Breakfast of Librarians

I feel guilty that I haven’t posted in a while. Weekly deadlines for Library Journal columns have kept me hopping. I should take notes on how Steven Bell manages his deadlines. He’s the ultimate kept-up librarian.

But I thought I’d share something fun we’ve been doing this spring at my library – we started a journal club. A couple of times a month, we gather for breakfast in the college cafeteria on a Friday morning to discuss a common reading chosen by one of us. These include preprints of College and Research Libraries articles, articles from Communications in Information Literacy, or (most recently) the Taiga Provocative Statements coupled with the Darien Statements.

We’ve been joined by an intern, who brings a fresh perspective from a student who is about to go to library school but is still close to the undergraduate experience. (Maura, we’ll miss you when your internship is over!) We also have recently-hatched MLS who has a sharp mind and has been an excellent sabbatical replacement. (Anyone looking for a top-notch young librarian? Let me know.)

These have been such fun conversations, and they have been productive, too. Out of one of these informal get-togethers, we come up with a plan to hire and train some peer tutors to work at the reference desk between ten pm and midnight. Because we’ve had a lot of interest from students in doing internships, and we have a good example of peer tutoring in our Writing Center, we think we adapt some of our materials for interns into training, and provide some reference service at a time when the librarians are ready to call it a night but our students are finally getting a stretch of time when they can concentrate on their research.

Our journal club has proven to be a low-stakes, simple, and fun way to do a bit of professional development. Are there things you do at your library to foster good discussions among the librarians or share new ideas? Do tell.

(photo courtesy of arvindgrover)