February 1, 2015

Frenemies 2: The Noisy and the Important | Peer to Peer Review

Rick Anderson

In a recent column I discussed some of the complexities that we have to deal with when trying to figure out which tasks and processes should be performed as perfectly as possible and which ones can be done to the point of “good enough” and then left behind for more important ones.

What’s Your Personal Mission? | Leading from the Library

Steven Bell

Good leaders need to be focused and consistent. It pushes them to achieve their goals in a way that followers can anticipate and count on. Having a personal mission statement can help leaders stay true to this fundamental approach.

Getting Real About Privacy: Confidentiality, digital literacy, and beyond | Editorial

We need to reexamine how we talk about privacy. It’s hard to go a day right now without seeing a major article addressing privacy concerns—be it about personal financial data; the ability to track student progress and report it to parents, teachers, or advisors; new Facebook settings; the stalled USA Freedom Act; and so on. The alarm has been sounded, but the prevailing lack of response is still unnerving.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, November 15, 2014 Issue

We need more reviews of self-published books; a report for libraries whose local government doesn’t get it; the bittersweet feelings of retirement, and more letters to the November 15, 2014 issue of Library Journal.

The Off-Site Librarian | One Cool Thing

ON THE TOWN A security camera “captures” a young patron at play (l.); the 100-year-old building 
now stands for library service

When one of the bookmobiles at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library (FVRL), WA, wore out, spending a quarter of a million dollars to buy a new one was not an option. Yet patrons in remote, rural locations in Clark County still needed library service. The innovative solution was the Yacolt Library Express (YLE): a building that is open to the public nearly 70 hours a week, yet staff only spend about ten hours there during the same period.

Class Warfare over an Uncommon Carrier | Peer to Peer Review

Barbara Fister

The president surprised many people when he added his comments to the 4 million submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about whether and how the government should set rules that will shape the future of the Internet. What was surprising was that Obama came out with a short but quite pointed outline of what many of us feel would be exactly the right moves to take. Citizens of all political persuasions have strong feeling about the value of keeping the Internet open. How exactly to do that is what’s tricky. Because simplistic metaphors, such as asking whether Internet access is more like cable TV or like electricity, as a recent New York Times article put it, don’t really work, I thought I’d try and untangle what exactly is under debate.

MLD: Masters in Library Design, Not Science | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

How many LIS program graduates would identify as scientists, ready to conduct experiments and make new discoveries in information theory, practice, and behavior? Probably far fewer than those who get a library job where they practice design.

It’s About Time | Office Hours

Michael Stephens

“I Don’t Have The Time.” Have you said this in a meeting or a discussion with a colleague? Has this rolled off the tongue when confronted with an unexpected change, a new technology, or another initiative? Many of us are stretched to our limits. I applaud the folks I meet who have absorbed more and more duties as staffing patterns have changed. However, I bristle when I hear the “no time” response, because sometimes I think it’s an excuse.

Money Still Talks!: ALA’s endowment must support its values | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

A few weeks ago several events converged to drive home to me the realization that problems of climate change, global warming, carbon emissions, and a fouled environment, already urgent and dangerous, were accelerating so fast that it’s already too late to correct them.

Focus on Relevance: Tell politicians why libraries are vital | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

Not long after Republican Kim Wyman was elected secretary of state of Washington in 2012, she had a meeting with a legislator that set her on a new course. As they began to explore the possibility of rebooting an envisioned but later abandoned Heritage Center project, she was asked, “Are libraries necessary?” It’s a great question. Her response should be a prod to all of us to get out there and make sure our elected officials have the insight into libraries they need to help build and sustain strong funding.