Archive for January, 2008

Libraries and IT: together forever?

This week I’ve been working with colleagues on an MLA presentation proposal about libraries’ alternative management techniques. While doing preliminary research I stumbled across today’s (January 18, 2008) Chronicle of Higher Education. One of the front page stories, “Strains and joys color mergers between libraries and tech units” caught my attention.

I work in a small liberal arts college with no library director but a “management team”. We are fortunate to have a non-librarian as part of our team who oversees our Educational Technology department. She offers insight that the librarians tend to overlook especially from a technological perspective. While reading the article I was surprised to learn that some libraries struggle with the concept of “blended” environments particularly when we use the term so often.

The article mentions a half dozen various colleges and universities, both private and public, and the trials, tribulations, and triumphs each experienced. Each institute had its own reasons for combining the library with information technology services. These blended “learning commons” or “information commons” allow for stream-lined accessibility for our users. David Dodd, CIO at Xavier University in Cincinnati, says that “colleges ‘have to be better than Google'” and I believe that to be true.

It’s time libraries shed the dusty, quiet book repository image and started to become (or continued to be, whichever the case may be) the information mecca for the institute complete with appropriate technology and support that today’s students expect.

-dana pawloski

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MLA Annual Conference 2008

The Michigan Library Association just had its 2007 conference but already its necessary to plan for the 2008 conference. Presentation abstracts for the October conference are due at the end of the month. Dana and I -your MALC bloggers- along with 3 other librarians have already begun putting together a presentation relating to library management.

While I’m here I might as well sell this helpful book:

book picture

-John Potter

Shhhhh!

You’ve heard the stereotypes for a librarian; the hair-in-bun, sensible shoes, cat loving, shushing ladies of the library. Recently, it seems every article or blog I read discusses these stereotypes. Diving deeper into the issue I find that my male colleagues suffer from their own set of “guy-brarian” stereotypes.

The Grand Rapids press published an article January 7, 2008 titled, “Modern librarians are hip, tech-savvy” that shines a little light on what we really do and how cool our job really is. In spite of appearing on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Careers 2008” and Kiplinger’s “7 Great Careers for 2007” lists, librarians still encounter bias.

After some searching, I realized that this issue doesn’t fully apply to academic librarians. Even though I enjoy a good pair of Birkenstocks, I have never worn my hair in a bun, I am not a cat person, and I have never shushed anyone without good cause. I’m wondering if any of my fellow academic librarians, particularly the men out there, has been a victim of professional discrimination.

I work with two male librarians, and though they are very different, they may as well share one name. Has anyone had similar experiences? Does anyone have any good stereotypical stories to share? I know I could carry on, but I’d like to hear others’ anecdotes.