Student Learning Objective 2
The student identifies, evaluates, conducts, and applies current research and thought in library and information studies and in other fields.
Libraries are constantly evolving to meet the needs of the people they serve. Some changes are obvious to casual observers such as the introduction of an increasing number of digital resources while others remain hidden from view such as the transitioning of cataloging systems to new standards. All changes require planning by library staff along with tools to determine the success of plans in meeting the needs of patrons. Surveys, interviews, and usage statistics are some of the tools utilized to identify needs and evaluate services. Librarianship is a group effort and requires extensive networking with other library professionals as well as those groups served by the library. The American Library Association is an excellent source of information on current research and provides opportunities to network. Other smaller groups provide similar opportunities such as state and local professional associations. It is important to identify the group or groups most beneficial to the individual librarian and actively participate in them.
The LIS 610 class on collection development focused on research specifically in the short writing assignments. Three articles I analyzed were on the subjects of weeding collections, satellite libraries, and journal availability. The Weeding without Walking article highlighted how both objective and subjective criteria need to be applied for the most effective weeding process. Most librarians do not enjoy the process of removing items from the collection and objective measures to identify items to consider for removal helps initiate the process. However, sometimes there are important subjective reasons for keeping items such as the author being a faculty member or a specific emphasis of the institution that override the objective measures. According to the research the focus of weeding needs to be on what to discard and how to discard it rather than on what to keep. Analyzing what is left and what needs to be added is best done as a separate process. The satellite libraries article examined how working in partnership smaller collections distributed around a campus can better meet the needs of specific groups and the importance of coordinated efforts rather than siloed environments. The journal availability article looked at the struggle to deal with the ever rising cost of journal subscriptions and the effectiveness of methods to lower that cost with minimal impact on patrons. Each of these articles dealt with the practical application of research on the operation of a library.
LIS 650 focused on wide ranging research and trends in managing libraries and elaborated on the topics introduced in LIS 600. The article by Denning (2015) examined in LIS 600 highlighted the need for constant research and the importance place change has in today’s libraries. The Management Basics text used in LIS 650 provided a series of looks at the various components of managing that constant change in libraries. The need to understand the organizational framework and legal aspects of the library was one component explored. The second component was the specific skills required such as communication, planning, delegation, assessment, and accountability. (Myers 2017) With a large team the delegation of responsibility can match the required tasks to people with particular talents, but in a one person operation like I find myself serving being aware of personal weaknesses and seeking help is key to success.
An isolated librarian cannot possibly keep up with all the current ideas and research in libraries. Membership and participation in professional groups is a key component of survival as a librarian. The particular groups to which I chose to join are ALA, AASL, and NCSLMA. Other groups such as NCLA and ISTE provide good resources, but too many organizational memberships creates a lack of focus. Concentrating on a few key groups is helpful for depth of learning for a new librarian such as myself.
Staying current on relevant research and trends is essential to being a librarian in the twenty-first century with all its growth of information and change in technology. This fact is apparent in all the courses in the LIS program as the examples referenced demonstrate. Utilizing relevant research and interaction with other professionals is the best method of staying current. This is a key component of being a successful library professional.