October 25, 2014

Ego Non Te Absolvo: Lifelong Learning Isn’t Only for Other People | Peer to Peer Review

Dorothea Salo

I found myself drawn into odd conversations with librarians, archivists, and other information professionals soon after I started teaching library school. Not the conversations about how terrible I am and how bad I am at what I do and how whatever I’m doing in the classroom is automatically the wrong thing—those conversations are standard, and I am as inured to that angry dismissiveness as anyone can be. No, the odd conversations I landed in over and over again went something like this:

Understanding the Culture or Establishing It | Leading From the Library

Steven Bell

“Don’t expect to change anything unless you can do it within the constraints of the organization culture” is a piece of advice often given to leaders. Perhaps leaders are better off ignoring it and establishing a new culture.

Citation Fixation | Office Hours

Michael Stephens

I’m writing from Limerick, Ireland, where I am speaking at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Information Literacy satellite conference before heading to Lyon, France, for IFLA proper. The conversations and presentations here are thought provoking, focused on the constantly evolving definition and approaches for teaching information literacy. Why aren’t students good writers? What prevents them from doing their best work? Are devices to blame? Short attention spans? Rock and roll?

Creating Clear and Simple Signage | Design4Impact

ICONS Pictorial icons (in their largest view, l.) assist customers visually, communicating information at a glance and helping to bridge language barriers. Careful attention was given to the content, instructions, layout, and hierarchy of information displayed to ensure clear communication with a friendly voice. A single color scheme at all locations guarantees consistency. It had to be appropriate and visible in a variety of environments, each with its own interior color choice. The universal icon colors and design make it easy to transfer items among facilities

At California’s Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD), we have discovered that 48 percent of patrons prefer finding information themselves rather than asking staff members for help. This led us to examine our user experience of signage, particularly for computer use. We wanted to place ­signage in the exact place where patrons need help and ensure it was meaningful in guiding them in their independent use of the library.

Frenemies: The Perfect and the Good | Peer to Peer Review

Rick Anderson

We’ve all heard—and many of us have probably invoked ourselves—the admonition “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” It’s a concept that has kind of a fraught history in library discourse, because it embodies a tension that exists between two conflicting aspects of library culture: on the one hand, we place a lot of value on accuracy, completeness, and quality in the work that we do; on the other hand, we are painfully aware of the limited resources we have to work with.

Connecting Researchers to New Digital Tools | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl LaGuardia

A couple of months ago I got an email from my colleague Chris Erdmann (Data Scientist Training for Librarians) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He wanted to talk about ways librarians could help keep the scholarly community informed about new and developing technologies that could affect its work. He’s been following Thomas Crouzier’s blog, Connected Researchers, and talking with other interested, interesting folks such as Amy Brand at Digital Science. Chris and Amy thought that a discussion among a group of librarians and other stakeholders in the scholarly process could be a promising beginning for brainstorming ideas and strategies.

Keeping Library Content Secure | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

Illegally breaking into licensed library content doesn’t require sophisticated hacking skills—just a legitimate network account. Higher education recently discovered such accounts for sale on the Internet. Do we have good options for preventing thefts?

It’s What We Do: Service and sanctuary in Ferguson | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

I am usually proud to be a librarian. Last month that feeling was deeply reinforced by the work done at Ferguson Municipal Public Library, MO, and the professional creativity and focus expressed by Director Scott Bonner over weeks of duress in that community.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, September 1, 2014 Issue

Librarians’ history on LBGT topics; disrupting libraries; the perils of remote lending; and more letters to the editor from the September 1, 2014, issue of Library Journal.

Politics & Libraries: Every great librarian is a politician | Blatant Berry

In a collection of old political campaign buttons I found a pink one with the number “321.8” across it in dark blue. The discovery triggered memories of activist times in librarianship four to five decades ago. In our view then, the Dewey number 321.8 was the classification for “participatory democracy,” the system of government in which our small cadre of librarians believed. We were one of dozens of groups that formed within the new Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). We believed, as I still do, that good librarians are politically enmeshed in the larger national and international issues of war, peace, social justice, and the vital role of good government in human affairs. We even tried to convince our professional organizations publicly to support our positions and amplify our voice on these issues. Sometimes we were successful.