Reports of Meetings — LOEX 2018 and the 37th Annual Charleston Conference
Column Editor: Sever Bordeianu (Head, Print Resources Section, University Libraries, MSC05 3020, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; Phone: 505-277-2645; Fax: 505-277-9813)
Library Orientation Exchange (LOEX) 46th Annual Conference — New Frontiers: Exploring and Innovating in Uncharted Territory — May 3-5, 2018 — Houston, TX
Reported by Glenn Koelling (University of New Mexico)
The 2018 meeting of LOEX was held May 3-5 in Houston, Texas at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. LOEX (Library Orientation Exchange) has grown from a library repository of instruction materials formed in 1971, to the leading library instruction organization. The theme of “New Frontiers: Exploring and Innovating in Uncharted Territory” was an apt one for the home of the Space Center, and many conference presenters framed their sessions around discovery in library instruction. LOEX is a small, annual conference and its 225 registration slots fill quickly. While the main event was the presentations and workshops, there were also poster sessions, roundtables, and lightning talks. Sponsoring institutions included the libraries at Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, Houston Community College, and the University of Houston-Downtown.
In addition to the quality content, the popularity of LOEX also comes from the conference’s thoughtful planning. The opening reception gave attendees plenty of time to mingle and enjoy appetizers. On session days, there were no more than two presentations back to back, and the snacks were plentiful. A hot lunch was served the first day and a bag lunch the second — a particularly thoughtful gesture for those attendees who had to rush off to the airport. The organizers also scheduled several dine-arounds to capitalize on the many quality restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
The pre-conference workshop was led by Stephanie Graves and Sarah LeMire, both from Texas A&M University Libraries. Their workshop taught participants about curriculum mapping and incorporated hands-on activities to help participants develop their own curriculum maps for library instruction and outreach programs.
Dr. Michelle “Mikki” Hebl, a professor of psychology at Rice University, gave the plenary talk “Gender and Race Gatekeepers.” Dr. Hebl spoke about her studies on subtle bias and how it affects each of us — often unwittingly. An engaging speaker, Dr. Hebl used examples that were interesting and that demonstrated her point. For example, she showed a video of a group of basketball players; half wore black and half wore white. The audience was instructed to keep count of how many times the players wearing white passed the basketball. After the video played, many people reported seeing 12 or 13 passes. Then Dr. Hebl asked how many people had seen the person in a bear costume moonwalk through the video (not many people had). The point of the video was that it is easy for the human mind to not see what we’re not looking for — especially if we’re paying attention to something else. So it is with bias. We pay attention to the big biases, but often just don’t notice the subtle ones.
After Dr. Hebl’s talk, the sessions started. There were seven sessions going at once, so attendees had to make some tough choices on what to see. The categories were divided into pedagogy, collaboration, learning & assessment, technology & innovation, leadership, and failures & problem solving. Friday and Saturday both had five sessions.
Despite being a several-years-old trend, gamification was a theme in at least seven presentations. Several of these gamified their library orientations. For example, Jorge A. Leon and Robert Lindsey from Pittsburg State University explained how they used a scavenger hunt app to give their library orientations new life. Jennifer L. Pate and Derek Malone of the University of North Alabama brought escape room kits that they used to transform their library orientation, and attendees got to solve some puzzles. Tricia Boucher, Lorin Flores, and Megan Ballengee of Texas State University had attendees play a game that taught them how to make their own games.
Fake news was another popular theme. Jo Angela Oehrli of the University of Michigan described the process of creating a seven-week collaborative class that centered on news consumption and critical evaluation. Maoria J. Kirker of George Mason University and Ilana Stonebraker of Purdue University applied the theory of cognitive dissonance to contextualize fake news while Hailey Mooney of the University of Michigan used the sociological imagination model to view fake news through a critical information literacy perspective.
Finally, several presentations focused on grit — the en vogue idea of persistence in overcoming challenges. Speakers like Celita Avila, Karen Briere, and Ernie Tsacalis (San Antonio College) taught attendees to recognize student grit through writing assignments as well as how to assess it. On the other side, Eamon Tewell from Long Island University, Brooklyn cautioned his audience that viewing students through a grit-based lens meant viewing them through a deficit model. Tewell argued that focusing on students’ grit also meant focusing on what students lack. Instead, we should capitalize on what experiences students bring with them to the classroom.
Next year’s LOEX conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We hope to see you there.
Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition, “What’s Past is Prologue,” Charleston Gaillard Center, Francis Marion Hotel, Embassy Suites Historic Downtown, and Courtyard Marriott Historic District — Charleston, SC, November 6-10, 2017
Charleston Conference Reports compiled by: Ramune K. Kubilius (Northwestern University, Galter Health Sciences Library)
Column Editor’s Note: Thank you to all of the Charleston Conference attendees who agreed to write short reports that highlight sessions they attended at the 2017 Charleston Conference. All attempts were made to provide a broad coverage of sessions, and notes are included in the reports to reflect changes that were not printed in the conference’s final program (though some may be reflected in the online schedule, where links can also be found to presentations’ PowerPoint slides and handouts). Please visit the conference site http://www.charlestonlibraryconference.com/ to link to selected videos as well as interviews, and to blog reports, written by Charleston Conference blogger, Donald Hawkins. The 2017 Charleston Conference Proceedings will be published in 2018, in partnership with Purdue University Press.
In this issue of ATG you will find the second installment of 2017 conference reports. The first installment can be found in ATG v.30#1, February 2018. We will continue to publish all of the reports received in upcoming print issues throughout the year. — RKK
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2017
(continued from previous installment)
The Print Book Purging Predicament: Qualitative Techniques for a Balanced Collection — Presented by Allan Scherlen (Appalachian State University); Alex McAllister (Appalachian State University)
Reported by Amy Lewontin (Snell Library Northeastern University)
Scherlen, the social sciences librarian, opened the session by mentioning that the project they were planning to discuss was based on an article the two speakers had recently published in the journal, Collection Management in 2017, titled, “Weeding with Wisdom: Tuning Deselection of Print Monographs in Book-Reliant Disciplines.” He began by discussing the recent trend of getting rid of books in libraries, and also highlighted the fact that the word they were using in their talk, “purging,” was considered taboo, at the moment, in many libraries. “Renewal” and “refresh” are considered more acceptable words. He discussed how many libraries were being asked to reclaim space for other things and that based on a recent ProQuest eBook survey of 400 libraries, 78% were in the midst of de-selecting books in their collections as libraries moved to redefine themselves. Scherlen then went on to explain that their library, and many others have no storage facility, so weeding and de-selecting might mean that the books would no longer be accessible to users, so librarians needed to get things right as they moved to manage the process. And what he also emphasized was that libraries need to get a handle on how different disciplines use material differently.
McAllister, the humanities librarian, then stepped into the conversation and discussed the emotional reaction that many faculty feel to the book weeding process. He also discussed how many humanities faculty simply use library material differently. He reminded the audience that with humanities books, the age of a book does not indicate a lesser value and that an older book is possibly very likely going to be needed in future research. Many humanities and “humanistic social science researchers” use older, lower circulating books, and they also often compare translations of varying editions, as opposed to the need for more current material in the sciences and the business disciplines. Also, humanities researchers tend to browse the library, and many times do not check a particular title out. McAllister talked about a need for quantitative discipline-specific criteria that should be created for each area of study, if possible. Also, a need for librarians to develop techniques for evaluating the value of older low circulating monographs was strongly emphasized during the talk. At Appalachian State, the two librarians discussed how a LibGuide was created that had the lists of de-selected titles and that these lists were then shared and reviewed with faculty. There was also a discussion of the various criteria used to review the books, but overall, both Scherlen and McAllister made the strong recommendation for finding discipline-specific evaluation criteria, as libraries move to de-select their collections as they free up space and provide newer more relevant services.
“Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees”: Using a Data-Driven Review Process to Add New Resources with No Budget Increases — Presented by Teri Koch (Drake University); Laurie Krossner (Drake University); Priya Shenoy (Drake University)
Reported by Colleen Lougen (SUNY New Paltz)
Librarians at Drake University detailed their rationale and development of an annual review process evaluating current electronic resource subscriptions and new acquisitions. Their process involved several factors: rigorous review of usage and cost per use data; development of a deselection candidate watchlist; promotion of underutilized electronic resources to faculty and students; and collection of faculty and liaison librarian input about deselection and new acquisitions. Ultimately, the Drake librarians deselected a substantial amount of low-use electronic resources that allowed them to purchase new subscriptions and cover the annual increases of all subscriptions. At the end of the session, the presenters polled the audience about how they make data driven decisions at their libraries. This presentation was practical and provided concrete ideas about how to tackle a review at one’s own institution.
“Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you.” Upgrading Your Tech Support Communications — Presented by Carol Seiler (EBSCO Information Services); J. Michael Thompson (Baylor University)
Reported by Ethan Cutler (Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine)
The session began with six volunteers from the audience, paired in two groups of three, playing a silent game of cards. Written directions were provided to each group on the first hand, but instructed not to discuss the rules verbally. Winners of the first hand were then directed to switch tables. Shortly into the second hand the objective of the game was revealed to the audience: attempting to accomplish a task under differing sets of communication rules can be difficult and confusing. Communication is crucial during technical support situations, and throughout the remainder of the session Seiler and Thompson provided authentic support scenarios to illustrate useful skills and etiquette for both sides of library and vendor troubleshooting. To highlight a few, having a positive tone and staying concise, considerate, and descriptive are tremendously helpful rules of etiquette to remember. In addition, taking full advantage of available resources, including screenshots, crowdsourcing, and various technologies to organize communication is helpful when properly utilized. Lastly, the presenters provided the audience with a humbling reminder: “none of us are perfect” and respect is always a requirement of professionalism.
That’s all the reports we have room for in this issue. Watch for more reports from the 2017 Charleston Conference in upcoming issues of Against the Grain. Presentation material (PowerPoint slides, handouts) and taped session links from many of the 2017 sessions are available online. Visit the Conference Website at www.charlestonlibraryconference.com. — KS