Perhaps this should be entitled “Immediate Past President’s Message”, as Jennifer Hill assumed the title of LLOPS President June 27, at the LLOPS Business Meeting held at noon at Perkins Coie. Still, I owe the membership one last message as LLOPS President, so here it is.
It was great to have served as President this past year. At the meeting, I thanked many of you for your assistance this past year, serving on or chairing a LLOPS committee, providing me with input when requested, and for a few special accomplishments. The winner of the President’s Award for Excellence went to Barbara Swatt Engstrom, for another year of planning and executing an excellent series of monthly programs. Barbara also served on the Professional Development Workshop Committee, and was instrumental in both getting Ron Wheeler, our AALL Executive Board member, here for our Chapter Visit and planning a full day of activities, tours, and visits for Ron. Barbara, you are indeed excellent! Continue reading 'LLOPS President’s Message, June 28, 2012'»
Today’s Business Meeting swore in the new Executive Board for the 2012-2013 term (no oaths were actually taken). Exiting President, Crystal Sherman Norton, also thanked several members in the LLOPS community. Most notably, receiving the President’s Award, is Seattle University’s very own Barbara Swatt Engstrom. Crystal then began a new tradition by finding a worthy sigil for the LLOPS House, the lop rabbit. A mighty beast that will serve us as it is handed-down from President to President. Has the rabbit been named? This could be a bit much: Loppie the lop rabbit of LLOPS. Final Committee reports will be posted to the blog within the next few weeks. And lastly, the cake tasted amazing.
Check-out the video for Troy, Michigan’s public library overcoming the turmoil of the oft-exclaimed, “taxes are bad”, with their own clever campaign. Troy Public Library effectively engaged their voting populace and challenged them to consider the implications of illiteracy and lost information.
About a month ago, inspired by Kim Kardashian racing go-karts with Kanye West in Paris after the launch of his fashion line, I decided to go on an adventure to a local indoor track and try my hand at low-stakes racing. The day ended with me remembering how nice it is to be mobile (as I haven’t had a car since…well, ever…) and that helmet hair is no joke.
Mobility is one of those topics that librarians think about a lot. We are constantly thinking about new and more innovative ways to get our message, and our resources, to more members of the community. Especially here at the Public Law Library, where we make it a point to provide services people in various locations around the country, either via the phone or email. But one library has taken the concept of mobility and turned it on its head.
Fraser Valley Regional Library, located in British Columbia, recently unveiled a new approach to outreach. When it became apparent that the traditional go-to library mobile initiative—a bookmobile—was not a practical or affordable option, the Fraser Valley Library decided to create a venture titled Library Live and On Tour. As explained in this article, “The centrepiece of the initiative is a highly noticeable and surprising little vehicle (LiLi) with very un-library-like enhancements, like a kick-ass audio system with external marine speakers, custom sub box, on-board amps/inverters/power sources, built in XBox 360 Kinect, wireless microphone system, multi-color underglow lighting, mag wheels, AOOGA horn, 2-3G Internet-connected laptops and ‘gadget bar’ (3 different eReaders, 2 tablets, Playaway books, Daisy player).”
In one month, the library has given away over 200 books, made 14 community stops, including local food banks and shelters and waived over $1,000 fines. With 63 events planned before the end of 2012, this “Hot Rod” style of outreach has redefined the idea of a day at the library.
Every year the fashion rags publish their top ten lists of fashion must-haves. For fall 2012 oxblood is the hot color and equestrian embellishments are essential. It’s amazing to me that every year designers miraculously send similar styles flowing down the runway, but somehow that is how trends are made. It wasn’t too many seasons ago that librarian chic and oversized glasses dominated the runways.
Certainly Google has inspired the simplified searching trend throughout the tech world. Take a look at most legal research products, from the smaller vendors to the big guns like Lexis and Westlaw, and you’ll find that most now utilize simplified, federated searching. Gone are the days when librarians could impress each other at cocktail parties with our command of Dialog identifiers.
Not normally one to jump on the trend bandwagon, this is actually a trend I embrace, and maybe it’s because these simple interfaces streamline the teaching process. My experience working with WestlawNext, Lexis Advance and other similarly functioning resources is that they often cut the middle-man out of the picture, and I think that is what chafes us.
Run almost any search on WestlawNext, and you’ll likely need to filter your results to get a manageable list. Keycite results, viewed by tabs and easily filtered, are much easier to view and tinker with by the end user. Our librarian dialect of database identifiers, field designations and terms & connectors is slowly becoming obsolete.
This doesn’t mean that we are becoming obsolete, it just means that as resources change, so does our role in navigating and promoting them. As long as we are adapting, we won’t become just another passing runway trend. Our greatest value is our ability to know and understand our breadth of resources so that we can match our patrons with the appropriate tool and teach them how to use it efficiently and economically.
Forbes magazine recently published a slide presentation of the ten best and the ten worst master’s degrees. The master’s in librarianship ranked as the worst master’s degree based on mid-career median pay ($57,600) and projected job growth (8.5%). Fortunately in law librarianship, our salary figures are slightly higher. I looked at the last AALL Salary Survey (July 2011) and reviewed the median salaries at the mid-career point (11-15 years) for each of our three major divisions. In the academic world this is $67,860; private law librarians do the best at a median of $76,700; state, court and counties show a median of $71,040. The Annoyed Librarian at Library Journal points out that unlike those careers in the ten best master’s list (computer science, medical, electrical engineering), we don’t work 60-80 hour weeks and have a more relaxing work week. I certainly know plenty of my colleagues who work over 60 hours a week on a regular basis. I would also hardly call my work week relaxing. Certainly life in the for-profit world of librarianship is significantly different. I love my job and find it both exciting and rewarding.
I do think there are significant challenges in law librarianship. Advancement is difficult. You must be prepared to move around, both to different geographic areas and to different employers. Due to the economic conditions of the last four years, many people are working longer and postponing retirement. This has a huge effect on the younger folks moving into our field, limiting their opportunities. Many employers require both the JD and the MLIS but the salary offered does not come close to compensating you for the cost of those two degrees. I see very little movement between types of libraries and yet I know the fact that I have worked at all library types has made me much stronger as a law librarian.
I will continue to encourage interested people to obtain their master’s in librarianship, noting that while not the highest paid profession, it is rewarding. Life in the law firm library allows me to fully explore all aspects of librarianship: space planning, knowledge management, training, employee orientation, budgeting, technical services and of course, reference. Every day is different and interesting. I wake up excited and ready to go to work. Do you?
After listening to Kevin O’Keefe talk about social networking at the 2010Professional Development Workshop, I was so inspired to start tweeting that I immediately signed up for a Twitter account. Save for a few tweets about my footwear extravagances, my warbling has been fairly limited. I keep waiting for some Jack Handy-inspired koans worth sharing with the world.
Twitter is both a marketing tool and a communication device, and most businesses are taking advantage of the marketing outreach. According to statistics published early in 2012, 59% of businesses are set up with a Twitter account
It seems to be de rigueur to have an institutional account these days. From a library perspective, there are plenty of academic and public libraries tweeting, but until recently, I had not heard of any private law libraries tweeting. Three Geeks just reported that the Bryan Cave Library is tweeting, and they aren’t the only law firm library out there sharing wisdom and knowledge. In fact, there is a small contingent of law firm libraries tweeting. I suspect that the majority of law firm libraries are not tweeting because of firm policies on social media. The librarians at Bryan Cave report that their tweets are not pre-approved by the firm. Continue reading 'The Tweeting Library'»
Talk to just about anyone who knew Faye Allen, and they’ll invariably mention books. She read them feverishly; she collected them by the thousands; she talked about them with anyone who would listen; and ultimately, she helped create an everlasting gift of books for the people of Seattle.
A life-long champion of the library and reading, she leaves the Seattle Public Library Foundation some $22.5 million. In turn SPL will institute a Faye Allen Memorial Fund. Check-out the link for more information.