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.
Peer to Peer Review
Regular LJ Academic Newswire column rotation including Barbara Fister, Dorothea Salo, Wayne Bivens-Tatum, Kevin L. Smith, and Rick Anderson.
Librarians, the Gathering: Designing and Publicizing a Personal Librarian Program | Peer to Peer Review
Beginning in December 2013, librarians at Alfred University, NY, began discussing the possibility of creating a Personal Librarian Program, inspired by the work of librarians at places like Drexel University and Yale University’s Medical Library. We have always encouraged students to seek out a librarian for research assistance; now we wanted to add a human touch, providing a name and face for students encountering the intimidating task of using a college library for the first time. The librarian trading card programs of other libraries–such as Penn State and the University of Rochester–gave us the idea of creating unique cards and personas for each librarian. We decided to take the trading card idea, give it a fantasy roleplaying spin, and use these new “Magic: the Gathering”-esque cards to help connect students to their librarians and publicize the program. With this, “Librarians, the Gathering” was born.
Markers of Quality: The Role of Librarians in Everyday Life Information Literacy | Peer to Peer Review
In the information age, we are exposed to a vast number of terms, abbreviations, and acronyms too numerous to understand and learn. Some are relevant to our personal and professional lives, while others are not. The challenge is figuring out which ones are. This paper describes one individual’s experience in a new position in developing strategies to manage the overwhelming number of acronyms he was exposed to in his first year.
It has been a busy time for those of us who watch the doings of the Copyright Office. In addition to releasing a massive report on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, about which I have written here, the Copyright Office (CO) is the subject of a piece of legislation introduced as a discussion draft on June 3. The bill, if it were officially introduced and ultimately enacted, would remove the CO from the Library of Congress (LC) and establish it as an independent agency of the federal government, under the Executive Branch. Then, while we were still considering the ramifications of this idea, came the announcement on June 10 of the pending retirement of Dr. James Billington, who has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 29 years.
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.
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.
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.
So many ideas can be sparked by coincidental juxtaposition. In the past few weeks, I have been thinking about the intersections between scholarly communications and information literacy. This was largely because I was part of a panel at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference about the task force charged with implementing the 2013 White Paper on the topic. My specific task was to discuss how the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education illuminated the approach we called for in the white paper. On top of these concerns came the Blurred Lines copyright case, which was all over the media in the past few weeks, and about which I have been asked my opinion repeatedly. Can these different strands be woven into a coherent idea?