So, my new plan is to migrate all the archives to bacteria, make a few copies in case of mutations, and then sit back and relax for the next million years. Sound good?
[Originally seen on Boing Boing]
Just in case anyone missed 60 Minutes last night (!), Andy Rooney’s sesh took him to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, and contained Mr. Rooney’s brief analysis of the rare book trade.
It’s spring, school’s out, and it’s time to reconsider the work wardrobe. We are indebted to Cathy Horyn, who this week unpacked how difficult it is to talk sensibly about how difficult it is to find appropriate clothes. She was talking about ladies of a certain age who can afford Prada. But we are talking about librarians, and the quest to find a professional wardrobe. In short: retire your khakis and Danskos! Correspondents KBD and Mimi scoured the street fashions of The Sartorialist and have some suggestions.
I’ll say it again- although I’m not the sort to identify with management gurus, I keep finding the Brazen Careerist insanely pertinent! And it seems like I’m not the only one- after Jane and I talked about Penelope Trunk’s dues-paying post, she sparked a sizable blog discussion about it.
So, today, BC in joint venture with millenial-geared Employee Evolution, has Ryan Healy saying, “Throw away e-learning”. Because it’s cheap in the worst way, impersonal, and generally insulting. Because it doesn’t do what hands-on, applicable learning, guidance, and mentorship does. Because it’s over-used and abused. Does this sound like libraries and archives? Yes and no.
I’d be hard pressed to find an entry-level librarian these days who hadn’t experienced at least some e-training. Graduate programs in LIS almost universally use online classes, some do so exclusively. On the job, I’ve seen online classes, webcasts and other permutations of teaching-facilitated-by-the -internet ranging from nuts and bolts tech training to management and patron service.
Both in grad school and on the job, I’ve sat through totally useless programs, and had my perspective changed by really effective ones. The distance programs at UW and UIUC seem to be among the best in the field, regardless of their delivery, and have solved a long-standing need in underserved regions. And word up to Five Weeks to a Social Library.
But my own frustration is so very similar to Healy’s. As a new librarian served with some heavy-lifting tech related tasks and working in an environment with not a lot of built-in support, I knew what I wanted to do, had a vague idea of what I needed to learn, and absolutely no clue as to how I could learn it, much less implement it. E-learning was posed as a panacea for the basic tenets. But I also needed context, guidance, and mentorship in my job.
So here’s what I’m saying to library and archives leaders: dose new professionals’ e-learning with check-ins, goal setting, mentorship and community support. Make peer mentorship an important, evaluated part of our jobs. If there aren’t possible mentors where I work, find me one in the community and pay them for it, if necessary. If I want to learn more about something related to my job duties, help me find training, but also help me figure out how to use and implement whatever it is that I’m learning, so that it’s valuable to our organization. And most important, don’t make me sit through anything you wouldn’t sit through yourself.
I love LibraryThing. I know not every library-type does, but I had a ton of fun entering in all the books from my library, uploading cover shots, and making a little blog widget of my books that pops up every time I refresh my blog. I even use the list of ten random books from my library to decide what to read next!
I got on the LibraryThing bus over a year ago, and since then a lot of things have changed. There are way more users, way more books, which makes for better automatic recommendations (better than Amazon for sure), and some interesting reviews. There is a well developed forum section (that I don’t use that much, but I’m glad it’s there), and a seriously intense tag library. I like that the developers are open to suggestions, responsive, and creative. New features are added at least monthly, and often more than that.
And if all that wasn’t enough, LibraryThing has just rolled out its first actual implementation of LibraryThing for Libraries at the Danbury Library in Danbury, CT. Read the article for all the details, and be impressed with how easy (and free!) the implementation of Web 2.0 funstuffs alongside regular old OPAC technology can be. Obviously there are still some bugs, and this is the first rollout, so not everything is going to be perfect, but I’m already excited about the implications for combining traditional and tag-based cataloging, as well as the recommendations that lead you to recommended books that your local library has on the shelves.
Don’t we all need more library things in our lives?