Sunday, August 20, 2017

The First Annual Central Georgia Libraries Unconference Report

By Tim Wojcik
Ina Dillard Russell Library

In an increasingly crowded field of library and information education sector events, Georgia College in Milledgeville hosted the first Central Georgia Libraries Unconference.  It was my first experience with an unconference by such a name.  It was, as the event handout stated, a “low-cost, low-travel professional development opportunity that is unique for its impromptu breakout sessions and minimal lecture-style presentations.”

Besides the screen projection used by keynote speaker Emy Decker, I didn’t see or hear the use of electricity in any of the sessions.  The experience was an all live, all conversational exchange by the librarians who sat in with each other at the breakout sessions.  Each breakout session was moderated by one or two leaders who guided the conversation.  At times, these leaders  kept the conversation going during the “no one’s saying anything” points of the session.  It didn’t take too long for the conversation to flow.

In the keynote, entitled From a Seed to a Flower: Professional Development  in the Contemporary Library, Emy Decker  - Georgia Tech Library NextGen Public Services Manager discussed the essential uses of librarian professional development. Whether outspoken or quiet, the librarian who harnesses their passion for the profession can reap welcome rewards .

In a charming homage to 20th century messaging, the flipchart and whiteboard were the recording devices used during the breakouts – at least the ones I attended.  Librarians were encouraged to take a phone photo of the messaging.  My hunch is that, at some point, the event will have a published record.  I have my notes and my fuzzy phone pic of all the breakout sessions topics to jog my memory.

Since my focus was support for distance learning, I chose the breakout group with that topic on the agenda.  I found this group space and – settled in.  The space was pleasant, including comfy chairs with a writing surface and a view of the street beyond which made for a pleasant distraction.

The Distance Learning Breakout

Some of the Lingo
Blackboard – an LMS with products for K-12, academic, government and business
Brightspace -  a product of D2L Corporation  Desire2Learn
Canvas – a product of Instructure -  it is an open source LMS
LMS – learning management system
LTI – Learning Tools Interoperability – offers the usability of  third-party tools in an LMS
Springshare – created  the  LibGuides suite of products

Some discussion centered on how much of the library’s presence should be embedded in the LMS.  If the LMS offers a simple portal to some library resources, the student may not use the full range of library resources available to them.  Alternatively, if the LMS has only a cursory mention of library resources, the student may be discouraged from seeking library support at all.  Getting the student to engage the library’s resources directly is the goal.

One embedded librarian had the benefit of access to a stream of direct student feedback via the LMS. The students were given a series of questions about library services.  This librarian had the experience of real time comments as the students answered the questions.
One librarian was identified as a “faculty guest” in the LMS.  This produced a sideways effect of students asking the librarian to resolve instructor and administrative issues for them.
There  was  agreement  that  students  benefit  from  an embedded librarian as a consistent go-to person in the library.
Discussion of learning styles recognized that some students prefer reading the text of a video rather than to watch/listen to the video.
Recognition that some students don’t even read the syllabus – and so what does that say about paying attention to the library’s fine print about accessing resources, etc.
Make sure the video that you produce is in a most accessible format.  Why make something that many students can’t access.
The vendor is often a valuable resource for instruction on using the LMS.

Other Breakout Sessions

Fake news is a sensitive issue since “news” has been increasingly politicized.  Some students now reject traditional sources of information, ie the New York Times.  The question becomes: what are the sources of information that are recognized as objective by students/faculty from all over the political spectrum?   How do librarians present themselves as bias neutral?
Find the courage to engage in the awkward conversation of the validity of a patron’s information sources.
One school’s requirements include students attending events that involve civic discourse – exposure to opposing viewpoints.

The cost of serials and other scholarly publishing created demand for sources such as Sci-Hub.
Should the research efforts of a scholar who is paid by the state be available at a discount (or no charge) to the citizens of that state – state funding implies citizen rights of use.
Websites for librarians about open access resources include and

The problem of sharing space in the library with heritage “protected” groups such as genealogy patrons and protectors of the archives is still vexing.

The tour of the Ina Dillard Russell Library of Georgia College was lively and informative.  The school appears to value their library as a strong partner in student success and as a venue to try specialty products such as 3D printing and a variety of study space configurations. Many study/collaboration rooms now feature video screens which enable connection to up to six devices.

Registration now open for the Georgia Libraries Conference!

REGISTER TODAY! The 2017 Georgia Libraries Conference Registration Form is online now.

Georgia Libraries Conference is a joint venture between the Georgia Library Association and the Georgia Association for Instructional Technology. The 2017 Georgia Libraries Conference will be held Wednesday, October 4th – Friday, October 6th at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center in Columbus, Georgia.

Keynote speakers this year include R. David Lankes and Siva Vaidhyanathan.

Georgia Libraries Conference is also excited to announce that this year's conference will feature fun new events, such as "Edutainment" with authors, a Murder Mystery event and a Storytelling Lunch!

For more information, please visit our website at

We look forward to seeing you riverside in beautiful Columbus, Georgia!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Georgia Library Quarterly Summer 2017 Published

The summer 2017 issue of the Georgia Library Quarterly is now available at 

Read about GLA and Georgia library news; learn more about GLA and ALD officer candidates for 2018; see what our GLA president has to say about the upcoming Georgia Libraries Conference; and check out the articles (on games in library instruction and charging stations for electronic devices in academic libraries).

And don’t forget the spotlights, MOPL, and book reviews!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 GLA Scholarship Winners

The GLA Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the 2017 winners of the Beard and Hubbard scholarships. These two awards are given annually by GLA to provide financial assistance for students pursuing a Master’s degree in library science.

Heather Smith - Beard Scholarship Winner:
Heather Smith is originally from Murray County, Georgia, and currently lives in Hall County. Heather received a Bachelor of the Arts in English from the University of Georgia in 2014, and went into her first library job for Gwinnett County Public Library System immediately following her graduation. As a library associate, Heather has had the opportunity to offer customer service and to experience the many facets of public librarianship. Heather has been on many system teams and has helped lead many system initiatives, including leading new hire training,
 developing a new employee evaluation system, and implementing a new service model without service desks. Currently pursuing her MLIS online from Valdosta State University, Heather is eager to continue expanding her knowledge of library services both through her degree and through her professional experiences.

Heather wrote: “One of my favorite things about working in a public library is the ever-changing nature of the job. Technological advances and changes in customer services are never-ending, but a focus on community also ensures that libraries will be constantly adapting their resources to fit their users’ needs. I am passionate about providing patrons with services that are relevant to them, and I feel strongly about catering to the specific needs of library communities. I am thankful and honored to be the recipient of the Hubbard scholarship, and I look forward to continuing to push myself to learn and grow as a library professional.”

Amanda Roper - Hubbard Scholarship Winner:
Amanda Roper is the Resource Sharing and Library Communications Specialist at Brenau University. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Brenau and has worked for the library for 13 years. Amanda is a member of the Georgia Library Association Marketing and Branding committee and is the vice-chair of the Paraprofessional Division. Amanda is a student at Valdosta State University's MLIS program and is focusing on library communications and information literacy instruction. She currently lives in Gainesville, Ga with her husband and three children. Amanda enjoys reading, blogging about books, consuming mass quantities of coffee and finds there is no greater pleasure than writing with a nice pen in a notebook.

Amanda wrote: “After graduating with my MLIS, I plan on continuing to serve college communities in academic libraries by pursuing a career that involves reference, instruction, library communications, and student outreach and engagement. I plan to focus on critical library pedagogy to empower students to seek, critically assess, and contextualize information. I'd also love to continue to advocate for social justice and equity in library collections, services, and programs. I'm excited to work with my library colleagues to bring the libraries to the people by encouraging accessibility, quelling library anxiety, and meeting patrons at the intersections of their life experiences."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Carterette Series Webinars - Censorship: It’s Not Just For Books!

Censorship: It’s Not Just For Books!
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
2pm Eastern (11am Pacific | 12pm Mountain | 1pm Central)

When you hear about censorship in libraries, you may automatically wonder what YA book is under attack this time.  However, many of the challenges to intellectual freedom we’re facing go well beyond books.  Online resources, speakers and events, programs, and other library initiatives are also coming under fire, and those of us in libraries may not always agree on what should be defended.  Please join us for a conversation about today’s threats to intellectual freedom and what you can do to stand up for free expression.

About the Presenter:
Martin Garnar is the dean of the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.  He started teaching professional ethics for the University of Denver’s library and information science program in 2005 and has served as chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics, and the ACRL Professional Values Committee.  He’s currently serving as the president of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Martin is a frequent speaker on ethics and intellectual freedom at state, regional, and national events, and served as the assistant editor for the 9th edition of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual.

Can't make it to the live show? That's okay. The session will be recorded and available on the Carterette Series Webinars site for later viewing.
To register for the online event
1. Go to registration page:
2. Complete and submit the form.
3. A URL for the event will be emailed to you immediately after registration.
Contact a member of the Carterette Series planning team with questions or suggestions: