Friday, December 12, 2014

The (Third) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts and Survey Feedback

Feedback on the Association of College and Research Libraries' third draft of the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education is due today. It will most likely be the last round of feedback the ARCL solicits before various committees and the ACRL board vote on the document. You can view the third draft here. Your thoughts are welcomed, via a survey, before 5pm US Central time. Mine are below.

First, let's compare two definitions of "information literacy," one from the third draft, the other from the second. 


In terms of style, I am partial towards the latter, from the second draft. I prefer a paragraph to bullets and I don't care for bolding some of the text. What I do like about this new definition is the final bullet point. 

The next set of survey questions concerns the frames, and they have come a long way. A positive way. I have been critical in particular of the Information Has Value frame. I like it much more now, and the Dispositions in particular are robust. All the same, dissent is important, and I advise members of the Information Literacy Taskforce, ACRL committees, and board to read and reflect on what Lane Wilkinson has written about the frames.

The main issue I have with these updated frames is now Searching is Strategic, an aspirational statement for anyone who's spent time at a reference desk. Searching can and should be strategic, but elsewhere the framework notes that the research process is messy, and even the dispositions for this frame note the role that serendipity plays in searching. Instead, I would like the committee to rephrase this as "Searching is Exploration," as was the case in previous drafts.

In terms of responsiveness to previous feedback, both Threshold Concepts and metaliteracy are fait accompli here; neither was ever seriously up for debate, and a scholarly cottage industry is already being built around these terms, the former of which is largely unproven and takes advantage of a lack of educational pedagogy (pdf) in Library and Information Science education, the latter of which adds jargon to an already crowded language.

I hope members of the Information Literacy Taskforce, ACRL committees, and board read and reflect on Patrick Morgan's critique of TCs. Replacing standards with a framework should not be an abdication of expertise and authority on the part of the ACRL, and that organization should attempt to combat this perception.

A few stray thoughts:

The Framework opens the way for librarians, faculty, and other institutional partners to redesign instruction sessions, assignments, courses, and even curricula; to connect information with student success initiatives; to collaborate on pedagogical research and involve students themselves in that research; and to create wider conversations about student learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the assessment of learning on local campuses and beyond. (1)
This opening, via assessments, trial and error, or other methods, could have, would have, should have been done already by institutions with robust IL programs.


The real promise of this framework remains its ability to spark conversations between librarians, faculty, and administrators, roles, and most importantly, people, who are all too often disconnected on campuses, be they physical or virtual. The success, or failure, of the framework depends in large part on our ability, as librarians, to take this document to our communities and spark those conversations.


At my place of work, the administration seems committed to using the Information Literacy Rubric from the American Association of Universities and Colleges.


Please see also, my previous writing on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.
The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts
Ethics, Copyright, and Information Literacy, Letters to a Young Librarian
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Some Initial Thoughts
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Is How I Work

So it's come to this, I'm participating in what's basically the chain letter of blog posts. First Megan Brooks called me out on twitter, then Jessica Olin tagged me in her blog post. So, here goes. I'm Jacob Berg, and this is how I work.

Location: Washington, DC.
Current Gig: Director of Library Services at My Place of Work, a small, Masters degree granting university.
One word that best describes how you work: Width.
I'll explain. At present I am the sole full-time library staff member, and we have six part-time staff members, three of which are librarians. The other three are in MLIS programs. For the fall 2014 semester, I've been a solo librarian, solo staff member, for more than half of your average "normal" 8:30am-5:30pm, Monday-to-Friday work week. We're hiring, so help is on the way, but in the meantime, I spread myself thin. Circulation/Access Services, Reference, Instruction, Systems Administrator, Cataloging, Webmaster, and more. Thus, width, not depth.
Current Mobile Device: iPhone 4S.
Current Computer: An HP Compaq tower at work, a MacBook at home.
Current Tablet: Second generation iPad.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
  • Google's suite of apps comes in very handy. We use the calendar to schedule part-time staff; g chat to keep each other up to date in real time; forms to record reference and circulation statistics; and docs to collaborate. 
  • Outlook. Our students have gmail, and for some strange reason, faculty and staff continue to use Outlook. Emails, scheduling, creating tasks,... it's useful, but I bet I could live without it.
  • Dropbox. Very useful for moving documents and other digital items around from one place to another, making it easy to work from multiple computers. 
  • Evernote. Pretty much anything I read that I think will be useful at a later date gets saved in Evernote with tags. As a librarian, I have an impressive controlled vocabulary. I also use Evernote to digitize pen-and-paper note taking at meetings, though sometimes I take notes on a phone or tablet. The paper must be yellow. Always has been, always will be. 
  • Twitter. I can't afford to go to every conference I'd like to. Library twitter is like a 24/7/365 conference. Articles, blog posts, and other useful items get shared. There's networking, there's inside jokes, there's gifs. 

What’s your workspace setup like?
I have a wall-mounted second monitor and when combined with a hospital bed table, they turn my workspace into a standing desk. I get to work just before 8:30 and sit until about 10, then I stand until lunch, and stand again after lunch.

My office is just off the main room of the library, with close proximity to the reference desk (yay) and copier/printer/scanner and fax machines (boo).
I have a white board that is very useful for planning and mapping.

I grew up taking the 1 to the 7 to go to Mets games. That's my happy place, even if the team is a never-ending source of frustration. Plus people bring their kids in to the building, and they can play with the trains.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Can I take a moment here to note that I abhor the term "life hack?" It's awful.
Anyway, as soon as you find something that's useful, do something with it so that you can find it later. In library-speak, make it discoverable. Evernote does the job nicely for me. Your milage may vary.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I use the native Notes app on my phone and tablet, as well as tasks and flags in Outlook. I get satisfaction from crossing stuff off or checking it off.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
I have a 160GB iPod classic. I had dreams that maybe Apple would come out with a 320GB version, but instead they're killing it off. I like music, a lot.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I like to think that because of the wide array of roles I've had in libraries and my interest in both theory and practice, I do a good job of seeing the big picture and focusing on the details.

What do you listen to while you're at work?
Our local National Public Radio station, WAMU, in the morning, at least up until about 1pm or so, and then music after that, either via Spotify or my iPod.

What are you currently reading?
Longform journalism, because truth is stranger than fiction.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is meaningless, but I vacillate between INTJ and INFP. I think I was more introverted ten years ago than I am now.

What’s your sleep routine like?
I try to be in bed by 10:30 and I get up at 6:30am.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Public librarians, people with non-traditional, flexible hours; people who work from home; and fellow library directors. If that's you, please share.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I write a fair amount about the interplay between structure and agency in librarianship. I wonder if it started with my dad telling me it was better to be lucky than good. Now you know where I get my sardonic wit from. I think about luck, what it means, who has it and who doesn't, a lot.

Friday, November 7, 2014

American Libraries Live: Open Access

On Thursday, November 6th I participated in a live Google hangout put together by American Libraries Magazine on open access publishing and libraries with Emily Puckett Rodgers from the University of Michigan and Melanie Schlosser at The Ohio State University Libraries. Here's a program description.
Scholarly journals are increasingly becoming digital, experimenting with new publishing models such as Open Access (OA) and incorporating multimedia into their formats. In addition, the process of research continues to evolve because of mandates from funding agencies to publicly share research findings and data. For a candid discussion of what OA is (and isn’t), join us for “Open Access and Libraries,” the next broadcast of American Libraries Live. (Source)
The gist of what I said:

  • I like the Budapest Initiative definition of open access, "unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly research," but would add that in order for something to be open, it must be found. "Discoverability" should be a concern here. 
  • There was a question about "corruptability," shady practices involving author's fees and the like, and while those issues exist around lesser OA journals, those same issues are present in lesser paywalled journals as well. I don't think there is an "OA problem" as much as there is a "peer review problem." 
  • While open access is seen as more of an issue for academic libraries, people use public libraries for research as well, and many public library systems don't subscribe to packages of peer-reviewed journals and articles. OA is a tremendous help here. Also, people use public libraries to reskill and open educational resources (OERs), be they Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or open textbooks, are no-cost solutions, provided public librarians are aware of these resources. 
  • Regarding educating people on open access, I again discussed how zoos and aquariums transitioned from being places to see animals to having conservation and environmental awareness embedded into their institutional fabrics. I want to see libraries do the same thing. At my place of work open access is one of the first things you see on the website, and we've worked with faculty to bring OERs into the classroom, replacing more expensive textbooks. We can, and will, do more. 

Puckett Rodgers and Schlosser had very smart, important things to say as well, and not just about what I discussed above. Below we talk about promoting resources, federal policies, integrating OA into traditional library work flows, discoverability, and more.

My caption contest submission: "The Infinity Gauntlet will be mine!"Also, about two-thirds of the way through the hangout I made a joke about not apologizing for cross-posting on listservs. See if you can find it.

There was a lively discussion on twitter using the hashtag "allive," which I've Storified. Enjoy.

Elsewhere on this site:
More Thoughts on Discovery, Plus a Poster
From Here to Discovery
Open Access: A World Without Vendors
The Price of Scholarly Materials, Politics, and Access
Another World is Possible: Particle Physics Goes Open Access
The Library as Aquarium, or The SOPA Post
There's more under the open access tag.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On "Pitching" and What Goes Unmentioned

I'm not sure if a few recent articles constitutes a trend, but I have noticed pieces imploring librarians to get better at "pitching" ideas to their funders, be they administrators, boards, or communities, among others.

While I understand that asking for things is a skill, I, like many librarians, find it somewhat unseemly. In no small part, this is because I view libraries not just as a public good, but as being, morally good, even though there's ample evidence that as an institution, institutions, they, we, are not.

Nonetheless, in the current political and economic climate, at least in the United States, funding is often hard to come by. Public libraries face shrinking budgets while institutions of higher education are subject to the same whims if they are public, and, when taken as a whole, continue a dangerous dalliance with neoliberal policies.

These pitching articles are very much agent-based, and are within the neoliberal locus. They focus on the need to pitch, without taking into account the structure, the political and economic milieu in which libraries and library staff find themselves. Given this structure, sometimes even the best pitches can fail and fall short, and that should be noted by authors.

So if you're writing one of these articles, I want to know details. What did you pitch, to whom did you pitch it, and what strategies and sales tactics did you use? Moreover, have you pitched something at a given time and failed, only to retry it later and have it work? What changed? Again, I get that pitching is a skill we library staff should have, but I want to move past it being "good," I want to know when it works, why it works, where it works, and how it works. I want to know who has had success with it, and who hasn't. Is there something like best practices for this? Can it be replicated? Can pitching move from anecdotes to social science?

Here, I'll start:

I have some experience with pitching, having successfully advocated for a discovery layer and link resolver. It took me well over a year to from the time I started lobbying the administration, our IT department, the university president, some deans and faculty, and the business office. I first brought it up to our then-provost at a time when my place of work sought to expand enrollment by more than thirty-three percent (33%) over five years. I mentioned, and cited, the library's role in student success and retention and led people through how our community went about using the library for research, and how that would change (in short, fewer clicks, less friction) under a discovery layer and link resolver. I invited stakeholders to meet with vendors, giving our campus partners some ownership of the process. I used powerpoints. And it worked.

But sometimes it doesn't. I ask for more full-time staff in much the same way; how I pitch is how I pitch. We're still in that five-year plan. Student success and retention remain concerns. Armed with memos and data from other libraries, I presented, and continue to present, my case to the administration. And I fail. But it's not me, and I write this as much for myself as anyone else. It's because full-time staff are more expensive than a discovery layer. Much more expensive. And that's structure. And it's missing from too much of what's written in and about libraries.

There's too much agency, too much bootstrapping, too much of what is basically the respectability politics of library advocacy ("if only I had pitched better!"). And while that's important, sometimes it doesn't matter how well you pitched, because it's not up to you. And if you want to wallow in nihilism about it, I understand that impulse. I've done it. I'll do it again. But I'll also get back up, and try again.

So what works for you, dear reader? Think about not just how you pitch, but when and where as well, and please let me know, because I always want to be able to navigate structures, when possible.

Elsewhere on this site:
Libraries as Structure, Libraries as Agents: Late Capitalism Edition
Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in the Academic Library
Toward a Unifying Field Theory of Librarianship, Or Not

Friday, October 31, 2014

Slowdive, Live at the 930 Club, October 22, 2014, Washington, DC

Pic via
Solo librarianship has taken its toll on the blog, but I did write up a review of Slowdive's concert in DC last week.
Slowdive seems, on record, to float away, barely tethered to pop and rock history, a contrast to other other shoegaze acts that make up the “big three,” My Bloody Valentine and Ride. MBV was and is rooted in the Beach Boys, 1960s girl groups, and the Brill Building sound, and Ride wouldn’t exist without the jangle of The Byrds and the mod scene of the late 60s. Slowdive only hinted at MBV’s guitar squall and Ride’s nod to influences, instead crafting slight, ethereal songs on Just for a Day, eventually becoming so ambient that the group recorded with Brian Eno, and dissolved while working on the experimental Pygmalion. 
In concert, however, the group rocked, combining the best of all worlds. “This is a pop song,” announced singer-guitarist Rachel Goswell, before starting Souvlaki’s lead track, “Alison,” and so it was, clearly indebted to The Byrds, as was concert opener, “Slowdive.” Torrential sheets of guitar–I counted over twenty-five pedals between Goswell, Neal Halstead, and Christian Saville, all of which got a workout on “Crazy For You”–filled the venue, grounded only by Simon Scott’s expert drumming, which focused on snares and hi-hats early in the set. Bassist Nick Chaplin alternated between the traditional rhythm section and threatening to blast off with the guitarists. 
Befitting the shoegaze moniker, the vocals were buried in the mix at times; one could barely hear Halstead’s flat, slightly nasal voice and Goswell’s was sometimes reduced to coos, especially when she contributed to the three-guitar attack. Saville turned the solo on “Souvlaki Space Station” into a slide guitar clinic, an alt-country, sci-fi, spaghetti western that exploded into ambient noise. Even the dream poppy “Catch the Day” and the hushed, folky “Dagger” got workouts, drenched in reverb and delay. 
Unlike MBV’s live struggles last year, Slowdive didn’t show many signs of rust. Goswell joked with Halstead throughout, and the only false start was corrected without tension. The band live-premiered the b-side “Albatross,” a post-rock song that follows the “loud-quiet-loud” formula they helped to pioneer. 
In 2013 I saw MBV live. This year I saw Slowdive. It’s your move in 2015, Ride.
Per usual, the full review is cross-posted over at Midnight to Six. Do check it out, and see how Slowdive compares to My Bloody Valentine, who reformed, toured, and recorded last year.

Elsewhere on this site, explore the music tag for more reviews.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rockstars as Red Herrings: On Librarianship and Safe Spaces

Two librarians are being sued in a Canadian court for making statements in public that were already made in private, via informal "whisper networks."
The ‘whisper network’ – if you’ve worked in an office, you probably know it. There are two sides to that network. One is destructive and full of gossip, one is empathetic and fiercely protective. I’ll focus on the latter side and its importance in supporting those undermined in a working environment. The ‘whisper network’ creates a safe haven to discuss problems and prejudices experienced, warn others of harassers, and bolster camaraderie. (Source)
Across multiple media, Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus wrote that Joe Murphy has made women feel unsafe at library and information science conferences. Murphy's response was not to reflect and reevaluate his behavior, but to serve the two other librarians with a lawsuit, presumably in an attempt to silence them and receive compensation for reputational damages, never mind that informal networks were discussing his behavior as far back as 2010. The details on the lawsuit are here.

Murphy is a frequent presenter and sits on at least one conference selection committee. Within the last week, at least three librarians have written on the topic of "library rockstars" that, one assumes, are at least partially directed at him. These posts are well-written and thought-provoking. Please read them. Later. Much later. As the title of this blog post states, focusing on rockstars, American Library Association Emerging Leaders, Library Journal Movers & Shakers, trendspotting conference presenters, serial keynoters, and the like, is a red herring, a distraction, a derail, and a smoke screen.

The implicit argument made by these librarian authors is that upon becoming rockstars, librarians' sense of entitlement grows, which may lead to sexual harassment. One author notes that rockstars are made, a cultural construct that implicates library and information science professionals, and that we can and should unmake them. This thesis ignores the many of acts of sexual harassment, microaggressions, and other behaviors by librarians that take place every day that make our colleagues feel unsafe and unwelcome. Getting rid of rockstars will not end sexual harassment, and will not create safe spaces for our colleagues. But that argument, placing blame on rockstars, does make librarianship, writ large, feel better about itself, and make librarians feel better about themselves. It is not us, not our fellow LIS professionals that create, propagate, and reinforce these norms. No, it is rockstars that are the problem. 

It is hard to look in the mirror in general, and harder still for many librarians. We make things accessible. We serve the public. We want information to be free. And we do this among budget cuts, hiring freezes, and salaries that do not always reflect our work and our value to the communities we serve. As such, there is a tendency to think that libraries are not oppressive spaces, and that librarians are free of bias when compared to other professions. Focusing on rockstars allows us to continue to think this way.
The library is an institution, which has policies to define who is and is not a member, channels to resolve disputes, as well as feedback mechanisms. These structures intentionally legitimate some behaviors, and just as purposefully discriminate against others. 
Many libraries deliberately practice social exclusion. Exclusion may also be an unintentional consequence, along with the illusion of community expertise where there is none.* The library is not unique or alone in this. Every institution has ways to include and exclude. Whether these actions and practices are intentional or unintentional is in many ways besides the point. Libraries, and librarianship, are implicated and often strengthen them. (Source)
Joe Murphy has Lisa and nina on trial. But they're on trial every day as women, and as women in technology. One is often an outspoken advocate for mental health and overcoming the stigmas that publicly discussing mental illness brings. The other is a trans woman of color who cannot use the bathroom at her place of work without suffering some sort of aggression, micro- or otherwise. In this sense, they are not the "perfect" people to speak out against Joe Murphy's behavior because their marginalized statuses make them easier to discount and dismiss. Librarians and librarianship have created and reinforced an environment, couched in cis white heteronormativity and suppression of dialogue on mental health, that enables people like Lisa and nina to be sued for speaking up. And writing about rockstars, blaming them, rather than interrogating ourselves and supporting Lisa and nina furthers these discourses.

There are worthy and important conversations to be had about how we as librarians place people on pedestals, how we create LIS rockstars, their demographics, and how they behave. Reflect on that, yes, after we reflect on the transphobic and ableist reactions to the defendants and what we as librarians and information professionals have done to bring us to this point.

Lisa and nina are looking for people who have witnessed or experienced the behavior they write about. If you fall into either of these categories, please consider coming forward. I understand that doing so may be triggering. Please take care of yourselves if this is the case.

If you would like to ask Joe Murphy to drop his lawsuit and reflect on his behavior, and I hope you do, please sign this petition.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Get Letters: On the Library Job Market of the Future

At present, the most popular post I've ever written is about the woeful data both presented and collected on Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS). Every week hundreds of people read it. I received a rather interesting email from one such reader, who has graciously allowed me to post parts of it here, along with a response.
What gets cut off after that screencap is "... support her as an independent adult."

This reader had previously examined an article in a national magazine about the "worst" Masters degrees to obtain, in which the MLIS was the least desirable. I won't link to it here.*

Here is, in part, my reply.
For some time now, the American Library Association and MLIS programs have touted a wave of retirements from baby boomer librarians. This has yet to happen, and many librarians who retire are not replaced with newer librarians. Often, the responsibilities of the retiree get spread out amongst other library staff, or the retiree is replaced by part-time or volunteer staff.

However, your daughter will not obtain an MLIS until around the year 2024. None of us knows what the job market for MLIS holders will look like then. Even now, there are many positions outside of traditional library settings that an MLIS would be useful in. Medical records, corporate archives, information architecture, to name a few.

Your daughter is 13 years old. When I was 13 I wanted to be a marine biologist. I suspect her career plans will change as she continues her intellectual awakening and studies. Anything that you can do to encourage her intellectual development, including pursuing a career in information sciences, is a good thing in my book.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may be of some help here. Behold the Occupational Handbook Outlook for both librarians

and archivists, curators, and museum staff.

Indeed, the BLS itself parrots the ALA and MLIS program line, writing "Later in the decade, prospects should be better, as older library workers retire and population growth generates openings." (Source)

Based on Library Journal's 2013 data, over 6,100 people graduated from ALA-accredited MLIS programs in 2012 (source is table 3), so the addition of 14,300 jobs in libraries, archives, and museums by 2022 will be dwarfed by just a few years of additional graduations from Library and Information Science Programs. But again, predicting the job market in 2025, or 2022 is tricky. In the meantime get creative; vote for government officials who will support the information professions, try to change the hearts and minds of those who don't or won't; if you have money to spare, give it to EveryLibrary, our profession's political action committee; and always be advocating.

* According to this magazine's ranking one year later, an MLIS is now "only" the third-worst Masters degree to obtain, so progress?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ada Initiative Needs Your Help

Hi, I'm Jake, a cis het white male librarian. You may remember me from such posts as
Well, I'm back. Why?

Because of this:

Starting today, September 10th, 2014, and for the next five days, a group of librarians and information professionals will match donations to the Ada Initiative, up to $5,120, provided one gives via this link.

This group of LIS professionals is made up of Chris Bourg, Mark Matienzo, Bess Sadler, and Andromeda Yelton. Please thank them, then empty their wallets.

Here's what the Ada Initiative does.
The Ada Initiative supports women in open technology and culture. Stuff we do:
Anti-harassment policies used by hundreds of conferences
Ally skills for men so women don't have to fight sexism alone
Feminist conferences for women to share lessons learned and support each other
Training women to fight Impostor Syndrome and stay involved in open tech/culture (source)
Does the fight against sexism interest you?

If you're like me, you live on the Internet, and probably see a lot of disgusting, bigoted behavior rooted in misogyny. To wit:

and this. And this.

Trolls probably aren't going to go away, but the Ada Intiative helps eliminate and mitigate the effects of that behavior. It's a worthy cause.

You may have also noticed similar behaviors at conferences, necessitating the need for Codes of Conduct, and training. Well, the Ada Initiative does this, too, so please give early, and give often. Conference codes of conduct don't just help women, they protect other marginalized people from harassment. I would very much like to see my friends and colleagues enjoy conferences. I think conferences are improved by representative and substantive diversity and should be safe spaces. More importantly, I would like all of us to not deny each other's humanity.

Open technology and culture are for everybody. Conferences are for everybody. The Internet is for everybody. Video games are for everybody. Humanity is for everybody.

Please thank these information professionals for matching donations, because as one intrepid tweeter puts it:

No cookies, please. I have enough to eat. Just money, time, effort, and behavior.

Donate to the Ada Initiative

That link again: It may get you a sweet sticker, too.

Thank you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

On Librarianship, Community Relations, and Temporality

At the International Federation of Library Associations World Library and Information Congress, this slide caught my eye.
I responded with
I understand the teleology behind Lor's graphic here. Librarianship is a critical profession, and I believe that information and knowledge can be emancipatory. However, when I'm giving directions to the restroom, or showing someone how to navigate our sadistic printing process, my end goals are not social justice.

To that end, it may be useful to think of Lor's terms as temporal variables, as seen below.

And another time, snapshot 3, may look different. In a meeting with campus stakeholders, for example, I would continue to use the language of social justice, as it fits with the mission of my place of work, but I would also use more "return on investment," and talk about our service to and participation in our community, perhaps labeled "clientele" here. That is, at different times, in different situations, we relate to our communities differently, and we should be strategic about those relations.

Lor's presentation was based off a paper, which is available here as a pdf. His discussion of the graphic above starts on page 6, and is based off his experiences with libraries in South Africa. It's an interesting read.

Friday, August 15, 2014

We're Hiring!

Our reference librarian is leaving, and it feels kind of like losing a limb. What I'd like to do is make a smooth transition from something like this

To this

though hopefully with a happier ending.

Indeed, the title of Reference Librarian doesn't fully capture what this position might entail. At present, I function as something like Head of State for the library, representing it outside the building, to our community, to consortiums, and the like, whereas the reference librarian is the Head of Government, managing much of what happens in the physical library with regards to reference and access services, including our library instruction and information literacy efforts, and our admittedly meager interlibrary loan program. I've taught our outgoing reference librarian how to copy catalog, and I'm happy to do the same for any and all new hires.

If you have a sense of humor, curiosity, a desire to learn and experiment, and a commitment to higher education and justice for all (see what I did there?), well, then this job might be for you.

Actual webpage via HigherEdJobs.

In addition, we're also hiring part-time staff, either at the librarian level, or the intern one, aimed at graduate students in Masters of Library and Information Science programs. Both are paid. Details on this position, these positions, here.

A few notes on hiring:
  • I don't know the salary range for the position of Reference Librarian, and I understand if this sets off all kinds of red flags for you. Our Human Resources department keeps me in the dark on such things, which is both a blessing and a curse. It will be enough to live on in DC, which isn't cheap. It probably won't be enough to allow you to buy a house without other sources of income.
  • My place of work is a predominantly minority institution (PMI), as classified by the Department of Education, and we are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We take both of these very seriously. Representation is important. 
  • If a job is posted and you apply for it six hours later, that sets of all kinds of red flags for hiring managers. It tells us that you may have a canned cover letter ready to go and not given much thought to who we are, what we do, and how you, the applicant, might fit in. Like buying a gun, give it twenty-four hours. Think it over.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, and good luck.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Good Beer on the Vegas Strip

Nobody goes to Las Vegas for craft beer; it's not a destination the way that Portland (both of them), San Diego, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Burlington, Asheville, Grand Rapids, and a handful of other cities are. However, limiting ourselves to the southern end of the Strip, South Las Vegas Boulevard, there's good beer to be had.

Thanks to the magic of in-flight wifi and twitter, a beer crawl was organized around this part of town. And when I landed, Vegas was ready.
Our southern-most bar was our starting point, Pour 24 at the New York, New York Casino. It's right off the lobby, open to some shops and restaurants and there's a good view of the hilariously fake New York City and the casino floor below. They were pouring Ballast Point's hoppy porter, Black Marlin, for $5 per pint, a very good deal.

Two days later I got to Michael Mina's Pub 1842 in the MGM Grand, which served draft beer in frosted mugs (cold masks taste, which is why Coors Light does what it does on the cans), so I opted for a can of Big Sky Moose Drool out of Montana. I wish I had brought a six-pack of this excellent brown ale home. But back to the beer crawl.
That beertail was at The Pub at Monte Carlo, which had well over one-hundred draft lines. One of those lines poured Stone's Enjoy By 4-20-14, an India Pale Ale with the serve-by date right in the name. It was June 29th. When I asked a bartender what was fresh, he just shrugged. In sum, that's too many taps. Take a look at this pdf beer list. They did have Deschutes Black Butte Porter on tap, though.

Our final stop was Todd English P.U.B. (Public Urban Bar) in City Center, near Aria. It was probably the most expensive of the bars we went to, but also had the best deals during its two happy hours, half price drafts, as well as between two and four casks at a time. I'd probably be most likely to return here, especially between 3-6pm or 10-midnight for happy hour, or to Pub 1842.
I'll add that Central in the lobby of Caesar's Palace also had a good selection, and like Pub 1842, had a few barrel-aged cocktails.

In terms of local beer in Vegas, I had a solid cream ale from Pub Dog, and a decent Russian Imperial Stout from Joseph James and an IPA from Tenaya Creek. But again, nobody goes to Vegas for the beer, and given that it was well over one hundred degrees (and I assume that will be the case until October), that's okay. I think the beer I had the most while I was there was Miller Lite, passing up multiple West Coast IPAs for tallboys of macro lager on Saturday night.

When it's 101 degrees at 9:15pm, this happens.
Photo by Daniel Ransom.
Speaking of beer, here's yet another interview with Brian Strumke of Stillwater Ales over at It seems like I do one of these just about once a year. We talked about what it means to remix a beer, and what he's got planned for the rest of the year and beyond. A sample:
DCBeer: How is the Omnipollo beer made? When you remix a song, you can sample it, take snippets of the original and move it to the remix track. With brewing, it's a bit different, right? You're starting from scratch with the same or similar ingredients, but not actually using the beer, correct?
Brian Strumke: When remixing a beer we are not using the other beer (well, not yet) but the elements are obtainable such as types of malt or hops... but it's more of a cerebral breakdown... working off the concept of the beer and the elements that signify it as a unique product. Omnipollo decided to ramp up the body and ABV a bit on Premium and then include a lovely bright fruity hop profile that definitely speaks out the the hop heads out there.
He's an interesting fellow. Do check it out. Cheers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback

Today is the last day to give feedback, in survey form, on the revised draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, available here.

Here is how I filled out the survey. Note what they are asking for feedback on, and what they are not.

1. How satisfied are you with the overall Framework?

I remain concerned about the use of the term "metaliteracy," indistinguishable from "information literacy," as I see it, and the use of threshold concepts generated by a Delphi study (see Lane Wilkinson's excellent post on this), but otherwise I like the flexibility, the way it encourages collaboration with faculty and administration, and its potential to help make information literacy a more integrated part of academic communities. I like the definition of "information literacy."

2. If you have followed the development of the Framework through the previous draft, please tell us what changes you find most helpful.

The addition of an FAQ and supporting documents further flesh out the Framework. I also find the knowledge practices and dispositions useful.

3. Does the “Suggestions on How to Use the Information Literacy Framework” section, in conjunction with the Frames, help you to engage other campus stakeholders in conversation?

I hoped this part of the Framework would detail some strategies for engaging faculty and campus administration in a variety of college and university settings, but maybe that is better suited for a supporting document, which I look forward to reading. The more granular the task force gets with this, in more settings, the better implementations will be.

4. How might the Framework affect the way you work with students?

This depends in large part on how we in the library work with faculty. Will we be able to transition from one-shot library instruction sessions to something more expansive, across the curricula? That will be key. And because of how we're staffed, a lot of information literacy instruction will fall to faculty. Do they want to do that? Do we librarians and library staff want them to?

5. What one thing do you most want the Task Force members to know about the draft Framework?

Please keep being transparent and open-minded, please do listen to critiques of metaliteracy and the threshold concepts, which I believe make up a plurality of the criticism so far.

6. Please share any additional information that would help us in understanding your perspective on the proposed Framework.

My criticism is constructive, comes from a desire to make us all the best librarians, and educators, we can be.

My thoughts on the Framework thus far:

The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts
Ethics, Copyright, and Information Literacy, Letters to a Young Librarian
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Some Initial Thoughts
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has released a revised draft of their Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. What follows are my thoughts on this second draft. The full text of ACRL's hard work is available here, and I quote, cite, and excerpt it below.

The introduction has changed between drafts, as has the definition of information literacy.

First draft definition:
Information literacy combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship. (bold is theirs, 4) 
New definition: lines 62-67
a repertoire of understandings, practices, and dispositions focused on flexible engagement with the information ecosystem, underpinned by critical self-reflection. The repertoire involves finding, evaluating, interpreting, managing, and using information to answer questions and develop new ones; and creating new knowledge through ethical participation in communities of learning, scholarship, and practice. (2)
Fair enough.

What I like:

I. Flexibility: Rather than a rigid set of standards that all ACRL member institutions should strive to meet, the framework allows for a variety of implementations, depending on the communities served and the resources at hand. Page two of the new draft Framework is particularly strong on this.

The authors of this Framework are not trying to build a monument, but rather a scaffolding. The line about the Framework as "a  set of living documents" is already more than words (page 3). A Frequently Asked Questions section was added earlier this month, which addresses the roles of critical theory and social justice, among others. It's this very flexibility that gives me the confidence to write posts like these, knowing that feedback will be heard.

II. The assault on the one-shot library instruction session.
Over the course of a student’s academic program, “one shot” sessions that address a particular need at a particular time, systematically integrated into the curriculum, can play a significant role in an information literacy program. It is important for practitioners to understand that the Framework is not designed to be implemented in one, sole information literacy session in a student’s academic career; it is intended to be developmentally and systematically integrated into the student’s academic program at a variety of levels. This may take considerable time to implement fully in many institutions. (pages 3-4)
While the one-shot has some value in terms of library instruction, "Hi, I'm Jake, this is our website, here's how to do some stuff, ask me questions, see me smiling, aren't I friendly...," it's inefficient at spreading information literacy (IL) when compared to the systematic integration laid out in the Framework. The more people on campus that know this, that care about it, and that do something about it, the better we'll all be.
Some of the sample assignments in the new Framework get at this, too. Many of them are hard to pull off in a one-shot. Libraries that are under-staffed and over-extended can and should initiate conversations on campuses regarding these assignments, but library staff might not be around to see those assignments carried out. Though learning and course management systems may present librarians with asynchronous opportunities, information literacy should be a community-wide responsibility that can happen with or without librarians. Indeed, librarians themselves may bear some responsibility for exiting information literacy, as Nicole Pagoswky and Erica DeFraini argue.

III. The inclusion of the word "Wikipedia" (page 7). There are faculty and administrators on every campus that don't want to hear or read that word. Well, here it is. Let's talk about it.

IV. The Information has Value frame (12). To me, this is the most interesting part of the revised draft, perhaps in large part because it has the ability to be the most contested.
as intellectual property, information sources are affected by economic, sociological, and political influences. The means of production may privilege some voices over others. Some search systems may privilege some sources over others due to economic incentive.
It's pretty cool to see that in writing, with the imprint of the ACRL. There's also some good stuff on paywalled scholarly communication, the digital divide, and online privacy and surveillance.

What I don't:

I. Staying with Information has value, I wrote a guest post for Jessica Olin's Letters to a Young Librarian on the tension between "ethical participation" as part of information literacy and the quote below from the draft Framework:
Experts understand that this value designates information as intellectual property, and therefore, recognizes three important dimensions of value. First, information can act as a commodity, and as such, creators can use their work for financial, reputational, social, or civic gains. These motivations may determine how information sources are shared whether given freely, offered for sale, or leased for temporary access. Information users have responsibilities as both consumers and creators of information based on the work of others. Academic and legal practices such as proper attribution of sources and complying with copyright are a result. (12)
As a response:
Putting information as a commodity front and center and tying it to various "gains?" Consumers listed before creators? Complying with a copyright regime that every information professional should know is broken, at odds with the common good and encouraging innovation? 
In the Knowledge Practices (Abilities) section of this frame, a threshold concept is to "Understand that intellectual property is a social construct that varies by culture," (12) but the above excerpt reifies much of what is wrong with the North American conception of intellectual property, and may be at odds with "ethical participation" mentioned elsewhere in the document. 
There's more, so please head over there, too. I'll wait. Thanks.

II. The Delphi Study (page 1, footnote 1). Though overall I'm impressed with the transparency of the Framework committee and how open they are to feedback, far too much of the heavy lifting of generating threshold concepts in information literacy comes from an ongoing research project that is a black box. There should be more transparency. People more eloquent than I feel similarly.
The threshold concepts put forth by the committee were decided upon by an anonymous group of librarians in a “Delphi study.” The task force was not privy to the names or affiliations of Delphi study participants, nor were we given any justification, evidence, research, or other reasons to accept the concepts we were given. The role of the task force was to rewrite and expand upon the concepts given by the Delphi study, not to ask for justification.
Trivia: the method used to create these concepts was developed by RAND during the Cold War to assess the effects of technology on warfare (Source).

III. Threshold Concepts (TCs). Over at Sense and Reference, Lane Wilkinson has an excellent critique of threshold concepts that every academic librarian, and maybe every educator, should read. He argues, convincingly, that
  • TCs are based off of probable characteristics within disciplines, but probable is not the same as defining. 
  • The authors of the Framework assume that students will be transformed and troubled by similar concepts in similar ways, but students are a diverse bunch.
  • Knowledge of concepts does not imply ability(s).
  • Disciplines are contested spaces, whereas TCs seek to cannonize.
Given these critiques, we could attempt to improve TCs by saying that they are like a family resemblance, per Wittgenstein. In this formulation a series over overlapping similarities could make up a group of threshold concepts for a discipline, but creating boundaries might prove difficult, as it was for Wittgenstein when he analyzed types of games. Or we could talk about a Latakosian "hard core" for each discipline and base TCs off of this, which is also problematic because of Wilkinson's fourth point above.

What if instead of threshold concepts, we used learning outcomes? For example, "An information literate learner should be able to...." or "A metaliterate learner..."? Learning outcomes are less flexible, and as the authors note in their FAQ, less focused on process, but
  • there may be many roads to information literacy, some of which are under-explored and -theorized at present, and 
  • if librarians, faculty, and other members of our communities can't agree on what a metaliterate or information literate learner looks like, then we need more robust definitions of those concepts.
IV. Atheory and Anti-Theory. So long as we're talking theory, there's a lot of un- and under-cited theory in these frames. Too many assumptions, some of them testable, go unexamined. In Scholarship is Conversation (page 5), there is no discussion of scientific progress, be it Kuhn, Popper, or someone else. This frame is a missed opportunity to discuss the role of blogs, zines, and other non-traditional forms of scholarship that are now easier than ever to create and disseminate, Wikipedia excepted. Moreover, that scholarship is a conversation is a tacit admission that threshold concepts are as well, meaning that they are mutable and malleable.
Similarly, MacLuhan's "the medium is the message" is lacking in the Format as a Process frame on page 9, and the same lack of theory is true of the appendixes.

Rather than turn readers into Straussians, looking for hidden meanings in the Framework and related documents, why not show the theoretical work that goes into it?

V. Metaliteracy is back! All the baggage that term has still applies.
Metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand, produce, and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, produce, and share). This approach requires an ongoing adaptation to emerging technologies and an understanding of the critical thinking and reflection required to engage in these spaces as producers, collaborators, and distributors. (Mackey and Jacobson, 2014) (pg 18)
Again, if there are differences between metaliteracy and information literacy, under the umbrella of critical thinking, they don't strike me as being major, so I find its inclusion puzzling.
Metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills…to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments... (slide 17 of this pdf, same original source as the above offset quote)
Yet adding knowledge creation to the definition of information literacy, above, negates any differences between these terms. One is left wondering about the motivations behind this move.

VI. Information literacy is not a discipline. At least, not in the way we tend to think of disciplines as discrete branches of knowledge in higher education. While one cannot major in it, and there's rarely more than one 3-credit semester-long course with "Information literacy" in the title, IL is an area of scholarship that is necessarily inter- and transdiscplinary.

Jan Meyer and Ray Land (2003, pdf) are explicit that threshold concepts take place within disciplines. It seems as if information literacy not a discipline, not bounded in the ways that other fields of study and programs are, thus there can be no information-literacy specific threshold concepts. Here is how the task force gets around this, emphasis mine:
Threshold concepts originated as faculty pedagogical research within disciplines; because information literacy is both a disciplinary and a transdisciplinary learning agenda, using a threshold concepts framework for information literacy program planning, librarian-faculty collaboration, and student co-curricular projects, should offer great potential for curricular transformation. (First draft Framework, page 6, pdf, second draft page 26, pdf)
In addition, committee member Troy Swanson has both anticipated and reacted to some of these arguments, calling information literacy a "conceptual terrain," noting that it, like other disciplines, is not as bounded as one might think (source). Yet terrains still have borders, and while he wants librarians to "own" information literacy, much of this draft Framework is about us giving it up, or at least sharing it. There is a fascinating discussion around IL as a discipline here.

What's next: 

At present, drafting the Framework is a conversation between and among librarians and information professionals, excepting the non-librarians on the task force. As such, we have seen one side of this document. I assume another side, aimed at how to best present this to faculty, will be a supporting document. I hope this part of the Framework will detail some strategies for engaging faculty and campus administration in a variety of college and university settings. For example,
  • How much might a campus-wide information literacy initiative look like "writing across the curriculum,"  (WAC) and would it do for libraries and librarians what WAC did for composition and rhetoric?
  • How might either phasing out, or re-thinking the role of, the one-shot library instruction session change the relationships between the library staff and faculty, and between library staff and administration? 
  • Using threshold concepts, is there a role for librarians to play in fostering transdisciplinary, a term limited to two mentions in the appendixes of June's draft, connections between and among faculty via information literacy?
I'd also like the task force to address the tension between the stamp of authority and expertise that comes with the ACRL imprint and the flexibility of the Framework in terms of local implementations. Is there such a thing as too much leeway here?

Sources used, but not linked to above:
Mackey, T., and T. Jacobson. (2014). Metaliteracy: Redefining Information Literacies to Empower Learners. ALA Editions/Neal-Schuman.

See also, this interesting conversation on twitter.

Elsewhere on this site:
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Some Initial Thoughts
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback 

Elsewhere elsewhere:
Ethics, Copyright, and Information Literacy, Letters to a Young Librarian

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More Thoughts on Discovery, Plus a Poster

Last week I presented a poster based on From Here to Discovery at the American Library Association's Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. That poster is below. Zoom in and have a look. Here's a link to the session.

We rolled out discovery during spring break, and it's too early to say what's working and what's not in terms of COUNTER stats and the like, in no small part because traffic to the library website is down, dramatically, from spring of 2013 to 2014. More on that later. Both student and faculty focus groups reacted positively to the website changes, and we're not done yet, that have come with discovery, as well as with the service itself. We've phased out our online public access catalog (OPAC) in favor of EBSCO Discovery Service's (EDS) blended platform, which makes for a prettier looking catalog (third column from the left, above). In addition, some introductory English courses received library instruction sessions featuring EDS, and others did not. We'll track these students over time to see what, if any, effects modes and methods of instruction have on student performance.

The gold standard in articles about discovery services comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education, which provides an excellent overview of the issues surrounding these platforms, including user experience, accuracy, efficiency, licensing, and bias, among others.

Next up, perhaps EBSCO and ProQuest can play nicely. At present, when a member of our community searches for something in EDS that comes from a ProQuest database, there is no mention of that database within the EDS search results. A journal article that we get via ProQuest that comes from Sage, for example, with metadata from Sage, but not from ProQuest. The exact database has been erased from the search. The issue here is not bias, but rather representation, and the branding that comes with it.

Since I wrote and presented From Here to Discovery in January of 2014, EBSCO, the vendor that provides us with discovery, and worked hard to bring us a dedicated open access search tool (see the poster above), has become more open in terms of sharing metadata and adhering to the Open Discovery Initiative's guidelines on fair linking. Though, as Carl Grant points out, more can and should be done. There are hundreds other EBSCO databases not covered by current agreements. We'll keep an eye out, but this is progress.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The ALA Annual Post #alaac14

At the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada I'm presenting a poster on Sunday, June 29th, from 2:30-4pm in the Exhibit Hall. The topic is how discovery searching alters library websites and search boxes, and is based on this giffy blog post.

On Monday, June 30th, from 4-4:45pm, I'm on a panel moderated by Daniel Ransom on the experiences of first-time library directors. Kristi Chadwick, Jessica Olin, and John Pappas are also on the panel, so it will be a good mix of public and academic librarians.

If any of this sounds interesting, or you just want to say hi, add me to your schedule.

Speaking of which, here's where I'll be. And yes, I'm overbooked for many of these. I'll wake up and see where the day takes me. If I missed something you think I might be interested in, please let me know.

Useful Sites

Main conference website


Vegas on a Budget

American Library Association Party Map

Unofficial Guide to Socializing via I Need A Library Job

Eater Las Vegas is your friend

Survival Tips and Vegas Eats from Library Journal

American Libraries Cognotes (pdf)

Arts Guide to Las Vegas from the Association of College and Research Libraries Arts Section (pdf)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Diversity Takes Work: On "Rigor" in MLIS Programs

Librarianship, as a profession, is not a very diverse place. As of 2010, there were 118,666 credentialed librarians, those with Masters degrees from American Library Association-accredited programs.

Of those:

6,160 were African-American,
3,260 were Asian-Pacific Islander,
185 were Native American,
1,008 identified as two or more races, and
3,661 as Latin@.*

The above data is from the ALA's Office of Diversity (pdf), and if you like pie charts, Chris Bourg at Stanford has you covered.

There is no reason to think that four years later, things look any better.

The pipeline isn't broken, it was never built. It was intentionally not built.

Ta-Nehisi Coates shows all the "work" that went into, and still goes into, oppression. It takes work to undo that.

And instead of doing that work, we get this (diversity and rigor are at odds). And this (derailed by Common Core, but good comments on both). Instead, what we should get is this (paywalled).

Let's leave "rigor" undefined for now. After all, it's a means to an end, and that end is employment. And rigor, however defined, is neither sufficient nor necessary for that, because of the political and economic contexts in which libraries and library staff are situated. Rigor, however defined, might lead to librarians and information professionals who are better able to navigate this environment, but it won't get anyone a job by itself.

Aside from the "soft bigotry of low expectations" that comes with the false dichotomy between rigor and diversity, we're also treated to Masters of Library and Information Science programs as places for remediation, even though there's evidence that remediation doesn't work.
The default strategy at U.T. for dealing with failing students was to funnel them into remedial programs — precalculus instead of calculus; chemistry for English majors instead of chemistry for science majors. “This, to me, was just the worst thing you could possibly imagine doing,” Laude said. “It was saying, ‘Hey, you don’t even belong.’ And when you looked at the data to see what happened to the kids who were put into precalculus or into nonmajors chemistry, they never stayed in the college. And no wonder. They were outsiders from the beginning.” 
That New York Times article quoted above, "Who Gets to Graduate," shows what does work. Let's do it, library schools.
Students in TIP [Texas Interdisciplinary Plan] were placed in their own, smaller section of Chemistry 301, taught by [then-Chemistry professor David] Laude. But rather than dumb down the curriculum for them, Laude insisted that they master exactly the same challenging material as the students in his larger section.

... [Laude] supplemented his lectures with a variety of strategies: He offered TIP students two hours each week of extra instruction; he assigned them advisers who kept in close contact with them and intervened if the students ran into trouble or fell behind; he found upperclassmen to work with the TIP students one on one, as peer mentors. And he did everything he could, both in his lectures and outside the classroom, to convey to the TIP students a new sense of identity: They weren't subpar students who needed help; they were part of a community of high-achieving scholars.
Library and Information Science programs can continue to admit as they see fit, but what the University of Texas at Austin is doing is also a form of rigor. There's no reason why LIS programs can't do something like this, except that it takes work, and LIS programs seem unwilling to put that work in. It's much easier to play rigor and diversity off each other.

At present, it's not as if library science programs are rejecting people en masse; a wide net has already been cast.  Schools and programs could easily cast a wider net, or continue to do so, but instead of admitting so many cis white females from History and English undergraduate programs, maybe look a bit harder. Hiring managers could and should do the same.

The Loon writes that rigor in admissions would "slam the door to librarianship in the faces of some of those who wish to open it." But look at the above data. That door is already shut. It was never open. Because of the lack of diversity in LIS professions, it probably better to discuss rigor within programs, as Becky Katz writes, which the Loon divides into technological ("librarians should know how to code!") and humanistic ("Foucault! Interrogate! Problematize!"), rather than in admissions. And UT-Austin's program gets at that kind of rigor.

Do MLIS programs want to put that kind of work in? Are there monetary or other structural factors that prevent them from doing so? We'll see.

* And yes, librarians and library staff overwhelmingly identify as female, over 80 percent of the profession. Speaking of race and gender, the twitter streams for "rigor" and either "MLIS" or "LIS" are hardly representative, but they are also not a parade of white men, (/waves to self), calling for rigor, as the Loon paints it.

Elsewhere on this site:

Dear Aspiring Librarians (On MLIS Program Placement and Salaries)
The "Digital Natives" Myth and Library Science Education
Choose Wisely
The Adjunctification of Academic Librarianship
On Diversity in Library and Information Science Education
Guilty as Charged, Yet Another MLIS Post 
Making Masters of Library and Information Science Programs More Rigorous 
Not Another MLIS Post 
Explore the MLIS tag.