Category Archives: Marketing&Outreach

July 15, 2015, 10:22 pm

My Final Blog Post

May 22, 2006. That’s when I started The Ubiquitous Librarian Blog. I wrote before at Alt-Ref where I explored new approaches for reference and instruction. But I felt too boxed in. Ubiquitous gave me freedom to roam.

It ends today. Right here.

 407 posts

9 years  1 month  23 days

When the Chronicle of Higher Education informed me that they were dropping the Blog Network I was sad. But after a few days I got over it, mostly. I realized they had given me a gift. This was a chance to move on and do other things.

I’ve probably written and presented too much over the last decade. I’m looking forward to letting that taper off. I want to focus on Virginia Tech and the great people, projects, and programs we have here.

ucsb_suit

Me as a soldier in the name of greater library experiences.

Rick Anderson says we…

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July 14, 2015, 9:40 pm

Virginia Tech Signs Banner for Garissa University

I wish I had had more time to develop this post—but only about 24 hours to go.

banner

Jade Womack (recent Virginia Tech alum—now entering graduate school at Cornell) put together a banner signing for Garissa University back in April. She worked with Monena Hall (Community Engagement Librarian) — within in three days they captured over 400 signatures.

pres banner

VT President Timothy Sands with Jade Womack and Monena Hall.

Here is an article about it: Garissa banner created to support community

The thing that fascinated me was this Facebook post from Jade:

On a personal note, here is the banner I signed in eighth grade after April 16, 2007 in my middle school cafeteria. Our teachers didn’t tell us many of the details I would eventually learn about April 16th, but encouraged us to sign it telling us there was an…

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July 9, 2015, 8:39 pm

Lost in the Stacks: the research-library rock’n’roll radio show

I’ve been a long time fan of Lost in the Stacks – a weekly radio show out of Georgia Tech. I had a chance to catch up with Charlie Bennett (Undergraduate Programming & Engagement Librarian) and Ameet Doshi (Director, Service Experience & Program Design) about the show and how it has progressed since launching in 2010.

Tell me about Lost in the Stacks. How did it start? How has it evolved? How do you measure success?

CB: Lost in the Stacks is the one-and-only research-library rock’n’roll radio show. Every Friday at noon on WREK Atlanta (Georgia Tech’s radio station), we broadcast an hour-long mix of music, library talk, interviews, in-jokes, and the occasional short piece, all connected to the theme for the day. After 263 shows (as of July 4th, 2015), we’ve had themes of all kinds, from coffee shops to high-density storage facilities to metadata creation to professional…

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June 22, 2015, 2:03 pm

WHAT DID LIBRARIANS WANT IN 1945? Many of the same things we want today.

Photograph of check out counter of the East Branch on Jane Street of the Bridgeport Public Library ca. 1945 copyright Bridgeport Public Library Historical Collections.

I’m going to post these quotes without any commentary; I think they hold up well on their own. Some background: 70 years ago at an ALA Executive Board Meeting (October 1945) they devoted a morning to discussing the future of librarianship. The conversation was summarized and published in the A.L.A. BULLETIN from February 1946. Here are a few notes that I found interesting and still relevant today:

If the profession seems to lack dynamism some of the responsibility rests with administrators. All too many still hold professional members to routine work and give what seem valid reasons why all must take their turn at essential clerical tasks.

Any dynamic…

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November 11, 2014, 3:25 pm

Outreach is Empathy. Outreach is Entrepreneurship.

facebookI have a new paper to share with you: Engines For Change: Libraries as drivers of engagement. This essay is based on a keynote I gave at Entre Lib: Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians back in May 2013. The theme of the conference was Social Entrepreneurship in Action. It has taken me a long time to write this because it is the most personal of my papers.

My talk was 90 minutes so the first half explored the concept of social entrepreneurship, while the second half applied that to libraries. I tried to use the same structure in the paper but it was over 10,000 words. I chopped it down to 4,000, but I probably should have broken it into two separate papers. I regret editing out Bill Drayton, but I’ll do a whole blog posted based on his work.

I wrote 80% of the paper last summer and then sat on it for a year. Over the last month I have been reflecting on my time at UC Santa …

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September 30, 2014, 3:53 pm

Learning to Pitch (make it hard for me to say no)

At conferences I often end up in conversations that go like this:

“I want to do this innovative thing but my administration won’t get onboard—what can I do?”

This is difficult because there are so many factors that need to be unbundled. A common problem I’ve realized is that librarians never learn the art of pitching. [Note to ACRL: I’m willing to do a free webinar on this topic sometime in Summer 2015.]

In the entrepreneurial world there is a lot of talk about recognizing the difference between ideas and opportunities. That’s the real challenge—separating things that might be cool from things that might help people succeed better.

An example. A dentistry librarian once told me we wanted to offer 3D printing but that his boss shut him down. As we talked I realized he had just asked about the idea and didn’t pitch the opportunity. It was as simple as: “can we…

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September 19, 2014, 2:15 pm

Why do people who love libraries love libraries?

Why do people who love libraries love libraries? This has been on my mind a lot lately. Whenever I find a patron who is passionate about their library I try to decode those tangible and intangible qualities that made the experience so powerful for them.

Our library’s feedback form a great source of insight. Each semester we have a handful of students point out customer service problems, confusing policies, or facilities issues. They are telling us these things because they care and want us to improve. We address matters when we can. For example, one student suggested a new software configuration in our scale-up classroom that we enacted and it greatly improved usability.

This week I had a student share an opinion about our bathrooms. She was frustrated because while we are renovating some parts of our library we are not upgrading the restrooms. Our original building is from the 1…

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September 10, 2014, 4:04 pm

Wait. Stop. What is a photocopy? Three insights from our Library Student Advisory Board

The mission of our Library Student Advisory Board is to help us gain a better understanding of the student experience at our university. We talk about a lot of different ideas and issues. I want to share three that surprised me.

Photocopying? We were talking about printing and I asked the students if they ever photocopied (we have all-in-one machines that do printing, copying, and scanning) and the students were silent. After some strange looks someone finally asked what’s a photocopy?

Apparently everything is a print these days. Reproduction of a page of paper doesn’t seem to be a very common activity. I explained what it was and felt like I was describing a telegraph. I guess with journals migrating to predominately digital formats that most undergrads do not need to photocopy articles. Most of their own content is digital as well — so there is no copying notes, forms, or…

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May 9, 2014, 7:20 pm

LIBRARY BINGO: finals edition

Finals kicked off today at Virginia Tech. I have to admit that I actually like this time of the semester because of the intensity that students bring. I love being surrounded by mass-productivity!

I was looking through our school newspaper this morning and found a library-themed bingo card. There are a lot of tongue-and-cheek elements, but it was nice to see this unexpected and unsolicited shout-out for the library. I think they could have done some more unusual things (like someone spinning) but we’ll take the free publicity.  Enjoy:

lib_bingo

 

 

 

 

Blog Break: I have a handful of posts in the works but I’m planning to take a short hiatus. I hope to get back to blogging on June 1… if not sooner.

January 29, 2014, 6:26 pm

OUR SIX ASPIRATIONAL QUALITIES: openness, curation, creation, community, catalyst, knowledge

Last summer I posted about our aspirational identity project. We started with a long list of words and explored many concepts. We wrapped that up just before winter break and officially launched yesterday.

This is what we came up with:

OPENNESS
We design pathways to information, access, ideas, and discovery.

CURATION
We partner with people to produce, disseminate, preserve, and use information and data.

CREATION
We enable people to design, make, and express their ideas.

COMMUNITY
We bring people, ideas, and resources together.

CATALYST
We ignite people’s curiosity and sense of possibility.

KNOWLEDGE
We stimulate creative, cultural, social, and intellectual endeavors.

Obviously these are very broad—that was our intention. We wanted to keep one hand in the past (ideals of librarianship) while stretching the other hand out toward the future. The qualities are all very…

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