Episode 97: Starr Hoffman

Steve chats with Starr Hoffman,the Head of Planning & Assessment at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries and author of the new book Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries.

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Starr Hoffman, PhD, is the Head of Planning & Assessment at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. She is the author of the book Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries (Facet Publishing / ALA Editions, 2016). Starr speaks and writes on assessment, research support, and academic library leadership. When she’s not researching, she travels around the world, scuba dives, partakes in various geeky pursuits like cosplay, and embarks on complex home improvement projects with her husband. You can find her online at http://geekyartistlibrarian.wordpress.com and on Twitter @artgeeklibraria.

SHOW NOTES

Dynamic Research Support for Academic Libraries
“The Preparation of Academic Library Administrators” [Starr’s dissertation]

Episode 96: Glenn Fleishman

Steve chats with Glenn Fleishman, technology journalist and author of the new books Take Control of Slack Basics and Take Control of Slack Admin.

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Glenn Fleishman is a technology journalist with decades of writing experience. He’s written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series and for other publishers, penned thousands of articles for the Economist, the New York Times, Macworld, TidBITS, and many other publications, and run his own editorial operations at Wi-Fi Networking News and The Magazine.

SHOW NOTES

Glenn’s site
Take Control of Slack Basics
Take Control of Slack Admin
“Capital Crimes, Part 1: SHOUT, SHOUT, LET IT ALL OUT” [meh.com]
“Capital Crimes, Part 2: Usenet Has No CHILL” [meh.com]

CircIdeas@5: Dolly Knight

The following was written as the afterword for the Recirculated ebook of transcripts by Dolly “The Artist Formerly Known as Moehrle” Knight, who has been a big supporter of the show for a long time. Listen to us on Withdrawn; someone has to, because Dolly herself won’t be listening.

I don’t listen to podcasts.

I’m not just being funny here: I’ve always struggled with listening to people talk. (I welcome your jokes.) I don’t listen to audiobooks or talk radio and your Terry Gross jokes are lost on me. Sometimes I get lost in my own thoughts, sometimes I get distracted by a shiny object, but either way the outcome is the same: I lose my place and get discouraged, then move on to something else. Sorry, world. Sorry, Steve.

When I first heard of Circulating Ideas, I nodded sagely and thought, that sounds good. There are podcasts for every conceivable subject, and a podcast made by a librarian, focused on library topics, seemed like the perfect way to combine the library scientists’ love of new trends and tech, with an exciting focus on the work real library professionals were doing. I even found myself, to my great surprise, actually listening to episodes; I consider Circulating Ideas a form of professional development, and usually listen at my desk.

One of my favorite things about Circulating Ideas is the laid back interview style. No one is ever put on the defensive; there’s a lot of pausing for laughter, and the conversation can meander from subject to subject organically, because unlike talk radio, Steve’s goal isn’t to play “gotcha” or have a debate with anyone. The interviews make you feel like you’re in a coffee shop with Steve and Cory Doctorow, and you’re not eavesdropping, you’re part of the discussion.

When the first Kickstarter came around, to get Steve some new equipment and to get me some stickers (I think that was what it was for), I was impressed by the love shown to Circulating Ideas. When librarians love something, they support it, and they definitely showed up for the first Kickstarter–it was nearly 150% funded by the time it ended.

As much as I might harangue Steve Thomas for my own enjoyment, Circulating Ideas is a spectacular project. Even with all the love for it, I don’t think we truly appreciate what he’s done here–he’s created a living breathing portrait of what this mysterious entity known as “librarianship” looks like in this era. Interviewees run the gamut from librarians working in youth services to consultants, managers, directors, and authors. They work in traditional libraries, they work in special libraries, or they don’t work in libraries at all; but everyone has their own perspective on the work they do and the transitions they’ve experienced.

When Steve told me he wanted to do a second Kickstarter to fund transcripts of existing Circulating Ideas episodes, I was very excited to think of how much this would open the interviews up, not just to people like me who prefer not to listen to podcasts, but also to students (who might not be able to sit through multiple hours looking for the topic they’re researching), deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and others who struggled with the audio format. There are a lot of podcasts I wish had transcripts, because I’d love to be able to share them with people who for whatever reason don’t listen to podcasts, but I know that the time and expense of creating transcripts is prohibitive. But now, thanks to this Kickstarter and the generosity of those who funded it, the interviews of Circulating Ideas are more accessible than ever.

Thinking about Steve’s interviews, and knowing that now anyone looking to find out Nancy Pearl’s thoughts on whether libraries have gotten too tech focused, or learn Buffy Hamilton’s feelings on social media, will be able to read their interviews and cite to them–actually makes me feel pretty sentimental (for someone who doesn’t even listen to podcasts). Knowing that this resource will be available in an even wider format is a great achievement.

My hope is that you will share the interviews, and this eBook, widely, and that two hundred years from now when students in the new field of “Information Science” want to know how libraries were in the early 21st Century, they’ll turn on their brain link to databases comprising the entirety of human knowledge, sit back, and listen to Steve say, “This…is Circulating Ideas.”

Get a copy of the ebook edition of Recirculated today with your $5 donation.

CircIdeas@5: David Lankes

The following was written as the introduction to the Recirculated ebook of transcripts by Dr. R. David Lankes. Dave has been a big supporter of the show over the years and has given his permission to re-run this essay here for the fifth anniversary of the show.

I have the sometimes pleasure of writing introductions for books. I say sometimes, because frankly some of the pieces I have been invited to introduce have not been very good or exciting.  You see the role of the introduction is like that of a keynote at a conference. You should set some themes, provide points to think about, and provoke conversation (often with little nuance).

The danger is that you often agree to write an introduction months before there is a text to introduce. So it can be uncomfortable to get the text and have a hard time finding anything to say. This is not the case here. Not only have I been a long time listener of Circulating Ideas, I find this work very very important.

This work is important for several reasons. It contains the thoughts of great librarians. It provides details on important projects and efforts. It provides a humanity to figures many of us know primarily through tweets, speeches, and articles. It is important because it adds depth and nuance to ideas bandied about the profession from advocacy, to learning, to graduate education, to reader’s advisory, to the ALA presidency.

Yes, all of that is important. If you were to ask Steve why he thought it was important, he would most likely cite those reasons. He would say it is because of the people he interviews, typically undervaluing his role and the most important thing this book, and the Circulating Ideas podcast represent: hope.

Hope for what? Hope for the profession. Circulating ideas is a testament to the belief that the field of librarianship is important, and will prevail through budget cuts, and annoyed professionals, and the myriad of snipes and limited visions put forth. Steve has not simply sat down with anyone available via Skype. He has created an ongoing curated conversation about a bright future for the profession.

It is always dangerous to use the phrase “the future of librarianship.” To many those are code words for lofty conversations disconnected from the realities of the field. The future of libraries has become the domain of prophetic futurists, glossy publications destined for a shelf, or a catch all for technological determinists convinced the latest gadget will save us. These are not traps into which Circulating Ideas fall.

The libraries and librarianship Steve has crafted here needs no saving. The librarianship Steve has documented is alive. It is strongly connected to the values of the past, the work of the present, and the firm belief in a better tomorrow. In these episodes and transcripts you will hear voices of people who know what they do is important and are happy to be a part of it. Steve talks to advocates, scholars, practitioners, and more that are actively making libraries and librarianship relevant.

This very book is a result of Steve exploring crowdfunding, self-publishing, and distributed networks of expertise. Steve would make a great guest on his own show, and yet he too readily disappears into a series of questions that spotlight his guests. He too often equates the importance of this work with download numbers. Those numbers are a minor metric when compared to the voices he has assembled.

So, to the reader I take the privilege of an introduction writer and assign you a task. Read these transcripts. Learn from the voices. Then step back, learn from the whole Circulating Ideas project, and make your own statement. Make a podcast, or a blog, or a book, or an opera. Make something that highlights how the work you and your peers do help today’s communities. Yes listen to Buffy, and John, and even the Annoyed Librarian (who wasn’t that annoying in this interview). But model your reactions on Steve. Steve, a library branch manager who on his own time decided to be a part of the future of the profession. Crowdsource, experiment, call upon friends call upon your heroes, and call upon voices big and small to curate your own vision of the future.

Our profession is too important and stretched too thin to simply be a reader or listener of Circulating Ideas. We must all join the effort to push the whole field forward. Expect it of yourself, and expect it of those around you. Don’t sit idly by as your co-workers paint dismal pictures of the future of your institution and profession. Be the voice of optimism and hope.

Embrace the idea that librarian are makers. We are stewards of community resources. That means we are much more than objective functionaries that use taxes/tuition/overhead/client funds to buy stuff and shelve it (physically or virtually). We are active parts of the community charged with crafting the story of the community. We feed that story through resources. We house that story in our buildings and web sites. We explore and add depth to that story through programs and often uncomfortable conversations. Our true collection is the community, and the purpose of that collection is learning.

Librarians are makers and educators. We are the stewards of the communities knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Our charge is well represented in the title of Steve’s podcast: we circulate ideas. Get to it.

Get a copy of the ebook edition of Recirculated today with your $5 donation.

Recirculated 1: Buffy Hamilton

In 2011, Steve chatted with Buffy Hamilton for the first episode of Circulating Ideas.

Take yourself back to the days in 2011 when Steve still had a crappy mic and didn’t know how to clean up the audio from a bad Skype connection! But that doesn’t stop Buffy’s wisdom and inspirational message from cutting through the poor audio quality to help create an engaging conversation that we can still learn from all these years later.

Recirculated 1 is a replay of Circulating Ideas, Episode 1. You can read the transcript of this episode here.

CircIdeas@5

I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot. I listen to podcasts about politics, about Apple, about geek culture, and, yes, about libraries. Five years ago, I decided to start my own podcast and five years ago today, the first episode was released with guest Buffy Hamilton.

For this week only, in celebration of the show’s fifth birthday, you can get an ebook copy of Recirculated: Transcripts from the Circulating Ideas Podcast for a $5 donation.

However, the best birthday present you can give to the podcast is to go to iTunes, Overcast, or your podcast app of choice, and rate and/or review the show. Not later, but now. Today, on the show’s fifth birthday. That’s the best way you can help to increase the show’s visibility to a wider audience.

What I love about podcasting is that it gives me the chance to have a conversation about a subject that I’m passionate about, a conversation with someone I admire and respect, and share that conversation with the world, but after five years, it can be exhausting work just the same.

Periodically going forward, I will be releasing episodes of a subseries called Recirculated
(using that name again – recirculating again!), where I re-release old episodes, starting this week with a replay of the first episode (but don’t worry – there’s a new interview coming later this week, too!). These episodes will appear in the same RSS feed as the regular show, so you don’t need to do anything differently to receive them in your subscription.

So, happy birthday to my first podcast. May the next five years go as quickly as the previous five. Thank you to everyone who has listened and supported the show over the years, including not one, but TWO Kickstarter campaigns, and the current Patreon.

Keep circulating your ideas.