For nearly all 140 years of the existence of the American Library Association (ALA), its Executive Director (ED) has been a professional librarian. Today, the credential required to ensure that the ED is a librarian is the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. However, a group of ALA councilors and Executive Board members apparently wanted to change that.
“I already feel behind. I’m not an early adopter and do not want to be. Is there a place for those not drawn to the newest and shiniest tech?” read an email from an LIS student expressing concern about finding her way through the discussions and applications of emerging technologies in the field. There is a place for you, I replied, but it requires shifting perspective a bit and looking beyond technology.
On her website, Jenna Hartel talks of “a different character of LIS”—one rooted in positivity, curiosity, and proactivity. It’s what she calls “the bright side of information,” a focus on the upbeat aspect of library studies that has won Hartel, associate professor on the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto (U of T), a special spot in the hearts of her students and fellow faculty members—and the 2016 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield.
“We are all walking stories, so it’s vital that as librarians, we learn the art of listening to story…” says Irvin, an assistant professor in the library and information science program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “[We need to be] willing to share our own stories so that we best relate to patrons, communities, and stakeholders.”
Gary Shaffer, CEO of Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL), OK, since 2011 (and a 2006 LJ Mover & Shaker), will be stepping into a new role in January as director of the Master of Management in Library and Information Science (MMLIS) program at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business.
Recently, I was teaching a privacy class for librarians, and the topic turned to the privacy versus convenience trade-off—the occasional annoyances of using privacy-enhancing technologies online. An audience member laid out what she felt I was asking of the group. “You’re telling us to start selling granola when everyone else is running a candy store.”
The struggle to improve the affinity between library schools and applied librarianship has just gained a powerful ally. In June, the University of Washington’s Information School (iSchool) announced the appointment of its first Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Susan Hildreth. She is one of the most experienced and visionary librarians in our ranks, having served stints as a library director, state librarian, head of consortia, and, most notably, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).