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The Post-Collections Librarian Learning to live beyond the purchase order.

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1 The Post-Collections Librarian Learning to live beyond the purchase order

2 The end? The race to amass the biggest pile of books is nearly over. Now what? We have it all. Our job is done? What if, you already had all the material in the world? What would the role of the collection librarian be? How would it change?

3 How do we begin to address? Large consortial buying multi-disciplinary in nature blurs budget lines How do you find out how much money the library is going to spend on collections?

4 Addressing the issue… PROBLEM materials are coming to the library without the need for intervention by the collections librarian.

5 May we propose a shift? (actually this shift is already happening!)

6 B-b-b-u-t…I dont WANT them all!!

7 This model could have merit! Rather than being forced to choose amongst separate items, we can simply have them all! Everything!

8 Alright people: Library staff will need to recognize that they are unlikely to be doing, ten or even five years hence, the same things that are doing now. They also need to prepare themselves to acquire the skills needed to play new roles that will be required

9 Research tells us… Our current mission affirms that the library is no longer the center of the information universe; rather, its strategic advantage comes from a broader portfolio of assets: our expertise and value-added services have become paramount. (RLI 265: A framework for Articulating New Library Roles, August 2009)

10 It also tells us that… The University Libraries have two roles:

11 To embrace this role: streamlined ordering ~ use of approval plans freeing up liaison time

12 From David W. Lewis…

13 The race to amass the biggest pile of books and journals is very nearly over!!

14 Control issues?

15 A new beginning? Lewis tells us there are 5 parts of this puzzle: Electronic collections Retire print collections? Library = informal learning space on campus Embed library tools into teaching Focus on the communication instead of the purchase

16 Facts from Home

17 Consistent with research: use of printed journals declined quickly and consistently … ebrary provides access to tens of thousands of e-books with only one decision rather than the many hours of librarian time that would otherwise be spent of this collection task…

18 Lewis envisions a transfer from purchasing content to curating it This means: –continuing increase in the number of technologists? –An influx of non-MLS professionals?

19 Here weve parted company… More Lewis: –Dont ask users what they want; rather, watch what they do… Especially watch new users who are unencumbered by old systems and practices.

20 No reference or personal interaction, lots of programming, take ALL cues from users – why have librarians, again?

21 Lewis again In the paper world, the most important thing that libraries … did was to keep millions and millions of small pieces of paper in the correct order

22 Clerical confusion? "I don't know what librarians do any more!" high-level knowledge needed low-level application

23 We cant control them. But do we have anything to share with them?

24 Before…. Now…

25 IRIS project tells us… April 2009: –Low levels of awareness of electronic resources (55.6%) –High use of Google –Low level of communication with library staff (1.6%) –High use of reading lists and course notes (97.4%)

26 Basically… Libraries have not undertaken changes to communicate with students by new media Students express a desire to access basic information about the physical library as well as electronic resources online (IRIS Project report, Information skills provision: Mapping the information skills of Cambridge undergraduates and induction / training provision across the University, April 2009)

27 Manifesto The collections librarian was never simply a purchaser. Subject specialists need a wealth of knowledge about our areas We need to know the traditions of our field and how knowledge in the field has developed.

28 Manifesto cont If we can no longer use our knowledge on behalf of our users by selecting materials for them, then we need to find a way sharing it with them. Because now that we are no longer spoon-feeding them preselected material, they need that knowledge more than ever.

29 Librarians as Middleware The post-collections librarian acts as a liaison between the patron and the collection Liaison comes out of collections The librarian isnt the builder of the collection, but the mouthpiece!

30 Take Charge! We need to come out from behind our purchase orders.

31 Putting it in practice: KB Go into the all the classes in my subject area that have assignments and introduce myself as their Librarian – be accessible! Work on the assignment with the professor – be resourceful! Closer to the project date: Make project specific course pages through the course management system with the professors – be practical! Go into the class again 1 month before the assignment is due and show how to do assignment – be timely! Have office hours for the students – be present!

32 Putting it in practice - KT Go into classes (as many as will have me) and tell them what scholarly data are and why they should care Introduction to data lecture doesnt deal with searching databases or archives at all I talk about what data are, how they are collected and used, and what this means for finding and evaluating data on specific subjects –Seems popular… have given versions to audiences ranging from undergrad to faculty Other activities: creating simplified teaching datasets for classes, building a module on finding local statistics, constructing learn about data exercises for specific courses…

33 Traditional collections vs. post-collections – the shift Traditional approach Traditional approach used for decades Librarians use paper forms and select all the materials within a discipline The issue of control over a budget is real and used at the discretion of the librarian within a subject Librarian works locally Librarian sees collections as the main part of her/his responsibility Post-collections approach New approach: consortia, online buying Librarians are relinquishing control through consortia activities Budget is no longer solely with the subject librarian Librarian works locally, provincially and sometimes nationally Collections becomes a tool to a greater responsibility rather than the focus of the responsibility

34 Traditional collections vs. post-collections: the approach Traditional approach Librarians are recognized as subject specialists in a field Librarians build a collection, one book/journal title at a time Librarians maintain budgetary control over their expenditures Librarians work with professors, being able to tell them when materials have arrived and easily locating requests Collections is the core of what Librarians do Post-collections approach Librarians are recognized as subject specialists in a field Librarians play a big role in how information is digested through design and dissemination Time shifts from acquisitions to packaging the collection because all the materials are available Librarians work easily with different formats and suggest which would be best for assignments and class levels Information literacy is the core of what Librarians do

35 Traditional collections vs. post-collections: the issues Traditional Approach Building collections takes time Budgets may be inadequate for specific collections Users may want materials that are not attainable because of budgets Collections is often so time consuming that librarian is isolated Post-collections approach Materials may be missed because of the vast amount of information Collections built on consortiums must be decided on quickly Users may be lost at the amount of information the library can provide The local feel of an institution may be lost

36 The post-collections approach Success = communication with patron Success = use of collection Success = ACCESS!!! Success BUYING STUFF!!!

37 The post-collections librarian Incorporates the specialist knowledge of the traditional collections librarian into the practice of information literacy Achieves competition amongst smaller academic libraries on a more level playing field with its larger peers The librarian rather than the budget becomes the distinguishing marker of quality!

38 Librarians: Stop spoon-feeding the patron pre- selected materials and instead, use collection librarian knowledge to help the patron parse the collection into bite size pieces they can digest and understand! Reduce the time you spend buying stuff and focus more on the role of information in learning

39 Who said what Edwards-Waller, Liz IRIS Project Report: Information Skills Provision: Mapping the information skills of Cambridge undergraduates and induction / training provision across the University. Retreived from: Lewis, David W A strategy for academic libraries in the first quarter of the 21st century. College & Research Libraries, vol. 68, no. 5, pp A strategy for academic libraries in the first quarter of the 21st century Hahn, Karla Introduction: Positioning Liaison Librarians for the 21st century. Research Library Issues, no Whatley, Kara M New Roles of Liaison Librarians: A Liaison's Perspective. Research Library Issues, no. 265.

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