SUNY Librarians Association Conference Wrap Up

The SUNY Librarians Association Conference was last week, but only now do I have a chance to write about what I got out of the conference.

Like most SUNYLA conferences, there was a lot of useful stuff and just a few sessions that didn’t really add to my knowledge or provide me with any ideas.

I gave a presentation with two of my colleagues about strategies to reach out to faculty (slides and speaker notes are here) and the conversations afterward (in the session and on the way to lunch) provided a real glimpse at what SUNY libraries are doing, and other possible strategies that we could use.  For example, several libraries provide new faculty with a pot of money to buy books from the library.  The library liaison is responsible for helping the new faculty member spend their money, which provides a great opportunity for the faculty members and the liaison to get to know one another.  Other libraries made it a point of taking new faculty out for coffee, in order to share with them some information about the library, and to determine what their needs might be.  Another library actually provided a competitive grant for established faculty to get a small pot of money to purchase books to support new research directions.

Another excellent presentation was given by Suzanne Bell from the University of Rochester about her institution’s home grown institutional repository, called IR+ (open source, code available here).  One of the things that makes this repository unique is the not visible to the public workspace provided to each faculty member.  This repository doesn’t just serve as a final resting place for documents, but it provides researchers with sharing and version control services, allowing them to collaborate with other researchers (at U of R and other places) more easily.  I really like how this tool attempts to get into the researchers workflow much earlier in the process, rather than just accepting the final output, like most IRs.

This presentation sparked an excellent conversation with some of my colleagues at Geneseo about the possibilities for us to support faculty research, including some of the practical steps we need to take in order to do this.

The last session I attended was a presentation from two librarians about how to do a systemmatic review, a type of review article (kind of) that I was not very familiar with.  They gave a clear explanation of the process.  I wish there had been more time for questions but it was interesting.

Once again, a satisfying conference.  I look forward to next year.

The joys of small conferences

Today and tomorrow I am attending the SUNY Librarians Association Annual Conference, held at SUNY Brockport.  SUNYLA (as it’s known) is one of my favorite conferences, despite my recent call for librarians to stop going to library conference.

First, I get to find out about lots of exciting things that are happening at SUNY Libraries.  We are a pretty smart group of people, and I can learn a lot from my colleagues.  As a plus, the group is dominated by librarians from 2 and 4 year colleges, so the activities that are being presented almost always seem manageable.

Second, I get to see old friends and make new friends from the other campuses.  I find it much easier to meet people at a small conference like this than at the larger ALA or SLA conferences.

Third, it’s a great place to make a presentation to a forgiving audience.  Sometimes I’d like to share information with colleagues, but I don’t feel that what I’m doing is new and unique enough to warrant a major presentation or paper.  The SUNYLA conference is great for this kind of thing.  Plus I get more experience presenting.  This year I’ll give a small presentation about strategies for reaching out to faculty, and a larger presentation about using assessment to evaluate information literacy goals.

It should be fun.