“One doesn’t normally think of small liberal arts colleges as having very much of a role in affecting the direction of scholarly communication in general or academic publishing in particular. But Bryn Geffert, head librarian at Amherst College in Massachusetts, believes the can and should. With the endorsement of Amherst’s president and Board of Trustees, he has recently launched Amherst College Press, which will produce a handful of edited, peer-reviewed, digital-first books on “a very small number of subjects.” “We want to do a few things well, not overextend,” he says. Staff retirements have allowed Geffert to repurpose two salary lines in the library’s budget into an editorial staff, including a press director—”somebody who’s absolutely committed to open access,” he says. “That’s a fundamental value for the press.”
“Librarian questions quality of a publishing house. Librarian publicly criticizes said press on his personal blog. Two years later, librarian and current employer get sued for libel and damages in excess of $4 million. That’s been the progression of events for Dale Askey, associate university librarian at McMaster University in Ontario, where he’s been working since 2011. At the time of his blog post, in August 2010, Askey was a tenured associate professor at Kansas State University, where librarians are granted faculty status. He said his comments about Edwin Mellen Press, since removed from his blog, pertained to his work, assessing materials for potential inclusion in Kansas State’s library collection in a time of diminishing resources”
via Inside Higher Ed
“Last week, Salon published a piece by Laura Miller entitled “Bring back shushing librarians,” focusing on some of the findings from our recent report on library services. “[T]here’s a lot to be said for that shushing,” Miller writes, adding, “I’ve long believed that one of the most precious resources libraries offer their patrons is simple quiet.” The piece has sparked a bit of a debate on a couple blogs and in social media about what people want from libraries. So should libraries shush, or not? One of the interesting findings that surfaced throughout our research, whether in our nationally representative phone survey, in-person focus groups, and our online panel of librarians, was that Americans want many things from their libraries. About three-quarters said that they want quiet study spaces available, but a similar number said they want programs and classes for children and teens, for instance — a decidedly un-quiet service!”
“Jason Alston, a doctoral candidate in library and information science at the University of South Carolina, sometimes answers uncomfortable questions on why he selected his chosen career path. For starters, he’s preparing for a career in librarianship, an industry largely dominated by white women. As an African-American male, Alston is what some would consider a double minority. Many of his friends and relatives wonder about his future after having spent many years earning a master’s and now a Ph.D. in library science. “What will you be doing all day?” “What’s the future viability of libraries?” Someone even teased him once, “That’s no kind of profession for a man.”
via National Journal
“MaryKay Dahlgreen became Oregon’s state librarian nearly a year ago, during a tumultuous time at the agency. The man newly hired to the post had resigned after suspicion arose over his credentials. Not only did Dahlgreen have to restore confidence; she had to reduce management staff and reassign tasks for those who remained.
Still, she pointed out during a recent interview, she has a job where she can make a difference for libraries, librarians and readers across the state. She can visit a library any time and call it work.”
“Large bright badges offering help to customers may have become a common sight in coffee shops. But the wearing of them by librarians at the University of Oxford has been seen as the latest insult in a row over changes taking place among the dreaming spires’ famous research collections. Anger has been growing in the past few months over developments at the Bodleian Libraries that have led to vast humanities collections being rehoused, including the History Faculty Library being incorporated into the main collections. Matters came to a head last week with a discussion in Congregation — Oxford’s academic “parliament” — about “the libraries and their future.”
via Inside Higher Ed
“The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable. But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. If you want the names and contact numbers for every left-handed plumber in Kuala Lumpur, she’ll fix you up. She’s the longest-serving member of a stellar company of reference librarians who check, double-check and mine miles of information, urban legend and spin for cold, hard, glittering facts.”
“At age 80, Chi Wang, the former head of the Library of Congress’ Chinese section in Washington, still has a dream – to open an office in China to enhance the country’s cultural interaction with the United States. Wang helped turn the Chinese section into one of the best library collections of its kind outside Asia, with about 1 million books, newspapers, magazines and films. The Library of Congress had only 300,000 volumes in its China collection when Wang began working there in 1957.”
via China Daily
“Now that everyone’s an expert on fast facts, I wonder what has become of those Free Library of Philadelphia treasures known as the Know-It-Alls. When I last visited these general-information specialists, in 1991, business was brisk. Surrounded by a wall of books and directories, they fielded 50 phone calls an hour from Philadelphians wondering how to spell Tiananmen Square, what glasnost is, how far to Fargo? The rotating staff of 14 librarians – each with a master’s in science – was in such demand that each caller was limited to three questions.
“These Brooklyn librarians have gone from shelving books to rocking out in a band. The six librarians have formed a roving band called Lost in the Stacks – a jazz and blues band that plays at book festivals and branches all over the city. The group is a far cry from the stern stereotypes of librarians. “This gives the people another image of librarians,” said the band’s founding member, Jack McCleland, 65, the head librarian at the main branch at Grand Army Plaza.”
via NY Daily News