Internet Librarian Conference: Discount Available

The 2011 Internet Librarian Conference will be held October 17-19 in Monterey, California.  Uusally the cost for the 3 day event is usually $499 but you can get a group discounted admission of $299 (a savings of $200) if you register through Marty Magee, NNLM MidContinental Region.  You must register no later than September 1, 2011.  For more information on how to register for the conference at a discount and contact information go to the MidContinental Region News blog post, Internet Librarian 2011 – Conference discount available at $299.

Even at a discounted registration price, you may want your institution to help fund some of the conference.  Check out the, “Why I Must Go To Monterey” document on the Internet Librarian 2011 site. As they say, “Sometimes all it takes to get permission is using the right words.”  They have created a draft memo for you to use to try and sell your administration on paying for you to attend. (I am sure also explaining how you are able to secure a $200 registration discount can’t hurt either.)  The draft memo is a bit long for memo to your boss, it is definitely a draft.  You will need to edit it so that it takes on the proper tone of your administration yet still convey the importance of attending the meeting.  Personally, I would also edit it so that it is no more than 1 page.  In my experience, memos longer than 1 page don’t get read.  But I applaud the Internet Librarian conference for providing a sample memo, and I would rather that sample be longer with as much information so that potential attendees can edit it as necessary.  Better to have more information and cut down than not enough information.

Finally, since I am talking about discounted registration and justifying your presence at the Internet Librarian Conference, I am going to make a shameless plug promoting MLA 2012 Fund Your Meeting Contest.  Two $400 awards will be given out to help pay for registration or travel expenses to the 2012 meeting in Seattle.  All you have to do to win is submit the most original, funny, interesting, or beth method you used to get funding from your institution to attend a meeting.  Go to to enter before November 1, 2011.  To read other people’s submissions to get ideas as to how you can try and convince your administration to pay or help pay for you to go to MLA, go to

Win $400 Toward the Seattle Meeting

As co-chair of the 2012 NPC I know there are a lot of people working hard to create great programs for the 2012 meeting.  Teresa and I and the rest of the NPC have compiled a great pool of potential speakers and the meeting is shaping up nicely.  It would be a real shame if you won’t be there to enjoy and learn with us.  But every year I hear more and more people on Medlib-l, other listservs, and in person complaining they don’t have the money to attend an MLA meeting because their institution won’t fund them. 

Well, I can’t force your institution to pay for you to go. However, I can give you some great ideas to try to persuade your administration to help pay for your meeting attendance and also provide an opportunity for you to win $400 towards the Seattle meeting. 


The National Program Committee for the 2012 meeting in Seattle, WA has created a contest looking for the best methods librarians used to justify their attendance at a meeting and receive funding from their institution. There will be two $400 prizes to be used toward either registration or travel expenses to the 2012 meeting. The two prizes will be awarded to one hospital librarian and one academic medical librarian for the most original, funny, interesting, or best method for acquiring funding from their institution.

You’ve heard the slogan, “You’ve got to be in it to win it!”  Well that is true for this contest.  You must submit online your story of how you got funded by November 1, 2011. Winners will be notified by November 25, 2011 and will be listed in the January 2012 MLA News. To enter the contest go to:, you must be an MLA member to win.

This contest serves two purposes. First, it helps two people attend the meeting.  Second, it provides a space to share successful stories so that all librarians can learn from them and use them to help secure institutional money to attend a meeting.  All submissions will be displayed online at Want to participate but  nervous about seeing your name in lights on how you got your institution to support your attendance? Don’t worry. We have set it up so that you can participate in the contest but your name will be withheld from the online public site and will only be known to contest judges.

Hurry up, go to the wiki to read some of the entries or to the contest and submit an entry.  The wiki is up-to-date (as of 7/14/11) so the entries you see are the ones submitted so far.  Right now odds are good if you want to enter to win.  You can’t win if you don’t enter!

What is the Purpose of an Association?

Jane Blumenthal wrote a very thought provoking post on the future of associations.  In the past people usually belonged to an association so that they could meet other people with a common interest, make contacts, share information, and learn from each other.  These associations helped their members achieve this by holding conferences, producing publications of the profession, and creating networking opportunities.  Before the Internet that was an effective method to get like minded professionals connected and communicating. 

With the rise of social networking tools and society’s acceptance of alternative communication tools, the question some are asking is, “What is the future of an association?”  For Jane, the question is more specific, “What is the future of MLA?”

The MLA Board has had many conversations around this issue. As a result of those discussions, the Emerging Leaders Task Force and its Rising Stars program were created.  However, the work of the Task Force raised additional questions. We were mentoring future leaders for the association, but where would they be leading us? The Board has asked the Leadership and Management Section to gather information from our members about where they would like to see the association in 5 years. A task force within the section is currently conducting a survey and focused interviews to gather this information.

Where would you like to see MLA in five years? What do you anticipate your future professional needs will be, and what services can the association provide to meet those needs?

What are your thoughts on the MLA of the future?  What is the role of our library association as we are able to connect virtually?  Will the Annual Meeting become a giant week long webinar?  Will people still write articles for publication in JMLA?  What do you think your needs will be in 5 or 10 years from now?  Will MLA be able to help you with those future issues?  Whether they can or can’t help, what are the ways the association needs to adapt so that it can still remain important in the lives of librarians and address those future needs?

Please feel free to comment and post your thoughts on Janes post.  I know lots of us are interested in your thoughts.

MLA Posts

“How do you find time to blog” is the question I get asked most often when I meet people for the first time.  Often I respond that it doesn’t take long to jot down my thoughts and that a normal blog post (not an in-depth product or database review) can take me about 10 minutes to an hour to write. 

If you watched Clay Shirky’s keynote speech yesterday at MLA (view it online here if you registered for e-conference or the regular conference) you might remember that he mentioned that there are 100 million hours put into Wikipedia which illustrates how big of a project it is.  But did you know watching television has taken 200 billion hours in the US alone every year, according to Shirky? So while Wikipedia takes a alot of peoples’ time, Americasn spend much more time on less productive activities such as watching TV.  In fact I am sort of watching TV as I write this post.  

In normal times I am able to find a few minutes out of my day to squeeze out a post.  I guess you could call the time I use to do that my television time.  However, this week I don’t even have television time to write my blog posts.  This year is the first year in a VERY long time that I am not an Official (or unofficial) blogger at MLA. I am just too busy.  This year I am the 2012 NPC co-chair and I am busy attending meetings, thanking vendors, and promoting next year’s meeting.  I am also the incoming chair for MIS and must go to MIS business meetings and section programs.  Last but not least, I am incoming MLA Board member and must attend almost everything MLA and meetings for my liaison committees.

So for once in my MLA meeting life I have no “TV time” to write a steady stream of blog posts.  I hope to write a few posts about the meeting when I get back home but in the mean time don’t forget to check out the Official MLA Meeting Blog.

Win $400 To Go To MLA 2012

How did you convince your organization to fund your trip to a Medical Library Association Annual Meeting? In this day and age where we are all doing our best with shrinking budgets and institutions are scrutinizing our travel funds, the NPC 2012 Committtee thought it would be a good idea for librarians to share with each other their methods, stories, and ways they were able to secure funding to attend an MLA Annual Meeting.

Kind of in the same spirit as the MLA Swap ‘n’ Shop, which features samples and giveaways of successful library promotions, the Get Funded for MLA Contest will feature how librarians successfully got their institution to help pay for the annual meeting so that other librarians can learn and get ideas to use to help them secure travel funds.

So stop by the 2012 booth and get your “Get Your Meeting Funded” stickers and let everyone know that they could win $400 toward the Seattle meeting.

Contest Information:

The National Program Committee for the 2012 meeting in Seattle, WA are looking for the best methods people used to justify their attendance at a meeting to receive funding from their institution. There will be two $400 prizes to be used toward either registration or travel expenses to the 2012 meeting. The two prizes will be awarded to one hospital librarian and one academic medical librarian for the most original, funny, interesting, and best method for acquiring funding from their institution.

You must submit your story online by November 1, 2011. Winners will be notified by November 25, 2011 and will be listed in the January 2012 MLA News. All submissions will be displayed online at and will be available for your fellow librarians to read and learn from. By participating in this contest, not only do you have the chance to win money to help pay for next year’s meeting, but you are sharing your successful funding strategies which can serve as a resource to other librarians who may need a little help getting institutional support.

To enter the contest go to:

You must be an MLA member to win.

Nervous about seeing your name in lights about how you got your institution to support your attendance? That is fine. We have set it up so that you can participate in the contest but your name will be withheld from the online public site and will only be known to contest judges.

MLA Conference Online

By now you are either going to MLA or you are not.  If you aren’t going to MLA you might want to consider attending as an e-Conference participant.  It is only $100 for all of the online content, videos, slides, poster information, etc. It is a good deal and if I wasn’t going to Minneapolis, I would be attending as an e-Conference participant.

Don’t foget to also check out MLA’s CoverItLive link to watch events as they happen.

Online MLA Schedule

I am sure you are all wondering why on Earth I am fussing so much with my MLA schedule and writing about the online program planner.  Well this MLA I am a little busier than others.  I am the soon to be the Section Chair for MIS, Co-chair of the NPC 2012, and I am an incoming MLA Board member.  All of it is doable, but I need a damn good schedule to keep my head on straight.

My entire personal life revolves around Google Calendar.  EVERYTHING is on it and it can be seen online by me or my husband and is synced to our smartphones.  So when I am sitting at my son’s baseball practice and the coach tells us  a game’s location and time has changed, I can easily pull up the calendar on my phone and make the edits.  The changes are saved on Google itself not on my phone.  That is important because the information is instantly updated and can be viewed on my husband’s phone or computer.  

Since my personal life is organized by Google Calendar it is natural that I would like my library life to be as well.  The online program planner in is a good idea, but it fails on a lot of common tasks that I wonder if it was tested before it went live.  There are many more events at MLA than those that are on the Official Program.  People also like to program hop.  Attend one program to see a specific speaker then dart out to see another speaker at another program scheduled at the same time.  Unfortunately you cannot add your own events to the online planner, nor can you select certain speakers to watch within programs for purpose of hopping. 

At first I thought I conquered this problem.  I uploaded my online planner to Google Calendar with the intention of adding the new programs into my calendar.  At first glance this seems to have worked but as I tried to sync to my iPhone and give the link to my schedule to friends, flaws started to appear.

The online planner imports into Google Calendar as a totally separate calendar AND doesn’t allow you to edit that calendar. (It is hard to describe so look at the photos I link to as visual references.)  If you look at this pictureyou can see that my Google Calendar and the events (that aren’t in the Official Program) I added are listed in green under my Krafty Librarian account.  The events in purple are the events that imported from the online planner under my online planner account kraftm.  The purple events are listed as “other calendars” and are not “owned” my the Krafty Librarian account, therefore I can’t alter them. 

Why is this a big deal?  Well if you sync your calendar to your smartphone (which many people do) then your phone has problems picking up your “other calendar” because it is not owned by you.  Therefore you don’t see those events in purple on your smartphone.  Also, if you are like me and need the phone to buzz you 10 min. prior to remind you of an event, you won’t get that reminder buzz.

There were a lot choice words that went through my brain when I discovered this.  However, I found out a way to add the purple events to my “owned” calendar.  Look at this picture.  If you click on the time of the purple entry you get a dialogue box with the link “copy to my calendar.” Doing that will add that event to your “owned” calendar.  Yippeee!  Now for the downside.  I haven’t figured out how you can do this en masse, the only way I have found that works is clicking on each event individually.  Yeah no more yippee.  But the process works.  If you look at this picture, you can see that I was able to successfully add all of my purple events to my “owned” calendar.

By doing all of that my calendar now syncs nicely with my phone.

However, this is a big pain in the but.  I would have given up long ago if it weren’t for how crazy busy I will be and my obession with scheduling and syncing everything through Google and my phone. 

Additionally, one of the biggest features of the MLA online planner is that your friends are able to see your schedule.  This is very helpful if you are trying to meet up with somebody.  For example Nikki Detmar plans to do some geocaching while at MLA. I have been interested in doing this because I think my boys might like it.  So tweeted back that I would be interested in going with her and she said she would check my schedule on the online planner.  Ooops, that totally isn’t going to work.  If you look at my schedule on MLA’s online planner it appears that I am much more available than I really am.  

I realize my example was not exactly a work related example, it was scheduling fun at the conference.  But all work and no fun makes Krafty a very dull girl.  Plus it was a very good example of how the online planner’s inability to add other events really makes the sharing part of it pointless.  Why am I going to share a schedule that isn’t correct?  So now I have gone into Google grabbed the URL to share my calendar so that I can post it on Twitter, my Facebook, here on my blog, and Crowdvine.   

When the online program planner first became live, it was never my intention to devote any more attention to it other than to say, “Hey it is live.”  However, I have to believe that I am not the only person out there who is struggling with the thing trying to add events, trying to get it to sync correctly, and trying display it properly so that easier to schedule a few fun or meeting related things in between MLA events.  I write this post so that others can benefit from my trials with the product.  Good luck, and next year I cross my fingers that my only post about the online planner will be, “Hey it is live.”

Must Know Twitter Tips for MLA

Eric Rumsey recently RT’d on Twitter “11 Must Know Tips and Tricks for Twitter.”  I have been on Twitter for a while and I learned a lot of things from this article.  Some of the things on the article are more organizations interested in the impact of their tweets and metrics of those who follow or unfollow (good if you are running a library account).  There were a few other tips that are good for individual Twitterers like:

  • Advance Search on TweetDeck (right up librarian searchy mentalities)
  • Tweetcaster for Android users
  • Share Flickr photos on Twitter using Fick to Twitt
  • Find trending topics
  • Find deals/coupons on Twitter
  • Browse your Twitter friends

This list, plus the fact that MLA is only a week away, gave me the idea to come up with a few “must know” Twitter tips for MLA people.

Check your Settings!!

The most common questions I get from people are: “Why aren’t my tweets showing up in the hashtag stream?” “Why didn’t you see my tweet?”  The reason is most likely because you checked the privacy box, which makes your tweets only viewable to people who follow you.  The privacy box is a great way to keep your tweets private, but if you keep it checked you aren’t going to be able to effectively participate in the #mlanet11 discussions because we won’t be able to see your tweets!

Consider a third party Twitter application

Twitter page itself can be a little limited, in fact most of the things that we all know and associate with Twitter like #hashtags and @’s (replying to somebody like @krafty), were created and adopted by users, not Twitter.  I feel Twitter has been slow to exploit these helpful symbols and functions and their “new and improved” site still does a poor job of dealing with them.  TweetDeck and HootSuite do a MUCH better job.  TweetDeck and HootSuite at first blush look intimidating with its multiple column format.  But once you get used to it, it is extremely useful and easy to follow.  You can set a column just to be following tweets with the #mlanet11 hashtag.  TweetDeck is an app that is installed on a computer or your smartphone.  Hootsuite is hosted on the web, making installation on the computer unnecessary.  Hootsuite does have an iPhone app as well.  I primarily use TweetDeck but I also have a Hootsuite account so I can check tweets (without going to the crummy Twitter site) on computers other than my own. 

Take a look here to see some of my columns on TweetDeck and how I can monitor All Friends, Mentions (people who @ or RT me), and #mlanet11.

Know and use the hashtags

Your tweets won’t get picked up and seen as easily (thus limiting your conversation) if you forget to use the hashtags.  The hastag for the conference is #mlanet11.  Others you might be interested in are: #mlattt (MLA Tech Trends program) and #medlibs (tweets of interest to medical librarians). 

*If anybody has any other hashtags that are used a lot in the medical library world or for this conference, please list them in the comments. 

It may get a little tiring to constantly remember to use the hashtag, this is where a third party Twitter app may come in handy.  I know in TweetDeck if you click on the # symbol just below the text box, you can select and use a recent hashtag for your tweet instead of typing it out each time.  This is also possible on TweetDeck’s iPhone app.   Now you have to have used the hashtag a few times for it to get in the list but once you do, it is there and it is a lot easier to tap or click on it rather than typing it out each time.

Observe and experiment EARLY

If you haven’t signed up with Twitter but plan to tweet at the conference, or at least lurk on Twitter and view the conference tweets, then start early.  It isn’t hard to tweet, but you will find you get more comfortable participating by watching and responding to people before the conference starts.  Use this week to find your twitter legs.  It takes some practice getting used to sending messages in under 140 characters (including the hashtag).  If you use this time to practice reading and sending out some tweets you will feel a little more comfortable about participating during the conference.  Don’t worry if you make mistakes, many librarians on the Twittersphere are more than willing to help you out and get you in the tweeting scheme of things in no time. 

I can’t tell you how you will use Twitter.  Only through observation and experimentation will you begin to understand how it can fit in your life.  It is an evolutionary communication process (see the picture below).  I don’t mean to say that Twitter is the next step up on the communicating evolutionary train.  I mean to communicate effectively within Twitter, it is a process that you evolve within.  For example you will find it hard to state things in less than 140 characters (everybody does at first) and you might send multiple tweets to get your point across.  Eventually you will learn and your tweets will evolve to where you are able to communicate a lot of things in 140 characters.

What stage are you in?

Have Fun!

This is probably the most important tip.  Use the conference as a perfect opportunity to try out a new tool in a fun way.  Remember for those of you who took the MLA Twitter Tutorial, you get a free drink ticket for the TweetUp. That is what I call fun.

Hungry at MLA?

I love food so I always enjoy reading through the LAC restaurant guide.  In addition to the restaurant guide the LAC created a Google Map listing the spots in the guide

So while your drooling perusing through the guide, you can hop on to the Google Map and check out its location and read any reviews.

Don’t forget to check out the post “What’s on Tap” by Melissa Rethlefsen on the local brew pubs around Minneapolis and the Convention Center.

Tweeting at MLA

The MLA’11 folks have big plans for Twitter this year.  At Annual Conference Twitter will be used to help create discussion, to connect with colleagues, and to facilitate in-person meetings. MLA’s “Rethink Conversations” process will offer display monitors that are strategically placed around the convention center so that attendees can watch and respond to live conversations.  The committee is even hosting three specific ReThink Conversations Sunday-Tuesday 10:00-10:30am (following the Presidential Address, Doe Lecture, and MLA ’12 Invitation). 

Tweets can be made using a mobile device, laptop, or a computer in the Internet Café.   In order to get to know your fellow Twitteres (since Twitter usernames do not always reveal the identity of tweet authors) there will be a “Tweetup” event on Tuesday, May 17th, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  At a Tweetup, you can meet other MLA Twitteres in person.

New to Twitter? Not a problem. A special Twitter Tutorial has been created to help get you started. Attendees (Twitter newbies or old pros) who complete the MLA-sponsored Twitter tutorialby April 29th will receive a free drink ticket at the Tweetup. Even if you are not new to Twitter, complete the tutorial and get a free drink!

You must complete the tutorial by the end of April 29th.

The tutorial is pretty straight forward.  But if you have questions you can email the MLA Twitter Tutorial folks (listed in orange square on the first page of the tutorial). You can also follow me at krafty and direct message me if you have questions. 

DON’T FORGET!  If you want to participate in MLA’s twitter conversations:

  • Make sure you uncheck the “protect my tweets” box or else your tweets will not be seen by others tweeting at MLA.
  • Use the #mlanet11 hashtag so everbody can follow the tweets better


I find Twitter’s site clunky for tweeting a lot.  If you think it is too you might try TweetDeck on your laptop or smartphone to help manage the conversations.  TweetDeck is a third party application that you can install on your laptop or smartphone.  I like it a lot.  If you know you will be bouncing around on computers (using the Internet Cafe) to tweet, you might consider using Hootsuite.  It is a web based application that doesn’t need to be installed and structured similarly to TweetDeck.