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.
Susan H. Hildreth was appointed director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) by President Barack Obama on January 19, 2011. Her nomination had been confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent on December 22, 2010. Prior to joining IMLS, Hildreth served as Seattle city librarian, California state librarian, and San Francisco city librarian, as well as president of the Public Library Association in 2006. Under her leadership, IMLS made $857,241,000 in total grants to libraries and museums. As Hildreth’s four-year term draws to a close, she shares with LJ some of what she learned at the head of the institute and what she hopes the library community will build on in the future.
Tyler Walters, dean of university libraries at Virginia Tech, was named founding director of SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem) October 6. SHARE was established in 2013 by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo on “Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research.” SHARE’s mission, as stated in its press release, is “to help ensure the preservation of, access to, and reuse of research outputs.”
Activist librarian Zoia Markovna Horn died on July 12 at the age 96. She was famous for being the first U.S. librarian to be jailed for refusing to divulge information that violated professional principles of privacy and intellectual freedom. An activist member of the American Library Association (ALA) and a member and chair of its Intellectual Freedom Committee, Horn was jailed for 20 days for contempt after refusing to testify in the 1972 conspiracy trial of the “Harrisburg Seven.”
REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) presented the first Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award to Sandra Ríos Balderrama at the at the Third Annual Denim and Diamonds Gala, a fundraising event for the REFORMA Educational Foundation, which was held at the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Las Vegas. The award is named after one of the founding members of REFORMA, and was established to recognize excellence in librarianship, as well as substantial contributions to REFORMA and the Latino community.
Most libraries know what its’ like to struggle with finding funding. Getting a levy or tax hike passed is hard work. Living through lean times that freeze hiring and stifle collection development can be trying. But when the rug gets pulled out from under you suddenly, it can be even worse. In order to provide some assistance when eleventh hour budget cuts come knocking, EveryLibrary, the political action committee devoted to strengthening the place libraries have at the civic table, is working on a new program with just these sorts of dilemmas in mind—the Rapid Response Fund.
The 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition, held June 26 – July 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, saw some 13,019 attendees. Though this is a pretty substantial drop-off compared with the 20,237 attendees who came to Chicago in 2013, it is higher than the 12,000+ attendees who visited Annual in Anaheim, CA in 2012. Critiques of the location, which has not hosted an ALA annual conference since 1973, included the vast distances between event sites and the expensive transportation—and, of course, the heat, which topped out at 111 degrees. However, those who did attend seemed excited about the exhibit hall’s 800 company offerings, and heavy crowds surging toward the galley giveaways greeted the exhibit openings on both Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Throughout the United States and Canada, there are more than 63 ALA-accredited programs offering advanced degrees in library and information science. While the number of programs has grown over the years, the field has yet to develop any significant, rigorous measures of evaluation to assess them. Even as interest in LIS education grows, the tools for determining which programs will match a student’s goals or establishing a hierarchy of quality remain stuck in neutral.
According to some research I came across, there are few academic library positions devoted to distance learning. You wouldn’t know that by the crowd that showed up for the 16th Annual Distance Library Services Conference. Trends in higher education suggest that distance library services may be where the opportunity lies.