1. Working on: In her remarks this week at our all-staff meeting, the provost mentioned the campus’ new director of professional development, Sepha Schiffman, and the leadership development program that Sepha’s launching this year. I’m one of about 20 people participating in one of two pilot groups in this new year-long program, and I look forward to recommending interested library faculty and staff for future programs as they are announced. At our group’s first meeting last Friday we were introduced to the acronym “VUCA” (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), and how these qualities in our environment present “adaptive” (rather than “technical”) challenges for organizations and people.
2. Excited about: One of the high points every year for the library is when SLAC releases their student survey: it’s gone live this week (congratulations SLAC + advisors!). I await the SLAC survey results each year with real excitement. All year long, every year, we do things to align our work with student needs, and this is that moment each year when we get to see how we’re doing. We also get to refresh and update our understanding of what our students need from us, and what they’re thinking.
3. Thinking about: A book chapter that Brett gave me a couple of weeks ago by Andrew Abbott. I first ran into Abbott back in the days I was a librarian specializing in labor studies. Abbott is one of the leading scholars on professions and occupations. The chapter is called “A Library Ethnography” (it’s from Abbot’s 2014 book Digital Paper). It’s a personal account of the wandering (‘brachiating’) and personally engaged nature of library research, as reflected in practices such as browsing, specialized scholarly bibliography, and branch libraries; in contrast to ‘universalizing’ practices in modern librarianship (think OCLC, citation indexes, consolidated main libraries, Google Books).
Have a great weekend,