Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Webinar: Past, Present, and Future of Digital Libraries, August 3, 2021

This webinar, Past, Present, and Future of Digital Libraries, is free and open to all. It will be on August 3, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET.

Libraries have historically been trusted hubs to equalize access to credible information, a crucial role that they should continue to fill in the digital age. However, as more information is born-digital, digitized, or digital-first, libraries must build new policy, legal and public understandings about how advances in technology impact our preservation, community, and collection development practices.

This panel will bring together legal scholars Ariel Katz (University of Toronto) and Argyri Panezi (Stanford University) to discuss their work on library digital exhaustion and public service roles for digital libraries. They will be joined by Lisa Radha Weaver, Director of Collections and Program Development at Hamilton Public Library (Canada), who will discuss how library services have been transformed by digital delivery and innovation. The panel will be moderated by Lila Bailey of Internet Archive and Kyle Courtney of Library Futures and Harvard University.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Coming in September: U.S. Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner's Guide eCourse

Copyright license choiceYes, I'm teaching this ALA eCourse again from Sept. 13-Oct. 24, 2021.  More information and registration details are available.


The library is a hub of content, all of it subject to copyright law. The legal reality of copyright is dynamic—changes in technology have created a landscape that is constantly adapting and can be difficult to predict. If you don't have any formal training in copyright law, it can be intimidating to know how to answer your patrons' copyright questions and to know what you can and cannot do with your library’s content and resources. It can be tough to understand the line between providing information and answering a legal question.

In this eCourse, consultant, speaker, writer, and educator Jill Hurst-Wahl guides you through the basics of copyright law and provides you with the foundation to become your library's copyright expert.

Each week, you'll learn how copyright law informs what libraries, library staff, and patrons can do with their materials and how you can stay up-to-date as this area evolves. You'll be able to check and affirm your knowledge through focused self-assessments.

Learning Outcomes

After participating in this course, you will be able to

  • Explain the basics of copyright law
  • Evaluate whether or not a work is copyrightable
  • Determine if a work is still under copyright protection
  • Appraise whether a work can be used under Fair Use
  • Understand how to locate additional information on U.S. Copyright Law
  • Assist a member of the community or library staff in understanding the real meaning of Fair Use

Thursday, July 08, 2021

PILLARS2021: From First Year Experience to Teacher's Education: A Discussion on Practical Ideas for Information Literacy and Students in Transition

PILLARS stands for "Preparation, Information Literacy, Libraries, Academic Resources, and 21st Century Skills for Transitioning from Secondary School to College." I attended the keynote of the PILLARS conference, because the keynoters were:

  • Raymond Pun, Education/Outreach Manager – Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University
  • Tarida Anantachai, Interim Head – Learning and Academic Engagement, Syracuse University Libraries

The speakers talked about the type of settings they have provided instruction. Between them, they have provided instruction in K-12, college/university, and public library settings.

How are they supporting information literacy during the pandemic? Students need more digital resources during the pandemic. while some students wanted print because they were spending so much time online. This means that "access" was not always easy.  Students struggled.

Ray Pun noted that this was a good time to teach students about information privilege as well as privacy. He mentioned writing done on information privilege by Char Booth.

Tarida Anantachai mentioned learning analytics ans how that intersects with privacy. 

In terms of challenges, Anantachai mentioned teaching students across time zones and in multiple countries, which also means that some websites she used - including her library's site - were blocked.

Anantachai noted the need to be aware of how students were doing - outside of academics - and provide information and resources that might be helpful to them, including fun resources. AT one point, she taught a class of mostly Asian students the week of the shooting in Atlanta. She mentioned then including bystander training. Pun acknowledge that training could be very help for people.

They then talked about partnerships and who their libraries have been partnering with including high school teachers and librarians. Pun mentioned about recruiting students to work in an academic-public partnerships as instructors.

Students need content in their own languages, which they do not always have. It was noted that there is also a lack of school librarians, which also creates a hurdle. This lack of school librarians has been occurring over the last 10 years. Pun noted an IMLS research project that is studying this.  If students have not had access to a K-12 school librarian, it may be harder for them to interact with librarians in college.

Pun and Anantachai said there are an increasing number of job ads for librarians to help with college first year experiences. While this is a positive trend, these librarians are being asked to do a lot with many students at the same time. Those roles are relationship centered, but it can be difficult - because of what they're being asked to do = to build those relationships. How do you define success in the jobs?

In talking about equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), one important thing they mentioned is that some of the outreach/first year experience librarian positions are held by librarians of color.  How do we support those librarians? 

Recognizing that the first year is a critical time for students, how do we support those from racial and ethnic groups that historically have been excluded from higher education. Some of these students are already carrying trauma. How do we support them as they deal with that trauma, along with the trauma they have experienced during COVID-19?

How do continue to make shifts that will continue to improve the experience of our students?

Pun noted that we also need to focus on accessibility, which is critically important when teaching online.  Accessibility online is different than in person, and we need to be thinking about both.

Anantachai ended by reminding us that we need to think critically about our own work.

How do we increase the number of K-12 librarians? Pun said we all need to focus on advocacy. When we see a proposed K-12 budget cut, we need to advocate against it. He also think MSLIS students need more of an introduction to school librarianship. Anantachai advocates for a new version of "Fill the Gap." She also mentioned getting academic librarians to do service learning in K-12. Pun noted that there are local associations for school librarians to connect with for advocacy, etc.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Webinar: The CASE Act for Libraries

I attended the ESLN webinar, "Understanding the CASE Act and the Implications for Library Liability and Projection," by Dr. Tomas A. Lipinski. This was a content dense webinar. Lipinski noted that some aspects of the CASE Act implementation are still unknown.  In addition, the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is not yet up in running. Lipinski also noted that the CASE Act contains 35 references to forthcoming regulations. In other words, operationalizing the statute is in progress. 

Because there are still unknowns about the CASE Act implementation and because my notes were definitely incomplete, I am providing a reference list rather than notes.  If you need to understand the CASE Act, you might focus on the specific aspects that are important to you and your situation, rather than the entire act. If you decide to take a webinar, recognize that there is a lot to be covered! Perhaps someone will develop a series on the Act, so there is time to absorb the details and talk through scenarios.


Thursday, July 01, 2021

Personal Good News and Contributing to Your Profession

John Cotton Dana

In 1909, John Cotton Dana started a new library association. It began as an act of inspiration at a library conference in New Hampshire. John Cotton Dana and a several others went out to the veranda and held what is now called the "Veranda Conference." The  conference was the birth of a new association, which became called the Special Libraries Association. SLA has an award named after Dana, which is given each year to recognize the lifetime achievement of an SLA member. It is SLA's highest honor.

A couple of weeks ago, the president of the Special Libraries Association called me. This phone call was unexpected and what Tara Murray Grove told me was shocking. This year, I'm receiving the John Cotton Dana Award from SLA. Wow!  SLA gives out several awards and honors during its annual conference and I never expected to be among them. Congratulations to ALL of the recipients! Thank you for your contributions to the profession and to the Association. You can read about all of the recipients in this SLA announcement. I'll put at the bottom of this post the text that is specific to the John Cotton Dana Award.

Why am I getting this award?

That is a  great question that I have been asking myself. I think it comes down to three things, which I hope can help others - you - think about their future in whatever profession they are in.


Every person who gives career advice says that people should volunteer, because it is a great way of interacting with others in your profession and perhaps locating a position that you want. The idea is that others get to know you and are willing to share information about job openings and even recommend you. While that is true, volunteering allows you to expand your circle of influence and can eventually put you in the rooms where important decisions are made. That doesn't happen overnight, but if you continue to volunteer it will.

For me, volunteering to be on a committee or to work the door at the SLA IT Division Dance Party helped me to know more about what was happening in the Association. Sometimes that volunteering came as a push from a colleague like Judy Field, who wanted to get me more deeply involved in the Association. Outside of SLA, volunteering has caused me to learn more, meet professional colleagues that I would not have met otherwise, and opened doors. Indeed volunteering has kept me busy as I tend to say "yes" more than I should.

For anyone who is starting out in their career, I encourage you to volunteer. Yes, it might be stuffing envelopes at first, but stick with it and soon you'll be serving on committees where important work is being done.

Start Early

When you are new in your career, you may be hesitant to volunteer because you think you have nothing to offer. However, you do have energy and some time, and often that is what a committee or organization needs.  Perhaps you you have a skill that will be helpful, even if that skills seems unimportant to you.

Admittedly, when you start volunteering, you will have no idea what that will lead to in 5, 10, or 30 years and that's okay. Even when you think your efforts are not making a difference, they are and doors that you do not even know exist are being opened for you.

Put Others First

Finally, put others first. If you're volunteering to make yourself important, that will be apparent and likely be a turn-off. Rather volunteer to make an event, organization, or situation better. Be in it for them. If you're in it "for them", then you won't mind taking notes, helping to organize an event, serving on a board (or multiple boards), helping people find where a conference session is, or ensuring that people know how to get to/from the airport. 

I heard a speaker a few years ago who talked about all of the different work he had done, including rising through the ranks in one organization. His secret was figuring out what help people needed and then doing it. He was in it for them. His coworkers and bosses learned his skills and knew they could count on him. He benefitted from putting others first. You will too.

By the way, I know that some volunteer in order to learn or perfect a skill. Yes, a volunteer opportunity can help you do that as your working to improve an event, organization, or situation. Focus on helping and you'll develop the skills you need to do that. 

And Still I Volunteer

Let me end with an admission, I'm still volunteering, besides the work I do in my consulting practice. I am on five different boards - Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees, St. Francis Farm Board of Directors, Alden Street Foundation Board of Directors, EveryLibrary Institute Board of Directors, and Library Futures Board of Directors. I'm also involved in the Poor People's Campaign. Clearly, I like being busy and I'm still learning from the work I do, as well as growing my network.  I have friends who are still volunteering in their 70s and 80s, and I think that's going to be me!

 Finally, congratulations to:

I look forward to sharing the virtual stage with you at the awards ceremony!


John Cotton Dana Award

Named for SLA’s founder and first president, the John Cotton Dana Award is SLA’s highest honor. It is granted to an information professional to recognize a lifetime of achievement as well as exceptional service to SLA and the library and information profession.

Jill Hurst-Wahl, professor emerita in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and a widely respected speaker, writer, researcher, educator, and consultant, is receiving the Dana Award this year. An SLA member since 1990, Hurst-Wahl has served on the association’s board of directors, held leadership positions in SLA’s Upstate New York and Information Technology Communities, and served on numerous committees, advisory councils, and work groups. She received a presidential citation in 2008 for her work with the SLA Second Life project.