At “Taking Our Seat at the Table: How Academic Librarians Can Help Shape the Future of Higher Education,” sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS), library administrators spoke up on how their institutions are looking ahead—both within and outside of the library.
The discussion at this year’s Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Orlando, FL spanned topics ranging from online privacy to “superfast application development” on the near horizon. LITA revamped the session format this year to be more interactive: rather than offering individual trend presentations each panelist quickly summarized one trend they’ve been following, and then participated in discussions sparked by questions from moderator Maurice Coleman, technical trainer, Harford County Public Library, MD, and host of the long-running “T is for Training” podcast, with debates emerging on how long libraries should support old devices, and which tech trends may be overhyped within the library field.
On Saturday, June 25, at the American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Orlando, the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were given to two winners originally announced at the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Book & Media Awards Ceremony & Reception at ALA Midwinter. Viet Thanh Nguyen won the fiction medal for his debut novel, The Sympathizer (Grove), a visceral account of a South Vietnamese double agent posted to America after Saigon’s fall, and Sally Mann won the nonfiction medal for her formally ambitious Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Little, Brown).
“How many of you would be prepared to handle an active shooter in your library? How many of you have an active shooter policy?” Few hands were raised when BreAnne Meier from the North Dakota State Library asked these relevant questions at the Active Shooter Policies in Libraries Program at the American Library Association (ALA)’s recent Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Meier described active shooter situations as ones where someone is actively engaged in killing, has access to a confined area or population, and is sometimes motivated by revenge. As a result, she explained, these situations are unpredictable and can change quickly, often lasting for such a short time as ten to 15 minutes.
A standing-room only crowd attended Literacy Inside and Out: Services to Incarcerated and Newly-Released Adults and Their Families at the recent American Libraries Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. I’ve been thinking about this issue—and serving under-served communities in general—since I was a public librarian. Once, a patron cautiously approached the reference desk, explaining that he had been recently released and needed assistance familiarizing himself with the library. At the time, I didn’t realize how a building full of large, imposing stacks could be intimidating for those who hadn’t been to a library before, or not for a long time.
A number of higher education–focused sessions at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference touched on issues surrounding student retention and completion—and with the costs of tuition, housing, and materials constantly rising, saving students money is a major consideration. When the conversation includes state and community colleges, and a student body that may have less access to financial resources, finding strategies to cut costs becomes more important than ever. Open educational resources (OER)—freely accessible texts and media that faculty can assemble, repurpose, and package under open access agreements for teaching and research—are a rapidly growing option.
The American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference ran June 23-28 at Orlando, FL’s Orange County Convention Center and nearby venues. The mass shooting at Latin night at Orlando’s Pulse, an LGBT nightclub, a couple of weeks before the ALA Annual was top of mind for conferencegoers, leading to displays of solidarity both practical and symbolic. Attendance was considerably down relative to last year. Nonetheless, exhibitors were happy with the crowds on the show floor. The Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) reported, “The Association is still a financially strong and sound organization.”