Category Archives: Essay

Creativity at the Edge: Cutting Back on Library Services during Hard Times

By Amanda Moeller and Julie Gilbert
Gustavus Adolphus College

Introduction

In a service profession like librarianship, it can be difficult to conceive of ever saying no. We are in the business of helping people, after all. The very notion of saying no to our users may cause a spike of fear: if we say no, will people stop seeking our services? Will they stop seeing us as useful and helpful? Of course, circumstances sometimes arise that make it necessary for us to say no to taking on additional tasks and initiatives. Conditions might unfold in our personal lives that require us to step back for a time, or we may already be working at capacity and unable to take on anything new. We might say no after concluding that we simply do not have the time or energy to add more to our plates. Or we might realize that a new task does not fit within our priorities and we let it go. In these situations, we hope our colleagues are positioned to assist with the work or that the tasks are not essential and can be tabled for now.[i]

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Academic Librarians as Knowledge Creators

Donna Witek
Associate Professor and Public Services Librarian
The University of Scranton

Abstract

Despite support from national organizations like the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), pursuing research and scholarship remains a challenge for academic librarians, even when the literature connects these activities to greater effectiveness in the practice of academic librarianship. This essay examines the history and present state of the questions of faculty status and tenure for librarians, and relates these questions to that of performing scholarly research and creating and disseminating new knowledge as an academic librarian. It then offers as a case study my experience identifying and pursuing a research agenda in collaboration with a faculty colleague in another department at my institution, with the goal of both sharing what has worked for one academic librarian (n=1) while also critiquing the system within which that success has occurred. The essay concludes with a list of creative strategies academic librarians can put into practice to become successful knowledge creators in the field of library and information science.

Keywords: academic librarians, faculty status, tenure, scholarly publishing, library research, library and information science, collaboration, information literacy, social media

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Learning and the Arts: Library as Creative Partner

Laurie Alexander, Beau David Case, Annette Haines, Linda Knox, Linda Knox, and Carrie Luke
University of Michigan

Students, scientists, dancers, performers, professors, renowned authors and poets, researchers, administrators, activists, and librarians—what do they have in common? They bring perspectives and vision to the conversation about how the arts inform, enable, and advance who we are today and where we directionally aspire to be. This past March, the University of Michigan (U-M) invited these voices to come together for the inaugural UpstArt festival (http://arts.umich.edu/upstartfest/) to celebrate the arts in scholarship. The results were both expected and unexpected, showcasing the predominant and pervasive role of the arts, illuminating various responses to recent challenges in higher education, emphasizing the specific aspirations of our university, demonstrating the importance of the creative process in learning, and, most interestingly, illustrating how library partnerships enable discovery, collaboration, and learning.

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Supporting Transgender Individuals in Libraries: Developing Responsive Policies

Alejandro Marquez
Instruction/Reference Librarian
Fort Lewis College

One of the American Library Association’s Core Values of Librarianship is diversity. The document states: “We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve” (American Library Association). The library welcomes individuals from many different walks of life ethnic and racial backgrounds, young and old, and different sexual orientations. As members of society have gotten to know gay and lesbian individuals, one segment that people typically know little about is transgender individuals. A recent national survey of about 2,000 people by the Public Religion Research Institute found that thirty percent of Americans did not know how to define the term “transgender.”

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Marketing Your Library’s Brand on a Shoestring Budget

Bethany Messersmith
Information Literacy Librarian/College Liaison
Southwest Baptist University Libraries

Television is fraught with advertising promoting one trademarked brand or another – from insurance commercials by Progressive, GEICO, and State Farm to food commercials for ACTIVIA, Ocean Spray, and Jimmy Dean. These companies spend exorbitant amounts of money annually, in an effort to deliver a brand that is familiar to consumers and instills confidence in purchasing a time-tested product. According to an online survey of academic libraries on outreach efforts a few years ago, survey data revealed that the size of one’s academic library does not necessarily dictate the budget available for outreach (Carter & Seaman 167). Although many libraries do not have the financial means to engage in branding efforts comparable to the for-profit sector, most can capitalize on readily available resources to develop and market a brand that resonates with library users.

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