Values-based Librarianship

Chris Bourg of Stanford University Libraries gave a presentation at the Penn State University Libraries a few months ago entitled “Beyond Measure: Valuing Libraries” on assessing academic libraries based on the core values of librarianship as defined by the American Library Association. This presentation, and some other reading that I am undertaking, including Michael Gorman’s “Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century” have me thinking a lot about values-based librarianship lately. Values-based librarianship, as I see it, is professional practice informed by these core values. In other words, in a values-based system our core values forms the guiding principles for what we do as librarians.

Setting our shared values as what guides us as librarians leads to some interesting, and necessary questions. What if who we are as librarians were based on shared values? What would this type of librarianship look like? Would it change the way we manage libraries, build collections, provide information, and facilitate the creation of research and knowledge? What if these shared values informed all that we did as libraries and librarians? Can these shared values answer the why questions of librarianship and show us the importance of what we do as librarians?

I will be exploring these questions and additional readings in the upcoming months as I grapple with the idea of values-based librarianship. Please feel free to comment and stay tuned for more writing on this topic.


Library Renovations are Nothing Like HGTV

Library renovations are definitely not something taught in Library School. And the guys on HGTV or TLC make it renovations looks so easy. Mike Holmes manages to refoundation an entire house in under 30 minutes with nary a blemish or broken dish in sight. But that’s TV, and not reality.

I have had plenty of experience as a project manager in the library software world, and like to think that I did pretty well in that arena. New implementations flowed (relatively) smoothly from sales, to software implementation, to installation, and finally the library went live on a brand-spanking-new integrated library system. Construction projects work nothing like software implementations, I have come to find out. They are full of stops and starts and endless meetings with facilities folks, architects, designers, and a whole host of people peeling up carpet and measuring every square inch of the Library.

My Library is being renovated this summer, and that is the good news. What started out as a simple plan to recarpet and repaint the Library has now morphed into a much larger project requiring collection moves, library staff in exile, and asbestos abatement. While I am certain the final product will be lovely and be universally appreciated by faculty, students, and staff alike, I’m a little nervous about everything going as smoothly as possible.

I guess I should take a page from the Bobby Ferrin songbook and “don’t worry” and “be happy”, but it seems like we have 1001 projects to complete this summer, and so little time to do everything. Wish us luck, and if anyone has any good tips for surviving a library renovation, please do send them my way. I promise I’ll post some before and after pictures on my Flickr account.


Penn State University Libraries rolled out LionSearch, a beta implementation of Serials Solutions Summon discovery software, today to the general public. LionSearch will allow users to use a Google-like single interface to search and retrieve books, articles, and other materials from the CAT and online databases. Please take a look at