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TED Talks Curated by DC/SLA Past Presidents

TED Talks Curated by DC/SLA Past Presidents

By Jan Zastrow

More than 20 members and friends convened for the DC/SLA 75th Jubilee program at Drexel University’s DC office the evening of Tuesday, May 5. The program was unusual, and I hope the first of many more:  three illustrious past presidents from our chapter—Lyle Minter, Anne Caputo and Marie Kaddell—introduced specially selected TED talks (that’s Technology/Entertainment/Design) that we watched as a group and then discussed how they might relate to InfoPros. TED talks started way back in 1984 (who knew?) and their motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading”—and indeed they are!

Eileen Deegan introduced the speakers after a special shout-out to Drexel for again hosting us in its beautiful digs (the view of the White House from the rooftop is awesome!) with thanks to Sharon Lenius, for organizing this creative Jubilee event.

IMG_0559First up was Anne Caputo (DC/SLA President 2002-2003; SLA President 2010), who chose Susan Cain’s talk titled “The Power of Introverts” (2012) because many in our field are indeed introverted. That just means you gain energy and refuel by spending time alone—not that you‘re unsociable or don’t like people! Cain believes there’s a bias in our society toward extroverts. Introverts need a quiet, contemplative environment in order to create. Nowadays, the “ideal student” is thought to be an extrovert even though introverts get better grades! At work introverts are not really seen as leaders despite many historical examples such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi. A few lucky folks are “ambiverts”—in the middle of the spectrum—but that’s rare in our culture. Western society has always valued the “man of action” over the “man of solitude” and our contemporary society emphasizes personality over character. How can we turn this around? Cain suggested we:

  • “Stop the madness” for constant group work. We need much more privacy, freedom and introspection at both school and work;
  • “Go to the wilderness” as did religious leaders of yore who would retreat for insight and inspiration. A modern-day equivalent: unplug your devices and get inside your own head for a while;
  • Learn what’s important to you, what you “carry around in your suitcase,” i.e. your bag, your interests, your passion—whether that’s books, skydiving or …. champagne glasses!

IMG_0564Next came Lyle Minter (DC/SLA President 1993-1994), who chose “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe,” by Simon Sinek (2014). Sinek pondered why some people are willing to risk their lives for others. He claims it comes from the necessity for a feeling of trust and cooperation based on prehistoric days when humans came together for protection from danger. Today it’s the same in the business world—good leaders make sacrifices so their staffs can thrive. Minter used a flipchart to note our comments as to what that means for us: our staff should feel valued and receive positive feedback/acknowledgement; there should be good “customer service” both for our patrons and in our interactions with one another;  and a sense that we’ve” got each other’s back” and are working toward a common cause.


Last but certainly not least was Marie Kaddell (DC/SLA President 2013), who generously filled in for Mary Talley (DC/SLA President 2011) who was unable to attend.  This intriguing talk by Brian Dettmer was titled “Old Books Reborn As Art” (2014), and it really got our crowd talking! Dettmer cuts up books to make art—they literally become 3D sculptures. Amazing … beautiful … but a little disconcerting to see our beloved tomes “bowdlerized” (look it up! :) ) We tend to think of books as a kind of body, as a technology, as a tool. Dettmer uses them as landscape, carving through the pages with an X-Acto knife to reveal pictures and highlight text. While he doesn’t think the book will ever die, he says it will change and become “freer” now that so much information is available in digital formats. He thinks the book of the future will be an art form, saying it could “lose its day job” and become something else

Many in the audience admitted to feeling a twinge seeing these books sliced up, but since Dettmer was using obsolete reference books such as old dictionaries and encyclopedias we mostly liked the result. One of us even posited that maybe that’s what books were always meant to be … and it just took us five centuries to figure it out! All these TED talks and many more—over 1,000—can be viewed at www.ted.com.

Finally, details of our 75th Jubilee Gala were announced by current DC/SLA President Deena Adelman: save Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, for a celebratory feast at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Friendship Heights.  Hope to see you all there … and certainly before!

Jan Zastrow
DC/SLA Communications Team

Posted in 75th Jubilee, Event Recap1 Comment

Event Recap – Special Tour of Mount Vernon: A Courtesy Call at the Home of the Commander-in-Chief

Event Recap – Special Tour of Mount Vernon: A Courtesy Call at the Home of the Commander-in-Chief

By Jill Lynch

On the final day of National Library Week, Saturday, April 18, 2015 twenty-three librarians and their family members gathered outside the visitor center at Mount Vernon for a special 2.5 hour VIP tour. Our tour guide was Ted Mance, a Navy Veteran, who spent 10 years working at Mount Vernon as a guide. He has recently retired, but still provides tours a few times a month for VIP visitors. After Sharon Lenius gathered us all up we headed out of the visitor center into the heart of Mount Vernon.  Our first brief stop was to listen to a patriot playing “When the Saints Going Marching in” on the flute. He stopped playing long enough to salute our group and started playing a new song.

The VIP group listens intently to their guide.

The VIP group listens intently to their guide.

After a short walk we stood in the middle of an old path with views of the original gate entrance to the west, and the mansion to the east.  It was here that Ted gave us some history about the property.  The property has been in the Washington family since 1674. In 1735, Washington’s father built a house on the property but it later burned down. In 1761, George Washington took ownership of the property. He lived here for 45 years. As our group started walking up to the mansion we learned that the house appears to be made out of stone, but actually is made out of wood.  Washington mixed gravel from the river with the paint to achieve this appearance.

VIP tour guide Ted Mance.

VIP tour guide Ted Mance.

The line to get inside the mansion was enormous, as it usually is, however we were VIPs today and with Ted’s direction, we walked up to the back entrance of the house and got right in.  The first room we saw was the main parlor, where all the parties took place.  It’s in this room that several of us get a quick reminder not to take any photos inside the mansion (well, darn). We next make are way into the foyer, where we saw four more rooms which included a sitting room and the dining room. Working our way upstairs, we got a special treat – access to the 3rd floor!

There are several rooms on the 3rd floor, three bedrooms and two storage areas. After the death of a husband, it was customary for the widow to move into a different bedroom during the mourning period. Mrs. Washington chose to live in one of the bedrooms on the 3rd floor and continued to live up there for 2.5 years. We headed back down to the 2nd floor and as we past the main bedroom, we learned that George died at the age of 67 of a throat infection.  We exited the mansion through George’s study, where it was pointed out that the chair in this room was the same chair he used as president.

Flute-playing patriot.

Flute-playing patriot.

The kitchen is a separate building and is located just outside the mansion.  There are several reasons that the kitchen is not attached to the house – fires, heat and insects.  After touring the kitchen we headed into the lower garden where vegetables are still being grown. These vegetables used to be donated by Mount Vernon to local homeless shelters, but due to legal issues that had to stop. Now they are used in the food at the Mount Vernon Inn, and also given away to the volunteers and guides.

The Greenhouse and slave quarters are located at the upper gardens. Ted told us an interesting story about the greenhouse and slave quarters that involved a fire that burned them down.  In the 1950s, the White House was rebuilt and the bricks from the foundation were sent to Mount Vernon to be used in the rebuilding of the greenhouse and slave quarters.

Jill Lynch, Lyle Minter, Cecilia Thorn and Sharon Lenius

During the remainder of the tour, we walked along the grounds while Ted pointed things out to us – the blacksmith, the old vault, and the sheep. When we got to the tomb of George Washington, four of us were selected to lay a wreath. The four selected were Jill Lynch, Lyle Minter, Cecilia Thorn, and Sharon Lenius. We were chosen based on service in the military or serving the military library community the longest. After placing the wreath inside the tomb, Wendy Hill read, “George Washington’s Prayer for His Country.” Each participant received a Certificate of Participation.

We wrapped things up and headed to the food court and gift shop.




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Event Recap – DC/SLA Skills Gaps—What’s an Info Pro to Do?

By Jan Zastrow, DC/SLA Communications Team

???????????????????????????????Gathering at Drexel University’s DC office the evening of Tuesday, March 31, 30-plus members and friends convened for the DC/SLA 75th Jubilee program about skill gaps and how to thrive in today’s shifting information workplace. Eileen Deegan introduced the speakers, but first shared what she learned at Outsell’s November Enterprise Content Program (which SLA members attended at no charge). According to Outsell’s 2014 Information Management Benchmark Survey, the top 5 skills gaps identified for library staff were: Big Data Analytics; Usage Statistics and ROI/Value Analysis; External Content Integration; Visualization Tools; and Knowledge Management. So what’s an InfoPro who graduated 5 or 15 years ago (or longer) to do?

To answer that, the program committee assembled a panel of four experts to discuss solutions:

First up was Dr. Diane Barlow from the University of Maryland, Special Assistant to the Dean at UM’s iSchool. She discussed the new certificate program in management of digital assets, a post-master’s program designed for working professionals with 5 or more years of experience. The focus is on creation, management and use of digital assets. The first cohort of 18 begins in June.

Fully online, this one-year course consists of four 12-week courses (June 1-May 31). There are four learning labs for this specialty: the CurateLab, a DataCave, VirtualFarm and VCL Cloud! Go to the website <ischool.umd.edu> and click on “Programs,” or contact coordinator Trish Donovan at donovant@umd.edu for more information.

???????????????????????????????Next was Dr. Denise Agosto, Associate Professor at Drexel University. Although she graduated with her MLIS 22 years ago, she keeps it fresh by focusing on teens’ use of social media and the implications for public and school library services. Dr. Agosto spoke about Drexel’s post-master’s certificate programs; one 3-course program specifically on Healthcare Informatics and five other certificates on Archival Studies; Digital Libraries, Youth Services, Competitive Intelligence & Knowledge Management, and an Advanced  Certificate in Information Studies and Technology. There’s also a brand-new 3-course certificate on Cybersecurity, Law and Policy. Check it out at http://www.drexel.edu/cci.

David ShumakerFollowing her was David Shumaker, Clinical Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America (CUA). He graduated from Drexel in 1975 and after holding a variety of professional positions—and serving as DC/SLA President in 2000-2001—earned an online master’s degree in Management that changed the course of his career. He outlined two reasons to continue learning: we need new knowledge as our careers progress—perhaps specialties in science, management, etc.—and to keep up-to-date in our own field of library and information science. Such ideas as human information behavior, cognitive sciences and marketing for the non-profit sector were only in their infancy when he first graduated and have matured since then.

Shumaker says that most of his learning now comes from his students. In fact one in particular, Laura Tyler, introduced him to the concept of “embedded librarianship,” on which he has since written a book and is a frequent writer and presenter. He also highlighted new CUA certificates in Cultural Heritage Information Management and an Advanced Library Leadership & Management Certificate. Visit http://lis.cua.edu for more info.

???????????????????????????????Last but not least, SLA National’s own Everett Woods, Director of Business Development & Advertising (who worked more than a decade in Hollywood!), outlined new services to be rolled out by SLA in the coming months:

  • IntellCollab—50 learning modules on KM, competitive intelligence, wargames and more. To be unveiled at the national SLA conference in Boston.
  • SLA Learning Initiative partnership (L.I.P) to be launched April 6–something with partner IET on STEM learning with 24 topics, white papers and more …. Stay tuned!
  • A “Member’s Spotlight” feature to highlight the great work of SLA members.
  • Partner Talks and Exhibition Previews by library-related vendors.
  • Master classes for seasoned, management and executive-level InfoPros; and “Crescendo Classes” to take you from basic to advanced levels–progressive classes to gain deep understanding of topics.
  • #SLAFamily to tweet and upload photos to enrich our professional and personal network; and #SLASuccess to let the world know who you are and what you do!

All this and more to be rolled out at the Annual Conference—Early Bird registration ends April 17. Hope to see you there!

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Globe-Trotting at the Library of Congress: DC/SLA Tours Hispanic and European Reading Rooms

By Carol Abrams

Mural painting “Mining for Gold,” Hispanic Reading Room, Library of Congress. Photograph By Carol M. Highsmith, ca. 2000. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2011631434/

Mural painting “Mining for Gold,” Hispanic Reading Room, Library of Congress. Photograph By Carol M. Highsmith, ca. 2000.

[Editor’s Note: Julia Leggett, chair of the DC/SLA International Relations Committee, recently arranged several tours of the foreign language collections at the Library of Congress. Here is Carol Abrams account of one of those tours. Carol is earning her MIS degree at the University of Tennessee. ]

Cervantes’ Don Quixote has been translated into more languages than any other book save the Bible, according to Juan Perez, acting head of the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress (LC). Perez told a group from DC/SLA that a first edition of Don Quixote from 1605 is part of the LC’s collection, along with translations in 33 languages including Bulgarian and Uzbek. This year, the world is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the second part of Don Quixote, which was published in 1615.

The LC’s Hispanic collection began with Thomas Jefferson’s books on Latin America. Jefferson owned Spanish-language titles, dictionaries, and, of course, his own copy of Cervantes’ masterpiece. As  Perez showed us around the room, which is designed as an homage to 15th century Spain and Portugal with vaulted ceilings, light fixtures in the Mudéjar tradition that blends European and Arabic influences, and tiles from Pueblo, Mexico, he spoke of the wall-sized murals that flank the room. Visitors are welcomed by a series of bold murals by Portuguese artist Cândido Portinari and then come upon Christopher Columbus’ coat of arts as they enter the room.

Hispanic Reading Room-LOC

Hispanic Reading Room, Library of Congress, Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Perez highlighted treasures from among the ten to 12 million items that comprise the Hispanic collection, such as Christopher Columbus’ Book of Privileges from 1502. Columbus compiled the honors, titles, and powers bestowed upon him by the Crown (some would say as an insurance policy for his heirs).

Perez told the DC/SLA group that the LC has recordings of well over 650 writers reading selections from their own works in a collection titled the “Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape.” This includes eight Nobel Prize winners such as Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) and Octavio Paz (Mexico).

Our second stop was hosted by Grant Harris, head of the European Reading Room at the Library of Congress.

European Reading Room, Library of Congress, Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

European Reading Room, Library of Congress, Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Harris told us that half the researchers coming to the European Division are seeking material about Russia. Their Russian collection is as large as any outside of Russia itself and includes post-Soviet material and the Comintern Archives Database. Harris, who specializes in Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, and Romania, showed us current, unbound Slavic and Baltic periodicals (about 3,500 titles). Harris told the DC/SLA group about his collecting trips overseas and the value of being an inveterate collector. The European Division’s sets of telephone and address directories from decades ago have enabled genealogists, among others, to track where their ancestors lived and when they moved.

Harris led the group through the shelving decks to a magnificent and unique vantage point over the LC’s main reading room. There, he entertained us with a story about seeing Chelsea Clinton in the main reading room when she was in high school. She was preparing for a model United Nations with material that the librarians had pulled for her.

If you would like to visit either the Hispanic or European Divisions of the LC, please stop first at the Madison Building to register for a free Reader Identification Card issued by the Library.

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Mount Vernon: A Courtesy Call at the Home of the  Commander-in-Chief, Saturday, Apr 18, 2015

Mount Vernon: A Courtesy Call at the Home of the Commander-in-Chief, Saturday, Apr 18, 2015

Join the Military Libraries Group as they go on a Special Visit to Mount Vernon on Saturday, Apr 18, 2015. Meet at 10:15 am at the new Visitors Center near the delightful statues of Martha and George with the Grandchildren. Spring is a beautiful time at Mount Vernon.

If you have not visited Mount Vernon in a few years, you are in for a treat as our Guide takes us through the new Center, a tour of the Mansion (including the third floor!), the various colonial era buildings and beautiful gardens. We will pay our respects and complete our visit with a Wreath Laying at the Tomb of George Washington.

WHO: All Members of DC/SLA.

WHAT: Special Tour of Mount Vernon – A Courtesy Call at the Home of the Commander-in-Chief.

WHERE: Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, V A (Your name

will be on the list; look for MLG Member by the Ticket Office to confirm; then proceed to Visitors Ctr).

WHEN: Saturday, Apr 18, 2015 (Final day of National Library Week) @ 10:15 am.

HOW: Transportation Options: Biking, Boat, Bus, or Car Directions/Parking/Transportation

COST: $18.00 per person (NOT available for 75th Jubilee VIP Discount) Adult rate only.

TOUR LIMIT: 25. Your guests are welcome, too.

DRESS: Comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate gear.

LUNCH: Food Court and Gift Shop after the Special Tour.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION/QUESTIONS: Contact Sharon Lenius, leniussa@gmail.com


Click image for a charming interactive map of the Estate

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