Sunday, May 01, 2016

Service to the Profession

It's been a very busy year, as far as service to the profession goes. Since July 2015, I've been serving as President of the New Jersey Library Association's (NJLA's) History and Preservation Section (H&P). Besides representing the Section and NJLA at meetings and events, it's been my responsibility to develop a year's worth of meetings with tours and/or workshops, as well as plan for professional development opportunities for members and non-members in the archives, local history, and special collections fields. I recently gave the Section's annual report to the NJLA Executive Board. During the report, I spoke about our meetings and workshops:
  1. Meeting and workshop: July 27, 2015 at swanky Lawrenceville School's gorgeous Bunn Library – after the meeting, we had a tour of the archive and had two 1-hour photo preservation workshops by The Better Image photo conservators (and luncheon).
  2. Meeting: Sept. 30, 2015 our traditional meeting at the Monmouth County Archives/Library during Archives Week. The lunch meeting is sandwiched between great programs on local history and archives.
  3. Workshop: Dec. 1, 2015, a concentrated, hands-on, half-day Photo Process Identification and Care Workshop, produced by and held at The Better Image in Milford, NJ. The conservators own a great old opera house, and even have an original theatrical background that was conserved.
  4. Meeting:  Dec. 7, 2015 a meeting at the Morristown National Historical Park, Washington’s Headquarters, after which, we had a tour of the archive and viewed very cool samples of the special collections.
  5. Meeting: March 14, 2016 meeting at Trenton Free Public Library in the Trentoniana Room, co-hosted by the NJ Caucus of MARAC (Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference), after which, we had a tour and saw the treasures of the special collections.
  6. Workshop: March 22, 2016, a hands-on, half-day, Archival Basics for Librarians workshop, in Alexander Library’s Pane Room, taught by Rutgers’ Associate University Archivist, Erika Gorder. We received very good feedback from students who attended the workshop, and will likely make it an annual program.
I also spoke about the new About Us page, which grew out of an elevator-type speech that I put together to explain H&P to another "sister" organization. After the first draft had been sent to the Section for comment, we were able to post it online as the new About Us page on the NJLA H&P Section page. It's too long to include here, but click this link to view it for yourself. Please let me know what you think. 

Other significant accomplishments include Bylaws changes that create a Web Presence Coordinator and an H&P Archives Committee, as well as edits that simplified wording, clarified responsibilities, and updated areas that had not yet included electronic publications and social media.

Last, but far from least, the current P-E Carolyn Dorsey did a phenomenal job putting together the six sessions (and one pre-session) from H&P for the annual NJLA conference taking place on May 16-18 in Atlantic City. She did amazing work obtaining co-sponsorship (as you'll see below). Here's a bit about each, but check out the conference site and the individual links below for complete info:
  • Municipal Records in Public Libraries, presented and moderated by Sarah Hull, Plainfield Public Library; Ellen Callahan, NJ State Archives; Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Sponsoring Groups: History & Preservation Section, Intellectual Freedom Subcommittee, Reference Section, and Urban Libraries Section.
  • Telling Your Library's Story, moderated by Janet Torsney, and presented by Tiffany McClary, NJ State Library; Ellen O'Keefe, Northvale Public Library; William A. Peniston, Newark Museum; and Michele Stricker, NJ State Library; Tuesday, May 17, 2016,-3:10 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sponsoring Groups:  History & Preservation Section and Small Libraries Section.
  • Fundamentals of Preservation Care Part 1: Book Repair Demo and Part 2. Presentation: The Fundamentals of Managing Preservation Efforts in Libraries; moderated by: Michele Stricker; presented by: Kim Avagliano, Monmouth County Library; Deborah Mercer, NJ State Library; Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 4:10 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sponsoring Groups:  College & University Section, History & Preservation Section, Small Libraries Section, and Technical Services Section.
  • Starting from Scratch: The Challenges and Triumphs in Creating a Local History Collection moderated by John Beekman, Jersey City Public Library and presented by: Debra Schiff, Chester Library; Aimee Fernandez-Puente, Elizabeth Public Library; and Marian Bauman, archivist; Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.; Sponsoring Groups: College & University Section, History & Preservation Section, Reference Section, Technical Services Section, and Urban Libraries Section.
  • New Jersey Authors Speak, moderated by Jessica M. Myers, presented by Maxine N. Lurie, Seton Hall University and Chair, NJ Historical Commission and NJ Studies Academic Alliance; Richard P. Carlin, Executive Editor, Music & Art in Higher Education, Oxford University Press; Richard Rockwell, Bloomfield Morris Canal Greenway Committee, Bloomfield Historic Preservation; Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.; Sponsoring Groups: College & University Section, History & Preservation Section, and Reader's Advisory Roundtable.
  • Keeping Up with Copyright to Protect Your Library moderated by Gary Saretsky, Monmouth County Archives and presented by Greg Cram, J.D., Associate Director of Copyright and Information Policy, The New York Public Library, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 2:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.; Sponsoring Groups: Administration & Management Section, Emerging Technologies Section, History & Preservation Section, Intellectual Freedom Subcommittee, Reference Section, and Technical Services Section
  • Yes, Our Collections Have Been Digitized: How Lyrasis' Digitization Collaborative Gets "Hidden" Collections Online, moderated by Debra Schiff, Chester Library and presented by Laurie Gemmill Arp, Director of Digital and Preservation Services, Lyrasis and Paul Martinez, Cataloging Librarian and Archivist, Sprague Library, Montclair University, Pre-conference Monday, May 16, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Virtual (Adobe Connect) – all conference attendees are free to attend. Sponsoring Groups: College & University Section, Emerging Technologies Section, History & Preservation Section, Reference Section, and Technical Services Section
I'm happy to be moderating one session and speaking in the other. My specific area in the Starting from Scratch session will be documentation. I'll be presenting a brief overview of all the documentation needed for a local history department. In preparation for the session, I created a "hidden" page on the Chester Library web site where attendees could obtain PDFs of forms I created for the Library and use them as templates for their departments. Essentially, I wanted to make it as straightforward as possible, so that no one would need to reinvent the wheel.

My experience with creating the documentation for Chester Library focused on reaching out to fellow archivists who had to create their own forms, policies, and procedures. I used the list servs, especially the Lone Arrangers Roundtable list because the members have always been so helpful. Also, because they're like me -- one-person shops, where you have to be all things to all people -- they were able to give me guidance and perspective particular to my situation. Fast forward to five years later, I'm able to do the same for others, and grateful to be able to do so.

Even though I'll be cycling out and becoming Past President in July, I'll still be connected to H&P. The Past President heads the Awards Committee. And, I'm always happy to mentor those who come after me, as I've done with the current P-E and Secretary. I can already see that they're well positioned to keep up the mentoring with those who come after them. It is gratifying to be part of that legacy.

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