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Syracuse iSchool Professor Oakleaf presents at American Library Association Conference

This week, thousands of librarians from around the country are gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana for the annual American Library Association (ALA) Conference. Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Assistant Professor Megan Oakleaf was part of a Sunday morning panel presentation, Demonstrating the Value of the Library: Assessment Tools and Techniques.

According to LibraryJournal.com, the panel drew a large crowd, as many librarians are interested in learning about tools that demonstrate the value of the future library. As part of her presentation, Oakleaf encouraged librarians to be more forceful about proving the value of libraries and how they improve the organization overall.

"Librarians are known for being a bit, shall we say, 'militant' about issues we care about professionally. But, we are not being militant about this," Oakleaf said. "We should be. And we should be aggressive about this conversation and maybe even a little angry and get ambitious about what we could provide to the conversation. There is a shift from skills to impact and the best way to demonstrate that impact is to put things in the context of what the institution wants, not just what we want," she said.

Other members of the panel included: Annette Day of North Carolina State University, Steve Hiller of University of Washing Libraries, and Jennifer Rutner of Columbia University.

Oakleaf also spoke at a session Monday morning, titled Determining the Real Value of Staff Development. The panel offered advice on how to identify the value of staff development programs in libraries, and how to assess its overall success.

Oakleaf is an Assistant Professor at the Syracuse iSchool. She is the professor of record for a core course entitled “Planning, Marketing, and Assessing Library Services” and also teaches “Reference and Information Literacy Services.” Oakleaf joined the iSchool after completing her dissertation entitled, “Assessing Information Literacy Skills: A Rubric Approach,” at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Oakleaf earned her MLS from Kent State University and holds a B.A. in English and Spanish and a B.S. in English Education and Spanish Education from Miami University.

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