From my email to your eyes. Please nominate your favorite awesomest librarians.
The editors of Library Journal need your help in identifying the emerging leaders in the library world. The sixth annual Movers & Shakers supplement will profile 50-plus up-and-coming individuals from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. From librarians to vendors to others who work in the library field, Movers & Shakers 2007 will celebrate the new professionals who are moving our libraries ahead. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2006.
You can use the online form here [warning: print out a copy before you submit, in case your submission fails and everything you wrote vanishes]. Or, if you prefer, print out the PDF and return it to Ann Kim at LJ, 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010, or fax to 646-746-6734.
update: not sure if your favorite librarian has been a Mover and Shaker before? Check out Marylaine’s handy (and alphebatized) list of past honorees. Thanks so much for putting this together Marylaine!
FLOSS is an acronym standing for Free/Libre Open Source Software and it’s the term people use when they’re trying to describe the intersection of what’s free and what’s open source. Eric Goldhagen gave a great talk about FLOSS (ppt) at the Simmons Skillshare and sent us off with a list of FLOSS tools that can replace what we’re already using in libraries, from Open Source IM clients to whole free operating systems. It made me happy, then, to read about Howard County Library in Maryland moving to a user experience on their computers that they call Groovix. This web4lib post has the details but it’s an ubuntu-based system that covers all the bases of what people use PACs for using free (not always open source) tools. They end their post with this note
Howard County Library is a pioneer in Maryland in using Open Source software on public and staff machines. Because Open Source software is available free or at a very modest cost, the Library can provide public computers at a fraction of the cost using comparable commercially-available software.
Sounds neat, doesn’t it? I’ve often though, and said in my talks, that a lot of software problems are management issues disguised as money issues. We say we can’t afford to change, when what we mean is that we don’t know how. FLOSS-curious? Check out this Wikipedia Free Software portal. Yeah I said Wikipedia, for all of its flaws, at least they’re not trying to sell you anything.
By 2009, half the libraries in Britain will have wifi according to a new report form the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (pdf). One of the stated benefits is the fact that it will give libraries more flexible use of their space which is a real boon for tiny libraries. Just an update on the tiny libraries that I work with, out of the six that I work with and the one that is in my town, all seven have broadband now and three have wireless. When I started my job three had dial-up and none had wireless. I can’t take credit for all of this happening — I only helped directly with a few projects — but I think for the librarians having someone around to talk to about broadband/wireless really helped them feel more confident about taking the plunge with new technologies. In most cases the libraries are the only public internet in the town, it’s been a hugeleap forward in terms of rural access.
Books are getting lost. When they’re lost people don’t check them out. When people don’t check them out, we think people don’t like them. When we think people don’t like them, we sometimes weed them (if we can find them). Why is this happening? Bad cataloging, especially in books written in non-English languages. What’s going on, and how is rampant copy-cataloging making the problem worse?
Recently, [researcher Joyce] Flynn checked Harvard’s less-than-25-year-old computer-based catalogue system, and discovered that many – perhaps most – of the Gaelic and Irish books with Na … titles are miscatalogued and so, in this odd way, are half-missing. That catalogue system is now the only way the public can access titles in the Harvard College Library collections.
“The issue goes beyond just Harvard’s Widener Library,” Flynn says. “Because Widener is often the first North American library to acquire and catalogue an obscure foreign language title, Widener’s cataloguing data frequently become the standard for libraries that acquire the book later.
When I went to the Society for American Archivists conference, one of the reasons I was invited was to be a positive presence and advocate for librarians (and by extension, archivists) using blogs, or at least paying attention to them. Many people told me “you think librarians don’t use technology, wait til you meet archivists!” I think there is a lot of competitive jostling in the multi-way tie for last place for “getting” technology in some of the helping professions, but as always, people are doing some neat things to sovle the problem.
Mark Matienzo, who I saw at SAA and at Library Camp and managed to not say hello to, has a few neat thoughts and widgets. First, a post at hig blog The Secret Mirror about how he selects and thinks about archive blogs. This is particularly interesting, because Mark is the maintainer of the ArchivesBlogs site which aggregates the content of blogs by and for archivists. It’s also noteworthy as a resonse to this post by Thomas Lannon, himself an archivist, in which he blogs about disliking blogs. How meta! Food for thought, as always.
I have witnessed how blogging tends to suck the life out of people as they turn from multidimensional humans into single-minded RSS feeds. Blogging deserves a large amount of criticism even from those who do partake in it, as a technology it rests on flimsy foundations of emerging, changing tools and only a slim representation of people find time to write them. Constructive criticism is just and no matter how much I think blogging is purile, I still canâ€™t help from posting these silly notes.