General information

Advice for the New Systems Librarian – Building Relationships 2.0

Advice for the New Systems Librarian – Building Relationships, Part 2 Previous articles in this series: Building Relationships, Helpful Resources, A Day in the Life I am at the two-year mark of being in my role as systems librarian at Jacksonville University, and I continue to love what I do. I am working on larger-scale projects and continuing to learn new things every week. There has not been a challenge or new skill to learn yet that I have been afraid of. My first post in this series highlighted groups and departments that may be helpful in learning your new role. Now that I’m a little more seasoned, I have had the opportunity to work with even more departments and individuals at my institution on various projects. Some of these departments may be unique to me, but I would imagine you would find counterparts where you work. The Academic Technology…

General information

Advice for the New Systems Librarian – A Day in the Life

Daily business calendar

On this third installment of my series aimed at new systems librarians (if you missed the first two posts, you can read them here and here), I thought it would be fun to provide a “day in the life” of one of my days. (At this writing, I have been in my role as systems librarian for 18 months). It is the summer semester, so the library is a little quieter. A quieter library means more opportunity to tackle the big and small tasks. 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: I settle into my office and check e-mails. I check my work e-mail and our systems e-mail. A database issue came up, and I am thankful someone pointed it out to me. Off-campus users could not access the database, so I test and confirm this is true, and then I contact the database vendor. 9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: I receive a call…

Original Content

Advice for the New Systems Librarian – Helpful Resources

Help is on the way elevator button

Well, it’s been a moment from my last offering here on the blog. Fall is a busy time in higher education. While much of my role is behind-the-scenes in my library, I still teach and work our reference desk. The fall semester really allowed me to start exercising my systems muscles: I added new databases to our LibGuides and catalog, I fixed broken links, I worked with our IT department to implement single sign-on capabilities, and I took copious notes about all that I learned along the way. The first six months of my role, I learned the importance of building relationships. Now that I’m officially one year in to systems librarianship, I’m here to share the resources that helped me really understand all that falls under the umbrella of systems. Are you looking for fast information about your new role? If you have one hour, check out the “Sudden…

Emerging technologies

Mitigating the Real Dangers of 3D Printing

Lulzbot Taz 6

The current debate circling 3D printing guns and the arguments surrounding the assertion that “code is speech; speech is protected by the first amendment” represent an interesting point of clarification in our culture which will force us to redefine or reclassify words, ideas, and objects to make our language match our reality. In a world where speech/language can be machined into tangible objects, we must define an objective boundary for when an idea ceases to be “speech” as it becomes a physically tangible object. This isn’t gonna happen in a blog post, but — dear reader — feel free to send me book deal offers and I’ll see what I can do. Until we can come to a consensus on what type of information “code” is, we cannot constructively proceed down the rabbit hole that is this debate. (Is it speech? Is it protected? When does it stop becoming speech?…

Original Content

Advice for the New Systems Librarian – Building Relationships

Teamwork by Willian Richardson is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Hey there, fellow newbie to systems librarianship! Have you had a moment to take a breath yet? Are to-do and to-learn lists scattered in a notebook, calendar, and in your e-mail? I am right there with you. A little bit of background I moved into my role as systems librarian in January 2018 after serving as access services librarian and circulation services manager. Moving from the “front of the house” to “behind the scenes” was a huge transition for me, yet I was excited to learn a new set of skills. My library has not had a dedicated librarian to systems management for almost five years. I am now a department of one within my library and establishing a foundation of all things systems. About one month in to my new position, I got to experience my first major issue. My library’s users were unable to access a popular database….

Original Content

UX? What About EX? Exploring Employee Experience Design for Libraries

Image of library service point

User experience (UX) design has a solid foundation in the consciousness of libraries. At last year’s LITA Forum there were three sessions with “UX” in the title, one for each day of the conference. UX design has made libraries more—to use Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etche’s phrase—useful, usable, and desirable for users. However, as an application specialist I primarily work with staff that run the daily operations of our library systems, such as our integrated library system and interlibrary loan applications. I wondered how the insights of user experience design for front-end users could be applied to back-end users to help me do my job. How could I make working with library systems less frustrating for staff, to help them better serve our users? “…creating better experiences for staff is a win-win: improving EX improves employees’ ability to serve users.” While I found an abundance of library-specific literature on user…

Original Content

A Chinese and American librarian talk user research and intellectual property

students studying in the library

In April 2018, I traveled to China and presented research on user research and information literacy at the Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing. Both universities have relationships with the University of Montana, and ours was one of many diplomatic/academic trips that zig-zag across the Pacific Ocean. In Beijing, I presented a paper that connected my teaching with my experience doing user research, particularly usability testing of the library website at the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, where I am based. My interpreter while at BNU, Ran, has been an instruction librarian there for ten years, during which the library has never used user research or UX methodologies to inform any of its decision-making. This difference of experience between us and our institutions fostered fascinating and enlightening conversations. “In China, most librarians want to lead (or guide) students’ behavior but not…

Original Content

Spotlight Series: Rebecca McGuire

Allow me to introduce Rebecca McGuire, Visiting Instructional Tech Specialist at Mortenson Center for International Library Programs.  A division of the University of Illinois Library, the Mortenson Center, provides leadership and technology guidance to libraries throughout the world.  Rebecca shares information about this unique role, her favorite tech blogs, and predictions about the future of libraries. A full transcript of the interview can be found here. What is your background? “After getting a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs, I spent a year teaching ESL students in a middle school. I loved teaching, but wanted to do it in a more informal environment, so I decided to get a Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. I also decided to pursue a certificate in Community Informatics, which really opened my eyes to how important access, understanding, and application of technology is to both personal…

Original Content

Spotlight Series: Brittney Buckland

Have you ever seen a really interesting library position and wondered how the person got there? This series will interview tech librarians to learn more about their journey, how they stay informed about emerging technologies, and tools they can’t live without. Allow me to introduce Brittney Buckland, Head of Technical Services at Merrimack Public Library in New Hampshire. Below is an excerpt of our interview, the full transcript can be accessed here. What is your background? “My undergraduate degree is a BA in the Arts: Art History from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). I finished my MSLIS with a specialization in Library and Information Services in 2013. I completed my Master’s completely online through Drexel University. I recently finished a secondary M.Ed. in Educational Studies through UNH, also completely online.” What were some of your early library jobs and how did they prepare you for your current position? Brittney’s first…