June 18, 2018

Office Hours

Column from Michael Stephens (mstephens7@mac.com), Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA

Champion of Confidence | Office Hours

I chatted recently with New Zealand librarian Sally Pewhairangi, who shares her unique approach to encouraging library professionals on a new website called The Library Boss. Her ideas should inspire LIS students, new librarians, and seasoned professionals.

Personal, Actionable, Accessible | Office Hours

In a recent survey, I asked public library staff from all types of libraries across the United States to imagine what their perfect professional development (PD) learning experience would look like if neither money nor time were an issue.

Flash Briefing | Office Hours

How high is Mount Rainier? That question was one I remember from my reference class “scavenger hunt” assignments way back in my master’s program at Indiana University. It was also one of the first questions I asked our new Amazon Echo during the holidays as I experimented with Alexa as a virtual assistant.

I’ll Be There for You | Office Hours

Budgets are tight. For many, webinars and online conferences have been a primary professional development tool of late. Attending a keynote is as easy as sitting down at your desk and plugging in headphones. But when there is money for conference travel, how do we maximize the potential for learning and growth face to face (F2F)? What’s the value of F2F in a virtual, networked world?

Making a Name | Office Hours

For those with a newly minted LIS degree or soon to graduate, it’s never too early to start putting yourself out there. And for those already on course in your professional life, please look for ways to help our next generation of library professionals along.

Telling Stories | Office Hours

We’ve been talking about the power of a story for a long time in our field. Libraries have always been about access to the stories of the world, collected, cataloged, and placed on a shelf waiting to be discovered. Take some inspiration from these unique approaches to honoring stories of all kinds.

Librarian Superpowers | Office Hours

Remember this? Essential Skills + Mind-set² x Support = Success. How does the formula for success hold up with an engaged group of international librarians working to build a model of the 21st-century library professional? At the Next Library Conference in Aarhus, Denmark, I found out, along with my workshop coleaders Jan Holmquist, assistant library director, Guldborgsund Public Library, Denmark, and Mylee Joseph, consultant, Public Libraries and Engagement Division, State Library of New South Wales, Australia.

What’s Next | Office Hours

The following cry echoed through the Dokk1 library in Aarhus, Denmark, from participants in the Next Library 2017 conference as a morning icebreaker/creativity exercise: “Yes, we made a mistake!” Mistakes were encouraged and celebrated during the three-and-a-half-day International Festival for library folk in June, intended, the conference website notes, as a “patchwork” of colearning, cocreative, participatory, engaging, pluralistic, and interactive meetings.

Formula for Success | Office Hours

How do we “build a librarian” for 21st-century information work? It’s an ongoing discussion in libraries and LIS programs that has many sides and a range of opinion. Some argue that while library school offers the foundations, theories, and service concepts of the profession, on-the-job experience seasons the information professional for doing the work. I would argue it is a mix of all of these things and more.

Gifts of This Hour | Office Hours

What do I listen to now? More than a few folks shared this sentiment online in the days following the release of “S-Town,” a podcast hosted by Brian Reed and created by the producers of “Serial” and “This American Life.” It topped ten million–plus downloads within four days of release. I binged all seven episodes over spring break and found the series to be a moving, insightful, and well-conceived piece of audio journalism.