Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Hiatus

Now that the SUNYLA conference is over, and with the impending move to NJ, I'm doing much less commuting than I used to. So I think it's time to take a break for the summer and post only sporadically until the fall semester and/or the start of a new job. 

Until then, here are a few books I'm planning on reading/finishing:

How Buildings Learn by Scott Adams 
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

Feel free to make other recommendations for summer reading! For more 'fun' reading, I'm also using Visual Bookshelf, a Facebook application. 

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ideas about space gathered from SUNYLA


I had the privilege of participating in a presentation at the SUNYLA Conference this year, and of the many ideas I'm now mulling over, here are some I found really compelling:

In the context of assessing (and justifying?) its physical space, the academic library is unique in providing a desirable environment, various academic services (this includes collections), AND access to technology. This combination may be nowhere else on a campus. While each of the elements may be found elsewhere individually, only the library provides all of them together. 

This is a meaningful observation as everyone rethinks the library and its uses, and it ties nicely into other thoughts I've been having about the design of both physical and online spaces. By breaking habits and needs into meaningful pieces, a designer can create a space that is truly practical. Now librarians need to pursue making our online presences as beneficial as our physical ones.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

Information Literacy Part 1

Highs in the 90s 

I know there has already been a great deal written about Information Literacy and libraries, and I'll probably be repeating what others have already said, but I wanted to write down my thoughts before they're influenced by others. (As I read more, I'll be returning to this topic during the coming weeks -- summer can be a good time to catch up on these projects.) 

-This thing called Information Literacy should be out of sight of the student/patron. I think it should be 'behind the scenes' in the library. Students, particularly the Millennials, will not be attracted to the library in order to learn about something called information literacy -- they WILL be attracted to the library if it can help them find information they need. That the two may be interchangeable can  be kept quiet. Here's why I think this: to most students, doing research for an assignment is a chore. The less time spent on research and the more time spent directly completing the assignment, the happier the students. The idea that time doing research is part of an assignment is lost on most students. If there's a way to make the average student excited about the research process, I don't know what it is.

-Information literacy is not going to stick with the Millennials unless it's made directly relevant to assignments and needs. If it's portrayed as a theory that students should learn and follow, they won't do it -- they'll forget and take whatever haphazard shortcuts come naturally.  If information literacy is portrayed in the context of a successful process, they will replicate the process. I think learning the process rather than the theory is how information literacy will be deployed most effectively.

-Information literacy seems to end up most frequently in the lap of the instruction librarian, who transmits the process in classes. I'm sure there are other avenues to seamlessly integrate information literacy into the student research process. (Emphasis on seamless). I'll be keeping my eyes out for them and will record particularly stellar examples here. 

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Jersey Libraries

A bouquet from the Ithaca Farmer's Market

Well, with some trepidation I'm relocating to a different state pretty soon. I don't know a soul there, never mind a librarian, and despite its proximity to New York State, none of my librarian friends knows anyone there either.

As sad as I am to leave beautiful upstate New York and its great libraries, another part of me is really excited to get to know the libraries of New Jersey. Thank goodness librarianship is such a well organized profession -- I'm hoping it won't be too hard to get acquainted.  Can't wait to meet y'all!

Now, is anybody hiring? ;-)