So Thursday I went up to the Adocentyn Library to do an afternoon of cataloguing so I could stay over in the East Bay for a Friday conference. I finished off my own books and started on Gus's boxes. Wow, that feels like an accomplishment! I had a lovely solo dinner at the Suzette Crepe place on Solano (yay, buckwheat only crepes) and then stopped at a nail salon to get my nails redone, followed by a drink at the Ivy Room (a boring sports bar as it turns out). But hey, it was a great "me time" kind of evening. My giant air mattress blew up beautifully and I slept well. So no more worrying about where to stay when I do my two day library volunteer stints.
Friday early I headed over to the Brower Center, UC Berkeley, to a conference called, "Making it Count: Opportunities and Challenges for Library Assessment" put on by the Librarians Association of the University of California on issues in academic libraries. <http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/lauc/conference-2013> Keeping a hand in the field even if no-one seems to want to employ me. Steve Hiller, Director of Assessment and Planning, University Libraries, University of Washington talked on Library Assessment from Measurement to Impact and Value.
(Check out his library's fact sheet at <http://www.lib.washington.edu/assessment>.)
He started with a quote from J.T. Gerould of the Princeton libraries from 1906, stating that the basic questions of assessment were essentially, "Is this method the best? Is our practice adapted to secure the most effective administration? Are we up to the standard of a similar institutions?" The emphasis for the first decades of library assessment was mostly about size - how many volumes, how much growth. These are easy to collect inputs, but don't tell us what users were able to accomplish because the library exists.
So the emphasis has changed to try to capture the impact of the library on the individuals, community and organization (impact and value). Hiller mentioned he had been on the ISO committee for ISO 16439 (Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries). Nothing about it on the ISO site though, under development. There is an article about it available on Emerald though that I think I'll bookmark to read later <http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17041642>.
But anyway, his point was that we are moving beyond internal performance and satisfaction to advocacy to a variety of stakeholders, creating narratives. And he invited everyone to consider the August 2014 conference on library assessment in Seattle with the warning it sells out months in advance.
There was a Panel Discussion
featuring Merrilee Proffitt, OCLC; Joanne Miller, California Digital Library; and Lyn Paleo, Evaluation Research and Training. I didn't take very good notes, although all three talks were interesting. The link I captured about UC libraries was <http://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/about/facts-and-figures>. Looks very old school by Hiller's talk. Also I would like to read an OCLC published on archival collection assessment, co-authored by Merrilee Proffitt. <http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2012/conway-proffitt-rbm.pdf>
We broke for lunch and I had several interesting conversations with different folks. Another librarian who also had a patent background suggested I join Patent Information Users Group <http://www.piug.org/>. Several people commiserated about how hard it is to find library jobs and mentioned they are often hiring MLS holders into paraprofessional positions. No librarian likes that circumstance.
I went to an interesting afternoon breakout session
by Lynn Jones and Susan Edwards (UC Berkeley) called "Every number tells a story: using data to make collection decisions" about their experience with needing to close the Education and Psychology library (for seismic issues) and doing various metrics to figure out how the students and faculty of the Educations, Psychology and Social Work departments used campus libraries. It was very interesting but complicated and I don't think I can summarize it here.
The closing keynote was given by David Fetterman about his "Empowerment Assessment"
ideas used by Fetterman & Associates, an international evaluation consultation firm. His idea is that assessment shouldn't stop but be used to push an organization's goals forward. He has done all kinds of cool projects and was selling his latest book, _Empowerment Evaluation in the Digital Villages: Hewlett-Packard's $15 Million Race Toward Social Justice_ about closing the digital divide. He also talked about an anti-smoking campaign for youth in Arkansas. I chatted with him a bit at the wine reception afterward. Some of his techniques reminded me of appreciative inquiry and other techniques I've learnt over the years. No jobs link on their website though. *wry grin* Or even training opportunities. I'd like to read his most recent book and also _Ethnography: Step-by-Step_. I sent samples to my phone but both are kind of expensive. I just don't have the textbook price thing down.
I also had a nice chat with Stephanie Rosenblatt of Cerritos College who had given a breakout session I had to miss. We may network some more. Yay.
After the nice (bar the grey day) wine and snacks reception on the terrace of the Brower Center I headed off to Adocentyn when I met Don & Anna and wandered down Solano to find dinner. We ended up at the Solano Grill and had a lovely dinner and conversation. Then I, predictably, grabbed some takeaway from Aangan and headed home. I had stayed late and missed the rush hour but traffic is always bad on that corridor. I need a teleporter really badly.