Supercharge your storytimes to make a real impact on early childhood literacy

Saroj Ghoting

storytime

To an outsider, a library storytime can seem deceptively simple—grab a favorite book and ham it up. Use a puppet, silly voices, and everyone will have fun.

Storytimes are entertaining! But libraries are in a unique position to connect with families and their children from birth. Skillful, thoughtful storytime practitioners are key to the role libraries can play as anchor institutions within a broader community learning infrastructure.

When storytime providers are intentional in supporting early literacy, interact with participants, and take time to assess their programs, then early literacy behaviors increase.

It’s what we call supercharging your storytimes.

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Top posts for 2018: Wikipedia, Linked Data, Container Collapse, and … the Blues?

OCLC

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The Blues? Yes, the Blues. Along with the library/Wikipedia connection, the promise of linked data, and the collapse of information containers, our “Three Cures for the Humdrum ILL Blues” post was one of the topics that got the most traffic in 2018.

Overall, the OCLC Next blog continued to grow in 2018. About 55,000 readers stopped by nearly 70,000 times this year to check out our posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From all of our authors and editors, thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful new year!

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Preserving Research Data: Are you ready for a long-term commitment?

Brian Lavoie

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The scholarly record is evolving to incorporate a broader range of research outputs, moving beyond traditional publications like journal articles and monographs. Research data is a salient and well-documented example of this shift, and many universities are now investing considerable resources in developing RDM services for their campuses, as we document in our recent Realities of Research Data Management report series.

These services sit alongside much of the research life cycle, from support in developing data management plans prior to commencing research (think of DMPOnline or DMPTool), to computing and storage resources for storing, working with, and sharing data during the research process (often called active data management; for example, the DataStore service at the University of Edinburgh), to data repository services for storage, discovery, and access to final data sets (like the University of Illinois Data Bank).

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ARC 2018: Changing the game for libraries with vision, courage, and persistence

Helene Blowers

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In October, I had the privilege of joining around 220 members and colleagues at the OCLC Americas Regional Council Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Our theme, “Change the Game,” was developed with input from the OCLC Global Council, who were integral to driving the agenda as well as participating in the event.

Despite all the unique institutions and situations among attendees, we found that many of our challenges—and many of our responses—had a lot of overlap. When “changing the game” is difficult, the support and confirmation of your peers can make all the difference.

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Linked data in libraries: From disillusionment to productivity

Andrew K. Pace

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I’ve been talking about linked data a lot lately. Before you say, “Oh, that’s so five minutes ago,” let’s frame linked data technologies and principles as a technology trend in libraries that continues to get (and deserves) extra attention. I’m naturally skeptical when libraries try to apply new technologies to long-solved problems, but I am now thoroughly convinced that the library needs linked data platforms. It’s one of our last chances to embark on innovations that we’ve known for a long time are not possible with the increasingly arcane and anachronistic MARC record.

It’s not always easy to see “what’s in it for me?” in linked data, so let me attempt a view from the many rocks we stand on.

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From deplorable to delightful: How to establish a Wikipedia initiative on campus

Samantha Dodd

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“I think what you are doing is absolutely deplorable.”

This was the reaction I received during a departmental meeting in which I was trying to pitch the libraries’ new initiative to incorporate Wikipedia editing into the classroom. For the most part, I was met with resistance and the same arguments that academics have been using since the inception of Wikipedia: it’s inaccurate, it lacks proper sources, and it encourages plagiarism, vandalism.

So, I changed my approach. Instead of me trying to convince them of why their students should be taught how to edit Wikipedia, I decided to let their colleagues do it for me.

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An “open” discussion

Rachel Frick

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What does “open” mean? There’s a general acknowledgment among librarians, publishers, and various funding bodies that the term “open” describes a complex continuum, rather than defining a specific set of criteria when used to describe items in our collections.

What has become entirely unambiguous, though, is that libraries are now expected—by researchers, funders, faculty colleagues, and especially end-users—to provide services that support open materials and workflows as fully as any other kind of content.

OCLC Global Council delegates work on behalf of the OCLC membership to reflect the needs of member institutions. At their meeting this past March, delegates expressed their strong interest in additional focus around this issue. With their advice, we established a cross-organizational work team to benchmark current OCLC activities and investigate new ways to support the library community throughout the Open Access (OA) life cycle.

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Three “people factor” steps for successful change management

change management

Transformation of any kind starts and ends with people. If you’re implementing a broad change and everyone in your organization isn’t engaged in some way, it will never work to its fullest potential. Period.

I’ve helped hundreds of libraries transform their organizations through technology implementations for ten years, and the people factor is consistently the key to success. But it’s also the hardest, and the most overlooked. What inspires one person may not motivate someone else. But neglecting to apply this lens across how you plan, communicate, and execute leaves so many positive aspects of change on the table.

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Meet your guide for an Amazon journey: a librarian

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This last July, Forbes published an essay that suggested Amazon stores could replace libraries. The piece was pulled down within a couple days, after nearly 8,000 comments on Twitter and a great many response pieces suggesting that this wasn’t even a bad argument, buttwaddle.” These responses emphasized the role that libraries play in providing services (beyond just books) to people who otherwise might not have access to them.

Some recent library user research we conducted in partnership with the Worthington Libraries in Ohio suggests that these criticisms of the Forbes piece don’t go far enough. Not only isn’t Amazon a replacement for libraries, but our statistical models indicate that library use supports commercial book sales as well as other social and retail activities.

In short: if you want to look for more customers for your online book business, look in libraries.

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Brain food in just an hour

Rachel Frick

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My work with the OCLC Research Library Partnership is rewarding in so many ways. One of them is the continual opportunity to meet fascinating people who do really important work. It creates new learning opportunities for me, and it’s fun to see where some of our pathways intersect.

Like most library professionals, I like to share. Fortunately, I can connect the experts I meet to the OCLC community through our Distinguished Seminar Series. Since 1978, OCLC has hosted dozens of guest speakers who have shared their knowledge and experience on a vast range of topics, initiatives, and movements.

If you can spare an hour once or twice a year, I’d like to invite you to meet with us here in the auditorium at OCLC’s headquarters. You can come in person or join us online for a livestream of an event. I promise that our guests will inform, inspire, and probably even entertain you.

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