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ACRL 2011 National Conference Update – Paper/Panel Submissions

Just in! Some data on the number of submissions for the contributed paper and panel sessions (plus workshops and preconferences) for ACRL’s National Conference in Philadelphia in 2011. As you might expect – the number of submissions (mostly) continues to increase.

Here’s the data:

Contributed Papers

Number of submissions – 238
Number that can be accepted – 66
Acceptance rate 28%

Panel Sessions

Number of submissions – 202
Number that can be accepted – 44
Acceptance rate 22%


Number of submissions – 11
Number that can be accepted – 6
Acceptance rate 55%


Number of submissions – 50
Number that can be accepted – 12
Acceptance rate 24%

Comparative Numbers for ACRL 2009

Contributed Papers – 230 submissions; 44 accepted; 19% acceptance rate

Panel Sessions – 169 submissions; 35 accepted; 21% acceptance rate

Preconferences – 15 submissions; 6 accepted; 40% acceptance rate

Workshops – 47 submissions; 11 accepted; 23% acceptance rate

ACRL has responded to a major request from the membership – provide more academic librarians with an opportunity to present at national conference. ACRL is making this possible by increasing the number of papers from 44 to 66 so that will increase the acceptance rate nearly 10 points (thanks to a stable number of submissions) over 2009. The trade-off is that each paper presentation is just 20 minutes, so there are now three papers, not two, at every session. Even with 9 additional panel sessions, owing to a substantial increase in the number of submissions, the acceptance rate is pretty much the same. Looks like those who submitted a preconference proposal will have the best shot at acceptance. But overall more of you will be presenting at ACRL!

Good luck to all those who submitted a proposal. I hope you came up with a snappy title (see more on that here).

And in the event your proposal is rejected, keep in mind that the submission deadline for poster sessions, cyber zed shed, roundtables and virtual conference sessions is November 1, 2010. So there will still be plenty of time to submit a proposal. There are a bunch of other innovations being planned for the conference – and you’ve probably now found out who the keynoters are – so I hope you’ll be planning to come to Philadelphia in 2011.

ACRLog Welcomes Its Emerging Leaders

Editor’s Note: ACRLog is pleased to announce that a group of ALA Emerging Leaders was assigned to work with the ACRLog blog team (and ACRL Insider too), and use our little blog to share ideas that will enhance ALA conference attendance for both first-timers and veterans alike. Over the next few months we’ll feature occasional posts from members of the Emerging Leaders team – pictured below. This first guest post is a group effort. We look forward to reading what our Emerging Leaders have to share.

You have likely heard about the ALA Emerging Leaders Program, which began in 2007 as part of past ALA president Leslie Burger’s six initiatives to expand opportunities for involvement and leadership in ALA to newer librarians. What you might not know is that ACRL sponsors a team of Emerging Leaders to support the ACRL 101 program, which is designed to enhance the ALA Annual Conference experience for first-time attendees.

This year, our Emerging Leaders team comes from universities ranging from Alaska to Georgia. We are all enthusiastic about our work in academic libraries and our involvement with ACRL. Through our project with ACRL 101 we will share our conference experiences and help new conference attendees make the most of their first ALA Annual experience. We will offer insight into the structure of ACRL and help extend the network of support that ACRL 101 currently offers to new members.

The ACRLog-ALA Emerging Leaders Team
The ACRLog-ALA Emerging Leaders Team

From left to right, our team of ACRL 101 Emerging Leaders include: Amanda Dinscore, Public Services Librarian at California State University, Fresno; Wendy Girven, Public Services Librarian at University of Alaska Southeast; Kimberley Bugg, Assistant Head, Information & Research Services, Atlanta University Center; Hui-Fen Chang, Social Sciences Librarian, Oklahoma State University; Rachel Slough, MLS Candidate, Indiana University; and Miriam Rigby, Social Sciences Librarian at the University of Oregon. Not pictured, Mary Jane Petrowski, Associate Director of ACRL, serves as the ACRL Staff Liaison. Susanna Boyston, Head of Library Instruction and Collection Development at the Davidson College Library, is the project mentor.

After an initial meeting at ALA Midwinter in Boston, our group is now working with representatives from ACRL to plan and implement a series of ACRLog and ACRL Insider blog posts. These posts will focus on areas of interest to new librarians such as conference tips, ACRL resources, highlights of selected ACRL sections, and advice on how to get involved. We will also be hosting OnPoint chats for first time conference attendees, to provide insight into conference structure and guidance to help you make the most of your time at ALA Annual in Washington, DC. Finally, we will be planning several ACRL mini-sessions at ALA Annual which will build upon the content covered in the ACRL 101 program.
Keep an eye out for future blog posts from members of our active group on ACRLog and ACRL Insider in the coming weeks, and please support the ACRL 101 Emerging Leaders – whatever your career stage – by giving us your feedback and comments. Last but not least, come visit us at the ALA Pavilion at the Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

Maureen Sullivan – ACRL Academic/Research Librarian Of The Year

Maureen Sullivan, owner of Maureen Sullivan Associates and Professor of Practice in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science Ph.D. Program in Managerial Leadership, is the 2010 Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by YBP Library Services, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development. ACRLog congratulates Sullivan on being named the newest recipient of this prestigious ACRL award.

ACRLog also congratulates the winners of the 2010 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Winners: The Bucks County Community College Library, Newtown, Pa.; the A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill.; and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries.

Your ACRL Conference Planning Team

An enormous amount of work goes into planning the ACRL National Conference. No sooner does one end then the cycle of planning starts again for the next one. At ALA the 2011 conference planning committee had its first official meetings. We first met with members of the 2009 planning group for a debriefing session. Then we moved on to our first major task of identifying the conference themes and trying to come up with catchy names for them. Whereas the Seattle conference had five themes the Philadelphia conference will likely have seven. We think that will make it easier for those submitting proposals to more easily find a theme into which their idea fits.

At the end of the day loads of ACRL members will be involved in making the conference a success, from the many members of the planning committees to everyone who presents and participates. But the backbone of the conference is really three people. The chair of the conference committee and two ACRL staff members who somehow help us clueless members to pull this whole thing off. Here is your conference team for 2011:

Your ACRL 2011 Conference Team

On the far left is Margot Conahan, ACRL’s manager of professional development, to the far right you have Tory Ondrla, ACRL conference supervisor, and in the center is Pam Snelson, Library Director at Franklin & Marshall College – and the Chair of the Conference Planning Committee for 2011. Together these three will lead the conference planning committee in organizing another memorable ACRL conference.

Thinking About ACRL’s New Strategic Priorities

“Look forward to it” may not be the phrase many academic librarians would use to describe their feelings about strategic planning. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s one of my favorite activities I certainly have no personal opposition to being involved in a strategic planning process. I find it stimulating and I enjoy partnering with colleagues as we think seriously and purposefully about the future direction of the library. It’s like they say, if you don’t have a plan you can end up anywhere. And in our current atmosphere of accountability and assessment, that may not be such a good idea.

I read with interest that ACRL has issued a new set of strategic priorities for 2009-2013. Having worked on strategic plans (and doing so currently) I can appreciate the work that goes into creating one, and I even take time to read the plans of other academic libraries to get a sense of what direction academic libraries are taking. In what new directions do these priorities take ACRL? Take a look:

The ACRL strategic priorities for 2009-13 are:

Strengthening ACRL’s relationships with higher education organizations that are important to faculty and administrators in order to develop institutional understanding of librarians’ roles in enhancing teaching and learning.

Enhancing ACRL members’ understanding of how scholars work and the systems, tools and technology to support the evolving work of the creation, personal organization, aggregation, discovery, preservation, access and exchange of information in all formats.

Increasing ACRL’s influence in public policy affecting higher education.

Increasing recognition of the value of libraries and librarians by leaders in higher education, information technology, funding agencies and campus decision making.

Supporting members in their exploration, research on and implementation of new and emerging information technologies and their application for library services in educational environments.

Increasing ACRL’s membership from professionally underrepresented ethnic and racial groups.

I’m one hundred percent behind that first priority. Too often in the past I’ve seen situations where higher education organizations are developing programs, plans and publications that can impact on or discuss higher education issues that directly effect the academic library and there is absolutely no representation from our community. The annual Horizon Report comes to mind, but there are other examples where a representative from our profession is not invited to the table. I hope ACRL can do more than just create understanding. We need to be involved and well represented.

While there no dearth of activity geared toward scholarly communications issues I believe that ACRL can be doing more to ensure its members are well prepared to both be advocates for the issues on their campuses and to engage the faculty to help them become advocates in the effort to create new models of scholarly communication. I would encourage ACRL to devise tools and techniques to enable frontline librarians at every type of higher education institution to be more aware of the issues and strategies for creating change. And developing more clout in the public policy area would help ACRL and its members to make themselves heard when scholarly communication and other information policy issues are topics of discussion and action in our legislative bodies.

The goal to increase the visibility of academic libraries and librarians within the higher education enterprise seems to me a long running priority for ACRL. But it is hard to recall, in the last year or two, a specific and direct initiative to make this happen. What I can remember is the campaign that placed highly visible advertisements about academic libraries in the Chronicle of Higher Education. That effort had a good return though I’m sure it was costly to the organization. Perhaps if more progress can be made with the first priority there will be more opportunities to promote the academic library and its value to higher education in other venues. But a eye-catching, well-designed, creative ad campaign that communicates sticky messages about our value might be just the thing we need to raise our visibility level. Got academic libraries?

As an ACRL member always looking for ways to implement new technologies that can improve our outreach to the community and the quality of our resources and services, I would welcome any assistance from ACRL to support the efforts of academic librarians to leverage and possibly create their own educational technologies. I advocate that many of our resources are instructional technologies, and we need to do a better job of creating awareness about them and making sure they are well designed so as to improve their ease of use. As an advocacy organization I’d like to see ACRL partnering with vendors of library technology, technology firms such as Google, Amazon and Blackboard, and others such as Microsoft, to promote the needs of academic librarians for better information technologies that help us remove the barriers and enhance the accessibility to our great information resources.

Increasing the diversity of our profession is another ongoing priority for ACRL. Advocating for more scholarships and support to both encourage minorities to enter our profession and to become active in ACRL will only serve to make our profession stronger. Academic librarianship needs to demographically reflect the changing face of American society. While each of us needs to accept some personal responsibility in this effort, I look to ACRL for leadership and support.

Day-to-day ACRL’s strategic priorities are far from the minds of most ACRL members and academic librarians. That’s totally understandable. It’s not as if we don’t have priorities of our own these days – like making sure you do your job well so you can actually keep it. But it’s worthwhile to take time to think about and reflect on these priorities to consider how they might impact on your work, your library and your institution. While I was encouraged by the many new and younger faces of the profession I saw at the ACRL conference, I think ACRL must continue to prioritize any effort to increase membership among the newest members of academic librarianship. Without a strong member base, none of these other priorities will matter much. If these newer academic librarians fail to find relevancy in our association or they cannot afford to join, we will be weaker and less able to move strategically forward in new directions.