Past President’s Report

Call for Nominations: Jay Ladd Distinguished Service and Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Awards

The ALAO Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Jay Ladd

Katy Mathuews, Past President

Distinguished Service Award and the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award.

The Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who has:

  1. been an Academic Library Association of Ohio member for at least 5 years
  2. promoted academic libraries and librarianship on his or her own campus and within the state
  3. provided sustained leadership in the promotion of Academic Library Association of Ohio, e.g., committee service, interest group chair, position on the Executive Board

Additional information about the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award is available at

Please submit nominations for the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award through the Jay Ladd Online Nomination Form.

The Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award recognizes an individual who has:

  1. demonstrated excellence as a mentor to a librarian, library worker, or library science student
  2. 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

Additional information about the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award is available at

Please submit nominations for the Kathryn Venditti Mentoring Award through the Kathryn Venditti Online Nomination Form.

NOTE: You may nominate more than one person for each award! Your reasons for nominating your candidate(s) will be especially valuable to the Awards Committee so please be as detailed as possible.

Please submit your nominations by Friday, September 25, 2020

Questions? Please contact Katy Mathuews, ALAO Past President and Awards Committee chair at

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged , | Leave a comment

ALAO Mentorship Program: Call for Mentees

Call for Mentees – 2020-2021

Call for Mentees for 2020-2021 ALAO Mentoring Program

The Academic Library Association of Ohio’s Professional Development Committee (ALAO PDC) is excited to announce a call for participation in the 2020-21 Mentoring Program.

Mentees can be library school students, newly-minted professionals, or more experienced librarians. The program will help you connect with someone who can provide professional support, career advice, and help you identify and set goals.

Program Overview

The ALAO PDC reviews registration information and matches mentoring pairs. The annual program runs through Spring 2021.

We invite prospective mentees to complete the application by September 21, 2020: Application Form

Matching Process

  1. New this year: Abbreviated mentor bios are available on the ALAO web page
  2. Prospective mentees review the list of available mentors and identifies three mentors they would like to work with.
  3. Prospective mentees complete the online Mentee Application and rank the top three mentor choices.
  4. ALAO PDC will then work to create a match. When a match is confirmed, both parties will be notified.
  5. Prior to the first mentoring meeting, ALAO PDC will provide guidelines and suggestions to help get the mentoring relationship off to a good start.
  6. Typically, most mentoring relationships meet for at least four sessions spread out over a few months based on mentor/mentee availability and scheduling preferences.
  7. At the end of the mentoring relationship, a program evaluation will go out to both parties.

Reflections from Past Participants

“I’m so thankful for this program–it has helped me immensely during a crossroads in my career. I feel prepared for the job search and whatever may lie ahead in academic librarianship, and am so appreciative of everyone involved who takes the time for this.”

“Great program. I would encourage everyone to participate. We can all learn a lot from each other.”

Questions? Please contact Amanda Black, Jen Starkey or Michelle McKinney,

–Amanda Black, Board Member at Large, University of Dayton

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Member Spotlight

Let’s shine the Member Spotlight on Lisa Morrison from Denison University Libraries!

What is your role(s) in academic libraries?
I am the Social Sciences Liaison Librarian, but I also work with the interdisciplinary fields of Black Studies, International Studies, Global Commerce, and Global Health. Most days are spent in some combination of instruction, reference consultations with students, and collection development for my subject areas.

What do you like most about academic library work?
I love working with the students in research consultations. We discuss their research and they teach me about what makes them excited about their topics. It’s fun to learn with them and help them find the resources they need to explore these interests.

What are some interesting projects you’ve been involved with lately?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to help students feel more of a sense of community during the pandemic. Denison University prides itself on in-person connections and relationship building and I could see that some remote learners were feeling anxious that they couldn’t participate in the same way as before. I brainstormed with other librarians on ways that we could include these students, especially first years, when they are learning remotely and craving that extra attention. I’m working with a team now to implement ways to increase our visibility to our virtual learners so that when they do return to campus, they can find a friendly face in the library.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Prior to going to library school, I taught English abroad for almost a decade. I lived in Vietnam for seven of those years. It was an amazing experience, but my Vietnamese is still terrible.

Why did you join ALAO? What are you looking forward to doing as an ALAO member?
I was very excited to join ALAO last year because my mentor in graduate school, Piper Martin, really loved ALAO and spoke with such affection for the people and the opportunities to get involved and learn from your colleagues across the state. So far, this is exactly what I’ve found!

–Maureen Barry, Membership Chair, Bowling Green State University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

ALAO Membership Report

The current membership of ALAO includes a total of 328 members consisting of 296 regular members, 5 retiree members, and 27 student members. We are excited to welcome new members who joined between May 30, 2020 and August 31, 2020.

Sarah Burke Cahalan, University of Dayton

Sophia Hahn, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Anna Jennings, Cedarville University

Elita Jones, Kent State University SLIS

Justina Kaiser, Miami University

Julie Levy, Kent State University SLIS

Kim Mullally

Smitha Patinjara Purayil, Kent State University SLIS

Ashley Riddle, Cedarville University

David Rose

Raj Sam, Cleveland State University

Suzanne Sandridge, Defense Security Cooperation University

Carla Sarratt, University of Mount Union

Jacy Stahlhut, Cedarville University

Sarah Trigg, Cedarville University

Janet Vogel, Hiram College

–Maureen Barry, Membership Chair, Bowling Green State University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Interest Group Reports

Community and Two-Year College Interest Group News

Book Discussion Series

The Community and Two-Year College Interest Group (C2YCLIG) is planning a book discussion series this year, focusing on Race in America. We will hold three book discussions (two in Fall and one in Spring), which will culminate in a workshop on the topic in late Spring/early Summer. Everyone will be welcome to join in these discussions. More details to come.

Call for Committee Members

The Chairs are in the midst of program planning for the year, and we are excited to organize professional development and networking opportunities on topics critical to community and two-year college libraries.

We are seeking C2YCLIG members interested in contributing to these efforts! By participating in the C2YCLIG’s Committee, members can provide valuable insight into the unique needs of C2YCL staff and help the Committee and Chairs organize its events.

This Committee will largely work virtually and does not require in-person attendance at events. Please consider joining the C2YCLIG Committee, which you can do via the ALAO Volunteer Form on the ALAO website.

–Karla Aleman, C2YCLIG Co-Chair, Lorain County Community College
–Megan Mamolen, C2YCLIG Co Chair, Lakeland Community College

Special Collections and Archives Interest Group News

The Special Collections and Archives Interest Group (SCAig) is pleased to welcome Henry Handley as incoming co-chair for the 2020-2022 term. He currently works as the Marian Library’s Collections Librarian at the University of Dayton. He will serve as co-chair of SCAig alongside Rachel Makarowski, Special Collections Librarian at Miami University’s Special Collections and University Archives, whose term will conclude at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

SCAig will be hosting a discussion section at the ALAO annual conference on challenges and successes for special collections and archives in the time of COVID-19.  Attendees are encouraged to come and share their experiences, ideas, and updates. All conference attendees are welcome to join us!  We also would love to hear your ideas for future SCAig workshops and meetings.

For more information on SCAig, contact the co-chairs at

–Rachel Makarowski, SCAig Co-Chair, Miami University
– Henry Handley, SCAig Co-Chair, University of Dayton

STEM Interest Group News

STEMIG invites ALAO members to join us for an upcoming virtual workshop and the Discussion Session STEMIG will host during the ALAO annual conference.

If interested to learn tips and tricks for creating screencasts and instructional videos please register for the virtual webinar scheduled for Friday, October 2nd, at 1:00 pm.

The discussion session during the ALAO annual conference will focus on the ways the pandemic has changed the way STEM librarians work. More details to follow!

For questions please contact

–Daniela Solomon, STEM IG Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University
–Zach Sharrow, STEM IG Co-Chair, College of Wooster

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Notes From the Trenches

Card Catalogs Embark on a New Career

Technology in libraries may have changed, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new uses for old items.  This fall, Centennial Library at Cedarville University unveiled book display furniture featuring repurposed wooden card catalogs. When the card catalog system was replaced nearly 30 years ago with an online digital system, these card files lost their primary function. But this updated role allows these artifacts of an earlier time to still keep their function of connecting library patrons to library materials.

Though most of our card catalogs had long since left the library, we were unable to part with the last few. Valerie Harmon, the library’s Office Administrator, and her father Wayne Baise, a local woodworking artist, used their creative talents this summer to fashion additional wooden components which enabled the repurposing of the old catalogs. The project was completed in secret this summer and unveiled to the staff prior to the beginning of fall classes.

Responses from faculty, staff, students, employees, and former employees have been very positive and we look forward to many more years of service from our “second career” card catalogs.

 –Joshua B. Michael, Cedarville University

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People & Library News

Bluffton University News

Mary Jean Johnson retired July 31, 2020, after serving for 19 years as director of Bluffton University’s Musselman Library.  She initiated a number of innovations during her time as director, including the Celebrate the Library week-long events series and First Tuesday Forum student research presentations in the library.  She sought creative ways to develop library collections and to reimagine library spaces for all Bluffton library users.   Beyond her commitment to supporting teaching, learning and research at Bluffton, Mary Jean served as a respected leader and mentor in the Ohio Private Academic Libraries consortium.

Carrie Phillips was appointed interim director of Bluffton University’s Musselman Library as of August 1, 2020.  Carrie is a 1999 Bluffton graduate and has served most of her career as Bluffton’s archives and special collections librarian.

 –Carrie Phillips, Bluffton University

Case Western Reserve University News


  • Gail Reese (Associate Director for Public Engagement and Library Administration) retired on 7/31/2020. Gail had 40 years of service at CWRU.
  • Jeffrey Quick (Library Assistant V, Kulas Music Library) retired on 7/31/2020. Jeffrey had 22 years of service at CWRU.

New hires:

  • Christopher Bowen, Library Assistant, Access and Delivery Team, started on August 31st.

–Brian C. Gray, Case Western Reserve University

Register by September 23, 2020 for the ALAO COVID-19 Open Forum

Would you like an opportunity to hear what your colleagues are doing at other Ohio institutions to deal with the pandemic? Would you like to share about the challenges and opportunities you’re facing this semester?

If so, please feel free to join us for an informal COVID-19 Open Forum!

September 25th at 3:00pm

Register here by September 23rd:

We’ll do some polling to see what attendees are doing on their campuses, and we’ll have some time to share and problem-solve in small groups. This is also a chance to see each other and connect a little bit! Feel free to attend with child, pet, snack, and/or beverage in tow!

The University of Akron News

On July 15th, 2020, 178 University of Akron (UA) employees were informed that they were being permanently dismissed as part of a reduction in force (RIF).  Terminated RIF faculty included 37 Associate Professors, 30 Full Professors, and 3 Distinguished Professors, all tenured, as well as 26 Non-tenure Track positions.  The University of Akron faculty are represented by Akron-AAUP, the university chapter of the American Association of University Professors. UA’s President Gary Miller and the trustees justified terminating faculty as the only way to address the financial shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four full-time, tenured librarians are on the RIF list. It is important to note that no one on the RIF list was terminated for cause. In fact, the criteria used to eliminate these faculty is still, in large part, a mystery. These positions were eliminated without regard for seniority, tenure, or achievement.

The University of Akron considers itself to be a research university. For the University Libraries, the result of the RIF is diminished subject expertise, with potential adverse effects on student success, curricular support, and information literacy.  Currently, there are two Science librarians and two Humanities/Social Sciences left to assist a student body of close to 20,000. In fact, the enrollment numbers are a point of controversy in these layoffs, as the administration initiated the reduction in force in part because of an anticipated drop in enrollment of 20%. Although no official numbers have been released yet, the UA administration has admitted that the actual drop this Fall is closer to 7%.  Despite this seemingly good news, UA insists that proceeding as planned with the massive layoffs is prudent. Another reason given for the mass layoffs is that UA is “overinvested in instruction,” a term used by Miller several times in public communiques.

In early August, faculty at UA voted down a proposed contract and rejected the RIF list. Now the future of the RIF list faculty will be decided by binding arbitration. The arbitration focuses on whether the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is reason enough for the University of Akron to invoke the force majeure clause in the Akron-AAUP contract. Force majeure is an unexpected and disastrous occurrence which creates exigent circumstances.  The invocation of this clause is what has thus far allowed the UA administration to eliminate so many positions so abruptly.  The arbitrator is scheduled to deliver a decision on September 18th.

-Lori Fielding and Mike Tosko with additional reporting by Ian McCullough and Sue Ramlo, The University of Akron

Wittenberg University News

  • Doug Lehman retired on 8/31/20 after 15 years of service as Director of Thomas Library at Wittenberg University. The staff of Thomas Library hopes he is able to resume touring American ball parks and attending concerts soon!
  • Kristen Peters was appointed Interim Library Director of Thomas Library at Wittenberg University as of 9/1/20.

–Kristen Peters, Wittenberg University

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 3 (Sept 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

President’s Report

Katy Mathuews

Katy Mathuews, President

Like many of you at your respective institutions, ALAO has had to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19. Interest group workshops and our annual conference have moved to online formats. Please check event web sites and email communications for details if you plan to attend one of our exciting events for the remainder of this year. The ALAO Executive Board has also moved to the virtual environment for the foreseeable future, including our April 24, 2020 meeting. A list of key points from that meeting is below.

  • Work continues on a revised Code of Conduct for all ALAO events and meetings.
  • A task force is working on a means to make future Executive Board meeting minutes available online.
  • New approaches to aggregating and communicating with volunteers for ALAO positions, events, and projects are being reviewed.
  • Continued response and consideration of COVID-19 impacts were discussed.
  • Planning for the 2020 Executive Board Retreat is underway. This year’s Retreat will be held online. The Board Retreat is an opportunity to transition new boards into positions, conduct a board meeting, and discuss projects, challenges, and opportunities.

I hope you are all safe and healthy. Remember that ALAO is a rich community for camaraderie, information-sharing, and partnership. Feel free to reach out to me, the Executive Board, and Ohio academic library colleagues as we navigate these unprecedented times together.

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

2020 Election Results


Eric Resnis, Past President

The ALAO 2020 Election is now completed. Joining the board for 2020/2021 will be:

Vice President/President Elect: Jessica Crossfield McIntosh

Secretary: Laura Sheets

Membership Coordinator: Maureen Barry

Board Members-at-Large:

  • Michelle McKinney Leonard
  • Elizabeth Sullivan
  • Kapil Vasudev

The election wouldn’t be possible without the great work of the nominating committee (listed below), webmaster Tina Beis, and to everyone who agreed to run for office. Thank You!

Nominating Committee members include: Carrie Girton, Edith Scarletto, Jennifer Starkey, and Eric Resnis.


Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Annual Conference Update

Mandi Goodsett

Mandi Goodsett, Vice President/President Elect

Clearly much has changed since the last annual conference update! The conference planning committee (CPC) has made the difficult decision to move the annual conference to a completely online format. Even though the conference has been moved online, we are still very eager for ALAO members to participate by submitting proposals! The proposal form is open and submissions are due June 26th.

Submit your proposal here.

There will now be two different kinds of proposals that can be submitted: presentations (which will consist of an asynchronous recorded video with a live Q&A session during the conference) or posters (which can be any static or multimedia format with asynchronous commenting and questioning by attendees).

Registration for the online conference will open in the next several weeks, so stay tuned! The cost will be no more than $50 per person, with an exact cost to be determined. In addition to engaging sessions and posters presented by your colleagues, registrants will have access to the presentations of our two keynote speakers, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and Nancy Kirkpatrick.

We look forward to seeing you at our online event this fall!

Posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2020) | Tagged | Leave a comment