Meet the candidates for SLA Board

The SLA election is coming up. Have you met the candidates yet? You can meet me and the other candidates for the SLA Board in a series of webinars. The next one, tomorrow, will feature the candidates for division and chapter cabinet (including me).

Register and submit questions for the candidates on the SLA site.

A special library on an organic farm

I was trying to sort through some old emails this morning, and found a really old one (a year and a half old!) from Eric Schwarz about an MLIS student’s visit to a special library.

The library in question is that of Rodale, a publishing company. The name was instantly recognizable to me as the publisher of Runner’s World and Running Times.

Rodale’s library is located at its headquarters in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, on what was initially J.I. Rodale’s organic farm – a suitable location for a health and wellness library.

This is why I never make much headway in deleting old emails.

What is Division Cabinet?

SLA 2012 DSOC breakfast

Having breakfast with my Social Science Division colleagues during SLA 2012

At the SLA conference in Chicago last week, I mentioned to everyone I met that I am a candidate for SLA Division Cabinet Chair-Elect. Many people responded by asking me what Division Cabinet is. I tried to explain it as best I could, but now that I am home I thought I would take the time to write up my understanding of it in more detail.

The Division Cabinet is comprised of the chairs and chairs-elect of each of the divisions. Divisions are units of SLA based on areas of interest, e.g. Social Science, Business & Finance, Competitive Intelligence. SLA also has geographically-based chapters, and chapter presidents and presidents-elect meet in the Chapter Cabinet. As needed, the Division and Chapter Cabinets meet together as the Joint Cabinet. The Cabinets meet twice a year, at the Annual Conference and the Leadership Summit.

The Division Cabinet Chair presides over the meetings of the Division Cabinet, and the Joint Cabinet at the Annual Conference. (The Chapter Cabinet Chair presides over Joint Cabinet meetings at the Leadership Summit.) The Division Cabinet Chair is a member of the SLA Board and brings actions of the Division Cabinet to the SLA Board. She or he also advises division leadership, assists in planning leadership activities and training, and represents division concerns to the SLA Board and staff.

At the conference, I was also often asked why I decided to run for this position. The short answer is that I accepted a nomination. The long answer is that I’ve always thought divisions are one of SLA’s main strengths and division programming is what keeps me coming back to the Annual Conference year after year (every year starting in 2002, in fact). I see the Division Cabinet Chair as an advocate for divisions in SLA and would be honored to be selected for that role. I also see being on the board as a way to give back to the association that has given so much to me.

If you are interested in SLA governance, I encourage you to attend the Leadership Summit, held each year in January or February. Next year’s summit will be held February 6-8 in a location to be determined soon. Most unit leaders attend, but you don’t need to have a current leadership position to attend.

I also encourage you to read the documentation in the governance section of the SLA website. You can read position descriptions and learn about all of the outstanding board candidates. (We got to spend a lot of time together at the conference, and I really enjoyed getting to know all of them.)

How to present a poster webinar recording

If you missed the webinar last week, a recording is now available from SLA Social Science Division.

This was the first time I’ve presented a webinar. I owe a big thank you to the session organizer, Maya Kucij, who was also new to this. She spent quite a bit of time reading documentation and testing software with me. I’ve got a small list of things I would do differently if I present another webinar, but overall it went well. I did miss the little cues you get from talking to a live audience – but I also didn’t have any distractions while I was talking. Using polls to ask the audience questions gave me some feedback about who I was talking to, and also reassured me that they were still listening.

I’m really glad to see so many SLA chapters and divisions using the SLA GoToMeeting account to present webinars. For chapters, it opens up programming to members who have difficulty making it to in-person meetings. For divisions, it allows for year-round programming and benefits members who can’t attend the annual conference. It also provides opportunities for chapters and divisions to collaborate on programming.


Presenting a poster is a great way to share your ideas with colleagues – and it can be a gentle introduction to presenting in other formats.

If you are attending SLA 2012 in Chicago this summer, you have an opportunity to present a poster during an open house hosted by the Social Science, Academic, Education, and Museum, Arts & Humanities Divisions.

Next week I’ll be giving a webinar on poster presentations for anyone considering submitting a proposal for this or any other poster session. The webinar is on April 20 at noon Eastern, and I hope to have a registration link soon registration is now open!

Following are some additional resources for poster presenters:

In my previous job, I taught an annual workshop for graduate students on presenting posters. The idea for the workshop came from a discussion with a faculty member about how to improve the quality of posters at a conference he organized, and evolved over the years as I worked with students.

The guide I created, while tailored to the needs of demography graduate students, provides a summary of design and presentation advice I gathered.

Other resources I found helpful:

Displaying Your FindingsDisplaying Your Findings: A Practical Guide for Creating Figures, Posters, and Presentations by Adelheid A. M. Nicol and Penny M. Pexman (American Psychological Association, 2003)

Poster Presentations: Designing Effective Posters by Fred Stoss (University at Buffalo Libraries)

Developing Poster Presentations in the Social Sciences (George Mason University Writing Center)

Buying over borrowing

ACPL's E-reader fair

E-reader fair at the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library. Photo by ACPL.

The rise of e-reading, a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, says that e-book readers are more likely to buy books rather than borrow them, and are more likely to start a search at a bookseller than a library.

So does this mean libraries are no longer relevant for these readers?

I don’t think so. Slightly more e-readers than print-only readers reported getting recommendations from librarians or library websites (21% vs. 19% – not a significant difference). And all readers in the study preferred to buy over borrow – except in the case of audio books.

I suspect that starting a search at a bookseller has more to do with availability (or perceived availability) of e-books.

What do you bring back from conferences?

Conference sessionRegistration for SLA 2012 opened this week, and members all over the world are busy booking Chicago hotels and perusing the conference schedule.

If you’re going to SLA or some other conference this year, what will you bring back with you? A tote bag? Some free pens? Maybe if you’re very lucky, an iPad won in a drawing?

How about bringing back something that will help your boss and your coworkers appreciate the value of the conference? I’m not talking about any kind of magic. Just share what you learned at the conference. Not just on your blog and your Twitter account and with your librarian colleagues, but in your workplace.

I touched on this a little bit last year, but it’s a good time for a reminder. The Learning Circuits Blog has a nice list of 10 Ways to Bring a Conference Back to Work.

Plan ahead so when your boss drops in to ask how the conference was, you are ready with more than just a report on the weather in Chicago. What did you learn? What connections did you make?

Happy Halloween!

RSS PumpkinJust for fun, I put pumpkin RSS and Twitter icons in my header. There’s a whole set of social media pumpkins available (free!) from Shane Jeffers at Three Styles.

I remember back in the day when I used to change the style of this blog for holidays. Where did that time go?

Do Creative Commons licenses work for creators?

I am a librarian and a writer. As a writer, I value the protection copyright gives me to control how my works are used. As a librarian, I am frustrated by how restrictive current copyright law is. I therefore support Creative Commons, which allows creators to share their work more freely without giving away all their rights. I license many of my photos with a Creative Commons license and am happy to see them used by noncommercial individuals and organizations.

A recent experience has me rethinking how I apply Creative Commons licenses to my work. In that post, I linked to a blogger who has abandoned the Noncommercial license. Today I found a photographer who has abandoned the Creative Commons licenses altogether, because people don’t read and abide by them.

It’s a shame, because I know most of the kind of people I would like to use my images probably won’t take the time to seek permission for each one, and would simply not use them. But because commercial entities don’t abide by the terms I’ve set for use, my options seem to be to completely restrict use or to make my photos public domain.

In other words, back to traditional copyright.

I wonder if there is anything Creative Commons could do to help? It seems that if nothing is done, this disregard for licensing terms will drive more and more creators to abandon Creative Commons.

What is a commercial use?

New Yorker's use of my photoLast week, both the New Yorker and Wired used one of my photos to illustrate an article about the Aaron Swartz JSTOR downloading case.

I had posted the photo to Flickr with a Creative Commons-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. I believe that the use by the New Yorker and Wired is commercial in nature and therefore a violation of my license, and I have contacted both publications. I am not asking either to remove my photo (after all, most people who were going to read those articles have already read them and seen the photo). I am simply letting them know that they have been lazy and violated the rights of a creator. All they had to do was write me a note asking for permission to use my photo. Many others have done this.

I’ll be interested to see how the publications respond. I’ve approached this as an opportunity to educate them about Creative Commons licenses, rather than as a confrontation. (Here’s another take, if you read German.)

While I was discussing this situation with a colleague, he pointed me to a blog post by Bethany Nowviskie about why she is no longer using the non-commercial license. I’m still undecided about whether I will continue to use it, but I’m very certain that commercial entities need to abide by it when I do.