Thursday, May 10, 2012

Discussion LAUC-R members – NextGen UC LAUC Member/Librarian

Discussion LAUC-R members – NextGen UC LAUC Member/Librarian
May 1, 2012
* Comments below are not necessarily representative of every LAUC-R member but capture the main points of our discussion. (Verbiage shamelessly borrowed from UCM)
The discussion generated was vigorous, and may occasionally have drifted from the exact content of the document onto related topics.
Organizational Culture:
1.     Who is a LAUC Member?   With our numbers dwindling, we may want to reconsider the definition of a LAUC Member.  Possibly there would be a lot of benefit to including staff members pursuing or holding MLS degrees as well as certain other job classifications such as archivist or curator working in a library environment.
2.     Should we be seeking more specialization or more cross-training.  There is a somewhat mixed message.  There might be a specific place for each of these, but can we define that?  Training would likely be key either way.
3.     Are we a culture of “Good enough?” There is a lot of that creeping into our work lives.  Good Enough Cataloging, shrinking reference hours, patron created collections.  How can we maintain high quality?
4.     Clearly we seem to be going in the direction of cross-campus communication and cooperation, how can we improve communications so that we are even more collegial. 
a.     There are already examples of cross-campus cooperation in each area that can be used as models for communication improvement:
                                               i.     TS – SCP, Thai: Do all of the “players” know all of the players?  To whom do we report missing or problematic records?  Should we make this the responsibility of everyone who might encounter a record, or do we throw up our hands and say “whatever”?
                                             ii.     Reference - 24/7 chat reference.  Could we do better if we knew more about what was going on at other campuses?  Is that too much to expect?
                                            iii.     CD – Bib groups. Could anything be done to facilitate the more introverted among us in making contact with colleagues at other campuses?  Supported expectation.
5.     We have not really sat down to plan for services to distance education students even though this is imminent.  Do we have time to discuss those events for which we will need to plan?
6.     Staff shrinkages make it difficult to form thoughtful responses to current forces.
7.     We need to be very visible and knowledgeable on our campuses right now.  What can LAUC and Administration do to facilitate this?  Representation on committees? Campus Status?
8.     Grants were mentioned several times in the report.  Could we clarify PI status across campuses…once and for all?  Would grant workshops be useful? Facilitated?
9.     Cross-campus communication and cooperation as well as responding to the current world require a strong awareness and competence with technology.  We need to be able to explore new technology and developments without fear of being unsuccessful.  Can grants help support this?  How could our environment support this?
10.  One hindrance to cross-campus cooperation is the myriad of products we do or do not decide to buy across the system. Some projects we have discussed, such as ERM, remain mysteriously elusive, and some were purchased or created and never widely promoted. It might be useful to make a centralized tool wishlist and license list like CDL creates for bibliographic resources. When we are successful in selecting unified tools, we may be able to cooperate more effectively and speak with a single voice for necessary changes.
11.  Some of our most important channels of communications exist outside of the UC Library structure such as professional organizations.  Can campuses facilitate this?  Supporting memberships?
12.  We would like to be included in major system-wide decisions a little earlier than being presented with done deals, (e.g. duplicate reduction). Is this unique at UCR?
13.  We should be leaders in the profession.  Is this an acceptable goal in the current budget climate? What will it take to maintain a leadership role in the profession?
14.  How can we empower ourselves to be an active voice. (e.g. on UL searches and every other thing we feel like we could offer useful advice on). For instance the UCR Chancellor sends out a Friday letter.  Should we have a Thursday letter to the chancellor?  Or a Saturday letter?
15.  Creative thinking may need to be added to the prototype job descriptions in the document, since old models are giving way to new pressures. 
Collection Development/Reference
1.     How can subject outreach be facilitated on campuses?  It is difficult to strike and maintain rapport when one librarian serves more than a hundred faculty members or more than two-thousand students. Can we brainstorm ways to support this expectation?  For instance having more subject librarian involvement in faculty orientations, budgeting a “lunch with you librarian” (or coffee if lunch is too much for our dwindling budget). 
2.     How could outreach be done/facilitated across campuses?  Who would teach subject classes on a campus if the specialist was on another campus? Would any books remain on non-specialist campuses for general education?  Is there an example of a system-wide subject specialist now that we could use to understand this role (e.g. veterinary)?  How pervasive do we imagine this could be?  On a spectrum from Nematology to Psychology?
3.     It is clear from the report that the lines are blurring between Collection Development and reference, especially at the selector level.  Is this the case at all campuses?  Do all reference librarians have collecting responsibilities and all bibliographers have reference responsibilities?
4.     Ref - We agree that every newly hired reference librarian might be expected to do Digital Reference. However, this is a question of specialization vs. cross-training.  Would every librarian love chat reference?  Might some prefer it?
5.     CD- Are we paying attention to traditional responsibilities as we get busier with new ones (scholarly bibliographies)?  Should we take time to determine what functions are still relevant, and how to fulfill them most efficiently?
6.     Ref- Could we disappear all together if we keep shrinking at this rate?
7.     CD - How can we make PDA collections and deposit collections better than “good enough”?
8.     Can we afford to ignore the deficiencies in MELVYL any longer if the writing on the wall is that our local catalogs might go away (PDA implications as well).
Technical Services
1.     Can other parts of the organization be involved to make “good enough” really “good enough”?
2.     Lines between other units of the organization are blurring, but not necessarily with technical services. What role do (non-technical services) subject specialists have in technical services for their disciplines? Are technical services librarians frequently subject specialists? Do they do reference and/or instruction?
3.     PDA requires records to be quick, complete and have particular ISBN’s, or money is wasted.
4.     Who should demand better quality records from our vendors?
5.     There is a lot of general material in this excellent section of the report that can be looked at by all groups.
6.     The catalog is key to all parts of the organization.  We can’t ignore our NGTS emails.

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