Link Round-Up: March 2018

Libraries and Education for the Future

Kids across St. Louis learning to code earlier than ever as demand from future employers grows via St Louis Post-Dispatch
“The students are years from joining the workforce, but schools, businesses and nonprofits are turning their attention to solving a skills shortage amid increasing employer demand.”

Orem Public Library takes patrons to space via Daily Herald
“As part of the library’s NASA @ My Library grant, Chelsea Conklin, associate librarian in Orem’s outreach department, flew out to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and took library patrons with her — albeit through social media. Conklin streamed parts of her trip Feb. 12, and took tons of pictures at the space center, so patrons could be a part of the experience.”

Libraries continue to evolve in a technological age via Capital News Service
“There’s a divide between families that have technology available and those who don’t,” said Gail Madziar, director of Michigan Association of Libraries. “If you’re a student that needs to do their homework, sometimes a library is the only place that you have to access information in a safe place.”

Data & Privacy

Facebook Users Are Suddenly Realizing How Far Data Collection Goes via Newsy
Over the years, Facebook has been pretty open about the fact it collects people’s data. But since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, it’s clear many users had no idea how deep those practices went — and that shock has put Facebook under the microscope. One realization came after a news story detailed how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents use Facebook data to track and locate suspects.”

Being Open and Connected on Your Own Terms with our New Facebook Container Add-On via The Mozilla Blog
“As a user of the internet, you deserve a voice and should be able to use the internet on your own terms. In light of recent news on how the aggregation of user data can be used in surprising ways, we’ve created an add-on for Firefox called Facebook Container, based on technology we’ve been working on for the last couple of years and accelerated in response to what we see in terms of growing demand for tools that help manage privacy and security.”

New Interactive Data Tool: U.S. Immigration Court Outcomes by County of Residence via LibraryJournal infoDocket

Exciting Events in Archives

New and Online for the First Time from the Library of Congress: Archival Materials of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton via LibraryJournal infoDocket
“The close friendship, collaboration and activism of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton changed history and led to fuller equality for women,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Their papers are part of an unparalleled collection of resources in the Library of Congress documenting the American woman suffrage campaign. As the centennial of the 19th Amendment extending voting rights to women nationally approaches, these collections will be a great resource for researchers and students around the world.”

A Celebration of DC Comics at the Library of Congress via LibraryJournal infoDocket
“The Library of Congress will celebrate the 1000th issue of seminal DC comic book series Action Comics, a commemoration of 80 years of Superman, with a live interview featuring DC legends. Former publisher and president of DC, Paul Levitz, will join famed DC writer and artist Dan Jurgens, known for his work on the Superman series and the pop culture phenomenon “The Death of Superman,” for a conversation about the history of superhero comics, the writers and artists who create comics and the legacy of DC’s iconic Superman character.”

NARA Shares Hall-of-Famers’ Baseball-Related Patents & NARA’s Baseball History Ebook via LibraryJournal infoDocket
Six Hall of Fame members—five players/managers and one umpire—have patents in the National Archives collection, ranging from bases to sliding pads, sunglasses to cleats. Hall-of-Famers Fred Clarke, Tommy McCarthy, Bill Klem, Kid Nichols, Elmer Flick, and Max Carey were all issued patents related to the game of baseball. Clarke and Carey are the only two to have more than one patent—Clarke has four and Carey has two, according to Beebe.”

Link Round-Up: February 2018

“A breakdancing workshop and presentation was part of a recent “Digging in the Crates” event. Another event’s theme was learning about plagiarism through music, and how musical artists credit and respect their predecessors through homage.” Roanoke Times

Innovative Library Programming

Going behind the scenes at the library via Petoskey News-Review

February 13, 2018: “Children will be able to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what a librarian’s work is really like during an upcoming program at the Petoskey District Library.

The Mini Masters of Library Science program will allow children to work with a librarian to process books, plan events and advise readers on new books that fit their interests.

“They’ll get to put a barcode on a book and catalog it into the computer and do check-in and check-out of books,” said Megan Goedge, children’s and youth services librarian at the Petoskey District Library. “There’s going to be a lot of stuff, so we’ll meet twice. At the end of the (second session) kids will get a Mini Masters degree of library science.”

Students digging monthly hip-hop event via The Roanoke Times

February 26, 2018: “Students have an excuse to be loud at Virginia Tech’s Newman Library thanks to the work of a DJ librarian. The third Thursday of every month, a group of Tech students, faculty and staff gather together to explore hip hop, education and expression through an event known as “Digging in the Crates,” which started last year.”

Opinion Pieces

IMLS’s 2018 – 2022 Strategic Plan Sets a New Tone via LibraryJournal

February 1, 2018: Rebecca T. Miller’s writes an editorial evaluating the IMLS Strategic Plan.

Reflections on a symposium about libraries and capitalism via InsideHigherEd

February 5, 2018: Barbara Fister reflects on the “Libraries in the Context of Capitalism” symposium and the themes of hidden and undervalued nature of library/archives labor that emerged as a result of the meeting.

2018 Midwinter Wrap-Up via American Libraries Magazine

February 26, 2018: “Just over 8,000 registrants came to the Mile High City for five days of presentations, conversations, and innovations, many of which centered on the importance of making sure that people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and walks of life have a voice in our national dialogue.

Artist, activist, and author Patrisse Cullors began the Opening Session by telling the story of her 4th-grade teacher—Mrs. Goldberg at Erwin Street Elementary School in Van Nuys, California—who gave the young Cullors books about the civil rights movement. “This part of education—the part where I get to be curious, get to be engaged—is the part I loved the most,” Cullors told attendees. “This is the foundation for my activism.”

New Projects

Project revives old software, preserves ‘born-digital’ data via YaleNews

February 13, 2018: “Digital preservationists at Yale University Library are building a shareable “emulation as a service” infrastructure to resurrect thousands of obsolete software programs and ensure that the information produced on them will be kept intact and made easily available for future access, study, and use.”

TV News Record: Television Explorer 2.0, shooting coverage & more via Internet Archive Blogs

February 22, 2018: “Simply put, our mission is to build and preserve comprehensive collections of the world’s most important television programming and make them as accessible as possible to researchers and the general public. We will need your help.”

“Preserving TV news is critical, and at the Internet Archive we’ve decided to rededicate ourselves to growing our collection,” explained Roger MacDonald, Director of Television at the Internet Archive. “We plan to go wide, expanding our archives of global TV news from every continent. We also plan to go deep, gathering content from local markets around the country. And we plan to do so in a sustainable way that ensures that this TV will be available to generations to come.”

Using Customer Training To Illustrate Return On Investment In Information Services Organizations

Someone once said that if you can’t measure an activity, it’s not worth doing. Without understanding the impact of an organization’s information services, how can you set priorities for a budget? How can you and your team efficiently spend your time? Identifying metrics to measure impact — measures that are uniquely relevant to your organization — is an operational necessity. Interpreting these metrics in a way that your employers can relate to the bottom-line is a strategic necessity.

Success, survival, and sustainability for information services professionals can never be guaranteed, especially in turbulent economic times. In any employment situation, there are too many variables outside of your control. Yet proactively aligning your team with the goals of the organization and contributing to the achievement of those goals are actions within your control. Through providing training for its customers, information services makes a powerful statement that links the effective and efficient use of its services directly to an employer’s success.

Financial metrics are one of several ways to measure impact (others include: customer metrics, internal process metrics, and learning and growth metrics). Return on Investment (ROI) is a financial metric that can be applied to customer training By insuring customers are using services in which you have invested to their best advantage (i.e., towards the success of your organization), you can create an ROI that will help demonstrate the overall contribution of services.

While there are myriad ways to calculate ROI depending on each service and, in some circumstances, on provisions of contracts or licenses, below are a couple of quick tips:

• Think about how to track usage of each service and how usage relates to investments made. Training reinforces to customers how available resources can be used in their work to enhance their lives and to increase productivity. In all environments, including public libraries, the question must be asked — is the customer willing to base a decision on finding just “any answer” by doing it themselves or would they rather get the “right answer” faster instead of waiting for a professional researcher to be available? Getting to the right answer with increased speed has a financial impact at many levels.

• Think about the context to pitch an aggressive training program. Most customers will never have enough training or experience to navigate multitudes of resources and find the answers they require. Sometimes a less than ideal answer is adequate. Sometimes only a top-level piece of data is needed and the quality of the source is obvious. However, training customers to do some searches on their own frees up the time of a professional researcher. Tracking new hours made available to the information professional for sophisticated research can be characterized as a positive ROI.

• Do a training assessment. Who needs to be trained on what, by whom, when, and where? Answering these questions will help prioritize training needs and drive creativity in delivering training. Your Information Services team doesn’t have to do it by themselves. Vendors can assist (a caveat is that you help the vendor create trainings unique to your customer’s needs), or short YouTube self-help tutorials can be produced, or peer training programs can be developed. However you decide to develop and deploy your training plan, what’s important is to maximize every opportunity to relate the impact to your organization’s bottom-line.

There is no one method for creating a successful training program. The good news is that there is a significant amount of literature on the topic of instructional design, especially in academic and public library environments that can also be adapted for special libraries. If you’ve never evaluated the need for a training program or if you are beginning to develop one, I would suggest looking at Gratin and Kaplowitz’s Information Literacy Instruction: Theory and Practice, 2nd edition, and the Medical Library Association’s “Research Policy Statement,” which discusses the responsibility of information professionals to train customers. I also recommend Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet by Anne P. Mintz and Steve Forbes, and Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media by Anne P. Mintz, Amber Benham, Eli Edwards and Ben Fractenberg, which will train your customers to assess the validity of information found on the Internet across a multitude of subjects.

As GSLIS Dean Emerita and Professor Jim Matarazzo and I discuss in our book, Special Libraries: A Survival Guide, there are many ways to create or control opportunities for success, survival and sustainability. Implementing an effective training program tied to your organizations’ revenue goals by demonstrating the ROI of your services is an effective one.

By Toby Pearlstein ’77LS, ’87DA, 2014 Simmons GSLIS Alumni Achievement Award Winner