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Last Call! WPWVC-ACRL Spring Conference at Clarion University

May 28, 2015

The Western Pennsylvania West Virginia Chapter of the Association of College & Research Libraries (WPWVC-ACRL) is holding its annual spring conference on June 5, 2015, at Clarion University in Clarion, PA. That’s just a week + 1 day away!

No worries–you still have time to register. The deadline for registration is Friday, May 29, at 5 pm. To register, please visit Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible.

The theme for the Spring Conference is “Creating Connections,” in which speakers and participants will discuss efforts to create successful, sustainable relationships with their audiences. The keynote speaker will be Gretchen Gueguen, Data Services Coordinator for the Digital Public Library of America.

The day’s agenda will include several concurrent sessions, a first-time meeting of chapter interest groups, a graduate student poster session, and a chapter business meeting. Registration includes lunch, which is sponsored by OCLC.

Registration is $15 for students, $25 for WPWVC-ACRL members, and $35 for non-members.

A full schedule of the day’s events is available on the WPWVC-ACRL website.

For more information or questions about the conference, please contact the chapter’s Program Committee.

News Editor Needed–Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice

May 27, 2015

Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice (aka PaLRaP) has an immediate need for a news editor to join its volunteer editorial team. This position is available from now through December 2016; the position is renewable for additional terms, if desired.

Responsibilities include—

  • Encouraging libraries and library staff around the Commonwealth to submit news items to PaLRaP for inclusion in the “Noteworthy” section of each issue. You can view the latest issue of “Noteworthy” at
  • Checking facts, inquiring about permissions, editing news items for clarity and length, and requesting photos to accompany submissions.
  • Working closely with other members of a volunteer editorial team.
  • Communicating and working with authors.
  • Performing copyediting and layout as needed.

PaLRaP editorial staff will provide basic training in these functions, along with training in the use of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform.

Estimated time commitment per week: On average, 1 to 2 hours per week; additional time commitment may be needed as issue deadline approaches.

PaLRaP is a freely available, open access journal that focuses on the knowledge and experience of library and information professionals in Pennsylvania. The journal is published twice a year.

If you would like to contribute to PaLRaP’s success and are interested in this volunteer position, please contact the PaLRaP editorial team ( and provide a copy of your résumé or CV, along with a statement about your abilities and/or why this volunteer opportunity is of interest to you.

Does the Framework?

May 22, 2015

In a few weeks, I will be co-moderating a discussion on the new(ish) ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education at the PaLA Northeast Chapter’s Spring Workshop. (BTW, you can register here: By design, the participants themselves will identify the specific topics they’d like to discuss. One thing I know, however, is that it’s likely to be a lively and interesting discussion. As I prepare, I’m wondering if anyone reading would like to comment on an aspect of the Framework. I know it’s early, but have you had any successes to report? Did a faculty colleague seem particularly interested in some aspect of the Framework? Has your department given serious thought about how to implement it into your IL instruction at the session or program level?

One of the things we heard again and again during the development of the Framework was that it would make it easier to engage our faculty colleagues in conversation about issues related to information literacy. It’s still early, but I’m glad to say my own experience so far supports this idea. At the beginning of this semester, a colleague told me he wanted to rework the assignments in his class and asked if I’d be interested in brainstorming ideas together. Of course I would! Specifically, he wanted to incorporate a social media experience into the course. And, wouldn’t you know it, the Framework proved to be a helpful reference point for us. Mainly, it helped him articulate the skills and dispositions he was trying to address in the assignment.

Of course, I’ve only mentioned practical issues related to the Framework. There are also really interesting discussions happening about the theoretical underpinnings of the Framework, namely threshold concept theory and the concept of metaliteracy. Personally, I still have some reservations about using threshold concept theory as a basis for the Framework. Still, in the end, I don’t think it makes the Framework any less useful as a (yep!) framework for thinking about information literacy. Even if I’m not sure that the six concepts are “threshold concepts,” I am convinced that they are six very useful concepts. If we can introduce students to them and design experiences where students get to grapple with them first hand, the students will benefit, not only during their academic careers, but also in their professional and personal lives.

PA Forward Information Literacy Summit — registration now open!

May 21, 2015

The 2015 PA Forward Information Literacy Summit Planning Committee is pleased to announce that registration for our July 29, 2015 Summit – “Framing the Value of Information Literacy” – is now open at

You do not need to be a member of PaLA to register and attend!
ACT 48 credits will be available for those who need them.

The event will be held at the Paterno Library, Penn State University, State College, PA and our two keynote presentations are:

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: “Understanding the ACRL Framework for Student Learning” Chair, ACRL Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee presented by Merinda Kaye Hensley Instructional Services Librarian, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


PA Model Curriculum: “Making the Model Curriculum Work for You: It’s Not Just for the Runway Models,” presented by Allison Burrell Vice President, PA School Librarians Association District Librarian and Media Specialist, Southern Columbia Area School District and Cathi Fuhrman Hempfield School District Library Department Supervisor

Our thirteen breakout sessions have also been finalized, and you can find full details on the registration site under Breakout Session Descriptions & Presenter Information.

If you would like to book a room at the Nittany Lion Inn, we have secured a discounted Summit rate. Reservations must be made by June 28, 2015. More information about the program, hotel discount code, and parking at Penn State are available on the reservation website under Program Details, Description, Parking, & Hotel Information: Registration will remain open through July 29, or until capacity is reached.  Please visit for more information!

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor, through the College and  Research Division ( of PaLA. Show your appreciation by  becoming a member of PaLA! And if you are a member – thank you!

CRD Officer Elections!

May 18, 2015

This summer the CRD membership will elect two board officers: Vice Chair/Chair Elect and Treasurer. The new officers will begin their terms on the CRD Board January 2016. Please take a moment to read the bios of our candidates.

Candidate for PaLA CRD Board Vice Chair/Chair Elect

Leslie Worrell Christianson

Leslie holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the Catholic University of America. She is a 2012 graduate of the Pennsylvania Library Associations Academy of Leadership (PALS).  As the User Services Librarian and Assistant Professor at Marywood University, she is committed to providing the best possible access to information for students, faculty, and staff. As the supervisor of the public services areas of the library, she fosters a physical environment that supports creativity, engagement, and the free flow of ideas. She also provides information literacy instruction and reference.  Her professional and research interests include equitable access to information and scholarly communications. She serves on the board of the Northeast Chapter and the College and Research Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association.

I am running for the position of Vice Chair for CRD because I want the opportunity to contribute my skills and abilities to an organization that helped foster my professional growth.

Candidate for PaLA CRD Board Treasurer
George Aulisio

George is Associate Professor and Public Services Librarian at The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Memorial Library. He earned his degrees from Bloomsburg University, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania and is currently enrolled part-time at Temple University. He is a 2009 graduate of PALS and has served on the Northeast Chapter board since 2009. He has served as treasurer of the CRD from 2013-2015.

I am running for treasurer as a way to continue serving PaLA and the membership.

Putting Pennsylvania on the App

May 15, 2015

Twenty+ years ago when I was debating furthering my education and increasing my employment options, I had a choice to make–go to library school and become a librarian or enter a public history program and become a public historian/museum specialist.

Obviously I chose to become a librarian and have never regretted doing so. It’s afforded me with some wonderful intellectual opportunities and exceptional colleagues over the years.

Having said that, I do sometimes think about the career path less traveled. To soothe that professional wanderlust, periodically I’ll take an undergraduate- or graduate-level history course, read a good book on a historical topic of interest, or, of late, explore MOOC offerings through Coursera and other online platforms.

However, history is not just about reading; it is also about doing–researching topics, studying documents, drawing conclusions from your interpretation of the evidence, and writing and sharing these observations with the interested world.

Chances are, I’m not going to become a professional historian anytime soon, but I recently learned of another way to engage in historical study and writing–the website and mobile phone application called Clio (, which guides you to  local history information in your community or wherever you travel.

However, not only does Clio guide you, Clio also lets you be the guide.

I learned about Clio from my colleague, Dr. Monica Garcia Brooks, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, Online Learning and Libraries at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Dr. Brooks initially contacted Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice (of which I am a proud co-editor) about writing an article about the resource.

Unfortunately, because our focus at PaLRaP is on Pennsylvania libraries and library personnel, we weren’t able to publish the article. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped me from letting other colleagues, in PA and beyond, know about Clio. And now I’m letting you know, as I think it is a resource that may be of interest to library, museum, and other cultural heritage organizations and colleagues in the Commonwealth.

(Author’s note: Dr. Brooks deserves credit for much of the text that follows describing the site/app, its development, and uses. Thanks to her for allowing me to generously quote from her original article.)

According to Brooks, Marshall University professor David Trowbridge created Clio as part of a class project. The resource now includes more than 6,000 historic and cultural sites across the United States, including hundreds in Pennsylvania. “Clio is now available as a free educational website and mobile [telephone] application, connecting the public with historical and cultural sites near their present location and offering links to resources where users can find more information,” Brooks stated.

The resource is named after the ancient muse of history, Clio (see image at left). Through the magic of GPS technology, Clio determines a user’s location and shows the user museums, landmarks, art galleries, sculpture, and historic sites nearby. “Each entry provides a quick summary, followed by a more detailed account that may include information about the creation of a monument or museum,” Brooks noted. “Entries also include images, audio/video clips, and suggested books, articles, and websites,” she added. Entries for museums and libraries provide addresses, hours, phone numbers, websites, and directions.

“Because Clio can pick up a user’s present location, it can guide the user right to a museum or historic site–even where there is no marker,” stated Brooks.

Clio is free for everyone to use, is nonprofit and non commercial.

As a history and culture buff, I love the idea of being able to find historic sites, libraries, and museums on my travels throughout Pennsylvania and the United States, and Clio allows me to do so conveniently, even when using my aging iPhone 4.

Searching from my home in Pittsburgh, I immediately pulled up a list of more than 40 entries within 25 miles of my location–including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Kennywood Amusement Park, and information about the infamous Homestead Strike of 1892 and the Steel Strike of 1919. Entries provided high-quality images and engaging descriptions, along with an estimated distance from my current location.

On a recent trip to visit family in Northeastern Kansas, I retrieved nearly 80 entries, including ones about a local pioneer cemetery, a historic hotel, notable statues, and details on historical events, such as basketball player Wilt Chamberlain’s efforts at integrating Lawrence, Kansas-area restaurants and businesses while he was a student at the University of Kansas during the 1950s.

What I love even more is that you and I can be contributors to the information that Clio provides. “The Clio website provides free institutional accounts to libraries, historical societies, museums, and other institutions so that staff members and volunteers can create, expand, and update entries,” Brooks noted. “Clio also provides special accounts for educators that allow them to create and vet entries with their students,” she added.

Members of the public can also create new and suggest improvements for existing entries. Each of these entries is placed into “draft mode” until they are reviewed by an administrator.

Dr. Brooks and her colleagues at Marshall are encouraging Pennsylvania institutions to add to Clio’s offerings. While the resource’s offerings are good, I do think there is room for PA cultural heritage organizations to offer improvements. For example, I felt there were some notable sites near my home that were unavailable in my search results. I live less than three miles from Claymore, the Henry Clay Frick estate in Pittsburgh; Westinghouse and Mellon parks, both of which owe their origins to Pittsburgh industrialists; the Carrie Furnace historic site; and markers indicating where General Edward Braddock crossed the Monongahela River and made his way to Fort Duquesne during the French & Indian War of the mid-1700s.

At my academic library, I could see making contributions to Clio as a way to engage information literacy classes, special collections and archives staff, subject librarians, and scholarly communication libraries. Beyond my institution, I can envision the Clio contributor role being used in all sorts of schools, libraries, historical societies, and cultural heritage organizations.

Just think of the fun to be had and the knowledge to be gained by students and staff. Pragmatically, they could learn more about using authoritative sources, proper documentation styles, plagiarism, versioning, and copyright. More importantly, they could focus not just on the “big events and big men” of American history but also could share the quieter yet still significant voices of the less well-known and -regarded. They could better understand the different areas of historical study (labor, early American, social, Civil War-era, “subaltern,” and more). They could witness how history is not static but changes over time–how historical interpretations morph as we learn more through documents and artifacts and expand our consciousness of people and events.

Thus, history becomes not just something you read about passively but something you engage in actively.

For me, being able to contribute to Clio appeals not only to my interest in history but also to my professional goals as a librarian–that is, being able to share knowledge with the world through authoritative information resources.

It still may take some more coursework and another career path to follow to do the work in the way that it should be done. Nonetheless, I look forward to using Clio and becoming a periodic, if amateur, contributor to it.

Registration Open for Northeast Chapter’s Spring Workshop

May 11, 2015

The Northeast Chapter of PaLA is pleased to announce that registration is now open for our chapter’s Spring Workshop focusing on “Today’s Librarian.” Please register here by May 29th, 2015:

The workshop will take place on June 5th, 2015 at the DeNaples Center at the University of Scranton from 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Cost is $45 for PaLA members and $60 for non-members, which includes a light breakfast and a buffet-style lunch.

The keynote speaker is Mary-Carol Lindbloom, executive director of the South Central Regional Library Council in New York State. She is a leader in the areas of virtual reference services and online education. Three afternoon breakout sessions will feature topics of interest to both public and academic librarians. Attendees will be eligible to receive 4.5 CE credits.

Breakout Session Titles: 

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education Unconference

Entrepreneurial Launch Pad: A Sandbox for Entrepreneurs

Librarian as Teacher: Examining our Roles as Educators in the 21st Century

Let Someone Else Do It: Collaborating with Your Community to Present Programming

Building Library Awareness: How “Branding” Your Library Can Help Market Your Programs and Services and Increase Funding

Creativity: It’s Work, Not Lightning

On the registration page, please click View Sessions for more detailed descriptions. The workshop brochure with the day’s program is also available as a link on the registration page.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor, through the College and Research Division ( of PaLA.


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