May 1, 2016

The Hygge State of Mind | Office Hours

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Scandinavian countries have introduced libraries to some wonderful things in the past few years. Nordic Noir fiction, some beautiful new buildings to gather inspiration from, and perhaps the most interesting of all: the concept of hygge. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” it loosely translates from the Danish as “coziness,” but bloggers, news reporters, and folks sharing #hygge-tagged images are quick to say it is so much more. Some might argue that it’s a feeling, a vibe, a state of mind. Others say it’s about connections, conversations, and comfort.

Email? Texts? Still Searching For the Electronic Path to Students | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

There’s never been an easy way for academic librarians to establish a direct communication channel with students. With fewer students checking email, texting is a better option.

So Much More Than Info Tech | Backtalk

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In his Wall Street Journal (WSJ) January 11 op-ed piece, “In Age of Google, Librarians Get Shelved,” public librarian Steve Barker writes, “The role for librarians and public libraries is shrinking” because of emerging information technologies. Five respondents disagreed in letters to the editor reprinted a week later by calling attention to librarians’ ability to ferret out “higher-level information” and their capacity “to readily decipher between the relevant and irrelevant information” that has been made possible by the profession’s “metamorphic shift to information science.” And American Library Association (ALA) president Sari Feldman justifiably concludes, “At a time of information overload and growing gaps between digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ the roles for dynamic and engaged librarians are growing.”

Feedback: Letters to LJ, March 1, 2016 Issue

Looking for quiet places, neutrality at work, info lit for a lifetime, and more letters to editor from the March 1, 2016 issue of Library Journal.

The Librarian as Candidate | EveryLibrarian

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At EveryLibrary, we know from nearly 50 library campaigns, as well as surveys of libraries nationwide, that the perception of librarians matters as much as the perception of the library itself in how voters act on Election Day.

A Great Place to Work: Where challenge and contribution converge | Editorial

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Innovation Catalyst Librarian, Wikipedian in Residence, Director of Knowledge Curation and Innovation. These are just three of the job titles emerging in libraries that indicate the dynamism of the field. They point to libraries as a destination for talent seeking a great place to develop a career while making a contribution. Long misunderstood in the popular psyche as a haven of employment for those who just love to read, libraries are complex service organizations with opportunities to get paid to do good work for a lifetime. As they have evolved, so have the particular jobs available, and now is an exceptionally interesting time to think of the library as the place to dedicate the bulk of one’s waking hours. Along the way, libraries are looking more and more like the innovative employer every community should have humming at its core.

CUNY Librarians in Cuba | Peer to Peer Review

Librarians in Cuban visit group

On January 15, a team of bold, innovative librarians from the City University of New York (CUNY) set out to do what many librarians in the United States have not: travel to Cuba for a week-long expedition of cultural, professional, and informational exchange. I was among those chosen for the trip. The mission was exhilarating as it was challenging.

The Wrong Umbrella: In search of a stronger model | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

I’m concerned that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has decided to disband. It isn’t just that I remember many of the top Canadian librarians I befriended and the good times I had at CLA conferences. The Canadian librarians I recently talked to were very unhappy about the dissolution of CLA (though they were too few to be a valid sample, and their views are too close to mine to help me understand what brought about this drastic action).

Watch and Learn | The User Experience

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In my last column, I shared some background about a librarywide user experience (UX) project at the Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL), NC. I focused there on communication, which, while not directly a UX topic, is essential to any ongoing, meaningful library UX work. Now I’d like to dig into some of the changes being explored.

In Praise of Jargon: This Academic Librarian Is Not So Sure | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

Do you enjoy reading the research literature of librarianship? There is no dearth of criticism about lack of quality and too much quantity. An overabundance of academese adds to the problem.