In 2012, librarians at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL), KS, conceived of an ambitious program: to help their writing group create a novel and publish it. Serialized online between May and September of that year, Capital City Capers was, says public services librarian Lissa Staley, “a seat-of-the- pants project.” The Community Novel Project was such a success, Staley told LJ in a recent phone interview, we “immediately realized we wanted to do it again.” And they did—each year since, the library has produced at least one book, with the procedures becoming more streamlined even as the formats became more ambitious.
It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years.
All eyes are on the Library of Congress (LC) as the iconic institution approaches what promises to be a transformational time. When long-standing Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced his plan to retire in January 2016, bets started flying on who would be the best new leader. The job, to be filled by President Barack Obama’s appointment, with confirmation from Congress, is an exciting and challenging one.
“I am not a librarian, but I am THE librarian!” Daniel Boorstin said to me several times when he was Librarian of Congress. It seemed to amuse him, and it only slightly annoyed me. There had been some controversy over President Gerald Ford, like so many before him, appointing a distinguished elder scholar to lead the Library of Congress (LC) rather than a credentialed, experienced librarian. Of the 13 Librarians of Congress, only two were really librarians.
I’m so happy I could be twins. We now have an honest-to-goodness Library User Experience (UX) Specialist: Amy Deschenes, who came to us from Simmons College, where she was the Systems and Web Applications Librarian. Amy has only been here for a couple of months, but the buzz has already gotten around about how much she can help us gain a user’s point of view; she did some work with undergraduate and graduate students right away upon getting to campus. I’d heard a lot of good things about her, and this summer our library is transitioning to LibGuides 2.0, which means it’s time for an overhaul of my LibGuides…so I wrote and asked if I could meet with her for pointers.
“It starts with us.” I use that phrase on a slide in my talks and course lectures and whenever I get the chance to talk about librarians, libraries, and our continual adaptation to societal and technological change. It’s also closely related to my thoughts on professional development and learning in the workplace. This isn’t sweeping organizational change; this time it’s personal.
Every teen librarian knows programs that offer snacks are usually a hit and can even entice teens reluctant to join in the fun. With that in mind, we offer many teen programs that include snacks, from Chocolate Fest to Pizza Gardening. When the Student Ambassadors proposed making a solar-powered s’mores oven for an Earth Day activity, we knew it would be a hit.
As libraries work to maintain and increase their relevance, heightening awareness among nonusers is a necessity for survival and prosperity. To bring new users through its doors, Barr Memorial Library, an award-winning library serving the military community in Fort Knox, KY, leveraged the power of curiosity, posing the question, “What’s in the LibraryBox?”