Interesting library position: Open Education Library Fellow

Cal Poly is hiring a librarian to work with their burgeoning open education programs.  For those of us wondering what librarians should be (or are) doing with MOOCs, this is interesting news.  A major research institution, investing in a dedicated position* for open education support–that’s pretty great.  I haven’t seen other positions like this, but would be interested to hear about them if they’re out there.

In case you’re wondering what a librarian for open education support actually does, here’s my nutshell reading of the (extremely small-font!) duties:

  • help find, compile, assess, coordinate, and disseminate open educational resources and open content
  • foster the development of open educational resources
  • help build ways to use open educational resources
  • tie open educational resources to the curriculum (I read this as, find ways to build information literacy skills into open ed resources)
  • support a two-way relationship with open content repositories like Hathi Trust and Open Content Alliance
  • offer workshops and other faculty instruction on open education projects
  • encourage faculty to contribute to open access projects
  • advise users on copyright and Creative Commons issues
  • promote Open Access Week
  • do outreach and liaison work to the School of Education
  • write grants (and presumably help manage them if successful)
  • teach, manage the collection, and develop digital resources
  • provide professional service to the campus and community

That’s…a lot of stuff.  A few things in there seem a little tossed-in, like “Creative Commons” being somehow lumped in with copyright issues, as if it were a separate field of inquiry.  But it looks to me as if the folks at Cal Poly are thinking broadly about where open education may be headed, and working to get out ahead.  I’m not sure that I’d focus much of my Open Education Library Fellow’s time on MERLOT when s/he could be working on MOOCs (and I’m not sure if there’s a reason why the job names some names (Hathi Trust and Open Content Alliance) and not others (*cough*Coursera)…but overall, this is really interesting and encouraging.

I hope that positions like this will gradually start to appear more frequently, that we’ll see universities recognizing the natural linkages between libraries and open education, and that libraries will start making these positions fully-funded and tenure-track.  Because if you ask me, we’ve just seen the tip of the open education iceberg.


Interesting image of the day: Mailman with child in bag, courtesy Smithsonian.

*  A dedicated two-year fellowship, that is.  With a salary starting at $48K, in San Luis Obispo.  😦

7 Things to Make Librarians Happy

This week has seen the death of Ray Bradbury, the victory of Scott Walker, and the depressing revelation that a three-bedroom house in Arch Cape, OR will cost you $459,000.

It’s time for a list of good stuff, library-style.  Please feel free to add more in the comments.


1.  New York Times-bestselling novelist Catherynne Valente writes a beautiful love letter to libraries:  We Are All Wyveraries.  Hooray for wyverns!


Catherynne Valente's Wyverary

image credit


2.  The MLA will now allow authors who publish in its journals to retain their own copyright, post copies of their work to open access repositories, or on the open Web.  Hooray for open access!


3.  The New York Public Library recently cataloged and made available a huge historic collection of Farm Security Administration photographs–including works by Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans.  Hooray for catalogers and free online access to these great images!

Photograph of children from NYPL Archives

image credit


4.  The folks at made this awesome summer reading flowchart, perfect for printing and posting where everyone on earth will see it.  Hooray for reading!

Section of reading flowchart


5.  Durham County Library has made the code for their awesome single serving library hours site freely available.  Now your library too can have a fun, elegant answer to the most-asked question ever.  Hooray for simplicity!


6.  In San Diego, libraries are actually expanding their hours, thanks to a budget surplus (!) and a mayor who sounds like he gets it.  And Norwood Public Library in Norwood, NJ is getting some new space, thanks to donor funds.


7.  Oprah still believes in books.  And the book she’s championing right now is a good one, made right here in Portland.  (Read it at your local library.)  Hooray for Oprah!


Oprah Winfrey

image source

West Hollywood’s murals make Sunset

Sunset magazine, darling of West Coast yuppies*, has a blog post titled “Better than Kindle: libraries are back.”  Hard to think that this awesome mural on the side of the West Hollywood Public Library didn’t have something to do with that great PR.

Just one more reason to pay attention to good visual design in your library.  And if you can get Shepard Fairey to do your murals, more power to you.

* I say this with love.

New post, new look

It’s been too long since I posted last, but that’s a good reason to update the look of this blog a little.  The theme I’ve been using has been upgraded (or just plain changed) slightly, and I like the new version.  So, new look!

Recently Netflix has started offering TED talks as part of its streaming video content…which is sort of odd, considering that TED talks are already available free online.  (Thanks to my wife for pointing this out as we browsed the meager selections last night.)

What’s not on Netflix, but possibly useful or at least interesting:  TED has put together a Fellow Speaker Guide, listing TED Fellows who are available as speakers for events.  As someone who’s sat in a lot of meetings trying to think of keynote speakers, this is a good thing.  I’d love to see ACRL put something like this together, and keep it updated–a well-designed, clean, easy-to-find-and-refer-to list of speakers in different areas of librarianship (and outside of it) knowledge areas, reviews, and biography listed.

And just to test out the new theme, here’s a TED talk I particularly like–Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity:

Street Books

I recently did an interview with Street Books librarian Laura Moulton, who runs a free bike-powered library for people who live outside.

Good news update:  the original project was funded by a Regional Arts and Culture Council grant, but Laura just announced that it will live on past the term of the grant, which was due to end in early September.  Based on the enthusiastic response she’s gotten, from both patrons and donors, this is an idea whose time has come.  There’s someone in Seattle interested in starting a Street Books library there, and who knows where else?

You can read the full interview here.

Once I had a kid who’d torn it up a little because it was his 21st birthday, and he told me so.  He was pretty swaggery and belligerent.  I asked him what he liked and he said Che Guevara.  The next week he came back and asked for that, not really even looking at me.  I said yes, here it is, and it blew his mind.  I saw him again and waved to him when I was biking home on Saturday, and he waved back.  It’s a pretty cool thing.


laura moulton with the street books cart

The Chronicle covers the Big Deal

Just a quick pointer:  the UO Libraries are featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s lead story today, on Big Deals between academic publishers and academic libraries.  Basically, Big Deals compel libraries to subscribe to a fixed set of journals for multiple years, and to agree to pay inflation that averages 5 to 6 percent per year.

The UO, as well as Southern Illinois at Carbondale, both just negotiated out of the Big Deal and into arrangements that work better for us.  It sounds simple, but it’s a huge amount of work, research, and negotiation–and you have to remember that publishers are businesses, who make a living by negotiating.  Libraries are libraries.  So to broker our own way out of an agreement that doesn’t work for us, into one that does, is…kind of a big deal.  I hope more libraries will take notice, and do the same.