A Picture–Or Rather a Video–Is Worth a 1000 Reminder Emails

May 26th, 2015

The WNYLRC Awards Committee can write countless messages telling you how your nomination might possibly bring joy as well as recognition into your worthy nominee’s life.  We could do that and you might not heed that but you can’t ignore an actual winner’s tale.  Listen to what our reigning Excellence in Library Service winner from 2014, Christine Stockslader, has to say about what this award has meant to her:

https://youtu.be/gdJBVLLdeFg

Remember—June 21st—the official start of summer is practically upon us BUT it is also the deadline for nominations.  Enjoy the summer solstice and get your nominations in now!!!  Visit www.wnylrc.org for more information and fill out that nomination form:    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/wnylrcawards2015

Jamestown Community College and D’Youville College: Different Geography; Same Attention to Needs

May 18th, 2015

If there’s one thing our site visits teach us, it’s that all of our members share the goals of unbridled dedication to their patrons but each has a slightly different approach and slightly different obstacles to reach those goals.  All of our site keepers are generous with their time and anxious to give us tours highlighting their buildings’ strong suits.  The diversity of type and design is pulled to a member unity by shared issues and the always-present need to convince the budget directors of the extreme importance of these institutions to the successful running of whatever organization they are a part of, being corporate, academic or public.

One of our recent sojourns was to Jamestown Community College which is in a peaceful, more rural setting even though it officially resides in the city of Jamestown.  It boasts a mix of buildings, both new and older, and the library’s staff of eleven ministers to an enrollment of over 3,000 of first-time and returning and continuing students. Hultquist Library on the main campus works in conjunction with the Cattaraugus County site of JCC in Olean with a library staff of five there.

The Hultquist collections have changed with the times and needs and the rise of certain degree programs.  Trending now are nursing and biotech and environmental sciences classes but there is a strong emphasis on the Humanities also.  A tour through the comfortable, busy library revealed an unusual amount of art work adorning the walls which, we were told, is part of an impressive collection of art that college staff has amassed over the years.  It all adds a relaxing, erudite feel to the building which, like many other academic libraries, is attempting to keep up with a change in furniture needs.  More space for group gatherings, more private study rooms, more versatile arrangeable furniture is the goal currently.  What will not change, however, is the beautiful Chautauqua Room, a gift from Scandinavian and Italian organizations with artifacts from both groups illustrating their influence in the historical life of Jamestown.

All of this is overseen by Tim Arnold, the library’s new director who had the honor of witnessing a truly banner winter after his move here from a university library in Hawaii.  He is welcomed by an able and energetic staff which wears many hats and serves this varied student body well.

Chautauqua Room

Chautauqua Room

Director Tim Arnold,Staff and Sheryl Knab

Director Tim Arnold,Staff and Sheryl Knab

Our next visit was a number miles north of JCC to a completely different campus locale:  urban D’Youville College.  Though geography might be different, challenges and issues facing the library of the future are the same.  D’Youville, like JCC, is trying mightily to face these head-on and has had great success in adapting to the needs of this 3500FTE student body.  Though access to the informational material will always be of paramount importance to libraries,  the physical layout is taking precedence everywhere.  Students want 24 hr access and they want study rooms and flexible meeting places where they can have group discussions and work on projects without being hindered by requests to be quiet and, by the same token, many need an absolute quiet space.  These are serious students in pursuit of health sciences degrees, physical therapy and a series of doctoral degrees so proper study space is paramount.  Rand Bellavia, library director, and his staff are working diligently to focus their efforts on removing shelving and re-orienting furnishings and spaces.  Great attention is being paid to the collection and if these items are the last regional copy in an attempt to honor good collection development practices and to clear space from unused items.  This staff of over 10 people make it a point to be as flexible as D’Youville itself has been in re-making the vision of this prominent college.

Skeletons that circulate

Skeletons that circulate

Ear Plugs For Quiet Study

Ear Plugs For Quiet Study

Library Entrance

Library Entrance

We’re Not Finished Discussing the Future of the Library Or Its Professionals

May 8th, 2015

Two weeks ago during WNYLRC’s Continuing Education Conference, Tough Conversations:  The Future of the Library Profession, the theme and thread that ran through every speakers presentation was that “the world still needs us but how can we convince them of that need?”.  It’s safe to say the discussions were lively if not downright angst-filled revealing a deep concern for not only personal economic reasons but also because an expensive and hard-earned education was expended to be able to utilize skills that were once revered.  A panel discussion at the end of the day revealed the deep concern across age categories and library type for the future of the profession.

Discussion is always good and this discussion is one of worldwide involvement.  In this Library Journal article,  Michael Stephens continues the discourse emphasizing that academics, specifically, are seeing what appears to be the jettisoning of their librarians by turning libraries into “collaboratories” for students who often do not seek out the aid of the available librarians, preferring instead professors or online sources.  This is true enough but no one knows this better than corporate librarians who were probably the first to feel the wounds of Google-enamored administrators.  The trend will have to be managed so as not to “go off the rails” so to speak.  Judging from some of the comments following this article, it is not difficult to generate “opinions” on the subject.  Read.

CE Conference Provides Thought-Provoking and Necessary Discussion

April 29th, 2015

A full day was spent analyzing:  Tough Conversations:  The Future of the Library Profession when the Continuing Education Committee of WNYLRC posed the questions to the 95+ gathered attendees at the conference on April 24, 2015.  Thought- provoking and without any sugarcoating, Stephen Abram (Lighthouse Consulting) and Dean Hendrix (University at Buffalo), mapped out for the gathered what could happen to the profession if changes within institutions and mindsets were not forthcoming. Hope Decker (Cohocton Public Library) provided a blueprint for how she went about making sure her patrons knew what they had as an asset in their public library and proved that pocketbooks could be opened and legislators could be enlightened.  The afternoon ended with a spirited panel discussion as to the status of the profession a decade from now and, without a crystal ball, the group painted a picture both of hope and reality.

The day was not wholly spent philosophizing though,  because it was held at the historic Tonawanda Castle, a former National Guard Armory which, now under private ownership, has undergone expensive and historically-correct re-habbing.  Tours were given to the upper reaches of the turrets which provide the building with its castle appearance and visions of assembled troops being sent into harm’s way were ever present.  A buffet lunch provided the networking opportunities that attendees always look forward to.  A basket raffle rounded out the afternoon and several lucky recipients would be able to start their week-ends with the contents of some tempting offerings.

Visit our Facebook page for a photo montage.

Tonawanda Castle

Tonawanda Castle

 

Wear Your Advocacy On Your Sleeve

April 22nd, 2015

Here’s an option for those who need “gear” for their career or to promote the library close to their heart—seemingly for all styles from preppy to not-so:  the Library Advocacy Store.  Seems that there’s something for everyone, even for those who set their tables with library-themed drinkware….