Char Booth, author of the ultra-hot Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University, recently published by ACRL, was just interviewed by Dan Freeman at ALA TechSource and Ellie Collier at In the Library with a Lead Pipe.
Both pieces yield insights into her background and thinking. Char Booth will be a university librarian to watch in the next few years!
She discusses recent research and her template for environmental scanning with Dan:
The Foster and Gibbons Studying Students report from the University of Rochester was inspirational in that it illustrated the value of detailing the results of local research project in order to provide insight and motivation for similar studies in other contexts. At Rochester, they employed a series of interesting ethnographic methods to discover the authentic undergraduate research culture – Studying Students has deservedly received wide attention since its publication in 2007, but for anyone who hasn’t yet taken a look I highly recommend reading this study, which is also available in full as a free download on the ACRL Digital Publications site (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/digital/). Their results are fascinating and highly useful, yet practically speaking some of their research methodologies might be difficult to replicate to such an extent in other libraries. Most institutions do not employ a team of trained researchers who can successfully lead a study of this depth and magnitude. Extensive ethnography can be highly effort-intensive, and in the current budgetary climate scalability in research is key. Therefore, I wanted to show the depth of insight that can also be gained using other research designs such as web-based survey methodology. This is why I included the template student library/technology questionnaire, which is Creative Commons licensed and meant to be customized – no permission necessary, just take it and use it as you will. Creating a strong survey instrument takes a lot of work, so I hope people download the template, hack it up, make it fit their needs and local survey software, and conduct their own campus-wide library environmental scans.
At Lead Pipe, a podcast is available as well as a transcript. The interview is full and rich and at one point Char discusses presenting:
A couple of the presentations I’ve done have been invited but most of them are the kind of thing where you submit your proposal and they accept you or reject you. And I’ve got plenty of rejections. It’s about, does your idea fit the program and do they have space for you and all that stuff. And I’m weird, I like to present. I really, really like it. I hated it when I started. I was as nervous as anybody else, but I’ve just grown to love being in front of people in a way that is challenging to me and hopefully engaging and interesting for them in terms of the content that I’m talking about. It’s a great challenge and that’s really what it’s all about. So most of them I applied for, a couple of them I’ve been invited to. It’s amazing to watch a good presentation and I try really hard to give a good presentation. And it’s an excellent way to kind of develop my skills in presentation technology and different ways to try to express ideas. I’m really interested in visual design too, so when I make a presentation I like it to be pretty beautiful, I try. So it pushes you forward. And again, it’s a great way to connect with people and hear really good questions and think about the things that you’re doing in ways that you wouldn’t have ever thought about because you get this feedback from other institutions. You talk for 20 minutes about something that happened at your place and then 10 people come up asking questions through their institutional lens.
I’m glad to have met up with Char on occasion and knocked out that she contributed “The Library Student Bill of Rights” here at TTW. Don’t miss these two interviews. Also, I just can’t get enough of the excellent quality, peer-reviewed journalism coming from ITLWALP. Have you added the blog to your feeds?