May 18, 2016 at Wake Forest University

Here is a compilation of comments from attendees of the 2016 TALA conference:

I had a great experience attending the TALA Conference here at ZSR on May 18th.

I found one session in particular very useful and I will share some notes from that session.

I attended the session on “Perspectives on Library System and Catalog Transitions (for TALA Paralibrarians) led by Terry Brandsma of UNCG, Mike Ingram of High Point University and our own Thomas Dowling.

At UNCG and High Point University both of their libraries have already moved to next generation library systems while we at ZSR are beginning the process to transition to a new library system.

New technology needs new systems and a discovery tool is a very important tool in a new system.

Also, being able to synchronize the old and new systems is of particular importance, especially if two different companies are involved. Both Brandsma and Ingram felt it was advantageous to use the same company since the old vendor may not be cooperative if switching to a new vendor and the migration is smoother if the same company is extracting data. For example, the next generation system from OCLC WorldShare Management Services uses WorldCat records instead of individual localized records.

Also, a URL resolver is often included for free with these systems which is a very useful feature.

With the OCLC system it was mentioned that all libraries on the same system will update together to help limit downtime. In conclusion, there are positives and negatives to any library system and one must not rush into a decision in choosing a next generation system. Bradley Podair

I facilitated the Networking Hour Table Talks “Working with student workers.” We discussed how to minimize the price of non-conformance to training, expectations, policies, and procedures. A supervisor should communicate clearly, mentor, and recognize quality work performance to help the student worker succeed. I discussed how a supervisor should be the leader and listed two sets of qualities of a good leader. Listens Educates Accepts Develops Empowers Remembers as well Laughs Excites Associates Dreams Entertains Rejoices. Travis Manning

I attended the morning session on Managing Stress and Finding Balance. It had some useful tips for distressing at work and home. I found the idea of “being in the moment” for tasks we don’t like as well as those we do interesting.

The other session I attended was Perspectives of Library System and Catalog Transitions. Knowing that we will be transitioning to a new ILS in a couple of years it was nice to hear others talk about their experiences of making a similar move. The common takeaway seems to be that there is no perfect system for everyone or everything. Everyone will get something they like in the new system but will, most likely, loose something they like in the old system also.

As always, it’s nice getting together with the other local libraries and hosting it here at ZSR made it that much nicer. Tim Mitchell

I attended the Strategies for Communicating about Change session hosted by Cindy Conn from Elon University.

There was a lot of great information in this session, but some of the highlights are:

Communicate with Others about Change in Positive Ways

Be part of the change process

Communicate productively

Practice saying yes

Voice objections and/or concerns in the right way

Suggest creative, realistic solutions

Adjust your Thinking and your Attitude about Change

Talk to yourself differently

Think differently

Talk to co-workers differently

I enjoyed spending time with my colleagues from the ZSR Library and meeting new people. Kristen Morgan

I especially enjoyed leading one of the ZSR Tours. I always learn something new. It was nice working with John Walsh again! Mary Reeves

The 2016 TALA Conference this year had a great range of topics.

Our opening speaker was Dr. Joel Harter, Associate Chaplain for Protestant Life from Elon University. He offered four practical tips for Managing Stress and Finding Balance in your life.

  1. Learn to cultivate and appreciate silence.
  • Unplug- no electronics (TV, Radio, phones, computers) commit to a specific time of day where there are no electronics allowed.
  1. Find your center or focus.
  • This could be your family or whatever you’re passionate about in life and make sure you have time and energy for those things.
  1. Learn to say NO.
  • Don’t over extend yourself when scheduling activities. You’ll find more enjoyment in doing one or two things really well than a multitude of things with very little time.
  1. Find what works for YOU.

The second session I attended was a networking table talk facilitated by Wanda Brown from WSSU on shifting staff responsibilities. The first thing you want to do is be proactive. You don’t want to let change happen around you. YOU need to determine how you can be a part of the change happening around you. Talk with your supervisor about the possibility of you learning some of the tasks thereby increasing your skill set and you become more valuable to your department. Communication is also key. When you hear about possible changes happening talk with your supervisor to make sure your voice is being heard if the changes directly impact your work.

The networking table talks are always an interesting part of the TALA Conference. Linda Ziglar

I found the TALA Conference enriching because I got to interact with staff librarians from other libraries who work my same position. I found it interesting to learn about how they go about checking out items and how they handle replacements of items. I also liked hearing about the digitization of fading media such as VHS tapes, 8 tracks, and audio cassettes. Peter Romanov

The best part of the conference for me was “Perspectives on Library System and Catalog Transitions”. I learned a lot about the new system and procedure that will be taking place for our new catalog system. Tara Hauser

Shortly before Wanda moved on to her new role at WSSU she asked if I would step in as the TALA representative for WFU and help plan the 2016 Paraprofessional Conference. Since I have done conference planning in the past, it was a challenge I was ready to take on. Through emails and in-person meetings with representatives from several of the TALA institutions, the planning committee was able to bring this conference to ZSR. I would like to give a big thanks to the ZSR people who assisted and volunteered to lead discussions, make presentations, give advice, wrangle paperwork, post signs, lead tours, haul furniture, wrestle technology, and direct our visitors. We couldn’t have done it without you! The committee will be meeting soon to look at the survey results and we hope to learn how we can continue to keep this conference relevant and worthwhile. Ellen Makaravage