Field Trips

Remember the Past, Transform the Future

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education CenterThis morning, 40 librarians joined RLA CE Committee members for our annual fall field trip. This year, the group toured the recently opened Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, located in Skokie, IL. Besides being quite an impressive facility, the museum contains an incredible collection of artifacts, artwork, videos, and other materials that combine to remind visitors of the Holocaust and urge people to act against genocide today.

The group started with a tour of the Karkomi Permanent Exhibition led by some very well-informed docents. According to the museum’s website:

The Zev and Shifra Karkomi Permanent Exhibition tells the story of the Holocaust, from pre-war German life through ghetto life and concentration camps to eventual liberation and resettlement throughout the world, with a special focus on post-war life in Israel and Skokie. More than 500 artifacts, documents and photographs help illustrate the narrative of the Holocaust while testimonies from local survivors add personal detail.

After touring the exhibition, the group visited the Brill Resource Center and met with head librarian Matthew Sackel, who knows 5 different languages! Sackel gave us a glimpse of what life is like for a solo special librarian. He spoke about the process of getting the library up and running, starting with large piles of books stacked up on the floor to cataloging the mostly donated collection and choosing an ILS. With the help of a large group of volunteers, the library’s collection now includes up to 13,000 items, all of which are searchable through the library’s online catalog. Sackel also mentioned that he will soon add the library’s records to OCLC. Although the library does not allow materials to be circulated, there is a beautiful reading room and 16 computers to allow people to take full advantage of the library’s resources during open hours. Access to the library is free and open to the public (12 years or older unless supervised by an adult). To learn more about the Brill Resource Center, check out this Pioneer Press article.

Did you join us for this field trip? Please share your thoughts and impressions by leaving a comment below.


Eli Neiburger on Production in Libraries

Eli NeiburgerEach fall, the RLA CE Committee brings in a special guest to help us kick-off the year of continuing education programs for Chicago-area library workers. This year, Eli Neiburger, Associate Director for IT and Production at Ann Arbor District Library (MI), presented a thought-provoking and entertaining presentation titled, “The Producers in the Library: Production at AADL” (pdf).

Eli made a very convincing argument that public libraries need to start thinking about and investing in their products rather than just their traditional services. He showed us some impressive examples of products created by his staff at AADL, including various websites, software, platforms, and events. He also talked about the organizational structure adopted at AADL that enables both products and services to flourish.

To learn more, take a look at Eli’s presentation slides (pdf) and the Ann Arbor District Library website.


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Eli Neiburger on Production and Development in Libraries

eli neiburger ds portrait editedThe RLA CE Committee is excited to announce that Eli Neiburger, Associate Director of IT and Product Development at the Ann Arbor District Library, will be our guest speaker for our fall kick off program! Eli’s presentation is titled, “The Producers in the Library: Production and Development at AADL.”


Public Service is the cornerstone of the Library; yet increasingly, it is our Products that define us as institutions.  It can be challenging for a service organization to transition to product development; new skills, processes, quality standards, and political approaches are required. At Ann Arbor District Library, production has become a big part of what Librarians and IT staff are responsible for, from taking a
product-oriented approach to software development, digitization, and content projects, to the changing role of librarians and catalogers as more and more library business is transacted solely online.  How can libraries build these capacities, and what are some of the possibilities, and how can you make it happen at your library with or without help from IT!

If you’ve never heard Eli speak before, you are in for a treat! Plus, this program is free to all registrants so there’s really no excuse not to be there!

When: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 from 9:30am-12:00pm

Where: NSLS Auditorium [map and directions]

Cost: Free (Funding generously provided by Gale Cengage Learning)

Register at now!

Field Trips

Field Trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

IllinoisHolocaustMuseumEach fall, the RLA CE Committee sponsors a field trip to a local library, museum, or archive. We’re happy to announce that this year’s field trip will take place at the new world-class Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, IL! The trip will consist of a tour of the museum itself and then a short tour of the education center. This event is being sponsored by HW Wilson so we are able to cover the entry fees for the first forty people who register. And, finally, more good news…parking is free!

What: Fall Field Trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Where: 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077 [map and directions]

When: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 from 10:00am to 12:30pm. Please meet at the entrance to the Karkomi Permanent Exhibition no later than 9:50am.

Cost: Free – sponsored by HW Wilson (attendance is limited to 40 people)

Register at now!

Download a program flyer!

Programs Resources

Beyond Consumer Reports roundup

We had 36 in attendance last Tuesday to hear Shannon Scanlan and Alex Todd discuss consumer-related websites.  This was also our first ‘handout free’ workshop with the handouts and links available online instead of on paper.  We did have Official RLA-CE Scratch Paper for folks to take notes on and I think the attendees appreciated the paper savings.  One suggested that we have the handouts available online before the program so if people want to print them out early and bring them, they can.  We’ll definitely make an effort to do that.

We also had several excellent ideas for potential programs, including medical consumer websites (i.e. how to find a reliable doctor, comparing medical equipment, etc); language learning collection development; and the old standbys of business, legal, and medical reference.

The response from the attendees were very favorable as a whole though one comment stood out to me:

“I could come b/c this was free.  My budget for training is low to non-existent.”

We’ve always kept our programs free and our goal is to keep them free as we go forward!  A big reason we are able to provide quality, free programs is through the grant assistance we receive from HW Wilson and Gale .

We’re glad you were able to come and benefit.

Programs Resources

Beyond Consumer Reports – Wiki

Alex and Shannon, our presenters for tomorrow’s program, “Beyond Consumer Reports,” have created an information-rich wiki to compliment their presentation. Please take a look at the Beyond Consumer Reports wiki!


May 5 Program: Beyond Consumer Reports

alextodd2Everyone wants to stretch their dollar as far as it can go. Not only do they want to find the cheapest prices, biggest discounts, and best coupons possible, they also need to buy quality products that will last the longest. Shannon Scanlan and Alex Todd, Technology Resources Librarian and Head of Adult Services from the Prospect Heights Library will highlight the best websites for today’s shannonconsumers. Shannon will talk about where to find quality product reviews, ratings, and comparisons while Alex will cover the top sites for discounts, coupons, and other bargains. Their report for consumers goes well beyond Consumer Reports. But don’t worry, it does include CR as well!

Tuesday, May 5, 9:30-noon
NSLS Auditorium, 200 Dundee, Wheeling, IL


Putting the “You” in YouTube

Putting the “You” in YouTube

Originally uploaded by kongtemplation

More than 50 librarians gathered on a cold, rainy day to hear Karen McBride, Web Services Librarian at Des Plaines Public Library, talk about how her library is using YouTube. I think everyone who was present would agree that Karen gave an entertaining and helpful presentation explaining how to create videos, edit them, and post them on YouTube to share with the rest of the world! Karen emphasized the point of not trying to be so formal and perfect with our library videos. She encouraged the audience to have fun, relax, and not be afraid of making mistakes.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend, or for those of us who need a reminder of what we learned, Karen has graciously provided her tips and tricks on a wiki at, so head on over there! But, wait! Before you leave, check out the video clip below to see Karen explaining some cool effects that are available on iMovie.


Curious about YouTube for Libraries?

Please join us for our next program, “Putting the You in YouTube” with Karen McBride.

When: Thursday, February 26, 2009 9:30 a.m.-noon

Where: NSLS Auditorium, 200 West Dundee Road, Wheeling, IL

Cost: Free


Online video is a fun, exciting way to share library/community events and promote materials and services. Is it possible for a librarian with little or no audiovisual training to make high quality videos? The answer is “Yes,” and Web Services Librarian Karen McBride will share her experiences in making videos for her library, as well as helpful, practical tips for putting the “You” in YouTube.

This program is sponsored by H.W. Wilson.

Register online today!

Download flyer (PDF)