President’s Report

O15513 Kristy McDonald

Krista McDonald

This is a time of transitions for many of us. We’re watching students graduate at our institutions and transition to the next chapter of their lives. The season is transitioning from spring to summer our attention turns to planning vacations and other warm weather activities. ALAO is also experiencing some noteworthy transitions. Planning for our annual Board Retreat is underway, and our new board will be installed in early July. I hope you’ll all join me in congratulating our newest board members who were elected this spring:

  • Eric Resnis (Vice President/President Elect)
  • Don Appleby (Treasurer)
  • Michelle Brasseur (Public Relations Coordinator)
  • Paul Campbell, Heather Crozier, and Beate Gersch (Board Members-at-Large)

ALAO is also affected by a transition at our fiscal agent, SWON Libraries. Melanie Blau-McDonald, Director of SWON for nearly six years, recently stepped down for family reasons. While SWON continues to serve as ALAO’s fiscal agent, this is a loss for our organization. Melanie has been a mentor to many of us and has been a strong advocate for and supporter of ALAO. While we have the utmost confidence in SWON Interim Director Cassondra Vick, and look forward to working with the next director, we will miss Melanie and deeply appreciate everything she did for ALAO over the years.

Finally, the ALAO board is looking into options for transitioning how we manage our web presence. A task force has spent significant time this year investigating various organizational database management tools that we might use in the future. We are also studying various options for routine management of our website regardless of which product we ultimately choose.

Perhaps some of you are ready for a transition in your professional lives. Are you looking for a new opportunity to engage with ALAO? Let us know by filling out our volunteer form. ALAO relies on its members to plan programming, select grant winners, and advocate for academic libraries in Ohio. Let­­­ us know how you would like to participate and lead in the coming year.

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2017 Election Results

Brian Gray, President

Brian Gray, Past President

The ALAO elections ran from March 19, 2017, through April 19, 2017. An amazing 49% of membership voted. The new elected officers will take office at the ALAO Board Retreat on July 10-11, 2017.


Eric Resnis (Organizational Effectiveness Coordinator, Miami University)

Public Relations Coordinator

Michelle Brasseur (Marketing Communication Specialist, Wright State University)


Don Appleby (Library Specialist, University of Akron)

Board Member At Large

Paul Campbell (Subject Librarian for the Social Sciences, Ohio University)

Heather Crozier (Electronic Resources Librarian, Ohio Northern University)

Beate Gersch (Coordinator of Instruction Services, Institution: University of Akron)

Thank you to the nomination committee members:

Eileen Theodore-Shusta (Ohio University)

Mandi Goodsett (Cleveland State University)

Katy Mathuews, Membership Chair ALAO (Ohio University)


ALAO/SWON Webinars: Innovation Conversations

The inaugural webinar in partnership with SWON occurred on March 8, 2017. The webinar, called Innovation Conversations – Supporting Digital Scholarship: OSUL’s Research Commons, offered by members of The Ohio State University Libraries Research Services Team, discussed the vision and mission guiding its new Research Commons; their current efforts to support data management, GIS, and Digital Humanities; and their plans to expand support for digital research. Meris Mandernach (Head of Research Services), Amanda Rinehart (Data Management Services Librarian), Josh Sadvari (Research Commons Program Manager & GIS Specialist), and Leigh Bonds (Digital Humanities Librarian) each presented and took questions about their services and specialties. ALAO Past President, Brian Gray, moderated the session, in which 23 ALAO members participated (plus 3 libraries registered through SWON).

The second webinar, Telling your story: Using acting techniques to engage your audience, occurred on May 10, 2017. Amanda Koziura (Digital Learning & Scholarship Librarian, Kelvin Smith Library, Case Western Reserve University) leveraged her previous experience as a former actor and stage manager to share approaches, tricks, and guidance in presenting and/or working with library users. The second webinar saw 11 SWON member libraries and 32 ALAO members join in.

ALAO members can participate for free in this webinar series as a benefit of membership. An archive of the recordings, presentation slides, and other content are maintained at: Members will need to sign in to gain access.

Please send webinar suggestions to any ALAO Board member for consideration. We are looking for topics that are new developments or not being covered through other venues. We hope to spark conversations and networking opportunities through these webinars.

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Annual Conference Update: Moving Quickly toward Oct. 27

katykelly headshot ALAO

Katy Kelly, Vice President/President Elect

The academic year is winding down for many, but ALAO conference planning is in full swing! 

Session, poster and roundtable proposals are under review by the conference planning committee. We are pleased to present a full slate of 28 programs as well as a diverse group of posters and roundtables to choose from on Oct. 27.

The conference program will kick off with a great keynote: New York University scholarly communications librarian April Hathcock, who educates the campus community on ownership, access and rights in the research lifecycle. She received her J.D. and LL.M. degrees in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law and her M.L.I.S. from the University of South Florida. Before entering librarianship, she practiced intellectual property and antitrust law for a global private firm. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in librarianship, cultural creation and exchange, and the ways in which social and legal infrastructures benefit the works of certain groups over others. She is the author of the article “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS” and the blog At the Intersection, which examines the intersection of feminism, libraries, social justice and the law.

The evening before conference, we’re bringing back the free Thursday-night social. ALAO conference attendees are invited to celebrate OhioLINK’s 25th anniversary from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Grand Ballroom at Nationwide Conference Center. Hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages will be available, as well as fun activities to celebrate our libraries’ cooperation. It’s casual dress, so no top hats necessary. You can RSVP to this event when you register for conference. Thank you to sponsors OhioLINK, EBSCO, Innovative Interfaces, OCLC and Ex Libris.

Conference registration opens in late June; more information about preconference activities will be available at that time. Stay tuned to the ALAO listserv for registration announcements. Check out the conference website for complete information:

Or, contact me with any questions:

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Political Does Not Mean Partisan: A Letter to the President

On March 6, 2017, I mailed a letter to President Donald Trump on behalf of nearly 100 ALAO members (by email and the U.S. Postal Service).  The essential message of the letter is summarized in its second paragraph: “We, the undersigned members of the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO), a state organization of college and university librarians, are writing to urge you to support scientific integrity and strengthen federal policies that guard against the suppression of science.”

The letter was co-written by Joseph Straw (Marietta College), ALAO Government Relations Liaison, and myself.  We are grateful that so many ALAO members co-signed the letter.  Thank you.  To date, I have not received a reply.

The letter was in response to a number of statements and actions from the White House that are widely seen as threatening public access to government-sponsored scientific research, especially to scientific reports and data related to climate, fossil fuels, environmental oversight, and public health.  It was also a harbinger of the March for Science, held in Washington D.C. and 610 satellite sites on April 22.  I was proud to march in the nation’s capitol, with my sign declaring “Science Librarians: a Force for Science.” It is important to stress that neither the letter from ALAO nor the March for Science were partisan actions.  People of different political parties can readily agree that fact-based policy and legislation form a more effective basis for governmental action, and supporting sound, peer-reviewed scientific research is essential for a strong democracy.

Science librarians across the country participated in the March for Science.  See their comments and a few photos, linked from a short report in the ACRL Insider.

-Alison Ricker, Procedures Manual Coordinator, Oberlin College


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Notes from the Trenches

Speech Pathology Writing Boot Camp at Miami University

This article describes the successful collaboration between a Speech Pathology faculty member and library liaison to use library space and resources to achieve student success at Miami University. The library as a space is currently being redefined to meet the changing needs of patrons, most notably the Makerspace.  A Speech Pathology faculty member and I collaborated to assist thirteen junior and senior students as they completed an inquiry-based learning assignment using an innovative paradigm. The faculty member suggested using the library’s computer lab as a dedicated Writing Boot Camp space for the students as they neared completion of their research assignment. The idea stemmed from her previous positive experience in a faculty writing boot camp. Three one hour and twenty minutes class sessions were dedicated to the library-based Writing Boot Camp. The faculty member and I were available to students for one-on-one consultations throughout the class sessions. During the first class, I walked around to introduce myself to students and offer individualized help. Both the faculty member and I arranged tables for students to approach us for in-depth one-on-one consultations. Students asked me seven questions during the first library-based Writing Boot Camp. The questions ranged from how to develop strong research questions, find reliable resources, use successful search methods, and properly cite. Notably, I learned that most students used Google Scholar as their sole resource. Other students also used the library catalog; however, none of the students used databases. The faculty member and I discussed this issue and decided to include a brief lesson on the value of library resources over Google Scholar, key databases in the field, and useful search strategies during the second library-based Writing Boot Camp. The students completed a survey upon completion of the library-based Writing Boot Camp. All but one student provided strong positive feedback about holding the Writing Boot Camp in the library. Anonymous responses include, “it was a great space to write and allowed for proper help/resources”, “the environment allowed me to concentrate more”, and “I loved being able to switch it up and hold class in the library–it was new and different!” The Speech Pathology faculty member recently won the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award for empowering students to succeed. This innovative use of library space is currently being evaluated for implementation on a larger scale.

-Anna Liss Jacobsen, Miami University


Oral Histories at Kenyon College

When I took the position of Digital Initiatives Librarian at Kenyon College three years ago, I inherited an office full of abandoned oral histories. On SD cards, CDs, desktops, and external hard drives, I found incredible stories – but they were stories without context, without metadata, completely inaccessible to the world. I’ve spent some time working through them, as well as supporting active oral history projects on our campus, and in the process I’ve developed best practices and recommended workflows for oral historians, and the librarians and educational technologists who support them. Two years ago, I joined the team for the GLCA Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project as their Digital Architect. I created an Oral History Metadata form, which is intended to be a user-friendly tool for oral historians in the field, as well as map easily to Dublin Core for archiving purposes. I also created a toolkit called Archiving Oral Histories from Start to Finish which guides the user from pre-interview to long-term access and preservation, with lots of tips, tools, and low cost options. OHLA is currently accepting grant proposals from all GLCA member institutions, and I encourage those of you who are part of those institutions to share the word. I also hope that the resources we’re making available through our website are useful to anyone working with oral histories. We’ve created a lot of documentation for using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer , which is a great tool for oral histories, and has the potential to be useful for other A/V focused projects as well. Our toolkits are intended to expand and evolve over the course of the grant, so if you have any feedback, I am always happy to hear from you. You can check out some of Kenyon’s oral history project in our IR Digital Kenyon. We have a large archive from the Gullah people of coastal South Carolina, recorded over the course of three summers: And some of our students just finished a series of interviews with members of our local community. That project was the first one where I was invited to work hand in hand with the professor and students from the planning stage to archiving, and it was an incredibly positive experience. If you’d like to chat about supporting oral histories, please feel free to contact me directly; collaboration is the best part of being a librarian!

-Jenna Nolt, Kenyon College

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National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C., May 1-2 2017

As Government Relations Liaison, I attended National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington D.C. Carla Myers, the winner of the ALAO National Legislative Day Travel Award, also attended the conference with the Ohio delegation. As always, I would like to extend a thank you to ALAO for supporting our travel to this important advocacy event.

On May 1, myself and Carla attended a series of day long briefings organized by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington Office. The briefings were held at the Liaison Hotel on New Jersey Avenue about three blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. We were members of the Ohio delegation which was made up of 21 people that included academics, public librarians, trustees, vendors, and educational lobbyists. William Morris of the State Library of Ohio headed the state delegation and did an excellent job coordinating the state’s efforts at the conference. This year attendance at NLLD was at record levels with over 400 on site registrations supplemented by several hundred more virtual registrants. Public and school librarians made up the bulk of the attendees, with academic librarians being a clear minority with about 30 participating.

The briefings included presentations by Julie Todaro, president, ALA; Keith Michael Fields, executive director, ALA; Candice Townsend, president, District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA); and Ann Ewbank, chair, ALA Committee on Legislation. The issues covered included surveillance law reform, broadband access, net neutrality, copyright, and free access to government generated research (FASTR). As in past years, the dominant legislative issue revolved around continued direct federal funding for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program (IAL). Summaries of the issues covered at NLLD can be found off the ALA Washington Office website here. After the briefing sessions, a reception for attendees was held in the Hart Senate Office Building.

May 2 was legislative day proper and was spent entirely on Capitol Hill. In the morning, myself and the rest of the delegation met with staffers from the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). During the afternoon, I was on the House side meeting with staffers for Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH-6) and Jim Jordan (R-OH-4). The issues covered in the meetings included IMLS, LSTA, IAL, e-rate, FASTR, the Mararakesh copyright treaty, and depository library funding. Besides the efforts of Carla and myself, other Ohio advocates were able to get out and meet most of the state’s congressional delegation. As in past years, a big thanks needs to go out to the staff of the ALA Washington Office in organizing this grassroots NLLD event and in lobbying full time on behalf of libraries.

-Joseph Straw, Government Relations Liaison, Marietta College

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Membership Report

Membership Report

 At the Executive Board Meeting on April 28, 2017 the Membership Chair reported 343 active members including 315 regular members, 5 retiree members, and 23 student members. Welcome to our newest members:

·         Laura Birkenhauer, Miami University

·         Jennifer Bleiler, Kenyon College

·         Nicole Braccia, Kent State University

·         Chloe Bragg, Kent State University

·         Wendy Bromfield, Kent State University-SLIS

·         Rachel Dilley, Columbus State Community College

·         Susan Falgner, Mount St. Joseph University

·         Denise Greene, Cleveland Institute of Music Library

·         Anna Liss Jacobsen, Miami University

·         Aimee Jenkins, Kenyon College

·         Ayesha Kariem, Kent State University

·         Erin Kilkenny, Kent State University

·         Jill Liebisch- Kent State University- SLIS

·         Tiffany Lipstreu, Otterbein University

·         Rosalinda Linares, Oberlin College

·         Sarah Lucas, Ohio Wesleyan University

·         Kevin Messner, Miami University

·         Jonathan Moore, Kent State University- SLIS

·         Nick Pavlik, Bowling Green State University

·         Lorena Popelka, Columbus State Community College

·         Hanna Primeau, Ohio State University

·         Andrew Stuart, Ohio University

·         Joshua Zellar, Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis

-Katy Mathuews, Membership Chair, Ohio University

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