Author Archives: ccannon

job posting – arts librarian

Hi everyone,

A visual and performing arts librarian position recently became available at Florida State University. This is my old job so I can attest that it is a great position for a new librarian who wants to get a lot of experience.

For more information and to apply, visit the Florida State University job site at (Job ID #31467)

libraries and e-books

Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending

A recent article in the New York Times highlights ways that libraries are providing access to e-books and digital audio books for their patrons. E-books are certainly gaining in popularity at my institution. Most students actually seemed relieved when a book is online because that means they won’t have to brave the stacks at a large university library!

transforming libraries

The latest issue of Library Journal featured an article about Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s proposal to eliminate the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. This would involve transferring most Library of Michigan functions to the Department of Education, abolishing the position of State Librarian, and downgrading library services, such as circulation and interlibrary loan – all in the hopes of saving a few million dollars.

Currently, I work at an academic library and budget concerns have been the main topic of conversation and meeting agendas for nearly a year. Last month, we began planning a major restructuring of the university libraries in response to our provost’s charge to create innovative resources and services that will transform and position the library as the center of the university. So far, we’ve brainstormed some interesting ideas that we hope to begin implementing in the near future.

I’m curious to hear about the challenges and opportunities facing other librarians with regard to budgets. How are the libraries you are associated with dealing with the pressure to justify operating costs and emphasize the importance of library resources and services in a climate that, at times, seems eager to view libraries as an unnecessary luxury?

Professional Development

If there’s one sure thing in life – it’s change. As librarians, we must be quick to adjust to the changing information needs of library users, which can include adapting our collections, service models, and the physical space of the library. Many libraries are undergoing a time of intense and rapid changes spurred on by shrinking budgets and increased numbers of users. A recent report on the Today Show brought attention to this.

So, how can librarians stay one step ahead and not only adapt to change but also anticipate and plan for it? One way to accomplish this is through continuous professional development. It’s not enough to get the job (see last week’s post on Surviving the Presentation for tips on successful interviewing). To be able to understand the factors that affect libraries, librarians, and our users it’s important to engage in self-assessment, both personally and professionally, and set goals for new skills and responsibilities you would like to acquire. Then, develop a plan for how and when you will obtain these goals. Continuing education is one element of professional development but there may also be informal, community-based groups that provide learning and networking opportunities.

The current budget crisis can make professional development feel like a dream but there are many opportunities for professional development within your organization as well. Job shadowing, attending staff meetings, and keeping in touch with your colleagues and offering to participate in projects they are working on are all excellent ways to gain professional experience and increase your knowledge.

Do you have suggestions of opportunites for professional development? Please share your ideas!

distance education and libraries

Among my many fun, summer projects this year is the task of creating online tutorials for distance education students. After reviewing the ACRL’s standards and guidelines for distance learning library services  (for more info see: I feel inspired to begin this project…and I’d like to discuss it with my fellow librarians!

Have you created online tutorials for distance learners? If so, what were the tutorials designed to do? Teach specific skills, like using the catalog or databases; or information literacy, such as how to evaluating information and developing research topics; or explain library procedures, like renewing books or interlibrary loan services? What software did you use (I’m thinking of using CamStudio – it’s free!)? How did you assess the usage of the tutorials and their success?

Integrating Library Instruction into the Curriculum

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about library instruction. The art history department at my university has invited me to help develop a new course, tentatively titled “Information Technology for the Art Historian.” The course will focus on a variety of skills that are needed to be successful academically, such as conducting research, acquiring and using images, preparing presentations, and writing research papers. I’m really excited about this opportunity to include the library in the art history curriculum!

There seems to be a trend toward integrating library instruction in the curriculum, rather than the more traditional one-shot approach to library instruction. At the recent ARLIS/NA conference, I attended a discussion group that focused on making library instruction an integral part of student’s educational experience. Some suggestions included, using assessment tools such as Survey Monkey for pre-and post-testing during library instruction, incorporating games and group-work, and using visual mapping/mind mapping to teach the research process.

I’m wondering what other tips and tricks librarians can try to make the research process fun and interesting for students, especially in a semester-long course. Has your library integrated library instruction into course curriculum or developed a course (either required or for extra credit) for students at your institution? If so, what challenges and successes have you experienced?