Journal clubbed

Our latest team journal club considered “The promise of academic libraries: turning outward to transform campus libraries” by Kranich, Lotts and Springs.

I picked this paper as it looks at how someone has been seeking to develop their liaison model through community engagement.  The team involved have clearly been exploring in a period of change and in some ways this paper felt like them reaffirming publicly some of the results.

We were very interested in the way they piggy backed on groups set up for other projects to have “community conversations”.  These gave space for senior staff of the institution to get together to talk about a wide range of questions across the scope of the institution.  While the links to library drivers were interesting it was the whole picture of the objectives and issues in play for the institution that was most useful.  The fruits of these discussions were then fed back to the library teams to give them a much stronger picture of the priorities and direction of travel of the university.  Similar conversation sessions were also held with library teams building internal understanding of work in progress and direction of travel.  Use was made of the ideas from the Harwood Institute and these look helpful as a framework.

Areas around impact were weaker. Some of the measures proposed sound very hard to assess with any accuracy.

Generally it was a positive paper as a statement of intent and helped drive a good discussion.

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A Wellcome trip

L0023184 The Food Value of the Banana. Boston, 1928

I had the pleasure of visiting the Wellcome Library recently (trip organised by CILIP ARLG L&SE).

While I have visited the revamped Collection spaces on a number of occasions the last time I was in the Library was some moons ago to hear Robert Kiley talk about the Internet and other such new fangled things.

The space very much matches the transformation downstairs.  I loved the shelf end bays that use images from the collection linked to the materials in that area.  There was good use of furniture to create different spaces though the book stock does dominate a lot of areas.

The Reading Room was an unexpected change and one I look forward to returning to.  The mixture of books, exhibits, art, interactives and seating was great.

We had a visit to the scanning mines of the UK Medical History Library project. They are going great guns in digitising large numbers of books including some from my employers special collections. A fascinating resource is being built (though the most viewed items are unsurprising).  I had not seen a foot pedal operated scanner in action so it was good to get an idea of how these work.

We also popped into the more cautious digitisation work where all manner of skills are in place photographing the large collection of early books.

A rich collection and one that I will heartily recommend to all those were it might be of use.

Image Wellcome Images L0023184 The Food Value of the Banana. Boston, 1928