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Friday, July 13, 2012

In the aftermath of Foundations this summer

Now that the Foundations course ended, I have some time to explore library and information science and look for new books.  Two contain a series of articles examining the digital world we find ourselves in. How do we conceive of the library in a digital world? Penny Dale, Jill Beard and Matt Holland edited University Libraries and Digital Learning Environments (London: Ashgate, 2011) which prods the reader to examine the library through the eyes of a digital learner. Where do social media, e-learning, digital repositories, and digital collections fit within our hallowed walls? How do we serve the e-learner and distance student with our varied resources? Are reference interviews still effective when helping virtual students? These questions and more are tackled by the practitioners who contributed to this volume of essays.

From Lending to Learning: The Development and Extension of Public Libraries (Chandos Information Professional Series) First (1st) Edition by Ronan O'Beirne, (Chandos Information Professional Series, October 2010) takes on the changing role of public libraries and addresses the question of serving the remote patron, providing outreach to community members, and engaging diverse populations. Read about this challenge and ask yourself, how can I bring in a new group of users over the next few months?

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom were the most popular topics of the semester. Discussion was hot and heavy as you explored the difference between censorship and collection development and the need to build balanced, neutral collections. Based upon the discussion and the curiosity about why certain books are banned or contentious, I’ve changed an assignment for next time which will encourage students to tackle this topic head on. In the meantime, you might read this new compilation of articles edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries (Chicago: ALA, 2012).  This slim volume contains essays about censorship in the library instigated by librarians, parents, and organizational bodies alike. “The most important lesson we hear repeated in these essays is a call for each library to have a collection development policy and a materials consideration policy before a challenge occurs”[xix]. What’s in your collection that could be challenged? This slim volume contains examples of how librarians dealt with censorship.

Finally, several people asked for books or articles about the history of cataloging & classification. I asked a few catalogers who agreed the subject seems to be a seldom studied field. When I teach my Rare Book Librarianship course, I’m likely to come across some more articles.  I did find three studies. Martin D. Joachim edited Historical Aspects of Cataloging and Classification. (simultaneously published in the journal Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 35 no. 1 and 2 (2002) and 35 no. 3 and  4 (2003)) Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, Inc. 2003. The entire volume is available as a journal through KentLink (EBSCOhost). You’ll need your VPN to access the articles. Quite a number looked interesting, including one on the history of classification for government documents.

The second publication that looked interesting and discussed the history of cataloguing is by Mary Piggott A Topography of Cataloguing showing the most important landmarks, communications, and perilous places. London: The Library Association, 1988. I didn’t find any particular article that struck my fancy, but if you like theoretical articles, this one is for you.

The third book I found about the history of cataloging is by Donald J. Lehnus Milestones in Cataloging: Famous Catalogers and Their Writings 1835-1969. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc 1974. While this one is older, the articles focus on the theory and development of cataloging in its first 125 years. I might use the first two chapters in an advanced seminar on catalogs and cataloging, otherwise, I’d leave this one for those who are curious about the evolution of the field and terminology.

The world of books beckons. I will continue to post as I find other titles of interest. What have you learned today?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

E-Books for our Readers

Amanda Katz, commentator on NPR, hosted a talk entitled “Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?” on June 21, 2012 While this is a story about the future of e-books, it also promotes the beauty and physicality of books made from paper and cloth. This story includes great images of marginalia, bindings, and more that just don’t translate to e-books, at least not easily.

How will e-books be shared with our families, friends, and future acquaintances? Will it be possible to bequeath them to your heirs or your library? What value will these electronic books have for future researchers and readers? Katz raises excellent questions about e-books that are similar to our questions about the future of libraries as a whole! 

What will you do with all those e-books you are acquiring? And with digital audio books and digital movies for that matter? Will they last into the future? The last question drifts into domain of preservation of digital materials, well beyond this class. If you want to know about the sustainability of digital or print materials check out the two SLIS courses on the topic.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Different types of reading experiences for different types of learners

We all learn differently, it’s true. Some of us learn best when we are told, others when we are shown, some when we practice, and others, well, they need a lot of practice, often trial & error.
The same is true of reading. Some of us like to read with our eyes, others with our ears, some of us prefer the movie adaption, and some just don’t’ read much or often.

Whichever way you like to read or learn, there’s a type of reading experience out there for you.
Books in covers, hard & soft, are a pleasure to read. They stimulate the physical sense of touch while tantalizing the reader with their typefaces, page layout, and pictures or illustrations. These books fill your hand or your lap, grow heavy over time, and, if really excellent, are devoured in a long lazy afternoon.

E-books provide a similar experience to physical books if you let them. The reader has weight as it rests in your hand or lap. You can vary the typeface, the size of the print, the color, and even the number of pages. Illustrations appear if your device permits. While you can mark your place, and highlight ideas, the marginalia isn’t the same as that in a physical book, unless you “share” it.

Audio books are ear candy, at least I think so. I love reading with my ears. If the narrator is skilled, his or her voice disappears into the background and the story moves forward behind your eyes. You can get so wrapped up in the story that you miss your exit on the interstate, or, as is my usual experience, my weekly 2 ½ hour commute (each way) evaporates as I experience the adventure I’m reading. Audio books come in all flavors, from dramatized to dramatic, from single voices to many, in every genre and for every age group. If you want to experience a YA audio book, check out this summer for classic novels paired with Teen fiction.

For all year round, there are movie adaptations (pairing books and movies or TV shows together) such as “Game of Ice & Snow” “Pillars of the Earth”, even the Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter. Each movie adaptation is a chance to turn on a new reader to the joys of reading. Which was better, the book or the movie? Does it really matter?

Maybe your choice of reading material depends upon your mood. Take time to read a little bit every day. If you cannot find the energy to read with your eyes, read with your ears. Listen to a good book, a poem, a short story. Expose yourself to new ways of reading and enjoying literature. 

I try to read for pleasure for 10 minutes every morning and every evening. It's important and it keeps you in touch with what your patrons are exploring and enjoying. If you cannot read books, read book reviews, listen to NPR's book podcasts  , or audiopolis, audiobook reviews from Audiofile magazine . You'd be surprised how much fun it is to disconnect from school and explore.

How do you engage your senses when you read?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Copyright - who controls digital rights?

On Thursday (June 6, 2012), TOR publishers of Science Fiction made a bold move in the world of publishing. They are releasing books without DRM (Digital Rights Management). That’s correct. In an age of copyright protection that seems too tight, this publisher is releasing e-books that won’t inhibit loaning and copying e-books. Of course, you have to purchase the books, but after that, you can lend them to your friends Stross said “Going DRM-free changes this business perspective and makes e-books more similar to their physical counterparts.” I have to agree with his statement.

Does this change the role of lending libraries when it comes to e-books? Will TOR partner with libraries to make their titles available for unlimited loans? This is certainly a big step for the e-book industry. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Library catalogs

Since we read about the cataloging, classification, and library catalogues this week, I thought you’d enjoy these three articles. My Alma Mater, The University of Wisconsin at Madison, is finally mothballing their card catalog. “Farewell Cards” On Wisconsin (Summer2012):31-35, 62

I have very fond memories of the time I spent there looking up books and exploring topics for research papers. When you read the article, you’ll discover that their catalogue took up the entire floor of the building. It was huge and contains so much information. Can you imagine such a large catalogue? New York Public Library had a huge card catalogue as well. It also filled the entrance to the reading room. Oh, the hours I spent lost in subject headings.

Today, librarians, researchers, and our other patrons use the catalogue from home, or terminals scattered around the building. Finding great titles accidentally is more difficult. It’s a different type of learning and exploring because you have to follow subject headings or browse the shelf. American Libraries e-extra for June contains an article that examines how cataloging itself has changed. “Cataloging Then, Now, & Tomorrow” American Libraries (May/June 2012): 52-54 .

It may surprise you to discover that not all libraries and librarians love classification systems. Some think it’s time to get rid of them. Here’s an article supplied by one of your fellow students Oder, Norman. “Rangeview Library District, CO, First System To Fully Drop Dewey.” Library Journal (June 5, 2009): . A group of libraries decided to drop DDC and create use a simplified subject heading system.

I find this fascinating, especially since I teach about genealogy & local history collections, which often arrange their materials geographically and then by topic. After all, what good is a library where all the call numbers are the same? I’m a strong advocate for classification schema, subject headings, and fixed or controlled vocabulary. They make our jobs easier and allow us to group like topics and things together. Natural language, tags, and key word searching is great. Natural language is how search engines like Google use. For me, personally, there’s a little too much fuzziness to searching when you don’t know someone else’s terminology.

What do you think about the usability of catalogues? Do you think it is time to
stop using the Dewey Decimal Classification System or Library of Congress Classification schema? 

(For earlier comments about catalogs, see late Feb, early March 2012.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The influence of books

Books, stories, poems, myths, plays, lectures, TV, and the other forms of entertainment and edification influence our careers, our decisions, and even our perspectives on life. Some amuse us; others teach us about life, morals, and ethics; and still others help us understand how to do our jobs well. Neil Postman writes in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” about the influence of television and its dominance over reading. Written in 1985, he did not and could not include the influence the internet and digital technology has had upon our lives. Nevertheless, books in their many formats and manifestations continue to influence individuals and are essential for the survival of libraries

At the 12th annual National Book Festival on Thursday June 21st, the Librarian of Congress James Billington just announced a new celebration of the book entitled “Books That Shaped America”
The Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.” The initial books in the exhibition are displayed below.
“This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

A Washington Post editorial discusses the various books and even asks why academic ‘classics’ don’t make the list  In addition, the Washington Post created a slide show of the title pages from 23 of the books in the Library of Congress exhibition displaying unusual title pages, frontispieces, and binding

Watch the short video, read the list of books, and add your own influential books to their list.
What’s the book that shaped your life?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Promoting Reading and Libraries

As I read through Parade Magazine this weekend, I came across Nathan Fillion’s interview about books, print and digital He says he hooked and has been since he was a kid, reading everywhere and constantly.  What’s better than an actor who plays a writer who promotes books in both his persona.

When Nathan Fillion said he reads books everywhere, it reminded me of life after college when I lived in NYC, well, Brooklyn then Queens, and read all the time. The subway was the perfect place to read, to zone out with all the white noise, and catch up on the classics or a trashy novel. Mostly I remember studying for classes in library science and in history. These days I read in the car, with my ears of course, and savor every minute of my road time. Each new audio book is an adventure.

Librarians, archivists, and information scientists promote reading and listening by example. If we read, so will others. That’s what the READ posters from ALA are all about. Get caught reading, get caught listening, or fiddling with your MP3 player. Start a reading group, chat about your favorite author, and learn something new.

How does this blog entry tie into the readings this week? Let me ask you “How many people ask you for a reading suggestion?” They could go to the book reviews, AMAZON, Barnes & Noble, or the library website. Most people ask their friends first, just as Weigand’s mother asked her friends for car suggestions. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether your book and movie suggestions come from friends or the library, but that people immerse themselves in reading and expand their knowledge.

What are you reading today?

Monday, June 18, 2012

libraries and their websites

Ah library websites. OCLC brings to the fore the notion that library websites are not being used by their patrons as often as search engines are used. [Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community: A Report to the OCLC Membership (2010) this really an issue?

Libraries create  websites and expect their users to stop there first. In reality, library websites are portals to resources and databases, they are not search engines and aren't even conceived as such. It's no wonder that our users come to us last, if ever.Library websites provide access to the catalog, to reading lists, to e-books and downloadable audiobooks. Our websites provided access to fee-based databases and resources like Academic Search Complete or Early English Books Online (EEBO), dictionaries, and reference books. They even provide links to resources we think are important, useful, or helpful to our patrons such as IRS tax forms, E-government sites, genealogy sites.

Should we change how we perceive of our sites? I don't think so, because they serve our mission, which is to help people find what they seek. People seek articles, books, and data through libraries and our websites provide access to just what our users seek. 

It's not our mission to organize the web, but to make it accessible.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Learning every day

That’s my new mantra. What did I learn today? How will I learn today? Did I take the time to do something new? To learn something?

In our lives so full of information overload, sometimes information flows back out, or bounces out of our brains faster than it can be absorbed. Only when we disconnect from everything that is competing for our attention can we begin to absorb what we are learning. While you are reading the articles or listening to the podcasts, try not to check your e-mail, talk on the phone, watch TV, or even walk out of the room. Take some notes. Think about what the author is doing or trying to teach you. Take frequent breaks so what you are learning starts to stick. 

Here's some other tricks. Try to explain the concept to your spouse, child, pet, or even stuffed animal. Think three topics, subject headings, or 'tags' for each article and podcast. Draw a diagram connecting the articles or concepts to one another and then to the concepts you learned about in earlier sessions or classes. How does the new information fit into what I already know about the field?

If you don't know what a word means, what a concept encompasses, or who a person is, look it up. Dictionaries and encyclopaedia are the basic tools of librarians. What other reference tools do you like to use? How about something with pictures in it?

When in doubt, look it up? Get in the habit of doing just that, so when a patron asks about something you don't know, you look it up, paraphrase the idea, and confirm that you understand before proceeding with the question.

The drive to learn something new every day will keep librarianship fresh for you. Consider the types of things you can learn and expand your horizons.

What will you learn today?

Friday, June 15, 2012

When the book is controversial

Every once in a while a controversial book comes along. Sometimes it’s the subject matter; other times the writing that’s controversial. The controversial book for libraries right now is “Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy." I’m certain you’ve heard of it. You may have read it. But does it belong in the library?
Great question. Librarians make the decision to purchase or not based on reviews, collection development policies, community interests, and other factors. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is controversial because of its erotic subject matter and use of erotic language. “Wait” you say, “there are plenty of Romance books that are pretty erotic and use pretty steamy language. There must be something else going on in the book to make it controversial.” According to the article in @ Your Library, there’s more to this story. Take time to read the article, what the short news report, and some book reviews and you decide.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is not the only controversial book. “The Dirty Cowboy" by Amy Timberlake  is also in the news. This is a children’s story about a cowboy in need of a bath. The cowboy’s dog steals his clothes while he is bathing by a stream. There are lots of cute pictures in this children’s book, and a little nudity. Would you ban this book? PA School District Bans 'The Dirty Cowboy' for Partial Nudity School Library Journal May 24, 2012

There’s no right or wrong answer. Your decision as librarian or library director depends upon many factors. Remember, the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom is there to help you respond to requests to remove books from the library.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Information – Trying to explain Buckland’s theory

For session 4

As I mentioned in my video podcast, many types of objects can be considered texts. Let’s take photographs because they are the easiest to explain.
A photograph as document or text is a practical example of what Buckland is discussing. While I’ve included some links in the syllabus to photographs, here’s a new example. F&P Daguerreotype Panorama of Cincinnati Shoreline in 1848 contains lots of information.

We can use this photograph to understand the development of the city as a port, as a trade. Historians use the photograph to study the development of streets, the layout of the city, the types of businesses, even clothing and transportation. Transportation historians can study the boats, wagons, and buggies. If you have enough magnification, you can read the names of businesses on buildings and signs.

In the background you see the city and the rural areas or farms. Even the streets are visible. The longer you study the photograph, the more information it will reveal. What do you think the photograph tells you? What would a cultural historian find? What about an anthropologist or urban historian?

What about the photograph itself? It is a daguerreotype, one of the oldest and most durable types of photograph of the nineteenth century. Most daguerreotypes are of people; this one is of a city. Imagine how far away the photographer had to stand to capture the entire cityscape. He must have stood in Kentucky!

The same principles of object as text apply to sculpture, buildings, ceramic pots, and textiles. How will you apply Buckland’s theory to these objects?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Readings – too much information

Because this is an intensive course taught over five weeks, there’s almost too much to read. Here's some advice for handling the readings and podcasts. Listen to my video podcasts first. They are all short and will outline the major points of the readings. They should bring the subject for the session together. Then attack the readings and other podcasts. And yes, some are deadly long. You need to read actively, which means Read the first and last paragraphs carefully. Take a few notes. Then read or skim the rest and make note of interesting facts or ideas. Then review the intro and conclusion. If the author wrote well, everything is in those two or three paragraphs. Try not to read too slowly, where the words echo in your head. That’s called passive reading and doesn’t work as well when you are trying to actively learn.

All your notes for each reading should fit on two sides of an index card. One side for ideas, the other for topics. no more. The cards will serve as prompts for the discussion threads. Of course, you can take notes on paper, one reading to a page.

Taking notes on the article, highlighting the text, or taking notes into a computer is not the same as actually writing up notes by hand. You’ll find you retain more if you write it out.

The older you are, the harder it is to cram and memorize. You just do not retain information the same way as when you were 20. Take the time to learn the information. You’d be surprise how refreshing it is to take a break every hour, even if all you do is stretch and walk around the room.

As time goes on, you'll see themes in your notes and in your reflective journal.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Books - or the words between the covers

There are many cute videos and books that promote the book itself. Thanks to one of my students for sharing this cute video. YouTube Video “It’s a Book” both the preview

Take the time to listen to the author who talks about his book and the idea of engaging young reading in the printed page.

Friday, June 8, 2012

So you want to be a librarian

It is so rewarding to be a librarian, archivist, and information scientist. Don’t misunderstand. The profession takes a lot of hard work, a drive to learn and understand, and most of all, the ability to communicate with others. You have to learn how to teach at a moment’s notice, to show others how to do something on the computer, to find a book, an article, or a government form. While being a librarian or information professional is very rewarding, most days I would leave the reference desk, and go home numb from so much thinking and so much interaction with others, with strangers. My brain needed to shut down and then restart. The mile walk home always helped to re-energize me. (That was before iPods.)

The hardest part of working as a librarian was all the interaction. I'm actually pretty shy myself and can never figure out what to say in social situations. The reference desk requires that you talk to people. You have to find a way to get over the shyness, to connect for a few moments and help that person. It takes courage and practice. Practice with your pets, with your mirror, with your friends. Help them find things. Explain things to others. After a while, it becomes natural to put on that 'pseudo extrovert' persona in public.

Organizations like Toastmasters  help you speak to others and give presentations. Otherwise, you have to find the courage inside to do it yourself. Underneath the surface, many librarians and archivists want to commune with books, information, and computers. Find a way to break out of the mold at the library. Remember there’s always a book waiting for you at home. Take time to relax, refresh, and re-energize every day, at lunch, at break time. That’s the time to turn inward and savor the ‘me’ time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What's your librarian personality type?

What's your personality? Are you quick to make judgements and decisions, or do you take your time? Are you an introvert or an extravert? Check out the books below and let me know who you think you are?

There are two fairly new books that might interest you. The first is Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.  
The two basic themes of his book are how people think intuitively and how they think deeply on specific subjects, or any subject for that matter. He is particularly interested in how people make decisions and derive conclusions for visual and written evidence. Take a look at the book, or even at excerpts and reviews, to see what you think. Does his argument make sense? In a world where students and individuals tend to skim articles and books, does deep thinking exist?

The second title that I found fascinating is Quiet by Susan Cain who examines the role of introverts in today’s mostly extroverted society. When I read the introduction, I realized that I’m a pseudo-extravert. I pretend to be an extravert when I’d rather disappear into a book than socialize with strangers. Yet, I force myself to do the latter and, after a fashion, do just fine talking to people. Cain looks at defense mechanisms and learned behaviors of introverts and how they cope with the need to be extroverted and gregarious. Where do you place yourself on the scale of introvert / extravert? As a librarian and information scientist, and archivist, you must learn to interact with others, particularly with strangers. How will you do this if you natural inclination is to be shy and retiring?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Initial thoughts on teaching Foundations

As I begin teaching Foundations of Library and Information Science this semester, I want to step back and think about why I’m teaching this course. After all, I teach many electives that require specialized knowledge. Why teach the introductory course? This foundational course makes me consider the various aspects of the field, what has changed over time, and what stays the same. At the same time, I must consider the field into its cultural perspective, in a social, economic, and political context, and most of all, how the practice of librarianship and information science is evolving. While this is not an easy task, it is enjoyable and forces me to think about libraries and other cultural institutions as a whole, as an integral part of society and our civilization.

You will read in this first week that Dr. Rubin believes the core roles of libraries as Education, Recreation & Information. What do you think? Are there other roles for libraries and information centers, for archives, historical societies, and museums? How will cultural institutions evolve over the next 10 or 20 years? Can you see that far into the future? How will this profession be affected by the internet, social networking, and computers in general? What role with e-books and the digital revolution play in and with cultural institutions? There is much food for thought in the past, present, and future of this profession. Which aspects of the profession will keep you up at night?

Another question to consider is your place within the world of librarianship, information science, and the fields of knowledge workers as a whole. I see my role as one of disseminating information and knowledge, whether I locate information for a client, compile historical data for a project, identify individuals or materials to answer a legal question, or try to explain a concept to a library science student. It is a basic tenet of librarianship that we disseminate information to those who seek or ask. Does this role hold true today?

Here’s a new video that is making the rounds. New Amazon Kindle Commercial Parody (A Normal Book) Discusses the virtues of the physical book using the same vocabulary as advertisements for the Kindle or other e-book reading devices. Do you think that this video helps or defeats the notion that “books are disappearing”?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Librarians and Bibliographers in the news

While we all take advantage of a break between spring and summer semesters, it's always a good time to read professional literature. I usually read some serious materials searching for engaging articles for students and colleagues alike.  Today the Huntington Library posted an article about George Watson Cole, one of the great bibliographers on the early twentieth century. Cole's biographer, Donald Dickinson, wrote about his prolific work cataloging and describing the Huntington's ever-growing collection. (Dickinson, Donald C. George Watson Cole, 1850-1939. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990.)  At the end of the Huntington's article, there's a link to a piece on 12 Librarians who saved LA history.

Las Angelenas, “12 Librarians Who Made or Saved Los Angeles History” KCET Departures’ series on the “Land of Sunshine.” (April 11, 2012) 


Another well-known librarian on KCET's list is Adelaide Hasse, who not only classified LA Government documents, but made her career as a librarian at the Government Printing Office working with federal government documents. (Beck, Clare. The New Woman as Librarian: The Career of Adelaide Hasse. Meuthen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 2006.)


All around us are librarians, archivists, museum curators, historians, and information scientists working behind the scenes to keep our history alive.





Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Into the future

I wrapped up all the grading today and read lots of discussion posts, news posts, and more. What an amazing experience to see how you all learned so much this semester about libraries and information. 

I'll be looking through the rest of your reflective journals this week and making some additional comments. You'll want to check back on BB Learn next week so see what I've written.  

Mostly I want to say thanks for being such an amazing class, challenging me to make library science interesting and relevant.  There's something special about information and books and learning that titillates my curiosity and makes me want to know more about the world around us, past, present, and future. 
Challenge yourselves to learn about information systems, books, technology, access points and all the other foreign and intriguing subjects that make libraries, archives, and museums the repository of the past and the present.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Other Reading and Loose Ends

The course ends today so you probably have time on your hands.


If you are looking for something to read or more to learn about our cultural institutions, Gorman is a great librarian to read. He's been influential within librarianship. Since he's been around for a while, it's great for me to see you all connecting with what he says about technology and the role of librarians. Michael Gorman, Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century (Chicago: ALA, 2000).


Some other books you might encounter along the way are Marilyn Johnson’s This Book is Overdue! :How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (NY: Harper, 2010). It was reviewed on NPR  March 5, 2010 “How Librarians Can Save The World”


Nancy Pearl, Book Lust: recommended reading for every mood, moment, and reason (Berkeley, CA: Sasquatch Books ; Distributed by Publishers Group West,2003) provides a wonderful list of books to explore when you need that next great read.


No Shelf Required is a blog moderated by Sue Polanka, Head of Reference/Instruction, Wright State University Libraries and Editor of ALA Editions., The books No Shelf Required: Ebooks in Libraries, (Chicago: ALA, 2010) and No Shelf Required 2 (Chicago: ALA, 2012) discussions of new technologies, libraries, publishing, and everything in between?


Then check out Dquarium, a collection of audio and video podcasts hosted by Kayhan B., Erin Anderson and Doug Mirams. Bibliotech podcasts


And for an amazing look at corporate libraries in the 1950s was referenced in Tyckoson's talk.  “Desk Set” staring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Classic about computers replacing librarians, or do they?


Digital Challenges For U.S. Public Libraries (June 21, 2010) discussing the 2009-2010 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation study of libraries for ALA.  

Enjoy these selections, and look for other posts as I continue to explore the world of library and information science after the semester ends.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Microfilm & "copies on demand"

If you were fascinated by microfilm, you should take a look at Eugene B. Power’s Edition of one : the autobiography of Eugene B. Power founder of University Microfilms (Ann Arbor, MI : University Microfilms International, 1990). In his autobiography, he recounts not only the history of microfilm, but the idea of ‘copies on demand’, printing out a copy of a book, dissertation, or other type of publication when the patron asked for it.  What I find most fascinating about Power’s idea of ‘copies on demand’ is that publishing companies have adopted that model and it is actively mimicked today. Just look at Google Books on demand, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others who offer to print out a book for you even if it is not currently in print. Streaming video and audio follows the same basic principle, as do digital downloads of e-books and e-audiobooks. Eugene Power’s 1930s idea is still alive and well in this century and into the foreseeable future.


I'm a big fan of microfilm and microfiche as a preservation tool and as a method of accessing older materials. There's a lot of microfilm in our cultural institutions. While microfilm has been displaced by digital resources, there are still many titles that survive only in this film based format. If you have not used microfilm, check it out. Every librarian and archivist should know how to use the machines and to navigate this medium. I'll leave my ruminations about microfilm here, because I have more to say to my preservation students this summer about the topic.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Libraries as Place within our Communities


Today is the ides of March and I am thinking of my college days when I read Julius Caesar and the other noble Romans. The library at my alma mater has a huge collection of materials where I felt welcome to study and explore the world of books.


The place of libraries in society is ever changing. As I study the history of libraries throughout this Foundations course, I see the building and organization evolve from a place where people shared ideas and philosophies, to one for self-education, to a social place. Libraries are no longer those quiet havens for the thinker but the noisy hub for joint projects and group learning. Evolution occurs whether we want it to or not. But if we don't embrace the change, we get left behind.


At the same time, there are many students who want quiet places to study. Every time I enter the elevator at the library, I see students seeking the upper floors where there are still study carrels and quiet nooks where they can concentrate or work uninterrupted. Good for them. I often wonder how students can study and be productive around all the noise. Then again, I need quiet to read and concentrate on what I am trying to absorb. When I was a student, I had my secret places where I studied in the library. They were tucked into forgotten corners of the building. I could work there for hours without interruption. When I wanted to study in a social environment, there was a huge room where I could go, find a snack (the only place you could eat in the library), and be amidst my fellow students.


I’m reading the new book by Susan Cain Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking (NY: Crown Publishers, 2012). The author is fascinated by introverts and extroverts. While reading her introduction, I wonder if study habit (quiet place vs. study commons) is connected with this personality type. This book is an interesting study of people who prefer quiet over noisy social and work environments, who would rather read a book than go to a party. Since this personality trait seems to run through many librarians, Quiet is important to read so we understand how to make ourselves and other introverts comfortable in today’s society of extroverts.


Place will become more important over time and libraries are in the right place to give students place and space to study and grow. With the current trend of library as noisy place, as social and meeting place, it is important to set aside spaces for those who revel in quietude.