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Amazon Echo Update

Thu, 2015-05-28 09:00

I wrote about Amazon Echo a few months back. At the time, I did not have it, but was looking forward to using it. Now, that I have had Echo for a while I have a better idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

It doesn’t pick up every word I say, but its voice recognition is much better than I anticipated.  The app works nicely on my phone and iPad and I found it easy to link Pandora, my music, and to indicate what news channels I want to hear from. I enjoy getting the weather report, listening to a flash news briefing, adding items to my shopping list, listening to music, and being informed of the best route to work to avoid traffic.

My favorite feature is that it is hands-free.  I’m constantly running around my house juggling a lot of things.  Often I need an answer to a question, I need to add something to a shopping list as I’m cooking, or I want to hear a certain song as I’m elbow-deep in a project.  Having the ability to just “say the words” is wonderful.  Now if it just worked everything…

I hope updates will come soon though as I’d like to see increased functionality in its ability to answer questions and provide traffic information for different locations other than the one location I can program into the app. I also want to be able to make calls and send text messages using Echo.

In my first post about Amazon Echo, I stated I was really interested in the device as an information retrieval tool. Currently, Echo doesn’t work as well as I was expecting for retrieving information, but with software updates I still see it (and similar tools) having an impact on our research.

Overall, I see it as a device that has amazing potential, but it is still in its infancy.

Has anyone else used Echo? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the device.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: May 27, 2015

Wed, 2015-05-27 15:51

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Head of Technical Services, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Digital Content Specialist, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL

Digital Humanities Specialist, Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN


Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Learn to Teach Coding – Webinar Recording

Tue, 2015-05-26 15:10

Tuesday May 26, 2015.

Today we had a lively half hour free webinar presentation by Kimberly Bryant and Lake Raymond from Black Girls CODE about their latest efforts and the exciting LITA preconference they will be giving at ALA Annual in San Francisco. Here’s the link to the recording from todays session:

LITA Learn to Teach Coding Free information webinar recording, May 26, 2015

For more information check out the previous LITA Blog entry:

Did you attend the webinar, or view the recording?  Give us your feedback by taking the Evaluation Survey.

Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies – in Your Library or Anywhere!

Then register for and attend the LITA preconference at ALA Annual. This opportunity is following up on the 2014 LITA President’s Program at ALA Annual where then LITA President Cindi Trainor Blyberg welcomed Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.

The Black Girl Code Vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Categories: Library News

Navigating Conferences Like a Pro… When You’re a Rookie

Fri, 2015-05-22 10:00

I’ve recently attended some of my first conferences/meetings post-MLIS and I thought I’d pass on the information I learned from my experience navigating them as for the first time.


Courtesy of Jatenipit. Pixabay 2014

Always be prepared to promote

This is the most dreaded aspect of networking. It essentially implies schmoozing and self-aggrandizement, but if you consider it as a socializing you’ll realize it’s an essential part of getting to know others in the profession and the roles they play in their organization. If you’re new to the information profession, it can be a great opportunity to ask other professionals about the path they took to enter the industry. More often than not when they find that you’re new to the profession, they’ll offer you advice. They’ll be curious to know what your career goals are and why you’re attending. This is a great opportunity to ask for their business card or contact information. If you find that you’ve built a good rapport and want to become more familiar with their work/organization, you should offer your business card (more on this later).


The thing about promotion

If you’re at a conference on behalf of an organization, then you’re on the company dollar. Therefore your mission is to network, learn and share. Since I plan on attending conferences to learn more about the profession and network, I couldn’t talk shop about procedures and management. If you are attending on behalf of an organization you’re expected to create professional networks and trace them back to your institution. It sounds intimidating, but if you allow yourself to soak-up as much information as possible, while being open about what works and doesn’t for your information environment, you’ll find others may want to emulate your framework and share theirs in return.


You have leverage too

Believe it or not the pros don’t know everything. Sometimes when you’re new to a profession you can become caught-up in what you don’t know and the list of skills you need to get to that ever distant “next level.” I was very surprised to find that many of the resources I was familiar with escaped the purview of individuals working in the digital records management and archives field. I introduced The Signal Digital Preservation and the Cancer Imaging Archive into a conversation and a few individuals took genuine interest in my explanation of their services. While earning your degree or working in different information environments, you are exposed to a variety of resources and ideas that others aren’t aware of. Don’t count yourself out, you have something to add to the conversation.


Think outside the box

There is no need to be intimidated about approaching new acquaintances during a professional conference. Most of the time you’re meeting with people who remember what it’s like to be at the forefront of a new career. It can be exciting and informative to strike-up a conversation with a presenter. There is nothing wrong with inquiring about lunch plans and meeting outside of the conference venue during scheduled breaks. The relaxed atmosphere of a restaurant is where funny stories of the trade can be passed along and you’ll get to know each other on a personal level. There are several factors that account for good networking and having an outgoing personality is one of them. While being personable is fine, doing so in a respectful manner is most apt.


Handy business cards

If you’re using a conference to network for future employment, then you need to have business cards. At larger conferences you can be one in hundreds of attendees. Business cards are a great way to establish that you’re prepared and professional. However, providing an acquaintance with your contact information is not enough. Perhaps you may want to ask for their card if you want to continue the conversation after the conference concludes. It’s likely that they’ll never take a look at your business card again, so it’s important to follow-up with an e-mail to remind them of the highlights of the conversation you had and how you’d like to collaborate with them going forward.

If you’re hoping to enter a new field post-graduation, at a minimum your business card should include: your name, degree(s) and university, your phone number and e-mail. You can also add a specialization to encompass your career trajectory such as Librarian, Electronic Resource Specialist or Certified Webmaster. For points of contact beyond your phone number and e-mail, providing your website, online portfolio or LinkedIn URL is a great way to showcase your web presence. If you can connect with another professional’s LinkedIn, you will not only increase their awareness of you, but you will be exposed to their extended network as well.


An added bonus

If you are networking for employment, one thing that you don’t want to do is outrightly ask about potential employment with another attendee’s organization. I’ve seen this happen before and it can be off-putting for the person being asked as well as anyone involved in the conversation. If you’re a new graduate or changing careers, the conversation will naturally flow into questions about your career plans. If the person you’re speaking with feels inclined to mention an upcoming opportunity, then it is an added bonus. Otherwise, enjoy yourself and take advantage of the learning opportunity. You’ll be in a room filled with like-minded professionals and everyone wants the most of their experience.


Are you planning on attending any conferences this year? What takeaways do you have from conferences you’ve attended in the past? Let me know in the comments section.

Categories: Library News

Should LITA oppose Elsevier’s new sharing policy?

Thu, 2015-05-21 14:28

It’s come to the LITA Board’s attention that the Confederation of Open Access Repositories is circulating a statement against Elsevier’s new sharing policy. (You can find that policy here.) COAR is concerned that the policy imposes long embargoes for open access content (up to 4 years); applies retroactively; and restricts author’s choice of Creative Commons license. Numerous individuals and library organizations, including ALA and ACRL, have signed on to this statement; the LITA Board is discussing doing likewise.

But we represent you, the members! So tell us what you think. Should LITA sign on?

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: May 20, 2015

Wed, 2015-05-20 13:24

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Director of Information Technology, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

Associate Product Owner, The Library Corporation (TLC), Inwood, WV

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Call for Writers

Tue, 2015-05-19 09:00
meme courtesy of Michael Rodriguez

The LITA blog is seeking regular contributors interested in writing easily digestible, thought-provoking blog posts that are fun to read (and hopefully to write!). The blog showcases innovative ideas and projects happening in the library technology world, so there is a lot of room for contributor creativity. Possible post formats could include interviews, how-tos, hacks, and beyond.

Any LITA member is welcome to apply. Library students and members of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Contributors will be expected to write one post per month. Writers will also participate in peer editing and conversation with other writers – nothing too serious, just be ready to share your ideas and give feedback on others’ ideas. Writers should expect a time commitment of 1-3 hours per month.

Not ready to become a regular writer but you’d like to contribute at some point? Just indicate in your message to me that you’d like to be considered as a guest contributor instead.

To apply, send an email to briannahmarshall at gmail dot com by Friday, May 29. Please include the following information:

  • A brief bio
  • Your professional interests, including 2-3 example topics you would be interested in writing about
  • If possible, links to writing samples, professional or personal, to get a feel for your writing style

Send any and all questions my way!

Brianna Marshall, LITA blog editor

Categories: Library News

Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Volume 6

Mon, 2015-05-18 10:00

What’s new with you TYBYWYers? I’m sure you’ve been setting the world on fire with your freshly acquired tech skills. You’ve been pushing back the boundaries of the semantic web. Maybe the rumors are true and you’re developing a new app to better serve your users. I have no doubt you’re staying busy.

If you’re new to Tech Yourself, let me give you a quick overview. Each installment, produced monthly-ish offers a curated list of tools and resources for library technologists at all levels of experience. I focus on webinars, MOOCs, and other free/low-cost options for learning, growing, and increasing tech proficiency. Welcome!

Worthwhile Webinars:

Texas State Library and ArchivesTech Tools With Tine – One Hour of Arduino – May 29, 2015 – I’ve talked about this awesome ongoing tech orientation series before, and this installment on Arduino promises to be an exciting time!

TechSoup for LibrariesExcel at Everything! (Or At Least Make Better Spreadsheets) – May 21, 2015 – I will confess I am obsessed with Excel, and so I take every free class I find on the program. Hope to see you at this one!

Massachusetts Library SystemPower Searching: Databases and the Hidden Web – May 28, 2015 – Another classic topic, and worth revisiting!

I Made This:

LYRASISLYRASIS eGathering – May 20th, 2015

Shameless self-promotion, but I’m going to take three paragraphs to draw your attention to an online conference which I’ve organized. I know! I am proud of me too.

eGathering 2015

But not as proud as I am of the impressive and diverse line-up of speakers and presentations that comprise the 2015 eGathering. The event is free, online, and open to you through the generosity of LYRASIS members. Register online today and see a Keynote address by libtech champion Jason Griffey, followed by 6 workshop/breakout sessions, one of which is being hosted by our very own LITA treasure, Brianna Marshall. Do you want to learn ’bout UX from experts Amanda L. Goodman and Michael Schofield? Maybe you’re more interested in political advocacy and the library from EveryLibrary‘s John Chrastka? We have a breakout session for you.

Register online today! All registrants will receive an archival copy of the complete eGathering program following the event. Consider it my special gift to you, TYBYWYers.

Tech On!

TYBYWY will return June 19th!

Categories: Library News

Storify of LITA’s First UX Twitter Chat

Mon, 2015-05-18 07:18

LITA’s UX Interest Group did a fantastic job moderating the first ever UX Twitter Chat on May 15th. Moderators Amanda (@godaisies) and Haley (@hayleym1218) presented some deep questions and great conversations organically grew from there. There were over 220 tweets over the 1-hour chat.

The next UX Twitter Chat will take place on Friday, May 29th, from 2-3 p.m. EDT, with moderator Bohyun (@bohyunkim). Use #litaux to participate. See this post for more info. Hope you can join us!

Here’s the Storify of the conversation from May 15th:

[View the story “First #litaux chat” on Storify]
Categories: Library News

The ‘I’ Word: Internships

Fri, 2015-05-15 10:00
Image courtesy of DeKalb CSB.

Two weeks ago, I completed a semester-long, advanced TEI internship where I learned XSLT and utilized it to migrate two digital collections (explained more here, and check out the blog here) in the Digital Library Program. During these two weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on the impact that internships, especially tech-based, have on students.

At Indiana University, a student must complete an internship to graduate with a dual degree or specialization. However, this is my number one piece of advice for any student, but especially library students: do as many internships as you possibly can. The hands-on experience obtained during an internship is invaluable moving to a real-life position, and something we can’t always experience in courses. This is especially true for internships introducing and refining tech skills.

I’m going to shock you: learning new technology is difficult. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes a project application. Every new computer program or tech skill I’ve learned has come with a “drowning period,” also known as the learning period. Since technology exists in a different space, it is difficult to conceptualize how it works, and therefore how to learn and understand it.

An internship, usually unpaid or for student-paid credit, is the perfect safe zone for this drowning period. The student has time to fail and make mistakes, but also learn from them in a fairly low-pressure situation. They work with the people actually doing the job in the real world who can serve as a guide for learning the skills, as well as a career mentor.

The supervisors and departments also benefit from free labor, even if it does take time. Internships are also a chance for supervisors to revisit their own knowledge and solidify it by teaching others. They can look at their standards and see if anything needs updated or changed. Supervisors can directly influence the next generation of librarians, teaching them skills and hacks it took them years to figure out.

My two defining internships were: the Walt Whitman Archive at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, introducing me to digital humanities work, and the Digital Library Program, solidifying my future career. What was your defining library internship? What kinds of internships does your institution offer to students and recent graduates? How does your institution support continuing education and learning new tech skills?

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: May 13

Wed, 2015-05-13 15:38

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Automated Services Manager, Fairbanks, AK

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

LITA Presents Two Webinars on Kids, Technology and Libraries

Tue, 2015-05-12 09:00

Technology and Youth Services Programs: Early Literacy Apps and More
Wednesday May 20, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time


After Hours: Circulating Technology to Improve Kids’ Access
Wednesday May 27, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time

Register now for either or both of these exciting and lively webinars

Technology and Youth Services Programs, join Claire Moore, Head of Children’s Service at Darien Library (CT). In this digital age it has become increasingly important for libraries to infuse technology into their programs and services. Youth services librarians are faced with many technology routes to consider and app options to evaluate and explore. Claire will discuss innovative and effective ways the library can create opportunities for children, parents and caregivers to explore new technologies.

After Hours: Circulating Technology to Improve Kids’ Access, join Megan Egbert the Youth Services Manager for the Meridian Library District (ID). For years libraries have been providing access and training to technology through their services and programs. Kids can learn to code, build a robot, and make a movie with an iPad at the library. But what can they do when they get home? The Meridian Library (ID) has chosen to start circulating new types of technology such as Arduinos, Raspberry Pi’s, robots, iPads and apps. Join Megan to discover benefits, opportunities and best practices.

Register for either one or both of the webinars

Full details
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.


LITA Member: $45
Non-Member: $105
Group: $196

Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls

Mon, 2015-05-11 10:00

Fellow LITA blogger Leo Stezano has been knocking it out of the park lately with his insightful posts about Agile Development. Agile is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the tech world, and while many people in the library world may have a kinda-sorta understanding of what it is, far less have a solid understanding of why it is. Agile seems to make a lot of sense on the surface, but one can only appreciate Agile when one knows where it came from and what it was rebelling against.

In the beginning, there was the dreaded Waterfall model:

By Peter Kemp / Paul Smith (Adapted from Paul Smith’s work at wikipedia) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As you can see from the diagram, you start with requirements and work on them until they are done. Then you move on to design and work on it until it is done, then implementation, etc. and the fun rolls downhill from there. The basic assumption of the Waterfall model is that we even can be truly “done” with any of these discrete phases of the development process. This old-school way of handling projects is sometimes derogatorily referred to as “Big Bang Development” (no relation to the TV show) because you get the requirements for the project (which you understand completely, right?) and then you go off into your cave to meditate for months and re-emerge with a shining, beautiful and perfect deliverable. That’s the dream, anyways.

What really happens if you try to run a project like this is that you would re-emerge with a product that does exactly what it was supposed to do (according to what you were told), but not what it actually needs to do. Let’s use an example: say your boss tells you, “I want you to make a pizza.” Awesome! What kind of pizza, boss? “Pepperoni, and make it big enough for everyone in the office to have some.” Alrighty, cool. You have your requirements, you go to the store to get the ingredients, and you build a big honkin’ pepperoni pizza. You deliver it to your boss, who promptly asks you “Is it organic? Gluten-free? Can it have feta cheese instead of mozzarella, and maybe capicola and olives instead of pepperoni? Also, I’m not extending your deadline or giving you more money to buy more groceries.” Bummer. You thought you knew what your boss wanted, and they probably did, too, but it turns out no one really knew what the successful project should look like at the beginning. The client (your boss) only knew what they wanted in response to what you give them.

This fact of life that clients don’t really know exactly what they want at the beginning of a project (or aren’t capable of accurately conveying that information to you, which is just as destructive) is a truth that the Waterfall model can’t accommodate. Fortunately, its a truth that is foundational to Agile Development. Agile assumes that clients only have a vague idea of what they want, and the entire development process is based around iterations where you build a little bit of something, show it to the client to get feedback, and then build a little more based on that feedback. It may not be as clean or discrete as the Waterfall model, but it works incredibly well by recognizing the psychological phenomenon that people are better at describing what changes they want to an existing thing than they are at describing what they want from scratch. In fact, this is why the process is called Agile; it’s a workflow that can stop on dime and change direction based on the client’s changing needs. The Waterfall model of development is like a freight train barreling down the tracks defined by the requirements at the start of the project; once it leaves the station, there’s no stopping it.

Let’s try the pizza project again, but from an Agile perspective. Your boss wants a pepperoni pizza. You go back to your office and draft up an ingredients list with links to the ingredients you’ll use on Amazon. You email it to your boss who looks at the list and emails you back to say that it looks good, but let’s make a few changes. They email you back a word document with the new ingredients they want. You go to the store and get them, you make a small test pizza and let your boss sample it. “I like it extra crispy. Cook it longer.” You make another test pizza cooked longer. “Perfect!” You make a giant pizza, everyone in the office loves it and they throw a parade in your honor. Iteration has saved the day!

While this is a heavily simplified view of both the Waterfall and Agile models of development, I feel that this iterative perspective on projects is one of the most important takeaways of learning to be Agile, and it’s a principle that applies to all projects, not just software development. So long as you remember that humans aren’t perfect and aren’t always great at explaining what they need, you can use this fundamental Agile principle for every kind of project (even making a pizza for your coworkers). When you take on a new task, start small and iterate small. It’s the fastest way to correctly get to the big picture.

Categories: Library News

Agile Development: The Daily Standup

Fri, 2015-05-08 10:00
“Daily sprint meeting” by Klean Denmark – Daily Sprint Meeting. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The cornerstone of Agile development is the sharing of information. An Agile team that does  not communicate well is destined to fail: the focus on efficiency and short,  independent development cycles means development moves at a rapid pace, and there is much slack in the timeline to account for communication hiccups. Therefore, the each member of the team needs to be aware of what everyone else is working on, as well as any impacts and dependencies between her assigned tasks and those of her coworkers. With sprints lasting two or three weeks each, it’s imperative that team members be proactive about sharing the status of their work. While this can (and should) happen as informal conversations between team members, Agile provides a tool to encourage frequent communication: the daily standup.

What it Is

The daily standup is a meeting where team members discuss their own immediate goals and challenges. It is typically held at the beginning of the workday (to maximize the impact of the shared information) and should last no more than ten to fifteen minutes. You don’t actually have to be standing up; that is only a convention that encourages brevity and informality (almost as if you all ran into each other on the way to your desks!). It should take place somewhere close to the actual work area (a hallway or other open space works well); ideally this will be a place where the team has access to its chosen tracking tool (the big Post-It board, a projector screen showing the GreenHopper task board, etc.) Above all, it should be fast-paced and lively. A good standup allows the team to track its progress towards sprint deliverables, increases efficiency, and encourages open communication and commitment to the team.

What it Isn’t 

The daily standup is not a status or planning meeting. If you need to discuss changing requirements or priorities, call a separate meeting. If you need to figure out how much team members are accomplishing, wait for the next one-on-one update (or look at your tracking tool!). There should be no need for minutes, and no complex technical discussions; if those are needed they should be held separately (right after the standup would be a great time) and involve only the necessary parties.

Pigs and Chickens 

Who should attend daily standups? A common analogy used by Agile devotees is the one about pigs and chickens. If you think of the development process as a hearty breakfast plate, there are two types of contributors: the chickens, who supply the eggs, and the pigs, who supply the bacon/sausage/ham meat product (ignore the toast and OJ for now). The main difference between the two groups is the level of commitment. In software development, you can look at stakeholders as either chickens (product managers, executives, salespeople, anyone who provides input into the process) or pigs (developers, engineers, and anyone else who performs actual development work). Standup attendance is mandatory for the pig contingent, and they will all be expected to contribute; chicken attendance is optional (although the Product Manager should be there every day) and they should only listen, unless they are called on to provide context.

The Three Questions

During a typical standup, core team members (they usually dislike being referred to as pigs, no matter how useful the above analogy may be) will take turns and briefly answer three questions:

  1. What did I work on yesterday?
  2. What am I working on today?
  3. Is there anything or anyone keeping me from completing he work described in #2?

That’s it! Once everyone has had a turn, the meeting is over, and the team gets on with the day’s work. If an issue came up during the meeting (usually during question #3), then the relevant parties can meet to discuss a good solution, but again, that’s another meeting. Remember, this is not about planning or negotiation. The goal of the standup is for every team member to find out what everyone else is up to, increasing mutual awareness and strengthening team relationships and communication paths, and to surface potential issues or conflicts so they can be dealt with before they cause bigger problems.

You can read more about daily standups here, here, here, and here. I’ll be back next month to discuss sprint planning and review.

How efficient do you think your team’s standup meetings are? Do you find it difficult to avoid planning or technical rabbit holes? What’s your favorite technique for keeping standups lively?

Categories: Library News

Events surrounding the LITA President’s Program at ALA Annual

Fri, 2015-05-08 07:55

As LITA President, one of my initiatives for my presidential year was to improve the member experience. I’ve been doing this by applying user experience concepts that I’m familiar with in my everyday job to effect change and improve the overall experience for current members and those who are on the fence about joining. The LITA member experience encompasses all aspects of a member’s interaction with the association, including its programming, educational opportunities, publications, events, and even other members. The LITA Board, Committees, and ad hoc Task Forces have been instrumental to making a positive difference in the experiences of our members.

Therefore, it was important for me to pick someone for my President’s Program at ALA Annual that is considered to be an expert on user experience (UX). Accomplished information architect and author Louis Rosenfeld and LITA President Rachel Vacek will discuss the curious world of user experience at the 2015 LITA President’s Program at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, on Sunday, June 28th, 2015, from 3-4 p.m. I know that he’s excited to tackle your questions on the importance of UX research and what libraries can do to provide better experiences.

As we approach ALA Annual, I put together a fantastic team of people to help me plan not one, but TWO exciting events that lead up to the President’s Program. Here they are:

Contest: Great Library UX Ideas Under $100

Chat: UX Twitter Chat

I hope that you consider participating in these exciting opportunities to share what YOU know about UX with others in the library community, and learn from others. And I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco at my President’s Program with Lou Rosenfeld!


Rachel Vacek, and the LITA President’s Program Planning Team: Amanda Goodman, Whitni Watkins, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Haley Moreno, Bohyun Kim, along with additional help from our friends on the RUSA User Experience Design Committee, Lauren McKeen and Rachael Cohen

Categories: Library News

Contest: Great Library UX Ideas Under $100

Thu, 2015-05-07 20:17

In case you haven’t noticed, user experience (UX) is all the buzz in libraries lately. If you aren’t already in the thick of a UX project now, you’re likely thinking of ways to start one.

Accomplished information architect and author Lou Rosenfeld will discuss the curious world of user experience at the 2015 LITA President’s Program at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, on Sunday, June 28th, 2015, from 3-4pm. He’ll tackle your questions with moderation from LITA President Rachel Vacek on the importance of UX research and what libraries can do to provide better experiences. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss!

As we approach ALA Annual, the LITA President’s Program Planning Team invites you to share your library’s successful UX projects through the LITA President’s Program Contest: Great Library UX Ideas Under $100. Join us as we celebrate library innovation!

Contest Description

Have you done something great to improve the physical or web user experience in your library? Were you able to complete the entire project for less than $100? Tell us about it!

Using the form below, submit a description of your UX project. Include a brief description of the problem, the project’s goals and desired outcomes, methodology or assessment, any technology utilized, the budget, what changes were implemented, and a description of how those changes improved the library users’ experience. The project can be in progress or recently completed and can be related to any aspect of library services: technology, spaces, resources, or programs – so long as it is user-centered, improved the UX, and has been or will be completed with a budget of $100 or less!

Submission Details

  • Submissions need to include a brief description of the problem, the project’s goals and desired outcomes, methodology or assessment, any technology utilized, the budget, what changes were implemented, and a description of how those changes improved the library users’ experience.
  • Librarians and library staff from all types of libraries are encouraged to participate. Projects must have occurred within a library setting.
  • Project descriptions must be 500 words or less.
  • You do not need to be a LITA member to participate in the contest.
  • Only one submission per project will be considered.
  • Projects completed prior to January, 2014 will not be considered.

To enter, complete the Contest Submission Form by May 31, 2015 by 12:00 AM CDT

Selection Process and Criteria

The LITA’s President’s Program Planning Team will select one project winner. Notable entries may receive mention on the LITA Blog or other ALA platforms. Winning submissions will be notified via email the week of June 15, 2015.

Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovation: How did you use little resources to creatively assess and solve a problem?
  • Simplicity: How easily could this project be implemented elsewhere?
  • Impact: How did your project positively affect the library users’ experience?

What the Winner Will Receive

Submissions Deadline

May 31, 2015, 12:00 AM CDT


For more information, contact LITA President’s Program Planning Team members Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, or Lauren McKeen,

Categories: Library News

Chat: UX Twitter Chat

Thu, 2015-05-07 19:56

Participate in LITA’s first ever UX Twitter Chat!

When when this happen?

  • Friday, May 15th, 2-3 p.m. with moderators Amanda (@godaisies) and Haley (@hayleym1218)
  • Friday, May 29th 2-3 p.m. EDT with moderator Bohyun (@bohyunkim)
  • Friday, June 12th 2-3 p.m. EDT with moderator Whitni (@_whitni)
  • Friday, June 19th 2-3 p.m. EDT with moderator Michael (@schoeyfield)

What is the UX Twitter Chat?

Share your challenges, successes, techniques, and workflows that you have developed to improve user experience (UX) at your library. Use #litaux to participate. Additionally, you can ask questions that may be selected to be answered by proclaimed UX expert, Lou Rosenfeld during the LITA President’s Program at Annual. Submit your questions ahead of time to the moderator. The moderators will ask questions in the Q1, Q2, and Q3 format and followers will use #litaux and answer back in the A1, A2, and A3 format, as you may have see in the #libchat or #inaljchat.

When participating, be constructive. Be respectful. No attacking others. And use the hashtag #litaux.

Who’s behind this?

This chat is inspired by the 2015 LITA President’s Program at ALA Annual and put together by LITA President Rachel Vacek (@vacekrae), her planning team (Amanda Goodman, Whitni Watkins, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Haley Moreno, Bohyun Kim, Rachael Cohen, and Lauren McKeen). To make this even more awesome, they are partnering with the LITA UX Interest Group and Weave, the Journal of Library User Experience.

We hope you’ll join us!

Categories: Library News

Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies – in Your Library or Anywhere!

Tue, 2015-05-05 15:39

Attend a free one hour webinar to discover what learning to teach coding is all about, and then register for and attend the LITA preconference at ALA Annual. This opportunity is following up on the 2014 LITA President’s Program at ALA Annual where then LITA President Cindi Trainor Blyberg welcomed Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code.

The informational webinar is free and open to the first 100 log-ins:
Tuesday May 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm Central Time
Enter as guest. The webinar will be recorded and the link to the recording will be posted to these same resource spaces.

Register online for the ALA Annual Conference and add a LITA Preconference 

Black Girls CODE (BGC) is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and grow the number of women of color working in technology. LITA is devoted to putting on programs that promote, develop, and aid in the implementation of library and information technology. Together, BCG and LITA offer this full day pre-conference workshop, designed to turn reasonably tech savvy librarians into master technology teachers. The workshop will help attendees develop effective lesson plans and design projects their students can complete successfully in their own coding workshops. The schedule will feature presentations in the morning followed by afternoon breakout workgroups, in which attendees can experiment with programming languages such as Scratch, Ruby on Rails, and more.


Kimberly Bryant, Founder and Executive Director Black Girls CODE

Lake Raymond, Program Coordinator Black Girls CODE

Mikala Streeter, Curriculum Consultant Black Girls CODE

The Black Girl Code Vision: To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

Kimberly Bryant:
That, really, is the Black Girls Code mission: to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures. Imagine the impact that these curious, creative minds could have on the world with the guidance and encouragement others take for granted.



  • LITA Member $235 (coupon code: LITA2015)
  • ALA Member $350
  • Non-Member $380


To register for any of these events, you can include them with your initial conference registration or add them later using the unique link in your email confirmation. If you don’t have your registration confirmation handy, you can request a copy by emailing You also have the option of registering for a preconference only. To receive the LITA member pricing during the registration process on the Personal Information page enter the discount promotional code: LITA2015

Register online for the ALA Annual Conference and add a LITA Preconference
Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084
Onsite registration will also be accepted in San Francisco.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

LITA Updates, April 2015

Wed, 2015-04-29 18:05

This is one of our periodic messages sent to all LITA members. This update includes items as follows:

  • Last two days to vote in the LITA/ALA election
  • New LITA Guide just published
  • Four preconferences/regional workshops planned for San Francisco
  • Online Learning Opportunities in May

Last two days to vote

If your current LITA membership was activated by January 31, 2015, you qualify to vote. Sometime ago you received an email notice regarding the election. If you haven’t already voted, please do find that email from the ALA Election Coordinator. The ALA/LITA election ends on Friday, May 1 just before midnight. For more details, see the LITAblog post.

New LITA Guide now available

Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning (a LITA Guide) is now available through the ALA Store. Mary Mallery is the editor and she has written the first chapter. Other contributors include: Liz Bishoff, Thomas Clareson, Donia Conn, Denise O’Shea, Marshall Breeding and Paul Soderdahl.

Four LITA workshops in San Francisco

Register for one of the following four LITA workshops being offered in San Francisco. Simply go to the ALA Annual Conference registration and sign up. If you are already registered for conference, the workshop will be added to your registration. If you can’t attend the Annual Conference but a full day workshop on Friday, June 26th from 8:30 – 4:00 pm would be perfect for you, please go to the ALA Annual Conference registration site and sign up. You do not have to register for the Annual Conference. Three of the workshops are in the Moscone Convention Center; the fourth workshop is off site in a maker space. Registration will be accepted on site as space allows. These are your choices:

  • Creating Better Tutorials Through User-Centered Instructional Design. Hands-on workshop with experts from the University of Arizona.
  • Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies – in Your Library or Anywhere! Work with experts from the Black Girls CODE to become master technology teachers.
  • Let’s Hack a Collaborative Library Website. This hands-on experience will consist of a morning in-depth introduction to the tools, followed by an afternoon building a single collaborative library website.
  • Build a Circuit & Learn to Program an Arduino in a Silicon Valley Hackerspace. This workshop will convene at Noisebridge, a maker space in San Francisco. Clearly, it will be hands on.

If you are attending Annual, be sure to review the LITA schedule. On Saturday, in addition to the all committees meeting in the morning, a number of IGs are holding discussions both in the morning and during the afternoon. The IG sessions continue through Sunday.

Sunday Afternoon with LITA includes the Top Technology Trends panel discussion, a brief awards ceremony, and the LITA President’s Program with Lou Rosenfeld. Details on all things LITA at Annual Conference, are available at

Online Learning opportunities

For more information, go to the LITA Web site.

I encourage you to connect with LITA by:

  1. Exploring our web site.
  2. Subscribing to LITA-L email discussion list.
  3. Visiting the LITA blog and LITA Division page on ALA Connect.
  4. Connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Reaching out to the LITA leadership at any time.

Please note: the Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) journal is available to you and to the entire profession. ITAL features high-quality articles that undergo rigorous peer-review as well as case studies, commentary, and information about topics and trends of interest to the LITA community and beyond. Be sure to sign up for notifications when new issues are posted (March, June, September, and December).

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of these items, please do let me know.

All the best,


Mary Taylor, Executive Director
Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)
50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433 x4267
312-280-4267 (direct line)
312-280-3257 (fax)
mtaylor (at)

Join us in Minneapolis, November 12-15, 2015 for the LITA Forum.

Categories: Library News

LITA and ALA elections close on May 1, 2015

Wed, 2015-04-29 12:05

There is still time to vote for LITA and ALA candidates. The polls will close on Friday May 1, at 11:59 pm Central Time. So make sure you cast your ballot.

LITA Division Candidates include:

President Candidates:

  • Aimee Fifarek
  • Nancy Colyar

Director-at-large candidates:

  • Ken Varnum
  • Susan Sharpless Smith
  • Martin Kalfatovic
  • Frank Cervone

ALA Candidates who are LITA members include:

Presidential candidate:

  • Joseph Janes

Council candidates:

  • Brett Bonfield
  • Megan Drake
  • Henry Mensch
  • Colby Mariva Riggs
  • Jules Shore
  • Eric Suess
  • Joan Weeks

ALA notified voters by email, providing them with their unique passcodes and information about how to vote online. To ensure receipt of your ballot, members should watch for emails from ALA Election Coordinator, The subject line will be “ALA 2015 election login information below.”

To be eligible to vote, individuals must be members in good standing as of January 31, 2015. Although the election is being conducted online, there remains one exception: Members with disabilities and without internet access may obtain a paper ballot by contacting ALA customer service at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5.

Make your voice heard and submit your choices.

Categories: Library News