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Playboy collection arouses interest at UWO
Despite any embarrassment I might feel, the fact is that Playboy -- the monthly men's periodical started in 1953 by Hugh Hefner -- can offer some fascinating insight into our changing times and culture.
"You have to remember it's not just centrefolds and pictures," says Marnie Harrington, a librarian with UWO's Faculty of Information and Media Studies who worked with the collection after it was donated to the Weldon Library by a private donor about three years ago.
The collection is stored in a "research consultation room" on Weldon's second floor.
Academic Libraries in Flux
Some campus libraries might be under pressure to cut costs, but as of 2010 academic libraries were spending more money than they were before the financial downturn that started in 2008, according to new data released Tuesday by the Education Department.
In the latest in a series of occasional surveys, the National Center for Education Statistics collected data from nearly 3,700 academic libraries, accounting for 86 percent of all libraries at two- and four-year institutions.
Carl Harvey II writes in In today's Huffington Post:
As the leader of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and an educator, I am struck by the lack of support for school libraries from federal and local governments. Do decision makers fully realize how their lack of support will hinder the education of America's next generation? Due to the lack of funding for school libraries, students are at risk of not having some of the most critical 21st century skills needed to compete in the global marketplace.
There is a common misconception that technology replaces school libraries and school librarians. Rather, in reality the explosion of technology and information access makes having full-time access to a state certified school librarian and school library program even more critical for today's learners. There is an entire new skill set today's students will need as they enter the workplace, and school librarians are the leaders in helping teach these skills to students.
There is a lot of talk of the threat that digital services like Amazon bring to the library industry in general (as this site's sub-title so slyly indicates). But one thing Amazon and online libraries in general cannot do is replicate the feel and aesthetics of a library (especially some of the big ones ).
I’m curious if there has been any push or attempt to market these aspects of libraries say in the tourist industry, in the same way that hard core baseball fans will visit all the great ballparks and general tourists love to visit cathedrals for the architecture.
Evaluating Research By the Numbers
"Last week I taught an information literacy class to a group of senior Chemistry students. We didn’t talk about databases or indexes, we talked about numbers. We talked about impact factors and h-indexes and alternative metrics, and the students loved it. Librarians have used these metrics for years in collection development, and have looked them up to help faculty with tenure and promotion packets. But many librarians don’t know where the numbers come from, or what some of the criticisms are."
Contrary to the popular misconception of libraries as stacks of musty books, they have long been at the forefront of information technology, maintains Amy Buckland, a librarian at McGill University in charge of electronic scholarship, e-publishing and digitization of rare books.
"People who say that libraries are on the way out have no idea what we do," she says. "We've always been ahead of things in that sense and we still are."
Buckland views Google not as a threat, but as an adjunct to the librarian's role.
"Librarians use Google all the time," she says. "It is handy for quick questions. But how do you vet the quality of these things? That's what librarians do. We teach our users how to find the quality answers."
Maria Shine Stewart authors the "A Kinder Campus" column for Inside Higher Ed. She focuses on what we can do as members of academic communities to improve our relationships, treat each other with respect and build better communities. Apparently she thinks very highly of the campus library as a community builder - owing to the strengths academic librarians bring to the community. From the column:
"Academic librarians -- and libraries -- don’t need me to defend them. In fact, they don’t need to be defended at all. But I think they sometimes might be more clearly celebrated on our campuses. Yes: celebrated. And I’ll bring the party favors, including several armloads of questions (from the profound to the basic) and dozens of looks (from the puzzled to the angry to the restless). Above all, I’ll bring my gratitude and respect...Academic libraries may be some of the kindest places on campus. And whether they need my vote of confidence or not, they have it. Read more at: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/a_kinder_campus/stewart_essay_on_celebrating_the_campus...
I wish I could've used this as the title for this post: "Designing information literacy instruction without understanding that feral place where many library users reside is about as effective as taming a wolf. We can do it, but what good does that do for the wolf?"
"Digital native is a fantasy invented by the fans of silicon valley to pigeonhole a generation for the sake of selling technology, but the truth is far less convenient. Not only the digital natives, but many people take on a feral state in their interactions with the internet, as it constantly shifts its boundaries, its cities and deserts. Likewise, the library is a place where we ought to allow for the feral. The ACRL information literacy standards are only useful to the domesticated to promote their efficient and purposeful use of the library. The truth is that most people do not experience the library as a city, but rather as a wilderness on the edge of civilization.
See Also: Matthew Battles, The Call of the Feral.
More from The Chronicle too (but fewer pix).