#SLAers Flying Solo

Archive | Education

Baltimore or BUST!

Flying Solo Ribbon

Pick up your “Flying Solo” ribbon at the Solo Librarians Kiosk!

Here are our Division’s Offerings at SLA2018 in Baltimore:

Ticketed Events:

  • Joint Division Reception with Social Sciences, Humanities, Government Information & Transportation Divisions
    Monday, June 11, 2018 (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) @ Pratt Street Ale House
  • Solo Librarians Division Board & Business Breakfast Meeting (cost: $20.00):
    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 (7:30 am – 8:30 am), Conference Center Room 325
  • Solo Librarians No-Host Dinner/Dessert/After Conference Snack:
    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 (8:00 pm – 9:30 pm) @ Frank & Nic’s


Quick Take: Documenting Your Library Success for the Future (20 minutes, Fundamental)
MONDAY, JUNE 11 @ 4-5:30 PM, Conference Center Room 333
We’ve all worked in environments where the librarian must constantly reinvent the wheel – even when a buggy has been making deliveries for decades. This session will help you uncover strategies for turning “on the fly” notes into formal documentation that will help you save time, devise metrics that will impress c-suite executives, and encapsulate your value to your organization. Best of all, documentation can even increase the likelihood that your pet project survives your departure and allow the next generation to turn that buggy into a sports car. Presented by Stefanie R. Maclin-Hurd.

Collection Development for the Special Librarian: Lightning Talks (60 minutes, Intermediate)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 @ 9-10 AM, Conference Center Room 336
Explore eight collection philosophies as solo librarians from around the world discuss challenges and opportunities found in selecting materials for user groups. Each speaker will present one tip or trick that may help any special librarian create a better collection or foster better communication with those we serve. At the end of the session, the audience will vote for the best advice/talk given during the session.  Presenters: Layla Heimlich: “In Case of Disaster” Print Collection / John Cruickshank: Resource Discussion List for Principal Stakeholders / Carolyne Darimont: Bibliaff / Liz Fite: Writing a Community-Focused Collection Policy for a Small Library / Stacey DiFazio: Unsubscribe All / & Gabrielle Hysong: Non-Book Collections

Secrets to Navigating ‘Outside the Box’ Career Pathways (60 minutes, Fundamental)
TUESDAY, JUNE 12 @ 9-10 AM, Conference Center Room 336
Tom Rink & Holly Lakatos have travelled opposite career paths, but they both found that creating opportunities for advancement required tenacity, creativity, and flexibility. Join us for a spirited discussion about moving in and out various types of special libraries while building a career. You may find that the “traditional career path” in librarianship is not the one that fits your situation. Moderated by Brandy King.

Solo Success Stories: Best Practices for Dealing with Non-Traditional Library Projects (60 minutes, Intermediate):
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 @ 1:30-2:30 PM, Conference Center Room 336
Solo librarians are known for doing a little bit of everything. In this session, we’ll focus on solo librarians who have extraordinary “other duties as assigned” and how they balance traditional library work with non-traditional library projects. Gabriele Hysong will provide an overview of starting a jet engine “parts petting zoo” while Carolyne Darimont will discuss integrating her “normal” work with responsibility of managing the design and construction of a new R&D building. Panelists will also provide examples of communicating with stakeholders, managing time, and new skills learned by broadening library services.

Reference Requests: Time Management and Expectation-Setting Roundtable (60 minutes, Intermediate) [Co-sponsor LMD]
MONDAY, JUNE 11 @ 9-10 AM, Conference Center Room 336
Perception can impact the outcome of a reference request. Attendees will feel the power of #slaers as they brainstorm best practices for performing the reference interview, identifying unrealistic expectations, communicating with library stakeholders, promoting a healthy work/life balance, evaluating effective time management, and developing project management skills. This roundtable guided by the participants will provide collective insights on how to manage expectations and perception as we interaction with our patrons. Please bring a writing implement with you to this session. Moderated by Heather Gamberg.

Posted in Conference, EducationComments Off on Baltimore or BUST!

How to Research an Expert Witness

If this is a question which you have asked, have been asked, or are now wondering about since reading the title for this blog post, check out what Brooke Raymond has to say about it below.

Researching, locating and vetting an expert witness can sometimes appear to be more art than science. While finding a qualified expert may seem daunting, there are a number of questions to ask and steps to take that can simplify and streamline the process.

First, one should be clear about the outcome goals. Do you need to find an expert to analyze a scenario and provide professional advice? In that case, you might want to start with JurisPro Expert Witness Directory, a free resource which is searchable by subject category, geographic location or expert name.

Do you plan to have an expert witness testify at trial? Trial testimony experience can be located using Westlaw’s Expert Witness Profiler and Lexis’ Expert Witness Suite. Trial transcripts
and motions to challenge and disqualify experts can be accessed using the official federal
court online docketing system PACER; (Westlaw, Lexis and PACER are all fee-based online accounts).

Professional associations, which most experts would have links to, can provide a great deal
of information on their members including educational background, credentials and work experience. Some professionals who are full-time experts have established consulting practices and their cvs will likely reflect their scholarly articles published, experience testifying at trial, etc.

Are you interested in how an expert’s personal background could impact their professional
role (i.e. have they ever been sued for malpractice, been disciplined, fined, disqualified, etc.?) This type of information can be located by checking with their respective home state governing bodies such as the state’s Office of Medical Professional Conduct, Board of Accountancy, Bar Association, state License Verification web sites, etc. The National Student Clearinghouse can verify most university degrees earned.

Has this expert ever stated an opinion which conflicts with the information they have provided to your team? This is a fairly common inquiry. Searching published articles, patents invented, speeches given and Congressional testimony provided can all provide a treasure trove of data when trying to get a sense of an expert witness’ expertise and experience. Be certain not to overlook news articles, blog entries and Twitter posts as well.

Social media profiles such as LinkedIn is another essential resource. Caveat: make certain that your privacy settings are hidden if you don’t want the person in question to know that you are viewing their profile.

Are you researching an expert named by opposing counsel? Has this expert’s testimony ever been challenged? What was the outcome?

Lexis and Westlaw both offer Daubert Tracker case reports, which provide an overview of an expert’s testimonial history, whether they generally testify for the prosecution or the defense, the outcome of challenges to Daubert hearings, etc.

Lastly, searching an individual’s public records can uncover real property assets, corporate affiliations, bankruptcies, liens, judgments, being a past or present party to a lawsuit, investigation or criminal action. This type of deep background research can round out the picture of an expert witness and whether they would be a quality entity with whom to partner.

Brooke Raymond in her own words:
 I am an experienced law librarian who has worked for AmLaw 50 firms as well as an oil & gas company’s information center, a public relations firm, an economic consulting firm and the reference desk of public libraries in Massachusetts and Connecticut. I traveled to China in 2008 with a delegation of fourteen librarians as part of a professional and cultural exchange led by SLA past president Rebecca Vargha. I have completed two NYC marathons which raised more than $7,000 for girls’ education in five African countries.

Posted in EducationComments Off on How to Research an Expert Witness

Solo Project Management: The Myth and Reality

Here’s a little preview for you of what you can expect from Pat Wagner’s upcoming webinar. Information about the webinar, as well as registration for the event (which will be taking place on November 18 from 5-6 PM) can be found at http://slanypublications.org/event-registration/?ee=10.

One of the benefits that attracts professionals to work in solo library positions is what I call “The Myth of Autonomy.” For the person who chafes at supervision and the messier features of human interaction, having one’s own territory to rule over seems ideal.

You get to decide (more or less) what to do–when, how, and how much–most of the time. There is no chatty co-worker to interrupt you with tales of weekend adventures and small talk about television shows and family problems. You can arrange your work area exactly the way that suits you.

Or not.

The truth is more complicated. Some solos try to manage their libraries as if they were castles surrounded by moats. with one narrow drawbridge by which to control requests and general communications. Control is the operative word. They then are upset when co-workers in the institution–their internal customers–try to bypass the carefully crafted one narrow conduit–and attempt to breach the walls.

“They don’t pay attention to library policies and schedules! They don’t memorize the procedures! They expect me to wait on them hand and foot! They want immediate responses! All they care about is their own work.” Why does it sometimes sound as if the library’s customers are the enemies: the legendary barbarians at the gate?

The drawbridge model–with the attack hippos waiting in the reeds–does not work well.

Instead, solo librarians would do better to see themselves as part of a team, even if the other members are thousands of miles away. To manage those relationships means a mental shift from gatekeeper to that of being a node in a network of many people and sites working together.

Three issues that we will be discussing in our Solo Project Management webinar on November 18 address this shift.

  • Understanding the concept of “management overhead”. The time it takes to maintain effective communication with your customers is not the same as the reference interview or an advertising blitz. It is more about building a relationship with frequent small conversations by phone, e-mail, online and in person. Touching base, as my mom used to say.
  • Anticipating the needs of the customer so you are better prepared for requests. This translates into fewer surprises.
  • Empowering your customers and allies. One theory of special librarianship says that the services of the library shall be conducted only by degreed professionals, so nothing important can be delegated to library associates, regardless of their competence, education, intelligence, or experience. A different theory says that improving the skills of others can mean better service and a less-stressful workplace. We will explore both ideas.

Solo librarians have limited resources and are constrained by that annoying time-space continuum. However, the application of classic project management techniques can make work life more productive, even for a singleton.

Pat Wagner is a library trainer and consultant with over 35 years’ experience working for and with special librarians. She can be reached through her website at www.sieralearn.com.

Posted in EducationComments Off on Solo Project Management: The Myth and Reality

Solo Project Management: When You are the Whole Team Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 5 to 6 pm ET

Solo Project Management: When You are the Whole Team
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
5 to 6 pm ET

The SLA Solo Librarians Division and the SLA New York Chapter have teamed up to present a webinar series with veteran library trainer Pat Wagner of SIERA (sieralearn.com).

The final webinar is now open for registration, please see the webinar details and registration URL below.

Program Description

Most project management models assume you have co-workers and employees to share the work. But if you are working alone, normal strategies like delegation become problematic. How do you negotiate with bosses and customers, juggle obligations, and modify the time-space continuum (or clone yourself)?


  • The Key Idea: Evaluate Your Resources, Ask For What You Want
  • Do You Say Yes To Everyone?
  • Even Solo Librarians Need A Written Plan
  • Negotiating With Internal And External Customers
  • Good Intentions (Late Hours) Hide Information About Resources
  • Case Studies


  • Evaluate accurately what can be done with the resources you have.
  • Better communicate limits to bosses and customers.
  • Sort priorities and improve focus.


Pat Wagner has been a trainer and consultant for libraries since 1978. She is a frequent speaker at national library conferences and SLA, AALL, and MLA chapter meetings around the US and Canada. She is known for her practical and good-humored programs.

Webinar Fees

$5 – Members of Solo Division, SLA NY
$5 – Members of Our Co-sponsors:  DC, Georgia and Illinois Chapters and the Leadership and Management Division
$10 – SLA Members
$20 – Non-members


Register in two easy steps:

1.  Pay the webinar fee using the SLA NY website and PayPal at:
2.  Register for the webinar using the URL sent to you in your confirmation message.

*Paid registrants may access a recording of the webinar so sign up even if you can’t attend in person.

Questions?  Contact Solo Division Past Chair Tom Nielsen at: tnielsen@metro.org.

Posted in EducationComments Off on Solo Project Management: When You are the Whole Team Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 5 to 6 pm ET

Solos in Print: Published Solos Tell Their Stories

The New York Chapter of the Special Libraries Association proudly presents…

Solos in Print: Published Solos Tell Their Stories
Organized by Tom Nielsen, SLA-NY Solo Division Chair

 Date :  Wednesday, April 4, 2012 ( It may be too late)

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

 Location:  Metro    57 East 11th Street, 4th Floor

“How to Thrive as a Solo Librarian” was published in January 2012 by Scarecrow Press and edited by Carol Smallwood.  This anthology of how-to and best practice chapters includes three by local solos, a school librarian, an academic librarian and a government agency librarian.

Join us to explore their stories (including the mystery of the book slasher) and experiences as solo librarians in NYC.

Doors open at 5:30 and refreshments will be available.

Jess deCourcy-Hinds, Bard High School Early College
Lara Frater, New York City Department of Mental Health
Jonathan Frater, Metropolitan College of New York

Moderator: Tom Nielsen, METRO

Panel Bios:

Jess deCourcy Hinds is the library director of Bard High School Early College Queens, and a freelance writer. Her essays, stories and reviews have appeared in Newsweek, Ms., Reuters.com, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, School Library Journal and several literary journals. Jess holds a BA from Smith College, and an M.F.A. in creative writing at Brooklyn College, where she taught English for five years.

Lara Frater has been in the library field for 15 years and has seen every aspect of library work. She worked at the New York City Health Department, The Environmental Protection Agency and the New York Academy of Medicine where she had been part of weeding processes both minor and major at each library. She became a librarian because of a strong belief that people need access to information. Besides library science, Lara’s book Fat Chicks Rule was published in 2005 and she maintains a blog by the same name.

Jonathan Frater is the Technical Services Librarian at Metropolitan College of New York. He has been in library-related work since 2001 when he became a Technical Services Assistant at the New York Academy of Medicine. He received his MLS in 2007 from Queens College at CUNY.  He is now heading up the RFID security project at MCNY and has dived head-first into system security as well. He was recently appointed Secretary of the New York Technical Services Librarians.

Cost:   FREE to all who attend!


RSVP:  RSVP to Tom Nielsen at



SLA MN Chapter Solo Librarians Meeting – April 5th (Noon — 1 pm)

When: Thursday, April 5th (Noon – 1 pm)
Where: HGA (hosts: Elizabeth Meylor & Julie Weston) Ford Center 420 5th Street North, Suite 100 Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 55401
The topic for this meeting will be Change Management.
We will be discussing changes in our organizations, and how we have managed change, and lessons learned….

Contact Julie Eskritt for more information:



Posted in Education, ProfessionComments Off on Solos in Print: Published Solos Tell Their Stories



Photos on flickr