OSU-Mansfield Librarian Cleared Of Harassment Charge

Several days ago ACRLog posted a story about charges of harassment filed against a reference librarian named Scott Savage over controversial books he suggested for the institution’s common book reading experience for freshman. On Friday, April 21 The Columbus Dispatch reported that OSU investigator T. Glenn Hill found that the charges of harassment had no merit. Savage was quoted saying “I was making a point. I want us to be aware of our biases.” Now exonerated, Savage is filing a complaint against his accusers.

The several other reports I read on this incident seemed to be in favor of Savage. Although many considered his choice of books reprehensible, they thought the filing of harassment charges against him were even worse. Perhaps his motives and methods were questionable, but others defended Savage’s right to express his opinion and choices – and that in higher education we should be free do to so without fear of becoming a target.

Libraries for Loitering

Carla Yanni argues in the current issue of the Chron that “all campuses need public places.” in her words:

In addition to inviting undergraduates to public lectures and including them in research projects, another effective way to connect faculty members and students would be to make the physical environment more conducive to informal gathering. Loitering should be encouraged. Lingering should be a positive value.

She also adds that people use designed space in unanticipated ways – that their uses will change the design on the fly. This reminded me of Scott Bennett’s idea of designing libraries for learning – not limiting education to traditional classroom encounters, but enhancing all the social and playful behaviors that support learning outside the classroom. And making library planning student-learning-centered rather than service-centered.

So why not make the library the public place? “The libraries are not lively gathering spots because they have no food” according to Yanni.

Well, some do, and many of them are lively. Is there compelling evidence that banning food is so important it outweighs the benefits? It’s nuts for an institution to spend so much on providing a public space – and then erect barriers that prevent it being used to its maximum advantage.

Copyright Education and the ETD

I was very interested to read the article in this week’s CHE on electronic theses and dissertations (subscription required) and the brave new world of copyright issues their production has engendered.

The questions of: 1) how and when one would seek permission for the use of images, video, and sound used in a multimedia dissertation; 2) how the process of seeking such permission might differ from prevailing practices related to “fair use” of text “clips” (i.e., quotations); 3) the impact of open access policies; and 4) the big question of whether or not such a dissertation would be accepted (either by the host school or by UMI/Proquest) are all critical ones for our graduate students and for us.

Here at KU, we have recently implemented a mandatory ETD program in which the library has been very much involved. We were part of a couple of large public meetings hosted by the Graduate School last Fall aimed at answering questions about the ETD process and several of the above questions were exactly the ones that faculty and students asked. It will be interesting to see if we receive any feedback based on the CHE article.

On the whole, it’s another great example of how a technological innovation like the ETD can provide a fertile field for one dimension of scholarly communications instruction, i.e., education (esp. for future faculty and scholars) on copyright management and challenges to fair use in the digital environment.

The Professional Doctorate – Lessons for LIS from CID?

The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate is an interesting project by which programs in fields including Chemistry, English, and Education have engaged in a re-examination of their models for doctoral education. Several participating faculty members have presented their ideas in the recently-published Envisioning the Future of Doctoral Education (2006), but a brief essay with possible significance for LIS education can be found in the current issue of Educational Researcher: Reclaiming Education’s Doctorates: A Critique and a Proposal.

Without going too deeply into the argument, the authors suggest that doctoral education in the field of education (my field, as some of you know) has been “crippled” by the lack of clear distinction between doctoral study aimed at producing education researchers and faculty members (Ph.D.) and that aimed at producing educational leaders in the practice setting (and scholarly practitioners) (Ed.D.). They present an interesting model for what distinct and vital doctoral programs aimed at these different audiences might look like.

Without putting too fine a point on it, their argument about how doctoral study in education as currently conceived does not always serve scholarly practitioners and leaders “in the field” certainly seems applicable to the Ph.D. in LIS (which an increasing number of people who I consider to be excellent examples of the scholarly practitioner seem to be avoiding in favor of doctoral degrees in management studies, higher education administration, and instructional technology). LIS was not one of the fields selected for study by the CID (although I have suggested it to Lee Shulman as something he might consider), but I’d love to see our discussion of the limitations of formal LIS study for those of us in the field taken to the next level through a formal review such as that which the CID has afforded some of these other fields.

So, a “professional practice doctorate” for library leaders? What would it look like, and how would it differ from the current model for doctoral education in LIS? Do we have what Shulman calls a “signature pedagogy” (that’s a tricky one!)?

Change, Change, and More Change: LTF Proceedings Now Online

The Proceedings of the most recent Living the Future (LTF) conference at Arizona are now online. The presentations embrace a variety of important issues, but, like the recent Taiga Forum, the emphasis was on change – where is it coming from, how fast is it coming, and what can we do to help manage it effectively? I didn’t make it to Arizona this year, but comments from attendees are welcome.