An Accidental Char Booth Morning

Serendipity, gotta love it. I was hoping to finish up an article I’m working on this morning and before I got started I thought I’d do a quick check of my gmail. I’ve set up these email alerts to send me posts from my Yahoo Pipes and thought I’d try and clean out a few before I did some work.

I happened on this mention of a couple of interviews with Char Booth on Tame The Web and thought I’d take a look. Booth had recently released/published Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University which I had seen and duly added to my delicious links but haven’t had time to read. But after listening/reading these interviews very much looking forward to doing that now.

In the interview with Dan Freeman at ALA TechSource she had this to say about her research report:

What started as a user research initiative to understand local technology and library cultures at Ohio University developed over the space of a year or so into its current form, an in-depth case study of our survey findings on students and emerging technologies as a framework for analyzing the current climate of technology development in libraries in general. The book also offers a lot of practical advice about how librarians can use homegrown survey methodology to investigate their local users in order to integrate more usefully into their campus communities and create a better response in terms of emerging services.

This interview is a nice quick walk through Booth’s research report.

Ellie Collier’s interview at In The Library With a Lead Pipe is really great! Both audio and transcript are available so a nice two brain hemisphere listening and reading experience.

This interview touches on her research report but it’s also exploring Booth’s passion and approach to research and librarianship. Here are a few things that resonated with me:

  • The librarians [at Ohio University] are extraordinary. They let people drag cots in there. And when we all graduate we burn copies of our thesis in front of the library and it’s this crazy revelry. It just really instilled this idea of a research culture and libraries supporting students and I’ve never forgotten that. It’s what I aspire to.
  • I just realized that I had not been taught enough about teaching to be a librarian. I think that’s an endemic problem in library education. We’re not taught to be educators even though that’s what we are.
  • It’s local research findings, but it’s couched in this language of how to research your own institution to understand what it’s trying to tell you about what it needs from its library, not just in terms of technology, or this kind of minimum insight into the students that you’re serving … It’s about really getting a handle on the culture in which you exist because that’s the culture that you serve and it’s different than any other library culture on the planet because that’s the way it works.
  • When you work with emerging technology in libraries or in higher education or wherever, you’ve got to be able to switch gears when things don’t work right. We’re all treading new ground, not only in the technologies that we’re using, but like I said with the specific institutional cultures, different types of IT relationships.
  • I’ve talked a lot about different types of working cultures and how I really think it’s very important to try actively to enjoy your job and to create a positive working culture at the place that you find yourself … why go to work at a place that doesn’t feel good to go to work at? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Booth has a lot of great ideas and I found her interview very inspiring and well worth exploring. She blogs at Info-mational and you may also be interested in her guest blog post form last year on Tame The Web, the Library Student Bill of Rights.

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