Should Librarians Rely on Associations for Technology Guidance?

Eric Schnell wonders Should Librarians Rely on Associations for Technology Guidance?

The shelf life of technology has gotten so short that I not so sure I should expect any professional association to provide me with guidance. While annual meetings are a great place to hear about emerging technologies, I believe it should be a part of every librarian's continuous learning process to explore themselves (using tools such as RSS and blogs!) and no longer wait patiently for an annual meeting to hear about them. One needs to find out for themselves how these tools can be used in their daily lives and not wait for someone else to tell them

Authors talk about libraries for Ireland's library week

Booker Prize winner Anne Enright is just one of the authors who talk about their favourite libraries on Library Ireland Week's website at Joseph O'Connor talks about his time at the NYPL while John Boyne says he prefers books to the net.

Beyond Mediocre; or thoughts on running for ALA Council

Christopher Harris Writes About why he's running for Council.

Though it will be a rough road that will need to be mapped as we proceed, I do think we are on the right road in seeking positive changes that maintain the position of libraries as centers for all types of information. As Godin reminds us in a phrase that mirrors Berry’s concerns about the devaluation of library services: “If it were any other way, it would be easy. And if it were any other way, everyone would do it and your work would ultimately be devalued [Godin].” For our work as librarians not to be devalued, we need to change. And, ALA Council must change.

ALA Legal Goons Bring Hammer Down on LITA-L

If you don't read LITA-L you've been missing out on some classic legal decisions. On Wednesday 2 list members posted links to pages about Lawrence Lessig running for congress under the subject "Lawrence Lessig for Congress?" One was Lessig's campaign page, the other, a pointer to the Facebook group "Draft Lessig for Congress." There were no follow-up messages, there was no discussion, nothing more than 2 list members pointing to a few web sites under a subject that ended with a question mark. 7 hours later, LITA-L readers were told to:

"discontinue this discussion. Our legal counsel has advised that "the Internal Revenue Code prohibits ALA from supporting or opposing a candidate for public office. Treasury regulations define the phrase "candidate for public office" as meaning "an individual who offers himself, or is proposed by others, as a contestant for elective public office.""

Most surprising, this message closed with this warning:

"I will be removing all messages on this topic from LITA-L. Please do not continue this discussion."

By now you're probably thinking of all the lawyer jokes you know, but don't finish that thought! The punch line came yesterday afternoon:

"And then in today's American Libraries Direct, which is surely more directly connected to ALA as an organization than lita-l, we see a similarly informational blurb, "Lessig considers a run for Congress"

Midwinter roundup

I have to present my Midwinter report at work today, so I figured I'd organize my thoughts here.

COMM--my new committee is the Committee on Membership Meetings, or COMM. We pick a topic for discussion and lay out the agenda for the sparsely attended ALA Membership Meetings at Annual. I always try to attend these and I'm not sure why others don't. Too many conflicts, I'd guess? This year we'll be discussing electronic participation, which should be interesting and timely. Very smooth committee, I very much enjoyed the meeting. Things actually got done!

Balancing Baby and Book--a new discussion group for ACRL about parenting in academia. Probably one of the best things I attended. I met a lot of other new parents and future parents and we got to compare how our places of work dealt with balance issues. I hope this goes somewhere--I haven't heard from anyone since we left Philly.

EBSCO Lunch--EBSCO is doing some interesting things but I lost the handouts. I don't remember any groundshaking revelations though.

NMRT All Committee Meeting and Candidate Forum--I am running for NMRT Treasurer so I got to answer questions about what I would do if I won. I'm almost 'graduated' from this group (you can only belong for your first ten years of ALA) and I will miss it when my time's up.

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Leadership and Change

It takes a leader to face the reality of change; especially to face it, embrace it, and look for fresh views from people who might have some insights on how things could or should be - instead of being focused on how things are and why they should stay the same. A week or two ago, Jim Rettig — you know, the incoming ALA President — asked two sets of questions on NMRT-L. Leadership and Change is Aaron the Librarian's BIG answer.

Inevitably the people governing an organization are those who already know how to use the organization; just as we librarians are always trying to look at libraries with “new eyes” and make our libraries open and easy for the people coming in for the first time, its great that you as incoming president seem to be taking the time to try to step back and see ALA through the eyes of a “new user.” Like many a freshman student seeing a university library for a first time, I’m looking at ALA and seeing something that is enormous and filled with a lot of intimidating stuff that I really have no clue as to the value of, and very few clues on where to start trying to figure out how to make it most useful to me. So far, this NMRT list seems to be the closest thing to inviting and helpful signage that I’ve found!


OLA: The First 100 Days

You might wonder why the ALA needs an office called the Office for Library Advocacy. I sure do. Shouldn't the entire organization be the Association for Library Advocacy? Are they really so busy debating stupid council resolutions they needed to set up a new office for something that should be a primary function? But I digress...

In any case... Over at ALA Marganalia They Have A Post "OLA: The First 100 Days." ALA’s newest office, the Office for Library Advocacy (OLA), became official at the start of ALA’s fiscal year, September 1, 2007. Its existence is a direct response to ALA member needs identified through a number of surveys over the last several years. Advocacy is one of six goal areas in the ALA Ahead to 2010 strategic plan.

The purpose of OLA is to support the efforts of library advocates at the local, state and national level. The office works to create resources, training and peer-to-peer networks to help local advocates fulfill their local advocacy goals for the improvement of libraries of all types.

It looks like at least one office has some worthy goals!


CASLIS announces the creation of the Government Information Professionals Section

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) is proud to announce the creation of the Government Information Professionals Section.

The Government Information Professionals Section represents the interests of librarians and information workers who provide library and information services to departments, agencies, and crown corporations of federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments.


The Value of Libraries: 2008 CASLIS Ottawa Seminar

CASLIS Ottawa writes "CASLIS Ottawa is pleased to invite you to a two-day seminar to explore the value of special libraries — how we measure it and how we communicate it. The seminar will be held January 23 and 24, 2008 at 395 Wellington Street.

Special libraries — whether corporate, government or not-for-profit — face the constant struggle of justifying their existence and budgets and of explaining their value to their stakeholders. For more information, visit"

Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved Grant

Here's good news about a one-time grant from the Association for Library Service to Children and Candlewick Press, publisher of Kate DiCamillo's popular kids books to honor a library (plus several honorable mentions) that serve underserved populations of young readers.

Said DiCamillo: "When I was a child from a broken home in search of comfort, librarians handed me a book. I am proud to join with ALSC today in this ongoing effort to put books into the hands of children who need the books--the light--the most."

Special population children may include those who have learning or physical differences, speak English as a second language, are in a non-traditional school environment or a non-traditional family setting (such as teen parents, foster children, children in the juvenile justice system and children in gay and lesbian families) and those who need accommodation service to meet their needs.


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