Monday, August 23, 2010

Going Mobile

Social networking devices may be encroaching slowly but surely on library outreach. The UCDavis instruction department is exercised continuously in trying to improve its instruction. The most recent project had to do with a series of orientations for STEP students (acronym unknown) who go through a short summer course prior to starting their first year to gain extra preparation for college. The library is given one hour to provide an orientation. In deciding what to focus on during this limited time, the instruction staff decided to go retro in a sense. One theme of feedback for introductory instruction is that when all has been said and done about the databases and instruction technology, many students do not know how to physically retrieve a book. This basic task seemed like a worthy goal for the STEP instruction as well as a fun activity.

The next big question was verification. It is easy enough to send students out to all corners of the library on their treasure hunt, but how to check that they've done the job correctly? Having the students bring the books back physically was not an option when there are multiple classes to be run over several days. In fact, keeping the books undisturbed over this time was a problem all by itself. Checking the answers to a list of questions completed by the students was not an option either within the time constraints. So, how can the students give what in action films is called "proof of life" that they had found the correct book? Action films provided something of answer although the actual idea was described in the recent CARL conference. Have students take a picture of the book with their cell phones and show it to the instructor. This hinged up how many students had cell phones which they could use for this purpose. The answer, we found, was that all of them did. The exercise went very smoothly with almost everyone finding their book and the students displaying an extra thrill in using their cell phones with which they seem to be very competent. It's hard to forecast just how social networking technology can be used by libraries. But by adopting an alert, opportunistic posture, the odds are that librarians will find something and that these connections will emerge.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summaries from the LAUC 2010 Southern Regional Meeting

All of this information was gathered at the time of the LAUC 2010 Southern Regional meeting titled, "The Future of Librarianship" on May 6, 2010. The meeting consisted of LAUC members from the southern UC campuses in addition to a few guests, such as the chair of the CPG committee, Matt Conner, and the current LAUC president, Lucia Diamond.

The meeting, which began with a talk by UCSD University Brian E. C. Schottlaender, was followed by a break out session of multiple groups. Each group was further broken up if a given topic had an excess of participants. We preferred to have groups smaller than 10, though some were larger. Groups worked on specific themes over a short period of time (about 45 minutes) during which librarians brainstormed observed trends, actions that might be taken as a result of such trends, and methods of measurement to ensure the success of those actions. Later we returned as a group to walk among all of the ideas written down to vote for what we though had merit. We had an extraordinary number of ideas that could be implemented. We saw that one way to use this information is to work backwards from the metrics discussed for each action and implement those that are doable in some sort of pilot fashion. More could be done with the remaining actions and trends over time as we uncover appropriate metrics.

Kristin Andrews, Ying Zhang, Rachel Shulman and I (Dana Peterman) used the original posters to identify those ideas that garnered the most votes. Those ideas that had two or fewer votes were not included here, though I did keep photos of the original data. We tried to make sure we understood what was meant for each suggestion, but it was difficult to do so. I later tried to make more sense of the original posters myself and placed them in rank order here. Each of the themes has been explained earlier in this blog, so I won't reiterate them here. You can see all of the photos of the posters at . The statements are followed by a number in parentheses that represents the number of votes that it got.

Twenty-First Century Skills
In this session, participants were asked to identify those skills that would be needed as necessary for the 21st century librarian.

Librarians have fewer opportunities to provide input on administrative issues that affect them and their work. (10)
Librarians find that they must be generalists as well as specialists. (6)
Librarians need more and more training on cataloging and other skills less related to previous job functions, and to develop new skill sets. (5)

Break down barriers that reinforce the hierarchical structure of libraries. (13)
Train all staff on emerging technologies. (11)
Teach people to be more adaptable and flexible . (11)
Build our project management skills. (9)
Teach technical skills, both electronic and computing skills, as well as cataloging skills. (8)
Teach people how to do marketing and outreach. (7)
Teach subject expertise. (7)
Teach people how to write grants and to fundraise. (4)

Measurements :
Learning and sharing among campuses on training increases. (16)
When there is a question as to the usefulness of a skill, skill set, or program, pilot studies are conducted. (10)
Usage data are acquired, posted and analyzed. (8)

There is more and more online instruction and digital content available. (9)
Libraries provide space for human contact .(4)

Create marketing and branding resources – University Librarians need a “marketing czar”. (17)
Create greater communication mechanisms. (15)
Partner with faculty to provide support that is integrated with their teaching. (13)
Create digital services at the point of need. (12)
Provide library space to the university to facilitate partnerships with faculty. (7)
Create a suite of email lists, working groups for collaboration on tutorials, and/or subject guides (LibGuides). (6)

Survey stakeholders to see how of the actions mentioned above. (10)

UC 1-Copy Universe
Economics make it tough to be part of shared projects. (13)
One copy doesn’t work for all materials, so there is a need for some redundancy despite our desire to economize. (6)

Communication is key and will help libraries and librarians to make better decisions. (26)
Better communication between technical services and collection development. (23)
Develop parameters for single-copy purchase. (12)
Improve distribution for shared collections. (12)
Improve e-document delivery. (12)
Distribute collections budgets across the UC campuses centrally. (12)

Enhance circulation/Interlibrary loan (ILL) to handle situations in which “1 copy” is shared among 10 campuses.(8)
Assess ILL speed. (7)

Evaluation ourselves for promotion
We getting so much busier that we have too little time for professional development. (8)
Must be both a generalist and a subject specialist to work effectively. (7)
We have a problem quantifying soft skills like collaboration (4)
Low salaries (4)
There should be a balance between criterion 1-4. (4)
Teaching is undervalued. (3)
Tedious bureaucratic procedures (2)

Communication between ULs and LAUCs should be improved. There is a perception that ULs are not present and are out of touch at local LAUCs. (18)
Evaluate and streamline internal administrative processes (15)
Make the librarian review and reward process more reflective of what we really do day-to-day. (14)
Should have continuing education (in order of preference) - Management/supervision (4); Project management (4). (14)
Collect and analyze data for decision making (12)
Expand the definition of scholarly to include web 2.0 contributions. (9)
Create more uniformity in how criteria are applied and which are expected of a librarian. (8)
Succession planning, mentoring and training are needed. (6)
Learn how to emphasize our own impact. (6)
Create reading/study groups to discuss professional literature and develop papers.(6)
Increase the use of social networking tools to increase visibility with faculty and students. (5)
Skills to bridge IT and public services and other functions. (5)
Recognize and support membership and activities in alternative professional development organizations (e.g. technical and subject specialties). (4)
Professional should a voice in what is taught in library schools. (4)
Leadership development skill training. (4)
Create a LAUC review committee to review ALL campus librarians to create greater consistency for all. (4)
Create a grievance outlet, which faculty have. (4)
Have the 10 ULs meet with us at an annual meeting to improve communication. (4)
LAUC should issue state-wide recommendations for things like the number of review letters required. (4)
We should read or re-read position paper #5. (3)

UC library hits or downloads of presentations. (7)
Amount of Librarian research in eScholarship. (4)
Amount of UC-wide sharing of review process. (4)
Evidence of interaction with review initiator for concrete feedback (and criticism). (4)
Existence of peer review groups for de-briefing process. (4)
Add staff-to-staff "reference" questions to statistics we keep. (3)

Discovery and delivery
Mobile technology in all areas. They are a part of the job environment. We will provide mobile devices for students to use. (21)
WorldCat local is complicated by how difficult it is to access electronic content and how difficult it is to determine local availability. (8)
Digital delivery of any digital content (e.g. UC pays for any request, like Questia articles). (6)
Problems reconciling local v. more union-like catalogs. (6)
UC wide, our instruction efforts focus on discovery. (5)
Patrons expect that electronic materials have replaced print. (3)
Challenge for us to help patrons in unfamiliar electronic environments via tools such as QP. (4)
Use of archives for undergraduate teaching and research. (4)
Using resource collection funding to support document delivery. (4)
Fee based delivery even though users expect free services. (3)
Federated searching that is less helpful than a user wants or needs. (4)

conduct user assessments both ethnographic/surveys to better define specific user groups and user needs. (13)
More formal union catalog. Get back to basics and get WorldCat to listen to librarians. (11)
Work on current shared catalog first to get priorities and use of money right. (9)
Generally support WorldCat with major improvements and simplifications. (6)
Improve ILL with all partners, not just UCs. (6)

Conduct assessments and analyze results - map to gaps/causes in collections, interface, user education, etc. (9)
Continuous user assessment studies as WorldCat local evolves. (4)