Yet Another Leadership Development Opportunity

If you’re not already planning to attend the Frye Leadership Institute or the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute, you may be interested by the newest entrant in the field, the Peabody College Academic Library Leadership Institute to be held for the first time this summer at Vanderbilt University.

The latest collaboration between Patricia Senn Breivik and E. Gordon Gee, who brought us the landmark Information Literacy: Revolution in the Library almost 20 years ago, the Institute promises to explore “new roles for libraries that may emerge from [the broader context of higher education] to support the goals and priorities of the parent institution. ”

Also interesting is Vanderbilt’s challenge to other leadership development programs:

“The focus on understanding leadership and the external environment, coupled with an in depth understanding of the higher education context of libraries, distinguishes Vanderbilt’s institute from others, which emphasize management skills and the internal library organization.”

Wow – anyone from Harvard or EDUCAUSE want to reply to that one?

Without taking anything away from what will undoubtedly be an excellent program at Vanderbilt, it seems a bit unfair to suggest that some of their competitors in an increasingly busy “summer institute” market aren’t also taking a broad view of the role of the library leader as educational leader.

One thing that did disappoint me in reading the program overview is that, despite the presence of Breivik and one of her colleagues on the National Forum on Information Literacy on the faculty, I didn’t see information literacy noted as a curricular area for discussion. Topics such as strategic planning, human resource development, and fund development are common fare among many library leadership development programs and it would have been nice to see this program stake out some new territory by including a clear focus on the place of the library in the teaching and learning landscape on campus.

Start your engines because applications are due March 1st!

Try Something At The Learning Buffet

Whether it might be for your own edification or possibly for use in your staff training, I recommend you take a look at the New Technologies Learning Buffet. This was created by Tom Foster (Chandler-Gilbert Community College) and Alan Levine (Maricopa Community College Learning Center). This happens to be a great example of how a wiki could be used for training and development. I came across it after reading a post in Levine’s ConDogBlog. The buffet has loads of resources included for blogs, wikis, e-portfolios, photosharing, Google Maps, and somethink else called “using free stuff.” If you’ve yet to try some of these technologies, or would like to encourage colleagues to do so, you may find this is a good way to explore these new technologies independently or with colleagues. As I go through the Buffet I can’t help but think that more of this type of resource, particularly for introducing people to library resources, could be a good thing to create. It demonstrates that a wiki is a good platform for training and connecting individuals with information that allows them to explore on their own and learn constructively.

Dear ALA – Set This Newletter Free

I was pleasantly surprised to find something new in my e-mail inbox today. As a “keeping up” enthusiast I’m always on the prowl for new publications offering recent news and developments to add to my keeping up regimen. AL Direct, from the American Library Association, is a new weekly e-newsletter that “features news stories from American Libraries Online, ALA- and library-related news, and other items of interest from the ALA website.” It’s graphically well designed, slick, easy-to-read, links to full text, and is generally informative – lots of things I like. And to top it off, they even included a link to one of our ACRLog blog posts. Great idea! So what’s not to like. Just this item from the description:

“sent to ALA personal members by e-mail as a perquisite of membership”

Come on ALA, this is a good resource that can help members of the library profession to improve their personal professional development. Why restrict it to ALA members? Here’s the text of an e-mail message I sent to the newsletter’s feedback department:

I would encourage ALA to make this a free newsletter service that is available to any member of the library profession – or other disciplines – who would like to be on the mailing list. It’s nice to offer members a premium service, but librarians are challenged enough to keep up with the field, and this could really help them. Perhaps you could be like other industry newsletters and offer the newsletter for free, but make some of the links available only to members. This way librarians who are non-members could get a feel for the value of being a member and it might encourage them to join. Keeping them off the mailing list ensures they’ll never have an opportunity to explore the value of AL Direct.

To their credit I quickly received a response from American Libraries’ Senior Editor, George Eberhart (a nice guy with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working). He was open to my suggestion, but acknowledged that being this was the first issue they are still considering how to develop the newsletter. He did suggest that all of the newsletter content was available in free sources, but that for now ALA members would get the convenient digest – a member’s perk. Fair enough. I hope it will eventually become freely available, and when it does I’ll add it to the Keeping Up Web Site.

If you are a current ALA member, enjoy your issue of AL Direct. If not, consider joining to take advantage of this new benefit of membership – or hang in there until ALA sets it free.

Higher Ed BlogCon

From the Bibliocasting discussion list:

Thomson Peterson’s, PRNewswire, and CASE are pleased to present *HigherEdBlogCon – Transforming Academic Communities with New Tools of the Social Web. * This brand-new, all-online event aims to bring together in a single Web space many of the leading players who are transforming academe with their use of the new tools of the Social Web.

All presentations will be made available on the event Web site at no charge to participants (with the exception of the live, Web/audio CASE Online Speaker Series events).

*HigherEd BlogCon 2006* will focus on the use of blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasts, vblogs, and other digital tools in a range of areas in academe. We invite you to propose presentations for HigherEd BlogCon 2006.

See the full CFP at Information Wants to be Free.

Academic Administrators: Beware If A Librarian Is On Your Search Committee

Once again, academic librarians get no respect. I came across this quote in an article in today’s online version of the Chronicle . It’s from a disgruntled job seeker who’s been the “faux finalist” for one too many searches. This refers to an institution that has already decided to hire an internal candidate, and the interview process is just a sham held to document that the search was truly open to all. The author (a pseudonym is given) seeks to provide a public service to other academic administrators by providing the warning signs that one is probably a faux finalist. Here’s the offending one:

It all starts with the search committee. Beware if it’s filled with people who have no campus authority, such as untenured faculty members, librarians, nonacademic administrators, or anyone hired only a few months ago. If it is, that’s a signal that the more senior people with real clout have better things to do with their time. If the search were truly open, then deans and top administrators would want to have some influence over the decision.

Admittedly, we don’t wield the same power as a dean or vice-president, but this strikes me as an extension of an unfortunate stereotype to suggest that academic librarians have no campus authority. I guess we do nothing all day but sit around and read books, which makes us ideal participants for sham search committees so we can ask polite questions like, “So what books have you read lately?”. I suppose like all the negative stereotypes we encounter it is best to have a sense of humor about it, and to simply do what we can each day on the job and in our relationships with our academic colleagues to dispel ridiculous notions about who we are and what we contribute to the academic enterprise.