November 1, 2014

Feedback: Letters to LJ, November 15, 2012 Issue

More than data

We need to see library as platform as more than just data facilitation (David Weinberger, “The Library as Platform,” ow.ly/e0W6G). Librarians serve as a platform for dialog with users who often struggle to handle data well. Everything from helping them to optimize database searches to guiding them in formatting citations. We do this sort of thing every day.

—William Badke, Assoc. Libn., Trinity Western Univ., Langley, BC

Legacy librarian?

Thanks for the affirmation that we’re not all one foot in the grave (Cheryl ­LaGuardia, “The Key to Long-Term Library Sanity,” ow.ly/enobQ). I’ve been a librarian for quite a few years, and, although I’m thinking toward retirement, I know I still have lots to contribute to the profession. More often than I would like, I come up with the ideas, embrace change, and think of the future. I do anything I can to encourage, mentor, and pass on my knowledgebase, and I have to have hope.

The phrase that really gets me is legacy librarian, which is not used in a complimentary way. Apparently, if you didn’t finish library school in the last decade or so, you’re an old fogey waiting for retirement. How sad. Apparently, one has to be under a certain age to be technologically savvy—how do they think libraries got to where they are today without evaluating new technologies and embracing those that help us provide the services our patrons need? Like many librarians, I was a very early Internet adopter, long before most people I knew or worked with. And I haven’t looked back.

A recent degree doesn’t necessarily equate to a “good” librarian, nor is the opposite true. There are great librarians of all ages, including many who have recently joined the profession. There are incredible people with and without degrees working in our libraries. I’ve also worked with people who find the demands of the profession challenging and probably should be doing something else. And they can be of any age or background. Hopefully, we can learn from one another so that we can provide our patrons with the services they need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

—Julianne Ourom, Dir., PLs Branch, Community Development Div., Dept. of Community Svcs., Govt. of Yukon, Whitehorse

A curious clientele

Seriously? I don’t need to be a stress buster (Steven Bell, “Academic Librarians Are Stress Busters,” From the Bell Tower, ow.ly/eJSwZ). I need to be given the money and tools necessary to be the best damned librarian I can be in order to help people find what they need in any format in order to complete the assignment at hand.

I need administrators and faculty to be interested in what the hell I and my colleagues are trying to accomplish here. I need authors of articles in popular library literature-land to realize that many of the problems I face are not, in fact, generated within the structure of the ­library.

Most of all, I need a curious clientele.

—Larry Schwartz, Collection Development Libn., Lord Lib., Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead

For the birds

As I read Louise Schaper’s “Standing Tall on Campus,” New Landmark Libraries (LJ 7/12, p. 20–32), it was rewarding to see that new academic library structures are being built with consideration for sustainability and the environment.

By education and training, I am a reference librarian. By volunteering and by passion, I am a conservationist, environmentalist, and birder. These libraries were built with so much consideration and planning for environmental issues, but I did not see any mention that the type of glass used in these structures is the type of glass or window treatments used to prevent bird strikes.

Millions of birds are killed each year when they strike windows during flight and migration. The landscape is often reflected in windows, and the birds unknowingly fly into the glass. As discussed in the September/October 2012 issue of Connecticut Wildlife magazine, “Although bird collisions can happen at any time of year, birds are more likely to collide with windows of new buildings, particularly when the birds are completing their migration and are not familiar with their surroundings.”

There are many resources and solutions for learning about preventing bird collisions with windows. Applying window film that lets you see out the window but birds can see from the outside (www.collidescape.org), or applying decals that won’t obstruct the view but reflect ultraviolet light that is visible to birds (www.windowalert.com), although that may not be practical for such large windows and large numbers of windows. But investigating www.­abcbirds.org and www.flap.org are good starts.

Hopefully in the future, architects will add this consideration to their building plans if they haven’t already.

—Beverly Propen, Reference Libn., Orange, CT

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