Category Archives: Librarianship

Demonstrating Value Through Assessment and Surveys

MISO_DemonstratingValueAt last month’s ACRL conference, there were more than 50 sessions that focused on assessment and/or the value of academic libraries.  While it was not possible to attend all the presentations, there were a number of poster sessions that provided examples of how libraries are gathering information to present on their value.  I focused on several of the poster sessions that had been publicized as focusing on value in the ACRL conference program. Continue reading

The Business of Hospital Libraries

From Michelle Kraft’s Krafty Librarian

Earlier last week people on medlib-l discussed (The  perfect library storm) closures of hospital libraries.  They are seeing a contradiction between Evidenced Based Medicine imperatives vs budget and resource demands on hospital libraries.  Some are seeing how the increase in pricing and bundling practices have caused the hospitals to “throw it back to the physicians and staff” causing libraries to close.  I interpret this statement to be that the hospitals are no longer willing to provide monies for institutional support of resources (the library) and require doctors and staff to buy their own resources.

This email conversation is very timely.  It turns out this week I will be in Tulsa, OK teaching the class, “The Evolving Librarian: Responding to changes in the workplace and in healthcare.”  Technology changes, social changes and healthcare changes have forced hospital librarians to step back and really change the way we do things.

Personally, we hospital librarians need to start treating our library like a hospital department and not a library.  I mentioned this in my medlib-l post. I know this statment sounds odd because you might think we do that already.  I think we could do better.  I think librarians not only need to align their goals to the hospitals, but they need to make the hospital’s goals their goals. Continue reading

10 ways to make yourself indispensable at your workplace, Stephen Abram

Information Outlook Column (Jan/Feb. issue), Due Dec. 28, 2011

By Stephen Abram

It doesn’t work 100% of the time but you’ve probably noticed that there are some people that seem to survive every organizational restructuring.  In this latest economic downturn we’re seeing layoffs and downsizing on a scale in all sectors that most of us have never seen.  As for me, I’ve been through too many to count – survived some and didn’t make it out the other side on others.  By some counts there have been over 14 downturns in my professional career since 1978.  These swings in the economy have burnished me and, ironically, made me less dependent on employers for my self-worth or finances.  The private sector reacts to protect the whole enterprise during the business cycle and, although we shouldn’t take downsizing personally, it’s hard not to!  The public sector is arguably experiencing a major downturn with extensive layoffs for the first time in memory for many.  I was inspired recently by an article that was shared with me (from Black Enterprise: “10 ways to make yourself indispensable at work”), so I’ve adapted its 10 points for library land, but the original can be read without translation too.

Is the grapevine working overtime in your business, industry, community library, school board or institution?  What do the water cooler conversations resemble in your sector – excitement about the future or doom and gloom?  Are you seeing terrible budget debates, revenue shortfalls, business disappointments, investment or trust fund losses, or shortfalls in taxation support?  What can you do to reduce your chances of layoff?  Barring situations of collective bargaining where the rules can be prescribed, there are things you can do and should do precisely when you don’t need it right away.

Make a plan.  Assess your strengths.  Define your value, and, most importantly tend to your personal and professional network.

What tactics can you accomplish that will reduce your personal chances of layoff or prepare you better to shorten your period of unemployment?  Remember that this isn’t about protecting the ‘library’ but of communicating your value as a “librarian.”   There is a big difference!  Here are ten:

1. Take ownership of all your responsibilities by seeing your role in the context of the entire enterprise and community.  What would you increase as an activity and what would you decrease?  Employees that think strategically are more valuable than one-trick ponies. Continue reading

The elusive dream of work-life balance

By Meredith Farkas | December 19, 2011

I have been wanting to write a post on work-life balance for a while, especially after spending a week at ACRL Assessment Immersion with a bunch of people who are deeply committed to their work and all define balance in their lives differently. Some of the people there are so active in the profession, so plugged-in, publish a ton, travel a ton, and get to meet lots of awesome librarians. Others are dedicated to work during their 40 hrs/wk there and are deeply focused on family and community. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. And yet we are ALL amazing professionals.

I’ve noticed a tendency in our profession (and probably others) to see being immersed in the profession and spending lots of time outside of our 40 hrs/wk on professional stuff as unhealthy. And at the same time, there’s a tendency to see people who view their work as a librarian as a 9 to 5 job as not committed. To me, the only mistake you can make here is buying into what other people think and not defining balance as what works for you. It’s not about quantity, people, it’s about quality.

Colleen has written a great post about not wanting to feel like her job is her identity and become so immersed in her work that it makes her unhealthy. While I have to say that her “I am a librarian” vs. “I serve as a librarian” distinction doesn’t mean much to me (especially because I do feel like being a librarian is an important part of my identity), I applaud her efforts to find a healthy balance in her life:…read all here.

MLA Rising Stars 2012 Call for Participation

from Gary Freiburger

Applications are now being accepted for the next class of MLA Rising Stars. This exciting new program is for MLA members who are interested in MLA leadership roles but who have not yet become active at a national level. Applications also are sought from MLA units who wish to host a Rising Star.

The one-year leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor and a curriculum that includes learning how MLA succeeds through the volunteer efforts of its members, the roles of the MLA Board and staff, and project management skills, which will be applied to an MLA project. Interested MLA members can find the criteria, timeline, and application form on MLANET. The deadline for Rising Star applications is October 1.
Continue reading

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

From:  Librarian by Day

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access. Continue reading

“Our goal is awesome librarians, not awesome projects. We need to build conversations, not websites.”

From Stephen’s Lighthhouse

I am giving a speech in the nation of Oman in the the Middle East Gulf region today overlooking the Strait of Hormuz. As usual I am talking about the future of libraries and tech trends and more. Every so often you see or hear a speech or see someone else’s slides and think, “I wish I’d said and done that!” I thought this when I watched and listened to David Lanke’s latest talk below:

ILEADU Kickoff speech on what makes an awesome librarian.