Weekly Round-Up

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!

Brenna

As a former Wikipedian in Residence (albeit an unpaid one), I was stoked to see West Virginia University Library’s recent job posting for Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equality. The lucky person who gets this job will improve the Wikipedia profiles of prominent West Virginian women, all while contributing to Wikipedia’s mission of “sharing the sum of all human knowledge.”

Amy

Thanks to a ton of traveling with Scandal Ultimate over the next few months, I’m looking at a lot of in-transit reading time. I’m using the opportunity to get up to speed with some writers I’ve known of for a while without ever reading their work: bell hooks, Octavia Butler, and Ursula LeGuin among them. I’m also trying to let go of guilt at not having read them earlier by keeping this mind:

And then there’s the LIS reading. (Oh, the LIS reading…)

I had been thinking of summer as this idyllic time of endless hours in which to have all the fun, read all the things, and pick up all the skills I never had time for during the school year. Which was, of course, delusional. One cool tool that helps is Eira Tansey‘s calendar for keeping up with archives and academic libraries literature. She put together a list of publications and their schedules and added them to a spreadsheet and ICS file. The list is deliberately long and subject to change because, as she writes in the documentation, “Frankly, some of [the titles] are almost disturbingly mediocre.” Click through to read more and get the calendar at her blog. I haven’t closely compared her list to my current-ish list of favorite journals, but might borrow and customize her setup if there turns out to be enough divergence. Brenna’s tips on how to read for grad school are really coming in handy — give them a try if you haven’t yet!

One library-related piece I have managed to read is the AV Club’s kind of an elegy for the DVD, contextualizing it as a limited but perfect medium for a specific moment.

“As capitalism responds to the crisis of finite resources in a finite world by literally creating new space in which to produce and store content, the DVD will mark the passing of an era. Call it the ‘blow into the cartridge’ generation: a tangible format that still required tangible care.”

The University of Maryland Libraries recently held a research forum for staff to present their current work, moonshot projects, etc., and a colleague gave a talk called DVDs: Still in Demand, or Going the Way of the Dodo? He was taking a collection development approach — how should libraries collect and maintain DVDs and AV playback equipment to best serve classroom use? — but I couldn’t help but see it as a preservation challenge, too. When is it important to preserve the DVD itself, when does the content (somehow separated from its container) matter more, and so on? It’s strange thinking of DVDs as imminent nostalgia items, but I suppose that’s the moment we’re facing.

Liz

I found out this week that Simmons SLIS will offer a course called Radical Librarianship in the spring 2016 semester, led by Professor Laura Sanders. Here’s a description of the class:

Beginning with the premise that the library profession is not and cannot be neutral, this course will use a critical theory lens to examine and question the systems, services, and resources employed by our profession. Drawing on the writings of Freire, Habermas, Giroux, and others, we will reflect on the library’s sometimes uncomfortable relationship with race, gender, sexual orientation and identity in order to develop responses that are inclusive of the many communities that we serve. We will examine libraries as socio-political institutions that have the opportunity to be progressive or to promote the status quo, and analyze their role as civic spaces with the potential to foster civic engagement and debate. We will investigate the ways in which libraries promote and silence different voices, include and exclude various communities, and promote and inhibit access.

Pretty rad! I’ve taken a couple of courses that occasionally touched on these issues as an aside, but it’s exciting to see an entire class dedicated to learning about some of the most difficult yet relevant topics in libraries today. Here’s hoping more of these kinds of classes will pop up in the future!

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