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More than marshmallows and candy bar wrappers!

Fourteen colleagues attended the first Ticer Library Directors’ Course from August 19-21, 2012. The last day was a joined one with the participants of the Ticer Summerschool. We did not have time to evaluate this last day with the fourteen of us, so I decided to provide my summary and short comments on this blog.
Firstly it would be appropriate to mention that I indeed valued the Directors’ course: we had some good practical exercises, a lot of things and literature to think about and work on, perhaps not so many strategy issues as I would have anticipated on the first 2 days, but best of all was that I met new and interesting colleagues and the Course Director, Janet Wilkinson, and senior lecturer Roger Fielding, who both did an excellent job. I will never forget our Marshmallow Challenge!

Lorcan Dempsey introduced the Ticer Tuesday (being its Course Director) and did a quick wrap-up of the talk I enjoyed in Birmingham last February. He introduced David Lankes (@rdlankes, see his own post). This was the talk that I liked best, a bit provocative, typical American, but filling in the gap that I had slightly missed on days 1 and 2. Of course not everything was new, but here are a few quick-and-dirty quotes or lines to remember:
– The mission for the library has not changed over all these years, how we do it has  changed.
– What makes it new librarianship is if you realize that knowledge is created through conversation (and not contained in “static” containers).
– As a library we have a voice, if we e.g. give instructions these should be focused on helping the members to learn, not on how they can get access.
– We do not have users, clients or consumers; we have members and they “own” the library and add value to it.
– A place with books is a storage place; a place with librarians is a library.
– A librarian does not need the library building to be a librarian … so a librarian is the one who creates the library.
– We are librarians and we are on a mission. Be radical!
There is a lot I have not put in this summary, a question could be the possible disbalance in the phrases above on “membership or ownership” and “the librarian who creates the library”. Of course we should see this as cocreation, but this puzzles me.

The other three in-depth talks were on Open Access, Research data management and Networks. These were less strategic, but interesting because of the overview we received on the relevant situation, reports and papers. Marc van den Berg had a good interactive voting exercise where all participants had to give theire scores on the ten recommendations the LIBER Working Group on e-Science and Research Data Management had just released. We apparently (and typically?) gave all recommendations almost similar scores. Lorcan Dempsey, in his role as Chair of the day, asked the presenters where they would make their choices in their own libraries, not per se referring to research data management, but in general. The answer to that question remains difficult – I myself would be interested to see whether we in The Netherlands would be able to differentiate between the university libraries the coming years. Further I was triggered by the reference made by Marc on the Gartner hypecycle for education, 2012, where it shows that Digital preservation of research data as a trending topic has had his peak, and could now be overhyped.

At the end of the day we got a Library tour at Tilburg University. Interesting to see that Tilburg invites faculty to come over to the library. Apart from the datalab and teaching lab there is also a dedicated faculty space, only accessible for faculty staff. It is not yet crowded, but a good initiative!

Finally, Rachel L. Frick (https://twitter.com/rlfrick) provoked us to come from our often institutional to a networked focus and gave some good examples how this could work for libraries. We discussed the question she gave us, i.e. if the library is unified by a brand (and then, what is this brand)? Interesting for us in Delft (involved as we are as a Library in social innovation, see the (Dutch) weblog) was the reference she made to the constellation model, often used when organising collaborative efforts.

 

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1 comment

Insighful comments. Thanks for sharing.

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