Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

The Shelfari

Yes, I’m back from a 2-month vacation from the blog– procrastination is never pretty. What inspired a new post? The Shelfari— a digital bookshelf you can put on your blog or website (as I have done– here and on my website (at bottom).

My wife is a frequent book reviewer so Shelfari is an exceptional tool to display 5-star reviewed books (and provide a review excerpt as well). As part of my website, Shelfari also allows readers to quickly see where my interests lie. FAQs about the Shelfari are found here.


Rank and tenure in the academic library

In my previous post I mentioned that academic librarians are generally satisfied with their work. I wonder how much of the happiness is attributed to the rank and tenure status of the position or simply the satisfaction of helping that hesitant student. Even though we are all “academic librarians” our various institutions and positions are very disparate. I know a lot of librarians in assorted public, academic, and special libraries and no two are alike in their job duties. I know a library is specific to its locale, clientele, mission, etc. but it seems even within one group, say academic libraries, there is such diversity.

Of the academic librarians I know, some are considered faculty at their institute, some are staff, and some are somewhere in between perhaps with “faculty status”. I wonder what role this status plays on our level of job satisfaction. The same January 31st Library Journal article I referenced before mentions that there is a “solid correlation between salary and job satisfaction levels” but what about rank and tenure issues? How does that play into satisfaction?

It is very interesting how the issue of rank and tenure for librarians in academia is so different. Is this what makes academic librarians happy librarians (rank) or does it have any effect on job satisfaction at all and to what extent, if so?

Dana Pawloski

Academic librarians are happy librarians

I try to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry by perusing the trade journals, but, like many of my colleagues, I’m sure your daily duties keep you from reading it all. It isn’t until someone physically places something on my desk or, better yet, emails me a link to an interesting article that I actually get around to reading some trade news. This week a coworker emailed me the Library Journal’s (LJ) Academic Newswire for January 31st. It contained LJ’s survey results for academic librarians’ job satisfaction.

My career has taken interesting twists and turns along the way working in large public libraries, small academic libraries, one of the world’s largest corporate libraries, and even in publishing. I do believe after several years of testing the waters I was meant to be in academic libraries. Nothing is more fulfilling to see than students’ light bulbs flicker on when they’ve grasped the concept of this database over that one, they’ve finalized their final research project, or the collective gratitude of a class following a very productive, interactive bibliographic instruction.

I am but one academic librarian. I did not participate in LJ’s survey, but 93.4% of the 1,209 respondents agreed that they were very satisfied, satisfied, or somewhat satisfied with their jobs as academic librarians. I can’t help but think that happy academic librarians make for happy students.

-dana pawloski


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.

Meeting notes from the MALC Executive Committee

The MALC Executive Committee met Friday, December 7th, 2007. Following are highlights from the meeting:

 Follow up and feedback on the MALC fall meeting. That meeting’s minutes can also be found on this blog.
 The Special Collection (print and digital) Task Force will have more information available at the spring meeting.
 Details for the MALC spring meeting were discussed. The meeting will be held April 4, 2008 and hosted by Saginaw Valley State University.
 Interest in offsite storage was shared by only six institutions. Since this does not appear to be a priority issue for the membership, the Executive Committee has completed its work. Any documents pertaining to this topic will appear in the Reports section of the MALC site. The six institutions that were interested will be forwarded to MLC for possible collaboration.
 Items tabled to January’s meeting:
o the website (
o gathering and linking various topics of interest to academic libraries such as job descriptions, Teach Act, Patriot Act, collection development policies, copyright statements
 Membership invoices will be sent out in February 2008

The Hiring Process

What are the odds that I am both an interviewer and interviewee during the same month?

As an interviewee, it can become quite difficult to suppress both apprehension and raised expectations. Failing to receive a position can play havoc with one’s self-confidence (even if you believe a better-qualified candidate is in the mix). And little can be done to ameliorate this process.

But the view is entirely different sitting on other side of the table. As an interviewer, you’re acutely aware that your final decision will have long-term consequences. So you may find yourself juggling several applicant’s strengths and weaknesses in your mind when decision-time is at hand. Indeed, taking into account each candidate’s experience, personality, maturity (as well as other subjective qualities) can be challenging. And when several qualified applicants put forth serious effort toward the position you may even hate to choose.

An interesting website I found about alternative hiring criteria (in general) can be found here

Introducing Dana Pawloski from Marygrove College

When I attended the fall MALC conference last month, I asked fellow MALC member Dana Pawloski from Marygrove College if she would like to serve as co-blogger. I’m happy to say that she has graciously accepted– so don’t be surprised to be reading more MALC Blog posts in the future.

Now for something completely different…

Chinese pianist Lang Lang plays excellent classical piano with Chinese flavor– here is a sample. His Dragon Songs CD has a very interesting DVD documenting Lang Lang’s popularity within China. The narrator provides interesting commentary/film detailing Western classical music’s popularity among young Chinese as well. 5 stars!

Hope to see everyone at the Library Director’s Summit on August 8th.

Visiting Merit Network in Ann Arbor

Taking advantage of MLA’s TechnoTour, I left for Ann Arbor Friday to visit the Merit Network in Ann Arbor. Merit is advertising itself as..

“..a member-based organization that facilitates collaboration between educational , health care, non-profit, governmental, and research communities, Merit Network connects organizations and builds communities through state-of-the-art networking services and support”

As such, it employs an Internet2 connection for very high-speed (768 Kbps+, up to 4MB) videoconferencing. The MLA tour was attended by about 20 librarians at Merit’s (relatively) new headquarters to see a well-presented demonstration. Merit is highlighting its 24/7 videoconferencing services to professionals who might be interested in distance learning, telemedicine, and collaborative applications.

Those interested in scheduling videoconferencing services should visit here. For more information visit the Video Conferencing Cookbook. For video basics, see this article or this powerpoint display

here in this pdf file

The Freakonomics Blog

If you haven’t read the book, you can at least enjoy the blog.