/Broadcast News from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Within ALA, she is a member of LITA, GameRT, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT). She is also active outside ALA and belongs to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the ALA-tied Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Illinois Library Association (ILA).

Jenny Levine has been an active presenter and writer, including three issues of Library Technology Reports on Gaming & Libraries. Among the early explorers of Library 2.0 technologies, from the Librarians’ Site du Jour (the first librarian blog) to the ongoing The Shifted Librarian, she is active in a wide variety of social media.

Ms. Levine becomes executive director of LITA on the retirement of Mary Taylor, LITA executive director since 2001. Thanks go to the search committee for a thoughtful and successful process: Rachel Vacek, Thomas Dowling, Andromeda Yelton, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Keri Cascio, Dan Hoppe and Mary Ghikas.

2015 LITA Forum, Registration Opens!

Registration Now Open!

2015 LITA Forum
Minneapolis, MN
November 12-15, 2015

lita_forum15_headerPlan now to join us in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis for the 2015 LITA Forum, a three-day educational event that includes 2 preconferences, 3 keynote sessions, more than 55 concurrent sessions and 15 plus poster presentations.

2015 LITA Forum is the 18th 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. Registration is limited in order to preserve the important networking advantages of a smaller conference. Attendees take advantage of the informal Friday evening reception, networking dinners and other social opportunities to get to know colleagues and speakers. 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

Mx A. Matienzo
Director of Technology for the Digital Public Library of America, he focuses on promoting and establishing digital library interoperability at an international scale. Prior to joining DPLA, Matienzo worked as an archivist and technologist specializing in born-digital materials and metadata management, at institutions including the Yale University Library, The New York Public Library, and the American Institute of Physics.

Carson Block
Carson Block Consulting Inc. has led, managed, and supported library technology efforts for more than 20 years. He has been called “a geek who speaks English” and enjoys acting as a bridge between the worlds of librarians and hard-core technologists.

Lisa Welchman
President of Digital Governance Solutions at ActiveStandards. In a 20-year career, Lisa Welchman has paved the way in the discipline of digital governance, helping organizations stabilize their complex, multi-stakeholder digital operations. Her book Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design was published in February of 2015 by Rosenfeld Media.

The Preconference Workshops include

So You Want to Make a Makerspace: Strategic Leadership to support the Integration of new and disruptive technologies into Libraries: Practical Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Solutions for bringing making, fabrication and content creation to your library.
Presenters:
Leah Kraus is the Director of Community Engagement and Experience at the Fayetteville Free Library.
Michael Cimino is the Technology Innovation and Integration Specialist at the Fayetteville Free Library.

Beyond Web Page Analytics: Using Google tools to assess searcher behavior across web properties
Presenters:
Rob Nunez, Robert L Nunez, Head of Collection Services, Kenosha Public Library, Kenosha, WI
Keven Riggle, Systems Librarian & Webmaster, Marquette University Libraries

Visit http://litaforum.org
for registration and additional information.

Join us in Minneapolis!

3 Tips for Tech Empathy

empathyI recently participated in a training session about empathy, led by our wonderful Staff Development Specialist here at the Martin County Library System. The goal of this session was to define empathy and discuss how to show empathy for our patrons and co-workers. It got me thinking about empathy in regards to teaching technology. I frequently work with library patrons who are frustrated with technology. Many of these patrons are older adults who feel handicapped because they were not raised in the digital age.

I, on the other hand, was born born in the digital age. I learned how to use a computer in elementary school and technology has been present in my life ever since. It’s easy to forget this advantage and lose patience when you are teaching someone with a different background. In teaching classes and offering one-on-one technology help, I’ve picked up a few tips about how to empathize with your students.

reflectIf you find your patience wearing thin, think of a time when you struggled to learn something. For me, it’s learning to drive stick. I’ve tried several times and each attempt was more frustrating than the last. When I think about how nerve-wracking it is to be behind the wheel with my hand on the stick shift, I remember how scary it can be to learn something new. I often help patrons who have purchased a new device (iPad, smartphone, etc.) and they are terrified to do the wrong thing. Returning to my adventures with manual transmissions helps me understand where they’re coming from.

relateI was teaching a class a few weeks back and one patron was really struggling to keep up with the group. I started to get irritated by her constant questions, until halfway through when I realized that she looked exactly like my aunt. This immediately snapped me back to reality. If my aunt walked into a library I would want her to receive the best customer service possible and be treated with the utmost respect. My patience was instantly renewed, and I’ve used this trick successfully several times since by comparing patrons to my grandparents, parents, etc. Empathy is often defined as putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, but putting a loved one in the other person’s shoes can also do the trick.

listenI often hear the same complaints from patrons who are frustrated, confused, or overwhelmed by technology. I’ll admit it can be trying to listen to the same thing again and again, but I also recognize that listening to these grievances is very important. Sometimes it’s best to get those frustrations out right off the bat in order to set them aside and focus on learning. Listening is one of our best tools, and acknowledging that someone’s problem is valid can also be extremely helpful.

Do you have any tips for tech empathy?

Letting Theory Influence Practice

This spring, I taught a technology course for pre-service teachers. In addition to my MLS, I have a master’s degree in educational technology, a graduated certificate in online teaching and learning, and an undergraduate degree in education. My own schooling had taught me the importance of making pedagogically sound decisions and never using technology for only the sake of using technology. I quickly learned though that making those pedagogically sound decisions when looking into the eyes of students was a bit more challenging than I had originally thought.

Image made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License from http://quality.ecampusalberta.ca/
Image made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License from http://quality.ecampusalberta.ca/

As I reflected on my teaching after every class, I asked myself many questions including: How do we learn? How can I incorporate technology in a way that is beneficial for my students? How can I use technology in a seamless manner where the learning is not interrupted by inclusion of technology?

Once the spring semester ended and I was able to breathe, I started to think about how what I learned teaching a technology course could (and should) influence my work as a librarian. Overall, I think librarians do a pretty great job using technology, but I realized for me that many of the technology decisions I make in my day job as an academic librarian are not nearly as grounded in learning theory as I think they should be. When I was teaching a full course it was easier to think about theory and wrestle with these questions, but when I create libguides, build tutorials, make suggestions for the library website, and recommend new technology for the learning commons, how often do I first think about how we learn?

So here is my goal (I’m admitting it online and hoping the LITA community will support me in it), I want to start reading more books on learning theory and start using that knowledge to influence all aspects of my work, and specifically with the technology that I use since almost everything that I do is somehow connected to technology.

Current reading list:

What do you recommend that I read?  Do you have any tips for connecting learning theory to non-teaching library technology responsibilities?

Disenfranchising Language in Library Technology

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Justin M. White.

A post by the net librarian was making the rounds on Tumblr a while back and caught my eye. It was short, so I’ll quote most of it here:

As a public librarian, a lot of my job is writing. Copy for websites, computer class handouts, signage, etc. It’s critical that librarians know what language patrons understand. Unfortunately a lot of tech stuff doesn’t use accessible language.

There’s a copier in one of the libraries I work at which has an error message that pops up often which says “insert key counter”. I’m sure this is precise and accurate language to the programmer who wrote the error message, but it really doesn’t mean anything. After trial and error it means you forgot to put money in, so the copier won’t work. But how is the average patron supposed to figure that out?

hodges_1

I subsequently discovered that there’s a surprising lack of discussion about this in the library literature, but what does exist is very promising. Adriene Lim wrote “The Readability of Information Literacy Content on Academic Library Web Sites” back in 2010, which analyzed the readability of library website content that was designed to provide basic research instruction. While most of the libraries surveyed scored well in accessibility of language, some were far more complicated. This is of particular concern for librarians like myself who are working with large populations of ESL and first-generation students.

Continue reading Disenfranchising Language in Library Technology

Jobs in Information Technology: June 24, 2015

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

Associate Vice President for Technology and Library Services – AVPTLS, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA

Library Systems and Emerging Technologies Librarian, Chattanooga State Community College — Kolwyck Library & Information Commons, Chattanooga, TN

Librarian III (Support Services Manager), Suffolk Public Library, Suffolk, VA

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