21/12/2012 § 4 Comments
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kelly Minta.
The concept of librarians creating content and using grassroots promotional techniques to present libraries to the public isn’t a new idea, but it is happening in more innovative ways today. The creation of content, whether on interactive user-generated sites or through articles, charts, images, and other storytelling mediums, is no longer an alternative to conventional means of public outreach and collection development. Rather, it is a necessity as libraries build stronger web presences. Creating a digital space for people to visit the library is equally as important as creating a physical space for users.
As a graduate student who has studied and interned in public libraries, academic libraries, and archives, I have been able to see firsthand that the creation of content and dissemination of information in all types of library institutions is vital. Not only are library users educated about the collection of materials, this is also a way to garner attention from those who do not patronize the institution. The librarians who create this content are tech savvy writers and storytellers who understand the value of imparting narrative into a library or archive’s collection in order to add significance to people’s lives.
The concept of service is one that librarianship is founded on, and it can be very difficult to change the collective mindset of librarians away from conventional reference services to service via original web content. I recently interned for a public library and was able to see firsthand that the culture of public libraries is often so focused on in-person service that they may fail to see the entire audience of users who are at home on laptops, sitting in classes or meetings with tablets, or out shopping with smartphones. These are people that the library could be reaching – people who crave data and information that is useful, informative and accessible. These are people who care about their communities and libraries and, while they might not visit the physical location, still support the library’s mission. Digital spaces for libraries are more than an online representation of our physical ones – they are another wing of the library, a separate sphere for education and collaboration that draws users into the library via new and usable information.
13/12/2012 § 6 Comments
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Cassandra Elton.
I was in kindergarten when I got my first library card. The two requirements for a child’s library card at our public library in Summit, New Jersey were you had to have a parent cosign the card with you and you had to be able to write your own name. I remember standing on tip-toe with the blue ball point pen clenched in my hand writing my name just like I’d practiced so many times at school and at home.
And then it was mine! My very own library card. Sure, my mom held on to it for me since I was only 6, but still! The possibilities were endless. Now I could check out my very own books from the library. My mom would give me one of our library totes (various canvas bags we used just for library visits) and I could go around the children’s section selecting the books that I wanted to read or have read to me. I was in control.
23/11/2012 § 3 Comments
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by David Winger.
When I looked at the New York Times website a few weeks ago and saw that Twitter had agreed to a formal request from the German government to block access by users in Germany to the Twitter account of a neo-Nazi group, I was pretty happy. I have no love for skinheads and their ilk, groups that specialize in spreading anti-Semitic and anti-everyone-who-isn’t-white propaganda. It was enlightening, however, to read the article and the concerns expressed within it by free speech advocacy groups who were concerned about the precedent set by this decision.
There is a lot of concern in the modern world about how the internet has impacted freedom of expression. This is especially true in the U.S., where speech is protected from government interference by the First Amendment of the Constitution. From the purely professional perspective of a librarian who is trying to organize information into easily-accessible catalogs and databases, there is certainly a strong reason to be in favor of the free exchange of information over the internet, without governmental restrictions, as it makes getting a holistic collection of our society’s views much easier. Most would agree that a librarian, by profession, believes in giving the type of assistance that will allow others to empower themselves with knowledge, and the question of how good librarians can be at this task hangs in the balance as governments and private corporations decide what sort of speech is protected in this new era of a truly globalized internet. Our profession, then, has an obligation to weigh in on this debate.
09/11/2012 § 12 Comments
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Alex Harrington.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” may be a bit melodramatic, but “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness” fits pretty neatly when I try to describe my graduation from library school. See, I didn’t plan ahead, and I had no idea what to expect job-wise when I finished. I thought that having a graduate degree in library science meant I was automatically qualified to be a librarian. But I learned better, and now I have two part-time jobs in libraries (plus one non-library job). This is not what in-library-school me thought that after-library-school me would be doing, but so far it’s working for me. Because some of you might find yourselves in similar situations whether you expect to or not, I hope sharing my story and some advice I’ve learned along the way will help you in your post-graduate job searches.
19/10/2012 § 13 Comments
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Katie Clausen.In one of my courses we are analyzing ALA’s “Core Values of Librarianship.” We take on one core value every week, reading articles and discussing how these values define us as librarians. It is important to understand the policy that makes the foundation of our profession, even though it can be….well, boring. But if we take the principles and apply them to our everyday lives and jobs, it is easy to see why we need these standards. They are, as the ALA states, “the foundation of modern librarianship.”
Last week, we tackled Professionalism, and it was quite the dialogue.
First of all, The American Library Association’s core value of professionalism states that the ALA “supports the provision of library services by professionally qualified personnel who have been educated in graduate programs within institutions of higher education. It is of vital importance that there be professional education available to meet the social needs and goals of library services.”
Let’s break it down. What does professionalism mean? Why do we need it?