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Nataly Blas banner

Nataly Blas banner (used with her permission)

Two quick examples I’ve been meaning to write about for a while:

1. Signage: Nataly Blas

The William H. Hannon Library of Loyola Marymount University created a series of giant banners promoting the skills and services of its liaisons, including business librarian Nataly Blas, as you can see here. Her banner provided a strong, concise message to business students, faculty, and administrators. It’s also a sign of respect from the library for the work of liaisons. I’m sure those giant banners weren’t cheap!

2. Awards: Ilana Stonebraker

Congrats to Purdue’s Ilana Stonebraker for being selected as one of this year’s Library Journal Movers and Shakers. Her innovative local economic development class was a big factor, apparently.

Winning an award is usually welcome recognition to the awardee, but can also become a promotional tool. In this case, both the Honors College and the library wrote articles illustrating Ilana’s contributions (and by extension, the library’s contributions) to the campus and community. Libraries with smart communications strategies know how to leverage these opportunities for promotion.

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway

This should be my last conference report for a while, I promise.

Last Tuesday, I finished grading the final reports in my entrepreneurship/ economic development research class, submitted final grades, and helped evaluate final team presentations in the Export Odyssey class. The next day, I took my time going up to Radford University for Thursday’s The Innovative Library Classroom 2017 (TILC) conference, driving a thirty mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Fancy Gap and Rocky Knob. There are a few pictures below from some short hikes along that stretch (plus one from TILC). A lovely way to celebrate the end of the semester and start unplugging a bit after a crazy school year.

Opening social

The conference began Wednesday evening with a social and poster session. There were eight posters, adult beverages, and some heavy hors d’oeuvres. Most attendees were from Virginia or the Carolinas, so there were lots of reunions. I chatted with former interns now working as young professionals, as well as candidates from searches I’ve chaired who now have positions at other schools. After the event, my UNCG library friends Samantha and Karen and I drove across the river to have a sunset nightcap at a brewpub with a big deck overlooking the river and campus.

Nature of TILC

Except for the Wednesday evening social, this is a one-day conference that (I think) always meets at Radford, a beautiful location on the edge of the Appalachians and along the New River (one of the oldest rivers on the continent, actually). Virginia Tech is nearby. This was my first time at TILC. Registration was a mere $40, which included the social as well as Thursday lunch (not a boxed lunch! Those are so boring).

Lisa Becksford of Virginia Tech

Lisa Becksford of Virginia Tech

Around 90 folks attended. Most were instruction librarians but there were liaison, DE, and outreach librarians too. Some people drove over to Lexington for LOEX right afterwards. TILC was in fact very much like LOEX and the quality of programming was just as high, in my opinion. Like LOEX, TILC is most useful for teaching librarians who focus on composition courses. There were no programs explicitly focused on upper level and/or subject-specific instruction, although some programs could be applied to those kinds of classes.

The day began with a keynote. Then there were four 50-minute slots offering a choice of three concurrent programs, with lunch in the middle. We ended with four lightning rounds. So very content-rich. I like conferences like that. All speakers spoke well and engaged the audience. Speaker files will be provided online by early June.

Opening keynote: teaching and leadership

The 9 am keynote featured Rebecca Miller, Head of Library Learning Services at Penn State on “Teaching, Learning, and Leading: Be a Professional Triple Threat”. She discussed applying our teaching skills to providing leadership in our libraries and across campus. Miller included some audience interaction that got us talking to our neighbors (rare for a keynote). This keynote would have benefited from a distinction between management and leadership. Too often in the library world, those two things are treated the same.

Teaching mindfulness & social justice

Blue Ridge Parkway, small waterfall

Blue Ridge Parkway, small waterfall

Kristen Mastel of the University of Minnesota led a program on “Integrating Mindfulness Approaches while Teaching Social Justice in the Classroom”. She called the mindfulness part “contemplative pedagogy.” Mastel gave the same talk at LOEX a day or two later. I’ve mentioned in this blog my fellow Coleman Fellow Bill Johnson, the “Dream Dean” of the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS), a few times. He teaches a required course for HHS students on figuring out what each student wants to get out of college (and life), with mindfulness as part of the teaching strategy. (Bill told me that he often begins class with five minutes of unplugged, off-line silence. Early in the semester, that silence can make the students really uncomfortable. But once late in the semester, he told the students he was skipping the five minutes to make room for some other activity, and the students loudly protested – they had learned to really appreciate that time for meditation.)

Mastel asked us to examine our own comfort with various contemplative practices and then led us through an exercise. Next she connected mindfulness to social justice via the ACRL Frameworks, noting that mindfulness and thresholds can overlap. I’m afraid I didn’t quite catch the connection between mindfulness and social justice, except that there are certainly mindful approaches to considering social issues. Mastel gave us an exercise she has used with graduating seniors: they are asked to “examine [their] own information privilege” in three life stages: before college, at the University of Minnesota, and after graduation. She then led discussions on the information landscape and social privilege.

Building classroom engagement before class begins

Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra of Grand Valley State University presented “Maximizing “Down Time”: Innovative Strategies to Build Student Engagements Before the Start of Class”. [slides] She used to be a K-12 teacher and told us teachers call the few minutes before class officially begins as “bell work”.

Scripps-Hoekstra organized her session around three engagement strategies:

  1. activate prior knowledge
  2. facilitate self-assessment of students
  3. build rapport

In fact, before her session began, she gave us an activity: “In exactly 16 words (no more, no less!) describe the purpose of activating prior knowledge when teaching”. Several attendees were brave enough to share their 16 words.

Activating prior knowledge = triggering long-term memory. Scripps-Hoekstra described several activities, some tied to the frameworks, others to database searching and plagiarism. For example, she sometimes shows this scene from the Little Mermaid and then asks how that clip connects to library research.

Facilitate self-assessment = students demonstrate what they already know. Sometimes  Scripps-Hoekstra incorporates creativity and competition into these activities. Example: a space race via Socrative, based on database searching steps.

Build rapport. This is something I do try to do in my teaching and co-teaching classes, as well as in one-shots. Harder with one-shots unless you know some of the students already. “Creating a tone of approachability by treating students with respect”, Scripps-Hoekstra said.

We ended with a Q/A and then broke for lunch. Mushroom risotto and a fudge brownie.

Urban Legend or Practical Pedagogy?

Candice Benjes-Small and Jennifer Resor-Whicker of Radford University provided a very interesting program called “Urban Legend or Practical Pedagogy: Are you a Teaching Ninja?” This program won my award for most creative and engaging program at TILC.

We began by forming six teams, 4-5 librarians each. Each team was given a green and red sheet.

Then, on screen, Benjes-Small and Resor-Whicker gave us a well-known teaching concept. Each team had a minute to debate if that concept was proven by research (“practical pedagogy”) or had no basis in research (“urban legend”). We voted with our color sheets (green=real, red=bogus). Benjes-Small and Resor-Whicker tallied the correct scores and then cited research proving or disproving the concept. Then we discussed for a few minutes before getting the next concept to vote on.

This was fun!

But also thought-provoking. And kind of sad sometimes, regarding the concepts that we once talked about all the time (or still do, in some cases) that turned out to be bogus. I recorded all the concepts we were quizzed about, but don’t want to give all the answers here in case you someday participate in this exercise with Benjes-Small and Resor-Whicker. But here are three examples, with the answers at the bottom of this post:

  1. Everyone has a preferred learning style: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.
  2. People learn better when content is spread over multiple classes.
  3. The learning pyramid (or cone of learning – the one with “10% of reading is retained” at the top of the pyramid).

At the end, we wondered about other current concepts, like “digital natives” – real or bogus? I pondered out loud how well the ACRL thresholds will stand the test of time (and research).

Benjes-Small and Resor-Whicker mentioned they have used this exercise with other librarians as well as professors, and that we can get very attached to our sacred cows of concepts. It can get very emotional for us to confront these ideas.

Getting beyond “popular v. scholarly”

My UNCG colleagues Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam spoke on “Beyond Popular v. Scholarly: Teaching Outside the Peer-Reviewed Checkbox”.

Dale showed us the evolution of her source evaluation assignment, moving from an ACRL Standards approach to more of a frameworks approach. Originally, the assignment required students to identify the nature of articles by popular v. scholarly, authorship, the nature of the language used (“It’s in English”, one student accurately wrote down once), etc.

A newer approach incorporates the BEAM model:

  • Background
  • Exhibits
  • Arguments
  • Methods

The idea of BEAM comes from a 2008 Joseph Bizup article concerning “Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing”. The focus is on the function of various sources (social media, videos, light magazine articles, long Economist or Atlantic cover stories, scholarly research articles, etc.) regarding a topic. All four functions can be at work in writing and research. Dale and Kellam handed out example sources for teams in the audience to discuss in terms of a BEAM analysis.

More examples at a Kellam libguide. Everyone around me was very interested in this approach. It’s not always clear which category a source fell under (ex. argument v. method). But the discussion itself is probably useful.

Lighting rounds

Lisa Becksford of Virginia Tech: “They Want Me to Teach APA for 75 Students?: Transforming Citation Instruction for Large (or Small) Classes.​” My lone TILC pix above is Becksford. She provides a citation via a Google Form and asks students to identify the problems with it. This activity works well in large classes regardless of student level.

Blue Ridge Parkway ridge trail

Blue Ridge Parkway ridge trail

Vicki Marie Palmer of Longwood University: “Hole in One: Marketing YOUR Library Services on the Green​.” As part of a 4-day welcome week for new students, Palmer planned a miniature golf course that wound through several library service points. She also hired a student DJ and installed a photo booth.

Shannon Tennant of Elon University: “Instruction is for Everyone: Including Technical Services Staff in Library Instruction Programs​.” Tennant is a cataloger who has become the head of Technical Services but also does some teaching each year as a liaison. Credit for her for being the only cataloger at this conference! Makes being the only business librarian present seem not a big deal in comparison. Tennant advocated for involving tech services staff in library instruction programs. She linked the skills of technical services to the ACRL Frameworks in a pretty convincing fashion, centered on the management (acquisitions, metadata, creating access points, etc.) of information. In the process of getting teaching support from tech services, the tech services librarians gain increased visibility, more diverse skills, and deeper understanding of user behavior.

Liz McGlynn Bellamy of Radford University: “The Struggle is Real: Facilitating Information Literacy Learning by Being Leaders of Failure.” Bellamy shared her “first epic fail”: in her first year as a professional librarian, she demonstrated prepared searches to a business class. Later that week, one of those business students came to her office frustrated and upset about his/her lack of success, exclaiming “you made it look so easy but I can’t find anything!” So Bellamy advocated the benefits of showing failure in our example strategies and searches. Capitalize on the teachable moments. – have the students think about and discuss what happened, and then re-strategize.

Thus ended TILC 2017. I would go back.

 

Urban Legend or Practical Pedagogy?

  1. learning styles = urban legend. Reality is much more complicated.
  2. spreading out learning = practical pedagogy [specifically, “distributed practice”]
  3. learning pyramid = urban legend.

Carey Toane, MA, MLIS, joined the University of Toronto as Entrepreneurship Librarian at the Gerstein Science Information Centre in 2015, where she supports nine campus-linked accelerators and numerous entrepreneurship courses and programs across multiple disciplines. She is a co-founder of the North America-wide Academic Librarians Supporting Entrepreneurs (ALSE) online symposium. Her market research expertise is based on her past experience as an academic business librarian, as well as over a decade as a marketing journalist and editor, copywriter, and content marketer at digital agencies and startups in Canada and the Nordic Region. Her current research interests focus on the research habits and needs of various user communities, and on the core competencies for emerging and interdisciplinary areas of librarianship.

Conference review: VentureWell Open Conference, Washington, D.C., March 23-25, 2017

The Open Conference tagline is “Invent the future of innovation & entrepreneurship education” and the audience reflects that mandate. Aimed at post-secondary institutions, approximately 375 delegates attended and around half of those were speakers, making for a small and engaged group. I was one of two self-identified academic librarians who attended; the majority were faculty, entrepreneurship centre directors or administrators, as well as representatives from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The conference was bookended with a welcome reception on Thursday night and a closing gala on Saturday evening. On both days an excellent lunch was accompanied by a keynote speaker: author Daniel Pink on Friday and Perkin Medal winner John Warner on Saturday, to align with the sustainability thread which ran through the conference.

VentureWell Open Conference banner

VentureWell Open Conference banner

Friday and Saturday programming was organized into five conference tracks: Assessment, Curriculum, Early-Stage Innovators, Global [international innovation], and Topics in I&E [innovation and entrepreneurship trends]. Formats ranged from lightning talks – dubbed Open Minis – and panels to group discussions and hands-on workshops. A Whova conference app helped me sort out where I wanted to be and how to get there, and I found myself using it to provide a little ready reference in the halls between sessions for my fellow attendees.

The fun started with an icebreaker-style conference kickoff in the ballroom. Tables were catalyzed into teams and presented with a random collection of costumes and props (think bubblewrap, Mardi Gras beads and pipe cleaners) that we used to create fantastic wearable devices and then present to the group for a fashion show/pitch competition. Sadly, our festival-focused protective device, the Party Crasher™ – inflatable helmet! crowd bumpers! parachute! – lost out to a somewhat impractical but well marketed gadget called the No-Network Network (patent pending). Honourable mention to the on-trend Fake News Filter. But I digress.

After trying out a few options early on Friday, I found the most value in the workshops. One of these, “Creative Problem Session for Identifying and Filling Gaps in Supporting Early Student Innovators,” walked participants through a creative problem solving process of divergent and convergent thinking to identify ways to better support student startups. Having a mix of perspectives in the room made this a rich and impressive conversation, aided by able facilitation.

Workshop post-it notes

Workshop post-it notes

Other active learning sessions that have stayed with me include “Failures, Flops and Frustrations: An Open Exchange on learning from our mistakes” that involved storyboarding a failed course or program initiative; “10 Hands-On Class Exercises to Build Student Teams and Spark Creativity,” for which one of the facilitators hauled a suitcase of oversized iPhone-shaped erasable poster boards in a suitcase; and “Activities to Create Space for Breakthroughs: Mindset, Neuroscience, Entrepreneurship and Worldview,” which started by establishing a safe space and focused on techniques to encourage empathy and creative thinking.

The poster session, scheduled for 5:30 – 7 pm on Friday night, doubled as a cocktail hour in the top floor lounge of the conference hotel. The audience response to my poster topic, “Research habits and needs of campus entrepreneurs,” ranged from interest to puzzlement to mild amusement (“You’re a librarian?”). In other words, it was a great opportunity to practice my elevator pitch on how libraries can and do support startups for our campus colleagues outside the library, with segues into Google Patents, Justin Trudeau, and the proximity of Toronto to Niagara Falls.

Poster: "Research habits and needs of campus entrepreneurs"

Poster: “Research habits and needs of campus entrepreneurs”

The registration fee alone was $884 USD for speakers and higher for attendees, and the DC location makes it one of the more expensive professional development opportunities I’ve come across. However, for content focus and quality of presentations it can’t be beat – and did I mention the food was amazing?

Case in point: The ticket price included admission to a somewhat lavish closing reception at the Smithsonian Museum of American History on the Saturday night. After all day inside a hotel basement, the stroll through cherry blossoms down the Mall was almost giddymaking, as were the risotto station and the dessert table inside. VentureWell E-teams presented their products and competed for a chunk of the $3 million of funny money each guest was given to spend, surrounded by artifacts from hundreds of years of American innovations. If you’re the competitive type, you might like to know that two of the three teams I invested in were ranked in the top four and received a cash prize!

The 2018 VentureWell Open Conference will take place March 22-24 in Austin, TX.

On March 15, seven business librarians from around the United States met online to talk about the for-credit business research classes we teach. We were frank in our sharing, so no names will be mentioned here! But they did give me permission to post a short summary of our main topics.

The classes range from one to three credits. Most are for undergraduates, but a couple include graduate students. The classes focus on entrepreneurship, economic development, competitive intelligence, or data visualization. Some are required; others are elective.

We intentionally didn’t record the WebEx session – it was intended to be an informal sharing session – but I tried to take some notes. Here are the core discussion topics that came up.

Lack of core textbooks

No one uses a comprehensive textbook. We aren’t aware of one. We agreed that the LIS business information textbooks aren’t useful outside of LIS classes. I mentioned I use the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Market Research by Wenzel (Praeger), which is really good for research strategies and how to make decisions based on the research. But it only covers consumer marketing for the most part.

Create an open textbook?

There was interest in working together to create a modular, flexible, free online textbook. That would certainly be a lot of work though. We’ll see.

The need to share the resources we use

Instead of relying on a textbook, we all use a mix of articles, web pages, and reports. We agreed to share examples from our classes as well as our syllabus, assignments, and other course documents via a private libguide. We’ll probably have to remind each other to add more to the guide after the spring semester wraps up.

Are you paid for your class?

A few are. Others do the work as part of their normal, expected librarian duties. I mentioned I get conference travel money through our Coleman Foundation grant. I think most of us would like to get paid extra for teaching, but as one of the librarians noted, adjunct instructors don’t usually get paid a fair wage for their time anyway.

Do you teach on your own time or as part of your normal librarian hours?

Both situations exist for us. Some teach as part of their normal duties, and others teach outside of their normal work hours. One of us hasn’t been sure what the expectations are and does grading at home.

What about the workload?

A big issue, certainly. There is some resentment about the workload demand, which some of our colleagues don’t have to deal with as much. Some of us are also very busy with research consultations and other teaching (such as one-shots). It’s not easy keeping up.

Some of us teach very large, required classes (80 or more students). Some of us (ex. me) teach little boutique classes in comparison.

What terminology for what we teach and who we are?

Some library terminology isn’t meaningful outside the librarianship bubble. “Information literacy” is an example. So we teach “business research”, “competitive intelligence”, “economic development,” etc. The ACRL frameworks seem to focus on first-year composition classes and use language appropriate for that type of teaching.

Likewise, business students, business faculty, and the business and nonprofit community recognize the value of “business research consultants” but have other notions of what “librarians” do or would teach. This is not a new observation, of course.

What we get from teaching these classes?

Increased recognition and respect from professors and others. Greater understanding of what teaching college students entails. Appreciation for having more time with our students and building long-term relationships with them. Teaching at a deeper level and witnessing students’ substantial growth (hopefully) as researchers and critical thinkers.

We hope to stay in touch. If you teach a for-credit business research class and we missed you, we are sorry. Let me know if you are interested in connecting with the group.

A group of business librarians and vendors are going to be working together to propose some programs at the Charleston Conference this fall. There will also be a vendor-funded social or two.

Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

This is an annual conference on publishing, vendors, scholarly communication, open access, open education resources, and user behavior*. Like LOEX, Charleston is a mid-sized, high-quality conference providing three days of rich programming. Its schedule evolves a little each year, which keeps things fresh and librarian-centered. There is only one day of exhibiting, so for the rest of the conference, the publisher and vendor reps are freed to attend and even contribute to programs, which usually leads to deeper discussions of issues and opportunities.

Over the last few years, a small number of business librarians have started to get together for informal chats. Last year, there was a “lively lunch” discussion with four of us as well as vendor friends John Quealy (S&P Global) and Dan Gingert (PrivCo). Nora Wood also provided a lively lunch with a colleague on liaison issues. More business vendors have exhibited in the past few years.

For 2017, at least seven business librarians will probably be working together to submit a few programs:

  • Betsy Clementson (Tulane)
  • Cynthia Cronin-Kardon (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Heather Howard (Purdue)
  • Lauren Reiter (Penn State)
  • Corey Seeman (University of Michigan)
  • Nora Wood (University of South Florida)
  • And me

We might invite a few vendors to speak with us too, depending on the topics and formats we come up with. Three vendors have offered to host social gatherings in 2017. This is a wonderful historic and walkable city for food and drink.

So we encourage more business librarians, publishers, and vendors to attend, discuss, debate, and socialize. And submit programs!

Please contact any of us with questions about this conference.

 

*Yes, its official subtitle is “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisitions,” but that is a historical legacy and so you shouldn’t hold that subtitle against it. LOEX has a funny full name too!

Below is a link to my slides from the lightning round session of the Academic Libraries Supporting Entrepreneurship online symposium (March 2, 2017).

What I’ve Learned from Four Years of Teaching a Three-Credit Entrepreneurship Research Class (PDF)

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

Business librarians Mary Scanlon (Wake Forest University), Diane Campbell (Rider University), and I attended and presented at USASBE 2017 last week in Philadelphia. Diane has presented at this conference before, but this was the first visit for Mary and me. I’m going to submit a detailed conference review for Ticker but will provide a short summary and a quick assessment here.

USASBE is the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship:

the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship. With over 1000 members from universities and colleges, for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector, USASBE is a diverse mix of professionals that share a common commitment to fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors. [introduction to USASBE]

But mostly entrepreneurship faculty. Around 500 attended. I heard there is higher attendance in even-numbered years, when USASBE meets in southern California (San Diego last February, L.A. next year). Preconferences met on Wednesday, with the main conference running Thursday afternoon through Sunday at noon. Yes, the same days as ALA Midwinter in Atlanta.

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Registration was $675 (early bird – full cost was $750), higher than any library or business educator conference I’ve been too, but includes membership in the association for a year. We met in the Loews Hotel on Market Street, between City Hall and Independence Park. Always convenient to stay in the same building for a conference — until you really need to get outside for some fresh air and walking. There really wasn’t any sun that weekend but it wasn’t very cold.

The three librarians provided a 75-minute “competitive workshop” titled “Teaching students to use authoritative industry and market datasets in order to make informed decisions in their business plans”. We discussed both free sources (Economic Census, American Community Survey, and Consumer Expenditure Survey) and subscription databases while also leading discussions on how to get students to use such data.

I also participated in a workshop by the UNCG Coleman Fellows on “Beyond the basics of cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship: reaching across the curriculum with mentoring, counseling, research support, and assessment.” I spoke about how a business librarian has the freedom to support entrepreneurship classes across campus (not just in the business school) through research workshops and consultations, and also briefly summarized my research class, ENT/GEO/LIS/MKT 530.

And right after the librarians’ workshop, Diane presented with a Rider professor on “Experiential learning with non-profit organizations: how to use the student team consulting model for service learning situations.” Unfortunately Mary and I missed the Rider workshop due to our return flight schedule.

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

As with SBI [my recent Ticker conference review on SBI] and World Bank/GWU Entrepreneurship 2016, the faculty at this conference seemed genuinely pleased to have librarians present. The profs often complimented the roles and work or their own business librarians. (Good job, friends!) We librarians enjoyed the networking and the opportunities to provide comments to the faculty and PhD students on research sources and strategies. And some nice socials.

USASBE was very interesting for its variety of types of programs. This made the “call for submissions” document rather complicated. Interesting that educator conferences like USASBE and SBI don’t require “learning outcomes” for conference submissions unlike LOEX and ACRL, a silly submissions requirement in my opinion. On the other hand, competitive workshop submissions require proposals that could be up to 10 pages long. So it was a lot of work to submit for the librarians’ and Coleman Fellows’ workshops.

I made a point to attend most of these program types:

  • Competitive Papers (short solo presentations on research, teaching, or program design)
  • Teaching Cases (presentations of case studies used in the classroom)
  • Developmental Papers (roundtable feedback on research in progress)
  • Competitive Workshops (interactive panel discussions, mostly)
  • Rocket Workshops (short workshops)
  • Experiential Exercises (classroom exercises)
  • Student Pitches (from Philly-area schools, with several rounds of voting throughout the conference)
  • Exhibitor Sessions (mostly from entrepreneurship educational software vendors)

Sage, Emerald, Business Expert Press, and a couple of other publishers had tables. The reps on hand were editors and content recruiters, not sales staff.

Philly moth from a social event

Philly moth from a social event

USASBE provided several socials, including one Thursday night at the Drexel Academy of Natural Sciences, where these butterflies and moths live. Some of the attendees participated in the women’s march on Saturday. I hadn’t been to Philly since ALA Midwinter 2002, back when I served on the BRASS Education committee. That January, Independence Hall was surrounded by several concentric walls of fencing and concrete barriers after the 9/11 attacks. Mary and I visited the hall on Thursday and enjoyed its liberation from all that security. I also visited the National Museum of American Jewish History (new to me) and found it very interesting but also full of sad stories and concerns on anti-Semitism and anti-immigration that still resonate in our political climate.

Philly butterfly from a social event

Philly butterfly from a social event

On our way back to the airport, Mary and I discussed how useful this conference was to us personally. Of course we will get presentation credits for our CVs (and not just speaking to the librarian choir), but we didn’t really learn things that we could apply to our research classes. However, wearing my Coleman Fellow and embedded librarian hats, I did benefit from the discussions of teaching strategies and program design. And I gained more insight into the teaching and research needs of professors. So I really liked USASBE and (assuming our Coleman grant gets renewed) will consider attending at L.A. in 2018. Hmm maybe L.A. librarian Nataly Blas would consider submitting a proposal with me…