American Library Association (ALA)
ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, and its conferences, both Midwinter and Annual, draw both subject experts and decision makers and offer a unique opportunity to find out what's driving various libraries. It would be hard to imagine being committed to meeting the needs of the industry and not being part of ALA.
APA has been attending the ALA conventions for, literally, as long as anyone here can remember, at least since the late 1980s. "ALA is a 'must attend' conferences for us," said Susan Hillson, Manager of PsycINFO® Customer Relations. In addition to exhibiting and giving presentations, for a number of years now, APA has hosted a Librarians' Roundtable at breakfast — there is no set agenda, just a good breakfast and conversation. Attendees can ask questions, make comments, and discuss whatever they'd like about our products, and how they fit into the research landscape at their institutions. "This helps us keep a finger on the pulse of the profession," Hillson noted.
ALA Annual was held in New Orleans from June 23 to 28 (for information on ALA Midwinter see, APA at ALA Midwinter in PsycINFO News, Volume 30, Issue 1). ALA has a special connection to New Orleans — less than a year after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, ALA held its 2006 conference there, as scheduled. This year, as then, librarians in attendance at the conference had an opportunity to volunteer in the city through Libraries Build Communities Day. When they weren't reaching out to the community, they were participating in sessions that ranged from managing architectural projects to family literacy to website design and back.
This year in the exhibit hall, APA representatives were kept busy demonstrating our two newest products, PsycTESTS® and PsycTHERAPY®, both due to be released this fall. Librarians could also stop by to talk, to pick up a flash drive full of training materials, or to request materials such as our new Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) for information literacy training. These publications are a little larger than a business card and unfold accordion-style to reveal a series of reminders and tips for searching PsycINFO. They are available for APA PsycNET®, ProQuest, EBSCOhost, and Ovid SP. (QRGs are available in increments of 50 — if you'd like some sent to your library, just contact PsycINFO. Please allow a minimum of 5 business days for shipping.)
In addition to the Librarians' Breakfast, PsycINFO staff as always hosted a Lunch and Learn session. Training Specialists Anne Breitenbach and Michael Miyazaki hosted about 60 librarians for an update on APA's database products. Because news that the much anticipated new databases were to be discussed had circulated, this was an especially lively session and crowd. The bulk of the session was used to introduce the group to PsycTESTS and PsycTHERAPY.
After that, Anne and Michael went on to updates of PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES®, PsycBOOKS®, PsycCRITIQUES®, and PsycEXTRA®, highlighting new content additions and other changes that were made in the last year. Following this, a signification portion of the rest of the session was dedicated to search demonstrations performed in PsycINFO, on each of the major platforms. "Demonstrating on multiple platforms encourages librarians to ask questions specific to their platform and provide feedback about how our products perform in those venues. We can later share that information with our vendor partners and incorporate it into our individual vendor webinar trainings," Anne reported.
The last few minutes were dedicated to a review of the training materials available through ADEPT, the APA Databases and Electronic Products Training Institute. This included a review of the Librarian's Resource Center, highlighting our tutorials and webinars. "Throughout these presentations we always get great feedback on our materials and suggestions for new formats for training," Michael said. "It's important to us to make sure that what we put out is useful and relevant." An abbreviated version of the presentation is available in the presentation archive.
ALA is also the venue where APA staff meet with members of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries, one of ALA's divisions. We participate in the EBSS Research Forum, and present the APA Excellence in Librarianship Award. This year the award was presented to Dr. David (Dave) Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron. For more on Dave and the award, read APA Award for Excellence Winner, 2011 in this issue.