ACRL 2011: Day 2 Assessment, Succession and Global Thinking

The second day I got a bit more choosey. This being my first big library conference I went in wanting to see, hear and talk about everything with everyone else who was there.

Two session highlights:

Assessment:

Evolution or Revolution? Strategies for Demonstrating the Library’s Impact in a New World of Assessment (twitter: #revorevacrl2011)

Megan Oakleaf, Assistant Professor, iSchool, Syracuse University; Michelle Milet, Information Literacy Coordinator, University of Texas-San Antonio, Rachel Fleming-May, Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences, The University of Tennessee.

I really appreciated this session as someone who intends to work on assessment and evidence collection. They really focused on practical ways to make assessment useful to as many people as possible.  Suggestions included placing librarians on as many planning and steering committees as possible in order to understand what type of assessment needs to happen.

Another suggestion which was highlighted in this session as well as another assessment session I attended was the importance of vocabulary choice.  They emphasized (many many times) tuning your vocabulary to the community you are working with as a key to success.

Finally, they encouraged the use of “Assessment plans” which focuses your information gathering.

Succesion:

This session focused on creating a training and organizational plan to ensure the longevity of institutional memory, as well as improve the profession overall.  The panelists made two points. Firstly, that it’s the responsibility of managers, directors and higher level library professionals to foster the career of young and motivated people in the field. This includes sending them to professional development events, mentoring, and giving them accessible leadership positions. On the other side of things, it’s the responsibility of every young librarian to put themselves into positions for success.  They didn’t mean that in terms of your job, but more like a “if you’re not getting it at your job, go out and find it somewhere”. Find people in your field to support you, involve yourself in things, volunteer for stuff.  Don’t stand in your own way. These things may seem like they’re off an old worn record, but the truth is, most of us do this and I can say from personal experience, having a group of professional allies to bounce ideas off of can provide you with motivation, comfort and general insecurity.  Who doesn’t need a cabal?