“Nothing a librarian learns is ever wasted!” Q&A with RUSA Director-at-Large

During the next several weeks we will be highlighting members of RUSA’s Board of Directors. Take a minute to get to know a bit about our fantastic leaders! Interested in contacting Doris Ann? You may reach her at the email address listed below.

Meet Doris Ann Sweet, RUSA Director-at-Large. If her name doesn’t make you smile, this interview surely will! Thanks, Doris Ann, for introducing yourself to the RUSA membership and libraryland at large!

Doris Ann Sweet
Director of Library Services
Assumption College

What are you currently reading or listening to?
I commute 40 miles to work, so I listen to far more audio books than I read print or e-format, and usually, mysteries. Right now I am in the middle of Amanda Kyle Williams’s Stranger in the Room. While waiting in line for the post office in the exhibits at ALA Annual, Soho Press was brought to my attention by a fellow line lingerer, and I came home with a few of Soho’s international crime series titles in print format. I just finished Helene Tursten’s Detective Inspector Huss, which I loved, and am about to start a Peter Lovesey title.

What is the most interesting “reference” question you’ve ever been asked?
Years ago when I worked at the humanities/social science library at a large research university, I was approached late one evening  at the reference desk by a student who said he was doing research on UNIX. During his pause, I was thinking, “Oh, Oh, he probably has to go to the Science/Engineering Library” (several blocks away). Then he added “and how they were perceived in ancient Greece and Rome.” I was very glad I had paused when he did!

Tell us about your current role at your library, and maybe a little bit about your career path, too.
During library school, I fully intended to become a rare book/special collections librarian and took all the related courses I could. However, when I was offered a job as a reference librarian in a large university, I jumped at the chance, because the institution was my alma mater, and I figured that moving to special collections could be a natural career path. However, I loved reference and stuck with it for most of my career, in one context or another. During my first few years in the profession, I thought I would never want to move into management. Again, my attitude altered as I began to realize I might be in a better position to bring about changes if I were a department head. Eventually I made my way to my present position as the director of a small college library with a staff of 14. My job is to mentor and foster creativity in staff, support professional development, manage a budget, advocate for the library on campus, and make sure the library is fully integrated into the campus life and mission. Amazingly enough, that initial rare book/special collections concentration has turned out to be advantageous throughout my career, and especially in my current position. As they say, nothing a librarian learns is ever wasted!

Describe a particularly rewarding experience in your library career.
In a prior position, I was given the assignment by my library director to establish a library internship program for high school students, with emphasis on minorities and first-in- their-families to attend college. The aim of the internships was to introduce this population to the possibility of librarianship as a career. An initial collaboration led to another, and another, and within three years, my college was the recipient of a three-year IMLS grant to develop curriculum for the program and make it available for other libraries to use. Eight other public and academic libraries helped us carry out this project, called MassBLAST, the BLAST part standing for Building Library Staff and Awareness for Tomorrow. The experiences with other libraries and librarians, and with the many high school students who completed internships with our college, are among the highlight memories of my career. A poster of one of our first intern groups, complete with signatures of all of them, is a fabulous reminder of what libraries are all about as I enter my office each day.

Give one fun fact about yourself—can be personal or professional.
I grew up in a small town in northern New Hampshire, with 52 first cousins, most of whom lived in my town or two adjacent towns. Not to mention the second cousins…

Any hobbies?
Hiking, knitting, and listening to bluegrass music.

Why did you join RUSA (and/or sections)?
RUSA was a natural division to join in view of my interest in reference work. MARS became my primary section, because I have always been especially interested in technology and the impact it continually has on how we conceive of and provide reference services. MARS members were very welcoming in my early years of ALA involvement, and I will always value the friendships I have made through MARS activities over the years. Oh, and did I mention the professional knowledge gained?  Huge!

How has RUSA helped you in your career?
I have always been able to bring home valuable information and knowledge from every RUSA event, program, or committee meeting I have attended. Some was accrued from formal programs or discussion groups, some from publications, and a lot from informal discussions with colleagues from all over the country. I have had a chance to exercise leadership, program planning, and writing skills, which beyond the intrinsic values of learning, collaborating, and creating, found their way to my resume. I am sure my RUSA background helped me land in my present, and best-ever, job.

What are some of the RUSA activities you’ve participated in?
I was active in RSS, at one time chairing the Management of Reference Committee, and participating in creating RUSA Occasional Paper No. 25, titled , Get Them Talking: Managing Change Through Case Studies and Case Study Discussion. In MARS, I have chaired the Hot Topics Discussion Group, and worked on several committees before being elected MARS Member-at-Large and then Vice-Chair and Chair. As a RUSA Director-at-Large, I participate in the work of the RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee, and have also had the pleasure of representing RUSA as a member of the Emerging Leaders Subcommittee. A new venture, with Alesia McManus, is to lead an ad hoc group in developing a proposal for a RUSA legislative action mechanism and a legislative agenda.

If you’re open to having RUSA members connecting with you directly, provide an e-mail address and/or phone number where they can reach you.
Definitely:   dasweet@assumption.edu, (508) 767-7272

 

He means business: Q&A with RUSA BRASS representative

Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting members of RUSA’s Board of Directors. Take a minute and get to know our fantastic leaders!

Meet Andy, RUSA BRASS Representative. He means business. Have questions for Andy? Feel free to contact him at the email address listed at the end of this post.

Andy Spackman
Business and Economics Librarian
Brigham Young University

Andy Spackman
Andy Spackman

What are you currently reading or listening to?
Reading David Brin’s Existence and listening to Goldfrapp.

What is the most interesting “reference” question you’ve ever been asked? (reference in quotes to allow for some flexibility in answering the question)
“Do you know who I am?” – asked by the football team’s starting quarterback during a reference interview when he realized I was going to teach him how to use the research databases for himself.

Tell us about your current role at your library, and maybe a little bit about your career path, too.
I’m the liaison to the Marriott School of Management and the Department of Economics, handling instruction, reference, and collection development. I also chair the library’s web team. I started my career in ILL, then managed Circulation, then midway through my MBA program decided I wanted to stay in libraries after all, so I got my MLS too.

Describe a particularly rewarding experience in your library career.
Every time I hear the business faculty endorse me to their students I feel warm and fuzzy.

Give one fun fact about yourself—can be personal or professional.
I recently crossed a depressing threshold that snuck up on me: my students are younger than the car I drive.

Any hobbies?
Reading. Writing. Dragging my wife and five kids into the wilderness and forcing them to hike up mountains.

Why did you join RUSA (and/or sections)? How has RUSA helped you in your career? What are some of the RUSA activities you’ve participated in?
BRASS has been a focal point in my career, both because of what I’ve gained for my own professional development (starting all the way back in one of Celia’s BizRef101 courses) and because of the opportunities I’ve had to contribute. I’ve been a program chair, a presenter for the MBA in a Day preconference, and now the BRASS Chair. But my favorite thing has always been sitting in the discussion groups and soaking in the fact that I’m not alone.

If you’re open to having RUSA members connecting with you directly, provide an e-mail address and/or phone number where they can reach you.
andy_spackman@byu.edu

Rock on: the ALA 2013 student to staff experience

Each year 40 library students are chosen to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference as a part of the Student-to-staff program. In exchange for working four hours a day, these students receive free conference registration, housing, and a per diem for meal expenses. During free time, they may attend programs and participate in other conference activities.

Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Let me be the one to tell you that it certainly is.

Lyndsay Faye, Matti Friedman, Peter Heller, Jonathan Tropper, Richard Ford, Timothy Egan.  These authors were the rock stars of my trip to the 2013 ALA conference. Not only did I hear them speak at the “Literary Tastes” event and the Carnegie Award Ceremony, respectively, but I also received personalized signed copies of their books. I saw them up close. I shook their hands. Sigh.

These experiences happened because the rock stars of ALA, RUSA, and ASCLA made it possible:  Don, Melissa, Susan, Liz, Leighann and Andrea. Thanks so much for giving me and my cohort, Jay, the most amazing opportunities possible at ALA. While we worked as  Student-to-Staffers, we networked, formed solid relationships with other librarians, and learned about how a huge conference functions with the enormous dedication of staff and volunteers.

I also want to acknowledge Wayne State University, which I proudly represent, along with Dr. Holley, the faculty advisor of the ALA student chapter on campus. Thank you Xs infinity for selecting me to attend ALA Chicago 2013!

Michelle Scobie
MLIS candidate
Wayne State University

RUSA Seeks Volunteer Support Specialists for Adobe Connect

RUSA is seeking two volunteers to fill the role of Adobe Connect Support Specialist to support the adoption of Adobe Connect as our platform for online learning and online committee meetings.  Because the time commitment for this position exceeds that of most committee appointments and is critical to the functioning of many committees and online learning opportunities, RUSA will provide a $1,000 stipend to cover conference travel and expenses, annually.  The description of the position follows:

Adobe Connect Support Specialist

RUSA seeks two people to fill the role of Adobe Connect Support Specialist to support the adoption of Adobe Connect as our platform for online learning and online committee meetings.

Responsibilities:

Training and online support responsibilities will be shared between the RUSA Adobe Connect Support Specialists, the RUSA webmaster, and the RUSA Membership Assistant.  There are 136 committees within RUSA (not all of them will use Connect for their online meetings).  Last year RUSA had over 50 virtual committee meetings and other online events and this number is expected to grow rapidly in 2013 and 2014.  

  • Plan and conduct training with RUSA office staff
  • Assist in answering email messages from chairs and committee members about the use of the Adobe Connect software, and help chairs determine if Adobe Connect or a conference call is the appropriate communication tool for their meeting needs
  • Sit in on Adobe Connect practice sessions, if requested by committee chair
  • Sit in on the first online committee meeting for each committee that uses Adobe Connect, if requested by committee chair.  Attend a subsequent meeting if problems are encountered or arrange additional ALA training for members requiring further assistance with the software
  • Attend ALA-provided online training on the Adobe Connect software before June 1, 2013
  • Review Adobe Connect training documentation provided by ALA and recommend supplemental materials if needed
  • Coordinate with RUSA Staff (who also will provide support) to make sure that all courses, webinars, discussions and first-time committee meetings have a support person present 

Timeline:

The American Library Association has already implemented Adobe Connect.  RUSA will start using Adobe Connect June 1, 2013. 

  • The heaviest period of training will be May-June 2013 for existing RUSA chairs and July-August 2013 for new chairs, dependent on the schedules and needs of our members. ALA will conduct group trainings in May 2013.  Additional ALA trainings will be scheduled in July and August 2013.
  • Support for online meetings will continue throughout the year with predicted peaks in June-August and January and February, before and after the Annual and Midwinter meetings

Qualifications:

  • Existing expertise in Adobe Connect is preferred
  • Existing expertise in other online courseware/meeting management software is desirable
  • Flexibility and time to attend ALA Adobe Connect training and committee meetings, both weekdays and weekday evenings
  • Knowledge of best practices for online meetings and online teaching
  • Ability to communicate and coordinate with volunteer members and paid RUSA staff
  • Exceptional organization skills
  • Current membership in RUSA

Compensation:

Because the time commitment for this position exceeds that of most committee appointments and is critical to the functioning of many committees and online learning opportunities, RUSA will provide a $1,000 stipend to cover conference travel and expenses, annually. 

Applying for this Position:

Applicants should submit their resume and cover letter highlighting familiarity with Adobe Connect or other meeting/course software, and reasons why they would like this position by May 15, 2013. All e-mail submissions must have “Adobe Connect Support Specialist” in the subject and should be sent to:

Susan Hornung

Executive Director, RUSA

American Library Association

50 East Huron Street

Chicago, IL 60511

800-545-2433 x4395

312-944-8085 (fax)

shornung@ala.org

About RUSA:

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, readers’ advisory, and resource sharing for all ages, in every type of library. 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best Wishes,

Susan Hornung

Executive Director, RUSA

shornung@ala.org