Thursday, April 29, 2010

LAUC-SB Future of Librarians in the UC discussion

Statewide LAUC has charged CPG to discuss the future of librarians within the UC. LAUC-SB had an animated discussion of the issue on April 21. The following notes are from that discussion.

The UC Library Collection white paper as it stands now does not really focus on the role of librarians. It spells out the future of libraries but not librarians. Are librarians still subject specialist or collection managers? And how does this affect reference and other duties that we currently perform? If this is the way we are going in UC, what does it mean to be a librarian?

OCLC Research Report and ITHAKA Faculty survey both indicate an eroding role of librarians in academia. It’s a good barometer for how librarians are perceived by faculty and the outside world. The library was perceived in very high terms as a buyer of information but lower and lowering value as a gateway function. This negative perception of librarians is smaller than 20% but that percentage has doubled since the last survey in 2006. One way to approach the discussion is from the outside looking in.

What librarians need to do is better advertise or expose the role of the librarian in the role of gatekeeper. We are the ones purchasing access to all the content and as such we are doing a good job of quality control. One issue is that many faculty and graduate students is that they think they’re doing enough. They are finding enough materials through Google scholar or Google books. Are there things we have always done that we don’t need to do anymore? Since we are competing with someone who does it better? Then this is an issue of marketing and how we are putting ourselves out there.

These faculty also know who the big names are in their fields and need to be kept track of. However, in terms of interdisciplinary research, faculty don’t necessarily know who the big names are outside their direct field. The faculty will most likely go to faculty in the other departments rather than to the library to find out what they’re missing.

The faculty think that they can get to the information if they want and whenever they want regardless of whether there are librarians or who the librarians are. One reason faculty approach librarians is when they fail to find what they are looking for. That allows librarians to skip the first 20 steps of the reference interview. The big problem though is that faculty are failing earlier than they are aware of. If this is true, how are graduate students and undergraduate students faring?

It’s a cycle that’s difficult. We don’t want to withhold information so that patrons must come into the library because they won’t care. They just won’t use any information that is not easily available. But by making everything easily available, we also fuel the misperception that librarians are irrelevant in the use of libraries.

When you look at the future of libraries and librarians, it seems that a lot of the most exciting things are happening at CDL. That makes the role of libraries and librarians at places like UCSB that much more precarious. However, CDL has always drawn on the expertise of librarians at UCSB and tried to keep us involved. They will most likely keep on doing this. We can also take the initiative and find places within CDL that are open to us to make bigger contributions than we have in the past. Also, keep in mind that CDL has always been a very small operation and has a very small staff. They need the librarians at the campuses to participate in all of their endeavors. No one can do it by themselves anymore and this is especially true of the UC Library system. We need to keep looking for partners and funding sources to keep all of our projects moving forward.

The building as a place to study is not important to faculty but students find a place to study very relevant for their needs.

Perhaps one way to go is to become data repositories as opposed to document repositories. That would mean that many librarians need formal training in mining that data. It is its own specialty. There are requests coming in from graduate students and faculty and it’s an area that most librarians are not currently specialists in. It’s all somewhat similar to what we’re currently doing in terms of pointing people in the right direction. Perhaps this is an esoteric position where not all the campuses need or have data librarians. Perhaps 2 or 3 libraries have these positions who act as reference points for all librarians to confer with as the need arises.

Perhaps what will happen is that librarians will move out of individual libraries to CDL. One need that is on the radar at UCSB is to find out where libraries and librarians fit into the world of publishing.

CDL does not serve faculty or students directly so they particularly vulnerable to budget cuts during times of budget difficulties. What they do is manage things at a system wide level.

eScholarship program, platform and services have been set up. The role of advocacy and outreach is something CDL has been doing but something we can do as well.

What can LAUC do? We can respond. We can let faculty know how we fit into their comments and suggestions for the library. We can rewrite our job descriptions and continue to advocate for ourselves. What do we see our jobs to being in these scenarios? What does this tell us about where we need to concentrate? What do we need to actually make us function?

If you were writing your replacement’s job description, what needs do you think should be met that aren’t being met currently? What will job descriptions, new position postings look like in the future? We’ve got training series currently in the works for the coming year regarding collection management and scholarly communication.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Consequences of Changing University Pedagogy and Teaching Habits

The future of library pedagogy is an uncertain yet exciting one during these transitional times. At the UCs and nation-wide, we live in an era of shrinking budgets, increasing student populations, and hiring freezes in library staff. What strategies can UC librarians implement to deal with the changing university pedagogy?

What has changed in teaching?
Some classes are even larger than before. Fewer papers are being assigned and those that are assigned may be shorter or less reliant on secondary literature. Faculty expectations of student works trend toward the use of multimedia, and creative works. Resources for student work are increasingly derived from material not owned or easily curated by librarians, such as websites and proprietary or massaged data. In line with the work that faculty are themselves conducting as researchers, work is increasingly cross- and inter-disciplinary. This is particularly true at University of California where the influence of research on teaching has long been a value of the institution. Though it does not represent a dramatic change in philosophy for some subject areas, expensive library resources in professional schools are cordoned off from the rest of the university. Parallel, and in some ways contrary to these trends, course management systems have created a closed system appearance to courses in which all content needed to pass or succeed appears to be contained within a single interface.

Some of changes in student behavior have both led to a decreased reliance on library resources and an increased emphasis on the pedagogy.
Regardless of the reason, students are familiar with searching and with multimedia creation. They are less likely to feel they need assistance. They use texting and instant messaging for most casual communication and more frequently than face-to-face or telephone. They use information that is created for them reasonably effectively, but are less likely to pursue difficult-to-find material. They don’t need to use a library catalog or database when Google Scholar and Google Books are good enough. In other words, in spite of the added value that traditional reference transactions and instruction bring to the table, fewer students avail themselves of those services without active promotion from librarians or faculty. In addition, those students who choose substitute mediums for reference transactions and instruction are pre-disposed to a communication style in which an expected answer is both shorter and presumed pre-contextualized to their need.

Using one of the nine topics covered in the fall assembly here are some of the implications that result from pedagogy changes.

Some of these ideas were compiled from the conversations that have gone on before with some commentary. We could pilot the effectiveness of any approach on every campus, then compare results. Another might be to share how each approach has been evaluated and what factors were known to have made it succeed. Choose one of these ideas and run with it. Here’s an example that could be further articulated. What would you vote and commit to do?

Integrate information literacy into the academic curriculum.
Drivers in this direction include:
Our familiarity with the standards.
How faculty understand those standards as a part of a traditional pedagogical rubric.
Correspondence with existing pedagogies.
Drivers in the opposite direction include:
Perception by faculty that information standards are their purview.
Insufficient content to establish separate, large-scale courses.
Overly large classes.
Inability to provide more time to the task of teaching over time given competing responsibilities.

Campus roles
In our role as librarians, we have countered pedagogical and student trends by framing ourselves as campus consultants. We’ve created “your personal librarian” programs. We’ve become part of curriculum planning. We’ve attempted programmatic collaboration in instruction by partnering with lower division writing programs. In some cases, we have embedded ourselves in course management systems and created information commons. We’ve even worked out how to meet students where they live by using texting, chat, Facebook, “how to’s” and tutorials ( , and anything else we can think of – all without dropping other services.

*What are the rewards for this to the library?
*What kinds of technology, education and personnel will be needed to facilitate this approach?
*What is the life-cycle for teaching and how can we update it if it’s taught by faculty?
*How and how often will we evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy?
*What would/will you do personally to support or analyze this approach?

Other suggestions we might discuss include:

*Focus on the information commons to create the library as central to the life of the university. Embed the tools of production, such as video, and include less common units such as career centers within the library.
*Publish outside the library literature to illustrate our collaborative and integral roles.
*Create talking points for librarians so that they can actively promote libraries and librarians.
*Act as campus consultants by taking on projects of interest to faculty and researchers that we might normally avoid (e.g. the digitization project that resulted in the Rorty program/conference (
*Get involved in the academic senate by changing the role of the librarian or the status of librarians in all of our institutions.

Ultimately, however, what we might consider is, how much of this should we be taking on? What should we outsource and share with consortiums and vendors?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Ubiquitous Instruction

David Michalski
Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian
University of California, Davis

Unlike our counterparts in the bookstores, corporate libraries and even some public libraries, education is central to our mission in the research university. The social promise of the university is to improve the society that supports it by making its members more knowledgeable, more inventive, more skilled, and wiser. As librarians we have a unique role in this mission. Our instruction differs from that of the lecturer or professor. Our teaching is at its core dialogical. Our pedagogy is based on a certain art of conversation.

There is no shortage of studies in the library literature on the “reference interview” or “reference transaction” as it is often called. The reference process has been meticulously analyzed by information scientists and planners who seek to break it into bits in the effort to locate the kernel, or coin of value passed from the librarian to the patron. The interview, however, is not like a vending machine. The student cannot simply pay for information and walk away. Our practice is better understood as a diagnostic one, one that assesses both the interpersonal and social context of each project, and leads to decisions, which attempt to enable not only access, but the incrementally improved ability of the patron to take possession of library as a tool and field in their quest to reorganize information as knowledge.

Librarians, who imagine their role reduced to the mechanics of information delivery, are often left with a sense of purposelessness. A symptom of this lack arises in the current anxiety about the future. It surfaces in a discourse that depicts a contemporary competition between the librarian and the machine. Such questions about the future, dismiss the historic impact librarians and scholars have had on information technology since the profession began. Librarians have had prominent roles working to marshal the efficiencies of technology in the service of our core values. Today, we must reaffirm these efforts by translating our values and pedagogic mission into the info-space of the digital environment, not positioning our values against the digital realm. In part, this means imbuing our machines with the conversational and dialogic skills nurtured by our human practice. We ought to ask: How can people leaving library interaction (whether online or in person) be better prepared to discover and understand the information environment? How can our tools, websites and our people, not only provide easy access to known documents, but teach discovery techniques and the diverse ways in which information is organized? As heuristic devices, how can our tools train better researchers? It is no more appropriate for a search engine or catalog to simply churn out singular responses to a question than it is for a reference librarian to act simply as a medium for the exchange of information. Our exchanges must be value-added. Our catalogs and search tools must facilitate the construction of better formed questions and more sophisticated thinking. It is not an easy task to develop such tools and sites, and it is made even more difficult by a growing gap between search tool designers and librarians, but it is our professional charge and it is worth the effort.

One alarming consequence of treating our tools as simply location devices is the impact this outlook has on our own service roles. When the digital reference experience is diminished to a mechanical transaction, our own interviewing, listening and questioning skills tend to atrophy. Without use ours skills can be forgotten, and as I mentioned in a previous post, our disconnection can make us lose track of our public. With so many databases marketed as automatic, simple and direct we can be tempted to forgo the hard work education demands. We can forget that even our most powerful tools for indexing information are inadequate surrogates for teaching the social life of information. In exchange for expediency and mass capacity they can treat Works as the inert products of remote labor, as objects detached from authors and readers alike, as removed from cause or argument. We ought not to replicate this disregard.

Undoubtedly, the disintermediation of the information world has positively transformed the way knowledge is distributed and produced. Information seekers have more direct access to information providers and the mundane middling tasks of the librarian have largely evaporated. The trend towards disintermediation, however, does not dissipate the mediation of the intellect, which takes form in the course of learning. Technological immediacy does not substitute for the work of critical thinking. In the best instances it may support it, but in the worst instances it can disguise its necessity.

One of the foremost roles of the reference librarian has always been to persuade the patron to think out-loud, to state and restate, to read and question, and to read, write and return with a deeper understanding. Unnecessary difficulties and formalities can not be tolerated, but where information is complex, it can not be represented as falsely simple. Instead, we ought to help our students acquire the skills appropriate to the challenges their projects face. At each stage, helping them see a little bit more by encouraging a deeper engagement with their topics.

Even when patrons come in demanding immediate results, my colleagues and I have discovered creative ways to widen their bibliographic imagination. I’ve met thousands of students over the years and no one approach can be applied uniformly. Not one reference conversation is the same as the next. Each takes on its own shape. Sometimes I am unsuccessful in my application of, what I like to call, ubiquitous non-invasive reference instruction. Some students cannot be bothered, sometime I become impatient, but with each encounter I try to improve. I try to learn more about the public I serve, and find better ways of providing the unique service reference librarians at a research university can provide. These include new ways of fostering critical thinking, information literacy, and new ways of expanding the potential of our collections.

By practicing and honing our unique form of pedagogy, in formal library classes, in the design of our online tools, and in our everyday interactions with our public we can renew our sense of purpose and positively support the educational mission of our university.

The Qualitative Place of the Reference Desk Today

From General Reference to Subject Specialty


UCB Spring Assembly Discussion Topics

#1 – Reference

Various types of online reference are popular, reference by appointment is popular. Reference desk usage is declining but not dead. Ideas for staffing the latter include having students serve as front line staff who will refer to reference staff as needed, and combining circulation and reference desks.

There was a discussion of current reference models, including:

Ask a Librarian: 24/7 chat reference service via OCLC Questionpoint software
o UCB librarians currently staff 8 hours/week
o UCB students have access 24/7
o Questions run the gamut from directional to substantive
o Many questions can be answered using online resources (not all; and referral to subject specialists do take place)
o Discussion of differences – lack visual cues, but librarians feel they can/must ask user more questions; more followup than for in-person reference; challenge of answering questions from non-UC patrons; takes longer; does it reduce ageism and reverse-ageism?
o Will it lead to offshoring of reference? (or not: local information still very important)

Email reference

o Doe/Moffitt has a general e-mail reference service
o Many units and many individual librarians answer reference via e-mail

IM chat reference
o Done at some libraries on campus (including Gov Info, Sciences, Transportation, et al)
o Necessary at units like Transportation Studies with very dispersed clientele

o Engineering does texting, meebo chat and Lisa participates in Questionpoint
o Questionpoint will start implementing texting

Reference by appointment (in-person)
o Many libraries do this
o Doe/Moffitt: Research Advisory Service (by appointment for undergraduates) recently started online signups; use of the service has increased with relatively few no-shows; Law also has online signups for appointments

Reference desks
o Statistics down for most units; many units have cut staffing (1 person not 2) and/or hours
o Is the reference desk less about reference and more about marketing – our availability?
o Valuable for reference staff to be “out” in the library seeing how users use it
o Location of reference desk vis-à-vis users and vis-à-vis circulation desk makes a difference
o @ some units, students have first contact and refer when necessary; in the new Moffitt building, a similar tiered reference service is being considered, with trained students as first contact point
o combined desks also being considered at some units
o @ UC Merced, all reference is on call (student employees refer); NYU moving to something similar
o but: in surveys, library users say they like being able to talk face to face to someone

? Question: Anyone using Skype for reference? No one knew of any instances at UCB.

#2 – Scholarly Communication / Information Providers

Random discussion points on the topic of Relationship to Information
Providers at LAUC-B Assembly, April 13, 2010 (we decided to rename this
topic “Scholarly Communication.”)

** As librarians, our role is to support our faculty and to share with them information about alternative publishing options that are available. Sometimes that information is hard to find and not all librarians feel equipped to answer the question that we might get from a faculty member who asks, “If Elsevier journals are so expensive, can you
suggest another journal title that might be less expensive (but that is still has a high impact factor, etc.)?”

** Where do faculty publish? One member of our breakout session cited the recent Ithaka Faculty Survey 2009 (

In this survey, respondents stated that being read by peers in their discipline is the most important consideration when deciding where to publish. The least important factor is whether the article is freely available on the web; this suggests that open access is not important to faculty.

** Reference to John Lewis, UL at Indiana University, who writes, “More precisely, libraries are the mechanism for providing the subsidy that is required if information is to be used efficiently in communities and organizations.” Within an online environment, perhaps it is time to transform this economic model. Lewis makes a number of interesting
(provocative) statements in this article “A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21^st Century” C&RL News, September 2007

** Changing the scholarly communication landscape is difficult because we are fighting against a longstanding culture. Does this mean we should be targeting younger faculty and graduate students? (But they can’t take those kinds of risks until they have tenure.) Or, maybe it means we should be targeting the older faculty who already have tenure and,
therefore, are in a better position to take risks.

** Everyone agreed that Tenure and Promotion is the elephant in the room. We didn’t want to go there.

** How do we change things? Librarians don’t have much influence. Faculty have some, but they are caught up in a deeply embedded culture that doesn’t give them much room to change their behavior. Maybe we should be targeting administrators who control the purse strings and would support libraries when we walk away from expensive journal packets.

** We have mixed feelings about eScholarship. Not much uptake from faculty. On the other hand, it is a great place for publishing so-called grey literature and eScholarship is very good at surfacing its contents in Google.

** We all have to understand that while some of us may be excited about Open Access, it is not free. Many question whether it is even a sustainable model. On the other hand, just because there are questions about its sustainability we should not discount it (as many faculty and publishers do). Most importantly, we need scholars to understand that
open access IS peer reviewed; it is not vanity publishing!

** The good news: some in-roads have been made in the health and medical sciences. The NIH Mandate requires all recipients of NIH funding to submit an electronic version of their final, peer reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central. Now anyone with NIH funding knows about open access and the fact that research in traditional journals creates a barrier to accessing their findings.

** More good news: there is starting to be a buzz about textbook affordability. Maybe this is a good way to get attention from the academy about the sustainability (or lack thereof) of the current publishing industry.

#3 – Library Personnel

Hiring of library personnel depends not only on the amount of staff
needed, but also the training required. What is missing is succession planning. Right now, there is nothing formal in place for succession
planning (moving into a new job, leadership training, management
training, etc). Potential reasons for the lack of succession planning
could be that supervisors are not used to thinking about it.

When replacing library personnel, things to consider are what skills to
advertise for, the person’s strengths, and also what is required and
desired. It all depends on the individual. Even if you find someone who
has all of the necessary skills, is that person someone you want to work with? On the other hand, how much time/energy can we put into getting people trained and up to speed? What we need for job descriptions is the core elements/values of what makes a library employee.

With reduced staffing and large workloads, people need to be realistic.
How can you provide the same amount of services with fewer people? It
feels bad to cut public services, but if funding for collections is
protected, then only thing to cut is public service.

Student employees are so important to the Library. They work late shifts and some even do higher-level technical processing work. There are some interns, who can work on special projects, but these interns do not typically help with daily workloads.

The MLS or MLIS is a degree that is important to the field of librarianship. Obtaining the degree is key, because there is something
you learn when you’re in the program that makes librarians different
from library staff.

#4 – Technology
Bolded, top-level bullet items are the “conversation starters” we started with, and there are very loosely thrown summaries of the comments into each category, even though we did not address the topics strictly or in any particular order.

Are we leveraging technology as best we can?
o We need to be more cutting edge - leaders, not followers … Berkeley was more so in the 90s - what happened? So much happens off campus now (e.g., CDL). Fracturing of technical support offices makes for a confusing system to navigate and slows innovation.
o Flexibility - many library changes require many layers of committees etc. - need to be able to make decisions faster

o Some changes libraries have made have been by going rogue, against advice of IST - too often the response is simply "oh we don't support that"… (e.g., metasearching/federated searching - resistance to trying).

o Affiliates and institutes as drivers of and experimenters with new technology
o Get rid of bureaucracy - need to move quickly, need to trust staff to try out new techs and capture their innovations

o Importance of staff re: training and time to play with new technologies. Librarians testing new products – raising awareness of resources, but also able to evaluate quality

o We need a dedicated position to proactively seek out new technologies. Current model is systemically more passive and reactive, relying on individuals with other responsibilities to innovate

o How about a Library Office of Technology [or Innovation] (maybe a library committee?) - Library Systems Office is focused on (overworked) keeping existing systems working. A lot of universities have an emerging techs office - Duke Digital Initiatives (developed to foster use of digital repository) -

o changed structure to make Digital Initiatives report directly to university president - freed from university layers of bureaucracy

o can direct IT, Libraries, teaching/learning, Academic Senate, etc.

o situated in the library (powerful symbolic meaning).

o Responsible to interpret and facilitate; three groups (IT, Library, Teaching/learning) sitting together, working together as functional group.

o Need a librarian in the systems office; lack of structured liaison with IST and Library Systems Office Is also a barrier to innovation

o Difficult/expensive to do video conferencing from this campus. It saves money but there seems to be resistance/barriers

o Working remotely … using Skype for videoconferencing, pushing webpages … A lot of ways to do things cheaply, on the fly (even if deemed "not supported"?)

o using iChat to run remote discussion for distance learning interesting experience. (But is there a resistance about distance education?)

o Looking towards the future - the students who will be here 5 years from now - comfort level in using technology. We need to be there, and just as flexible, adaptive and curious as they are with technologies and change.

Technology for technology's sake?

o Talk about tech is often outside the context of library values …

o Tech should be a tool for where we want to go, not the driver. It is important for librarians to determine for themselves where to go based on our goals & mission (quality, authority, etc.) rather than tech for its own sake.

o Tech changes so quickly - We can't let tech guide us blindly, but at the same time we have to be flexible to be able to explore the ways it can support librarians’ core values

o Library values - Focus on end-user support: don't conceptualize based on traditional functional groups like buying, maintenance, etc., but supporting teaching/learning, research

o why try to reinvent Google when Google already exists? Instead, focus on what librarians can contribute that is a value-add –

o e.g., Open Gov Initiatives is coming (datasets, etc., from all federally funded research must be uploaded) … Libraries can contribute by creating standards for data structure for access across different possible future platforms

o Ebook readers - should libraries lend these? We don't even have laptop checkout. But what about the Amazon experiment with Kindles for textbooks at Princeton – wildly unpopular because readers wanted to be able to highlight, take notes, use easily ….

Letting patrons (undergrads) lead the way

o Being reactive versus leading and planning – UCB tends [too much] toward the former mode

o Stuff that works on mobile devices are what users want …. - SFSU model, a couple of people developed their library enhancements to make “mobile friendly”

o We often move in reaction to what we think students want
o making video tutorials …Has anyone had any reactions or done assessment of user reaction to this? –

o there are barriers: Not thinking outside the box (e.g. instance where selector was told Schoolhouse Rock "I'm Just a Bill" was not academic enough) means not being able to take advantage (quickly) of things that our students find useful

What about Google?

o We can't reinvent Google, but we can improve on it

o No one wants Local Worldcat – always want to search everywhere

o Google as model - experimentation with new technologies, trying to change

o Don't tell an engineer to design a bridge, tell her to design a way to get from here to there

Open Source, Digital Rights Management

o Can we reclaim from CDL control over tech initiative? (e.g. CDL’s digital archiving – several Affiliated Libraries pay for outside service for DRM). CDL is great for managing shared collections, negotiating contracts, and similar functions – but by ceding to CDL control over so much tech innovation, de facto it becomes a work of centralizing. Centralization of so much from all 10 campuses slows things down too much to be able to keep up with technology.

Staff Training/keeping up-to-date
o coexistence of people who somewhat resist change and those who are early adopters

o A good combination?

o control issues - feels better to have rigid controls, but may not be able to keep up, given pace of change

o Duke model – sometimes a top-down model is needed to force and encourage change

o innovations at low level need to bubble up quickly and then be propagated back down

#5 – Collections

Are librarians wizards for their ability to find information, as Marilyn Johnson suggests in This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, or lizards, changing colors and losing their tails while adapting to danger and varying environments?

The recent CDC report "University of California Library Collection: Content for the 21st Century and Beyond" maps out changes in library roles without ever mentioning the word librarian but rather using "library staff" and "curatorial role." Librarians provide vital services to our users not only in collecting research materials but also at reference desks, in classroom and in myriad other ways.

Next Generation Tech Services groups are changing the way we manage
collections. The "CDL Shared Print Steering Task Force Findings and
Recommendations Report to CDC" is an attempt to find ways to make similar changes to how UC collects materials and take current collaborative projects to new levels. UCB refuses to shed its insular attitudes toward ownership.
Another viewpoint is that UC librarians have worked out many ooperative
agreements in the UC system, with Stanford and other research libraries, and this report might make honoring the terms of those agreements difficult or impossible. UCB has successful arrangements covering Latin America, Africa and other areas. These agreements define collection areas for sharing ofacquisition and processing. For years UC has had informal arrangements such as buying two copies of some research materials, one in the north and one in the south. Many research materials are at RLFs and meant to be shared in the UC system.

Collections are fluid since faculty retire and faculty with new research interests join the institution. Librarians must decide whether to maintain historical strengths or concentrate on current needs, especially difficult as budgets shrink.

All libraries are concerned with ownership, historically important in
determining ARL rankings and in attracting top faculty and graduate
students. Shared ownership might not be as problematic for the sciences and health fields since so much is online, although copyright and lending are issues. Eastern Europe is increasingly turning to digital only; digitization is supported by grants, leading to crucial questions of sustainability and preservation.

CDL cancellations lead to other issues since campuses cancel the paper and rely on the CDL licenses for digital only to have the CDL cancel the title. For example, one paper journal was held by 5 campuses, all of which canceled when the CDL subscribed to the online version. Now that CDL has canceled, no UC library has the journal. The paper journal was cheap but necessary to a small number of scholars; the e-journal was expensive and had low usage so didn't meet the metric to retain. This pattern is not unusual in the humanities. UC needs more coordination between CDL cancellations and campus cancellations and also between bibliographer group request priorities and what CDL licenses.

Preservation is a key issue. Many research libraries, including those in UC, are canceling foreign newspapers and relying on digital versions. What will happen in 100 years when scholars will have to travel to other countries to see these newspapers? What if the local country has not preserved them or a disaster has destroyed them? Digitized newspapers often do not contain all the content, such as ads and editorials. We are increasingly relying on the digital without a (secure) backup.

Key to collections is coping with current problems in collections-funding, preservation, etc.-while still striving to keep in mind the needs of future scholars. We must consider what they will need in the centuries to come and how to deliver it.

UCLA and UCB have long been the campus of last resort for expensive research material. We must address the questions of how much duplication is too much and how catalogs serve as discovery tools. For decades UC has encouraged the acquisition of duplicate materials. Each campus has an engineering program, necessitating an engineering collection. Should the system cut programs to save money? Campus planning needs to consider library funding when adding new programs; the library should be at the table when decisions to add are made. Departments/schools should involve the library when interviewing candidates for new positions; their research needs may not be
met by the collection, and they should be encouraged to make
collection funding part of their start up funding. Archival units are
making fundraising arrangements with donors before accepting their papers. Librarians must be aware of shifts in departmental programs and faculty research.

Library funding brings quality collections; quality collections attract the best faculty and students. As State support for UCB decreases, so will the number of Nobel prizes and the ability to retain the best faculty will wither. At what point will the public notice?

Archivists live with the reality that not every item can be cataloged and that rapid digitization, such as done by Google, is not possible with their fragile and unique materials. Creating metadata is costly. Standards change rapidly, and turnover of personnel is a factor in deterring priorities. Large digital collections, which draw from many places, can be frustrating because the collection managers massage interfaces/metadata to funnel material from different libraries into one collection. Individual collections may not operate in the way the owning library intended.

Library silos are problematic; users must have a way to discover material and a vigorous interlibrary loan to obtain.

We must take care not to embrace mediocrity but continue the tradition of excellence.

#6 – Library Buildings “Back to the Future: space planning”

Library Space NEEDS: We thought these were desirable for all patrons particularly students and faculty -
group study, quiet study, presentation rooms, instruction rooms, wireless internet, wireless printing, copying, printing, scanning, computer software on library pc’s, include a café, allow food, longer hours.

Space GRABS: when the departments or campus want to acquire library space for teaching or academic purposes, be clear about the impact on students, in order to engender a positive outcome for all concerned. Work with the university and the departments to create tradeoffs that will benefit the library. When this comes up, present it to library committees, and donors; supporters who have an interest.

UC wide: collections increasingly electronic move more to storage.

Look FORWARD and be prepared – as print collections change to electronic, down size, and go to storage, have a plan, be ready to repurpose exiting space in older buildings – upgrade physical environment, wiring.

Look for OPPORTUNITIES to upgrade facilities, improve furniture and work areas,
change presentations in the library, keep the environment fresh. The library can look more current by adding displays, new technology, promoting online – blog, wikis, facebook, rss feeds from your own blog.

Topics for discussion.
• Staying relevant in an online
• Campus space grabs
• Space for computers and computer labs
• Quiet study and group study
• Social gathering: cafes, programs, meeting friends

# 7 - Technical Services

1. NextGen Melvyl

Many people, in both technical and public services, are unhappy with Next Gen Melvyl. We at the Law Library don’t like it because it continues to regard us as unaffiliated with UC Berkeley. Anyone wanting to find books in Melvyl has to know to click the button for libraries in the rest of the world. This will apparently be fixed, but for the moment it’s not good.

Other complaints include the screen display – unnecessarily cluttered; the fact that you cannot limit by campus – something essential for cooperative book selection, or indeed any book selection; the inclusion of some articles in some search results – it seems to patrons that they are getting back all available articles on a topic, which is not true. The advanced search possibilities should be a lot better.

We all agreed that LAUC could play a role in providing feedback on NextGen Melyvl. Having a good catalog is too important to continue with the current status.

We considered how we would go about providing feedback.

Another problem is that it’s really not “NextGen” enough (see below).

2. Local vs. universal needs

We then discussed the problem of local needs vs. a centralized technical services department. There are times when a branch librarian has the subject knowledge to know when a book will be looked for under a certain subject. Debbie offered the example of books about local places. The local place may not be included as a subject heading, but that heading would be very useful to the patrons at Environmental Design. Presently, the branches do not have the ability to add subject headings, even in a very restricted way, and Technical Services does not have the manpower to handle requests in a timely way. Another issue is dissertations, which are hugely backed up. We wondered if there was not some way of using the abstract which is presumably available electronically in California Hall to automatically create a catalog record. This seems like a great idea, but of course, does technical Services have the staffing to be able to figure out how to do something like this. There is also the question of social tagging, which apparently is being done at Penn State. Again, this would require a capacity that Oskicat may or may not have, plus the staffing to develop and then maintain it.

3. Cooperative technical services

We also considered the idea of cooperative technical services – for example, what if one campus hired an Armenian cataloger. All Armenian books ordered at UC would be delivered to her/him for cataloging and then shipped off to wherever they belonged. Could we centralize all cataloging? All selection? All ordering? There may be a savings, but it might also make it harder for Debbie to get her local subject headings added – or maybe it wouldn’t. Something to consider.

Friday, April 16, 2010

UCI South Regional Assembly- Why You Should Attend

Register today for the
LAUC Southern California Regional Meeting

We all know that LAUC is a self-determining and planning body, and that we are all interested in future of our profession and in our own professional development at the University of California. That’s a given. But you should attend this region’s meeting because the responsibility and value of participation isn’t all that different from that of a vote in an election. You are a part of a solution and can contribute to a plan to improve as a group. You provide the impetus for change, and understand how decisions are made and why. You get to choose based on your priorities and values and the priorities and values of your UC.

But some people ask, why should I, as a (insert your departmental or divisional affiliation here) librarian come to the LAUC Southern Regional Meeting? All of these agenda items look like they’re related to someone else’s job. But, all of these agenda items are also intertwined with what we do. They affect one another. They are not truly separate. Take a look at SOPAG , HOTS , HOPS and the UC Commission on the Future. It’s pretty clear by looking at the reports, initiatives, proposed policies and actions, that communication and collaboration are required across many areas. They do affect you and they do require your consideration.

Don’t reference services change if students of all stripes don’t have to come to a desk to get reference assistance or resources because professors have changed their delivery of education, their assignments, or their research (Topic 1)? They do. Library instruction changes. Acquisitions changes. Collections change. Processing changes. Licensing changes. Access services changes. Personnel changes. Where people work changes (home, department, you name it). Skills change. The technology changes. Space needs change. The amount of money needed and how it’s controlled changes. Unique collections change. Archival curation changes. This is only one example of the ripples that radiate from a single set of actions.

This still, however, doesn’t get to the heart of what we can do in a regional meeting. We already have answers to what we might do in the form of reports and initiatives in play, but we need to decide where to place our energies as a group because our work is increasingly distributed across all UC libraries. So, decide. What solutions of those offered here on this blog and in our own campus assemblies work best for all of us? How will we know if we have succeeded? How can we minimize risk and maximize benefits to everyone through testing and evaluation? What are you able to commit to? What can we achieve and when?

The heart of your participation in a regional meeting is a focus on solutions-based concepts associated with concrete actions. Not the specific issues or technologies that you dislike or champion, but a careful consideration and articulation of the factors that will facilitate positive actions and ways to overcome impediments. So, how can you do this? It seems overwhelming, but preparation will make it less so.

*Look at the questions that Esther Grassian posted for the meeting and take a specific note how you rank and articulate your responses. Post your thoughts in the comments or apply to post to the blog via Phoebe Ayers. Your ranking of these questions forms the basis of your values and will help you decide what’s really important.

*Take a look at the discussion group notes and decide how to address the notes that were taken. Change the questions you see into propositions and try some on for size. Choose a couple. What are the elements that will allow a proposal to work? How will we test and/or evaluate the substantial success of a proposal to determine what is of highest value to our clients? If you can’t evaluate it, it’s not a proposal that can be addressed. What do we need to change to implement those ideas? How much money? What kinds of technologies? How much time would it take? How much disruption or training would it involve? What are the easy wins (things everyone can do)?

*Take a look at this (admittedly incomplete) mapping of the nine topics onto the five prepared for the LAUC Southern Regional meeting agenda:

Topic 1: The consequences of changing university pedagogy.
See Campus roles ; Relationship to Information Providers ; Reference ; Technology ; Library Buildings

Topic 2: Preparing the current and future generations to work in 21st century settings.
See Personnel ; Reference ; Relationship to Information Providers ; Technology ; Organizational Culture

Topic 3: Acquiring unique materials assuming a UC one copy universe – challenges and justifications.
See Collections ; Technology ; Library Buildings ; Campus roles ; Relationship to Information Providers

Topic 4: Evaluating ourselves for promotion. What should count in the future?
Relationship to Information Providers ; Reference ; Technology ; Campus roles

Topic 5: Getting stuff where it needs to go: Discovery and delivery.
Technology ; Reference ; Campus roles; Relationship to Information Providers

Here’s what will we do at this meeting after you have done your homework:
We will gather your proposals, write them down and synthesize them and vote on them. Once we have compiled your votes, we will communicate them to everyone.

What are your comments?

Register today for the
LAUC Southern California Regional Meeting

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From General Reference to Subject Specialty

David Michalski
Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian
University of California, Davis

Libraries and librarians have made great strides over the years to simplify access to resources by promoting to the general public good practices in the use and construction of databases and search engines. The society we serve has changed too. Information navigation skills are widely held, acquired by children at an early age, and mastered by adults who are compelled to learn the latest technologies to conduct the business of their everyday lives. Large databases are omnipresent and following inter-text citations is routine. More than ever, our social lives and social networks our influenced by our management and manipulation of digital social networks. Most new university students are no longer unfamiliar with things like Boolean searching, tags, faceted browsing, or the once arcane structures of databases. Great ‘world-cataloging’ initiatives like, WorldCat, Google, and Youtube, are no longer sublime. They are the commonplace, practical and personal instruments of an expansive cognitive world.

These transformations have important implications for reference service. One positive effect of the diminished aura associated with database technology has been to liberate the librarian from some aspects of repetitive general instruction. The orientation work on the basic operation of information technology is less necessary. Rather than explaining how to construct search strings or how to combine or filter result lists with subject headings/tags or other limits, more attention can be paid to information literacy, on teaching patrons how to analyze and evaluate the content of search results, and to deciphering their relation within the topic of inquiry. Thanks to the popularity of database experience, time spent on teaching ‘how to search’, can now be devoted to teaching patrons ‘how best to search’ in respect to the particular research project at hand.

Too be sure, reference communication still requires both general and specialized knowledge. General skills are not universally mastered. In fact, the populations we serve are diverse, both culturally and in terms of research experience. With popular information skills more widely distributed, however, it has been somewhat easier to teach people how to interact with our search tools, how to expand and contract results and how to discovery unforeseen links to like-documents. The emerging popular familiarity with relational databases makes it easier for patrons to transition from one interface to another. With such general skills in place, I can now concentrate on showing patrons how to trace a document’s authority, provenance, and how one might uncover future citations or link to common vocabulary terms in related datasets. I still meet many patrons who are new to both academic research and complex database searching, but even in such meetings, these patrons increasingly demand both advice on how to use information technological and advice about the intellectual content of their results. The more difficult part for the reference librarian at a university has always been to situate the patron in the social life of information.

Even as general librarianship is made easier by the popularity of library/database skills, this later challenge has been made more difficult by the kind of tools emerging today. Many of the vast fulltext aggregator databases shield the scope of their contents from their users. Others offer seemingly arbitrary sets of documents based on publishers or unseen publisher agreements. The coherent subject orientated index and abstracting tool takes on new importance in such an environment, but even many of these have become unwieldy. Today the reference librarian needs to have a handle on the discourse, and better, a foot in the intellectual world she or he is charged to serve. Knowledge of a subject’s own language or jargon, its intra-disciplinary fragmentation, the distribution and repudiation of its publishers is increasingly necessary. The librarian must position the research question within the diverse cultures of inquiry that make up today’s university. If in years past, the librarian had concerned her or his self the mastery of information science alone, the interrelation of information content with information structures no longer makes such an approach viable. Librarians are now often enlisted in the construction of literature reviews.

Today’s researcher, undergraduate or professor, must confront vast displays of initial search results and from these make crucial decisions. The flatness of their representation lends the results the illusion of exchangeability and makes their use values harder to decipher. In this environment the subject grounded librarian is called upon to guide and interpret results, to provide context and relief in the horizontal displays of equivalency. For the advanced researcher or inquisitive undergraduate, the subject specialist librarian can serve as a cross disciplinary translator, one who can help lead the researcher who endeavors to enter new areas of exploration. The subject specialist/bibliographer, trained both formally and through ongoing collection development work, can make connections between schools, publishers, and intellectual movements. Librarians are often called upon to orient researchers in rapidly hybridizing fields of study.

The undergraduate especially benefits from this contextualization. After meeting with subject specialists, and walking the contours of their topic of inquiry, after situating their question within their field of study, and then situating their field within the larger information landscape, the student can engage their projects from firmer ground. She or he can then return with more thoughtful, intellectually informed questions and a better understanding of the history of ideas, the value of citations, and a more cogent understanding of the social organization of knowledge and how it relates to her or his project. In other words, the subject librarian can facilitate the progressive intellectual development of the student by helping the student to avoid repeating the same entry level queries.

Today’s researchers want to speak with people who understand their complex language, projects and ideas. They like to meet with people who know the general authors, theories, tenets, and controversies which occupy them. This not only gives them the confidence that the library is acting as a powerful partner in their own mission. It allows them to interconnect to wider or related discourses.

To maximize quality reference service the Librarian needs to work in partnership with teaching faculty. She or he must have a familiarity with the work of the professors, an understanding of what their assignments are designed to teach, and how the class project fits into the course’s wider disciplinary context. By reiterating course teachings in the context of the information environment a practical knowledge of information is fostered.

The rise in programs and departments on our campuses combined with the level of staffing currently supported by our budgets makes an ideal symmetry between subject expertise and academic programs impossible to obtain. At the University of California at Davis, I am responsible to no less than ten programs across the Humanities and Social Sciences. I can not master the knowledge of all these areas, and the idea that I am a specialist in all of them diminishes the authority such a status ought to convey. Yet, to these programs, and to the work of the professors and students in them, I remain devoted, doing the best I can, based on the research, training, and reading I do to perform as a knowledgeable guide to the available resources and literatures. I know my colleagues across the University do the same. But there is no doubt, the need for subject specialty is growing just as our resources are being reduced.

In our challenging times, however, we ought not coil back from this responsibility, and concern ourselves only with generalities of research. Instead we need to restructure the library so that it becomes more effective at meeting this growing need. Posturing as if all information were of equal value, as if libraries were only responsible for the management of interchangeable info-widgets is to distort the complexity of the information landscape today. Instead, we must work at finding the best ways to teach and promote the contextual value of information, and do our best to support the practices and policies which add knowledge based assistance to the research process.

See also...

The Qualitative Place of the Reference Desk Today

On Ubiquitous Instruction


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Qualitative Place of the Reference Desk Today

David Michalski
Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian
University of California, Davis

Even as we reach and serve more and more patrons remotely through new forms of tele-presence, the properly equipped and staffed Reference Desk remains an important part of both the 21st Century library and university. It not only serves as the symbolic center for our activities, it continues as the physical embodiment our mission to the campus. It is, of course, not our only point of contact. The Reference Desk is a site in a wider network of reference interactions made through both static and interactive online tools, virtual meetings and face-to-face meetings in offices and in class instruction, as well as in other public forums. Yet the Reference Desk, by virtue of its very immobility and permanence, is a central hinge between the library and its users. It serves as the anchor and dispatch center for all our flexible and mobile initiatives. It is our office and our laboratory, an open and public node where we can engage the climate of our researchers and the hub from which we embark in service of the university’s educational and research missions. Both history and current events show space and materiality are still important in the construct of our social world, in fact, no less so in today’s fast and liquid information environment. Ultimately, we occupy this space so that we are accountable to our public.

Spatially, the Reference Desk serves as an invitation to our users. It shows that we are employed in their interest. In my experience at Peter J. Shields Library at the University of California, Davis, I find patrons approaching the Reference Desk on which I serve for many reasons, for orientation, for resource discovery, and for conversations about the distribution and context of information. Situated at the center of campus, our Reference Desk is often busy. Every quarter, I meet new faculty and researchers, help new students with old problems and new assignments, and meet continuing students who have progressed from the academic novice to the intellectually engaged scholar. It is a mutually rewarding and challenging space from which to serve the campus and community.

New powerful tools and burgeoning resources in print and online have allowed the information environment to flourish. New possibilities, truly await today’s scholars, but these advances also make the information landscape increasingly complex. In this environment, the Reference Desk is used increasingly to ameliorate the confusion encountered online. The opportunity to speak directly with the librarian offers patrons a clear and direct communication of their needs and their challenges. The Reference Desk provides the much needed space and time to listen and provide information and advice in a relatively unmediated way. Time and again I’ve seen the reference desk, staffed by knowledgeable people turn frustrated users back into hopeful researchers. Undoubtedly, this commitment to our users contains costs, and its value is, like most knowledge, difficult to account, but beside counting the papers saved, insights sparked, or careers changed because of the fruitful interplay between librarians and researchers, the Reference Desk must also be recognized as a place to communicate our ethical responsibility to our users.

The rapport created there not only translates into future good will towards the library and university, but better research skills for the patron. Even when the patron approaches the desk to ask for known items or to access sets of pre-conceived information, the contact with the librarian often leads to new, more complex, questions, and sometimes, new research endeavors. New questions develop and new ways to organize projects take form, because reference is a more than a place of questions and answers. It is a space of translation, interpretation, and knowledge formation.

Face-to-face researcher-librarian interaction allows researchers to engage in embodied conversations in concert with the information world. Researchers can walk through their search results with the librarian as an interpretive guide or docent. It is a form of interaction that benefits both the researcher and the library as an institution. In the anthropological terms, it is a rich site for the transfer of cultures and skills. The librarian uses this interaction to impart search techniques, and convey the peculiarities of a discourse’s publication and distribution. Pertinent information about the scope and coverage of available resources is also taught, all with a consciousness of, and reciprocity to the researcher’s disposition. With an eye and ear to the situation at hand, to the patron’s level of skill, the signs and postures of time and attention allow for in-situ adjustments. Communication strategy can be altered by assessing the value and comprehension of communication and instruction imparted. Information is not simply dispensed at the Reference Desk, but communicated in a humane manner. In the best circumstances, knowledge about the fuller social life of information can be discussed. The librarian can work to put the researcher’s project in context with the wider intellectual environment. The new perspective built through conversations can lead to new paths of discovery.

Being there, being present, helps the library work in concert with faculty and students. In our large and complex Universities, perhaps uniquely, the librarian at the Reference Desk is there to listen, to put a face in front of the machine. We perform as information consultants and counselors and the Reference Desk becomes the safe place for such communication. It is a confidential place away from the judgment of professors, a place to inquire, explore, learn and grow. It is where we teach novices not to be intimidated by the languages of scholarship. It is where we hear problems, and in the best cases, where we offer solutions and build confidence.

The librarian at the Reference Desk is also uniquely positioned to convey the institution’s message and mission. She or he wears the University’s public face, offering the best attributes of what is too often dismissed as mere customer service. In the University today we must strengthen our engagement with the public. This node is where the library as an institution can best learn from the populations it serves. It is a prime and unfiltered information gathering point for the library in its efforts to remain relevant to the University. Each conversation there informs collection development decisions, instructional needs, and outreach methods. The librarian on the Reference Desk records the core concerns and trends of our faculty and students. As such, the Reference Desk is generative of library and librarian expertise. It enables us as an institution to react, adjust, and think. A librarian confronted with the assignments and research projects learns the challenges of the engaged student or advanced scholar, and develops creative problem solving techniques as well as information that can be used to enhance the library and better support the University’s mission.

The Reference desk is only one node in the overall provision of reference services, but it is unique in its extensibility, flexibility, and power. It creates conversations that build sustained relationships under the partnership of mutual inquiry and concern for the information experience. It is also the place where our commitment to our public is judged. And rightfully so, for if we can not be bothered to engage the public here, what faith will the public have in us across the screen?

See also...

From General Reference to Subject Specialty

On Ubiquitous Instruction


Questions for the UCI South Regional Assembly

1. Reference and Instruction
Which aspects of reference and instruction do you see as ongoing functions of librarians?
Which aspects do you see fading away?
Which aspects do you see evolving, and how?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider in relation to reference and instruction?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

Possible article of interest for this discussion: Beck, Clare. 1991. "Reference Services: a Handmaid's Tale." Library Journal 116 (7):32-38.

Contrast the Beck article with the item cited in the UCSF blog posting (2/10/10) on the LAUC blog: Kaufman, Paula. 2009. "Carpe Diem: Transforming Services in Academic Libraries"

2. Relationship to information providers
What differences do you see now between librarians and non-librarian information providers?
In what ways do you see these differences evolving?
In what practical ways can librarians draw attention to and demonstrate these differences?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

3. Library Personnel
What do you see, generally, as the current functions of library personnel?
How do you see these functions and responsibility for them evolving?
In what practical ways can librarians demonstrate their value in analyzing and making recommendations regarding the roles and functions of library personnel?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

4. Technology
Which aspects of technology do you see as ongoing functions of librarians?
Which aspects do you see fading away?
Which aspects do you see evolving, and how?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider in relation to technology functions?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

5. Collections
Which aspects of collections do you see as ongoing functions of librarians?
Which aspects do you see fading away?
Which aspects do you see evolving, and how?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider in relation to collections functions?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

6. Library Buildings
In which ways are librarians and physical library spaces linked, currently?
In which ways do you see this evolving?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider regarding physical library spaces?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

7. Campus Roles
How does your campus view the role of librarians, currently?
In which ways do you see this evolving?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider regarding their campus roles?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

8. Library Networks
What do you see as the current role of librarians at your institution regarding library networks?
In which ways do you see this evolving?
What are some practical approaches librarians should consider regarding their campus roles?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

9. Organizational Culture
Which aspects of organizational culture at your institution affect your work directly?
Which aspects are supportive?
Which aspects are obstacles?
In what practical ways should the organization change to meet your evolving professional needs?
Please rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being lowest & 5 being highest.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Committee on Diversity at the UCDavis Libraries

Last week, I attended the first meeting of the UCDavis Libraries Committee on Diversity, and this proved to be an illuminating look at two of the nine topics that have defined our discussion of the future of UC librarianship. The meeting was based on a presentation by Associate Executive Vice Chancellor for the Office of Campus Community Relations Rahim Reed. He reiterated throughout his talk his respect for the Library Diversity committee which has a history of contributing to the campus, he said. This contribution has largely taken the form of support for a centerpiece of the campus's diversity programming which is the campus community book project. Every year, a committee selects a campus book related to the theme of diversity. Previous designees include The Kite Runner and Mountains Beyond Mountains. This year's book is The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World. Each year, there is ongoing programming on campus surrounding the book that consists of exhibits and discussions. The author is always invited for a series of high-profile talks at the campus's main performance venue, The Mondavi Center. With the focus on a book, such a project is a natural for the library. In previous years, the library has always obtained the campus book and hosted exhibits and discussions.

At this time, the diversity office is facing a particularly urgent concern in the form of a rash of acts of discrimination. These include swastikas painted on the doors of Jewish students, defacement of the LBGT office and harassment of African-American students. Here we are in the 21st century! Some people are slow to get the message. As was pointed out at the meeting, these incidents are so far beyond the pale and at such an opposite pole from discussions on diversity, that, at first glance it is hard to know how to begin to deal with this. It's like teaching people to add and subtract. One is not sure where to start. Rahim admitted that no place can be guaranteed to be safe against everything, but he offered a comprehensive vision. In part, security will be stepped up around campus. But the main effort will be a version of "draining the swamp" that discriminators live in through education and training of staff, and this is the centerpiece, too, of the conversations that the diversity office plans to hold around campus. New ideas are always welcome. With this challenge to the Library's diversity committee, Rahim ended his presentation. Not only does the library have an opportunity to intervene in the life of the campus, but it has a history of doing so which was news to me as a relatively new member of the campus. In anything to do with cross-disciplinary education, it makes sense that the library should be at the forefront of such an effort, and it will be interesting to see what unique contributions that the library can make in the upcoming year.

For its first action, the committee decided to look internally at the library before looking outward to the campus. There have been a spate of troubles within the last few months. One was an incident in which a self-appointed group delivered letters to certain individuals claiming that they were not doing their share of the work. Another was a series of angry emails regarding the timing and nature of communications about layoffs that the library may be forced to implement in the near future. All incidents did not reflect the Principles of Community that the UC Davis campus prides itself on--to say the least. Some of have speculated that these incidents reflect the tension surrounding the budget crisis that afflicts the entire UC system, and, from that perspective, they are understandable. However, the themes of inequality and that certain classes of staff within the library are more privileged than others are ones that I, for one, have seen elsewhere and seem to be general in library culture. So, the committee's first move will be to address this aspect of the organizational culture of libraries. One of the features of diversity programming, mentioned by Rahim, is a series of workshops and courses on the campus on different aspects of diversity. Rather than sending individuals to this training, the committee is considering a special session tailored to library concerns to focus on healing divisions and increasing communication and effectiveness to face the challenges that lie ahead. The UC Davis Library Committee on Diversity will be a place to watch with regards to both library campus roles and organizational cultures.