Professional Development Outside of SALALM (2014)

Moderator:      Adán Griego, Stanford University
Rapporteur:     AnneBarnhart

Adán Griego, Stanford University
Involvement with ALA & Attending International Book Fairs

Alison Hicks, University of Colorado, Boulder
Participation at International Library Conferences

Orchid Mazurkiewicz, HAPI
Indexing for HAPI and MLA

Panel 8: Professional Development Outside of SALALM

Adán Griego reminded us that the American Library Association Free Pass program offers travel support and lodging for ALA-member librarians to attend the book fair in Guadalajara. In addition to the book vendor and publisher booths, he added that local and national library associations in other countries frequently have their annual meetings and other events in conjunction with book fairs. This can provide opportunities for librarians from the United States to present at these meetings or to attend the meetings to learn what issues librarians worldwide are facing.

Adán urged SALALM members to work with librarians in Latin America and said that library associations and conferences in other countries often want speakers who can address the audience in Spanish to talk about library issues. He said that they do not need us to tell them about SALALM – they know about our organization already. We should approach them and offer to speak about other areas of expertise and offer trainings in these areas (instruction, technology, cataloging, etc) in Spanish. He also said that United States embassies have IRCs (Information Resource Centers) that are not fully staffed by librarians so they look for librarians to come and talk about library services. The embassy opportunities are sponsored by the US Department of State so speakers must be US citizens to qualify.

The ALA committee on accreditation needs Spanish speakers to get involved and to help with the accreditation procedures for schools seeking accreditation outside of the United States and Canada. Adán warned that this is not an easy volunteer activity because it requires a great deal of work and time commitment. ALA will pay for the travel and will train the volunteer, but that’s about it. This volunteer activity requires onsite visits to library schools.

Adán noted that ACRL and ALA both have poster sessions which can be a place to get experience presenting and a good way to advertise SALALM. He added that in ALA, WESS (West European Studies Section) includes Iberian Studies.

Alison Hicks elaborated on the international presentation opportunities that Adán mentioned.  Alison has worked with Adán to secure invitations to present on various topics (MOOCs, technology, instruction, social justice in libraries, and digital scholarship) throughout Latin America and in Spain. She also has promoted herself by contacting local libraries before planning a trip some place (often in conjunction with a book fair) to see if she can add a presentation to her travels. Through these experiences she has met some great international colleagues and has been able to see different styles of hosting and organizing conferences.

Alison noted that some of the challenges she has encountered were practical issues like travel delays and having to sneak snacks because the meal times did not match with her blood sugar levels. Speaking in different environments can be difficult and stressful due to the varying acoustics and technology. She also mentioned that she has had to clarify expectations with the hosts.  Some groups have asked her to do too much (an example was five classes that were each four hours long) and that had to be negotiated. She said she has learned to be conscious of the potential power differential and works to make sure she presents herself as a dialogue creator and not as an outside “expert.”

Alison has branded herself through social media and her personal web page and that is how many of the invitations arrive. She also has successfully communicated the value to her supervisor and library administration so they give her the time she needs to make these trips.

Alison finished her talk with suggestions about publishing opportunities. She has written reviews for Choice and she also seeks UK publications. When possible, she publishes in Open Access publications so her work can have wider dissemination. She repurposes projects to try to get multiple presentations and different kinds of publications out of the same body of work.

Orchid Mazurkiewicz

Orchid talked about indexing for HAPI and MLA. She said that indexing is a great way to capture a sense of where a work fits into the larger scholarship.

HAPI was started in the mid 1970s by Barbara Valk at Arizona State University. When Barbara went to UCLA, she brought HAPI with her and even though now HAPI is a non-profit publishing unit at UCLA, it is self-funded. HAPI started as a print series but published the last print edition in 2008. Since then, HAPI has been 100% online and is now free in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The majority of HAPI’s 25-35 annual indexers are SALALM members. Gayle Williams has been indexing for HAPI for 35 years; Nancy Halloway has been indexing for 31 years.

Volunteer indexers are assigned 6 titles. They review the articles in those journal issues and create the HAPI records. Indexers used to have to fill out a print template, then that moved to a .txt document but now the indexers get to enter information online in HAPI Central and the authority control lists (author and subject headings) are in convenient drop-down lists.

Orchid said that MLA indexers are called “Field Bibliographers.” They must be MLA members and each Field Bibliographer is responsible for 5 periodicals or 100 citations per year. MLA requires that their volunteers have access to the material (but HAPI has been known to mail indexers the journals if they need to).

Orchid polled indexers from HAPI and MLA and the comments about advantages and challenges were similar from the two groups. The main challenge indexers cited was the ability to find the time and to pace oneself with the issues to prevent getting behind.  The rewards of indexing are also similar and included keeping up-to-date on the literature and contributing to the field and its scholarship. Another benefit to indexing that one’s searching abilities are greatly enhanced through the experience of creating records for the database; by experiencing the limitations of and becoming familiar with the controlled vocabulary, indexers become better researchers.