April 15, 2014

Feedback on Literacy, Library Horror Stories, and More

Letters to the editor from LJ’s April 1, 2014, issue address Netflix versus net neutrality, the success of library literacy initiatives, and more on the evergreen subject of weeding, plus much more.

Behavior Data vs. Patron Privacy: Productive Discomfort | Peer to Peer Review

Dorothea Salo

I’ve finally dumped Gmail forever. Though the process took quite some time—moving mailing-list subscriptions, changing profiles on websites that knew me by my Gmail address, extracting the messages I needed to keep, and similar chores—the relief of a little more freedom from Google’s privacy-invasive data mining has been well worth the trouble for me. I want as little as possible to do with a company that allegedly thinks trawling and keeping behavior-profile data from college students’ school-mandated, school-purchased email accounts without notice or consent is in some way ethical.

Leadership Is Not Command | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

It took me decades TRULY to understand the qualities that make for great leadership. I am still surprised at how slowly I realized that the key strengths of great leaders are not command, control, or management skills. A great leader must have the ability to spot and hire excellent people; build a passionate, committed team; liberate everyone on that team; and then trust them with the autonomy and authority to make decisions, innovate, and test their inspirations and ideas in practice.

Radical Home Economics | Programs That Pop

ljx140401webProgPop1b

Radical Home Economics revives homemaking skills for adults. In this hands-on series, participants work together to make things that are meaningful in their everyday lives. RHE is a fresh and exciting take on one of the library’s oldest and most fundamental purposes. The real power behind lending books is the conviction that you can be your own expert. Maker programming shares this purpose. In a culture where everything is increasingly commoditized and prepackaged, access to this foundational library value is increasingly rare, valuable, and transformative.

Give Them What They Want | The User Experience

Aaron Schmidt

What would happen if your library’s website disappeared? You’d probably get a lot of phone calls. f I had to guess, most would be about: Finding library items, renewing library items, and library hours and locations. This thought experiment gives us some perspective about the things library websites should be focusing on—the critical tasks users are trying to accomplish. It also offers perspective on the aspects of our websites that are comparatively unimportant—everything else.

At the Center: Is Your Library Driving Engaged Civic Solutions? | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

There’s something wonderful and seemingly simple about the photograph on the cover of this issue that I don’t want you to miss: the mayor of Wichita, KS, and the director of the library—Carl Brewer and Cynthia Berner Harris, respectively—standing side by side in a group of civic leaders and key staff. This coalition is “activating” Wichita with strategic thinking that is informed through an open town hall–style forum that taps solutions from the community. If your library isn’t part of such planning, and gathering a similar group in your library would be a no-go, you have work to do.

Ebooks and the Demise of ILL | Peer to Peer Review

Wayne Biven-Tatum

Today I want to talk about one of the greatest services academic libraries offer to scholars, one that is absolutely essential for any sort of advanced scholarship, and one that is facing the biggest obstacle of its 140-or-so-year-old existence. I’m talking about interlibrary loan (ILL) and the threat it faces from ebooks.

It Can’t Hurt to Ask—or Can it? | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

What lessons can academic librarians take away from “W,” who negotiated for a tenure-track position thinking there’d be no harm in asking for more—but in fact it did a lot of harm?

The Battle over Library Spaces. Part 1: Saying Yes and Saying No | Peer to Peer Review

Rick Anderson

In academic libraries, there seems to be growing concern about the problem of space—not only a lack of it in our library buildings, though that is a problem for many of us, but also a concern that the spaces we do have are going to be (or already are) taken over by campus entities and programs that are related only tangentially, if at all, to library services. I’m convinced that this concern is valid, and that it should actually be more widespread than it currently is.

Open Access as Undergraduate Pedagogy | Backtalk

Open Access (OA) is usually associated with academic scholarship and its relationship to the “paywall” by proponents and critics alike. It is essential to consider the question of OA not only in terms of its impact on publishers and scholars, but in terms of its teaching and learning potential for students and educators.