LITA Spring Online Learning Opportunities

Registration is Now Open, for any of 3 webinars and 2 web courses. Check out the great line up.

Webinars are one time sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes.

ScratchcatHow Your Public Library Can Inspire the Next Tech Billionaire: an Intro to Youth Coding Programs, with Kelly Smith, Crystle Martin, and Justin Hoenke
Offered: Thursday March 3, 2016, Noon Central Time
Kids, tweens, teens and their parents are increasingly interested in computer programming education, and they are looking to public and school libraries as a host for the informal learning process that is most effective for learning to code. This webinar will share lessons learned through youth coding programs at libraries all over the U.S. We will discuss tools and technologies, strategies for promoting and running the program, and recommendations for additional resources.

https-everywhere2The Why and How of HTTPS for Libraries, with Jacob Hoffman-Andrews
Offered: Monday March 14, 2016, 1:00 pm Central Time
As more of our library browsing occurs over the Internet, the only way to continue to preserve patron privacy is to make sure that the library catalog and database traffic that travels between a web browser and a server remains encrypted. This webinar will discuss how encrypted websites work, and demonstrate exciting tools from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that make it easy to encrypt library websites by default.

smvideoclapperYes You Can Video, with Anne Burke, and Andreas Orphanides
Offered: Tuesday April 12, 2016, 1:00 pm Central Time
Have you ever wanted to create an engaging and educational instructional video, but felt like you didn’t have the time, ability, or technology? Are you perplexed by all the moving parts that go into creating an effective tutorial? This webinar will help to demystify the process, breaking it down into easy-to-follow steps, and provide a variety of technical approaches suited to a range of skill sets. They will cover choosing and scoping your topic, scripting and storyboarding, producing the video, and getting it online. They will also address common pitfalls at each stage.

Web Courses use a multiple week asynchronous format.

wtwdgraphic2Which Test for Which Data: Statistics at the Reference Desk, with Rachel Williams
Starting Monday February 29, 2016, running for 4 weeks
This web course is designed to help librarians faced with statistical questions at the reference desk. Whether assisting a student reading through papers or guiding them when they brightly ask “Can I run a t-test on this?”, librarians will feel more confident facing statistical questions.

UDidlogoUniversal Design for Libraries and Librarians, with Jessica Olin, and Holly Mabry
Starting Monday April 11, 2016, running for 6 weeks
Universal Design is the idea of designing products, places, and experiences to make them accessible to as broad a spectrum of people as possible, without requiring special modifications or adaptations. This course will present an overview of universal design as a historical movement, as a philosophy, and as an applicable set of tools.

Sign up for any and all of these great sessions today.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,

KonMari in Web Librarianship

Over the winter break, I had the pleasure of listening to the audio book version of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. In this book, the author explains in detail her method of tidying up (which she calls KonMari). I highly recommend you read the book in its entirety to gain a fuller understanding of what the KonMari method entails, but in short:

  • Gather everything you own that falls into a specific category
  • Touch each item individually. Hold it, feel it, connect with it
  • Ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy within me?”
  • If it doesn’t spark joy, ask, “is it useful or necessary?”
  • Lastly, if the item doesn’t spark joy, and it isn’t useful, discard it. Also, as you discard it, thank it for fulfilling its purpose, whatever it may have been.
  • Do this category by category until your life is only filled with those things that spark joy.

As I listened to this book, I started to make some connections between the techniques being described and how they could apply to my life as a web services librarian. In this post, I’ll point out a few of the random connections it sparked for me, and perhaps others will be encouraged to do something similar, or even apply KonMari in other areas of librarianship — I’d love to hear what others have to say!

Content Auditing

The first thing that stuck out to me about this method is how similar it felt to performing a content audit. Content auditing is an important step in developing an overall content strategy — I’d recommend taking a look at Margot Bloomstein’s article, “The Case for Content Strategy — Motown Style” for a pretty practical overview of content strategy and content auditing. Any information architect, or information worker in general, would be remiss to skip the step of documenting all existing content prior to structuring or restructuring any sort of website or *ahem* LibGuides system. I think that LibGuides (or any of the LibApps, really) would be a great candidate to begin experimenting with content auditing and discarding things. Applying the question “Does it spark joy?” actually becomes a really interesting question, because not only should you be considering it from your own perspective, but also that of the user. This quickly dives into a question of user experience. The oft-spoken about epidemic of “LibGuides Gone Wild” could be at least somewhat tamed if you were to apply this question to your guides. Obviously, you may not always be in a position to be able to act on the discarding of guides without buy-in, but maybe this can provide you with yet another language to describe the benefits of focusing on users.

Conference Notes

One type of item that Kondo discusses is seminar notes, which, based on her description, aligns pretty much 100% with the notes we all take when we are at conferences. When I first started attending library conferences at the beginning of my career (about 5 years ago), I would shun taking notes on a computer, insisting that handwriting my notes would result in more effective notes because I would have to be more particular about what nuggets of knowledge I would jot down. In reality, all I would end up with was a sore hand, and I would actually miss out on quite a bit of what the speaker was saying. As I progressed, I would eventually resort to using an iPad along with OneNote, so that I could easily tap out whatever notes I wanted, as well as take pictures of relevant slides and include them along with my notes. This, I believed, was the perfect solution. But, what exactly was it the perfect solution for? It was the perfect solution to make sure I could provide an adequate write-up / conference recap to my co-workers to prove that I actually did learn something and that it was worth the investment. That’s pretty much it. Of course, in my own mind I would think “Oh, these are great! I can go back to these notes later and re-ingest the information and it will be available next time I need it!”. But, I can count on zero hands how many times I actually did that. One of the things that Kondo says about these sorts of events is that the benefit and purpose of them is in the moment — not the notes. You should fully invest yourself in the here and now during the event, because the experience of the event is the purpose. Also, the best way to honor the event is not to have copious notes — but to apply what you’ve learned immediately. This portion of the book pretty much spoke to me directly, because I’m 100% guilty of worrying too much about proving the greatness of professional development opportunities rather than experiencing the greatness.

Code Comments

While the last example I used can pretty much apply to any librarian who attends conferences, this example of where I can apply KonMari is pretty particular to those who have to code at some level. I think I may be more guilty of this than the average person, but the amount of stuff I have commented out (instead of deleting altogether) is atrocious. When I’m developing, I have a (bad) habit of commenting chunks of code that are no longer needed after being replaced by new code. Why do I do this? For the number one reason on Kondo’s list of excuses that people have when discarding things: “I might need it someday!”. In the words of Kondo herself, “someday never comes”. There are bits of code that have probably been commented out instead of deleted for a good 3 years at this point — I think it’s time to go ahead and delete them. Of course, there are good uses for comments, but for the sake of your own sanity (and the sanity of the person who will come after you, see your code and think, “wut?”) use them for their intended purpose, which is to help you (and others) understand your code. Don’t just use it as a safety net, like I have been. I’m even guilty of having older versions of EZproxy stanzas commented out in the config file. Why on Earth would those ever be useful? What makes me even worse is that we have pretty extensive version control, so I could very easily revert to or compare with earlier versions. You can even thank your totally unnecessary comments as you delete them, because they did ultimately serve a purpose — they taught you that you really can simply trust yourself (and your version control).

Well, that’s it for now — three ways of applying KonMari to Web Services Librarianship. I would love to hear of other ways librarians apply these principles to what they do!

Jobs in Information Technology: December 30, 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:

Minnesota State University, Mankato, Systems Librarian, Assistant Professor, Mankato, MN

Multnomah County Library, IT Public Computing Solutions Engineer, Portland, OR

Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative, Automation Systems Librarian, Mankato,MN

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

LITA at ALA Midwinter – Boston

MW16_logo_RGB500x597If you’re going to ALA Midwinter in Boston, don’t miss these excellent LITA activities.  Click the links for more information.  And check out the entire:

LITA at ALA Midwinter schedule

Friday, January 8, 2016, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

LITA “Makerspaces: Inspiration and Action” tour at Midwinter!

How do you feel about 40,000 square feet full of laser cutters, acetylene torches, screen presses, and sewing machines? Or community-based STEAM programming for kids? Or lightsabers? If these sound great to you

Register Now

Saturday, January 9, 2016, 10:30 am to 11:30 am, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center – 104 BC

All Committees, and all Interest Groups, meetings

This is where and when all the face to face meetings happen.  If you want to become involved in working with LITA, show up, volunteer, meet your colleagues, express your interests, share your skills.

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 10:30 am to 11:30 am, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center – 253 A

Top Technology Trends Discussion Session

Part of the ALA News You Can Use series this is LITA’s premier program on changes and advances in technology. Top Technology Trends features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts and thought leaders. The panelists for this session include:

  • Moderator: Lisa Bunker, Pima County Public Library
  • Jason Griffey, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
  • Jim Hahn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jamie Hollier, Anneal, Inc. and Commerce Kitchen
  • Alex Lent, Millis Public Library
  • Thomas Padilla, Michigan State University
  • Rong Tang, Simmons College
  • Ken Varnum, University of Michigan

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Seaport Hotel, Room Harborview 2

LITA Open House

LITA Open House is an opportunity for current and prospective members to talk with Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) leaders, committee chairs, and interest group participants. Share information, encourage involvement in LITA activities, and help attendees build professional connections.

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, MIJA Cantina & Tequila Bar Quincy Market – 1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace – Boston, MA

LITA Happy Hour

Please join the LITA Membership Development Committee and members from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! Expect lively conversation and excellent drinks. Cash Bar. Map the location.

Monday, January 11, 2016, 8:30 am to 10:00 am, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center – 104 BC

LITA Town Meeting

Join your fellow LITA members for breakfast and a discussion led by President-elect Aimee Fifarek, about LITA’s strategic path. We will focus on how LITA’s goals–collaboration and networking; education and sharing of expertise; advocacy; and infrastructure–help our organization serve you and the broader library community. This Town Meeting will help us turn those goals into plans that will guide LITA going forward.


Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to LITA at ALA Midwinter Boston, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Jobs in Information Technology: December 23, 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:

University of Georgia, Digital Projects Librarian/Archivist, Athens, GA

Mendocino County Library, Librarian I, Ukiah,CA

Dartmouth College, Data and Visualization Librarian, Hanover, NH

AbbVie, Research Information Scientist – Content Management (Systems Librarian), Chicago,IL

MCCCD/Glendale Community College, Librarian, Glendale, AZ

Lee County Library System, Senior Librarian, Digital Services Manager, Fort Myers, FL

NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, Data Jedi (Research Information Scientist), Brooklyn,NY

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

Register for “Makerspaces: Inspiration and Action” at ALA Midwinter

How do you feel about 40,000 square feet full of laser cutters, acetylene torches, screen presses, and sewing machines? Or community-based STEAM programming for kids? Or lightsabers?

If these sound great, you should register for the LITA “Makerspaces: Inspiration and Action” tour at Midwinter! We’ll whisk you off to Somerville for tours, nuts and bolts information on running makerspace programs for kids and adults, Q&A, and hands-on activities at two great makerspaces.

a rainbow of paint cans, a sewing mannequin, a paint-covered shoe
A workspace at Artisan’s. (“HoaT2012: Boston, July-2012” by Mitch Altman; ; CC BY-SA)

Artisan’s Asylum is one of the country’s premier makerspaces. In addition to the laser cutters, sewing machines, and numerous other tools, they rent workspaces to artists, offer a diverse and extensive set of public classes, and are familiar with the growing importance of makerspaces to librarians.

adorable child in Riddler costume in front of a soldering station
My kid made her fabulous Halloween costume at Parts & Crafts this year and I am definitely not at all biased. (Photo by the author.)

Parts & Crafts is a neighborhood gem: a makerspace for kids that runs camp, afterschool, weekend, and homeschooling programs. With a knowledgeable staff, a great collection of STEAM supplies, and a philosophy of supporting self-directed creativity and learning, they do work that’s instantly applicable to libraries everywhere. We’ll tour their spaces, learn the nuts and bolts of maker programming for kids and adults, and maybe even build some lightsabers.

workbench with miscellaneous tools
What tools can you use? (“Parts and Crafts, kids makerspace” by Nick Normal;; CC BY-NC-ND)

Parts & Crafts is also home to the Somerville Tool Library (as seen on BoingBoing). Want to circulate bike tools or belt sanders, hedge trimmers or hand trucks? They’ll be on hand to tell you how they do it.

I’ll be there; I hope you will be, too!″Register today.

metal dragonfly on a red shelf
Let’s all fly to Boston! (Untitled photograph by Clarence Risher;; CC BY-SA)

Jobs in Information Technology: December 16, 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:

University of Texas Libraries, Senior Software Developer/Analyst, Austin, TX

Cadence Group, Metadata and Systems Librarian, Greenbelt, MD

Sales Representative, Southern Tier, Backstage Library Works, City to be determined, TX


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

An Interview With LITA Emerging Leader Melissa Stoner

Melissa Stoner image

Tell us about your library job. What do you love about it?

I work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Lied Library Digital Collections. I am the Workflow Manager for the Nevada Digital Newspaper Project, part of the National Historic Newspaper Project, a joint effort between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I have been a part of the Digital Collections team for a couple of years. Every year I learn something new about the work I am doing. I love my job because of the people I work with. I also love that I have the freedom to observe different aspects of the digitization process for many of our collections. At times I assist with managing the metadata of the different collections. We are currently utilizing TemaTres Controlled Vocabulary server to manage, publish, and share the ontologies and taxonomies we use in our collections. I am also learning more about linked data.

Where do you see yourself going from here, career-wise?

I really enjoy being a project manager and working in academic institutions. I like the idea of making photographs and other historical items digitally accessible to students, faculty, and the community. I think it would be great working for an academic institution where I am allowed to manage and create digital collections, whether with an institutional repository or within a special collections library.

Why did you apply to be an Emerging Leader? What are you most excited about?

I applied because I’ve been very fortunate to have a fantastic mentor in my supervisor, Cory Lampert. She took me on as a volunteer intern and then helped me get hired as the Digital Projects Manager at Nevada State College with an IMLS grant funded oral history project.  Then she brought me back for the newspaper project. From this experience, I’ve learned the value of working with true collaborators. I’m excited to build on this experience on the national level as an Emerging Leader.

I am Navajo and lived in Shiprock, New Mexico, on the Navajo Nation until I was 24. Like many others, I moved away because of a lack of job opportunities. I hope that in some way my being an Emerging Leader could inspire others from a similar background.

What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?

I like thrift store shopping, gaming, traveling, photographing abandoned buildings, and going to dinner with friends — but not cooking!

Jobs in Information Technology: December 9, 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:

Business and Public Administration Liaison Librarian, Penn State University Libraries, Harrisburg Campus, Harrisburg, PA

Assistant Professor – Instruction and Foundational Experience Librarian, Colorado State University Libraries, Fort Collins, CO

Assistant Professor – Online Education and Liaison Librarian, Colorado State University Libraries, Fort Collins, CO

Sales Representative, Northern Tier, Backstage Library Works, City to be determined, IL

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

LITA Bloggers Reflect on LITA Forum 2015

LITA bloggers, L-R: Whitni, Lindsay, Brianna, Bill, Michael, Jacob
LITA bloggers, L-R: Whitni, Lindsay, Brianna, Bill, Michael, Jacob

Connections – Michael Rodriguez

Several LITA bloggers, including myself, attended our first-ever LITA Forum in November 2015. For me, the Forum was a phenomenal experience. I had a great time presenting on OCLC products, open access integration, and technology triage, with positive, insightful audience questions and feedback. The sessions were excellent, the hotel was amazing, the Minneapolis location was perfect, but best of all, LITA was a superb networking conference. With about 300 attendees, it was small enough for us to meet everyone, but large enough to offer diverse perspectives. I got to meet dozens of people, including LITA bloggers Bill, Jacob, and Whitni, whom I knew via LITA or via Twitter but had never met IRL. I got to reenergize old comradeships with Lindsay and Brianna and finally meet the hard-working LITA staff, Mark Beatty and Jenny Levine. I formed an astonishing number of new connections over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and water coolers. Our connections were warm and revitalizing and will be with us lifelong. Thanks, LITA!

To Name – Jacob Shelby

LITA Forum 2015 was my first professional library conference to attend, and I will say that it was an amazing experience. The conference was just the right size! I was fortunate to meet some awesome, like-minded people who inspired me at the conference, and who continue to inspire me in my daily work. There were so many great sessions that it was a real challenge choosing which ones to go to! My particular favorite (if I had to choose only one) was Mark Matienzo’s keynote: To Hell With Good Intentions: Linked Data, Community and the Power to Name. As a metadata and cataloging professional, I thought it was enlightening to think about how we “name” communities and to consider how we can give the power to name and tell stories back to the communities. In all, I made connections with some wonderful professionals and picked up some great ideas to bring back to my library. Thanks for an awesome experience, LITA!

Game On – Lindsay Cronk

A conference is an investment for many of us, and so we always look for ROI. We fret about costs and logistics. We expect to be stimulated by and learn from speakers and presentations. We hope for networking opportunities. At LITA Forum, my expectations and hopes were met and exceeded. Then I got to go to Game Night. What better way to reward a conferenced-out brain than with a few rounds of Love Letter and a full game of Flash Point? I had a terrific time talking shop and then just playing around with fellow librarians and library tech folks. It reminded me that play and discovery are always touted as critical instructional tools. At this point I’m going to level a good-natured accusation- LITA Forum gamified my conference experience, and I loved it. I hope you’ll come out and play next year, LITA Blog readers!

No, get YOUR grub on! – Whitni Watkins

As someone on the planning committee for LITA Forum, I spent a decent amount of time doing my civic duty and making sure things were in place. After a couple of years of conference heavy attending, I learned that you cannot do it all and come out on top. I was selective this year, I attended a few sessions that peaked my interest and spent a few hours discussing a project I was working on in the Poster session. I’ve learned that conferences are best for networking, for finding people with the same passion to help you hack things in the library (and not so library) world. My fondest memory of this year’s LITA forum was the passionate discussion we had during one of our networking dinners on the hierarchy in libraries, how we can break it, and why it is important to do so. Also, afterwards meeting up as LITA Bloggers and hanging out with each other IRL. A great group of people behind the screen, happy to be a part of it.

Did you attend this year’s LITA Forum? What was your experience like?