Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

Indianpolis/Marion Co. PL & Dr. Callison’s Thoughts

Intriguing article in the Indy Star:

The IMCCPL is changing as the new Main Library is renovated. Changes include more best sellers, more libraries open on Sundays (and the elimination of overtime pay for Sundays) and changes to the way the librarians do their jobs:

Librarians themselves will morph:

? A clerical worker with a college degree will answer reference questions — basically taking over the role for which a librarian went to college to get a master’s degree.

? Librarians with expertise in a particular field no longer will order books for their area.

? Users will do more self-service.

Wow. This intrigues me. It spotlights what is happening in many libraries across the country: budget constraints, services changing, and “transitions.”But what intrigues me more is Dr. Danny Callison’s open letter to the author that has been posted on many of the Indiana Librarian’s lists. I e-mailed him and he said I could quote him here:

Although IMCPL faces what we understand to be very difficult financial decisions, a dramatic shift away from professionals in key management, subject expertise and service positions can result in deterioration of public services regardless of how efficient support staff may be. The expectations for professional librarians today have increased in these areas:

Evaluation of services so that needs of specific groups in the community can be identified and addressed.

Development and coordination of outreach services so that the most effective means can be used to get resources to special groups such as the elderly, the disabled, and others who may be underserved for meeting their information needs.

Advancing full civic engagement so that the public library, including its departments and branches, becomes more collaborative with other community organizations to address the information needs for all local citizens and organizations ? whether nonprofit or for profit.

Taking steps that encourage philanthropic efforts for fund-raising and grant-writing that help to improve services and reduce the tax burden.

Creation of special programs in cooperation with the public schools, community organizations for adults and other agencies so that information can be presented by experts at community library locations around the county.

Instructional sessions, conducted by knowledgeable library professionals, in the methods to search new electronic information databases and how to make wise information selection and use decisions. The Information Age demands that all citizens, young to elderly, become wise information consumers and professional librarians, as teachers of information literacy, can help achieve this goal.

The IMCPL director and her excellent staff face some very difficult decisions. Perhaps choices have been made and there is no turning back. Perhaps the quality of public services will be monitored so that meaningful information education and delivery will not be lost in this new community structure we all look forward to using. It is our hope that a high quality staff of professionals will be part of the future showcase as well as the structure itself.

Daniel Callison, Professor
Executive Associate Dean
Jean Preer, Associate Professor
Marilyn Irwin, Associate Professor
Indiana University
School of Library and Information Science ? Indianapolis

Well put! User-centered…that local flavor…and info literacy for all. There’s a lot to be considered with the article and Dr. Callison’s reply. This is a good dialogue to entertain: where is your library at on the continuum of change? Have you transitioned? Are you transparent? Are you User-centered?

I am a Librarian

I Am A Librarian

I Am a Librarian

My name is Cynthia Wilson. I received my Masters Degree in library science from Clarion University and I am a photographer. I have been looking for librarians and library school students in the United States who would be willing to get their picture taken, and answer a short interview for a book that I am working on, titled ?I am a Librarian!?

Cynthia took my picture one sweltering day in Orlando last June with my beloved PowerBook. Here’s the image, which is one of many on display at the University of West Florida, Fort Walton Beach campus library for National Library Week 2005:

OH! And here’s Cynthia at Libraryman’s flickr page and here’s her blog!

Workshop: Reinventing Libraries Session One

Reinventing Libraries: People, Place and Purpose

This was the first of three workshops co-taught with Sharon and Dan Wiseman of Wiseman Consulting. We began the day with some ground rules — one conversation, suffering is optional, etc — and then Sharon presented some groundwork on the roots and traditions of libraries, librarians and our collective history. Sharon noted it’s amazing how many libraries started as Ladies’ Libraries back in the day.

Then we worked through these questions:

What is happening in Libraries (down the street and around the block)

What is true and not true about Libraries (Our roots, traditions, and assumptions)

How do we design libraries for a changing world

Where must we change

What actions can or should I take

I did my “Trends for 21st Century Libraries” talk, based in part on the OCLC Pattern Recgnition Report. The group had some great questions. I touched a bit on Technology, but most of that will be in Part 3.

The afternoon was sopent with Dan presenting the “Sacred Cow Round Up” — and this is where it got very interesting!

What are aspects of our profession or institution that we need to look at? What are some really new ways of looking at these aspects of library service? What is absolutely essential?

We placed flip chart pages labeled with the “Sacred Cows,” including Board Relations, Publicity, Financing and Technology, all around the room and the folks broke into groups to go around and brainstorm at each one. They would write what they thought on each one. This was absolutely incredible! The air of collaboration in the room was tangible.

The group then identified by voting with a dot or a line the most important bits on each one. Then, the folks were told to stand by the “Sacred Cow” they were most passionate about. Is that cool or what? If you are passionate about something, I think you may be in a better spot to create change. Nice!

We concluded by discussing Best Practices for each of the items that received the most votes and debriefed.

Steve Martin, from INCOLSA, has posted pictures:

Flip Charts:

The Workshop in Action:

I am really looking forward to getting back together with this forward-thinking group of Indiana Librarians. Have I mentioned here that Indiana Librarians Rock?

Library Directors and Change (It’s All Good)

This is an important one…one to ponder…

But it’s not just about giving people what they want. Leadership is about creating a vision that you can share with the board, with elected officials and business people, with the library’s clients, and most of all, with the library staff. (One of our side discussions during this meeting was about the importance of not blaming the staff for not being willing to change. If the leaders cannot explain the change and provide a reason for it, the problem lies not with the staff, but with their leaders.)

Thus, the importance of staff buy-in for projects, initiatives and change (with technology or otherwise). Pardon me, but adminstrators must be able to make the case for changes and COMMUNICATE them. We discussed this during the “Reinventing Libraries” workshop. One director told me he wanted to be as open and honest with his staff as possible, would ask them to change with him and would stand up for each and everyone of them and “take the blame” if something didn’t work out. Nice.

Am I a broken record? In our planning meetings, are we asking the right questions? How does it serve our users? How does it improve services? Are we sending the right message to the staff ij the right ways?

Watch blogs like “It’s All Good” — this is good stuff and cannot be ignored.

This is Important

“…we all know libraries are changing. The library workforce is changing and the nature of the job is changing. The more librarians know the lingo of the new tech world of fee-for-service models instead of you-bought-it-you-own-it models of yore, the better we will be able to advocate for our patrons to provide the best service for them and the best return for their investment in us. You don?t have to live on IM to understand why IM might be a good alternative to 24/7 ref. You don?t have to check your email 100 times a day to know why email is a good way to increase patron contact options. You don?t have to podcast to understand why podcasts are an interesting and homegrown alternative to increasingly centralized and depersonalized audio content.

In the same way we don?t all have to be graphic novel fans to select them and realize their value for our patrons, we don?t all have to become cyborgs to realize the value of technology to our patrons, and the way technology can change lives, whether people access it in libraries or not. I?ll be presenting a lot of ideas librarians should, in my opinion, be learning about not as a way to say ?Hey dork, if you don?t know about this you?re falling behind!? or even ?All libraries should have this!? but as a way to say ?When the time comes for you to decide if your library needs this, and that time will come, here are the things you?ll need to help you make that decision.? Smart librarians make smart choices and I?d like to help all of you get smart, no foolin?.”

Word of the day: resonate. This resonates deeply with me. the first paragraph is all about being “in the know.” When I write about those meetings that take place in libraries where people talk tech someone needs to be in the know! That doesn’t mean you all have to be geeks BUT I want knowledgable people around my meeting room table. The second paragraphs dances with one of my favorite terms: technolust! “All libraries should have this! Uh, guess what? No, they shouldn’t. All libraries should use the tools of technology to meet their mission and fulfill their users needs. Just sayin’.

Lippincott’s Net Generation Students & Libraries

Lippincott notes:

Libraries could use part of their home page to highcell phones, send simple text-message queries to library catalogs or databases, or check library hours via text messaging. Such services might be particularly valuable for students who live off campus. How will we conceive and design these new services?

Net Gen Info Services include:
Use students on teams that design new services and environments
Integrate services into course management systems
Explore services for mobile devices
Represent services and instruction visually and in multimedia modes
Focus on partnership models
Emphasize how to evaluate information resources
Emphasize information policy issues

Lippincott’s piece is aimed at academic settings but guess what? These same insights and service directions fit for public libraries and school media centers too. Is your information policy up to date for new methods of delivery and inquiry, Public Librarian? Does your School Media Center offer collaborative blogging for various research assignments, School Librarian?

Download this one and give it a read.