April 20, 2018

Updates and Big Kudos to Portland State University Library | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl LaGuardiaGiven a number of good news items that came across my desk recently, I thought it’d be worthwhile highlighting some of them for readers, since some follow up on past posts and people, while another describes great work by Oregon’s Portland State University Library.

Allison Gofman, the student who created the wonderful online Harvard Libraries: Books That Breathe (described in the June 19, 2014, Not Dead Yet), wrote to let me know she is starting library school at Simmons School of Library and Information Science this fall. Hurrah! She’ll be a great addition to the profession.

Kyle Courtney, copyright advisor and program manager in the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard Library, has been named one of LJ’s 2015 Movers & Shakers as a change agent (and I can testify to his considerable abilities as one; for more information see Harvard’s Copyright First Responders to the Rescue, and the Copyright and Libraries—Help! February 4, 2013, Not Dead Yet post). Kyle is a great addition to the profession.

John Palfrey, head of school at Phillips Academy (and a 2011 LJ Mover & Shaker Change Agent), recently published BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google,a book that made Barbara Hoffert’s Don’t-miss title list in her Midwinter Galley Preview of January 12, 2015. I received a prepub copy and after reading it recommend it to any and every librarian who is feeling weary, downcast, or disheartened, because Palfrey is an educator who really “gets it” about libraries. He gives me considerable hope for the future, and I’m serious in urging colleagues to read it, both for moral support and to help devise the elevator speeches with which we all need to arm ourselves in defense of the future of libraries.

Lastly, I’d like to give a big shout out to Portland State University (PSU) Library, which recently published five open textbooks authored by PSU faculty: Gender and Sexualities: An Inquiry; Spatial Thinking in Planning Practice: An Introduction to GIS; Preadvanced Japanese; Introduction to Mathematical Analysis; and Comprehensive Individualized Curriculum and Instructional Design. In their first term of use the textbooks have saved students nearly $24,000. According to the news release I received, “PSU’s first open textbooks are part of the University’s bigger push to reduce costs for students and help them be more successful through curricular innovation, community engagement and effective use of technology. A PSU task force, led by [dean of the library Marilyn] Moody, has been looking for ways to bring down the high price of books, including publishing more open textbooks written by faculty and free to students.”

It’s to be hoped more libraries will be able to do this, and I’d love to hear from readers if your library is publishing online open access books to save students money.

Read eReviews, where Cheryl LaGuardia and Bonnie Swoger look under the hood of the latest library databases and often offer free database trials

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980s, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early '90s (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at claguard@fas.harvard.edu, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.

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