The Journal of Radical Librarianship

From Flickr user, library_mistress, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A scholarly journal just for me? Perhaps someday… No, a group of librarians in the UK got together and formed the Radical Librarians Collective to offer a radical approach to library and information issues, particularly to challenge the marketization of libraries. They are against neoliberalism in libraries, not liberalism in the political sense but in the economical. In The Library With The Lead Pipe borrows a definition from Lowes’ The Anti-Capitalist Dictionary for neoliberalism:

Neoliberalism can be defined as the belief “that markets are inherently efficient and that the state and public sector have no essential role to play in economic development apart from facilitating the expansion, intensification and primacy of market relations.”

They recently decided to create an academic journal with the hopes that these theories could be shared more widely.

The Journal of Radical Librarianship is a new open-access journal publishing a combination of peer-reviewed scholarly writing and non-peer-reviewed commentary and reviews. We’re looking for work on the subject of radical librarianship and related areas. Broadly speaking, anything that investigates the political aspects of librarianship or takes a critical theory-based approach to LIS.

via In the Library with the Lead Pipe » A radical publishing collective: the Journal of Radical Librarianship.

They are looking for submissions on radical librarianship which they suggest is “anything that investigates the political aspects of librarianship or takes critical theory-based approach to LIS.” Contact them with questions about submission ideas.

We have a similar group here in the us called the Radical Reference Collective. I met up with some of them at ALA one year for drinks and learned more about their organization. Their mission, slightly more broad, I think, than the Radical Librarian Collective is:

Mission Statement: Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.

An upcoming post I am working on will go more into this, but it is difficult to do what we do and not become political. Whether we are talking about why libraries are so important or the campaigning for funds to keep the doors open, politics is a big part of librarianship. I look forward to seeing what this journal has to add to libraryland and following the efforts of radical librarians everywhere!


MOOC from EdX with Stan Lee and Michael Uslan on The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

The Smithsonian and EdX are offering a free MOOC called The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture co-taught by Stan Lee and Michael Uslan. It begins on May 5th and run for 5 weeks. Go here to learn more and register!

From Superman® and Spiderman®, to The Avengers® and The Hulk® and beyond, who are these heroes? And, how have they evolved from folklore and myth, across all cultures and religions?

Learn from Smithsonian and industry experts including:

Stan Lee, who created the modern superhero template. His early comics featuring Spiderman, Iron Man®, The Hulk, Thor®, and The Avengers led Marvel to success. He continues to reinvent himself to create modern global superheroes and appear in cameos in superhero films and TV, such as Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Michael Uslan, executive producer of top grossing, award winning movies, including The Dark Knight series, Lego® Movie, the animated Batman films and Batman® VS Superman.

In this course, we explore the following questions:

  • Why did superheroes first arise in 1938 and experience what we refer to as their “Golden Age” during World War II?
  • Why did the superhero genre ebb and flow in popularity over the decades?
  • How have comic books, published weekly since the mid-1930’s, mirrored a changing American society, reflecting our mores, slang, fads, biases and prejudices?
  • Why was the comic book industry nearly shut down in the McCarthy Era of the 1950’s?
  • How did our superheroes become super-villains in the eyes of the government, clergy, educators, and parents of the mid-20th Century?
  • When and how did comic books become acceptable again, and eventually become valid teaching tools in universities and schools?
  • When and how did comic book artwork become accepted as a true American art form as indigenous to this country as jazz?
  • Finally, when and how did comic books become “cool” and the basis for blockbuster movies, hit TV series, top-selling video games, and acclaimed animation, while also impacting fashion and style- and even the moral and ethical codes of children- around the globe?

via The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture | edX.


MOOC on Public Library User Experience

The School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is hosting a MOOC on Public Library User Experience that sounds pretty interesting.

The objectives of the course are:

Students completing the Customer Service Module will be able to:

  • Identify overarching principles that guide high quality public library service.
  • Describe trending options for experiences and spaces in your library that engage patrons and create a third place or refuge for the public.
  • Recognize the need for ongoing staff training that can build relationships and keep a safe environment for learning.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the diversity in audiences and the techniques available to reach out and provide great service.
  • Recognize the importance of programming as a commitment to library customer service that will create experiences beyond patron expectations.

Students completing the Youth Programming module will be able to:

  • To become aware of the past, present and potential future of library services for children and young adults.
  • To develop skills in assessing needs and utilizing goals and objectives to plan services and programs, and in evaluating services and programs.
  • To build specific programs appropriate for various age groups and to observe and conduct model programs in real settings.
  • To become aware of the potential of technology as well as other media in providing information services, in meeting educational needs, and in promoting total literacy.
  • To develop a philosophy of service for youth.

Students completing the Technology module will be able to:

  • Describe the basic library system components (OPAC, Circulation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, Serials) and how they serve us.
  • Identify current Discovery Systems and evaluate their impact on the traditional catalog for library users.
  • Show familiarity with technology standards (from MARC to OAI-PMH) that make a library work.
  • Understand how inventory control works with barcode/RFID technologies to ensure that both staff and library users can find what they want — and keep it safe.
  • Recognize basic networking strategies for cabled and for wireless access along with management and security concerns for all users.
  • Demonstrate awareness of current and upcoming library technologies and place these technologies in context for the public library community.

Students completing the Community Engagement module will be able to:

  • Identify community issues and challenges, including illustrating an area where community engagement is lacking and would be beneficial.
  • Describe the role their public library can play in identifying and addressing the issue.
  • Recognize the types of relevant community partners that can help support and enhance a community engagement project.
  • Describe and assess potential community engagement methods based on an analysis of community need and available resources.
  • Create a plan of action for their public library to take when implementing a community engagement project.
  • Evaluate the steps, resources, and knowledge needed to set the community engagement plan into action.

I had to learn more about how they combined subjects in the School of Informatics and Computing. Apparently it is the first program like this in the US and it combines computing, social science, and information systems. Fascinating! With the Rutgers School of Communication and Information recently dropping “Science” and calling the degree a Master of Information, we are probably going to see many changes like this in the way we define an education in information.

Anyway, this MOOC sounds interesting. You can enroll for the course here.


Free webinar series on technology tools from the Texas State Library

This is a series that TSLAC has been doing for several years now. I just registered for the first one in late April on Social Media. They topics they are going to cover are

  • Social Media: Needs Analysis
  • Social Media: Marketing Strategy
  • Social Media: Engaging Patrons
  • Online Fundraising
  • Arduino (mail order kits for building digital and interactive devices

The archive going back to 2010 is also available. Register for the current series or view the archive here.

Please join us for a special series with technology trainer, Christine Walczyk, all about popular online tools. The series is meant to be short on talk about library context and higher concepts. It’s really all about the tools themselves! Our aim is to demonstrate how to use one tool in each webinar in under 60 minutes with time for Q&A built in.

Christine Walczyk is currently a PhD candidate at the University of North Texas in Library & Information Science as well as an independent technology/library consultant with Trainers-R-Us.. She has 10+ years in libraries and is a former software trainer.

via Webinars | TSLAC.



The problems associated with digital content are perhaps some of the biggest facing libraries today, in my opinion. As the demand to access digital content rises, libraries are more and more at the mercy of licensing agreements from publishers. Our budgets are wrapped up on content that we don’t own or control.

Someone wants to help us with that. eBooksAreForever is trying to create a collection of ebooks for libraries in North America at sustainable prices that will be completely controlled and owned by the library. They also are working to allow unlimited simultaneous use for patrons.

Ebooks are forever. So why can’t libraries buy ebooks at affordable prices, and own those ebooks for eternity?

Now libraries can.

At eBooksAreForever, our goal is simple: easily deliver great ebook content to libraries all across the country. Not only will libraries own the ebooks they buy, they’ll have easy access to as many copies as they need so more than one patron can borrow a title at the same time. And buying a single title will allow the library to lend it in all ebook formats, both present and future.

Our Plans

Imagine a single point where libraries can come to purchase the titles their patrons want; a system that interfaces with any and every library, regardless of what ILS they are running; a marketplace that is constantly adding content, while growing with the industry it serves. Imagine a service that brings all of the random branches of the current library community together for the very first time.

We’re working to make it easy, fast, and lucrative for libraries to acquire ebooks. Yes, we said lucrative (read the FAQ for more information). Libraries are asking for solutions… and eBooksAreForever is listening.

via About Us and Meet Our Authors | eBooksAreForever.

They are only in beta. I am very curious as to how they will accomplish simultaneous use. And I am sure they, like other ebook platforms, will suffer from unknown or unwanted collection content. But I applaud the effort. When I try to think of how we can get out of the choke hold publishers have us in, my mind hurts by all of the obstacles we face. ANY effort to make the information flow more freely is good by me… but that is just me with my radical ideas. Going to keep my eye on this!


Library Management in the Digital Age with Dr. Julie Todaro: FREE!

TLA is hosting a webinar with Dr. Julie Todaro, dean of libraries at Austin Community College and current candidate for President of ALA. For FREE! Register here.

April 7, 1-2pm Central Time

Managing and leading in library and information settings today requires: different techniques to address change in general; techniques for identifying change specific to organizations and workers; timing considerations for faster moving work and umbrella organization settings; using contemporary visuals for illustrating issues; finding unique data for articulating value; and, persuasive content to match techniques to target populations. This one-hour webinar offers specific ideas and techniques for managers and leaders as well as a handout with extensive web links of content and examples.

via Digital Age Management and Leadership: Five Critical Steps to Integrating Digital Age Techniques into the Workplace | Texas Library Association.


Makerspace Webinar from the Texas State Library & Archives

Makerspaces: Curating, Creating, Collaboration

Wed, April 8, 2015,  2:00–3:00 PM CST

A Makerspace is a place for curation, design, collaboration, creation, and evaluation. In education, Makerspaces must have clear goals, ties to the curriculum, student led events, and a place for students to take initiative.

This webinar will be presented by elementary librarians Nancy Jo Lambert of Frisco ISD, Chair-Elect of the Texas Library Association’s Children’s Round Table, and Shawna Ford of Weatherford ISD, both popular presenters at TCEA and TLA. In this webinar, Nancy Jo and Shawna will walk participants through the process of initiating a Makerspace with both no-tech and high-tech resources. They will also discuss the ways in which each of them have created times and places for students to participate in Makerspace activities.

via The Texas State Library and Archives Commission Will Host an Exciting Webinar about Maker Spaces! | Library Developments.


Free Professional Development Opportunities Online

The Texas State Library and Archives puts together a monthly list of free continuing education (CE) online from WebJunction, ALA, TLA, and other sources. This is what is left for the month of March. I will always try to repost these here and add to them if I know of any more. Thanks, TSLAC!

Tuesday March 24, 2015
Reporting Errors Workbook 2014 for the Texas Public Library Annual Report (TSLAC)
Texas public libraries complete the Public Libraries Annual Report each year. Once your library’s report is submitted, staff at TSLAC complete an analysis of the data for any potential errors or accreditation issues. You are then sent a reporting errors workbook, which outlines the accreditation issues, possible errors, and any requests for clarifications. Learn how to quickly determine whether the library’s report needs amending or if your library may have an accreditation issue. You will also learn how to use the workbook to assist in planning for the next year’s report.
Time: 10-11:00 a.m.

Responding to a Budget Crisis (ALA)
Learn how to develop a campaign for your library in a budget crisis. Friends of the Dallas (Texas) Public Library was one of 20 recipients of the Neal-Schuman Citizens-Save-Libraries grants. The library had experienced budget cuts of 40%, leaving it the worst funded urban library system in the country. The Friends used their training to develop an advocacy plan that resulted in the library receiving an additional $3.8 million to hire 92 full-time employees, allowing the library to open 12 branches for 50 hours a week.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

Community Curation, Data Alchemy, and Bleeding Edge News (TLA)
Learn how to strengthen the library’s role as a critical community partner. The speaker explains how libraries can employ news aggregation, community curation, and “data alchemy” to create (and create demand for) value-added community news and information. An auto-generated newspaper tool, web-based local history projects and leveraging civic data give every library the potential to develop new collaborations to reach new audiences. Innovative partnerships around easy online tools can help libraries define how their entire community is perceived.
Time: 3-4:00 p.m.

Wednesday March 25, 2015
Tech Talk with Michael Sauers (NCompass Live)
In this monthly feature of NCompass Live, the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Michael Sauers, will discuss the tech news of the month and share new and exciting tech for your library. There will also be plenty of time in each episode for you to ask your tech questions. So, bring your questions with you, or send them in ahead of time, and Michael will have your answers.
Time: 10-11:00 a.m.

Adam Matthew Texas History Month Webinar (TexShare)
To celebrate Texas History Month  Adam Matthew presents a new 30 minute training webinar.  This free webinar is a tour of The American West and American Indian Histories and Cultures databases.
Time: 11-11:30 a.m.

Got Big Data? Big Data and School Libraries (TLA)
From Google’s Ngram Viewer to Twitter Trends, from the World Bank to Google Public Data Explorer, the prevalence of Big Data (and its analysis and collection) opens a door to new kinds of integrated library instruction for many classes. Librarians can teach their students how to access and manipulate “raw” data for their work as well as how to understand how it is used in contemporary society. The ease of access to data collection tools (such as online surveys) means that data analysis is a good teachable skill that librarians can introduce to students for both school work and everyday life.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

Thursday March 26, 2015
“How Do I Apply to College?” Helping Patrons Meet Their Higher Education Goals (WebJunction)
As information and education centers, libraries are an ideal place for patrons—teens and adults—to learn about higher education opportunities. What can you offer in response to patrons who are curious about college? If you or your staff feel flummoxed by college-related reference questions, this session will acquaint you with the different types of college-bound students, college-related resources to promote at your library, and ways to work with community partners on programs for each audience. Provide help for the many patrons who do not have access to pricey college prep programs and services. Learn how to initiate or enhance your reference services to help more people meet their higher education goals.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

via March 2015: Free CE and Training Options Online | Library Developments.


iBeacons and the Library | David Lee King

I just ran across a post from DLK about libraries using ibeacons, a device that uses Bluetooth to send information to smartphones within a certain proximity. Library industry companies Bluubeam and Capira Technologies are using ibeacons.

Bluubeam sends out location-based messaging. For example, if you walk into the teens area of the library (and have the Bluubeam app on your mobile device), you might get a message about what’s happening in the teen section that day, or get a message about an upcoming teen event.

So think location-based promotion of events and your stuff.

Capira Technologies does location-based messaging.

My first thought were privacy issues (not to mention annoying-the-crap out of people issues). But the BluuBeam website says that they don’t collect any personal information and that to use the service people would need to opt in by getting their app first.

My mind couldn’t help but race with all of the possibilities. Then I kept reading and DLK went there with me. He goes on to list many great ideas but the one I had already started formulating was this:

Around-town tours. I’d love to see iBeacons connected to a historical walking tour, for example. This has the potential to be much better than portable headsets, and definitely better than QR codes.

There is so much history in Austin. It would be fantastic if the Austin Public Library and the Austin History Center would put together a walking tour using this to share information about each spot. How much would this cost? After initial set up and possibly a monthly charge for the service from Bluubeam, it would be a wonderful service for little effort, I would think. I didn’t see pricing information.

What other services could we provide using this kind of technology?
via iBeacons and the Library | David Lee King.


Illegal Seed Libraries Becoming Legit in Nebraska

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Dec. 18 photo, Betsy Goodman looks over seed packets at the Benson Public Library in Omaha. Goodman established a seed library at the branch in 2012, and patrons checked out nearly 5,000 packets in 2014.

Nebraska seed libraries find themselves in a bit of a predicament. They’re technically illegal.

So far, nobody has beaten down the door at the three Omaha Public Library branches that have seed-sharing programs.
But according to statute, the programs violate the law by not meeting vigorous testing and packaging requirements intended for the sale of seeds.
A bill proposed by State Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha aims to change that. Legislative Bill 544, to be heard in the Legislature today is aimed at repealing what Harr calls “out of date legislation” and replacing it with new language that encourages community gardens and seed sharing.
“I think everyone sees the importance of (seed libraries), but old legislation didn’t foresee these, so we’ve got to clarify what the statute is,” Harr said. “They weren’t meant to be outlawed.”
The change in language offers seed libraries protection from some of the regulations and restraints put on seed companies. Most libraries aren’t able to afford the testing required to conform to the current law.
Harr said he expects little resistance to the bill.

via Omaha lawmaker wants to rid seed libraries of outlaw status – Omaha.com: Legislature.