SUNYLA Conference 2016, Binghamton

Greetings from chilly (but beautiful) Binghamton! I’m currently attending the 2016 State University of New York Library Association Conference. I’m excited to have the opportunity to meet librarians from all over the state and SUNYLA has a great conference planned. I’m staying in an awesome dorm and a bunch of my colleagues from Stony Brook are here with me so it should be a fun and informative time.

The pre-conference session I attended was called Stepping up Your Research Game: Conducting Effective Interviews. The presenters were Brandon West from SUNY Geneseo and Lee Ann Fullington from CUNY Brooklyn. One of the concentrations of this session was in-depth interviewing techniques. We did some of this at EdLab in the context of user studies, but there are a lot of applications for this technique in formal research.

Next I attended a tour of the Bartle Library, which was wonderful; lots of groovy architecture and furniture and it was clear that the students really appreciated and loved the space. It even had its own snapchat filter!

On Thursday I attended the keynote and then went to Transitioning to a Shared Services Model: The SUNY New Paltz Experience with Joleen McInnis, from Old Dominion and Kristy Lee from SUNY New Paltz. New Paltz, much like Stony Brook, moved to a shared service point during their library renovation. One of the things they did that I thought was very smart was developing a task force to serve as a sounding board for staff concerns and help facilitate collaboration between teams at the desk. Because this was a big change for many staff members, the task force helped the project stay on message and keep attention on the overall goal of every staff member: providing excellent service to users. To do this, they conducted cross training and staff collaboration exercises including a design charette, to engage all staff in creating a welcoming environment.

The second morning session I attended on Thursday was Using Data to Plan Library Renovations with Kristin Hart and Katie Bram from SUNY Maritime. SUNY Maritime has a gorgeous library building, but many users surveyed said that the facilities were worse than those they had used at other institutions.

They conducted several surveys to try and understand how different groups were using library spaces. The students valued things like individual study and desktop computer access, while faculty and administration favored collaborative and instructional spaces. Both groups felt that technology, especially good and consistent wifi access, was very important in the space. SUNY Maritime also conducted an observational study of user behaviors at the library. They found that the most frequent activity observed in the library was individual study with textbooks and/or laptops. They also conducted a discovery exercise hosted by Steelcase with their administration and stakeholders.

In the afternoon I presented a lightning round called Evaluating Demand Driven Acquisitions. There was a great turnout and it’s always fun to present to technical services folks!

The other lightning rounds in the session were also great. Marianne Hebert from SUNY Potsdam presented on Building Print Collections that Have a Purpose with data from lots of different sources. She used things like OPAC searching and ILLiad data to look for areas and topics to expand in Potsdam’s collections. Then Rebecca Nous & Wendy West from Albany presented on marketing graphic novels. They created a lot of great visual materials and displays and reached out to users on social media to help promote their underused graphic novel collections which resulted in a huge circulation increase for that collection.

In the evening, Jennifer and I presented our shared service point poster:

On Friday I attended an ebook session with YBP and librarians from Albany and Binghamton with Steve Sutton and Pat Adams who helped us set up our DDA program at Teachers College. SUNYLA was a wonderful conference! The sessions were great, the size was perfect, and it was really well-organized. It was great to meet so many of my SUNY colleagues. Many of the SUNY libraries are experiencing the same types of issues: renovating aging buildings and the quick weeding projects that go along with that, improving service, integrating technology, and upgrading collections. I learned a lot from my colleagues here at SUNYLA and am coming back to the library with lots of great ideas!