Less; Better

“Less; Better.” State Librarian’s Program, New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Atlantic City, NJ.

Abstract: Librarians are service oriented. All too often that translates into trying to be all things for all people. When you put diverse communities at the core of a library, the pressure for doing more increases. However, trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to pleasing no one, and burning out library workers in the process. In the shadow of the pandemic, our communities need us more than ever, and they need us to find the balance between serving a community, and saving it.

Slides

On the Passing of Virginia Bowden

I am sad to report that Dr. Virginia Bowden, librarian, philanthropist, art lover, has passed away. Virginia with her husband Charles funded the Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship that I am honored to currently hold.

Virginia was a true force in librarianship, particularly medical librarianship. I am linking to her full obituary to read about this remarkable woman: computer programer, analyst, librarian, director, PhD holder:

https://www.missionparks.com/obituaries/Virginia-Bowden-3/#!/Obituary

What I will remember is her passion for library science students and the field. She wanted her support to connect students to the incredible library community. She saw the power in peers and community. She wanted students to see libraries in action, yes, but also the connections that happened at library conferences. She urged me to serve librarians in the field and student alike. She urged me to show the students the power of libraries beyond collections and buildings.

I am, and always will be, indebted to her for her service and support. I only wish I had more time to talk with her, and plan with her, and share. I will do my best to live up to her legacy and generosity.

Serving & Saving Communities

“Serving & Saving Communities.” Tennessee Library Association Annual Conference 2022. Knoxville, TN.

Abstract: With COVID, Insurrection, war in Europe, inflation, an increasing ideological gap, our communities need libraries to do more than be ready to serve, they need a proactive librarianship dedicated to saving communities. Libraries remain the last standing public service that is local, serves the whole community, and is dedicated to the aspirations and knowledge of a community. How do they feed the souls of the nation?

The Bowden Professor Presents Angela Craig

For those in the Austin area, please join us to hear from Angela Craig, the great library director of Charleston County Public Library Tuesday April 5th at the Austin Public Library: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/angela-craig-director-charleston-county-public-library-tickets-310531848117

Angela Craig will speak about her work at the Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina with a focus on community engagement

About this event

Angela Craig has been Executive Director of the Charleston County Public Library since April 2019. Angela started with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in 2005. In her 15 years with public libraries, she has spent time cultivating creativity, collaborating with staff, and developing a patron-focused experience by removing barriers to library services.
While adept at working with all populations, Angela has specialized in increasing library access to vulnerable populations and underserved communities. In 2013, she published Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap, culminating in a visit to South Korea as their keynote speaker for the International Youth Symposium in 2015.

Active in national and regional professional library groups, Angela holds a master’s degree of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University. Angela believes in the transformative power of reading and literacy, and that strong public libraries are a platform to meet the needs of their community. A mother of two, she is a huge fan of reading to her children, is an avid reader of all genres and loves to talk to people about their favorite books.

This event is supported by the Virginia and Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin. Angela Craig is also an advisor the the Bowden Professor.

Video Sharing & So Much More: New N2L2 Episode

Episode 17: Video Sharing & So Much More

Beth Patin, Dave Lankes, & Mike Eisenberg

YouTube has more than 2 billion active users collectively viewing over 5 billion videos totaling a combined 1 billion hours of video viewing every day!! Tik Tok is the new kid on the block, just 4 years old worldwide, and already with over 1 billion active users watching 167 million videos every minute! These two entities wield tremendous influence across every demographic. Clearly more than benign video sharing platforms, they are mass media publishers, social media exchanges, and content creation streaming services. What’s the scoop? Are they valuable and helpful services or is there a darker side? Let’s find out.

Click here for episode page and previous episodes.

The Battle for the Soul of the Library: A Response

The following is a letter I sent the New York Times in response to the editorial written by Stanley Kurtz on February 24, 2022.

To the Editor,

I write in response to Stanley Kurtz’s The Battle for the Soul of the Library published in February 24th. I appreciate Dr. Kurtz’s concern for libraries and very much appreciate his identification of librarians as crucial players in the ongoing debates about challenged materials and ideological debates in our school and public libraries. I do, however, disagree with both his assertion that librarians can be neutral, his attribution of the current raft of challenges to librarians, and his assertion that trust in the profession is founded on neutrality.

Librarians are not, and have never been neutral. They are human, and human beings are driven by conscious and unconscious bias. But rather than debate the point, let me posit we don’t want librarians to be neutral. We want librarians to work to make our communities better. We want our libraries to help communities make smarter decisions and to help community members find meaning.

Continue reading “The Battle for the Soul of the Library: A Response”

On the Passing of Charles Bowden

This month we lost Dr. Charles Bowden, professor, scientist, doctor, art lover, and the ‘Charles’ in my title: Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship. Dr. Bowden made tremendous advances in the treatment of bipolar disorder as a clinical professor at the University of Texas Health San Antonio.

I had the opportunity to meet Charles with his equally impressive wife Virginia last year. I am glad I had the opportunity. In that meeting with the Bowdens we talked about the importance of connecting students to the greater library community. This is evident in how my endowed professorship was set up.

Virginia and Charles have been generous supporters of the University of Texas iSchool, often funding infrastructure and excellence funds that allow academics to get things done. This was based on his experience as a professor as well as Virginia’s academic experience. In setting up the Bowden professorship, they made sure I had the ability as well as the obligation to innovate.

If you would like to see what combining great science with great broad impact looks like, take a look at his profile at UT Health.

I know in the weeks to come many will talk of Charles and his accomplishments. I know many voices from his family, colleagues, and friends will fill in the picture of a man making a difference. For myself, this sad moment is an opportunity to recommit to making a positive impact in the world, using scholarship to improve society, not simply document it. Thank you Charles for your support and your work. Rest in peace.

Here is his obituary: https://www.missionparks.com/obituaries/Charles-Bowden-4/#!/Obituary

Chloe Santiago: Bowden Capstone Scholar

 I am building a framework for a grant-fundable program to train library leaders on power building and political and financial literacy. This program will be specifically geared towards libraries who struggle to receive adequate funding, particularly those in low-income areas and historically BIPOC communities, in order for those library leaders to have the knowledge and tools necessary to lobby for increased funding from their local governments.


Bio: Chloe Santiago is pursuing an MSIS at the UT Austin School of Information. She is interested in the potential to improve social, racial, and economic justice outcomes through advocacy for and through public libraries.