July 2, 2015

You’re a Good Leader, But Are You a Thought Leader? | Leading from the Library

Steven Bell

The term ‘thought leader’ tends to be associated with negative perceptions. Perhaps it isn’t as bad as we have made it out to be. What exactly is it, and does our profession benefit from thought leadership? Might you be a thought leader?

Adult Learners in the Library–Are they Being Served? | Peer to Peer Review

Makiba Foster, left, and Kris Helbling, right

Like many academic librarians, after completing the marathon of the traditional school year, we often use the summer semester to reflect, revise, and plan for the upcoming fall. In the summer of 2012, during a casual conversation in which we shared stories about rewarding reference interactions, we stumbled upon an “a-ha moment,” discovering an opportunity to connect targeted library outreach with an underserved user group. During this exchange, we realized how much we both enjoy working with adult learners and how they always seem genuinely interested in gaining skills to make themselves better library users, and therefore better students. This conversation became the catalyst for an idea of a library course designed specifically for adult learners returning to the classroom.

Printing with Purpose | Field Reports

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It was back in April 2014 that we first met. The Makerbot Replicator and I, that is. I work at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library (HHHCL) in Dix Hills, NY, and we are part of the Suffolk County Library System, located on the eastern half of Long Island. Our library system has a bit of a reputation for being smart and ahead of the curve with technology, and when HHHCL heard of its out-of-the-box idea of circulating a 3-D printer among member libraries, we couldn’t wait to sign up. Our turn came last April.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, May 1, 2015 Issue

Reforming LIS, revisiting the revamped Dothan Houston County Library System, and remembering Cathie Linz in letters to the editor from May 1, 2015 issue of Library Journal

Why Internet Searches Are Not Enough | Peer to Peer Review

George Ledin

Historians are used to sleuthing. Obtaining verifiable sources is difficult; original documents may be unavailable. With computer searching methods some of the detective work has eased up, at least superficially. However search engines depend on databases that can be parsed and queried digitally. Whatever is not in these databases is unreachable except in person. Great strides have been made thanks to the Internet, and online techniques are useful tools, but their help is always limited.

The search for Rodríguez’s “Chinese Poem” is a case study in how, despite strong efforts and advanced technological approaches, searches cannot be guaranteed to succeed.

What Will We Do When Students Drop the Big Package Deal? | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

We have multiple categories of students to deal with: traditional, non-traditional, distance, first-gen. Swirlers are an emerging demographic. How will academic librarians meet their needs?

They Taught Us To Listen: Lessons from new generations of librarians | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

Recently I ENJOYED a long-postponed lunch with two of my closest and most beloved colleagues from these past few decades. My connection with Nora Rawlinson, now running the incredibly useful selection and acquisitions website EarlyWord, began in arguments over whether libraries, through their book and materials acquisitions, should “give ’em what they want”—that is, buy for popular demand—or “give ’em what they need” by trying to select and acquire those items that qualify as classics, or essential information sources. Nora and I also disputed centralized vs. distributed book selection. Seeing Nora again reminded me that debates over library book and materials selection have been with us since the beginnings of the public library movement.

Getting Back on Track After a Leadership Failure | Leading from the Library

Steven Bell

Fail often to succeed, we are told. Good advice perhaps if we are exploring new services or products. When leaders fail often, or perhaps even just once, recovery is difficult if not impossible. Leaders can learn from their failures and move on.

Less is Less | The User Experience

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Spring is HERE! Let’s celebrate this season of rebirth and renewal by thinking about making some changes in the library. Every library is burdened with a sacred cow or two. Some have an entire farm full! Laws of entropy dictate that once a library program or service starts, there’s a fair chance it will continue, even if it becomes clear at some point that it is no longer serving the purpose it once did. Sacred cows and other ineffective programs use up the valuable resource of staff time. The cost of feeding and maintaining sacred cows oftentimes doesn’t return much benefit to the ­library.

My Im/Ponderable Library Questions | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl LaGuardia

Next month I’ll have been a librarian for 37—count ‘em!—37 years, and I’ve been musing lately about how very much I’ve learned about libraries, organizations, and people in that time. That musing led me to focus on some of the questions I still ask myself after having worked in libraries for 38 years (there was that year working part-time reference while earning my MLS…).