ATG Hot Topics – Hot ER&L Edition!

Erin GallagherBy Erin Gallagher                                                                                              

TGIF!  Are your students getting Spring Break fever?  Are you jealous that they actually have a Spring Break?

I attended the ER&L conference for the first time this week.  Though my heart will always belong to Charleston, ER&L was a terrific conference for a variety of reasons:

  • Excellent, roomy conference facilities.
  • Few competing sessions in each time slot.
  • Great vendor-sponsored opportunities for focus groups and educational lunches.
  • Wi-Fi everywhere.
  • Breakfasts!

As with any library conference, it was a great way to meet and commiserate with others who know our joys and pains.  Even though the weather in Austin, Texas was unseasonably horrid (cold and freezing rain, with the sun making an appearance just as we were flying home), the vibe was warm and cozy.  I’ll return next year for sure.

Here are some of the hottest topics discussed at the conference:

  • Open Educational Resources (OERs).  Libraries are used to doing more with less, but many are on the way to becoming leaders in their campus communities by providing guidance to faculty on how they can reduce textbook costs by using freely-available or library-licensed resources.  Check out what CSU San Marcos is doing with their CALM initiative to see how a library is rocking this.
  • Electronic Resources is a relatively new position at many libraries, and this became very evident for me at ER&L.  Several sessions focused on how librarians have opportunities and challenges inherent in being the first person in their position, and how we can make it our own.  The support community is growing along with the rise of E-resources Librarians, and a great example is the Wisdom from Former Newbies wiki.  I will be visiting this wiki frequently.
  • Migrating from traditional ILS environments, which usually includes disparate systems attempting to “talk” to each other, to next-gen, cloud-based systems.  Most libraries don’t have the financial or human resources needed to sustain a suite of separate systems for e-resources management, ILS, discovery, ILL, acquisitions, etc.  We want one-stop shopping, efficient and streamlined workflows, and budgetary savings.
  • The word of the week was DOCUMENTATION.  A lot of us are still within the first few years on the job, and we must document our processes and workflows adequately if we expect to stay sane from year to year.

I’d love to hear other’s thoughts and impressions if you attended ER&L, or if you didn’t.

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