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Big Red Bags Everywhere!

ALA Midwinter Dallas 2012

A Report by Diane Malmstrom

Arriving at the Dallas Convention Center for my very first ALA Midwinter meeting was exciting! Never before had I seen so many library people assembled in one place (approximately 11-12,000, including exhibitors). Once I’d checked in, I was given a big, red ALA bag, and sent on my way.

Big Red Bags at ALA Midwinter in Dallas

Big Red Bags at ALA Midwinter in Dallas

But where to start, and why did I need such a big bag? I soon found out the answer to my question, when I visited the vendor exhibit floor. Everywhere I looked, free books, vendor goodies, and product information brochures were handed my way, and that was only after visiting row one. I soon found myself flowing through the crowd in a sea of big, red bags! As an inexperienced conference goer, I was soon lugging around a bag overflowing with library related material. It was then that I realized I would have to be far more selective in the days to come, if I wanted to make it through the vastness that is the exhibit floor (82,000 square feet).

Thankfully, I’d laid out my schedule of conference events ahead of time. With so many informative sessions, I was glad to have some structure for my first day. I was so impressed with the authors that had been scheduled for the conference, and my first day began with the Booklist Author Forum with Helen Schulman and Hillary Jordan. Both authors spoke candidly about their writing process and exploration of social conditions, and also how changes, such as the internet, affect society. This was particularly interesting for me, because I’d written of some of these digital changes, and their effects on library reference, in the essay I submitted for this grant.  I also listened to the inspiring story of Jamal Joseph as he spoke about his book, Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention. He showed how we, as librarians, can reach out to a struggling community to let people know we’re here to help them. Author John Green gave an upbeat talk about how social networking relates to literature, and inventive ways for libraries to reach out through social networking. My favorite speaker, however, was Susan Cain, author of the book titled, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  Her talk centered on how our culture misunderstands and undervalues introverts in this increasingly social world, and how we might be more successful in the workplace by being able to recognize the strengths of people that prefer to work alone. She spoke of how having a balance of working strategies, including allowing those more introverted to work alone at times, rather than insisting they follow the popular “teamwork” model, could be inducive to great, new ideas. I thought her approach was a unique and welcome one, coming to one that does work well in teams, but sometimes does better and more thoughtful work when it’s quiet.

Along with attending the author talks, on Sunday I attended a session calledThe Midwinter Conversation: Transforming Librarianship. It was here that I was really able to interact with some of my colleagues to discuss what we think needs to be done in order to transform libraries and librarianship. This roundtable discussion was moderated by professor David Lankes, author ofAtlas of New Librarianship, and helped us answer such questions as, how will library service be different in the future, what tools will we need to successfully move forward, and what assumptions must we change about libraries and librarianship to get there; all relevant questions as I finish my degree and enter the next phase of my library career.

One of the things that I was most looking forward to was connecting in person with many of our library vendors. I work closely with them via e-mail on a regular basis, and wanted to let them know how much I appreciate their dedicated service. Several of them invited me to attend company breakfasts/lunches held before the sessions which gave us a chance to catch up over a nice meal. Before one of the breakfasts, as I was checking in, I introduced myself to one of our reps, and she was so happy I was there, she got up and hugged me! For years, she always asks me if I’ll be attending ALA, and I always have to say no, because library funding is so bad, and it doesn’t allow for travel. I was happily able to tell her about the Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant that I’d received, and how it made it possible for me to attend. These are the kinds of connections that I think would have made Bob very happy.

While I didn’t have a lot of free time during the day, I was able to fit in a morning of sightseeing on Friday before events started.  I took a walk through the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas, and visited the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. As you can see, it was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70s. From here, I walked to the Sixth Floor Museum which chronicles President Kennedy’s life, death, and legacy. I spent a few hours there, and while it was sad, I’m so glad I spent time to learn more about this event in US history.

On Saturday morning, I happily met with Iris Hanney (Chairman of the Board), and Cheryl Crosby (Board member) for the Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant, at the Unlimited Priorities booth. It was great to finally meet them in person, as we’d been in touch, via e-mail since October. I very much enjoyed visiting with them, and hearing their fondest memories of Bob, and how he touched so many people’s lives. I’m more than honored to be a part of his continuing legacy.

As I return to California, armed with new insight and wonderful memories of ALA Midwinter 2012 in Dallas, I will begin to apply what I’ve learned with a new sense of mission, all made possible by the generous grant I received in honor of a man that had such love for information and libraries. I can only hope, when my library career is said and done, that I will have had half the impact that Bob has had on the library community. I thank each and everyone involved, and hope to see you all again soon.


Diane’s Photos

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Robert F. Asleson Memorial 2012 ALA Conference Grant Winner is Announced

San Jose State University Student to Attend Winter Meeting

Cape Coral, FL, January 12, 2012 — The board of directors of the Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant has announced this year’s award recipient.  Diane Malmstrom, a student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University, will receive a $1,500.00 grant to help defray the cost of attending ALA’s 2012 Winter Meeting in Dallas, Texas in January.

The Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant was established by friends and colleagues within the information industry to honor the memory of Bob Asleson, late founder and president of The Redalen Group, for his many contributions to the library community. An advisor and guide to countless members of the profession, Bob’s 50-year career spanned both traditional and innovative technologies, from reference materials to CD-ROMs to online databases.  He held presidential positions at several leading industry companies and served on numerous organization boards.  The grant’s awards subsidize attendance at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting and the Annual Conference for deserving Master of Library Science degree candidates.  Winners are selected based on economic need and the quality of an essay based on criteria set by the board.

Diane Malmstrom

Diane Malmstrom

Scheduled to graduate in December, 2012, Diane Malmstrom is a single mother living in San Jose, California.  With two college-age children, Diane is pursuing an MLIS degree at San Jose State University while working full time.  In 2010 she received the New Leader Award from the California Library Association Technical Services Interest Group.  Her winning essay has been posted on the grant website.

In accepting the award, Diane said: “I’m very honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant. This grant will allow me to attend my first ALA conference, and begin a new chapter in my professional development. I look most forward to being inspired by the keynote speakers, learning from the expertise of the presenters and conference attendees, and strengthening bonds with library vendors. It’s my hope that this will be the start of many more ALA events to come. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”

In awarding the grant Iris Hanney, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “I know that Bob Asleson would be very interested in Diane’s well thought out essay examining ways in which the availability of digitized primary sources have impacted reference services.  I am extremely pleased to present this award to Diane in Bob’s memory.  We know she will have an outstanding career!”

The board of directors continues to seek both corporate and individual donations in support of the Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant. It believes that exposure to the programs, seminars, contacts and other conference benefits will foster an on-going love of and dedication to the cause of librarianship in students who otherwise would be unable to attend, reflecting the values exhibited by Bob Asleson throughout his life and long professional career.

Complete details of the grant, including information on donation participation, are available on the website atwww.aslesongrant.org.  Several levels of support are available, and all donations are fully tax-deductible. Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

Iris L. Hanney, Chairman of the Board
Robert F. Asleson Memorial ALA Conference Grant
1930 SW 48th Lane
Cape Coral, FL 33914
239 549-3168 Fax

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Ian Anstice Named IWR Information Professional of the Year for 2011

Congratulations go out to Ian Anstice.  He has been named as IWR Information Professional of the year. The judges gave Anstice, a branch manager of a public library in Cheshire, the honor for his dedication and hard work recording and explaining the changes taking place across the public library sector as a whole.

Ian Anstice

Ian Anstice

Ian Anstice is Librarian in Charge of Winsford Library in Cheshire, he operates Public Libraries News and is a a member of the Voices for the Library team.

Presenting the award at Online Information, editor of IWR Peter Williams said: “Ian’s work is a stirring story of how much can be achieved and how knowledge and information really is power. A well deserved winner. I would urge you to go take a look at his work.

Anstice said: “In a time of cuts to library services and being aware that knowledge is power, I was surprised to see there was no publicly available site to show what was going in each authority. I started the blog in October 2010. This includes all news articles on public library cuts, doing a map of the cuts, and producing a tally of cuts and proposals by authority.

You can follow Ian’s work at Public Libraries News on Twitter at @publiclibnews or on Google+.

About the Award

This international award offers recognition to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession in the past 12 months. Nomination could be for an individual who has demonstrated best practice, led extensive project work or developed an information resource for an organisation and its users and clients.

Ian Anstice joins the ranks of previous winners including last year’s winner Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager, University of Huddersfield and Hazel Hall, Director of the Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University, who won the award in 2008 award.

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Congrats to the 2011 Library and Museum IMLS Medal Winners!

National Medal for Museum and Library Service The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has chosen five libraries and five museums as the 2011 recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The institutes National Medal is the United States’ highest honor for museums and libraries that exhibit extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. The recipient organizations have demonstrated innovative approaches to public service and community outreach.

With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart they have achieved an outstanding level of public service. –Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director

“Congratulations to each of these organizations on receiving the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The work they have accomplished is an inspiration to libraries and museums throughout the nation,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director. “With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart they have achieved an outstanding level of public service.”

This year’s ten winners came from all over the United States. More details about these organizations and why they were selected are available through the links below.

Library Winners

Museum Winners

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit http://www.imls.gov.

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