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Against the Grain is your key to the latest news about libraries, publishers, book jobbers, and subscription agents. Our goal is to link publishers, vendors, and librarians by reporting on the issues, literature, and people that impact the world of books and journals.

Against The Grain Journal

Charleston Library Conference 

Jun 5, 2017

Kate Ross, Charleston Conference’s Fast Pitch Competition winner

On today’s episode, Leah Hinds talks with Kate Ross about her winning project that was presented at the 2016 Charleston Conference Fast Pitch Competition. Kate is the Head of Technical Services/Acquisitions Librarian at St. John Fisher College's Lavery Library in Rochester, NY. Since Kate was responsible for Interlibrary Loan in previous positions, she seeks out opportunities to work with Interlibrary Loan practitioners and learn more about ILL tools in order to increase student and faculty access to information, whether owned by Lavery Library or borrowed from your Library! She has shared a series of projects on the intersection of Acquisitions and ILL at local, regional and national conferences such as SUNYLA, IDS Project Annual Conference, OVGTSL, and the Charleston Conference.Kate was a finalist who presented at the 2016 Charleston Conference’s Fast Pitch Competition.

A little background about the competition: In 2015, the Charleston Conference presented several well-received panels about startups, innovations and entrepreneurship. In 2016, we sought to expand on those themes by actively encouraging creative solutions in academic libraries. The resulting Fast Pitch Competition was open to all who are in the process of developing new, innovative, and implementable ideas to improve their academic libraries or related organizations. The intent of the competition is to showcase innovation in library information management and to award the most deserving examples of innovation. Modeled on venture capital funding competitions, the CHARLESTON FAST PITCH COMPETITION awarded two monetary awards ($2,500 apiece) to further support the development and implementation of compelling library innovations, as well as to provide a strong “vote of confidence” from a panel of experts and from Charleston Conference attendees. Participation in this process will help library entrepreneurs further develop their innovations and contribute to meaningful impact. Due to the success of last year’s competition, we’re happy to be able to bring it back again for the 2017 conference.

Links: Video of the 2016 Charleston Fast Pitch Competition

ATG Special Report: Summaries of the projects from the 2016 Charleston Fast Pitch winners, finalists, and runners up.

But before we get to the discussion with Kate, Katina has some Rumors she’d like to share with us as additions to her “If Rumors Were Horses” column in ATG.

Hello all! This is Katina Strauch with a Rumor or two! BTW, if you have any Rumors to contribute for the group, please send them to me!

We are hoping to finally move into the new ATG and Charleston Conference office after 9 months of commuting. Hooray! The address is 1712 Thompson Avenue, PO Box 799, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482. It’s nothing fancy but it’s home. We have always wanted to live at the beach. We are at least six plus blocks from the water which is far from the hurricane surges which we will surely get…

NEWS FLASH! Congratulations to the incredible Sharna Williams who retired from her job at the Addlestone Library of the College of Charleston on May 31! When we hired Sharna 20 years ago she was Sharna Holmes and she didn’t want to eat anything but chicken and hamburgers. Now Sharna is married to the wonderful Jerry Williams and she likes red rice, mac and cheese and oysters and all kinds of fish. (Jerry is a great fisherman in his free time.) Even though Sharna has many talents (she is a great seamstress and gardner), She will keep on working with the Charleston Conference and Against the Grain. Whew and Hooray!

With the reconstruction of the new Charleston Conference headquarters, our opening registration for the Vendor Showcase will be sent out on WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7th. Look for it because the event sells out quickly and is first come/first serve.

Charleston Conference registration will begin June 19! The Call for papers is already up and we are getting submissions so you might want to get on it!

HARRASSOWITZ, international booksellers and subscription agents, is once again offering a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Annual Charleston Conference that takes place November 6-10, 2017, in Charleston, SC. The scholarship is to be awarded to a librarian or paraprofessional who is currently working in a library and who has not yet attended a Charleston Conference.

Pursuant to the 2017 Charleston Conference theme of “What’s Past is Prologue”, applicants are asked to write an essay of no more than 1,000 words on the following topic: What does “What’s Past is Prologue?” mean to libraries and vendors? Essays should be sent to by June 30, 2017 and should be accompanied by a one-page resume. HARRASSOWITZ will notify the winner of the scholarship on July 31, 2017. There are several other scholarships. SAGE has already had its photo contest for the 2018 Charleston Conference Calendar. We also know that Springer will sponsor another Cynthia Hurd Scholarship and ABC-CLIO will again give the Charleston Conference Leadership Award in honor of Vicky Speck.

Will Cross is the guest editor of the September issue of ATG which is about legal issues in libraries. Maybe you've got something to say about how you incorporated the legal discussions we’ve had in Charleston into your own work. Maybe you've been working on legal issues for a long time and want to share your own experiences, ideas, or a cool new project. If you're interested, we've got a few spots available for short pieces (maybe 2,000 words) on legal issues in libraries and publishing. This would be in the September issue, so we'd be aiming for an early July submission. Tone is very informal, somewhere between an op-ed/blog post and a book review in an academic journal. Send suggestions to Will Cross at <>

And we are excited to report that ATG is starting a new short series of books called ATG Briefings. Matthew Ismail is the editor-in-chief and the books will be published open access by ATG, LLC, on the Michigan Publishing platform. Watch for more details soon!