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Archive for the ‘Library Management’ Category

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries released by ARL

Posted by Editor on January 26, 2012

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) on Thursday released a “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.” According to ARL, it is “a clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education.” Fair use is a fuzzy legal doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the copyright holder.


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The Public Library as an Incubator for the Arts

Posted by Editor on January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 | 9:58 AM | By 

Arguably, those who believe a public library is simply a repository of print books haven’t been to a public library lately. Here at MindShift, we’ve been covering the ways in which the library is evolving to change the demands of digital technologies and of its patrons: libraries are becoming learning labsinnovation centers, and makerspaces.

Of course, the public library has always been a community center as much as a place to go to check out books to read, so the new extensions of the library’s service may not be so far afield from the institution’s mission to provide access to information. Even so, much of the emphasis has been on literacy — reading and writing, digital and analog — and not on other forms of creativity.

But three graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies have launched a project that points to another important way in which libraries play a key role in their communities. The Library as Incubator Project highlights some of the ways in which libraries and local artists can work together.

I spoke with Erinn Batykefer, Laura Damon-Moore, and Christina Endres about the project.

Q. What was the inspiration for the Library as Incubator Project? Read the rest of this entry »

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Be a solutions provider not just an ingredients supplier

Posted by Editor on January 6, 2012

Recommending that librarians should provide different levels of service to community members is right up there with advocating for the end of reference desks or a future dominated by bookless libraries. It can be volatile subject matter for discussion. The library is a commons that is owned by each community member, and each of those members is equally eligible to receive all the benefits and services and access all the resources to which he or she is entitled. In an age of heightened customer expectations, does the “everyone is equal” approach still work or should librarians be more customer centric.

What does it mean to be customer centric? That is the subject of a new book by Peter Fader, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In this new book titled Customer Centricity, Fader promotes the idea that successful organizations will wisely segment their customers, and create special services for the most valued customers – services that might be unavailable to other customers. Being customer centric means more than just giving community members everything they want. As he explains in an interview:

Too many people think that being customer centric means doing everything that your customers want, and that’s not the case. Being friendly and offering good service are a part of customer centricity, but they are not the whole thing. Customer centricity means that you’re going to be friendly, provide good service and develop new products and services for the special focal customers — the ones who provide a lot of value for you — but not necessarily for the other ones. You need to pick and choose. Some customers deserve the special treatment, and if others want to buy from you, that’s great, but they are not going to be treated the same.

While the goal of customer centricity may be unthinkable to some librarians, when we honestly assess how we treat community members, we already make distinctions between them and offer special treatment to some and not others. In academic libraries we certainly treat faculty members differently than students. We may offer faculty a book delivery service while everyone else has to come to the library. A faculty member’s research question is typically prioritized. Not fair perhaps, but it’s critical to build a good relationship with the faculty. It’s part of what we do to keep them satisfied; our funding might depend on it. Read the rest of this entry »

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LJ Virtual Tech Summit Explores How Libraries Use Tech To Connect with Patrons

Posted by Editor on December 16, 2011

By David Rapp

LJ’s Virtual Tech Summit on December 8, “Power to the Patron: From Systems to Services,” brought together sharp minds from across the country, addressing a range of cutting-edge technologies in the library world—from mobile apps to print-on-demand to patron-driven ebook acquisition to the future of data access. But with all the wide-ranging discussion, the focus remained on patrons, and how libraries can best use tech to provide them with the best services. [The summit archives are now available online for registrants.] Platinum sponsors for the event were SirsiDynix and Comprise Technologies.

The future of digital storytelling
Keynoting the day-long event was by Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, who took a wide view on technology trends and how technology affects interactions with patrons.

Alexander is a member of the advisory board for the New Media Consortium’s and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s Horizon Report, the annual report on technology trends in higher education. He touched on trends highlighted in the most recent report. Among these are augmented-reality software applications (by tying “digital data to the surface of the earth” using location services like Google Maps, he said, such apps can create “a new way of reinterpreting and re-experiencing the world”) and game-based learning (as motion-control game interfaces, for example, are “already beginning to shake up everything we do”), both of which he said will likely become more mainstream within the next few years. He also noted the rise of ebooks, and particularly mobile apps and social networking, which he said have made many people “storytellers.”

But where do libraries fit into such future technological trends? In the post-keynote Q&A moderated by Lisa Carlucci Thomas, director of library consultancy design think do and Virtual Tech Summit project lead, Alexander noted that librarians are the professionals “best equipped to help us with a lot of the challenges around [digital] storytelling,” such as questions regarding copyright issues. He also said that technologies that most people don’t already have, such as large display screens, might make inroads in library spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reevaluating the Role of the Research Librarian

Posted by Editor on September 28, 2011

By Rya Ben-Shir and Alexander Feng, in Bio IT World

September 27, 2011 | If your image of a research librarian is the soft-spoken, bespectacled woman politely shushing you when you’re talking in the library, that outdated perception couldn’t be further from the truth. Research librarians are highly skilled data analysts and business experts playing key roles in driving company performance, particularly in life sciences organizations. They ensure the most talented project teams make the right choices, perform at their highest levels, and reach outcomes their companies are striving for.

And yet, many life science organizations—Pfizer and Genentech are just two recent examples—have cut back or eliminated their library research staff, believing the myth that everything is free on the Internet. Many more are experimenting with outsourcing research librarian services to India or China—producing unsatisfactory and low quality work.

Organizations that make these misguided “penny wise, pound foolish” decisions are failing to recognize the vital contributions that these important, skillful team members make in researching business intelligence, patent landscapes, safety signals, tracking competitors and much more.

One newly recruited scientist being introduced to his new employers’ research librarian stated: “When our research librarians were all eliminated, as many departments as could found a way to convert an open position to hang on to at least one of them for their own group. We became the haves and the have nots. A project creating and accessing the competitive landscape for a new compound we were considering in-licensing went from a couple of hours when done by a research librarian to weeks when I was left to do it… I would not work without a research library function again, if I could help it.”

Making the right decisions based on insightful analysis of the most relevant data can make a critical difference in companies whose futures rely on new product development. Adding an expert research librarian/information specialist to your “A-Team” dramatically increases your chance of success in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, where the project, product, and start-up failure rate is high. Read the rest of this entry »

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How do you get feedback from library users? (Or, Beating Survey Fatigue…)

Posted by Editor on August 12, 2011

by Ned Potter

John Kennerly just drew my attention on twitter, to an article about how students are getting survey fatigue. (The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education, you can read it here.)

I’m really interested in how to get feedback – not just from students in academic libraries, but from all patrons for all types of libraries. My interest has been piqued recently because of:

  • Terry Kendrick pointing out in a marketing workshop that “…it’s no good asking people what their needs are; they’ll just come up with some guff to help you with your survey!”
    Think about when you were last asked about your needs. What was your main driver in answering – expressing those needs, or just making the question go away? Even those with the best of intentions may come with answers just to try and help the surveyor, rather than truly delving into themselves to try and think about what they need. Plus, needs are based partly on what you know is possible – people might not mention stuff because they don’t even know it’s something the library has any ability to fulfil.
  • Stephen Abram mentioning at SLA2011 how much better the focus groups he ran went when he gave everyone a $5 Starbucks card and told them to spend it and bring a coffee and muffin to the meeting
    I can imagine a million and one purse-string holders saying “We can’t afford to spend $50 on a focus group!” But actually that’s a pretty good use of $50…
  • The quote from Henry Ford that resurfaces fairly often
    On the Model T Ford: “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they’d’ve said a faster horse…”
  • A recent revelation at work that a survey we hadn’t had time to publicise got more respondents than the previous year when we’d gone all out
    Could be a coincidence, of course. But maybe there’s something in there about the psychology of trying to elicit feedback?

These are all interesting points, I think. So what are you doing to ascertain what your patrons are thinking? Is there something more reliable than surveys? And if you’re asking them via social media, how did you find out what social media platforms they used in the first place…?

All comments gratefully received!  Read this great article, and more, here

– thewikiman

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On academic leadership, from Confessions of a Science Librarian

Posted by Editor on August 10, 2011

by John Dupuis, here.

No, the purpose of this post isn’t to reveal the secrets of successful academic leadership. If I had those, believe you me I’d be writing this from my villa on the French Riviera.

However, I am heading off to the Harvard Graduate School of Education‘s Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians in Boston next week where I hope to be a least a little more enlightened and educated along that path.

Not surprisingly I’ve been watching the blogosphere these last few months for insightful posts and articles about academic leadership, in particular academic library leadership. I’ve found a few and I thought I’d share them with you.

First of all, though, I’d like to mention what the course textbook is. It’s Reframing Academic Leadership by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos. It a very good book with both practical and theoretical approaches to leadership that I find quite interesting. What’s really useful is that is situates the challenges of leadership within the unique environment of collegial governance, the demands of research/teaching/service and a tenured professoriat/librarian complement. It’s well worth reading. I hope to get around to a more detailed review later in the summer.

Anyways, here’s some of the things I’ve found over the last little while. It’s all on the open web so I’m sure there’s lots of books and articles that would be useful that I haven’t linked to. It’s worth noting that I didn’t only look for stuff on leadership but also ideas that are useful for leaders or potential leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recognizing Innovation, by Stephen Abram

Posted by Editor on July 5, 2011

Published in Information Today here.

How do we recognize innovation in libraries? Is it like great art or pornography? That is to say, “I’ll know it when I see it.” I think that there may be some truth to this clich`E9, but it’s also a function of keeping an open mind—ideally, all the time. Innovations and innovative ideas crop up all the time and in many places. You can learn the ability to “see” innovation earlier in the cycle rather than in retrospect with the rest of the crowd.

It is dependent on the skill of being a good “noticer.” Jane Dysart uses this skill all the time when she plans library technology conferences up to a year in advance. How do you plan a technology conference that will be current in the fast-changing field of technology, information, and libraries? How do you notice early that something is new or changing, becoming a real or emerging trend, or that the innovation is maturing into standard practice? This is a key aspect of innovation awareness: noticing when change is nascent and determining when it’s just a fun fad or a major trend, useful or not ready for prime time, or an incremental improvement or game changer. All innovations can be important, but there’s a big difference between those that merely improve a current process and those that are transformational.

I can’t list all the ways one can recognize innovation. The skill can be as much attitude and aptitude as good process. Personally, I think that there are basically two methods that complement each other: trusting your gut reaction and decent, regular, environmental scanning. Innovation is change. Lack of innovation is fossilization, and that’s easy to spot!

Here are 10 tips to help your library remain innovative:

  1. Does the thing/innovation/change you’re reviewing make you uncomfortable? If it does, it’s affecting you on some gut level. It’s rare to have a neutral feeling about change, so if you’re feeling something, it is likely that it is a real change. Trust your gut about discomfort. Do you care? Do your users or clients care?
  2. Do you feel like arguing about the innovation? That can often mean that you’ve already engaged with the idea or innovation. If it engages you, it is probably more significant than those features or ideas inspiring yawns.
  3. Is the thing, idea, product, service, or process that you’re looking at disruptive? If you say yes, then it’s likely that it is innovative. (Sadly, this isn’t enough to mean that it’s good.)
  4. Ask yourself what the change represents. Is it a significant, new functionality for a current product or service offering? Is it a new or novel form for delivering a well-known functionality? Is it a significant, new functionality in a completely new product or service? For example, you can add online holds to an OPAC, add mobile access on all devices, or add virtual references or social recommendations. All are innovative on some scale, but some are more innovative and transformational. How big is it? What does it span? Read the rest of this entry »

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In the NY Times – Expendabilty of school librarians?

Posted by Editor on June 29, 2011


School librarians are on the chopping block as states and cities seek to cut their education budgets.

In New York City, education officials say that after several years in a row of cutting costs, freezing wages and eliminating extracurricular activities, they may have no choice but to turn to librarians. And with technological advances, education policy makers are rethinking how they view library services in general.

Do superintendents and principals see librarians as more expendable than other school employees? If so, why?

(Note: An earlier version of this introduction included a quotation from Shael Polakow-Suransky, New York City’s chief academic officer, about libraries and technology in the classroom, from The Times’s news article on nationwide budget pressures on school libraries. For his views on the issue, see the article.)

Read this article here.

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2010 top ten trends in academic libraries

Posted by Editor on June 17, 2011

A review of the current literature from the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee in C&RL News

The ACRL Research, Planning and Review Committee, a component of the Research Coordinating Committee, is responsible for creating and updating a continuous and dynamic environmental scan for the association that encompasses trends in academic librarianship, higher education, and the broader environment. As a part of this effort, the committee develops a list of the top ten trends that are affecting academic libraries now and in the near future. This list was compiled based on an extensive review of current literature (see selected bibliography at the end of this article). The committee also developed an e-mail survey that was sent to 9,812 ACRL members in February 2010. Although the response rate was small (about five percent), it helped to clarify the trends.

The trends are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Academic library collection growth is driven by patron demand and will include new resource types. Budget reductions, user preferences for electronic access to materials, limited physical space, and the inability to financially sustain comprehensive collections have led many academic libraries to shift from a “just-in-case” to a “just-in-time” philosophy. This change has been facilitated by customized patron-driven acquisitions programs from some major library book distributors, improved print-on-demand options for monographs, patron desire for new resource types, and resource sharing systems, such as RapidILL, offering 24-hour turnaround time for article requests. Still to be determined are the long-term effects of this change on the ability of academic libraries to meet their clientele’s information needs, the stability of some of the new access methods, and implications for future scholarship. Increasingly, libraries are acquiring local collections and unique materials and, when possible, digitizing them to provide immediate, full-text online access to increase visibility and use. Access to full-text sources, not the discovery of the sources, is a major issue for scholars.1
    • These materials may include special collections, university archives, and/or the scholarly output of faculty and students. Libraries also recognize the need to collect, preserve, and provide access to digital datasets.
    • According to a 2009 OCLC report, datasets are beginning to be made available online for “collecting,” but libraries still need to learn how to support discovery.2 The 2010 Horizon Report identified visual data analysis tools as one of the emerging technologies most likely to enter mainstream use on campuses within the next four-to-five years.3 Additional collection development trends noted by survey respondents include the effect of Google Books on library collections, the monopolization of content resulting from consolidation in the publishing industry and the demise of a number of smaller publishers and publications, and a growth in shared collection development.
  2. Budget challenges will continue and libraries will evolve as a result. This is a trend no one wants to see continue, but one that is real for many postsecondary institutions. Many libraries faced stagnant or reduced operating and materials budgets for the 2009–10 fiscal year, and the near future will likely bring additional budget pressures.
    • According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average return for college and university endowments in the 2009 fiscal year was −18.7 percent, the worst since 1974. In addition, federal stimulus dollars for education are running out, with only 14.2 percent of the stimulus money set aside for states’ education budget remaining for the 2011 fiscal year and 20 states with nothing left to spend; the proportion of state budgets spent on public colleges and the proportion of college budgets that come from the state were already declining, with the recession exacerbating a trend whereby state spending on higher education failed to keep up with enrollment growth and inflation; even when the economy improves, state revenues typically lag in their recovery by at least two years.4 Survey respondents are concerned about the effect of budget pressures on their ability to attract and retain staff, build collections, provide access to resources and services, and develop and implement innovative services. Read the rest of this entry »

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