The Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN) is diving deep into library user experience (UX), and the organization’s member libraries are reaping the benefits.
A few years ago I went to my optometrist. On hearing I was a librarian, she asked me a fiction reader’s-advisory question. Of course, I’m not a public librarian, or a reference librarian either. Rather than try to explain that to my optometrist, however, I went along with her assumptions about what librarians do by recommending a recent read. It isn’t just optometrists who have narrow notions of what this field encompasses; too often our own notions are barely any broader. This worries me, not least because it doesn’t reflect the variety and opportunity I see in the information professions.
I don’t feel comfortable without a book nearby (a print book, that is). And the older I get, the more books I read at the same time; I’m usually in the midst of two or three. This is no boast, because I’ve religiously avoided reading serious literature ever since the course that required me to read Nausea and The Death of Ivan Illyich in the same week. Now I read mostly mysteries, which I could argue are, in fact, serious literature, but I don’t because then I wouldn’t want to read them anymore. I get a lot of paperbacks from Amazon, especially since I recently discovered how cheaply I can get used paperbacks there (I also get lots of used paperbacks from the Harvard Bookstore in the interest of supporting brick and mortar bookstores). Then one of my favorite mystery writers released a novella only in a Kindle version available through Amazon. I broke down, downloaded the Kindle app to my laptop, bought the novella, and read it online.
There was much excitement when the James L. Knight Foundation opened a News Challenge for Libraries last September—for good reason. Libraries were getting a highly visible shout-out from this national foundation, and library enthusiasts were being asked to share ideas in a setting that encouraged collaboration to deepen the impact of library work. The process surfaced mission-focused ingenuity across the library landscape, highlighted the smarts in our field, and should serve as motivation for leadership to find new ways to enable latent capacity in our libraries to serve our communities better.
The pros and cons of community college for all, library marketing, the need for shooter safety, and more letters to the editor form the February 15, 2015 issue of Library Journal.
Now that the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education is finished, I finally got around to reading it. I was often critical of parts of the information literacy standards, but haven’t found much to criticize about the “Framework,” although I know others have. Most of the “threshold concepts” are things I’ve been talking about with students for years, so there’s little in it that seems particularly new, except thinking of such ideas as threshold concepts. There was one thing that surprised me, though: the recognition of various forms of privilege.
Recently I attended the conference of a major learned society in the humanities. I was only there for a day, and attended only two sessions: one as a panelist and the other as an observer. Both sessions dealt with issues related to Open Access (OA), and in both of them I was deeply taken aback by the degree to which the scholars in attendance—not universally, but by an overwhelming majority—expressed frustration and even outright anger at the OA community. The word “predatory” was actually used at one point—not in reference to rapacious publishers, but to OA advocates. That was pretty shocking.
A little while ago an announcement came out through the library list that my colleague, Paul Worster, has been appointed Multimodal Learning Librarian here at Harvard. Having worked with (and learned from) Paul in his previous incarnation as Multimedia Librarian, I had some idea of what he used to do, but I was really intrigued by this new job, wondering just what it entails. So I thought I’d ask him about the position and share the interview with LJ’s readers since the job sounds cutting edge (and fascinating!), and maybe could be a good career development path for both newer and seasoned librarians.