May Business Meeting Summary

CALL held its May Business Meeting on the 15th at Maggiano’s.

President Maribel Nash recognized the new and continuing Executive Board members:

  • Margaret Schilt
  • Clare Willis
  • Stephanie Crawford
  • Jamie Sommer
  • Robert Martin
  • Julie Pabarja

She also thanked the retiring Board members: JoAnn Hounshell, Barry Herbert, and Pam Cipkowski, and added that it had been an honor to work with them.

Maribel then welcomed two new members, Stacia Stein and Michael Verderame, both from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Maribel asked two special guests, library school students Taylor Southworth and Lindsey Ann Carpino, to stand to be recognized.

Meeting Sponsor

Vice-President/President-Elect Margaret Schilt then introduced and thanked the meeting sponsor, Thomson Reuters, represented at the meeting by Katie Leonard and Kathleen O’Malley. Katie Leonard briefly addressed the group. She thanked CALL for the opportunity to sponsor and invited the members to visit her table to find out more information about Westlaw Analytics for law firms and the business law center available through WestlawNext.

Meeting Speaker

CPL Commissioner Brian Bannon photo by Emily Barney

Margaret then introduced our speaker, Brian Bannon, Chicago Public Library Commissioner. She noted that five days earlier, Mr. Bannon was at the White House with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, accepting the National Medal for Museum and Library Service on behalf of Chicago Public Library (CPL).  Margaret noted that Mr. Bannon came to CPL from San Francisco where he was the chief technology officer for San Francisco’s public library.

Prior to that, she said, he worked for the Seattle Public Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, holding positions in the U.S. Library Program and the Native Access to Technology Program. Margaret noted that under Mr. Bannon’s leadership, CPL has embraced a technological future that includes a new library operations plan, streaming video and social media from the CPL’s redeveloped website and a “maker lab” with 3D printers, laser cutters and do-it-yourself manufacturing equipment.

Finally, Margaret noted that earlier this year, CPL was ranked the best public library in the United States and third best in the world, by an international study from Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Libraries & Knowledge Economy

Mr. Bannon took the podium and first acknowledged that the White House honor was thanks in large part to the “incredible library system” that he inherited from former Commissioner Mary Dempsey. Mr. Bannon framed his remarks around thoughts about the future of cities and of libraries in the knowledge economy.

photo by Emily Barney
photo by Emily Barney

He explained the rise of the knowledge economy as the movement from an agriculture- and labor-intensive economy into an economy based on information. He said this is important for cities because cities are now the drivers of the local and national economies.

Mr. Bannon noted a special opportunity for libraries in the need for a city and its workforce need to be informed and creative. He noted that Ben Franklin, a pioneer in public education, believed equally in having public spaces to gather and share ideas. Mr. Bannon said that the public library serves the role of providing the space needed to connect people in order to drive the economy.

Evolving Services

Mr. Bannon stated that there is a lot at the core of public library service that is working and which libraries must maintain even as they evolve. He gave statistics describing how libraries are used and valued more than ever around the United States and Chicago.

Next, Mr. Bannon gave a few examples of how libraries can help make the city stronger. He described the Innovation Lab, which brought 3D printing technology to the library. He said that 30,000 people experienced and learned more about advanced manufacturing, a leading technology.

He noted that the people using the space did not look like the people using the private spaces for advanced manufacturing. Mr. Bannon then described a CPL effort to help entrepreneurs by hosting open office hours with Public Good Software, a company that helps nonprofits with software for marketing and fundraising.

Mr. Bannon also suggested that the library could have a role helping people harness large amounts of data. He noted the work of the municipal reference librarians and mentioned that CPL has a pilot project with data visualization students to create accessible ways for the public to learn and use information.

Supporting Learning

Finally, Mr. Bannon discussed how CPL supports learning. He spoke about the successful YOUmedia center at the Harold Washington Library Center (HWLC) which started to help teens build digital portfolios in graphic design and music editing. Mr. Bannon said that the success of YOUmedia led CPL to bring YOUmedia and teen librarians to eleven neighborhood branches.

Mr. Bannon also noted that circulation of the teen collection at HWLC increased by 400 percent just by moving the collection into the YOUmedia space. At the neighborhood level, Mr. Bannon described TinkerU, a class in circuitry at the West Englewood branch, which started after the branch manager noticed that people wanted to create electronics.

Mr. Bannon concluded by saying that the library should own and embrace the opportunity to form the creative and smart cities of the knowledge economy.

Speaker Q&A

Mr. Bannon then took questions from the audience. A CALL member asked if CPL was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service for any particular service. Mr. Bannon answered that they received the award for YOUmedia, the Maker Lab, and the redesigned summer reading program, which moves away from an emphasis solely on reading to add other learning activities.

Another CALL member with two kids in Chicago Public Schools noted that their school lost their librarian and asked how the public library can help the public schools.  Mr. Bannon emphasized the important role of school libraries and gave the Finch Robot lab as an example of how CPL can provide teaching materials.

Public school teachers obtained Finch Robots, a tool to help children learn a computer programming language, from Google. Google wanted to reach more people, so CPL will have 500 Finch Robot kits that any teacher can check out.

Another member described her positive experience with the Maker Lab and asked Mr. Bannon how CPL decides where to extend the Maker Lab and to which branches. Mr. Bannon answered that the Maker Lab is a unique pilot project that he does not see being expanded to the entire city. Thus, he noted, the Maker Lab is being expended mostly by way of librarians, trained in using the 3D printer, who ask to have technology at their branches.

In contrast, Mr. Bannon explained, YOUmedia is a more mature example of how CPL decides to expand a program. He said that the decision on where to expand required looking at demographics, finding a saturation of teens, and hiring and placing permanent teen librarians at those locations to do the specialized programming to support the program.

Another member said she was pleased to hear the municipal reference librarians mentioned and asked if the library has given any thought to preserving history in this “born digital” age. Mr. Bannon answered that the library is looking into ways to open data, especially “big data,” to the public.

Mr. Bannon thanked the group again.

Maribel thanked Mr. Bannon and said that his talk will give CALL members good ideas for ways to improve services to our patrons.

Award Announcements

Maribel then presented the CALL grants and awards. She thanked JoAnn Hounshell and the Grants and Awards Committee for their hard work. She presented CALL grants to Jesse Bowman and Joanne Kiley to attend the AALL Annual Meeting.

Maribel then presented the Award for Outstanding In-House Publication (Print) to the John Marshall School of Law Louis L. Biro Law Library and Technology Services Department for The JMLS Library & Technology Times, which Maribel described as a monthly newsletter that keeps faculty and students informed of cool new tools, events in the library and library resources, and The Library & Technology Guide for Students, described as a one-stop guide to the most frequently asked questions about library services and technology.

Maribel presented the Award for Outstanding In-House Publication (Electronic) to Scott Vanderlin for his new video tour of the Chicago-Kent Law Library. Scott spoke briefly to thank some coworkers who helped with the video.

Maribel presented the Agnes and Harvey Reid Award for Outstanding Contributions to Law Librarianship to Keith Ann Stiverson. Last, Maribel presented two Lifetime Achievement Awards to Julia Wentz and Eloise Vondruska. Both women spoke briefly and thanked the Association.

Jesse BowmanFinally, Maribel acknowledged several CALL members who won AALL awards: Sally Holterhoff (Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award) and the CALL Public Relations Committee (Excellence in Marketing/Best Use of Technology Award). She also noted that CALL members Scott Burgh, Lindsey Carpino, Paul Gatz, and Philip Johnson received AALL grants.


Committee Announcements

Several committees made announcements. Juli Jackson spoke on behalf of the Nominations and Elections Committee to thank everyone who voted and everyone who ran for office. She told the group that anyone who is interested in serving on the Executive Board should JoAnn Hounshell, the incoming chair of the committee. Juli also thanked her committee for their work.

Robert Martin, on behalf of the Community Service Committee, announced to the group that CALL has raised nearly $1000 every year that he has been chair. He thanked the membership for their generosity.

Maribel announced, on behalf of the Membership Committee, that renewal forms went out recently. Maribel also reminded all committee chairs that the committee annual reports are due to Maribel as soon as possible.

Maribel concluded the meeting by passing the gavel to Margaret Schilt. Margaret thanked Maribel for being a tough act to follow. She said her second act was to encourage CALL members to get involved. She noted that the vitality and activities of CALL cannot carry on without committees. She encouraged members to respond to the survey asking for committee volunteers.

The meeting adjourned at 1:32pm.