Alexis M Waide

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Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Nicholson Baker and Double Fold

We read Double Fold by Nicholson Baker for LIS 2000 and discussed it in our small group.  Most of us were sort of irritated by his style – he was too over-the-top impassioned to make a really convincing argument to save all the newspapers being deaccessioned from libraries.

October 25, 2011

One thing that struck me from tonight’s discussion of Double Fold and Nicholson Baker was the reaction the non-library public had to the book and the outcry against libraries, librarians, archives, and archivists.  I wouldn’t have thought that the removal of older print resources from libraries would have elicited such a response from the general public.  Apparently there were such strong feelings that the Association of Research Libraries created a site specifically for reviews and responses to Double Fold!

We talked in our group about whether Baker would have written the same kind of book today as he did in 2001 and for the most part, we thought he would have felt the same and written largely the same book.  He is clearly very passionate about the issue and it’s doubtful that he’d be singing a different tune in 2011, since libraries and archives are still digitizing or microfilming so many materials and auctioning or pulping them when done.  What I wonder is if the public would have the same reaction to the book that they did in 2001, since most recent studies and statistics are showing that fewer and fewer print resources are being purchased or checked out from the library.  So many people are getting their daily news online, searching databases for old newspapers, or reading e-books, it seems like it might be less of a concern.  Do you think people would be as incensed today as they were 10 years ago?

New Montana State Librarian

My sister-in-law has been named the new Montana State Librarian!  There was a nationwide search and it came down to her and two others and she earned the position despite having fewer years of experience than the other candidates. Amazing that she’s got such a prestigious position less than 10 years or so out of graduate school.  Congratulations, Jennie!

Phantom library visitor

Libraries and museums around the city of Edinburgh, Scotland received artwork from a mysterious and anonymous visitor over the course of the past year.

I came across this story via The Library as Incubator Project today and it’s pretty amazing.  This unknown person deposited a series of ten sculptures constructed from books (a majority from Ian Rankin books, an Edinburgh mystery author) at places like the Scottish Poetry Library, the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Center, and the National Library of Scotland.

The sculptures themselves are exquisite – literary references and jokes, amazing detail – but the notes with left with the sculptures are just as exquisite.  Each note was specific to the location where the sculpture was placed and was addressed to the Twitter account of the institution.  Whoever this artist is clearly loves the libraries and museums of Edinburgh and libraries in general since all the notes included this line: “A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…”  Check out this Flickr photo gallery from Chris Donia; his photos of the sculptures are as beautiful as the sculptures themselves.

This whole story had me a little teary-eyed.  It’s great to have a masked crusader of sorts, creating book art and sharing their love for these cultural institutions.  I’m sure sure it’s also brought some great publicity to these places and I would imagine more visitors.  Well done, Library Phantom!

Embedded librarianship

Last week in LIS 2000, we had a panel of three librarians, one from an academic library, one from a middle school library, and one from a public library.  I thought it was interesting that all three of them brought up embedded librarianship.

November 30, 2011

One thing that came up quite frequently last night during the panel discussion was the idea of embedded librarianship – the idea that librarians need to get out from behind the desk, get out of the office, or get out of the library entirely, and make their presence known within whatever community they are a part of.

I first heard the term used in David Lankes‘ (a professor at Syracuse’s iSchool) recent talk here at the iSchool.  From what I remember, he gave an example of a librarian he knows working within an university’s science department.  She has weekly hours where she is physically present within the department, as well as a Twitter feed which she updates regularly with sources and news articles relevant to the various research groups within the department.  The department finds her increased presence, both physically and virtually, incredibly useful.  Sounds like a success.

I think part of the drive toward and the likely success of embedded librarianship comes from having a familiar face present within a community of learners or patrons.  We’re all familiar with “library anxiety” from our readings and class discussions.  What better way to combat the anxiety than having a librarian present within a classroom, department, writing center, Twitter feed, etc., putting a name and (hopefully) friendly face to the library?

This librarian had to eat ice cream, drink fresh milk and play with adorable barn kittens as the embedded librarian for a University of Oregon class called Geographies of Food.  If this is what embedded librarianship involves, sign me up!

This is an interesting article on embedded librarianship from Library Journal.

The LCA and SOPA

Another re-post from my discussion group blog.  This one is relevant to the current firestorm surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill.

November 21, 2011

I’ve been reading about SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) bill which was recently introduced by the House of Representatives.  SOPA was designed to strengthen the laws regarding online piracy.  SOPA could require internet providers to monitor their customers’ activity and block websites suspected of copyright infringement.

The Library Copyright Alliance, which includes as its members the ALA, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Associaton of College & Research Libraries, has written to Congress about SOPA and expressed their concerns.  Apparently there are some provisions that have the LCA worried, since they could undermine library activities.  According to this article, one of the provisions of SOPA “would expand the definition of “willful” copyright infringement to potentially include cases where a person believed in good faith that infringing conduct was lawful.”  If the definition of willful is expanded, libraries and archives could be facing a more limited spectrum of what is okay to copy and what is not okay.

Other critics of SOPA have been the EU, Verizon, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.  Yahoo has actually pulled out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in response to SOPA – the Chamber of Commerce is a big supporter of SOPA.  Google has threatened to pull out as well.

UPDATE: As of this re-posting, Google has still not pulled out of the Chamber of Commerce; however, the progressive website MoveOn.org has this petition to Google to get them to quit the Chamber.  And there is a potential alternative to SOPA being worked on by a bi-partisan committee in Congress.  Hopefully SOPA gets sidelined and this new bill pans out.

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