23:3 (2008:09) 23rd Conference (2008): Report from the 2008 Award Winners

September 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Award Winners, Conference Reports | Leave a comment

Sarah E. Morris, Awards & Recognition Committee

NASIG’s 2008 awards cycle drew many commendable applications; the following is a snapshot of the applications process, the award winners, and a survey of winners’ conference experiences.

The Awards & Recognition Committee received twelve applications for the Student Grant Award, seven applications for the Fritz Schwartz Scholarship, seven applications for the Horizon Award, sixteen applications for the Serials Specialist Award, and one application for the Marcia Tuttle International Award.

The identities of the applicants were blinded from each committee member, and committee members removed themselves from judging any award for which they knew an applicant.  For 2008, the committee awarded six Student Grants, one Mexico Student Grant, one Fritz Schwartz Serials Education Scholarship, one Horizon Award, one Serials Specialist Award, and one Marcia Tuttle International Grant.

These awards covered the cost of travel, room & board, and registration fees for the 23rd NASIG Conference held in Phoenix, Arizona; and a one-year NASIG membership. In addition, the Fritz Schwartz Scholarship winner received $3,000 to help defray the costs of library school tuition.  In lieu of a conference stipend, the Marcia Tuttle International Grant provided $3,000 grant for the recipient.

The 2008 award winners are as follows:

•    Eugenia Beh, University of Texas at Austin, School of Information
•    Barbara Birenbaum, University of California—Los Angeles, Department of Library and Information Studies
•    Kathryn Machin, Queens College, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies
•    Jason Ronallo, Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science
•    Pegeen Seger, University of Oklahoma, School of Library and Information Studies
•    Nancy B. Thomas, University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences

•    Armando Avila-Gonzalez, Escuela Nacional Biblioteconomía y Archivoeconomía, Mexico City, DF, Mexico

•    Alena Jewel Rucker, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Information Science


•    Betsy Appleton, George Washington University Libraries

•    Marie Peterson, University at Buffalo, State University of New York Libraries


•    Stephanie Schmitt, Zayed University, Dubai, UAE

Schmitt’s project for the Marcia Tuttle International Grant was entitled “Union List for Serial Titles Held in the Arabian Gulf Region” and has an estimated completion between March 2008 and March 2009.  In her application, Schmitt described the proposed value of the project:

In the Arabian Gulf countries, there is no shared record of bibliographic holdings and the work to coordinate interlibrary loan services is just beginning. This project will enable resource discovery and coordination that will support knowledge sharing in the region. The capacity for coordinated efforts is limited only by the lack of data able to be shared. This project will initiate the work required to compile information and study the potential for sharing knowledge that formal relationships and arrangements will provide.

Schmitt may present a summary of her findings at the 2009 NASIG conference in Asheville, North Carolina.

All award winners except Stephanie Schmitt attended the conference in Phoenix.  When they returned home the committee sent out a survey to the recipients to provide feedback about their conference experience. A summary of their responses is included below, following the survey questions.

Why do you feel it is worthwhile for students and newcomers to attend a NASIG conference?
•    “The workshops alone offer such an insight into current serials issues for newcomers and provide an incomparable learning experience…all set in an environment that is very supportive and encouraging.”
•    “…the immersion into ’all things serials’ can lay the foundation of a serials career from a standpoint of getting it, as opposed to reaching for, and not getting, the big picture.”
•    “The conference also provided great access to vendors to learn that side of the business.”
•    “This is one…rare opportunity for entry-level professionals and students to meet and learn from other serials professionals in an intimate and low-key environment.”
•    “The serials field has a very high initial learning curve, and meeting to discuss issues with other serialists helps newcomers better understand the various opportunities and complex challenges in the field.”
•    “The experience allow[s]…the newcomer to know [the latest] topics related to…serials.”
•    “Networking with others working in the same department and sharing the same experiences and issues only common to serials librarianship.”
•    “The conference gives the newcomer many opportunities to discuss problems that they may be having in regards to serials, budgets and implementations of various software and system upgrades.”

How did attending the conference benefit you personally?
•    “I made several key friends and acquaintances on both coasts and in varying ranges of institutions.”
•    “The chance to see a different perspective of librarianship in North America.”
•    “Many of the programs were directly relevant to the kind of work I am already doing.  Talking with many librarians…gave me perspective on the job search.”
•    “Finding that there are other libraries and librarians with the same experiences and problems.”
•    “I gained so much from this conference, not the least of which is the enthusiasm and inspiration I came away with from the vision sessions…The panel presentation on vendors (What they didn’t tell you in library school…) has been of immediate benefit to me in my job.”
•    “I was immersed in various sessions that contained large amounts of information regarding system upgrades, various formats and the increasing challenges that Electronic Resource Management departments are facing…Every session was relevant to my work, which was a nice surprise.”
•    “The conference gave me more of a sense of being a professional in the field and brought me into contact with others with whom I would hope to have a chance to collaborate with in the future.”
•    “It was extremely helpful to meet and network with other serials professionals…I’m able to directly apply much of the information I picked up at NASIG to…my professional development and daily work.”

Did attending the conference influence your career plans? If so, how?
•    “I now feel more confident about applying for serials jobs.  In addition, I learned more about the tenure process for librarians, which I had not known much about previously.”
•    Developed an interest in focusing on serials cataloging, and “want to keep being a NASIG member.”
•    “I have a clearer focus on what kinds of institutions I would like to apply to…[and] how to evaluate an institution before applying and during the interview process.”
•    “Renewed my goal of becoming a serials librarian.”
•    “Encouraged me to continue my pursuit of a serials cataloger or serials librarian position.”
•    “The sense of community and professionalism at the conference was amazing, the amount of information invaluable, and I would venture to say that I see myself staying in this field.”
•    “Seeing the dedication and enthusiasm in other professionals gave me more of a concrete picture of my future career goals and how to achieve them.”
•    “…the conference provided a venue in which I could learn more about positions and career paths influence by serials that are not necessarily similar to my current position.  I am more informed about these alternative opportunities than before attending the conference.”

What could NASIG and/or the Awards & Recognition Committee do to improve their award programs?

•    Transportation difficulties were cited twice.
•    Would “be best if the award can be for more people,” as demand is high.
•    Hand out the awards on the floor, “rather than on a stage.”
•    “…it was far more than I had expected.  Anything in addition that can be done, perhaps through the…Outreach committee, would be more than worthwhile.”
•    “After accepting an award, an [immediate] emailed summary of these “nuts and bolts” issues [travel, etc.] would be good.”

What could NASIG and/or the Awards & Recognition Committee do to improve your conference experience?
•    All answers here were positive; one person couldn’t think of any improvements and the rest listed more positive comments about their experience.

Do you have any other suggestions or comments? Please tell us about them here.
•    “More activities in the evening after the sessions and dinner.”
•    “For those who have never been at a professional conference before, it might be helpful to point newcomers to a general conference etiquette and expectations guide.”
•    “…having a limited number [of conference t-shirts] for sale at the conference.”
•    “NASIG folks were a very friendly and approachable bunch and that’s what really made the conference great for me.”
•     “…the award is a great incentive for all the winners to keep moving forward, doing the best everyday.”
•    “All [your] efforts and support are very good.”
•    “I just wanted to…thank all the members of NASIG for supporting programs such as this.  It was a great honor to receive the award and a memorable experience.”
•    “Everyone was very organized, efficient and very courteous.”
•    “I was especially surprised at the level of service in making agreeable travel plans.  The mentor program was a great way to kick off the conference.”
•    “It was truly a wonderful experience, and I learned a great deal.”
•    “There was such a sense of community and respect for every person in the field…there was not any kind of hierarchal pecking order, just professionals coming together to learn about their profession and each other.  It was great!”

How/where did you learn about NASIG’s awards?
•    Word-of mouth from professional librarians (including supervisors)
•    Library school posters
•    Library-related & library school listservs

Where should NASIG be promoting awards?
•    At library schools, “where the NASIG ambassadors can…be of help, and perhaps also at other library conferences.”
•    “I saw many academic librarians at the conference, but not as many special and corporate librarians.  This may be a more difficult group to reach, but it could help add to the diversity of NASIG.”
•    “You might consider posting on ALA’s website, including the LSSIRT section for support staff.”

Many thanks to the Awards & Recognition Committee for their work selecting the winners and for all the conference attendees who helped make the award winner’s experiences so memorable!


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