Why aren’t you asking “Why?”

Drew Bordas

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At home, I get asked “Why?” all the time. I have three young children and their capacity for questioning is nearly endless. Some recent examples: “Why can’t we have a small pig as a pet?”; “Why do we say better instead of gooder?”; and the classic, “Why do I have to take a nap?” As parents, we do our best to answer these questions because we want to encourage curiosity and an understanding of how the world works.

It struck me recently, though, that as adults at work, we sometimes lose this natural curiosity…or it is discouraged to the point where we just quit asking.

And that’s a bad thing.

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Share your library space pictures!

Andy Havens

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Since last October, libraries have been sharing pictures of their spaces with us for us to pass along on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve gotten some great pictures—many thanks to everyone who has been contributing. We’ve seen folks in the community sharing and liking these so we wanted to put them in one place for you to see.

If you’d like to add your picture to our collection and maybe see it featured in the future, send a photo (minimum size 1920 x 1080; JPG, please) to photos@oclc.org. Please also include a brief caption with the name of the library, city and country. By submitting photos this way, you confirm that you own the image rights and agree to OCLC’s use of them in digital and print marketing and communications.

So many great library spaces, so many great pictures. Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing yours!

 

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Koo Chen-Fu Memorial Library at NTU College of Social Sciences in Taipei, Taiwan

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The long tail of library discovery

Chip Nilges

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One of our first OCLC symposium speakers was Chris Anderson, the technology writer and former editor of Wired. He spoke for us at ALA Annual back in 2005 on the subject of his famous Wired article and soon-to-be published best-seller, The Long Tail. Like many others in our profession, I found the subject to be both interesting and appropriate to libraries, as did others whom we quoted in a NextSpace article at the time.

Libraries have been collecting, preserving and promoting “long tail materials” for centuries, of course. That’s the long tail of content. But we’ve also found that, when it comes to WorldCat, there’s a long tail for discovery.

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Global Council at a crossroads

Peter Sidorko

Global Council Select1I recently attended the OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council Meeting in Hong Kong where the theme was “Libraries at the Crossroads.” It was a great topic, one that is relevant to us all. As librarians, we continuously face crossroads—changing patron preferences, evolving institutions, new technologies. We had excellent discussions about how we can best move forward, together. It’s the same theme we’ll explore at the upcoming Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council Meeting in Germany in February. I’m greatly looking forward to continuing the discussion.

This “crossroads” analogy also has framed recent Global Council discussions and decisions. At our meeting this past November, Delegates agreed to sharpen our focus on member activities, such as OCLC regional meetings and product, user and working groups that advance the interests of our member institutions.

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Top posts of 2016: Big data, convenience, ILL trends, linked data and…shyness?

Andy Havens

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Shyness? Yes, shyness. Along with big data, the convenience imperative, interlibrary loan trends and linked data, shyness was one of the topics on our blog that got the most traffic last year.

The OCLC Next blog launched in February of 2016. Since then, readers have stopped by nearly 60,000 times to check out 54 posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From everyone who’s worked on OCLC Next during its first year…thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog so successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful New Year!

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From crossroads to breakthroughs

Hsueh-hua Chen

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Connecting users to knowledge and helping them achieve their learning goals is a major reason why we become librarians. And being part of a community that helps us do that is inspiring and energizing. Recently, at the National Taiwan University, I was part of a significant breakthrough of historical documents, which was made possible by library cooperation.

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Getting a million dollar digital collection grant in six easy steps

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Many of the libraries I’ve worked with on local digitization efforts start with great ideas about a big collection they could develop…if only they had enough money. Maybe there’s a local trove of unique documents that are historically important. Or thousands of photos recovered from a private collection after a disaster. No matter the source, imaginations run high and big, lofty goals are set. A hopeful dollar figure is calculated and the quest for a grant begins…only to end in disappointment.

Why? The goal is good, the materials are fantastic, the benefit to the community is apparent. In my experience, the search for the “Million Dollar Grant” often fails because it doesn’t follow these six important steps:

  • Step 1: Secure a $1,000 grant.
  • Step 2: Secure a $5,000 grant.
  • Step 3: Secure a $10,000 grant…

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Ranganathan on shyness: Get over it!

Saskia Leferink

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Advice from the father of library science

In 1931, S.R. Ranganathan, a mathematician and librarian who is widely regarded as a founder of modern library science, published his seminal work, The Five Laws of Library Science. His five principles about managing the library get most of the publicity, but tucked away on page 65 is a gem of a quote sometimes overlooked but extremely important in our fast-changing world.

“If you want to be a reference librarian, you must learn to overcome not only your shyness but also the shyness of others.”

Ranganathan used this quote to describe behavioral change librarians needed to make in his day, when they were transitioning to serving readers from preserving books. No longer were readers considered a nuisance—they became the focus of the library. Librarians had to lose their shyness and come out from behind the desk to serve users, as well as overcome any reader shyness.

As we in the library community wrestle with change management, Ranganathan’s words ring as clearly today as they did 85 years ago. You can’t be shy when tackling change. Change requires a boldness that leaves reticence behind in order to embrace something new.

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The power of library content to connect us…personally

Bonnie Allen

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As librarians, we digitize, collect, archive and promote content collections for many different reasons. Our digital collection management efforts often revolve around the idea of preserving materials for historic and scholarly purposes. That’s obviously important, and librarians have always played a major role in such programs. But sometimes we discover far more personal connections to these materials.

While I was working on the Montana Memory Project from 2009–2012, it made perfect sense that some of the students we sent to the National Archives would be Native Americans, as the materials they were digitizing were from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Local history being preserved by local students for the use of historians is often a part of these programs. What we were not expecting, however, was that some of our students would find materials that involved their own direct ancestors.

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