MARAC Roanoke: Conference Navigator Program

Are you planning to attend the upcoming MARAC meeting in Roanoke on October 8-10, 2015?  Will this be the first or one of the first MARAC meetings you’ve attended?  If so, and you’d like help navigating, we’ve got an opportunity for you.  Several veteran members have volunteered to help newer members find their way around the conference.  They’re willing to meet with new members before or during the meeting to answer questions and provide advice about how to get the most out of the conference as well as how to take advantage of the numerous networking and educational opportunities a MARAC meeting affords.  If you’re interested in working with a navigator (or being a navigator), please click here to fill out the form.  Please note that we cannot guarantee that all those who fill out the form will be matched, but we’ll do our best.  If you have any questions, or experience any difficulties with the form, please contact the chair of the Membership Development Committee, Sara Borden, at  We look forward to seeing you in Roanoke!

MARAC Roanoke: Rideshare and Roomshare Spreadsheets

Attendees to the Philadelphia MARAC meeting in 2013 and the Rochester meeting in 2014 may recall the spreadsheets that were set up to help conference attendees find roommates and rideshares.  The Membership Development Committee is continuing this tradition for the upcoming Roanoke meeting taking place this October 8-10.  While we’re less than two weeks away from MARAC Roanoke, you may still be looking for a ride or a roommate.
These spreadsheets can be edited by anyone and all attendees are welcome to use them.  Once you have found a ride or a roommate, please come back and update your entry accordingly.  Both spreadsheets will be deleted on October 17, 2015, one week after the conference ends.
The spreadsheets are intended for informational use only. This is not a matching service; you need to use the information on the spreadsheets to find people with whom to share rooms and rides. Please use good judgment and common sense when reaching out to strangers. MARAC and MARAC officers are not responsible for the contents of these spreadsheets or for any actions that result from using these spreadsheets.
If you require any assistance with the spreadsheets, please contact Sara Borden, Chair of the Membership Development Committee, at
Click here for the rideshare spreadsheet
Click here for the roomshare spreadsheet

MARAC Movie Night

Everyone loves looking at old movie clips—our patrons, donors, and even archivists.  Back in the mid-1990s, when MARAC was held in Wilmington, DE three fall conferences in a row, I attended my first MARAC conference.  After all those years, I still remember one event: “Movie Night.” (Whoever organized the program, thank you!!)  MARAC members submitted short film clips from their collections that were shown during this event.  Not only was movie night entertaining, it was really interesting to see the types of film footage held at MARAC institutions.  I particularly remember watching public services programs (“Duck and Cover” and “How to Date”) to “Mr. Ed and War Bonds” and “Sonny Bono talks about Marijuana.” Subjects taken seriously long ago may be highly amusing now.  One person included a segment from an old horror movie that was so bad, it was hilarious!  Ever since, I’ve wanted to delve into my collection of video holdings to see if there was something equally entertaining I could show my MARAC colleagues for a future movie night event.   So…if you want to see movie night again, please submit something soon!  (So far there are only two submissions).  Submissions don’t have to be funny, just interesting or fun to watch.  Even if you aren’t attending the Roanoke conference, you can still submit.  So…please send me something for movie night or it will be “all alone night” for this archivist.  See you in Roanoke!
Please send your submission to Beth Harris.  Clips should be on a DVD and in Quicktime-compatable formats (i.e. .mp4, m4v or .mov).  For questions, contact Beth at  
Beth S. Harris
Wyndham Robertson Library
7950 E. Campus Dr. / P.O. Box 9000
Hollins University
Roanoke, VA 24020

Call for Members: Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion

The MARAC Steering Committee, upon the recommendation of the MARAC Chair, has formed a Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. The charge of the Task Force is below. Members interested in serving on the task force should contact Lindsey Loeper at Previous service on diversity initiatives is not a requirement for membership on this task force.

Charge: The MARAC Steering Committee seeks to encourage, enhance, and facilitate communication, education and relations among persons of various races, physical conditions, religions, national origins, citizenship, genders, ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and sexual orientation. To accomplish this goal, the Diversity Task Force has the following charge:

– Review and/or survey the efforts of other related professional organizations efforts to increase diversity
– Survey MARAC members to identify the critical issues pertaining to diversity facing the organization
– Define “diversity” as it applies to the profession, to MARAC and to our members
– Draft a position statement on diversity for the Steering Committee to consider and adopt as MARAC policy
– Recommend specific goals, objectives, and programs for increasing diversity in MARAC and in the profession as a whole

The Task Force on Diversity reports to the Steering Committee and will work closely with the MARAC Chair. The Task Force is responsible for submitting items for action, discussion and feedback as necessary from the Steering Committee. The Task Force Chair is responsible for submitting a final report to the Steering Committee in an appropriate time period.

Task Force members
Lindsey Loeper, Task Force Chair, MARAC At-Large Member
Ken Cleary, MARAC At-Large Member
Christine George, MARAC At-Large Member​

Dining in Roanoke or Big Eats in the Big Lick*

Where to eat? This is always an important question when one is visiting a new place. Fortunately, there are numerous fine choices, in various price ranges, in Roanoke. Many of these are within walking distance from the Hotel Roanoke. It has been a few years since I was in Roanoke, so I asked a friend to provide a list of his favorite restaurants. Here are his recommendations with a quick blurb:

He also said he could easily list ten more!

Roanoke Weiner Stand vs Texas Tavern, you decide. Images from

Here are a few more places that everyone should visit when in Roanoke:

  • Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea – Great coffee and delicious scones (as remember from my last visit). They also serve breakfast and lunch.
  • Roanoke Weiner Stand – A local favorite since 1916. Stop by when you visit the City Market.
  • Texas Tavern (aka The Roanoke Millionaire’s Club) – A Roanoke institutions since 1930, open 24/7 serving up hamburger, hot dogs, and chili. Apparently people still rave about it even after they move away.
  • Corned Beef and Company – Another local staple, serving up everything from steak to wood fired pizzas to corned beef!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you want more options then check out The Roanoker Menu Restaurant Guide. It is packed with information about area restaurants. Also here is a map of the places mentioned above.


*Roanoke was originally named Big Lick, due to a large outcropping of salt near the Roanoke River which drew in wildlife.

Fall Conference "Unsession" Proposals

Hi everyone,

The site where you can propose your “unsession” topic for MARAC Roanoke is now live:

Here are the rules:

Due Dates

All proposals are due Monday, September 21 at 9 AM. Brief rules for posting are available on the site.

Proposals will be turned into a poll and presented to conference attendees for a vote—you’ll get an announcement that the poll is open. Winners will be notified and announced by Friday, September 25 at 5 PM. Four proposals will be selected based on the highest vote count.


Here’s the breakdown of how the unconference sessions will be scheduled:

  • The unconference will happen during S13 and S17 on Saturday.
  • S13 and S17 will have two unconference sessions each, each lasting 40 minutes:

                           o Unsession topic 1 (See S13 in your program): 9:45-10:25

                           o Break: 10:25-10:30

                           o Unsession topic 2: 10:30-11:10

                           o Break: 11:15-11:30 (Note that this is the session changeover for the whole                                    conference)

                           o Unsession topic 3 (See S17 in your program): 11:30-12:10

                           o Break: 12:10-12:15

                           o Unsession topic 4: 12:15-12:55

                           o Mini-unconference wrap-up/early start home: 12:55-1

  • Please note that the unconference sessions won’t conflict with anything else, such as Steering or the mid-morning snack break.

This is our maiden voyage into unconference planning, so if you’ve got any questions or suggestions, please email

If you missed my initial announcement, I’ve pasted that below. See you in Roanoke!

Dear MARAC members,

You may have noticed that on Saturday of the MARAC conference this year, MARAC’s going to experiment with the meeting model by holding our first unconference—in addition to the regular, traditional sessions that will be happening concurrently. For those of you who haven’t attended an unconference, this is an opportunity to have informal congregations of meeting attendees for a topic that has been voted on by peers. (For those of you that have lots of experience with unconferences, this will feel like a modified version of an unconference.)

What does this mean? About a month before the conference, you’ll receive a link to a Google form to submit a brief proposal for an unconference topic at the MARAC meeting. From the eminently practical to the intimidatingly theoretical, all topics are fair game!

About two weeks before the conference, MARAC members will vote on proposals. Those with the highest vote counts will be added to the unconference meeting agenda.

So if you’ve got an idea you’d like to explore with your peers in real time, consider submitting an unconference topic for discussion at the upcoming MARAC meeting. What do you have to lose?

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Let’s make Roanoke a conference to remember—a time of experimentation, inquiry, and fun!