ACRL-LA Business Meeting Minutes: October 8, 2008

President Matthews, with input from Mentorship Committee Chair Megan Lowe, commented on the status of the mentorship initiative. President Matthews noted that the initiative began as an attempt to play Obi-Wan to the Anakin of new librarians, but that this model was no longer viable, according to the survey data. A peer-colleague model, which allowed for peer networking, made much more sense. This model allows one person (the mentee, for lack of a better term at this point) could have many mentors and gain a more well-rounded experience. This is different from the traditional mentor-mentee model which encourages monogamy amongst the participants; this does not jive with the survey data collected. President Matthews and Chair Lowe revealed that the survey data did not prove several of the hypotheses that were originally established regarding the mentorship initiative, and that it was clear, from the results of the survey, that more information was needed in order to gain a better understanding of the needs of librarians in the state of Louisiana.

ACRL-LA Webmaster Karen Niemla then reported on the ACRL-LA website. She described the php form she created to permit online registration for the “Publish and Flourish” workshop. It cost no money to use this form, compared to the not feasible price of RegPass (the system LOUIS uses for LUC). Ms. Niemla’s form does not send out a confirmation email automatically, but it does track data. This same form will be used for elections. It does not record demographic or other identifying information. Ms. Niemla reported also on the satisfaction of HostGator, the domain-provider for The organization has paid for 3 years up front, and the President does have keywords for all necessary logins, should something happen to Ms. Niemla. She also described her hope of setting up message boards on the site and detailed her experiments with the Bam Bam forums (which the Executive Council has been using). She reported on the benefits of message boards (users can read what they want and participate where they want; email inboxes won’t be junked up; etc.), especially as a collaborative tool, since message boards are user-driven and content depends on the users. Message boards don’t cost anything and can be easily added to the webspace. She noted the need for a code of conduct, as well as moderators. Forums can be added as interest in certain topics increases. She also remarked on their usefulness for the mentoring program. She hopes to have something workable up by November.  Ms. Niemla later noted that the docs for workshops can be posted on the site, and she will be posting the new by-laws, once they’ve been voted and confirmed.

Discussion then ensued regarding different mentoring models, and a straw poll was proposed to determine the most appropriate model, but it was determined that such a poll was unnecessary, given the survey and the upcoming surveys.  Names for possible mentors and mentees could be generated from workshop attendance. It was also noted that it would not be the responsibility of ACRL-LA to pair up mentors and mentees; the association hopes to establish self-guided mechanisms that allow those seeking to mentor or those seeking a mentor can find their perfect fit. Possible models for an experts directory or database could be based on the LSU Speakers Bureau or the ULM Speakers Directory. The idea of a list was voted on, and eleven of the attendees at the meeting (not sure of the total attendees at the business meeting) agreed that such a list was a great idea. Dr. Alma Dawson noted her own efforts in the realm of mentorship from several years ago, as far as mentoring SLIS students. This has been added to the considerations of the mentoring committee, as it is important to create connections as early as SLIS programs. President Matthews noted that three big areas of professional development need gleaned from the survey were management, outreach, and public relations, and these areas would inform future programming in ACRL-LA.

President Matthews also noted that LLA wants to collaborate with ACRL-LA, particularly with regard to the mentorship program, and he noted that older librarians need help with technology. This could also inform future programming.
Dr. Tony Fonseca moved that the meeting be adjourned, and Melissa Goldsmith seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned around 10:45am.