Editor’s Note: Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful . Enjoy!
My dissertation work has me thinking a lot about scholarly communications, and particularly venues for sharing my work. I got an email recently from a colleague who pointed to statistics that show the astronomical rise of predatory publishers. A lot of folks are already aware of this incredibly helpful list from CU Denver librarian Jeffrey Beall, but if you aren’t, it’s an excellent resource for those preparing to submit research (or looking for articles for patrons or for yourself).
Former hacker Topher Lawton shared this article recently. It has some interesting perspectives about our role in communities and as resources/experts. The blog has a lot of insightful and timely information as well, so it’s worth sticking around a few minutes and poking around.
Finally, I saw The Pussycat Riot run across one of my feeds a few weeks ago, but finally got back to that browser tab today (I know, it’s kind of a problem). I love the graphics on the site, and I think it’s a novel and fun way to fight censorship.
The University Librarian at Wesleyan, Pat Tully, was terminated at the beginning of this semester for “differences” with the University’s provost. According to a letter that Tully sent to colleagues, obtained by student-run blog Wesleying, it sounds like these “differences” centered on the role of the library and librarians in the university and overall trends in higher education. Particularly in light of an increasingly alarming climate of academic firings, I hope that the ALA/ACRL and other library organizations, as well as rank-and-file librarians, will take a strong stand on their colleagues’ academic freedom.
Ada Initiative is a hugely important organization that supports women working in open technology and culture; they’re the folks behind the increase in codes of conduct; fantastic conferences, workshops, and trainings to increase diversity and allyship; and more in the fight to make tech a more welcoming place. This week, they launched a fundraising campaign that quickly rose to the challenge of a $5,120 matching gift from four great library leaders, Andromeda Yelton, Bess Sadler, Chris Bourg, and Mark Matienzo. I strongly encourage you to make even a small sacrifice to contribute to this important work. But even if you can’t, there are lots of non-financial ways to get involved.
Librarians have also been sharing how Ada Initiative has made a difference for them. Check out the hashtag #libs4ada to browse, and don’t miss Erin White’s post on the gender gap in library and information science education.
A year ago I wrote on my personal blog about the intersection of two HLS’s in my life. This week they intersect again as Jonathan Zittrain wrote about why libraries still matter. There’s a post on this subject every week, somewhere, but this gives a good perspective.
Zittrain’s post concludes with a note about an interesting looking contest for when you’re done with the writing I suggested last week. The Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge asks the following question: “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” Deadline is September 30.
As I’m now officially in the second half of my MLS, my mind is starting to turn towards the not-so-far-in-the-future quest for a library job. So I was somewhat heartened when a friend forwarded me this piece from the Wall Street Journal that claims we’re headed towards a shortage of librarians. It’s not great for users and it may be too far away to help me in my first job hunt, but it’s something. In a similar vein, I enjoyed this article in Forbes that argues for librarians “pivoting” towards new technology to keep pace.
Rounding off my week is the news that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that libraries can digitize books without copyright holder consent. This isn’t legally binding, as member states have to decide how to apply the verdict, and there are restrictions; the digitized editions are to be available only on dedicated terminals within the library and can’t be reproduced by patrons. It’s a very interesting development though (at least to me). I would love to see us move towards a Star Trek like future where information is freely shared (but authors are still credited), but we don’t live there yet.
Like Anna-Sophia, I was also alarmed to read about Pat Tully’s termination by Wesleyan Provost Ruth Weissman. The professionalism of our field deteriorates when those of us who work in academic libraries are not granted faculty status or tenure. Why is this so important? Staff status limits our ability to get funding for conferences, diminishes our publications and professional accomplishments, and impacts how we are treated by faculty colleagues and students. As important as faculty status and tenure are for academic librarians, even if you do have them, you will still encounter university obstacles. What do you do when your vision for your library conflicts with your administrative superior? Do we play nice or fight?
On a lighter note, I just discovered that there is an Australian show called The Librarians. It’s supposedly similar to The Office, but set in a library. The first season is available for free on Hulu and the second season is available to Hulu Plus subscribers. I’ll definitely be giving this one a go!
Categories: Weekly Round-Up