Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?
I went from pre-med to Art History in college because that is what I liked – life is short. My dad told me most people change careers seven times in their life, but I have stuck with Art History this whole time – though in three different capacities (as museum educator, art museum librarian, and now academic art librarian). My current position is as a subject librarian that serves the Art History and Classics department at Emory University.
What drew you to this position and art librarianship in general?
When getting my Masters degree in Art History at George Washington University, I got a paid internship at the National Gallery of Art’s modern prints and drawing dept. I loved classifying and researching artworks. I worked additional jobs in the photo archive and then in the 20th century department (now known as Modern & Contemporary). It wasn’t until I was working in the High Museum of Art education department during the Atlanta Olympic RINGS exhibit that a library position to presented itself. The High Museum of Art part-time librarian left and they began looking for her replacement. With a friend’s advice – don’t hide your lamp under a bushel – in my ear, I marched into the head curator’s office and said, “Give me the job; I’ll get the MLA.” And I got the degree and the job.
What are your main roles/duties at your current position?
The more typical roles are collection development and management (which is my favorite part of my job) instruction, and research consultation. The more recent developments in my duties include Digital Humanities, Scholarly Communications, data management (ex. Digital Images), special collections, and marketing.
What is a typical day like for you?
My favorite part of my job is collections development, purchasing materials for the library, and collections management, figuring out how to fit all of our materials in the stacks. It’s the beginning of the semester, so I am also creating web guides and trying to work with faculty to set-up library instruction for classes that need it. I have taken to making a weekly To Do list that includes all my Subject Librarian stuff balanced with Humanities Team leader stuff and Service to the Library (task force on events/exhibitions, Comm for LSC, Blog Oversight Group, O&E) and professional development (ARLIS/SE is planning NOLA 2017, getting ready for Ft. Worth). There is never northing to do in this field. I also spend a lot of time mentoring other subject librarians on my team, as well as graduate student fellows.
What were/are some challenges for you as a new art librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship?
It used to bother me (when I was a one-man show at HMA) that we do much behind-the-scenes work, and yet patrons only appreciate the tip of the iceberg. But it’s great when patrons appreciate the library in any capacity, so I learned not to mind too much.
What do you think are the most important issues facing art librarians today?
Permissions/Copyright – our IP Librarians likes to say, “Copyright kills dreams.” Students who are writing theses or dissertations cannot use images without permissions, but the cost of permissions is prohibitive.
Data Management – digital image metadata, etc.
Digital Art History – how does it become just another tool art historians use? How to guide students in this endeavor? It will become more mainstream so we need to teach people the skills and how to utilize new tools in their research and teaching.
Marketing – tell your story, the age of assessment and data.
What are the most important things emerging art librarians should know?
Relationships are HUGE – across your library, across your campus, across your field. Art Librarianship is a pretty small world. It helps to know colleagues (as well as faculty and students) who you can ask questions of or collect data from.
Just for fun – what is your favorite library? Work of art or artist?
I like IM Pei’s National Gallery of Art library reference library, mainly because of fond memories of the people who worked there when I was a library user. I also have fond memories of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Library when it used to be housed in the Old Patent Building. But, if I have to pick just ONE library – I’ll say the Library at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, outside of Florence. Its founder, Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), described I Tatti as a library with a house attached, which I love.
As far as artists, I like conceptual artists who employ word-play and irreverence – Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman, and Jenny Holzer.
If you don’t know the New Media Consortium, you should: they’re doing great work in researching and predicting new technologies and trends in cultural heritage. (See their Museum Horizons report from late last year if you’re into 3D tech, interactivity, augmented reality using your mobile devices, etc.)
They’ve released a Horizons report for libraries, which is apparently their first! You’ll notice it’s for academic and research libraries, not necessarily public or special, but, baby steps. There are lots of interesting assessments of ongoing problems, like capturing digital records of research, keeping up with alternative research avenues, collaboration and embedded librarianship, etc.
If you want to check it out, I recommend looking at pages 20-21 for a quick discussion of embedded librarianship, incorporating literacy lessons into curricula, and how to collaborate with teachers to provide a more comprehensive education.
From the press release:
Lyon, France (August 20) — Today the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich are releasing the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition at a special session of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress 80th General Conference and Assembly. This is the first edition of the NMC Horizon Report that delves into the realm of academic and research libraries in a global context.The report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report was designed to provide these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice.“Education professionals across the world have used the higher education editions of the NMC Horizon Report for years as a springboard for discussion around important trends and challenges,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC and co-principal investigator for the project. “Finally we have been able to produce a report aimed directly at the needs of academic and research libraries – and what we have found is that academic and research libraries are leveraging new technology in some very important and creative ways.”Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption for Academic and Research LibrariesThe NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition identifies “Increasing Focus on Research Data Management for Publications” and “Prioritization of Mobile Content and Delivery” as fast trends driving changes in academic and research libraries over the next one to two years. The “Evolving Nature of the Scholarly Record” and “Increasing Accessibility of Research Content” are mid-range trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and “Continual Progress in Technology, Standards, and Infrastructure” and the “Rise of New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research” are long-range trends that will be impacting libraries for five years and beyond.“The trends identified by the expert panel indicate that libraries are doing a better job at making their content and research accessible, whether through mobile apps, enriched catalogs, linking data, and user friendly websites or by creating more spaces and opportunities for discovery,” notes Rudolf Mumenthaler, Professor for Library Science at HTW Chur and co-principal investigator for the report. “The outcomes of the report are very compelling and it is an honor for HTW Chur to be deeply involved in this project.”Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption In Academic and Research LibrariesA number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in academic and research libraries. “Embedding Academic and Research Libraries in the Curriculum” and “Rethinking the Roles and Skills of Librarians” are perceived as solvable challenges – those which we both understand and know how to solve. “Capturing and Archiving the Digital Outputs of Research as Collection Material” and “Competition from Alternative Avenues of Discovery” are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are “Embracing the Need for Radical Change” and “Maintaining Ongoing Integration, Interoperability, and Collaborative Projects,” which are complex to define, much less address.“ETH-Bibliothek is proud to be a partner of this report,” shares Andreas Kirstein, Vice Director and Head of Media and IT Services at ETH-Bibliothek, and co-principal investigator of the project. “By articulating some of the most daunting challenges that academic and research libraries face, we are already making progress toward solving them.”Important Developments in Technology for Academic and Research LibrariesAdditionally, the report identifies “Electronic Publishing” and “Mobile Apps” as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. “Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies” along with “Open Content” are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; “The Internet of Things” as well as “Semantic Web and Linked Data” are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engages an international body of experts in libraries, education, technology, research, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in academic and research libraries. The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.“This first library edition of the Horizon Report marks some important evolutionary steps,” says Lambert Heller, head of Open Science Lab at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover and co-principal investigator of the project. “Academic and research libraries are now being seen as incubators for experimenting with emerging technologies and are even leading the way at many university campuses across the world.”The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.
Information and Visual Literacy, Academic Rigor, and Professional Skepticism: some conference cogitationsPosted: August 15, 2014
This summer I had to cancel a job interview. (Sacrilege, I know!) It was especially unfortunate because the interview would’ve required a presentation and a web-tool showcase, which I was excited to perform — it’s nice to have a structured interview that you can prepare for practically. The presentation would have been on essential information-literacy skills for first-year college students, and I was planning on using a bit of humour and cultural reference as an attack plan.
Specifically, I think students (and web-users at large) would benefit from holding up Sherlock Holmes as their spirit animal: use a bit of skepticism and plenty of attention to detail, and work hard to connect all the dots, no matter how disparate things seem at first . Context is everything, and reading (everything — new stories, academic studies, and statistics-laden infographics) needs to be analytic and critical. I won’t offer any contemporary examples, for fear of digressing into those discussions, but let’s all be aware of the general state of misinformation and gullibility in the world (or, I dunno, trusting the “true story” claim at the beginning of Fargo?).
Lots of people have been discussing information literacy online lately, and I’ve been mulling on it as well. I missed the visual literacy session at ARLIS/NA this year, because I was at the information literacy MOOC session next door, where I brainstormed some alternative MOOC models (universal design, anyone?). Perhaps those of you who attended the visual-lit session can fill me in on which “real-world [library] examples of how ACRL’s visual literacy guidelines have been implemented” were shared, and whether any suggestions were made as to how to supplement the ACRL guidelines with library-specific instructions (is there a forthcoming ARLIS/NA occasional paper on this? There should be).
One question I’ve been pondering since then is how to incorporate research methods and scientific rigor lessons into information and visual literacy — how to make Sherlocks of us all. I’m sure we all took a (strenuous / boring) research methods class in the MLIS program; for me it was a repetition of the undergraduate research methods I learned as part of a psych minor. Every time you consult a data-collection study, you still have to ask: did they use a control group? Did they control for conflating variables? Are they making assumptions about causation, or drawing one of many possible conclusions? Was there a replicating study? Were the survey questions priming, or compound? Did they set their sights on statistical significance? My MLIS-level research course didn’t really enforce these obvious questions, although we all tried our hand at evaluating a study or two for rigor.
It’s being generally acknowledged that LIS / GLAM scholarly work has a relatively low standard of scientific rigor: we don’t replicate studies, we generally only survey an easily-accessible demographic (i.e. college students), and our studies are designed less to further intelligent work in our field and more to push academic librarians into tenure. We could point to a number of problems: peer reviewers with no skills in research analysis, the general left-hand/right-hand divide in LIS between practitioners and academics, and professional associations that don’t push hard enough for presentations and publications that span our full profession. If we’re no good at research methods, how will we impart these skills to our patrons?
The contemporary debate has scared me off using the word “rigor” at all, for fear of it being taken for the opposite of “diversity,” as it seems to have been co-opted lately. Rigor in a strict statistical sense transcends demographics; “rigor” used in reference to higher-education skill-sets could absolutely use some work, but that’s really more of a bad-teachers problem in my thinking. Universities have plenty of resources for academic writing, tutoring, disability accommodations, ESL upgrading, computer lessons, etc., if only students were being made aware of their shortfalls through teacher interaction and feedback.
Libraries are doing essential work in both supplementary education for students with shortfalls and in instructional design for teachers, which should include some basic lessons in how to assess students for these problems, and get them working up to speed before final marking. Is there space for librarians to provide supplementary instruction in not just information literacy and research rigor, but in visual and media literacy as well — and to target students who need that training most?
The number of high-school grads that go to post-secondary tends to hover around the 68% mark in recent years, meaning that, if we can educate every college student in basic info- or visual-literacy, we can put a huge dent into general gullibility and increase the knowledge of intelligent research methods. (I couldn’t begin to imagine how to insert this education into secondary school, but if you have suggestions or resources to share, I’m all ears.) And the sooner we plant the seeds of good scientific design, the sooner we’ll see a general improvement in scholarly output — or at least more articles admitting their limitations and mistakes from the get-go.
But this is all, literally, academic. How do we get information-literacy education out into the public, especially when most popular news outlets seem to benefit directly from a lack of critical thinking? More specifically, how do arts librarians working in visual literacy and media literacy help to educate both their patrons and the public at large — especially if visual literacy skills are universally important but we only get access to arts students?
If you haven’t read the ACRL Visual Literacy Standards, here they are (2011). ARLIS/NA has also put out standards and competencies for information literacy competencies (2007) and instruction (2002). As it stands, it’s our job to (not only teach basic info-lit, but also) hand out lessons on copyright and plagiarism, good design and accessibility, data visualization (and how it can mislead!), image-editing detective work (which invariably leads to an addiction to Photoshop Disasters), and everything from technical evaluation (“how true is the digital colour to the original?”) to art-education evaluation (“what period/genre is this from?”) and semiotics / semantics / cultural theory diversions. Skepticism and rigor in visual literacy could, I predict, lead to everything from a higher interest in art and design among the general populace, to better body image (“Nobody is that beautiful without airbrushing!”) and consumer ethics (“I’d better not buy this plagiarizing pillow“). And sometimes it’s just about getting the joke.
Information literacy might need a bit of a rebrand: like taking a technology class at your library, lots of people aren’t willing to admit they could use a refresher or don’t really get the underlying principles behind their daily use. As usual, the best policy seems to be “Get ’em while they’re young,” and making digital / media literacy and scientific rigor a base part of public education — a required seminar for all first-year college students, at least.
Can art librarians design a quick, fun, painless way to lay out the pitfalls and consequences of being design-dumb? Are the threats of bad website navigation, low-resolution printing, inadvertent copyright infringement, and lack of accessibility important enough to get bureaucratic and financial support? Or will the information-literacy MOOCs fall by the wayside, underused and unacknowledged?
[FYI: ARLIS/NA has an Academic Division (who worked with the ACRL VL Taskforce), a Visual Resources Committee, and a Teaching SIG, but no ongoing groups working on visual literacy specifically, or any published plans to update the 2007 info-lit guidelines. I have yet to hear about collaborations with the International Visual Literacy Assocation, or similar bodies, but if you know of any, post a comment! Maybe it’s time for a little ARLIS/NA visual literacy focus … ]
1: I have always been confused by Sherlock’s use of “deduction” — isn’t he using induction, to take the clues in front of his face and construct a narrative, rather than beginning from a premise and eliminating possible outcomes? If someone can give me a mnemonic or something, I would greatly appreciate it. Says he:
“Let me run over the principal steps. We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
The UTC Library seeks a motivated, creative and user-focused professional to fill our Studio Librarian position at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (UTC). As part of UTC’s all-new forthcoming library, The Studio serves as a creation space that will support multimedia design and related emerging technologies. The librarian in this position will plan, develop, and implement service initiatives to enhance the Studio as a learning environment and guide patrons in the use of Studio and library resources.
The position is available October 1, 2014.
Reporting to the Department Head of Research and Public Services, and working in coordination with the Team Lead for the Studio in this position provides support for the Studio as learning environment and digital development area. The Studio Librarian works with students and faculty to support the effective and innovative use of multimedia and instructional technologies in teaching and research across the UTC campus.
As Studio Librarian
- Develop and maintain the Studio as an effective student learning environment.
- Guide Studio patrons in use of technology resources.
- Partner with campus faculty, staff, and students as a technology facilitator, workshop trainer, designer, and a developer of multimedia materials.
- Provide instructional design, development, and digital services.
- Work with faculty on instructional design/development projects.
- Promote educational technology and the Studio services to the campus.
- Identify, evaluate, and recommend multimedia and emerging technologies for campus and library needs.
- Assist in the development of the vision, goals, objectives, and actionable Studio Team events.
- In partnership with Library IT, maintain computers, hardware, and software delivery and production platforms.
- Promote student success and retention through advocacy of use of library services and resources.
- Guide and coach Studio staff specialist and student assistants in skills, methods, and best practices to better serve patrons utilizing the Studio.
As Research and Public Service Department Member
- Participate in Research and Public Service Department meetings and initiatives.
- Support public services operations as needed and appropriate in Circulation, Information Commons, and Instruction.
- Design and create multimedia content for instruction, outreach efforts, and library-wide needs.
As Library and University Citizen
- Participate in providing reference, liaison, and outreach services to University Community.
- Participate in library-wide planning and committee work.
- Participate in UT library system-wide planning.
- Participate in UTC governance, service, and be professionally active.
- Conduct scholarship consistent with a tenure-track appointment.
- Engage in continuing professional development.
Required Education and Experience
- Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program.
- One year of relevant work experience, including demonstrated experience in multimedia development.
Required Hard Skills
- Demonstrated proficiency with contemporary multimedia software and hardware, including: Macintosh, Windows operating systems, Digital Video and Photography, Digital Audio Workstations, Adobe Creative Suite, Apple Final Cut Pro, MS PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and other presentation software, video and audio digitizing interfaces, etc.
- Knowledge of current best practices relating to multimedia.
- Experience with subject guide platforms, blogging platforms, chat reference software and other commonly used library systems.
- Experience as a successful project manager and the ability to organize, prioritize, and manage time.
- Knowledge of copyright, intellectual property and privacy laws as they relate to published and unpublished materials.
Required Soft Skills
- Possess the initiative, flexibility, and creativity to manage projects both independently and as part of a team in a dynamic work environment.
- Ability to handle complex, analytical and detailed work.
- Possess a positive attitude, be future-oriented, and embrace change.
- Effective writing and oral communication skills.
- Strong interpersonal skills evidenced by the ability to work cooperatively and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, faculty, staff and students.
- Strong customer service focus, a passion for the profession, and a deep commitment to service and outreach in an academic community.
See the full description here.
The American Academy of Art located in downtown Chicago seeks applicants for a full-time librarian. The librarian will assist in the planning, organization and implementation of various library services and programs in support of the educational goals of the Academy. A successful applicant will coordinate library educational services including information literacy programs in collaboration with the Academy’s faculty. The position requires experience in all aspects of library services along with collaboration and teaching with the Academy’s faculty.
Applications are expected to have prior library services experience and an M.L.S. degree. This is a full-time position with salary and excellent benefits. Please forward a C.V. and cover letter to Duncan Webb, Academic Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org. Review and interviews begin immediately.
The American Academy of Art
The American Academy of Art is a school built on a tradition of professionalism and excellence. We are a thriving creative community of skilled faculty, dedicated staff and talented students. Our faculty and staff have come together collaboratively working toward a common goal: equipping our students to be leaders in the art world.
We believe in the importance of forming a foundation in the classical academic tradition. The early coursework for our students focuses on developing essential skills not only in art technique, but also in the humanities and sciences. From this foundation, we encourage the development of creative and critical thinking that will allow students to use their foundational skills to communicate their own unique artistic ideals.
Our faculty and staff represent a diversity of cultures and artistic styles that we hope will inspire our students to broaden their minds and their artistic range during their years at the Academy and beyond. We encourage our students to consider the impact that they can have on their culture and society through their work.
Since our founding in 1923, our programs have evolved with contemporary artistic styles and technological advances, but the same vision of artistic excellence that inspired our founder remains. Our halls are lined with the works of many of our successful alumni, and each year that legacy grows as our graduates find rewarding careers in the art field and take their place as leaders.
For additional information about the American Academy of Art, visit www.aaart.edu
Please check out the following survey and see if you qualify! The research is on MLIS students, recent graduates, and hiring librarians and managers at Canadian academic institutions. (This is reposted from a listserv.)
Dear LIS colleagues,
This email is to invite you to participate in a research study exploring the transition between LIS education and employment in academic libraries.
Our study seeks to examine how students are prepared for and what challenges exist when transitioning from LIS to a career in academic librarianship. Our findings will help contribute to Canadian LIS literature and provide recommendations to LIS programs and employers to help support the successful transition from school to employment.
The survey will remain open until July 28, 2014. Please distribute this email widely.
Eligible participants include:
· Current students enrolled in a Master of Library and Information Studies, or directly equivalent, program at a Canadian university. Students can be pursuing part-time or full-time studies. Participants in this category must have completed approximately 50 percent of their program and have an intention or interest in pursuing a career in academic librarianship.
· Recent graduates who have completed a Master of Library and Information Studies, or directly equivalent, program at a Canadian university within the last year (graduated no earlier than April 2013) and are actively seeking employment at a Canadian academic library.
· New professionals who have completed a Master of Library and Information Studies, or directly equivalent, program at a Canadian university within the last three years (graduated no earlier than April 2011). Participants in this category are recent graduates who are currently employed full- or part-time, either on a permanent or contract basis, at a Canadian academic library.
· Hiring managers or librarians who participate in hiring committees at any Canadian academic library, in any discipline, on either a contract or permanent basis. Librarians involved in other elements of the hiring process and supervisors of new professionals are also encouraged to participate.
If you have any questions, please, contact either Laura Thorne by phone at (250) 807-9107 or by email at email@example.com or Catherine McGoveran by phone at (613) 562-5800 ext. 2725 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survey data is being collected via Verint, a survey tool provided by UBC IT. Verint is a Canadian-hosted survey solution complying with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. All data is stored and backed up in Canada.
This study is being conducted in English; however, should a participant require assistance to participate, the researchers will endeavour to provide this assistance wherever possible.
When completed, the researchers will seek to publish the results of the study. If you would like a copy of the research findings, please send a request to either Laura Thorne by phone at (250) 807-9107 or by email at email@example.com Catherine McGoveran by phone at (613) 562-5800 ext. 2725 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To participate in our study, please follow the link: http://www.surveyfeedback.ca/surveys/wsb.dll/s/1g336c
Thank you for your support,
Laura Thorne & Catherine McGoveran
Learning Services Librarian, UBC Okanagan Campus Library
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
Bibliothécaire spécialisée en information gouvernementale / Government Information Librarian
Centre d’information GSG Information Centre ; Bibliothèque Morisset Library
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
(613) 562-5800 ext./poste 2725
Library Assistant (Full Time & Part Time openings), Academy of Art University, San Francisco
PT Librarian, Art Institute of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX