Thursday, March 26, 2009

About Me

Contact info:

email: vforrestal{a}gmail
work email: valerie.forrestal{a}
twitter: @vforrestal

Official blurb:

Valerie Forrestal is the Web Services Librarian and an Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Her education includes an MA in Media Production from Emerson College, an MLIS from Rutgers University, and an MS in Service-Oriented Computing from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Valerie specializes in web development, social media, technology planning, and innovation in libraries and higher ed. You can find her online at,, or on Twitter @vforrestal.


Forrestal, Valerie, and Tinamarie Vella. (2018). Using Twitter to Build Communities: A Primer for Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Forrestal, Valerie. (2015). Knowledge Management for Libraries. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Forrestal, Valerie. (2013). "Zen and the Art of the Conference Proposal", Letters to a Young Librarian (ISSN 2330-1171). November 21, 2013.

Forrestal, Valerie (2013). "The In Crowd, or Fear and Loathing in Library Land", The Journal of Creative Library Practice (ISSN 2330-4227). September 18, 2013.

Arnett, Barbara, and Valerie Forrestal (2012). "Bridging the Gap from Wikipedia to Scholarly Sources: a Simple Discovery Tool", College & Undergraduate Libraries, (ISSN 1069-1316). 19 (2-4), 176-188. (Full-text available at:*

Forrestal, Valerie. (2012). "Hit the Ground Running: Some (Simple) Advice for Job-Hunters", Letters to a Young Librarian (ISSN 2330-1171). June 21, 2012.

Forrestal, Valerie. (2011). "Making Twitter Work: A Guide for the Uninitiated, the Skeptical, and the Pragmatic ", The Reference Librarian, (ISSN 0276-3877). 52 (1-2), 146-151. (Full-text available at:*

*Peer-reviewed Article


May 2016: NJLA (New Jersey Library Association) Annual Conference - Presenter/Panelist, “Beyond the CE: Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network

May 2016: NJLA Annual Conference - Presenter, “The Cats Are Herding Us: Neko Atsume and Mobile Usability

September 2014: EDUCAUSE Annual Conference - Presenter, "Building Academic Websites (in the Real World)"

September 2014: SLA NY Conference and Expo - Presenter, "Google Drive for Libraries"

April 2014: Urban Librarians' Conference - Speaker/Facilitator, "Web Design for Librarians"

April 2014: New Directions in Information Fluency - Presenter, "Beyond the Citation: Introducing students to scholarly research and writing through strategic collaboration"

December 2013: CUNY IT Conference - Presenter, "Building a Better Website with Wordpress"

October 2013: ACRL NY Chapter Meeting - Invited Speaker, "(Realistic) Website Migration Planning"

October 2013: METRO Code4LibNYC SIG - Presenter, "The Anatomy of a Crash"

June 2013: NJLA Annual Conference - Presenter, “Should you friend your supervisor on Facebook?

May 2013: Books Expo America Preconference (New York Library Association) - Invited Panelist, “Make Something New. Now.

July 2012: Library Management Institute Annual Conference - Panelist, "Digital + Libraries | Connectivity, Convergence, Confluence"

October 2011: Metro Science Librarians SIG Research Forum – Invited Speaker, “Building a Simple Library Bookmarklet”

May 2011: NJLA Annual Conference - Presenter/Panelist, "Technology Innovation Forum" and "Web + Mobile Tools for Improving Library Services"

March 2011: Library Technology Conference (Macalester College, St. Paul, MN) - Presenter, "Bridging the gap from Wikipedia to scholarly sources: a simple discovery solution"

January 2011: VALE Annual Conference - Speaker, "Bridging the gap from Wikipedia to scholarly sources"

December 2010: METRO Webinar - Presenter, "Three Tech Tools, One Objective: Improving Library Services"

January 2010: VALE (Virtual Academic Library Environment) Annual Conference - Speaker, "Teaching the New Literacy"

December 2009: Yale Handheld Librarian (Lecture Series) - Speaker, "Twitter for Libraries"

October 2009: NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Zone Conference - Speaker, "Internet Literacy and Online Networking"

July 2009: Handheld Librarian (Online Conference) - Speaker, "Twittering in Libraries"

June 2009: METRO Library 2.0 SIG - Featured Speaker, "Twitter for Libraries"

June 2009: LibraryCampNYC 2009 (UnConference) - Co-facilitator, "Social Media Marketing for libraries"

More info:
Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar Profile
MSN Academic Profile
Slideshare (my presentations)
Twitter (vforrestal)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'd like to take a moment to whine about all your whining. Thank you.

I feel like much ado has been made lately about Twitter. I shouldn't even tell you that Twitter is a micro-blogging service, and instead imply that if you don't know what it is, you live under a rock and should be ashamed of yourself. But the truth is, if you don't know or care what micro-blogging is, I would much rather you didn't know about it, because then you couldn't possibly complain about its existence.

I've been using Twitter for awhile now (not sure about how long, but long enough to have posted 328 updates...) When I first learned about it, I didn't get it either. It seemed silly to me that I would want to post/read status updates all day. So, for awhile, because I thought it was stupid, I just didn't use it. Imagine that. And then at some point I gave it a try, and believe it or not, I managed to find some value in it. I subscribed to the updates of other librarians, and they posted links to interesting things: articles, videos, websites, etc... and that was cool. Plus it created a network of people in my field who could be tapped for impromptu surveys (who's using what technology and how successful has it been?) Sure, there's some lots of "getting my morning coffee"/banal chatter too, but you learn to filter out the noise after awhile.

Recently I also started up a Twitter account for my library (, and on there I (we) can subscribe to all sorts of science, technology and engineering people and organizations, so I get fed all kinds of great sources in that area. I can also use that account to broadcast (retweet) those links as well as interesting ones I've found myself. I can also use it as a quick way to post brief communications about the library (see: stapler crisis '09) that don't warrant a blog post or website announcement.

Right. So all I'm saying is that I have found some value in the service. I'm not an evangelist for it though (as I matter of fact I don't even recommend it to people unless I think it would serve a specific purpose for them) because I realize that to a lot of people it just doesn't make any sense. And that's fine. But I feel like the haters reeeeeeally enjoy hating on this one (check out this video, which, I have to admit is kind of funny, but also pretty insulting.)

Still, web 2.0, or whatever you crazy kids are calling it these days, is all about trying new things, and if you don't like them, or see a purpose for them, you don't have to use them. I just don't quite understand the culture of tearing down things we don't understand, or don't think we need. It's so damn hipster if you ask me... Anything mainstream is evil and stupid.

Still, I find Twitter to pretty much be what you make of it. If you and your friends use it as a way to just keep track of what you're all up to, then those "mundane" updates can actually be a way to get more insight into each other's lives, and to effortlessly "keep up" with each other (and also make the whole thing look kind of stupid if you're basing your opinion on the updates of people you don't know or care about.) If you use it in a more professional context, it's actually a wonderful way of communicating amongst colleagues and peers, and a great way to tap into a potentially extremely useful collective mind. (I also thought this was another interesting take on what's so cool about Twitter, found, fittingly, via a tweet from Connie Crosby.)

(UPDATE: I just wanted to add this link to a recent ReadWriteWeb post on Twitter, that elaborates on the potential of Twitter way better than I did here...)

(UPDATE 2: Ok, and here's another good link: The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter)