Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Futures Discussion

Below is the online discussion growing out of the Fall 2009 LAUC Assembly. The broad topic of the future of librarianship in California has been divided into nine topics labeled below. The post for each topic summarizes the work of the group assigned to that topic at the assembly. Please add comments to particular topics via the "comments" link at the bottom of each post.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Discussion group 9: organizational culture

• Org culture – how we do business, may be overt or covert
o how slow change occurs, attachment to how we currently do things, resistance to change
o many impediments to change
o culture is rarely questioned & smothers new ideas

• LAUC’s relevance – is it? need to make ourselves more visible
o lots of librarians not outward looking, only focused
o Librarians not viewed as essential to research, teaching
o disconnection between with services we deliver & perception of who makes these available
o Not effective at telling our story

• We don’t know what to let go of, what to take on
• Who else is equipped to handle UC’s research needs
• Strike balance between just in time and just in case
• Great faith and belief in our systems – this attitude works against new ideas and approaches – fear of unknown, of looking bad, huge problem of how to deal with everything that’s gone on before (retro catalog?) – how much to our students care about this?

• Just in time vs just in case
• quick vs slow
• innovation vs tradition
• experimenting vs inertia
• empowerment vs micro-management
• willing to take a risk vs fear of punishment for mistakes/looking bad

Discussion group 8: library networks

Recorder name and email: Lisa Sibert

Focused on UC Library Networks

Addressed issue off timelines, i.e. 5y, 10y; short-term v. long-term
Networks in place:
Springer e-boooks
YBP approval, plans are linked
NGM—networked across UCs collaboration with outside entity
Shared print
Networks under development and/or consideration:
NGTS efforts
Western states coordinated plan for managing
Permanent retrospective print collections (issue: how will this affect stats for ARL libraries?)
Collaborative approval plans (print & electronic)
Collaborative e-book purchasing

Discussion group 7: campus roles

Campus Roles - Where does the library fit in on campus?
Recorded by Susan Mikkelsen and Ann Frenkel

What is your first order of business?

Library space, services and collections are integral part of every UC Campus. As librarians we understand that we are critical to the academic success of students and faculty. But we don’t always do a very good job at self-promotion or educating our campus communities about the value of our services. We need to find new ways to communicate to others on our campuses about what librarians have to offer, and make library spaces and services an indispensible component of research and study on every UC campus.

DISCUSSION POINTS (Note: There was not consensus in the group on all points)

Library Spaces
As collections move to the online environment, library spaces must be repurposed to meet the needs of the learning community. The creation of the Information Commons is a growing trend in academic libraries that has developed in response to the need for a more user-centered approach to resources and services. The Information Commons supports and enhances student learning and research by providing state of the art technology and resources in an academic environment that promotes collaborative work. The new Teaching & Learning Center at UCSF is a tailored version of an Information Commons that includes a simulation and clinical skills education center, technology-enhanced active-learning classrooms and computing labs. Other possible models for future Information Commons include creating spaces for students to play with and receive instruction with technology (video-editing, presentation software, poster production, etc).

Information literacy skills need to be integrated into the academic curriculum. A for-credit library course would be desirable in some ways, but this is unlikely to be accepted by the University as librarians do not have faculty status. A better approach may be to work with academic departments to get information literacy objectives written into course outcomes. Although librarians across campuses have been fairly successful in collaborating with individual faculty members, faculty and librarian turnover make these partnerships tenuous. Programmatic collaboration provides a more stable platform for continuity in library instruction. Librarians need to advocate with department chairs and other key stakeholders to get information literacy standards integrated into course curriculums.

Academic Senate
If librarians want a voice in the in the academic senate, they will need to fight for faculty status.

Campus Consultants
Librarians need to be willing to act as research consultants for other units on campus. This means that we may have to say yes when asked to be involved in some projects that we previously would not have accepted. Ann Frenkel (AUL - UCR) gave two examples from her campus. (1)An academic committee at UCR asked for librarian assistance using ISI for impact factor/citation analysis. Their librarians wrote searches for citation information in response to this request. (2)The photography museum approached the library with a request to catalog images and place them in the library collection. Though this request was not feasible, Ann saw this as a great opportunity. Opportunities like these exist on all campuses, particularly with the Office of Research (impact factor questions can lead to opportunities to inform about other research metrics) and the Office of Development (research on potential donors).

Talking Points for the Library
Librarians need to be equipped with talking points about the library to effectively communicate with faculty and other key stakeholders about libraries services/resources/initiatives.

Publish outside the Library Literature
Publishing outside the library literature and attending conferences in other disciplines has the potential to make library services more visible to campus stakeholders. For example, Josephine Tan UCSF librarian recently published an article in an academic medical journal with several UCSF faculty members.* We are aware that some social science librarians have also published outside of the library literature, but these efforts need to be encouraged and expanded.

Communicate the Message “Use It or Lose It”
We need to send the message that library resources are costly to acquire and maintain. None of the resources that students and faculty use on a routine basis would be available without librarian expertise. Instruction librarians should deliver this message during instruction sessions to help raise awareness of all the behind-the-scenes work done by librarians. As an additional awareness raising event, the group proposed a “day without resources” when access to library resources would be completely turned off. Along with restricted access, users would receive a message about the cost of the resources.

*Chen HC, Tan JPG, O’Sullivan P, Boscardin C, Li A, Muller J. Impact of an Information Retrieval and Management Curriculum on Medical Student Citations. Acad Med 2009 84 (10 Supp): S38-S41.

Discussion group 6: Library buildings

1. Does remote access to info make academic libraries irrelevant as a place?
1. Well, yes (thank you very much)
2. Not necessarily

What we know is that “Academic libraries are not ends in themselves.” (to quote Lorcan Dempsey)

2. What are the best uses of library space –
1. Open,
2. well lighted …
3. welcoming with comfortable spaces …
4. few draconian rules …
5. A place with areas for quiet study segregated off …
6. but many more areas where group study and meaningful conversation about life and / or research can occur.
7. A place with classrooms – to maximize the integration of the university mission … to have the teaching embedded within our facilities.
8. Many group study rooms.

3. Print collections …
1. For most of us print collections will be … smaller.
2. Not to be overly superficial but possibly
1. “fresher” … with research items (infrequently used) in shared print storage collection & or massive uc google book shared online / print collection off site ...)
3. We will prune our collections (monographs journals) aggressively
4. We will have a shared collection hub (regional hubs like the regional library facilities) …
5. We will come up with a reasonable method of sharing all the older items.
6. Print on demand may be prominent.

4. Library Service Desks
1. The service desk will be open, without barriers to the greatest extent possible …
2. We will be available … on call … available via text message request or chat or email or whatever …
3. But the desk will be a shared work space with the user.
4. We will be flexible – will be movable (perhaps) –
5. We will bring our service desk to you, if you prefer. If you're on the fourth floor there may be a space we can share to talk about the research.
6. The fewer barriers, the fewer the formal desks and barriers the better.

5. Group study
1. Huge emphasis on group study.
2. It is how we work as a civilization, a society – we work together in teams.

6. Social gathering places – we are.
1. We must be places that are w/out rules for rules sake.... We must be welcoming and comfortable with the type of furniture that makes much of the library space an effective, comfortable social gathering place / study lounge / library …

What really happened:

So we begin our conversation on library buildings discussing timelines of all things.

When do we build the library of the future ? Five years, ten years down the road? Things are changing. It may be wise to wait for the shared collection idea to be fleshed out more fully before building the bookless library :)

So yes, students want to be here (the library) but what makes a building a library?

Some libraries are losing space to other academic disciplines.

Conversation migrates to shifting low use materials to the NRLF and SRLF.

Part of the question, someone says, is what is the future trend.

Print material , leaving special collections aside, added content will be digital. That material that is in print will be in some shared environment.

A space for library collections at UCSF had a floor taken over by the School of Medicine – sort of a UL partnering issue with School of Medicine.

KG UCSD : Brings up the example of ucmerced – how they have a large building … that is largely empty of books but has many classrooms etc.

Classrooms are important elements in future library bldgs.

So why in the library ? How do we define what value we bring to this

Is it a library bldg simply because we are there , librarians, as facilitators.?

Strong impetus to move to

New bldg at UCSC – Classroom space … there will be a cafe (food) … A real cafe area that will not be inside the actualo library space.

The new bldg at UCSC has a couple of academic departments inside the bldg. But there is a separation from the collections space and faculty office space. There are of course access issues and the different access rules for faculty in bldg versus library visitors.

So we are migrating away from print toward remote storage facilities etc.

Sit in conversation …. How the budget has impacted our hours service etc.

There have been studies to try to determine higher use moments. And yet there is a problem with limiting library hours.

Think of merced where there are 75 laptops …

print on demand.


Discussion group 5: collections

For at least 100 reasons

1. It’s premature to take the “s” off collection and we already do act as if there is no “s” as much as we can.
2. Perhaps the whole university will have to re-think the way it does business before we can even seriously think collection in the singular.
3. Shared print with local patron-driven collecting is possible as lon as no restrictions are placed on what campuses can do.
4. We should think about CDL negotiating consortial ebook licenses.
5. The UCs must cooperate with each other whenever possible—and then some.
6. It was really dumb to cut CDL funding during a time when cooperative action is so crucial.

Discussion Group 4: Technology

Recorder: Phoebe Ayers,
Group members: Amy Chatfield, Rebecca Hyde, Phoebe Ayers, Lucia Orlando


• Areas of technology:
o Making technology a separate area of discussion is problematic, because it affects every area of our jobs, and every topic of discussion -- from public computers in the building, to the way we access our information resources, to how we help patrons, etc. Technology is a major driver that bears on every one of the topics discussed.

• Adopting technologies to provide:
o just because a technology is new and shiny -- do we have to adopt it? should we adopt it? (do people really search databases from their iphones on the bus? maybe!)
o for instance, are online books really preferable? Many (most) people seem to still prefer physical books

• Information product interfaces:
o how do you get technology to give people the best results?
o how do we work with database interfaces, google, etc., to help patrons get the best results? Should we work more on information design?
o our own websites (mobile interfaces)

• How far do we want to go to meet people in the library with technologies they use?
o for instance, why don't we have unlocked public computers? (this varies between campuses)
o library facebook, twitter? do people actually want/need this?

• Front end and back end technologies
o technology means both the front end that the patron sees (the website and the back end that we work with, e.g. sfx
o should we concentrate on making the back end better, as well as our sites?

• Instruction
o should we team up with campus systems to teach classes about technologies (word, excel, etc)?
o one barrier to offering nice computers and software to the campus population are expectations of support -- we might have to train people/ support it
o library technology bootcamp? could we offer focussed, serious programs? (like ICSPR bootcamp for social science grad students)
o but we also need to teach basic library skills -- how to use a catalog
o we make a lot of assumptions that students know how to use computers, and tech because they are young, but that might not be true at all

• Technology programs
o for something like e-science -- it's a big, expensive problem; we could help make connections between people
o should something like escience be something that should be worked on centrally, like the CDL; we don't have money, resources, expertise -- but people like local technology programs for the prestige, like local data archives
o something like the ICSPR -- they store datasets and articles based on the data; institution based out of michigan

Group 3 discussion report: Library Personnel

  • At UC, the status of the librarian series is under pressure on the one end from paraprofessionals whose work seems to overlap with ours (the Career Compass initiative at UCB is potentially spreading to other campuses) and at the other end from persons hired in the Analyst series who do similar work but are hired outside the librarian series so they can be paid higher salaries.
  • Technical skills are essential for librarians but they are not the only skills we need. Management and interpersonal skills are equally essential.
  • As a profession we need to promote ourselves as having these and other skill sets.
  • Current librarians need the time to read, research, and be involved in professional issues; ideally more librarians would be hired to allow this. This is a professional issue and a retention issue.
  • Librarians should reach out to library and information schools and let them know what skills and values we want future librarians to have.
  • Should LAUC lead a discussion on what are the values and philosophies unique to librarians? When we digitize books, for example, we do so through the lens of promoting public access, preservation, standards of quality, and the needs of present and future scholars and readers. Google may share some of these values – what distinguishes us?
Group Members:

Corliss Lee, UCB (recorder)
Dana Peterman, UCI
Dean Rowan, UCB
Socrates Silva, UCLA
Jill Woolums, UCB
Michael Yonezawa, UCR

Group 2 discussion: Relationship to Information Providers

Recorder name and email: Lucia Diamond

How can universities and faculty influence providers? Librarians don’t have the clout except through consortial arrangements and CDL, for example, has been successful in some negotiations.

We should do more to get control over what the university (i.e., the faculty produces and make better use of and provide more access to this material for the student users, who are faced with increasing textbook costs. Need to look to some models of compensation for the creator of the product (as opposed to the publishers who only do marketing and distribution). Lecture notes could become content that publishers might purchase and distribute. Don’t want every user to have to pay individually for what they need. Want to be able to borrow e-books as we do print.

Multiple models of providing information, peer-reviewed e-publishing, working papers, etc.

Group 1 discussion: Reference

Participants: Kathryn Wayne (Berkeley); Miki Goral (UCLA); Penny Coppernoll-Blach (San Diego); Teal Smith (Merced); Gayatri Singh (San Diego); Ken Furuta (Riverside).

Note – I’ve rearranged these notes along topics instead of chronological.

What do we know about the current students?

Perhaps not as much as we think we do. We make assumptions about how they like to communicate, etc. But how valid are those assumptions? We should conduct a more formal study of current students.

Future of the physical reference desk

Physical reference desk statistics have been dropping. However, these was no consensus on the future of the physical reference desk.

Many thought personal contact was very important. However, Merced doesn’t have a physical desk. At Merced, students at the service desk are the first contact. Patrons are referred to librarians if more depth is needed.

Some libraries, such as the San Diego and the UCLA Biomed Libraries, have altered staffing. San Diego implemented on-call scheduling; UCLA merged the desk with circulation. Other libraries have instituted “roving” students who, wearing “uniforms,” circulate through out the library and contact others needing assistance. That led to a brief discussion as to whether an MLS was necessary to staff the reference desk. Again, there is no consensus.

Given the above, we wondered if we are entering an era where we are more general approach in reference where we do a little of everything. This may especially hold for the larger campuses with numerous branch libraries.

[As the reporter (Ken) I’d like to drop in a comment. I’m struck by the variety of approaches different UC Libraries have adopted. For me, this diversity can be a strength if we can learn from each other’s solutions and assessments of the results.]

Text & Chat

All of the participants staff chat reference. There was consensus that the current capabilities of QuestionPoint for chat reference could be improved. It should be more reliable and upgraded to include other options. We also agreed that it has served as a “gateway” to other avenues of contact with the student. An example is the complex question where the best answer is to visit the physical reference desk.

One comment was that “we need more intuitive library websites.” [Reporters comment again. Various librarians through out the system have been interested in using chat reference results to improve their websites. The librarians staffing it are “expert” users in a sense. There hasn’t been anything formal on this that I know, however.]

Web 2.0

UC Libraries have been exploring Facebook and Twitter. Riverside has a presence on both. Three libraries at San Diego are on Twitter.

[Ken’s comments again: In conclusion, it’s not surprising that we didn’t reach consensus on most of the topics. The group is in the brainstorming phase at the very beginning of the conversation. However, we were able to lay a foundation for continued discussion.]

discussion reports

The next nine posts are the results of the discussion that was held at the last LAUC annual discussion, led by the professional governance committee. Feel free to comment!