I Was Interviewed

Karen Lauritsen is a rad librarian at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Check out her TedxUCLA talk called Libraries Can Be Loud.

Last month we had a little conversation and she posted it to her site Maths and Arts. If you like read this site you might like the post: An interview with Aaron Schmidt of Walking Paper about user centered design for libraries.

Thanks for the interview, Karen!

Library Hall of Fame from 1951

On March 15, 1951 Library Journal recognized “40 leaders of the library movement” in a Library Hall of Fame. Did you know we have a hall of fame? I didn’t. It was created to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the ALA. Or, as the article spells, A.L.A.

Step back before you nominate yourself:

It has been agreed that this present list should not include the living, however obvious and significant had been their contribution. The list, which such additions, would promptly be doubled.

There are some really neat sounding people included and some great trivia. For instance, I didn’t know that Josephus N. Larned was the first person to use the Dewey Decimal system to classify an entire collection. Judson T. Jennings “gave young men the feeling that librarianship was not exclusively a woman’s job” and set up camp libraries in Germany during World War I.

Give it a read. Here’s a microfiche scan of the Library Hall of Fame article. [PDF] Note the continuous pagination!

There’s a very short Wikipedia article on the Library Hall of Fame too.

The best part about the article? Seven pages of Library Journal with no ads.

knitting with the librarians 2

In early October I posted about a knit with the librarians program I learned about at Reed College here in Portland. The librarian that made the flyer and hosts the group saw the picture I uploaded on flickr and commented on it.

I thought this was great, so I emailed her some questions about the program. She just checked her flickr mail and sent a reply.

Yes, just a random idea – I was hired at Reed through a digital initiatives grant to build digital collections to support teaching. Currently I’m uber focused on this project, don’t do much instruction (though I do work reference), and thought of a knitting group as a way to get to know students, and get more in touch with the general flow of the library and campus. That’s my side of it at least!

For students, I wanted to hone the image of the library as a warm place, librarians as non-scary compadres, encourage study breaks, and just in general…provide an opportunity to knit together!

…the group has indeed been very successful. My colleague and I (the Reed Science librarian) started it together earlier this semester, and have developed a core following of half a dozen students or so. As to spreading awareness about the library, it may be too soon to say. …but I think it has certainly spread fun in the library!

Like many good programs in the library, the knitting group is good for both staff and patrons. Joanna uses the knitting circle to learn about the students and the library as well as humanize the librarians and promote fun in the library.

what are the most important things on which libraries should be working?

There are a lot of folks with whom I like talking library shop that I don’t get to hook up with on a regular basis. So I emailed a few of them and asked:

What are the most important things on which libraries should be working?

Maybe this blogging by proxy will get them inspired to get started on their own. To make it fun (and to not take up a bunch of their time) I asked them to limit their responses to three sentences. Here’s what they had to say, which is varied but all interesting! Add your thoughts below.

Jim Scheppke, Oregon State Librarian

Public libraries should work to become the #1 provider of early literacy services to their communities, especially to low income and non-English-speaking families.

All libraries should more aggressively be moving their products and services to the Web, shifting resources away from traditional services, if necessary, to make the investment we need to make in the future.

We should think strategically and plan for the coming e-book revolution, which, despite what some might like to believe, is going to happen sooner or later.

Mary Auckland, library consultant in the UK

In university libraries I think we should be working on ensuring the students get all the information sources needed to successfully complete their courses and at the moment that continues to include provision of adequate print resources as well as electronic. I think students will increasingly want their information delivered to them wherever they are in electronic form, and they will want images and sound not just text, in easy to find and use ‘units’. Finally I think we need to continue to provide study space that meets a variety of learning and collaborating styles and provides environments that are relaxed and comfortable.

Alan Kirk Gray, Assistant Director, Darien Public Library

Libraries should, first, be working to improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness by reorganizing outmoded work processes, rigorously outsourcing such routine clerical tasks as book processing and abandoning efforts to fine tune MARC records.

Second, they should be making an all-out effort to benchmark the exemplary practices of the most successful of their fellow libraries in similar communities — adopting and adapting them wherever possible.

Third, they should band together in peer groups of ten libraries each, distributed nationally so they are at a distance from one another, and contract jointly for a full-blown web site redesign that incorporates a state-of-the-art Content Management infrastructure, integrated Customer Management applications, fully-developed social software attributes and a link to their ILS, with the agreement each library may skin the resulting deliverable in its own image and fill it with its own content, with the result that each library receives the benefit of significant professional work product at one-tenth the going rate.

Sue Polanka, Head of Reference and Instruction, Wright State University

Creating content, either digitizing unique special collections or assisting faculty/students/public users with the same and allowing this data to be searched. Investigating what our users are doing and trying to reach them with library services at the point of need, and the device of choice – phone, iPod, laptop, etc. etc.. Carefully watching the publishing industry to guarantee we aren’t paying for content which will be released to search engines based on advertising revenues.

Barbara Kesel, Library Automation Systems Supervisor, Washington County Cooperative Library Services

Public libraries could be working on community involvement; both getting the community into the library and connected to the library and valuing library services, as well as getting the library into the community so that we’re seen as an important and desired player in the civic arena. We also have a great deal to gain by recruiting bright, enthusiastic, diverse, energetic, and technologically savvy folks to the profession. And lastly, I’d like to see libraries work on making the library experience enjoyable and fun for employees and patrons alike.

Thanks for taking the time to respond everyone.