The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2015 Conference, held in Portland, OR from March 25–28, was by all accounts an upbeat event. Academic librarians may be thinking seriously about the future, but for a few temperate and surprisingly sunny days at the Oregon Convention Center—as well as online, for those taking advantage of the virtual conference—everyone involved seemed to be feeling positive about the present as well.
Organizations & Consortia
Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2016–17 presidential campaign has opened, and ALA members in good standing can cast their ballots through May 1. In order to offer voters some additional insight into the candidates’ opinions and plans, LJ has asked them to weigh in on some key issues facing the president-elect and general items of interest. The four candidates—Joseph Janes, associate professor and chair of the MLIS Program, University of Washington Information School, Seattle; James LaRue, CEO of LaRue & Associates, Castle Rock, CO; JP Porcaro, librarian for acquisitions and technological discovery at New Jersey City University Library, Jersey City, NJ; and Julie Todaro, dean of library services at Austin Community College, TX—have given their responses below.
In a Statement of Claim dated July 15, 2014, Joe Murphy—a 2009 LJ Mover & Shaker—named librarians nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in Toronto, Ontario (de jesus is a Canadian citizen). Murphy is suing the two for $1.25 million in damages–$1 million for general defamation, and $250,000 for aggravated exemplary and punitive damages. On March 25, 2015, de jesus and Rabey both published retractions and apologies to the Team Harpy website, which had previously hosted their joint legal defense fund, as well as to their personal blogs and Twitter accounts.
Libraries in Central Florida are getting ready for their closeup. The Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC), which represents 113 public, academic, school, and special libraries in the Sunshine State, has brought on a full-time videographer to serve each branch, and the consortium as well. Now special events, chats with authors, and even monthly newsletters from TBLC members are getting professional video treatment.
Barbara Stripling has served as assistant professor of practice at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies since 2012, and was recently promoted to senior associate dean. Stripling also served as president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2013–14, where she initiated a number of programs that reflected her commitment to library advocacy. These included the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the proactive public awareness initiative Libraries Change Lives, which culminated in the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries”—a statement testifying to the power and value of libraries that was signed by advocates nationwide.
The American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Candidates’ Forum, held Saturday evening, offered an opportunity for the four candidates running for the 2016–17 ALA presidency to present their platforms and answer audience questions. Candidates Joseph Janes, James LaRue, JP Porcaro, and Julie Todaro discussed their philosophies and history of service—both within and outside ALA—and answered questions on subjects ranging from their membership in ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation to the relevance of current library education and job prospects for future librarians. Barbara Stripling, ALA president from 2013–14, moderated the forum.
While the American Library Association (ALA) conferences held in Chicago commonly see some of the highest attendance thanks to the association’s hometown’s central location, winter weather hitting Sunday of this year’s Midwinter made that something of a mixed blessing—more than 19 inches of snow between Saturday night and Monday morning. While many locals stayed home (and perhaps watched the Super Bowl) and a few out-of-towners were able to beat the storm by departing early, many librarians and vendors were snowed in. Some 1,500 flights were cancelled arriving and departing Chicago’s airports on Sunday and Monday, forcing them to stay one, two, or even three days longer than originally intended—including much of the LJ staff.
On January 15, 2015, Susan H. Hildreth completed her four-year term as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Under her leadership, IMLS provided nearly $1 billion in support to libraries and museums, with a strong emphasis on early learning, STEM-related projects, and connectivity in libraries across the country. Prior to her tenure at IMLS, Hildreth served as Seattle City Librarian, California State Librarian, and San Francisco City Librarian. On March 1, she will return to California, her “adopted home state,” to serve as executive director of three linked organizations: the Peninsula Library System, a consortium of public and community college libraries in San Mateo; the Pacific Library Partnership, a California Library Services Act system; and Califa, a nonprofit membership cooperative that provides services and programs to libraries throughout California.
Since the American Library Association (ALA) announced its collaboration with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, for ALA’s the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities, in 2012, the organizations have provided a variety of venues for libraries to engage deeply with the question of how they can and should enable change in their communities. At the upcoming ALA Midwinter Meeting, the Institute will lead a series of four hands-on workshops on Turning Outward To Lead Change in your Community. However, Harwood is also leading this charge beyond the conference circuit, holding longer, more intensive Innovators Labs for libraries. The first took place Oct. 8–10, 2014, at the Loudermilk Convention Center in Atlanta. Michael Casey, Division Director, Information Technology at Gwinnett County Public Library, GA, and an LJ Mover & Shaker, attended the lab and reports below, giving Midwinter attendees a hint of what they might find in the sessions.