Char Booth believes “it’s incredibly important that libraries create cultures of play and experimentation.” She credits her own achievements to working “with exceptionally creative, collaborative colleagues” in Ohio University’s Alden Library, “an organization that encourages innovation.”
Booth’s “Skype a Librarian” innovation enables virtual text, video, and audio reference from patrons’ PCs or library kiosks, taking full advantage of freeware for cutting-edge service. This lets librarians “serve patrons where and how they naturally function,” build connections with distance/international students, and potentially personalize reference service across understaffed branches and service points.
Her other innovations include using open source Web 2.0 tools to build an interactive FAQ knowledgebase at Alden Library, helping create a Tech_Casting wiki as an American Library Association Emerging Leader, and launching a blog covering media literacy, web development, and instructional/2.0 technologies. In her words, “librarianship is the most avocational of vocations.”
Wishing all libraries would encourage innovation, Booth sees the profession’s biggest challenge as “breaking down the boundaries that hinder flexible, creative librarianship.”