The drumbeat of assessment has become the cadence of higher education. In libraries, as with any organization, the managerial drive for metrics is reflexive. How do we know if we’re winning? How can we prove it to the boss?
The British Library (BL) has turned down a large archive of Taliban-related material due to issues of copyright compliance and concerns on the library’s part that, by hosting the collection, it could be in violation of counter-terrorism laws. On August 28 the BL released a statement explaining that it would neither acquire nor provide access to the digital archive of materials from the Taliban Sources Project (TSP). The collection includes more than 1,000 newspapers and magazines published between 1996–2001, when the Taliban was the ruling power in Afghanistan, as well as volumes of Sharia law and edicts, military documents, maps, transcripts of radio broadcasts, poetry written by Taliban soldiers, and video and audiotapes.
In our latest 2015 In-Depth Interview with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, sponsored by SAGE, we spoke with Jason Clark, associate professor and head of library informatics and computing at Montana State University Library, Bozeman, MT. While working as an assistant at Marquette University Library in the mid-1990s, Clark recognized the potential of the emergent World Wide Web to change the ways libraries shared and accessed information. An early adopter, he began writing code prototypes for library systems, and over the past ten years has enlarged his library’s computing team from a solo gig into a busy eleven-person department.
There is a lot of wow at the new library at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, which boasts over 150,000 square feet—but the building holds a secret surprise that exemplifies the creativity of the overall project in just over 1,000 square feet. Tucked in the heart of the building on the third floor and reaching to the sky is a gem of an open-air courtyard that takes the breath away even as it must soothe a study-stressed brain.
The ePADD open-source email archiving and processing platform developed by Stanford University Libraries was awarded a $685,000 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which will fund the project for an additional three years, enabling the developers to enhance ePADD’s usability, scalability, and feature set, in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Harvard University, University of California, Irvine, and the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).
A colleague once told me that librarians get into management like penguins falling off an ice floe. While it’s not the most flattering image, it felt a little too apt during my first year as an assistant director. Moving into leadership has been the single most formative experience of my career. It’s also been one of my most difficult professional challenges, and sometimes I still relate all too well to a flailing, flightless bird dropping into icy water.
In this age of outcomes measurement, many academic librarians are focused—and rightly so—on making sure they best serve students. Yet students are not the only population of end users on an academic campus. Faculty, too, are conduits not only to students but to library users in their own right. As well, studies of faculty attitudes such as Ithaka’s often show that, even as faculty increasingly depend on library-brokered online access to expensive databases and electronic journals, the off-site availability of modern resources may leave many faculty members less aware of the crucial role of the library in their and their students’ workflow.