The Vital Role of Libraries and Democracy Needs Protection

Lankes, R. David (2023). The Vital Role of Libraries and Democracy Needs Protection. Clip de SEDIC, Revista de la Sociedad Española de Documentación e Información Científica. Available: https://doi.org/10.47251/clip.n87.112

ABSTRACT: The current spate of materials challenges in libraries globally calls out for new defenses.Concepts of library neutrality and librarian objectivity fall flat in light of current developments, and against organized challengers not interested in objectivity. New defenses of library services must be based on librarian expertise and activated network of diverse community members. The field needs to strengthen societal protections for librarians in the conduct of their work.

Holy Crap, What Virtual Reference Can Teach AI?

This post was done in about 10 minutes…so consider it a conversation starter that needs input.

I had a very interesting conversation talking about project ideas for AI and academic libraries. It quickly focused on AskA Librarian services and good ‘ol digital reference/virtual reference. Imagine, the conversation went, we could take a person’s question and run it through chatGPT and then prompt librarians to work with the person with the AI prompt.

I jumped back about 30 years to discussions of “sandwich interfaces” that would search against a database of previous questions and answers. Then we could look for different types of questions asked, and which would work better with AI. Could we remake QuestionPoint (now LibAnswers https://springshare.com/libanswers/ ) in a librarians driven augmented intelligence function. One that could drive collection development and interface design? Take the virtual reference work o Conway and Radford and join it with Soo Young Rieh’s work in learning and search interfaces!

Continue reading “Holy Crap, What Virtual Reference Can Teach AI?”

AI and Schools Workshop at Texas Library Association

Friday, April 21, 2023

9:30 am – 11 am

Room 615AB at Hilton Austin

Join us for a workshop where we’ll be delving into the crucial topic of AI literacy. Together, we’ll be designing an educational program for high school students to help them learn about the future of AI and its impact on their lives and careers. Topics include algorithmic bias, generative AI, disinformation, and self-driving cars. School librarians attending the TLA 2023 Conference are invited to join us for an exciting and enriching experience!

RSVP Google Form https://shorturl.at/eirGJ

About the IMLS LADDER Project

This workshop is funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for our project, “Training Future Faculty in Library, AI, and Data Driven Education and Research (LADDER).” The goal of this project is to prepare future LIS faculty who have hybrid expertise in leveraging libraries and AI and data science to benefit libraries.
LADDER Fellows conduct collaborative research with school, academic, and public librarians as well as the principal investigators, Soo Young Rieh, Ken Fleischmann, and David Lankes.

Here is a flyer on the workshop:

Jeff Penka named Bowden Advisor

Jeff Penka, President/CEO, LittleSeed, Inc. (https://littleseed.io) has been named as an advisor to the Bowden Professor joining Roosevelt Weeks, Angela Craig, Lorraine J. Haricombe, and Jim Neal. The informal advisory board gives the Bowden Professor advice, keeps him apprised of opportunities, and helps connect the work of the professorship to the greater library community.

Penka brings a background in library services, and extensive experience in entrepreneurship. His bio:

ENTREPRENEURIAL TECHNOLOGY LEADER
Strong innovative, executive leader and senior product management professional with over 20 years proven experience in:

  • characterizing market needs across a variety of industries and the consumer web
  • defining product vision, portfolio and product roadmaps, market introduction and launch plans
  • creating and managing web-based, multisided businesses
  • leading product development efforts and organizational process transformations
  • deploying and supporting information services globally

Offers a unique blend of exceptional communications, project and business management, product development, and technology expertise. Skilled in developing technology-based services, managing geographically distributed and matrixed teams, and leading organizational, cultural, process, and business transformations.

Specializing in lean business and product practices; utilizing outcomes-focused processes to rapidly validate and evolve market appropriate solutions.

Veteran public speaker, recognized author, trainer, and facilitator.

Margo Gustina Named Bowden Fellow

Margo Gustina is a researcher. An outspoken believer in the power of community to lead libraries toward more meaningful practice, Margo works with libraries, facilitating planning, funding, and governance conversations and processes. In addition, Margo is the Principal Investigator on the federally-funded Libraries In Community Systems project.

They will be working with the Bowden Professor on projects from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission around rural librarian certification, credentialing, and other related rural library projects.

Bowden Capstone Scholar Melissa Deuber

Biography: Melissa developed her passion for information science while volunteering with the Thomas G. Carpenter Library Special Collections as an undergraduate student at the University of North Florida. While attending graduate school at the University of Texas’ School of Information, she is focusing on academic librarianship, particularly with small-medium universities and community colleges. After obtaining her MSIS, she will start her career as a Reference Librarian for the University of Louisiana Monroe’s College of Pharmacy. She hopes to develop skills in STEM librarianship while creating positive relationships with students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy on behalf of the University Library.

Project: Austin Community College Libraries provide resources for over 70,000 annually enrolled students and over 100 programs of study. To support teaching and learning at ACC, the Libraries need more data on software usage in university coursework to educate future budget requests. For my capstone project, I am designing a survey that will be distributed to ACC students that evaluates their access to technology as well as which software they are most interested in using on library computers. After the survey is disseminated among students, I will analyze the results via data visualization and a report that outlines the study’s findings. This project will help librarians at ACC determine which materials are most beneficial to student success.

Continue reading “Bowden Capstone Scholar Melissa Deuber”

Bowden Capstone Scholar Emma Bekele

Biography: Emma Bekele is an MSIS student in the School of Information at the University of Texas. Her focus is on public librarianship and she is passionate about anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the library, classroom, and beyond.

Project: To serve their entire community, libraries must be able to reach all members of a diverse population. The Pottsboro Library in rural northern Texas strives to expand their services throughout Grayson County to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). To support this DEI initiative, I will create fliers to advertise library books and services throughout the community and produce a DEI training guide for the library board based on research and best practices.

Continue reading “Bowden Capstone Scholar Emma Bekele”

Bowden Capstone Scholar Parker Zimmerman

Biography: Parker Zimmerman is a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. During his time at the iSchool, his studies have focused on both libraries and archives. He is most interested in how libraries and archives can use the digital space to increase the accessibility of collections for their users.

Project: For my capstone project, I am working with the New Jersey State Library to research state-wide econtent purchasing models, with a focus towards ebook purchasing. Specifically, I am surveying  the current state of consortial/cooperative ebook purchasing models through the distribution of surveys, by consulting existing literature on consortial ebook purchasing, and by meeting with library staff across various states. The culmination of my project will be a white paper in which I will provide an overview of state-wide ebook purchasing models, present three case studies of specific purchasing models, and provide recommendations for how the state of New Jersey can provide equity of access to ebooks for all state residents through cooperative purchasing.

Continue reading “Bowden Capstone Scholar Parker Zimmerman”

Bowden Capstone Scholar Tyler Roberge

Biography: Tyler Roberge is a Master’s Student in the School of Information at the University of Texas studying library sciences and administration. With an interest in open accessibility and preservation, Tyler is looking to take his work into the academic or federal sectors to pursue public access, academic or government research, and/or library administration. 

Project: My capstone project involves working with the Library Development and Networking Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to collect and create the content and guidelines for their upcoming Texas Workforce Development webpage to be publicly accessible from the Commission’s website. Working alongside Maria Freed, TSLAC’s Workforce Development Consultant, I’m conducting research and interviews with various individuals from state workforce agencies and library leaders to curate a holistic understanding of workforce development so the individual organizations may come together to better bolster the economic stability of communities across the state with libraries as a medium to accomplish this task. After this research is complete, we will turn to developing the content guidelines and preparing the Workforce Development webpage for launch, which will include our research and interviews, discuss how best we may go forward as a collective for the sake of Workforce Development, and serve as a hub for separate organizations to communicate their visions and opportunities for citizens across Texas both inside the library and in other like-minded organizations.

Continue reading “Bowden Capstone Scholar Tyler Roberge”