Posts in topic: librarianship

Stronger together: Libraries focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

As I’ve spent more time working with OCLC’s Global and Regional Councils, I’ve come to an agreeable realization that’s maybe a bit of a paradox. The wider our professional networks become, the more likely we’ll find faraway colleagues whose local solutions fit our situations. Sometimes the best answers don’t come from next door, but from across the globe.

It’s not a surprise, actually, so much as a challenge. There just aren’t a lot of mechanisms for sharing great ideas across library types and geographies. But this year, I’m pleased that we’re bringing two great platforms together—OCLC Global Council and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—to help libraries around the world promote and improve their best ideas.

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The Music OCLC Users Group: You say you want an evolution

The Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG), the first and oldest of the OCLC cooperative’s user groups, has spent its 40+ year history working to improve access to music materials in libraries. Often that work has felt like an identity crisis as it sought to reconcile its cataloging-centric origins with its public services evolution. But the dedicated professionals associated with MOUG have kept at it over more than four decades because of the guiding notion that if you can make products and services function well for the complexities of music resources, they will work well for any resources.

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Library staff learning surges on WebJunction amid COVID-19 closures

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As libraries have closed their physical spaces and adapted services to remote work, we’ve seen library staff spend more time than ever on professional development and online learning. In a poll conducted during the recent OCLC virtual town hall, 81% of attendees reported that they have engaged in more professional development since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a free resource open to all, WebJunction has long been “the learning place for libraries.” But the increase that we’ve seen in time spent learning on webjunction.org between March and April 2020 has been, put simply, extraordinary.

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Always together, even when we’re apart

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Do you remember—so, so long ago, back in January—when the idea of working from home for a couple of days seemed like a nice option? An opportunity to catch up on the buried emails, check off a few paperwork “to dos” from your list, or spend some focused time on a pet project.

Now? Even though I’m starting to get used to this “new normal,” I tell you this: once it’s safe to return to work, I may live in my library for a week.

Because while we’ve been doing an amazing job of staying in touch through our web meetings, email, chat, and texts, it’s just not the same. I miss real interactions with people. I miss the social interactions that make our libraries real communities.

It’s the same people I miss so much who are making isolation not just bearable, but truly remarkable. Library colleagues are approaching this crisis with the same mix of pragmatism and optimism that I’ve encountered throughout my years as a librarian. Nowhere was this more evident than in our virtual OCLC Global Council meeting last month.

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2 miles or 10,000 miles—ILL makes us one library

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Recently, the interlibrary loan (ILL) staff at the Loyola Notre Dame Library (LOY) tracked the locations around the world from which they borrow and lend library materials. The exercise was prompted by a student who, after being shown ILL by staff members Kate Strain and Zach Gahs-Buccheri, asked, “What’s the farthest library that you’ve gotten an item from?”

Turns out the answer was the Dalton McCaughey Library at the University of Melbourne in Australia, which is 10,038 miles from LOY in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

What a great example of how ILL makes us one big library with endless shelves. No library can possibly have on hand every item it needs. For that we rely on the resource sharing communities we build. In fact, some libraries keep things in their collections to circulate primarily via ILL rather than locally. That’s the commitment they have to sharing resources.

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Celebrating 20 years of the IFLA/OCLC Fellowship Program

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Who would have imagined that the program announced at the 1999 IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Thailand would have such an incredible, far-reaching impact? That’s exactly what the Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Fellowship, an education and professional development program for early career librarians from developing countries, has done. Twenty years later, the program has realized the potential noted by Jay Jordan, OCLC’s fourth President and CEO, in the program’s inaugural announcement, “to positively affect individuals, their institutions, their countries, and the global knowledge management practices of the future.”

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Finding community and more in Phoenix

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In early October, leaders and staff from OCLC member libraries of all types across the Americas will meet in the Phoenix, Arizona, area for two days of learning, connection, and collaboration at the OCLC Library Futures Conference. Six keynote speakers from inside and outside of the library community will provide inspiration to get participants thinking creatively about how our libraries can be catalysts for change in our communities. The programming—planned by a team of leaders from OCLC member libraries—focuses on providing the leadership needed to guide these exciting changes.

This annual conference will be held in a unique Scottsdale hotel, The Scott, a venue that will enhance opportunities for networking breaks, collaboration, and fun. The agenda includes a dinner event at the Heard Museum, known internationally for its collections and advancement of American Indian art.

But if you’re traveling all the way to sunny Phoenix, you may want to extend your trip a bit to take in some of the many experiences and sights in the area.

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2019 award recipients inspire with ideas and achievements

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OCLC connects 18,000 member institutions around the world. That unique network is powered by both cooperation, and the individual talent and commitment of people whose contributions make an important difference in the communities they serve.

Each year, OCLC honors six librarians who bring innovation and creativity to their work in the global library community. All of them were recognized at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, recently. We had the pleasure of hosting three of the 2019 award recipients at an OCLC reception at ALA.

Please join me in congratulating and thanking these six accomplished colleagues for all they have contributed to our community.

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14 fun, specific, and surprising libraries to visit in DC during ALA Annual

Violet Fox

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Since 2000, Washington, DC, has been one of the most selected cities for ALA Annual and Midwinter, having been the conference site three times. Chicago has hosted the most, of course, with six. New Orleans has had four in the past 20 years. Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle have had three each. But considering that DC has more than 20 million visitors every year—and that many of us visited as students—I’m betting you’ve been to the nation’s capital before.

If you haven’t, there are some major attractions that I’m sure you’re interested in, and all kinds of tourist guides and lists to get you started. But if you’ve been before—or are looking for some library-specific ideas a bit off the beaten path—we’ve put together an “insiders’ guide” to some unique, lesser-known libraries in the capital area for you to visit during ALA Annual 2019, June 20–25.

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Resources to encourage reading with The Library 100 list

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Last month, OCLC published a great list based on our own original research: The Library 100—Top Novels of All Time. It’s a list of the novels that more libraries have on their shelves than any others.

The research was based on holdings information in WorldCat, which lets you search the collections of thousands of libraries around the world. The hard part of the research wasn’t counting the libraries that had a copy … it was “clustering” lots of variations, editions, and translations of books. That way, a 1964 French translation of Pride and Prejudice counts the same as an English version from 2006. The important part isn’t the specific edition or version—it’s the fact that this is a novel that thousands of libraries have decided to keep in their collections.

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