Instruction, Happy Hours and Journal Clubs at the ACRL MD

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

At the ACRL chapter in Maryland, we’re having an active year creating a variety of opportunities for our members to collaborate and network year-round.ACRL MD Happy Hour

We set up an Instruction Observation Network for our members by compiling a list of academic librarian volunteers willing to be observed in their bibliographic instruction sessions or in their for-credit classes. Those interested in observing can contact a librarian off of the list. The Instruction Observation Network will allow us to see how others approach similar information literacy topics, and will give us the opportunity to observe others teaching in a completely different subject area. We hope this Instruction Observation Network inspires colleagues to try new techniques and use one another as teaching resources.

Our ACRL MD Happy Hours give us a chance to unwind and meet each other in a casual setting. Our first one of the academic year was in September in Baltimore, which had an excellent turnout and included members, other librarians, and family and friends. Future ones will be held in locations across the state to include as many of our members as possible. We are also planning a winter happy hour to team up with the Developing Emerging and Aspiring Librarians group, the former student interest group.

On a more scholarly note, we held an online journal discussion group last year to talk about articles from ACRL’s College & Research Libraries.  This year we decided continue the discussions by hosting regular online groups every other month. Once the latest issue of College & Research Libraries is published, the discussion host of the month sends out a poll to select the articles our members are most interested in reading. Our ACRL MD members can remotely join the online room where we talk about three articles from the journal and application to our own work.

Natalie Burclaff

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Development of an Orientation Session for New Chapter Leaders

July 24, 2012 Leave a comment

During the Chapters Council meeting at ALA Annual in Anaheim it was determined that Chapters Council in conjunction with ACRL should provide an orientation session for new Chapter leaders to inform them of the assistance they can receive from ACRL and the importance of engaging with Chapters Council. The following is a list of topics that were suggested to be included in an orientation session. If you have any other ideas of something that would have been helpful for you or you believe would be helpful for the leadership in your Chapter in the future please share them either in the comments on this blog post, on the Chapters Council listserv, or email the current Chapters Council Chair, Danielle Whren Johnson at

  • What is the purpose of Chapters Council
  • What is the relationship between ACRL and Chapters Council
  • National office liaison (alert that this position exists, who it is, how to contact, what they can help with, etc.)
  • ACRL Funding (what is it, how do Chapters get reimbursed, what is eligible for reimbursement)
  • ACRL Speakers Program
  • ACRL Chapters Council meetings at Midwinter and Annual
  • How to keep in touch (Chapters Topics, blog, by-laws, list-serv)
  • Mentor program for new leaders (in development)
  • Toolkit for new leaders (in development)
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VLACRL Holds “IPads in Libraries” Program

July 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The Virginia Chapter of ACRL (VLACRL) synchronously held its annual summer program, “iPads in Libraries,” at four different locations, all of which were connected via the TelePresence video conferencing system. The program featured a morning discussion about innovative uses of iPads in various academic library settings, including circulation and instruction. It also introduced a range of tablet applications for workflows and professional productivity. Presentations included “Building an iPad classroom” (Meridith Wolnick, UVA), “Teaching with iPads” (Rebecca Kate Miller & Carolyn Meier, Virginia Tech), “Circulating iPads” (Patrick Tomlin & Heather Moorefield-Lang, Virginia Tech), and “Experimenting in an iPad Sandbox” (Cindi Sandridge et al). Thanks to the video conferencing technology and the popularity of the topic, we tripled the number of attendees for the summer program in comparison to years past. We also had a fruitful exchange of innovative ideas for incorporating iPads into our professional environments.

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Report on the ACRL Chapters Council Survey

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

During the Chapters Council meeting held on January 22, 2012 at ALA Midwinter in Dallas, Texas, a Task Force was formed to create a survey which would explore the relationship between ACRL and Chapters, particularly in regards to gauging the membership’s satisfaction with the current funding situation for the chapters. The goal of the survey was to tap into the membership and, through their feedback and suggestions, provide ACRL National and ACRL Chapters Council with other options for funding, perhaps even replacing the current situation of national funding regional chapters based on a per member basis.

The attached document is a compilation of the final results gleaned from this survey. The results found in this report will serve as a starting point for a discussion on how the ACRL Chapters Council can move forward to help create a better working relationship with individual chapters and ACRL National and how it can help facilitate ways in which ACRL National and the local chapters can best meet each others’ needs.

Members of the ACRL Chapters Council are highly encouraged to read this report prior to attending the ACRL Chapters Council meeting at ALA Annual in Anaheim in preparation for a discussion on the survey results. Those members unable to attend the Chapters Council meeting at ALA Annual in person are encouraged to provide feedback either on the ACRL Chapters Council ALA Connect page, the ACRL Chapters Council blog, or on the ACRL Chapters Council listserv. Comments or questions may also be sent to Danielle Whren Johnson, the incoming ACRL Chapters Chair at or to Amy Eklund, Chair of the Survey Working Group at


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Dine Around at ALA Annual in Anaheim

June 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Join your colleagues for food and fun at the Chapters Council Dine-Around. The Dine-Around is scheduled for Sunday, June 24 at 6:30 pm at the Tangerine Grill and Patio. The restaurant is located at 1030 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802 inside the Anabella Hotel next to the Anaheim Convention Center. Vegetarian options are available. An RSVP is not strictly required, but in order to help provide a head count to the restaurant prior to the dinner if you think you are planning on attending please RSVP to Danielle Whren Johnson at by Wednesday, June 20.

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Starting a Mentoring Program for Academic Librarians

June 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Members of the executive board of The Greater New York Metropolitan Area Chapter of ACRL had been talking about starting a mentoring program for several years, and we finally did it.

The New York City Area is home to four library schools and numerous academic institutions. Our chapter had already started up a New Librarians Discussion Group which offered programs and meetings and events geared for new(er) librarians and library school students, but we also realized that we had a wealth of resources – in our members and librarians working in the NYC area who were eager to give back to the profession and support new librarians and library schools students by sharing their knowledge and experience and advice. Here is what we did:

We formed an ad hoc committee to research mentoring programs from other ACRL chapters and other organizations; we set out to define our program by writing a mission and coming up with guidelines for the initial run; we created application forms for mentors and mentees and sent out information about the program, and requests to apply, to various email lists and social media platforms. This is the “mission” of our program:

“The ACRL/NY Mentoring Program contributes to the professional development of academic librarians by pairing experienced academic librarians with recent LIS graduates and/or those new to the field. The program creates a formal and informal forum for the exchange of ideas between paired mentors and mentees, provides them with opportunities for a shared learning experience, and makes available the benefits of networking within the academic librarian community.”

We left the application period open for about a month and after we received a good number of applications (more than we imagined we would get!) we paired up mentees with mentors based on goals and experience and the needs of the mentee. The initial round (with twenty participants) started in January 2012 and ends in June 2012. Our next round will go throughout the academic year, September 2012 through May 2013.

Once a month, the coordinator of the program emails the participants a reminder to connect with one another. This email also contains a discussion topic to kick start communication. Some of our recent topics: keeping-up-to-date, networking, leadership, and online identities. We encourage the pairs to meet in person and to attend other ACRL/NY events such as discussion group meetings, but we understand that it may be difficult to actually make this happen. So, communication between mentor and mentee is primarily by email or by phone.

The ACRL/NY Mentoring Group
The Mentoring Program, along with the New Librarians Discussion Group, held a joint meeting on May 16, where we discussed the mentoring experience. Attendees included a library school director, a retired librarian, librarians looking for jobs, librarians recently hired, and librarians serving as both mentees and mentors in the program. We brainstormed ideas for offering more services and resources for new librarians, for doing more outreach to library schools, and we came up with a list of ideas of programs and events geared for new librarians.

We look forward to evaluating, developing and expanding our program, and we expect that it will continue to change as the needs of our participants and members change.

Susanne Markgren
ACRL/NY Mentoring Program Coordinator



News from the Virginia Chapter

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The Virginia Chapter of ACRL (VLACRL) held its annual Spring Program “Starting at the end: Rethink your instruction based on student bibliographies” at Sweet Briar College on April 9, 2012. The program featured keynote speaker Sandra Jamieson, Director of Composition at Drew University, who discussed the findings of the Citation Project, a multi-institutional study of student source use in 174 papers from 16 US colleges and universities. The keynote was followed by a reverse engineering workshop, which was facilitated by Candice Benjes-Small, Coordinator, Information Literacy and Outreach at Radford University, and Luke Vilelle, Public Services & Social Sciences Liaison Librarian at Hollins University. The workshop allowed participants to practice applying information literacy assessment by grading a sample student paper. The program ended with a presentation by Shaunna Hunter, Public Services Librarian, and Liz Rand, Head of Rhetoric and Writing, both from Hampden-Sydney College, about the importance of collaboration between faculty and librarians to empower students in their research endeavors.
We are now in the process of planning a summer program and seeking proposals for the fourth conference-within-a-conference at the 2012 Virginia Library Association annual conference (October 24-26, Williamsburg Hotel & Conference Center).
Links of note:
Sandra Jamieson’s Presentation:
Presentation by Shaunna Hunter and Liz Rand:


Candidates for ACRL Chapters Council Secretary and Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Elections for the 2012-2013 Chapters Council Secretary and Vice-Chair/Chair Elect will take place during the Chapters Council meeting at ALA Annual in Anaheim. The following candidates have accepted nominations for the positions.


ACRL Chapters Council Secretary

Caroline Fuchs,  Associate Professor and Outreach Librarian at St. John’s University Libraries

In addition to an MLS from St. John’s University, Caroline also holds a MA in English and an MA in history. She is currently serving as the President of  ACRL/NY (the Greater New York Metropolitan area Chapter); as the Chapter’s Legislative Liaison and as a member of the Chapter’s Symposium Planning Committee. She has been an active member of both ALA and ACRL and serves on several committees including the ACRL ULS Academic Outreach Committee and the RUSA Access to Information Committee. She is currently the co-chair of the AFL-CIO-ALA Joint Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups. Among her other professional commitments, Professor Fuchs also serves on the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in several capacities: as the co-founder and co-convener of the Library Advocacy Special Interest Group, as co-convener of the Library 2.0 Special Interest Group, and as a Member of the Documentary Heritage Program Advisory Council.

Statement of Interest: I would be pleased and honored to serve as the Secretary of the ACRL Chapters Council. As an active member of the library community both locally and nationally, I firmly believe that academic librarians should actively engage with their professional organizations. Chapters Council is a fine example of how academic librarians can work together to further the goals of the professional, while also providing a significant arena in which to share ideas, discuss issues, and network with colleagues. I would welcome the opportunity to serve as Secretary.

ACRL Chapters Council Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect

Les Kong, Coordinator, Library Media Services.  John M. Pfau Library.  California State University, San Bernardino

Work Experience:

Current position: Coordinator, Library Media Services.  John M. Pfau Library.  California State University, San Bernardino.  2010-present. Previous positions: Head of Public Services. California State University, San Bernardino. 1993-2010. Head of Reference. California State University, San Bernardino. 1990-1993. Social Science and Business Administration Reference Librarian. California State University, Sacramento. 1978-1990. Adjunct Professor.  School of Library & Information Science. San Jose State University. 1988-2000.


  • Masters of Business Administration, California State University, Sacramento.  1987.
  • Masters of Library Science, University of California, Berkeley.  1977.
  • Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration (Marketing). San Francisco State University.  1975.

Memberships, Committees, and Offices Held (Selected):

  • California Academic Research Libraries (CARL – California Chapter of ACRL)) ACRL Chapters Council Delegate [state-wide elected position], 2007-present.
  • CARL Executive Board, Member, 2007-present.
  • CARL, President, 1998.
  • CARL, Vice-President/President-Elect [state-wide elected position], 1996-97.
  • CARL, Secretary-Treasurer [state-wide elected position], 1992-93.
  • Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges & Universities, Substantive Change Committee, Member, 2004-09.
  • WASC, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges & Universities, Evaluator, 2001-present.
  • ALA Chapter Councilor (California), California Library Association (CLA), 2006-2011.
  • CLA Executive Board, Member, 2002-2005, 2006-2011.
  • CLA Past President, 2004-05.
  • CLA President, 2003.
  • CLA Vice-President, President-Elect [state-wide elected position], 2002.
  • Conference Program Planning Committee (2000), Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS), Reference & User Services Association (RUSA), American Library Association (ALA), 1999-2000.
  • Education Committee, BRASS, RUSA, ALA, 1999-2001.
  • Local Arrangements Committee, Junior Members Round Table, ALA, 1987.
  • Membership/Public Relations Committee, Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT), ALA,   1987-89.

Publications and Presentations:

  •  “Academic Reference Librarians: Under the Microscope,” The Reference Librarian No.54:21-27 (1996).
  • “Academic Reference Librarians: Under the Microscope,” in The Roles of Reference Librarians: Today and Tomorrow. pps.21-27. New York: Haworth Press, 1996.
  • “Reference Service Evolved,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 21:13-14 (January 1995).
  • “Charting a Career Path in the Information Professions,” co-authored with R. Goodfellow, College & Research  Libraries  49:207-16 (May 1988).

Statement of Interest: I have been very active at the state level in California in terms of professional associations, having held top leadership positions in the ACRL Chapter, California Academic & Research Libraries, and in the ALA Chapter, California Library Association. Through these associations, I have also been active at the national level with ACRL and ALA, participating at ACRL Chapters Council meetings, and on ALA Council for a number of years. It would be an honor to serve in a leadership role on the ACRL Chapters Council. If elected, I would continue our efforts to push for increased funding of chapter activities by ACRL, and would seek ways to close the perceived gap between the chapters and National.

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ACRL Chapters Council Survey

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

The ACRL Chapters Council serves as a conduit for information and communication between ACRL National and the local ACRL Chapters.  Over the past 4 years, the ACRL Chapters Council has petitioned ACRL National for additional funding to support the local chapters. These requests have not been successful. During the 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, ACRL President Joyce Ogburn and Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis suggested that the Chapters Council present ideas for alternative methods of funding or support that ACRL National could provide to the local chapters in addition to or perhaps even in lieu of the current $1.00 per member  currently provided.

The ACRL Chapters Council is currently running a survey open to all members of local ACRL Chapters in order to both gauge your satisfaction with the current funding situation for your chapter and to provide feedback and suggestions on ways that both ACRL National and the ACRL Chapters Council can provide better support and/or funding for your local chapter.

All members belonging to one of ACRL’s local chapters are encouraged to fill out the survey. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. The survey will remain open until May 15, 2012.

For questions about the survey please contact Rickey Best, Chair of the ACRL Chapters Council at

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National Library Legislative Day and Academic Librarians

April 20, 2012 1 comment

This year’s National Library Legislative Day, sponsored by the American Library Association, is scheduled to take place April 23-24 at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C. Click here ( for more information, registration, etc.

Isn’t this an event dominated by public librarians? Why should academic librarians care? In answer to the first question, yes, most participants tend to come from the public library world. The short answer to the second question is that it is in our interest as academic librarians to let our legislators hear our voices. A longer answer is provided below.

There are several good reasons why legislators need to hear from us in the academic library world. For one thing, many of our interests overlap with the public library constituency. However, there is a shocking level of ignorance found in at least some of our Representatives and Senators about how their actions can have either favorable or deleterious effects on higher education in general and library services in particular. A lot of legislators, federal or on the state or more local level, really do not understand that slashing education-related budget appropriations hurts academic and school libraries which in turn hurts the quality of education of our students which, ultimately, hurts our society and makes us less competitive on a global level. I don’t want to sound too reductive and equate the value of higher education solely with professional or vocational success but sometimes the practical, monetary and social implications of library-related budget cuts need to be spelled out in such a way for the legislator to understand the consequences of his or her vote.

Many of you might think, “I’m no lobbyist. I have no aptitude or desire to approach my Congressperson and, basically, ask for money.” The good news is that, no, you are not expected to do actual lobbying. No political connections or great rhetorical skills are needed. Typically, your encounter with the Congressperson, or more likely, his/her office staff member, is brief – perhaps around 10 minutes or so – and, in my own experience, it has been of a cordial nature. Legislators are busy people but they do pay attention to their constituents, especially if contact is made in person as can be done during National Library Legislative Day.

What this day is about is advocacy, not lobbying. This means briefly and clearly explaining to the legislator (or his/her office staff member) why certain bills or appropriations are important to academic librarians and also to the social and economic well-being of the legislators’ home state. You are definitely NOT expected to provide favors, take the legislator out golfing, etc.! You do not need to know all the minutiae of a particular bill although it certainly would not hurt to indicate that you at least have a good understanding of a bill’s implications for the academic library world and thus to the social and economic well-being of the legislator’s home state. If your legislator is already on board and supportive, this would certainly be a good occasion to thank him/her in order to encourage continued support.

Participants in National Library Legislative Day are briefed and provided with some basic orientation by ALA Washington Office staff, so you want to be prepared to address perhaps no more than two or three at most basic points when you visit the legislators’ offices. Having one or more specific anecdotes to relate to the legislator concerning the effects of funding (or lack of it) can also be helpful. The ALA Washington Office has some very helpful ways of keeping you informed about federal legislation and how it relates to libraries. Take a look at the ALA Advocacy & Legislation page at and also the ALA Legislative Action Center at for very helpful information and tools you can use anytime, not just in connection to NLLD, to contact legislators to express your concern or support as the case may be. Finally, I strongly encourage you to sign up for an e-mail subscription to the District Dispatch at . This is a great way to stay informed.


So far, I have directly participated in only one National Library Legislative Day but it was a very rewarding experience. In May 2008 I was part of a tiny delegation of librarians from the state of Alabama. I was the only academic librarian. We visited the Washington offices of all seven Representatives and two Senators from Alabama that day. Each meeting was a rather pleasant, almost conversational experience. The three of us in the Alabama delegation each spoke for about five minutes on a single separate issue. Generally, the legislator or his/her staff member listened, so there weren’t many questions to answer. I concisely explained why legislation pertaining to the National Agricultural Library was important to higher education, especially in Alabama. Coming from a large land-grant state university with a major College of Agriculture and with connections to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Extension Service, I was able to concretely demonstrate to the legislators why maintaining full funding for the NAL was a very good idea.

Even in this age of fiscal strain and the posturing of some legislators against the evils of Big Government, getting through directly to such a legislator or his/her office staff with your advocacy on behalf of academic libraries is important and worthwhile. Contacting legislators by letter, telephone call, or e-mail message is worthy and helpful, but an in-person visit is even more effective.
I hope you will consider taking part in National Library Legislative Day on April 23-24, 2012.

Tim Dodge
Auburn University

ACRL Chapters Council Legislative Network Representative

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