July 27, 2015

What’s in the Box | Field Reports

ljx150602webFieldReport

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?”

Feedback: Letters to LJ, June 15, 2015 Issue

Sacred cows, the problem with free ebooks, is the MLIS too easy, and other letters to the editor from the June 15, 2015 issue of Library Journal

Toxic Leaders, Toxic Workers: Learning to Cope | Leading From the Library

Steven Bell

Librarians may not know a remarkable leader, but they sure can name all the toxic ones they’ve worked for. Lots of toxic employees and co-workers too. Is there any hope for a toxic-free workplace?

Stacking the Deck | Office Hours

Michael Stephens

Have you read about the “Full-Stack Employee?” In a think piece published in Medium, author Chris Messina—the creator of the hashtag, no less—offers this definition: “the full-stack employee has a powerful combination of skills that make them incredibly valuable. They are adept at navigating the rapidly evolving and shifting technological landscape. They make intuitive decisions amidst information-abundance, where sparse facts mingle loosely with data-drenched opinions.” It’s a tech-heavy take, but bear with me, as Messina broadens the definition: “Full-stack employees have an insatiable appetite for new ideas, best practices, and ways to be more productive and happy. They’re curious about the world, what makes it work, and how to make their mark on it.”

Not Liking What Users Have to Say? Listen Anyway | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

Listening to members of the user community is important—even if it’s hard to accept what they have to say. Then we need to act on what was heard.

A Moving Target | One Cool Thing

CAN’T BEAT CITY HALL The temporary library in Park City’s city hall attracts employees and visitors alike

When UTAH’s Park City Library closed for renovations for 12 to 15 months in May 2014, staff had the usual big question to answer: What do we do with the materials? In Park City, the situation was particularly challenging because there were no branches to which materials could be moved and no buildings in the city large enough to house the complete collection. Staying open during the renovation proved impossible. However, the town’s 8,500 residents—and some three million visitors, attracted by skiing and the Sundance Film Festival—still needed access.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, June 1, 2015 Issue

Representing small libraries, book kids like in schools, and Hugo Awards controversy in the letters to the editor from the June 1, 2015 issue of Library Journal

The Future of Academic Law Librarianship | Peer to Peer Review

LawLibrarians

It is no secret that legal education in America faces an uncertain future. A pronounced enrollment decline coupled with widespread negative media attention—especially regarding a lack of practical skills training in law school curriculums—has led the legal academy to consider serious reform measures. As has been predicted ad nauseam by commentators, in the near future, a number of law schools may even be forced to close. As law schools go, so go academic law libraries, and the crisis in legal education has had a profound effect on these institutions. Shrinking budgets and “questions of new missions” have beset law libraries across the nation. But for a number of interrelated reasons, this so-called crisis might be a blessing in disguise.

Still Invisible: Despite decades of advocacy, libraries are… | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

Enjoying retirement, I was watching my second old flick on TCM when Lillian Gerhardt called. She is the former editor of School Library Journal, and we worked together for a decade or more many years ago. Both of us were totally engaged, maybe obsessed, with libraries and the profession and addicted American Library Association (ALA) critics. I was happy to hear that, like me, she was still watching the association. This time she urged me to comment on “The Advocacy Continuum” by ALA executive director Keith Fiels in the May issue of American Libraries (p. 6–7).

The Heart of Service: Why libraries do “what we do” | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

As last summer waned, the library in Ferguson, MO, seemed an unlikely source for a most inspiring illustration of librarianship in action. The library was running on a shoestring budget, and the new director (and sole full-time employee) had taken over scant weeks before. But when that community was wracked by violent protest in the wake of the August 9 death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer, the library emerged as a critical asset, staying open and creating programs on the fly to respond to the turmoil. The library countered the chaos and fear with calm reassurance that the people of Ferguson were supported by a shared resource that was also a “quiet oasis”—a safe place to be, to recover their bearings, but also to learn more about what was happening and why.