28/12/2012 § 5 Comments
This post is part of a new series called “So What Do You Do?” in which LIS students talk about their experiences as interns. We want to showcase the wide range of things people are doing in the world of library and information science.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Steve Ammidown, and I’m a student in the Archives, Records and Information Management specialization at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. My undergraduate background is in sociology and gender studies; prior to that I spent nine years working in the corporate sector as a paralegal and office administrator.
So what do you do?
I’m just finishing up as a Usability and User Experience intern at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (and people wonder why acronyms are so popular in the federal government?) here in Washington, D.C.
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.
29/11/2012 § 7 Comments
We drew you in, didn’t we? Well, it’s true: librarian and author Lauren Pressley is working with crowdfunding startup unglue.it to provide free access to her book So You Want To Be a Librarian. Read our interview with Lauren to learn more about the book, unglue.it, and how you can contribute!
17/10/2012 § 13 Comments
How often do you use Wikipedia? If you’re anything like me, probably a lot! I’ve been interested in exploring the relationship between libraries and what I’m pretty sure it’s the only encyclopedia I’ve ever used for a long time (giant physical copies were already on their way out by the time I was old enough to use one). Sad story, though: when I was an undergrad preparing to apply for library school, I included a link to the Wikipedia page on stereoscopes in a post on my personal blog about my university’s special collections. I was soon told by a librarian that I would be looked down on as a future library professional if I included links to Wikipedia in a post I wanted to be taken seriously. I remembering wondering right then if I would fit in in the library world–I wasn’t citing it in my dissertation, I just wanted readers to see a picture and get a brief overview of what the contraption was. From then on, I was constantly aware of this Wikipedia/library tension boiling under the surface, but I wanted no part of it.