Letters to the editor from the September 15, 2014 issue of Library Journal.
Most library professionals know how easy it is to get caught up in the whirlwind of daily tasks as we struggle to keep pace with demanding jobs and a rapidly changing profession. Sometimes, this can make us lose sight of why we entered librarianship in the first place—the basics that made this career mean so much to us. Those things we value most, like offering access to quality information, maintaining a diverse collection that appeals to everyone, preserving older titles for new generations, and serving the public good.
Thursday, November 20th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
During this insightful discussion between Aaron Schmidt, Principal, Influx Library User Experience and LJ columnist (The User Experience) and the co-founders/directors of DOKLAB, we will highlight a variety of novel and meaningful things that libraries around the world are doing to engage their communities. Register Now!
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
During this insightful discussion between Aaron Schmidt, Principal, Influx Library User Experience and LJ columnist (The User Experience) and Scott Young, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Montana State University, we will cover usability, web conventions, writing for the web, content strategy, and user research. You’ll take home tips and ideas that you can immediately use to improve your website.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
During this insightful discussion moderated by Aaron Schmidt, Principal, Influx Library User Experience and LJ columnist (The User Experience), library branding mavens will share the basics of branding and identity development, show examples from their successful efforts, and share practical tips that you can implement right away.
I found myself drawn into odd conversations with librarians, archivists, and other information professionals soon after I started teaching library school. Not the conversations about how terrible I am and how bad I am at what I do and how whatever I’m doing in the classroom is automatically the wrong thing—those conversations are standard, and I am as inured to that angry dismissiveness as anyone can be. No, the odd conversations I landed in over and over again went something like this:
I’m writing from Limerick, Ireland, where I am speaking at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Information Literacy satellite conference before heading to Lyon, France, for IFLA proper. The conversations and presentations here are thought provoking, focused on the constantly evolving definition and approaches for teaching information literacy. Why aren’t students good writers? What prevents them from doing their best work? Are devices to blame? Short attention spans? Rock and roll?
At California’s Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD), we have discovered that 48 percent of patrons prefer finding information themselves rather than asking staff members for help. This led us to examine our user experience of signage, particularly for computer use. We wanted to place signage in the exact place where patrons need help and ensure it was meaningful in guiding them in their independent use of the library.
We’ve all heard—and many of us have probably invoked ourselves—the admonition “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It’s a concept that has kind of a fraught history in library discourse, because it embodies a tension that exists between two conflicting aspects of library culture: on the one hand, we place a lot of value on accuracy, completeness, and quality in the work that we do; on the other hand, we are painfully aware of the limited resources we have to work with.