ARL/ACRL Symposium for Strategic Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

OSU Libraries & Press supported Marisol Moreno Ortiz, Philip Sites, Sarah Schuck, and Jane Nichols’ attendance at this 2 day Symposium, May 10-11, 2018.

The Symposium shared presenters’ slides and other conference materials. Viewing the program along with the slides will help inform which documents to look at. I know I’ll return to these to comb through to remember and for further inspiration.

Jane shared her notes. Reader beware! They are rough notes so some ideas may be only partially present.

A major take away is that learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion is a life long process. We will each have our own approaches, just like with any other acquired skill, knowledge, or wisdom. Does it go without saying to approach this with compassion? Compassion for self and each other. Along the way, maybe, like me, you will find attending, being present for, and participating in a symposia where all the attendees are participating in and focused on their learning to be rejuvenating and inspiring.

I think my favorite presentation was Jessie Loyer’s “Where do you work?: Rooting Responsibility in Land”. Many of these concepts about relationality and reciprocity are in her chapter “Indigenous Information Literacy: nêhiyaw Kinship Enabling Self-Care in Research” by Jessie Loyer, in The Politics of Theory and the Practice of Critical Librarianship, edited by Karen Nicholson and Maura Seale. If you want to talk with others about these concepts, it will be discussed during the Instruction Get Together Wednesday May 30, 2018, 11-noon, Autzen Classroom.

With thanks OSU Libraries & Press for your support to attend the Symposium!

ALA MW Denver 2018 – Conference Highlights!

I use to live in Colorado, worked at CU Boulder for 3 years running the Map Library;  then for 5 years I worked as a consultant mainly in the western part of Colorado.  So it’s a going home feeling to be back there,  and I saw many people I use to work with or support in Colorado which was so lovely!!   Though the cold and snow reminded me of why I left 🙂  We did rent a cool AirBnB close to the Convention Center and cool downtown Denver views.  And we had one blue sky day to walk the canal and see the outside art in Denver.

Mainly my trip to Denver in February was for two committees. First, the Sustainability Round TableThe Business Meeting included several new people, and several from other groups wanted to collaborate such as the AALL and IRRT’s sustainability group We learned about :

  • FREE student memberships to SustainRT!
  • the upcoming resolution from our governance team to keep ALAs investments socially (and fossil free) responsible,
  • a white paper due in June, including a survey and online forums (coming soon) from an ALA Sustainability Task Force including key sustainrt members looking at the triple bottom line and other guiding principles of sustainability

Saturday evening in the snow and cold only a few of us made it to the SustainRT Social Event at Mercury Cafe, –  What a cool place! solar energy on the roof, grilled tofu with amazing sauces,  and a locally-sourced cocktails!

Sunday I facilitated a discussion: Crisis and Community (notes are in ALA Connect) where we discussed how Libraries and librarians can (and do) play a pivotal role in helping vulnerable communities build the physical, social, economic, and emotional resources and skills necessary to endure and thrive in the face of catastrophic climate, social, and economic disruptions.  We defined sustainability in connection to Crisis & Community; we brainstormed examples of what libraries are doing  in this area (such as the New England spring training for librarians); What support could ALA provide for libraries that have or are experiencing climate change crisis (such as more training like this NE one; and ways to collect and share these stories more widely); and What would it be perfect…idealistically? (such as  creating Climate Avengers, like Librarians Without Borders for ALA and taking it on a road show like the schol com for ACRL does)

Monday we had a lively panel for our News You Can Use: Sustainability Strategies for Libraries and Communities (Symposium on the Future of Libraries)  This session assembled practitioners doing sustainability work in a range of settings, including the implementation of a regional certification program, an institutional transition to renewable energy sources, a university system-wide sustainable OER initiative, and a classroom approach to teaching information literacy from a civic engagement perspective.  Check out the NYLA Roadmap to sustainability for librarians!

I also attended my ACRL committee New Roles and Changing Landscapes business meeting and lunch with the committee. This is a ACRL strategic plan goal committee to oversee and implement this by working with the ACRL Board and other ACRL units in creating a comprehensive effort including coalition building, professional development, publications, research, advocacy, diversity, and consultation services and in developing the ACRL New Roles and Changing Landscapes Initiative; and monitor and assess the effectiveness of this initiative. I’m fairly new on this group and still finding my place but I am excited about the one collaborative effort to help create this new  Symposium for Strategic Leadership in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion happening in May.

I also visited CU Denver’s Auraria library and saw some cool spaces, services and furniture. check out my slides of the photos of took of the space here

Re-think It: Libraries for a new age conference

In lovely Austin TX in early January, this Re-think It conference was small, focus and full of a variety of types  of sessions: from keynotes, to lighting rounds, to panels, to 20 min talks, to visits of various spaces.  Mainly academics and hosted on UT Austin campus, there were architects, planners, public librarians and even school librarians there. We presented on the Studio project, more so on the process of rapidly creating this space in our library.


Skim the tweets #rethinkit18   to hear about the conference conversation  or view photos from all the library visits and Austin highlights. This conference only happened once before and may not happen again, but it was a great topic, theme and very well organized. Great for people looking at space design and informal space use.

DLC Conference

OCTOBER 16-18, 2017

Valery King

• Enjoyed keynote presentations from:
o Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress
o Ms. Jane Sanchez, Law Librarian of Congress
o Mr. James LaRue, Director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom
• Participated in collaborative, informative, and interactive meetings and events.
• Attended educational sessions presented by GPO, other Federal agencies, and depository library staff.
• Networked with GPO staff and fellow depository librarians from across the Nation during morning coffee, lunch breaks by library type, and after hours.

The conference theme this year was “Safeguarding Government Information Access for All.”

The conference was free, as it always is, and GPO provided lots of breakfast pastries and coffee every day.

All handouts are online, and the meetings held in the two ballrooms were live-streamed and recorded. Slides & handouts:

The really BIG issue before Council this year is the proposed amending of Title 44, the section of the US Code that establishes the FDLP. Council and GPO talked an entire day about changes to Title 44, but I didn’t go to any of those meetings—they were all recorded and I do plan to review some of them. The document with FDLP community proposals is found on the conference site, link above. Here’s the direct link to the PDF of the memo:

There was remarkable consensus from the library community on issues of concern. My highlights from the Memo on this important action (I’ve bolded the ones I think will be most useful for us):
• Important to change the language to redefine “government publication” to include all formats, to insure that it continues to be available, BY LAW, to the public
• Change language to make sure all branches of government are REQUIRED to deposit “authenticated electronic publication” with the GPO
Amend sect.1904 to let the Supt. Of Documents develop a mechanism to allow libraries to select ONLY those publications they want and need (currently we have to take some stuff we would rather not get, in order to get the stuff we really want)
• Amend withdrawal rules, to make it easier for selectives to withdraw docs especially if they don’t have a Regional library to ok it
Allow regional depositories to share collections and services ACROSS STATE LINES. (This would let us to partner with some Washington and Idaho libraries and maybe get them to take some maps we’re currently required to keep but would rather get rid of)
Allow authenticated electronic copies to be considered as the official depository copy for Regionals (again, the maps issue—all those topos are available online, but we are required to retain them)
• Allow GPO to make grants to libraries (just like any other agency); this could help libraries partnering with GPO on projects to get some costs taken care of

We had great keynote speakers each day.

Day 1: Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress,
Dr. Hayden reaffirmed the mission of the LC and GPO: keeping Congress (and the rest of us, too) informed. Like GPO, LC provides RELIABLE, TRUSTED, AUTHENTIC documents and information. She reviewed how we all (LC, GPO, NARA, and depository libraries) work together. She discussed some plans LC has for online collections; something many researcher will LOVE is that they will be putting the ENTIRE non-partisan Congressional Research Service reports online! CRS is like the “special forces arm of the Library of Congress.”
Libraries are the front line, making sure the information gets to the people. The public still trusts us; what we do matters. LC still has 30 million items remaining to be digitized, but they are committed to doing this. (She has a sign in her office: “You’re a librarian—you’re in it for the glory!”)

Day 2: James LaRue, Director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom
I mostly just listened to this one and took only a few notes. He was a very entertaining speaker. His slides (on the website) are worth reviewing. One thing he talked about was Timothy Snyder’s excellent book, ON TYRANNY, and pointed out some things on Snyder’s list that librarians excel at doing: Defend institutions; remember professional ethics; believe in truth; and INVESTIGATE.

Day 3: Jane Sanchez, Law Librarian of Congress
I took a lot of notes from this, since she was going over all the things that the Law Library of Congress has and what it does for us out here on the front lines. Lots of exciting things are being digitized and provided FOR FREE; their goal is to publish as much law material online as they can, and make it searchable. This includes FEDERAL REGISTER, STATUTES AT LARGE, UNITED STATES TREATIES, and they have a special collection on World War I online now. They’re committed to putting all the Congressional Hearings online from 1901-2006, and there was a cheer when this was announced (me, too; our Hearings are a bit of a mess). Their website also has a lot of great Research Guides available.
On the digitization horizon…
• U.S. Code 1925-1993
• U.S. Reports 1754-2003 (these are Supreme Court documents)
• Code of Federal Regulations 1938-1995
• Congressional Hearings 1901-2006
• NTSB Advance Decisions 1977-1981
• Serials Set
• U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs

I attended more than these, but these were what I considered most useful or interesting.

Tending the Commons at the American Folklife Center
Todd Harvey and John Fenn
Natalia and SCARC might be interested in downloading these slides.
AFC lives at
They have an awful lot of cultural history stuff here, in multiple formats! Harvey and Fenn were enthusiastic presenters, and covered a lot of their collections. They also talked at length about their Veterans History Project ( -interviewing thousands of vets, crowdsourcing the project to get as many interviews as possible. SCARC, has your oral history project fed anything into this? Or have anything suitable that we could contribute?

Hidden Treasures: Art and Other Cultural Collections of U.S. Federal Government Agencies
Presenters were from the Dept. of the Interior Library. I’m including because this is something most people never think of when thinking about government agencies. I actually did not make it to this presentation (a conflict), but their slides/handout is amazing! Jane, Natalia, and other Humanities people, check it out! It is very surprising how many agencies have art collections!

When Women Didn’t Count: Gaps in Federal Statistics
Robert Lopresti, Western Washington Universities
This presentation was based on Rob’s new book (we have it, btw, HA214.L67 2017) and is probably essential for anyone doing historical research into women, especially in the labor force. Just shocking the different ways women were counted in various Censuses, when they were counted at all. There was no continuity between one to the other. One shocking fact was that, in the 14th Census, when the officials found women were recorded as holding “unusual” jobs, they often “corrected” the sex of the subject! I wonder how much information about women pioneers in the labor force was lost in this way?

Some brief information from other sessions I went to that might be of interest:
The National Transportation Library has established ROSA-P, a repository and open science access portal. Apparently, it pulls in a lot of historic information previously only available by ftp!
NASA talked about their Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program, which has 100 years of research and technical publications available free online (there’s a lot of restricted stuff we can’t get to, of course, but it’s really a great resource). Great slides, if you’re interested. Some of this stuff is complicated, and the slides really help. is the home page; NASA research documents are available at, the NASA Technical Report Server.

There were many other sessions, some that I attended and some I did not but am downloading some of the slides to review later on.


FDLP eXchange is now live; this is a new tool for doing Needs & Offers between the depository libraries. Our regional librarian Arlene Weible says she’s not sure we’re going to use it for Oregon Regional lists, since we have a system that works pretty well already and eXchange may not be adaptable enough.

CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports soon to be free from LC! There was much rejoicing.

In all, a very useful and interesting conference! I got so much out of attending in person that I would have missed if I’d only done the online sessions from here.

Libraries and Archives in the Anthropocene Colloquium

Fabulous colloquium in NYU – May 13-14, 2017 – small, everyone attending the same sessions all day, lots of discussions in break and diverse content and perspectives to share.  This first time event was created and planned by:

WATCH THE RECORDINGS + read a great summary on the SustainRT blog
+ read my detailed notes below:


9:00-10:00 Keynote, Roy Scranton, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene
We failed to stop climate change. Period. Hope is a 4 letter word.
To imagine something different in the present and future, to save something of the past for the future is a Utopian presence. Is it really all that bad you think? We are growing our renewable energy for one example… but it would be prudent to act on the evidence – we know that those in power won’t care. things have just gone downhill over the recent decades.  Those in power do not care about the future. Capitalism. Greed. We need a survivalist ethos now.
You want answers?  How might we imagine ourselves in the late Anthropocene dead state?  Look at authors who discuss post-apocalyptic futures. Sci Fi.  Suggested reads :

  • The Collapse of western civilization novel by Oreske and  Conway
  • William Gibson’s  novel Peripheral
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
  • JG Ballard’s the Drowned World

So what does this mean for the future of our work?
Keep in mind the reality: History will be rewritten again and again by the winners
What do we need to do?  Best option Go Local. Build sustainable communities.

10:00-12:00 – 20-minute papers – Archival Theory and the Crisis

  1. Rick Prelinger: Collecting Strategies for the Anthropocene
    Be careful about our priorities when outside forces are controlling what we can prioritize.
    How are we responding to the effects of the anthropocene in collecting?
    Collections need to be protected but so does the process and the archives themselves. EX: internet archives building a mirror site outside the US
    Communities should own and collect their assets yes but how can/are they being preserved/maintained/accessible? … specially if that community does not survive?
    Twitter share:   “at stake… are not the worlds these collections claim to represent, but… the worlds they invite us to imagine and even realize “#archivesFail (@bspalmieri )
    He suggest we use permaculture principles apply to archival work:

  1. Jen Hoyer and Nora Almeida: Living Archives*
    They are librarians who volunteers at the Interference Archive in Brooklyn! Open stacks, volunteer run, community funded. The local place in the community is important. Collection policy defines the community.
    A living archives – a place for social interaction, a nexus between communities, a bridge between past and future.
    Anthropocene is framed in a narrative – ideological, post political, disconnected from socio political reality, a place that is not quite this place now.
    Problems with this narrative – mainly from wealthy countries, that frame capitalism and tech as neutral, etc. this undermines our agency
    Environmental change as social change – a continuum of events that we are both in and affected by
    Reimagine Anthropocene as discipline, cultural and social
    It might look like – activism, art, scholarship, civic engagement documentation… need to open to other voices so all voices can be heard
    Archives and silence – change cultural expectations and make alternative narratives heard
    Archives can foster dialogue btw time and space.
    Propaganda parties!
    Check out their “anthropo-zine”
  2. Jill Kubit: DearTomorrow
  • Climate change communication has not been effective … need more narrative storytelling, visual imagery and trusted messages
  • She created a digital platform for people to personalize climate change and share message with others to influence the public education on the topic “Dear Tomorrow”  #deartomorrow
  • Stand in the future and talk to someone in the present they care about and will that make it more personal
  • Research shows legacy is a strong driver to people’s actions now for the future. (BUT HOW DO YOU GET THE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO HEAR THIS AND THINK ABOUT LEGACY TO PAY ATTENTION OR CARE???)
  • Scale – distributed model works best
  • Other narratives are weaved into this story (ex blacklivesmatter & climate change in one letter)  Also – they are asking people to make a public commitment in their lives and share it.  They put together a video of the letters (its on FB)
  • Biking to work for political reasons, getting a CSA or going to a farmers market is such white privilege
  • 3 main groups they work with: Mothers out front, Moms  ???,  Climate parents — but she feels its not limited to moms, the narrative can expand to others groups too
  1. Aruna Magier: Water, Land, and Forests: Documenting India’s Environmental Activism
  • overview of the litany of environmental degradation in India. Irresponsible farming, mining, rivers full of plastic.
  • A young girl has filed a law suit against the govt of India about the environmental conditions and she blames them for not taking care of their people. Farmers protesting the management of repeated droughts. Protests against mining.
  • Historical social movements in India are critical to where they are today
  • Magier speaking on documenting these movements
  1. Ben Goldman: Things the Grandchildren Should Know: Archives and the Origin of an Ecocentric Future
  • Grew up in a very different sheltered conservative upbringing – took a while for him to become educated on the reality of climate change.
  • How can his role in archives make a difference he ponders. How do you talk to your kids and grandkids about this? And your irresponsibility?
  • His goal – how can archives make a difference in capturing the environmental issues as stewards
  • Archivist appraisal is critical (there is still no consensus on how to do this) Look to our planetary evidence. Records of environmental activists. Need to become more engaged across disciplines to capture data & stories   – need to listen to key communities!
  • Keep in mind to preserve something in an archives we also add to the problem – aka fossil fuels used to keep these materials : (

Q/A summary:  Tension between fighting the capitalistic society but we need a space/place and to pay for it and make sure we don’t take money from those we disagree with but …its complex.

Less is more.


1:15-2:50 – 20-minute papers – Crisis and Survival

  1. John Burgess: Adaptability and Resilience: A Core LIS Value
    A report from the field – a case for resilience and adaptability as lis core values (LIS grad school in Alabama) – aka how he slips in sustainability to his students on the down low.
  2. Personal stake  – Never mention the word ethics or people think you are judging them. But really its whatever you find a way to growth toward what is most meaningful to you. some days you are down and loose hope but you recover and keep at it to give passion to others.
  3. Moral imperatives of Anthropocene /4 moral obligations– awareness and memory (L Floridi) – moral imperative to fight entropy and what is your mission on earth?; rational agency and continuance (I. Kant) – cant bend humans to your will ;fairness (j. Rawls, D. Parfit, G. Wolf) – social responsibility is Rawls; authentic otherness (A. Naess) – diversity of ways of thinking, cognitive justice
  4. Are the core values of LIS sufficient to address those imperatives?  Core values such as Access, confidentiality/privacy, democracy, diversity, education, lifelong learning, IF, preservation, the Public good, professionalism, service, social responsibility… whats lacking?  If you disuses these as LIS core values and label them “from ALA” students will follow along.
  5. Are  (personal, community, country) resilience and adaptability LIS values?  Do these core values +resilience + adaptability sufficiently address those imperatives? Or is it just my personal stake (we think both) Maps the core values  3 to moral imperatives 2 and rational agency included adaptability and resilience.  Collective Action with all our policies and process in the library, cross dept. with many different ways to do this. Changing habits.
  6. Billy Templeton: School Libraries and the Anthropocene: A Curricular Hail Mary to the Future   Teaches in a public school.  Married to a librarian 🙂
  • Terrible story about a school, science teaches climate change but the english teacher does not and makes then debate their belief (these are adults, people of power over kids and poisons then kids open minded school culture)
  • Incompetence in our federal school system for teaching about climate change. Though we are supposed to “teach kids how to succeed in global economy” how can we when we are not allowed or have to be careful in taking about climate change ?!
  • Heartland institute is trying to get a copy of its book – why scientist do not believe in climate change –  into every science teaching and is succeeding in some states – scary
  • his idea – place based learning for students to do service learning, hands on, library innovation lab, etc. Teaching children problem solving skills is our moral imperative.
  1. Ellie Irons and Anne Percoco: Next Epoch Seed Library: An Archive of Weedy Species (*love*)
  •   – lend seeds, collect seeds – the gaps between what most seed banks do (Most seed banks are mainly agricultural). They collect weed seeds in the city!  Are there really a bad thing – but a weed can be a positive (imagine them coming up in cracks in the cement) and useful.  But these weeds are becoming endangered.  What they do:
  • They look for “junk spaces” to collect them
  • Have installation at various places of their finds.
  • Have a seed walks too
  • Did a seed viability test. Grew many of them!
  • Want to work with children more  – share, grow, educate
  • Creating better documentation
  • Did you know …. Ceramic is a great material in which to store seeds!!! (800 year old squash seeds were found in a ceramic container and grew)
  • Reminds me of
  • Chalking to promote weeds around town!!!!  (they wrote with chalk around “weeds” around town to tell people what these things were good for  … an act of Resistance)
  1. Fred Stoss: Preparedness Matters: Library Roles in Planning for Disaster

How do you become and stay prepared for upcoming disasters in your library?  The role of public libraries. Good science, good data. Lots of info on slides  – LOOK FOR HIS RECORDING OR SLIDES! I missed some of this session….

2:50-3:30 – Five minute lightning talks with 15 minutes for discussion

  1. Jennifer Bonnet: Engaging with the Human Dimensions of Climate Change – films, books with a professor to create a series/program and discussion. virtual displays of materials in the library; included twitter posts of their discussions.
  2. Monica Berger and John Carey: Open Scholarship and Climate Change: The Imperative for a New Information Ecosystem for the Anthropocene – our scholarly com system is broken – neoliberalism, a commodity. Global south has lots of scholarly lit but they will also be the ones most effective. Open Science!
  3. Robert Chen: Enabling Interdisciplinary Use of Scientific Data on Human Interactions in the Environment – manages a NASA data center on social and natural sciences at Columbia (need both these disciplines of social + natural sciences to study climate change); some barriers of two disciplines – focus on people vs pixels
  4. Hannah Hamalainen: Humanitarian Crisis Mapping in the Library – earthquake in Haiti. Live tweets and asking for help. They mapped the tweets of people’s needs. And it was overlaid on satelight maps then used by gov’t and military. Crisis mapping! map-a-thon for humanitarian crisis mapping – librarians can teach these skills, connect people, host event

Q/A  Listen to this   Storytelling is key but does depend on the audience – public might want stories but economist might need facts.  Also look at archival evidence too – make your own narrative.

3:40-5:00 – Plenary and end of day discussion: Howard Besser, Eira Tansey, Jill Kubit, and John Burgess *

  • What are we going to do for new fuels? no  what’s  really wrong? That we need so many fuels to begin with. Capitalism.
  • Mitigation or adaption side? Adaptation ?  Doesn’t get to the root cause and masks the real issue. To find a solution.  The root cause is really that we are a consumption based society, a disempowered society, not just “climate change” .  It’s a continuum not are we going to fix it or not
  • Reject the narrative –  “We fucked it all up and now we are fucked”  – this dissolves us of responsibility.
  • Several disagree with the keynote – we need to keep up with HOPE.  Read the Hope in the Dark book  “hope is an ax that you use to knock down doors with” – rebecca solint
  • Record whats happening or play a role in shaping whats happening. Teaching more than info lit,  teach political rhetoric.
  • Reclaiming the language of climate change, use other words or use the words….
  • IMLS grant transforming communities – training libraries to be facilitators of dialogues in their communities
  • Think about end of something and beginning something new era –  Should be called the Capitalisocene not Anthropocene
  • Look to the tribal infrastructure –  knowing your neighbors and communities.
  • Physically living off the land is hard but spiritually being a part of capitalistic society is really harh
  • “patriarchal theocracy”
  • Collapse of the world as we know it, has been happening to many already.
  • What is the tipping point to get people to realize this issue? Insurance underwriting might be it? really until the water is at their door, people will not wake up to it!


9:00-10:30 – 20-minute papers – Rethinking Libraries

  1. Amy Brunvand: Re-Localizing the Library: An Environmental Humanities Model
      • The end of nature 1989 by bill mckibben . The age of missing information bill mckibben – idea of placelessness; people are losing the sense of place,
      •  the university is sort of like this; but Amy says the library can help create a local sense of place
      • Environmental humanities grad program stated by terry tempest williams of U of U.  Field course to engage in the community and create a sense of place
      • Libraries are mainly about licensing electronic publications etc, that everyone else is buying. Yes it should be a portal to information but it should also represent the local, unique collections. Libraries should aim to be the local node in a global information system representing their local.
      • Environmental humanities model— “ecology of residency
      • Tell stories that can make change. Share books that made a difference
      • Movie “Wrenched” – people inspired by The Monkey Wrench Gang  with Tim Dechristopher
      • Geographic distribution of libraries  if perfect to create many nodes representing their local.
      • Poetry reflects the local landscape too:

        Poem from

        Poem from

      1. Jodi Shaw: Climate Change, Libraries, and Survival Literacy: A Practical Guide *
      • Get away from centralize infrastructure (the grid) and go uber local, libraries can help be a force to achieve this transition. Focus on cities. More than half global population lives in cities.
      • Grid – for water, energy waste, sewage, transport people and commodities, transmit communications.  It’s all getting old, but we all depend on it and are vulnerable because a of it.
      • Local infrastructures are more resilient  – have the local create them so they support them.
      • Our current high tech is using the old grid (one power line down it all goes out)
      • Even renewables depend on minerals harvested from the earth and live on the grid
      • How can we create and build the infrastructure locally?  Libraries! We can teach and offer resources:
      • Air – no good answer
      • Water – humans need 5 liters a day, need for growing food (animals), basic hygiene, sanitation (?)  – when cities flood then we are walking around in our own feces. Waterless sanitation!
      • Going off the pipe – rainwater harvesting, stormwater collection (italians are using coffee filters and other things to figure out how to get rid of heavy metals) – see her slides for other ideas. Maybe libraries can have examples of these for people to see – maerkspace-ish.
      • Food – rooftop gardens,  ( vertical farming (not a viable solution right now – still uses the grid and only for lettuce and herbs –  but ideas here that we can apply and learn from), hunting/gathering (picking local, what you can pick and how to eat it – libraries can offer resources and classes on this!)
      • Shelter – learn from slum dwellers who live very local – maybe we can learn from them?
      • Sanitation – we need to start composting our feces instead of putting it in the water.  Joe Jenkinds “humanure Handbook” been composting his feces for 30 years!
      • Energy –  going off grid but on the grid house.
      • Information – find it in the library
      • Teach Survival literacy 


      1. Jennifer Gunter King: A Changing Library for Rising Tides
      • Adapting to change – Designing off site collection spaces for materials for libraries that are in critical places
      • Start first with what is a library, question what we are and what we do
      • Hampshire college 1970 to prepared students for changing world; the library was also
      • “The library and information transfer center” a good read from 1969 that predicted trends of today
      • Library – knowledge commons – libraries teaching exposition skills, along with writing etc
      • Fastest rate of sea level rise in the world is from Cape Hatteress to Maine.
      • Are archives primary repositories?  Then how are we dealing with various local collections everywhere around the world. Can we share print regional repositories and get over the ego of ownership and come together, save energy in high density, shared space.
    1. Jacob Berg, Angela Galvan, and Eamon Tewell: Academic Libraries and the False Promises of Resiliency 
    • Libraries need to learn to say NO . We are professional martyrs.
    • It should be libraries save not save libraries
    • Angela Galvan: Resilience offers an individual response to a structural problem
    • We should pay more for salaries PEOPLE over things MATERIALS since those costs go up 5% each year our salaries do not.
    • Center for the future of libraries  – resilience theme. Does not like this.  Libraries have been resilient over the years  but  now it’s turned into librarians and archivists not the library as an institution
    • What we need is to Give people space to fail. (uh yea that is behind the maker movement)
    • Collection dev can offer counter narratives
    • Neoliberal  fight for resilient resources
    • “Think like a marxist” – who benefits from these narratives about resilience?
    • Supervisors: Encourage risk taking, give space to fail, staff time to be melancholy 
  2. Q/A I really connected to sense of place  (placelessness) theme in the talks today!
    Adaptation? Or not? Words. Nuances. Hidden meanings. Narratives. Discussion  ensued on the 2 ideas of resilience  – and its connection to what we came here today to solve. Conflation of resilience term.  The term is used here in terms of resiliency of communities (and their libraries)  facing environmental change not people.  Are libraries now pushed in competition for funding and existence –  which in turns is pushes the burden on the staff/the people after collections?————————————————————————————————————————————-10:30-12:00 – 20-minute papers – Maintaining Access, Digital Resilience
  3. 1.Heather Christenson: The Large-scale Digital Library and Response to the Anthropocene
    • Research library at large scale Hathi Trust, 128 libraries (north america) mission is preservation and access.
    • Digitizing resources even though they are from the past, the ideas/concepts can be used again, learned from. Such as solar power or electric cars – might give us ideas we can apply now.
    • Bethany Nowviskie   – digital humanities in the anthropocene 
    • Check out the “Other lab” in san fran

2. Sarah Lamdan: Improving Access to Environmental Information and Records (Lawyer and librarian)

    • We have no good laws in the US on what environmental info is and parameters on what we collect and save.
    • According to the EU –  What is environmental information?  See slide
    • Decentralized information. On so many location – national and local. Can be really frustrating to find the info needed. Multitude of sources. From researchers to govt to polluters  so …. She wrote a book on it/coming out soon:  Environmental information: research access and decision-making by sarah lamdan
    • Quick review of govt processes:  Legislature branch passes laws and create documentation. Judicial interprets what that documentation means and how it applies.  Executive is where most information is created (NASA, EPA, etc) and executive orders tell those agencies to do it …. Legislative branch = congress –  grants admin authority to the agency to figure out how to carry details out. These agencies can response quickly more so than legislature.
    • Why is it so impt?  3 key reasons: Much of our environmental data is in gov databases.  they use this info to make decisions, and we have a right to know what our government is up to!
    • Data Refuge! FOIA is broken – we need central hubs for this information and experts to help us understand it, advocate for open access of information and quick access.
    • Recommends re read (have in our library) and comment on laws and proposals —  the art of commenting beth mullins 

    1. Robert Montoya: Documenting Biodiversity: Information, Libraries, and Professional Ethics

    The catalog of life: nomenclature and hierarchy  Global database of species

  1. 1:00-2:40 – 20-minute papers – Architectures of Resilience
    1. Paulina Mikiewicz: The Library of 2114

    Not a librarian but studies libraries.


    • Library of water
    • Global seed vault in Norway
    • Baltimore aquarium seeking status to be a living library (?)
    • Liyuan library in china


    1. Charlie Macquarie: Libraries, Landscapes, Stewardship: The Library of Approximate Location
    • Its easier to imagine the end of the world then the end of capitalism!
    • The American West as living Space by Wallace Stegner
    • End of capitalism we could start to organize things much like we do as libraries.


    1. Eira Tansey, Ben Golditman, Tara Mazurczyk, and Nathan Piekielek: Climate Control: Vulnerabilities of American Archives to Rising Seas, Hotter Days and More Powerful Storms
    • Intense session on climate change and climate modeling and how scary it really is!
    • Next Steps – archives need to start collecting data about ourselves (archive local data), open data for public reuse
    • “what if it’s a big hoax and we created a better world for nothing”  cartoon


    1. Mark Wolfe: Efficiency: Friend or Foe of Sustainability? Exploring the Impact of Jevons Paradox on the Archival Profession
    • In economics, the Jevons paradox (or effect) occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand. EX: More lanes on a highway = more traffic!
    • What would jevons drive a prius or a hummer? (actually the hummer has its own carbon tax built into it aka user has to put more $$ into their commute) Paradox of fuel efficiency. It actually increases use of fuel.
    • Dream of the paperless office – a falsehood.  Rise of the PC gave rise to MORE paper docs
    • Moore’s Law – really an observation – “the number of electronic components which could be crammed into an integrated circuit was doubling every year”
    • Invest in people not things
    • More greener repository means less carbon tax so you can build MORE spaces; growing means more use instead of less. And we end up with more “dirty” activities (like I saved a lot of money so I can take a long hot shower!)
    • Suggested read – Peter Senge Thinking of System


    2:40-3:30 – Five minute lightning talks with 15 minutes for discussion

    1. Carla Leitao: Foundation Landscapes of Massive Oblivion
    2. Wendy Highby: The Tesseract, The Tesla, and the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis: How Librarians Can Save the World
    3. William Denton: GHG.EARTH
    4. Andrea Atkins: Libraries and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union
    5. Beth Filar Williams: Integrating Sustainability into the Daily Work Practices: Lessons Learned as a Manager
    6. Evi Klett: Supporting Regenerative Practices in Denver: Programming and Networking @DPL
    7. Sarah Burke Cahalan: Libraries and Laudato Si’
    8. Amanda Avery: Our Dark Materials: A Steampunk Future for Libraries?




ELUNA Conference 2017 (Ex Libris Users of North America)

Tuesday – the day before Day One

As usual this will be an informal, slightly fictionalized version of the events that ensued during my travels.  I mostly tell the truth.  But I also mostly make things up as I go. So.  This all started at 5:45 am.  Unless you count the dog waking up at 5am, and again at 5:30 am forcing me to repeatedly roll over and pile the pillows over my ears (because the dog wakes the cat up and the cat meows incessantly until you get up and feed him). So I  guess I can’t blame it on the dog after all.

Planes were on time, and taxi lines were long, but I read quite a bit of “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer.  I recommend it and you can borrow it when I’m done (seriously) but if you paint yourself white and stand on a milk crate, I take no personal responsibility.  Here’s what I learned as the plane flew across the midwest:
“Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with – rather than in competition with – the world.
Listening fast and caring immediately is a skill in itself.
I have no interest in DIY. I’m much more interested in getting everybody to help me.  I think a better definition might be UWYC. Use what you can.”

I also learned that it is okay to make people wait.  You are valuable. They are valuable also.  They deserve your time.  You deserve to take time.  If this is true of everyone, we need to stop hurrying and start investing.  Period.  Mic drop.

I got a cushy room.  Only for one night.  I need to pack up in the morning, move myself to a different hotel and carry my bags around. Aaargh.  Oh well.  I’m at a conference in a budget crunch.  I will complain as little as possible.

I spent the evening at a very good reception in a 3 story establishment with skeeball, foosball, pacman, and ping pong and I got to play them all.

I was also lucky enough to be joined by Dan, our discovery librarian *who I’ve added to the share in case he wants to comment or defend his honor.*

I ran into a scad of folks from the Alliance that I know who think OSU must just be an oasis of brilliancy, and who, of course, constantly threaten to steal our people (as they have with C-Dog and Zac).  Alas.  It’s hard having all the best colleagues – you guys rock.

TOMORROW.  6 am, I’ll rise, shower, and walk to the conference hotel with my prospects and my pick axe – and I’ll be digging for the dream. (“Every day that you get up and force your cards
Playing your story in fits and starts. Take your prospects and your pickaxe” Indigo Girls)

Miss you already.  Thank you for making this possible.

Wednesday Day
Or “In one hotel and out the other.”

Breakfast was delicious with bagels and scrambled eggs.  I ran into Julie Kowalski Ward from San Jose (who I met at the Access Services conference a couple years ago) – they’re going live in Alma next month and nervous! I’m going to try to have lunch or dinner with her this week and see what kind of questions she has.  Now for the conference.

I got a chair in the back because it looks like we’ll be sitting awhile!  Record attendance again this year – over 700 people.

Habib Tabatabai is giving the welcome – mostly just recognition of the user’s group leaders and committees.  Mentioned that the user’s group will be focusing on Authentication, Knowledge Base, Alma usability and the new UI (user interface), Primo new UI, and Alma/Primo combined backoffice.


Mary Case – University of Illinois, University Librarian
Better Together: Enriching our Community Through Collaboration

Global community of collaboration, not just local consortia.  This includes not just shared collections and buying for the group instead of the institution, but also collaborating on data storage and preservation, research access, storage of de-duped collection and the maintenance of the agreed upon remaining print collections.  Requires a long-term plan to make sure we never lose the last known print copies as we go through the process of de-duping our collections.  OSU does this with the WEST program I think.  Those are the journal titles that come through circ and still indicate “Non-Circulating” – we have the copy that was saved!! Don’t lose it!  Public mission for collecting preserving cultural memory – special collections and archives are a huge help in this.  Not a very interesting keynote.  I’m kind of surprised.


Eric Hines – President, ExLibris North America
Global Company Update

A bit of a history of ExLibris, but one interesting thing – good company attracts good customers, BUT also good customers attract MORE good customers.  Which makes me believe that the Alliance (and OSU) are more than doing their share to keep Ex Libris flush.  One more good thing.  Community has the ability to bring things from the edges of the group to the center – for help, AND for growth.  Some of those folks on the edges have really good ideas!
Matti Shem-Tov – President, Ex Libris

Interesting points:  Over 1000 ideas have been submitted on the ideas exchange!  Wow – that’s crowd activity.  No indication from the speaker on how many of those ideas have been made real.

Break time – I got to check into my new room and the view is amazing.

Next Generation Library Services – this will be multiple speakers and appears to be a great big long advertisement for ExLibris products.  Including cheesy videos with dramatic soundtracks.

Bar Veinstein

“Generation CX” Customer eXperience.  Designing for the users – both us *libraries as customers* and OUR patrons.  Focus this year on staff workflow streamlining, increased user community collaboration, services consistently available, and addressing staff needs quickly.

New Alma UI promises less clicks to get things done, more customizable screens and fields, and a more intuitive layout.  Added 10 more ideas exchange points for each user, have developed 36 ideas so far (there’s the answer from Matti’s presentation above).  36 out of 1000, well….  Adding Benchmark Analytics (I’ll be attending a session on this later in the conference).  Ability to compare workflows and use stats against others – also unique and overlap records, etc.  These should be extremely helpful for acquisitions and cataloging to my mind. Check out Oklahoma OVAL (virtual academic lab) – they are doing some super cool things!  

“Bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and Beauty to people’s lives.”  Don Norman

Shlomi Kringel

Discovery and resource lists – This discussion promises to be mostly about Summon (ProQuest), Primo and Leganto (reading lists product for course reserves).  Much of it won’t apply since we aren’t using some of these tools, but I’ll try to grab anything of value.  OOH- here’s a bit on the unified management of Primo and Alma *and a session Friday morning on it I’ll try to go to* – at this point, just a mention that combining config of the 2 products into one platform will make eas of publishing and record movement/edits much more simple.  AMEN.  Leganto looks cool but I believe it costs extra.  It allows instructors to use the lists themselves, make additions, drag and drop items into the lists, and etc.  Involves the instructors far more directly in their process of reserves, also allows for email/text integration through Canvas to notify students when a reading list has been created for their courses.

Ido Peled

Mobile Campus Solutions (CampusM) – supporting student services.  Estimated 5 hours per day on mobile devices for the average American.  Immediacy and urgency are built in to mobile devices.  CampusM creates a portal experience for mobile where all the different apps/contacts/sites they need to use can be put into one place.  Seems like ExLibris version of MyOSU, but includes “MyAccount” displays from Primo/Alma, cross platform similar to google integrations where all the things are in all the places (also like iCloud).  But can’t really tell if it’s trying to also be a learning management system like blackboard/Canvas.  Very odd.  But interesting.  ID box and push notifications – you can use cards or boxes at the entrance to rooms and buildings (or on people’s name tags) that work with apps to broadcast something whenever you’re close to them! I’m in love with this idea and need to read more on it – I think this is called cell broadcasting….

Okay LUNCH!  Macaroni and cheese, and Chicago Style pizza (as envisioned by hotel catering) – if that’s really what Chicago Pizza is like, I think my taste needs further development to get to a point of appreciation.  The mac and cheese was yum.

Alma UX – new user interface – Dana Sharvit (ExL)

This room is at almost double capacity so I’m sitting on the floor but will try to keep as good of notes as possible.  So far just an explanation of the process for coming up with the designs and functionality through user input, focus groups, and beta testers.  Workshop to get people to do their regular workflow from beginning to end – this taught them a lot about how people are using their product.

Multiple customizable menus including favorites, search display contents you can choose metadata elements you’re interested in.  Drop down in repository search displays previous 10 searches.  Right click to perform actions – no longer need all the action buttons.  Advanced searching allows you to type in the field you want (for instance “Location”) and it will bring up the terms that contain that option.  Uses “Look up OR Select” so you don’t have to go through all the steps to find your locations.  Still filters on the left, buttons on the right.  Most functions will ahve a different look but similar functionality so no need to re-learn process, but definitely we will have to re-do all the screenshots that include menus and navigation….

Rollout – May 21 for the focus group sandboxes. July for our testing sandboxes at the Alliance.  Alma community August or September release in production.

I’m actually presenting on the new UI at Summit/Fulfillment Day in early August, so I’m going to have to make huge push during that July sandbox period!  Yikes!

Analytics and Your Neighbors – Comparative Approaches – Aasof Klein @Rima Reves: this guy reminds me so much of Donovon presenting for Yoel Korick (ExL)

Comparative analytics needs to find a good balance of group size, number of institutions, comparative institution size and volume.  Benchmark Analytics requires a breadth of comparison and big data, key performance indicators (KPI), while Comparative Collection Analytics operates at a depth of comparison – small group, specific data

KPI need to be snapshot-ed every month or every year to enable the identification of trends

Example of need – ordering to shelf-ready time is significantly longer than reported at other institutions.

Data is kept non-identifying – collaborative and peer-measurable (so you can narrow down comparison sets).  Student body size, collection size, circ numbers, gate count, etc to allow you to decide peer to peer.

In analytics, Benchmark Preview.  3 subfields – KPI measures, KPI date, Institution Profile

Dashboard example allows you to choose public, academic, consortial, etc.

I’m left wondering (and will have to ask unless he says) if we will get this data from everyone or only those who volunteer – and how many will volunteer, or have the time to get the data entered?  (Just got the answer – 70% of Alma institutions have opted in.  @Dan Moore: Have we?  When was this decided? I totally think we should)! Will they supply preset canned reports that we can edit by date, location etc.?  Hoping that’s the case for consistent comparison – everyone builds reports differently otherwise and the data might not mean what you think it does.

Some areas of interest still coming – number of items in Reserves location added each year; fines and fees – money owed, how many owe, money waived.  Transit time.  Borrowing vs. Lending for resource sharing.  

Collection analysis – IS identifying – this is for working with partners to create shared collections that do not duplicate, or only duplicate to a predetermined extent.  These institutions will have agreed in advance to share their identifying inventory data with each other.  This will work really well for the Alliance.  Compare holdings, depth of collection in various areas, prep for remote storage, agreed retention of final print.  This is wonderful and cool, and will probably, ultimately decimate our print collections.  While that is painful thinking in my world, the idea of fresher collections and more space is kind of a great thing. I wish you all were here to be in on this so I won’t lose the thread of all this before I get home and have time to talk with people about it!  

Data contribution is turned on in Analytics configuration, profile question 1.  I can double check this!
Ours is NOT turned on!  So we can’t use or be used!  We’ll add this to the next SILS meeting list.

Unlocking your Library with Alma’s Open Platform – Josh Weisman (ExL)

Alma open platform – integrations with other systems, REST APIs, and community to share what you’ve learned or need to learn (blog and forum).  Use the developer network to get these things started.

Tableau Web Data Connector – allows library data to be included from Analytics.  This is brand new and available on GitHub it’s open source.  I don’t know if we use Tableau, but there’s a very easy connector that just asks for a key.  Pulls in the column names and data types, calls the API behind the scenes and populates it into the report.

SWORD Digital Deposit Protocol – not familiar with this project for document deposit interface.  But there’s an API for that.

Webhooks – a new way to communicate with Alma (HTTP callbacks) – when an event happens in Alma, it calls a REST endpoint with a predefined response – thing it does.  So when X, do Y.  You can see the back end structure in the letter activity screen.


Has to support GET and POST.  Configure in integration profile, Webhooks, URL and a Secret to test.  Can be used to trigger job order.  Once on job ends, start the next.  Or once a holdslip email is sent, send an SMS text message as well….  I want to learn more about all of this.

Login via email is also set up at the same place social logins are set up – this is an interesting idea if we get stuck with no internal auth.  But no EZproxy integration.

I really wish I had time to learn and apply all of these tools.  It seems like there is so much we could be doing given time and understanding.  Maybe a class on integrations?  I need to know more.


Administrator Changes in Primo & Alma – Jean Vik (Univ of TX)

This is the last session of the day and my tablet battery is almost dead so you may or may not get full notes in here.

Oh geez.  This is going to be a whole presentation about what gets changed in Primo instead of in Alma.  I don’t know if this is going to be too useful to me since I can’t get into Primo Back Office.


I just made what I hope was a quiet and graceful exit.  Off to the hotel room and then dinner with the Alliance members who are here.  Dan is coming, and maybe Richard – it’s at Olive Garden so I think ravioli is in my immediate future!

I’ll recap dinner if I get back nice and early, otherwise – I’ll catch you all tomorrow!


Thursday Day Two

Scenes from last night include trying to walk to the dinner restaurant and being overcome by a deluge from the sky that forced me back to the hotel for shoes, socks and pants.  I was naive to believe that my status as a native Oregonian would protect me from, or at least prepare me for a Chicago-area rainstorm.  There was lightning. After that I ate some of Olive Garden’s crockery.  No really.  I’m currently attempting to digest ceramics.  Anyway – enough of that.  I got up and joined an impromptu meeting on Resource Sharing vs. Fulfillment Networks in Alma and learned a few interesting things about how they do it in Wisconsin.


Ex Libris Strategy Update

Oren Beit-Arie (ExL Chief Strategy Officer)

ExL wants to extend their reach beyond libraries and into research, teaching and learning, and academic leaders.  In the research cycle, funding and re-use/openness rules, and competition are the 2 main drivers.  Visibility is critical.  ExL wants to move into data management and research storage, compliance and IR community supports in a single system environment.  System of Research Records.  Researcher deposits, sync with external repositories, capture published content.  Enhance metadata and identifiers, ad data linking and OA workflows.  Sounds like they want to move into campus-wide solutions (like their campusM tool) and focus more on the building institutional repository and data management tools.  Hoping this shift in focus doesn’t take away from their Alma commitments.


Customer Life Cycle at ExL

Jane Burke (ExL VP Customer Success)

YIKES – going to go work on email.  This is more of the ExL sales pitch and etc.  Yay! 1 hour to catch up!  


Document Delivery and Delivering Digitized Items – Nate Turajski “Solutions Architect”

And now that I’ve seen the presenter’s title, I’ve decided that we should all get “Solutions Architect” name tags. What do you think?  Do you love it?

I know that circ isn’t involved in doc delivery but this looked really interesting and it’s definitely functionality we have yet to explore in Alma.  **January 2017 release notes have good instructions.  Workflow for owned physical copy by email attachment, or link if you add it to the repository.  Depositing the article allows for limits of how many times it can be viewed and how long before it’s flushed.

Use regular request feature, then patron digitization.  Add Partial Digitization designation to have pages/chapter options pop up.  Have to be copyright clearance approved – waiting for copyright clearance is a status.  When ready to digitize, change to the digitization department (instead of the circ desk) because it really is a work order.  Set up is in fulfillment configuration menu under digital fulfillment, and user needs to be set up as an operator.  This is a simple enough process that I want to try a couple of tests of it when I get back.  I know that the upstairs folks are busy busy and use the scan and deliver, but this looks like a reasonable option – not knowing their full workflow I’m not sure if this would be an improvement or not.  It sounds like sending a link will of course require us to have storage space outside of Alma (unless we want to subscribe to their Alma D repository program solution).  More later – this will be fun to explore!  AND Ray indicated that she thinks we HAVE an Alma D subscription but she’ll have to check with Al to confirm that.  


Lunch!  Taco bar and Churros.  Happy tummy.


Management Q&A

These are questions sent in by conference attendees for the ExL managers.  Most of the answers are very surface level and the questions tend to express uncertainty and worry that people really aren’t sure how migrations might go or what the future of projects in discovery might look like as ExL redirects its resources toward new products.

Live questions included addressing the Chrome upgrade that broke stuff last month and what to do with our reliance on web browsers and their upgrades.  I asked a question about the new projects vs. the commitment to improving existing products with only 36 ideas exchange implementations.  Not much of an answer.


Calendars in Alma – Seriously??? – Tari Keller (UKY)

She’s got 10 libraries with different hours.  Hoping she’ll have some tricks and tips but so far this looks like basic configuration. Instructions in the wiki are just as good for this part.  She seems to use the calendar for informational pieces or things like that.  They don’t trigger anything though.  She mentioned that even though the libraries had similar hours, she had to duplicate the calendar.  But I got curious and this isn’t actually true.  If you add standard operating hours to the institution calendar, they will inherit to any libraries that DON’T have their own designating standard hours.  So you put the institution hours as the most common hours in this instance and only enter standards into individual libraries that are different.  I tried it with IPPC that has no hours/due times so nothing to mess up ((hoping I didn’t break anything – I think I deleted all of my attempts)).  I am doing a session on calendars at Summit/Fulfillment Day and think I’ll be sure to mention the different closing/different due time in multi library institutions, and using events to trigger exact due date by TOU and fulfillment rules.  This could be used to have regular collection books not due until beginning of next term but allow reserves to circulate as normal over the break, etc.  Rolling rules over at 1 year – potential effect on overdue #of days if you delete too soon, but annually works well. Very basic session but at least it got me thinking!  I’ve got ideas for August now.


Alma Product Update and Roadmap

Assaf and Dvir (missed their last names)

Main drivers include resource management, gaining insights, UX, collaboration, open platform operability, Acquisition streamlining (and other units).


Insights is about Analytics and the mission to benchmark and comparative analytics – Saw a full session on this earlier.

Unified Resource Management – this is more of the Alma D I was talking about, repository deposits, digitization workflow and etc.

Alma new UI for this summer (also saw this earlier)

Collaboration – convert/transform your records to move them out for consumption by 3rd party software.  Metadata integration with linked data and enhancing the metadata editor to work with linked records, support triple store service and using BIBFRAME.  I’m sure that Ian and the upstairs crew will understand all this and that.

Audience questions about continued dedication to making the community zone functional – working with other vendors to make it cleaner and easier to ingest records without creating dupes and errors.

Alma analytics – any move to real time data? No specific plans but interested

And that was it! Not a lot to go forward with, but there were a lot of small details in the printed document that weren’t presented here.


Alma Working Group Meeting

I’m not a member of this group but sitting in on their meeting just to see what they’re about.

  1. Enhancements – we’re waiting on pointing and 2nd round votes.  WG leadership is hoping for a more successful outcome – may work toward presentation of a low and set number of enhancement requests (5-10 possibilities) instead of the hundreds we start with.  A way to use our votes more strategically and to put ALL your points on the biggest issue each year so we can move some of these important things forward? Does EVERY request deserve to have it’s hearing?  Or should the group remove the requests that have low impact, low transferability, small # of impacted users?  Maybe raise the bar for submission of the enhancement requests including use case, screenshots and etc.  Incomplete enhancements or those that do not make sense should just be rejected.  Number of points is inadequate, missing functionality should not be an enhancement.  
  2. Authentication Focus Group – internal password options for removing them, but we need something other than just social media pass-throughs
  3. Primo/Alma mix project – session tomorrow
  4. UX Project for new UI – improved ergonomics, working on feedback methodology, May 24 in sandboxes for early adopters.  Look, feel, and ergonomics but not changes in HOW things work, just where they are and what they look like.
  5. Community Zone management

Working group is turning over after 4 years of service and looking for new members.


Dinner at Big Bowl (Thai food – not bad) and then planning Alma – The Musical with Mary from UO. We will be famous, we will mock, we will sing.  Rehearsals coming to a workroom near you.


Friday – Day Three


Slept through my alarm meant to wake me up in time to get a run.  Kind of on purpose.  I was really sleepy this morning.  Ray brought her extra chips and cookies and I’m taking them tomorrow for the plane!  Super Score!


Automation and Batch Processing for Remote Storage – Sarah Koller (UCDavis)

Their regional storage serves 10 campuses and they DO NOT duplicate titles.  Once an item is in storage it is shared between all campuses.  Their offsite storage does NOT use Alma, so once the item is moved.  Needed the item to not show in Primo because it can’t show true availability.   Need to move both monographs and serials.  This will be about monographs.  Used “change holdings information job” – required them to use a norm rule and Droolz (I know nothing of this but hope to learn).  Norm rule added a note to each holdings that it was relocated to storage – also provided an opportunity to check that other parts of the record were clean.

Create a set for monograph single, monograph multi-volume, and serials (depending on what you’re doing) – imported from Excel as an itemized set.  Employee the norm rule in the change holdings info job.  Once run, check the records for accuracy.  Then deletes items while maintaining the holdings and bib records.  Item list should be empty.

Note needs to go in the holding record because the item records will be gone.  Holdings stays so the record shows up in Primo but without availability.  Wondering if they could add a public note to each of these with a URL to the storage facility’s page?  OR make the title of the location a link to that page?  They used a button instead and it worked better – pre populates the ILL request form they use for pulls from storage.  Also I think buttons are supposed to be better than links for low vision/blind users and screen readers.

**Side note that Haithi Trust will send links to materials that you have had but no longer have (which is why they don’t delete ANY of their bibs and holdings).  Should this be true for us too?


Advanced Analytics – Allison Erhardt (UManitoba)

Change editor in “My account” preferences to start on the criteria page instead of results page.

Dashboard reports are based on loan date criteria – problems include the idea that returns will only be counted on items LOANED during that time AND returned during that time.  So if your range is March Loan Dates, something borrowed in February and returned in March would not count.

Lifecycle (physical items) – Active and None (deleted will bring back everything – even though they’ve been withdrawn)

Customize error reports in the xyz button results display, display custom message to make results message more friendly.  This is done per report.

***Bins act like a filter in reverse.  Groups your data together.  Loans per hour and per day of week.  Lists each one which is not what you want.  Put them in a bin and it will tell you how many instead.  Use Edit Formula and choose Bins tab.  Add a Bin to get Loan Time “Is between”

This is something I needed just 2 weeks ago. @Amila: This would have been so helpful when you were pulling laptop loans and returns.  Keep it in mind for the future.

Prompt order to put months in order instead of alphabetical.  Edit prompt (pencil button, options, choice List Values)

Adding a chart or pivot table from the view button (with the plus mark)

***Filter by results of another report – this for patron purge.  Report of expired patrons filter by report of expired patrons with fines.  add filter that the primary ID appeared in previous list (last option in the filter list- based on results of another analysis.  @April: let’s look at this as it will make your patron purge lists so much easier to use.  We should be able to cut out the entire excel portion of the process!!

Analytics special interest group list



Just Like Starting Over – Using Primo and Alma for Course Reserves

Molly Gunderson (PSU)

Reserves are free in Alma, (even eReserves), more mobile friendly, single sign-on

Their method:

  1. Create Course (Terms list can be edited – @Rima: Would this be helpful?), add dates and instructor.  Save.
  2. Create Reading List from the course’s dropdown Menu.  Use status complete because if you walk away it might not ever get finished.  Click on “Work On”
    1. Repository addition do search, find item, change location, add item policy if needed
    2. Personal copy – material type is limited to book or article.

Nothing new here yet.  This is very much the same as what we’re doing.

Widgets for CMS (for us Canvas).  I’m not sure if we have this and don’t know how we would get it done…. I think we have a chat widget so wondering if there might be a search box with it?

They are creating an item for eReserves that is a “Course File” and then link that out to the list of stored documents – she did not designate where that list lives, but the documents are stored on PSU servers rather than in Alma.  If we have Alma-D we could use their space and use links which she said is preferable so you can count clicks.


Data and Holds from Alma to Banner – Joe Ferguson (UTennessee)

Students who owe more than $X, a hold is sent to banner – not monetary data, but a hold. Sent to banner daily, updated in Alma hourly

Uses PHP script, MySQL Database, Alma Integration Profile.

Integration profile to export user blocks (it’s in the patron loader profile – already set up, just needs to be configured and turned on).  Sends file to the MySQL Database (this is the same idea as the parser program you use @Emma when you send fines and fees).  Database writes a file that Banner understands and dumps it on a server for Banner to pick up.  Hourly, runs a job to check if the student still owes $X – if not, writes to file to REMOVE the hold. Could use Webhooks (just learned about these the other day but runs and if/then or do/when process and could keep from having to run for updated removals hourly).

They are mostly doing this because they only send active fines over after they are a year old!! So they need a way to dig at people to get the fines paid – the hold does that without posting charges to Banner until they are super old.  They also take cash which is good because it potentially keeps students from getting pushed into collections unless they’ve been a year out, but still allows a built in “nudge.”  They don’t send faculty/staff charges at all!  Only have them pay in-house.

**@April: Check and see if the “Fine Fee Status” in Analytics could be used in setting the patron purge report more easily.  

When they send the fines to Banner, the Bursar’s office sends the library money and buys the debt.  If this is true for them, is this happening here?  I had always heard that we didn’t get money from the Bursar unless/until the student actually PAYS the fine.  If we are really being paid for the debt, before it is paid this makes me really nervous.  I wonder who at Kerr I should ask.


The only thing left is the key note at 2pm!  I’ll see you then.  LUNCH!


I spent the hour after lunch helping Julie Ward from CSU to look at her fulfillment configuration.  They go live next month and I wanted to help her understand how the rules and their order matter. I missed the keynote speaker except for now he’s answering questions that I have no context for.  I feel bad that I missed it but hoping that was helpful for Julie – she’s awesome.  There are so few people still here but I wanted to be able to see the afternoon sessions (it looks like there’s actually one more after this) and not get home after midnight.  


Closing Session – Habib Tabatabai, ELUNA chair

Financial summary report, introduction of new committee.

Next year’s conference will be May 2-4, 2018 in Spokane Washington at the Davenport Grand Hotel! This should dramatically reduce conference costs for Alliance institutions and foster a huge amount of residence sharing.  We’ve all got friends in Spokane!


Alright everyone.  That’s a wrap.  I fly out tomorrow and should be back to work on Monday!  Thanks to all of you who held down the fort while I was away.  I’m sorry to read that you have dealt with odors, power outages, absences, car trouble, plague and loneliness.  While I can’t resolve these problems, I will be happy to return and share in your misery!


OLA Conference 2017 – Thursday, April 20th

Amila’s notes from Thursday, April 20th, at the OLA Conference 2017. Conference website:

Keynote: “Libraries Save: Sharing Resources, Building Community & Providing Refuge During Uncertain Times” (8:30am-10am)

I didn’t take notes during the keynote but the speaker, City of Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, was very inspiring. She has led an interesting and often challenging life and her keynote focused on all of the ways that libraries were indispensable to her as she was dealing with youth homelessness, burgeoning political activism, opening an alternative bookstore, her son’s cerebral palsy, and running for city council. I would look her up if you’d like some inspiration!

Poster session (10am-11am)

This went great! I drew in a lot of people and told them our story and answered questions they didn’t even know they had. Since our poster was so… wordy… it meant that people could read the poster without my intervention, which was also nice. There were a lot more public library folks from small libraries so it wasn’t quite the same crowd or level of enthusiasm as at the Access Services Conference (and David wasn’t there to rile the crowd up). A lot of people took my fliers and said they’d be in touch with questions. One guy has wanted to start a board game collection at this library for years and we may have inspired him to just go for it!

Session 1: Libraries Save: Group Discussion about Innovative and Creative Approaches to Serving Community Needs (11am-12:30pm)

This session was kind of a continuation of the keynote with Chloe Eudaly. Chloe wanted to know what issues our libraries were dealing with, what cool things we were doing, and how she could help or connect us to people who could help. It was an “unconference” style so we just went around the room and talked about our libraries. As such, this session was a hodgepodge of ideas, resources, and cool things to look into. Here are some of them:

  • A lot of the public libraries are letting non-profits use their conference rooms for free. Unfortunately, we can’t do this. Our classrooms (Barnard, Autzen, and the Willamette seminar rooms) are not available to groups that are off-campus. The classrooms are free to use for OSU groups. We have fairly strict policies governing the use of these rooms as they are quite popular and they are some of the only free and easy-to-reserve multipurpose rooms on campus.
  • Some libraries had programming to teach people where to start engaging in the community and how to donate time and money. I didn’t write down which libraries, though. It sounded like Multnomah County was doing some of this work?
  • Multnomah County also has a “digital equity in learning” librarian position that sounded pretty cool. Here’s a little more on their library’s digital inclusion work (aka, services that tackle poverty and barriers to information access):
  • When speaking of hunger and food charity, people mentioned a new book that was just released by MIT Press about “the Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups”. It’s called “Big Hunger” and it looks pretty interesting:
  • I didn’t know this about eastern Oregon: 50 rural public libraries in eastern Oregon are part of a nonprofit called “Libraries of Eastern Oregon” and they collaborate on programs and services like science programs for lifelong learners and eBay workshops. It sounds pretty cool – rural libraries banding together to enhance the social capital of their often under-supported communities! Their website:
  • A lot of people in the audience had noticed that immigrants were not coming in to libraries as much as they used to because they’re afraid of the government and ICE and the library is a pseudo-government entity. People have found that library use, outreach, etc. have all declined because of this.

Session 2: Inclusive Library Team Culture (2pm-3pm)

This was a session by McMinnville Public Library staff about their 2013 initiative to create an inclusive library team culture and set staff ground rules and customer service standards that everyone must abide by. Their ideas were quite radical so the session was pretty interesting. Here’s a summary:

  • Here’s a link to their staff ground rules, also includes 14 takeaways:
  • What prompted this change?
    • Between January and June 2013 20% of their staff retired, 50% of staff were working new duties, and 80% of staff were under a new supervisor. Needless to say, this caused internal issues.
    • Upstairs vs downstairs tension (reference vs circulation)
  • They asked themselves: “What rules can we abide by day-to-day that would improve our relationships and service?”
  • At the staff retreat they decided to create staff ground rules that everyone would follow:
    • Brought in an outside facilitator to help them.
    • Brainstormed positive and negative ideas on post-it notes, did the dot exercise (similar to what LEAD did at the last retreat).
    • Then aggregated suggestions to the ground rules above.
  • They framed these new rules positively, as a good change
  • They read these rules at every meeting, as a refresher.
  • This change created a leadership pipeline:
    • As a leader, no longer just completing tasks. They’re now delegating and encouraging others to complete tasks.
    • They even relabeled departments as “teams” and dept heads to “leaders”
  • Breaking the rules and documenting that behavior:
    • The rules are very behavioral – it’s possible to document if people are following a rule or not.
    • The rules are very useful for setting expectations.
    • Documentation of behavior is necessary if you want to change behavior.
    • They talk to employees who are not following the ground rules. Wow! Lots of people asked about this!
    • Staff ground rules are all about what behavior people need to display. This has actually made the conversations and documentation easier.
    • It’s the responsibility of supervisors to not shy away from those conversations. Better to have difficult conversations sooner than later.
    • The supervisor has to step up and tackle an issue as the starting point to resolving it. Example: Saturdays weren’t divided up fairly. Their supervisor stepped in and made them fair.
  • You need concrete rules to point to when conflicts happen – to hold people accountable.
  • They had disciplinary proceedings for people who did not follow the ground rules. It did lead to some dismissals. Wow!
  • To get people with the attitudes they want, they’re very careful with their hiring. They care more about attitude and positivity thank skills.
  • Some other ideas that stemmed from this or are related to this:
    • They chose to care and do little things for people. They went from not caring about coworkers to genuinely caring about them.
    • Talked about focusing on positives and strengths.
    • Go with the flow: influence rather than control.
    • Give credit rather than take it.
    • Servant leadership: Serve those under you, help them succeed
    • Getting to yes: What way can we tell a customer “yes”
  • Also talked about developing customer service standards (see link)
  • All in all, they noticed a definite change in the library aura after implementing the ground rules. Even the patrons noticed and commented on how much better the library had become!

Session 3: Time Management: An Unconference Session (4pm-5pm)

This was an unconference-type session where we just shared recommendations and experiences about time management. There were about 30 of us and all of us have tried multiple time management techniques so there were a bunch of good ideas going around. We sat around in a circle and hashed things out. It was an informative session.

  • Here are some methods and tools for time management:
    • Pomodoro Technique. A lot of people in the group had ADD / ADHD. Apparently people with ADD experience time non-sequentially? So, techniques like Pomodoro don’t work well for people with ADD.
    • Dot journal / bullet journal: customizable, lots of physical writing (if you like that kind of thing)
    • TickTick task app: better for easy things
    • One Note and other note-syncing programs / apps
    • Errands app
    • Trello: a board app for tasks
    • GTD: “Getting Things Done” philosophy. Anything that takes more than 1 step to complete is a project.
    • Toggl app: tracking what you did with your time. Also has a useful Google-based extension.
    • Outlook
    • Google Calendar: Has “goals” that look for open spaces in your calendar to add your incremental goals (like a 15 min walk)
    • Sand timer: Yes, a physical sand timer for like 3 minutes or so for replying to emails. Imposes a time limit, prevents you from overthinking it
    • Paperclip reward system: Reward yourself for good behavior by adding a paperclip to a chain and building a chain of success. Really, this includes any method to gamify your incremental focus successes.
  • How to focus:
    • Plugin that yells at you when you navigate to a time-wasting page
    • Set fake deadlines. (How to make yourself really believe them?)
    • Respond to things right away before the urge to ignore it kicks in
  • Before you establish priorities, establish criteria for what’s important to you
  • Using people as a time management tool: reporting to others to hold yourself accountable.
  • When someone asks for help we often don’t want to say no. We like helping and saying yes. What to do?
    • Can say “Yes, but can you take this other thing from me?”
    • Give yourself time to respond yes or no. Tell them you’ll get back to them.
    • Think of it this way: when you say yes, you’re taking time away from other projects and tasks you want to do as well.
  • Pay attention to your body – observe stress before you get sick
  • Many of us in the group are bad at estimating how long something takes.
  • Look into appreciative inquiry, a change management tool

Next Generation Learning Spaces 2017

Overarching takeaways:

  • I was definitely not the target audience for this conference, both because I was from the US and also because of the types of learning spaces we focus on in the library.  That was both a strength and a challenge for me.  Hearing about what people are doing in another context is usually a great way to think about issues form a new direction, and this was definitely true for me here.  On the other hand, there were a LOT of presentations that were essentially infomercials for architects. This was particularly frustrating because architectural firms generally do research that would be useful, but with one exception, these didn’t report on that.
  • I also learned that in the UK, space planning/facilities work is referred to as “Estates” which comes across as Very Fancy.  As in “the Engineering Estates are looking a little shabby.”  The campus is the “Estates,” a unit or department’s buildings are referred to as the “Engineering (or Psychology, or Sciences) Estates” and so on.


The opening talk was from Marij Vaugelers from the University of Amsterdam and she was clearly charged with giving a “state of the field” talk. She relied heavily on documents from Educause and Gartner, though she also pointed to this report out of the UK which might be of interest:

Looking at the change curve – she positioned learning space talk here, which felt kind of accurate to me – after the honeymoon and trough of despair.

Overall, the talk felt to me like it could have been given at any point in the last 10 years, but given how heavily she relied on US sources, I think that might just be a reflection of the relative state(s) of this field. She was reporting on what was going on in the US for a fair part of the talk, so of course that was more familiar to me.


Eleanor Magennis from U. Glasgow gave one of my favorite talks at the conference.

(Basically, the talks that were about people’s own work were the best – the “tour of cool” talks running through a bunch of pictures of other people’s work were less so. And the talks where someone talked about their own work and focused on WHY they did what they did – what specific problems they were trying to solve, and what data they used — were by far the best.  Increasingly, I am of the opinion that learning spaces need to be pretty deeply situated in context — I’m not just ever going to want to replicate someone else’s space they built for their community.  So the more someone tells me about how they responded to their context, the more useful their talk is.  This was one of those.)


Eleanor works on learning space design for her whole campus (and is also part of the planning committee for the toolkit linked above)  and the University of Glasgow is currently working to bring a new “learning hub” space online, but this talk focused on 2-3 specific rooms that are already in use. Glasgow sounded like a spot that might be good for a site visit, if the opportunity arose.


  • Glasgow has a campus-wide “teaching/learning showcase” event every year that is attended by many of the teaching faculty and some students. The Estates group piggybacked off this event, to gather user feedback and input. They created a “showcase” room where they brought in furniture, set up a room and gathered feedback. We don’t really have a similar event here (University Day, maybe?) but it seems like a good idea to keep in mind.
  • They create these “fact sheets” for all new classrooms and learning spaces – this seems like a really good idea:
  • This was by far the best takeaway from the talk. They do a lot of data gathering and post-implementation assessment (this is one reason I thought they’d be a good space for a site visit – to get info on how they do this). She said the had hoped that they would find some clear directions from this data, but what they found was there is no clear best option. Different people need different spaces at different times and for different purposes, so the best option is to offer lots of variety.
  • Some of the best results for feedback come from paper postcards/drop boxes in the new spaces:



Louise Naylor from the University of Kent in Canterbury. This was by far my favorite talk of the conference and another location I think would be worthwhile for a site visit. Louise oversees 4 teaching and learning related units at Kent, including learning spaces, CTL type stuff, and assessment. She is also working on a major learning spaces project, but chose to focus this talk on something else – student collaborations.

The talk was great because 1. The student collaborations were aligned with things we’ve talked about doing, and 2. She spent a lot of time talking about informal and outdoor (!) spaces.

  • Kent has an articulated Education and Student Experience strategy (PDF) that values both the curricular and co-curricular learning, and which argues that education and student life need to be considered together. So learning space development considered both of those things.
  • The first thing she described was the Social Hubs Research project where anthropology students did investigative work to support learning space development.
    • They looked at usage of a variety of campus learning spaces to understand the broader learning culture of the institution as well as how specific spaces were used.
    • The methodology was developed in a graduate course, but implemented outside the classroom – many students worked on it, some as paid jobs.
    • Again, a primary finding of the research was that when it comes to learning spaces, one size does not fit all.
    • I talked to Louise about this project quite a bit, and she is going to connect me to the project leaders.
  • Creative Campus Projects:
    • The Create Café:
      • One problem to be solved (that is always super relevant in libraries): underutilized walkways and corridors:
      • Ran a student competition to redesign an ugly corridor that happened to be located in the ARCH school. The winning designer got an internship with a local architecture firm to make the project happen.
      • A café that can also be transformed into a seminar space OR a performance space.
      • Windows are also sliding doors to create an indoor/outdoor space (Note – this is a repeating theme).
    • Walkway that became student gallery space. Initially, it was used to showcase student art projects, but now has shown architecture projects and art by little kids.
    • Outdoor seating and game space outside the library, informed by Social Hubs research.
    • Student-created outdoor classroom from salvaged wood. Bookable on the university timetable.
    • Another = integrating wellness & learning. Canterbury Labyrinth:

There’s a chapter in this book about the space development process: Dunne, E., & Owen, Derfel. (2013). The student engagement handbook : Practice in higher education (First ed.). United Kingdom: Emerald:


This was co-presented by an academic (Engineer Peter Green) and an architect (Fedele Canosa), who collaborated to build a new building at the University of Manchester. The title was “an academic’s journey thorough leading a major project: The Manchester Engineering Campus Project.  Having both of them there elevated this beyond an architect’s infomercial and pushed the focus to why they made the choices they did.

  • Key question: How do you brief your architect/ what does the architect need to know? They distilled this down to a key question, one that I think is useful for us, too: What is special about teaching in this space? This pushed faculty away from the “what spaces to we need” to “what do we want to do.”
  • Faculty were also much better able to talk about potential spaces with visuals – with a draft design and model they could talk more effectively about what they needed, but also talk more effectively about how they could change teaching and learning in an new space. In other words, on their own, they had a hard time breaking out of the “lecture theater” mode. When they had designs to respond to, they could start thinking more in terms of multifunctional spaces.
  • They recommend thinking about:
    • First, behavior – what are users allowed to DO in this space?
    • Then, space – what physical and design elements will communicate or inspire that behavior.
    • And finally, how can we make the plans flexible, for when the future looks different than we’re predicting now.
  • Specifics about their space that I thought were interesting for us:
    • Big emphasis on opening up the teaching to the community. They’re not a land grant, of course, but there was a similar emphasis on breaking down walls between the institution and the community. So they put in glass walls – kind of like in the Pauling Center.
      • This was culturally challenging – some faculty really, really don’t want to teach “in public”
      • But this was cool – they’re envisioning “lunch and learns” where people can sit in on the edges of EXISTING COURSES.  This is actually already happening.
    • They had this big space that was used to move people from point A to point B for part of the day. But it was kind of a problem space – huge real estate, that couldn’t really be carved up. So they solved the problem by creating this massive staircase. Because with that, instead of just a conduit it can also double as an event space:

Obviously, we’re probably not going to create a huge staircase in the library for event space — what was relatable was the desire to create spaces that were multipurpose — this is a conduit to move people from A to B, but it can be easily configured into many different spaces and uses.  And specifically, the need for event space is, I think, frequently overlooked.  That huge staircase doubles as informal seating. There’s a glass wall that opens to the outside (and indoor-outdoor spaces were a recurring theme throughout the better talks). The space below can handle parties, poster sessions, lunch and learns and conferences, and it also connects directly to workshop space.


Ulrike Thomas and Pam Woolner from Newcastle talked about workshops they did with teaching faculty in advance of designing spaces. This was another good talk and another one where the speakers are open to sharing some of their activities with us.

The researchers here came out of K-12, but were put in charge of a campus project to build a new classroom space. The problem they were trying to solve was to create a space that would support active learning, in many disciplines, in large (100+) classes.

Diamond Pattern Activity

Give users/faculty a set of 9 images. Tell them to work in groups to arrange those images in a diamond pattern. In our case, we were to answer the question “what is the best and worse higher education spaces.” This was way too broad. But you get the idea.

nine rectangles representing images organized in a diamond pattern

Once the groups arrange the images, then you get people talking across groups about why they put different images where they did.

After this initial workshop, they created a Working Party User Group who came together to make decisions along the way.

So, if it had all been like these talks, the conference would have been awesome. But unfortunately, these were all of my favorite talks.  That said, I did have some additional takeaways:


Keith Lilley from the University of Sheffield, talked about a 81 million pound building project: The Diamond at the University of Sheffield:

This talk raised more questions than answers for me, but some of the questions where interesting:

FIRST – he talked about an intentional choice to keep all faculty space out — including offices.  So it is i just classrooms and informal learning spaces.  The faculty offices are in another building across the quad.

SECOND, he talked about this as a super-popular study space on campus.  In fact, he called it the most popular study space on campus (though I don’t know what data that is based upon) .  He also said that this space was heavily used by all students — not just engineers.

WHICH MADE ME WONDER — are those things related.  I have a hard time seeing a building owned by Engineering on this campus feel as if it was owned by all students.  Was the decision to keep faculty offices out connected to this feeling open and welcoming to all students?

AND ALSO MADE ME WONDER — this didn’t really feel and wasn’t described as an “anything goes” space.  The different learning areas within the building felt pretty controlled and locked down.  So how does that connect to students having a sense of belonging?

ALSO. THERE IS A LIBRARY IN THE SPACE.  This was super interesting.  It’s about 20K volumes, a core, multidisciplinary collection, and it’s non-circulating (though students can return books borrowed from other campus libraries there. It is a library, not a separate-from-the-library-collection-of-books).  He described the library within the Diamond as “The most popular study space on campus.”   Healso said later that The Diamond’s opening did not affect usage in two other heavily used libraries: the Info Commons and the more traditional library (sounded to me like an Odegaard/Suzallo type deal). Their numbers haven’t gone down, but have even gone up. They are interpreting this to mean that more students are choosing to study on campus as they provide more options.

So this raises a super future question about our stuff elsewhere on campus, and also raises a question about what kinds of things signify workspace to students — more on this below.


Mat Davies from the Said Business School at Oxford talked about two building-renovation projects.  Neither one of them was super relevant to us (though they did have some recurring themes — indoor/outdoor spaces, multifunction spaces, public workshop space)

He also said they LOVE site visits.

What was interesting here, was the intersection between the two projects he highlighted.

FIRST – A new executive education center. And not just any Exec Ed center. This is for the customized training programmes that super rich companies contract with Oxford to do. So, not sending your middle managers to Oxford for training, but having Oxford set up a bespoke program just for your people. In other words, of all of the audiences for a Fancy Oxford Business education, this audience was the Most Fancy. So a huge part of this project was making sure that the space itself was the Most Fancy. That meant super fancy finishing, a great location at the center of campus, and the like. There were some other interesting things – like these were week=long immersive programs, so all of the spaces, including the cocktail party spaces had to have educational outcomes attached. But the main thing for our purposes here is that this space had to be Fancy. Only the Best.

SECOND = an Entrepreneurship Center. This was put into an old Foundry building. Again, some interesting things – this was not so much as classroom as experiential space so most of the building was a huge, open “co-working” space in the middle with a flexible space at one end that could be turned into a performance or workshop space.

But for our purposes, the interesting thing here is that the design and décor was intentionally Not Fancy. It was entirely furnished with repurposed furniture and finishings. In fact, they used salvaged paneling from another building that they literally got out of the dumpster. In other words, it was intentionally designed to look DIY because that was the work they wanted to encourage in the space.

So my question here is – what design elements should we put in the studio to encourage the work that we want people to do there. What signifies authorship, creativity, serious work? I am wondering if we shouldn’t think about putting books in the space – I think books might signify that kind of work to people, even if they aren’t actively using them? There is a reason people like to study in the stacks or sit in the reading collection space?  Are there ways we can use technology to display the kind of creative or productive work we expect students to do in the space?


The most interesting thing for our purposes from Mark Brown from Dublin City University’s talk was an interesting bit with metaphors that might be interesting to talk about – different metaphors for learning spaces (habitat/home; cave, campfire, mountaintop, watering hole) and how different spaces should reflect different metaphors. Thinking with users about what metaphors resonate might be an interesting info gathering method.

This talk got me thinking about OSU – probably because it’s not Dublin City University and DCU is what the talk was mostly about – but I wonder if there is a way to connect what we’re doing with OSU. I’m not sure “studio” works super well with our users (or maybe it does – maybe that’s a broader term than I’m thinking about). But is there a way to get at what our students think is special about OSU and bake that into the name, or the design of the space?