Between work, my son and the class I’m teaching at SJSU (which is about to start), I rarely have time these days to blog. It’s certainly not that I’m uninspired to do so, as I’m constantly reading things that inspire me, provoke me, or just plain interest me. But anyone who has read my blog for a while knows that I put a lot of thought into my posts and have a difficult time keeping them short. So I thought that it might be worthwhile to periodically share the articles, posts, and other resources I find that get me thinking as they might get you thinking too. So here’s the first installment of “Inspiring stuff to read.”
Want to read all of the articles/sites/posts in one browser tab? Click here.
What Can We Stop Doing by Merilee Profit in Hanging Together – This is fairly old, but is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a long time and have realized that it’s never going to happen. Unless you have an influx of new money and people, in order to undertake new initiatives, you have to give up something. I really loved the quote in it from the President of the Getty Museum “‘If no programs are allowed to ever die, in the end you become captive to decisions from the past… Every now and then . . . you’ve got to step back and say, ‘Certain things have been very successful, but we should sunset them now.’” I think that the unwillingness to stop doing things is largely behind the failure of a lot of Web 2.0 initiatives, as people simply aren’t given dedicated time to make them successful.
Introduction to Online Pedagogy – This is a self-paced course designed by the WISE Consortium (a consortium of library schools that teach online and allow students to take classes at the other universities — SJSU is a member). It’s designed to prepare LIS faculty to design and teach effective online courses. Useful for anyone designing online instruction.
Customizable Library Portal Pages by Aaron Tay in Musings about Librarianship – Again, not a brand-new blog post, but Aaron showcases some libraries that are WAY ahead of the curve in developing customizable library home pages. I strongly feel that this is the future of the library website — users should be able to design their own library website experience based on what they actually need/want to use. After talking with our Systems Librarian about this idea, he started playing with Drupal to see how he could create a customizable library homepage. He’s still in the very early stages, but it’s already looking promising. Thanks for the nudge, Aaron!
So You Want to do Anthropology at Your Library? or A Practical Guide to Ethnographic Research in Academic Libraries by Andrew Asher and Susan Miller. Asher and Miller were the anthropologists involved in the ERIAL ethnographic study conducted jointly by five Illinois universities. They created this amazing PDF guide for libraries (like mine) that want to undertake similar research. Such great practical advice in here!!!
Patron Driven eBook Acquisition: Crab Legs vs. Spinach by Eric Hellman at Go To Hellman – A thoughtful post about patron-driven electronic acquisition, a topic near and dear to my heart these days as we prepare to go live with eBook Library in a few weeks. The post also contains some really useful links at the end if you’re interested in the topic. As we are a teaching university and our focus is on building a collection out students and faculty WILL USE, I am looking forward to seeing how we can make patron-driven acquisition a larger part of our overall book purchasing.
Making the case for a fully mobile library web site: from floor maps to the catalog by Laurie Bridges, Hannah Gascho Rempel, and Kimberly Griggs in Reference Services Review. This issue of Reference Services Review is all about mobile library services (with lots of awesome, awesome, awesome articles!), so if you are interested in the topic, I’d highly suggest reading the whole shebang. This article from librarians at Oregon State is a perfect read if you are looking to make the case to the powers-that-be that you absolutely should be mobilizing your library website.
Does Where You Work Define Who You Are As An Academic Librarian by Steven Bell at ACRLog – while I actually liked the title and the comments more than the post itself (not that the post was bad by any stretch!), it asks a very interesting question: Does where you work define who you are as a librarian? My answer? YES!!! To me, it’s less about prestige and more about the size and structure of the library. I think where you work early in your career can have a tremendous impact on your career path and on your work personality. I have gotten so accustomed to working in a small place with a very risk-tolerant and change-oriented director where we can move quickly on just about any project, that when I was offered a position at a pretigious ARL library, I turned it down because I knew I’d be miserable dealing with bureaucracy and moving SO SLOWLY on things (not that all ARLs are like that, but I knew this particular position would have sapped my passion and energy). After working at a small place, I really like to wear a lot of hats and work on a lot of different projects. This place really does suit my personality, but I often wonder how different I would be had I first worked at a large ARL with a lot of bureaucracy and a tenure track for librarians. I’ve had so much FREEDOM and CHOICE here and now I feel spoiled by it.
e-texts and (library) accessibility by Char Booth at info-mational – accessibility is a topic that I think most librarians and educators would rather not think about because it ‘s just another thing we have to assess when considering new technologies and services. But try to imagine the person who can’t watch your screencast, can’t use your Meebo widget, and can’t use the Kindle you’re lending out. I’d much rather make text transcripts of my video lectures than potentially marginalize one of my students. This thoughtful post provides great insight into accessible (an inaccessible) design in the digital world and I can’t wait to see the e-text usability/accessibility rubric for librarians that Lucy and Char are going to create. Char is truly a force of nature, churning out one useful article, book, guide (PDF), report, etc. at a dizzying pace. She totally inspires me!