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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

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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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Event Recap: 2015 DC/SLA Kickoff Party

IMG_0488By Amber Paranick

This past Wednesday evening, current and prospective DC/SLA members attended a 2015 Kickoff Party held at the DC Public Library’s Cleveland Park branch location.

Chapter President Deena Adelman got the discussion started by introducing the Board of Directors. Adhering to this year’s theme of ‘Reflective Momentum’ and in preparation for the 75th Jubilee, Deena invited members to share memories and reflections on experiences with DC/SLA.  See members’ reflections here and submit your own reflection here.  Deena also emphasized the importance of volunteering with DC/SLA.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset Next up, Karen Reczek gave us a brief and helpful introduction to the organization in her talk: SLA 101. She wanted us to keep in mind that SLA is uniquely structured in such a way that its members come first. And just in case you missed the kickoff,  Layla Heimlich, Program Director reminded us that there’s much more excitement to be had in 2015 and gave us a rundown of what’s coming down the pike. Plans for a Jubilee Gala, a museum scavenger hunt, and a DC/SLA Past Presidents’ TED Talk Favorites presentation are all in the works.  Speaking of exciting events, Sharon Lenius, overseer of the DC/SLA 75th Anniversary Committee, caught us up on what events are taking place to celebrate the occasion.  By becoming a Jubilee VIP, SLA members will support DC/SLA programming and be invited to attend the Jubilee Gala. Read about more benefits here.  DC/SLA Leadership Summit Stipend Award recipient Kelly Knight gave us a run-down of the summit in Baltimore.  Her words of advice when attending professional SLA events: “Get out and be social!”

The main takeaway from the night was to get involved in the organization. We’ve become a dynamic and very active chapter of SLA and we’ve only been able to do this through our members and their volunteer efforts. The more we get involved, the more we will reap all the benefits of what the DC/SLA has to offer as an individual and the stronger we can grow as a chapter.

Hope to see you at the next event!Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

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Event Recap: 2015 Leadership Summit

By Kelly Knight

SummitBaltimoreI arrived in Baltimore by train on a wonderful snowy afternoon just in time to get settled and attend the first-timers happy hour. Afterward, I joined a dine-around at a tavern in Fells Point (where I ate crab cakes, of course!). I was very welcomed at these events and it helped me feel more comfortable going into a new conference as a student.

The next morning began with a keynote by Steve Denning on radical management which opened up the summit to reflecting on what leadership means to us and what qualities of leadership we possess. Leadership skills are something I need to work on, and I know volunteering with SLA is a great place to start practicing.

In the best practices session, I learned strategies for financing events through sponsorships that chapters (or divisions) host. Maintaining a relationship with sponsors is critical, just as it is in any professional setting. From a negotiation standpoint, it’s also important to remember that the sponsor also receives value from attending the event. If you work together, the event can be a win-win.

One of my favorite sessions was: Unit Ideas Live! where we discussed in groups ideas that SLA could implement to increase value to members. There are toolkits online and an “Adopt-a-Webinar” program that were implemented as a result of feedback from membership. So if you have any ideas, let SLA know!

The final session of the day was called “Moving SLA Forward” where President Jill Strand talked about “leaning into the curve” as a way for us continue moving during changes within the organization. As you may know, Jill is the new SLA president, and two Interim Executives were recruited to help with SLA’s strategic planning. Jill went over a timeline of recruiting the Interim Executives and encouraged openness, so if you have any questions or concerns, she wants you to contact you via e-mail.

On the second day, we met bright and early at 8am to work on strategic planning with Rebecca Jones. She played us a video called “Shift Happens,” which included statements such as: “If Facebook were a country, it would be the second largest in the world” and “Today the number of text messages sent every day is double the population of the planet.” The point was to challenge assumptions and re-frame our current perspectives while planning ahead and accepting change.

After division, cabinet, and joint meetings, our closing speaker James Calvin discussed the leadership theory of “Outreach Empowerment.” He quoted Adam Grant in saying, “Givers are more likely to succeed.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the leadership summit, you can check out the #SLATalk recap on Twitter or view the recording of the Recap Webinar with Jill Strand, John DiGilio and Bill Fisher.

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Photos on flickr