Attending at ALA Midwinter 2019? Please join the ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Interest Group, an open forum for discussion of all things technical services!  Everyone is welcome to participate in any of the 8 exciting roundtable discussions being held on Saturday, January 26th, from 4:30-5:30 PM in Room 2B of the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.  Add the session to your conference scheduler here:

We are proud to present the following discussion topics for our session at ALA Midwinter 2019; in addition, we are seeking a facilitator for a the proposed topic "Critical cataloging and faculty engagement"--see below for the full proposal text.

Understanding and Managing the Changing Landscape of Technical Services
Facilitators: Dan Tam Do (University of Vermont) and Lihong Zhu (Washington State University)

This roundtable discussion will focus on exploring current issues and trends in technical services, including the role of the manager or supervisor in addressing change. What are the major drivers of change in the current landscape of technical services? Here, the drivers of change refer to those factors which bring changes in the overall landscape. They can originate from the outer ring of the macro-environment or within the inner ring of the micro-environment. It is critical to understand the major drivers of change since they are likely to impact all aspects of technical services, including standards, best practices, technology, workflows, and staffing. Managers and supervisors in technical services are often responsible not only for these aspects of operations but also for maintaining awareness of the drivers of change, considering and communicating their potential impacts, and making decisions around change. This position brings a unique perspective as well as particular challenges, which will be explored during the discussion. Potential questions may include: 1. What are the major drivers of change in the current landscape of technical services? 2. What challenges do managers and supervisors face in meeting the upcoming changes in technical services? 3. What can managers and supervisors do to develop their technical services department into a learning organization that is not only keeping up to date with current issues and trends, but also continuously learning new ways of doing things?

Embracing Technical Service's Public Service Role
Facilitator: Jeffrey Mortimore (Georgia Southern University)

The traditional distinction between the “front office” and the “back office” fails to align with contemporary technical services practice. Today, technical and public services personnel are equally involved in providing resources, services, and support direct to patrons, demanding communication, collaboration, and public service competencies library-wide. Drawing upon participants' experiences, this roundtable will discuss the importance of communication and referral skills commonly associated with reference and instruction to the delivery of effective technical services. What are the emerging points of contact between technical and public services, and technical services and patrons? What role has the ongoing transition to electronic resources played in changing or increasing these points of contact, and the need for technical services personnel to participate in their mediation? How do technical services personnel provide education, promotion, and support for library resources? What practices work well, and what can we do better? How does technical services’ participation in patron education and support impact technical and public services roles library-wide? Are traditional service models well adapted to emerging technical and public services?

Tools and workflows for enhancing discoverability of linked data and other library resources on the web
Facilitators: Theodore Gerontakos, Crystal Clements, Benjamin Riesenberg (University of Washington)

Many libraries create linked data and local triple stores which, in turn, become additional library resources to expose to potential users. One goal for this type of resource is to make it discoverable directly on the web, often without intervening applications such as an integrated library system or a content management system. How have libraries dealt with this challenge? How are we publishing resources (including linked data and local triple stores) directly into the web and making them discoverable? Library metadata as linked data further complicates this effort because web searches customarily retrieve the resources themselves, rather than descriptions about the resources. We can use search engine optimization practices to make our datasets visible to web searches, but how do we present them to justify offering a dataset as a query solution? These problems can apply to any resource published directly into the web. A discussion of discoverability strategies for diverse resources, including but not limited to linked data resources, would make for an informative discussion. Potential discussion questions may include: 1. What work has your institution done to optimize discoverability of locally produced linked data? How has your institution facilitated the use of that linked data? How thoroughly was that data integrated with other web resources? 2. What can libraries do moving forward to enhance discoverability of library resources on the web? Has your institution considered SEO practices, Wikimedia, sitemaps, Something else? 3. How can institutions share workflows and knowledge as we explore this new territory? What are some ways for us to work together in order not to duplicate our efforts and to share what we learn?

Team building in technical services: how to boost morale and motivate staff
Facilitators: Laura Evans and Rachel Turner (Binghamton University)

Whether it’s the constantly increasing number of projects, migration to a new system, or just the daily grind, sometimes technical services staff need a little motivation to continue working productively. A key component of being productive is healthy interpersonal relationships among staff members. If colleagues work well together, they are more likely to enjoy coming to work, collaborate on projects, and contribute to the work of the technical services department. This discussion will focus on creative team building ideas that can be employed in staff meetings, on special occasions, or day-to-day, that can help staff members become more comfortable with each other, boost morale and ensure that everyone feels like part of the team. Through our questions and examples, we will also explore the idea that team building exercises do not have to be all-day workshops or silly icebreakers, but can be engaging and encourage staff to think “outside of the box.” Discussion questions may include: 1. What team building ideas have you tried within your department? Were they successful? 2. In what contexts are fun or motivational activities appropriate? How do you keep these activities focused and productive? 3. How do you choose inclusive activities, or include staff members who are not comfortable with traditional team-building ideas?

Technical Services in a Startup University
Facilitator: Raymond Pun (Alder Graduate School of Education)

As a librarian at a startup university building a library from scratch, I am interested in hosting a discussion exploring the intricacies, problems, opportunitities and expectations of startup culture can apply to library policies ranging from collection strategy to e-access to IT collaboration. The discussion will center on tools and resources that might make workflows much more streamlined in this situation. Some of these discussions and applications can also be re-directed or transferred to established institutions too. The challenge of working at a startup university is identifying the needs and priorities but how do you do that when everything is constantly moving, important, timely and urgent? This discussion will open up discussions on how workflows for technical services can be developed in these startup cultures: solo librarianship, librarians who transitioned from technical to public services, librarians who also serve as IT/academic writing support, and librarians who do not have any physical libraries to work in. Potential questions may include: 1. Think of several words of the word "startup" and write it down in the index card, we'll pass it around and take turns to read it. Is "startup" a good or not so good blend with academic/library cultures, why or why not? 2. If you didn't have a website, no IT support (or very limited), no collection policy, no library staff other than yourself and no collections (digital or print) so far but you do have a 10k budget line for library resources and university accreditors coming in next month for a visit, what are your first priorities and how would you plan this through? What scenarios can you take back from this experience as a technical services librarian? Where/how do you begin to purchase e-resources? 3. Has anyone worked in public services before? If so, what are your experiences having transitioned to technical services? What are some challenges, opportunities and benefits from such transition? Do you establish workflows differently based on your past experiences as a public services librarian?

Evaluating Technical Services Operations
Facilitator: Jennifer Sweeney (San Jose State University)

Is your technical services operation as efficient as it could be? This session will feature discussion on how to assess processes and workload and identify inefficiencies to improve workflow, streamline processes, and identify best practices in selecting, ordering, purchasing, delivery, movement of materials throughout the library system.  Potential discussion questions may include: 1. Describe current movement of materials through your system (there will be a form for participants to fill out to help organize this information; facilitator will sketch out flowchart on easel pad). Also demographics: Size/type of library. Size of staff. Your role. 2. What is most challenging in your current workflow? 3. How could this be improved? 4. What are the barriers to making improvements in your process? 5. How might these barriers be minimized or eliminated?

Collection Development and Interlibrary Loan Open Communication
Facilitator: Alison Armstrong (Radford University)

The Collection Development Unit has always tried to work in concert with the Interlibrary Loan Unit but being in different departments made cross collaboration difficult. In 2015, the supervisors of each unit worked together to develop a “Purchase on Demand” program. The Collection Assistant looked at books (and sometimes CDs) which had been requested multiple times and decided which titles to purchase to avoid the future need to borrow for our patrons. For titles that ILL could not find a copy to borrow, there were procedures for ILL staff to send the title to the Collection Assistant to potentially purchase to be placed on hold for the patron. Overall, this program has worked well and, above all else, it has led to a collaborative environment with better communication across departments.  Discussion questions may include: How do your ILL and C.D. departments/units work together? What do you see as impediments to communication between areas? Are there ways in which you can use clear procedures to achieve the desired result?

In addition, we are seeking a facilitator for the following discussion topic proposed by Susan Ponischil (Grand Valley State University)--if you're interested in facilitating, please contact Chair Timothy Ryan Mendenhall ([log in to unmask]) or Vice-Chair Jennifer Maddox Abbott ([log in to unmask]):

Critical cataloging and faculty engagement

Catalogers interested in engaging faculty can create opportunities. Critical cataloging looks at social justice issues and the ethical implications of our work. This framework can be incorporated as a critical theory into curricula in a number of disciplines such as Literary Studies, Gender Studies, Education, Sociology, Criminal Justice, etc. The Library of Congress Subject Headings create opportunities for engagement through discussions about biases and fallacies represented. An open dialogue about LCSH issues and how to address those issues through tools like the Cataloging Lab can be incorporated in to the conversation. This heightened awareness can translate into a better understanding of how to use the catalog, but also an appreciation for the focus librarians bring to conversations about discrimination and disparities.  Potential questions could include: Are there opportunities in your institution for this type of engagement? Is critical cataloging something you actively participate in? How? If you were to consider reaching out to faculty, which discipline would consider first?

We welcome your participation and feedback!
ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Interest Group (CITSIG)

Chair: Timothy Ryan Mendenhall [log in to unmask]
Vice-Chair: Jennifer Maddox Abbott [log in to unmask]