20 June 2008

THREE INTERESTING RESOURCES: One for law librarians, two for medical librarians

Real Lawyers Have Blogs: Law Blogs, Blawgs, Law Firm Marketing is produced by Kevin O’Keefe, founder of Lexblog, Inc. and former trial lawyer. His goals in blogging are: “to get people the legal help they need, to connect people in need of a lawyer with the most appropriate lawyer, to help lawyers, and to improve the image of the legal profession.” It’s a very professional looking blog, with legal news, links to “in-depth information on blogs and their marketing potential,” and links to other law and lawyer blogs. Although it isn’t aimed at law librarians, it’s one you should at least add to your RSS feed.
URL: http://kevin.lexblog.com/

The MLA Essential Guide to Becoming an Expert Searcher, by Terry Ann Jankowski, Neal-Schuman, 2008, ISBN 978-1-55570522-7, US$65.00. I haven’t seen a copy yet, but it looks like it would be a good resource for almost anyone. It includes a self-evaluation tool to “find out where you are on the novice-to-expert continuum,” an interview checklist, examples of librarian-user interactions, “practical guidelines for deciding what resource to start with,” tips and tricks, reviews of health-related databases, and exercises.
URL: http://www.neal-schuman.com/bdetail.php?isbn=9781555706227

Also new from Neal-Schuman and MLA is Answering Consumer Health Questions by Michele Spatz (2008, ISBN 978-1-55570532-6, US$65.00). “Spatz outlines the most common inquiries and behaviors of health information searchers and the most useful go-to resources.” There are “templates and forms and tips on everything from setting up the reference desk to encourage confidential inquiries to using body language to signal your availability….” Spatz also includes sections on ethics; legal issues; email, virtual, and telephone reference; marketing, and even job stress. Again, I haven’t seen the book, but it looks really great.
URL: http://www.neal-schuman.com/bdetail.php?isbn=9781555706326

10 June 2008


eMarketer has release a report on the demographics of US bloggers.

Nearly 70 percent are white, 20 percent Hispanic, 12 percent African-American, and just under 4 percent Asia. They average 37.6 years of age, 14.3 years of education (that is, 2 years of college), and income above US$55,800. (Based on a survey of people 18 years of age or older "who regularly or occasionally write in a blog."

They predict the following:
2008: 25.2 million bloggers, 94.1 million blog readers (50 percent of Internet users)
2009: 28 million bloggers, 104.7 million readers (54 percent)
2010: 30.9 million bloggers, 116.1 million readers (58 percent)
2011: 32.8 million bloggers, 135.6 million readers (64 percent)
2012: 34.7 million bloggers, 145.3 million readers (67 percent)

I wonder what the comparable numbers for librarians would be? Does anyone know of any research in this area?

URL: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1006293

06 June 2008


I just found the Houston Area Library System's training site. They have three great training "courses," one on customer service, one on reference, and one on marketing. They are easy to use and understand. Not too in-depth, but worth a look.

URL: http://www.hals.lib.tx.us/

04 June 2008


Even without Kathy Dempsey at the helm, Computers in Libraries is still pub]lishing great stuff--way to go, Dick (Kaser, new editor).

The first goodie is an article on redesigning your web site, The Secret to Patron-Centered Web Design: Cheap, Easy, and Powerful Usability Techniques by Erica Reynolds of Johnson County (Kansas) Library. The emphasis is teamwork and listening--to both customers and staff.

Cassi Pretlow [Denver (Colorado) Public Library] lists 10 Web Tools to Create User-Friendly Sites. She includes old favorites and some neat new ones like Browsershots, to check how your site looks on various browsers (http://www.browsershots.org).

Finally, read Fast and Easy Website Tuneups by Jeff Wisniewski [University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] to get some great ideas. You can read this one online for free at http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jun08/Wisniewski.shtml.

02 June 2008


There’s a very interesting article in the most recent issue of the MLA newsletter about the US Government’s funding of various projects to recruit more people into librarianship. As part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has handed out over seven million dollars in grants to various library schools. I can’t help but wonder if this will help.

The University of Illinois, Syracuse University, and University of Pittsburgh have received nearly a million dollars “to increase the diversity of and access to LIS course offerings.” The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was awarded over a million dollars; first “to study the career patterns of LIS graduates” (only in North Carolina) and then “to recruit 2 cohorts of medical students into a new dual-degree master’s program” (LIS at UNC and a medical degree from Duke University). Johns Hopkins University and seven other academic medical libraries are collaborating “to increase the number of underrepresented minorities entering the health information professions.” The University of Arizona recruited “48 Native American and Hispanic students to a master’s LIS program as part of its Knowledge River Initiative” and “to help [24 Native American and Hispanic high school students] develop valuable abilities such as leadership, professional contribution and community service…[and] opportunities to interact with library leaders.” Simmons College has received money “to establish a unique doctoral program in management leadership…to prepare 15 full-time posts for LIS students working to move into senior leadership.” The American Library Association’s Office for Diversity was given money “to double the number of underrepresented master’s in library science students from 105 to 210 in its Spectrum Initiative program.” Vanderbilt University had 15 students in a “model internship program.” Texas A&M University received money “to pilot a recruitment and teaching model to recruit 10 diverse undergraduate students into health sciences librarianship.”

So, there’s money for minorities, for studying the careers of librarians, a new doctoral program, and even for high schoolers. But, does any of this actually add to the profession? Are we creating new librarian for positions that don’t exist (because the boomers aren’t retiring because of the poor economy)? Will these new librarians make a difference? Will the pre-librarians actually enter the profession—and find jobs—and make a difference?

What are we getting for our money? Is this the right way to go about adding to and improving the profession? What do you think?

Citation: Shoevel, Evelyn, Recruitment of Librarians for the 21st Century: An Institute of Museum and Library Services Initiative, MLA News (405):15-16, May 2008.

Minority Health Archive

The Minority Health Archive, created in collaboration with the Center for Minority Health and the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, is an online archive of print and electronic media related to the health of the four nationally recognized minority groups: Blacks/African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.” It includes materials on general health, current research, or health disparities among these groups. Information may appear as journal articles, journal articles, web-based materials, government documents, books, book chapters, conference proceedings, conference papers, course outlines, events/presentations, images, pre-prints, or theses and dissertations. The archive is free, but you must register to add to it.

URL: http://minority-health.pitt.edu/