The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2015 Conference, held in Portland, OR from March 25–28, was by all accounts an upbeat event. Academic librarians may be thinking seriously about the future, but for a few temperate and surprisingly sunny days at the Oregon Convention Center—as well as online, for those taking advantage of the virtual conference—everyone involved seemed to be feeling positive about the present as well.
Over 650 attendees from 42 states and five countries gathered for this year’s ER&L conference, with hundreds more viewing more than 60 hours of livestreamed and archived sessions online. This year’s conference also included a new, two-day “Designing for Digital” user experience (UX) event, which ER&L plans to make a regular component of the conference going forward. As usual, the days were packed with panels and presentations on e-resources, with topics ranging from organizational strategies and working with vendors to sessions on troubleshooting and technical maintenance. Here are highlights from some of the sessions that LJ was able to attend.
ve heard the “what are they teaching in library school these days, anyway?” comments for as long as I’ve been an educator; it comes with the territory. It’s natural, and healthy, that all of us are invested in the process by which people become members of our profession. However, in the last few years, another couple of tropes have entered the fray: that there are too many students in our programs and that the number is growing, that there aren’t enough jobs for them, and that students and recent graduates feel betrayed and even lied to as a result. That has extended, in some conversations, into calls for somebody to do something about this, such as, perhaps, ALA through its accrediting functions. Taken together, these seem to indicate substantial questions or misgivings about LIS education and its infrastructure. As an educator and proud member of the profession, that’s concerning to me as well.
The W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst on March 26 hosted the grand opening of its new MakerBot Innovation Center. Part of the library’s Digital Media Lab, the Innovation Center features 50 3-D printers, several desktop 3-D scanners, and MakerBot’s proprietary Innovation Center Management Platform, which links all 50 printers together, enabling print queuing and mass production of 3-D prints. UMass Amherst is the first institution to offer such large-scale access to 3-D printing within a library setting.
Sweet Briar College, a 114-year-old women’s liberal arts school in Amherst County, VA, counts among its graduates author Elaine Dundy, class of 1943; film critic Molly Haskell, class of 1961; and U.S. ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell, class of 1989. No doubt members of the class of 2015 will go on to great things as well. But there may be no class of 2016. On March 3, interim president James F. Jones Jr. announced that the college would close after the summer session, a statement that shocked most of the Sweet Briar community.
Jessica Generoux has secured an innovative internship while she pursues her Master of Information and Library Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Generoux, previously a library assistant at the Regina Public Library’s Albert Branch, is now the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) first Aboriginal library intern. The paid internship was established as part of the U of S’s Promise and Potential integrated plan, which includes Aboriginal Engagement as a top component. Over the next three years Generoux will rotate through each of the university library’s branches, gaining experience in academic librarianship and, in turn, offering U of S staff and students a window into her culture and heritage.
Every year I do a short presentation about negotiation during the course I co-teach with my colleague Will Cross on legal issues for librarians at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science. And every year, that presentation elicits a large number of questions and exposes considerable anxiety amongst these new librarians about negotiating, first on their own behalf as they seek employment, and then as negotiation becomes a regular part of their professional lives. I also recently had a conversation with seasoned librarians about license principles and how to use them in negotiations, and detected some of the same hesitations I later saw in students.