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Archive for the ‘library promotion’ Category

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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Embedding Libraries in Researcher Workflow

Posted by Editor on June 15, 2011

by Roy Tennant, June 14th, 2011

A little while back a tweet came through my stream — thanks, I believe, to @vphill — pointing out a digital collection of lunch trays. Yes, you read that right. Lunch trays. This clearly required investigation, and I couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate to sniff this one out than moi.

It turns out that the University of North Texas is helping a researcher to study the nutrition of school children by photographing lunch trays before and after. By seeing what the children ate, left alone, or destroyed (see torn apart coke can in the pic), they have evidence of what was consumed (or, presumably, thrown) and what was not.

Not long after discovering this I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak to Cathy Hartman from UNT in person about this project at OCLC Research’s (my employer) FutureCast meeting last week. What I find so fascinating, and hopeful, is that the library is much more than simply the grave to which research data is consigned, they are embedded in the research process itself. That is, the researcher is using their repository infrastructure to retain, manage, and organize the data for their research. It is very much a living archive that can be used as long as the researcher (or any who follow) needs, and yet by default it is being preserved and managed by the library.

This is exactly the kind of repository activity that makes sense. By helping to solve a researcher’s problem (how to organize and manage their data) the researcher is inadvertently solving ours — getting our hands on the data in a useful (described) way so we can preserve it for years to come.

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Taiga Forum 2011 Provocative Statements

Posted by Editor on June 6, 2011

 On 11/1/2010, Taiga Forum6 met in Palo Alto to begin developing a new set of provocative statements regarding some future challenges to academic libraries. Another group discussed the draft statements at ALA Midwinter in San Diego in January, 2011.
The Taiga Forum Steering Committee has taken that input and created this third round of Taiga Forum Provocative Statements. As before, the statements are intended to provoke conversation rather than attempt to predict the future. Taiga Forum participants write these statements in recognition of the value of considering potential medium-term futures in planning and decision making.
These statements are not intended to comprehensively cover all issues; they simply represent some of the topics that arose in our discussions. We welcome and encourage comments.

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A Country Without Libraries

Posted by Editor on May 18, 2011

Charles Simic

Photo by Robert DawsonHartland Four Corners, Vermont, 1994. Robert Dawson’s photos of libraries are currently on view in the exhibition Public Library: An American Commons at the San Francisco Public Library.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
—Groucho Marx

All across the United States, large and small cities are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operations. Detroit, I read a few days ago, may close all of its branches and Denver half of its own: decisions that will undoubtedly put hundreds of its employees out of work. When you count the families all over this country who don’t have computers or can’t afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire. People everywhere are unhappy about these closings, and so are mayors making the hard decisions. But with roads and streets left in disrepair, teachers, policemen and firemen being laid off, and politicians in both parties pledging never to raise taxes, no matter what happens to our quality of life, the outlook is bleak.“The greatest nation on earth,” as we still call ourselves, no longer has the political will to arrest its visible and precipitous decline and save the institutions on which the workings of our democracy depend.

I don’t know of anything more disheartening than the sight of a shut down library. No matter how modest its building or its holdings, in many parts of this country a municipal library is often the only place where books in large number on every imaginable subject can be found, where both grownups and children are welcome to sit and read in peace, free of whatever distractions and aggravations await them outside. Like many other Americans of my generation, I owe much of my knowledge to thousands of books I withdrew from public libraries over a lifetime. I remember the sense of awe I felt as a teenager when I realized I could roam among the shelves, take down any book I wanted, examine it at my leisure at one of the library tables, and if it struck my fancy, bring it home. Not just some thriller or serious novel, but also big art books and recordings of everything from jazz to operas and symphonies.

In Oak Park, Illinois, when I was in high school, I went to the library two or three times a week, though in my classes I was a middling student. Even in wintertime, I’d walk the dozen blocks to the library, often in rain or snow, carrying a load of books and records to return, trembling with excitement and anticipation at all the tantalizing books that awaited me there. The kindness of the librarians, who, of course, all knew me well, was also an inducement. They were happy to see me read so many books, though I’m sure they must have wondered in private about my vast and mystifying range of interests.

I’d check out at the same time, for instance, a learned book about North American insects and bugs, a Louis-Ferdinand Céline novel, the poems of Hart Crane, an anthology of American short stories, a book about astronomy and recordings by Bix Beiderbecke and Sidney Bechet. I still can’t get over the generosity of the taxpayers of Oak Park. It’s not that I started out life being interested in everything; it was spending time in my local, extraordinarily well-stacked public library that made me so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Architectural Record Honors Peoria PL!

Posted by Editor on March 29, 2011

Richärd + Bauer, Peoria, Arizona

By Jenna M. McKnight

Sunrise-Mountain-Library-1_Exterior

Photo © Bill Timmerman

In the political realm, Phoenix generally toes the conservative line. Fortunately, when it comes to civic architecture, the city takes a more progressive stance. A case in point: In 1995, residents celebrated the opening of Will Bruder’s colossal Burton Barr Central Library, which quickly earned icon status in the Valley of the Sun. In the following years, as Phoenix expanded at breakneck speed, prominent Southwest architects were tapped to design a string of branch libraries, many of which have appeared in Architectural Record.

The Sunrise Mountain Library, conceived by the local firm Richärd + Bauer and finished in 2009, marks yet another example of the city’s willingness to embrace singular architecture. Constructed for $7.7 million, the 22,000-square-foot building rises from a partly developed swath of land in Peoria, a municipality in northwestern Phoenix. Surrounded by rows of bland, beige homes, the library adds some much-needed pep to a suburban neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web

Posted by Editor on February 15, 2011

Every semester in LIS768: Participatory Service & Emerging Technologies, one option for the Context Book Report assignment is to produce a video or media project. Here are this semester’s submissions.

Blink: http://animoto.com/play/FiGx1F3hgtSX8iRCLFMQ5w

Outliers: http://animoto.com/play/rjgjI4UogPomu5bKSW7qag

Latino Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLJV5_EVq_I

Setting the Table: http://animoto.com/play/tsovePOYnIEEGbX6AbOROQ

Born Digital: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bq9-eRPTP8&

Legendary Brands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y9hD7T2tlc&

Michael’s Note: I struggled with a WP glitch to embed so please just follow the links. I appreciate the work and thought these students put into their reports.

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If Your Library Closed Tomorrow Would Anyone Miss It?

Posted by Editor on October 19, 2010

by Steven B in DBL

There’s a clever Cronk of Higher Education post that pokes fun at how all of us working in higher education think of ourselves as being indispensable. Surely our students and faculty, not to mention our institutions, have no hope of surviving without us. Wrong. As the post suggests, in a humorous way, our institutions would probably get along just fine without is.

And some communities are learning to live without their library. Libraries are closing all the time. Not so much academic libraries, but branch libraries, school libraries and sometimes even entire library systems are closed for good – with the one in Camden, New Jersey among the most recently threatened with closure (fortunately given a reprieve) for now. In the world of consumer goods there are also products and entire businesses that disappear forever from the landscape. A blog post from a Harvard Business Review blogger raised a good question that we should all be asking ourselves on a regular basis. If our library closed tomorrow would anyone miss it? More importantly perhaps, what would they miss and why? Would what is missed reflect the business we think we are in.

When many branch libraries were about to close in Philadelphia, neighborhood residents protested. Even when there was a library branch within two to four miles from their own branch, they still insisted on keeping the library open (and many are despite greatly reduced hours and staff). But many residents wanted the library open because they needed a place for their children to go after school. Sounds like it was more about child care than connecting people with information. That may be presumputous because the afterschool activities could involve homework research, learning how to use resources or technology – not just babysitting. Nowhere did I hear or read anything to suggest the library workers at these branches would be missed – though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the neighborhood residents weren’t concerned about the plight of the staff members. Read the rest of this entry »

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