April 16, 2014

Best of Both Worlds | Office Hours

An LIS student’s letter to the editor of LJ gave me pause. Krystal Taylor, studying at IUPUI (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis), detailed the move her program is making from classroom-based instruction to almost 100 percent online delivery. A big-­picture concern is evident: “What cost will this be to the library and information science field?” Her word for those completing an online MLS: ­lackluster.

Holding Us Back | Office Hours

Michael Stephens

A new report from Pew Internet and American Life, “Library Services in the Digital Age,” should be required reading for all in LIS education, especially those involved in strategic and long-range planning. For LIS educators, this is yet another call to action for reevaluating core and elective course ­content.

Essential Soft Skills | Office Hours

Are we preparing graduates for the information workplace? That’s a question I recently considered while reading Paul Fain’s article “Grading Personal Responsibility” in Inside Higher Ed (12/13/12). He describes a new initiative at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, NC, emphasizing as part of the curriculum “soft skills,” including personal responsibility, interdependence, and emotional intelligence. Are there some soft skills particularly necessary in information ­professions?

Things That Go “Bump” | Office Hours

What keeps you up at night?

I ask this question at some of my library conference presentations as a way to break the ice and get people sharing. The answers are usually in a similar vein: budgets, ebooks, and losing relevance. We might even call those answers the unholy trinity of librarian insomnia.

An Evolving LIS Core | Office Hours

What should the LIS core look like in 2012 and beyond? For sure, it will always include an overview of our history and foundations. Our core values remain, even as delivery methods and priorities shift. Beyond that, I envision core courses focused on three important areas: how people access, use, and create information; how technology impacts and extends our world; and how librarians can show leadership in these two areas to serve and better their ­communities.

Did You Miss the R-Squared Conference? It Was a Barn Burner | Office Hours

R-Squared Conference 2012-09-21 17-58-19

The Risk and Reward Conference (R2), focusing on creativity and innovation in libraries, was planned for September 2012 up in the mountains in Telluride, CO (where the local tourism board won the bid to host the conference). The initial placeholder webpage was mysterious, lacking a lot of details one usually finds on conference pages. As more details about R2 appeared in the spring, I was intrigued and decided to attend in spite of relatively high travel and boarding costs, using conference funds made available to me by the Provost’s office at San Jose State University. It was well worth it, and changed my entire perception of a conference experience.

Little Free Libraries | Office Hours


If you’re looking for an exciting, community-focused project, check out LFLs. Get your library interested in sponsoring one or more LFLs or offer programming to help neighborhoods. If you’re working in a mostly digital environment, consider stewarding your own LFL in your neighborhood. The benefits and rewards will recharge you.

Our Common Purpose | Office Hours

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (ow.ly/b6Yya) recounts how Kansas State University professor Michael Wesch “rebooted” his tech-heavy teaching approach after “a frustrated colleague approached him after one of his talks: ‘I implemented your idea, and it just didn’t work…. The students thought it was chaos.’ ” Instead, Wesch, an associate professor of cultural anthropology, now stresses, “It doesn’t matter what method you use if you do not first focus on one intangible factor: the bond between professor and student.” [...]

Professionalism Matters in Job Search | Office Hours

In a crowded field, both students and practitioners can benefit from careful consideration of what it means to be a professional in libraries in 2012. In a market where one library job may have 200 applicants, how do you set yourself apart?

Learning Everywhere | Office Hours

The annual Horizon Report is a valuable guide for LIS professors and librarians to emerging technologies and trends. The 2012 report is no exception. It identifies “key drivers of educational technology adoptions for the period 2012 through 2017.” These can enhance both LIS pedagogy and library service.