by Tal Noznisky
Last March, Canadian libraries got caught in a quick swell of fear and worry over the freedom of expression. The Library and Archives Canada (“LAC”), employer of public service librarians, served their staff with a new set of professional guidelines. Many who commented on the new rules, entitled “Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics” reviled it. Boing Boing’s (and former Canadian library-worker) Cory Doctorow tagged it “censorship” and “surveillance.” Library Journal’s Annoyed Librarian called it totalitarian. What happened?
National Archives of Canada
Continue reading 'Library and Archives Canada vs. Librarians and Archivists in Canada'»
by Grace Feldman
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
I recently read this quote on Pinterest. I had just moved from another state leaving some of my closest friends behind to take a job here in Seattle and though I missed my old home, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with the quote. I nodded because life had hit me in the head with a bag of bricks and in spite of this, I kept looking and did not settle. I nodded because I am finally truly satisfied doing what I believe is great work. I nodded until I came to the end of the quote and saw that Steve Jobs was the alleged source. What? Really? Steve Jobs said that? Continue reading 'Find What You Love'»
by Anna L. Endter
I’m back with a second report about my trip the ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall. As promised in Part One, this post will focus on what I learned from talking with vendors.
One of the products that Thomson was showcasing at ALA was EndNote, it’s citation management tool. Endnote is much like Zotero and RefWorks in that it was designed to help people organize and collect resources during the course of scholarly research. (As an aside, while it might seem like citation management is primarily an academic concern, attorneys in private practice also write articles and might benefit from learning to use one of these tools. And Zotero is free!). Continue reading 'ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall: Part Two'»
by Anna L. Endter
A wrinkled t-shirt, as it turns out. This is a side effect of my shirt’s afternoon spent crumpled in a free ALA bag with other library swag and material. Today, I made a field trip to the ALA Midwinter 2013 Exhibit Hall.
Now, having just recently been to my first AALL Conference and experiencing that exhibit hall, I was curious to see how ALA does things. I was also looking for some perspective about the library profession generally since my focus has been on law librarianship. It was time to learn more about the larger world of linking people and information.
This post includes my observations about visiting the Exhibit Hall. Stay tuned for Part Two where I’ll report on my discussions with Thomson Reuters about its citation management tool Endnote and ProQuest about the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
Continue reading 'Today I Bought a T-Shirt: The ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall, Part One'»
by Amy Eaton
I recently received a link to this article from March 2012. In it, the author, Jeff Rundles, laments the lack of customer service in both businesses and government entities. The one bright spot he found: libraries and librarians! Of course, this comes as no surprise to those of us in the field. Our number one priority is to take care of our customers, whether they are attorneys, students or members of the general public. Why do librarians excel when other entities, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, fail? I think librarians are given a great amount of authority and freedom to assist our customers. My daughter had an internship at a large hotel chain one summer. She was working the front desk one day when a customer came to the desk with a complaint about their room. No one at the desk had the authority to offer the customer additional services or remove charges from their bill. The staff had to wait for manager approval. The customer left angry and frustrated and my daughter learned the importance of empowering your staff to handle problems as they arise. I know librarians who have had their children, attending universities in other states, pull and copy articles for rush requests. Many of us spend untold hours on the phone with customer reps for online services seeking to understand the vagaries of their databases in order to explain why we received the results we did. I have used Google translate to try and submit requests through foreign websites written in languages I don’t understand. What is the greatest length you have gone to in order to provide top notch reference service?
by Mary Whisner
myLOC, from the Library of Congress, lets you save folders of favorite images or documents from online exhibits. For example, I have saved to My collection an editorial cartoon by Herblock and a link to an entire exhibit on Brown v. Board of Education.
LC’s email postcards are fun (and educational!). I’ll use this blog post as an opportunity to send out holiday cards to all of LLOPS (and whoever else sees the blog). And I encourage you to poke around in myLOC yourselves: there are lots of cool exhibits, and you can send your friends great cards!
“Postcard” with a 1903 book jacket from The Call of the Wild.
“Postcard” with a poster from a Victor Herbert musical.
by Emily Smith
Winter’s just around the corner here in Seattle, and while on the one hand it’s sad to see the mild weather and long days go, I always look forward to the activities that come with what follows: the festivity of the holidays, hunkering down indoors, cooking, eating, and (being a librarian) reading. But winter’s also the season when I actually have a decent chance of making a dent in my seemingly ever-expanding Netflix queue.
I have a tendency to like to group my movie watching into themes – artist documentaries, Westerns, and so on – and lately I was thinking about librarians in movies, and movies about librarians. I sadly realized that aside from the cult classic (and personal favorite) Party Girl, and the memorable scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s that portrays librarians in a rather unflatteringly grumpy light – I couldn’t put together a very respectable film festival on the theme. Feeling that this was rather unacceptable for someone in our profession, I spent a little time online and quickly discovered that I wasn’t the first person to think about compiling such a list, or to think about how librarians have been portrayed in film throughout history. Continue reading 'Librarians on Film'»
By Nick Harrell
Reference/Instructional Services Librarian at the University of Miami School of Law
UW Law Librarianship Graduate 2012
Recently I was asked to track down a copy of an unpublished opinion from the 1970s issued by a U.S. District Court located on the other side of the country. After my best efforts failed to find the case, I did what everyone should do when they’re stuck. I asked for help. I reached out to a law librarian who works at a county law library near where the case was argued. After she took a look around without any luck, that librarian provided me with contact information to a librarian at the court where the case was argued. The court librarian didn’t have a copy of the opinion either, but he did provide me with more information about the case. He shared the research notes of another court librarian trying to locate the case for yet another librarian on a different occasion. He also provided contact information for the folks at the archive where the case file was held. With that information, I was able to put in a request to the archives that would hopefully have the case. While waiting for a response from the archives, I contacted an author who had cited to the case. And, as I should have expected by this point, the author referred me to the librarian at his firm, who was also exceedingly helpful.
Eventually I was able to get my hands on the elusive case, but only with the help of over half a dozen librarians (I had been picking the brains of my co-workers during my quest). I learned some new things about researching unpublished opinions while working on this project (specifically, that unpublished opinions roam in the wild west of citation land and are anything but uniform, and that if someone offers you a docket sheet, you take it). But, my real take away was that librarians help each other. Besides my co-workers, I had no prior connection to the librarians who helped me, but they were all generous with their time and eager to help. I have added that generosity and eagerness to the list of reasons why I am glad to be a librarian.
Photo Credit: Amit Chattopadhyay
by Anna L. Endter
My apologies if you are not yet ready for the summer to be over but I’m going to go ahead and declare that fall 2012 has arrived. After hearing a set of rain-themed songs on KEXP this morning (yes, our “streak” of dry days just ended) I’m ready to admit that the season is changing: most have returned from summer vacations, the commute is taking a little longer in the morning as kids head off to school, and a barista just informed me that many people have switched to ordering hot drinks.
Noticing the changes around me in my life generally got me thinking about whether there are seasons at work, as well. Last week I came across Raquel Gabriel’s Diversity Dialogues column on “Dealing with Stress” in the Summer 2012 edition of Law Library Journal. In it, Ms. Gabriel discusses the ups and downs and cycles of work in the context of managing stress on the job. Academic law librarians, for example, often experience predictable “seasons” of work/stress/busy-ness that are very much tied to the activities of law students and faculty.
I think that private law librarians also experience seasonal changes and cycles in their work. In my own experience working in law firms, these seasons are intertwined with client demands and needs and are perhaps more subject to fluctuation (Augusts are slow, Decembers are often busy as the end of the year approaches, and so on). Librarians, as service professionals, are among the many who attend to patron/client needs and the accompanying ebbs and flows, all while managing expectations and stress levels.
Just like we’ll all be breaking out our fleece and vests in the weeks to come, will you also be preparing for changing seasons at work? Do tell.
by Philippe Cloutier
Most people are impressed/confused when I tell them that I am legal librarian. While it’s kind of funny to look at someone and see the gears moving in their brains as they try to figure out what it is we exactly do, I pretty much know the next few words or questions out of their mouths. Often the issue of digital content comes up and the non-librarian may know many of the situations with which we deal. Others may also understand why librarians are of value in any setting. After the explanations are bridged it is great to hear people respond with, “I wish we had a librarian!”
The Popeye strip above perfectly captures one of the many library issues that the non-librarian can easily understand (not the door-to-door salesmen, though I can think of similar examples where this applies). We deal with paying for the same materials over-and-over in a rent-to-use model of digital access or purchasing an ecopy limited to select users or one user only. Popeye on the other hand, suffering a single charge, can enjoy the purty pictures for the rest of his life and share at will. The next time I talk about our work I just might pull this cartoon out as a point of reference.