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The concept of surplus value clearly works well in a marketplace context, where goods and services are exchanged for money in real time, making it easy and intuitive to think in terms of value versus cost. But what relevance does it have in the library context, where services are (or seem to be) provided at no charge?
While the debate about whether college is even worth the investment lingers on, for some the discussion has shifted to questioning what it means to be college educated – or what should it mean. Will the answer be decided by college educators or politicians, and how might the outcome impact the work of academic librarians?
Thus far in 2013, the federal budget picture has been quite grim. Since March 1, the United States government has begun to adapt to the harsh reality of across-the-board budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending. This series of cuts—now commonly referred to as the sequestration—were enacted as part of the Budget Control Act [...]
Ever worry about where our profession is headed? I do—a lot—but then something happens to make me realize there is indeed a bright future for librarianship, and that library work still attracts talented, creative, and interesting people. I recently had the good fortune to meet two such individuals: Ashley and Heather Pierce. They’re sisters who both happen to work at the Harvard Law School Library (HLSL), and they’re both vibrant, motivated young women who enjoy their work immensely and are obviously committed to it.
Can we have a rational discussion about the MLS? Why is the MLS indispensable? What does it confer that could not be accumulated incrementally on the job just as well? Most important, can’t we have a fraternal, respected, and smart profession without overreliance on an expensive and unnecessarily exclusionary credential?
I was fortunate enough to see an advanced draft of The New Digital Scholar: Exploring and Enriching the Research and Writing Practices of Nextgen Students, a terrific new collection of insights into how our students approach research tasks and what we can do to improve their learning. (Reader, I blurbed it.) Now that I have a print copy in my hands, I’m reading it all over again, and I expect it will become one of those books I pull off the shelf frequently, until the pages are dog-eared and rumpled. Most of the authors are in the field of composition, though librarians and technical writers also contributed. It does a fascinating job of examining how students become information literate—and what barriers get in the way.
Last night I celebrated World Book Night (WBN) by handing out 20 copies of one of my favorite books, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens, adjacent to the subway entrance at New York City’s Union Square. Objectively speaking it didn’t take me long at all to give out my copies—my box was emptied in time for me to attend the World Book Night kickoff party across the park at Barnes & Noble, if I hadn’t needed to get home to dinner. But subjectively speaking, it seemed to take much longer, and presented a capsule case study in reasons for, and methods of, rejection.
If you are a librarian and seek a mentor, you can get one. Our profession has no dearth of formal programs, and we even create opportunities that facilitate informal relationships. So far it has worked well, but as millennials enter the library workforce it may present a new challenge for library leaders.
The Twitter thing I was going to hold off commenting on the twitter thing—largely because I believe in an age of ubiquitous tools you have every right to choose what works for you (Cheryl LaGuardia, “Stuff I Don’t Understand About Libraries Right Now,” Not Dead Yet.) But I may as well tell you what I [...]