Posts Tagged ‘ala’

ALA Midwinter & Training

ala-midwinter-2011Last week, I attended three orientation sessions at the ALA Midwinter conference in San Diego, CA.  The sessions were part of the official start of the ALA Discovering Librarianship program, which aims to build a network of early career librarians who can work with the ALA-Diversity Office to identify and help college students pursue careers in librarianship.

We had three sessions; the first one started with messages from three ALA leaders: Roberta Stevens, Camila Alire, and Molly Raphael.  They spoke about the commitment of ALA to support this type of diversity initiative; they also emphasized on the ongoing need to support similar programs with a focus on people who are already in the profession.  It was definitely great to hear what they think about ALA’s goal towards diversity in the profession, especially in tough economic times.  Next, we talked in groups about the decisions that led us to pursuing a degree in librarianship.  I was particularly happy to meet another librarian with an interest in the changing roles of technology in librarianship and information access.

The second session was focused on the need and opportunities for new professionals from underrepresented groups.  At my table, we talked about some of the regional, national, and ALA programs and conferences that support early career librarians from diverse groups.  I shared with my group two recent personal examples: the Minnesota Institute and the Code4Lib Diversity Scholarships.  Then, Lorelle Swader from the ALA Office of Human Resources and Development talked about career paths; which reminded me of a possible addition to a working manuscript about Technical Skills for New Digital Librarians.

The third and last session started with a presentation about Benefits and Rewards; I think some of the topics that came up in this discussion could be incorporated into materials for advocacy, outreach, and recruiting activities.  We also worked on a template for writing personal stories and on a pre-draft of an Elevator Speech.  In the next few months, we will continue to work on the promotion and marketing materials; we will also start looking for possible career fairs to attend in late 2011 or early 2012.

Last but not least, despite the great winter weather in San Diego, I also managed to attend two LITA sessions: Technology Trends in Academic Libraries and Drupal for Digital Library Programs.  It was interesting to learn about projects where developers are using Drupal on top of DSpace or Fedora.  But for now, I just need to get done with a couple of XSLT files for a workshop later this week!


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Tech Skills & DiVeRsItY: A 2011 Puzzle

diversity-puzzle-2011Today is my last day at work -before the break- and as I’m getting ready to update and finish a “personal statement” for a report, the topics of Tech Skills & Diversity keep coming up and they seem to maintain some momentum/significance in my work and expectations for 2011. Two good examples are:

ALA Discovering Librarianship, my participation in this program will definitely play a major role in my diversity/service work in the next three years. This week, we had the very first webinar and Miguel Figueroa provided an overview of some (historical) data in the field of librarianship, higher education and the US in general; a copy of the Diversity Count Publication is available on the ALA website. The Discovering Librarianship program will officially kick off in January at ALA MidWinter in San Diego. The first year will focus on training (e.g. recruitment and marketing skills); the second year will be the actual field work (e.g. attending career fairs); and the third year will be devoted to assessment. In the short-term, I’m very excited to join this national and diverse group of people who are already involved in diversity initiatives; in the mid-term, I look forward to talking/working with some high/college students; and finally if everything goes as planned (as it should) I think this ALA program will make some key contributions to support existing or new diversity initiatives in higher education at the national level.

2011 Code4Lib Conference, yesterday I received some very good news (something like a x-mas present) the Code4Lib Scholarship Committee has selected my application to receive one of the Minority Scholarships to attend the 2011 Conference in Bloomington, IN. The scholarships are sponsored by Oregon State University and the Western North Carolina Library Network, thanks to all! This will be an excellent venue to meet a large group of library technologists with extraordinary contributions/roles in the fast-changing world of information access and research in higher education. I look forward to attending my very first tech-conference in February and I definitely hope to learn some effective strategies for coding and/or tweaking. I’m positive this experience will be a good addition to a work in progress about professional opportunities for new librarians from underrepresented groups. See you in Indiana :)

Anyway, now time for a needed break and Feliz Año Nuevo 2011!


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This month (July 2009) started with a couple of changes in my “regular” DiVeRsItY world.

First, for two years I served as a member of the Library Diversity Cluster, now I’ve been asked to coordinate it.  In a recent meeting with our new members, we’ve agreed to explore other types of events to promote “diversity” among library staff as well as continue with some of the on going events -film screening & discussion and the African American Read-In.

Second, on July 8-10 I attended the 2009 Spectrum Institute sponsored by the ALA-Diversity Office.  It was a great opportunity to:

  • see -again- some former classmates, meet new people, and especially hear/talk/learn about successful diversity initiatives in the field of librarianship
  • expand an early idea of a research project “accessibility/usability of unique collections for users with physical disabilities”
  • meet with a couple of leaders of the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) and the International Relations Round Table (IRRT)

…and speaking of diversity, here are some examples of how this topic has been part of my work in the last few months:

  • Freedom Summer, a new collection -grant funded- which aims to give scholars and students better access to materials about the civil rights movement of 1964.
  • Shakespeare collection, one of the most unique/diverse/popular collection, visitors are coming from all over the world -
  • Library Resources, I used to maintain a list of diversity-related resources on the cluster website, but now we’re planning to move it to a more robust system (libguides)
  • Library service, I’m co-leading a website team for the Freedom Summer National Conference to be held at Miami University in October 2009.
  • Volunteer work, in my spare time I’ve been working on a couple of flashcard projects for kids in elementary schools in rural Guatemala.

Anyhow, I enjoy working with the people and being -direct or indirectly- part of these diversity initiatives …look forward to keeping in touch with everyone!

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