Category Archives: innovation

Textbook American Revolution

The University of Chicago Press recently issued a two volume narrative history of the United States that is freely available online and reasonably priced ($30) in paperback.

As someone who’s responsible for my college’s history collection (and a former history teacher) I’m both impressed and excited for the future. These sorts of quality and reasonably priced offerings from scholarly presses (see also MIT Press) bode well for the future of scholarly publishing.

Check it out HERE. Premium

Most users of Google Scholar have been linked to a paper hosted on, a platform for sharing and finding research papers. However, (in addition to a slew of recent and controversial changes) has introduced what is essentially paid search. For example, you can still search papers by title, but to harvest the deeper and more broad results of full text search, you need to subscribe to the “premium” package (see below).

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.36.47 AM

Screenshot from

These changes have proven unpopular. Here’s what one writer had to say about the new fee, “this means the end of that medium.” I think that companies, like, are often more flexible that he implies. However, their introduction of paid search may well prove to weaken what, in times past, has been robust user support.

Managing Oneself

I can scarcely recommend this book strongly enough. First written as an article in the Harvard Business Review, and then re-published as a longer booklet, Peter F. Drucker’s masterful Managing Oneself succeeds on every level.

Drucker focuses on the following key points and questions.

What are my strengths?

  • To discover one’s strengths use “feedback” analysis (e.g. write down your key decisions/actions and check results in 9-12 months).
  • Focus primarily on your strengths (as change is difficult/impossible)
  • Improve your strengths
  • Uncover where your intellectual arrogance is creating problems and work to eliminate.

“Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization.”

How do I perform?    

  • Am I a reader or listener?
  • How do I learn? Some folks learn by writing, others by talking and others by reading or listening. Learn how you learn.
  • Am I a loner or do I work well with others?
  • Do I produce better results as the decision maker, or as an advisor?
  • Do I perform well under stress, or do I need lots of structure?
  • Do I function best in large organizations, or small organizations?

“Do not try to change yourself – you are unlikely to succeed. But work hard to improve the way you perform.”

What are my values?

  • What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror each morning?

“Organizations, like people, have values. To be effective in an organization, a person’s values must be compatible . . . They do not need to be the same, but . . . close enough to coexist.”

  • Where do I belong?

“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transfer an ordinary person – hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre – into an outstanding performer.”

What should I contribute?

  • What does the situation require?
  • Given my strengths, my way of performing, and values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done?
  • What results should be achieved to make a difference?

“A plan can usually cover no more than 18 months and still be reasonably clear and specific”

Responsibility for Relationships

“Managing yourself requires taking responsibility for relationships”

  • Others are as much individuals as yourself.
    • To be effective, one must know the strengths, performance modes, and values of your co-workers.
  • Take responsibility for communication.
    • You must communicate your strength’s, values, and performance style, and proposed contribution and find out the same about others.

The second half of your life.

“Knowledge workers are not “finished” after 40 years on the job, they are merely bored.”

  • There are three ways to develop a second career
    • Start one (e.g. moving to a new organization, change lines of work, etc.).
    • Develop a parallel career (e.g. volunteer for a non-profit, begin consulting, become more involved in the community, etc.).
    • Become a social entrepreneur (e.g. start a charity, etc.).

Academic Library Outreach and Promotion. What’s New?

A growing and dynamic are of study and practice for academic libraries is outreach and promotion. Academic libraries are increasingly looking for new and dynamic ways to inform and market their services and resources to the communities that they serve. Below is a short list of some of the best and most recent scholarship in this area.

Allen, M. & Rust, M. (2016). Bridging the town-gown gap: An academic library building partnerships within its communityInterface.

Allen-Overbey, T., Dotson, D., & LaBadie M. M. (2016). Bringing science to the children: Cooperation between academic and public libraries. IFLA World Library and Information Congress.

Barnett, J., Bull S., & Cooper, H. (2016). Pop-Up library at the University of Birmingham: Extending the reach of an academic library by taking “the library” to the students. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 22(2-3), 112-131.

Budzise-Weaver, T., & Anders, K. C. (2016). Be our guest: Engaging graduate students through specialized outreach events. Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table, 7(1), 1-12.

Essinger, C., & Ke, I. (2016) Outreach: What works?, Collaborative Librarianship 5(1), Article 6.

Farrell, S. L., & Mastel, K. (2016). Considering outreach assessment: Strategies, sample scenarios, and a call to action. In the Library With the Lead Pipe.

Haycock, L., & Howe, A. (2016). Collaborating with library course pages and Facebook: Exploring new opportunities. Collaborative Librarianship, 3(3).

Larson, L., Stone, J., & Garcia, M. (2016). Starting from square one: Library communications from the ground up. OLA Quarterly, 21(4), 27-35.

Peacemaker, B., Robinson, S., & Hurst, E. J. (2016). Connecting best practices in public relations to social media strategies for academic libraries. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 23(1).

Ross, K., Mitchell, G., Macdonald, F. & Jones, S. (2016). UOW History Archives Portal: Collaboration between the University of Wollongong Library and the History Program to deliver innovative access to digital archives. VALA2016: libraries, technology and the future, VALA, Australia.

Singh, R. (2016). Creating engaging library experiences through effective content marketing. OLA Quarterly, 21(4), 49-54.

Van Beynen, K., Swenson, C. (2016). Exploring peer-to-peer library content and engagement in a student-run Facebook group. College & Research Libraries, 77(1), 34-50.

Wilkes, B. (2016). Let’s work out!: Getting out of the library and into new collaborations and contexts. College & Research Libraries News, 77(7), 334-337.

Free Professional Development


ALA Poster  (ca. 1918)

One of the most important parts of being a professional (in any field) is staying up-to-date with the literature and technical/hard skills required to thrive in your field.

Librarians, like all professionals, should continue to both hone their current skills and develop and learn new ones.

Additionally, library managers and supervisors may wish to use online professional development to train new support staff and para-professionals or to cross train seasoned staff.

Here are some great online (and free) professional development sites for librarians and archivists.

Connecting to Collections Care (Resources)

Digital Public Library of American (Public Library Partnerships Project)

Idaho Commission for Libraries (Continuing Education)

InfoPeople Webinars

Library of Congress (Librarians and Archivists)

OCLC WebJunction

Utah State Library (Webinars)

UW-Madison iSchool Webinars

Wyoming State Library Training Calendar
(up-to-date calendar of professional development training opportunities)




Image credit to Boston Public Library

Google and Library Websites

Like many folks who work at a smaller academic library, I wear lots of hats. One of those being the website manager. While the entire website is professionally managed by campus IT, I am responsible for minor tweaks and updates to the library page(s).

Like most folks, we use Google Analytics (GA) to track and monitor user behavior on our website. The information that can be gleaned from GA is extremely useful in the design and shaping of content. Here’s some free and recent scholarship, from the Journal of Web Librarianship, on tracking user behavior with Google Analytics on the academic library website.

Bikes, Libraries, and Outreach


For around $1,000 a library can purchase a bike repair station. This is a great way to build rapport with both the cycling community, and the neighborhood at large. Some recent examples of  public libraries that have installed bicycle repair stations are; Albany Public Library, King County Libraries (Washington), and the District of Columbia Public Library.

Image credit to Nick Normal.

Children, Mobile Libraries, and Research


The astonishing rate of library closures in the UK was recently brought to light through a BBC investigation. One of the strategies employed by the educators, librarians, and activists fighting to save public libraries in the UK, involves working to prove that libraries are both needful and effective. Actually, this is something that most librarians will be tasked with at some point in their career. At any rate, recently three scholars, Marianne Bamkin, Sally Maynard, and Anne Goulding discovered one of the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of children’s mobile libraries.


Photo credit to quisnovus

Leadership Matters


Sweet Briar College, 1930s

Historic institution, Sweet Briar College, received a record number of applicants for the 2017 academic year. If you’ve not heard of Sweet Briar College, it’s the college that nearly closed in 2015. According to the previous board the college faced “insurmountable financial challenges.” Turns out, the challenges weren’t insurmountable, the current leadership just wasn’t up to them. A large number of Sweet Briar Alumnae rose to the challenge, raising $30 million in 100 days, and launching a legal battle was won after moving all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court. The college had just overhauled their library (more here). The current president, Phil Stone, relates the fascinating story (one year later) in this recent piece in the Roanoke Times.


Image credit to Boston Public Library.