Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Librarians take no holidays

For the holidays I went to visit a college friend and her family in the Philly/NJ area. It was a great weekend trip and I left just in time to miss the big winter storm. It also ended up being an opportunity to talk about what I do with new people. As one of her in-laws or other people married into the family would ask what I do for a living, I told them I was the head of a campus library. I'm still getting used to that part, now an entire three months into the job. My answer was always met with the response that I must sure like books. I smiled, and noted I like books, electronic information, and so much more. Oh, and I also like people, another important component of my job and the profession. During one of these conversations I was asked about how devices such as Kindles were impacting my library. I noted the timeliness of that question, briefly highlighting the challenges and opportunities of providing books and other content for Kindle/Nook/e-Reader devices as well as providing the devices themselves to someone who might not own one. Add to this the challenges I anticipate Penn State will face in a "one university geographically dispersed" environment. It's going to be a major issue. My conversation companion was concerned about the rising cost of access for all library materials, and the ways piracy might impact funding and use of all libraries. He wished me luck in dealing with these issues.

It was a great conversation.

Fortunately others far wiser than I'll ever be are already thinking about this and related issues. On the ALA side, A Resolution to Insure Equitable Access to All Formats of Electronic Content Through Libraries was passed during the 2010 Annual Conference and a Task Force was formed. On December 31, 2010, the non-profit Library Renewal will launch. Library Renewal " works to secure new models of electronic content access and distribution infrastructure for libraries everywhere through research, advocacy, outreach and also through the development of strategic partnerships."

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