President’s Report

Eboni A. Johnson, Oberlin College, President


President Eboni Johnson

It’s hard to believe that the past year has sped by so quickly, and that my term as ALAO President is coming to an end. At next month’s leadership retreat, I will hand the gavel over to Brian Gray and transition to Past President.  We will also welcome our newest board members, who were elected this spring:

  • Krista McDonald (Vice President/President Elect)
  • Don Appleby (Treasurer)
  • Amanda Koziura (Public Relations/Outreach Coordinator)
  • Judy Carey Nevin, Miriam Matteson, and Elisabeth Shook (Board Members-at-Large)

Special thanks to those who have fulfilled their terms of service on the board:

  • Betsy Blankenship (Past President)
  • Jeffrey Franks, Julia Gustafson, and Suzanne Smailes (Board Members-at-Large)
  • Rob Withers (Webmaster)
  • Interest group chairs
    • Sarah Murphy (Assessment Interest Group)
    • Kathleen Baril (Collection Managment Interest Group)
    • Sharon Kerestes (Collection Materials Center Interest Group)
    • Carrie Girton (Distance Learning Interest Group)
    • Sara Klink (Instruction Interest Group)
    • Stefanie Hunker (Special Collections and Archives Interest Group)
    • Aimee deChambeau (Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services Interest Group)

I appreciate everyone’s flexibility in scheduling and attending our regular board meetings. Who knew that a giant conference call with nearly 30 people on the line could run smoothly AND be productive? You all never complained about anything that was asked of you, and rose to various challenges (ahem, Google Drive!) with good humor and patience. There is always more to do, but we accomplished a lot this past year. Y’all are the best.

The ALAO Board asked your opinion on the change to the bylaws for the term of service for the Public Relations/Outreach Coordinator for ALAO.  As of June 15th, we had received 111 total votes (104 yes, 1 no, 6 blank). We received the needed 2/3 of the total votes in the affirmative in order for this change to go into effect.The Public Relations /Outreach  Coordinator will serve two and one half years, with six months of overlap between the terms of the incoming and outgoing Coordinators.

Let me also use this opportunity to remind everyone that ALAO relies on our members’ contributions to provide a variety of professional development opportunities, to support the profession by conferring scholarships, grants and awards, and to advocate on behalf of academic libraries. Volunteers are needed to serve in many capacities, including as an institutional membership liaison, elected officer, committee member or appointed board member.  If you haven’t already, please fill out the volunteer form, and let us know where you’d like to serve. Get involved, encourage your colleagues to volunteer, inspire a librarian-in-training to participate.  WE make ALAO possible, and to echo the 2015 conference theme, it’s up to us to cultivate leadership in our profession so that we can be prepared for the future!

Thanks again for a wonderful Presidential term, and for entrusting me with leading ALAO through its 40th year. I look forward to many more.

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Past President’s Report

Betsy Blankenship, The Ohio State University at Marion, Past President

I am proud to have coordinated the recent ALAO elections and the membership elected some excellent board members. All those who submitted a nomination as well as those who ran have my deepest thanks and appreciation for your willingness to run and your commitment to ALAO.  The committee had some tough decisions to make. Check out the President’s report to see who was elected. My congratulations to all who were elected!

I served on the ALAO Diversity Committee this year to help plan programming for the annual conference, the Spring Workshop and to help select this year’s Diversity Scholarship winner. Kudos to the committee for working so diligently to increase visibility, awareness and information of diversity issues to the membership , to improve the Diversity Committee webpage over the past year and to encourage library students of diverse backgrounds to make an impact on the future of librarianship by offering the scholarship!

In addition, the ALAO Communications Review Committee met in May to review and discuss ALAO communications, both to the membership as well as within the board. The meeting yielded some good insight and offered the next Leadership Board some possible directions to go to improve communications and ensure that we are reaching and informing membership of activities and events in a timely manner and providing information that is relevant and useful as well as ensuring that board members are fully informed and trained to meet the duties and responsibilities of their positions.

This is my last report as Past President. It has been an adventure and an extreme pleasure to serve you as Vice President, President and Past President over the last three years. I am honored that I have joined such a distinguished group of people who have served as
President of ALAO and feel privileged to have worked with so many really wonderful people on the boards. I made new friends and learned so much!  I take pride in the accomplishments of the boards I have served with and I know that the new leadership board, with Brian Gray, Eboni Johnson (and soon Krista McDonald) at the helm, will continue the tradition of strong leadership and serving the members through opportunities, education and support. I look forward to see what new chapters of success are written at ALAO!!

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Annual Conference Update

Brian Gray, Case Western Reserve University, Vice President/President Elect

Save the date for the 2015 ALAO Annual Conference: November 20, 2015!

The theme this year is Cultivating Leadership: Preparing Academic Libraries for the Future. We will be on the north side of Columbus at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center, which is near the Polaris shopping district.

We will have an exciting preconference with a separate registration scheduled for Thursday, November 19th. Trevor Dawes, Associate University Librarian for Washington University in St. Louis and Past President of ACRL, will host a half-day workshop on Developing Your Leadership Skills. Mission Bell Media, a first time ALAO sponsor and a new publisher focusing on leadership, innovation, and library professional development, will provide copies of their Leadership Glossary to attendees.

The keynote for the main conference on Friday, November 20th will be given by Cindy Meyers Foley, Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience, Columbus Museum of Art.

The conference planning committee is completing the review of the over 60 program and 20 posters submissions. Accepted presenters will be notified by end of June. Conference registration and hotel information will also go live within the month.

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget to Renew!

Katy Mathuews, Ohio University, Membership Chair

Spring is an exciting time for ALAO Workshops. If you’re like me, registering for events such as conferences and workshops reminds me  to renew my professional memberships. If you haven’t renewed your ALAO membership lately, visit to renew today.  Encourage your coworkers to renew or join for the first time, too! We currently have 346 active regular members, 3 active retiree members, and 27 active student members. However, our expired memberships have reached 500! We’d hate for everyone to miss out on the great benefits of ALAO, so encourage your coworkers to renew today!

Membership affords you many benefits including a discounted annual conference fee and access to online materials.  You are also eligible to apply for research grants, continuing education grants, a diversity scholarship, and various other awards.  Your membership dues help fund these opportunities and help ALAO maintain its vibrant network of library colleagues and professional development. These benefits can be particularly valuable to those just embarking on library careers. We are currently offering free student memberships. If you know a full-time student enrolled in an MLIS/MLS program, please encourage them to join. You may contact Katy Mathuews, Membership Chair, at to learn more.

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Committee News

Professional Development Committee

ALAO Professional Development Committee Hosted a Successful ACRL Webcast Viewing and Discussion
Julia Chance Gustafson,  The College of Wooster, Professional Development Committee  Co Chair

Every year, ALAO’s parent body, ACRL, allows us to host group viewings of 2 different ACRL Webcasts without the usual costs to attendees. This year, the ALAO Professional Development Committee (PDC) chose to host the following two Webcasts on May 22, 2015, at the Franklin University campus:  

We had 13 librarians from all over the state participate in this event. After viewing each webcast, we had a discussion leader lead a discussion about the webcast. Many thanks to Moriana Garcia (Denison University) and Katherine Blocksidge (Ohio State University, Newark Campus) to leading some very useful and engaging discussions with the group. ALAO PDC is particularly grateful to Franklin University for hosting this event as well.

The Pilot Mentoring Program Moving Along Successfully

The ALAO Professional Development Committee is hearing some very good, informal feedback from those who are actively engaged in the two-year ALAO Pilot Mentoring Program. Some mentor/mentee pairs began their relationships right away and some are just beginning to connect this summer, now that they have time after their busy academic year. Soon, the PDC will be sending out an evaluation survey to participants so they can incorporate the feedback as they decide how to proceed into the second year of the pilot program.

If you missed participating in the program this year, no worries. Keep an eye out on the ALAO Listserv for announcements for the second round of mentor/mentee pairing, which will happen towards the end of 2015.

Diversity Committee Workshop Recap

Judith Cerqua, The Ohio State University

On June 5th the Diversity Committee held a workshop dedicated to veterans on campus: Serving Our Veterans: A Call to Action at Columbus State Community College Conference Center.

The workshop centered on how campuses can serve veterans and what veterans need from libraries. All of the 35 individuals registered attended the workshop, coming from 20 colleges and universities plus the Ohio Board of Regents, with both librarians and non-librarians in attendance. Several attendees traveled more than 50 miles and one attendee came from the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign. Many indicated that this was a priority topic on their campuses and glad that ALAO was addressing this need for Ohio colleges and universities.

The day began with a keynote on veterans in Ohio from Danny Eakins, Military and Veteran Policy Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, discussing the current veteran population in Ohio. Mr. Eakins was followed by a presentation on veteran’s services by Major Jay Favuzzi, James Gilchrist-Elliot and Terry Worst from Columbus State’s Military & Veteran’s Services Department.

The day continued with three presentations from libraries on current services:

  • Outreach to Our Student Veteran Populations, Krista McDonald & Mike Farmer from Miami University, Hamilton
  • Best for Vets? Walking the Talk, Eileen Bosch & Elizabeth Wood from Bowling Green University
  • Rules of Engagement: Creating an Online Information Literacy Course for those Returning to Learn and Actively Serving, Thomas Atwood, University of Toledo

And finally the day wrapped up with a facilitated group discussion on the topic of What are you doing at your institution?

Some of the takeaways from the workshop were:

  • A better understanding of veteran population demographics
  • Need to coordinate with vets center and community organizations
  • Need to be part of the orientation for new student veterans
  • Have office hours where veterans are – in locations that work for them
  • A veterans needs assessment since veterans needs differ from traditional students
  • Work with disability services and vet. Services to evaluate the library building
  • Copy successful programs from other universities
  • Empowered to begin conversation on campus

Research & Publications Committee Grant Winner
Heidi Gauder, University of Dayton, Research & Publications Committee Chair

The winner of the 2015 Research & Publication grant is Jane Wu, Systems Librarian & Associate Professor, from Otterbein University.  Her project, titled A  Comparative Study of Information Experiences in U.S. and Chinese Academic Libraries, received the full $2,000 funding.

The RPC would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of the applicants for participating in this year’s program. We look forward to hearing more about her exciting research in the coming months. Thanks very much to everyone!

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2015 Continuing Education Award Honorable Mention Award Report

Kelly Kobiela, Ohio Northern University, TEDSIG Co-Chair

The Continuing Education Award allowed me to attend IUG (Innovative Users Group) 2015. I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend IUG this year. Though OhioLINK and ALAO offer me a lot of opportunities locally to meet with and talk to other librarians, IUG is the only conference I have been to that has as many sessions specifically for Systems Librarians.

Sessions like the Systems Forum and Load Profile Forum are extremely important for finding out what other libraries are doing. For example, this year there was a great discussion about hosted vs turnkey vs software only for the system. Even though we are already on a hosted system, I found the discussion very informative for the reasons libraries choose what they do. It also reinforced that my decision to go hosted was the right one for us. Continue reading

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Leave a comment

Assessment Interest Group Workshop a Success

Sarah Murphy, The Ohio State University, Assessment Interest Group Chair

The Assessment Interest Group’s spring workshop “Communicating  Library  Value Through Assessment” was a resounding success. More than 45 ALAO members gathered at the State Library of Ohio on April 16, 2015 to hear Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz, Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Cleveland Public Library, deliver her keynote presentation on “Authentic Innovation for Libraries.”  After lunch and a brief business meeting, our colleagues throughout the state shared innovative assessment practices, experiences, and successes through four presentations:

•    “Using Library and Institutional Data to Initiate Collaborative Outreach toward Institutional Mission” – Katy Mathuews, Ohio University, and Zachary Lewis, Shawnee State University
•    “Captivate and Communicate: Nontraditional Ways to Communicate Your Value” – Alyssa Darden, Franklin University
•    “Small Samples, Broad Applications: Using Bibliographies to Support Instruction, Collections, and Budgets” – John Kromer, Miami University
•    “Using Visual Literacy to Demonstrate the Impact of Technological Space” — Eric Resnis and Jennifer Natale, Miami University

Mandy Shannon, Wright State University, will serve as Chair of the Assessment Interest Group for 2015-2016. In this role she will serve as the primary liaision with the ALAO Board. Eric Resnis has volunteered to serve as Vice-Chair and will lead the 2016 AIG workshop planning committee. Planning committee members for 2015-2016 include Alyssa Darden, Franklin University, Jeff Gates, Cedarville University, Rares Piliou, Otterbein University, and Laura Ponikvar, Cleveland Institute of Art

Posted in Vol. 33 no. 2 (June 2015) | Tagged | Leave a comment