This morning I’ll be joining the journalism department’s advisory board meeting to share some thoughts about what journalism and librarianship have in common, and how we might partner in the future. Already this year we’re collaborating to help celebrate the 100th year of student journalism at Cal Poly, culminating with events on October 14 – an exhibit opening, a journalism innovation showcase (a drone may be involved), followed by a symposium in the ATL conference room. A different kind of collaboration could be to explore, together, how to help develop the skills of the ‘new’ journalism: data journalism, new media production, collaborative journalism. The internet has profoundly disrupted and transformed journalism practice and industry, just as it has librarianship. In many ways, today’s students and professionals need to act both like librarians and journalists, learning to ask critical questions, sift through information, and create and tell meaningful stories with impact.
We learned this week that once again this year, students named Kennedy Library “best study space on campus.” What’s really cool is that we have a lot of information this year about why, and how we can keep improving the study environment for every student. This year’s SLAC survey had nearly 3000 respondents – and while the data-crunching has only just begun, SLAC and the survey team are moving quickly to summarize and respond where we can to the student experience. Just one example: we got input this year on preferred types of new furniture, and this is already informing our first floor furniture choices (small tables and booth-style seating). What do students want more of in the library? This year, quiet, individual, and ‘reading’ spaces overtook collaborative study for the first time. What do students like least about the library? It’s too crowded. This is the hands-down biggest problem students face, even after we’ve done so much to open up new space for student s to work. It’s an important message to share with the campus.
My ‘previous institution’ has recently announced the merger of their budget for scholarly communication with their budget for library collections. They’ve drawn the analogy between transforming the scholarly communication system and transforming our food system: promote open access; promote local, organic food; leverage consumer power to ‘vote with our dollars’: “we want to use our collections dollars — in a more systematic and strategic way — to transform the scholarly communications landscape towards more openness, and toward expanded, democratized access.” An interesting milestone for a major research library, on the long road that David Lewis began mapping out in his 2007 article, A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21st Century, and his 2012 paper, The Inevitability of Open Access – which I echoed in the title of our 2013 poster on Open Education, “Open to the Inevitable.”
Happy Earth Day, and have a great weekend,