ALA President Candidates Information

Hello, NMRT members and librarian friends! The time is almost near for ALA elections and voting. NMRT will be updating you about upcoming events and engagement opportunities with this year’s slate of ALA President candidates. Stay tuned to NMRT’s social media accounts for more information as things come down the pipeline!

If you would like to know the candidates a little better until then. Here are the ALA President candidates social media accounts!

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada’s information:
Website: www.lessaforlibraries.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lessa4Libraries
FB: https://www.facebook.com/lessaforlibraries
IG: @lessaforlibraries
Email: lessa@lessaforlibraries.com

Ed Garcia:
Website: edforala.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/edgarcia401
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdForALA/

Stacy Aldrich:
Website/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stacey_aldrich_for_ala_pres/

General election information: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/governance/alaelection

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NMRT March Bulletin

NMRT-Issue-21

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Geospatial Librarianship Webinar – Friday, April 2 at 12 PM EST!

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NMRT February Online Discussion: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By Kim Cull

The February discussion focused on a more difficult topic: diversity, equity, and inclusion in our library institutions. When I was thinking about moderating this discussion, I wanted to make it quite clear that I understand how difficult this topic can be for some people and that they do not have to share anything that makes them feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. That is something that I want to reiterate here as well: only share what you are comfortable sharing. Your trauma and experiences are not currency; only you get to own them.

To prompt the discussion, I posed four questions:

  1. How does your library institution support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts? What areas is your institution excelling in? Where do you think your institution is failing?
  2. What practical steps are you taking to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within your life, community, and institution?
  3. How do you or how can you address colleagues or patrons who are being discriminatory towards a person or group of people?
  4. What resources would you recommend to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion?

As with many things, DEI efforts look a little different at each institution. Some libraries appear to be doing a fantastic job and other libraries could do more. It is good to see that our libraries are trying even if it is not done perfectly or as quickly as we would hope. We live in a very wonderful and amazingly diverse country and world, and we should embrace it. We need to strive to make our staff representative of that diversity and our collections fit the needs of our communities. It is also time to re-evaluate our collection descriptions, subject headings, and how we classify materials within our collections. If the words we use are harmful and upsetting to someone in our community, we should make strides to change the language used and do better in the future. Obviously, there are often many challenges and roadblocks, but we should never stop trying.

One thing we discussed last month was that thinking about all the things you can do to bring change or all the things that need to change can be overwhelming and frustrating. It was suggested that we should start with small changes and then slowly build up to big changes. Instead of trying to update 5 outdated terms in the catalog and taking your proposal all the way to the Library of Congress, start with changing one term in house and go from there. Try building a relationship and trust with one underrepresented group in the community and slowly build bridges from there. Start diversifying one area of your collection instead of trying overhaul your entire collection. Small steps and changes can lead to much bigger changes.

Another thing discussed is that when it comes to confronting discriminatory actions done by those around us, how you respond can depend on your relationship with the person or people committing those actions. It helps to know how someone will respond before you step in and say something. Some people feel more comfortable confronting others, and some people would rather avoid that. Hopefully, one day we will live in a world where no one fears that they will not be welcome somewhere based on the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, their gender identity, their disabilities, or anything that makes them a little different.

The final thing discussed were resources that people could use to learn more about DEI topics. One suggestion was to look for free webinars on DEI topics. TED talks were also suggested because of the wide variety of topics available. This talk titled The Political Power of Being a Good Neighbor is quite good. Three books were also suggested: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (though there has been more criticism of the book within the last year), Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum.

Hopefully, this post encourages you to start making small changes to improve DEI efforts at your institution and within your community.

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NMRT Election 2021: Vice-President/President-Elect

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 8th through April 7th.

ALA election information can be found here!

Interview with CandidateMarie Day

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

I hope to accomplish smooth transitions and keep things running smoothly. I believe that the role of any leadership team lies in facilitating the goals and purposes of the organization. NMRT’s role as gateway, pathfinder, and stepping-stone to the American Library Association is a valuable one, even–and especially as–society undergoes major shifts and navigates multiple challenges. The Vice President’s main role is to support the current President while also preparing for their own term as President in the following year. As Vice President and a member of the Board, I will be able to serve as a resource and contact point for committees as they do their work and help remove obstacles to the success of the organization.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I am a systems librarian in an academic library, where I get to work behind the scenes to remove obstacles to access and facilitate the success of university community members by connecting them to resources through the effective use of technology. While dealing with software and user interfaces is much different than acting as a board member of a major professional organization and the two might initially seem quite far removed from one another, my view of them is colored by the librarian’s purpose of ensuring access to information.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

Answering questions by creating reports and dashboards in our library services platform is a tricky business, and the persistence it requires comes in handy in a lot of other situations as well. As I work with the Board to accomplish NMRT goals, it will become clearer to me where I can add value through my own particular skills. I have previously served as chair of the Vice Presidential Planning Committee and President’s Program Committee, so I have some familiarity with NMRT processes already.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

NMRT serves a valuable role in the profession because ALA is such a large and wide-ranging group and the prospect of getting started can be daunting. Those outside the library profession would be amazed by all the different angles there are to take. As Vice President, I would work closely with the President and Board Members to ensure that our activities are aligned with our stated goals and purposes.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

My experience as a member of NMRT has involved working with a diverse group of people from around the country working in different settings. I will work to enable the same positive experience for others. As a gateway to ALA, it is paramount that NMRT be welcoming of anyone and everyone joining the library profession.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

As Vice President, I will work to learn more about NMRT and what its particular strengths and weaknesses are so that I can address those during my following term as President. I have no particular agenda other than staying the course; I expect that NMRT will continue as a stable stepping-stone to librarianship and its high ideals.

Interview with Candidate: Kayla Kuni

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

I have been really impressed with the leadership that NMRT has displayed this past year. NMRT leadership made the bold decision to go virtual for Annual before any official decision had been made as to whether or not Annual would be in-person or online. I appreciate the boldness of that decision and hope to continue on with that process. I plan to continue to build NMRT and bring awareness to the mentoring program as this is an excellent opportunity for new ALA members to learn more about the roundtable and more about opportunities within ALA.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I enjoy that I am able to work with students, faculty, staff, my administration team, my colleagues, and members of the public every day. I have a great deal of support from my institution to become a better leader and, with their support, I have decided to further my own education by enrolling in a doctoral program. During the pandemic, I have learned how critical it is to have leadership that supports their team and I am happy to say that mine has shown me the right way to lead during times of immense stress.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

I joined NMRT when I joined ALA as a graduate student at the University of South Florida in 2013.  I had the opportunity to be partnered with a mentor through NMRT’s mentoring program. After finishing that program, I was able to give back to NMRT by being on several different committees over the years. Contributing these committees in NMRT (and outside of NMRT) has helped me see what works well and what doesn’t work well. I know the importance of timely communication as well as teamwork. In addition to an MLIS, I also have an MBA. While working on my business degree I learned the value of time management and how critical time is to other people. My own institution has asked me to chair committees and I go into every meeting with a clearly written agenda as well as the goal of keeping meetings to a set time. I know time is valuable to everyone and I want to honor the time that people put into work by being respectful of how meeting time is used.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

I would continue to support NMRT’s objectives while also looking at ways of engaging even more people that are moving into the profession and needing someplace to ask questions and find resources. ALA can be an intimidating place simply because it is so huge and a new member might not know where their place is, or how they can contribute. The virtual environment provides us a unique opportunity to offer more to our members; however, this does require additional work. I think it would be nice to see if we could offer a monthly chat with a different committee each month so that new (or prospective) members could ask questions about the committee before committing to being involved. We need to remove the mystery about what committee work is and get some new folks involved in the work.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I think NMRT has done a good job over the years of being a welcoming roundtable for new members. I think more could be done, as I already mentioned, in the virtual world. NMRT might not feel as inclusive to members that can never attend a conference due to any number of reasons. The members that do not, or can not, attend conferences need to still be involved as well.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

I would like to expand the sizes of certain committees (like the mentoring committee) and see how we can better promote the benefits of NMRT to both members and non-members. This would require more engagement with members that would be willing to volunteer for such committees. I would also like to have a survey go out at the beginning of the year to determine what members feel we are doing well and what we could improve upon. My perception of what we should change may end up being quite different than what members (and non-members) feel we should be focusing on. I find that some of the best ideas for improvement often come from outside of committees, and instead come from the very people that are utilizing the service. Additionally, I want to expand the emphasis on the publishing opportunities that NMRT has through Endnotes. I also enjoy the NMRT newsletter and want to continue to see that succeed.

Interview with Candidate: Annice Sevett

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

I have two major accomplishes I hope to achieve as part of NMRT’s leadership. The first is to
find ways to engage more of our members with our current programs and services and
potential new ones. NMRT has a wide selection of programs and services that we offer, and I
would like to find new ways to promote these programs to our members to ensure that our
members find value in their membership with this round table. Professional associations can be intimidating when you join, and since NMRT is comprised of new members to ALA, it is
important that we engage our members.

The second accomplishment I hope to achieve is to lead NMRT through this time of change
within ALA so that our members feel confident they have an understanding of our professional
association. ALA is undergoing a major reorganization and it is important that new members
understand and are aware of the upcoming potential changes and how it impacts them and the
association as a whole.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

As an Assistant Library Director at a small and rural library, I wear many hats. I enjoy being
deeply involved in many aspects of my library and librarianship. This has provided me with a
chance to learn new skills, continually develop others, and be able to have a positive impact on
my community through many different efforts.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

As a current board member of NMRT, I am familiar with how the board functions and have
insights into how NMRT can improve. In addition, I have served on or chaired many NMRT
committees, which will help with overseeing the functioning of NMRT. I serve on the Round
Table Bylaws Working Group, which is striving to streamline the bylaws of round tables. In
addition to NMRT, I have served or currently serve on committees within ALA and PLA (Public Library Association). Along with the experience mentioned above, I have excellent time
management skills that will help me complete NMRT duties along with my full-time job.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

I will support NMRT’s mission by ensuring that our programs and services are aligned with this mission. I will work with my assigned committees and across all of NMRT’s committees to
ensure we are meeting our mission. I will also encourage creativity and new ideas so that
NMRT can continue to meet this mission going forward given changes within ALA and the
climate of libraries in today’s society.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

To be more welcoming and inclusive, NMRT needs to be more transparent to our members. We strive to be a gateway to ALA, and the way NMRT functions is similar to other divisions and round tables within the organization. In order for everyone to feel more welcome and inclusive, NMRT needs to do a better job of explaining what we do, why we do it, and making sure our members feel comfortable and confident engaging with us in whatever capacity they wish. Along with transparency, NMRT needs to take a look at the programs and services we offer to make sure they are accessible to everyone and meet the needs of our varied members.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

My first role is to support the NMRT President and I will work closely with the President to
make sure the mission for NMRT is fulfilled. I will collaborate and assist in the aspects of
NMRT that the Vice President is responsible for and others that may be asked of me.
Beyond that, I would like to conduct a thorough audit of what NMRT offers to see what remains relevant, what we can change or remove, and what programs or services we can add to make sure we are fulfilling our mission and continuing to engage our members. Many of the
programs and services NMRT offers have been around for a long time and may not serve the
same purpose as they once did. By conducting an audit, we can adjust NMRT’s programs to
our findings in order to maximize our reach to our members.

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NMRT Election 2021: Secretary Candidates

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 8th through April 7th.

ALA election information can be found here!

Interview with Candidate: Cathy Dunn

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

I hope to contribute to the goals and mission of NMRT and ALA overall, by assisting with the nomination and election process as well as the candidate forum to ensure the best candidates are selected for offices within the NMRT. I hope to also form new professional connections and network with other librarians who are experienced as well as those who are new to the profession.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

My current position is Acquisitions Coordinator at Mississippi State University Libraries, and I enjoy navigating the changing landscape of library acquisitions. I enjoy always learning and finding ways to improve and innovate, and there are new purchasing options, formats, and tools to be learned constantly, as well as new challenges to overcome.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

In this position as Secretary, I would bring my experience serving on other committees and roundtables at the local and state level, including most recently serving as Secretary (and currently Vice Chair) for the Technical Services Round Table in the Mississippi Library Association. I would also bring my skills in the area of technical services, which involves detailed work and communicating well with other librarians to accomplish goals and meet deadlines. I also bring my desire to help NMRT be successful by fulfilling my duties as Nominating Committee Secretary to the best of my ability, and to assist with ensuring that NMRT is a useful resource for those new to the profession.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

I have worked in a few types of libraries in a variety of roles; circulation and reference at a public library, cataloging at an art museum library, and technical services in academic libraries, while also being a student and finishing my MLIS along the way. Therefore, I understand the importance of a resource like NMRT in helping those new to the profession connect with mentors, ask questions, discover new information, and find their niche in the profession, so they can have the best chance at success. As secretary, I would encourage participation, feedback, discussion and new ideas, as well as work to find the right answers for anyone in NMRT who has questions.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I believe there is always room for improvement in the area of inclusivity. I think NMRT’s annual programming and activities should continue working to be inclusive to a diverse range of librarians working in a variety of libraries. The New Members Round Table is often the first place where new librarians and members of ALA get involved, and should be as welcoming as possible by being non-judgmental and willing to answer any and all questions, encouraging participation and discussion of a wide range of topic and issues.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

Since I am relatively new to NMRT, I would want to become more familiar with the processes and procedures of NMRT and its committees before suggesting specific changes, but I believe there is always a need for NMRT to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible, and diverse in its offerings each year.

Interview with Candidate: Abby Sumner

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

I hope to grow NMRT’s mission of service and dedication to professional development during a time of great change, providing adaptability and organization during an uncertain moment.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

In my current position as Chair for the NMRT Resume Review Service I enjoy keeping detailed records of the resume matching process. This helps ensure that we are pairing the best reviewers with our members to provide real mentorship and guidance. In my current position as an assistant access librarian at The New School I most enjoy mentoring the student staff. I am responsible for training development and implementation for nearly 100 students workers in an academic year. I believe in working collaboratively with the students to help them on their professional paths and building skills that they can take with them outside of the library.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

I am detail-oriented, organized, and passionate about libraries. I also bring five years of business advertising experience where I specialized in account management. This required clear and organized communication between all parties.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

Consistent and clear communication is key again here. This is particularly true now that we rely on digital communication so heavily. It’s easy to feel disconnected during this time, and it is my goal to find ways to help members effectively navigate our vast resources through effective digital communication.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

Early professional development was a topic that came up in our committee, and I was curious if there is anything NMRT as part of ALA can do in working with high school counselors and job fairs to encourage young people from all background to join the profession. I mention this specifically because each member of the committee noted how we wished that librarianship was introduced as a career path earlier on. Perhaps this has changed since my high school years, but I do think that getting younger people involved is significant to developing a more diverse profession.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

I hope to see a more hybrid approach to services and events, combining virtual and in-person options. Even though many of us are eager to get back to in-person events once it is determined safe to do so, I foresee a more hybrid approach continuing to grow in popularity for its accessibility. I hope to collaborate with other committees to develop unique programming that is effective and accessible for all.

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NMRT Election 2021: Membership Services Director

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 8th through April 7th.

ALA election information can be found here!

Interview with Candidate: Lizzy Boden

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

As a new librarian, ALA member, and Emerging Leader, I have benefited immensely from the connections I have formed through ALA. These connections have allowed me to learn, grow, and rapidly improve the services I can offer my community. As such, I am excited by the chance to contribute to the librarian community and profession by working to advance opportunities for my fellow early career colleagues through the NMRT.

If I am elected to serve as the NMRT Member Services Director, I hope to assist in finding new ways to offer professional development, networking, and community building opportunities during the pandemic and upcoming pandemic recovery. NMRT has always and continues to offer these highly meaningful services, and the pivot to virtual has changed what is possible. I think it’s exciting to imagine the new possibilities, and I would like to be part of building on and building new NMRT member opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I am the Adult Services Manager at the North Riverside Public Library, and it’s nearly impossible to choose just one thing that I enjoy most about it! I will take a slight cop-out and say that I enjoy every part of the job where I get to connect with people, whether that is my patrons or employees. 2020 has been a tough year for that, but we have been able to pivot to virtual meetings in a way that still allows for relationship building.

I have also enjoyed the opportunity to creatively rethink our partnerships, programs, and services to reach out to traditionally underserved community members. Over the past two years, I have worked with community members and coworkers to begin to build a more welcoming library for our native Spanish-speaking population, and witnessing the success of our work has been extremely rewarding.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

I think the skills and experience that will serve me best in this role are my ability to manage complex projects and multiple responsibilities, think creatively about services and offerings, and connect people to each other. I currently serve as the Chair of the NMRT Annual Social Committee and am overseeing two large virtual social events for NMRT members. In my role as Adult Services Manager, I have been honing my organizational, team building, and creative thinking skills. I work well with teams and thrive from brainstorming as part of one – and thrive even more from making the best brainstorms reality.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

The Member Services Director position “oversees NMRT activities designed to inform and serve the membership, supporting member efforts toward professional development.” Taking on this specific role gives me the opportunity to support the NMRT purpose in a meaningful way, because I will be able to work towards initiatives that bring librarians from diverse roles and backgrounds together to build connections, knowledge, and community. In particular, I would like to use my time as Member Services Director to encourage more engagement with NMRT professional development and networking opportunities, both within the NMRT and between NMRT members and long-time ALA members.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I think many of the problems that exist in the profession and ALA also exist as a microcosm in NMRT. The profession is 85% white and that leads to a monolithic perspective. I know NMRT leaders are already working hard on overcoming this, and I would like to see their efforts continue so that equity, diversity, and inclusion are top of mind in every program, event, and initiative. Specifically, NMRT professional development programs should bring in speakers of color and pay them. I would also like to see NMRT focus on the issue of low retention for librarians of color and explore whether there is some mentoring or advocacy service we can offer to assist in building a better environment for retention.

NMRT can also become more welcoming to new ALA members by focusing programming and advocacy efforts on worker salaries for those starting out in the field and either improving or thinking creatively about the lack of jobs for new librarians in traditional areas.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

I think these last two questions really go hand in hand! I would like to see NMRT focus it’s professional development and networking events and advocacy efforts on retention of librarians of color and talking about salary and jobs issues. And NMRT leadership is already working on this, but I would like to make sure that EDI continues to be a focus at the beginning of planning every event.

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NMRT Election 2021: Leadership Development Director Position

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 8th through April 7th.

ALA election information can be found here!

Interview with Candidate: Michelle Osbourne

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

As a member of leadership, I hope to be instrumental in providing opportunities for involvement and/or training for professional engagement on the national, state, and local levels.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I am branch manager of the Gaston County Public Library, Stanley Branch and I enjoy mentoring my staff and empowering them to be future leaders. 

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

I have 27 years of library experience and I have been a member of ALA for over 5 years.  I am currently a Doctoral candidate at Gardner-Webb University in Organizational Leadership.  My current leadership roles are chair of Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee and chair of the NMRT Nomination Committee.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the  American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

As a NMRT leader, I would look for opportunities to include diverse needs and interests through workshops and webinars.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I think NMRT is a great resource for new librarians.  Integrating tools to network with others would be a great asset to the organization.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I would like to see more webinars and online professional development programs offered to the members of NMRT.

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NMRT January Online Discussion: Problems with Presenting

By Joy Dubose

Presenting at conferences can be a rewarding opportunity. Whether it is at a state, regional or national level it is a great experience. With the arrival of Covid-19, many conferences moved to a virtual setting. This has allowed more people the opportunity to present, who may not normally be able to.  Also presenting online may be less nerve wracking for presenters than standing in front of a group. So, what is the best way to get a topic accepted? How do you prepare once it has been accepted? What is the best way to work with co-presenters? Also, what are some differences presenting online rather than in person.

Getting a Topic Accepted

When thinking about presenting, first you need to find a conference that is looking for presenters. A good place to find these proposal calls are listservs. There are many listservs for various aspects of librarianships. Often when conference time comes around these will be flooded with calls for presenter proposals. You can check the websites of associations to see when the next conference is. When it gets a month or two from the conference, calls for proposals generally go out. However, they can be as early as 6 months away. 

It is important to review these calls thoroughly. Hopeful presenters should make sure they have an idea that falls within their themes or guidelines. If there are such keywords, for example “metadata, diversity, or public services”, incorporate them into the proposal. Also make sure the proposal follows all guidelines and is a complete idea. This will help if it is to be accepted.

Also, investigate state and regional conferences. These are generally held at a different time of year from national conferences. They can be a good testing ground for a presentation that you might want to present nationally later. If the audience on the state and regional stage have questions or concerns about the presentation, use it. Address these concerns and edit your proposal for the national conference. 

Preparing for a Presentation

Once the proposal is accepted then the work begins. Here different people have different methods. Some presenters pull in all the information and research they can find and sort it out later. Then they use their presentation as a guide to stay on topic. Some use the proposal as a starting point. Everyone has different research and writing methods. When presenting some presenters prefer to use scripts or outlines. These can help presenters keep on track and avoid awkward pauses filled with “um…”. However, others prefer to just wing it and go forward. Whichever way you present, if you can, make sure to have a run through or a practice session. Ask coworkers or family and friends if you can practice your presentation with them. During one such practice session, my family made a point to all be on their phones, talking and not paying attention. This was done so I could focus more on my presentation and not be distracted by what the audience was doing. It certainly helped me focus when it came to the actual presentation. 

It is also important to stay true to your proposal and include the material that has been “promised” to attendees. For example, if your proposal is about the use of children’s books, do not create a presentation on World War 2 unless it ties into children’s books somehow. There have been many presentations in which the written description did not match the actual product and that can be disappointing to those attending. 

Also, prepare to answer some questions afterward. Almost ever presentation session will have a few minutes for questions. It is important to know enough to answer some questions, but keep in mind it is also alright to say, “I don’t know”. It is impossible to predict everything people may ask you. Keep note of the questions and that way you can incorporate answers in future presentations or even into a paper if you so wish.

Working with Co-presenters

A presentation with co-presenters can have unique challenges. Above all communication and understanding are key. It is important to know who is covering what topic and how it ties into the overall presentation. Having an overall timeline can also be useful. That way everyone can keep on track and there will be a limited chance of surprises. This can all be done without appearing to be overbearing or micromanaging. Everyone of the group wants to do well and be a part. Let everyone agree on their part and the timeline and do not appear to “take over”. Also, understand that not everyone works the same or has the same process. You can not expect a coworker to think and work the exact same way as you. If there seems to be a problem, talk with them. Address the problem before getting too close to deadline time. That way if there is a problem, it can be fixed. Make sure that everyone can get together, either online or in person and run through the presentation several times. If you can, practice in front of a mock audience, like other coworkers.  Also, make sure to have everyone’s notes and slides just in case something happens and someone can not make it. 

Online vs. In Person

With the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020, many conferences moved to an online setting. This has allowed many people to present who would not be able to. Instead of traveling, finding a hotel, and going to a conference center, people can now present from home or work. However, that does not mean there are not some pitfalls with online conferences. 

With online presenting one of the biggest challenges is the technology itself. Some committees and conferences will have a tech run through before the presentation day. Make sure to get on the platform at least once and become familiar with it. Find out important functions such as how to   share the screen, record, etc. Also, it is important to test the audio and camera. If using the camera, make sure it is on your face and not over your head or on your neck. With the audio it is important that the audience can hear you, but at the same time you do not want to sound like you are shouting. The day of the presentation make sure to look in the camera and not at the screen. Your audience is of course the camera.

Online presenting can help those who are nervous standing up in front of an audience to present. It is much easier talking to a camera and screen than a room full of people. However, there is the downfall in that you cannot read your audience. There is no way to tell if you need to expand on a point or not. This is the same with the questions. There is no way to look at a person’s face and see if they understood the answer or not. 

It is easy to get nervous about all the things that can go wrong or might happen with presenting. At the same time, it is very rewarding when they go right. By making a successful proposal, preparing well, and communicating with co-presenters, presenting becomes less fearful and more challenging. A challenge that can be very rewarding.

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NMRT Midwinter Orientation Presentation

For anyone who could not attend ALA Midwinter or did not have the time to join NMRT for the orientation session, on behalf of the NMRT Orientation Committee, we are happy to provide you the slides from their presentation! Enjoy!

2020-Orientation-Committee-Midwinter-and-ALA-Presentation

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NMRT December Online Discussion: Exploring Tech Tools and Productivity Apps

By Lauren Puzier

AuthorBioPhoto
Lauren Puzier is the User Experience Librarian at the UAlbany Libraries. Her research interests include the incorporation of new and emerging technologies in higher education, user-centered and service design, and reference services. Previously, she was the Acting Head Librarian for the New York Library at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

(5-minute read)

Tech tools is a topic we like to revisit again and again because technology is continuously changing and there are always new tools and apps to test out. There are tools for everything from productivity, audio, communication, content creation and design, coding, automation, VR, video, etc. The NMRT Online Discussion Committee asked members what tools they have found useful in their work, at their library, or at home over the past year. Members shared tools they were interested in trying and which apps helped their daily workflow.

Time by Aline Dassel from Pixabay

When it comes to productivity, PomoDone App helps get jobs done. “It is a little timer that uses the Pomodoro Time Management Method.” This is a method where you work for a set period, such as 20 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. “You can customize it with sounds, and it can also be used to track tasks and time spent on specific projects/documents. It helps me stay on task.” (Puzier, 2021). Add it as a browser extension to quickly set the timer when you start working on a project.

Slack and Twist also made our list as beneficial for enhancing productivity. Twist is a collaboration tool for the workplace. It combines instant messaging, emails, and more into a clean workspace. It’s “great for organizing team communications and reducing the number of emails that I have to look at.” (Weingardt, 2021). Similarly, Slack is a collaboration tool that allows for easy messaging, the creation of channels (specific groups of people), and endless integrations. Slack features the ability to collaborate across institutions, allowing multiple synchronous conversations in one space. (Johnson, 2018, p. 148).

The rapid shift to working remotely over the past year may have increased emails resulting in unmanageable inboxes. McMurtry defined email overload as “the feeling of being overwhelmed by the constant flow of messages appearing in the inbox and the inability to manage the high volume of messages effectively” (2014, p. 31). If the volume of email in your inbox becomes overwhelming, our members found Unroll.me extremely useful. This app helps to streamline emails making it simple to flip through emails and organize them. “You can quickly unsubscribe from any subscription emails or choose to “rollup” emails that you’d like to read all together as a digest” (Birkenhauer, 2021). The popular service has just released an app making it even more convenient to declutter and manage emails.

A few members noted that a tool they plan to experiment with more: Google Jamboard. Google released Jamboard in 2017, and even if you do not have access to the official 55-inch screen, 4k, collaborative whiteboard, you can still create jamboards online with Google Suite (Sheppard, 2017, p. 80). Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard tool with several features allowing you to quickly pull images from the web, draw, add sticky notes, highlight, and more. It is ideal for brainstorming with others. This may be a good tool for those who are using G Suite already.

Puzier, L. (2021). Space Planning Jamboard [digital image]. UAlbany Libraries.

If you are using Google Slides, PowerPoint, teaching, or engaging with patrons, check out Pear Deck. “As an educator, I have been using Pear Deck to make my Google Slides presentations more interactive by adding questions. This has been particularly useful for remote teaching” (Weingardt, 2021). Pear Deck enhances Google Slides with formative assessments and interactive questions. Pear Deck can prompt your viewers to answer questions as you flip through a slide deck. It has been found to successfully create interactive asynchronous learning experiences for students working at their own pace and even for in-person sessions (Fulfer, 2020).

Tech tools are also helping catalogers. One member noted that Google Translate and Translate Box (iOS or Android) are fantastic tools when you need to do a quick translation. “I deal with a great deal of non-English materials, so I have to find ways to translate them, I can only read English. There are a few translator apps that I like to use. These have a camera function so you can take a picture of the book and it will translate the picture” (Dubose, 2021). Members agreed on the value of the Google Translate app, noting “Is this app perfect? No, but it often gives me just enough bibliographical information to do my job” (Cull, 2021).

Further recommendations included the Roman Numeral Converter. “I often forget my Roman numerals, and older rare books tend to use Roman numerals for publishing dates. I started using the Roman Numeral Converter. It is so handy” (Cull, 2021). Cataloging Calculator was also recommended. This tool helps catalogers figure out author cutters when creating call numbers.

Roman Numeral Convertor. (n.d.). Google Play. From https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cmgapps.android.numeralsconverter&hl=en_US&gl=US. Screenshot by author.

Airtable is a tool that was praised for project management not only at work but also at home. It is a cloud service described as a spread-sheet database hybrid lending itself to all types of projects and tasks. Airtable has many project templates so that you don’t have to start from scratch. One member shared that “For work (special library), we have a paid account. We use it as a digital repository for images, to keep track of events, scheduling, and organizing conferences. For my personal life, I use a free account to keep track of the courses I’ve taken and those I still need to take. I have a base where I input all the movies, tv shows, and books I’ve watched and read. I’ve also used it for calculating hours spent doing freelance work” (Darling, 2020).

Other noteworthy tools included:

  • Loom: a browser-based screen capture program.
  • Asana: a project management tool
  • Padlet: a digital note-board
  • Flipgrid: an accessible video discussion tool
  • Canva: an image editing and design
  • TeamViewer: provides remote desktop access

Finally, a well-curated list of tech tools and apps called E-learning by Traci Parish was shared, “the author also accepts suggestions and comments for sites (including ones I have sent to her). I’ve tried (and continue to try) many of the things found here” (Rebar, 2020). The list is sorted by type making it easy to scan and discover new things. Categories include screen capture, authoring tools, image editors, and more. If you have any tech tools that have been helpful that were not mentioned here please leave a comment and let us know what has been working and what you would like to try.

References

Birkenhauer, L. (2021, January 6). Re: [NMRT-L] Still time to jump in- December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2021-01/msg00004.html

Cull, K. (2021, January 6). Re: [NMRT-L] Still time to jump in- December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2021-01/msg00006.html

Darling, V. (2020, December 6). Re: [NMRT-L] December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2020-12/msg00007.html

Dubose, J. (2021, January 6). Re: [NMRT-L] Still time to jump in- December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2021-01/msg00005.html

Fulfer, W. (2020). StayCentred: Maintaining Personal Education at Centre College During COVID-19. Journal of Chemical Education, 97(9), 2783–2787. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00726

Johnson, H. (2018). Slack. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 106(1), 148–151. https://doi.org/10.5195/JMLA.2018.315

McMurtry, K. (2014). Managing Email Overload in the Workplace. Performance Improvement, 53(7), 31-37. https://doi.org/10.1002/pfi.21424

Puzier, L. (2021, January 6). Re: [NMRT-L] Still time to jump in- December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2021-01/msg00003.htm

Rebar, L. C. (2020, December 4). Re: [NMRT-L] December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2020-12/msg00005.html

Sheppard, A. (2017, March). Google Jamboard. Success, 80.

Weingardt, N. (2021, January 7). Re: [NMRT-L] Still time to jump in- December Discussion Topic: Tech Tools and Apps [Electronic mailing list]. https://lists.ala.org/sympa/arc/nmrt-l/2021-01/msg00009.html

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