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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
Great leaders have some talents that can’t be quantified and may be more intuitive than learned. Among them, the great ones have an ability to connect separate pieces of information to form a useful pattern. But there may be ways to get better at that.
When librarian Elke Bruton from the State Library of Oregon (pictured) and four of her colleagues attended Lead the Change! Oregon at Portland’s Central Library in April 2013, they were told they should give a report when they got back. But, she tells LJ, “We said, we don’t want to do that. Out of context, it doesn’t mean anything.” Instead, the team met to digest their own takeaways and turn them into training for their coworkers.