A Longhorn Amongst the Tulips

With the generous support of the Dutch Library Association (thank you Klaas Gravestejin), I am headed to the Netherlands for a few weeks. There I’ll be spreading the word on the importance of centering librarianship on the communities we serve.

I am so looking forward to meeting with my Netherland colleagues. The country has long been a center of innovative librarianship. From Delft to Utrecht to Amsterdam to Tilburg to the amazing National Library of the Netherlands it is honestly more pilgrimage than a trip. I even get to catch up with folks like Irene Harmsen and the cohort of Community Librarians.

I am so looking forward to seeing colleagues and making new connections.

My current public event schedule:

29th MayInnovatie Dag Prodent Fabriek Amersfoort
4th JuneVisit Dutch StoryHouse  Cultura & Zo Nootdorp
6th JuneNational Members Netherlands Library Association for PL at Beeld and Geluid Hilversum

I’ll be posting slides and updates (and probably pictures of canals) here.

A special thank you to Erik Boekesteijn of the National Library for making this happen. Honestly, hanging with him is the real highlight of the trip.

On the Passing of Fred Roper

I just learned that Fred Roper has passed away. Fred was a previous dean of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. When I joined as director in 2016, Fred was not only welcoming, but extremely generous with his time. He was an invaluable mentor in my first true administrative role.

We would have regular breakfasts to talk about the school, and he was always forthcoming with advice and learned experience. He always said he would never offer advice unless I asked…he mostly stuck to that. In the end his advice was always welcomed and sought after.

I leave it to others to write about his academic achievements, his love of Chapel Hill, his award winning baking abilities, and his deep caring. I can only remark on how I will miss our discussions and his giving nature. I send my deepest condolences to his spouse Jon, and to the entire South Carolina community. Today we lost a great one.

Expect More now in Arabic

Thanks to Mahmoud Rashwan, Expect More is now available free in Arabic. You can download the PDF on the Expect More page or directly here.

Here’s a brief biography of Mahmoud, the translator:

“As a passionate advocate for Guided reading and lifelong learning, I have served as a High School Librarian since 2002. My mission is to foster a love for reading, critical thinking, and information literacy among school community members.

I work closely with both students and teachers to facilitate access to information in a wide variety of formats and guiding students through research for their projects, I’m here to empower our school community.

One of my passions is introducing young adults to literature. I spend quite a lot of time daily discussing with students how to choose their readings to improve their skills and increase their knowledge. There’s nothing quite like seeing a student’s eyes light up when they discover a new favorite book!

I hold a master’s degree in library and information science from University College London [MLIS UCL2020].

I believe that a librarian isn’t just a keeper of books; we’re navigators, linkers, and champions of knowledge. If anyone needs a book recommendation or has a research question, we are here with a warm smile and a wealth of resources! ?”

Thank you for all your kindness and work Mahmoud! And if there are any publishers looking for print and/or distribute this translation, please let me know and I can put you in touch with Mr. Rashwan.

Libraries of the Future, Wildest Dreams

Erik Boekesteijn made a fantastic video on some library thinkers talking about the library of the future. It was an honor to be on the virtual stage with Nick Poole, Jane Cowell, Sandy Hirsh, Futurist Lidewij Edelkoort at the Computers in Libraries 2024 conference.

What’s in Store for Libraries with AI? State Libraries Initiative

“What’s in Store for Libraries with AI? State Libraries Initiative” Computers in Libraries 2024

Abstract: Hear how this group of state libraries plans to explore the varied roles state libraries play in the use of AI and in their support of efforts around workforce development in AI. They plan to gather data, build an environmental scan, and interview library staff to provide focused explorations of the topic with participating state librarians. They plan to equip state libraries to proactively respond to the opportunities and perils in AI, gain insight, and participant-specific ideas for projects and applications to better position them in growing efforts in AI workforce development, and in their own outreach and support missions. Hear more and get excited by their idea to create an “AI Petting Zoo” where state library staff can experiment with AI products.

State libraries to explore strategic use of AI around workforce development

February 1, 2024

AUSTIN, TX—The Collaborative Institute for Rural Communities & Librarianship (CIRCL) today announced the launch of the SLAAIT Project. The State Libraries and AI Technologies Working Group is a joint project of 14 state libraries and the Gigabit Libraries Network to understand the opportunities, challenges, and risks associated with AI and the library sector.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already profoundly changed the way people find information, communicate, produce media, and learn about the world. AI will continue to change work; from automation in manufacturing, to how energy is distributed across a smart grid, to the use of generative AI to produce marketing, the workforce of our states will change,” according to the SLAAIT web site.

Participating state library agencies to date are from: Texas, Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, Colorado, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. Participation remains open and more states are anticipated to join. “It feels like we are at another seminal crossroads in libraries and access to information,” says Jennifer Nelson, New Jersey State Librarian.

Following the release of a federal executive order in October, an increasing number of state governments are also proposing or implementing new regulations and guidelines for the use of AI. This is creating a demand for strategic response from the state library agencies. “We’re so appreciative of Don and David’s leadership to ensure that Delaware Libraries, and all libraries,
can continue to stay ahead of the curve as technology evolves!” says Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian of Delaware.

More information on the project can be found at https://slaait.circl.community

Coordinated by The University of Texas at Austin, the Collaborative Institute for Rural Communities & Librarianship is a think tank by, for, and of the rural library community and aligned partners including universities, government agencies and companies. https://circl.community