www.sla.org Iowa Chapter Bulletin Vol. 5 Nov. 5, 2004
President Wilding takes helm
By Martha Wilding, SLA-Iowa President
Greeting from Cedar Rapids!
Those of you who missed our spring meeting missed a good one. We were honored by a
visit from SLA president-elect (now president), Ethel Salonen.
On Thursday, Ethel visited several area special libraries including Pioneer Hi-Bred
International, Inc., the Des Moines Art Center, and the Principal Financial Group Law and
Corporate libraries. She was impressed.
The next day featured our annual meeting at the State Library of Iowa. What a spectacu-
lar place that is! We heard from Ethel about whatʼs going on at SLA. A visit to the SLA
Web site will demonstrate many recent changes – new partnerships, new services and
a new look.
Then we heard about several inspiring marketing initiatives going on in member librar-
ies. We have some very creative members who demonstrate that librarians do not ﬁt the
Martha Wilding At the business meeting we honored the ﬁrst two Friends of the Iowa Chapter. Esther
Bierbaum is a retired faculty member from the University of Iowa School of Library and
Information Science and a longtime supporter of special libraries in Iowa. When her ef-
In this issue forts to form an SLA Iowa Chapter years ago failed, she established the Special Libraries
Roundtable of the Iowa Library Association. Although she lives in Florida now, we could
hear her cheering loud and clear when we achieved chapter status. Esther, you are truly
•Blogs, p. 2 our FRIEND and we miss you.
•Library in the limelight, Jo Pearson became the second Friend of the Iowa Chapter. Jo worked in special librar-
ies for many years before moving to the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Because of her job
p. 3 change she is no longer a chapter member, but we will long see the impact of her years
of service. She was instrumental in the formation of the chapter, the listserv, and the
•Librarian becomes growing membership drive. Thanks for your leadership, Jo. We will miss you, but hope to
see you at chapter activities if you can work them in.
missionary, p. 4
Finally, we celebrated our chapterʼs ﬁrst anniversary with a dessert and coffee reception
•New members, p. 6 at the State Law Library (another beautiful spot). Yummy. The day was a big success.
Thanks to our meeting sponsors, C. Berger Group and LexisNexis, and to our hosts at
the State Library.
•Committees, p. 8
Several members attended the SLA annual conference in Nashville this summer. Susan
Lerdal and I were not able to attend, but appreciate the chapter members who stood in
for us at meetings. I hope we hear more about your experiences at conference when we
meet next or through the newsletter, web or listserv.
And, our fall meeting is fast approaching. On Friday, Nov. 5 we will meet at the newly
renovated Iowa City Public Library. I am excited to see the new facility and to hear from
three friends from the University of Iowa library community. The program includes:
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Librarian: To blog or not to blog?
By Laura Leavitt, Iowa Chapter member
•Laura Leavitt, reference librarian
at the Marvin A. Pomerantz Busi-
This does seem to be a question ﬂoating around the halls of many a library these
ness Library, on Blogs.
days, and I must admit that the issue has intrigued me.
•Ed Shreeves, director of collec-
I am a recent graduate of library school and my initial interest in Web logs (aka
tions and content development for
“blogs”) was piqued when I had to write a paper on the topic for a Web design class.
University of Iowa Libraries.
Now that I am working as a librarian, however, my original enthusiasm has been
•David Eichmann, director of the
somewhat tempered by the experiences of other librarians as well as the realities of
University of Iowa School of Li-
our daily work.
brary and Information Science, on
What is a blog?
We will hear an update on whatʼs
A blog is a “frequently updated Web site where an author regularly posts links to inter-
happening with the Iowa Chapter and
esting articles or information available on the Net with his comments (Murali 2004).”
have a chance to network with other
members and students. Click here for
I like to think of a blog as an online diary or journal with links (although many a blogger
more information and register today.
will bemoan that it is so much more than that).
See you there!
There have been a number of librarians at the forefront of the blogging wave.
Some librarian blogs that you may already be familiar with include Jenny Levineʼs “The
Shifted Librarian” (www.theshiftedlibrarian.com) and Steven Cohenʼs “Library Stuff”
Journalists, online experts and corporations have also started blogs and some of these
have become quite popular.
COO and President of Sun Microsystems Inc. Jonathan Schwartz has a blog (http://
blogs.sun.com) with more than 35,000 readers and Charlene Li, an analyst at the
research ﬁrm Forrester Research Inc., has recently started a blog as well (http://for-
Possible uses in a library setting
Okay, so what could a blog do for you in your library or information center? Blogs
Susan Lerdal have been implemented in many libraries for different reasons. Here are just a few
Finally, I would like to express my
appreciation to everyone who served
●Inform library users of current happenings in the library or information center.
as an ofﬁcer or committee chair last
year, most especially our ﬁrst presi-
●Internal communication tool among staff members. Blogs have been used by some
dent, Susan Lerdal.
libraries in lieu of a Web site or electronic bulletin board (or email) to communicate
with each other.
Susan was an active participant in
the drive to create the Iowa Chapter.
●Project management. Use blogs instead of meetings or loads of email messages that
She helped write our ﬁrst bylaws.
She paid close attention to all the get lost in the shufﬂe. Blogs can also serve as a true chronological record of the progress
details, large and small, that came of a particular project and can preserve earlier versions of documents more efﬁciently.
with setting up a new chapter. Her
steadfast work got us started on the ●Professional development. Communities of practice have evolved around bloggers in
right foot. particular ﬁelds and blogging can be an excellent tool for networking and professional
Thank you, Susan, for your hard
work and leadership! ●Current Awareness. Blogs and Web sites that provide content feeds to aggregators
can be monitored on a regular basis and are a much more efﬁcient way of staying on
top of events and trends within an industry.
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An artist’s drawing of the proposed Cedar Rapids Courthouse, which will house the branch library of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Ap-
peals. Construction is to begin in 2007 and end in 2010. Courtesy image.
Library in the limelight:
New SLA-Iowa president’s virtual law library
By Jennifer Raghavan, SLA@iowa Writer
In the limelight this issue is new Iowa Chapter President Martha Wilding and her branch library of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Ap-
peals in Cedar Rapids.
Martha has a bachelorʼs in psychology and French from Trinity University in San Antonio, and an MLIS from the University of Texas.
Before joining the U.S. Court of Appeals, Martha worked as a special librarian for LCRA, a wholesale electric utility in Austin, Texas;
the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, and Iowa Testing Programs in Iowa City.
I talked with Martha about her experiences as a “virtual” librarian for the 8th Circuit and about plans for a new federal courthouse in
Cedar Rapids, which is scheduled to open in 2010.
What are your duties in your current position?
My current job title is branch librarian. Iʼm a solo librarian in this location, but am part of a circuit of libraries in the 8th Circuit. Our
library headquarters is in St. Louis. They do all the cataloging so I donʼt have to do that. They also do all the interlibrary loans and
maintain a large core collection. They provide reference support when I need it.
I provide reference and research services for the Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids and Sioux City). I also work on several
committees with other librarians in the circuit. Right now my top priority is redesigning our Web page. Iʼm also studying to develop my
subject specialties (jury instructions and employment discrimination). I also maintain a very small print collection.
Where are you physically located? Do you have a staff that supports you? What’s it like being a “virtual librarian”?
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●Marketing. Many corporations have begun to use blogs as a marketing tool.
My blogging experiment
As I mentioned earlier, I am intrigued by the possibilities the blog world holds. The thought of not having to know HTML or even
Dreamweaver to get on the Web is deﬁnitely an advantage. However, I think most people still consider blogging to be a novelty or
fad and are adopting a “wait and see” position for now.
Currently, the processes of publishing a blog, ﬁnding quality blogs and then reading them easily are still too complicated and time-
consuming for most people. Having said that, I still plan on forging ahead and will attempt to implement blogs in a couple of differ-
ent areas in the Pomerantz Business Library within the next few weeks.
I already read blogs as part of my current awareness and professional development efforts, but I hope to also implement a refer-
ence blog for all business library staff, as well as a current events blog for our users.
I will also continue to use it for professional development and current awareness purposes, but perhaps I will try to ﬁne-tune my
efforts in this regard. I will let you know how it goes and if my opinions change on the effectiveness of blogs in the library world.
Brier, Noah Rubin. “This Way App,” American Demographics, September 2004, pp. 16 -20.
Conhaim, Wallys W. “Wake Up to the Blogosphere” Information Today, September 2004, Vol. 21, Issue 8, pp. 39-40.
Downes, Stephen. “Educational Blogging,” Educause Review, September/October 2004, pp. 14-26.
Orr, Bill. “Blogging for Proﬁts,” ABA Banking Journal, October 2004, Vol. 96 Issue 10, p. 106.
Murali, J. “Business/Professional Blogs,” The Hindu, February 16, 2004.
Kara Pederson plans to be missionary in Brazil
By Susan Lerdal, SLA-Iowa Past President
For the last nine years, Kara was the librarian for the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in Des Moines. Now she is awaiting a visa
to travel to Brazil, to work as a missionary serving with the Evangelical Free Church of America International Mission in Rio de
Kara grew up in Des Moines and graduated from St. Olaf College in Northﬁeld, Minn., with a
bachelorʼs in history and American studies. She earned a masterʼs in library and information
science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked for 10 years as a librarian in
Michigan and Iowa.
Kara has gone on short-term ministry trips to Trinidad, Tobago and Brazil. Following her second
trip to Brazil, Kara began the process of becoming a missionary with the EFCA International
Her initial term is for three years, the ﬁrst of which will primarily be spent in Rio de Janeiro
learning Portuguese. Then she will complete a one-year internship at an established Brazilian
Free Church somewhere outside of Rio. Her third year location will be determined later.
She hopes to work on coordinating short-term trips for American churches and working with partnerships between American and
Brazilian Free Churches. She will also be working with womenʼs ministries.
Read more about Kara:
“Mission Minutes,” Crossroad Chronicles, February 2004
“Missionary Proﬁle: Kara Pedersen (Missionary to Brazil)”
Valley Church Women’s Ministry, http://www.edentityia.com/vefc/missions.htm
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My ofﬁce is located in a private ofﬁce building adjacent to the chambers of one of our appellate court judges. Because of proximity,
that judge and his staff are my best customers. In Cedar Rapids, I also support judges in two other commercial ofﬁce buildings and
several in the courthouse. So, while I guess you could say Iʼm a “virtual librarian,” I also do a lot of walking! I visit all the Cedar Rapids
chambers every week because there is no replacement for human interaction. I try to stay in contact with the folks in Sioux City via
phone and email. I also try to visit there every year.
I do not have any support staff here, but I certainly could not do my job without my colleagues in St. Louis and around the circuit.
Since I only have a small collection, I rely on the print collections of the other branches and library headquarters in addition to the
online resources described above.
I like being a solo librarian because I have freedom to set my own priorities and work independently. But I enjoy working with others
on the committee work that we do. And itʼs great to have their support when a stumper question comes along or I need some obscure
What kinds of questions do you ﬁeld for the U.S. Court of Appeals? What kinds of resources do you rely on the most for
answering these questions?
I support all the judges in the Northern District, their law clerks and other staff, probation ofﬁcers and clerks of court. Most folks are
so well versed with Westlaw and Lexis that I donʼt actually get a lot of legal reference questions. More often Iʼm looking for non-legal
materials (statistics, ready reference, quotes, Internet stuff). We get a fair amount of legislative history questions because it seems
law clerks donʼt necessarily like to do those.
We use Westlaw and Lexis in the U.S. Courts libraries. We also have many other online resources (Hein Online, OED, Current Index
to Legal Periodicals, Law Library Microform Consortium, etc.). I also use the Internet a great deal. Most of the research we do is on-
line so we are working on ways to expand in that area and make the resources we already have easier to use. We do a lot of training.
And the Web re-design will incorporate easier access to our online resources.
However, the books have not gone away. Many judges and law clerks like to use Westlaw or Lexis, but then pull the book to actu-
ally read the material. In St. Louis and in many of our branches we also have older material that is not available online. You might be
surprised how often we have to go to the book.
Share some of the plans for the new library for the Cedar Rapids courthouse--have there been any interesting problems/
ideas that have come up in the planning of the library?
Well, Iʼm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that the federal government moves very slowly. You can also probably tell from my
earlier answer that a new courthouse is badly needed in Cedar Rapids. Right now judges occupy four different buildings downtown.
The U.S. attorneys are in yet another building and the federal public defender in another. The current courthouse is just way too small
for the current needs.
The design of the new courthouse has been approved. The site has been acquired and site preparation will begin soon. The only
thing missing is construction funding! As of now, the schedule is to begin construction in 2007 and open for business in 2010. But I
would not hold my breath if I were you!
The library will be about 5,500 square feet and will be located near the judgesʼ chambers since they are our biggest customers. We
will also be available to all other court staff and to the public. In addition to the stacks, the library will include public access terminals
and casual reading areas, and a small conference/training room. Since one aspect of our mission is the preservation of court history,
we will also have a space for exhibits. I think of the library as a community center within the courthouse and envision the space being
used for events as well as research.
I realize it is a rare event in this day and age to be planning for such a large special library. I am very excited to be a part of the design
process and look forward to ironing out the speciﬁcs as opening day gets closer.
What do you like best about your job?
There are many things. Law librarianship is a new ﬁeld for me so I have many opportunities to learn. Our circuit librarian supports
professional development so Iʼve had many opportunities for training and for participation in SLA. Iʼve learned a lot about Web devel-
opment and am excited to be working on the Web re-design project. And, until the new courthouse opens, I will be working part-time.
The part-time schedule allows me more time at home with my three young children (Jake, 10, Bill, 6 and Ben, 20 months). So, I guess
thatʼs the silver lining for me as to the slow pace of the federal government.
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Chapter welcomes 3 new members
Whatʼs your educational background?
Whatʼs your educational back-
B.A., Political Science, Northwestern Uni- ground?
versity in Evanston, Ill., 1992.
M.S., Library & Information Science, the B.S., Cognitive Science, Massachu-
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, setts Institute of Technology, 1988.
2004. 1996, Ph.D., Computer Science, Uni-
Beth Allen versity of Rochester.
Whatʼs your educational back-
After a short time working as an intake co-
ordinator/caseworker in the Chicago ofﬁce Following graduation, I took a post doc
Got my bachelorʼs from Carleton Col-
of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, I began in Germany and stayed for three years
lege in 1999. Currently, Iʼm a student
working in 1993 as a federal investigator working on machine translation among
at the SLIS at UI, with anticipation of
with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportu- other things. I returned to Boston and
graduating next summer (ﬁnally!)
nity Commissionʼs Chicago District Ofﬁce. worked at the MITRE Corp. focusing
on question answering technology.
I investigated claims of employment dis-
crimination ﬁled against private (non-gov- Your title and the responsibilities of
Well, Iʼm not a professional...yet. Iʼve
ernmental) employers and enforced federal the job?
been at Pioneer since 2000, and will
civil rights laws. I worked in this position for
be celebrating my ﬁve-year anniversary
71/2 years, and spent my last few years Assistant Professor with appointments
(this month). When I started, I focused
working solely on class-action cases. in the University of Iowaʼs School of
on serials processing and some
Library and Information Science, the
cataloging. Shortly after that, I started
I contemplated law school, but after work- Linguistics Department and Computer
coordinating interlibrary loan and docu-
ing closely with attorneys on a daily basis, Science.
ment delivery. Two years ago (I think),
I ultimately decided not to pursue this as a
I moved into my current position, which
career. In my capacity as an investigator, I I teach a number of classes involving
is coordinating our online resources.
did see how information impacted the lives information science, databases, com-
of people and how having the right infor- putational linguistics, human language
Your title and job responsibilities?
mation at the right time could make a vast technology and text corpora.
difference on the choices they made with
My current title is Library Technical
respect to their job (and thus their liveli- My homepage is http://que.info-sci-
Assistant. Iʼm our web publisher and
hood). I was surprised how many individu- ence.uiowa.edu/~light/
coordinator of our proxy server and link
als were either unaware of their legal rights
resolver software. I also do a LOT of
on the job or had an inﬂated sense of what Involvement with SLA?
reference work from running alerts on a
they were entitled to at work.
weekly and biweekly basis, to answer-
I have been involved in SLA for a year
ing questions that come in for shorter-
I investigated this phenomenon (which I now. I delivered a talk at the annual
term needs. In the last year, Iʼve also
was later to learn fell under the umbrella of meeting this past summer entitled,
been involved in information science-
“information literacy”) further, and ultimately “Text Mining of Bioscience Literature.”
type projects. Iʼm kind of a jack-of-all
I enjoyed line dancing in Nashville with
other members of SLA.
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decided to go to graduate school to become a librarian/information professional. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois, I
worked as a research assistant in the Career Center and as a graduate assistant in the Commerce Library (now known as the Busi-
ness and Economics Library).
Your title and job responsibilities?
I began working as a Business Reference Librarian in the Marvin A. Pomerantz Business Library at the University of Iowa in late May
2004. My primary responsibilities include reference and instruction.
Favorite reference source?
I am not sure I can pick just one – I like Harvard Business Schoolʼs Working Knowledge e-newsletter, the Scout Report, The Chronicle
of Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few.
Involvement with SLA?
I joined SLA in August 2003 and served as the president of the UIUC Student Group during the 2003-2004 school year. I received a
scholarship to the national conference from the Business & Finance Division and had a fantastic time in Nashville, Tenn., this past
June. I hope to become more involved with the Iowa Chapter as well as the B&F Division and look forward to serving on any commit-
tee that might need assistance.
What are you reading for recreation?
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini - I am only two-thirds of the way through it, but it is quickly becoming a favorite.
Watching home improvement / interior design shows - I will watch them for hours on end….and no, it has nothing to do with the car-
When youʼre not at work, youʼre…
Since I am new to Iowa, I have been poking around the local areas to see what is available. So far, Iʼve been to Kalona, the Amana
colonies and Mt. Vernon, but I am always interested in learning of other neat places to visit. I did make it to the State Fair and hope to
someday visit Pella.
I am a yard sale/estate sale/auction fanatic and am always looking for a bargain! I also like to do crafty stuff as well as paint and do
charcoal drawing. I like sports, too – right now I am rooting for the Red Sox (I grew up in Massachusetts) and Northwesternʼs football
team (Go Cats!!).
SLA@iowa, the bulletin of the SLA Iowa Chapter, is published periodically throughout the
year in electronic format at http://www.sla.org/chapter/cio/cio.htm.
If you have a story idea, desire to submit materials or wish to receive the newsletter in
print format, please contact the editor: Dru Frykberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, 171
Hamilton Hall, Ames, Iowa, 50011, 515-294-4353.
The SLA@iowa staff includes writer Jennifer Raghavan.
The SLA@iowa logo was designed by Kristen Price, an Iowa State University senior ma-
joring in advertising at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
The next bulletin will be released in 2005.
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trades...and by this time next year, I hope to be a master (at least in a master (at least in library science...bad pun, yes, but it was kind
Involvement with SLA?
Been a member of SLA since this summer, although Iʼve attended various events for the last several years. Iʼve enjoyed meeting others
in our niche environment. As a distance student at UI, most of my classes seem to be dominated by school and academic library folks.
Itʼs nice to know that although each of our special libraries are quite different, there are similarities in an often corporate environment.
Since few of the professors that Iʼve had have much experience in special libraries, Iʼm not getting that kind of help from the school--but
Iʼve got SLA colleagues that can step in there.
Favorite reference source?
Web of Knowledge. Although there are several major ﬂaws in the database, I still think itʼs really cool to be able to trace ideas from
invention to implementation through publications. I love being able to see who is referring to whom.
What are you reading for recreation?
Doesnʼt happen nearly as often as it should, although the other night I ﬁnished “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (a
novel by Mark Haddon).” Otherwise, Iʼm reading textbooks and journal articles for school.
Ice cream. I love ice cream. Somehow, working at Baskin Robbins for six years didnʼt break me of my love for ice cream--it just made it
When youʼre not at work, youʼre…
I love movies. NetFlix is a great invention, and works with my schedule. With school and work, I donʼt have much free time…Iʼm sleep-
ing, exercising, or running errands. On the rare occasions that I ﬁnd myself with much free time, I catch up with friends and family. Iʼm
planning to learn how to really golf at some point...
SLA-Iowa Chapter Committees 2004-2005
Diversity Leadership Electronic Communications Committee Dave Martin
Martha Wilding, Chair Tom Keyser (Web Master) Business Library, UI
Cedar Rapids Branch Library, U.S. Court of Isabela Varela
Appeals, 8th Circuit The Career Center Mandy Kirchner
University of Northern Iowa State Law Library of Iowa
Shari Stelling, Archivist Discussion List Manager Public Relations Committee
State Historical Society of Iowa Library Susan Lerdal Dru Frykberg, Chair
Drake University Law Library
Tom Keyser Teresa Dahlgren
Principal Financial Group Corporate Library Membership Committee Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Newsroom
Carol Kirsch, Chair Library
Chapter Bulletin State Historical Society of Iowa
Dru Frykberg, Editor Student & Academic Relations
Greenlee School of Journalism and Com- Dave Martin Jacqueline Snider, Chair
munication, ISU Business Library, UI
Jennifer Raghavan Program Committee
University of Iowa School of Journalism Brent Chesson, Chair Vendor Relations & Fundraising
Principal Financial Group Law Library Dana Smith
Consultation Ofﬁcer Pioneer Hi-Bred International
Jacqueline Snider Ken Braun
ACT Information Resource Center Pioneer Hi-Bred Intl Library Resources
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