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Small Libraries, BIG IdeasVol. 23 No. 3 (2017)
Abstract: The Oregon library community consistently amazes me with its innovative, enterprising, and patron-focused activities. Indeed, we hear about these many activities through Libs-Or, OLA conferences, and this journal. While certainly not by design, many of the voices we hear come from libraries along the I-5 corridor. Cool things happen in those libraries, of course, but this issue of the OLA Quarterly amplifies voices we hear less frequently: the rural institutions that constitute the majority of the libraries in Oregon.
There are so many aspects of rural librarianship that set it apart from working in larger libraries. Sometimes those differences seem small. For instance, try shopping for groceries without running into a patron. Sometimes the differences are more significant. A single person could be the cataloging, finance, adult services, and maintenance “departments” all rolled into one! In addition to fostering a problem-solving attitude, working in a rural library instills in you an important lesson for all libraries: you don’t merely serve the community, you are the community, just like your patrons.
Guest Editor: Buzzy Nielson, Crook County Library
Editor Biography: Guest Editor Buzzy Nielsen is a rural boy with a smattering of big city sensibilities. In his 22 years as a librarian, he has worked in libraries of all types and sizes. His heart remains with rural libraries, however, which is why he currently directs the Crook County Library in Prineville. Buzzy is a self professed policy wonk and currently serves as OLA President.
Critical LibrarianshipVol. 23 No. 2 (2017)
Abstract: Libraries and archives are community spaces that acquire, organize, preserve, and make available resources for our patrons. Library workers connect people to these resources in various ways (technical services, reference, instruction, and more). It is noble and wonderful work, and it begs some interesting questions: is acquisition, organization, preservation, or dissemination a series of passive acts? Are libraries impartial spaces that give the real estate on their shelves to the words and ideas of others without judgment or context?
Libraries and archives are community spaces that acquire, organize, preserve, and make available resources for our patrons. Library workers connect people to these resources in various ways (technical services, reference, instruction, and more). It is noble and wonderful work, and it begs some interesting questions: is acquisition, organization, preservation, or dissemination a series of passive acts? Are libraries impartial spaces that give the real estate on their shelves to the words and ideas of others without judgment or context?
I was curious about these ideas and these questions, so I asked you, the Oregon library community, to tell us about how you see critical librarianship and if it plays a role in your work. I was delighted to get responses from incredible, inspiring librarians who were willing to share their stories.
Guest Editor: Elsa Loftis, Oregon College of Art and Craft
OLA Today: Oregon Librarians Respond to Changing TimesVol. 23 No. 1 (2017)
Abstract: This issue’s contributors and topics span academic and public institutions, rural and metropolitan libraries, political activism and personal narrative, and programming as well as abstraction. Considering instances of political action and librarianship, Oregon Library Association President Elsa Loftis begins this issue by profiling the organization. She cites its Legislative Agenda and its advocacy body, the Library Development and Legislation Committee, offering resources and steps toward political action that align with such guiding principles as Intellectual Freedom, Equitable Access, and Stewardship of Public Resources. Donna L. Cohen details a series of civic education workshops she has offered in recent months as part of an effort to combat the dissolution of social institutions and relationships that she views as playing a crucial role in forging and maintaining democracy—now losing out to the individualist and fragmentative drives of neoliberalism. Carolina Hernandez also writes about her endeavors to create and provide resources in the wake of the 2016 election, which have entailed improving upon existing fake news research guides by using pressing topical issues to draw connections to the broader importance of information literacy.
Elucidating the importance of progress through failure as well as through success, Barratt Miller and Jane Scheppke offer a vivid account of programming gone awry: an event called Guns in America in Prineville that devolved quickly into a racially-charged shouting match among attendees. Verbal melee notwithstanding, the event left both with a greater sense of how to anticipate and address both implicit and overt bias among patrons, marketing strategies for controversial topics, security precautions, and other contingencies, which they present here in a thoughtful and edifying conversation. Pondering activist tactics on a more abstract level, I contemplate the role of librarians amid political upheaval as well as some of the risks that inhere in democracy and the tenet of access to all, emphasizing the need to historicize contemporary issues and reflect on the shortcomings and successes of Oregon librarians since the state’s segregationist inception. Finally, this issue closes with an elegant, poignant narrative from Victoria Cross that relates her immersion into American culture through the work carpool she joined and all that it taught her: a Russian immigrant’s tale in microcosm.
Guest Editor: Lynne Stahl, Multnomah County Library
REFORMA Oregon ChapterVol. 22 No. 4 (2016)
Abstract: During the 2014 OLA Annual Conference in Salem, a group of librarians met informally for lunch to discuss the idea of creating a chapter of REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information to Latinos and Spanish Speaking) in Oregon.
In our second meeting at the end of 2014 in the Gresham branch of the Multnomah County Library (MCL), we formalized the creation of the REFORMA Oregon Chapter. By mid-2015, we became a Round Table in OLA. During this short period of time, we have increased in numbers, organized well-attended presentations during OLA conferences, held Mock Pura Belpré Awards, and scheduled quarterly meetings where participants have opportunities to share experiences and to network, as well as to present a different array of subjects related to our Latino and Spanish-speaking community.
In the current issue of OLAQ, five librarians coming from different cultural origins but with the same enthusiasm to serve our community are exploring some of the issues presented in this introduction. Their articles reflect two common tasks for every librarian working with Latinos: outreach and collaboration.
Guest Editor: Martin Blasco, Washington County Cooperative Library Services
Editor Biography: A native of Argentina, Martín Blasco has worked with underserved communities for many years. Before becoming a librarian, he carried out ethnographic and social research among drug users in New York City. Upon receiving his MLS from Long Island University, he began working in Peekskill, New York, where his outreach work began not as an official title, but by necessity to serve new immigrants. He is working now as an Outreach Librarian for Latino and Multicultural Services at Washington County Cooperative Library Services.
UX in Oregon LibrariesVol. 22 No. 3 (2016)
Abstract: This issue of OLA Quarterly is about the state of user experience efforts in Oregon. This collection of excellent articles not only emphasizes the importance of including the users in the design process, but they also stress the importance of actually including users at all! After reading these submissions, I hope that you will see that Oregon libraries value the opinions of their users and are user focused.
In recent years, UX research has become more commonplace in libraries across the country. This is a good thing. The downside is that UX has become synonymous with the user interface. However, the user experience is more than just a human-computer interaction. The user’s experience encompasses the whole experience a user has with the library, whether that be while searching the library catalog for a book, retrieving the book from the stacks, or checking the book out. The user experience is not a single interaction, but rather a series of micro interactions. As a user moves across “interfaces,” she is constantly faced with challenges that she must navigate to complete her task successfully. To me, our job as librarians is to make those smaller interactions as fluid and unhindered as possible—in a word, seamless.
As librarians, we are entrusted with the overall experience that our patrons have with the library. And this caring for the experience is not just limited to user experience or web services librarians; it is a task all librarians and library staff should participate in and contribute to. Libraries are tightly coupled systems. They are essentially systems, both cultural and virtual, nested within systems that are dependent upon each other. As we alter the input for one system, we more than likely affect another system farther downstream. As a result, it is essential for all library employees to take an interest in the user experience and listen to our patrons. It is important to take a systems level approach to our work and the user experience. Our patrons are the reason our libraries exist. As our patrons evolve, so must our services and service delivery model. As such, we should work to understand current needs and expectations to make the best possible user experience.
Guest Editor: Joe Marquez, Reed College Library
Editor Biography: Joe J. Marquez is the Web Services Librarian at the Reed College Library. He has written and presented on service design, UX tools, library space assessment, website usability, and marketing of the library. He recently co-authored Library Service Design: a LITA Guide and will have a follow-up workbook titled Getting Started in Service Design to be published in summer 2017. His current research interests involve service design in the library environment and space usage assessment. He has an MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool and an MBA from Portland State University. Joe is the co-founder of the LUX Service Design consulting firm.
Re-Envisioning with the Aspen Institute: Oregon Libraries Answer the ChallengeVol. 22 No. 2 (2016)
Abstract: Challenge. We, in public libraries, are familiar with that word. Books and policies are frequently “challenged”, and we continue to face the challenge of offering more with less. The Aspen Institute’s “Dialogue on Public Libraries” was created to help advance the work that public libraries are doing to address community challenges and to support the transformation of public libraries in the digital age. This groundbreaking initiative seeks to change the public’s perception of libraries and concludes that the longterm health of libraries is essential to the long-term health of the communities they serve. Four strategic opportunities for action are identified to guide the continuing transformation:
• Aligning library services in support of community goals
• Providing access to content in all formats
• Ensuring the long-term sustainability of public libraries
• Cultivating leadership Oregon libraries have risen to the challenge and addressed these opportunities.
This issue of the OLA Quarterly showcases libraries and library workers applying the four Aspen Institute “Strategies for Success.”
Guest Editors: Pam North, OLAQ Guest Editor; Ann Roseberry, OLAQ Guest Editor
Access Services in the New CenturyVol. 22 No. 1 (2016)
Abstract: The spring issue of OLA Quarterly focuses on access services in the new century. How are core activities like circulation, interlibrary loan, space and stacks management changing? Staying the same? How can we better meet our patron’s needs, especially as our communities change around us? How can we ensure we are meeting the needs of all community members, especially those who are traditionally underserved? What have been our major success and victories in this new century?
Guest Editor: Turner Masland, Portland State University
Library Marketing and CommunicationsVol. 21 No. 4 (2015)
Abstract: This issue of the OLA Quarterly focuses on library marketing and communications in Oregon libraries. Oregon libraries provide an incredible array of resources and services, but sometimes we struggle to educate our users and each other about all that is available. Over the past several years, many libraries have become more intentional in our efforts to market and promote our offerings, through traditional PR and advertisements as well as newer approaches like social media. However, we may lack the formal training and expertise to do this well—marketing is not a class offered in all library school programs—and, even with appropriate training, we may lack the budget and staff to implement a large-scale marketing program.
How are we learning new skills and approaches to communicating with stakeholders? What has worked, and what hasn’t? What’s changed over the past few decades? Who are our audiences and how do we best communicate with them? To begin to answer these questions, we have excellent contributions from writers at large and small public and academic libraries throughout Oregon, and beyond.
Guest Editor: Joan Petit, Portland State University
MentoringVol. 21 No. 3 (2015)
Abstract: This issue of the Oregon Library Association Quarterly focuses on the theme of Mentoring.
Guest Editor: Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, Oregon Institute of Technology
Oregon Libraries: Ideas at WorkVol. 21 No. 2 (2015)
Guest Editor: Charles Wood, Aloha Community Library