Archive | Professional Development RSS feed for this section

Headed to ACRL!

21 Mar

Tomorrow I head out to ACRL! It’ll be the first time I’ve gone, and I’m wicked excited about it. I’m also excited that I will not be presenting, sitting on any panels, running any board meetings, attending any cabinet meetings, or really anything along those lines. I just get to, y’know, attend a conference and learn stuff.

It sounds wonderful. Hope to see you there!

They’re letting me talk in public again

18 Oct

I’ve actually got a couple of speaking gigs on the horizon, and it feels like it’s been a little while.

On November 4, I’ll be at NYLA’s annual conference, where the CUNY Graduate Center’s Jill Ciracella and I will be giving a talk on “Walking the Open Access Walk“. We’ll be covering the recent big events in the OA world, and then leading some facilitated discussion on what libraryfolk need to be doing right now to promote and embrace OA.

And then on December 2, my colleague Aliqae Geraci and I will be on a panel discussing power, labor, and archives at the ACRL/NY 2016 Symposium: Money and Power. Our focus is, “Documenting dispute: Who is preserving the record of public sector collective bargaining?” and it’ll touch on our research into state-level collections of CBAs, but also look more broadly at the place of labor libraries in supporting labor communities and action.

I’m excited to be out speaking again, and very excited to be a part of two excellent programs. So check ’em out.

 

Looks like I get to be an Associate Librarian

7 Dec

I’ve been waiting on the official letter from HR to make the public announcement, and now it’s arrived, so:

On August 17, 2016, I will be promoted to the rank of Associate Librarian at the Cornell University Library. I put my promotion packet in last July, and it seems as though it was sufficiently convincing. To say that this is an exciting moment and a load off of my mind would be a grand understatement.

There’s a lot of folks to thank for this: first and foremost my family, who have been hugely supportive of my pursuit of this whole librarian career thing. Thank you, and I love you.

I am also deeply appreciative of the people in my supervisory chain who lent their support to my promotion: Anne Kenney, Kornelia Tancheva, and Curtis Lyons.

I am exceedingly grateful to those who were willing to write letters of recommendation to the promotion committee on my behalf: Cheryl Beredo, Esta Bigler, Amy Buckland, Suzanne Cohen, Aliqae Geraci, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Michelle Paolillo, Oya Reiger, and Jill Wilson.

And massive thanks to Suzanne, Curtis, and Deb Lamb-Deans, who gave me great feedback on my promotion packet.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the folks with whom I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with during my career at Cornell, not only within the university but also through organizations like SLA. There is very little that I’ve done as a librarian that I feel comfortable claiming sole credit for, so thank you for working with me on so much cool stuff.

To Collect and Preserve: The State of State-Level CBA Collections in the U.S.

6 May

If you’re going to be at Fighting Inequality: the Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association or the SLA Annual Conference, be sure to check out Aliqae Geraci and I presenting on the research project that we’ve been working on for the last two years! (Seriously, we contacted hundreds of state agencies for this thing. We were not messing around at all, here.)

We’ll be presenting the research in different ways to the two very different audiences, so here are both write-ups.

For LAWCHA/WCSA:

Battles over public sector collective bargaining rights have played out on the news, in legislative sessions, and through public demonstration. However, these public policy debates often occur without ready public access to the CBAs that trace and describe the working conditions and employment relationships in dispute. Inspired by Cornell University’s digital collection of New York State CBAs, and researchers seeking similar state collections, the authors conducted a national survey of each state’s CBA collection policies, mapping regulations and collections, and identifying historical scope and degree of public accessibility. The survey revealed dramatic variation across states, requiring deeper investigation of the impact of information gaps on working class participation in public discourse. The authors discuss potential avenues for information policy reform, and outline best practices for state agencies and labor organizations to partner with libraries to create accessible collections that comprehensively document public sector collective bargaining.

And for SLA:

Through collaboration with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, Cornell University’s Martin P. Catherwood Library has established a collection of public sector collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), including 7,000 held in their open access digital repository, DigitalCommons@ILR. ILR Research Librarian Aliqae Geraci and Digital Projects Coordinator Jim DelRosso will present their preliminary research findings of a 50-state survey identifying and evaluating similar state-level collections of public sector CBAs, and discuss standards and best practices for libraries seeking to develop publicly accessible collections in partnership with government agencies.

Program Takeaways

  1. Participants will be briefed on key issues surrounding public sector labor relations in the United States in order to interpret the findings of the state-level survey of collective bargaining agreement collections and assess their comprehensiveness and accessibility.
  2. Participants will map existing state-level print and digital CBA collections in order to strategically identify potential partnerships and collaborative opportunities between libraries, labor unions, and government bodies.

So if you’re going to be at LAWCHA/WCSA in Washington, DC at the end of May, or at SLA in June, please join us! We promise you’ll learn something.

SLA Candidate question #4: How can SLA reach out more to members outside North America?

8 Aug

sla-logoThe candidate Q&A post for August is up over at the SLA website:

SLA is an international organization. How can SLA involve and reach out more to members outside North America?

This is one of the most important questions that SLA currently faces; our status as an international association sets us apart from many of our peer organizations, and allows us the opportunity to move forward and learn from one another in truly unique ways. We must, from our leadership on down, take advantage of these opportunities.

See the rest here.

My vision for SLA

16 Jul

The following is the text from the speech I gave at the Washington, DC Chapter of SLA at their conference recap event on July 14, 2014. I was asked to speak about my vision for SLA and my impressions of the conference, and I confess that I focused more strongly on the former. The event was webcast and recorded, and I’ll post a link to that recording when it’s made available.

Thank you all for coming out tonight, and thank you to the DC Chapter for inviting Tom and me to speak with you this evening.

I’ve been asked to talk about my impressions of the annual conference in Vancouver, and my vision for SLA. To me the most amazing part of the SLA Conference in Vancouver was getting the opportunity to speak with so many SLA members from all over the world, from such a variety of information professions. We spoke at receptions, at open meetings, between sessions, at trivia night and at Military Division breakfasts. (Which were excellent!) I even tried to speak to some of you at Karaoke and the IT Dance Party, but it was a bit too loud.

I love these conversations, be they with past board members or first timers or the rank and file members who attend our conferences any year they can, because they always give me a bigger picture, a broader perspective on SLA. I came into my candidacy with the conviction that our Association needs to move forward, together, and the annual conference helped bring that into tighter focus.

Now, some of you have heard this story, or will read it on your chapter blog. But when I was in college, my grandfather — the original Jim DelRosso — would send me notes in the mail, usually with a bit of cash. (For some reason, he never wanted to reveal the latter to my parents, telling them that he was sending me “stamps.” This confused them, and made them even more upset that I never wrote home.)

Almost all of these notes were just short and heartfelt words of encouragement, the most common of which were simply, “Move forward.” That was also how he ended our phone calls, and he’d often say it to me when we were together, and talking about what I was working on in school, or my plans for the future: “Move forward.”

My grandfather passed, the notes became keepsakes, and the words have stayed with me ever since. To me, “Move Forward” means accomplishing something with each day, each month, each year, even if it’s not what you’d initially planned. It means not succumbing to complacency, nostalgia, or the fear of failure. It means doing your best to see things as they are, not as they were (or as you wished they would be) and then taking steps to make them better. Moving forward means leaving things better off than you found them, and doing right by those around you.

What “Move Forward” means for SLA is recognizing the challenges and opportunities that we currently face, and focusing our energy on meeting the needs of our members. It doesn’t mean ignoring the past; rather, moving forward means honestly acknowledging what has come before and taking steps to progress beyond it. Moving forward doesn’t imply an obsession with the future at the expense of the present, either; you need to know where you’re standing before you can take a step.

We need to move forward to engage the challenges of our profession as a whole, not just as individuals. We can’t rely on training our members to fight harder for ever smaller pieces of an ever shrinking pie. We have to grow our profession. Has anyone in this room added an information professional position to their organization in the last three years? You are the people I want to SLA put on a panel, so we can learn how you did that, and how we can replicate that achievement in our own organizations.

On a related note, we also need to move forward past the question of our relevance as a profession. I say this because when I look at user surveys and talk to my peers — at annual conference and elsewhere — what comes through again and again is that our relevance is never questioned by those who work with us on a daily basis, never by those whose lives we change. Be they students, faculty, lawyers, doctors, business people, citizens… they know our value. They never doubt it, never question it. Nor should we.

Unfortunately, all too often the people who recognize our value are not the same folks who control our funding. My vision of SLA is an organization that continues to teach its members how to turn our supporters into advocates to our funders.

We also need to move forward and acknowledge the challenges that new information professionals face, and look to make changes to so they can keep up their SLA memberships in their first years after leaving school, and attend our conferences during the most crucial time of their career. Those first few years look a lot different now than they did a decade ago, and we need to recognize that and look for ways to offer our support.

We need to move forward and listen to our members about questions of cost, and recognize that there’s a difference between being unwilling to invest in oneself, and unable to afford rising prices during tough economic times. We cannot price members out of our Association, let alone potential leaders. That was my priority when I altered my chapter’s reimbursement policy for the leaders who would come after me, and it’s still my priority today.

We must move forward as an organization that embraces our code of conduct, knowing that no anti-harassment policy has ever stifled discourse and engagement even the smallest fraction as much as harassment does.

We need to move forward as an SLA that knows its one true purpose is to support its members, to advocate for them and for their interests, whose actions are taken in the spirit and practice of transparency, and whose leaders listen to members even when the message is tough to hear.

We need to move forward, knowing that we will never be the SLA of 2006 again. But we move forward confident that together, we can make the SLA of 2016 something even better, and the SLA of 2026 something amazing to behold.

We’ve gotten to the part where I ask you to vote for me. I’ve had some people make it very clear to me, that I should end every conversation I have with a member by “sealing the deal”. But I’m not here to sell myself. I’m not a product, and neither are any of you. You’re people. You’re librarians and information professionals. That means you are powerful, and you are what makes SLA great. So regardless of who you decide to vote for, please vote this September, because the more engaged you are with SLA, the stronger SLA will be.

I’ve shared with you my vision for SLA. If you also share that vision, then yes: I will ask humbly that you consider giving me your vote for the office of President-Elect. I will also challenge you, all of you, all of us here today and all of you listening remotely, to step up in any way you can, and join me in helping the Special Libraries Association move forward.

Thank you.

SLA Candidate question #3: How has SLA helped me grow?

9 Jul

sla-logoThe candidate Q&A post for July is up over at the SLA website:

How has involvement with SLA over the years helped you grow professionally and personally?

My involvement with SLA has helped me to grow by giving me opportunities to broaden my experience beyond what my day to day work provided, and allowing me to view the world and the profession from new perspectives.

See the rest here.