Many leaders have developed an elevator talk or pitch about their library. When there’s more time and opportunity there’s a place for another type of communication, the “library message.”
Every library has a sci-fi section, but not many can compete with the collection of speculative fiction that has been growing steadily at the University of Iowa (UI) in recent years. While the UI Libraries boast an impressive collection of works by notable authors in the genre, it’s not the focus of the UI’s universe-spanning sci-fi collections.
In our most recent 2015 In-Depth Interview with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Hosea Tokwe. In 2007 Tokwe, at the time a senior library assistant at Midlands State University (MSU) in Kweru, Zimbabwe, was given two boxes of books bound for the Matenda Primary School in rural Zimbabwe, donated by former students. The difficulties he encountered in simply getting the books to Matenda inspired him to singlehandedly establish a library at the school—no small task, as Zimbabwe was in the midst of ongoing political and social unrest and his first forays into the rural community were met with mistrust. But Tokwe prevailed, convincing the school to convert a classroom into its first library in 2008, and—in addition to serving as chief library assistant in MSU’s special collections department—he has continued to work with outside groups to continue to fill its shelves ever since.
Even at large libraries that have staff dedicated to digitization projects, the additional effort needed to enable researchers to extract data from these collections—such as transcribing OCR-resistant text, or adding item-level tags to large collections of images—would be an untenable chore for a library to take on alone. So, in the past half decade, libraries have taken cues from long-running projects, using crowdsourcing as a way not only to outsource work that would be impossible for staff to attempt but also to engage volunteers.
The use of video in higher education isn’t new, but the delivery method is changing. Streaming video offers access to important content and cutting-edge issues, and is easy to integrate into online courses. However, its recent popularity in the classroom—both on campus and for distance education—requires faculty, librarians, and distributors alike to learn a new set of rules. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Video Round Table hosted a session at the ALA Annual Conference to examine student and faculty engagement with streaming video, and the concerns surrounding it.
Ann Thornton was appointed as the new university librarian and vice provost of Columbia University in May, replacing university librarian emeritus James Neal upon his retirement. Thornton has a long history with prominent New York City libraries, having previously served for nearly two decades at the New York Public Library (NYPL). Since starting out at NYPL’s Science, Industry, and Business Library as its first public training coordinator in 1996, Thornton has occupied a number of senior leadership positions. Most recently she served as Andrew W. Mellon director, where she was responsible for collection development, preservation, reference and research services, and exhibitions for the system’s four research libraries and 87 branch libraries. Before coming to New York, she worked at the University of Houston Libraries as a systems librarian.
It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years.
As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.