Friday, October 21, 2011

Books on the Side?

The author of The Atlas of New Librarianship asks, are books (or collections) at the center?:

Expeditions: Books on the Side from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

According to a Project Information Literacy study, it would seem that books are on the side. From “Booting Down” (Inside Higher Ed):
a University of Washington study, “Balancing Act: How College Students Manage Technology While in the Library during Crunch Time … reveals that students are taking to the library as a place of refuge—and their laptops and cell phones aren’t necessarily the pesky distractions some assume them to be … students are using the library less for its traditional resources—books, journals, etc.—and more as a place to get away from the hectic world around them.
While most of us would agree that library collections are for something and that use is a central function of a library, can we really say that collections are not—from an investment and infrastructural point of view, from the perspective of the library as a work of and for time—at the center of libraries?

I’ve published a defense of my library collection here (The Curator).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where Is the Electric Eraser?

Check out “Checking Out” (The Times): “On this page are images of a few items that I have pulled from the trash cans of various libraries … their passing marks an important shift in the role and functions of the library.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Symbolic Capital of the Library

Related to a point made in my last post and to a post from earlier this year, a student protesting the removel of books from the University of Denver Penrose Library notes that losing library books was "just a small symbol of a broader cultural trend. The scribbles and sounds we interpret as 'library' would have begun to lose all meaning" (see "College students rally to save what they see as a 'real' library"). 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plenty on Place

Librarians advised attendees to pay close attention to how undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members really use library resources, beginning with physical study space. Use that information "to realign the library to be a more obvious partner" in research and learning, said Susan Gibbons, now the university librarian at Yale University. 
The most recent issue of Library Trends is titled Library Design: From Past to Present.” From the introduction: 
The era of the hybrid library has arrived. The marriage of the traditional library to the “library without walls” is progressing happily, it seems ... Throughout history, library buildings have adapted to society’s beliefs, precepts, and aspirations. This adaptability has also been evident in the digital age.
From the first article, The Emergence and Challenge of the Modern Library Building: Ideal Types, Model Libraries, and Guidelines, from the Enlightenment to the Experience Economy, through the last, The Dark Side of Library Architecture: The Persistence of Dysfunctional Designs” (don’t miss the unfortunate sightline on page 246), this is great collection on the topic.

Finally (for now), from a fascinating study in the the latest issue of College & Reserach Libraries, Serving Higher Education’s Highest Goals: Assessment of the Academic Library as Place: 
This empirical study affirmed our hypothesis that spaces deemed as “sacred” or “sanctified” produce affective benefits for people that extend beyond attitudes and into the realm of behavior (projected library use). Circulation statistics do not measure these benefits; students may not actually use the books on the shelves, but they “sanctify” the books—being around the books makes them feel more scholarly and connected to the institution’s educational mission. ... While students clearly value computers in libraries, paradoxically they do not like tech-heavy–looking spaces; students want new technologies presented in traditional academic surroundings.