Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crystal Ball 2013 - The Future

Edit: Transcript at http://bit.ly/J2Cb6o 

Next chat is January 9, 2014! 

Crystal Ball 2013: What's the Future Hold?
Thursday, December 18, 2013
9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific time
#medlibs Twitter chat

Never participated in a Twitter #medlibs chat before? Check out this overview and come on in, we're a supportive community.

This year has brought a profound amount of professional change for me (Nikki Dettmar @eagledawg) as I hit the 5 year mark for my library career. In my own crystal ball I realized I wasn't getting any younger, my passion and vision for online learning was growing stronger, and this fall I hauled myself back to grad school to start a second Masters in Learning Technologies. Today I started a new part time job as an evaluation librarian where I'll be able to put much of what I'm learning to immediate use. Why would I subject myself to this much insanity at once? Because I can easily envision a future that doesn't quite exist integrating librarianship and information resources with instructional design in online learning, and want to work towards making it become a reality.

Let's get together Thursday night and discuss what you see in the crystal ball for 2014 and beyond -

Happy last chat of 2013, enjoy a happy and safe holiday season, and I look forward to starting#medlibs chats up again on January 9, 2014!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#Medlibsfail: Of Faceplants, Failures and Other Fateful Deeds

Edit: Transcript available at http://bit.ly/1bzFAzL 

#Medlibsfail: Of Faceplants, Failures and Other Fateful Deeds 
Thursday, December 12, 2013
9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific time
#medlibs Twitter chat

This week, we'll discuss learning from our mistakes.

As a young #medlib, I was tasked with promoting a regional scholarship, and thus sent an email out to the venerable medlibs-l email list to publicize it, as one did in the olden days. Much to my junior librarian's dismay, more seasoned listserv members quickly pointed out that not only was the acronym for Arkansas incorrect (AR versus AK, as it were), but I also managed to misspell my own state of Louisiana as LOUSIANA.

Egregious, from a SNOOT's perspective, but so it goes. I sent a corrected message and mea culpa. What I didn't expect was another message on the list, clearly meant for one individual, joking about the Louisiana misspelling. 'They spell it the same way they say it!' 'LOOOOOSIANA LULZ' (had lulz existed back then) and so on. Not hurtful, but what a spectacular #medlibs #fail! The listserv inbox overflowed with horrified replies and hurried apologies.

3 lessons were learned that long ago day: always spell check, know your acronyms, and double, triple, quadruple verify addresses when forwarding incriminating emails.

  • What examples of professional faceplants can you think of? 
  • What are some of the library failures out there? 
  • What changes, good or bad, came about because of them? 
  • What's the best thing you ever learned from a mistake? 
I know, most folks don't enjoy talking about personal gaffes. So bring your anonymous anecdotes of 150 characters or less, and we'll chirp about #medlibsfail & failures in general, and what we can learn from them.

  • Burning down the Library of Alexandria (surely some medical scrolls went down in flames)
  • Johns Hopkins’ Tragedy: Could Librarians Have Prevented a Death? - Information Today article from August 2001 discusses a popular #medlibsfail example: medication error
  • RX for Medical Libraries (2005) - Library Journal responds to the March 2005 NEJM series on the future of medical libraries. "The author worries that small medical and hospital libraries will be closed in the future. There are four main threats to medical libraries: deprofessionalization, a failure to do outreach, a shift in the culture toward fast information, and library budget shortages." 8 years later, how correct she was. 
  • Throwback fail:  User and Library Failures in an Undergraduate Library College and Research Libraries, Nov 1978. "Almost half the circulating collection was unavailable due to four main reasons: (1) lack of knowledge concerning reserve materials; (2) user error; (3) books in circulation; and (4) materials unaccounted for."  These 4 reasons can easily apply to ebooks, hmmm. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Killing the Sacred Library Cows Chat

Edit: MOO! I mean, http://bit.ly/ITs1p5 

Killing the Sacred Library Cows
Thursday, December 5, 2013
9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific time
#medlibs Twitter chat

Never participated in a Twitter #medlibs chat before? Check out this overview and come on in, we're a supportive community. 

Last week many of us celebrated by killing turkeys and giving thanks.  This Thursday #medlibs chat is going to discuss creating opportunities by killing some cows.  Killing cows!? What does this have to with medical libraries.  Simple... There are many things we do as librarians that we have been doing for years and years without fail and without question.  There are various reason we do these things.

  • Our predecessor was doing it.  
  • We've always been doing it.
  • It is a librarian thing to do.
  • Inertia
Whatever the reason, there are some activities that we do that take up our time and prevent us from spending time on other things such as

  • Outreach
  • Technology
  • Research 
  • Rounding

We know we are super heroes but even super heroes can't do everything at once.  If the Green Goblin is threatening the financial district while Doc Ock is attacking the Department of Defense, Spiderman has to make a choice.

The library environment has changed drastically and is continuing to do so.  The library of 5 years ago is different from the library today.  For example, the iPhone had just been released, there were no iPads and the idea of a "downloadable" ebook had just been introduced by Amazon Kindle.  There were a very limited number of Kindle and certainly not intended for medicine.

Yet many of us are doing the same things we did as librarians 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs ago.  We were stretched thin back then, so there is no way we can now add things to our repertoire without giving up something in return.  We must look at what we do in our own libraries and evaluate whether it is necessary, whether it helps our patrons or helps us.  To really evaluate our services we need to look at EVERYTHING including the sacred cows of the library.  We need to ask ourselves, do we need to check in journals, catalog books, make copies, eliminate the reference desk, fuss with circulation, etc.  The right answers will depend on the library. A large academic library might need to still do cataloging but does a small solo hospital library with 4 shelves (not ranges) really need a catalog system much less spend time cataloging books?  Some of these ideas are dangerous and even somewhat heretical librarian thinking, but I feel we need to discuss them.  For more background on sacred cows and heretical librarian thoughts check out my summary of my keynote address I gave at the Midwest Chapter annual meeting.

We need to look at the opportunities that are available to us and to take advantage of them we will have to slaughter some library cows.  This Thursday's #medlibs discussion at 9pm Eastern will discuss the idea of thinning the herd of library services so that we can grow healthy new opportunities.

Molly Knapp (@dial_m), Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) and Michelle Kraft (@krafty) will be moderating the discussion.  As always we will be using the hashtag #medlibs but if you want to further the discussion before/during/or after the regular Thursday night time use the hashtag #moo.