Brett Bronfield does an excellent job of crunching the numbers and analyzing the supply and demand for MLS/MLIS graduates in the “In the Library with the Lead Pipe” blog. Common wisdom (as handed down from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and ingrained in our professional psyche) would say that the profession is graying and we’re on the precipice of an upspwing in demand for librarians to fill this void. But I have been hearing the same rhetoric for the past 15 years.
Bronfield’s excellent analysis places two questions in my mind: 1) Why isn’t the ALA or some other organization crunching these numbers and reporting on trends in library employment on a regular basis? and 2) Why don’t we as librarians currently holding a position care more about this issue? I look forward to further analysis (will there be a Part 2?) on this important topic.
Is the United States Training Too Many Librarians or Too Few? (Part 1) | In the Library with the Lead Pipe.
The Wikiman does an excellent job this morning of collecting discussions around points on the “future of libraries” and how these are already happening in many places. Many of the points are not related to collections, but rather service focused, which I think is an interesting shift that is happening in the profession.
Some highlights are:
- Smaller borrowing limits for unlimited time periods
At Penn State we have already increased the loan period for most all of our patrons (except community borrowers) to a semester-long loan. We would offer longer loan periods, but this works best with out current automation system and procedures. Most patrons also get unlimited renewals and can check out a ridiculously large number of items at a time. The benefits to students and faculty alike have far outweighed the fears of empty shelves and scarce resources.
- Front line staff will become much more highly skilled
At my branch academic library we have four full-time staff: two librarians and two library assistants. All of us do reference, answer questions, and have proficiency and skills in providing good customer service and an increasing skill set and familiarity with the resources and services offered. We also combined the reference and circulation desks into a central “information desk” shortly after I arrived, and all front line staff, including student assistants, do “reference triage” where simple questions are answered as skill sets allowed and more difficult questions are passed off to the “experts”. It has really worked well for us.
- Library will offer a wide range of “non-library” programming
We have seen an uptick in the amount of “non-library” uses for the Library building in recent years from an increase in computer lab space to “digital commons” where students can edit and create video and sound recordings and usage of the library classroom for outside conferences and events. All of these have benefited the library by showing that it is a viable and dynamic space on campus and a place that students want to be.
Skip to the end! Library futures, now… « thewikiman.
Lane Wilkinson reorganizes his “Taxonomy of Literacies” and makes some important distinctions between the communicative and evaluative. The “money quote” is this: “Transliteracy is about containers. Information literacy is about content.”
Sense and Reference: Reorganizing literacy.
Interesting uses of marketing/promotion of electronic resources. From the post:
“In essence, the project “proposes a model for a national distributed project to develop marketing plans for electronic resources while collaboratively building benchmarks for the marketing of electronic resources in college and university settings.” [from the poster session] By participating in the collaborative working group you can learn how to employ a typical marketing plan at your library, complete one marketing campaign from start to finish, and contribute to a national project that will determine if collaborative benchmarking for marketing electronic resources is feasible.”
Join the Collaborative Marketing for e-Resources Project « E-Views.
After a long hiatus and busy summer consumed with library renovations, staff changes, and other sundry projects, I finally have some time to start blogging again. I’m going to try and use the blog as more of a “professional stream of consciousness” and write more often about my current research, the state of the profession, and where I see library and information science heading. There will, of course, be forays into technology, diversity, and higher education in general — three more areas of professional interest.
Thanks for sticking with me, those of you who subscribe. I promise I’ll be a little more forthcoming in the future.