Pinning for the Patrons

30/07/2012 § 5 Comments

Photo by Jude Doyland

A few months ago a co-worker introduced me to Pinterest with the disclaimer that I would waste massive amounts of time on the platform once engaged. And they were right. I’ve spent a great deal of time collecting recipes I’ll never cook, outfits I’ll never buy and ideas to repurpose an old door that I don’t have. While some may see it as a waste of time, I enjoy the time I spend on Pinterest and it has prepared me for one of my new library job tasks: managing my library’s presence on the site. Admittedly, I’m still perfecting our approach, but I do have some tips that I’d like to share. (Check out this Pinterest 101 if you need help with some of the jargon below). « Read the rest of this entry »

Librarian as Project Manager

17/07/2012 § 2 Comments

In this installment of Hack Library’s School’s Emerging Career Series, Caro Pinto explores the role of librarian as project manager. Caro Pinto is the Social Science & Emerging Technologies Librarian at Hampshire College where she oversees collection development, outreach, and instruction for the School of Critical Social Inquiry, works on Digital Humanities projects at Hampshire and in the Five Colleges, and explores the technology landscape to find sustainable solutions for higher education. You can find Caro on Twitter and on her blog.

Librarians are helpful advocates in the research process. We aid our users in the location, retrieval, and evaluation of sources. However, as libraries implement more effective discovery layers and users come away with tens of thousands of results in mere seconds, our role has necessarily begun to shift from information retriever to information evaluator, arbiter, and now manager. We collaborate more closely with our users in the research process, helping to prepare data into management plans as part of grant requirements for the NSF and the NEH. Increasingly, we are librarians, but we are also project managers.

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Changing the Face of Librarianship

07/07/2012 § 19 Comments

L-R: 2011 Spectrum Scholar Teresa Silva, 2011 Spectrum Scholar LaToya Devezin, 2009 Spectrum Scholar Stephen X. Flynn, 2011 Spectrum Scholar Ana Elisa de Campos Salles, 2011 Spectrum Scholar Jarrett Drake

Editor Note: This is a guest post by Jarrett Drake

“The Incunabula. I’d like to see them,” said a patron in a muffled tone. “Can you repeat that?” I responded unassumingly. “The Incunabula, the Incunabula!” she exclaimed, her voice rising with each repetition. After a brief hesitation of speech that left my mouth quite unable to repeat her enunciations, the patron interjects, “You’re not familiar with the Incunabula? Are you a librarian?”

And that’s where I’ll stop. For the record, I’m not a librarian (yet). But if there’s one takeaway from my attendance at the 2012 Spectrum Leadership Institute and the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, it’s that the future of libraries—and indeed, librarianship—is a changing face. As emerging professionals, we library and information students mustn’t simply notice that change, but champion it.

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The Skills You Don’t Learn In School

28/02/2012 § 29 Comments

Photo Credit: Flickr User Donna Cymek

Photo Credit: Flickr User Donna Cymek

Librarianship is a profession that’s all about helping people, which means we need to be able to work with them. Even if you don’t work with patrons, you’ll still have to work with coworkers that run the gamut. Cat lovers(ahem), gamers, tattooed drinkers, the sweet old lady who doesn’t know what email is(patron or coworker), you might run across them all. You can’t escape people in this profession! Whether you were drawn to this profession because you love books, or because you wanted to put off student loans, having people skills is a must. We’re expected to have some technology skills and maybe even more advanced programming skills. That’s all great! However, there are a lot of things library school can’t teach you. People skills being one of them. No one can teach you how to be in the world, that’s something that we all develop as we move forward in life. Employers are looking for folks who have these skills.

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The Case for Non-Digital Technologies

06/02/2012 § 8 Comments

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

The literature fan in me can’t help but begin with William Carlos Williams’s well-known poem from his collection Spring and All (1923), if only with the flimsiest excuse of lifting the phrase “so much depends” for this post (and for the chickens—blog posts can always do with chickens).

As a second semester MLIS student, I have only been immersed in the LIS world’s discussions about half a year, but in that time, I have noticed that digital, computer-based technology is clearly at the forefront of concerns faced by librarians and libraries today. These conversations revolve around the costs and benefits of incorporating new technologies, with concepts like technostress and financial burdens on the one hand and concepts like efficiency, engaging with digital natives, and transforming information access on the other. In general, responses seem to gravitate towards the idea that so much depends on a variety of factors, including your institution’s finances, your community members’ level of comfort with new technologies, your members’ access to technologies inside and outside of the library, and what other industries are doing with those technologies.

So much depends. . . I would love to hear from all of you in the comments about the kinds of discussions that you have in your schools about library technology and about how the curriculum in your programs deals with training students for an increasingly technological library.

This post, however, is about engaging technology and librarianship without getting mired in the technophobia-technophilia dyad, and in particular, it is about the importance of exploring non-digital technologies—rather than just computer-based ones—as ways of building future libraries and reinvigorating the mission of librarianship. I’m pulling my thoughts for this post from a course paper I wrote last semester in which I argued for thinking of dogs as a kind of library technology, recalling that technologies are in a broader sense merely systematic knowledge of processes for the accomplishment of goals. The focus of that paper was the recent emergence of literacy programs for young children in schools and public libraries that employ dogs as reading companions.
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