Category Archives: ALA News & Such

On ALA Emerging Leaders – Please Welcome TTW Contributor Justin Hoenke

Note from Michael: I’m serving as a mentor for ALA Emerging Leaders Group J this year. One of the members of this outstanding group is Justin Hoenke, who’s joining the TTW family as a contributor. This is his first post.


What does it mean to be an ALA Emerging Leader?  I’ve heard a lot of things come out of peoples’ mouths.  Some have told me that it’s just something fancy to put on my resume, others that it’s just a lot of work that will remind you of a library school project.  I’m not big on negativity, so I’ve assessed the title my own way.



During our Emerging Leaders program at ALA Midwinter 2010, Emerging Leader Facilitator Maureen Sullivan tossed out this quote from Frances Hesselbein

“The leader’s job is not to provide energy but to release it from others.”

The sentiment blew my mind. Upon grasping it, I realized all I held to be true about leadership—it’s all about you; you can do whatever you want, including pushing your agenda on the masses—was wrong. Hesselbein’s quote showed me that before I go ahead with this project, I’ve got to undo a lot of learning because it’s not about me, and it has never been about me (more on that in my next post).

I’ve now got a renewed energy when it comes to libraries.  I now better understand my co-workers and their ideas.  I now recognize the importance of waiting before adding my ideas to the mix.


Being an Emerging Leader does look fancy on your resume, but at the end of the day it’s all about growing as a person and as a librarian.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got problems I can’t figure out on my own, and I’m nowhere close to being the best librarian I can be.  What being an ALA Emerging Leader has shown me is that all of that is OK.

Collaboration and making connections: that’s what it’s all about.  The more I get involved in my Emerging Leaders project, the more I see that the world thrives on collaboration and connections.  Without it, we’re running around in circles.


For our projects, Emerging Leaders are teamed up with four of our ilk and given a task.  Not to spoil the surprise or anything, but my group’s task is to conduct a survey about and make recommendations for possible changes.  Sounds fun and manageable, right?

The first thing I learned was to let go of any ideas I had, that is, contribute them to the group with the understanding that they were going to be embellished and improved by everyone else.  Being an Emerging Leader has helped me learn how to trust people more and to see their ideas and encourage them to reach a higher level.  Collaboration never seemed so important.


Creating connections can make a world of difference for you.  Two months ago, I was sitting behind my desk thinking about video games in libraries.  I wanted to get my ideas out to the world, but I didn’t know how.  Cut to the present, where I’m working with another current Emerging Leader on video gaming in libraries.  At ALA EL, I found people who are just as passionate as me when it comes to libraries.  And to think, I may have never met these folks if it wasn’t for the Emerging Leaders program.

Justin Hoenke is Teen Services Librarian at Cape May County Library

Perpetual Beta

Don’t miss this new blog from American Libraries & Jason Griffey: (Hey – is there a feed for this blog available? Am I missing it?)

Jason writes:

This space will be a place where you will be able to find the very edge of new technologies, as well as tips and tricks about how you can do interesting things with existing technologies. I’m going to try and introduce technologies that libraries and librarians should be paying attention to, and at the same time give you tips and tricks to make better use of the technologies that you may already be playing with.

A few examples of the sorts of things that I’ll be covering in this space: How to get any piece of text you want onto your eReader, How to automate delivery of information to your staff and patrons, setting up your own Media Server for your library, and much, much more.

In addition to these sorts of “Lifehacker for Libraries” posts, I’ll also be posting interesting things that I find around the Library and Technology infosphere, and I’ll be producing some video podcasts as well. Expect the first of these very soon, as I am even as I type this on my way to the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show. I’ll be reporting over the next several weeks about my discoveries there, and will include audio and video interviews, demos, and anything else I can think of that might be interesting.

Of course, this brief post sent me over the moon:

Spoke with an unnamed source last night that gave me the following: Tablet is based around a 9.67 inch LCD, not an OLED. Definitely launching early in year, possibly even immediately after January 27th announcement.

Exciting for libraries: deals coming with LOTS of content providers, print content mainly magazines, not newspapers. Start thinking about a “magazine” with embedded video, inline social features, and more.

This will be very interesting to see how a media-rich tablet-embedded magazine will find a place in library service. Remember this?:

TTW Mailbox: New Site for American Libraries

Hello, Michael—

American Libraries is rolling out a newly redesigned website, tentatively scheduled to appear January 4. The site, which is live now but still carrying the “beta” label, is at We encourage you to take a look and update your bookmarks and any links to us in your blogs and websites. The AL Online RSS feed will relocate to Making the switch to a new domain could be tricky—we could risk losing readers who are used to our old domain (of course, redirects will be in place, but it’s still going to be a bit confusing), so we wanted to get the word out early.

A bit about the site: It was built entirely in-house in Drupal by Associate Editor Sean Fitzpatrick and offers some pretty clear benefits to end users over what the old site could do.  For example, we’re really excited to be able to start offering HTML versions of pretty much all the content from our print magazine (so you’ll no longer need to go through the ebrary platform). Also, all the articles are comment-enabled, something readers have been asking us to do for some time.

Switching to Drupal is also a clear win for us on the back end. Back-end usability has been a dream so far. We look forward to spending more time writing and pushing out content—and less time fussing with CMS issues.

We hope you enjoy the new platform. You’ll see some more official announcements later in AL Direct and in the pages of American Libraries, but we wanted to give you a head’s-up now because switching over your links to our new domain will help make the transition smoother. We welcome your feedback.

George M. Eberhart – Editor, AL Direct

Sean Fitzpatrick – Associate Editor, American Libraries

ALA web Site Wins Achievement Award

Don’t miss:

Sherri Vanyek, Director, Information Technology & Telecommunication Services at ALA wrote to WAC yesterday:

I’m pleased to inform you that our website has been recognized for outstanding achievement in web development. Our site was awarded a Non-Profit Standard of Excellence WebAward.  The WebAward is issued by the Web Marketing Association, a thirteen year-old organization focused on setting a high standard for Internet marketing and development of the best websites. Award winners face substantial competition to achieve their recognition.

You can find complete information about the award program at .  You can see and reference the award page here: Duo elected to submit our website as an example of their best work for the 2008/2009 award year in the Non-Profit category.

Great news! Congrats to Duo, ALA staff, the ALA Web Editorial Board, and WAC!

WAC Commendation Letter for ALA ITTS

American Library Association

Executive Board

50 E. Huron Street

Chicago IL 60611

July 13, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the American Library Association Website Advisory Committee, the purpose of this letter is to officially commend all of the American Library Association Information Technology & Telecommunication Services staff for their exceptional contributions and dedication to the organization and the membership.

Sean Bires, Maribeth Chapman, Louise Gruenberg, Matthew Ivaliotes, Sheila Joy, Jim Kanis, Jenny Levine, Irene Marquez , Tim Smith, Sherri Vanyek, and Donavan Vicha all make these contributions on a daily basis to consistently improve the Web experience for the membership while working on innovations to enhance connections and collaborations between divisions, committees and workgroups. Sometimes a thankless job, as technologies do fail, this group has continued to work tirelessly and respond to the needs and questions of members.

We formally thank them for their service to our profession.


Michael Stephens

2009-2010 Chair, ALA Website Advisory Committee

Committee Members:

Marissa C. Ball, Holly Hong Yu, Alan Harkness, Marsha A. Iverson, Rebecca K. Jackman, Susan E. Marcin, Jennifer Pickle, Mary Pagliero Popp, Kate Pritchard, Jean M. Rainwater, Robin Kear, Rochelle Gwyn Carr, William Reed, Dave Hargett

Web Advisory Committee: Recommendation about the Use of ALA Connect

ALA Web Advisory Committee
Recommendation about the Use of ALA Connect

The Web Advisory Committee (WAC) is a standing committee of the American Library Association (ALA). One key duty of the WAC is to advise the association on priorities and strategies that promote utilization and continued development of the ALA website.

In Spring 2009, ALA introduced ALA Connect, a new section of the ALA website. Fulfilling our mission of advising the ALA on website issues, the Web Advisory Committee strongly urges all ALA organized groups and ALA members to take advantage of the ALA Connect service.

ALA Connect replaces the Online Communities service that ALA previously offered as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. ALA Connect is a centralized space where official ALA “groups” can work together online. In addition, any member can create new “communities” (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site will combine association work with communities of interest in one place.

Whether you participate in a “group” for an official committee, roundtable, section or divisional activity, or whether you engage with one of the other unofficial “communities” that become available, you have a number of tools with which to work together. By default, each one has blog posts, online documents (like wiki pages), a calendar, polls, a chat room, a discussion board, and images (logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use any or all of the tools it finds valuable.

ALA Connect should be your primary workspace for committee work, for information and for networking within the ALA organization.

All official ALA organizations and committees have a page in ALA connect.  To visit yours go to and log in with your ALA website username and password.  The Web Advisory Committee is committed to using the new Connect space to carry on the work of our committee and our task-oriented subgroups. Collaboration on this document has been done using ALA Connect.

You can learn more about:

We look forward to seeing you soon on ALA Connect!

ALA Web Advisory Committee

Michael Stephens, Chair

Emerging Leaders Group Creates ALA Connect Screencasts!

I am totally knocked out by the excellent work ALA Emerging Leaders Team I did on creating screencasts to highlight all the wonderful features of ALAConnect. As Web Advisory Committee chair, I became the group mentor but my schedule and duties didn’t allow much mentoring – but I knew they were in good hands with ALA ITTS staff who offered support and guidance throughout the project. So please allow me to send them a public “WOOOHOO” on a job well done!

Take a look at the screencasts. You’ll find a promo video, a video highlighting how to integrate Connect with the social tools you currently use, ways to monitor other groups, and much, much more.

This one is a fave:

To all involved – great work! TAKE A BOW.

To folks who haven’t checked out Connect yet, please use these screencasts as a way to get started. You won’t be sorry.

Dominican Students/Grads Contribute ALA Coverage to LJ

I’m happy to share that I put LJ in touch with some of our recent grads/current students to cover programs at ALA. Katharine Johnson, Carrie Straka and Bill Goodwyn all contributed short articles for online coverage.

Take a look:




The Visitors

Multitouch Microsoft Surface: Cultural Heritage Browser from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

I have a new post at ALATechSource about the Shanachie presentation at ALA. Check out the video above to see one of the projects they highlighted in action.

Late one February evening in 2007, I found myself sitting in my Oak Park, Illinois living room with two visitors, sharing wine and talking about libraries. It was late, I had to teach the next day, but I couldn’t say goodnight. I met the he two fellows with me –Jaap van de Geer and Erik Boekesteijn of the DOK Library Concept Center in Delft, Hollandin London the year before. And now they were visiting Chicago area libraries videotaping gaming initiatives and gaming librarians. The wine was good–it may have been Australian–and I’m a little cloudy about how the evening played out but the one thing stayed with me. Erik said the role of the 21st Century librarian is three-fold:

  • Keep Stories
  • Share Stories
  • Make Stories

I held that close to my heart and watched these visitors make their dream of collecting stories a reality by way of the Shanachie Tour in October 2007 and beyond.

Fast forward to ALA Annual and the LITA President’s Program. Erik, Jaap and the third Shanachie Geert van den Boogaard were back in the states to talk about innovations at their library.

Mobile Devices & Libraries Experts Speak at ALA

Libraries had better prepare for an explosion in the capacity of mobile devices as well as the transformative increase in user capacity and expectations. This was the message conveyed by a panel yesterday at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference on Libraries and Mobile Devices: Public Policy Considerations.

After all, explained Jason Griffey, assistant professor and head of Library Information Technology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, cell phones are the most popular and ubiquitous information device worldwide; in 50 countries, cell phone penetration (phones/person) exceeds 100 percent.

By the end of 2010, he continued, 90 percent of the world’s population will have access to a cell-phone signal. Right now, more than 60 percent of people have a cell-phone subscription, and three-quarters of them use text messaging. That total, 2.4 billion people, is twice the number currently using email.

Further, more people are now accessing the web through mobile devices such as a smartphone. New examples include the always-on Kindle and the growing number of netbooks.

Read the whole article. It provides great coverage of a dynamic session and much food for thought. Griffey, Eli Neiberger and Tom Peters make up the ultra-hot panel of experts assembled to talk about mobile devices and libraries.