March 28, 2017

The Dog Days of Summer 2016: Updates, Canvassing, and Cogitations | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl-LaGuardiaThe dog days of summer spanned a large portion of August and though the calendar has turned over to September, they seem not to be about to let up (!@#$!#$!$$!). Therefore, I’ve been staying in the air-conditioned house whenever possible, catching up with work, and skritching the dog and cats—if not to their hearts’ content, at least much closer to the amount of skritching expected of me. So here’s a potpourri column; a medley of happenings and queries:

  1. Digitizing Orphan Works: Legal Strategies to Reduce Risks for Open Access to Copyrighted Orphan Works. I wanted to be sure you all know about this report, commissioned by the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC), written by David Hansen. The Orphan Works Project is “an attempt to solve the legal complexities of the orphan works problem by identifying no-risk or low-risk ways to digitize and distribute orphan works under U.S. copyright law. The project’s goal is to help clear the way for U.S. universities, libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions to digitize their orphan works and make the digital copies open access.”
  2. Marie Kennedy and I are currently working on the 2nd edition of our book, Marketing Your Library’s Electronic Resources: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. One thing folks told us they especially liked about the first edition was the inclusion of several actual library marketing plans from different libraries. We want to add more plans to the second edition, so if your library has an e-resource marketing plan, please let us know! My email is claguard@fas.harvard.edu.
  3. This year I was so fortunate as to receive the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award from ALA/RUSA. That means I get to chair the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award Committee for the coming year, and we’re seeking nominations from you folks. Here’s a bit about the Award: “The Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award was established in 1958. Sponsored by Credo Reference, this award presents a monetary prize and a citation to an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship. This contribution may include an imaginative and constructive program in a particular library; authorship of a significant book or articles in the reference field; creative and inspirational teaching; active participation in professional associations devoted to reference services; or leadership in other noteworthy professional activities.” If you know of someone who has made a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship, please do send us a nomination for them. The nomination form is here, and if you have questions please just email them to me at claguard@fas.harvard.edu.
  4. Insomnia, or, What About Your Job Keeps You Up at Night? I’ve had a problem with summer insomnia since I was 12; the sun and nice weather make me want to be awake a lot. But over the span of my career there’ve been times I was kept up at night by happenings or situations at work. I am extraordinarily happy to say that at this point, I’m not being kept up at night by my job, other than the excitement that comes with the beginning of a new term. Things at work are good, and I think I’m about to learn a lot more with some changes that are taking place at Harvard, and learning tends to make me even happier. But the summer insomnia prompted me to ask some friends what keeps them up at night, and I got some interesting answers:
    1. One friend and colleague is haunted by the thought that he will miss acquiring some pivotal publications in his area of collecting. I assumed he was joking until a number of us received texts from him while he was on vacation, asking if we wanted him to buy titles he’d come across that he thought might be of interest. So now he’s being haunted by the specter of anyone not collecting pivotal publications. An intervention may be in order here.
    2. Another friend and colleague is plagued by bibliographic emergencies—a purchase taking too long, a vendor not responding quickly, a record that doesn’t provide sufficient information. This has not yet reached intervention level need, but we do worry.
    3. One friend had a quick, succinct answer: library politics. The politics that go on in so many areas of librarianship make her a little crazy. I tell her she’s doing well if they only make her a little
    4. Several other friends noted that “not a thing in their work lives makes them crazy.” These are mostly folks who have self-identified as having “let go” (I learned it from some of ’em, bless ’em!).
    5. One thing that interested me mightily about the answers that folks gave: nobody said change kept them up at night. In fact, a lot of folks mentioned that ongoing change kept them interested in their work.

So that’s my summer update. If anyone has surefire ways to combat the summer insomnia, I’d love to hear them. Take care, stay cool, and let go.

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980s, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early '90s (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.

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