Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts

The Retirements Are Coming, Just Later Than You Thought

In a recent ARL Bimontly Report Stanley Wilder once again informs us of significant demographic change in the research library environment. His report, “The ARL Youth Movement: Reshaping the ARL Workforce” indicates that according to 2005 data that ARL members have “an unusually old population that is aging quickly.” By 2005, nearly half of the library professionals in ARL libraries were over 50 and one third were in the 55 and over category. So why is this report’s title boasting about a youth movement? It sounds like ARL libraries should be filling their water coolers with prune juice. In 2005 only 12.7% of ARL professional librarians were under 35, but by 2020 – when the youth movement really kicks in – those under 35 should increase to 17.4%. And what about that big wave of retirements all the LIS students were promised. When do they kick in? How about between 2010 and 2015, not too far off. That’s assuming, of course, that most current ARL librarians don’t keep working into their 90s.

From The “More Than I Want To Know” Department

wierd google ad

I can’t quite recall what search lead me to get this Google ad, but I can assure you I’m not contemplating my own mortality or other morbid subject matter even if I am one of those way over-the-hill ARL librarians.

You Librarians Are Pretty Awesome Innovators

The link to this page has been making its way around the library blogoverse. While a number of posts have pointed out that this is just a good page for identifying some cool new technology resources, I’d like to think it’s more than that. For me it’s an example of the great innovation that comes out of libraries. As the list demonstrates, librarians are creating some of the tools but also finding interesting ways to use tools that weren’t designed with libraries in mind. So how are these beta research tools examples of innovation? Here’s a definition of innovation I like: “It’s simply finding new ways of creating value and bringing them to life.” (Design Management Review, Fall 2007, p.62). Many if not all of the resource tools on this list create value for library users. Now let’s get out there and get our communities to start using these resources.

Watch Good Presenters To Improve Presentations

My spouse is a pretty dismal tennis player (she doesn’t read ACRLog so I think I’m relatively safe in stating that here). She wants to improve and tries hard when practicing on the court. Whenever there’s a good professional tennis match on television and I suggest that we watch it together she tells me that watching tennis is boring. But I insist that players at any level can learn how to improve their game by watching the pros in action. I realize that watching great players won’t raise me to their level, but I can learn things by watching how they position themselves on the court, how they anticipate an opponent’s shot, how they hold their racket when approaching the net and much more. I think the same holds true for watching great – or even good – presenters at work.

I bring this up because Peter Bromberg has a post on being a better presenter at Library Garden, and while he provides a good list of resources I thought a significant omission was links to sites where really fine presenters can be found doing their thing. These sites include T.E.D Talks, GEL Conferences and Talks at Google. PresentationZen also points to good presentation videos. Just as I’ll never play tennis at the level of Federer or Sampras, I’ll never present as well as a Godin or Lessig. But when I watch their presentation videos I can pick up tips about starting a talk, good use of visuals, timing, use of humor, and story telling and narrative. I used to maintain a long list of “how-to” presentation sites, presentation tips and a related bibliography at my Keeping Up site. But I don’t anymore. I figure anyone who is looking for the standard presenting tips (number of bullet points per slide, colors that work together, font sizes, use of humor, etc) can find them with a search engine. Now I think it is even more valuable to learn from good practitioners of the art of presentation. If you want to give it a try here’s a good one to start with – it’s an economist presenting ideas about why college students fail to learn economics in traditional courses. He shares some ideas about how it can be done better, and you’ll pick up some tips about good presenting as well as good teaching.