T.T.F.N–Ta-ta for now!

06/03/2014 § Leave a comment

Hack Library School’s greatest strength, in my opinion, is its changing nature. As writers come and go, the blog stays current, and the new crop of writers take HLS into the conversations that are happening in library schools across the country and around the world.

This is a longwinded way to say that I’ve been around for a while, and it’s time for me to step down.

This is my final solo post for Hack Library School. I’m excited to be starting a new job, excited to move to a new area, and excited to watch HLS continue to grow. From writing an ebook to continuing a streak of conference presentations, I’ve seen Hack Library School do some great things in the two-years-and-a-bit that I’ve been here. I know that the trend will continue, and I can’t wait to watch!

I ALSO can’t wait to see what happens in the wider library-school world. I’m convinced that library/information students are far more powerful change agents then some librarians realize, and that there is incredible value in fusing the the weight of experience with the enthusiasm of fresh eyes.

When I started writing for Hack Library School, the blog was already a voice for a new kind of library education, one in which students could determine their own pathway, and push professors into a new type of collaboration. I tried to challenge myself throughout library school, taking classes in unfamiliar areas and hacking my program from the ground up, even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to end up in libraries. (Perhaps especially because I wasn’t sure I wanted to end up in libraries.) I wasn’t alone–other HLS writers and lots of commenters also talked about wanting to bring a new practice to library work. This sort of public, transparent information work is, in my opinion, what librarianship is all about–shedding light on any subject, in any field, and creating relevant connections for all to view.

Micah mentioned “commissioning disciples” in his farewell post, and I think he wasn’t far wrong–the HLS community has been a fantastic support system as we’ve all hacked together the programs we loved. When Annie left, she mentioned how those networks can keep growing. “Don’t be a stranger” is the watchword, here.

Hack Library School might focus on hacking LIS education, but I think that the hacker attitude toward life can keep on trucking, long past your graduation date. We all get busy–good librarianship seems to require it, though work/life balance is equally vital–and the networks we’re building can persist. Keep in touch, you wonderful people, and I’ll see you around!


High fives and cheers!

Hack ALA: Accreditation Standards!

12/02/2014 § 3 Comments

Hello! Topher here, happy to introduce guest poster Elizabeth Lieutenant! If you’re like us, you followed all the advice out there and enrolled in an ALA-accredited institution. But what does that really mean? This is your chance to find out! We were fortunate enough to attend a session at ALA Midwinter about the changing world of LIS program accreditation standards. Here’s what we learned:

Meet the COA:

Accreditation has been a part of US librarianship since 1923. In 1956, ALA’s Committee on Accreditation (COA) became a standing committee of ALA. COA is responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of ALA council. The mission of the ALA Office for Accreditation (OA) is to serve: “the general public, students, employers, and library and information studies Master’s programs through the promotion and advancement of education in library and information studies.”

One important thing to understand about the Standards for Accreditation is that they are meant to be qualitative, not prescriptive. The Standards are not mandates for programs to teach particular courses, or for all students to have a particular level of skill in a given aspect of the profession. Instead, the Standards are meant to ensure LIS programs are adequately preparing students to meet the ALA’s Core Competences of Librarianship. Their focus is not on training students for the jobs of today, but instead preparing students to be leaders in the field and carry the LIS profession into the future. If an ALA-accredited program fails to meet the Standards, they’ll be placed on conditional accreditation status, and if significant improvements aren’t made, COA will withdraw accreditation.

Why should you care? « Read the rest of this entry »

ALA Midwinter Meetup!

24/01/2014 § 1 Comment

Hello hackers!

Coming to ALA? Join a few of the HLS writers for lunch on Sunday! Here are the details:

What: The HLS Midwinter Meetup!

When: Sunday, 26 January 2014, at 11:30am (until about 1pm).

Where: Meet at the Networking Uncommons–we have ideas for lunch venues, and will head out around 11:40am.

Looking forward to seeing you there!







The Declaration for the Right to Libraries–Something to be thankful for!

26/11/2013 § 1 Comment

It’s nearly Thanksgiving in the US, and as we reflect on the things in life for which we’re most thankful, libraries are certainly high on the list. Here on Hack Library School, we’ve had plenty of posts dealing with reasons to get involved with professional organizations and conferences, from opportunities for training to networking and more! Even if you’re not prepared to join a committee, there are often other ways to give back to the profession. One of them in particular needs a signal-boost from the entire library community: The Declaration for the Right to Libraries. Here’s what you need to know:

The cornerstone of ALA president Barbara Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives presidential initiative, The Declaration for the Right to Libraries is “designed to build the public will and sustained support for America’s right to libraries of all types – academic, special, school and public.” Over the next year, libraries, library schools, and community groups are encouraged to hold signing events, which invite community members to publicly, unilaterally declare their right to vibrant, dynamic library access. These events are designed to spark conversation and raise awareness of libraries, as well as to help libraries nurture a network of community advocates. By bringing people into frank conversations on the challenges facing libraries, the declaration will also help to foster a sense of libraries as the hub for community dialogue.

From the Declaration itself:

In the spirit of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that libraries are essential to a democratic society. Every day, in countless communities across our nation and the world, millions of children, students and adults use libraries to learn, grow and achieve their dreams. In addition to a vast array of books, computers and other resources, library users benefit from the expert teaching and guidance of librarians and library staff to help expand their minds and open new worlds. We declare and affirm our right to quality libraries -public, school, academic, and special – and urge you to show your support by signing your name to this Declaration for the Right to Libraries.

It’s your turn! First off, go sign the online declaration at http://www.ilovelibraries.org/declaration/sign . (The numbers will be used for advocacy in the future, so it’s really helpful to sign online!) Then, tell everyone you know to do the same. Work with your local libraries to plan a signing event, join the social media campaign to help spread the word, and go practice your library advocacy skills!

We've signed the declaration. Have you? ilovelibraries.org/declaration


28/10/2013 § 9 Comments

I started library school fairly confident that I had no interest in working in a library, and I wasn’t the only person in my cohort who felt that way. I chose a program that clearly stated a focus in library and information science, and spent my elective courses looking at data science, information visualization, and social information use, even as my peers were diving into collection development, cataloging, and more “traditional” library skills. My original reasons for entering library school were easy to lose when I was surrounded by so many people who were passionate about the work they wanted to do within libraries. Two years after I entered,  I graduated, and started hunting for the library position that would launch my career.

I *loved* graduate school, and thinking about the challenges of the information world. The conversations I had with my fellow students helped me convince myself that libraries were the place to be, and I started to forget that librarians and libraries are likely best represented by a Venn diagram; related, but not always overlapping. « Read the rest of this entry »


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