Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Are search engines making students dumber?"

While it is impressive that the concept of information literacy has hit the op-ed pages of the New York Times, the author of the piece discusses it rather clumsily, if you ask me. I'm not sure one can make the cause-and-effect claim that search engines are causing more students to be unprepared for college. Judge for yourself.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Invisible Man

The "new and improved" PATRIOT Act (okay, my tongue is firmly in cheek) hasn't made it any easier for John Doe to talk about the impact of the act. In fact, John can't collect his award for standing up for freedom of expression because standing up can get you arrested, that is if it means anyone can see who you are. Hmm, what if he wore a paper bag on his head? Or what if he came pre-pixilated, like these fashion staements?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Generation Stereotyped

Recent issues of American Libraries and College and Research Library News have both had articles on how to cope with the new generation of librarians. It sounds as if the old guard needs a guidebook. How can we understand these uppity young people? They're so odd. It must be all that multitasking, or is that they love technology?

Or is it that some librarians can't resist classification? By age.

Angel, the Gypsy Librarian, has a long and thoughtful post about all this (which is no surprise; all of his posts are thoughtful). Personally, I think it's time to drop this peculiar form of stereotyping and get on with simply being professionals who respect one another and don't stoop to ageism, e.g. you're young, so likely to rebel; I'm old, so likely to cling to protocol. Ah, baloney!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Career Site

According to AL Direct, the new e-mail based weekly news service for American Library Association members, there's a new ALA Website on careers in the field. I'm not sure what to make of this one. It's intended for both paraprofessional and professional careers, which is fine, but the organization would confuse anyone who doesn't know the difference. One page says getting an associates degree is a good idea, then mentions later on the page "Assuming that you have decided a career as a librarian is probably not for you . . ." If you get to this page from the menu, you may in fact have not decided against a career as a librarian.

Seems more than a little confusing to me. The New Jersey site, Become a Librarian, has been around for a while and has quite a lot of good info. It doesn't offer anything for people who don't want to become a librarian, however.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Looking Ahead

There's a somewhat sobering essay in the current issue of American Libraries - on MLS graduates who are looking for work, or those who choose a paraprofessional career path to avoid being overqualified for the job market. The current information about the field in the Occupational Outlook Handbook offers the good news - there will be a lot of retirements - along with the bad news - with budget cuts, some of those positions will disappear.

One thing it's fair to say: it's going to remain an interesting field, full of change and challenges, rewarding for those who are looking for both.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mentally ill patrons

The big topic at our staff meeting this morning was a recent session at the AkLA Conference about how to deal with mentally ill patrons done by Ron Adler who is the CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Hospital in Anchorage. Ron used to live in Ketchikan, so we have been well trained by him over the years. What was remarkable about his session, said my boss, was how grateful the other librarians in attendance were for the training and how excited they were to have some new ways of approaching and talking to difficult patrons. There is already talk of having Ron speak at our Juneau conference next year.This is a hugh issue for every public librarian I know and it is something that is seldom discussed or written about in the trade. As with so many library issues, it is sometimes really helpful to reach outside the profession for expertise and guidance. As Michael Sullivan so pointedly reminded us in his talk at AkLA, library school is generally academic librarians teaching other people how to be academic librarians and the "real' world of libraries can be quite a shock for some people. Personally, I could have used a lot more training in personnel management, municipal budgets, grant writing, and story hour techiques rather BRS and Dialog which became obsolete so fast it wasn't even funny!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

New to the Blog

Hi all- my name is Charlotte Glover and I am a youth services librarian at the Ketchikan Public Library in Ketchikan, Alaska. I live 649 air miles north of Seattle. I met Barbara this past week in Anchorage and she thought you all might enjoy having a public librarian participate in your discussions. In addition to my youth services work, I do all of the adult programming for our library, including author visits, book discussion groups, etc. and I host a weekly radio program for adults called "Booktalk" which has run on our public radio station for the past 15 years. Because of that show, I keep a foot in both the adult services world and the children's world, for better or worse. I am really active in my state and regional library associations- mostly 'cause I live on an island and will work for plane tickets- and have held every office imaginable. I am currently serving as the President of the Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA) and am really looking forward to being a mentor at their upcoming Leadership Institute in October. Anyway, I'm happy to answer questions, shoot the breeze or tell you what the weather is really like in Alaska.