Annual Conference Report

O15513 Kristy McDonald

Krista McDonald President

I hope everyone enjoyed the 2016 Annual Conference and Preconference. I would like to extend special thanks to our keynote speaker, Courtney Greene McDonald, and UX workshop leader Ben Woods for joining our conference under difficult circumstances. Both of these speakers stepped into their roles with less than four weeks to prepare for their sessions when our previously scheduled speaker abruptly cancelled. They, along with Jerry Hensley and L. Scott Lissner, who led our preconference workshop on accessibility in academic libraries, anchored an excellent slate of programs on user experience.

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the following ALAO awards presented at the 2016 conference:

Support Staff Presenter Grant Rosha Hester
Continuing Ed grant Richard Wisneski

Donald Pearson

Research grant Katy Mathuews

Tammy Stitz

Diversity Scholarship Dierric Rogers
DLIG Visionary Sara Klink
TEDdy C. Rockelle Strader
Kathryn Venditti Kathryn Venditti
Jay Ladd Julie Deardorff

Let’s also congratulate Ken Irwin, recipient of the 2016 People’s Choice Poster Award, for his poster, “Citation Tetris: A Library Skills Training Game.”

As has been recent past practice, we are gathering session materials and making them available to the ALAO membership via the members only area of the ALAO website. After logging in, you should see links to the presentation materials from the 2016 conference and several past conferences as well. Materials continue to be added as we receive them from presenters. If you presented and still need to submit your content, please email ALAO webmaster Joe Dudley at

Krista McDonald, President, Miami University Hamilton

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2017 ALAO Nomination for Elected Office

Are you looking for a leadership opportunity? Would you like to get involved in professional service for an ACRL chapter? If so, please consider nominating yourself for the ALAO Board. Elections will take place in March/April, and successful candidates will take office at the ALAO Board Retreat this summer. Come join a fantastic group of Ohio librarians!

What does the ALAO Board do?

As the Ohio chapter of ACRL, we have a mission of advancing academic library services in our state, and providing opportunities for education and growth for library personnel at all levels and at every career stage. We sponsor an annual conference and spring workshops that focus on innovative topics and showcase Ohio academic librarians; we provide scholarships and awards, and we maintain several active, diverse interest groups and committees. In addition, we have a mentoring program that pairs up Ohio academic librarians for peer-to-peer, inter-generational, leadership, or student mentoring relationships.

  • Perform the duties described for your elected position – see the Procedures Manual for the specific duties and responsibilities of each position
  • Attend the annual two-day retreat (usually in June/July of each year; 2017 dates and location to be determined)
  • Attend up to 4 Board meetings per year (usually on Fridays, at OhioNET)

This year, we will be electing the following officers:

  • Vice President/President Elect
  • Board Member-at-Large (3 positions)
  • Treasurer
  • Public Relations Coordinator

Remember that you must be an ALAO member in order to run for office, so this is a perfect time to join or renew.  Join or renew here.

Submit the online nomination form by Friday, February 17, 2016 to be considered as a candidate!

If you have questions, please contact me or another member of the Nominating Committee.

Brian C. Gray, Case Western Reserve University
Katy Mathuews, Ohio University
Eileen Theodore-Shusta, Ohio University
Mandi Goodsett, Cleveland State University

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Kathryn L. Venditti Mentoring Award

kathryn-venditti-award-2On December 22, 2015, ALAO lost a long-term friend, mentor, and leader. Kathryn Venditti was an Instruction and Reference Librarian at Ashland University, and had been a member of ALAO for over 15 years. She served various formal leadership roles over the last decade, including several conference planning committees and many years as the Interest Group (IG) Coordinator. During her tenure as the IG Coordinator, she established the processes used by the IG Chairs and Board to this day. The IG Handbook she created is the guiding light for the IGs to be successful. Kathryn’s enthusiasm and efforts to support ALAO and academic libraries were honored in 2014 when she received the Jay Ladd Award, the highest honor that ALAO can bestow on a member.

The conversations since her passing have demonstrated how much she has meant for so many members of ALAO. I lost count of how many members have told me the first person they met in ALAO and consider their first ALAO “friend” was Kathryn. She was the smiling face that greeted so many of us at our first ALAO Conference or workshop. She was the unofficial “ambassador” in everything she did from welcoming new members to providing a positive experience for everyone. The Board reflected on Kathryn’s years within ALAO. As we went around the room, the common theme was stories of joy from times spent with Kathryn. Almost everyone in the room described the “mentoring” she provided as each person was considering or accepting an ALAO leadership role. She had a calming approach as she prepared you to tackle your new challenges. Her enthusiasm was contagious and clearly led to many considering running for election or volunteering for roles within ALAO. I myself can say I participated in several conference planning committees and her personality set the tone for everything we did.kathryn-venditti-award

At the recent ALAO Conference, it was with great honor that I had the task of introducing a brand new ALAO award that will recognize an outstanding mentor. In the future, information will be available at the ALAO website.

The Kathryn L. Venditti Mentoring Award was established in 2016 in memory of longtime ALAO member Kathryn Venditti. Kathryn was an outstanding academic librarian at Ashland University from 1999-2015. A former ALAO Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award winner, she was an active leader in the field and a loyal colleague. In particular, Kathryn is remembered for her supportive mentorship to many emerging librarians. The ALAO Executive Board voted to establish this award in her name to honor her generous spirit, exhibited through her lifelong mentoring of new and experienced librarians.

  • The Kathryn L. Venditti Mentoring Award is given annually to an academic librarian who has demonstrated excellence as a mentor to a librarian, library worker, or library science student. Through this award, ALAO strives to foster a culture of mentoring within the Association.
  • Nominees will have a sustained record of effective mentorship, as demonstrated by activities that may include but not be limited to advising, developing, coaching, sponsoring, advocating, guiding, and/or supporting librarians, library workers, or library students.
  • Preference is given to nominees who work in academic libraries. Nominees need not be members of ALAO.
  • In the future, the Awards Committee will solicit nominations in spring and select the winner. Presentation of the award will occur at the Annual Conference in the fall. Nominations should include a single page describing the nominee’s record of mentorship. The Award does not have to be presented each year.

The 2016 award was given to Kathryn Venditti. It was accepted on behalf of her family by Kathryn’s son Gabriel. At the end of Gabriel’s acceptance speech, he issued this challenge to all of us: “So as I accept this award for her in her absence, I have a request for all of you.  Embrace your capacity for good.  Use the gifts you’ve been given to leave a mark on the lives that connect with yours.  And also, reach out to others who have these gifts as well, and teach them how to use them.”

Brian C. Gray, Past President, Case Western Reserve University

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Congratulations to Julie Deardorff, 2016 Jay Ladd Award Recipient

jay-ladd-award-2The Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who has been an ALAO member for at least 5 years, and who has promoted academic libraries and librarianship not only on his or her own campus, but also within the state. The award also recognizes someone who has provided leadership in the promotion of ALAO through service such as committee membership, executive board office, or interest group office.

I had the pleasure of awarding the 2016 Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award to Julie Deardorff, Director of Library Collection Services and Associate Professor of Library Science at Cedarville University. She has been a member of ALAO since 1996. She has served in various leadership roles such as interest group chair for collection management, interest group program coordinator, workshop coordinator, and discussion group moderator. She has presented at conferences, participated as a panelist, and presented a poster.

From the nomination, the nominator shared that Julie developed an undergraduate library internship program 11 years ago which has had nearly 30 interns explore librarianship as a career option through learning about and carrying out multiple aspects of library work including cataloging, processing, circulation, reference, instruction, archives, and other areas.  Internship students work closely with current staff, develop and carry out projects, deliver presentations, document their experiences, and play important roles in the operational activities of the library.  The internship is listed as a for-credit class and counts toward graduation requirements in both the History and English programs, in which she serves as the faculty member of record.  Of the 29 interns, 11 have gone on to 6 different library schools (including 4 currently enrolled at Kent State) and 10 of the 30 are working in libraries (including 1 in Rwanda) and another working for a library association. In 2015, she led a group of 1 former and 3 current interns in delivering an ALAO workshop entitled “Today’s Undergraduates…Tomorrow’s Library Directors!” so that other Ohio academic libraries might be able to adapt some of these concepts into their local campus communities.  She has also served as the faculty member of record for 2 independent study courses in librarianship for interns who wanted additional opportunities to explore careers in librarianship.  And she has advised 6 additional students through a non-credit Library Careers Program that she has developed that is a slightly scaled-down version of the internship.jay-ladd-award

Julie has organized and conducted an annual Library Careers Interest dinner which has served to provide an introduction to students and staff members about all the different forms a library career can take.  Attendees are treated to a dinner, a presentation from that semester’s group of library interns on what they have learned, and, finally, a personal narrative or panel discussion by current library professionals.  These library practitioners have ranged from public, academic, special, and school librarians – including some with archive, government, and international experiences.  Over 160 students have attended the dinner, now in its 11th year, along with university and local librarians, alumni, current and former interns, Career Services staff, and faculty members.  A number of attendees have gone on to work in the library and/or participate in the internship program. She takes an active role in representing the university library and librarianship at the bi-annual campus Career Fair.  She maintains a list of graduates who have gone on to careers in librarianship and has provided advice, recommendations, and support to them as well as to former interns and any student who expresses an interest in librarianship as a career.

The nominator also said “I cannot imagine that anyone has done more practical work to promote librarianship as a career option for undergraduates in Ohio.”

Brian C. Gray, Past President, Case Western Reserve University

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2017 Conference Theme Announcement

As 2017 program chair, I’m pleased to announce the theme for ALAO’s annual conference: “Libraries Act. Respond. Transform: The ART of Empowerment.” Designed by the conference planning committee, the theme will guide our preparations to host a thought-provoking event.


Katy Kelly, Vice President/President Elect

Our goal is to inspire dialogue and knowledge sharing on how libraries act, respond, transform and empower in meaningful ways. Conversations on critical librarianship (#critlib) are happening in all areas of our libraries. Recently, the ALA created “Libraries Respond” to “help keep current events in conversation with libraries’ ongoing work in and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.” How do libraries transform and empower their communities; themselves?

The call for proposals will be in early February and will include a variety of ideas for program topics. I invite you to start thinking now about what you might share with colleagues.  And, if you haven’t already, save the date for a preconference on Oct. 26 and conference on Oct. 27 at the Nationwide Conference Center in Columbus.

Katy Kelly, Vice President/President Elect, University of Dayton


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Apply Now: 2017 Research Grant

The Research & Publications Committee will be accepting proposals for research grants beginning December 12, 2017.  If you have a research project or are thinking about a research project that could use some funding, we can help!  ALAO members can apply for up to $2000 in research funding to cover the costs for current or upcoming research projects.

Apply for grant funding via the ALAO website.  A full description of the application and criteria may be found here.

Required materials:
1.    Application form
2.    Budget worksheet
3.    Current curriculum vitae

Complete the application form, and submit a project budget sheet and current curriculum vitae to

Applications will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Does the applicant demonstrate knowledge of the published research in the area of study, and how the proposed research will add to the field?
  • Does the proposed research make a unique and significant contribution to library science and knowledge of academic libraries?
  • Is the methodology for research clearly outlined? Does the methodology support the research process and outcomes?
  • Is the proposed budget sufficiently detailed and clear?
  • Does the proposed budget refer to financial support provided by the applicant’s home institution? If so, is the proposed amount justified in comparison to institutional support?
  • Is the proposal clear and complete, conforming to all required information as stipulated in the grant application instructions?

We look forward to your applications!

Elisabeth Shook, Wright State University
Eboni Johnson, Oberlin College, Research and Publications Committee Co-Chairs

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ALAO Diversity Scholarship Applications will be Accepted Beginning January 2017

ALAO values diversity in its membership, in the profession, and in future library professionals. For that reason, we offer a $1,500 scholarship to a promising student enrolled in an ALA-accredited MLS program who exemplifies the qualities needed to ensure a diverse library workforce. The scholarship will be applied directly to the recipient’s bursar account for tuition at his or her academic institution. The financial aid package for the recipient may be reduced as a consequence of receiving this award. The ALAO Diversity Student Scholarship recipient will be announced at the ALAO annual conference and will receive a complimentary registration for ALAO’s Annual Conference, along with at least one year of mentorship from a selected ALAO Board Member.


A qualified candidate will…

  • Be a full time or part time student enrolled in or recently accepted to an ALA-accredited MLS program, either on campus or via distance education, for the fall term following the call for scholarship applications
  • Currently live in Ohio
  • Demonstrate potential in the field of library and/or information science
  • Demonstrate leadership ability
  • Demonstrate diversity in one or more ways, including, but not limited to: race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, life experience, physical ability
  • Demonstrate commitment to these and other diversity issues

Eileen Theordore-Shusta, Diversity Committee Chair, Ohio University

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